Are you religious or a Christian?


Believe me, they are not the same thing at all! You can religiously do anything from watching the news to fishing or hunting or whatever you really like to do. But being a true follower of Christ, an actual Christian, who has had his heart broken by the Holy Spirit and has repented of his old life so he can live a new life in Christ…that is a whole other dimension of being a disciple.

Are there Christians in the world who actually live that way? Yes, there are but as the Lord, Himself said, “there are few who find it“. I don’t mean that being a Christian is an exclusive club or something but there are few who will follow the leading of the Lord on the way to eternity and that is by His words, not mine. Can anyone be successful at living the life of a Christian? No, at least not on your own strength and ability. If the Holy Spirit is not living in your heart and giving you the will to do what is needed and stay true to the narrow path then you won’t be successful at it…period.

It is not a decision which is made only once and then you go on your merry way back to the life that you enjoy until Jesus comes. Just because a fence is painted white once doesn’t mean that it will stay that way without maintenance. That is the life that you are taking on when you truly repent of your old life and determine to follow the Holy Spirit leading you into a new life. Reading God’s Word, praying about your walk with Him daily, seeking His will in every area of your life, praying for others to come to know Him as you do and keeping your steps on this pathway until He calls you home. Asking His forgiveness for any slip of the tongue or of your way as you do walk with Him and truly repenting of those sins as they dirty your feet on the way.

Can we live this way? As I said earlier, yes we can with the Holy Spirit’s help to focus our spiritual eyes and our ears so that we can see and hear those things which we need to hear and not those which do not help us in any way. Is it a struggle to do these things? It may be for a while, as we get accustomed to His teachings and His leading on a daily basis. But, after that, it will become easier. We will never be perfect at walking without sin but we will be able to avoid it or at least be granted forgiveness for those sins which do get in from time to time.

How will we know? Because, if you are walking this close to the Holy Spirit, any word or thought which is outside of Him will immediately be flagged by your Spirit as wrong and not part of His leading or His teaching. We won’t be perfectly capable of catching these all of the time but as you keep walking with Him it will get easier. The one sin which can creep into a disciple’s life is the oldest of sins and that is pride. That is the one which every gospel and every letter written in the New Testament says to guard against most fiercely because once it gets a foothold it can grow other sinful feelings along with it.

That is why our Lord said to “take up your cross daily” and follow Him. Here is another article which might help clarify some of this as well. I pray that all of you will seek a closer walk with Him.

What do you do?


During the times when we are anxious or fearful about…well, about anything in particular. Whether it is money or disease or death, anxiety and fearfulness can only add to the stress of the situation. Regardless of what is causing the problem itself, we should step back, if we can, in our minds since many times we can’t physically do so. Step back if you can get some quiet time during your time of need and seek to know the mind of God on the matter at hand.

How am I supposed to know or find out what God thinks about my situation? By prayer and the reading His Word.

I know it seems silly to seek God’s help with something in the 21st century but He is still here and His aid is much better at easing your mind than just sitting around fretting about something which you cannot control. It is never outside of God’s ability to control and take care of whatever it may be, no matter the circumstances.

But, in the world today we see all sorts of problems and fears which cause stress on our lives even when we aren’t directly affected by those problems. Why is this? Mainly, in my opinion, because of the twenty-four-hour cycle of news feeds and media and posts on Facebook which we can’t seem to get away from.

This year would be a good year to de-stress your life and only check in on social media when you need to, not every fifteen minutes or so like some do. I use it to keep in touch with family and friends but I only get on FB about once or twice a day. I also steer clear of the drama which tries to get under people’s skin while looking at it so I am not a very active person on that platform.

God will watch over your life and the stress that you carry with you but the best place to lay your stress down is at His feet and leave it there. Don’t ask Him to help you with it and then take it up and worry about it an hour or two later. That’s like taking a letter or a bill payment to the post office and then deciding that you can get it to the recipient faster and more on time than they can. Ridiculous logic there.

God can handle all of your problems, no matter how big and bad they seem to you. He is holding the universe together all the time and that isn’t taking much of His attention from your problems at all. Give your life and your problems to Him, you will never be disappointed with the results if you will.

1543853357752_image.jpg

What is your view?


The world and the media cloud our ideas and our view of the world around us with their own version, their own spin on what is happening and what has happened in the past. So how are we to discern the truth of what is and what will be if we don’t read the Bible? It is God’s inspired Word to mankind and since He cannot lie, it is the whole truth. Regardless of the watered down messages that some teach or try to “interpret” in a way which has nothing to do with its message at all.

God’s predictions for our world’s future, such as the saying of Jesus that “the kingdom of God will come before this generation is done”, did not mean that those living at the time would see His second coming. It did refer to the Jewish people who would still be the state of Israel at the time of His second coming. I am sure that many in that day hoped that Jesus would destroy Rome and its hold of persecution and oppression over the Jewish people but that wasn’t His job at that time.

Jesus came to end the oppression of Satan over the whole world so that people could gain their freedom from the world and its sins and the consequences in their lives. That was His message and His mission the first time. When He comes the second time, it will be as Conquerer and King and He will do it because not one comma or period will pass away before all are fulfilled.

Our world, not just America, is beginning a new year and all of us need to be seeking Jesus as our True Savior. He is the only Way to Heaven and our debts for our sins have been paid, all we have to do is believe in Him and follow Him daily, seeking to be more like Him until that day when He calls us all home. I pray that more people will learn of Him and seek Him as their Savior this year because He is coming soon.

1545238297754_image.jpg

Think about this…


When the high priest heard Jesus acknowledge that He was the Son of God, the high priest rent his cloak. In the Old Testament, if the high priest did this in his priestly robe (the one which had no seams), it effectively removed him from office according to the Torah. By rending his garment he cut himself off from being a representative character. He was no longer accepted by God as an officiating priest.

We have been celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, but consider the time of His crucifixion and when He said, “It is finished”. The veil of the Temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. God’s Presence was in the Holy of Holies so it was God Himself Who tore (rent) the veil of the Temple from top to bottom giving mankind access to Himself from that point on through the substitutionary death of Jesus as the Passover Lamb and the fulfillment of ALL of the feasts which God had instituted from the time of the exodus from Egypt to the giving of the law of God on Mount Sinai. In particular the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Firstfruits.

Jesus fulfilled all of the feasts and their meaning, not just as the Lamb of God but as our Savior and Lord and our High Priest Who went into the Temple in Heaven to put His blood on the altar to atone for ALL of our sins.

This bit of information is hard for us to understand or get any kind of idea of what this really means but that is exactly what Jesus came to do and He accomplished it in the way His Father wanted Him to do it. All 300 prophecies about Him from the Old Testament were fulfilled by Him so there is no denying that He was truly God and man, because no human being could’ve fulfilled even a few of the prophecies written about Him.

Jesus came to take the sins of the world upon Himself so that He could be our sacrifice, our atoning sacrifice for everyone! It doesn’t matter if you are not a believer or if you are a bit skeptical about Him because He took your sins too. Your lack of belief or your refusal to believe in Him doesn’t annul any of the grace and mercy which has been given to you. The only barrier keeping you from Him or the atonement and salvation which have been offered by His death and His resurrection is your belief in Him. By accepting Him as your Savior and repenting of your sins, you can walk with Him through this life and become one of His disciples.

It is not a hard thing to do unless you are truly addicted to your life and the “things” in it. If you would rather live your life according to your rules and do what you want to do then you are free to do so. But don’t expect that you will enjoy heaven in eternity because your salvation through Jesus is the only way to get there.

Bridge2Salvation

 

I just want the real thing…


If someone asks you to not tell them about religion or the church, they just want the real thing… what do you say? First, tell them about Jesus and why He came in the first place. How should you tell them? Just tell them about your Savior and His message about forgiveness and love which He came to bring to all of us! This is the story of His purpose and the Good News of salvation!

1545620655183_image.jpgThat is the message that counts. Salvation through belief in Jesus and His atonement for your sins and mine on the cross. It doesn’t have to have doctrine or religion attached to it and it doesn’t have to be all flowery and noble. Like the thief on the cross, believe in Jesus as the Son of God, your Savior, and mine. That is all that is needed. It doesn’t require hours of service in His Name or certain amounts of money or other “works” like teaching or preaching. All of that may happen after you have accepted Him as your Savior but they will be done because you love Him and you know He loves you and died for you.

That is the true nature of knowing and loving your Savior. Just know that He loves you and He came to give you hope of eternity through Him. A child can understand it but many of us as “adults” try to dress it up or add things to our belief which are not needed. We try to make a simple belief in our Savior into a life-long project which we have to help Him bring us to salvation and none of that helps at all!

In fact, it hurts our own belief by adding things which we do or think we need to do in order to have salvation. When all that is necessary is our heartfelt need of Him and our belief in Him for our forgiveness and salvation. Because until we come to that place where we know deep down that we need Jesus…we will not seek Him out as our Savior and Lord.

God provided Him as The Atonement for our sins, but the Holy Spirit has to bring us to the point of knowing that we need Him before we will ever seek Him out. Those who are sinning and have never sought their Savior or heard that they need Him will never go looking for Him. It’s kind of like a man who walks by fountains of clear, cool water every day. Until that man is thirsty enough to notice them and seek one of those fountains for a drink, he will never know how refreshing their water is.

God knew that we needed a Lamb which could take the sins of the world away, but until each of us realizes this and that we need Jesus for our salvation, each of us will walk right by without ever seeking Him to be our Savior. God has placed a Fountain of Living Water for us to drink from and it’s within our grasp, all we have to do is realize that we need Him and ask Him to come in and quench our thirst for salvation and forgiveness.

A world without Jesus…


Related image

A world where Jesus was not born in Bethlehem? Because the Bible is full of prophecies concerning His birth, He had to be born! There is no possible outcome or future in which He did not come! We would not have a world worth living in if He had not been born. Even the Bible itself would be completely in error if He had not been born. A world without Jesus would be one without hope and without the possibility of knowing God…ever!

God loves us and it is this love which determined before the world was formed, that humanity needed a Savior. Our entire world and any hope of eternity would be shattered or rather it would’ve never been if our Messiah, our Savior, Yeshua, had not been born in this world to a virgin named Mary. Why am I posting this question on the very day which most people celebrate the birth of Jesus? It is just an imaginary, theoretical test for those who may read this to see if you can even imagine a world without His influence in it.

I cannot even imagine it in the least!

I can imagine, at least in a small way, how a world might have been without Adolf Hitler or even the attack on Pearl Harbor. The reason that I say this is because both of these have had worldwide consequences, just as the birth of Jesus still has an impact on the world even today. So can anyone comprehend how our world would be if Jesus had not been born?

I am a preacher and a student of the Bible. As such, I know that the Bible itself would be worthless if He had not been born because His coming was foretold as far back as the Garden of Eden. God said the “seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head and the serpent would bruise His heel”.

Since taking Jesus’ birth out of the history of our world would make the entire Bible worthless, many of the laws which are in the world today would be non-existent. Many, if not all, of the laws and even some countries, would not be if that were the case. The hope of eternity would never be a part of our lives and the entire world would be under Satan’s control which God could not and would not allow!

A world without Jesus the Christ in it would be a chaotic and terrible place to live. The lack of the Promise of His coming would not have given the Patriarchs any hope for Israel or their future. We would have no hope for eternity or salvation. This world would be one in which many of us, if not most, would not want to live in at all! Without the Promise of His coming, there would’ve been no reason to dry up the waters of the Flood from the world and there would be no reason to give mankind hope even in the saving of Noah’s family.

To shorten this narrative, there would be no reason to even begin the story of mankind if Jesus was never to be born. Which is why God did decide to intervene in history Himself and come to be born of a virgin, clothed in humanity and to take the sins of the whole world on Himself in order to give ALL of mankind a True Hope to look for and believe in.

The Light that lit the Way


Luke chapter 2  gives us the story of His birth and how it came about in our world. The angels announced it to shepherds and Mary and Joseph were in a stable in Bethlehem because nobody could take them into an inn because of all the people who were there for the census.

Christmas is the celebration of one moment in time when God came to live with mankind in the person of His Son, Jesus, in order to reconcile mankind to Himself by being the substitute for each of us on the cross.

God did this out of His love, not just for the Hebrews but for all of mankind. Jesus was the Light for us to follow and to aspire to in our lives. The Light which lit the way for the wise men was the Holy Spirit which is why astronomers cannot find the “star” in their calculations which led them to Bethlehem soon after Jesus was born.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 tells exactly why this happened and here are those scriptures for you to read:

17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The most precious gift which was given to all of mankind is the love of God given in the Person of Jesus Who came to be our Passover Lamb to die for all of our sins, not just a few people but all people! The only way that we can come into God’s Presence is by accepting Jesus as our Savior Who paid the price for each of us, even though HE had no sin nature because He loved all of US!

We can have the Truth of Christmas and the surety of our salvation through our belief in Jesus and His substitutionary death for all of our sins!

God came to Earth in the Person of His Son so that we can come to His home in Heaven by accepting Jesus as your Savior. God has always loved His Creation and we are all included in His Creation. He knows you better than you know yourself and He created you with your perfections and your faults and He knows exactly what you alone can do in His Kingdom. Nobody else in the world can do the specific purpose which He has placed within your being and by giving your heart and life to Him, you can make an eternal difference in someone’s life, somewhere.

Don’t turn away from His call on your life, become the person that God knows that you can be, Why do I say it this way? Because He placed your personality and your intellect inside you so He knows exactly how you can make a difference and for whom you will make a difference. No matter where it might be or when He can see you doing and becoming the person that He created you to be.

1545322315445_image.jpg

The Christmas Story


Luke 2:

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and Angels

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Our Savior, Lord, and King born as a babe to be our Passover Lamb and He will come back soon as our King!

Image result for The Reason for Christmas images

Do you believe?


Jesus said that if we believe in Him we will be saved. But what about the rest of God’s Word? Do you believe what it says? You know…you can’t pick and choose which parts or which verses or books to believe although many people seem to do just that these days. Being a Christian means more than believing in Jesus although that is the beginning of your faith. Living as a Christian daily means living by God’s Word. Not just the New Testament or the parts about Jesus and His ministry but by living and believing ALL of God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation.

There are no areas of the Bible which are gray areas when it comes to faith. You either believe all of it or you actually believe only parts of it and when you do that you have invalidated ALL of it. By choosing to believe some parts of it and not others it is you who makes God’s Word of no effect!

Being a Christian, heart, and soul, is not a life of choosing what you will believe and then throwing out the parts you don’t like. Except in our world today, this is exactly how people want to read and believe or not believe in God. They want to choose which parts that they can live with and leave out the parts that they don’t like or those which make them feel guilty of their sins.

Jesus did not soften His sermons because there were people in the crowd who didn’t like what He was saying. He taught what the Father told Him to teach and to bring those in who would believe. If there were some who would not listen or believe that His teaching came from God then so be it because it was their choice to reject His teaching.

God had been trying to reach them ever since He liberated them from slavery to the Egyptians. But as soon as three days into their freedom, they began to grumble and it never really stopped, even when they reached the land which God had promised to them and conquered those who were living there. We are the same way today. We want the blessings of God and the promise of eternity in Heaven but we want to live our lives our way…but that isn’t how it works!

In our world or living by God’s rules, it is either one or the other, you can’t have it both ways!

That is why in the book of Joshua they were given a choice and we are as well: “Choose you this day whom you will serve“. You will either serve your own selfish desires and live like the rest of the world does or you will serve God and follow His ways and live in the footsteps of Jesus.

Time…


Time is something which most of us think we have plenty of but truly we are deceiving ourselves. The ruler of time Who is God knows how much of it each of us has. Some of us have many days or weeks or even years, others may only have minutes or hours. But we are not given a card or a manual expressing how much time each of us has available to us…that information is known only to God Himself.

 

Your time may be long and full of life and happiness while another person is racked with the pain of diseases or some other malady. Some of us are blessed to be living in a place where there is enough food for everyone and some are not. It isn’t some lottery or drawing which has placed us in these circumstances although some people call it “fate”. I don’t believe in “fate” but I do believe in God. It is His pleasure to give to each of us a measure of grace and rewards in this life. Some of us are rewarded with more and some with less, at least as the world measures these “rewards”.

Many times I have seen these rewards cause heartache and pain in the lives of those who have much of them and in the lives of those who barely have enough the same pains happen as well. It is hard to distinguish which people truly enjoy their wealth or their poverty. Sometimes the amount of “reward” doesn’t really make much difference in a person’s life since some with much “wealth” experience cancers and heartache and some with barely enough suffer through it but their life is blessed in other ways besides that which “wealth” can bring.

One thing which money, power, prestige or fame cannot purchase for you is more time. Make the best of what you have and those you love because we are not guaranteed a certain number of days or years, so treasure the time which you have with them. Once a minute is gone it will never come again. There was a wise saying once, by whom I don’t know for sure but it went something like this: You cannot touch a river in the same spot more than once.

It is the same with time. Every second which passes by is gone so make the best of the time that you have.