What is your foundation?

Do you have a real foundation? In our world today many people seem to be devoid of a foundation. They seem to have no concept of even needing a foundation to base their lives and their beliefs on. Yet, America was founded upon Christian principles. Granted many of those were twisted out of context to legalize all kinds of wrongs such as slavery and prostitution and murder and rape. When I said “legalize” I don’t mean that these wrongs were legal in the eyes of the law but they used principles found in God’s Word to either justify what they were doing or to make themselves feel better about something that they knew was wrong in God’s eyes.

The foundation of our principles is based on God’s Law but it is also based on our conscience which God gave to us by way of reading and hearing His Word preached. Whether it was done by a preacher in a church or by your parents or your grandparents it really doesn’t matter. As long as you have heard the Truth from God’s Word then your conscience will let you know when you are doing something which God does not approve of.

We are made in the image of God and have been since the beginning in the Garden of Eden. That has not changed. Man is the only part of God’s creation which is formed from the clay. To form something you have to put your hands in it and make it into a shape that you approve of. Every other creation on Earth was called forth by the Word of God.Mankind was formed from the clay by God’s hands. Can you understand what that means?

When a potter or a sculptor takes a lump of clay or a piece of stone and makes something beautiful out of it they call themselves forming their vision of what is already there. They can see in their mind the man or woman or some other shape and then they either remove the stone or wood from around their vision. A potter looks at the clay and sees what it can be when he lays his hands on it. A master violin player can take a dusty old violin and tune it and make it sound like it came from heaven. God looked at the clay and saw us and all of the good that we could be. Unfortunately He also saw the bad and evil that mankind would be as well.

The only way that we can be what God saw before or during His formation of man is by His grace bringing us to conviction so that we know that we need Jesus in order to be the people which God saw. We need Him and His righteousness in our hearts so that we will live and be more like Jesus than ourselves. Adam was created perfect and sinless and so was Eve until they allowed Satan to twist the words which God has said. They were duped into thinking that they could become more like God. Except in doing so they disobeyed God’s command and in doing so they became more like Satan himself.

Our foundation has to be laid on the rock of salvation through Jesus and our belief in Him as our Savior. If we don’t start our true life off on that foundation by being forgiven and sanctified by the blood of Jesus then we are fooling ourselves and we are wasting out lives. God knows each of us far better than we know ourselves and He knows how far we will go before He needs to bring us to the point where we recognize our Savior and Lord as Jesus the Christ. I pray that many of you who read this will take it to heart and use it so that someone may come to know Jesus as their Savior. If you do not know Him then please seek Him out as your Savior.

Colossians 1:23
if indeed you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope of the gospel you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Jesus is also the foundation of our faith.

disturbing news

I read an article today which unnerved me. According to the Barna group there are an increasing number of people, including many who claim to be Christians, who don’t believe in absolute morality which is taught in God’s Word. I know that many people don’t like what is taught from the Bible or even how it is taught. But when a Christian says that they don’t believe in absolute Truth or Morality it is the same as saying that they don’t believe what God says in the Bible. If you are questioning God or His rules about morality or truth or anything else in God’s Word then you are questioning the validity…the Truth of what God says. If that is how you feel about God then why do you go to church? God is our Creator and the Creator of everything. He cannot lie, so why would you question anything in His Word? If you don’t believe in Him that is your prerogative and if you don’t believe in Him then His Word is suspect too I suppose.

But…what if you are wrong?

God has brought the nation of Israel back to its homeland after nearly two thousand years with their language intact. This is a miracle in itself. All of the prophecies in the Bible have come to pass except for the return of Jesus and that will happen soon. Likely much sooner than many people think.

Is God’s Word, the Bible, true and trustworthy? If it isn’t we might as well be using a book about a wizard or a dragon as our “guide for life”. God and His Word is true and it is absolutely Truth and absolute about the way we should live. The laws of most civilized countries have their foundation in His Word and the laws found there so if we throw the Bible away as untrustworthy then all of the laws should be nullified as well. Then what kind of moral compass will we live by? I don’t think I would want to live in a world like that.

Consider this: God Word is Truth and it is completely true. Jesus died for your sins and everyone else’s sins in the world. Your salvation only depends upon your conviction about being a sinner and knowing that you need Jesus and your belief in Him as your Savior has to be complete and not “maybe so”. One day Jesus will send His angels to gather the church, all believers, to be with Him in Heaven. If you are not part of that gathering and you see it happen, it will prove that the Bible is true and you just missed out on being taken to Heaven before all hell breaks loose on Earth.

God’s Word is True and absolute.

Do you seek the spotlight?

During this time of video classes and video services from churches without people, are we seeking to be in the spotlight? Some people may be like fireflies in front of a camera and some truly are but for those who are trying to take the message of Jesus to others, shouldn’t we try to make sure that it is His message which is in the spotlight? It is our pride which causes us to seek the spotlight because we want the attention. It is pride which is the tap root from which all sins grow from and Satan knows how to nudge us in this direction.

Jesus didn’t seek the spotlight but He did spotlight the message itself so that people would hear it and seek salvation through belief in Him. It is our own pride which carries us into hell because we try to do everything ourselves. We even try to be our own savior because we believe that our works and our “righteousness” would gain us entry into the presence of God. It isn’t easy to be humble before God because we can’t see Him. We don’t know His majesty or His holiness and we can’t look around us and perceive Him in all of His glory.

We look at all of the accomplishments of mankind and we think that man has done so many great things. In some areas we have but if you look closer you can see all of the failings of mankind’s stewardship of our home. The pollution of rivers and the ocean and the cutting down of rain forests, which clean our air and make it breathable again. In the past few hundred years we have done much harm to our home, most of which cannot be fixed or replaced. Yet, we think that we deserve to stand in the Presence of God because of our “accomplishments”. How brazenly bold and prideful we are.

God loves each of us but those that He has called to be His aren’t doing their job as they should. Some are true enough but many of us seem to look at our salvation as nothing more than “fire insurance”. When we should be working for our Savior and Lord until that day when He comes to take His Bride, the church, home. This is the expectation of our Savior and our God but if we don’t read His Word we won’t know until it is too late.

Just as in the parable of the talents, when the Master of the house comes we should be found diligently working for Him and not being lazy and only bringing his one talent back to Him. Think of being a worker who will be richly rewarded if we are found working hard for our employer on the day when He says, “Enter into the rest of your Master my faithful servant”. Our time here is a very short time compared to even ten thousand years and that is only a moment in time compared to eternity. Make sure of your salvation and get to work while there is time to do so. Once your time is done here you will give account to God for every word and deed which you did for Him or not. You decide which side you will be found on.

Do you listen to God?

There are many people in church and outside of church who will tell you that “God doesn’t speak to us anymore!”. Really? Who do you think is speaking when you read the Bible? It isn’t the person who wrote the words down because it is God’s Holy Spirit which has inspired them to write and speak and pray and write some more. The words in the Bible come from God so how can you say that He doesn’t speak today? No, He doesn’t use His “God” voice because most people would fall down dead if He did! (maybe not dead, but it would scare a lot of people).

God speaks through the words which we read from the Bible but if you don’t read His Word how will you know what He sounds like? God loves us and He has loved us since the beginning of everything. He knew Adam would not be able to resist the Tree of Knowledge. That was not a surprise to God at all. Jesus, His Son, was the Second Person of the Trinity and He knew that He would have to go one day and pay for all of our sins and He willingly did it. His human body and mind didn’t want to but His will submitted to His Father and did it anyway.

Was it painful? Yes! He bled and died for our sins…but He rose to life on the third day and now He is waiting for His Father to tell Him to “Go and get your Bride”. God is giving each of us a chance to be saved but it is up to us and our decision whether we will accept His gift of grace. Salvation is a gift from God just as your life and your health is a gift from Him. Whether we actually accept it or not is our decision. Can God force it on us? He could but that would prove nothing. Forcing obedience from someone is slavery and God doesn’t want slaves, He wants followers and people who love Him because He loved us first!

Love cannot be forced it is given from both parties in the relationship. If it is not or if the love is only flowing one way then pretty soon the stream dries up. A loving relationship is a two way stream and if both parties are not contributing to the stream then pretty soon the relationship will become one sided and then it will die. God doesn’t begin relationships with us in order to let them die. He is the Creator and the Author of Life so a relationship with Him is a two way relationship. He gives and we give as well. We give Him our life just as He gave His Son’s life for us to be sanctified and holy. Did it cost God anything? Of course it did! He felt the nails. He felt the whip as it ripped into Jesus’ body. He knew the suffering that Jesus went through to bring salvation to all who would accept it.

But…not everyone will accept it.

I pray that you who read this will accept His love into your life and accept Jesus as your Savior because one day soon our period of grace will be over and the time of testing and tribulation will begin.

Life…doesn’t last long here

Life in this world and in this body doesn’t last very long.

We live maybe sixty or eighty years by God’s grace. It sounds like a long time to someone who is five or ten years old, but one day they will understand.

If you have ever had a pet, especially a dog, from the time they were a puppy until they passed on then you know that life is short. Even when a Dachshund can live to be twenty or a bit more, you are their world. You are their caretaker and their friend and to them you are the Alpha of the pack that lives in your home. If you treat them like family they will love and take care of you just as they would any other part of the pack. This applies to any breed who shares your life because they are family even if they have four furry feet.

Our lives are not long when you compare our few decades to the time that the Earth has been here or how long some people believe it has been here. God knows exactly how long your life will be because He formed you and He gave you the time and talent to be what He intended for you to be. Whether that is a doctor or a lawyer or a plumber or a policeman or woman or a nurse or maybe even a welder. In each of these professions there are those who truly excel at them and there are some who don’t and even some who just do the best they can.

Those who excel at their profession usually thank God for their life and their profession and for His Son Who came to save us all from our sinful lives. They know that it is God Who gave them their talents and skills to be and do the job that they do. They also give Him a part of their income so that His Kingdom will be honored and will keep growing until that day when He calls all of us home to be with Him. God loves each of us and He has given us the talent and skill to be useful to His Kingdom if we will learn His Wisdom from His Word and use it in every part of our lives. That way more people can see Him when we speak or when we pray or even when we are just doing our job as He gifted us to do it. Do your work every day as if you are doing it for God Himself. After all, He did give you the talent and the ability to be and do your job.

Which path are you on?

Jesus said that there are two pathways or gateways, one which is wide and easy and one which is narrow. In Matthew chapter 7 you’ll find His words:    13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Many times we feel that we are on the right path and if we truly belong to Jesus we are likely on the narrow path leading to life. But what about the rest of the world? Many find the broad pathway that they have been deceived into believing that it is the pathway to life as well. Sometimes the deceit is so complete that they may not find out that they are on the wrong pathway until it is too late. This is the deception that many today are struggling with. Some teachers and preachers are not teaching the whole counsel of God from His Word.

They are only teaching parts of it which people like to hear or want to hear and skipping over the parts which offend people. This is not the way that the apostle Paul taught that the gospel should be preached nor is it the way or the message that Jesus would’ve taught. God knows those who are hearing and following the pathway leading to life and those who are on the “broad road/gateway” He longs for them to see the Truth…but many won’t.

The entire message of Jesus and His teachings shows that there are only two ways: good or evil, light or dark, repent and believe for your salvation or choose to follow your own way and fall into the trap set by Satan. There are no gray areas in the Bible. You are either following God’s way and believing Him for your salvation or you are following Satan’s ways and living your life they way that you see fit. You must choose which side you want to live for eternity with, God or Satan, Heaven or hell? The choice is yours and it truly is your choice which sends you to one destination or the other God knows which choice you will make but do you? Make this choice before your life comes to an end because at that point it is too late and the choice has been made.

Jesus wept…

He wept for His friend, Lazarus. Not because he died before Jesus could come but because he had to die so that others might see him return from the dead and live because Jesus called him back. He came back because of the call of Jesus and because many would believe in Jesus because of the miracle. Jesus wept because of the unbelief in the world even at the time that He lived and it likely grieves His heart even now because of the unbelief and hatred that is still in the world today.

We weep when a loved one dies. Sometimes it hurts so deeply that the pain lasts for days or weeks or even years…but God knows our pain and He gives us the strength to make it one more day. It is only by His strength that we can get through today and tomorrow and the next day. Sometimes it hurts and it is hard but many times the good memories that we have bring a smile to our face and warm our hearts even when they feel broken.

We hear people say things like “time will heal the pain”. It won’t. With the passage of time the pain gets easier to bear but it is still there and it is never truly healed. The pain of loss and the fact that you can’t talk to or see the person who is not here never truly goes away. The only time that the pain and the sorrow will ever be gone will be when we see them in heaven one day. Then we can celebrate throughout eternity.

Those who don’t believe in Jesus for their Savior and are part of a family that didn’t believe in Him for salvation don’t have this hope and assurance. Our hope comes from Jesus because of His love for us and the sacrifice that He made for us to have a relationship with Him. I pray that anyone who has not made that decision about their eternal future will make it before it is too late. Seek Him out and ask Him to come into your heart and forgive you of your sins. Live your life following Him and learning from Him by reading and praying about what you read in the Bible. God calls us to Himself and we should answer His call by humbly telling Him that we are sorry for waiting so long.

Jesus taught with authority

Jesus Expels an Evil Spirit

(Luke 4:31-37)

21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. 22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. 26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.

The people were astonished at His teaching…why? Because He did have authority! Jesus came to teach and to save those who would listen and learn from His teaching and His authority came from God the Father. As John’s gospel says, He was the Living Word. The Word of God is powerful like a two-edged sword and it convicts and creates and condemns and it is a blessing to those who believe it. By the Word of God creation was brought into being and without it nothing was made.

All of the angels and stars and plants and fish that we see around us came into existence by the Word of God. Only man was “formed from the clay” by God. Adam was not commanded to come forth by the Word, he was formed by God’s hand. We are the only creation of God which was made this way, yet we should not take pride in this because it was done because of God’s love for us. He wanted us to be His creation which could converse with Him and walk with Him and still have our own ideas and the freedom to do what we wished with our ideas.

Why am I writing this now? Because of the time in which we are living in. We are very close to the end of the church age although we don’t know the day or the hour that it will come. When you read the prophetic books of Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Revelation and chapter 24 of Matthew all of the indicators are present in our world right now and it will only get worse. I pray that you will seek your Savior in Jesus Christ before this time of God’s patience and mercy comes to an end.

What will you do?

Before Jesus ascended to His Father, He gave His disciples a command to go into all of the world and preach the gospel. Each of us, as Christians, who have asked for His forgiveness and for Him to be our Savior also has this command extended to us. So…what will you do? Have you told those that you know at work or even those that you meet at a coffee shop about your Lord and Savior? It truly is our job to do so and we are supposed to be doing so until we are called to be with Him one day. Have you tried to tell those in your family about Jesus? They are the hardest to tell because they may think that they are Christians already but do they live their lives like they belong to Him?

Those of us who live in the South, the Bible belt as it is referred to, are harder to convince that we even need Jesus as our Savior. Why is this true? Because most of us have grown up in church. We have been brought to church ever since we were too small to even know where we were or why we were there. Our parents and grandparents are members of the church so we grow up believing that we are as well. We have heard many sermons about Jesus and His gospel for years it seems and we can quote some scripture as well. So…why do we need Jesus?

Because growing up in the church and as part of the crowd in the church doesn’t grant you salvation!

Satan can quote Scripture as well as any theologian can and he knows the Person of God and Jesus because he was created by them…but he won’t serve them. He doesn’t want salvation. He wants to be “like God”. The type of Christianity that we have in the South is called cultural Christianity or to put it another way “Christianity by osmosis”. We grow up believing that we are Christians because we have been in the church ever since before we could walk. So we think we are “safe from the fires of Hell” because we have been in church and we know about Jesus and we have a Bible that we look at during the service. But…do you live your daily life OUTSIDE the church as if you are His disciple?

Belonging to Jesus and being known by Him is totally different from knowing about Him. Think of it this way…I know a lot about the new Corvette because I’ve read about it in magazines but I don’t have one in my garage. First because I can’t afford it! Secondly, because knowledge of or about something or Someone doesn’t mean that you possess it or have a relationship with Them because they live in your heart!

You could read the Bible from Genesis to the book of Revelation once every year but unless you have been convicted of your need for a Savior and have given your heart and life to Him, you have only read a book with sixty-six other books inside it. Salvation comes to each of us by faith in God and the conviction that we are sinners and need Jesus as our Savior. Until that happens and you accept Him as your Savior, regardless of how much time you’ve spent in church, you are still lost. Make sure of your place in eternity while you can because when this life is over there are no “second chances” because you’ve used them all up in this life.

Small though you are…

But thou, Beth–lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2 KJV

The Lord of Hosts is His name and He will rule the Earth with a rod of iron. Our King is coming back and all who have rejected Him will know that He is the Lord and Savior of us all!

We are going through some trials now but they will pale in comparison to the time of the Tribulation. There will be many wars and famines and other disasters which the world has never experienced in the time that mankind has been on the Earth. Jesus came to Bethlehem to be born, to live His life as one of us in order to identify with our suffering and then He was crucified on the cross, was buried and then rose again on the third day to pay the penalty for mankind’s sins.

Even though there are many religions in the world, there is only one which has a Savior which has died and was raised to life again. He is coming back one day soon to take His believers home to be with Him. It will be a terrible time for those who are not chosen to be taken to Heaven on that day. Many have heard of this and may even profess to be Christian in their life but if their life doesn’t bear the fruit which comes from being a follower of Jesus, they are fooling themselves. Too many think and even believe in their hearts that they are saved because they have grown up in the church but that doesn’t save your soul. Going to church and Bible school doesn’t save you either, only the absolute belief in Jesus as your Savior when the Spirit calls you into conviction of your need for Him will truly save your soul.

Make sure which side you are on when that Trumpet sounds because pretenders will not enter into the Kingdom.