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The Seven Woes

What a week Jesus is having during Holy Week. Palm Sunday, followed by cursing a fig tree and clearing the Temple on Monday. Then on Tuesday, Jesus conducts His famous sermon of the Olive Discourse, where He gives warning to the Pharisees for their lack of belief in the actual God of Israel. They claimed to know all things, and they believed that they didn’t sin. We all know that is impossible, so Jesus doesn’t hold back and He lays out the 7 woes against the religious teachers.

Matthew 23:13-3613 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

15 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

16 Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwellsin it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

23 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

29 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

33 You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

As you can see, we need Jesus, not rules and regulation. We need the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law when it comes to spiritual disciplines.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Holy Week – Holy Monday

Today is Holy Monday, the day after Jesus rode into town on a donkey, with the road covered in Palm branches.

Mark 11:12-17 12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. 15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’ ?But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’

This day, Jesus curses a fig tree, which is really strange. Further study would show that the reason He did this was a symbolic of the nation of Israel; they were living a fruitless life in His eyes. John 15:4 says – Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. Fruit is a result of a close relationship with Jesus.

Another thing that happened on Holy Monday is the clearing of the Temple. Jesus was really hot about the Temple being used for personal business. When we worship Jesus, that is the purpose of church, not our own agendas. The only business we do is lifting up the name of Jesus.

Stay in the light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Holy Week-Palm Sunday

Today begins the greatest story ever told in the history of mankind. With television depictions, church sermons, choir music, and yes even those that don’t believe Jesus is King, participate in this the week known as Holy WEEK! Palm Sunday is recognized in all 4 gospels. Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12, all give their vantage points of what was seen on the road through Jerusalem.

Jesus is heralded a political King so that He can free the people from the Roman Empire. Really? As I watched Dr. Romatrel, of FBC El Paso say, they had their own agenda when it came to deciding who Jesus was for them. They totally missed the purpose of Jesus’ entry. Jesus came to Jerusalem to be the Savior and Messiah of the world! He has never been a political pawn, a good teacher, or a prophet. He has always been the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

When you think about the triumphal entry of Jesus into your life, who is He to you? Did He truly become your King? Did He save you from your sins, or are you still trying to work them off? Jesus can be who is really supposed to be if you personally accept Him for who He is: The Savior of the world.

John 3:16-17 says this: 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Are We Living in End Times?

When will we know? Matthew 24

As the uncertainty of the corona virus has manifested into this invisible unseeable attacker, there can come questions of spiritual impact. One of the questions that some are wrestling with is this: Are we living in End Times? It is always a good question to ask, since we see in Matthew 24:3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

If the disciples asked that question, and they had Jesus right there with them, I believe we too can ask that question. So, what did Jesus tell them? Matthew 24:5 – Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.” Of all the signs Jesus could have given, He says be careful that you aren’t deceived. Isn’t that interesting? He does go on to say a whole lot of other things, but the text lends itself as this statement being the most important. We must not be deceived.

How can we take heart in knowing we aren’t being deceived? There is only one way to know, and that is to know Jesus through the Word of God. If we know Him in a personal way, then we will recognize the deception when it comes our way. You don’t have to fear the end times, you know why? Because God is still in charge of what happens to us and our loved ones. No virus is going to derail His plan. Yes, it can be scry at times, but Jesus tells in John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Encourage Your Pastors!

If you know a little about pastors, then you know that they operate a little different than most people. They are studious, servants, and people pleasers. So, for many pastors, thus can be a difficult time since the call they have is one to be with people. Of course you have the occasional pastor who can be a recluse at times, but for most pastors, they are outgoing. I know for me personally, I prefer to be “on the field” with my pastors.

So, I am writing this to ask you to be a friend to your pastor during this shut down we are going through. They would appreciate an email, a phone call, or even a text message. Let them know that you are praying for them. It is an awkward time for many of us who gain energy from being with the crowds. God bless you and encourage a pastor today!

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7

Pastor Larry

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Using The Internet For God

Remember when many christian leaders stood up and denounced the internet as a tool of the devil? They were so afraid that only bad could come from this nonsense called the internet. I am grateful we have moved past that childish mindset. Almost anything can become a tool of the devil if we play his game.

Hebrews 5: 11-14, has much to say about an elementary thought process for believers. Here is the text: 11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

If we are to become mature christians, we have to listen to the Spirit of God in order to understand what the Word of God says. It is easy to make assumptions about things and about God. God knows are needs and He knew that the day was coming when the internet was going to proclaim His name for His glory. Of course it isn’t the internet that is doing proclaiming, it is humans who have the message that God has given them. Maturity comes with prudent wisdom and the studying of the Scriptures. The text calls us to training ignorer to become mature in our faith. In fact, instead of calling things a tool of the devil, read the Hebrews 5:14-But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

If you are struggling with this new way of communication and delivery of your message for Jesus, then it is time to become mature and learn new things, like Zoom, Type, FaceTime, Facebook Live, Vimeo, Youtube, Instagram, Blogger, texting with attachments, etc. We have everything we need to continue to be leaders for the Kingdom of God. Don’t sell yourself short, but remember, God desires for you to succeed. You can learn new things that will give you the means to get the message of Christ out. Who knows, if this isn’t our time to reach the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:14).

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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The Greatest Love Story Ever

This is a wonderful time of year to be a Christian. During the Christmas season, it is ok to openly speak about Jesus, and the backlash usually won’t be there. Since there is an opportunity to speak up about our Lord and Savior, we ought to take advantage of the opening.

A simple conversation can begin with the birth of Jesus. Everyone loves a baby, and that is why I believe it seems ok to say the name Jesus. As you proceed with the conversation, you could ask a simple question like this: “What do you think became of Jesus?” Listen for the answers, so you can gently in love, guide the talk toward King Jesus. This give the power of the Holy Spirit reign over the conversation. This could be a time when others might not have considered that Jesus actually grew up and became the King of the world. To many, baby Jesus is palatable, but allow God to lead others to exactly where He wants to go; into a loving personal relationship with Him!

The Floyds Christmas 2019

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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