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John Ortberg states:
"The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort. This means that to be a follower of Jesus, you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life. And that’s sobering news to most of us, because we’re into comfort...but water walkers master failure... Did Peter fail?...Failure is not an event, but rather a judgment about an event. Failure is not something that happens to us or a label we attach to things. It is a way we think about outcomes...Did Peter fail? Well, I suppose in a way he did. His faith wasn’t strong enough. His doubts were stronger. 'He saw the wind.' He took his eyes off of where they should have been. He sank. He failed. But here is what I think. I think there were eleven bigger failures sitting in the boat. They failed quietly. They failed privately. Their failure went unnoticed, unobserved, uncriticized. Only Peter knew the shame of the public failure. But only Peter knew two other things as well. Only Peter knew other things as well. Only Peter knew the glory of walking on water. He alone knew what it was to attempt to do what he was not capable of doing on his own, then feeling euphoria of being empowered by God to actually do it. Once you walk on water, you never forget it--not for the rest of your life!"
(Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, page 21-23).
“Comeback Kid!” Romans 4:19-25 Key verse(s) 25:“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
Combacks are the things of movies and dreams! Few things cause more instant satisfaction than a comeback. People who overpower a disability or disease–teams that come from behind and triumph–a boxer down in fourteen rounds that pulls a fifteenth round knockout–the politician behind in the polls who pulls out a victory. All of these scenarios represent comebacks that inspire and give us hope that someday we too might overcome a looming obstacle in our own lives. But above these feats there has always been a type of comeback that has impressed me even more than these–the verbal comeback.
Getting behind in a conversation, buried in someone else’s logic and cool reasoning is a maddening thing. You go into the situation confident and come out battered, embarrassed and bested. Although it is a humbling experience, it is also a maddening one to most of us. We long for just that right word, the perfect thought, to pull into the argument and then, when given the opportunity to insert it, we fail because “we just didn’t think of it at the time.” Emotions high, reason, judgement, and thought are pushed aside for the moment. There simply isn’t room when our emotions boil over. We stutter, back-track, even become belligerent in our hopelessness. Then, when all is finished, our logic foiled and the foe strutting away in victory, we think of what we should have said; the comeback that would have fit so perfectly and won the day. Can there be anything more maddening than this?
I have long admired the man who could stay cool and collected when faced with an argument that hit him squarely in the jaw; the type of man who just wouldn’t blink when the situation called for blinking. I remember hearing the story of a young man who had aspirations of become the ambassador to China under President Woodrow Wilson. He was young for the job and had not served in such a high post before. He wrote letter after letter to Wilson describing his qualifications and promoting his abilities. Finally Wilson enlisted his Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, for assistance. He asked Bryan to set up an interview with the young man and put “the situation in order.” Bryan set up the interview at the state department and when the young man arrived, he was ushered to Bryan’s austere yet impressively large office. Not known for his shyness or lack of preparation, Bryan greeted the young man and immediately commenced a one-sided dialogue describing the “utter importance” of the office, interjecting how it was perhaps foolish to take on such a burden without the proper credentials and background. The young man seemed to listen intently to each word Bryan spoke. He took notes throughout and then, when it seemed that the one-sided argument was working, the young man looked Bryan squarely in the eyes and indicated that he had was yet convinced the job was just right for him. Bordering on frustration but still in control, Bryan changed his tactic to a more practical bent. He pushed back his chair, smiled and then leaned forward. “You know young man, in order to receive this appointment and succeed in the position there is one thing that “we” don’t have. “‘We’ don’t speak Chinese, do we?” Unperturbed, the young man smiled and moved his face closer to Bryan and whispered. “I don’t know. Try me. Ask me something in Chinese!”
What a great comeback! Although the young man did not get the job he certainly earned Bryan’s admiration. He went on to serve admirably in the State Department under Bryan. His “comeback” was perfectly conceived and exquisitely timed. But, of all the “Rocky’s” of this life we have known, read about or observed, there is one who excelled far beyond all the rest. That was our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Sin lay at our doorstep. The situation was dire. Without a savior we would be consumed by it. Then, from out of nowhere a man appears. He pushes himself between the sin and us and faces off with it. It lunges for him and the fight begins. The struggle is terrific. In fact there has never been another like it before or since. In the end, sin has its way and casts him down. He lays wretched and defeated as he sadly lays within the grave. Where is our Savior we cry? How could such a battle be fought and evil triumph over good? But wait, there is movement there. It may be the fifteenth and final round but there is still hope. He arises now stronger than ever and grabs sin by the throat and throttles it all the while delivering the perfect physical and verbal blows to the foe. Jesus Christ, our hero has won the day. It looked bad for the moment but could there ever have been any doubt? His Father had prepared Him for this day and there would be no denying it. Even the terrible burden of a world of sin was no match for the Son of Righteousness, the eternal “comeback” kid. His comeback, our victory!
Capitan Gerardo Balmori
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Un evangelista fue a una iglesia a predicar, allí se encontraba un niño de 10 años, y le pregunta el predicador al niño: ¿Quién es tu papá? Mi papa es el mejor pastor de todo el mundo, contesto el niño. Escuchando el pastor de la iglesia al niño, le dice: Niño no digas mentiras, la verdad es que tu papa es un borracho que duerme debajo de un puente. Pero pastor, dice el niño: Usted nos ha predicado que debemos de llamar lo que no es como si es, es cierto que mi papa es un borracho, pero yo creo que el un día será el mejor pastor del mundo. Mientras tanto el niño todos los días le llevaba a su papa comida y le decía: Papa come porque necesitas fuerzas para predicar, y así pasaron los años y un día, llego aquel predicador a una iglesia grande y muy hermosa, y volvió a ver a aquel niño, nomás que el ya no era un niño sino un joven, y le pregunta el evangelista al niño: ¿Que haces aquí en esta iglesia? Mi papa es el pastor de esta iglesia, le contesta el joven.
VICTORY OVER DEATH
The arch of the gospel rests upon these two great pillars: the death of Christ and the bodily resurrection of Christ. Paul defines the gospel: "For what I received I pass on to you as first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time..." (1 Cor. 15: 3-6) Both His death and His resurrection are essential to the salvation of all who believe. "He [Jesus] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. " (Romans 4: 25)
The bodily resurrection of Jesus is one of the central doctrines of the Christian faith. It is the heart of the gospel. The early church dwelt upon it constantly. "He is risen!" (Mark 16: 6) is the thrilling message which saved many out of a sinful generation in the Roman Empire and is still saving many today.
If God holds off the return of Christ for another 120 years, all of us alive today will have died. Every person is destined to die once and after that to face judgement. (Hebrews 9: 27) The Bible says all have sinned. (Romans 3: 23) People die because they are sinners and the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6: 23)
The Bible speaks of three deaths. 1.) Physical death: The separation of a man's spirit from the body. It is when a person ceases to exist bodily on this earth. (1 Cor. 15: 21-26) 2.) Spiritual death: The separation of a man's spirit from God while he is still living and walking upon earth. (Ephesians 2: 1) He is a natural man living in this present world, but said to be dead to the Lord and spiritual matters. 3.) Eternal death: The separation of man from God's presence forever. This death comes to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1: 8-9)
If you don't know Jesus as Savior and Lord then you are spiritually dead right now and you will someday experience physical and then eternal death.
"But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus..." (Romans 6: 23) Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will nev...