Simple salvation


Have you ever been to an evangelical service anywhere and heard that it was simple to become a child of God? In many churches, you will never hear such a thing, but that is exactly what Jesus came to bring to everyone! The Jewish leaders of His day had over six hundred laws which they encouraged the people to keep (even though they couldn’t or wouldn’t keep them).

They asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment and He told them this: “Love the Lord with all of your mind, soul, body and strength and the second is like it; love your neighbor as yourself.” The law and the prophets hang on these two commandments. Much simpler don’t you think?

Salvation comes only through faith and belief in Jesus and the atonement which He bought for us with His blood and His resurrection from the tomb. Faith comes from hearing the Word preached and your soul responding to it, then belief comes when the Holy Spirit touches your heart and breaks it, showing you where you have failed to be like Jesus in your life. Why does it happen this way?

Because until it is broken just a little, there is no opening in your heart for the Holy Spirit to gain entrance. Being broken doesn’t mean that you are beyond repair because with God all things are possible! I mean, He made the first man from the mud and breathed the breath of Life into him. God called up the cattle and other animals from the ground and caused the waters to teem with all kinds of living creatures, certainly, He can take a small crack in your heart and mend it to make you into a new creature in Christ!

Learning about Jesus and His love for you is not the end of your life but the beginning! How can I say this? Because this pitiful seventy or eighty years of life is nothing compared to eternity! Which is where you will spend the rest of Life with Him and with all of those who have given their lives and their hearts to Him! Don’t throw eternity away because of a small thing or some amount of money here on Earth! The streets of Heaven are paved with gold and the doors leading into the Temple in Heaven are made out of 12 ft. tall pearls! What can wealth here give you that you can’t have in eternity? Absolutely nothing!

Make sure of your salvation simply because, after your last breath in this life, you won’t have a chance to change your mind or destination in eternity.

Being a mouthpiece


Since I am a preacher, that is what I am seen as by most people…a mouthpiece for God’s Word. I read a few verses or maybe a chapter during the service on Sunday morning and then expound on what I have read and what the wisdom that God has given me tells me about this scripture. Moses was a mouthpiece and all of the prophets in the Bible were too. Jesus is a direct mouthpiece because He is the Living Word of God and His disciples were mouthpieces and teachers just as we are today.

Bridge2SalvationWhat is my point in this article today? Simply that God is awesome, Jesus is sitting at the right of His Father and the universe is under their control! Being the person who tells others about God and His Son, and thankfully I am not the only one doing this, is an awesome responsibility! But, I enjoy it!

God loves us and the story that is told in the Bible, from the beginning to the end, is the story of His love and compassion toward us all. While it is true that it starts out being a story about Creation and the Israelite nation, the wisdom contained within its pages is for all of us! Jesus came to tell that story more personally so that we could understand that God’s love doesn’t just mean something to one particular people, but it is expressed toward all of humanity through His death and resurrection!

God’s love and compassion for us are also expressed in His patience toward us because we are very stubborn in our sinful lives and we don’t want to follow His ways until we are ready. The problem with that is that we don’t have a clue about our the brevity of our lives! We are not guaranteed tomorrow or even tonight, so as the saying goes “today is the day of salvation”! Tomorrow isn’t here until it is and you may not have much time in the day or the week ahead to give your life to Jesus and repent of your sins.

None of us can know if we are going into the new year in a couple of weeks because it isn’t a certainty. A wreck or a heart attack or a stroke could take your life at any time between now and then and if you haven’t made the decision to follow Jesus and believe in His atonement for your sins, then you will cross from this life into judgment and hell.

God loves each of us and this is shown in His Word, so don’t wait until you find yourself in front of God and being judged for a life lived without Jesus or even believing in Him. Yes, each of us will be judged in one way or another. If you are a Christian and have Jesus as your Savior then you will be judged by what you did for God’s Kingdom.

If you are not a Christian, then every word and deed that you have ever done in your life will be brought before you to convict you of your sins and to prove that you deserve to be punished in hell. Not for the sins, but for refusing to give your heart to Jesus! That is the sin which condemns you to hell. Make sure of your salvation while you can in this life because when this one is over you can’t rewind and fix it.

The shed blood of Jesus Christ


1 Peter 1:13-21
13 Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

17 And if you address as Father, the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

john_3_16_17_scripture_memory_card-raf7013e639264b87b918bea9971565b3_vgbaq_8byvr_540Sin deceives you because its roots are from the deceiver, Satan. Sinful actions can and will destroy your life in many ways and in the end of this life, it will bring eternal death which is eternal banishment from the presence of God.

The only way to save yourself from sin and the consequences of it is to believe in Jesus and the blood which He shed for us, each of us, on the cross. The Son of God gave His life for you and for me…He didn’t have to but He wanted to do it. Because He loved each of us far more and deeper than we can know or comprehend.

He redeemed us from sin through His blood shed on the cross for you! The only action needed on your part is belief in Him and the atonement bought by His blood.

Colossians 1:19-22 King James Version (KJV)

19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Do you understand what God has done for us? For you and for me? Each person who has ever lived in this world, before the Flood and up until now, is born with a natural bent toward sin! I mean you don’t have to teach anyone to lie and you know it as well as I do.

Tell a toddler not to do something or eat something and you can see their wheels turning trying to figure out how they can get away with doing exactly that! If you are able to catch them right after doing it, whatever it may be, ask them if they did what you told them not to do. Even with crumbs from those cookies on their clothes they will tell you no, they didn’t do that.

In life you see many people behaving exactly the same way, even if they are supposed to be grown-ups. Why is that? It is because until you have a changed heart through the Spirit of God living within you, you are a sinner from the day you are able to decide to do something which you were told not to do! God’s will for your life is to glorify Him in all that you do and the only way for us to do that is to believe in Jesus and the atonement that He bought for us and ask God’s forgiveness based upon that belief.

Now, many religions teach that you can work out your salvation by yourself but that is not true. If that were possible, Jesus died for nothing! No amount of gold or silver or any amount of good works that you or I do in this world can bring salvation to your soul, only belief in Jesus can do that and accepting His atonement for your sins. If you can’t or won’t do that, then you have condemned yourself to hell.

Please, don’t go there, because hell was not made for humanity at all. It was made to punish angels who rebelled against God’s rule and authority including Satan or Lucifer if you know him by that name. Because of deception and our own stubbornness, many people are going to hell and it won’t be a party or a friendly place to be for eternity at all.

Make sure of your salvation in Jesus soon before the church is taken from this Earth, because it is going to happen soon. Plan on being part of that company.

 

So much disagreement!


5thingsgodwantsyou2knowWhy do we disagree with each other so vehemently? It seems that it doesn’t matter what religion or race or political party you belong to at the time, our differences of opinion and culture divide us so much that we can’t seem to find any common ground to work on!

Why!?

As a species and as actually ONE race being human beings or Homo sapiens if you want to get scientific about it, our skin color and our hundreds of different cultures divide us to the point of barely being in any kind of collective community! It seems that, if you ask a question on one side of a room and then ask the same question on the other side, you will come up with many, many different answers to that same question…even if it is a simple one!

We just can’t agree on much at all, except what color the Sun is and that grass is green when it has water.

Is it possible for us to work around those differences or maybe work through them in order to find a way to get along long enough to NOT kill each other over ideology or religion?

Truly…in the world today, with all of the “politically correct” police all over the place, I doubt that we would ever fix any of the problems which are in our society now! When people are being told that they can’t say certain things or they will be put in jail for using the improper pronoun in reference to a person, regardless of their “born gender”; I don’t see any possible way of getting our world into a more compassionate and tolerant world.

Search the scriptures to find the wisdom of God in all of this. Because His Word is the only truth which is actually True. I understand that is a statement which is intolerant and narrow-minded but consider the same restrictions from Islam toward many of our freedoms and the lifestyles of people in the world? They don’t just preach and tell unbelievers that their sins according to Allah and the Holy Koran are wrong, in many instances the infidels are shoved from a rooftop or in some other way killed!

Has a Christian or Jewish church or temple ever done such a thing? I realize that during the 1500’s and 1600’s there were beheadings and wars and things such as that by the “church” of the time, but I am speaking of now…today!? No, the church of today doesn’t condone any kind of killing because you are sinning against God, because Jesus said that we are to love our fellow-man as He loved the people around Him. You cannot love someone and kill them!

Seek Jesus out in your situation and in the lives of those around you. Tell them about His love for them and that it is available to all who will believe in Jesus! Do this while there is time and breath in our bodies, because when the Trumpet of God sounds it will be too late.

What is the difference?


IamtheWayIt seems that there are so many different divisions of believers! Why? Aren’t we supposed to be worshipping the same Jesus and from the Bible which is God’s Word? Why do we have all of these denominations?

Mostly because of the work of Satan in the church. You didn’t think he could do that did you? If Satan can attend a meeting in Heaven and accuse Job, speaking to God about him, he can surely come into each of our churches! He may come in as a new convert to Christ or he may show up as a deacon or maybe someone who isn’t satisfied with the preacher.

I don’t mean that he has possessed them, but he plants thoughts into their minds which will take root in the congregation and even begin to fracture the family in the church. If you think about how problems arise in the church, regardless of the denomination, this will make sense. Many times after the church is either split or in some way diminished, the “new” person will leave or the person who planted the seed won’t have any recollection of the problem.

I am not writing this to accuse anyone but I am writing it to bring attention to this problem which does come up in churches all over the world, not just here in America. Paul wrote that we are at war with powers and principalities and these are just some of the forces that Satan has under his command. Thoughts of things which Christians shouldn’t think of, consideration of sinful things which we know we shouldn’t do, these are the “arrows” that our Spiritual armor should protect us from.

But, if you haven’t studied God’s Word and placed it in your mind to give you strength and power to resist these thoughts, then you may entertain them and it will become a stumbling block for you. The war for your spirit and your soul is in your mind and it is there that Satan attacks because he can see what each of us is attracted to the most and he uses it against us.

It is the same when we are having trouble in our churches, Satan and his demons and powers are attacking us, each one of us. Pulling up little things which irk us about a certain speaker or topic and making them seem far worse than they are. This is how he caused Adam and Eve to envy God in the garden and he has been doing it ever since all over the world.

Seek out the truth in God’s Word and study it. Learn from the Old and the New Testaments because they complement and interpret each other. With God’s Wisdom in your heart and in your head, Satan can’t twist it and make it say something when you know it well enough to thwart his plans. He knows scripture better than you do so you have to study it in order to know it at least as well. If you don’t, then he will make it sound like it came from the Bible even when he has changed a word or two to make it seem better or more appealing.

This is why we can’t stop learning scripture. Just because you may have read the entire Bible through last year doesn’t mean that you know it well enough to take him on. If you are like me in your reading, when you have finished reading the Bible, the next day feels empty without reading more of it. Every year I read it through but usually when I have finished it, I go back to Genesis and begin again. Each time over the last seven years I will find something or the Spirit will reveal something to me that I didn’t see or understand before!

I am about halfway through another reading of it and I feel that I should begin again. Why? I don’t know, maybe it is the Spirit prompting me to read again a part of it that I have read so that I can understand it a little better. I usually do find some insight in a passage every time that I read it which didn’t jump out at me before and it makes more sense this time.

I am not claiming to be perfect in my studies because I miss a day or two at times, when life gets in the way or maybe I’m not feeling well for a few days, but the more scripture that you put into your mind and heart the less you will be deceived by cults or by Satan.

Forgiveness


Sermons have been preached on this, people talk about this in the news and at home, but…is it given to those who don’t deserve it?

Many times in our lives we seek forgiveness from friends and spouses and would like to receive it from loan companies (being debt free for a change); my point is this: do we extend forgiveness to those around us who have wronged us in some way, even when they don’t deserve it?

Concerning the statement of deserving it part of that statement…how do you know that they don’t deserve it? Who are you to judge? Does holding a grudge against people who have never wronged you help your life in any way?

Image result for ForgivenessWe should be willing to forgive others regardless of the wrong committed because that is what Jesus did for us. If you are not forgiving others of something which was done to a family member in the past, particularly more than a century ago, what good is this doing you today?

My ancestors came from Ireland as indentured slaves. Should I hold a grudge against some person or family because of it? Should I be that ungrateful for the reason that my family came here? I don’t think so. It is true that many Irish slaves were very ill-treated at the time and many more were put in chains even in the sugar plantations in the Caribbean, but I can’t hold a grudge against people I don’t know anything about.

Forgiveness is one of those qualities which Christians are supposed to express in their lives, but it seems to be in short supply particularly today. While it is true that many slave owners in the South treated their slaves terribly, there were also some in the North who did the very same thing. We who are living in the 21st century shouldn’t be holding the black flag of slavery over our brothers and sisters in America because of something which happened over a century ago.

Was it a crime to own slaves at the time? No it wasn’t, but the treatment of people who were sold into slavery was horrible and that is the true crime. Many of those sold into slavery from Africa were sold by their own people, so the selling of slaves can’t be totally laid at America’s feet. Many nations in Africa and the Middle East today have slaves, but this isn’t publicized because it is illegal today.

Should we forgive those who put our ancestors in shackles to be sold? Yes, we should. It is a shame that many were treated so terribly and the conditions of slavery shouldn’t be ignored, especially in today’s world. Even today, children and women are sold into the slave trade as sex slaves, some even right here in America. But, it will never appear on a news program.

Can we forgive those who are doing these things, even today? In Christ we are supposed to do so, but our human morality and dignity cannot let it go unpunished if they can even be caught and brought to justice. Only through our faith in Jesus and the strength which He gives us can we possibly forgive these things.

Paul said it best in his writing to the Galatians, and we should follow that example to the best of our ability which Jesus gives us.

The Exodus, the Bread and the Wine


This idea just came to me while I was reading a story about Christianity. The only explanation that I can give you for the title is that the Spirit placed the idea in my mind. I am not Jewish, although I have read a Jewish Bible complete with the New Testament. The three ideas in the title: the Exodus, the Bread and the Wine are intimately tied to the nation and people of Israel.

Bread&WineThe Exodus is their liberation from bondage as slaves in Egypt for over four hundred years. It is not unlike our own lives in that we were slaves to our life of sin and rebellion toward God. Now, for some of us this rebellion wasn’t an active rebellion and we may not have known that what we were doing was sinful in the sight of God. Why do I say it that way? Because many of us asked Jesus to become our Savior at an early age, say 8 or 12 years. I barely knew what the word “sin” meant and honestly I didn’t think that my life could’ve been classified as sinful, at that time.

During the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites were glad to be out of bondage but they didn’t know this God Who had called them out of bondage. Which is why it took forty years for them to get to the point of going into the land which had been promised to them. Even after all of the miracles and provision that God provided for them during this time, they still rebelled against Him in their Promised Land.

Sounds a bit like us actually. When we learn about God and what He asks of us, don’t we rebel a bit? I mean, we like the idea of forgiveness and eternal life but “being in a state of prayerful thought” on a daily basis is a bit much don’t you think? Not really, if you consider what this really means. The analogy that I like goes something like this: When you go to the doctor and you tell him you have had a cold and a cough for about a week, you don’t mean that you have been coughing for a whole week. Just that you have had a persistent cough which has hung around for that length of time. It is the same with praying without ceasing. It doesn’t mean that you pray 24 hours a day, but you wake with a prayerful attitude of thankfulness that you are alive today. You thank God for your health and your breakfast. You thank Him for being able to go to work or school or whatever you are doing today.

That is an attitude of prayer without ceasing.

It gets you through your exodus in this life, every day and night, all through your life! This is your “daily cross”.

The Bread is reading and prayerfully studying the Bible. Learning more about God and what He requires of His people, Israelite and Gentile. If you don’t know what is required or asked of you, how will you know what to do with your life on a daily basis? The only way to know is to read and study His Word with prayer for understanding at least a few days during the week. I don’t mean that you should read the Bible for a whole day, but a chapter or two a day for a few days at a time will get your mind washed in His Word and keep it on His ideas and wisdom.

The Wine is what you partake of through giving your heart and your life to Jesus, asking Him to come in and change you into a child of God. This is part of your walk, your life with Him and it begins your exodus from your old life, your old ways, into a life that is lived in and through Jesus! It is a daily process. Salvation, if you truly are sincere about it, comes immediately when you ask for it. Your sanctification and becoming more like Jesus is the walk, prayerfully with Him every day. Your exodus or your walking away from your old life comes when you have asked Him to come in and change you into a new creation!

Just as the trek through the desert wasn’t easy for the children of Israel, the process of becoming a Christian and becoming more like Christ won’t be easy either. There will be days or times where you will stumble and fall, but Jesus is there to help you get up. If you have studied the Bible, then you can fall onto the wisdom that you have gained through it when the times get tough.

The life of a Christian isn’t always easy or sure. There will be bumps and bruises during your walk with Jesus, but He is still there with you through it all. The wisdom that you gain from His Word, His Bread and His Wine will last you through eternity and you won’t regret any of it when you see Him in His Glory one day!

Are the -ism’s the real problem?


genetic-variationWe have so many of these today. Consider this, we have communism, Islamism, racism, nationalism and many other -ism’s which are part of the names of religions besides Islam. The minority’s which are on television and all of the media outlets today are the loudest and the most virulent and violent which is why they have everyone’s attention.

I am not speaking of a “racial minority”, just the few percent who are loudly proclaiming their rights and that their voice be heard. Their voice is on all of the social media “channels” so to speak which makes their demands and their voice louder than it would’ve been if they were only on news programs.

But…truly, are these the real problem or is this just a symptom of a larger problem which has been building over the decades?

Racism has been swept under the collective rug of our consciousness and if not forgotten then they haven’t been out in the air for a while. At least not until the past decade or so.

I suppose it has been simmering a bit here and there because there have been flare-ups of violence from time to time, but these days those flare-ups are threatening to go widespread. We, as a nation of Christians, need to do something even if it is “only prayer”!! God knows what is happening and it was foretold in scripture that near the time of tribulation this would be happening. The real problem is that it is going to get worse before it gets better. Much worse.

We need desperately to draw near to our Lord…NOW! Stop posting about it and talking about it and DO IT! Because if we don’t and if we don’t tell others that it is needed, our towns and cities will become powder kegs which will explode and become wild fires! God loves each of us and even if we can’t come together to worship Him without looking at the name of the church or the color of our skin, then we desperately need to examine our faith in the One Who died for us.

Make sure of your salvation in Jesus before He comes back. Before the times truly do get bad in the world, because when He comes and those who are taken up are gone, the violence of today will look tame in comparison to what will come afterward. If you truly believe the Bible is the Word of God…then believe that He cannot lie.

How much?


Life itself is full of contradictions. How much or how little? Where and when did evolution begin? When did the first ape/human make the leap in knowledge in order to become more than she/he was before? All of the contradictions in life can be looked at as a different view of the chicken and the egg. A chicken comes from an egg so where did the egg come from?

Genesis1In a scientific view humanity and animals are not so different because at one point far back in the past we were the same. But, the logical viewpoint actually falls to having a Creator or as some circles call it, Intelligent Designer. Whatever label you place on God, He is the determining Factor in all of Creation. Call Him what you will but He is and always will be God!

How much proof do you need? Some people can see the Designer in a blade of grass or in a newborn baby. Some try to argue that evolution is the right way to go and that we all came from a single cell far back when the planet was young. Thermodynamics and chaos theory would disagree with you.

I am not a mathematician, so I am not and will not be drawn into a theoretical discussion in this matter. Generally, when you toss a bunch of sticks or 2 x 4’s into the air, they don’t spontaneously form into a deck or a puzzle. You will only have a pile of wood before and after unless there is a builder or Designer to act upon the pieces to form them into an orderly combination of pieces such as a deck or any other combination.

It is also the same way that natural processes work. No natural system goes from simple to complex. Systems in nature usually go from a complex state to a more simple one. A rusty old car will break down into a pile of iron oxide if given enough time, it will not change into a Bentley if it started out as a Pinto!

God’s design of our universe and the stars and planets which populate it, is impeccable. The cells in your body and in all animals in the world, cold-blooded or warm-blooded, work perfectly in sync in those who are healthy. Cells which do all of the things which they do in our bodies, didn’t evolve to do this, God designed them for each part of your body! Your nerve cells, your brain cells, the cells in your bone marrow which make all of your blood cells, these did not come into being because of mutations and selection!

God is our Creator and Designer and He is the One which placed the stars in their courses and the planets too. Each comet and asteroid in our solar system is where He intended for it to be. Not one grain of sand is out-of-place in God’s sight, no matter where it may be. He knows each of us more intimately than we could ever know ourselves because He knew you and your personality and your intellect long before you or I were born!

How much proof do you need? We and all other life on Earth were created by God and in the beginning life was perfect enough to live a life of thousands of years. Until we thought that we could do better than God. When the decision was made to defy God and go our way, that is when disease and shorter lifespans came into the world. Don’t throw your eternity away by thinking that some man-made religion can save you because it can’t.

Even the religion of “evolution” can’t hold up to entropy: The law of increasing entropy — also known as the second law of thermodynamics — stipulates that all systems in the real world tend to go “downhill,” as it were, toward disorganization and decreased complexity.

Give your heart to Jesus. Seek Him out as your Savior and follow Him. That is the only way into eternity and Heaven, by believing in Him…our Creator!

The end and the beginning


When you consider that, for a Christian, or anyone who is looking forward to eternal life in Heaven, death in this life is the beginning of eternity. Immortality is something that many people would like to have, but nobody wants to die to get there. But…that is the way this works. We don’t get to sample the “Tree of Life” until we are in Heaven. You can blame Adam for that little mix up if you wish. People for years have tried to blame Eve for it, but truly Adam was the one that God told about the trees in the Garden first so it is actually his fault.

The end of a life lived here on Earth is sometimes very sad for those of us left behind. Mainly because we won’t get to see the person who has gone before us into eternity, at least for a while. Remember that when we are reunited with them, the reunion will be glorious! Not only will we see them, but we will see them in their glorified body. Not the one with disease and aches and glasses and a cane, but a body which will last for an eternity!

There will not be anymore good bye’s, no more missing you, because we will be in God’s Kingdom. We will be together with all of our family and friends and even people we didn’t know in this life but we will know them in Heaven…isn’t that GREAT!! God will give us all of the perfection that He had given to Adam and Eve in the Garden. No more pains, or wheezing or dizziness and we will all enjoy this life forever!