Do you know Jesus?

God determined from the beginning that a Savior would be needed for mankind. He knew this even before mankind was on the Earth but He gave mankind a chance to choose so that we could choose to follow Him on our own. But…mankind chose to follow his own path and disobeyed God’s rule in the garden. God promised that the Seed of the woman would come one day to bring salvation to humanity and He did. But do you know Him?

Jesus is our Savior and He came to bear all of humanity’s sins and pay for them all so that even those who had gone to hades in the past might have a chance to decide to accept salvation through His sacrifice. This is what is meant by the Scripture, “He led captive captivity”. Jesus descended into Hades and led away those who were captive there and who would believe in Him for their salvation. God has never wanted mankind to be captive in Hades or Hell because that place was made for the punishment of Satan and his demons, not man. 

The problem arises when man chooses to follow another “god” or chooses to believe the lie that there is no God. When mankind, regardless of creed or color or nation, chooses to follow someone other than Jesus then they are under the same curse that Satan and his demons are. Unless their heart has not hardened to the point of no return they will be sent to the same place as Satan. Satan knows that this does not give God pleasure and that it hurts Him which is why he has become so good at fooling us into believing things and doing things which we wouldn’t do otherwise.

The most worrisome deception that people tend to follow is that many people know about Jesus and Who He is but they haven’t given their lives to Him. They haven’t repented of their sins and learned to follow Him. They have been to church and some may be leaders in the church but knowing about Jesus doesn’t bring salvation. Knowing Him and being known by Him does. Knowing that you need Him as your Savior is the first step but you have to learn to follow Him and trust Him for your salvation. This is another trick of Satan. You’ve been a member of the church for years. You may be a deacon or teach a class or even be the pastor, but do you really know and believe in Jesus for your salvation?

We are not invulnerable to the tricks of Satan because he has had thousands of years to perfect his lies. He knows exactly where our weaknesses are and how to probe and tickle us to the point of following our own ideas and lusts rather than listening to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is only through belief in Jesus that we can attain entrance into Heaven but today the media and many other “outlets” tell us that there are many ways to get to God, Jesus is just one of many. That is a lie straight from Satan’s mouth! He knows it and his demons know it but they want to hurt God so much until they rebelled and were sent into outer darkness until their judgment day comes.

Belief in Jesus as our Savior and Messiah is the only pathway to Heaven. The thief knew it, His disciples knew it and every Christian since then has known it if they have heard the Truth of the gospel preached. Many times in the past two thousand years Christians have been punished and tortured and killed because of their belief in Him and it is still going on today in some parts of the world. I pray that anyone who reads this will seek out their Savior today and find Him in Jesus because one day soon the world will follow someone else and he will demand that you either worship him or you will die.

Please make sure of your salvation before it is too late. None of us is sure of waking up tomorrow so make sure today while there is time for you to do so.

John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believeth in Him should have everlasting life.

Don’t put off your salvation decision, make it today.

What is a life with Christ?

A life with Christ is not what most people think about when they think of Christians. Many people seem to think that being a Christian is a life of lack, one in which all of the fun things in this life are forbidden. God has given us a life of abundance but not one which we should live as the rest of the world around us lives. God calls us to be “in the world but not of the world“; Christians should live in this world but we are not to follow those living in the world. The world around us follows the ruler of this world, Satan, who deceives the whole world because that is his purpose. This is why we should keep our lives separate from those living in the world.

A life with Jesus the Christ is one which should mirror His life on Earth. We may not be called to be evangelists or healers or teachers or even preachers, but we are called to be “set apart” as His followers. If for no other reason than to be a beacon of light in a world of darkness. Sometimes our speech shows other that our progress in following Jesus still has a way to go and that is when people wonder about our conversion and whether it is real or not. God can come into your heart and change you so completely until your manner of life, your speech and your personality, is completely changed but you have to be willing to walk with Him to get to this point.

God doesn’t force us to change because love cannot be forced upon anyone. But the very idea that Jesus came to give His life so that you have a chance at being accepted by God into His family should humble you to the point of your asking Him to mold me and make me what You want me to be. Because it is only by becoming the person that God wants you to be and the person that He knows you can be so that you can be the most useful to Him. Why does He want us to be “holy or set apart” from the world around us? Because if our life isn’t much different from the world and those living in it, why would anyone be interested in becoming a Christian?

It is only because of the lives that are changed that people can even tell that there is a difference between a Christian and a Muslim or a Buddhist. If we walk and talk like they do or even like those who do not believe in any religion, then how will people know that we are different? Why would they want to know what makes us different? Yes, we can say and tell others that we believe in Jesus as our Savior but if our speech and our life doesn’t actually reflect that then how can they know? Will they actually believe that what you say about your Savior is true if you still talk and act as if you don’t know Him?

A life with Christ in it should be a life with love and compassion for others in it. It should also be a life with more of God’s Word in it than the words of the world around us. Seek His wisdom today to help you to see what may be missing in your life and ask Him to come in and clean out the old stuff and make your heart and life fresh and new and completely whole in Him.

Finding God’s will for your life

I used to wonder exactly how I was supposed to find this out. Was God going to tell me or was I going to have to figure it out on my own? It has taken the better part of a decade of Bible study and I’m still not at the point of pointing to a passage or a dream where He told me “This is my will for you”. Our problem lies with our own stubborn nature. It isn’t just my problem, it is every Christian’s problem. We think that we have it figured out but we really don’t and unless you read God’s Word and listen to what He says in it, you will miss it entirely.

God’s will for each of us is different. Some of us are called to be teachers and some are called to be preachers or evangelists. Some of us are called to be prayer warriors for those who need God’s touch in their lives in whatever way He will provide for them. Some of us are to be healers by the way we serve others and some are encouragers to those in the ministry or the church who need that. It takes prayer and being receptive to the Holy Spirit’s words in your Spirit to hear and truly listen with your Spiritual ears in order to find out your calling, your path which God has for you to follow.

Some people pick up on this fairly early in their walk with Jesus and sometimes it takes a long time before their ears (Spiritual) can hear clearly enough to catch what He is saying. Many times it takes a good bit of Bible study and prayerful reading of God’s Word in order to learn His voice well enough to know when He is speaking to you. Unfortunately, many people in our churches today only open their Bible’s on Sunday and they leave it closed for the rest of the week. You can’t learn about God’s voice or His Wisdom by doing that, but a lot of people seem to be “reading” God’s Word along with the pastor and very little at any other time.

This is not a “how-to” article for finding God’s Will for your life but reading God’s Word is the best way to know His voice and to learn what He has said about His Will in the past. God doesn’t change and His will for us is the same as it was for His disciples and prophets in the past. Go and tell others about My plans for their salvation through Jesus. If they don’t know Jesus, then tell them. If they have walked away from the church then encourage them to come back and hear what God wants for them today! Young people need to hear this message more than any other because there are so many other messages which are being taught and put in their faces today on the Internet and on TV. They need to know which message is the Truth and it is God’s Truth!

We cannot earn our salvation because it was earned by Jesus on our behalf. All that we can do is accept it as the gift that it is.

Is anything too hard for God?

In Genesis chapter 18 and verse 14, God asks “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Why do we test Him with our “burdens” when He can take care of them with no effort? It seems that we don’t think God, in this Internet age and in the 21st century, is the same God Who split the Red Sea and brought the people through on dry land. We know from Sunday school and Bible school that God is the same yesterday, today and forever but most of us only know this intellectually. We know it in our head but we may not believe it fully in our heart.

God created the whole universe with a word! Genesis even says it this way, “and He created the stars also”. It sounds like an afterthought doesn’t it? But when you look at the pictures of the universe and everything that is out there…you know that God doesn’t do afterthoughts. He knows the name of every star out there, not just the ones that we can see in the constellations. Every star in every galaxy in the entire universe, trillions in number, God knows them all and it is His power which holds all of them together in their orbits and their courses.

The problem with humanity is that we read this in His Word but we can’t prove it. We can’t see it happening. Like the servant who thought that he and his master were about to be killed and his master prayed for God to open his eyes so he could see that “those who are on our side are greater than those against us”!

Nothing is too hard for God of course. But why do we question whether He will do what His Word says? Do we truly doubt God’s promises or His ability to do what is promised? In today’s world, Satan has caused humanity to doubt God’s existence and His abilities. Even though many don’t even believe that Satan exists either. Of course, that is his plan as well. That of course, brings into question the whole Bible itself and that is also his plan. If he can get us to question God’s existence or the veracity of His Word then belief in Him and His plan of salvation will also be questioned.

There is nothing too hard for God and everything that is happening in our world is allowed by Him because it is part of His plan to bring as many as possible to a saving knowledge of Jesus. Many people outside the United States are coming to know Jesus as their savior while there are many in the United States who are walking away from the church and their belief in God. Because our country has been pushing God out of many areas of education and family life for years. I pray that there will be an awakening and a revival of faith in our country but that is completely in God’s hands now.

God created all of these stars and planets. The size of them should inspire awe in us because He brought them into existence with His Word and nothing else.

Lifetime service

Do you think it takes a lifetime of service to get into Heaven? It doesn’t take any time at all really. Consider the thief on the cross next to Jesus. He asked the Lord to remember him when He came into His Kingdom and Jesus said “you shall be with Me in Paradise today“. He didn’t get a chance to be baptized or to witness to anyone personally, although he has witnessed to thousands or millions since then. No, being of service to Jesus doesn’t take years and it is not required or necessary to be granted passage into Heaven. All that you need is a repentant heart and a belief in Jesus as your Savior and you will be saved.

When that day comes for you, please don’t turn away from Him. You will feel His touch in your life and you may even know for sure that it is Jesus. Don’t turn away from His call for you to be adopted into God’s family. He loves you and He paid the price for your salvation and it is a gift waiting for you to accept it.

Your soul means so much to God until His Son died just to give you an eternity with Him. Our God is AWESOME!!

It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past, your future is secure in Jesus if you will ask Him to come into your heart and change you into the person that you can be. He knows how effective you will be in your ministry, He is just waiting for you to accept the job!

A Joy that you cannot lose!

In the world that we live in, it seems impossible to say those words but if you are a Christian and you know without a doubt that you are saved by the blood of Jesus…then you should feel that joy! Why? Because no matter what your circumstances are here on Earth, your future, your eternity is sealed in Jesus Christ. All of us who believe in Him for our salvation have that assurance in Him that our home is secure regardless of what happens here on Earth. If we are here when the Trumpet sounds we will meet Him in the air. If we are dead, we are already with Him but our body will be united with us at that time. Our home and our hope is in Him and His promises are sure and they always have been.

God does not lie so when you read about a life in Heaven with Him for eternity it is true! We will work for Him and with Him for all of that time because for us time won’t mean anything from that point on. Some people may think that it will be boring but the disciples weren’t bored during His ministry for three years and I don’t think we will be bored or unsatisfied while we are in His Presence. God loves each of us with a love that, right now, we can’t understand.

But, if you can imagine a river with living water flowing in it which quenches every thirst and every desire that you could have and just drinking from it does exactly that! Every desire, every want or need or every sorrow quenched and filled to overflowing just by drinking it or stepping into it…how unbelievably wonderful that would be!

The living water you experience when you read His Word. Maybe not as complete and unbelievable as the river in heaven but if you allow God’s Spirit to show you what His love is really like it could be. Most of us today tend to read a few verses or maybe a chapter or two and listen to a preacher tell us what has been laid upon his heart to say about these verses and then we close the Bible and go home. What a waste! God’s Word has so much to say until reading it every day for nearly a decade I’ve not scratched the surface yet. I always find something new or fresh when I read it.

If there was a fountain on Earth which had living water in it, there would be wars fought for its possession. That is why it is only available to those who go to Heaven. Jesus died to pay the debt of our sins so that we could have a chance to be in Heaven and have salvation through Him. Please don’t turn away from the call of the Spirit when you feel it because you may not get another chance.

Jesus is the ONLY way to eternal life. Please don’t turn away from Him.

Too much…

Do you believe that your life and your sins are too much for God to love or to forgive? No, there is no sin which God can’t or won’t forgive. The only sin which God won’t forgive us for is our sin of neglecting our salvation by refusing to accept Jesus as our salvation. It is OUR decision to refuse this gift of God and by refusing to accept His gift of salvation we are condemned already. It is not God or even Jesus who condemns you to hell but it is your own action and your own decision to refuse God’s gift to each of us through the sacrifice of Jesus to take the punishment for your sins. He paid the price so you would not have to, but by refusing to accept and believe this you condemn yourself to hell.

There are more sins and heinous actions which have been done in all of the time which mankind has been on Earth and yet Jesus’ sacrifice covered them all, if the people would accept Him as their Savior.

Truthfully, there is no pathway to Heaven except through belief in the work and the person of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. Repent therefore and turn away from your sins, even if they are many, and you shall be saved. In Jesus’ name I pray for all who read this. Amen

In this life…

As we trudge through this pain-filled life we can see all sorts of contrasts on TV and in the news and sometimes in books too. Here is a quote from a book that I bought and have been reading and it sums up the ending of our lives or the beginning because it is all a matter of perspective.

“There were two friends who had lived long lives. One was a rich man, by the world’s standards, and the other didn’t have much. The rich man was not a Christian but the other man was a strong believer in Jesus. The rich man told one of his visitors one day: I will soon have to leave all of my riches but when he dies, he will gain his.” (quoted from “Where I am” by Billy Graham)

I did paraphrase it a bit but the meaning is clear. The rich man knew that his reward had been granted to him while he was living but the poor man had stored his riches and wealth in Jesus. So the one that the world considered poor was actually rich into eternity. Why do we live like this? Because we want things in this life and many of us don’t look much further than our bank account. But, if you find someone living on Social Security as their “pension”, you will find someone who usually depends on God for their existence. They know that the money will run out most of the time before the month.

Why are there more Christians in China and Africa than there are in America? Because the vast majority of people in those countries live on a fraction of what Americans have, that’s why! Those Christians depend upon their Savior not only because He has given them eternity but because they know that He will meet their needs every day. Some days they will have just enough to make it and maybe tomorrow they might have a little surplus but they will share that with their friends and family. If the church in every country could teach that principle to all believers what a wonderful world we would have.

Jesus told His disciples that “you will have trials in this world, but I have overcome the world“. God never told us in His Word that we would have it easy if we would give our lives to serving Him. Actually, He said just the opposite. Many who are looking for a better life would jump at the chance of an easy life if being a Christian meant that it would be granted to them but that has never been part of the “blessing” since Jesus returned to the Father. God does give us the strength to endure those trials through faith in Jesus but we must seek Him in our good times as well as when things aren’t going so good.

Living the life of a faithful Christian is like a toddler holding your hand while walking on a trail which has some rough areas to cross. The “toddler” Christian will hold “God’s” hand until the trail gets a bit easier to handle then want to run ahead but that is where we need to hold His hand to keep us on the right path even more. Because sometimes when we find a smooth path we also find other “paths” which are even better and easier to navigate and it is tempting to follow those easier paths rather than staying on the pathway that we were following God on. That’s when we get into trouble and have to be led through some bushes and thorns to get back where we should’ve stayed.

There are consequences…

Have you ever thought of what will happen if you decide to walk out on God? To go your own way or do things your way instead of God’s way is the worst decision that you can make. If you are a Christian and you have given your heart to Him you should work for God’s Kingdom even in your own vocation, no matter what it may be. God can work through you in so many ways and it doesn’t matter what your job is, He can use your life and witness to let someone know about Jesus.

Sampson didn’t live his life fully in God’s will until he was captured by the Philistines and blinded. While he was being humiliated, his hair began to grow back. When they wanted to make fun of God and Sampson in their celebration, he prayed and asked God to fill him with the strength to avenge Israel in his death and God did that.

Jonah did not want to take God’s message of forgiveness to Nineveh. He didn’t like them. He wanted the fire of God to fall on that city. You know the story but when he did go and preach to them they repented in sackcloth and ashes and God did not bring any fire or punishment on them. Then, Jonah went outside the city and pouted. He had run from the calling of God and he didn’t want his mission to work. He wanted God to destroy them. But…what a revival!

Sometimes the consequences of your walking away from God can be really bad, for you. Because if you have walked away from His calling on your life, leaving behind the option of salvation and doing what you want, the consequences may not be bad in this life. God may allow you to have the world’s riches but as Jesus said, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? “. What does that mean? It means that you have enjoyed the riches of this life but you will be in hell in the next life. Please don’t turn away from His call on your life and ask Him to come into your heart and change you into His child.

Honor God daily

Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

Luke 11: 2-4 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

In Jesus’ model prayer in Luke, we are told to honor our Father in heaven, but do we? Are we really honoring God as Jesus tells us to do or are we just saying words which we have memorized? In Ecclesiastes, Solomon tells us that we should be careful of saying anything from our own mind when we come before God. Why is this? Because God is our Creator and our Provider and it is from His hand of grace and mercy that we live and breathe. While it is true that people haven’t dropped dead because of their words or their lack of respect for God, at least since the time of the apostles. We should honor God and Jesus with our words and our lives.

Think about Who it is that we are speaking of in this instance. We are talking about GOD and His Son, Jesus! The Creator of All that is or ever has been in the entire universe. We aren’t talking about Joe or Bob that we went to school with. Sometimes we give more respect and honor to our grandparents or military veterans than we give to God and that is wrong.

Do you realize that God gives you the air that you breathe and He keeps all of the physical processes going which allows you to think and eat and walk each and every day of your life? With a thought, He could end your life as it is. He could extinguish the Sun if He wished and we would truly see what an ice age would be like because the oceans would freeze solid. Our lives are only ours because God wants us to be here doing the things which we are doing! It isn’t because we are great and wonderful people or some magnificent accomplishments that we have done! He is the reason that we have the ability and the knowledge to be able to do what we do!

God loves us so much that Jesus had to come to Earth and die a horrible death in order to pay for our sins…all of our sins! He did this because He loves each one of us, not because He had to. Jesus could not even pray that “model prayer” because He didn’t have any sins to be forgiven of. It shows us how to pray because we are supposed to give praise to God first and honor Him before we ever say anything about our needs or our sins. Praying that prayer as a “prayer” is like repeating a formula or a recipe. It has all of the elements but it lacks the specifics for us.

I don’t mean that the model prayer is anything less than perfect, but if you pray it exactly the way that Jesus said to, then it is not specific to your needs. He said this is how you should pray, not what you should pray. It is the model of your prayers and mine. Give God His glory and His honor in the beginning of the prayer, repent of your sins and ask for His forgiveness and then seek His wisdom for what you are in need of, then thank God for His mercy and grace that you can bring your prayer to His throne. God already knows what we need, but like an Earthly father, He wants to hear His children come to Him and ask for their needs in humility and faith.