Thought for the day

the future“The decisions we make today will be decisions that set the course for the rest of our life. Why not settle your decisions upon the right thinking and believing of God’s proven word.” – Pastor Lionel


**If you are in need of prayer (Ephesians 6:18), please click Prayer Request.” I would love to pray for you.

Give us Barabbas!

barabbasJohn 18:39-40 “But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?” So they cried out again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a robber.


It’s 2:10am Sunday morning as I sit typing this lesson that came to me yesterday as I was walking to my car after picking up a few items from Walmart. I woke up this morning thinking about this lesson and realized the Holy Spirit was prompting me to write all that God had placed on my heart.

As I thought more about the events taking place in John 18:39-40, the question of how do we exchange God’s free gift of grace for the bondage of Barabbas (condemnation) began to reveal itself in complete clarity.

Looking back over my life before the Holy Spirit revealed the power and freedom of God’s grace to me, I see that I exchanged the gift of God’s grace for Barabbas when I felt or experienced the following:

  • The guilt of sin in my life.
  • Not feeling I did enough for Christ. Was very work/performance driven.
  • If I missed a quiet time or didn’t spend time reading my bible or praying as much.
  • Based on being performance conscience, if I didn’t share my faith, bring someone to church or study the bible with someone.
  • My school work would suffer because I felt guilty if I wasn’t on campus sharing my faith instead of studying.
  • If I didn’t baptize anyone or have a bible study lined up.
  • Felt the weight of not forgiving myself for how I miss treated someone or lied to them.

The list can go on and on with the choice of choosing Barabbas. The guilt and bondage can place what seems like a life sentence to a maximum security prison of your heart and mind if not fully surrendered to the loving grace of Jesus Christ.

My prayer is for everyone who reads this post to realize that there is a choice we can make to either live in God’s free gift of grace or labor in the bondage of Barabbas.

Jesus died on the cross so we would be set free from the law (Romans 8:1-39) that brought death and condemnation. Therefore, we are not defined by our shortcomings or mistakes. Our true identity in Christ is revealed in the following scriptures:

  • 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
  • Galatians 3:27-28 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
  • 1 John 3:1-2 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
  • Colossians 3:1-3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:27  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
  • Ephesians 1:5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.
  • 1 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.…

There are countless scriptures that show our true identity in Christ in which the greatest “aha moments” we experience are liberating indeed. The loving grace of Christ is for us to receive and to receive aggressively!

Drop all the guilt and shame of trying to live a life for Christ based on your own effort. Throw yourself into the loving arms of the father who has loved you before you were born. A loving father who died for you so you may live.

Now I say to you, get up from a life of condemnation so you can rightfully claim what is yours to have which is the free gift of God’s grace. This is a gift not based on what you have done or upon your effort. Jesus has done it all for past, present and future generations.

May the grace of God continue to reign supreme in your life and the lives of all God puts in your pathway. Be that light of hope and champion of peace for you are no longer under law but under grace.

Today and forevermore, I choose Jesus, amen!


** If you are in need of prayer (Ephesians 6:18), please click“Prayer Request.”  I would love to pray for you. Please remain secure in the promise that all prayer request are kept confidential. I also ask that you think of others whom you can share this message with.

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To God be the glory, amen!


 

Thought for the day

California_HOV_Lane“Travel in lanes of clarity for God is not a God of confusion.” – Lionel Sneed

** If you are in need of prayer (Ephesians 6:18), please click “Prayer Request.”  I would love to pray for you. I also ask that you think of others whom you can share this message with.

Thought for the day

Foot prints“Sometimes we must go backwards before we see the need to move forward.” – Lionel Sneed

** If you are in need of prayer (Ephesians 6:18), please click “Prayer Request” . I would love to pray for you. I also ask that you think of others whom you can share this message with.

7 Billion BUTS and counting

PopulationMilestonesLuke 9:57-62 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

According to Worldometers, there are 7 billion people alive on planet earth as we speak. The website provides real-time  statistics for various measures all over the world. The site is quite fascinating as you watch the counter tick up second after second. Then you realize each second represents a soul being born of this world. Fascinating indeed.

However, the goal of this post has nothing to do with who is being born or the number of birth for that matter. My goal is to bring to light intentions of the heart. We all have intentions; or for the sake of this lesson, lets say we have buts that fluently roll off the tips of our tongues without much thought given to the destination set in motion.

What’s your point Lionel? Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this. An example of a but would be, I like my job but; I love you but; I want to follow Christ but. You get the picture? Within the confinements of human reasoning, I would vouch to say most of our thoughts are good intentions, but (see there’s that intentional use of the word again) hesitation rears its ugly head over and over.

In the gospel of Luke 9:57-62, Jesus masterfully exposed the but of every intention of the heart. Or perhaps another word to consider is commitment. I didn’t think of that one until now. The call of the gospel requires commitment and complete dedication to Christ. Ironically, the title of this passage of scripture is “The cost of following Jesus”.

We all have our doubts, buts and hesitation. However, Jesus is calling us to a level of commitment that requires a resolute decision of purpose. No if, ands or buts about it, just a good old fashion decision. For some folks, making that decision to follow Christ comes easy. For others, the pull of external forces is too great to answer the call to follow Christ.

Whatever the case is, I pray just as the Apostle Paul reasoned with King Agrippa in Acts 26:28-29 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

My prayer,

Father, you have become all things to us. A father to the fatherless, a mother to the motherless. We are grateful for who you are and all you continue to do for us. I pray today that our minds are resolute and void of the buts that keep us from our destiny. Strengthen our resolve to follow you. Renew in us the spirit of gratitude and belief in the hope you bring to our lives. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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** If you are in need of prayer (Ephesians 6:18), please feel free to email me at sneedtx@verizon.net. I would love to pray for you. I also ask that you think of others whom you can share this message with.