Faith, what is it?


Have you ever wondered what faith really is? Faith according to the Bible is defined by this:  Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

In Ephesians our faith is part of the equation which brings us to salvation through our Savior: Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

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

When God calls you or me to Himself through the conviction that we need Him, He gives us the faith which we need to believe in Jesus for our salvation. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the faith which is necessary to bring us to that knowledge. It is a gift of God to us so that we can effectively believe in the promises which He has made to us in Scripture. That is what Biblical faith is.

We have faith in gravity or in our heart to keep beating and to keep us alive, yet we don’t usually acknowledge it. We have faith that the sun will rise in the morning, not gifted to us by God but because it has always come up each morning. That is faith in things which are seen. Faith in things which are not seen but are hoped for with a conviction that we will have them one day is the faith which is spoken of in the Bible.

This kind of faith cannot be proven or shown to anyone who doesn’t believe in God or Jesus or the Bible because it takes faith to believe in those things. If you don’t have it, you can’t get it except by belief in Jesus and His atonement for your sins and you won’t believe that unless God gives you the faith to do so!

I know, it is a spiral which goes from faith to faith to faith but if you have it, you’ve got it and if you don’t then unless you are seeking Him, you won’t get it then either.

Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” Reading God’s Word and seeking Him in it will bring you into a closer walk with Him so enjoy His Presence in your life by cultivating a friendship with God. He is always present with you so treat Him as a treasured friend and talk to Him, walk with Him, seek His advice and act on His advice that is given to you.

By faith in Him and through Him we can conquer any problem in our lives, so make sure that you seek Him and His Son’s friendship while you can. Life only lasts for a little while, so make sure that you are friends with the Author of Life!

Artificial life


In our world today we have AI or artificial intelligence inside many things. Phones, cars, computers, and in some cases people too. What do I mean by that? Well, if you can use your “pocket computer” to find out all sorts of information on almost any subject imaginable then I would say you are artificially intelligent. You can spout all sorts of statistics on games and cars and science and history and the news of the day and you get it from those little computers we call smartphones.

We do live in a time where there are so many things which fall into the artificial category after all. We have sweeteners which are not sugar, we have whiskey which isn’t alcoholic, we have beers which have such a small amount of alcohol in them until they might as well be classified as carbonated drinks. The list of artificial stuff could go on and on, but you get my point.

My problem lies with those who consider themselves to be Christians who really aren’t. They are artificial Christians. They do many of the same things which other Christians do like come to church and to Bible study, some of them are deacons and even pastors but if you could see what they have in their hearts like God can, it is empty.  They know what they should say and do, they have studied the Bible and been to church enough that they can quote Scripture and they have all of the outward signs of being a “Christian” but they are artificial.

Can we know for sure of the state of their hearts and bring them to repentance and the saving knowledge of Jesus? Truthfully, we cannot. Why? Because only God knows the human heart and we can’t. All that we can do is keep telling others about Jesus and giving our testimony and all of the things which our Lord told us to do so as to win over those who haven’t given their hearts and their lives to Him.

If they are finally convicted of their need for Jesus, then they may ask Him into their lives although it is likely that many of them will be like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. They will be so self-righteous until they will see no need to change, even if they feel the Holy Spirit calling to them. Which will be a sad thing because they will be found in the group which is telling Jesus about all of the good things which they did in His Name and He will tell them, “Depart from Me, for I never knew you.”

Do you know anyone like this? Can you tell that they are not what they say they are? Unless God gives your spirit the discernment to be able to tell if their spirit belongs to Him, most likely you can’t. Even if you had a feeling about them, I wouldn’t confront them about it because you will be accused of being a judge and we are not to do that. God alone is the Judge of our hearts, so leave that up to Him. Make sure of your salvation so that you won’t hear those words from our Lord! Amen

How long, O Lord?


The spirit of the anti-Christ has been a part of our world ever since the Garden. Why do I say that there was such a thing even before Jesus the Christ came to us? Because the spirit of rebellion against God has been in the world ever since there were people who knew about God on the Earth.

After Jesus ascended to Heaven and His disciples were taking His teachings to the ends of the Earth in those days, the people who were spreading hate and lies against their teaching were part of the anti-Christian movement and it kept spreading. But…so did Christianity. It seemed that the more there was persecution and a spiritual push-back against this message, the more the church grew. The plans that Satan had were backfiring on him. He wanted to stop this message and kill all of those who believed in the Son of God and His message!

But it didn’t work. Everywhere that there was great persecution, those who escaped from it took the message with them and it kept spreading. God’s Word will not return to Him void and it will accomplish that which He sends it out to do. It doesn’t matter if the message is spoken by a young farm boy or girl or a well-known evangelist!

The Word of God, our Bible, is the infallible Word of God and it is the Truth which our world and every person in this world needs it and the message which it has for each person.

6 “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6

God loves each person in the whole world, but He knows who will accept Him as their Savior and who will not. So make sure of your salvation and seek Him today because you need Him. If you don’t know Jesus yet, I ask you to look for Him in the Bible because He is waiting for you.

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

Please don’t turn away from His call on your life and your heart because you will spend eternity somewhere and I would love to see you there in Heaven one day!

Darkness and the dark side


There are so many references to these phrases in our language today and most of them come from references to Star Wars. But darkness and its dark side have always been in the world around us to some extent. Because mankind is sinful and their thoughts move toward the darkness, almost from the time we are old enough to learn from our parents or siblings or even our friends at school. That doesn’t mean that every thought of man has turned toward evil at least it hasn’t yet.

My point with this is to point the way back to our God and Creator. I know there are some who don’t want to hear or read this and that’s okay but it needs to be said. Why? Because of the time that we are living in right now. “But, it has been nearly two thousand years since Jesus said He was coming back, why should I worry?” Well, if you belong to Him and you are a Christian, then you don’t need to worry…just keep looking for His return.

The day which will bring chaos to the world will come soon enough without our help. As a matter of fact, we can’t help it come any quicker so we shouldn’t be trying at all. When the believers of the world are taken from their graves and those who believe who are alive at that time are changed to be taken to Heaven, the rest of the world will mourn because most won’t have a clue about what happened. Those who do recognize what has happened and know what has taken place will know that they weren’t Christians, they just thought they were.

That day will bring a lot of destruction because of wrecks and airplane crashes and all sorts of prophesied events which will take place or will begin to take place. From that day until the day that Jesus returns to Jerusalem will be about seven years. In that time, more than one-third of mankind will die and most of the world will be in such turmoil until people will want to die but God won’t allow it.

Those years of trouble and tribulation will be the worst that most people will ever see in their lifetime. It would be great if many more would truly give their heart to Jesus and be taken away from here before this happens, but there are many who will not make that decision even when they know they need to. God doesn’t cause certain people to accept Jesus and a certain number of people to reject Him, but God does know who will make that decision and who will not.

The thing is that it must be your decision, God doesn’t force any creature, human or angel, to serve Him. All have the free will to decide not to serve God or to believe in Jesus for salvation or not. That is how Lucifer became Satan and convinced one-third of the angels to follow him in his rebellion. Because of their free will to serve or to choose not to serve.

Believe…


John 3:16-18 says: 16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Our job, as Christians, is to tell others about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! It is not a glamorous job nor is it one which pays big money. The benefit is eternal because there are so many who need to hear this small message which has eternal benefits! God loves each of you who are reading this and it is a message which has made a difference in millions of lives over the past two thousand years. This message is not about how to get rich, although as heirs with Christ we already are.

God has given us the opportunity to be a part of His family in Heaven, why would you turn that down? Give your heart to Jesus and take your place in God’s home for eternity, because He has plans which go beyond our imagination!

Amen

Frustration


What frustrates you? It actually sounds like a question of your pet peeves and it could be. Does frustration cause you to get upset or angry, some days my frustration meter is set very low. Then there are other days when I can get a lot done and frustration never even enters the picture at all.

So, why am I concentrating on this emotion of frustration? Well, it could be that there are many more people in our everyday lives who are frustrated and either they don’t recognize it or they just refer to it another way like “I’m pissed off!!!!”.

It manifests itself as many things do in our lives. By hiding or disguising itself as something else. But, why am I bringing this up on this site? Because Jesus was frustrated too. It frustrated Him to find the priests and the scribes who knew the Scriptures intimately and yet they didn’t recognize Him. They didn’t pay attention to the signs which pointed to His birth or that He knew so much about Scripture when He was only 12 years old. They were amazed by His knowledge but they never investigated the particulars of His birth or His family.

They weren’t looking for a Messiah from a family who wasn’t connected or wealthy, so even if they heard and saw the signs they just ignored them. Don’t you think He would’ve been frustrated about this? I do. This is probably why He ran the money changers and those selling animals out of the Temple, not only were they using God’s house as a market but they were doing it without honoring God in reverence.

Frustration can be the spark which lights the fire of anger and then anger turns to rage which can lead to some very nasty consequences today. Even deadly ones if you can’t get control of it. But…what can we do about it? That’s where this gets tricky. Most of us just ignore our frustrations or at least try to, but sometimes the feelings which are brought to the surface with them don’t go away so easily.

That is why we need to keep our minds and our hearts focused on Jesus and His Word. I know this is asking a lot since most of us have a lot on our plates with work and bills and family and school and….the list could go on and on. My point is this: focus on Jesus and your relationship with Him first every day, then much of what comes up during the day both of you can handle it together!

I am not saying that this will end our anger and frustration issues immediately, but having Jesus and His Word present in your daily life every day will give you strength and mostly His strength to get through whatever comes. Whether it is good or bad, it won’t matter because you are walking with Jesus through your day with its trouble and with its triumphs as well.

Do this for a week and see how your week progressed, then do it again and again until walking through life’s ups and downs with Jesus will be second nature and the downs will be fewer than the ups I imagine. Give it a try. I have tried my best to do this ever since I was called to be a preacher, some days I succeed and some I don’t. But it has gotten easier and in the last seven years, it gets easier every day. I don’t mean that I can perfectly do this every day, all the time but I do work at it and I am getting better at it. But…it is a job. As Jesus said: “Then Jesus said His to disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Where is your treasure?


Matthew 6:19-21
Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
Have you ever wondered exactly what you are doing in this life or why you are doing it? Many people seem to be attempting to buy anything and everything that they can afford as if they truly believe the saying “he who dies with the mostest wins the prize”. How do you figure that? When you die your children will inherit what you had and if there are no children then those “things” which you bought with your money will be sold or given to someone else.

Why do we use up our lives chasing after things which can’t possibly give us any fulfillment or joy in this life, other than bragging rights…maybe? The problem with this kind of living is that when your life is over, what will people say or think about you and who you were? Will they remember you as someone who tried to help those who were in need? Will they remember you as a businessman or woman who chased after as much wealth as you could possibly attain?

RaiseyourstandardofGivingHave you ever considered the eternal consequences of your life? What will your life be worth in eternity? Did your wealth, regardless of the amount, do any spiritual good in this world? Was it used for the spreading of God’s Word and His message to those who didn’t know Him?

All of these questions should be answered while you are still living so that you can try to make good use of the time that you have left until you enter into eternity. The larger question and the one which will make the most difference to you is: Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? God placed each of us here for the sole purpose of truly getting to know Him and being useful to Him in this life. Regardless of the amount of money or influence you may have in your business or in your life and the lives around you.

Everyone seems to wonder, what is my purpose or the meaning in my life, and we think about it almost from the time that they are old enough to know what a purpose is. The reality of the question is this: your life’s meaning and purpose are to be found in Jesus and serving Him and His purpose in your life. Anything which is outside of that is fluff and nonsense. Although I am sure that many will wonder exactly how am I supposed to pay my bills or save up for retirement by doing that? To that I would say lay up treasure in Heaven with what you do with your money here and now. Pay your bills but IF there is anything left put it in God’s Hands and in His Kingdom!

God did not say that we had to be preachers or evangelists. We are to use the gifts and talents which we have been given to serve the Lord in our lives and in our business, whatever it may be. God mentions many different craftsmen in the Old Testament from woodworkers and carvers to engravers and those who can make jewelry out of gold as well as shepherds and kings and priests.

Your life and mine can be useful to God in many ways and it doesn’t matter what your vocation may be. If you are a nurse then be the best one that you can be and use your talents to serve God while you are at it. If you are a police person, do that as if you were working for the Lord. Whatever occupation you are in, do it as if you were working for Jesus and make sure that your tithes go to charities which actually help people. If you can’t find a charity which does this in your town, then start one which will!

Pray about it, seek God’s wisdom for whatever you are considering and if you feel Him leading you in that direction with your money and your time then go for it! Saturate your charity or foundation with prayer and fasting if you have to but make sure that it is doing work which Jesus would be proud of. If your business isn’t one which He would be happy with then invest your profits in something which will honor God and His Kingdom.

We are sinners saved by His Grace!


Not one of us is any more than a sinner who has been saved by Jesus and His Grace from God the Father! Whether you are a bishop or a pastor with a doctorate in theology or you are a pastor who is ordained to preach but has no degree, God has a plan and a purpose for your life. Even if you are a member of the church and have been studying the Bible for many years, God truly has a plan for your life!

When you feel the Spirit speaking to your spirit and telling you that you need to be saved, don’t turn away from Him. There is nothing that you can do in any way to “help” God to bring you to salvation except by believing in Jesus for your salvation! It is God’s gift to you through faith in Jesus for your salvation.

Every Christian is a sinner saved by God’s grace through Jesus our Savior. But there are some who think that because they are blessed with much in the way of worldly blessings, that God has favored them more than others. It is possible that God has given you these blessings but are you using them for His glory or your own? Some of us have managed to be blessed with some wealth and other “blessings” which may have come to you before you were known or touched by God. Then when you become a Christian what are you supposed to do with your wealth? Use it for the increase of God’s kingdom.

In today’s world, giving your wealth away is a sign of charity toward others, but I still wonder exactly who is being exalted when you do this? Are you giving the glory to God or is it being focused on you? We are loved by God and we should try to reflect His love back into the world in whatever we do regardless of how much you might give or what you may do with your life!

When you pray to God and maybe use the model prayer which Jesus gave us, does the first line mean anything to you inside or are they just words?

“Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name”

The word “Father” is Abba in Aramaic. As stated from Dictionary.com, “Abba” is the defining term for father in the Aramaic language, spoken by Jesus and Paul as an intimate term to characterize their personal relationships with God.

So, do you revere or hallow God’s name? Do you think of Him as a close friend or as a stern and cold Father? In many ways, our relationship with our own father will characterize how we view God.

The second line is even more prophetic: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”. This line point toward the Kingdom which Jesus will establish on Earth when He takes the throne of David.

The rest of that prayer asks God to forgive us of our sins and lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil. God never leads us into temptation but will always give us the strength to get out of it IF we will depend upon Him for our strength. The last couple of lines bring a prophetic view to our prayer life; “for Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen”.

All that we do for Him in this life will be rewarded in the next life with Him because we have done these things for His glory and honor and not for our own. Seek Him First while you live in His strength in this life. Be useful to Him in every little thing that you do, no matter how insignificant it may seem.

Occasional belief and attendance


Do you realize that while you come to church for certain “occasions”, you are hurting your relationship with Jesus? When Jesus called His disciples, and He did so individually, He didn’t ask them to follow Him on certain days or only on the Sabbath, He just said; “Follow Me”. When we choose to “follow Jesus” only at certain times or for certain reasons we are turning Him into our version of a genie.

We are, in essence, telling God and Jesus that we don’t want You in our life on a daily basis, we just want you on those days when we need you or when we feel the need for you to be in our life. That’s pretty insulting, isn’t it? How would you feel if you or a member of your family told you that? The family wouldn’t remain a family for very long, would it?

Yet, the church is expected to remain a church even when many of its members consider coming to church is something only real, committed Christians do. Who do you think the church is made up of then? Just “sometimes Christians”? Jesus didn’t call sometimes Christians or followers, He called you to follow Him. That doesn’t give you an out on Wednesday or Thursday or Saturday, He meant every day!

Do you think the church would’ve gotten started if His disciples only followed Him when they felt like it or on certain days? NO! The church would’ve died within a couple of centuries or less if that had happened.

God sent Jesus to Judea to bring the good news of salvation to them but also to enable the gospel of salvation to be taken out to the rest of the whole world. Because, Jesus died and rose again to pay for the sins of the world (past, present, and future) not just a few people in Judea. Our idea of Jesus as our Savior is not just an idea because an idea cannot bring you salvation, but a belief in Jesus can and will bring you salvation. Your life and mine are incredibly short spans of time, even in relation to a millennium but a millennium is just a tick on the face of a clock compared to eternity. Don’t throw away eternity with God because of your life here which is but a moment in time compared to eternity!

Each of us is special to God because we are part of His Creation and He cares for each of us. When you give your heart to Jesus and believe in Him for your salvation, you become a born-again child of God and you are part of His family. He loves you at that moment and from that moment on just as He does Jesus or any other Christian!

You are special to God because HE has given you talents and abilities which He wants you to use for His Kingdom and He knows what you can do with those abilities! You can do more with them and for Him than you can do without Him or without Jesus. Simple, childlike faith in God is all that your salvation requires.

Giving your heart to Yeshua (Jesus) is a simple decision and you need to realize that His name means God saves.

The Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament was the manifestation of Jesus which appeared to the Israelites in the wilderness. He was also the Rock from which the water came to keep His people alive. He was also the cloud which protected them in the wilderness, the Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire at night. Yes, He was with the Jewish people during the Old Testament days and He fulfilled the prophecies about Himself when He did come in the flesh.

Jesus paid for your sins


God loves you and has made a way for you to have eternity as your future, but have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and HE is coming back soon.

JesuspaiditallWhen He was crucified He wore a crown of thorns and was beaten so badly that only His mother could really recognize Him. But…when He comes back He will be wearing a golden crown and a brilliant white robe with a golden sash. He will be coming to claim the throne of David and HE will rule the world for one thousand years!

The angels who spoke to His disciples told them that He would return to the Earth and in His book of Revelation, it says that He will be mounted on a white horse with the saints of God coming with Him! His rule and His government will be set up and will rule over ALL of the Earth and our world will be restored to its beauty which it was supposed to have from the beginning.

I pray that anyone who reads this will seek Him out and give your heart to Jesus as your Savior because one day soon it will become much harder to make that commitment. When the Christians are taken up from their graves and those who are alive are changed and translated from this world to Heaven, there will be a man who will bring peace to the world and stability too. But he will be the worst dictator that the world has ever seen, but the world will follow Him anyway.

Jesus did give His life as a ransom for all of our sins, but there are only a few in the world who will give their heart to Him and follow Him. Are you one of those who will do this today? Will, you learn of Him and follow Him from this day until He comes for us? I pray that you will make that decision if you haven’t already.

The days grow short in relation to His return and I don’t believe that it will be much longer at all. I won’t speculate about dates because we don’t know the day or the hour but the world will know when He claims those who have given their hearts to Him. There won’t be a doubt in their mind that something momentous has happened but it will only be those who have studied the book of Revelation who will know what has happened.

Make sure of your salvation before then.