Are you like Jesus?


I once read this and I think many people feel the same way today because it seems that I hear it from people that I have invited to church.

Gandhi said, “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”.

Honestly, we are exactly like that. We claim to know Jesus and have Him in our heart, but to people that we don’t know or are new to our church we are more like the Pharisees than we are Jesus. We tend to judge people by the way they are dressed or by what someone said about them in a whisper when they came in and sat down. What if you are judged in that way when you are standing in front of God? How would you like to be judged by the measure that you use every day?

It is true that people in the church can be much like children when someone new shows up. Children are mean. The words which many people in church use toward someone who NEEDS Jesus can be very hurtful and mean too! I don’t mean that every church is this way nor are all the people in each church this way, but the ones that we hear about certainly are!

In spite of the childish rhyme which goes: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can never hurt me”.  This is patently WRONG and most adults know it, but they teach this to their kids anyway. Words do hurt, many times more deeply and for a much longer period than sticks and stones.

Why do we do this? This kind of behavior is not what Jesus would do nor would He allow His disciples to act like this! “Church people” have always had a kind of “better than you” attitude and unfortunately it doesn’t do much for the membership of the church. Many of them would really get offended if you told them this too. So, how can it be fixed? Well…there will be some hurt feelings and some will get angry with the pastor if he is the one pointing it out, but you can’t get rid of a behavior if you don’t know it is there.

An addict won’t try to change their life until they recognize that they are addicted to whatever it may be. Although, I am not saying that we, as Christians, are addicted to this type of behavior but it does tend to happen more often in larger churches or in city churches, at least in my experience. Small country churches may notice new people but most don’t turn a judging eye to a new person until they get to know them or hear some gossip about them. Even then it is the wrong thing to do.

We are all sinners in God’s sight, but if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior then your sins are covered by His blood and forgiven. So the drug addict or alcoholic who shows up on Sunday and sits in the back is no different from the preacher who is bringing the message. Jesus loves them both and if they are Christian and have accepted Him as their Savior then their sins are forgiven. Even if they fail occasionally and sin again, Jesus still loves them and if they come in repentance to Him they are still forgiven.

We are all human and in God’s sight, a sin is a sin. There are no BIG ones or small ones. This is why Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors, whether they were accepted by the Pharisees or not and most weren’t. Jesus brought His message of God’s love to everyone, whether they were sinners, saint or adulterer or prostitute, and murderous thieves like the ones who were crucified with Him. Why can’t we do the same?

Because most church-going Christians think that they are better than others, but the ground is level and God’s grace and love are given free to all at the foot of the Cross. Only through the belief in and acceptance of Jesus as your Savior is salvation purchased by His blood and not your own works.

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.

 

What is your comfort zone?


Many of us have one and sometimes it extends to the point of making someone else uncomfortable. Is that your comfort zone? Would you extend your own story into someone’s life if they asked you about your life? What if they just wanted to start a conversation? Would you listen to them or would you walk away or make an excuse to get away from them?

VineandBranchesWe are tasked with getting out of our comfort zones each day. Some of us more than others, but at some point we do step out of our “zone” during the day either at work or at the grocery store on an airplane or a bus. We will come into contact with a person who needs to hear something from us and that is where the voice of God speaks up and tells us to talk to that person or this one!

Are you comfortable enough to say something to them? Will you say what God wants to say to them? Regardless of your feelings about talking to people, God has given you a voice to use for Him, so do that. While it is true that many of us are introverts and like to spend the day away from people, some of us don’t have that luxury. God loves you and the person sitting next to you on the plane or the bus. He also loves the drunk who is passed out on the corner and the lady who is pushing an old buggy around with all of her possessions in it.

Will you talk to them? Pray about it and if the chance comes up, don’t hesitate, tell them what Jesus did for you and for them too. It doesn’t take a long, King James prayer, just one like, “Lord, give me the words to say. Amen”, will be sufficient. That is the same prayer that I pray when I begin writing here! Surely you don’t think I have come up with all of this on my own? I am not that good!!

I don’t claim to be a prophet or some Old Testament-type writer, but I do ask that God give the words which He knows are needed and necessary for our world and those who might read them here. Are you comfortable with telling others about your Savior? You should be. Why do I say that? Because I was very shy when I was much younger, and when I began preaching about seven years ago I was still shy. But, for the most part, God has helped me to get over that.

I don’t mean that I would be comfortable preaching before a huge crowd, but I am a lot more comfortable than I used to be.

We are capable of doing more for God’s Kingdom than we realize, if we will let Him use us in this ministry. Sometimes we just have to step outside our own comfort zone in order to be useful in the ministry which He knows that we can do.

The wonder of Joy


joyIn many ways when we come to know Jesus, we are joyful in that knowledge that we have our salvation granted through Jesus our Savior. We are very much like a small child, giddy and so happy that our Savior loves us enough to grant us our salvation through His blood, His death and resurrection! So…what happens after you find that you need to learn more about Him and learn to listen to Him every day?

It seems that many people don’t experience that joyous wonder like a child. They understand that they need Him and they ask Him into their hearts. But sometimes our church or others in the church who should shepherd them toward their Savior drop the ball. Many people end up just standing in ankle-deep salvation for many years and some never get past that point.

The joy of knowing Jesus and knowing that you have been saved through His sacrifice in your place should carry you through for many months until you begin to mature as a Christian. But how do you do that? The same way you get through any learning situation, by study, prayer and by seeking His advice for your life every day. It is a daily walk with Him after all, and just as any relationship…it needs to be cultivated and nurtured.

He is your Creator and your Savior and that relationship should be one that continues all through your life, day in and day out. Sounds boring, but think about Who you are having a relationship with! He is the Creator, the Son of God, your Savior and the second Person of the Trinity! Could there be anyone in the universe who could possibly be more interesting?

If you are wondering how you could get to know Him, READ the Bible! God inspired the writers and disciples to tell you about Himself and His personality. Yes, sometimes He is demanding but it’s because He expects us to obey Him, just as we expect our children to obey when they learn the rules about being in your house! Life, as a child of God, is a learning process and it is one that takes a lifetime! You can’t get a version of it which is a digest version, it is a day by day, week by week learning process which is very much like our own lives.

The joy of knowing Jesus is like the joy of bringing home your newborn son or daughter. It or rather they are new in your life, you are new at learning how to handle your relationship with them or Him. As time goes on and you learn more about Him, the joy should grow into a deeper love and a deeper relationship…but there should always be a bit of joy in it from day-to-day!

 

Dad, do you know God?


This is a question that some children likely ask at some point, many others probably wonder about it but don’t ask. My question is this: if your child asks this of you, what will your answer be?

The miracle of birth, whether it is a boy or a girl, is amazing. God takes a little from both of you and makes a new person who is not you or your wife but is entirely a person with a real personality, some more than others! This fact alone should push you in the direction of getting to know God more personally than any other.

I mean, before your first child is born there was just you and your spouse. You loved each other and lived your life, but when that first child comes along, boy does everything change! There are diapers, and formula, and worry about what is in this food, reading labels, making sure of their sleeping environment, the list could go on and on.

My point is this: if you didn’t know God before, then you NEED Him in every situation now! Not that raising children is bad but you do need His strength and guidance in any and all situations while raising them. They need to see God reflected in you every day, not the frustrated dad or mom coming home from work.

God created each of us for a purpose, sometimes it is being an example to our children. Actually, if God has gifted you with children, then being an example for them IS your purpose, everything else fades into the background. Your example to them and to the world is important because even if you don’t make an impact in the world, your child or children may have more of an impact than you could. So, make your example a good one.realsalvation

What is in your heart


Is it fear or anger? Is it insecurity or selfishness? Could it be some emotional baggage that you have been given by your parents? For many who have lived through being children of divorced parents, all of these are true. We grow up with things inside us that we don’t understand or comprehend. Sometimes, this emotional baggage will cause a person to implode or explode depending upon the way they are raised and who is raising them.

Life is changed and altered by the things which we experience during our childhood. Good or bad, it sticks with you regardless of the outcome. Sometimes each of us can overcome it by our own perseverance, if we recognize it for what it is. Sometimes…it is the over-comer.

Feelings of helplessness and despair can cripple you while growing up, especially when you feel like you aren’t wanted or loved. Many of us have felt these feelings as we grow up, either due to a so-called friend’s remark or a family tragedy such as the death of a parent or a divorce (which amounts to the same thing). Many family members will tell you that you will get over it, in time, and that may be true but the scar is still there and sometimes it doesn’t heal completely.

The only cure for this condition, regardless of its cause, is to seek out Jesus and ask Him to come into your heart and your life so that He can heal the wound that is there. He is the only Physician Who can do this, there is no other! Drugs only make things worse, alcohol fits in the same bucket with drugs, all other “things” which people chase after are also temporary and really don’t help in the long run.

Jesus can heal those wounds and He will fill that empty space which is there. It doesn’t matter if that empty space was caused by drugs or a divorce or a death in the family, Jesus can heal all of those wounds. It may not be instantaneous but with time and prayer and reading God’s Word, the healing will begin and it will heal. One day as you are reading His Word, you will notice that the pain and emptiness are gone and in its place the Holy Spirit of God has placed peace and joy!

Joy that can’t be explained without faith in Him. Joy that makes no sense to someone who hasn’t asked Jesus to come in and heal their heart and the pain which has lived there for so long. God love can do amazing, glorious, miraculous things in your life and in mine. We can’t explain it to someone who doesn’t know Him, but they can see the difference in our lives and in our personality. Jesus came into the world to save it from itself, and when He does this to your life, others will notice.

Pain, suffering, and all of the ailments which go along with them may not completely go away, because Satan will bring them back to hurt you, to put a stone in your path or to trip you up in your walk with Jesus. Cling to Jesus and His Word because it is the only eternal Rock which will bind your wounds and be able to carry you when life gets rough.

What is in your heart? God knows and He will give you the strength and the ability to fill it with Himself and will begin your healing, if you will allow Him to.

But God….


In the Old Testament, there are two words which contrast the way that God shows His love and patience for us, and they are “but God”. The third word is mostly seen in the New Testament and it is “therefore”. What do these words have to do with salvation or a sanctified life in Christ and in relationship with God?

They show us what His love for us means enough that He is about to do something which will make a difference in many lives, not just in one person’s life. The statements which come after these words most often signify a change for the entire human race regarding God’s love and patience toward us all.

When you see “therefore” in the New Testament, it means simply that whatever follows is done, period. Some examples of these words and what follows are listed here:

Genesis 8:1
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

Genesis 31:42
If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.

Genesis 50:20
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

1 Samuel 23:14
David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands. 

The reason that I didn’t include “therefore” statements from the New Testament is because there are so many of them. Nearly every chapter in Matthew and Luke’s gospel has one. All of the letters which Paul wrote have them, so it would be prohibitively long.

All of these examples show that God cares for us, not just the Israelites but the whole of humanity! Why? Because, He wouldn’t have sent Jesus to die in our place, to suffer the scorn and the abandonment upon the cross if He did not love us!

Why do you think that Jesus said to His disciples, “Suffer the little children to come unto me”, because children don’t need a “why” or a reason to believe…they just do! This is the kind of faith that we seem to lose as adults. We get so caught up in life and in our living until we can’t or won’t believe unless we can touch it or feel it in our hands. This is why there will be so many “Christians” in hell one day! Many of them think that they know Jesus and that they believe in Him, when they really believe in the idea of Him and His love for them. The “idea” won’t save their souls!

We have to shed our veil, the curtain which we have been seeing Him through and look at Him as our Creator and our Savior and see Him as a real and living person, not as a “quaint idea” that is spoken of in the Bible and at church. Many times during my life when I thought that I was a “Christian”, I prayed and I read a few verses of scripture. But, I never did get into the Temple. I never crossed the threshold of the outer court, let alone come into the Holy Places where God is. God enjoyed a relationship with Adam and Eve for a while, yet we don’t know how long it was. They were immortal at that point, so it could’ve been a long time. This is the sort of relationship that He wants with His church, His people today.

Do we come near to Him? Do we visit with Him every day or do we just visit for an hour or so on Sunday morning, then go home and don’t think about Him again until next week? How would you feel if that were your relationship with your spouse? Kinda cold isn’t it?

God loves you and me and everyone else on this world that He created for us, but we seem to forget that He is there. We don’t want to acknowledge Him unless we need Him for something, usually urgently…like RIGHT NOW!!

God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit don’t work like that! The Spirit comes to you when you become a Christian. He doesn’t come as a drip at a time, but as the whole package. Jesus saves you and you are to become more like Him as you mature in your walk, daily, as a Christian, studying the Word of God and learning from Him. God watches over you and me and everyone else and makes sure that all things work to our good and His glory IF we belong to Him. 

The church needs to understand that since we are the “body of Christ” until His return, we need to mature into people who are as priests in His Kingdom. We shouldn’t be acting like little children who don’t know better or who don’t know how to act like true Christians who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Confusion in Christianity


So much is happening in the world today and some of it is due to confusion about Christianity, what is contained in the Bible and how to live as one. Do I mean that Christians are confused? Some of them are, but mostly it is the world that is confused about what Christianity is. Why is that? What is there to be confused about?

Jesus is our Savior and Creator, He was born as a man but with the nature and Spirit of God present in Him. He died because of His humanity and the body that He lived here with, and He also allowed Himself to die in order to pay for the sins of mankind. Could He have refused this cup, yes He could but He didn’t want to defeat God’s purpose.

Many films and books today question Who He is and the authenticity of the Bible as well as whether it is the Word of God or not. People seem to get all worked up about Christianity’s claim that it is and Who it is about, even if they don’t believe it themselves. If you don’t believe it, then let all of us “Christian nutcases” believe what we believe. Very few of us seem to be trying to convert anyone or bring anyone to any knowledge of Jesus, so why does it bother so many people?

I think it bothers them because they doubt their own beliefs or rather non-belief. What if the Bible is true? What if the sermons which have been preached and the truths in them are true? What if hell really does exist? What if…Christianity is right? If you wait until you die to find out, it will be too late to change your mind then.

God loves each of us, regardless of our love for Him. Please, tell others about Jesus if you know Him. The workers are few in the world and we can’t reach everyone, but people are wanting to know Jesus. I do try with this site, but I can’t get to every person because the Internet doesn’t reach everywhere. I will be praying for you all. Thank you.

What will you do?


john317Jesus did not ask this question exactly, but He did ask His disciples “Who do you say that I am?”. The answer that Peter gave was one which wasn’t available in the Scriptures of the day, but it was given to him by the Holy Spirit. So…what will you do with your knowledge of Jesus and Who He is to you?

He is our Savior and our Creator and our Lord, but He doesn’t cram Himself into your life. It is your decision to accept Him as your Savior when you feel the Spirit touch your heart about your need of Him. We do need Jesus, each and every one of us. So…what will you do?

God loves all of humanity but we don’t return that love and that is a sad situation which most of the world is living in right now. God made a way for us to be sanctified and cleansed by His Son’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection. The only thing that we can do for our salvation is to accept it by faith.

There is nothing which we can add to our salvation because it was taken care of by Jesus. Your money won’t get you a better home in Heaven, your works here on Earth won’t get you any closer to righteousness here on Earth. The only place where your salvation could have any impact is right here where you are and that by telling others about your life and the new life that Jesus gave you!

No evangelist or preacher can earn a better place in eternity and no amount of charity will do it either. We are ALL equal in God’s sight when we accept Jesus as our Savior, no matter our position or place in our country or a business. The pastor’s saying is true: “The playing field is level at the cross”. The rich man has no advantage over the poor and a salesman or janitor has the same opportunities as a President or a Prime minister when coming to salvation and their place in God’s Kingdom. Slaves and statesmen are equal and no one stands any taller than a person on their knees asking for God’s forgiveness.

God loves the saint and the sinner alike, but God doesn’t love the sinful lives which we all have led at one point or another. So….what will you do? What is your decision? Consider that Jesus said for us not to worry about tomorrow because it has enough trouble of its own and we are not guaranteed even our next breath. So…what decision will you make about making Him your Savior and Lord?

Words….


We write them and speak them every day that we live but it is the spoken word which can do so much in either direction. The Bible says that the tongue is fiery and it can bless and curse almost at the same time. Truly it can and we have all experienced it at some time in our lives. Maybe when we were children and a friend said something which hurt our feelings, even if it was not intentional. Children don’t think about what they say, they just say things which come out of their mouths and many times they are hurtful, mean, and sometimes cruel!

Yes, the tongue can hurt you with words and the attitude which is behind those words are used is another part of the blade which your mouth can wield. So that old saying about sticks and stones is just a lie, because words can and do hurt you. Sometimes the pain caused by words can last a long, long time! Far longer than the bruises from a stone or a stick.

So many times we say things without thinking, even as adults, and we find out later about the hurt feelings that we caused with those words. The problem with words and the pain caused by them is, just like smoke or water, when a word is spoken from your mouth or mine it cannot be recalled. God’s Word is the same. When you read it and re-read it, your soul gets washed in it and by it until your tongue becomes saturated with it too. Eventually, the Holy Spirit will help you get control of it to use it for His Kingdom.

Sometimes, we don’t want to use it that way but when God has a plan for your life which includes preaching, then eventually you will accept your position from Him. Words are what God used to bring the Sun and moon into being and most of creation as well. The only part of the first chapter of Genesis which didn’t use God’s Word was when He made man in His image. He used His hands to mold him into the shape of a man, after scooping up some clay mud from the stream and molding it into the right shape, then He breathed into his nostrils the Breath of Life and man became a living soul!

Words and your tongue and mine can have a great impact on someone. Children repeat things that we say, sometimes it is embarrassing but it does happen and everyone who has a child or a grandchild knows it! The tone of your voice is what children and pets pick up on too, and they act or react accordingly. Anger, frustration, and hate can cause far more damage to a relationship between people even when those emotions may not be truly involved at all. If the words that you are saying sound like you are angry, frustrated or seem to have a hateful quality to them then the effect on those around you is the same as if you had struck them with your fists.

Do words and your tongue have this kind of power? Yes, they most certainly do. If you have lived and worked in public you have likely heard it or witnessed it sometime in your life. Seek out God’s strength and provision in your life so that your words don’t cause hurt feelings and damaged lives because many times those can’t be repaired…ever.