‘WHAT’ Have You Done Lately?

31 October 21

Today’s culture has very high ‘expectations’ and demands instantaneous results. So, when we do get ‘WHAT’ we want when we want it, are we ‘grateful’?

INTRODUCTION
In 1986, Janet Jackson came out with a song, “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” The refrain was the plaintive question that the singer asks of her boyfriend/husband. She complains that she only wants what she deserves, and he isn’t putting enough effort into what he does give—which is very little—and he isn’t thankful for the ‘thing’ that he does have (her), at least for now.


[ VIDEO: “What Have You Done For Me Lately” – Janet Jackson ]

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<<< SUMMARY >>>
The following is a collection of ‘snippets’ from the post that aims to give you the overall ‘jest’ of this post. [ 10-15 Minute Read ].
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EXPECTATIONS
The demand for ‘instant’ results is seeping into every ‘corner’ of our lives, and not just online. ‘Brick-and-mortar’ retailers are jumping into same-day delivery services and Smartphone apps eliminate the wait for a cab, a date, or a table at a popular restaurant. In addition to that, movies and TV shows begin streaming in seconds on one’s ‘connected’ device.

CULTURAL EXPECTATIONS
The millennial generation—born during the 1980s and 1990s—grew up on technology and feels the ‘pull’ of what is termed “instant gratification” more intensely than the older generations. Millennials tend to expect immediate responses to e-mails and texts, and they say it’s almost “inconceivable” to have to wait for things to happen. They get ‘angry’ when they can’t get what they want right away.

CUSTOMER ‘EXPECTATIONS’
“What Have You Done for Me Lately?” are seven words that can be a driving force that either ‘revitalizes’ an organization or represents ‘frustration’. One day customers are totally satisfied with a company’s product or service, and the next day they are ‘ditching’ the company for someone new [ “Squirrel!” Gotcha! ;^D ]. Their expectations change, seemingly every minute! So then, every business needs to keep up with these changing or, more precisely, ‘RISING’ expectations.

COMPLACENCY
In today’s economy, markets and customers are changing so fast, that if you don’t innovate, you will risk falling behind just as quickly.

Blockbuster, Nokia, Kodak, and RIM (maker of the once iconic “BlackBerry”) are only a few examples of larger companies that have fallen victim to their own complacency. They were not attentive enough to read the signs of the times, unable to innovate, not clear on how to change, and unwilling to take risks.

‘TYPES’ OF EXPECTATIONS
There are five ‘types’ of customer expectations: Explicit, implicit, interpersonal, digital, and performance.

‘FACTORS’ AFFECTING EXPECTATIONS
There are a variety of ‘factors’ that affect customers’ expectations, but there are three ‘main’ ones: a previous experience, company interactions/engagements, and feedback from others.

‘MEETING’ CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS
So, how should a company go about meeting customer expectations? Well, here are a few things to consider:

– Managing Customer Study and Comparing Outcomes
– Providing Additional ‘Mediums’ for Customer Reviews
– Focusing More on the Customer Experience
– Social Media ‘Listening’

‘EXCEEDING’ CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS
When a company keeps on meeting customer expectations, the customer then starts having higher expectations from them, and that is why it is crucial to exceed their expectations—BEFORE they ask!

According to the Customer Management System (CMS) provider Acquia, 66% of customers cannot remember the last time a brand exceeded their expectations. In addition to that, the figures that show 80% of companies believe they are providing superior customer service, while only 8% of their clients agree with them. Wow, ‘BLIND’!

CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS ‘MANAGEMENT’
Customer expectations management can be very challenging indeed. Clients and customers will all have their own expectations of a business or organization and they can be enormously varied. What’s more, the customers’ expectations will change over time, often becoming more demanding.

Today’s customers are more knowledgeable and more critical than ever before. To meet their expectations businesses and organizations need to understand their changing needs and demands, and they need to have effective strategies in place that will ensure high levels of customer satisfaction into the future. Ideally, businesses should be anticipating and exceed customer expectations before they are even expressed.

The “GAP Model”
Broadly speaking, the customer expectation gap can be categorized into five categories according to the GAP Model. Designed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry in 1985, the “GAP Model” gives a clear understanding of customer expectations and satisfaction. It’s an industry-recognized and widely used method to analyze and point out flaws in management that are causing a drift between customer expectation and reality. Let’s look into the five categories of the GAP Model.

CUSTOMER ‘LOYALTY’
Loyalty programs have existed for decades and are not just a ‘part’ of contemporary customer expectations, they are a basic ‘component’ to encouraging retention. In the recent past, they have taken on many ‘forms’.

REVIEWS
The most successful form of marketing has been proven time and time again to be reviews, referrals, and recommendations. People trust the opinions of people they know. Prospects that talk with their friends (or read a review) come pre-warmed and ready to do business—meaning the cost of acquisition is reduced dramatically as is the length of the sales cycle.

IMPROVE WITH AUTOMATION
The current generation of buyers is already accustomed to communicating with friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, text, and Skype. So, today’s buyer wants connected experiences that feature seamless ‘handoffs’ and contextual interactions, both inbound and outbound, so they won’t have to rehash their issue to each representative.

CUSTOMER-CENTRICITY
While “customer-centricity” isn’t new, it’s increasingly being focused these days. Most of us use it in the sense of putting the customer at the center. Realizing that, regardless of time, creating customer value and really putting customers first, beyond a simple customer focus, it generates the most and longest-lasting business value.

As a term, customer-centricity, first trended when organizations started adopting customer relationship management and vendors of CRM software used it a lot. Last but not least, there are the definitions given by smart marketers that shed another light on it and make it more tangible.

‘ACTIONS’ SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
You know the old saying, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words!” It’s a phrase that means a person’s actions are more impactful than just their words alone. Put another way, instead of just talking about doing something, it’s more meaningful if a person actually does something. It really is what one ‘DOES’ not just what one ‘SAYS’.

So, in the same way, a company’s marketing campaign shouldn’t just be constrained to words, images, delivered via traditional media channels. Truly integrated and effective campaigns extend beyond just what a brand ‘says’ and shows the impact of what it ‘DOES’. Benjamin Franklin wisely said, “Well done is better than well said.”

WHAT JESUS ‘DID’
When Jesus was on this earth, He ‘DID’ MANY things. Let’s consider some of the important ones (not exhaustive):

Listing…

WHAT JESUS HAS ‘DONE’ FOR US
So, if actions speak louder than words, some people ask—spiritually speaking—“What has Jesus done for me?” Well, PRIMARILY, as the incarnate Son of God (John 1:1, 14), Jesus came to earth to become humanity’s “SAVIOR,” offering the ‘way’ to become reconciled to God the Father, and the ‘way’ to achieve eternal life in Heaven. He accomplished these by ‘DYING’ on the Cross and ‘RESURRECTING’ from the dead.

JESUS ‘GAVE UP’ A LOT TO BECOME OUR SAVIOR
– JESUS ‘EMPTIED’ HIMSELF
– JESUS GAVE UP HIS ‘RICHES’
– JESUS GAVE UP HIS ‘HEAVENLY GLORY’
– JESUS GAVE UP HIS ‘AUTHORITY’
– JESUS BECAME A ‘SERVANT’

JESUS CAME TO ‘DIE’ FOR OUR SINS
In the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices to provide a temporary ‘covering’ of sins (Leviticus 4:35, 5:10). When Adam and Eve sinned, animals were killed by God to provide clothing for them (Genesis 3:21). Animal sacrifice is an important theme found throughout Scripture because “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).

God commanded the nation of Israel to perform numerous sacrifices according to certain procedures prescribed by Him. First, the animal had to be ‘spotless’. Second, the person offering the sacrifice had to ‘identify’ with the animal. Third, the person offering the animal had to inflict ‘death’ upon it. When done in faith, the animal served as a ‘substitute’. That is, the animal died in the place of the sinner, but only temporarily, which is why the sacrifices needed to be offered over and over.

Then, on the Day of Atonement, (described in Leviticus 16), another sacrifice demonstrates forgiveness and the removal of sin. The high priest was to take two male goats for a sin offering. One of the goats was sacrificed as a sin offering for the people of Israel (Leviticus 16:15), while the other goat was released into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:20-22). The sin offering provided forgiveness, while the other goat provided the removal of sin.

JESUS CAME TO ‘RESURRECT’ FROM THE DEAD
– FUTURE RESURRECTION
– FINAL JUDGMENT
– POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
– RECEIVE A NEW ‘LIFE’
– A SECURE ‘HOPE’

JESUS ‘DID IT ALL’
In the refrain of Janet Jackson’s song, “What Have You Done For Me Lately?, she complained that she deserves more than her husband is giving, and that he isn’t putting enough effort into what he does give her—which is very little.

WELL, Jesus is MUCH ‘DIFFERENT’ than Jackson’s husband—He ‘GAVE’ IT ALL! Through our sin, we are completely separated from God—we have lost it all. However, through Jesus’ death and resurrection though, He completely paid the price as a full sacrifice for our sin—He did it all!

There is ‘NOTHING’ WE CAN DO to ‘earn’ our forgiveness. There is no work that we can do to add to Jesus’ work on the Cross. There is no way we can get to Heaven through any human effort of our own. There is no way that we can contribute to our salvation. Some of his last words on the Cross were “It is finished” [ John 19:30 ]. Jesus did everything necessary to pay for man’s sin and reconcile them back to God—“Tetelestai”… “PAID IN FULL”!

WHAT HAVE ‘YOU’ DONE FOR JESUS?
Since I just showed the tremendous amount of things Jesus was done for the believer—especially salvation and eternal life—I’m thinking there’s a big ‘possibility’ that Jesus just might ask “What have you done for Me lately?”

So, what would you say? You might rightly cringe a little bit and say, “Well, I attend church weekly, and I give a hand here and there when they need some help.”

We might also mention that we read our Bible a few times a week, give money to the poor, tell a few people about Jesus, and try to live the ‘Christian’ life.

However, if we are honest, we might say, “Well, I could be doing more but I’ve been really busy with family, work, and a bit of recreation.”

SPECIFIC ‘ACTIONS’ TO DO
Jesus said it’s what’s ‘inside’ us that comes out of us. This means our behavior flows out of our ‘hearts’. He also stated that we have the power over what is inside us—we have a ‘choice’ in what we say and do.

So, what does it means to let your actions speak louder than your words? Or maybe more like actions prove your words. As believers, we are ‘called’ to live our lives in a certain way, AND to speak in a certain way.

GIVE YOURSELF IN ‘SERVICE’ TO JESUS
True followers of Jesus seek to serve Him and honor their Lord with their thoughts and actions. Our love for other people, especially other believers and those in need, is what displays our love for our Savior. In many of Jesus’ teachings, He encourages His followers to meet the needs of others (Matthew 6:2; Matthew 5:40-42). The people of God are to be about meeting the needs of others.

Each believer has been given different gifts, talents, and assets at their disposal. They should remember what Jesus taught about those who hide their gifts and do not use them (Read Matthew 25 for that story.) We need to be about using what God has given to us in a way that people will see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven (1 Peter 2:12).

A LIVING ‘SACRIFICE’
So, believer, are you doing these things? “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” [ Romans 12:1 ].

The ‘world’ DESPERATELY needs to get right with God (Romans 1:18-3:20), and you are God’s ‘mouthpiece’ to a ‘lost’ world. Believers, and the ‘body’ of Christ (the Church), are God’s choice to carry the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus to the world (Romans 9:1-11:36). Therefore, in light of the mercies of God, the believer must ‘devote’ themselves to God and His wishes. A “living sacrifice” means we live to serve God.

THE “GREAT COMMISSION”
Sadly, in the U.S., the focus of most believers is on “what God can do for me.” If we listen to the lyrics of most contemporary Christian songs, we hear about God saving us, healing us, restoring us, delivering us from our trials; about God’s mercy and grace upon us in the time of our need. The same can be said of most of the preaching that we hear from our pulpits. The focus is on God’s help and blessings in this life on earth. This is all well and good, but it should only be for ‘starters’ because many believers have forgotten that we are “blessed to be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2-3).

The thing is, many believers pay mostly ‘lip service’ to the purpose of God’s blessings in their lives—helping out at church in their ‘spare time’. Their “being a blessing,” however, must go far beyond simply doing what is convenient for the believer. It has been said that believers are “SAVED TO SERVE.”

WRAP UP
In 1986, Janet Jackson released a song called “What Have You done for Me Lately?” I’ll admit that I had never ‘probed’ the lyrics this deeply before writing the post, but some of them are pretty intense:

“Used to go to dinner almost every night, dancin’ ’til I thought I’d lose my breath, Now it seems your dancing feet are always on my couch, Good thing I cook or else we’d starve to death – Ain’t that a shame? What have you done for me lately?”

So, when you think about God, do you often ask Him the same question?

GOD ‘HAS’ DONE A LOT!
When we stop to think about it, God really has done A LOT for us lately—as well as in our past, and will do so in our future. To examine this, I want us to take notice of some striking similarities we have with the story of Jesus cleansing the 10 lepers.

DELAYED GRATIFICATION
It’s a natural human urge to want things now, HOWEVER, most of the time one will often receive more benefits they wait. The obverse version of “instant gratification” is “delayed gratification.” It’s easier to see the benefits of delayed gratification, but we all struggle daily with the ‘temptation’ to give in to our immediate desire. (Such as when you order a cheaper pair of shoes, that won’t last as long, but you can have them now rather than having to wait for your next paycheck to have enough to get the better ones.)

– DENY YOURSELF
– PRIORITIZE
– PLAN
– KNOW THE VALUE OF GOD’S ‘REWARD’
– BE PATIENT

IMMENSELY ‘THANKFUL’!
So, for me, the unspoken message in Janet Jackson’s song “What have you done for me lately?” is: “If you really loved me, you would ‘show’ it.” On way, as the one leper did, is to be ‘IMMENSELY’ THANKFUL!

God gave us an unspeakable gift, His son Jesus, and NO GIFT from man will ever measure up to this precious gift!

When God gave us this undeserved gift, it was for a special purpose—to save us from our sins. We cannot save ourselves, so He sent His only Son to do that for us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” [ John 3:16 ]. Our Father in Heaven didn’t just love us, He “so loved” us! Therefore, be thankful for the gift of THE Savior of the world!

Sadly, sometimes we forget how REALLY IMPORTANT these things are. Especially us in the U.S., we continue to want more and better, HOWEVER, there will be who will sleep on dirt today. Some will starve. Most importantly, there will be people who will die and go TO HELL because they do not ‘know Jesus! So, when you see how blessed you truly are—that a holy God will love ‘vile’ people like us and ‘crush’ His Son for us—that makes you IMMENSELY ‘THANKFUL’!

When we are appreciative of all God HAS ‘DONE’ for us it should make us to want to love Him more, obey Him more, give Him more, pray to Him more, sacrifice more, and share the Gospel to more people (as I am trying to do with this post).

In a relationship, it’s about GIVE and TAKE—not just what you ‘receive’ out of the relationship. The same should be true for us as well in our relationship with God. It is not just about what He has done for you—‘SAVING’ you from Hell and giving you eternal life—but what are you going to ‘DO’ FOR HIM. “What does it profit my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? Thus faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” [ James 2:14,17 ].

Then, when something ‘unbelievable’ is GIVEN to you, THANKFULNESS should be ‘top of mind’. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” [ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ]. Thankful for His unfailing love, wonderful deeds, that He is ‘good’, for Creation, for His unconditional mercy, for His glorious Son, Jesus, whose ‘sacrifice’ conquered sin and set us free by paying our sin debt, and for being given a hope and a future, calling us toward Heaven to live forever in His Kingdom. Let us enter His ‘courts’ with praise to GIVE ’THANKS’!

So, instead of asking “What has God done for me lately?,” I’m suggesting we re-frame that question by asking ourselves, “What have I done for God lately?” BECAUSE of ‘WHAT’ Jesus has ‘DONE’ FOR ME!

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ALL THE ‘DETAILS’
The following is a comprehensive presentation of the topic that follows the ‘headings’ laid out in the Summary.
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EXPECTATIONS
The demand for ‘instant’ results is seeping into every ‘corner’ of our lives, and not just online. ‘Brick-and-mortar’ retailers are jumping into same-day delivery services and Smartphone apps eliminate the wait for a cab, a date, or a table at a popular restaurant. In addition to that, movies and TV shows begin streaming in seconds on one’s ‘connected’ device.

We’ve come to expect things so quickly that researchers found people can’t wait more than a few seconds for a video to load. Studies have shown that after only FIVE SECONDS, the “abandonment rate” is 25%, and after 10 seconds, 50% of the people have left! (Just a few years ago, I remember having to wait multiple dozens of minutes to download just a “short film”). Also, if one wants to watch a movie today, and it’s not on Netflix or ‘on-demand’, then most people are not going to put any more effort into looking for it elsewhere. Wow!

[ I remember having to get in the car, drive to the video ‘store’, spend time looking through all the rows and rows of videos for just the right one, pay for the rental, drive back home and then put it into a VCR to view it! (Oh, I had to return it to the store in two days or I would be charged a late fee!) ].

CULTURAL EXPECTATIONS
The millennial generation—born during the 1980s and 1990s—grew up on technology and feels the ‘pull’ of what is termed “instant gratification” more intensely than the older generations. Millennials tend to expect immediate responses to e-mails and texts, and they say it’s almost “inconceivable” to have to wait for things to happen. They get ‘angry’ when they can’t get what they want right away.

The thing is, the need for instant gratification is likely to become even more pronounced in the generation born after 2000. Statistically—back in 2013—more than 70% of children age eight and under had used a mobile device for some type of media activity (such as playing games, using apps, or watching videos), which was up from 38% in 2011 (according to a survey of parents by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that provides information and recommendations about young people’s media use). Even babies and toddlers are being given access to tablets and Smartphones back then (in 2013): Some 38% of children under two had used a mobile device for media activity, up from 10% just two years earlier! All those stats have DEFINITELY increased since then!

[ FYI: The 2020 “Common Sense Census” reports for media use by “Tweens and Teens,” and “Kids Age Zero to Eight” are available in the “Articles” section below ].

Related to instant gratification, there is also a new ‘term’ called “FOMO.” It means “Fear Of Missing Out.” About 60% of 18-to-34-year-old respondents to a Pew Research Center survey said that they don’t silence their phone before going to sleep so they don’t miss calls, texts, or updates during the night! Also, more than 75% of that age group check their phones for messages or missed calls—even when they didn’t hear their phones ringing or feel it vibrating! They are always ‘on guard’.

CUSTOMER ‘EXPECTATIONS’
“What Have You Done for Me Lately?” are seven words that can be a driving force that either ‘revitalizes’ an organization or represents ‘frustration’. One day customers are totally satisfied with a company’s product or service, and the next day they are ‘ditching’ the company for someone new [ “Squirrel!” Gotcha! ;^D ]. Their expectations change, seemingly every minute! So then, every business needs to keep up with these changing or, more precisely, ‘RISING’ expectations.

Customer expectations are defined as a collection of thoughts, desires, and anticipation that a customer might have in mind during and after making a purchase of a product or service from a business or brand. These expectations represent what they decide to pay for.

The thing is, technology has made customers more empowered than ever. They have more ways to research options, take advantage of free trials, and share their experiences with a company’s brand. Technology also means customers’ expectations are higher than ever. (Because of this, a lot of customers’ expectations are not being met.)

Studies say that over 75% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. They also say that it is easier than ever to take their business elsewhere to find an experience that matches their expectations. Because of this, businesses need to pay closer attention to their consumers’ expectations more than ever before.

So then, to try to ‘keep up’—or even be ‘ahead’ of customers’ expectations—companies must first know ‘WHAT’ they expect. The thing is, customers’ expectations are VERY ‘HIGH’ these days and they expect MANY things. Here are a few of the ‘primary’ expectations (in no particular order):

– Simplicity
– Value
– Authenticity
– Care
– Knowledge
– Availability
– Responsiveness
– Ease of use
– Lots of choices
– Innovative product or service
– Easy access to detailed product/service specifications
– Product/service usage instructions
– Quick and reliable delivery
– Flexible payment options
– Easy return/exchange/refund policy
– Terms and conditions
– Free or low-cost Shipping
– The process to feel easy and without friction
– They prefer saving time over money
– Understand their needs
– Give them logical solutions
– Personalized customer service and support, ‘tailored’ for their needs
– 24/7 support
– Be treated like a human, not a ‘number’
– Want the company to reply ‘instantly’
– Detailed data when using self-service
– Multiple options to contact the company
– Easy to obtain customer service and support
– Qualified customer service representatives
– More channels for obtaining service and support
– Service and support via mobile devices
– Customer service should be fast
– Solve their problems quickly and effectively
– See action being taken regarding the request or issue
– Proactive customer service
– Consistency between online and brick-and-mortar stores
– Customer loyalty and reward programs
– Be ‘surprised’
– Make them feel heard, appreciated, and valued
– Popular and ‘noticeable’ branding
– Your mission/vision

What appears to be almost impossible for a company to meet, it is interesting to observe that what customers REALLY desire most is ‘SIMPLICITY’. Secondly, customers desire to feel that they have been heard, appreciated, and ‘VALUED’, (since they have more choices than ever).

Customers these days pretty much EXPECT ‘EVERYTHING’. Then, combined with the instant gratification culture, they want it NOW! (Woe to the product or service that can’t deliver on those expectations ahead of their competition—bankruptcy sale!)

Today’s customers want personalized and instant customer service and they won’t stick with a business that doesn’t deliver them both!

In fact, in a survey by Salesforce, 76% of customers said, “It’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere—switching from brand to brand to find an experience that matches their expectations.”

COMPLACENCY
In today’s economy, markets and customers are changing so fast, that if you don’t innovate, you will risk falling behind just as quickly.

Blockbuster, Nokia, Kodak, and RIM (maker of the once iconic “BlackBerry”) are only a few examples of larger companies that have fallen victim to their own complacency. They were not attentive enough to read the signs of the times, unable to innovate, not clear on how to change, and unwilling to take risks.

Taking a closer look at Kodak finds that they were HUGELY successful with film and cameras (They had an 80.1% market share in film in the U.S. in the mid-1990s). HOWEVER, they failed to respond to changing market and customer demands for digital cameras and easy photo sharing. They were too stuck in their old ways (and concerned that the new tech would affect their ‘main’ film business) to understand that customer expectations and behaviors had shifted. Slow to react—and underestimating their rivals—like Fuji and Sony—they were ‘pushed to the side’ and eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2011.

[ Kodak did reorganize and does sell a variety of products and services today, however, it is a MUCH smaller company than it was just a few decades ago, AND their competitors at that time have become conglomerates ].

The truth is customers WILL NOT REMEMBER your past ‘glories’ for long. Although people are creatures of habit, in a fast-paced world where the only constant is change, they are always on the lookout for better options…NOW!

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said that “‘The ‘What have you done for me lately?’ syndrome is the customer’s desire for innovation, new colors and screen sizes, better pricing, faster service.” Similarly, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said that “One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent. Their expectations are never static—they go up. It’s human nature.”

The moral of the ‘story’ is that if you play it safe, customers may outgrow you and move on to better options—and they WILL find them, QUICKLY! (As Kodak found out).

So, companies must ask themselves, ALL THE TIME:

– “What have we done for our customers lately?”
– “Are our products and services market competitive?”
– “Do they align with customer expectations?”
– “Are we challenging the status quo?”
– “Are we keeping ahead of our industry’s changes?”

These are simple questions that companies need to KEEP ASKING themselves to reevaluate their business and what it does for their customers. If they are honest with the answers, they will stop becoming complacent and find ways to strengthen their value proposition. Even more recent history has given us more examples that show how QUICKLY customers change their habits and preferences in a digital world, and how human-centric innovation is the only ‘gateway’ to sustained loyalty and business growth.

[ Some of the major bankruptcies during the pandemic: Christopher & Banks; Guitar Center; Friendly’s Restaurants; Stein Mart; California Pizza Kitchen; Brooks Brothers; Chuck E. Cheese’s; GNC; Hertz; Art Van Furniture; Gold’s Gym; Intelsat; J.C. Penney; J. Crew; Neiman Marcus; Pier 1 Imports; Lord & Taylor; Men’s Warehouse; Virgin Atlantic’ Sizzler Steak; Ruby Tuesday; Sur la table; Ann Taylor; Lane Bryant; Papyrus; Technicolor; Libbey Glassware; Bella Italia; Bar Louie; David’s Tea ].

‘TYPES’ OF EXPECTATIONS
There are five ‘types’ of customer expectations: Explicit, implicit, interpersonal, digital, and performance.

– Explicit expectations:
Specific targets that customers are looking for when they seek out your product or service. For example, a customer may come to an automotive dealership expecting a certain price range and minimum miles per gallon.

– Implicit expectations:
What customers have come to expect as table stakes from businesses in your vertical. These expectations are typically based on previous experiences with your competitors and what they’ve heard from family and friends.

– Interpersonal expectations:
What customers expect during person-to-person interactions with your team members, usually during customer service. Typically, customers expect your employees to be professional, experts in their field, friendly, and courteous.

– Digital expectations:
Related to the interactions that customers have with your brand online. While customers were steadily turning towards digital for years, the pandemic accelerated this trend. The onset of the pandemic saw a 10% increase in online customer base across verticals. That means it has become even more ‘critical’ for your website to be easy to discover and easy to navigate.

– Performance expectations:
Related to how a product or service is expected to change over time. These changes are related to shifts in the overall environment, customer needs, and your business goals. One example is how many businesses shifted to delivery and curbside pickup during the pandemic lockdowns.

So, why should these matter to a company? Well, ultimately, offering a fantastic customer experience requires understanding all five of these different types of expectations. If a business is able to offer world-class interpersonal experiences but cannot be flexible and adapt to dynamic performance expectations, it will not be able to exceed customer expectations.

A critical part of managing client expectations is understanding the factors that can influence their perceptions. Unable to meet consumers’ standards translate to low conversions and customer retention rates. By analyzing the reasons, you will be able to understand your clients’ expectations and how to meet their demands.

‘FACTORS’ AFFECTING EXPECTATIONS
There are a variety of ‘factors’ that affect customers’ expectations, but there are three ‘main’ ones: a previous experience, company interactions/engagements, and feedback from others.

– Previous Customer Experience:
The experience that the customer has had previously mattered A LOT. If the customer is notably satisfied with the service provided by a company, they will expect more the next time. Companies should work on meeting the continually increasing expectations of customers.

– Customer Interactions and Engagement:
The way a company interacts and engages with customers is VERY important. If the customer is happy with the service provided by your company, they will come back and recommend it to others as well.

– Customer Feedback:
Customers look to others for their feedback about a company when they are considering buying from them. They want to be sure that the company is all that it portrays.

‘MEETING’ CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS
So, how should a company go about meeting customer expectations? Well, here are a few things to consider:

– Managing Customer Study and Comparing Outcomes:
Customer study reveals critical factors that help fix customer issues. Absolute research can also assist you to see the differences in the goods and services provided. It can cast knowledge on everything your buyers need but are not getting.

– Providing Additional ‘Mediums’ for Customer Reviews:
It is important to collect feedback from your customer and analyze it. Ensure to reply to queries and goods improvement recommendations. Analyzing customer experiences on review sites and resolving their issues in a timely manner will help a brand in meeting customer expectations.

– Focusing More on the Customer Experience:
Knowing and providing to customers’ requirements is reasonably the most significant trait companies can adopt. Businesses should ensure employee engagement in a way that they can serve customers in the most personalized manner possible

– Social Media ‘Listening’:
Since today’s world is all about social media. It is vital to move forward and know what your customers think about you via social media. It is one of the key practices when you want to optimize your brand online.

Some of the key reasons why businesses should try to meet customer expectations are getting repeat customers, standing out from the competition, and to increase ‘word of mouth’ marketing. Research shows that customers with poor experience share their story with 15 people, while customers with good experience share their story with less than five people.

Another survey found that the businesses that have exceeded customer expectations say that 91% of their customers are more likely to opt for a repeat purchase after having a positive experience during and after a purchase. Hence, businesses that go the extra mile to deliver what their customers expect—even before their customers (verbally or non-verbally) express their desires—enjoy better conversions and sales.

‘EXCEEDING’ CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS
When a company keeps on meeting customer expectations, the customer then starts having higher expectations from them, and that is why it is crucial to exceed their expectations—BEFORE they ask!

According to the Customer Management System (CMS) provider Acquia, 66% of customers cannot remember the last time a brand exceeded their expectations. In addition to that, the figures that show 80% of companies believe they are providing superior customer service, while only 8% of their clients agree with them. Wow, ‘BLIND’!

[ FYI: For more details on being ‘blind’ to things, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/are-you-blind-v252/ ].

After all, when do you hear people bring up customer service in conversation? Unless they are asked about it specifically, they usually only talk about it only when the service either ‘EXCEEDS’ expectations or DOES NOT ‘MEET’ expectations. If a service meets expectations—doing what’s expected—it usually won’t receive any praise or criticism. Great customer service and poor customer service are the two ‘extremes’ that get talked about. “Good” customer service is just ‘expected’, and doesn’t get discussed.

As expectations change and get more demanding, it is far easier to fall short in a customers’ ‘eyes’, and some studies show that 92% will stop purchasing from a company after three “poor experiences.”

The thing is, customer expectations are VERY DIFFICULT to meet, and the higher they are, the less likely a company will be able to exceed them. So then, since exceeding a customers’ expectations are ‘CRUCIAL’ to the viability and growth of a company, how does a company go about exceeding customer expectations? Well, here are the ‘major’ factors suggested by successful business growth consultants:

– It should be really easy and quick to do business with you
– Deliver what you promise and do it when you say you are going to do it
– Don’t make promises you can’t keep
– Personalize and customize every customer’s experience
– Understand the target persona of your business
– Acknowledge your returning customers
– Ensure an omni-channel experience
– Help customers connect with the brand via their preferred channel
– Hire knowledgeable employees who can answer all the questions
– Effortless website experience (i.e. Help ‘Mascot’)
– Very ‘capable’ self-service system
– Help customers help themselves with self-checkouts and troubleshooting guides
– Admit mistakes and rectify them efficiently and quickly
– Don’t connect a customer to multiple operators to get an issue resolved
– Make your response time ‘instantaneous’
– Tailor-made offerings
– Consistently collect customer feedback
– Involve your customers in the development process by applying feedback
– Act on your customer’s feedback and tell them what you did; Give them a ‘gift’
– Train support team members to deliver an ‘awesome’ experience
– Approach each interaction with empathy
– Build a winning corporate culture
– Understand your persona
– Use the element of surprise

Understanding the expectations of today’s consumers is ‘CRITICAL’ for businesses’ success. Meeting and exceeding these existing expectations is a challenge, but will push you ahead of your competitors.

‘Dropping the ball’ on even one customer can have some serious repercussions. Just ONE customer having a bad experience, or not meeting a customer’s expectation, results in more than just that lost sale or one unhappy consumer. Studies show that 62% of customers share their bad experiences with others.

Great customer service doesn’t happen on its own. It takes a ‘customer-first’ culture and ongoing innovation to put intentional support processes in place.

No matter how hard a company’s team works to exceed customer expectations, the job is never done. It’s a constant work in progress. Ultimately, the company is judged on how well it is doing to exceed customer expectations.

Being ‘THE’ example of an ‘exceeding expectations’ company, Amazon constantly innovates its product and service offerings along with its marketing and communication around current and ‘ANTICIPATED’ future customer needs. What prevents them from becoming complacent is ‘CUSTOMER-CENTRICITY’.

Not only is Amazon now a full-service online retailer (they started just selling used books), but it also has one of the most successful loyalty programs out there. (Despite charging a fee, “Amazon Prime” has amassed a whopping 100 million members!) Today, Amazon produces TV shows, offers Cloud hosting through Amazon Web Services, and its own virtual assistant, “Alexa,” is giving the likes of “Google Home” and “Siri” some stiff competition.

It has even blurred the line between online and offline with its ‘pop-up’ stores and the no-line, no-checkout “Amazon Go” grocery stores (with its acquisition of Whole Foods Market).

Amazon also has one of the best customer services with easy returns, an engaged community, and an overall hassle-free shopping experience that includes digital sales assistants to help online customers easily find and choose just the right product.

Many other companies have realized the customers’ impatience and are actually ‘COUNTING ON’ it to sell their products and services to them. Internet service providers promise ever-faster connections—for a ‘premium’ price, of course. A growing number of retailers are trying to tempt consumers with ‘costly’ same-day delivery options. (Again, Amazon is currently working on “Prime Air” which has unmanned aerial vehicles—commonly known as “drones”—to get packages in customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less!) When you also consider 85% of clients would actually be willing to pay up to 25% more to get better service, why would a company be doing anything else?

CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS ‘MANAGEMENT’
Customer expectations management can be very challenging indeed. Clients and customers will all have their own expectations of a business or organization and they can be enormously varied. What’s more, the customers’ expectations will change over time, often becoming more demanding.

Today’s customers are more knowledgeable and more critical than ever before. To meet their expectations businesses and organizations need to understand their changing needs and demands, and they need to have effective strategies in place that will ensure high levels of customer satisfaction into the future. Ideally, businesses should be anticipating and exceed customer expectations before they are even expressed.

Customer expectations are created in the minds of customers based upon their individual experiences, what they have learned, and combined with their pre-existing experience and knowledge.

As mentioned previously, customers will have both explicit and implicit expectations regarding the product or service which they have purchased. They will have performance expectations that include a dynamic element due to anticipated changes to the product or service over time. Importantly, they will also have interpersonal and service-level expectations which relate directly to the customer relationship and interaction with a business or organization.

Customer expectations are influenced by a multitude of factors (as was mentioned previously). However, there are a few key elements that are recognized as important ‘INFLUENCES’ on customer expectations:

– Previous Customer Experience:
If they are highly satisfied existing customers then this sets a high level of expectation that must be maintained. But if their previous experience has been suboptimal then they may lack confidence in your business and their expectations may be quite low.

– Customer Communications:
Every piece of outbound communication from your business may have influenced your customer expectations. So, it is essential that your communications are all honest, consistent, clear and unambiguous.

– Reviews and Word of Mouth:
The internet is a magnificent research tool so you can expect your customers to have carried out research before making their purchase. What they derive from it will influence their expectations so you need to be aware of what’s being said.

– Previous Experience with Other Companies:
People’s experiences with other companies and organizations greatly influence their expectations. Regardless of whether other companies are in the same niche as yours, these days customers expect the same high levels of great customer service from all businesses and organizations.

Having an understanding of how customer expectations are formed and how they change over time provides a great foundation for effective customer expectation management. You need to be aware of these expectations and ideally endeavor to match or beat them. If this is not possible then you need to clearly communicate with your customers in order to realistically ‘set’ their expectations.

A critical part of managing client expectations is understanding the factors that can influence their perceptions. Unable to meet consumers’ standards translate to low conversions and customer retention rates. By analyzing the reasons, you will be able to understand your clients expectations and how to meet their demands. Here are five effective ways to manage expectations:

– Be armed with a variety of solutions to common and potential issues
– Be transparent—customers know what to expect
– Give clear timelines and update the customer regularly
– Be optimistic and realistic for a quick resolution
– Follow up and set proper expectations

Research has found that 80% of customers now consider the experience a company provides to be as important as its products and services! They expect integrated ‘journeys’, personalization, innovation, and data protection.

In this era of exponentially disruptive technological change, products and services that are cutting edge one day are outdated the next. In this context, the experience a company offers is increasingly its differentiator. But the scope of customer experience is changing, too. To win ‘hearts’ (and ‘wallets’), companies must not only deliver amazing marketing, sales, e-commerce, and service interactions, but also prove that they have the customers’ best interests in mind.

Customers expect a lot from companies, and their standards are being elevated as they interact with various sectors. The result is that businesses must look beyond their own industry to understand the benchmarks they are being evaluated against—sometimes non-related industries!

Again, great customer experience is all about perception. Research firm Forrester reports that 89% of the brands say they’re investing in personalizing the customer experience, yet only 40% of the consumers say the information they get from brands is relevant to their tastes and interests. Brands need to find effective ways to close this ‘GAP’ in order to strengthen the brand-customer bond, improve retention, and increase brand loyalty.

The “GAP Model”
Broadly speaking, the customer expectation gap can be categorized into five categories according to the GAP Model. Designed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry in 1985, the “GAP Model” gives a clear understanding of customer expectations and satisfaction. It’s an industry-recognized and widely used method to analyze and point out flaws in management that are causing a drift between customer expectation and reality. Let’s look into the five categories of the GAP Model.

– The Knowledge Gap:
The biggest disruption can be caused because of the knowledge gap, where the brand is simply not aware of what the customer needs and expects from the brand. The gap is further widened due to misleading advertisements.

– The Communication Gap:
Another common disruption is caused because of the communication gap. This is when the advertisements or marketing campaigns are either misleading or projecting false ideas and notions. The communication gap severely hampers the brand’s image and credibility.

– The Policy Gap:
This gap is the result of misunderstanding or mistranslation of the company’s policy by the customer. If the management team is unsuccessful in communicating the company policy or intentionally misinterprets it in order to win the customer’s favor, it causes a drift.

– The Customer Gap:
This gap refers to the difference between customer expectations and customer perception. The gap is caused by the expectation a customer has from a brand which could be triggered by marketing and advertisement campaigns, cultural and political notions, and how the customer perceives the brand after the transaction.

– The Delivery Gap:
This gap occurs when the company promises or sets expectations for certain customer service and product quality and is unable to justify it. The delivery gap can also be a result of performance issues.

So, not only does closing the expectation ‘gap’ directly impact revenue, but it is also essential to improve business sustainability. Here are some important strategies to help you close the customer expectation and reality gap:

– Think like your customers
– Make data and analytics your top priority
– Monitor all customer ‘touch points’
– Concentrate on adding value
– Deliver individualized and empathic messages

Brands can no longer get away with a one-size-fits-all approach. Today’s consumers want more, and the companies that move toward becoming data-led brands aimed to deliver unique value-based experiences will thrive while growing a loyal base of fans.

Ultimately, offering a fantastic customer experience requires understanding how to be flexible and adapt to dynamic performance expectations, or they will not be able to exceed customer expectations.

So, businesses need to take steps to ‘MANAGE’ customer expectations. If expectations are too high, the experience will inevitably end with disappointment.

Managing customer expectations are important because they can:

– Affect your brand reputation
– Increase brand loyalty
– Influence product sales
– Stand out against competitors

Customer expectations have a profound impact on every business. It implies across the whole organization in its own way. Being customer-centric is the best way of managing clients’ expectations. Once you plan and understand what your target audience expects, it becomes easy to meet and exceed them.

Customers have short attention spans. That’s why businesses need to keep the question “What have we done for the customer lately?” at the ‘FOREFRONT’ of the company’s focus!

CUSTOMER ‘LOYALTY’
Loyalty programs have existed for decades and are not just a ‘part’ of contemporary customer expectations, they are a basic ‘component’ to encouraging retention. In the recent past, they have taken on many ‘forms’.

No matter the ‘shape’ of a loyalty program, they have one common goal: Increase customer loyalty. Why? Well, because repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers. In fact (back in 2013), Starbucks reported 34% stronger sales attributed to its loyalty program for food service during driving up customer visits. (I’ve got to believe that has increased since then.)

So, what separates the successful programs, like Starbucks, from the unsuccessful programs, is how they treat their customers in the form of the “customer relationship.”

Of course, most organizations want their customers to be loyal to them and spend scores of resources analyzing how customers relate to their organization, but what many of them omit from their analysis is how the organization relates to the customer—how businesses can build a culture of saying “Yes.”

Social psychologists believe as much as 82% of social judgments can be predicted by answering these two questions:

– What are the intentions of this other person toward me?
– How capable is this person of carrying out those intentions?

Relationships are a two-way ‘street’. Customers make social judgments, and react to how they are treated. It is too easy to turn customers into data on a spreadsheet and forget that people react on emotion, which is very often illogical. People tend to overreact both positively and negatively. Now, with social media, customers ‘shout’ out their experiences, good and bad, to hundreds or thousands of people within seconds of the event.

Interactions with customers are endless, so how should a company show its loyalty to its customers? Well, start with answering these questions:

– Do you make it easy or difficult to redeem the loyalty credit they have earned?
– Have you given your customers something they haven’t earned?
– Have you surprised them with something to make them say, “Wow!”?

Because loyalty programs have been popular for decades, shoppers have grown accustomed to getting ‘perks’ for buying repeatedly from the same ‘store’. So, there are a few successful ‘tactics’ of saying “Thank You” for coming back:

– E-mails that include a discount code for use on their next purchase
– Free gifts when they spend a certain dollar amount at your store
– Free shipping on their next order (or when spending a set dollar amount)
– Points earned on every dollar spent, that can then be used toward purchases
– Birthday discounts/rewards

In addition to these, always include:

– Personalizing communications by using their names
– Ensuring that each customer is made to feel special
– Always thank them for their custom and their loyalty
– Regularly and routinely communicating with them
– Pay attention to the details which can affect customer expectations

Customer retention is not always easy, but data shows that customers spend 67% more when they are part of a sustained customer loyalty program. Truth be told, customer loyalty programs are not short-term customer retention strategies. The longer the customers enjoy the loyalty programs, the more likely they stick to a particular brand and remain loyal.

The “Customer Loyalty” company offered the following statistics below to better understand the significance of customer loyalty programs and how instrumental they are in consumer purchasing decisions:

– 69% of customers say that loyalty programs influence their choice of retailer
– 57% of customers join loyalty programs because they want to save money, while – 37.5% go for it to receive rewards
– 50% of customers say they would change their behavior to attain a higher tier of the customer loyalty program
– 76% of customers believe that loyalty program strengthens their relationship with brands

Customer Loyalty goes on to say that some of the benefits of a well-executed program will:

– Improved Customer Engagement
– Impact on Brand Affinity and Loyalty
– Improves Customer Experience
– Increased Customer Retention
– Increase in Sales and Revenue
– Increased Customer Lifetime Value
– Reduction in Attrition Rate
– Fosters Brand Advocates
– Aid in Customer Acquisition
– Access to First-Party Data

Customer loyalty impacts all the important metrics important to running a successful business. If you have happy and satisfied customers, they continue to buy from you, spend more than others, are less volatile, and are more likely to become brand advocates. New customers tend to cost more to acquire, and don’t spend as much money as loyal, repeat customers. Keeping customers coming back for more is CRITICAL to business success!

REVIEWS
The most successful form of marketing has been proven time and time again to be reviews, referrals, and recommendations. People trust the opinions of people they know. Prospects that talk with their friends (or read a review) come pre-warmed and ready to do business—meaning the cost of acquisition is reduced dramatically as is the length of the sales cycle.

Generally speaking these days, online customer reviews are essential for the reputation of a business. This really responds to the “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” attitude, since recent studies show that reviews must BE ‘RECENT’ to be valuable (44% say a review must be written within one month to be relevant).

According to e-Commerce platform expert “Vendasta,” the following stats indicate that online reviews are becoming more important for businesses:

– 92% of consumers now read online reviews vs. 88% in 2014
– 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just one to three reviews vs. 29% in 2014
– 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more vs. 72% in 2014
– 43% of consumers search a business by reviews at least one time per month vs. 38% in 2014
– 60% of consumers have searched a business at least six times per year vs. 56% in 2014
– 73% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to six reviews vs. 64% in 2014
– 88% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to ten reviews vs. 84% in 2014. This means it’s important to have a large body of reviews, as customers are reading more reviews now than in all years past.
– 57% of consumers would use a business with a three-star rating
– 94% of consumers would use a business with a four-star rating
– 51% of consumers will select a local business if it has positive reviews
– 88% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, vs. 83% in 2014
– 48% will visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews
– Reliability (27%), expertise (21%), and professionalism (18%) remain the most important attributes to consumers
– Word of mouth is still the most popular method of recommendation for consumers
– On average, a consumer will look at over 10 information sources before making a purchase
– Over 50% of young people aged 18 to 34 say they trust online reviews more than the opinions of friends and family
– 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decision
– Only reviews from friends and family are trusted more than online reviews. – Reviews from experts and celebrity endorsements are less trusted than online reviews
– 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews
– Customers are 105% more likely to purchase while visiting, when site visitors interact with both reviews and customer questions and answers, and spend 11% more than visitors who don’t interact
– 64% of consumers would read online reviews when purchasing technology items
– 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews
– If a business resolves its issue quickly and efficiently, 95% of unhappy customers returns back to your business

Based on these stats, it looks like online reviews are increasingly important, both for consumers and businesses. More and more consumers are consulting reviews before making any purchasing decisions.

In the ‘old’ days, personal recommendations were the key to influencing a buyer’s decisions, but because we now live in a digital world, these decisions are being influenced more so by online reviews. Some people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and as the stats have revealed, sometimes more! So, online reviews should play an important role in getting customers to research a company’s product or service—and research is the first step toward a buying decision.

So now that it’s clear that consumers seek reviews—and relatively recent ones—companies need to consider integrating encouraging reviews as an ongoing strategy (not just a tactic to get a handful of reviews here and there).

Studies show that reviews from any longer than 6-8 months resonate ‘very little’ (only 16%) with consumers at all. It’s no surprise they might be thinking “What have you done for me lately?”

Plain and simple, the organizations that have customer feedback ‘baked’ into their process are the ones that generate more positive online reviews. Having the right elements for customers to communicate their likes and dislikes with your service or product will help lead to fresh reviews on the review sites that matter to your business and target customers.

A business can only get better by listening to all of its customers and their good, average, or bad experiences. Making sure you ask every customer for feedback as part of your business process is a long-term play, one that can consistently benefit the business.

When you or your employees make customers aware that their feedback is highly valued, it helps increase the amount you get from them. These interactions can make it more personal and also educate the customer on their value to your company.

So, companies need to make sure that they are making it easy for their ‘happy’ customers to review you online (When your customers have to do all of the work to give you feedback or leave a review, you’ll likely see very few put in that amount of effort.)

Just like many things in business, reviews are truly a “numbers game.” A company usually needs to ask ‘hundreds’ of customers for feedback to hopefully get a handful of reviews—and this needs to be consistent.

It is clear that behavioral inclinations, purchasing patterns, and interests of customers keep on changing—accordingly their expectations vary. Therefore, businesses need to comprehend their audience and adapt their strategy to meet and exceed their expectations.

IMPROVE WITH AUTOMATION
The current generation of buyers is already accustomed to communicating with friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, text, and Skype. So, today’s buyer wants connected experiences that feature seamless ‘handoffs’ and contextual interactions, both inbound and outbound, so they won’t have to rehash their issue to each representative.

Customers expect brands to tailor each and every experience rather than continuing with a traditional one-size-fits-all approach—and to do so without jeopardizing their personal information.

Personalizing customer experiences isn’t just a nice thing brands can do for their customers—it’s now a business IMPERATIVE! Customers are no longer afraid to leave long-standing brand relationships in search of a better product or service.

As global customers increasingly adopt a “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” position toward brands, customer experience leaders at those organizations continue to seek ways of delivering on those expectations without breaking the bank.

So then, technology to the rescue, right? Well, yes, but it’s not a ‘silver bullet’. Customer support and success teams are beginning to realize what IT teams have known for a generation: that automation can substantially improve productivity and efficiency.

Automated marketing funnels and e-mail responders help teams communicate with more customers more efficiently, while customer data management tools alleviate some of the burdens of manually collecting and organizing customer information. HOWEVER, like most world-shifting solutions, automation tools aren’t one-size-fits-all.

Organizations often try to ‘shoehorn’ customers into standardized campaigns flows and support programs, resulting in:

– Communications that are “personalized” only to the extent of using a customer’s first name
– Sending canned responses to customer inquiries
– One-way communication, the polar opposite of connected, individualized interactions customers crave

Algorithms can only do what they’re programmed to do and can’t offer the ‘empathy’ a human can—a ‘critical’ element to a great customer experience and a long-term relationship. Still, many companies want to automate as much customer interaction as possible to allow them to handle increasing volumes of customer interactions at minimal expense. But for most customers, the only thing as important as getting immediate answers to their questions is feeling like the brand cares about them and their business.

So, it looks like it’s ‘man’ PLUS machine—not man or machine—just might be the best solution. It turns out that while the average customer does ‘deal with’ interacting with chatbots, digital assistants, and other automation technologies they still prefer having a human involved throughout the entire customer experience.

In fact, nearly 60% of consumers globally feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience. It makes for a compelling case that automation should ‘learn’ from human interactions and data, creating a sort of human-machine ‘tag team’ that helps brands:

– Serve thousands of customers concurrently
– Automate data capture via AI-powered chat and standard forms
– Deflect simple questions with intuitive self-service/FAQ knowledge bases
– Intelligently route to get customers to the right human expert when appropriate

On average, businesses driven by optimizing the customer experience have:

– Almost TWO TIMES higher year-over-year customer retention
– Average revenue increase of 22 percent
– Customers who are 7 TIMES more likely to purchase more from the company and 8 TIMES more likely to try other products or services
– There is about an 80% better performance in stock prices

The expectation of the customer experience is radically different from how it was even a few years ago, and it will continue to evolve as market forces and new technologies reshape the balance of power between brands and their customers.

Brands that find ways to personalize interactions and proactively address customers’ future demands will be the ones that find sustained, continued success no matter how or how much customer expectations change.

CUSTOMER-CENTRICITY
While “customer-centricity” isn’t new, it’s increasingly being focused on these days. Most of us use it in the sense of putting the customer at the center. Realizing that, regardless of time, creating customer value and really putting customers first, beyond a simple customer focus, it generates the most and longest-lasting business value.

As a term, customer-centricity, first trended when organizations started adopting customer relationship management and vendors of CRM software used it a lot. Last but not least, there are the definitions given by smart marketers that shed another light on it and make it more tangible.

No one buys a product that doesn’t respond to needs. Furthermore, customer-centricity doesn’t end with buying products. It is all part of the bigger picture. You want customers to buy again, you want to reduce ‘churn’. So, customer-centricity looks at the total customer lifetime value.

To really move towards a customer-centric approach you need responsibility and ownership, identify the gaps, connect what needs to be connected, define customer-centric KPIs, watch over them and, in the end, be responsible for the customer.

The most valuable customers tend to continue to become EVEN ‘MORE’ valuable
Internet marketer and management consultant Jim Sterne says: “Customer Centricity reveals how to increase profits from your best customers, find more like them, and avoid over-investing in the rest.”

Despite good attentions to love all our customers and serve them all equally well, they are not equal (The customer isn’t always right!). Some customers will ‘drain’ a company of its resources and the ‘pay back’ is nominal. These customers need to be ‘fired’!

Being customer-centric is really, truly, genuinely, and in so many proven ways utterly ‘CRUCIAL’! It’s still a surprise that many execs still don’t understand that.

Digital transformation and recent leaps in technological advancement are the key factors that have propelled a phenomenon known as “Customer Revolution.” Like any other revolution, the changes brought on by the customer revolution have created a breed of more knowledgeable and social customers known as “Customer 2.0.”

The consequence of this highly engaged customer emerging in the market is the devaluation of price and product as reasons for business. While these are still at the core of why a customer chooses you over your competitor, they are certainly not the only main ones.

In this day and age of business, customer ‘experience’ has become the key factor—and when it comes to managing customer expectations, it is the experience you provide them that matters. Failure to do so will only end in potential customers turning away from your business.

Just recently, there has been a significant amount of change in the world of business tools. From social media to web design and marketing tools, businesses now have access to a number of platforms that allow them to retain and attract customers while meeting their changing expectations.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a long-standing concept that took on a new definition as Customer 2.0 became a much truer reality. From just being a glorified database, CRM has now become an indispensable platform that enhances customer experience.

CRM platforms are designed to centralize customer information and provide agents and users a 360-degree view of the customer, and are a valuable asset for every company that is looking for a more effective and results-driven way to manage customer expectations.

There is a mountainous amount of marketing research and surveys of all kinds that suggest that customers respond better when they believe they have a ‘relationship’ with a business. This is the first and main area where a CRM platform can help the business.

Communication and keeping the customer up-to-date is a no-brainer. But what makes the difference between a happy customer and an indifferent one is the ‘REAL’ PERSONALIZATION of that communication. The whole idea is to make the customer feel like you know and understand them.

Also, the thing is, if you ‘go silent’ on them and ignore them, they are likely to go to someone who will give them the attention. You need to be proactive in your efforts to sustain them.

In a marketplace where technology dominates the world, customers expect attention and experience on a whole new level. CRM software can assist your agenda of not only managing but exceeding these expectations.

‘ACTIONS’ SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
You know the old saying, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words!” It’s a phrase that means a person’s actions are more impactful than just their words alone. Put another way, instead of just talking about doing something, it’s more meaningful if a person actually does something. It really is what one ‘DOES’ not just what one ‘SAYS’.

So, in the same way, a company’s marketing campaign shouldn’t just be constrained to words, images, delivered via traditional media channels. Truly integrated and effective campaigns extend beyond just what a brand ‘says’ and show the impact of what it ‘DOES’. Benjamin Franklin wisely said, “Well done is better than well said.”

Advertising acts like a company’s ‘vocal chords’, and is one of the most important tools of its communications to the customer. However, it is superfluous to the customer if the messages communicated are ‘empty promises’ only meant to convert into a sale. Communication is lost if the company does not support its promise with the corresponding ‘ACTIONS’—i.e. the way a company ‘behaves’ or ‘serves’ its customer.

Today, it is said that the ‘experience’ a product/service provides is of greater value than the product itself. However, a company or its product cannot control or just simply create a user’s experience.

Experience is built on memory, expectation, and action—it’s a company’s services that creates experiences, delivered through ‘touch points’, and is dependent upon whether the experience is good or bad.

Services through action serve the same function and accomplish what advertising is meant to achieve—differentiation and loyalty.

When creating a customer experience, some may think that they are only defining a transactional flow or journey when, in fact, they are defining what it is like to work with that company—and almost any interaction with a company is an experience (and tells the customer a lot about what the company is really all about). How people learn about a company through these experiences is similar to how people learn what you are like by experiencing you, as a person.

A company’s brand isn’t really all that different than an individual’s personality
We understand someone’s personality based on their actions, word choices, and how they approach living. A company also does this. Their customers have multiple conversations and interactions with many people and departments, depending on their needs. They understand who or what a company is by experiencing it, interacting with it. How one experiences the entire company tells one ‘who’ they are.

The Internet revolutionized communications more than just creating a new marketing channel and automation. It ‘exposed’ how a company operates, making it more transparent to its customers. How a company did something became just as important as what it did and what it sold. The choices a company made regarding what goes online, how to interact with outside people, and the information requested said just as much about a company as their color palette, logo, and branding choices. The words and actions of a company are its expressions like a person and, let’s face it, actions DO speak louder than words!

For example, Apple’s support line lets you schedule appointments, so you don’t waste your time. This speaks directly to ease of use and convenience, making the company ‘accessible’ to the customer. On the other hand, even though Microsoft claims Windows is easy to use, good luck if you do have an issue. Reaching a support person or getting an issue resolved is almost impossible.

However, Microsoft is known for creating software for mass production, and Apple is known for making computing accessible. There’s a slight difference in their brand ‘motivations’, and it shines through in their experiences and actions.

In a way, the emergence of online customer experiences and journeys exposed brand personalities for what they really were—disjointed or consistent. Again, this always existed, but the Internet just made it more ‘noticeable’.

So, when it comes to customer experiences, actions DO speak louder than words, and nothing speaks louder than how a customer experience expresses a brand’s ‘personality’ and ‘true colors’.

As consumers continue to become more skeptical of traditional advertising and the claims that brands make, it’s becoming more challenging for companies to build customer trust. According to “Marketing Charts,” however, one-third of American consumers believe trusting a brand is important because they can’t afford to waste money on a bad product. So, what actions—rather than words—can brands take to get consumers to trust them?

Jeilan Devanesan, content marketer at “Venngage,” says that “Responsive and reliable customer support are crucial for developing trust.” Customers usually interact with a brand through support staff the most, so they’re on the front-lines for building trust. “Whether customers communicate with your support team over a chat box or email, speedy responses that acknowledge the issue goes a long way.” Ensuring staff follows up with customers when they said they would is a key component of this. ‘RELIABLE’ customer support is one of the best ways to reassure customers that your brand values them and is available to solve any issues they have.

As mentioned previously, customer reviews on third-party sites can also be a good indicator of how much consumers trust your brand. “Negative reviews can help you understand if there is messaging that can be changed to reflect your service or offers more accurately.” He recommends brands make adjustments, and then measure how the average review scores change after a month or so. “Direct feedback to your support team and surveys to your user base also help to pinpoint whether you are improving trust scores,” Devanesan added. It’s best to take a holistic approach for measuring customer trust and take into consideration each of these sources of customer feedback to get a more accurate picture.

Jasper Radeke, senior director of marketing at “AppsFlyer” says that, “Trust is a key component in any business relationship, and it is supported by familiarity and the feeling of being ‘heard’ as a customer.” Just like a personal relationship, if the genuine experience a company delivers does not match the company’s promise, the customer will quickly lose trust in them.

Now, words without actions are meaningless in general, but especially more so today when audiences are more digitally savvy and want to build relationships with brands they can trust. Customers want to be aligned with brands that create meaningful engagements, that are ‘human’, and that are as big on substance as they are on words.

Words are important, but actions are more so. So, here are some tips to put those words into action:

– Utilize diversity of thought by engaging your entire team
– Determine ways you can operationalize your brand beliefs and values
– Engage with your customers to better align your messaging and operations around what is important to them

A FANTASTIC example of customer ’ENGAGEMENT’ was the launching the 2005 Audi A3, a new and unique “luxury hatchback.” This was a challenge back then since the “luxury hatchback” was an oxymoron because “luxury” and “hatchbacks” were not synonymous in consumers’ minds. So, instead of launching the car via a traditional campaign using TV, magazine, newspaper, and online ads saying there was a great new car coming, the agency got creative. They ‘DEMONSTRATED’ just how special it was.

The campaign included brand participation at unique, high profile IN-PERSON events, cutting-edge social and influencer media, online videos with “Easter eggs” buried inside to surprise, delight, and generate buzz. It was a two-month campaign that centered around a scavenger-type hunt for a “stolen” Audi A3 which contained evidence to help solve an art museum heist. Hundreds of pieces of fake “evidence” were created. These clues built upon the heist narrative and included items that the supposed thieves had collected: yellow pages, magazine and newspaper tear-sheets, marked-up maps of the museum, escape routes, and surveillance photos. All this was so convincing that it garnered attention on the national news as the press actually tried to figure out if there really was such thing as an art theft recovery business!

The campaign involved physical and digital elements. For the physical components, the agency actually had the windows of the New York City Audi dealership smashed, and a new car driven off the lot. That car became the focus of the audience’s search, as it supposedly contained an SD card that was loaded with evidence from the heist.

Actual websites were then created for the ‘characters’ that were used to draw the audience in. These sites contained hundreds of bits of “evidence” that the audience could use to help solve the mystery, in addition to those pieces found on the SD card.

All of this engaged consumers through immersive experiences and contests that taught them about the car’s features and encouraged them to share what they had learned about Audi. They didn’t just ‘TELL’ people about the car and the brand, they got the brand actively DOING ‘THINGS’ that showed people this was a different kind of car—and a reason to pay attention to it.

The campaign was known as “The Art of the Heist,” and it became the most awarded advertising effort of 2005. But most importantly—it was REALLY effective. The Audi A3 smashed all sales expectations becoming the first-ever successful launch of a “luxury hatchback” in the U.S. The campaign was successful because it helped the brand stand out from the competition not by saying, but by DOING.


[ “Art of the Heist” – Case Study of Audi A3 Launch ]

All this to say that it is MORE IMPORTANT what the company DOES than what it says.

The thing is, that also goes for people in ‘high places’, too. They promise things that they don’t actually do.

There are many examples of this, but probably some of the more ‘public’ ones would be by previous Presidents of the United States. Primarily, these promises were used to win elections. Here are a few of the biggest ones (By Stef W. Kight):

– Woodrow Wilson won re-election in 1916 with the slogan “He kept us out of war,” only to enter World War I a year later.

– Lyndon B. Johnson promised in 1964, “We are not about to send American boys 9- or 10-thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” During his presidency, the U.S. entered the Vietnam War and Johnson did not seek reelection.

– Richard Nixon in 1968 claimed to “have a secret plan to end the war” and promised to find a way to “peace with honor” in Vietnam, but American troops were not withdrawn until 1973—a little more than a year before Nixon resigned.

– Gerald Ford was the only president to never be elected, so he never made any campaign promises to keep or break. He gets a pass.

– Jimmy Carter campaigned on solving the energy crisis, but his speeches about conservation and attempts to add solar panels to the roof of the White House weren’t good enough. He was unable to get support for a gas tax, and the energy problem only worsened during his presidency, according to The Atlantic.

– Ronald Reagan promised to make a constitutional amendment allowing school prayer during his campaign, and although he proposed the amendment in 1982, it never went anywhere.

– George H. W. Bush famously promised in 1988: “Read my lips: No new taxes,” only to sign a bill raising taxes during his first and only term.

– Bill Clinton campaigned on a renovation of the health care system before he took office in 1993. Although he attempted health care reform—“Hillarycare”—it ended in failure.

– George W. Bush promised to “change the tone” in D.C., privatize social security and reduce government spending—none of which he succeeded with.

– Barack Obama: Politifact tracked 533 of Obama’s promises, and found that 48% of them he managed to keep while 24% of them he broke.

Promises made during any presidential candidate’s campaign should really be called “proposals.” After all, campaigning for President of the United States is essentially a marketing process, in which candidates present themselves as ‘products’, differentiate themselves from the other products and make proposals on how they will perform if they get the job. This is why campaign promises are such an important part of the election process, especially if they revolve around issues that divide a nation or create emotional interest.

Now, while campaign promises can be enticing, TALK IS ‘CHEAP’, and even presidents with the best intentions can have difficulty making them happen.

The thing is, there HAS BEEN one ‘PERSON’ that has ‘FULFILLED’ EVERY PROMISE He ever made. That was JESUS.

Jesus lived His earthly life in PERFECT INTEGRITY. His words AND actions were always ‘CONSISTENT’!

WHAT JESUS ‘DID’
When Jesus was on this earth, He ‘DID’ MANY things. Let’s consider some of the important ones (not exhaustive):

First off, Jesus left Heaven so that we might be…
– Jesus became poor, that in Him I can become spiritually rich (2 Corinthians 8:9)
– Jesus suffered hunger, that I might be fully and forever satisfied (Matthew 4:2)
– Jesus was lonely, that I might never be alone (John 6:66, 67)
– Jesus suffered great grief, that I might have abundant joy (Matthew 26:38; John 15:11)
– Jesus was tempted, that He might understand and help me overcome temptations (Matthew 4:1; Hebrews 2:18)
– Jesus was forsaken, that I might join an innumerable host (Matthew 26:56; Revelation 7:9)
– Jesus became a servant to man, so that I could become a son of God (Philippians 2:7; 1 John 3:1)
– Jesus was snubbed by men, that I might be received into fellowship with God and His people (John 1:11; 1 John 1:3)
– Jesus was troubled, that I might have peace that passes all understanding (John 12:27; Philippians 4:7)
– Jesus was in agony, that I might be of good comfort (Luke 22:44; 2 Corinthians 13:11)
– Jesus was rejected, that I might be welcomed (Isaiah 53:3; Matthew 25:34)
– Jesus was homeless, to give me an eternal home in glory (Matthew 8:20; John 14:2)

Then, while Jesus was on this earth, He did MANY miracles to ‘prove’ His deity…
– Jesus changed water into wine (John 2:1-11)
– Jesus cured the nobleman’s son (John 4:46-47)
– Jesus ‘produced’ a great haul of fishes (Luke 5:1-11)
– Jesus cast out an unclean spirit (Mark 1:23-28)
– Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever (Mark 1:30-31)
– Jesus healed a leper (Mark 1:40-45)
– Jesus healed the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13)
– Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-18)
– Jesus stilled the storm (Matthew 8:23-27)
– Jesus cured two demoniacs (Matthew 8:28-34)
– Jesus cured the paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8)
– Jesus raised the ruler’s daughter from the dead (Matthew 9:18-26)
– Jesus cured a woman of an issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48)
– Jesus opened the eyes of two blind men (Matthew 9:27-31)
– Jesus loosened the tongue of a man who could not speak (Matthew 9:32-33)
– Jesus healed an invalid man at the pool called Bethesda (John 5:1-9)
– Jesus restored a withered hand (Matthew 12:10-13)
– Jesus cured a demon-possessed man (Matthew 12:22)
– Jesus fed at least five thousand people (Matthew 14:15-21)
– Jesus healed a woman of Canaan (Matthew 15:22-28)
– Jesus cured a deaf and mute man (Mark 7:31-37)
– Jesus fed at least four thousand people (Matthew 15:32-39)
– Jesus opened the eyes of a blind man (Mark 8:22-26)
– Jesus cured a boy who was plagued by a demon (Matthew 17:14-21)
– Jesus opened the eyes of a man born blind (John 9:1-38)
– Jesus cured a woman who had been afflicted eighteen years (Luke 13:10-17)
– Jesus cured a man of dropsy (Luke 14:1-4)
– Jesus cleansed ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19)
– Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46)
– Jesus opened the eyes of two blind men (Matthew 20:30-34)
– Jesus caused the fig tree to wither (Matthew 21:18-22)
– Jesus restored the ear of the high priest’s servant (Luke 22:50-51)
– Jesus ‘produced’ a second great haul of fishes (John 21:1-14)

Jesus came to…
– Jesus came to ‘revealed’ the Father (Matthew 11:27)
– Jesus came to serve (Matthew 20: 28)
– Jesus came to preach the good news of the kingdom of God (Luke 4:43)
– Jesus came to do the will of the Father (John 6:38)
– Jesus came to give the Father’s words (John 17:8)
– Jesus came to testify to the truth(John 18:37)
– Jesus came to give life (John 10:10, 28)
– Jesus came to preach (Mark 1:38)
– Jesus came to proclaim freedom for believers (Luke 4:18)
– Jesus came to save the world (John 3:17; Luke 19:10)
– Jesus came to be a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28)

Since Jesus was here, believers now are…
– Jesus has blessed us (Ephesians 1:3)
– Jesus has chosen us (Ephesians 1:4)
– Jesus has predestined us (Ephesians 1:5, 11)
– Jesus has made us accepted (Ephesians 1:6)
– Jesus has redeemed us (Ephesians 1:7)
– Jesus has abounded toward us (Ephesians 1:8)
– Jesus has made known unto us (Ephesians 1:9)
– Jesus has given us an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11,14)
– Jesus has ‘sealed’ us (Ephesians 1:13)

Below is a list of verses that describe in a bit more ‘detail’ about what Jesus accomplished for us. [ Note: In the following verses, I emphasized words/phrases that relate to the ‘WHAT’ Jesus did for us, however, they are not emphasized like that in the Scriptures. ]

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes, he BECAME POOR, that through His poverty might become rich”
[ 2 Corinthians 8:9 ].

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He WILL SAVE His people from their sins”
[ Matthew 1:21 ].

“He has DELIVERED us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have REDEMPTION through His blood, the FORGIVENESS of sins”
[ Colossians 1:13-14 ].

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have PEACE WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God”
[ Romans 5:1-2 ].

“BEING JUSTIFIED freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus”
[ Romans 3:24-26 ].

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we SHALL BE SAVED from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were RECONCILED to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be SAVED by His life”
[ Romans 5:9-10 ].

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him SHOULD NOT PERISH but HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might BE SAVED”
[ John 3:16-17 ].

“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and RIGHTEOUSNESS and SANCTIFICATION and REDEMPTION—that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord”
[ 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 ].

“By that will we have been SANCTIFIED through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified”
[ Hebrews 10:10, 14 ].

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having PREDESTINED US to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have REDEMPTION through His blood, the FORGIVENESS of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were SEALED with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our INHERITANCE until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory”
[ Ephesians 1:3-14 ].

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain MERCY and find GRACE to help in time of need”
[ Hebrews 4:16 ].

“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might DESTROY HIM who had the power of death, that is, THE DEVIL, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage”
[ Hebrews 2:14-15 ].

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to HEAL the brokenhearted, to proclaim LIBERTY to the captives and RECOVERY OF SIGHT to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord”
[ Luke 4:18-19 ].

“Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are RASIED, the poor have the Gospel preached to them”
[ Luke 7:22 ].

“Christ REDEEMED US from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’”
[ Galatians 3:13 ].

“There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me FREE FROM the law of SIN and DEATH”
[ Romans 8:1-2 ].

“and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has RECONCILED US to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Now then, we are AMBASSADORS for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”
[ 2 Corinthians 5:15-21 ].

“For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we SHALL LIVE with Him by the power of God toward you.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”
[ 2 Corinthians 13:4-5 ].

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He SAVED US, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life”
[ Titus 3:4-7 ].

Jesus’ three and one-half years in the public’s eye was brief indeed, but His ‘ACHIEVEMENTS’ are the GREATEST EVER RECORDED!

WHAT JESUS HAS ‘DONE’ FOR US
So, if actions speak louder than words, some people ask—spiritually speaking—“What has Jesus done for me?” Well, PRIMARILY, as the incarnate Son of God (John 1:1, 14), Jesus came to earth to become humanity’s “SAVIOR,” offering the ‘way’ to become reconciled to God the Father, and the ‘way’ to achieve eternal life in Heaven. He accomplished these by ‘DYING’ on the Cross and ‘RESURRECTING’ from the dead.

The thing is, to ‘preface’ an explanation of His death and resurrection, we must emphasize, by reiterating, some of the things that Jesus ‘GAVE UP’ to become our SAVIOR:

JESUS ‘EMPTIED’ HIMSELF
“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”
[ Philippians 2:6-11 ].

Jesus voluntarily “emptied Himself” because of His love for us, and His desire to submit to the will and plan of God the Father—all to atone for the penalty of humanity’s sin. “Behold the lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the earth” [ John 1:29 ].

He hath made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” [ 2 Corinthians 5:21 ].

Jesus gave up the right of never being personally associated with guilt, sin, and separation from the Father—He ‘emptied’ Himself for YOU!

JESUS GAVE UP HIS ‘RICHES’
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might be rich”
[ 2 Corinthians 8:9 ].

Just think about the conditions in which Jesus was born. Not a palace—like we would have demanded—but a ‘borrowed’ manger!

Now, think about the conditions of his life: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has not where to lay His head”
[ Matthew 8:20 ].

Then, think about the conditions of His death: After being whipped and beaten within an ‘inch’ of death, He hung on a rough wooden cross for three hours, until a Roman soldier thrust a spear into His side to be sure He was dead (John 19:17-37).

“Finally, He was buried in a ‘borrowed’ tomb! “After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus[e] by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there”
[ John 19:38-42 ].

Jesus gave up the riches of Heaven FOR US!: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might be rich”
[ 2 Corinthians 8:9 ].

JESUS GAVE UP HIS ‘HEAVENLY GLORY’
In Heaven—where truth is known and proclaimed—Jesus was worshipped because He is God.

“And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed”
[ John 17:5 ].

“Now, compare that to the ‘treatment’ He received on earth: “He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from Him, He was despised and we esteemed Him not”
[ Isaiah 53:3 ].

JESUS GAVE UP HIS ‘AUTHORITY’
“Jesus voluntarily emptied Himself of the independent use of some of His attributes of deity. “I do not seek my own will, but the will of Him who sent me”
[ John 5:30 ].

“Though He was a Son, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered”
[ Hebrews 5:8 ].

Jesus gave up whatever was needed in order to serve His Father effectively. He was willing to empty Himself of good things…of things that legitimately belonged to Him. New Testament Greek scholar Kenneth Weust said, “The only Person in the world who had the right to assert His rights waived them.”

“So, look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, “who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”
[ Hebrews 12:2b ].

So, now knowing what Jesus ‘gave up’ for you, are you willing to ‘empty’ yourself of the sinful habits and relinquish your ‘rights’ that hinder you from serving Jesus?

JESUS BECAME A ‘SERVANT’
First off, Jesus came in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy which clearly prophesied in many places that the Messiah would be a Servant—the central focus of His life:

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life as a ransom for many”
[ Matthew 20:28 ].

Now that Jesus is gone, He expects the believer to continue His example of being a servant:

“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all”
[ Mark 10:43-44 ].

“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them”
[ John 13:12-17 ].

Sin has consequences. Before mankind rebelled against God, Adam and Eve were warned that if we broke fellowship with the Lord, we would die. They did it anyway and were doomed to suffer the fate of eternal condemnation and separation from God. We were all guilty and none of us could correct this problem because we were all guilty of the same thing. Into this mess we had created, Jesus inserted Himself to address the problem.

Jesus, God the Son, took on flesh, became a man, and suffered the penalty we deserved. We were guilty, yet He was righteous. The righteous died for the guilty in order to satisfy the wrath of God against our sin and then bless us with the gift of His righteousness, which we lacked. Then Jesus rose from the grave by the power of the Holy Spirit. And now, all who trust in Jesus can look forward to experiencing resurrection as well as the Holy Spirit indwells all who believe.

Now, we don’t need to be mastered by sin, Satan, or the fear of death. Christ has defeated the power of sin and death in our lives.

SO, the two ‘MAIN’ things Jesus has ‘DONE’ for humanity is ‘DIE’ on the Cross—to be the atoning ‘sacrifice’ for the believer’s sins—and to ‘RESURRECT’ from the dead—to give the believer the hope of resurrection for themselves in the future, and the promise of eternal life. Let’s take a closer look at a both of them.

JESUS CAME TO ‘DIE’ FOR OUR SINS
In the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices to provide a temporary ‘covering’ of sins (Leviticus 4:35, 5:10). When Adam and Eve sinned, animals were killed by God to provide clothing for them (Genesis 3:21). Animal sacrifice is an important theme found throughout Scripture because “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).

God commanded the nation of Israel to perform numerous sacrifices according to certain procedures prescribed by Him. First, the animal had to be ‘spotless’. Second, the person offering the sacrifice had to ‘identify’ with the animal. Third, the person offering the animal had to inflict ‘death’ upon it. When done in faith, the animal served as a ‘substitute’. That is, the animal died in the place of the sinner, but only temporarily, which is why the sacrifices needed to be offered over and over.

Then, on the Day of Atonement, (described in Leviticus 16), another sacrifice demonstrates forgiveness and the removal of sin. The high priest was to take two male goats for a sin offering. One of the goats was sacrificed as a sin offering for the people of Israel (Leviticus 16:15), while the other goat was released into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:20-22). The sin offering provided forgiveness, while the other goat provided the removal of sin.

The thing is, now God no longer requires animal sacrifices today because Jesus Christ was the ultimate and perfect ‘SACRIFICE’. John the Baptist recognized this when he saw Jesus coming to be baptized and said, “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” [ John 1:29 ]. He was most likely seeing Jesus as the perfect “Passover lamb,” an image that the Apostle Paul also uses when he speaks of “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” [ 1 Corinthians 5:7 ].

Jesus is also seen as the supreme “burnt offering,” a sacrifice superior to Isaac, an idea alluded to by the Apostle Paul: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all” [ Romans 8:32a ]. Mark describes Jesus as the ultimate servant, who “gave His life as a ransom for many” [ Mark 10:45 ].

The Apostle John then takes up the imagery of the sin offering when he says that “the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin” [ 1 John 1:7 ]. For the writer of Hebrews, Jesus is the supreme High Priest, who through His death achieves all the goals to which the Old Testament sacrificial system pointed:

“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
[ Hebrews 9:11-14 ].

Now, some people object saying, “Shedding blood seems so barbaric. Is it really necessary? Why doesn’t God simply forgive us?” Well, because God is perfectly holy and He must judge sin. Would a just and righteous judge let evil go unpunished? At the Cross, God poured out His judgment on His Son, satisfying His wrath and making it possible for Him to forgive us. That’s why Jesus shed His blood for your sins, my sins, and the sins of the whole world.

On the Cross, Jesus VOLUNTARILY bore our sins. He allowed people to lie about him and kill him. He used the evil done to him to bring good to others. He sacrificed himself and demonstrated the greatest love of all. On the cross is where we are redeemed, and it is where our sin debt to God is canceled.

Jesus took our sin upon Himself and died in our place: “God made Him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” [ 2 Corinthians 5:21 ]. SO, through faith in what Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross, ANYONE (John 3:16) can receive forgiveness and ‘reconciliation’ with God the Father!

Jesus is the ultimate sacrificial substitute once for all time: “Hebrews 7:27 [ Hebrews 7:27 ] and is now the ONLY ‘MEDIATOR’ between God and humanity: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus” [ 1 Timothy 2:5 ]. Animal sacrifices foreshadowed Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. The only basis on which an animal sacrifice could provide forgiveness of sins is Jesus, who would sacrifice Himself for our sins, providing the forgiveness that animal sacrifices could only illustrate and foreshadow.

A ‘modern’ way of understanding the meaning of the death of Jesus is to imagine a courtroom scene in which you are on trial for your sins and God is the judge. Your sins against God are capital crimes, and according to His divine law, your crimes deserve the death penalty. Death, in a spiritual sense, means eternal separation from God in unending torment.

However, since you trusted Jesus for your salvation, essentially Jesus took the punishment you deserve and offered you His righteousness—which God then accepted as your ‘payment’ for your sins. By faith, your sins—and their accompanying death penalty—were ‘atoned’ for by Jesus! SO, you go free!

Finally, I should note that the death of Jesus does not exhaust the significance of the sacrificial system for the Christian. The believer is expected to ‘walk’ in Jesus’ ‘footsteps’ and share His suffering:

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed”
[ 1 Peter 2:21-24 ].

So, the believer is encouraged “to present our bodies as a living sacrifice” [ Romans 12:1b ]. The Apostle Paul, anticipating his own death, compared it to being “poured out as a drink offering” [ Philippians 2:17a ], that is, like the wine that was poured over the altar with every animal sacrifice: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come: [ 2 Timothy 4:6 ]. In this way, the old ‘modes’ of worship should still inspire the believer’s consecration today.

AGAIN, to emphasize what Jesus has ‘DONE’ for the believer on the Cross, the following are some of the Scriptures that describe it:

– He laid His life down for us:
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” [ John 10:11 ].

– Demonstrated the greatest act of love:
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” [ John 15:13 ].

– Spared from God’s wrath:
“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” [ Romans 5:9 ].

– Reconciled to God:
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” [ Romans 5:10 ].

– Justified us:
“So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men” [ Romans 6:8 ].

– He died to sin:
“For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God” [ Romans 6:10 ].

– Died for our sins:
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” [ 1 Corinthians 15:3 ].

– He became sin:
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” [ 2 Corinthians 5:21 ].

– He finished the atonement:
“When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit” [ John 19:30 ].

– My debt is paid, once and for all
“So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” [ Hebrews 9:28 ].

– I am forgiven:
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” [ Ephesians 1:7 ].

– Reconciled Jew and Gentile:
“and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity” [ Ephesians 2:16 ], and “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” [ Philippians 2:8 ].

– Reconciled all things:
“and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven” [ Colossians 1:20 ].

– Canceled out our sin debt:
“having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” [ Colossians 2:14 ].

– Rendered the Devil Powerless:
“Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” [ Hebrews 2:14 ].

– Brought in the New Covenant:
“And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” [ Hebrews 9:15-16 ].

– He redeemed us:
“knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” [ 1 Peter 1:18-19 ].

– Bore our sin:
“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” [ 1 Peter 2:24 ].

– Died for sins:
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” [ 1 Peter 3:18 ].

– Propitiated our sins:
“and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” [ 1 John 2:2 ].

– He fulfilled prophecy:
“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws. And you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me. A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” [ Psalm 22:14-18 ].

– He fulfilled prophecy:
“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried. Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth” [ Isaiah 53:4-7 ].

– He fulfilled prophecy:
“And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born” [ Zechariah 12:10 ].

– I am spiritually alive:
“Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” [ John 6:53 ].

– My judgment has been satisfied and I am at peace with God:
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” [ Isaiah 53:5 ].

– I am cleansed:
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” [ 1 John 1:7 ].

– I have the power to overcome the enemy:
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death” [ Revelation 12:11 ].

– I am no longer under the curse of the law:
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’)” [ Galatians 3:13 ].

– I have been reclaimed from the enemy and gained the unmerited favor of God:
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” [ Ephesians 1:7 ].

– I am no longer a stranger to the covenant of promise:
“…that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” [ Ephesians 2:12-13 ].

– The final act of public expiation has been made on my behalf:
“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” [ Leviticus 17:11 ].

– I have been moved from the enemy’s kingdom into the kingdom of God:
“Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” [ Colossians 2:15 ].

– I have been justified (just as though I had never sinned):
“being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed” [ Romans 3:24-25 ].

– I am able to come close to God:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” [ Ephesians 2:13 ].

– I can participate in the sweet communion of remembrance of His sacrifice:
“Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you’” [ Luke 22:20 ].

– Jesus testifies on my behalf that I am clean:
“…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us kings[ and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” [ Revelation 1:5 ].

– I am free:
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” [ Galatians 5:1 ].

– I am protected from judgment:
“that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households’. So the people bowed their heads and worshiped” [ Exodus 12:27 ].

– I am freed from a conscience defiled by guilt:
“let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” [ Hebrews 10:22 ].

– I am no longer condemned:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” [ Romans 8:1 ].

– I have been separated from the world and declared holy (wholly) to God:
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” [ Galatians 2:20 ].

– I can proclaim total victory:
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death” [ Revelation 12:11 ].

– I can enter boldly into the holiest of holies…and live:
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” [ Hebrews 10:19-22 ].

– I have further revelation of who God is:
“who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” [ Hebrews 1:3 ].

By taking upon Himself the sins of the world, Jesus removed Himself from God’s holy presence, and God, in turn, removed Himself from His Son. It was a temporary but excruciating separation that, for a ‘moment’, the Son of God became Father-forsaken. Many theologians believe it was toward the end of the three-hour period of darkness when Jesus cried out: “‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” [ Mark 15:34c ].

God unleashed His wrath on His Son so that we might be SPARED that awful fate! This is the central message of the ‘Cross’ and the reason for our hope: God forsook His Son so that He might never forsake us. God assures us, “‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” [ Hebrews 13:5b ]. Isn’t that a wonderful promise?

So, have YOU placed your ‘trust’ in Jesus Christ as the substitute for your sin? Do you believe that Jesus died for you in order to give you eternal life and that He rose from the dead victorious over sin? If not, I encourage you to receive Jesus as your Savior RIGHT NOW! You can express your desire in your own words (or scroll down to the “Reconciliation Prayer” below to help you out).

JESUS CAME TO ‘RESURRECT’ FROM THE DEAD
The resurrection of Jesus provides a resounding answer to the question of death. Because Jesus died and rose again bodily from the dead three days later, it means that believers do not have to fear death. That’s why Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is among the most important biblical truths. Jesus’ resurrection, next to His crucifixion, is the MOST IMPORTANT ‘EVENT’ in all of human history—and it sets the believer apart!

By dying on the Cross, Jesus paid our debt. HOWEVER, His sacrifice on the Cross would have meant nothing if He didn’t possess ‘power’ over the grave. BUT, He DID rise from the dead, vanquishing evil and death! Jesus’ resurrection is the once-for-all ‘victory’ over humanity’s greatest ‘enemy’, death, and it proves that God has the ‘power’ to raise people from death, something that will happen to the believer in the future.

Jesus’ resurrection ‘PROVED’ that He was able to remove the penalty of sin. Consequently, a person who denies Jesus looks toward a ‘void’ future. The famous atheistic philosopher Bertrand Russell offered this sad description of such hopelessness: “Brief and powerless is man’s life. On his and all his race, the slow sure doom falls, pitiless and dark.”

Instead of enjoying Christian liberty and anticipating a home in Heaven, those who reject Jesus’ Resurrection are ‘slaves’ to the present, with no real hope or meaning in life. Career, family, and good works can offer but brief pleasure, but not the kind of joy that comes from knowing we are reconciled to God and will live with Him forever in Heaven!

So, why is Jesus’ Resurrection ’SIGNIFICANT’? Well, there are a couple of things. Firstly, Jesus SAID He would rise. So, if he didn’t, He would be wrong and not God and nothing else He said would be trustworthy.

However, more than that, the reason there is an ‘imperative’ about Jesus’ resurrection is that He said that the Son of Man (Himself) must suffer and die and rise again—since His death only achieves what it it is intended to do if He rises from that death.

In other words, the Cross only ‘achieves’ if Jesus rises. It is only an empty Cross by which we are saved. The Apostle Paul says that Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins and raised to life for our justification. He says that if Jesus has not been raised, we are still dead in our sins. So, if Jesus didn’t rise again, we’re not saved. The Cross only ‘works’ if Jesus rises from the dead.

“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope[b] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? Why are we in danger every hour? I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame” [ 1 Corinthians 15:12-34 ].

So then what does Jesus’ Resurrection ‘MEAN’ for the believer? Well, five primary things: A future resurrection, ‘missing’ the future judgment, and the ‘infilling’ of the Holy Spirit, a ‘new’ life, and a ’secure’ hope.

FUTURE RESURRECTION
First, Jesus’ resurrection ‘assures’ the believer’s future resurrection. Because Jesus both died and rose again, we will also be raised like Him. “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” [ 1 Corinthians 15:20 ]. The word “firstfruits” speaks of a sampling, a foretaste, a glimpse. Jesus is THE firstfruit.

Jesus also rose from the dead to show the believer their resurrected bodies in some way will resemble His resurrection body. To what extent, we cannot be certain, but if they were completely like His, it would mean that we would be clearly recognizable and be able to walk ‘through’ walls and appear as a ‘solid’ body (and eat fish, too!)

FINAL JUDGMENT
Secondly, the resurrection of Jesus is a proof of future judgment. Now that may not sound all that exciting, but it’s something we need to know. We live in a world in which justice is often perverted and neglected. We look at things that happen and say, “How can that be? How could that happen?” The Resurrection means, among other things, that God’s justice will ultimately prevail.

POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Third, the resurrection of Christ gives us power to live the Christian life: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[a] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” [ Romans 8:11 ]. Certainly, the Bible does not teach that we will be “sinless” in this physical body that we now live in. However, on the other hand, we can “sin less,” not by our own abilities, but by the power of the Spirit.

RECEIVE A NEW ‘LIFE’
Thankfully, through Christ’s “new life” (His resurrection) we also receive new life. We are no longer bound to and slaves to our sin. We are set free and given a new heart with new desires. That is why Paul gives this beautiful exhortation: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” [ 2 Corinthians 5:17 ].

A SECURE ‘HOPE’
Finally, Jesus’ resurrection provides us with a secure future hope. In both Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, Paul emphasizes that just as sin and death entered the world through one man’s failure (Adam), in the same way, life is brought through one man’s righteousness (Jesus). Adam’s sin brought death; Jesus’ righteousness brings resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:21). Jesus went before us, and the promise for Christians is that just as death was not the end for Jesus, neither is it the end for us.

AGAIN, to emphasize what Jesus has ‘DONE’ for the believer with His resurrection, the following are some of the Scriptures that describe it:

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” [ John 11:25-26 ]

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him” [ Mark 16:6 ].

“He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again” [ Luke 24:6-7 ].

“For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” [ 1 Thessalonians 4:14 ].

“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” [ Matthew 28:5-6 ].

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” [ 1 Peter 1:3 ].

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” [ 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ].

“For what I received I passed on to you as of 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” [ 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ]

“For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man” [ 1 Corinthians 15:21 ].

“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” [ Romans 6:5-6 ].

“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” [ Philippians 3:10 ].

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” [ Hebrews 13:20-21 ].

“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” [ Matthew 20:18-19 ].

“Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)” [ John 20:8-9 ].

“And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” [ 1 Peter 3:21 ].

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done” [ Revelation 20:12-13 ].

“Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years” [ Revelation 20:6 ].

“But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles” [ Acts 26:22-23 ].

“When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways” [ Acts 3:26 ].

The song “He Lives” song says this well:

“We serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today; I know that He is living, whatever men may say; I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer, And just the time I need Him, He’s always near. He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives; He lives within my heart.”


[ “He Lives” – Alan Jackson ]

Thank God the believer serves a risen Savior! Not some graven image, not some carved piece of wood, not some god who we can never have any interaction with.

Jesus is ‘alive’! He ‘lives’ in a believer’s heart, He ‘rules’ in Heaven, and He is coming back to ‘rapture’ His children before the final “Tribulation” on this earth!

[ FYI: For more details on the “End Times” and the “Tribulation,” view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/final-tribulation-v246/ ].

JESUS ‘DID IT ALL’
In the refrain of Janet Jackson’s song, “What Have You Done For Me Lately?, she complained that she deserves more than her husband is giving, and that he isn’t putting enough effort into what he does give her—which is very little.

WELL, Jesus is MUCH ‘DIFFERENT’ than Jackson’s husband—He ‘GAVE’ IT ALL! Through our sin, we are completely separated from God—we have lost it all. However, through Jesus’ death and resurrection though, He completely paid the price as a full sacrifice for our sin—He did it all!

There is ‘NOTHING’ WE CAN DO to ‘earn’ our forgiveness. There is no work that we can do to add to Jesus’ work on the Cross. There is no way we can get to Heaven through any human effort of our own. There is no way that we can contribute to our salvation. Some of his last words on the Cross were “It is finished” [ John 19:30 ]. Jesus did everything necessary to pay for man’s sin and reconcile them back to God—“Tetelestai”… “PAID IN FULL”!


[ “It is Finished” – Got Questions Ministries ]

Also ‘completed’ was the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies, symbols, and foreshadowings of the coming Messiah. From Genesis to Malachi, there are over 300 ‘SPECIFIC’ PROPHECIES detailing the coming of the Anointed One, all fulfilled by Jesus. From the “seed” who would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15), to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, to the prediction of the “messenger” of the Lord (John the Baptist) who would “prepare the way” for the Messiah, all prophecies of Jesus’ life, ministry, and death were fulfilled and finished at the Cross.

Although the redemption of mankind is the MOST IMPORTANT ‘FINISHED’ TASK, many other things were finished at the Cross. The sufferings Jesus endured while on the earth, and especially in His last hours, were at last over. God’s will for Jesus was accomplished in His perfect obedience to the Father (John 5:30; 6:38). Most importantly, the power of sin and Satan was finished. No longer would mankind have to suffer the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). By raising the “shield of faith” in the One who completed the work of redemption and salvation, we can, by faith, live as “new creations” in Christ. Jesus’ finished work on the Cross was the beginning of new life for all who were once “dead in trespasses and sins” but who are now made “alive with Christ” (Ephesians 2:1, 5).

Due to our sin, we do not deserve anything from God except judgment. Everything good that God gives to us is a ‘gift’. Forgiveness, grace, peace, salvation, becoming a child of God, and the gift of the Spirit are all gifts that God gives. We have been given every spiritual blessing through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1). Much of our Christian journey is about discovering what God has given us through Jesus. If we never admit that we lost it all because of our sin, then we will never realize how much Jesus has done for us.

Many people know they are not perfect, but don’t understand how ‘damaging’ sin is to their lives. They can tend to think that we kind of “lost a lot” because of sin. If we lost a lot, then that means Jesus only ‘DID’ A LOT. Well, maybe Jesus can give us a lot. If this is what you think, then you will never really understand the depth of your need for Jesus.

People who think they lost a lot, but not everything tends to look to Jesus as a self-help guru. Instead of a Savior, Jesus becomes part of a self-help program on your way to a better life. If Jesus only did a lot for us, then it also implies that we must have to do something as well. So you are left to figure out what you have to do to earn your way to Heaven. Guess what? The Bible says there is NOTHING you can do. You LOST IT ALL! The only thing you can do is believe. Believe what? You must believe that Jesus did it all by dying on the Cross for your sin. When you truly put your faith and trust in Him and invite Him into your life, you GET IT ALL! It is all a ‘GIFT’ OF GRACE.

So then, as a result of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we are able to go boldly before the ‘Throne’ of God, as a ‘child’, and NOT as a ‘slave’ (Hebrews 4:16). We go with more freedom than we would with our own earthly father! We go with more liberty than we do with our closest friend. For when Jesus was on the Cross, and loudly exclaimed, “It is finished!”, it meant that EVERYTHING that needed to be done for our salvation HAD BEEN DONE!

In other words, there is nothing that can make God love a believer more or love them less than He does right now. There is nothing that can make Him accept them more or accept them less. Everything that needed to be done has been done for the believer—for Jesus has DONE IT ‘ALL’!!!

WHAT HAVE ‘YOU’ DONE FOR JESUS?
Since I just showed the tremendous amount of things Jesus was done for the believer—especially salvation and eternal life—I’m thinking there’s a big ‘possibility’ that Jesus just might ask “What have you done for Me lately?”

So, what would you say? You might rightly cringe a little bit and say, “Well, I attend church weekly, and I give a hand here and there when they need some help.”

We might also mention that we read our Bible a few times a week, give money to the poor, tell a few people about Jesus, and try to live the ‘Christian’ life.

However, if we are honest, we might say, “Well, I could be doing more but I’ve been really busy with family, work, and a bit of recreation.”

So, does God ‘need’ us to go to church for God’s sake? Does God ‘need’ us to read the Bible? Does God ‘need’ us to give to the poor or to give to the church? Does God ‘need’ us to tell this many people about Jesus? Does God ‘need’ us to live a Christian life? Does God ‘need’ ANYTHING from us? Well, no.

There is absolutely nothing God ’NEEDS’ us to do for Him! Nothing. All of this is FOR US ‘from’ God.

What we do in the Church is as much for ‘OUR’ SAKE as for other people—but not for God’s. What is done in the Church is for the teaching and growing of the “brethren,” that BENEFITS them and ‘US’.

Reading your Bible is for ‘YOUR’ SAKE so you can grow in your knowledge and understanding of the wisdom and knowledge of God.

Our neighbor needs our support just as much as we need their support. Living the ‘Christian’ life is for our sakes to keep us from harm and to keep us on the ‘path’ that leads to eternal life.

Telling other people about Jesus is not done for God’s sake. After all, we did not ask God to bring our Savior into the world in the first place. God did that without asking us. So, telling people about Jesus is for ‘OUR’ SAKES and our neighbors’ sakes, because a faith that is withheld is a faith that shrivels and I’ve got to believe that your neighbor needs some “Good News” right about now.

So, in fact, NONE of these things (and others) are done for God at all. They are ALL done for us and for ‘OUR’ SAKES. Even when they are done ‘through’ us, they are also done for us by and because of God’s love. God HAS done everything for us, and CONTINUES to do everything for us!

So then, why do you want to do something for God? If it is because you are trying to earn your way to Heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9), then it is the wrong reason. If you are trying to serve Him because you did something bad, and you are hoping that a good deed will cover up the sin and He will forget it, that also is the wrong reason.

However, if you are ‘GRATEFUL’ for what Jesus has done for you when He gave His life for your sins on the Cross and you just want to serve and please Him because He has done so much for you, then that is the RIGHT ‘REASON’. Gratitude and love should be the motivation, not guilt or a “peace offering.”

So, the Bible does mention a few ‘basic’ things a believer CAN DO ‘FOR’ God:

‘TRUST’ God by faith. Sounds simple, and it should be, but too many add all kinds of baggage to their “faith.”

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” [ Hebrews 11:6 ].

‘OBEDIENCE’ is the other thing we can do for God. All He wants is for us to obey what He tells us to do. That is what the Scriptures are for—to show us what we are to do.

“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,[a] you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” [ Romans 6:16 ].

“For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” [ Romans 5:19 ].

Be loyal and ‘FAITHFUL’ to God. God is a faithful friend to us. We need to remain true and loyal to Him. This includes not letting other things separate us from Him.

“Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” [ 1 Corinthians 4:2 ].

“The fruit of the Spirit is…faithfulness” [ Galatians 5:22 ].

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” [ 2 Timothy 4:7 ] .

“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” [ Revelation 2:10 ].

What we can do for God is have 100% ‘FAITH’ in Him, obey all He shows and tells us to do, and be a faithful, loyal friend to Him. He has done so much for us, how can we do anything less for Him!

SPECIFIC ‘ACTIONS’ TO DO
Jesus said it’s what’s ‘inside’ us that comes out of us. This means our behavior flows out of our ‘hearts’. He also stated that we have the power over what is inside us—we have a ‘choice’ in what we say and do.

So, what does it means to let your actions speak louder than your words? Or maybe more like actions prove your words. As believers, we are ‘called’ to live our lives in a certain way, AND to speak in a certain way.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” [ Acts 1:8 ].

The word “witness” means to testify or give evidence of someone or something. It’s the same word you would use if you got called as a witness to a trial. You would be called to a courtroom to testify or tell the truth. So, in the same way, what Jesus is saying is that you will become not just ‘truth-livers’ but ‘truth-tellers’ about HIM and ‘WHAT’ He has done. Believers should use their words to tell people about who Jesus is, what He did, and what He continues to do.

Now, what does that mean for our actions? Well, I think that it is really important for us to acknowledge that there are a lot of people in the world that say certain things, but the way that they live or the things that they do don’t back up what they say. In the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapter 5), Jesus summarizes the ‘spectrum’ of the way we are to live. He addresses how we treat people, how we treat ourselves, how we view worry, and many other things. However, I want to focus on this verse specifically:

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless” [ Matthew 5:13 ].

First off, salt had multiple uses back in those days. It was very valuable, and was actually used as a form of currency. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “That person isn’t worth their weight in salt.” Well, that comes from the fact that it was used as currency.

Think about the prefix “sal.” It’s where we get our word “salary” from (essentially, it comes from the word “salt”). So, when Jesus says, “If the salt has lost its taste, it’s not good for anything,” He is referring to the fact that nobody would want salt as their payment for something if it was not good anymore (“trampled underfoot” referred to using the worthless salt on the roads).

Jesus goes on to say that the believer is a “light”—a metaphor for truth and knowledge—to the world, and they should live in a way that others see their light, and are ‘attracted’ to it:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house” [ Matthew 5:14-15 ].

Light illuminates a ‘path’ in front of someone, dispelling the darkness. In the same way, the believer is to “let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father” [ Matthew 5:16 ]. This means that the believer’s life—their actions; the way that they live—should ‘shine’ before people so that they can see their good works are because of ‘WHAT’ Jesus has done for them, and that they can have the same thing.

So, it’s not just the words that you say but the things that you ‘DO’ that matter. Behavioral experts in the world recognize the impact of one person’s behavior influencing how those around him also act. Yet, as people watch other people’s behavior they will also see that their words to do not always match up with their actions.

GIVE YOURSELF IN ‘SERVICE’ TO JESUS
True followers of Jesus seek to serve Him and honor their Lord with their thoughts and actions. Our love for other people, especially other believers and those in need, is what displays our love for our Savior. In many of Jesus’ teachings, He encourages His followers to meet the needs of others (Matthew 6:2; Matthew 5:40-42). The people of God are to be about meeting the needs of others.

Each believer has been given different gifts, talents, and assets at their disposal. They should remember what Jesus taught about those who hide their gifts and do not use them (Read Matthew 25 for that story.) We need to be about using what God has given to us in a way that people will see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven (1 Peter 2:12).

So then, believer, do you ask God to show you people or ways that He desires to use you? Are you willing to let things get a bit ‘uncomfortable’ in order to obey and be used by God? (You may want to read Galatians for examples of solid, faithful disciples of Jesus that have used the gifts God entrusted to them: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” – Galatians 6:9-10).

A LIVING ‘SACRIFICE’
So, believer, are you doing these things? “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” [ Romans 12:1 ].

The ‘world’ DESPERATELY needs to get right with God (Romans 1:18-3:20), and you are God’s ‘mouthpiece’ to a ‘lost’ world. Believers, and the ‘body’ of Christ (the Church), are God’s choice to carry the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus to the world (Romans 9:1-11:36). Therefore, in light of the mercies of God, the believer must ‘devote’ themselves to God and His wishes. A “living sacrifice” means we live to serve God.

Since our bodies are no longer ours, “For you are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” [ 1 Corinthians 6:20 ], it is our “reasonable service”—our ‘minimum’—to show how THANKFUL we are that Jesus saves us, and we want others to have the same hope of eternal life, too.

The Greek word used in this verse is “diakonia,” which translates to “service” relative to worship and ministry. We use our mind to dedicate our bodies to the service of God.

THE “GREAT COMMISSION”
Sadly, in the U.S., the focus of most believers is on “what God can do for me.” If we listen to the lyrics of most contemporary Christian songs, we hear about God saving us, healing us, restoring us, delivering us from our trials; about God’s mercy and grace upon us in the time of our need. The same can be said of most of the preaching that we hear from our pulpits. The focus is on God’s help and blessings in this life on earth. This is all well and good, but it should only be for ‘starters’ because many believers have forgotten that we are “blessed to be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2-3).

The thing is, many believers pay mostly ‘lip service’ to the purpose of God’s blessings in their lives—helping out at church in their ‘spare time’. Their “being a blessing,” however, must go far beyond simply doing what is convenient for the believer. It has been said that believers are “SAVED TO SERVE.”

According to Scripture, the MOST IMPORTANT ‘SERVICE’ the believer can perform is to be an ‘INSTRUMENT’ for the fulfillment of the “Great Commission”:

“Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” [ Matthew 28:18-20 ].

The thing is, Satan is NOT going to sit idly by and let the believer do this unimpeded: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” [ Ephesians 6:12 ].

The Apostle Paul talked about Satan “hindering” him and his companions: “We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us” [ 1 Thessalonians 2:18 ]. Preforming the “Great Commission”—getting the Gospel ‘out’—is a ‘war’, and the believer will have to be prepared for ‘resistance’. Believers are referred to a “soldiers for Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3-4).

Soldiers do not stay in boot camp forever. Their goal is victory on the battlefield. In the same way, the believer needs to graduate from ‘boot camp’ and actually begin to take ‘ground’ from Satan!

WRAP UP
In 1986, Janet Jackson released a song called “What Have You done for Me Lately?” I’ll admit that I had never ‘probed’ the lyrics this deeply before writing the post, but some of them are pretty intense:

“Used to go to dinner almost every night, dancin’ ’til I thought I’d lose my breath, Now it seems your dancing feet are always on my couch, Good thing I cook or else we’d starve to death – Ain’t that a shame? What have you done for me lately?”

So, when you think about God, do you often ask Him the same question?

There is a scene in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” where the rebel group of Jews called the “People’s Front of Judea” complain about the presence of the Romans, saying, “They’ve taken everything we have and what have they ever done for us?!” Then one of the rebels mentions the aqueduct that the Romans built, and they all reluctantly agree that the Romans did build them an aqueduct. Another mentions sanitation, and again they agree. After several more things are mentioned, their leader says, “All right, apart from the aqueduct, sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a freshwater system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?!”


[ “What have the Romans ever done for us?” – Monty Python, “Life of Brian” ]

The “Life of Brian” is a comedy, and I don’t mean to equate our relationship to God with Jews living under first century Roman oppression—but it is a humorous illustration that should make one realize how much we TAKE FOR ‘GRANTED’ the things that God HAS done for ALL of us—even unbelievers—while we all constantly complain and gripe about the things that He hasn’t provided.

So, similar to how Reg responded in the “Life of Brian” snippet above, most of us ask what God has provided for us that we take for granted. Well, of real ‘essence’, He provides the OXYGEN that gives energy to our cells and removes (by exhaling) carbon dioxide from the body; WATER for regulating our body temperature and for flushing out toxins; and FOOD that provides essential nutrients for energy, cell growth, and cell repair. Then, for most of us (especially in the U.S.), we have clothes to wear and roofs over our heads. Essentially, the ’NECESSITIES’ for life on earth.

However, MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, God-given us a ‘WAY’ OUT of the SIN PREDICAMENT that the human race is in, and the ‘necessities’ for ETERNAL life in Heaven! Now, the thing is, we can’t go to Heaven in our current ‘condition’—our sin. SO, God sent His Son to die on a Cross to pay the ‘penalty’ required for OUR sin, and to ‘reconcile’ us to God the Father. All one needs to do is ‘REPENT’ of their sins and just ‘BELIEVE’ in one’s ‘heart’ that Jesus is their ‘Savior’, and all their sins will be forgiven, and they will spend eternity in Heaven. ISN’T THAT ENOUGH?!

Sadly, human nature being what it is, the answer is often, “No.” We always want more. We’re always ‘COMPLAINING’. We forget to thank God for the prayer He did answer, and continue to worry about the prayer He hasn’t yet answered. We want God to be a ‘cosmic genie’ who grants our every wish. Jesus said that “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” [ John 6:26 ].


[ “Complain” – ApologetiX parody of Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” ]

A few years ago (2018) it was opening day of football season. The Philadelphia Eagles were at home to the Atlanta Falcons. The first half was very sloppy and at halftime, the Eagles were trailing 6-3. They were serenaded with a chorus of boos from the notoriously fickle Philadelphia fan base on their way to the locker room. (Let me ‘jog’ your memory: The Eagles were the defending Super Bowl Champions! The fans were ‘asking’ “What have you done for me ‘LATELY’?”—THAT first half!)

[ Note: The Eagles did come back to beat the Falcons and thousands of delirious Eagles fans cheered. They won the game but the players know that the fans will ‘turn on them’ the next time they play a bad first half. ]

GOD ‘HAS’ DONE A LOT!
When we stop to think about it, God really has done A LOT for us lately—as well as in our past, and will do so in our future. To examine this, I want us to take notice of some striking similarities we have with the story of Jesus cleansing the 10 lepers.

“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” [ Luke 17:11-19 ].

The passage tells us that, “They stood at a distance.” They had to stand at a distance from Jesus. They were not allowed to come near anybody. They had to keep a distance of a minimum of six feet from other people including their family members. Furthermore, lepers were not allowed to live within the walls of any city. They were cast out and completely avoided by everyone.

“As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp” [ Leviticus 13:45-46 ].

Leprosy was the most feared illness in that time. The term “leprosy,” as used in the Bible, referred to a wide variety of infectious skin rashes, scales, sores, or eruptions, not just clinical leprosy as we know it today.

But as we can imagine, this was a terrible illness. The Jews saw this disease as a curse from God. Therefore, only God could heal people suffering from this affliction.

Let’s imagine this for a second. Imagine how these people must have felt like. I am sure that their hearts were completely full of sorrow having been banished from society and particularly from their families.

So, how about today? Our ‘affliction’? Well, I don’t I know anyone that has leprosy of the skin today, BUT I do know people who have ‘leprosy’ of the soul!

Spiritually speaking, the same was true of us in the eyes of God when we were apart from Jesus. It started in Eden: “So [God] drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life” [ Genesis 3:24 ].

It continues today: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul: “Remember that you [who are now Christians] were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. We were afflicted with the disease of leprosy of the soul and had the condemnation of sin” [ Ephesians 2:12 ].

Even today, Jesus is looking for people who acknowledge their affliction for what it is. Have you come to terms with the ‘gravity’ of SIN’S ‘AFFLICTION’?

Now, the lepers’ need was mercy. They understood that the only way they were ever going to find healing from their affliction would be by the mercy of Jesus. So, “They raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’”

Today, our need is pretty much the same—we need God’s mercy from our ‘affliction’ with sin. Hopefully, there was a time when you came to that point in your life where you were ‘confronted’ with Jesus (or maybe this is that time for you right now!), and you knew that He wanted to give mercy to you, if you ‘called’ on Him in repentance and belief.

A common definition of mercy is: “NOT getting something BAD that we DO DESERVE.” [ Note: “Grace” is defined as GETTING something GOOD that you DO NOT DESERVE ]. The Bible says that, “The wages of sin is death.” That is what we deserve! But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5).

SO, if you are a born-again believer, when you lay your head on your pillow at night, I’m suggesting that you should be saying, “God, THANKS MUCH for Your immeasurable mercy to me!

Now, just like the lepers, we all have a need for ‘cleansing’. As the lepers were on their way to the priests, they were fully and completely healed of their disgusting disease of the skin. It was completely made healthy again!

So, when a person puts their faith ‘in’ Jesus as their Savior, they are fully and completely healed of the condemnation of their sin. (Jesus healed the lepers’ “skin.” Jesus heals our “sin.”) [ Note: There is no more that needs to be done to make you more saved than you already are! ].

At the Cross, Jesus ‘PAID’ IT ALL. He said, “It is finished!” The only thing left now is to ‘apply’ God’s saving grace personally to our lives through faith in Jesus as Savior, and we will be completely healed! As the popular song’s lyrics go, “Jesus paid it all / All to Him I owe; / Sin had left a crimson stain / He washed it white as snow.”


[ “Jesus Paid It All” – Kristian Stanfill ]

The thing is, although one might be ‘justified’ (“saved”) in the eyes of God, one still needs ‘cleansing’ and renewal on a regular basis. Not for ‘salvation’—since that was ‘settled’ when one believed in Jesus—but for one’s SANCTIFICATION. This is one’s ‘walk’ with Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) for the rest of their days on this earth. Here too, we can find mercy, in the exercise of our faith, to find Jesus’ ‘CLEANSING’. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” [ 1 John 1:9 ]. (Jesus is looking for those willing to accept His full and complete cleansing.)

So, I am suggesting that there should be a common ‘response’ of a believer to that which the one leper had how returned—he was TRULY ‘THANKFUL’: “…turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him” [ Luke 17:15b-16 ]. He ‘acknowledged’ His healing. He had his eyes ‘opened’ to the good thing that had happened to him. [ So often God does good things in our lives, but we never even take notice of them! ;^( ].

Now, it might have been a bit of an inconvenience to go backward on his journey to find Jesus, and it may have been an inconvenience to part company with his only friends. Also, wouldn’t you have wanted to hurry up and get to the priest to make it “official”? Well, this man didn’t. He was SO THANKFUL that he wanted the Person that healed him to know how thankful he really was. So, he fell at Jesus’ feet and gave honor and thanks to the One who rightly deserved it!

So, why did only one healed leper return to thank Jesus? Well, we don’t really know—since it is not said—but here might be a few reasons why:

– Maybe one waited to see if the cure was real
– Maybe one waited to see if it would last
– Maybe one said he would go see Jesus later
– Maybe one decided that he had never had leprosy in the first place
– Maybe one said he would have gotten well anyway
– Maybe one gave the glory to the priests
– Maybe one said, “Jesus didn’t really do anything. All He did was tell me to go.”
– Maybe one said, “Any rabbi could have done that.”
– Maybe one said, “I was already getting better anyway.”

Now, I’m thinking these are pretty much ‘EXCUSES’! I also think that there are MANY things that we can be thankful for that God supplied to us, though we make our own ‘excuses’!

In his book “Folk Psalms of Faith,” Ray Stedman tells of an experience H. A. Ironside had in a crowded restaurant. Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited him to have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer.

When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, “Do you have a headache?”

Ironside replied, “No, I don’t.”

The other man asked, “Well, is there something wrong with your food?”

Ironside replied, “No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat.”

The man said, “Oh, you’re one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!”

Ironside said, “Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s just what he does too!”

Ouch! Sadly how WE can sometimes be like that man’s dog too, eh? The Apostle Paul said it well: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus my Lord!” [ Romans 7:24-25 ].

Now, getting back to the parable of the lepers, God has a ‘heart’ for ALL people (v. 16b). Notice the leper who gave thanks was a Samaritan (who were hated by the Jews). The other nine were apparently Jews—just as Jesus was.

In a way, it foretells how the Gentiles would accept and thankfully receive Jesus, while the Jewish people, by and large, would reject Him. “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” [ John 1:11-12 ].

Ingratitude ‘grieves’ the heart of God: “Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well’” [ Luke 17:17-19 ]. Can you not sense the disappointment in Jesus’ words here? There shouldn’t be any doubt that when we are unthankful, Jesus ‘LAMENTS’ over it!

Then, there is a difference between being ‘healed’ and being ‘whole’. “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” [ Luke 17:19b ].

The point made here is that unless gratitude is a part of one’s nature, they can’t be ‘whole’ people. (The other nine were merely healed.) So, if ingratitude is more deadly than leprosy, they were in worse shape than before. Only one came back and was made well—He was ALSO made whole!

I want to encourage you to take some time right now to think about your relationship with God. Ask…“What have you done for HIM lately?” and then take some time, right now, to thank God for all that He has done FOR YOU!

DELAYED GRATIFICATION
It’s a natural human urge to want things now, HOWEVER, most of the time one will often receive more benefits they wait. The obverse version of “instant gratification” is “delayed gratification.” It’s easier to see the benefits of delayed gratification, but we all struggle daily with the ‘temptation’ to give in to our immediate desire. (Such as when you order a cheaper pair of shoes, that won’t last as long, but you can have them now rather than having to wait for your next paycheck to have enough to get the better ones.)

A study at Harvard about chocolate consumption was carried out with two groups, where Group A binged on unlimited chocolates and Group B had no access to chocolate. After the study, both groups were given chocolate and Group B reported higher happiness, savored the taste more, and was in a better mood after eating the chocolate. This study shows what people think will make them happy isn’t always what will, and that you can have too much of a good thing.

The “Hierarchy of Needs” is a set of human requirements which are important for an individual to complete to develop satisfaction in life. The theory was created by psychologist Abraham Maslow.

Designed in a pyramid shape, you must complete the bottom tier needs before you should move up to the next. It is also noted that a person struggling to survive won’t be thinking much about self-actualization as compared to a person whose survival needs have been provided.

The need for growth does not need to stem from the lack of something, rather a desire to grow as a person. Once you have been reasonably satisfied you may be able to hit the highest level, self-actualization.

This is where our need for instant gratification comes into the theory. Many of us will buy ourselves a new thing to feel happier or use retail as a form of therapy, thus hitting the “Love/Belonging” section of the pyramid. We will also buy things to impress others, trying to hit the “Esteem” level. But in the long-term, these things will falter.

How can you achieve the Esteem level if you have not yet met the Safety level? You will often fall back into dissatisfaction if you use these things to try and improve your self-actualization.

So then, what is delayed gratification? Well, imagine you’re four years old. On a plate in front of you is the greatest treasure of all treasures: a white fluffy marshmallow. You’re told you can have that marshmallow when you feel like it, but there’s a ‘catch’. If you can wait a few minutes, you’ll get two marshmallows. Two fluff balls of glorious satisfaction!

What do you do? Do you wait? Or do you go “YOLO” and gobble it down with four-year-old glee?

The above is a simplified version of one of the most famous psychological experiments ever conducted—what’s now simply known as “The Marshmallow Study.” Originally conducted by researchers in the 60s, the results reveal an interesting aspect of human nature. We DON’T like to wait for things.

Sometimes, it feels even ‘torturous’ to have our patience tested. Whether it’s a marshmallow sitting in front of us begging to be eaten or a video that just won’t buffer, we lose our patience when we aren’t granted the instant gratification we desire.

Again, the Millennial generation especially struggles with this, because they have grown up in a world filled with technology that caters to and sustains that desire. From high-speed Internet on their computers to unlimited data plans on their cell phones, technological advances have lessened their need for patience, and therefore, decreased their ability to withstand waiting. They expect immediacy, because they are used to it. The thing is, there IS a virtue to delayed gratification.

So, back to the marshmallow test. A later follow-up study found that the kids who waited for TWO entire marshmallows grew up to be adults with greater self-control, as Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel described:

“Those who had waited longer in this situation at four years of age were described more than 10 years later by their parents as adolescents who were more academically and socially competent than their peers and more able to cope with frustration and resist temptation.”

Wow! It turns out that the ability to wait for things is a hugely important psychological resource: people who lack the self-control to wait for something they want, run into real trouble on all sorts of fronts.

American psychologist and founder of the “Character Lab” (a nonprofit whose mission is to advance scientific insights that help children thrive) Angela Duckworth says that, “Income, savings behavior, financial security, occupational prestige, physical and mental health, substance use, and (lack of) criminal convictions, among other outcomes, in adulthood. Remarkably, the predictive power of self-control is comparable to that of either general intelligence or family socioeconomic status.”

So, if self-control is such a powerful resource—and one that is amenable to conscious development—no wonder we are leery of technologies that render it irrelevant, or worse yet, undermine our carefully practiced ability to wait for gratification. The thing is, as long as everything from ice cream to a car is just one click away on one’s Smartphone, we are all fighting an uphill battle for self-control.

The thing is, it’s easy to fall into the habit of responding with anger and a feeling of being ‘cheated’ when we are forced to wait. It’s as if we revert back to our toddler tantrum days, only now we are slamming laptops shut or throwing our phones instead of toys.

Now, resisting instant gratification isn’t about denying ourselves pleasure. Instead, it has to do with managing our desires. It is about self-control and readdressing our priorities.

Sometimes, the solution involves little more than taking a few deep breaths. Other times, it requires challenging ourselves to resist harmful habits, such as the tendency to pick up our phones every spare moment of the day to scroll through social media. Delayed gratification improves one’s chances of success with long-term goals!

When we expand our focus beyond the current moment, we create an opportunity to build our future selves. We take into consideration how the now affects the later, and we can use that knowledge to shape our decisions, rather than let our desire for immediate satisfaction ‘blind’ us.

Since—at least in the U.S.—we are accustomed to crave both immediacy and ease, because in our society, technology has allowed the two to coexist as a norm, it can be hard to shift our focus to the long-term. However, what we gain from it can be more beneficial than what we lose from resisting the temptation of instant pleasure.

Who knows? We may find that the second marshmallow is worth the wait! ;^D

Delayed gratification is among the marks of successful people and this is something that believers must apply in their lives as well. The principle of delayed gratification is easy. It simply means that a Christian is willing to give up something now to obtain a better reward in the future. As easy as it may sound, delayed gratification demands a great deal of discipline, self-mastery, and willpower.

Consider the following strategies—Deny yourself; Prioritize; Plan; Know the value of God’s ‘Reward’; and Be patient—to improve your ability to perform delayed gratification:

– DENY YOURSELF
Jesus Christ plainly tells us: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” [ Matthew 16:24 ].

Denying ourselves is part of delaying our own gratification. Denying ourselves means putting the will of God above our own will. As humans, we want to have a life of comfort, convenience, and wealth. That is not bad of by itself, however, if we put our own “wants and desires” first in our lives and the will of God second, then we are going to fail in our Christian life.

Jesus continues: “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” [ Matthew 16:25-26 ].

As we look into our world today, we see people who chase the wrong things in life. They begin to become the god of themselves and the ultimate authority.

Living a life away from God will ultimately lead to destruction and death but living a life close to God will ultimately bring eternal life.

– PRIORITIZE
Delayed gratification should motivate us to prioritize the things in our lives and our number one priority in life? “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you” [ Matthew 6:33 ].

We must be willing to sacrifice our needs and desires in order to obtain a better reward in the future. This is the main goal of delayed gratification.

Prioritizing means recognizing the things that are really important for us. We cannot just claim to be in God’s kingdom without exerting the energy and time to pursue it.

[ For more details on prioritizing, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/what-really-matters-v270/ ].

Everyone spends their time on the things that they value most. So, if God’s Kingdom is really the top priority in our lives, we must find time in studying the Bible, preaching the Gospel, helping other people, visiting the sick, and keep the commandments of God.

That is how you prioritize your life!

– PLAN
Delayed gratification does not come naturally. It needs to be intentionally and deliberately planned.

Again, Jesus tells us: “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” [ Luke 14:28 ].

Planning involves counting the cost. No rational thinking man would start building a structure without first planning how to go about it.

[ For more details on counting the cost, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/it-will-cost-you-v233/ ].

We all have 24 hours a day. No matter who you are and what your status in life is, we are all given the same amount of time. We should have the ability to properly plan how to spend our time wisely. Planning will give you direction.

– KNOW THE VALUE OF GOD’S ‘REWARD’
Our world is now geared toward instant gratification (“What have you done for me lately?”—that is, the last minute!). The thing is, relative to sin, people give in to different temptations because they feel that the temporary pleasure of sin is better than what God is offering us right now. Satan IS a master ‘deceiver’, and he is a genius when it comes to presenting sin in beautiful ‘wrappings’ (that gorgeous secretary you have that is so attentive to all your ‘needs’—way more so than your wife is!)

In order for us to master the art of delayed gratification, we must have the knowledge of God’s reward for us.

God ‘PROMISES’ to provide all our needs (Philippians 4:19). He promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Ultimately, God will grant us ETERNAL LIFE and the privilege to be rulers in His coming kingdom (Revelation 5:10).

So how much do you value God’s reward?

Remember the ultimate reward of God to those who diligently seek and follow Him. Keep in mind the reward of God and you will have a better chance of mastering delayed gratification.

– BE PATIENT
As we always have heard, “Good things come to those who wait.” Well, this is definitely true when it comes to one’s Christian life. God often tells His people to “stand still” and be patient. However, this is among the most difficult commands to follow.

Patience is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). This means that every Christian must strive to increase their level of patience.

The reward of delayed gratification is NOT usually felt immediately.

Usually, the more we wait, the bigger the reward. Easy things bring small reward. Difficult things bring bigger reward. “And let us NOT grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” [ Galatians 6:9 ].

Our reward is not found in the beginning of the race. It is found at the finish line. We can all have the confidence that delayed gratification will bring its sweetest fruits in due time. When that time comes, we can confidently look back and tell ourselves, “It’s all worth it!”

Delayed gratification is never easy but the ‘REWARD’ is much greater than what we can imagine… HEAVEN FOR ETERNITY!!!

IMMENSELY ‘THANKFUL’!
So, for me, the unspoken message in Janet Jackson’s song “What have you done for me lately?” is: “If you really loved me, you would ‘show’ it.” We should, like the one leper did, be ‘IMMENSELY’ THANKFUL!

God gave us an unspeakable gift, His son Jesus, and NO GIFT from man will ever measure up to this precious gift!

When God gave us this undeserved gift, it was for a special purpose—to save us from our sins. We cannot save ourselves, so He sent His only Son to do that for us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” [ John 3:16 ]. Our Father in Heaven didn’t just love us, He “so loved” us! Therefore, be thankful for the gift of THE Savior of the world!

Believer, how often do you take the time to thank God for Jesus? I’m thinking it should be ‘REGULARLY’ throughout the day. For without Him, where would you be going?

SO, don’t take this gift for granted. Share it with others who do not know that Jesus can pardon them from their sins. This gift is not meant for us to ‘hoard’. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” [ Acts 1:8 ].

There are thousands of reasons to thank God daily and sometimes we lose sight of them—family, friends, food, clothes, water, jobs, cars, a place to put our head at night, etc. So, here are 21 of the ‘main’ reasons that the “Bible Reasons” website cited to be thankful to God for what He has ‘DONE’ FOR US:

1. Be thankful that Jesus Christ died for your sins (Romans 5:6-11)
2. Be thankful that God’s love endures forever (Psalm 136:6-10; Psalm 106:1-2)
3. If you’re a Christian be thankful that your sins even your deepest darkest sins are forgiven (Romans 8:1; 1 John 1:7; Colossians 1:20-23)
4. Be thankful for the Bible (Psalm 119:47; Psalm 119:97-98; Psalm 111:10; 1 Peter 1:23)
5. Be thankful for community (Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 10:24-25; Galatians 6:2)
6. Be thankful that God has provided you with food (Matthew 6:11)
7. God promises to provide for your needs (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:31-34)
8. Be thankful that your true home is waiting for you (Revelation 21:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 21:4)
9. Thank God you don’t have to work your way into Heaven (Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:11)
10. Be thankful you are new and God is working in your life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 1:6)
11. Be thankful that God woke you up this morning (Psalm 3:5; Proverbs 3:24; Psalm 4:8)
12. Be thankful that God hears your prayers (Psalm 3:4; Psalm 4:3; 1 John 5:14-15)
13. Thank God for the trials that make you stronger (1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-4; Romans 8:28-29)
14. Being thankful gives you joy and will give you peace when you face obstacles (John 16:33; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; 2 Corinthians 8:2)
15. Be thankful God is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9-10; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Psalm 31:5)
16. Be thankful God convicts you of sin (John 16:8)
17. Be thankful for your family (1 John 4:19; Proverbs 31:28; 1 Timothy 5:4)
18. Be thankful that God is in control (Proverbs 19:21; Mark 10:27; Psalm 37:23)
19. Be thankful for sacrifices (2 Corinthians 9:7-8; Matthew 6:19-21)
20. Be thankful you can come into God’s presence (Psalm 95:2-3 )
21. Be thankful for blessings (James 1:17; Proverbs 10:22)

Sadly, sometimes we forget how REALLY IMPORTANT these things are. Especially us in the U.S., we continue to want more and better, HOWEVER, there will be who will sleep on dirt today. Some will starve. Most importantly, there will be people who will die and go TO HELL because they do not ‘know Jesus! So, when you see how blessed you truly are—that a holy God will love ‘vile’ people like us and ‘crush’ His Son for us—that makes you IMMENSELY ‘THANKFUL’!

When we are appreciative of all God HAS ‘DONE’ for us it should make us to want to love Him more, obey Him more, give Him more, pray to Him more, sacrifice more, and share the Gospel with more people (as I am trying to do with this post).


[ “Give Thanks” – The Maranatha! Singers ]

Personally, I am ‘TRULY’ THANKFUL for this matchless gift of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This gift is my all, my everything—saving me from my sins and giving me eternal life in Heaven with Jesus!

So, with eyes focused on Jesus, may all believers be enabled to follow Jesus’ example and strive to be faithful in what He has called US ‘TO DO’.

– Love others as ourselves
– Tell others about Him (The “Great Commission”)
– Warn others about His “Second Coming”—to ‘Judge’!
[ See https://markbesh.wordpress.com/final-tribulation-v246/ ]
– Be a part of the ‘Body’ of Christ
– Be an ‘ambassador’
– Be as Christlike as we can be

In a relationship, it is about GIVE and TAKE—not just what you ‘receive’ out of the relationship. The same should be true for us as well in our relationship with God. It is not just about what He has done for you—‘SAVING’ you from Hell and giving you eternal life—but what are you going to ‘DO’ FOR HIM. “What does it profit my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? Thus faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” [ James 2:14,17 ].

Then, when something ‘unbelievable’ is GIVEN to you, THANKFULNESS should be ‘top of mind’. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” [ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ]. Thankful for His unfailing love, wonderful deeds, that He is ‘good’, for Creation, for His unconditional mercy, for His glorious Son, Jesus, whose ‘sacrifice’ conquered sin and set us free by paying our sin debt, and for being given a hope and a future, calling us toward Heaven to live forever in His Kingdom. Let us enter His ‘courts’ with praise to GIVE ’THANKS’!


[ “Give Thanks” Worship Intro by “Motion Worship” ]

So, instead of asking “What has God done for me lately?,” I’m suggesting we re-frame that question by asking ourselves, “What have I done for God lately?” BECAUSE of ‘WHAT’ Jesus has ‘DONE’ FOR US!

[ Excerpts by: Isabelle Drury; Jessie McCartney; Alexandra Samuel; Ronald Alsop; Nikki Cohn-Byrd; Cianna Garrison; Jamie Cutterridge; Ada Okoli; William Bouffard; Dave Nave; John Hendrie; Mark Landreneau; John Piper; Gina L Smith; David Yarborough; Roy Barnes; Snigdha Patel; Ring Central; Jared Cornell; Hitesh Bhasin; Niraj Ranjan; Michele McGovern; Snap Engage; Aaron Weiche; Mateen Qureshi; Indeed; Amanda Sellers; Jason Bigue; Maria Lebed; Natasha Ambavle; Solastis; Mark Taylor; Mary Brodie; Bouvier Kelly; Michael Schmidt; Sheena Ingle; Paul Louis Metzger; Dennis McGowan; Dean Meadows; Greg Rondeau; Dennis Plourde; Zac Poonen; Robert Velarde; Kevin Wang; John Stange; Charles Stanley; Greg Laurie; Morag Paton; Chuck Swindoll; Tracie Miles; Philip McClelland; Bruce Landry; Guarding The Heart; Colin Smith; Elaine Simber; Matt Slick; Kristi Winkler; Nick Mendenhall; Bob Jennerich; Randy Karlberg; Miranda Menelaws; Joshua Infantado; Anna Bright; Fritz Chery; Got Questions ]

RELATED POSTS:

It’s ‘WHO’ You Know”:

It’s ‘WHO’ You Know [v271]

What Really ‘Matters’?”:

What Really ‘Matters’? [v270]

A Sense Of ‘Urgency’”:

A Sense Of ‘Urgency’ [v269]

Gaining A Deep ‘Understanding’”:

Gaining A Deep ‘Understanding’ [v264]

Learning To ‘T.R.U.S.T.’

Learning To ‘T.R.U.S.T.’ [v263]

Persistently ‘P.U.S.H.’”:

Persistently ‘P.U.S.H.’ [v261]

Love ‘Letter’”:

Love ‘Letter’ [v258]

Two ‘Choices’, One Way”:

Two ‘Choices’, One Way [v254]

The Only ‘Way’”:

The Only ‘Way’ [v253]

Are You ‘Blind’?”:

Are You ‘Blind’? [v252]

‘Final’ Tribulation”:

‘Final’ Tribulation [v246]

‘Benefits’ Of Assurance”:

‘Benefits’ Of Assurance [v244]

Knowing ‘Assurance’”:

Knowing ‘Assurance’ [v243]

It Will ‘Cost’ You”:

It Will ‘Cost’ You [v233]

The Greatest ‘Gift’”:

The Greatest ‘Gift’ [v226]

A ‘Place’ To Retire”:

A ‘Place’ To Retire [v221]

New ‘Identity’”:

New ‘Identity’ [v220]

‘Saved’ From Death”:

‘Saved’ From Death [v219]

Greatest ‘Comeback’ Ever”:

Greatest ‘Comeback’ Ever [v217]

Are You ‘Prepared’?”:

Are You ‘Prepared’? [v210]

Be a ‘Light’”:

Be a ‘Light’ [v190]

In His ‘Grip’”:

In His ‘Grip’ [v162]

‘Communication’ With God”:

‘Communication’ With God [v152]

‘PRAYER’ OF REPENTANCE
In the Bible, there is a parable that Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying the the Temple. He notes that the tax collector didn’t even dare to lift his eyes toward Heaven as he prayed. Instead he “beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner’”—and Jesus said that the tax collector “went home justified,” he had been “born again” and ‘reconciled’ by God. (Luke 18:9-14).

If you are ‘sensing’ something like that right now, let me strongly encourage you to HUMBLE YOURSELF, CRY OUT to God, and PLEAD for Him to mercifully ‘SAVE’ YOU! None of us have a ‘claim’ on our salvation, nor do we have any ‘works’ that would cause us to deserve it or earn it—it is purely a gift of Divine grace—and all any of us can do is ask. So, CONFESS YOUR SINS and acknowledge to God that you have no hope for Heaven apart from what He provides through Jesus. [ See Psalm 51 ].

There is no ‘formula’ or certain words for this. So just talk to God, in your own words—He knows your ‘heart’. If you are genuinely sincere, and God does respond to your plea, one will usually have a sense of joy and peace.

Jesus said, “He that comes to Me, I will not cast out” [ John 6:37 ].

[ FYI: This is a great sermon on the “Call to Repentance” by John MacArthur from his book “The Gospel According to Jesus”: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-22/the-call-to-repentance (Transcript: http://www.spiritedesign.com/TheCallToRepentance-JohnMacArthur(Jul-27-2019).pdf) ].

[ NOTE: If you have ‘tasted the kindness of the Lord’, please e-mail me—I would love to CELEBRATE with you, and help you get started on your ‘journey’ with Jesus! ].

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RESOURCES
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“High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service: Inspire Timeless Loyalty in the Demanding New World of Social Commerce”
By: Micah Solomon

In an age of Twitter, smartphones, and self-service kiosks, high-tech but still high-touch customer service is the answer.

Today’s customers are a hard bunch to crack. Time-strapped, screen-addicted, value-savvy, and socially engaged, their expectations are tougher than ever for a business to keep up with. They are empowered like never before and expect businesses to respect that sense of empowerment—lashing out at those that don’t.

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“The Certainty Principle: How to Guarantee Brand Profits in the Consumer Engagement Marketplace”
By: Ph.D. Robert Passikoff and Amy Shea

“Consumer engagement” may be the most used phrase of this new marketing century, yet brands still struggle with how to define it, let alone actually achieve it.
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“Integrated Marketing Communications: Putting It Together & Making It Work”
By: Don E. Schultz, Stanley I. Tannenbaum, and Robert F. Lauterborn

Integrated Marketing Communications challenges business to confront a fundamental dilemma in today’s marketing–the fact that mass media advertising, by itself, no longer works. This landmark book reveals that strategies long used to deliver selling messages to a mass culture through a single medium are now obsolete–and shows marketers how to get back on track.

The answer lies in customer-focused marketing, a key planning tool that can–in today’s diverse, fragmented marketplace–explain the lifestyles, attitudes, and motivations of distinct buyer groups and predict their likely buying behaviors in the future. Schultz, Tannenbaum, and Lauterborn explain how, by beginning with detailed consumer information, marketers can build a synchronized, multi-channel communications strategy that reaches every market segment with a single, unified message.

This book also shows how to put an integrated program into practice, with expert guidance on planning, coordinating, and controlling the entire communications process. Along the way, the authors tackle those critical questions that too often impede marketing decisions, such as:

Who should control the communications program?
How should resources be allocated to advertising, sales promotion, direct response, public relations, and other marketing communications options?
How can companies resolve “turf battles” and combat fears of budget loss?
How should the different players–agencies and suppliers–be compensated?
And most importantly, how can the impact of an integrated strategy be measured and made accountable?
Extensive examples and two in-depth success stories detail how top organizations are sharpening their competitive edge through integrated communications programs.

An incisive study of the barriers that confound today’s marketing, Integrated Marketing Communications breaks new ground for all business thinkers and strategists.

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“Communicating Globally: An Integrated Marketing Approach”
By: Don E. Schultz and Philip J. Kitchen

How can a company effectively communicate its message to customers and prospects all over the world? How can it ensure that its branding messages “travel”? Designed to help executives position and leverage marketing communication in the global arena and use it to their ongoing strategic advantage, Communicating Globally shows how to successfully strategize, select appropriate communication tactics, and then execute a global communication plan that encompasses all sources of communication, both internal and external. Based on the strong theoretical foundations of integrated marketing communication (IMC), Communicating Globally offers a practitioner’s perspective on integrated global marketing communication (IGMC) in action through vignettes, four complete case studies of well-recognized multinational brands, and one study case. Praise for Communicating Globally “In the 21st century, the ability of ad agencies to provide worldwide, integrated marketing services for their clients will become essential. Only those marketers and agencies with the ability to brand products and services globally will thrive. Communicating Globally provides a roadmap on how to do it right.” O. Butch Drake, president-CEO, American Association of Advertising Agencies “No one can provide a guaranteed formula for future success, but Communicating Globally comes awfully close. By combining an astute knowledge of the global marketplace, emerging trends and technologies, and good old common sense, Don Schultz and Philip Kitchen illuminate the path for successful brand building in the 21st century.” Ed Faruolo, vice president, corporate marketing communications, CIGNA Corporation “Don Schultz has done it again! His unique and highly readable approach is a must for companies looking to market globally in the new century. Communicating Globally offers an important road map through the maze of global marketing communications.” James R. Gregory, CEO, Corporate Branding, LLC “This book is important because it brings the concept of integrated marketing communications (IMC) into full international focus for the first time. This focus is maintained throughout the whole structure and it makes the book a truly conceptual work. The case studies that illustrate the practical ramification of international IMC yield significant general as well as specific lessons.” John Philip Jones, Syracuse University “The 1990’s introduced integrated marketing–understanding and communicating relevantly with customers by using information. Communicating Globally now takes the same principles and adapts them to today’s dynamic global marketplace. Even better, it is written in a style that makes it easy for a non-marketer to fully understand the importance of managing a brand.” John R Wallis, vice president of marketing, Hyatt International Corporation

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“Risen Indeed: A Historical Investigation Into the Resurrection of Jesus”
By: Gary R. Habermas

A pivotal contribution to the history of apologetics.

Gary Habermas has spent a career defending the historicity and truthfulness of the resurrection of Jesus. But his earliest writing on Jesus’ resurrection has been unavailable to the broader public, until now.

In Risen Indeed: A Historical Investigation Into the Resurrection of Jesus, readers will encounter Gary Habermas’ foundational research into the historicity of the resurrection. With a new, extensive, introductory essay on contemporary scholarship regarding the resurrection, Habermas shows how the questions surrounding the historicity of the resurrection and arguments raised by critics are perennially important for Christian faith.

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“What Happened at the Cross: The Price of Victory Hardcover”
By: Billy Graham

The message of the cross was the center of Billy Graham’s life and ministry. He wanted people to know that the gospel was for everyone. All they had to do was come to the cross. What Happened at the Cross is a compilation of Graham’s life work. He explains the significance and meaning of the cross by sharing the gospel message, inviting sinners to walk with Jesus, the one true Savior who is willing and able to forgive them.

This one-of-a-kind message includes:
– An exclusive foreword from Franklin Graham and afterword by Will Graham
– More than 40 bonus pages of Scripture references which point readers to what God’s Word says about the cross and salvation
– The Steps of Peace salvation plan from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association
– Seven chapters of rich content that explains what happened at the cross; the price of victory; where is Jesus?; the meaning of the cross; the king’s eternity, and how to live life with hope.

What Happened at the Cross is perfect for:
– Christians who proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ by every effective means and equip the church and others to do the same.
– Followers of Billy Graham and the entire Graham family.
– Men and women wanting spiritual encouragement and a better understanding of the Gospel’s message.

If you want to share the gospel with others, you must better understand the meaning behind the cross.

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“The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus”
By: Gary R. Habermas and Michael Licona

“There is nothing like this on the market. It is interesting, engaging, and crucial material.”
—Norman Geisler

This is an accessible, comprehensive, and persuasive resource providing detailed evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. It also demonstrates how to share the material clearly, honestly, and definitively. Included is an interactive CD which tests the reader’s knowledge of the material by using an entertaining TV game show format.

“[The authors] have distinguished themselves as leading experts on the evidence for this all important event.”
—D. James Kennedy

– Written by the leading evangelical apologist on the resurrection and an up-and-comer
– Includes an interactive CD to cement the information from the book
– Written for lay people but includes extensive footnotes that scholars will find valuable
– Includes charts, diagrams, and a detailed outline for quick reference

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“Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Resurrection Debate”
By: Gary R. Habermas and Antony G. N. Flew

Offers arguments from the Christian and atheist viewpoints concerning whether the Resurrection is an historical fact, and shares responses to the debate

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“Did the Resurrection Happen?: A Conversation with Gary Habermas and Antony Flew”
By: Gary R. Habermas and Antony Flew

In 2004 philosopher Antony Flew, one of the world’s most prominent atheists, publicly acknowledged that he had become persuaded of the existence of God. Not long before that, in 2003, Flew and Christian philosopher Gary Habermas debated at a Veritas Forum at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Habermas, perhaps the world’s leading expert on the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, made the case for rational belief on the basis of the reliability of the evidence. Flew argued for alternative understandings of the evidence presented. For two-and-a-half decades Flew and Habermas have been in friendly dialogue about the plausibility of the resurrection and the existence of God. This book presents the full content of their third and final debate, as well as transcripts of the Q A session with the audience afterward. Also included are a 2004 conversation between Habermas and Flew shortly after Flew’s much-publicized change of position, as well as editor David Baggett’s assessment and analysis of the full history of Habermas and Flew’s interactions. Here is your opportunity to listen in on a conversation with two of the greatest thinkers of our era about one of the most pivotal events in human history. Follow the evidence wherever it leads. And decide for yourself whether it’s believable that a man could rise from the dead.

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“The Son Rises”
By: William Lane Craig

Is the Christian message of Jesus Christ and his resurrection true? Using ten lines of historical evidence, Dr. Craig defends the probability that Jesus was resurrected following his crucifixion. He examines the origin of the Christian movement, and more provocative subjects, such as the Shroud of Turin, parapsychological phenomena and hallucinations.

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“Jesus: Understanding His Death and Resurrection: A Study of Mark 14-16”
By: Kay Arthur and David Arthur

Discover afresh the good news of the gospel.

The long-awaited Messiah had finally arrived—only to be betrayed and sentenced to death. Why would Jesus, who knew beforehand all that would happen and who held the power of heaven at His command, submit to being humiliated, tortured, and ultimately killed?

In this powerful study centered on the final chapters of the gospel of Mark, you’ll consider for yourself all that Jesus endured to bring forgiveness to sinners and hope to the hopeless. And you’ll understand as never before why it’s so essential to share with others the good news of His death and resurrection.

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“The Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Matthew 27:57-28:15”
By: John MacArthur

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“Scandalous: The Cross and The Resurrection of Jesus”
By: D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson, one of today’s most notable Bible scholars, introduces the irony, scandal, and greatness of the work done on the cross. How are Christians to approach the central gospel teachings concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus?

The Bible firmly establishes the historicity of these events and doesn’t leave their meanings ambiguous or open to interpretation. Even so, there is an irony and surprising strangeness to the cross. Carson shows that this strange irony has deep implications for our lives as he examines the history and theology of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection.

Scandalous is the latest addition to the Re:Lit series, which highlights important theological truths in accessible and applicable ways. Both amateur theologians and general listeners will appreciate how Carson deftly preserves weighty theology while simultaneously noting the broader themes of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Through exposition of five primary passages of Scripture, Carson helps us to more fully understand and appreciate the scandal of the cross.

https://www.amazon.com/Scandalous-D-A-Carson-audiobook/dp/B003VXOYI2/

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“Risen” (DVD)
Joseph Fiennes (Actor), Tom Felton (Actor), Kevin Reynolds (Director)

RISEN is the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer. Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a powerful Roman military tribune, and his aide, Lucius (Tom Felton), are tasked with solving the mystery of what happened to Jesus (Cliff Curtis) in the weeks following the crucifixion, in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.

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“The Passion of the Christ” (DVD)
Mel Gibson (Director)

The Passion of the Christ focuses on the last twelve hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s life. The film begins in the Garden of Olives where Jesus has gone to pray after the Last Supper. Jesus must resist the temptations of Satan. Betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Jesus is then arrested and taken within the city walls of Jerusalem where leaders of the Pharisees confront him with accusations of blasphemy and his trial results in a condemnation to death.

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“Resurrection: Where the Passion Ends Resurrection Begins” (DVD)
By Max Lucado

In the tumultuous events following Christ’s crucifixion, Roman guard Claudius finds himself in the middle of a cover-up that has religious leaders, the government, and his closest friends attempting to hide something from the world. Will he uncover the truth at the risk of losing his life? Based on Max Lucado’s short story. Dove approved. Approx. 50 minutes. Closed-captioned.

https://www.christianbook.com/resurrection-dvd/max-lucado/pd/556697

Video: https://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Robert-Jobe/dp/B0711YVM3G

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“Why the Resurrection?”
By: Greg Laurie

The story of Jesus Christ did not end at the cross. In fact, that was only the beginning. Why the Resurrection? explains the significance of Christ’s resurrection and provides a resounding answer to the question of life after death. This book is a companion book to “Why the Passion?”

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“The Case for the Resurrection, Paperback: A First-Century Investigative Reporter Probes History’s Pivotal Event”
By: Lee Strobel

The Case for the Resurrection, a ninety-six-page booklet from bestselling author Lee Strobel, provides new evidence that shines a fresh light on the Bible’s most important story—the resurrection. Whether you’re a pastor, layperson, student, parent, or grandparent … leading up to the Easter holiday season is a time when millions of people are looking for engaging ways to bring the Easter story to life. The Case for the Resurrection is designed to help meet your needs by providing a compact, low-priced booklet with new evidence from Lee Strobel that shines a fresh light on the Bible’s most important story—the resurrection. Featuring free NIV sample material from Strobel’s new The Case for Christ Study Bible, the Easter story from the book of Luke with all study notes from The Case for Christ Study Bible linking into the story, and the most-read, most-trusted NIV Scripture text … this small but powerful booklet will become required Easter reading for you year after year.

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“In Everything Give Thanks”
By: Love God Greatly

We are reminded in Ephesians 5:20 to “… always give thanks to God the Father for everything.” For everything, Lord? Does God really want us to give thanks for things like relationships that cause us pain, heartaches, empty bank accounts, and sick bodies? EVERYTHING? In this two-week Love God Greatly Bible study, you’ll learn what God’s Word has to say about cultivating a life of thankfulness and how YOU can intentionally begin applying these uplifting truths in your everyday life. You’re invited to journal with us as we dive into God’s Word together… reading and writing what God speaks into your heart along the way. Just think of what could happen if we began choosing to see everything in our lives through a lens of gratitude… Join us at LoveGodGreatly.com for further insights, community, and content to supplement your time in God’s Word!

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“Thank God It’s Friday: Encountering the Seven Last Words from the Cross”
by William H. Willimon

Christ’s seven last words from the cross have long been a source of reflection, challenge, and soul-searching. These simple statements contain the full range of human emotions and divine self-revelation: grief, compassion, despair, forgiveness, physical need, the promise of redemption. In many ways they embody the core of the gospel. In this brief book one of today’s most noted church persons and preachers confronts the reader with the seven last word’s claim on her or his life. Written with the clarity, depth, and insight that are Will Willimon’s trademark, this book offers afresh the challenge and grace of the message of the Crucified One.

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“I Thank God for Jesus Christ: For the Love of Jesus is Worth More than Silver or Gold”
By Dr. Carolyn S Fields-Smith

Dr. Carolyn Sue Smith (formerly Carolyn Sue Haney) suffered a major psychological crisis leaving her without any memory of who she was or what she had accomplished in life. Struggling with these mental disorders, Dr. Smith managed to complete studies for two Masters degrees in special education and went on to earn her doctorate degree in Human Services specializing in Counseling with a minor in mental disorders. She has attended The University of Alabama, Mississippi State University as well as Capella University. Dr. Smith currently resides in Columbus with her husband Kenneth D. Smith. Together the couple have five children and seven grandchildren. Carolyn has been a volunteer at Baptist Memorial Hospital- Golden Triangle for the last nine-teen years. She has an intense passion and love for God, the Word, prayer, and, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ., MS, Carolyn is also a member of Southside Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Rayfield Evins, Jr.

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“An Attitude of Thankfulness”
By Jim Davenport

The twenty articles contained in this book cover topics close to Jim’s heart including: thankfulness, thanklessness, the Christian’s attitude, strength from God in the times of need, the sanctity of life and marriage, the consequences of our sin, praying with confidence, class warfare, and God’s presence in our lives. One article recalls the Pine Lake Baptist Church fire and how God used that tragedy to further His purpose throughout the world from the small town of Stone Mountain, Georgia, USA. This is the second in a series of books by Jim Davenport dealing with the general topic of Christian Devotions and Quick Studies, which was the title of the first volume.

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! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

SPECIAL ‘GENERAL’ RESOURCE

ApologetiX Songbook
(An interactive PDF)

It features the lyrics to every song on every CD and every “download” from 1993-2020

Special features:
– indexed by title, original song, original artist, subject, and Bible verse
– each song’s page has icons showing what albums it appears on
– each song’s page has a commentary from lyricist J. Jackson
– each album’s page includes liner notes and track listing
– print any pages you like or use for slides in church
– photos from ApologetiX’s debut concert in 1992
– discography of out-of-print cassettes
– downloadable in PDF format

New features in this edition:
– all song commentaries from J. Jackson updated and expanded
– also indexed by year when original song spoofed was a hit
– J.’s original handwritten rough lyrics to 40 ApX classics
– scads of photos from ApX 25th-anniversary concerts
– list of 40 ApX parodies most likely to be redone
– over 200 new parodies and journal entries
– list of the first ApX concerts in each state
– six new full-length feature articles
– DVD discography and synopses
– never-before-seen rare photos
– lyrics for over 700 parodies
– over 1000 pages!

Interactive features:
– click on any page number in indexes or TOC to go to that page
– click on any album icon to go to its liner notes and track listings
– click on any song title on an album page to go to that song

Note: This e-book is a download-only and doesn’t include sheet music.

The songbook is available for a donation of $50 or more. After we receive your donation, we’ll send you a follow-up email with the link.

Get the Songbook for a donation:
http://www.apologetix.com/store/store.php#songbook

Songbook Demo Video: https://rumble.com/vfazhl-apologetix-songbook-2020-demo.html

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“THE SEARCH FOR MEANING” WEBSITE

This site presents discussions on the 12 most commonly asked questions about the Christian faith.

The 12 discussions are accessed by the “tabs” at the bottom of the page. The tabs are numbered 1-12. Roll your mouse over them and you will see the question displayed at the right. Click on the number to select that question.

Within each question (i.e. tabs 1-12), there are subtopics (or dialogues) to select that appear as smaller tabs underneath the numbered tabs. Roll your mouse over them and the title of these topics is also displayed to the right. Click on the open rectangle to select that dialogue.

For each question (1-12), a link to related resources and an optional flowchart is provided. To access this material, click on the respective words, “Related Resources” or “Options Flowchart.”

To play a more detailed discussion of the subject, between two people, select the desired dialogue and click on “Play Audio Dialogue.”

In the upper right-hand corner of the page, there is an icon that looks like binoculars looking at a question mark. Click on this icon to return to the homepage.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Related Resources” page, there is an icon that looks like some books. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the resources for all of the questions. There also are additional “appendices” for most of the questions.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Flowchart” page, there is an icon that looks like an Org chart. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the flowcharts.

http://4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q1_d1_1of10.html

[ Content by: Bill Kraftson and Lamar Smith; Website by Mark Besh ]

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“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” WEB SITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/FruitsOfTheBeatitudes/

[ Mark Besh ]

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[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further what it means to “believe,” visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q10_d4_1of10.html ].

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ARTICLES
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“What have you done for me lately?”

I know it’s a trite old saying and doesn’t really give you a warm fuzzy feeling, right?

But….answer the question anyway. What have you done for your partner LATELY? Yep, I know, you love them and you do stuff all the time. If you are anything like me, maybe you’re still thinking things like….”Well, there were those two children I carried and delivered for ya….does that buy me a few years??”

But it does NOT.
You know how you feel when a long period of time has passed since your lover has done something sweet for you, surprised you, said something sweet & wonderful or left you a love note. You start to feel neglected and not so great… about yourself and your relationship.

But oh my goodness…one little sweet thing whispered in your ear, one little sticky note on the bathroom mirror, or your favorite goodie snack sitting on the counter for you and…..YOU FEEL LIKE A MILLION BUCKS!!!!

So simple, but so easily overlooked!!!
The blunt truth is, if you want your love and passion to stay fresh, you need to keep your GIVING fresh! What to do??? I thought I would take a moment and give you a list of ideas. I KNOW! I never do lists!!!! Look, it may never happen again, so copy this one off and treasure it

Ways to demonstrate your love and passion for your partner:
Sticky notes – seriously! Funny ones, loving ones, sassy ones, sexy ones, playful ones…get yourself a COLOR sticky note pad and start a sticky note campaign!

Speak UP! Remember my rule, “If it’s Nice, Let It Fly!”. If you are thinking something nice about your honey, then say it out loud! This is challenging to vocalize for some at first, but like anything, you get used to it. And your habit may rub off on your partner!

GIFTS!!! Everyone LOVES presents! They don’t have to cost anything or can cost next to nothing! Paul will tell you that he doesn’t like getting “gifts”, but you should see his face light up when I leave him a big beautiful bag of organic raw almonds on the night before a business trip! It’s like it’s his birthday! Whatever you “thought” gifts were, scratch it! A gift of ONE cookie that she so totally loves is just as awesome as that expensive perfume that she gets every 5 years on your anniversary!!!!

Time: Stop right in this moment and answer this question “what is your partners favorite thing to do?”. What was the first answer that came to mind?? Schedule it now and either participate with them or arrange for them to have the time to do it without you! Sometimes making arrangements for our partner to DO something that is super fulfilling or fun for them is not about balancing to-dos or time management…it’s about clearing the decks and doing what it takes to GIVE them that gift of time!
Your Attention: When was the last time that your partner had 30 minutes of your undivided attention to do what THEY wanted to do? Whatever it is. Make it happen….regularly!

A class or fun activity: For our 10 year anniversary, Paul and I didn’t go away like we had planned because we had a unique opportunity to take the kids to Disney World for their first magical experience! On our anniversary, Paul told me that one of my gifts was that we are going to take dancing lessons together!! It’s something we had talked about a million years ago. It’s not the “dancing lessons” that really fires me up, it’s the fact that we will have scheduled adult fun time doing something way outside our comfort zone on a consistent basis!!! That excites me!!!! So whether it’s cooking, pottery, dancing, sports or building bird houses….do something together!

And finally, they don’t call me the love and passion lady for nothing, there is NOTHING in this universe that will demonstrate your love to your partner like having a lot of ravishing and satisfying sex!!!! Having sex and all the fun stuff that leads up to sex is the greatest gift you can give your partner!!!! It doesn’t matter how tired you are! Sex isn’t something you schedule, fit in, or only do when it’s convenient! Sex is a GIFT! GIVE IT!!!! Over and over and over again baby!!!!!

Ok, so there’s my list! Now the question is, what are you going to do for them TODAY???? Post in the comments below and tell me!! Let’s get the ideas going!!!!

Sending love,

[ Stacey Martino ]

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“It’s Not the Words, It’s What You Do: Authenticity and Engagement in the Workplace”

It’s seen over and over again, employers losing valuable talent because they don’t feel valued or understood. We are constantly told that showing employees that they are valued and appreciated makes all the difference in retaining talent, but what is most often misunderstood is the HOW.

How do we get past the why and move towards the do? What are the steps that managers can take to start showing their employees that they, along with their work, are meaningful assets to the organization?

Join us as we sit down with Mike Horne, author of Integrity by Design: Working and Living Authentically, and Bev Kaye, co-author of Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em, Sixth Edition: Getting Good People to Stay, as they provide insight into how to show up authentically and create an engaging workplace in order to retain employees.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO6z0BtH4fI

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“THE COMMON SENSE CENSUS: MEDIA USE BY KIDS AGE ZERO TO EIGHT (2020)”

Click to access 2020_zero_to_eight_census_final_web.pdf

“THE COMMON SENSE CENSUS: MEDIA USE BY TWEENS AND TEENS (2020)”

Click to access census_researchreport.pdf

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“Art Of The Heist”

Experience design, art and creative direction for a reality-blurring consumer engagement campaign to launch the 2005 Audi A3, a new and unique “luxury hatchback.”

[ Klaus Hersch ]

Article: https://klausheesch.com/audi-usa-art-of-the-heist

Dealership ‘bears in video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD8lVJecOX8

[ A fun ‘rip off’ by Audi Vancouver: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkiacTDy6kc ].

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“The Most Important Thing Jesus Did — and What it Means to Us Today”

Nearly every day, you hear or see something that reflects the life of Jesus. Sometimes you aren’t aware of it because much of what he said and did has become ingrained in our culture — for example, the golden rule. There are three things that we look at in regard to his life before we consider the most important thing he ever did.

His teaching
He taught the truth with authority. His teaching is demanding but he calls his disciples to obedience. He taught with words and by example. And his teaching continues today through the Bible.

His power
He amply demonstrated his power over the demonic, nature, health, life and death.

His call
He issued, and still issues, a simple call: “follow me.” That call has an attachment to it: take up your cross daily. A little more about what that means a little later!

The Most Important Thing He Ever Did

His Death
His death was agonizing beyond description. Crucifixion was cruel — perhaps, the most tortuous way to die ever devised. Beyond the physical pain there was the emotional pain of shame and loneliness as well as the spiritual pain as he took on the sin of the world.

But, his resurrection
This is where things get exciting. First was the shock of hearing the words ‘he is not here, he is risen’ (Matthew 28:6). His resurrection is the once for all victory over sin and death.

What does this mean for us?
Our greatest fear, our greatest enemy, is death. Sin brings death. Death is frequently equated with the greatest of pain and plunges us into the unknown. While it is not always so, it is frequently, physically unpleasant. When my dad was dying, he said, “If this is dying, I don’t want to do it more than once.”

As we look into the realities of death and resurrection, we find that when we put our trust in God, we experience each of them twice.

We will physically die someday. That is inevitable, unless Jesus returns first. Even the one with the most robust faith, like my dad, will die. More on the other death later.

We also experience the power of resurrection twice. That power happens to us now with victory over sin and guilt. It transforms our daily lives and allows us to face physical death without fear!

We also experience the power of the resurrection when we physically die and are transported to heaven! Then in glorified body we will fully realize how incredible this resurrection is.

The power of his resurrection seems to us to be glorious — and it is!!
God’s resurrection power will be fully realized in us only when we die (take up our cross)!

When we fail to die to ourselves, we will still experience physical death but we will deprive ourselves of experiencing the power of resurrection in this life and in the one to come.

What do we need to die to?
Lack of faith. Too often, we don’t really trust God because we have a plan ‘b’ in place. To trust, to have faith, means to fully believe, lean, surrender and obey.

Selfishness. We have gotten the idea that being a Christian is about what God does for us.

So we think that somehow Jesus joins with me in my life — the life I have chosen. At times he will stoop to join us in our struggles but he yearns to lift us to join him in his victories!

The reality is that being a disciple means we join him and become part of his kingdom. We think that Jesus should fix my life when we should live in the reality of Jesus is my life! The Kingdom of Heaven is not a self-help program with a spiritual component!! It really isn’t about us! It’s about Jesus.

Pride. Here’s what pride sounds like. My voice must be heard. I know best; I must have my way. I will fight for my right to be heard. My comfort, my personal agenda are of utmost importance. And pride exists among followers of Jesus. But we must die to it!

Money. We are in one of two camps when it comes to money. We have too much and don’t want to part with it or we have too little and want God to give us more.
Gossip. We find comfort in sharing other people’s problems and we can’t help but share our opinion and what we know.

Bitterness and anger. We get angry when we don’t get our way. We are bitter when we see people get ahead and we don’t. When we have these feelings, we betray our distrust of God!

Unforgiving spirit. We have been hurt and carry it with us. We refuse to forgive until the offender apologizes.

Sexual sin. We go along with our culture and engage in pornography, lustful thoughts and sexual expression outside of marriage.

When we finally die to all these things and anything else we cling to the chains will fall off — we will be set free. We will finally experience our own resurrection and the power of God in our lives.

Your Turn
In order for you to experience resurrection power, what do you need to die to today? Do it and trust God for his power to manifest and make it possible!

[ Jim Wolstenholm ]

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“What Jesus Did For Us”

Pastor Coatney continues the Restart With Jesus series by speaking about the sacrifices made by Christ to showcase the immeasurable love that God has for us.

[ Vicente Coatney II ]

Sermon: https://vimeo.com/409518438

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“The Cross – Billy Graham’s Message To America”

Part of “My Hope With Billy Graham” – an urgent new message of Hope from Billy Graham,

[ Billy Graham ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bba2Dqaw6SI

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“What does it mean to accept Jesus as your personal Savior?”

How can I receive Jesus Christ as my personal Savior?

[ Got Questions ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CP0vxnnQLE

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“What does it mean that Jesus saves?”

How does Jesus save? Why does Jesus save? Who does Jesus save?

[ Got Questions ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JgAYHWc7PE

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“What did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished”?”

How did Jesus’ death on the cross finish the provision of salvation?

[ Got Questions ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GKNNu8Qg_I

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“It Is Finished”

[ Tony Evans ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP5jOPR6EPQ

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“Saying #6 – “It is Finished!” | 7 Last Words”

In our sixth video in this series we examine the words, “It is finished.” These could perhaps be the most important three words a believer could ever hear. Find out what the significance of these words are for the believer and how they impact our lives.

[ Alan Parr ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LJtKPudG2g

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“Understanding What Jesus Did on the Cross and Why It Matters for You”

An animated illustration of the Gospel of Jesus and the true meaning of faith and repentance.

[ Epikos Church ]

Illustration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKjTEMt43uU

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“THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our Christian faith.1 This event, which occurred almost two thousand years ago, is the best attested fact in human history and experience. The resurrection of Christ was predicted in the Old Testament and by Christ Himself.2 During the forty days following His resurrection, Jesus showed Himself to be alive from the dead by “many infallible proofs.”3 He appeared at various times and places to many people who told others what they had seen.4

Christ’s resurrection has been at the heart of the church’s message from the Day of Pentecost to the present. By rising from the dead, Jesus Christ demonstrated that He had cleansed the guilt of our past and is able to help us in our present lives.5 His resurrection assures us that our future is safe and secure.6 Without Christ’s resurrection we would have no salvation from sin, and no hope for our own future resurrection.

The empty tomb is proof of Christ’s deity.7 It guarantees the future resurrection of believers.8 The resurrection of Christ also provides believers with spiritual power today.9 The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is evidence that God will one day judge the world in righteousness.10

1 1 Corinthians 15:17

2 Job 19:25–27; Psalms 16:9–11; 22:22; 118:22–24; Matthew 16:21; Mark 9:30–32; Luke 18:31–34; John 2:19–22

3 Acts 1:3

4 Luke 24:33–43; John 20:24–29; 1 Corinthians 15:3–8

5 Romans 4:24–25; Hebrews 7:25

6 John 14:19

7 John 5:26; Romans 1:4

8 John 14:19; 1 Corinthians 15:20–23

9 Romans 6:3–4; Ephesians 1:19–21

10 Acts 17:31

[ Moody Bible Institute ]

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“The Resurrection of Jesus – Bible Story”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection, the belief in God’s saving grace through Jesus is destroyed. When Jesus rose from the dead, he confirmed his identity as the Son of God and his work of atonement, redemption, reconciliation, and salvation. The resurrection was a real, literal, physical raising of Jesus’ body from the dead.

Jesus was arrested, tried, and found guilty of claiming to be a king. His body was hung on a cross between two thieves. After his death, Jesus’ body was wrapped in linen cloths and placed in a tomb with a large stone rolled across the opening. On the third day, an early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and another Mary came to the tomb and found it empty. Sitting on the rolled away stone was an angel of the Lord who told them to not be afraid because Jesus had risen. As the women left to tell the disciples, Jesus Christ met them and showed them his nail-pierced hands.

Both the Old and the New Testament speak of the truth of Jesus being raised from death – Jesus testified of his resurrection before he died on the cross and his disciples witnessed his body after the resurrection. Below are the Bible verses and Scriptures that both prophecize the resurrection of Jesus and testify of the reality of the resurrected body of Christ.

Article: https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-stories/the-resurrection-of-jesus-bible-story.html

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“Be Gripped by the POWER of the Resurrection in This Version of Luke 24!”

The resurrection of Jesus has changed lives over and over, and this captivating version of Luke 24 will show you why. By the end of this one, I was cheering!

[ Bible Study Tools Videos ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAjPecUPgwg

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“What Jesus Did”

[ Joel Holm ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyRPWaTICJI

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“This is what Jesus did for You…”

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16

Snippet of movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXC433OKjNI

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“Most People Don’t Even Realize What Jesus Did On The Cross”

[ Grace Digital Network ]

Illustration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SNCxkUztG4

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“What Jesus Did | The Crucifixion”

Crucifixion – quite possibly the cruelest, most gruesome form of execution ever devised and practiced by humans. And yet, even in Jesus’ final moments of excruciating pain and agony, there are still glimmers of beauty. The cross was not the end but rather the beginning – the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise of redemption of His people. Men sought to put an end to something at The Crucifixion. But What Jesus Did was something else entirely.

[ Nathan A. LaBorie ]

Drama/Sermon: https://youtu.be/12bqzh0I-Po?t=1273

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“What Jesus Did”

Sermon from Sunday, June 7, is the last in our two year series in the book of John. John 21:24-25.

[ Cornerstone Church ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An2VE1INfks

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“What Jesus Did

I did a typography thing a few years back playing around with animating text in various ways. I saw another video which is in my favorites that was similar so I decided to have a go at it. The subject matter-I chose to do something that my church could use.

[ Mark Robinson ]

Illustration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7td0agr7cg

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“What Jesus Did | The Resurrection”

[ Robert P. Hahn ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuVqGcrJCd8

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“Resurrection of Jesus: Hoax or Truth?”

Why the Resurrection Matters.
Christians believe the resurrection is true, and that historical accounts of it have provided adequate evidence to certify it as a real event. Why is the resurrection so important? Because without it, our faith has no basis. The apostle Paul suspends the weight of Christianity on this single thread: If Jesus has not been raised, then our faith is worthless; and we are to be pitied above all men (1 Corinthians 15). [more…]

[ Sheri Bell ]

Article: https://www.josh.org/resurrection-jesus-hoax-truth/

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“The Resurrection of Jesus Christ” [Series]

Jesus Christ had just been crucified. The disciples, fearing brutal persecution and death because of their association with Him, escaped into seclusion.

Terrified that Jesus really would rise from the dead or that His body would be stolen, authorities ordered heavy security at His tomb. Any Roman soldier who failed to keep Christ’s body in the tomb faced likely execution.

Yet this cataclysmic three-day period culminated in Christ’s glorious victory over death!

Be encouraged by these and many more often-overlooked details about our Lord’s burial and resurrection in John MacArthur’s vivid study from Matthew—The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

[ John MacArthur ]

Series: https://www.gty.org/library/topical-series-library/178/the-resurrection-of-jesus-christ

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“The Resurrection of Jesus Christ: The Main Event in Redemptive History”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FO-VsZVdztw

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“Profound Implications of the Resurrection”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCK9KvSIka8

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“Three Responses to the Resurrection”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5JJ4lWFjPg

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“How a Lie Proves the Resurrection”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhPAg45oCzo

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“Conclusive Evidence of Christ’s Resurrection”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk1LtiEiYsc

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“What Resurrection Means for You”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ip45D_MjLU

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“The Full Impact of the Resurrection”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htxnnnj5y7c

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“The Full Force of the Resurrection”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN479zZmw3s

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“The Reality of Resurrection”

[ John MacArthur ]

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXxj4tcwJHM
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0PkkpXTbXc
Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWlSDtKoefc

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“I Am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:17–36)”

[ John MacArthur ]

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUn8h8jpcpU
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzLQTaP1dq8
Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPV1N6YWZ28

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“John MacArthur – The Resurrection”

The Resurrection is the crowning event in God’s redemptive history. The Resurrection is the cornerstone of Christianity. It is the foundation of the gospel. It is the guarantee of heaven.

Sermon Jam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEQmHoPU-BI

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“Look What Jesus Christ Did”

In 1 Peter 3:18, Peter explains how Jesus Christ took our debt owed to God for having broken His laws. Jesus carried our debt to His cross and paid the debt in our place. Pastor Jack Hibbs dives deeper into Christ’s resurrection and why He suffered once for our sins – both for the just and the unjust.

[ Jack Hibbs ]

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw7NKbBeeH4
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7B7VCovD8Y
Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55Ic_JhdM_c
Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5rPhigcfws

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“What Jesus Did For You”

Jesus is ready to welcome you into His arms.

[ Dr. Michael Youssef ]

Sermon snippet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_n-U98B4bY

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“What Jesus Did to Death”

Just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27–28)

[ John Piper ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrGLqF-rVCo

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“It is Finished! A Gospel Message About what Jesus did on the Cross!”

[ Faith Community Janesville ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFw2OsPdAMU

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The following is an adapted version of an article that was first published in Brunstand Christian Church’s periodical “Skjulte Skatter” (“Hidden Treasures”) in November 1929 with the title, “What Jesus Christ is to me.” (A publication still being published by “Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag,” a Norwegian book and magazine publisher 100+ years later!)

It was most likely written by its ‘organizer’, Johan Oscar Smith, who started BCC in the early 1900’s from an unorganized group of friends, that is now an officially registered church with 8,200 members today in Norway (in addition to local churches in 54 countries).

Johan says, very well, how much Jesus should matter to the believer:

“- He is my peace. Outside that, there can be unrest and commotion everywhere as far as I am concerned.
– He is my joy. I do not need any other joy.
– He is the atonement for all my sins. He has cast all my sins behind Him into the sea of forgetfulness. If I should sin again, He will forgive me, for this sin has also been atoned for.
– He is my sanctifier. He purifies me again and again as long as I live. His death is working in me, with the result that there is gradually more room for the life of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:12)
– He is my Shepherd. Even if no one else cares for me, He does so faithfully day and night.
– He is my song of praise. If there is no other topic or any other reason for singing praises, He is.
– He is my capital. I do not need any other capital. If that is not sufficient, then nothing is sufficient.
– He is my income. If that fails, then everything fails.
– He is my insurance. If that isn’t safe, nothing is safe.
– He is my future. I look unto Him. I am going to meet Him. Then my future is bright and long. Hallelujah!
– He is my only Lord and ruler. I have sanctified Him as Lord in my heart. (1 Peter 3:15) I have submitted to Him, being fully confident of the perfect goodness of His guidance and commands.
– He is my family. He is my mother, sister, and brother.
– He is my honor. I have absolutely no need of any other honor. It makes no difference if people dishonor and despise me all the days of my life.
– He is my fortress, my shield, and my guardian. There I am safe.
– He is my Master. I am an apprentice. Even if no one else instructs me diligently in the truth, He does.
– He is my leader. Even if all others were only talkers who had not themselves gone on the way, so I could rely on them to lead me, He would still be well acquainted with the way. Glory be to His name!
– He is my captain. Even if no one else strengthens me and teaches me to wage war, He is a mighty warrior, the captain of God’s host. He is no weakling.
– He is my rest. Even though my body had neither bed nor pillow, my spirit would still have a delightful place of rest – in Him!
– He is my storeroom. Even if I did not have any supplies, yet in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and I am a member of His body, filled by Him.
– He is my physician. Even if no earthly physician can heal my body, He can do it; and He also does it if it is for my best.
– He is my goal – to become like Him and partake of His nature.
– He is my forerunner. I am not journeying on an unknown way as an explorer. It is a way that has been cleared and on which Jesus has run ahead. Every step has been taken by Him previously. He has been tested in all points, exactly like the steps I am now taking and am yet to take. What a comfort that is!
– He is my comfort. This comfort is sufficient for me.
– He is my Judge. It does not matter how other people judge me.
– He is my choice food. He is the bread of life. His flesh is truly food.
– He is my entertainment and my pleasure. All other entertainment fades by comparison.
– He is my fortune and my prosperity. What He sends in my way is always fortunate and for my prosperity. No one has ever experienced better fortune and prosperity.
– He is my wisdom and my understanding. Greater wisdom and better understanding than obedience to Him is not to be found.
– He – the Word – is my sword. This weapon cuts better than any other.
– He is my faithful, upright friend. Any other friendship is not needed.
– He is my interest. Relative to Him all other interests are pure vanity.
– He is my rock and my foundation. He stands when everything else passes away.
– He is my life. It shall endure forever.
– He is the truth. There is never a reason to doubt Him.
– He is my Bridegroom, my eternally Beloved.
– He is my defender, my advocate, my lawyer. I have no need for any other lawyers.
– He is the Mediator; He mediates between the Father and me. I have access to the Father through Him.
– He is God’s Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit.
– He is the Son of Man, a man, the son of Abraham, the son of David, born of the Virgin Mary.
– He is my true Brother, the most excellent and firstborn among many brethren.
– He is my High Priest who has compassion with my infirmities.
– He is my holiday. You cannot have a more strengthening vacation than by abiding in Him.
– He is my comfort. No one can be more comfortable than by being where He is.
– He is the tree of life into which I have been grafted as a branch.
– He is the master builder who is building me up together with the others as a habitation of God in the Spirit.
– He is the chief cornerstone in the living building in which I have also become a living stone.
– He is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense of which I have become a partaker through the cross – an offense to all those who want to defend their own.
– He is the Head of the church, the body of which I have also become a member.
– He is my strength. I can do all things in Him – everything that He appoints for me.
– He is God’s power. It is marvelous that He could accomplish all the things He did in a flesh and blood like ours.
– He is God’s wisdom. It is marvelous to gain insight into what occurred in Christ Jesus.
– He is the mystery of God. Is it any wonder that people do not understand His person?
– He is my time; He fills it. It never gets boring. Wasting time falls away.
– He is my Sabbath. I rest in Him, in His will and work, instead of going my own ways and “going about my own business.” I do this every day of the week all year long, and therefore I consider (as it is written) all days alike. Constant Sabbath rest! God be praised!
– He is the Giver of all good gifts. My eyes do not need to look out for other givers.
– He is my refuge. I can avoid having to run to broken cisterns on the day of need.
– He is the fountain of my life. “All my fountains are in You.” Psalm 87:7.
– He is in all things the perfect pattern.
– He is unchangeable and without shadow of turning. He is always the same even though all others are as changeable as the moon.
– He is everything to me. That is precisely why everything else is as nothing. It is meaningless and indifferent to me. Amen.”

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“Thanksgiving or Thanksliving”

Thanksgiving has always been for me a time to be thankful for all the blessings in my life.

But How Do We Live Thanksgiving?
I found the answer to that question in an article written by Wilferd A. Peterson called, The Art of Thanksgiving. In this article he talks about acts of thanksliving. To quote from this piece, Mr Peterson writes:

“The art of thanksgiving is thanksliving. It is gratitude in action. It is applying Albert Schweitzer’s philosophy: ‘In gratitude for your own good fortune you must render in return some sacrifice of your life for the other life.”

Examples From The Article of Thanksliving
– By living your life triumphantly
– By being grateful for all who have helped you by you doing things for others
– By striving to make others happy
– By helping to be an inspiration to others
– By living each day to the fullest
– By using your talents and obligations to be invested for the common good
– By facing the challenges of life as a challenge for achievement
– By enjoying what you have and sharing it with others

To Summarize
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all we have, but thanksliving is a way of life that if implemented could improve the quality of life not only for you and me, but for others. Do you live in a thanks giving way?

There are thousands upon thousands of people worldwide that would gladly give up their life to trade with you for your life, a life full of opportunity that just doesn’t exist in their world. Each one of these people desperately want a new life where they can live in peace, can work, can feed their families, can bring medical care to their children, can see new life where people are respected and valued and simply not seen as a scourge upon the government.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to be born into a country where freedom is guaranteed, where schooling is given and not a dream, where one can move from place to place without fear of being arrested or tortured, or shot dead. We who complain so often are the same ones that have more than can only be imagined by millions of others. We who take for granted what we see and do everyday always wanting more without even the slightest thought that we should have to pay for it or work for it.

The simple things we should be thankful for we ignore, the simple pleasures we take advantage of we just assume will always be there.

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. W. T. Purkiser

Thanksgiving
By Author Unknown

We are thankful for the care
That did not come to try us;
The burden that we did not bear,
The trouble that passed by us;
The task we did not fail to do,
The hurt we did not cherish;
The friend who did not prove untrue,
The joy that did not perish.

We are thankful for the blinding storm
That did not lose it swelling;
And for the sudden blight of harm
That came not nigh our dwelling.

We are thankful for the dart unsped,
The bitter word unspoken,
The grave unmade, the tear unshed,
The heart-tie still unbroken.

Thanksgiving Notes:
In the US, Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday of November. In Canada, Thanksgiving always falls on the second Monday of October. While the dates are different in each country, the tradition, the celebration, the giving of thanks is the same.

Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
“It is literally true, as the thankless say, that they have nothing to be thankful for. He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire. Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient. But a thankful heart hath a continual feast.” W .J. Cameron

“When one is thankful for the blessings in their life, they are choosing to attract more positivity and abundance.”
[ Michael Austin Jacobs ]

“Giving freely and giving with a good heart, will never go unrewarded.”
[ James Clear ]

[ Author: Catherine Pulsifer ]

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“Thanksliving: How to Live a Life of Thanks in an Ungrateful World”

We understand the importance of gratitude. There is little doubt our communities, marriages, and lives would be better if we lived in a consistent state of appreciation for all we have.

At a conceptual level we know our good fortune and believe we should be more grateful in every aspect of life.

But knowing what one should do is not the same as knowing how to do it.

How do we have gratitude? How can we live in a mindset completely opposed to the entitled, ungrateful, whiny, empty way most people live?

The answer is far simpler than we realize.

Grateful people search for the good.

Everyone else finds the bad. (See: The Day I Stole an Airline Ticket to See Jenny)

It doesn’t require a unique gift to find the negative in any situation. No one is perfect so there are problems all around.

Finding the good does require effort. It is rarely on the surface or in the spotlight. Most often the best of things lie hidden underneath an appearance of normalcy or the mundane. Our eyes are easily misdirected from the good by fault or mistake. While negative qualities often leap off a page, the positive attributes of people or circumstances most often are overlooked.1

But some can see them. Some have trained their eyes in such a way that they can see good where no one else can.2

The chemo-weary cancer patient who understands the kindness of a nurse is a gift and calls attention to it.

The grief-stricken widower who in the midst of sorrow can feel gratitude for the good memories and occasionally smile.

The struggling young couple who finds it difficult to make ends meet but still feels gratitude that they have one another.

Grateful people have a unique ability to find the good which is around them. They do not deny the bad. They do not turn a blind eye to suffering or refuse to speak of sorrow. But in the midst of the negative experiences of life, they actively seek the positive, identify it, celebrate it, and recount it for others to hear.1

In a world which is fixated on the bad, what if we had an uncanny ability to find the good?

How would it change:

Marriage. When marriages go bad, individuals often fixate on the negative and blame one another for everything wrong in the relationship. In good marriages, couples experience problems but they see those problems as existing outside the relationship and something they as a couple can attack. Those problems are viewed as minor negatives compared to an overarching climate of good. (See: “Please” and “Thank You” Matter as Much as Sex)

Parenting. While parents are consistently having to spot problems, correct, and discipline children, it is also our job to encourage them. How many times a day do we catch our children doing good and call their attention to it? Which is more powerful, critiquing a child or encouraging her? (See: A Father’s Primary Role)

Community. It’s easy to find the negative in governments, social organizations, and communities, but what if we spent our energy encouraging those who are working for the good? Send a card, write an email, give a gift to someone who is making a positive difference in the lives of others.

Life would be radically different if we lived in a constant state of gratitude, but how do we do so? In the midst of difficult times and with a natural bent toward seeing problems, how do we foster a continual mindset of gratitude?

Consider a drug-sniffing dog. A considerable amount of hours are spent training some dogs to identify drugs based on smell. Most of the training occurs by teaching the dog to focus on a specific smell and then hiding it in various places with many different distractions. Over time, the dog becomes more and more adept at locating what it is looking for.

What if we became the bloodhounds for good?2 What if we spent a considerable amount of time training our noses to seek the good no matter how hidden it might be or how many distractions were presented? (See: A Simple Way to Better Your Day)

We would begin the process by becoming so familiar with the good that we can recognize even its faintest smell.

The reason most people fail to recognize the good which is hidden in everyday life is because they do not train their minds to look for it. If you regularly see, touch, taste, hear, and smell that which is good, you will be far more likely to identify the good. Like a trainer rubbing a smell in a dog’s nose, we must intentionally rub our noses in the good on a daily basis.1 If we do not, we will lose our ability to recognize the good things in our lives.

As Paul writes to the church at Philippi, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

As we “think about these things” we will begin to see “these things” more and more. They are all around us. Some see them and some don’t.

Those who see them find gratitude. Those who are blind to them resort to a feeling of entitlement, disappointment, and bitterness.

In order to give thanks, we have to live thanks. As we live it, we give it.

[ Kevin A. Thompson ]

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“Thanks-Living”

Wanting to mature in her spiritual life and become more thankful, Sue started what she called a Thanks-Living jar. Each evening she wrote on a small piece of paper one thing she thanked God for and dropped it in the jar. Some days she had many praises; other difficult days she struggled to find one. At the end of the year she emptied her jar and read through all of the notes. She found herself thanking God again for everything He had done. He had given simple things like a beautiful sunset or a cool evening for a walk in the park, and other times He had provided grace to handle a difficult situation or had answered a prayer.

Sue’s discovery reminded me of what the psalmist David says he experienced (Ps. 23). God refreshed him with “green pastures” and “quiet waters” (vv. 2–3). He gave him guidance, protection, and comfort (vv. 3–4). David concluded: “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life” (v. 6).

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. Psalm 23:6
I’m going to make a Thanks-Living jar this year. Maybe you’d like to as well. I think we’ll see we have many reasons to thank God—including His gifts of friends and family and His provisions for our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. We’ll see that the goodness and love of God follow us all the days of our lives.

Dear Lord, You bless me in more ways than I can count. Thank You for Your love for me.

When you think of all that’s good, give thanks to God.

————–

Psalm 23 is a familiar favorite of many people. Modern believers are unlikely to connect shepherds with sovereigns. Yet in the Bible world, people did think of kings as shepherds. Look up Psalm 78:71–72; 2 Samuel 5:2; Isaiah 44:28; and Jeremiah 3:15. (Amazingly, note that in Revelation 7:17 a Lamb will shepherd His people!) After all, what does a shepherd do? He cares, controls, governs, protects, and so on. Isn’t that what any good king would do? In other words, the job profile for kings and shepherds is not all that different. God’s giving is the trigger for our responsive thanksgiving. And thanksgiving can be packaged as “thanks-living.” Why not take an inventory of ways God has provided for you this week? How might your thanksgiving practically manifest itself in “thanks-living”?

[ Our Daily Bread ]

Video: https://odb.org/2017/01/01/thanks-living/

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“The Joy of Thanks-living”

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
We’ve arrived at the best time of the year – the Thanksgiving/Christmas season. I just love being with family and friends… enjoying great food, great fellowship, and great football (Go Longhorns!).

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we tend to focus on our blessings and giving thanks for God’s goodness. While that is certainly a good thing, it is not the best thing. The best thing is to turn Thanksgiving into Thanks-living. Regardless of the day or the situation, God wants us to be thankful. Why is that?

1. Thanks-living lets God know you have confidence in Him, no matter how deep the problems or how dire the circumstances. Thanks is faith turned inside out.

2. Thanks-living changes your countenance and disposition. Instead of being down and discouraged, spreading gloom and despair everywhere you go, you begin to radiate the joy of the Lord. The best witnesses for Christ are those who are facing life’s trials with a song of thanksgiving on their lips.

3. Thanks-living opens the door for God to work. God hates it when we grumble and gripe… but He loves it when we praise and give thanks. As we begin to live a life of thankfulness to God, He begins to work, even through the toughest trials and tests of faith. Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison… and they sang a hymn of praise to the Lord. And when they finished singing, the Lord sent a jailhouse rock, and the prison doors were opened. You mark it down: God does miracles on our behalf when we choose to thank Him and praise Him, even in the deepest, darkest pit.

Let me challenge you as I challenge myself. Discipline yourself to give thanks in everything. Thank Him for the mountains … and thank Him for the valleys. He is worthy of all your thanks and praise.

A Prayer You May Need to Pray

Dear God, I hate to say it, but I have been guilty of grumbling and griping about all my problems and trials. I have failed to be thankful and to remember that You are at work in my life, even through all the troubles. Please forgive me, God. I want to be a person who keeps my eyes on You and praises You, no matter what may come my way. So, thank you God for these blessings (name them) and these challenges (name them). I know You are in control of all things. I know You love me and work all things together for my good. I choose to trust You, Lord. Teach me to be a “praiser” who always finds the good… and not a complainer who always finds the bad. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love,
Pastor Jeff Schreve

*****************************
“Pause and Give Thanks”

Wherever you find yourself today,
Whether filled with joy or wrapped in pain,
Remember to pause a moment and give thanks.

For no other event in our history and time,
Can change our lives like the birth of Christ—so Divine.
His love never failing, and His Presence always near
The greatest wonder in Heaven on Christmas did appear.

God’s gift full of grace that brings life, love, and hope,
Can be unwrapped by us all – changing life’s scope.
For when we invite His life into our hearts,
No love is greater than that He imparts.

So wherever you find yourself today,
Remember to pause and give thanks,
For He is the Truth and the Way!

[ Carolyn Lynn Schwartz ]

*****************************
“Thanks Be To God!”

Thanks Be To God for His Indescribable Gift!

November is the month of Thanksgiving here in America. As Christians, we have so much for which to be thankful. But, more than being thankful for things, I believe we most need to be thankful to God Himself!

In 2 Corinthians 9:15, we read “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” We want to focus on that during the first three weeks of November, as we share a preaching series built from that scripture verse.

Thanks Be To God For His Indescribable Gift…

– Thanks Be To God For What He Has Done! – Colossians 1:12-14
– Thanks Be To God For What He Is Doing! – 1 Corinthians 15:57
– Thanks Be To God For What He Will Do! – Revelation 4:9-11

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN8KvgQUldk

*****************************
“Giving Thanks for Salvation”

Selected Scriptures

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=penW4O4Ic8s

*****************************
“Give Thanks”

This high energy Thanksgiving worship introduction features a mix of scripture from the Psalms as well as inspirational words about giving thanks to God for all His incredible works.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsIFkcfJyxk

*****************************
“Giving Thanks in Everything”

Dr. Charles Stanley shares why we should exercise gratefulness to God—even when we don’t feel like it.

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-e995lzzkc

*****************************
“In Everything Give Thanks”

Sermon Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-Age_TlSkY

*****************************
“Special Thanksgiving to the Father”

Sermon based on Colossians 1:12-13: “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”

[ Charles Spurgeon ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx_5rgkVcPY

*****************************
“Giving Thanks Always Unto God”

The element of praise in prayer; the importance of thanking God; all men should praise God; universal fatherhood of God denied; God ordained marriage and the family; gifts from God; give thanks for your salvation; sickness as a chastisement; we may always have confidence in God.

Ephesians 5:20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[ Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKHhyJ4D-Xg

*****************************
“A Model for Giving Thanks”

1 Chronicles 16:8-36

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jX3o6ZT116w

*****************************
“An Attitude of Gratitude”

Dr. Charles Swindoll, chancellor of Dallas Seminary and senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church, shares with us that the word thanksgiving when applied to God’s grace has an entirely new meaning.

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBYLsJ4UwU4

*****************************
“Give Thanks”

Your heart will be stirred through this moving video that reminds us to give thanks in all circumstances.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRaTSveqknw

*****************************
“What To Be Thankful For!”

For Thanksgiving we wanted to make this video. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have, many have all they want or need while others don’t. But one thing that we can all have regardless of our financial situation is salvation through Jesus Christ. Jesus died so that we may live forever. Let’s be thankful for we have Jesus and because of him we have life now and forever.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHj1dcQKZD4

*****************************
“Be Thankful For What We Have”

[ Nick Vujicic ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJUXjkQNCRc

*****************************
“In Everything Give Thanks”

Give thanks to god in everything in your life and in every moment….

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rz2d9GvRP8

*****************************
“Always Be Grateful for What you Have: ‘My Shoes’”

Over on our blog, we are in the middle of a series entitled, “Wealth Stored for the Righteous.” A lot of what we have learned is about how important it is to just be thankful for what we already have … to be grateful for the things that God has already blessed us with … to spend more time looking at what we already have, than looking at what others may have …

Here’s a link to the series: Wealth Stored for the Righteous:
https://pastorappreciationblog.com/?s=wealth+stored+for+the+righteous

Then … I came across this video … which in a quiet, but most powerful, powerful way, brings that point home. A little boy, grieving over the condition of his shoes … sees another little boy with brand new shoes … and wishes “He could be like him.”

Please view the video … and, always, always be grateful for what you have right now …

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bXjf9257YQ

*****************************
“I Choose Thankful”

Scripture tells us to give thanks in all circumstances. Many times it’s easy to be thankful when times are good, but what about when times are difficult, or when we lose a loved one? In a hopeful and emotional form, “I Choose Thankful” reminds us to be thankful in all of those moments. Use this mini-movie as an opener for Thanksgiving, thankfulness, difficult times, asking “why?”, or any season of life.

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSfmzAsiPc4

*****************************
“In Everything Give Thanks”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

[ Paul Washer ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWr6RtY7q2w

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
SONGS
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“What Have You Done For Me Lately”

[Spoken intro:]
What’s up girl?
He stood me up again
Again?
Mmhmm
Well what’s up with this guy?
Do you really like him that much?
Yes honey, I love him, he is fine,
he does a lot of nice things for me I know he used to do nice stuff for you,
but what has he done for you lately?

Used to be a time when you would pamper me
Used to brag about it all the time
Your friends seem to think that you’re so peachy keen
But my friends say neglect is on your mind
Who’s right?

What have you done for me lately?
Ooh ooh ooh yeah
What have you done for me lately?
Ooh ooh ooh yeah

Used to go to dinner almost every night
Dancin’ ’til I thought I’d lose my breath
Ahh
Now it seems your dancing feet are always on my couch
Good thing I cook or else we’d starve to death
Ain’t that a shame?

What have you done for me lately?
Ooh ooh ooh yeah
What have you done for me lately?
Ooh ooh ooh yeah

I never ask for more than I deserve
You know it’s the truth
You seem to think you’re God’s gift to this earth
I’m tellin’ you, no way

You ought to be thankful for the little things,
but little things are all you seem to give
You’re always putting off what we can do today
Soap opera says, you’ve got one life to live
Who’s right, who’s wrong?

What have you done for me lately?
Ooh ooh ooh yeah
What have you done for me lately?
Ooh ooh ooh yeah
What have you done for me lately?
Ooh ooh ooh yeah
What have you done for me lately?
Ooh ooh ooh yeah

Get with it
Uh, let me know, and from the front
Let me know, and let me know from the
What have you done for me lately?
Ooh ooh ooh yeah (yeah ha)
What have you done for me lately?
Ooh ooh ooh yeah (yeah)
What have you done for me lately?
Ooh ooh ooh yeah (yeah)

(No oh oh, no oh, yeah, mmmhmm
Da di da di, da di da da
Da
Mmmhmm
Yeah-e-yeah-e-yeah ha ha, hey
Mmmhmm, yeah ha ha)

What have you done for me lately? (lately)
Ooh ooh ooh yeah
(Uh, uh, uh, da di di da, di da di da, a di do da da, yeah)
What have you done for me lately?
Ooh ooh ooh yeah
What have you done for me lately? (lately)

This is wild, I swear.

[ Janet Jackson – “Control” album ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9uizdKZAGE

*****************************
“The Lord’s Been Good to Me”

The Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need
The sun and rain and an apple seed
Yes, He’s been good to me

I owe the Lord so much
For everything I see
I’m certain if it weren’t for Him
There’d be no apples on this limb
He’s been good to me

Oh, here am I ‘neath the blue, blue sky a-doin’ as I please
Singin’ with my feathered friends, hummin’ with the bees

I wake up every day as happy as can be
Because I know that with His care
My apple trees, they will still be there
Oh, the Lord is good to me

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_IrdS-zu48

*****************************
“Don Moen – With a Thankful Heart”

With a thankful heart, we will give You praise. You’ve been so good, covered us with grace. You have been our strength, in a time so dark. So we worship you, with a thankful heart.

[ Don Moen ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtmiqWUjO0A

*****************************
“Give Thanks”

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given
Jesus Christ, His Son

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given
Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, I am strong
Let the poor say, I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us

And now let the weak say, I am strong
Let the poor say, I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us

Give thanks
Give him Thanks
Give thanks
Give him Thanks

[ The Maranatha! Singers – “Praise Classics” album ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXtWlf3fZRw

*****************************
“What Mercy Did For Me”

I was hopeless
I knew i was lost
Death and Darkness were my only songs
I needed someone to come to rescue me
And mercy heard my plea

Lord, You found me
You healed me
You called me from the grave
You gave me your real love
I thank you Jesus
You washed my sins away
and now I’m living
Like I’m forgiven
You came to set me free
and that’s what Your mercy did for me

You gave beauty for my guilty stains
and now I’m living day to day by His grace
so excuse me if I can’t contain my praise
cause I know that I’ve been saved

Lord, You found me
You healed me
You called me from the grave
You gave me your real love
I thank you Jesus
You washed my sins away
and now I’m living
Like I’m forgiven
You came to set me free
and that’s what Your mercy did for me

And every morning mercy will restore me
I will proclaim
and even if the world may fall before me
I will proclaim

Lord, You found me
You healed me
You called me from the grave
You gave me your real love
I thank you Jesus
You washed my sins away
and now I’m living
Like I’m forgiven
You came to set me free
and that’s what Your mercy did for me

That’s what Your mercy did for me

[ Featuring Crystal Yates, Micah Tyler, and Joshua Sherman]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GRU5K3UFmE

*****************************
“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer

Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer

Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer

[ Alan Jackson ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCV5t8wRBI8

*****************************
“I Know What Jesus Did For Me”

I wasn’t there by the shores of Galilee
When Jesus touched those blinded eyes
and made them see
And though I did not see the empty tomb that day
I still believed, for I know what Jesus did for me.

I believe there is power in the blood of the Lamb
And I believe there is healing in the touch of His hand
But the greatest of all miracles was when Je –sus saved me
For I know what Jesus did for me

I have seen the lowest sin-sick soul
Have life anew and be made pure, pure and whole
And I have knelt and loosed the chains of sin
And set my spirit free
Yes, I know what Jesus did for me

I believe there is power in the blood of the Lamb
And I believe there is healing in the touch of His hand
But the greatest of all miracles was when Je –sus saved me
For I know what Jesus did for me

[ North Valley Baptist Church of Santa Clar ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4iTZCb4bBc

*****************************
“My Faith Has Found A Resting Place”

My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device nor creed;
I trust the ever living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that he died for me.

Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul, I come to him,
He’ll never cast me out.

My heart is leaning on the Word,
The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name,
Salvation through his blood.

My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost he came to save;
For me his precious blood he shed,
For me his life he gave.

[ Sung by Lor ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1UJA-_XD0Q

*****************************
“By His Wounds”

[ Mac Powell ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdLT-vvheV4

*****************************
“What The Lord Has Done In Me”

[ David Wesley ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOlhRPQnwM4

*****************************
“Jesus Did It”

Let me tell you my story
Sick for all these years
Destined to die, living in fear
I was broken, filled with shame
Living a lie, tryna ease the pain
Have you ever, been so low
No where to turn
Nowhere to go
Well let me tell you about…

[ Grace ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4X2J7R2SBsg

*****************************
“Yes, I Know What Jesus Did For Me”

[ The Jim Brady Trio ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4o3BVivkvA&t=190s

*****************************
“Do What Jesus Did”

[ Walk Worthy ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2NmXG4cBi8

*****************************
“Jesus Did It for Me”

[ Evidence Quartet ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1lDPMK-AIA

*****************************
“What Jesus Did for Me”

[ Daniel Crabtree ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ayr-MI9cABI

*****************************
“What Jesus Did For Me”

[ Under the Blood ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE4ZL12qBoM

*****************************
“What Jesus Did for Me”

[ The Walkers ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zto5O34X8qc

*****************************
“That’s What Jesus Did”

[ Jimmy R. Price ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr0Nm9_alLU

*****************************
“That’s What Jesus Did”

[ Right On Time ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gia45mbPvCA

*****************************
“My Faith Has Found A Resting Place”

[ Lor ]

Some: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1UJA-_XD0Q

*****************************
“That’s What Jesus Did”

[ Lifeway Worship ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjKQ0e4C0cE

*****************************
“Yes, I Know What Jesus Did For Me”

I wasn’t there by the shores of Galilee
When Jesus touched those blinded eyes
and made them see
And though I did not see the empty tomb that day
I still believed, for I know what Jesus did for me.

I believe there is power in the blood of the Lamb
And I believe there is healing in the touch of His hand
But the greatest of all miracles was when Je –sus saved me
For I know what Jesus did for me

I have seen the lowest sin-sick soul
Have life anew and be made pure, pure and whole
And I have knelt and loosed the chains of sin
And set my spirit free
Yes, I know what Jesus did for me

I believe there is power in the blood of the Lamb
And I believe there is healing in the touch of His hand
But the greatest of all miracles was when Je –sus saved me
For I know what Jesus did for me

[ Brenda Sours ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vyQuBuLyDM

*****************************
“What Jesus Did For Me”

[ Marion Williams ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpNCy7CSRck

*****************************
“It Is Finished”

[ Melodie Malone ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEiFSrBwIjk

*****************************
“There Is A Redeemer”

There is a redeemer
Jesus, God’s own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Holy One

Jesus my redeemer
Name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Oh, for sinners slain

Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
‘Til the work on Earth is done

When I stand in Glory
I will see His face
And there I’ll serve my King forever
In that Holy Place

Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
‘Til the work on Earth is done

There is a redeemer
Jesus, God’s own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Holy One

Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
‘Til the work on Earth is done

And leaving Your Spirit
‘Til the work on Earth is done

[ Written by Keith Green – Arranged by Blake Richter ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnqdIcLtShI

*****************************
“He Lives”

I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today
I know that He is living, whatever men may say
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer
And just the time I need Him He’s always near

He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Christ Jesus lives today
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way
He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Salvation to impart
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart

In all the world around me I see His loving care
And though my heart grows weary I never will despair
I know that He is leading, through all the stormy blast
The day of His appearing will come at last

He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Christ Jesus lives today
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way
He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Salvation to impart
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ, the King
The Hope of all who seek Him, the Help of all who find
None other is so loving, so good and kind

He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Christ Jesus lives today
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way
He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Salvation to impart
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart

[ Alan Jackson – “Precious Memories” album]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv-ibJHsgy8

*****************************
“Give Thanks To God”

He sent his son to die
and rise again to save us
His never ending love
is steadfast and sure
He’s broken our chains
and given us freedom
Give thanks to God
for He is good
In Him we are alive and have joy everlasting
His never ending love
is steadfast and sure
He casts out all fear
and fills us with courage
Give thanks to God
for He is good
When storms come and rage
His peace overwhelms us
Never ending love
is steadfast and sure
The Lord is our refuge
when troubles surround us
Give thanks to God
for He is good
Give thanks to God
for He is good
He’s always pouring out
His abundant provision
His never ending love
is steadfast and sure
For the depths of His riches
and incredible wisdom
Give thanks to God
for He is good
Give thanks to God
for He is good
Give thanks to God
for He is good
Give thanks to God
for He is good
Give thanks to God
for He is good
Give thanks to God
for He is good
Always good
Always good to me
Always good
Always good to me
Always good
Always good to me
Always good
Always good to me
Always good
Always good to me
Always good
You’re always good to me
You’re always good
Always good to me
You’re always good
Always good to me
In all my questions
You’re always good
Always good to me
You’re all I need
You’re always good
Always good to me
You are always good
Always good to me

[ “Give Thanks to God” featuring Kirby Kaple and Pat Barrett
Written by Allan McKinlay and Peter Crockett from Housefires’ fourth live album, “We Say Yes.” ]

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iqp8MLNFnas

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
APOLOGETIX SONGS
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“Died and Rose”
(Parody of “China Grove” by Doobie Brothers)

When the Son come down He was deep within the ground surrounded by a giant stone
And it’s no surprise that on the Sabbath day all His pals stayed home
But things were all about to change and they never were the same
Well, we’re talkin’ cause He died and rose — Lord, died and rose!
Well, their leader, Simon Peter, and John the Apostle, they took a walk to the tomb
And the Gospel came alive when they arrived and they found an empty room
But they had forgotten His claim that He’d resurface again
Well, we’re talkin’ ’cause He died and rose — Lord, died and rose!
Then He came when the group met Sunday — They’d locked the doors and shut the room
But standin’ right among them was the man they called Lord
You just should have seen the look in their eyes!
But Thomas would doubt it for eight more days
Till Jesus came when he was there — He just took one look and he believed! LEAD

[ ApologetiX – “Jesus Christ Morningstar” album ]

*****************************
“Didn’t Just Die”
(Parody of “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney & Wings)

When He was hung on the cross like a common crook
His accusers said He was just dead (You know they did, you know they did …)
But it was everlasting life that He was livin’ — And they’d get a surprise
He didn’t just die! Didn’t just die! Didn’t just die! Didn’t just die!
LEAD
What He did matters to ya — Man He did a job for you — you couldn’t do yourself
He had to save ya from the pit of Hell
LEAD
Now you still say He was just dead (You know you did, you know you did …)
But He could never save this world unless He’s livin’
Don’t you give up on Christ — He didn’t just die!

[ ApologetiX – “Jesus Christ Morningstar” album ]

*****************************
“Crossloads”
(Parody of: “Crossroads” by Cream)

Simon helped with the cross load
Dwelt in old Cyrene
Helped with the cross load
Helped our Lord, I mean
Ask someone about the verses, check in Mark 15

Simon helped with the cross load
Right in back of Christ
Helped with the cross load
Simon’s an African guy
Nobody seemed to notice
Whether he was black or white

Well, our Lord died and rose, well
Take my word and my advice
Do what Simon does, pal
Take your cross and follow Christ
You can feel that His yoke’s easy
And His burden’s light

Know He died and rose, well
Take my word and my advice
Do it now, and don’t fail
Take your cross and follow Christ
He can help bear your cross, baby
Once He lives inside

You can walk with that cross
Well, my friend, don’t put it down
Walk with that cross
Well, my friend, don’t put it down
We’re all staring at a crossload
Believe and seek Him now

[ ApologetiX – “Nichey” album ]

*****************************
“Man on a Cross”
(Parody of: “Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains)

I-i-i-i-yi-yi-yi-yi-o
I-i-i-i-yi-yi-yi-yi-o
I am a man on a cross
Perishin’ in my sin
Won’t You kindly save me?
Please save me

Please, I cry (Can You show me love?)
Jesus Christ (Can I be saved, sir?)
He replies (You’ll be with Me)
In Paradise (Now you’re goin’ up)

I-i-i-i-yi-yi-yi-yi-o
I-i-i-i-yi-yi-yi-yi-o

High on a cross with this thief
Struck for those in sin
Won’t You kindly save me?
Please save me

See that sky (Heaven’s opened up)
Jesus Christ (Divine Redeemer)
He who dies (will be raised yet)
We will rise (Now we’re goin’ up)

See me — I’m crucified (Death for both of us)
(With) Jesus Christ (We died together)
Read between the lines (in Galatians)
He redeemed my life (Now we’re goin’ up)

I-i-i-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-o
I-i-i-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-o

[ ApologetiX – “Hot Potato Soup” album ]

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“Every Crown Has Its Thorns”
(Parody of: “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison)

We’re both like Simon; we still live in a state of denial Although we’d both like to go to Heaven
We feel surprised about the trial
But the suff’ring Christ did accomplished somethin’ And the worst all turned out right
Go and find out in Hebrews chapter 5 Verses 7 through 9 —you see

Every crown has its thorns
Just like every life has its cross
Just like every choirboy sings some sad, sad songs Every crown has its thorns — it does

A Christian needs to take his cross
Take it up and hit the road
Yeah, ‘cause Jesus said lots of times that we should do it and He should know
But I wonder — as He walked
If He ever felt like quittin’
Yet I know we wouldn’t be here right now if Christ
Took a different road than Calvary

Every crown has its thorns
Just like every life has its cross
Just like every choirboy sings some sad, sad songs Every crown has its thorns

Though I’m in a trial now
Christ can still feel all my pain
Like the nails that cut through and bruised Him But the scars — Christ’s scars remain

I know He could have saved His life that night if Christ Had chosen to run away
Instead of takin’ off — He chose
To take the narrow way
And now I’m Heaven-bound and born anew And, man, I never had that much to lose But I’m here to bear my cross in life
And to see Him on the other side — I guess

Every crown has its thorns
Just like every life has its cross
Just like every choirboy sings some sad, sad songs Every crown has its thorns

[ ApologetiX – “Spoofernatural” album ]

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“Too Wicked for Paradise”
(Parody of: “Two Tickets to Paradise” by Eddie Money)

Caught in our crimes I guess that we both knew
Someday that both of us would both be wanted and doomed
We did so wrong, we did so wrong
We did so wrong, we did so wrong

I’m on a stake my arms outstretched not from Him
They’ve got two wicked men on crosses now hanging
With One who didn’t sin
He did no wrong, He did no wrong
He did no wrong, He did no wrong

I’m not too quick to prepare to die
But I’m going to act real fast with Jesus Christ
I’ve got two seconds to verify
I’m not too wicked for Paradise

Whoa–oh–oh–oh–oh–oh–oh–oh–oh–oh–oh
Whoa–oh–oh–oh–oh–oh–oh–oh–oh–oh–oh
I’m gonna beg you, Lord, forgive those awful years
And when your kingdom comes I hope You’ll save me
He said, “Listen here — you know what?”
I’ll take you along, take you along
Take you along, take you along

I’ve got true riches in Paradise
And those who ask Me that won’t be denied
I’ve got you with Me in Paradise
So don’t you act real sad, you’ll see tonight
I’ve got true riches in Paradise
And those who ask Me that won’t be denied
I’ve got you with Me to Paradise
I’ve brought you with Me to Paradise

[ ApologetiX – “Easter Standard Time” album ]

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“Back Intact”
(Parody of: “Back in Black” by AC/DC)

Back intact, yes, it’s a fact
And not a bone was fractured or cracked
Yes, sir, spread the news, it’s Gospel truth
Nail-scarred feet, hands are the proof
And a spear went in My side, come and check with your eyes
I kept the scars, now I’ll never die, I got Son-rised, baptized
Keepin’ every bone like David prophesied

‘Cause I’m back, yes, I’m back, well, I’m back, yes, I’m back
Well, I’m ba-a-a-ack, ba-a-a-ack
Well, I’m back intact, yes, I’m back intact

Oh, back as a man, I’m alive again
Not a ghost, I can prove I’m not a charlatan
Yes, I’m in the flesh, here’s a test
You guys can watch Me eat a couple of fish
‘Cause I’m back off the rack, where I was beaten and smacked
Nobody’s gonna get me now I’m over that
Take a look at the Psalms; they predicted my fate
Psalm 34, verse 20, said I’ll never break

‘Cause I’m back, yes, I’m back, well, I’m back, yes, I’m back
Well, I’m ba-a-a-ack, ba-a-a-ack
Well, I’m back intact, yes, I’m back intact
Out of the black!

[ ApologetiX -“New and Used Hits” album ]

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“Rose Up”
(Parody of: “Roller” by April Wine)

Yeah!
Oh! All right!

Gonna catch a flight into Heaven
Leavin’ friends below, but they’ll wait
Said that He’ll be makin’ a comeback
Even if it might be late

Yeah, ‘cause Jesus rose up, now
And I know He’ll raise me, Jesus
Mmm, Jesus rose up, yeah
And I know He’ll raise me — I’ll rise
Woo!

Ooh, He’d like to save us all from our sufferin’
He tells us all the choice we’ve got
So get a Bible now and be ready, yeah
‘Cause gettin’ to Heaven can’t be bought

Ooh, Jesus rose up, yeah
And I know He’ll raise me, my Lord
Ooh, Jesus rose up, yeah
And I know He’ll raise me — no doubt

Jesus Christ, He tells me He’ll raise me
I’m trustin’ in the words He say, yeah
Tells us all in John in 6:40
So believe in Him all the way

Ooh, ‘cause Jesus rose up, yeah (Rose up)
And I know He’ll raise me — yeah
Jesus rose, uh huh, yeah (Rose up)
And I know He’ll raise me — Jesus

Jesus rose up (Rose up)
And I know He’ll raise me — yeah
Uh, Jesus rose, uh huh (Rose up)
And I know He’ll raise me — ooh

My my — like Christ — I’ll fly — bye bye
Bye bye bye bye bye bye bye
Bye bye bye bye (yeah eeeh) bye bye bye
Bye bye bye bye bye bye bye
Ooh! Yeahhh! Ooh!

[ ApologetiX – “Doves in Snakes’ Clothing” album ]

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“The Jews’ Lost Hero”
(Parody of: “Juke Box Hero” by Foreigner)

Laid Him in the grave — with their heads hung low
Couldn’t have predicted — they wouldn’t hold out hope
Heard the roar of the crowd — crucifixion decreed
Saw Him nailed to the cross — surprised He didn’t scream
His words stunned the guard — just blew him away
Saw love in His eyes — through His very last day

But the beat–up victim — couldn’t take it anymore
Took a Roman to say it — but he knew for sure
That Son of God — was good till the end
He didn’t do wrong — to other men
That One they scarred — One they’d brought low
Was the One predicted — from a long time ago

So they brought a rock in –and laid it on the top
Lotta people talkin’ — some say God’ll raise that dude back up
To be the Jews’ lost hero (God’s Son will arise)
He’s the Jews’ lost hero
He’s the Son of God (Jews’ lost hero — Son will arise)
Jews’ lost hero (Son will arise) — He’s gonna rise to life

In Isaiah 53 — in a passage now ignored
God described a Man of sorrows — my exact same Lord
Like the Scriptures at last — that day finally came
When that One they scarred — made the whole world change

Now I hear some people knock Him — they just can’t stop
Gotta read more often –that poignant spot Isaiah’s got
To see the Jews’ lost hero (God’s Son did arise)
He’s the Jews’ lost hero (God’s Son did arise)
Yeahhhh — Jews’ lost hero (Son did arise)
With that Son of God (Son did arise)
We’ll come alive — come alive through Christ

Yeahhhh — a lotta people mock Him –they just can’t stop
But I think you’d like Him –that joy I’ve got you may have sought
You need the Jews’ lost hero (God’s Son is alive)
He’s the Jews’ lost hero (God’s Son is alive)
He’s the Son of God (Jews’ lost hero) (God’s Son is alive)
‘Cause He’s the Jews’ lost hero
Jews’ lost hero — Jews’ lost hero
Jesus Christ is alive
Christ is alive

[ ApologetiX – “Nichey” album ]

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“Magdalena”
(Parody of: “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” by Los Del Rio)

If by chance they call me Magdalena
It’s because of the place from where I came-a
I’m called Mary, I’m one of many
So I’ll tell you the place to find me
Mark 16, John 20
And Magdala’s the name of my city
Mark 16, John 20
And Magdala’s the name of my city

All the apostles said, We hear you, Magdalena
You’re the first to see Christ
Since the day he passed away now
How are we s’posed to believe in what you say now?
Hey, Magdalena!

All the apostles said, We hear you, Magdalena
You’re the first to see Christ
Since the day he passed away now
How are we s’posed to believe in what you say now?
Hey, Magdalena!

Now don’t you worry about the Lord, friends
Although He seemed to be finito
Hah! I know one thing, He’s still standing
It does no good to cry

(LAUGHTER)

Now c’mon!
What was I supposed to do?
He was out of the tomb
And his true friends were still crying!

All the apostles said, We hear you, Magdalena
You’re the first to see Christ
Since the day he passed away now
How are we s’posed to believe in what you say now?
Hey, Magdalena!

All the apostles said, We hear you, Magdalena
You’re the first to see Christ
Since the day he passed away now
How are we s’posed to believe in what you say now?
Hey, Magdalena!

(LAUGHTER)

All the apostles said, We hear you, Magdalena
You’re the first to see Christ
Since the day he passed away now
How are we s’posed to believe in what you say now?
Hey, Magdalena!

All the apostles said, We hear you, Magdalena
You’re the first to see Christ
Since the day he passed away now
How are we s’posed to believe in what you say now?
Hey, Magdalena!

I’ll remind you, my name is Magdalena
I was exorcised of seven demons but I’m free now
Christ saved me, and delivered me
And so I felt I should support His ministry

All the apostles said, We hear you, Magdalena
You’re the first to see Christ
Since the day he passed away now
How are we s’posed to believe in what you say now?
Hey, Magdalena!

All the apostles said, We hear you, Magdalena
You’re the first to see Christ
Since the day he passed away now
How are we s’posed to believe in what you say now?
Hey, Magdalena!

All the apostles said, We hear you, Magdalena
You’re the first to see Christ
Since the day he passed away now
How are we s’posed to believe in what you say now?
Hey, Magdalena!

All the apostles said, We hear you, Magdalena
You’re the first to see Christ
Since the day he passed away now
How are we s’posed to believe in what you say now?
Hey, Magdalena!

All the apostles said, We hear you, Magdalena
You’re the first to see Christ
Since the day he passed away now
How are we s’posed to believe in what you say now?
Hey, Magdalena!
https://lyricstranslate.com/en/apologetix-magdalena-lyrics.html

[ ApologetiX – “Easter Standard Time” album ]

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“Tom Saw Ya”
(Parody of: “Tom Sawyer” by Rush)

On Monday he wouldn’t trust we’d seen Christ
Today Tom saw Your spear-pierced side

Though his mind was not convinced
He couldn’t doubt the evidence
He observed Your side and hands
Finding out the way we did, You’re risen!

What You prayed about has come to be
It’s what King David said in Psalm 16
Christ is risen; that’s no myth
Just a mystery that’s legit

The world says, the world says love and life are cheap
Maybe now the price will rise

Today Tom saw Ya, he set eyes on You
And the face he just made — it was quite a view

Thomas tried to talk and yet
“My Lord and God” was all he said
All he hoped for had just commenced
He knows graves are not permanent — but grace is!

And One You say’s about to comfort me
Though some will question our sobriety:
That’s the witness, that’s the gift
That’s the Spirit, class dismissed

The world is, the world is lost and like a sheep
They that have the Christ are wise

Exit the Lord and yet today Tom saw Ya
He set eyes on You and he’ll never be the same
He gets right onto the preachin’ of the Way

[ ApologetiX – “Grace Period” album ]

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“Counting Blessings”
(Parody of “Counting Blue Cars” by Dishwalla)

It must have been miraculous
Paul was jailed – but how come his smile wasn’t snuffed out? He talked with the churches
In his letters, he would preach, we have
Many blessings – so fill your thoughts with good
He said
Focus all your thoughts on God
It tells me in Philippians 4
I must admit it’s tough to do
All our days there’s stuff that’s bringin’ us down
Think about only good thoughts
Skip the bad – and you’ll see, we have
Many blessings – so fill your thoughts with good
He said
Focus all your thoughts on God
It’ll make your life much easier
And thank Him that you got this far
Focus all your thoughts on God
Cause the devil’s a deceiver
He’ll tell you life is very hard – It’s not very hard now
When getting low, lift up the praise
All our moods they are choices we must make
Our souls are saved
We are family – God’s own people, and have
Many blessings – so fill your thoughts with good

[ ApologetiX – “Ticked” album ]

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“Thankfully”
(Parody of “Faithfully” by Journey)

I may run — turn into an in-flight son
Still, Lord I have found — You’re on my side
Reckless heart — seems it won’t do right
Spendin’ all my life — among the wild

They say that the Romans Road makes us part of family
I’ve read Jeremiah 31 verse 3
And I’m just a stupid man — ain’t always what I’m s’posed to be
But, oh, Lord — You said and I read
I’m forever Yours — thankfully

Such is life — under this big-rock world
We all need the ground to help us hide
Through grace that’s kind — always You love us though
Wandering, wayward lambs — lost without You
And beggin’ Your pardon’s easy, but it wasn’t fair
You came to Earth and all You got was pain
And I get the joy that we discover in You
Oh, Lord, You bled, and I’m freed
I’m forever Yours — thankfully

Whoa oh-oh-oh
Whoa oh-oh-oh oh
Whoa oh-oh-oh oh-whoooooa-oh
Thankfully
I’m still Yours
Thankfully

On the Romans Road
Not alone
Thankfully

[ ApologetiX – “Hair To Eternity” album ]

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“Something of Value”
(Parody of “Something About You” performed by Level 42)

Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

How proud can we be when our lives start out with parents
Passing down traits — with some good, some not
And our ways stray much too often?
But taking His grace is the start of finding redemption
We’re all made in the image of God — like the humans at the fall

Oh, drawn into a scheme — we run to substitutions
Gold, diamond rings — and fancy kinds of jewels
But there is something of value greater — your life
I wouldn’t preach without proof, baby — would I?

Since that first garden was concealed, no one can say that
We didn’t deal with myriad sins or deserved the Tree of Life
Gone — Adam and Eve could have stayed in there forever
If not for the stuff — (they) did that’s so wrong — the only humans at the fall

Though it’s strange and weird, we have their constitution
Romans you need to hear — in 5 verse 12, it’s true
But there is something of value they had — no lie
(Something about — the way you are designed)
Those ones who sinned defiled you — made you to die
(Though I can see — we’re bound to sin and die)
But God shared something of value — later — so high
(Something about — the grace that God provides)
Come like a little child, too — baby — to Christ — yeah-eh, yeah
(I couldn’t list — the value; it’s too high)

Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Come now to Psalms if doubt proof, yeah-eh, yeah
Better look at 51:2 through 5

[ ApologetiX – “Never Before, But Then Again” album ]

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“I’ll Prepare for You”
(Parody of: “I’ll Be There for You (Theme from ‘Friends’)” by The Rembrandts)

So Jesus told His disciples, I’m gonna go away
But where I go you know. They all cried, Please explain.
He said, You’ve all been stuck in second grade
If you haven’t seen the Way, the Truth, the Life is here in your face … but

I’ll prepare for you … prepare a place up above
I’ll prepare for you … ’cause I’ve been there before
I’ll prepare for you … and you prepare for me, too.

I’ll send another friend to help you on your way
You’ll learn from Him, you’ll go far. Please don’t be afraid
The Father helped me do the things I did
But you even will do greater works than that if you believe — that

CHORUS

The world could never know Him — The world could not receive Him
So you’re the only ones who know what it’s like to know Him
There’ll come a place and day when He’ll come to live inside you
Soon when all of this happens you will know the words I said were true.

LEAD

Seems like you’ve all been stuck in second grade
If you haven’t seen the Way, the Truth, the Life is here in your face, but

CHORUS

[ ApologetiX – “Eastern Standard Time” album ]

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“God’s Presence (Christ in Your Life)”
(Parody of “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day)

Another sermon point, you’re bored, ya hit the road
I’m glad the Bible gives a test of where you’ll go
So the take the test — is His presence in your life?
It’s in the Second Book of Corinthians, 13:5

It’s socially unacceptable, but in the end, it’s right
I hope you have the Christ in your life

So make a note of that — you still can change your mind
Take it off the shelf — read Romans 10, verse 9
Back in the heavenlies your test is on file
You’re on this earth for a very short while

It’s socially unacceptable, but in the end, it’s right
I hope you have the Christ in your life

It’s socially unacceptable, but in the end, it’s right
I hope you have the Christ in your life

It’s socially unacceptable, but in the end, it’s right
I hope you have the Christ in your life

[ ApologetiX – “Very Vicarious” album ]

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“It’s You in Me”
(Parody of: “Just You ‘N’ Me” by Chicago)

Ooh ooh-hoo-ooh, yeah-eh-yeah-eh
You are the Lord of my life
You are my inspiration
It’s You in me — people can see
Gave me each clever thing I ever dreamed up

Made me Your own precious child
Promised You.d never leave me
It’s You in me — people can see
I’ve been so peaceful since You’re inside me

Come Holy Ghost — shepherd and lead me
Oh, I pray I won’t aggrieve Thee!
Open our hearts, cleanse us from sin
Every sin, every sin, every sin
Help me do right — help me do better and better
You know I want perfection

It’s You in me — You cheer me on
People can see You love me
You told us, Lord, You loved the world
I want to go and show them Jesus

Yeah, yeah-eh-eh
You are the Lord of my life
You are my inspiration
It’s You in me — people can see
Saved me from everything I’ve been redeemed from

[ ApologetiX – “Churchigo” album ]

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
DEEP THOUGHTS
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CRUCIFIXION

“The Cross is the center of the world’s history.”
[ Alexander MacLaren ]

“It costs God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things: but to convert rebellious wills cost Him crucifixion.”
[ C. S. Lewis ]

“You cannot be Christ’s servant if you are not willing to follow him, cross and all. What do you crave? A crown? Then it must be a crown of thorns if you are to be like him. Do you want to be lifted up? So you shall, but it will be upon a cross.”
[ Charles Spurgeon ]

“Nobody’s perfect. The only one that ever was, was crucified.”
[ Loretta Lynn ]

“It is a crime to put a Roman citizen in chains, it is an enormity to flog one, sheer murder to slay one: what, then, shall I say of crucifixion? It is impossible to find the word for such an abomination.”
[ Marcus Tullius Cicero ]

“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.”
[ William Penn ]

“A dead Christ I must do everything for; a living Christ does everything for me.”
[ Andrew Murray ]

“Easter is always the answer to “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!”
[ Madeleine L’Engle ]

“Forgiveness is the reason for the crucifixion, and the crucifixion is the reason for the Incarnation.”
[ Peter Kreeft ]

“Let us look upon a crucified Christ, the remedy of all our miseries. His cross hath procured a crown, his passion hath expiated our transgression. His death hath disarmed the law, his blood hath washed a believer’s soul. This death is the destruction of our enemies, the spring of our happiness, and the eternal testimony of divine love.”
[ Stephen Charnock ]

“By the cross we, too, are crucified with Christ; but alive in Christ. We are no more rebels, but servants; no more servants, but sons!”
[ Frederic Farrar ]

“I do believe we slander Christ when we think we are to draw the people by something else but the preaching of Christ crucified.”
[ Charles Spurgeon ]

“Gospel preachers nowadays preach the gospel of the Crucifixion, the Apostles preached the gospel of the Resurrection as well. The Crucifixion loses its meaning without the Resurrection. Without the Resurrection the death of Christ was only the heroic death of a noble martyr; with the Resurrection it is the atoning death the Son of God. It shows that death to be of sufficient value to cover our sins, for it was the sacrifice of the Son of God.”
[ R. A. Torrey ]

“Christ’s crucifixion was on a hill, by a road, where everybody who passed by could not only see his pain, but also his shame. It was not done in a shadow, hidden away somewhere.”
[ Francis Schaeffer ]

“The man with a cross no longer controls his destiny; he lost control when he picked up his cross. That cross immediately became to him an all-absorbing interest, an overwhelming interference. No matter what he may desire to do, there is but one thing he can do; that is, move on toward the place of crucifixion.”
[ Aiden Wilson Tozer ]

“The earthly form of Christ is the form that died on the cross. The image of God is the image of Christ crucified. It is to this image that the life of the disciples must be conformed; in other words, they must be conformed to his death (Phil 3.10, Rom 6.4) The Christian life is a life of crucifixion (Gal 2.19) In baptism the form of Christ’s death is impressed upon his own. They are dead to the flesh and to sin, they are dead to the world, and the world is dead to them (Gal 6.14). Anybody living in the strength of Christ’s baptism lives in the strength of Christ’s death.”
[ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ]

“The Christian “doctrines” are translations into our concepts and ideas of that which God has already expressed in language more adequate, namely the actual incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection.”
[ C. S. Lewis ]

“Any objection to the carryings on of our present gold-calf Christianity is met with the triumphant reply, ‘But we are winning them!’ Winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To hard self-discipline ? To love for God? To total committal to Christ? Of course the answer to all these questions is…No.”
[ Aiden Wilson Tozer ]

“The truth of the matter is, Satan and God may want the exact same event to take place – but for different reasons. Satan’s motive in Jesus’ crucifixion was rebellion; God’s motive was love and mercy. Satan was a secondary cause behind the Crucifixion, but it was God who ultimately wanted it, willed it, and allowed Satan to carry it out. And the same holds true for disease.”
[ Joni Eareckson Tada ]

“We may say that on the first Good Friday afternoon was completed that great act by which light conquered darkness and goodness conquered sin. That is the wonder of our Saviour’s crucifixion.”
[ Phillips Brooks ]

“The resurrection is the keystone of the arch on which our faith is supported. If Christ has not risen, we must impeach all those witnesses for lying. If Christ has not risen, we have no proof that the crucifixion of Jesus differed from that of the two thieves who suffered with him. If Christ has not risen, it is impossible to believe his atoning death was accepted.”
[ Dwight L. Moody ]

——————-

RESURRECTION

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”
[ Martin Luther ]

“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”
[ Charles Colson ]

“Resurrection means that the worst thing is never the last thing.”
[ Frederick Buechner ]

“The birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus means that one day everything sad will come untrue.”
[ J. R. R. Tolkien ]

“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”
[ Billy Graham ]

“Our old history ends with the Cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.”
[ Watchman Nee ]

“The evidence for Jesus’ resurrection is so strong that nobody would question it except for two things: First, it is a very unusual event. And second, if you believe it happened, you have to change the way you live.”
[ Wolfhart Pannenberg ]

“The benefits [of the resurrection] are innumerable. To list a few: Our illnesses don’t seem nearly so final; Our fears fade and lose their grip; Our grief over those who have gone on is diminished; Our desires to press on in spite of the obstacles is rejuvenated… Our identity as Christians is strengthened as we stand in the lengthening shadows of saints down through the centuries, who have always answered back in antiphonal voice: ‘He is risen, indeed!’”
[ Charles R. Swindoll ]

“By His life, death, and resurrection, our Savior has conquered our enemies, and by His Spirit He has granted us to share in the victory.”
[ R. C. Sproul ]

“Without the resurrection, the cross is meaningless.”
[ Billy Graham ]

“Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion. The concept of resurrection lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.”
[ John Stott ]

“The cross is the standing statement of what we do to one another and to ourselves. The resurrection is the standing statement of what God does to us in return.”
[ Richard Rohr ]

“And he departed from our sight that we might return to our hearts and find him there. For he left us, and behold, he is here.”
[ Saint Augustine ]

“The resurrection is a fact better attested than any event recorded in any history, whether ancient or modern.”
[ Charles Spurgeon ]

“Had He not emerged from the tomb all our hopes, all our salvation would be lying dead with Him unto this day. But as we see Him issue from the grave we see ourselves issue with Him in newness of life. Now we know that His shoulders were strong enough to bear the burden that was laid upon them, and that He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God through Him. The resurrection of Christ is thus the indispensable evidence of His completed work, His accomplished redemption.”
[ B. B. Warfield ]

“The entire plan for the future has its key in the resurrection.”
[ Billy Graham ]

“The resurrection is the revelation to chosen witnesses of the fact that Jesus who died on the cross is indeed king – conqueror of death and sin, Lord and Savior of all. The resurrection is not the reversal of a defeat but the proclamation of a victory. The King reigns from the tree. The reign of God has indeed come upon us, and its sign is not a golden throne but a wooden cross.”
[ Lesslie Newbigin ]

“Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer; Death is strong, but Life is stronger; Stronger than the dark, the light; Stronger than the wrong, the right; Faith and Hope triumphant say Christ will rise on Easter Day.”
[ Phillips Brooks ]

“To be “in Christ” is to place one’s trust in Him for salvation from sin. To be “in Christ” is to trust His goodness, not our own; to trust that His sacrificial death on the cross paid the complete debt of death we owe for our sin; to trust that His resurrection gives us eternal life instead of relying upon our own ability to please God. To be “in Christ” is to claim, by faith, the free gift of salvation. To be “in Christ” is to enjoy a completely restored relationship with our Father in heaven by virtue of His Son’s righteous standing.”
[ Charles R. Swindoll ]

“Without a doubt, at the center of the New Testament there stands the Cross, which receives its interpretation from the Resurrection.”
[ Hans Urs von Balthasar ]

“Even if the disciples had believed in the resurrection of Jesus, it is doubtful they would have generated any following. So long as the body was interred in the tomb, a Christian movement founded on belief in the resurrection of the dead man would have been an impossible folly.”
[ William Lane Craig ]

“We live and die; Christ died and lived!”
[ John Stott ]

“We are not preaching the Gospel of a dead Christ, but of a living Christ who sits exalted at the Father’s right hand, and is living to save all who put their trust in Him. That is why those of us who really know the Gospel never have any crucifixes around our churches or in our homes. The crucifix represents a dead Christ hanging languid on a cross of shame. But we are not pointing men to a dead Christ; we are preaching a living Christ. He lives exalted at God’s right hand, and He “saves to the uttermost all who come to God by Him.”
[ Henry Allen Ironside ]

“The resurrection is not merely important to the historic Christian faith; without it, there would be no Christianity. It is the singular doctrine that elevates Christianity above all other world religions.”
[ Adrian Rogers ]

“The Gospels were written in such temporal and geographical proximity to the events they record that it would have been almost impossible to fabricate events. Anyone who cared to could have checked out the accuracy of what they reported. The fact that the disciples were able to proclaim the resurrection in Jerusalem in the face of their enemies a few weeks after the crucifixion shows that what they proclaimed was true, for they could never have proclaimed the resurrection under such circumstances had it not occurred.”
[ William Lane Craig ]

“Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendor.”
[ Charles Spurgeon ]

“Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, “Christ is risen,” but “I shall rise.”
[ Phillips Brooks ]

“The resurrection was God the Father’s way of authenticating all of the truths that were declared by Jesus.”
[ R. C. Sproul ]

“The evidence for the resurrection is better than for claimed miracles in any other religion. It’s outstandingly different in quality and quantity.”
[ Antony Flew ]

“The resurrection blasts apart the finality of death, providing an alternative to the stifling, settling dust of death and opens the way to new life.”
[ Billy Graham ]

“In the midst of life we are in death, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection.”
[ Thomas Cranmer ]

——————-

THANKFULNESS

“As I was visiting with a friend this morning on my way to work, I couldn’t help but remember this advice given by a man whom I respect and adore.”
[ J.W. Harrell ]

“Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
[ Isaac Watts ]

“No matter what our circumstance, we can find a reason to be thankful.”
[ David Jeremiah ]

“A little boy of a Vietnamese refugee family was having a difficult time learning English. He had a particular problem with “g’s” and “l’s.” On Thanksgiving Day he attended church services with his family. After the service he tried hard to join in the Thanksgiving greeting. He shook my hand and said, “Happy Thanksliving.” Not a bad description of real thanksgiving. When we are truly transful, it radicaly affects our living—out relationships, attitudes, moods, actions, and reactions.”
[ Lloyd John Ogilvie ]

“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.”
[ Harry Ironside ]

“Dear friends, we may well sing to our Beloved when it is near the time of our departure. It draws near, and as it approaches, we must not dread it, but rather thank God for it.”
[ Charles Spurgeon ]

“God says to give thanks in everything. That doesn’t mean you need to give thanks FOR everything. You don’t need to give thanks FOR that bad day. Or FOR that bad relationship. Or being passed over at work. Financial hardship. Whatever it is – you are not to give thanks FOR the difficulties, but rather IN the difficulties. That is a very important distinction, and one I think we often miss. Giving thanks IN everything shows a heart of faith that God is bigger than the difficulties and that He can use them, if you approach Him with the right heart and spirit, for your good and His glory.”
[ Tony Evans ]

“No matter what our circumstances, we can find a reason to be thankful.”
[ Dr. David Jeremiah ]

“There are three requisites to the proper enjoyment of earthly blessings: a thankful reflection, on the goodness of the giver; a deep sense of our own unworthiness; and a recollection of the uncertainty of our long possessing them. The first will make us grateful; the second, humble; and the third, moderate.”
[ Hannah More ]

“It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!”
[ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ]

“God is in control, and therefore in EVERYTHING I can give thanks – not because of the situation but because of the One who directs and rules over it.”
[ Kay Arthur ]

“A sensible thanksgiving for mercies received is a mighty prayer in the Spirit of God. It prevails with Him unspeakably.”
[ John Bunyan ]

“A thankful heart is one of the primary identifying characteristics of a believer. It stands in stark contrast to pride, selfishness, and worry. And it helps fortify the believer’s trust in the Lord and reliance of His provision, even in the toughest times. No matter how choppy the seas become, a believer’s heart is buoyed by constant praise and gratefulness to the Lord.”
[ John MacArthur ]

“Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.”
[ A.W. Tozer ]

“Genuine thankfulness is an act of the heart’s affections, not an act of the lips’ muscles.”
[ John Piper ]

“Let us thank God heartily as often as we pray that we have His Spirit in us to teach us to pray. Thanksgiving will draw our hearts out to God and keep us engaged with Him; it will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our hearts.”
[ Andrew Murray ]

“It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.”
[ Tim Keller ]

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
[ G.K. Chesterton ]

“Gratitude’ comes from the same word as freedom (gratis = free). Gratitude is the freeing expression of a free heart toward one who freely gave.”
[ Ravi Zacharias ]

“Edwards [Jonathan Edwards] calls the deeper, primary form of thankfulness ‘gracious gratitude.’ It gives thanks not for goods received, but for who God is: for His character—His goodness, love, power, excellencies — regardless of favors received. And it’s real evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a person’s life.”
[ Chuck Colson ]

“Gratitude is a decision of the will, and if a decision of the will, the choice resides squarely with us. Deciding to be thankful is no easy task. It takes work.”
[ Chuck Swindoll ]

“To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us—and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.”
[ Thomas Merton ]

“Thank God for the reality for which we were created, a moment-by-moment communication with God himself.”
[ Francis Schaeffer ]

“I thank God for my handicaps for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”
[ Helen Keller ]

“O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”
[ William Shakespeare ]

“In all of my years of service to my Lord, I have discovered a truth that has never failed and has never been compromised. That truth is that it is beyond the realm of possibilities that one has the ability to out give God. Even if I give the whole of my worth to Him, He will find a way to give back to me much more than I gave.”
[ Charles Spurgeon ]

“When I survey the wondrous cross…….
See from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flowed mingled down:
Dide’or such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small,
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
[ Gordon Curley ]

————————————————————–

RELATED SCRIPTURE VERSES:

WHAT JESUS DID FOR US

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

1 John 4:16
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

James 4:7
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 5:2
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Romans 10:9
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

1 Chronicles 16:11
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

Ephesians 2:6-7
And raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:13
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—

Romans 5:8
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

John 5:24
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

1 John 4:9
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

1 John 2:2
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

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.

1 John 1:5
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

1 Timothy 4:4
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

Ephesians 2:5
Even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:16
Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Romans 5:10
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

John 19:30
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 14:28
You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

Psalm 126:2-3
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.

Exodus 33:1-17
The Lord said to Moses, “Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” When the people heard this disastrous word, they mourned, and no one put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do with you.’” …

Exodus 20:1-18
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, …

Revelation 14:12
Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

1 John 5:3
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

1 John 4:8
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 Peter 4:11
Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Hebrews 12:1-29
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. …

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

1 Timothy 5:8
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Timothy 4:10
For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

1 Timothy 2:12
I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 3:9
For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God,

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 2:14
By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Philippians 2:5
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 4:4
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—

Ephesians 2:6
And raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

2 Corinthians 4:4
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; …

Romans 15:5
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:10
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Romans 8:7
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

Acts 20:35
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Acts 4:12
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

John 17:1-26
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. …

John 16:4
But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.

John 15:1-27
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. …

John 14:26
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 14:19
Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.

John 14:12
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

John 13:1-38
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. …

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

John 8:28
So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.

John 8:12
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 6:35
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

John 6:1-71
After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” …

John 3:16-17
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:1-36
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. …

John 1:12
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

John 1:4
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Luke 10:17
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”

Matthew 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, …

Matthew 21:21
And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.

Exodus 15:2
The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Genesis 1:4
And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

——————-

CRUCIFIXION BIBLLE VERSES

Mark 15:32: “‘Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.’ Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.”

Romans 6:5-6: “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”

Luke 9:23: “Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Hebrews 12:2: “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Hebrews 12:2: “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

——————-

RESURRECTION BIBLE VERSES

John 11:25-26: “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?'”

1 Peter 1:3: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

1 Corinthians 15:21: “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.”

Philippians 3:10: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”

Acts 4:33: “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.”

Luke 24:6-7: “He is not here; he has risen!”

Romans 8:34: “Who then is the one who condemns? No one.”

Philippians 2:8: “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”

1 Corinthians 6:14: “And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.”

Romans 6:9: “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.”

Romans 8:34: “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

Romans 6:8-11:”The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Luke 24:6-7: “Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'”

Romans 6:8-11: “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.”

Acts 3:15: “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead.”

John 3:16: “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.”

Romans 10:9: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Matthew 28:5-6: “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.'”

John 11:25: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

Revelation 1:17b-18a: “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and Last. I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever!”

Mark 16:1-4: “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’ But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.”

John 14:6: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”

Thessalonians 4:14: “For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-8: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance. Or you at the first: 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 Cephas. That is, Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

Mark 16:5-7: “As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.””

Luke 23:46-47: “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, ‘Surely this was a righteous man.'”

2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Mark 15:46-47: So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

Luke 24:2-3: “They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”

Colossians 1:13-14: “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 4:33: “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.”

Ephesians 1:20: “He exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

John 20:17-18: “Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them that he had said these things to her.”

Mark 16:5-6: “As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.'”

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A quick summary of the Christian “Gospel”:
JESUS’ PROPITIATION made our SINS FORGIVEN and IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS to us so that we have GOD’S ACCEPTANCE into His Heaven and receive ETERNAL LIFE.”
[ Mark Besh ]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ’pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

FOCUS VERSES:

“Now, compare that to the ‘treatment’ He received on earth: “He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from Him, He was despised and we esteemed Him not.”
[ Isaiah 53:3 ]

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He WILL SAVE His people from their sins.”
[ Matthew 1:21 ]

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”
[ Matthew 5:13 ]

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”
[ Matthew 5:14-15 ]

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”
[ Matthew 6:33 ]

Now, think about the conditions of his life: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of
the air have nests, but the Son of Man has not where to lay His head.”
[ Matthew 8:20 ]

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
[ Matthew 20:28 ]

“Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’.”
[ Matthew 28:18-20 ]

“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”
[ Mark 10:43-44 ]

“gave His life as a ransom for many.”
[ Mark 10:45 ]

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to HEAL the brokenhearted, to proclaim LIBERTY to the captives and RECOVERY OF SIGHT to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
[ Luke 4:18-19 ]

“Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are RASIED, the poor have the Gospel preached to them.”
[ Luke 7:22 ]

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”
[ Luke 14:28 ]

“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
[ Luke 17:11-19 ]

Jesus voluntarily “emptied Himself” because of His love for us, and His desire to submit to the will and plan of God the Father—all to atone for the penalty of humanities sin. “Behold the lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the earth.” [ John 1:29 ]

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him SHOULD NOT PERISH but HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might BE SAVED.”
[ John 3:16-17 ]

“Jesus voluntarily emptied Himself of the independent use of some of His attributes of deity. “I do not seek my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.”
[ John 5:30 ]

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
[ John 10:11 ]

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’”
[ John 11:25-26 ]

“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
[ John 13:12-17 ]

“And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”
[ John 17:5 ]

Finally, He was buried in a ‘borrowed’ tomb! “After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus[e] by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.”
[ John 19:38-42 ]

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
[ Acts 1:8 ]

“BEING JUSTIFIED freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
[ Romans 3:24-26 ]

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have PEACE WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
[ Romans 5:1-2 ]

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we SHALL BE SAVED from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were RECONCILED to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be SAVED by His life.”
[ Romans 5:9-10 ]

“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus my Lord!”
[ Romans 7:24-25 ]

“There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me FREE FROM the law of SIN and DEATH.”
[ Romans 8:1-2 ]

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”
[ Romans 12:1 ]

“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and RIGHTEOUSNESS and SANCTIFICATION and REDEMPTION—that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
[ 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 ]

“Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
[ 1 Corinthians 4:2 ]

“Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
[ 1 Corinthians 5:7 ]

“For you are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
[ 1 Corinthians 6:20 ]

“and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has RECONCILED US to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Now then, we are AMBASSADORS for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
[ 2 Corinthians 5:15-21 ]

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes he BECAME POOR, that through His poverty might become rich.”
[ 2 Corinthians 8:9 ]

“For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we SHALL LIVE with Him by the power of God toward you.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”
[ 2 Corinthians 13:4-5 ]

“Christ REDEEMED US from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’.”
[ Galatians 3:13 ]

“The fruit of the Spirit is…faithfulness.”
[ Galatians 5:22 ]

“And let us NOT grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
[ Galatians 6:9 ]

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having PREDESTINED US to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have REDEMPTION through His blood, the FORGIVENESS of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were SEALED with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our INHERITANCE until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
[ Ephesians 1:3-14 ]

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
[ Ephesians 6:12 ].

“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
[ Philippians 2:6-11 ]

“He has DELIVERED us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have REDEMPTION through His blood, the FORGIVENESS of sins.”
[ Colossians 1:13-14 ]

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
[ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
[ 2 Timothy 4:7 ]

“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might DESTROY HIM who had the power of death, that is, THE DEVIL, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
[ Hebrews 2:14-15 ]

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain MERCY and find GRACE to help in time of need.”
[ Hebrews 4:16 ]

“Though He was a Son, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”
[ Hebrews 5:8 ]

“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
[ Hebrews 9:11-14 ]

“By that will we have been SANCTIFIED through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
[ Hebrews 10:10, 14 ]

“who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
[ Hebrews 12:2b ]

“What does it profit my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? Thus faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
[ James 2:14,17 ]

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He SAVED US, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
[ Titus 3:4-7 ]

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
[ 1 Peter 2:21-24 ]

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
[ 1 John 1:9 ]

“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
[ Revelation 2:10 ]

Mark

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If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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