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When You Miss the Mark

Backup_of_Missing the Mark 1The Bible tells us that all we are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God. But, what does it mean to sin?

The word sin comes from the Greek, hamartánō, which means to “miss the mark.” Miss what mark? Missing the mark is symbolism that is derived from the practice of archery – of having shot an arrow and failing to strike the target. Therefore, sin is having failed to strike the bulls eye of God’s standard of perfect obedience, or perfect living. I can relate to that! I admit, I have missed the mark many times myself. How about you?

I think we can all agree that none of us are perfect, nor have lived an absolutely perfect life. Yet, God’s standard for us to make it into heaven is still perfection, because there is no sin in heaven. Since God is holy and perfect in everything He does, everything in heaven is perfect, as it should be.

So, in order for us to be saved and allowed to enter into heaven, our heavenly Father sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to be perfect for us, and pay the penalty for our sins. Through our faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross, His perfect obedience and righteousness is imputed unto us. Imputed means that our sin debt was placed upon Him on the cross, and His perfect righteousness is transferred unto us.

When did this occur? The day we believed.

It was a free gift of God’s grace through faith. We did not earn it, nor deserve it, but God gave it to us anyway. We are justified (cleared of all sin guilt) freely through the redemption that He provided for us in Jesus Christ.

Missing the Mark 2How far have you missed the mark?

Imagine participating in an archery competition: You shoot your arrow and get about three-quarters of the way to the target. Other people next to you shoot their arrows and only get about half the way. Still others may miss the mark by a mile while others by an inch. No matter how close anyone gets to the target, everyone is disqualified just the same. Our sin debt is like that.

Jesus Christ died to save every sinner.

It does not matter to God how close or how far you’ve gotten to the target, or how much you have sinned in the past, He is willing to forgive us all the same. Whether we’ve sinned a little or a lot, He does not judge us on this basis. Everyone is already condemned because no one was ever righteous enough to be saved by his or her own merits; everyone has missed the mark. There is none righteous, no not one.

However, when we come to faith in Christ, everyone is equally given a clean slate and allowed entrance into God’s kingdom on the same basis: By grace through faith alone.

Therefore, we conclude that since all of us have missed the mark and fallen short of God’s standard of perfection, we must enter into God’s kingdom by faith, trusting upon His grace and forgiveness. Because God is merciful, He provided a way for our sins to be punished on the cross of Christ, so that we would not have to suffer His judgment for our sins. God the Father has justified us and forgiven us completely, through our faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Afterward, through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, we are now capable of honoring and obeying God’s moral laws. We are no longer powerless to the desires of sin, but mighty in power to live victorious as conquerors in Christ. It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us, who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Let us, therefore, endeavor to keep from continually missing the mark and making sinful choices. Let us honor God with our hearts, minds, and bodies forevermore.

– Luis Josephus

 

 



Scripture References:

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him apart from keeping the requirements of the law…Even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference. For everyone has sinned, and we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” – Romans 3:21-23

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

“…overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” – Romans 8:37


Study Notes:

“The Glory of God” in Romans 3:23 refers to the praise or approbation of God. The Jews had sought to be justified, or approved, by God the keeping of the Law, which was impossible to perfectly do. They did not realize they had all failed. Their works of the Law had not secured God’s approbation, and Jesus said they were still under condemnation.

The Hebrew word for sin is chata, pronounced khaw-taw. It also means to miss the target, make a mistake, an error in judgment, commit a sin against God. Sometimes the idea of sinning against a fellow human being is also present.

 


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Mary Magdalene: Prostitute or Saint?

Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ disciples who had an unsavory reputation. Many Bible scholars believe she had been a prostitute before her conversion. In this article we examine her life in closer detail.

Mary Magdalene, also known as Mary of Magdala, was one of Jesus’ disciples that is frequently mentioned in the gospel accounts. Since she was free to follow Jesus of Nazareth during His many journeys, this suggests that she was an unmarried woman or a widow without any home obligations. She was also a woman of financial substance and was able to support the missionary ministry of Jesus and the apostles.

Some Bible scholars have even suggested that Mary Magdalene was the unnamed sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with an alabaster jar of perfume:

“As she stood behind him at his feet, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them” (Luke 7:38).

The Jewish Talmud affirms that Mary Magdalene had an unsavory reputation. Therefore, we must assume that, in all likelihood, Mary had formerly been a prostitute before she met Jesus and repented of her previous life. She had also been possessed by seven devils before Jesus cast them out. Demon possession is often found in individuals who have practiced a life of sexual immorality since demonic transference generally occurs from one partner to another during sexual intercourse, as well as sexually transmitted diseases.

In my own family, I once had an aunt who had been a prostitute for many years. When we were kids growing up and full of mischief, we used to secretly follow my aunt to work and watch her enter the local whorehouse each day. The obvious “Madam,” who managed the brothel would come to the front door and let her in. My aunt would emerge later in the day after she finished with her male customers. Fortunately, my grandmother never found out what her daughter really did for a living, and we kids never divulged her secret life. Like Mary Magdalene, however, my aunt later met Jesus, repented of her sinful life and was saved. She became a powerful evangelist and led many people to Christ. After years of serving the Lord, she died a new creature in Christ, washed of her sins by the blood of our merciful Savior.

After her conversion, Mary Magdalene also emerged as one of the most faithful and beautiful characters of the Bible. A striking feature about Mary the reformed prostitute is that, whenever she is mentioned in the gospel accounts in connection with other women, she always heads up the list, implying that she occupied a place of prominence in service to Jesus by His female disciples. She stood closed by the cross when Jesus was crucified, and was the first woman to whom Jesus appeared to after His resurrection. It seems that no other woman superceded Mary Magdalene in her utter devotion to the Master (To whom much is forgiven, much is expected...).

Rahab, in the Old Testament, is another example of a prostitute that was gloriously saved and transformed by the mercies of God. Not only did she risk her life to hide the Israelite spies, but she also became the great grandmother of King David. (see my previous message, “Rahab the Prostitute“).

What about you?

Have you ever wondered if God could forgive you? It does not matter what you have done in the past or where you have been, there is no sin too great that God cannot forgive – if you call upon Him in repentance. Jesus paid the penalty for your sins, no matter how bad. Won’t you pray right now and ask Him to forgive you? If you do, you can be washed clean and begin a new life in Christ. You can receive a fresh new start and be transformed into the person God created you to be. Amen.

– Luis Josephus

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Keeping the Old Testament Law

Survey_What do you thinkWe would like to hear from our readers regarding their views on keeping the Old Testament laws and observances as New Testament Christians.

Please answer the following questions and participate in our poll. Afterwards, view current results and see how your answers compare to what others think.

 

 

 


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God has not given up on you.

Spirit-Lifting Thoughts for Today_150 x 150_jpgWho will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies and has given us right standing with Himself.” – Romans 8:33

In the fallen world we live in, it is easy to be hurt by other people with their critical words and judgmental attitudes.

But our heavenly Father is not like that.

He loves us just as we are, despite our flaws and wrongful actions. He understands us better than we understand ourselves. He knows what we struggle with and He doesn’t condemn us when we fall short of perfection.

All He asks of us is to believe in His love, wisdom and faithfulness, and to surrender our lives to His control. He is our Creator; He made us for a special purpose. Therefore, only He knows best what is right for us. We must trust His judgment implicitly in whatever direction He takes us in life. We must pray that His will be done in whatever decisions we make – even when things don’t always work out the way we planned. Yet despite our disappointment, we know God’s ways are always best.

When we rebel against His will, or make sinful choices, we simply need to confess our sins, claim the provision of forgiveness that Jesus made for us on the cross, and receive His cleansing and restoration once again.

Don’t worry about what others may say or think. What is important is what God thinks about us. He still loves us. He has not  rejected us or condemned us for failing. On the contrary, He still wants the best for us. He is still for us, and not against us. He has justified us in Messiah Jesus and has acquitted us of all guilt.

So, if you’re feeling down today, don’t stay there. Encourage yourself in the Lord. Pick up your spiritual feet and keep walking with God. Keep moving forward in faith and try to do better in the future. Although others may condemn and reject you , God will never leave you nor forsake you.

Keep holding on to Jesus’ hand. Jesus is our best friend. Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus. Amen.

– Luis Josephus

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Abraham’s Moral Weakness

Abraham n Sarah 2Although Abraham distinguished himself in Bible history as a man of great faith, he was not without fault. Like all believers in the true and living God, he made some mistakes, which he had to repent of, and receive God’s forgiveness.

There was one occasion in particular when Abraham failed to trust in Yahovah God’s protection and took matters into his own hands. When his life was endangered, Abraham put his wife Sarah in a position to be sexually defiled by another man in order to save his own skin.

The incident occurs in Egypt where Abraham had to take his family to find food (Genesis 12:10-20). At the time, there was a grievous famine in the land of Canaan where Abraham lived, and he was forced to travel to Egypt which had plenty.

Sarah’s Beauty

Even at 65 years of age, Sarah was still a beautiful woman and Abraham became fearful that the Egyptians would murder him in order to take his wife (a habit not uncommon in the Middle East). Therefore, Abraham asked Sarah to lie for him and tell the Egyptians she was his sister.

“Say, I pray thee, you are my sister; that it may be well with me for your sake; and my soul shall live because of you.” – Genesis 12:13

Unfortunately, the king of Egypt himself (Pharaoh) took an interest in Sarah’s beauty and brought her into his harem of many wives. But before he could have sexual relations with her, God stepped in to correct Abraham’s mistake. He sent a plague on Pharaoh and his household. When Pharaoh realized what was happening – that he was under a curse, he called for Abraham and confronted him with his deceit.

“What is it you have done to me? Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? so that I might have taken her [sexually] to be my wife?” Now therefore, here is your wife back; take her and go your way.” – Genesis 12:18-19

Abraham’s failure to trust God to deliver him out of any trouble and resort to dishonoring his own wife shows us that Abraham’s  faith  was not yet fully developed; he was still morally weak. However, Abraham did much better as he grew older and wiser in his latter years.  As a matter of fact, Abraham became known as the “Father of our faith” because of his overall exemplary accomplishments (Hebrews 11:8-12).

We can certainly relate to Abraham, when we examine our own lives.

How often have we made mistakes of our own? How many times have we made fools of ourselves for making wrong choices, or failing to trust God as we should? But despite these early setbacks, we can hopefully look back on our own lives and see how much better we are today than yesterday, by the grace of God. How much stronger is our faith today than it used to be, how we have spiritually grown since we first believed.

Praise be to God for never giving up on us; His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23). Stop punishing yourself for the mistakes of the past, and keep looking forward to the glorious future that God has destined for you. Remember that Jesus our Lord, is the “author” and “finisher” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He will never give up on us until He has completed his work in us. It’s not how you start the race that matters most, but how you finish.

– Luis Josephus

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True Wisdom

True wisdom fears and respects God almighty.

True wisdom fears and respects God almighty.

Men of Wisdom Conference

I was invited to be a guest speaker at a recent evangelistic meeting, “Men of Wisdom,” featuring various pastors and Bible teachers. Here is the message I preached, where lives were impacted and souls were saved, for the glory of God.

– Pastor Luis Yosefus

– — – – – – –

What is true wisdom?

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” – Psalms 111:10

A truly wise man or woman, regardless of their education or lack thereof, no matter if they’re rich or poor, can be wise because they fear and respect God. It is true that God is a god of love, but He is also a god of judgment.  Therefore, we always need to live our lives mindful of this fact. Because we are sinful people who, knowingly or unknowingly, commit sin every day of our lives, we need to make sure that we confess our sins daily and be cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus.

Who is a foolish person?

A foolish person says there is no God, and no sin, and no judgment day. They reject the grace of God and His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. But although they are in denial,  and have allowed Satan to blind them to the reality of God, they will one day stand before almighty God at the Great White Throne Judgment.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. “ – Revelation 20:11-15

Either you name will be found written in the Book of Life – where your sins have been atoned for by the blood of Jesus on the cross, or your name will be written in the Book of Death and Judgment. In these books of judgment, God has kept a very detailed record of your life. Every evil word you have spoken, every wicked deed you have committed, and every shameful thought that has crossed your mind will be listed there. No one whose names appear in the Books of Death and Judgment will escape the wrath of God. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity.

In which book is your name written?

Is your name written in the Book of Life, or the Book of Judgment? If your name is written in the Book of Life you don’t need to fear God’s judgment anymore. All those who have their names written in the Book of Life will be saved by grace through faith. They will not be judged by their works, but by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His imputed righteousness. They have been forgiven of all their sins and cleansed by His blood. God will never remember their sins again!

Romans 8:1-2 assures us that “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death.”

We are saved by grace through faith, not of our own works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

No matter what type of life you’ve lived in the past, no matter what sins you have committed, your name can be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life today – if you repent and receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. That is the greatest and wisest decision you can ever make. Unfortunately, too many people are fools to the very end of their lives. They never believe, and never repent, and they reject God’s free gift of salvation.

I admonish you today, to become the wisest person in the world, and receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Be saved before it’s too late!

2 Corinthians 6:2, in the New Living Translation reads, For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.”

Today is the day of salvation…Won’t you receive Jesus right now?

Bow your head and pray this prayer out loud, and mean it with all your heart:

“Dear Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins. I ask you to forgive me of my sins and become the Savior and Lord of my life. Amen.”

If you just prayed this prayer, write us and let us know so we can rejoice with you!

–         Pastor Luis Yosephus

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Fess Up When You Mess Up

Grace For Today“Fess up” is a modern phrasal verb that means “to admit that you have done something wrong.” In biblical terminology, it means “to confess your sin.” Even though we have been forgiven and saved by trusting on Jesus Christ, God understands that we still sin. That’s why He reminds us in 1 John 1:9:

 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The precious, cleansing blood of Messiah Jesus our Savior is available to us, at any time, to cleanse us from all sin. All that God asks of us is to “confess” or “fess up” when we know we have sinned, once again, and missed the mark of God’s holy commandments.

Confession on our part helps us to recognize that we still struggle against the old sinful nature and how often we fall short of God’s standard of perfection. On a daily basis, confession also keeps us humble and dependent on God’s grace and mercy. Without regular confession, we have a tendency to become prideful and self-righteous. We may even become blind to our faults and self-deceived – like the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable (Luke 18:9-14). This pompous religionist looked down on other people and declared himself more righteous than the Publican because “he wasn’t an immoral person, fasted twice a week, and gave tithes of all he possessed.” Yet Jesus said he was still lost!

Only the Publican went home “justified” because he humbled and pleaded with God to forgive him – a sinner.

–         Pastor Luis Yosefus

REAL JESUS MINISTRIES
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Related Messages:
Get Over Past Failures
Prayers God Will Not Hear
God Be Merciful To Me A Sinner