Are you a visitor or a Christian?

In churches you sometimes see little cards to quantify if you are a visitor to the church. When you fill out one of these you admit that you are “just visiting” but what about the members of the church? Are you just visiting? Why do I ask this question? Because some people who come to church on Sunday morning don’t even darken the door at any other time. Some come to Sunday school and church on Sunday morning but you don’t see or hear from them until the next Sunday and this covers many people in the church today. To explain what I mean when I say that you are “just visiting” even when you attend every Sunday morning I want to ask a question of you: Does anyone at your place of business or your workplace know that you are a Christian? I am not speaking of those who may know that you attend church on Sunday. I am asking you if they can see the influence of Jesus in your work and in your speech when you are at work?

Or do you sound like everyone else at work and in public? Do you act like those around you when you are away from your church or can they see Jesus in your everyday life?

See, visitors who attend church only get a little bit of what is available to each of us. When you are committed to Jesus and your walk with Him goes out of the church and into the world then you are NOT visiting…you are being the church which Jesus wants us to be. Because, how are your co-workers going to know about Him if you don’t show Him to them in your life and your words? In many parts of America only twenty percent of people even attend church so if you aren’t taking Jesus with you then how will the other eighty percent find out about Him?

Many of us don’t even invite other people to come to our church so how will they ever find out about their Savior unless you show them how He has changed your life? God sent Jesus to the entire world and everyone in it. While it is true that He came to the Israelites first His message was intended for everyone. So how will it get to everyone if the church (people who are committed to Jesus) doesn’t carry the message outside the church building?

The world and those living in it have eternity ahead of them and you have a message to give them about Jesus Who can bring salvation to their lives and give them an eternity worth dying for. Because each of us has an eternal soul and whether you decide to follow Jesus and know Him as your Savior or not has an impact on your destination to live out your eternity. If you aren’t sure about your salvation or where you will spend eternity I would suggest that you take care of that as soon as possible. Not one person is guaranteed to see tomorrow and if you die tonight your eternity begins at that point. The question still remains: where will you spend eternity?

There is a chapter in the New Testament which the Apostle Paul wrote which gives a clear description of your life and mine as believers in Christ. Read chapter 8 in Romans and you will see. We are responsible for our lives and what we say and do here on Earth. We cannot be sinless because we sin every day. There are no sinless people on Earth, Christian or not because we cannot be sinless. Our life is given to us every day by God Himself and if you are a Christian we should be telling others about our Savior especially if we aren’t sure about their salvation and especially if they aren’t sure of it either.

Don’t be a visitor in church, be a disciple who takes God’s Word and your Salvation in Christ out into the world around you so others can see it and hear about Him. Be doers of the Word not just hearers only.

Today’s question is…

Why have people, young and old, left the church? Are they not satisfied with God? Are they bored with the sermons that they hear? Are they really listening with their heart…their soul even when they are at church or reading God’s Word? All of these questions need to be asked of the church, the people who make up the church. When you read these questions I want to ask you to do one thing for me and for Jesus: place “you” where the word “they” comes in the sentence. Then re-word the sentence to read: Am I…._______.

Most of us don’t think of this when we are in church. Especially when we have grown up going to church with our parents. We think because we’ve been in “the church” all of our lives that we are covered…that we are Christians like it says in the Bible. We don’t really break any of the Ten Commandments (at least in our minds) or do we? The answer to the last question is a resounding YES! We do break the commandments every day even if you’ve spent your entire life in the church. We cannot keep the commandments without Jesus or without His blood covering our sins. Do Christians wander from their faith sometimes? Yes, they do but eventually that spark in your chest, the Spirit in your soul will show you what you’re doing wrong and steer you back to the right path.

What if I’m not listening to the Spirit in my heart? What if I can’t feel His conviction of my sin or feel convicted by Him? Well….you might want to consider that your salvation may be counterfeit. You felt His Presence and you went down and talked to the preacher and came back and got baptized. Then you spent the next few years trying to do all of the things that you know that Christians do and don’t do, then you felt a temptation from something or someone and you began moving in that direction and away from “church people”. You felt a little guilty about it but eventually even that went away.

What now? Seek Him out in the Bible and find a true Christian friend or your pastor who can guide you back to Jesus. It isn’t a long trip because He never left you. Why do I say this so easily? Because I did it myself. I got wet a few times actually. I thought my conversion was real and I went through the baptism at least twice, maybe three times, but later I found that I was still feeling empty inside. We can fool ourselves into believing that we are saved even when we aren’t and that is a very dangerous place to be in. If you died, you would stand at the judgement seat and you might confess that you believed in Jesus but He would say “I don’t know you”. What a horrible way to start eternity.

Some of us have had family praying for us which has kept us fairly safe until the day we finally find our way to Jesus. If it weren’t for those people, a brother or a sister or your mother or your grandmother praying for your salvation your life would be stretched on a very thin string. If you could see what that string was keeping you from falling into….you would run to Jesus. God has provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him through Jesus’ blood. Believe in Jesus for your salvation because the time grows shorter every day. Seek Him for your eternity depends upon your position of belief in Jesus. Eternity is there without Jesus but it will be without life or love or joy because you will be in a place of torment. Make sure of your destination and that it will be with Him.

In hell there will be no light nor water for Life, only weeping and mourning because of your choices. Make the right choice now.

I watched this and it caused me to think…

I think that many people who believe in Jesus truly need to stand up for their faith when it is questioned. Many believers don’t do this. Eight out of ten people who attend church seem to believe in Jesus but they don’t tell anyone else about it. The other two people do. They take their faith in Jesus and they told people about it. So twenty percent of of people who profess to know Him actually do because they show it to others. Take a look at this video and take it to heart. Then make sure that someone hears the message that you believe in your risen Savior because He died for your sins. He made way for you to be forgiven and changed so that you can take His message to everyone you meet.

Our God is able to give you the strength even when you think it is gone. Seek Him for your eternity and for your healing today.

Some people might think that what happened in this instance was just coincidence, but God is able to do anything even when there are people in the room who do not believe in Him. The foolish people of this world think that we are foolish because we believe God’s Word and they don’t. Even Satan and his demons know Who God is and they know that He is real! So if God’s adversaries know and believe in Him why do we who are created in His image tend to move in the opposite direction from belief?

Seek Jesus for your salvation so you can know for sure where your eternity is because this world is temporary but your salvation and your home is in Heaven. All you need to do is believe in Jesus to receive it and repent of your sinful ways. Ask Him to come into your heart and clean out all of the “old stuff” and place the Holy Spirit in there so that you will be a “new creation in Christ“.

Reasons for our faith…

There are many reasons why we should have faith in and trust God in all things. For one, He has given each of us who are reading this one more day to serve in His Kingdom which is why He woke each of us up this morning. Another reason is that we are saved by the blood of Jesus even though we don’t deserve it. God created every life-form on Earth for a reason, some are deep in the ocean and when discovered we usually wonder “Why did God put that there?”. The answer is usually to make us think and to see His creative ability. Here are a few more reasons for you to ponder:

Living Hope…

Why did the people of the early church believe so strongly in Jesus and the offer of forgiveness and eternity so deeply they were willing to be killed because of it? Because they had eye-witness accounts of His ministry and most of all their account of His resurrection from the grave! What He endured for our atonement was enough to kill any man within a few hours if not before He was nailed to the cross. He wasn’t finished yet so He stayed alive until it was finished and when it was, He said so, “It is finished!”, and He gave up His Spirit. No one took His life, no one killed Jesus, He died when He was finished and He gave it up willingly.

If someone today had the message which He brought so long ago and they were being filmed for TV and someone shot them three times in front of the country, killing them. Then before the autopsy could be finished, they got up and showed themselves to the doctors and nurses and the world…would you believe in them as the Messiah? This very scene will play out one day but it won’t be Jesus but a false savior when it does happen. If you haven’t given your heart to Jesus then you will possibly see this “false savior” who would claim to be the so-called “savior of the world”. This person is the anti-Christ, the false Messiah and he will deceive many who are alive on that day.

The resurrection of Jesus is such a powerful witness that many people would die for their faith in Him and His promise of eternity. Life was in Him, true eternal life not some promise made by “just a man”. If you have access to a copy of the Book of Martyrs I would encourage you to read it. It is not an easy read because some of the descriptions are very graphic. But the people that you read about beginning with Stephen and continuing on into our present day had their hope in Jesus and they believed in Jesus for their Savior so deeply that they were willing to go through being crucified or burned alive or trampled by animals or killed and eaten by wild animals. No one dies willingly for a lie. God loves each of us and we have a message to take to the world. That message is: He is risen and alive! His Word is true and He is coming back one day soon, Amen.

The birds know more…

The bluebird knows it is April, and soars toward the Sun and sings.
–Eben Eugene Rexford (1848–1916)

When you consider the birds of the air or even the fish and other animals in the wild, all of them depend on God for their lives. Their food and their shelter are provided for them by the grace and power of God. Now you can say that it is just instinct or the way that these animals are taught by their “parents” but that doesn’t work for many of them.

Think about sea turtles. They live for many years but they never actually know their mother or their father. They are born from an egg which has been laid in the sand by their mother but when they are born she is not there. They have to frantically race to the sea and many of them don’t make it. Birds scoop up these little ones by the hundreds before they ever enter the sea and even then they are small enough to be eaten by some fish. God provides them with the knowledge to find places to hide and to find food because this is where so-called “instincts” come from.

Why am I speaking about animals? Because God cares for them. He knows when one of them comes to the end of their life and falls to the ground or dies in the sea or anywhere they are. Since God cares for and knows about their death just as much as He knows and cares about each of us. He cares and knows about each of us in a more intimate way because we are made in His image! We are given talents and gifts by Him to use for His Kingdom in this life until our time is up. God knows your day of birth and He knows the day of your death, but in between those times we are supposed to work for Him in every area of our life.

Some of us push Him away for a while because we think that we can do it on our own, but we can’t. Many of us hear His call on our life and just ignore it and we have many problems come up in our life. These problems usually come in the form of sickness or some other problem for which we need His hand or His strength to get through. Sometimes we will turn to Him and follow Him after these things and sometimes we become angry and push Him away. Don’t consider that you can outsmart God, He knew which reaction that you would exhibit. So if you’ve pushed Him away, He will try another one.

God uses every area of your life for His Kingdom. You don’t have to be a pastor or a deacon or a missionary…just be you. God created each of us with a unique gift or ability which nobody else has and He can and will use that gift for His Kingdom and glory even if it doesn’t happen until your last day on this Earth. Each of us has a date with destiny and we will meet God on that day. It is up to you and your decision to give your heart to Him even if you only have a minute to live…don’t waste it.

We are finite

Much of our lives are spent seeking for a reason or a purpose for our life. We go through life trying to find the meaning for our existence but many times we stumble over the real meaning in such a hurry until we miss it. This is the problem in most everyone’s life because it usually takes a crisis of some kind to bring our focus back to what we should have been doing all along. Not only washing our hands but being careful about where we sneeze and cough, but it has taken a virus to get the whole world to realize what is important and how to take care of each of us and those in our family who are important to us.

But…why does it take a crisis to bring the best of us to the top? Why do we have to be tried in some way in order to be better at being the people that we could be all the time? It seems that Christians and…well, people in general, tend to do better or try to be better when we are under the pressure of a trial, no matter what it might be. Whether it is persecution, like the early church was put through, or war or diseases Christians tend to thrive and dig deeper into our faith when we are put under pressure. Kinda like coal or carbon, when put through enough heat and pressure it will turn into a beautiful diamond.

Does life just do this or do we bring these trials on ourselves? I believe that it is a combination of circumstances and the will of God which brings these trials our way. Trials do tend to get rid of the dross and refine our faith into a more pure form of faith which cannot be shaken. Then of course there are some people who will go through the same trials and blame God for their “bad luck”. They will do this and then just turn away from Him and the love that He has for them, even when they know about His love and can possibly feel it yet they will still refuse to turn toward Him for salvation or healing.

Humanity has always been strange in that way. Some of us will lean toward our Savior during times of trial and some of us will blame Him for these trials and turn away from Him. Truthfully, the church grew faster during those times of persecution than at any other time during its history. The emperor of Rome was trying to stop this “cult” and stomp it out and it just kept growing. If you read the history of the church, no matter where the persecution was or the type of trials that it was put through, the church still grew in number of converts and in the places where it was known, where Jesus was known.

The trial that our world is going through right now is not localized but the faith of the people who are being tested during this time will be refined and polished to a point of reflecting Jesus and His message even more during this and afterward as well. God knows exactly how to make Himself known and if it takes a crisis like this virus which has everyone on edge and fearful, then He will allow it to happen. But we need to draw closer to Him during this and don’t blame Him for the outcome but thank Him for it, regardless of how gut-wrenching the pain is or how much you are tempted to blame Him for someone dying from this virus. He will see you through it and give you the strength to glorify Him regardless of the outcome.

Seek Him for your strength and your comfort because He is the only One Who can provide you with both.

Walking in His Presence

I had a dream or a vision one day but don’t ask me to elaborate on the sights and textures of it. I was reading and meditating on part of the book of Matthew, I think, and I could see myself walking on streets of gold. Matthew doesn’t speak of this but heaven is described this way in the book of Revelation. Why would I see gold under my feet? I don’t know. Maybe God was giving me a glimpse of His home? Just a small “blink and you miss it” types of glimpses? I don’t know for sure.

Don’t you think that is what Jesus meant by living a life more abundantly here? It’s possible I suppose. But if you are so spiritually-minded you are no Earthly good then what is the point of being a child of God? If we aren’t going to take our faith and the message that we should be living by out into the world at large, then what good are we doing for God? Jesus told His disciples to take the gospel out into the whole Earth and that means to our workplace and to the dog park or the market and to the mall as well. But if we don’t meditate on His Word and learn from it enough to tell others about it, what are we telling people?

Do you feel as if something is missing in your life? Do you want more than you have or do you want to be useful to God and His Kingdom? We should realize that we don’t have to be missionaries or preachers or even teachers in order to be useful to God’s Kingdom. God does give each of us a gift or a talent. Sometimes it takes us years to find out what our talent or our gift is. Many times it is because we are not searching in the right place. The only place that we can find the truth about us and what He has given us is in God’s Word and by prayerfully reading it and asking God to show you what He has for you.

God can and will show you. It won’t jump out of the Bible and it won’t be plainly on a page or in a certain book but by learning about God’s requirements for our lives. Obedience to His commandments is part of it, even though we can’t perfectly follow them. Obedience to God and the surrendering of our life and everything in it to Him is the truth of our lives in Jesus Christ. Not giving Him some of your life or some of your money but giving Him all of it. Does that mean that we are to live in poverty? Absolutely not. You were given so many blessings such as your life and your money and your job or business by God. None of it is yours. Your home, your family, your career, your very life belongs to God but until you realize this and truly give it all to Him…your life will never be as satisfying as it could be.

Your life in Christ is in heavenly places. Your soul inhabits your dwelling place in heaven even if your physical body does not. God’s Word says that we are seated with Him in heavenly places if we truly belong to Him. We are there, in Christ, in Heaven with Him and we must dwell in Him and live our lives as if we are in Him until that day when we are translated from this world to the next. We are saved by His Grace not through any vain thing that we may do but by our belief in Jesus Christ for our salvation, it is this which brings our soul into His presence at the day in which we move from this place to His home.

When you are in a storm…

Remember that you, as a Christian, are related to the One Who created rain and wind and the seas. He commands the elements and the universe itself has to obey. There are some storms which come upon us unexpectedly and there are some which we helped to create, but God is with us in all of them. He is still in control regardless of the news or the numbers which you hear on TV or radio. Whether the storm is natural or caused by mankind, God is still in control and those who doubt this will one day find out for sure. Though one day it will be apparent that He is in control, they will still cry and complain about it until they find that it is too late to change.

The storm that you are in could be financial or just a problem with your health. It could be that you are worrying about your child or how you are going to pay some bills this month. A storm in your life can happen at any time and in an instant your life will change forever. What do you do then? If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior you can call on friends or family to help you but they could be going through their own storm. Jesus is the only Person Who can take care of spiritual problems and health problems and financial problems too. When you give your heart to Him and sincerely repent of your sinful life to follow Him, He will be with you through all of the storms.

Your family and friends won’t be so close during those times of joblessness and cancer diagnosis. They will be with you every day if you win the lottery but when the money is gone, they will be too. God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to take our sins and our burdens and our problems to the cross and nail them to it forever. All that you need to do is believe in Him as your Savior and Lord and your life will be forever changed. I’m not promising that all of your troubles will go away, sometimes they get worse because of your faith in Jesus, but He will provide for you in His time and in His way.

Do you know God?

A strange question for sure but do you know Him? Many of us who attend church and claim to be Christians claim to know about God but knowing about Him is not enough. Even when you read it on a fairly regular schedule you will miss a lot if you aren’t praying your way through it. The Bible is a book and sometimes we tend to read it like a normal book and it is NOT a normal book. God’s Word, which is what our Bible is, is His love letter and a guidebook for a person to find out Who our Messiah really is!

Jesus is the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament and He is known by some other names too. Usually with the name capitalized such as the Commander of the Lord’s armies, or “a fourth man who looks like a Son of God” when He visited the three Hebrews when they were thrown into the fire. God makes His entrance into humanity’s life in many ways but when you read the Bible without prayer and an attitude of seeking Him, you miss out on the message contained within.

God is the true Author of the entire Bible because it was through His Spirit that all of the writers, from Moses to John, were inspired to write and were given the words to write down so others would be able to learn about Him. From the first mention of “the Seed of the woman” until we read about the birth of Jesus there are pictures in words of Who Jesus would be and what His mission would be as well. Every prophecy about Him was fulfilled during His ministry and His death, burial and resurrection. The only one which hasn’t come to pass is His return which will happen, likely in our lifetimes.

I pray that anyone who reads this will seek Him in the Bible not only to get to know God and His Son but also to be transformed by Him and then take His message of hope and salvation to those that you come into contact with. The time is growing short for us to get His message out, so don’t put it off. Seek Him while there is time to do so.

and three iron nails.