Me, you and Jesus


Paul wrote something very poignant in Galatians 2:20, it says 20. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

There is so much wisdom contained in this verse and it applies to every person who believes in Jesus as their Savior and lives it every day. Yet many of us don’t really think about how we are supposed to go about this. What does “crucified with Christ” mean exactly? How can I learn to live daily with Christ living inside my heart? Do I really have the faith that it takes to live like this? The process of living a crucified life is not just accepting Him as your Savior but living His life, His way by the faith that He has given us to believe in Him for our salvation. It truly isn’t as simple as it sounds.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus told His disciples this very principle. It says If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Still a bit confusing, right? Following Christ is what we as Christians are supposed to do but what does “deny himself/herself” mean, especially in today’s world?

Being “crucified with Christ” and “denying” yourself are mostly the same thing. So what exactly does Jesus mean by this? When we are saved, genuinely saved, the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts and changes us from the inside. But…our old nature is still present and there will be a struggle from day one over which side will “rule the day” in a manner of speaking. Starting your day with prayer and reading of God’s Word is the best way to start your day, every day. But, then there are days for each of us which has many interruptions in them such as work, school, errands, etc.

You get the idea. Denying your self is referring to the person that you were before your salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which makes a permanent change in your spiritual and your daily life. Some people may find that denying their “old self” is a bit too hard to do but if you just read God’s Word and pray about His work on you, whether it is in the morning or evening, the habit of denial of self will become easier. But doing this has to become a habit and it strengthens your faith and whether you think so or not, it will make your Christian life better. I didn’t say it would make it easier because the devil will keep on bringing up your sins and he knows exactly how to do it.

He will be whispering in your ear (mind) about all of the things that you were doing and enjoying before you gave your heart to Jesus. This will likely happen almost every day, sometimes more than once a day. You will need to be grounded in God’s Word so you will have the faith and the Word to be able to send your temptations and the tempter packing.

How foolish are we?


God’s Word says in Psalms 14:1: The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.

The wisdom of God is foolish to a man who has not given his heart to the Lord. This is a paraphrase of this scripture which the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: 1 Corinthians 2:14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. There is no man who can understand God’s wisdom from His Word without the Holy Spirit dwelling in his heart. So why do some men in our world today seem to think that they have God and His wisdom all figured out? Mankind cannot understand God’s Word without Him and there are so many who either don’t want to know Him as their Savior or they are following a religion which has blinded them to the actual Truth which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Life is hard enough without living it foolishly and without Jesus Christ as your Savior is a very foolish way to live. Why is this true? Because we do not have a promise of a certain number of years that we will live. We don’t even have a promise of waking up in the morning. So, what will it take to get away from the foolishness of our sinful lives and turn toward God, toward Jesus, and save our eternal soul?

Are we actually foolish enough to believe that we are good enough to get into Heaven without Jesus? I hope not. Because the Bible says that our righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight. We are not righteous unless we are forgiven under the blood of Jesus and that is our covering because He purchased our soul with His blood and unless you truly believe in Him and His sacrifice for you, then you have no place in Heaven. Is it hard for us to give our heart to Him? Sometimes it is, but when God convicts you of your sins and you realize that you truly need Jesus as your Savior, it is then that you find that it is simple…believe that He did this for you.

Even if you or I were the only people that Jesus could die for and save…He would’ve done it anyway. God loves us enough that if there were only one person that would been saved because of His sacrifice, He would have come to Earth and gave His life for us even if that “us” was only one person. God’s love is hard for us to comprehend and it is likely that we will never truly understand it, even when we are in His Presence but He did it for all of us.

I pray that we will not be foolish in thinking that we can gain entry into Heaven on our own. The only door to eternity in Heaven is by Jesus Christ and belief in Him alone. Amen

The Word will accomplish it's purpose!


Your life, if you are a Christian, belongs to God. His Word will accomplish those things which He desires. It is His purpose which will be done and which should be your purpose because you have given your heart to Him. Live as a disciple and a witness of God because of the great love that He has shown toward you and in your life. If you aren’t sure about His love for you, consider that it is God Who allowed you to wake up this morning. It is by His purpose that you walk and breathe and do the things which you are able to do. God knew you before the world was formed and He has already made a way for your life to be useful in His hands.

All that you need to do is realize that and seek Him for your salvation. Your life is not your own, it belongs to God and it is His to do with as He will. Some of you who read this will deny that God has a place in your life, but He has the power to stop your heart in the next sixty seconds if He chose to. I’m not trying to scare you by saying that, it is just the simple truth. God wove your DNA together and He knows exactly what you are capable of accomplishing in your life and for Him. If you have felt the call of God on your life at any time in the past or even now…don’t push Him away. Lean into Him and ask for His strength and His forgiveness of your sins. Ask Him to take the old you and mold him or her into the person that He knows you can be.

You might say, “But…that might hurt!”. Change in any form hurts sometimes, but it is needed at times to. When you exercise by running or lifting weights your muscles get sore for a time because you’ve pushed them to do something that they weren’t or hadn’t done before. When you begin serving God, you will have to change and His Spirit will change you gradually or drastically, depending on how much change is needed. It may hurt because some of your family and friends won’t understand where this new person came from. They may not recognize the person that you care becoming, but God knows who you are and He can and will change you into the instrument that He needs you to be.

Jesus brought a message that God loves us and He wants us to be His children every day of our lives. He told those who would listen about this and some received it with gladness. Others thought His message was foolish but Jesus kept telling those who would listen that He was bringing the Kingdom of God to them. Some heard Him and believed but others thought He was crazy. The fruit that we are supposed to produce is peace and love and joy through Jesus Christ our Lord! Not this message you hear about today which says “I can do all things myself and I don’t need God!”.

When you hear someone say that they don’t need God, ask them if they can make a flower bloom? They will probably laugh at your question but if they think that they don’t need God then they are declaring that they are like God. They are delusional in this of course. Ask them if they can change their hair from gray to whatever color they had in their youth? Ask them if they can make themselves taller? If they can’t accomplish these things, then they need God badly in their life. Nobody can do these things except God but some of the “new age” religions are telling people that they can do these things.

God lit the stars and He can put them out. He brought the life to this world in the form of trees and animals and fish and birds just with His Word. Can you do that? Of course not. God loves you and He knows you, even if you don’t know Him yet. One day we will all bow before Him and I hope that you will know Him and that He will know you as well because those that He doesn’t know will be taken to a place of torment because they had the chance to give their life to Him but they chose not to.

How is your PAD today?


I am not speaking of your home or your home away from home (workplace). What I am writing about today has to do with your emotional state: Pride, Apathy, and Depression or Doubt. Why are there two different emotional states for the D in this? Well, we all have each of these at one point or another in our lives but some of us live in them quite naturally. There are times when I have all four states going at the same time which is one of those days when very little gets done or I just go through the motions like a zombie or a robot. It gets done but not with much passion or fire. Sometimes these days coincide with a day that I’m at home with our Dachshund for company but that isn’t really a bad day because I enjoy my time with her.

Apathy and doubt usually go well together but when you mix pride into the pot with them it can be an explosive combination which can bring in anger and rage, that hard to control cousin of anger. Why am I concentrating on emotions and the trouble that they can cause? Because our churches and our immediate family usually get the fallout from these emotional states. It may happen after your PAD has been simmering for a while or if anger and rage are in the mix, it could just blow up like a bomb at the dinner table or at a business meeting at church.

Whenever you have a day like this or if it feels like its going to be “one of those days”, get into the Psalms and pray. Talk to your Father in Heaven about whatever is going on. Regardless of how small you think it is, He wants to help and He can! But you have to open up to Him. He knows what is going on already but just as our father or mother would like to help, God knows exactly how to help and where to point you in His Word. But you need to read it and pray to Him about it and then be willing to listen to the wisdom that you get from His Word or even from Him directly.

God can help you when you are feeling this way but only if you will let Him.

Before…


Before you complain, think about what you have. Before you look at someone with a critical eye, turn your gaze on your own life first. Before you come to the end of your life, make sure that dying is all that you have left to do. Life is too short to live it without enjoying it first. But the enjoying of life for some people means that there is sin in their lives. They don’t think that you can enjoy being a Christian. Enjoyment doesn’t seem to be part of their thought processes when they think of serving God or even being a Christian.

King David, the author of Psalms, enjoyed the Lord. He praised the Lord and danced and sang while he praised God. That doesn’t sound like a joyless person. That is not a depressed and sad person because God brings joy into your life. Think about the blessings which Jesus brings into your life when you are saved! He forgives ALL of your sins, He gives you a new heart for serving Him and others, He changes your outlook on life because of the blessings that you receive when you become an adopted child of God!

Those blessings in this life are not the only blessings that you get from Jesus and from knowing Him as your Savior. Your eternity and your destination in it has changed as well. When you were a sinner, and every person who has come to Jesus (including myself) is a sinner, your eternity would’ve taken you into an eternity of torment. The only difference between your sinful life and the one you have now is that you have Jesus in it. Some theologies say that we are not put in the lake of fire like Satan will be, but being separated from the love of God and His Presence for eternity would be punishment enough. There will not be anything life-giving in hell. No water, no food, no cool streams of any kind and God’s Presence will not be there either.

Remember the story of Lazarus and the rich man? Lazarus was taken to Paradise with Abraham and the rich man was in hell. He asked for Lazarus to bring him just one drop of water because of the agony that he was in. But Abraham told him that there is a gulf between us that no one can cross over. He even asked if Lazarus could rise from the dead and tell his brothers to repent and not come to this place, but Abraham said no, they have the Prophets and the Law. They wouldn’t repent even if someone were to come back from the grave.

Your life before giving your heart and soul to Jesus is very different from the one you will enjoy after bringing His Presence into your heart. That is the reason for leading a joyful life after Jesus has saved you and made you into a new creation, different and precious to Him and to the Father. Serve Him in joy because with God all things can be joyful regardless of how the world may look at them. He will give you the strength to get through every obstacle and every pain and your life will be a beacon of hope to someone until you go to be with the Lord.

Who is Jesus to you?


Is He the child in the manger wrapped in swaddling cloths? Is the He the Living Word of God? Is He God Who came down to us in order to bring salvation and the forgiveness of sins? Is He the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? I could go on and on with the titles which He came to be on this Earth but my point is this: if Jesus is not the King of your life…then who is? If you haven’t given your heart to Him and asked Him to come into your life and make you whole and complete, then what or who is in that place?

Jesus is the real reason for the season whether we like it or believe it or not. There are many in the world today who don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God. They think it is just a book and nothing more but it is SO MUCH MORE. The main reason that I say this is because if one part of it is not true then the whole text of the Bible isn’t true. God gave the words of His Book to those who wrote it down so that all of us who have access to it can learn from it and be saved from the consequences of our sin. Which sin are we talking about? The only one which matters to God: belief in Jesus as your Savior. If you don’t believe that and ask Him to come into your heart and your whole life and allow Him to change you then you just wasted your time.

Without Jesus, without the Christ in your life and your heart all you have is “book knowledge”? Even if you have been attending church for your entire life and you’ve read the Bible in Sunday school and during the sermons for fifty or sixty years but you haven’t asked Jesus to come into your heart and save you then all you have is knowledge of Him without the experience of His power in your life.

All of us need to realize that when we have been adopted as sons and daughters when we accept Jesus as our Savior. We are not outside the family! We are adopted and accepted as sons and daughter of God if you have truly accepted Him as our Savior. God’s love is extended to each of us just like His Son, Jesus. If you are seeking your Savior, trying to fill that space that has always been empty, then Jesus Christ is the One you’ve been seeking.

What is the best gift you've been given?


If you are a Christian and believe in Jesus as your Savior then your greatest gift is Jesus and the atonement which He purchased with His blood. It is a priceless gift and one which cannot be duplicated nor returned. This gift is found in the heart of every Christian who has truly given their life and their soul to Jesus and asked His forgiveness for not doing so sooner!

God knows your heart and He knows exactly when or even if you will turn to Him for your salvation. Some of us take a bit longer to learn that we need Him far more than He needs us. He is our Creator but He wants to be your friend and your guide in this life so you can move to the next life with Him. When you feel His call on your heart, please don’t turn away like many people are doing these days.

This gift of salvation doesn’t cost you anything unless you just can’t leave your drinking buddies or those that you hang out with every day. If that is more important to you than your eternity then stay with them. But if you know that this life doesn’t go on but for a few years and that those “friends” won’t be with you for your entire life then I advise you to seek out the Son of God, Jesus the Christ. He can fill that space which has felt empty for so long. That space which you can’t seem to find the exact fit for it and it keeps feeling as if it stays hollow regardless of what you try or who you may try it with. Jesus is the piece which fills in that space and makes you whole and complete.

A misunderstood Dad


We know the story of Jesus’ birth. An angel named Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and that her Son would be the Son of God. She was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter, but he didn’t find out about the Son until she was about three months along. There are only a few lines in the gospels which speak of his involvement and after Jesus’ twelfth birthday we never read about him at all. So what happened?

Joseph and Mary were betrothed before the angel told Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of the Most High. Betrothal in those days was a time of preparation for a couple to be married about a year later. There was no intimacy during this period and no seeing each other without supervision, but it was considered a time of matrimony without the ceremony which made them a legal couple.

When Mary heard that her cousin, Elizabeth, was having a child in her old age she had to go and see for herself. She heard this news through the angel which had told her that she would bear a Son by the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth was in her sixth month with her child and Mary went and stayed with her until almost the day the child was born. The Bible says about three months. When she returned to the town where Joseph and her family lived she was three months along in her pregnancy so it couldn’t be hidden at that point.

The scriptures say that Joseph was a righteous man in the sight of God so he knew that something had happened while they were apart, he just didn’t how or by who. Even though the Law required him to have Mary stoned, he couldn’t because he loved her. While he was thinking of quietly ending the betrothal an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him what had happened and that the Son would be given the throne of David one day. Joseph was every bit the man, husband and carpenter that God knew him to be which is why he was given the awesome job and responsibility to raise the Son of God.

Imagine the honor and privilege of being the Dad who was chosen to raise the Son of God? You couldn’t think about it too much because it would overwhelm you. What can you teach Him? Everything about being a man and a child on Earth is what you would have to do. Model the behavior that He would need to have in order to be your Son and God’s Son. How would you do such a thing? Live out the Law in front of Him and teach Him just as you would your own son, that’s how. Granted, you would probably be a little bit more concerned with what you were teaching Him since His Father is God and it would take a lot of soul searching and prayer to get it right, but God chose Joseph because He knew that he could do it.

Why are people leaving?


In Luke 2 the angels tell the shepherds that the Person who was born in Bethlehem is the Savior, the Messiah. The first four books in the New Testament are called the Gospels. What is the gospel? Its definition is this: the teaching or revelation of Christ.: “it is the Church’s mission to preach the gospel”. synonyms: Christian teaching, Christ’s teaching, the life of Christ, the word of God, the good news, Christian doctrine, the New Testament

People are leaving the church in droves. Some are young and some are even preachers. Some are older, parents and grandparents even. What has happened? What is happening?

Is it because of how the church has treated people over the centuries? Are people today looking at the history of the “church” and not really seeing the message of Jesus reflected in the people who belong to the church? Actually…I think that both of these are true and it’s unfortunate for the church and for the people who see the church this way. But it’s not because of their view of the church it is because of the way that the church is seen in the world and in the media today. All of the bad parts are showing and they are being highlighted more and more. So much so that people can’t see the good which the church has done.

It’s kind of like a beautiful white shirt or a pair of pants that have been stained with blood and mud and dirt and oil and it seems that it will never really be clean again. The outline of the stains will still be there even if you use bleach on it. People have used the Bible to justify horrible things like slavery and subjugation and that has nothing to do with the message which Jesus taught. Just like the life of a man, it doesn’t matter how many good things he did in this life. If he slipped just once and did something bad, it will be that one mistake that will be remembered.

It is the same with governments or politicians and the church. One slip up or word, even if it was unintentional and not meant in the way it was received, will cloud the perception of those who hear it or have seen it. No amount of apologies or restitution will ever make things right again. This is the reason, in my opinion, that people in the past twenty years or so have turned away from the church and Christianity.

In Philippians 2, Paul begins with this: If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.

The church, meaning the people in the church, should exemplify this teaching in the world today. Not showing the hate which has been associated with some in the church but exemplifying the love which Jesus taught about God.

The baby in the manger…


The angels told of a child born in Bethlehem, the city of David, Who was the Savior of all the world. They even made sure that they told the shepherds about His birth first. So why don’t we follow Him and try our best to walk in the way that He did so many years ago? Why are there many in the world today who claim that He didn’t exist or that He wasn’t Who He said He was?

Those who claim that He wasn’t the Savior or the Messiah are the ones in our world today who want all kinds of social programs and an easy life. This is not the way which Jesus taught His disciples. He told them that the world would reject their teaching about Him and that they would have troubles and trials in the world. Particularly when they were doing what He had told them to do. Why does our walk with Him bring trouble into our lives? Because Satan doesn’t like it when we are doing God’s will and working for Him in this life.

God loves each of us and we can choose to follow Him and do His will or not but the end of the story is this: what did you do when you felt His touch in your life? Did you answer His touch and give up your old ways and follow Him and learn what His will is or did you tell Him to go to hell and leave you alone?

Unfortunately, many people do exactly what the second part of that question point out. The problem with that answer to God is that you may end up in the lake of fire with Satan…for eternity. No party, no 70 virgins, no having fun with the devil in hell because he doesn’t rule there, God is still in charge regardless.

Make sure of your destination after this life BEFORE this life is over because there are no second chances once you have taken your last breath here.