What is in a name?


Immanuel meaning “God with us”

Isaiah 7:10-16 King James Version

10 Moreover the Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying,

11 Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.

12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.

13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?

14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Even today there are many men named Yeshua, Jesus, and other Biblical names but that doesn’t give them the ability to be that person. God foretold that Immanuel would be born and that He would be the Messiah, the Christ. In order to be the Messiah or Christ, He would have to be God in man’s flesh, there is no other way to do this! This only happened one time!

When you have or are given the name of a famous person, does that make you into that person? Of course not! A name is just a name, unless it is given to you by God Himself. Then it becomes a calling and a purpose for your life. God had seen this from the beginning and He knew that Jesus being born of a virgin would literally be “God with us”, as the prophecy had said that the seed of the woman would be our Savior. That is Who Jesus is and always has been!

Why did He have to come in this manner? Because, only a perfect and sinless sacrifice could cover the sins of the World and the only way for this to happen would be for this Man to have the Spirit of God in Himself, not the spirit of sinful man. God could’ve made Him a body of sinless flesh, but He chose to do it by natural birth by a woman because Jesus had to be born under the Law in order to begin a new Covenant with sinful mankind.

Do you truly KNOW God?


I know that none of us have met Him in person. We won’t do that until we die and stand before Him. But, did you know that you could know God? Yes, we all can if we will seek Him out in the Bible.

I can almost hear people saying “I have read the Bible through many times and I am not going to claim that I know God!”. Why not? He reveals Himself in many ways, not just through His Word but by all of nature that you see around you every day. In the Old Testament God reveals Himself as a loving and patient God Who loves His Creation which includes you and me and all other people in this world.

Yes, there are parts of the Old Testament where God tells Israel as a group to slaughter all of those in the Promised Land where they are going to live. How does this show His love and compassion? Because, those that He told them to kill worshiped demons and idols and they sacrifice their children to their “gods”! God wants that influence taken out of the land that they are to live in because it will influence their children. This is why He tells us to teach our children from the Bible. We are to teach our children its wisdom so that they will know God and not be influenced to “try” some other religion.

Can you know God by reading His Word? I would say so. If you read some letters from your Dad or your grandfather who loved your mother or grandmother, even if you had never met them, you would know that they loved her and wanted to be with her! That is what many of the books in the Old Testament are like, they are like love letters to Israel and its people from God. They are also meant for us as Gentiles too. When Jesus referred to the Scriptures He was speaking of the Old Testament because that was all they had at the time.

The most important thing to remember about God’s Word is that it is True. The entire book from Genesis to Revelation, but especially the Old Testament. Why do I say it like this? Because, in the Old Testament, God was trying to get Israel to worship Him and Him only, not some piece of wood carved in the image of a cow or a snake, or even a man.

God caused all of the miracles which freed the nation of Israel from Egypt, and they still questioned Him. The still couldn’t or wouldn’t believe in Him, even with water from a rock, walking on dry ground through the sea, the supply of enough food for all of them during 40 years in the wilderness. Would it take all of that for us to believe in Him today?

Possibly. We are just as stiff-necked as they were and we don’t believe in Him today, at least much of the world doesn’t. Most of the population worships their ancestors or the stars or a moon-god, some even believe that when they die they will become a god. It isn’t hard to see that even with miracles for proof, many people today would still choose to not believe in Him. What a shame.

It takes a small amount of something called faith to believe in a God Who truly loves us. One Who cares for each of us, whether we know Him yet or not. He has used fishermen, murderers, thieves, and a shepherd boy to fulfill His work in times past. I think that He could use us too.

Doctrine, differences, or ?


We are inundated with differing beliefs and factions in the Church. They are called “denominations” and the list is like this, there are 217 denominations listed in the 2006 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. In actual truth, those are broken up into over 30,000 all over the world and those are just the Christian religions, that is not counting all of the religions. Why are Christians so fractured and broken? Because we are human, that’s why.

We can’t agree on how to pray or what to wear or whether we should have communion every week or every month or just a couple of times each year. Our humanity has leaked into the gospel that we teach and preach to those who come to hear the Word of God until much of our sermons are our words, our interpretations of God’s Word and not His Word. There have been so many saints of God that have gone before us until, those of us that are left feel empty at times. Why? Because we are not sure of our own salvation, our own position in Christ, our place in His Kingdom, even though we believe we are His…there is still a smidgen of doubt. Likely put there by Satan, but it is still there.

It is like trying to be in a room that you don’t want any light from outside to be in during the summer, and unless you happen to live in a bomb shelter made of concrete and all of the cracks between the door and the structure are sealed, it is nearly impossible to be in total darkness! Light will find a way in. That is the way that we should preach and teach people about Jesus. No matter what they try to put up around themselves to keep your sermon from making a point or a dent in their life and their heart, at least one word or one phrase should prick them to their core. So that the Spirit can get in and convict them of their need for God.

We have allowed, over the centuries, our thinking processes to change some of the meaning of the Word. Oh, it is very subtle, a small nuance here and there, nothing very big so it won’t be noticed. But, the meaning and the effect of God’s Word is dusted with our wisdom and our thinking. That is not the way that the Church which started on the day of Pentecost is supposed to be, even after two thousand years, it still should be the Word and Wisdom of God, not man! That is why I cherish the copy of the Complete Jewish Bible that I have. They have been the keepers of God’s Word for more than four thousand years and they will NOT allow a jot nor a tittle to be out-of-place when it is being copied or translated.

There are a few words in Hebrew which don’t translate well and those you have to look up to make sure of the meaning, but they are few compared to the whole of the text. The point of this is this: if we were so particular about our Scriptures then why can’t we consult with God about the divisions in the Body of Christ so that there won’t be so many? The answer to that is just one word referring to someone who has been at this since the beginning: Satan. He and his cohorts whisper into the ears and minds of “Christians”, who have been in the church since they were wearing diapers, and they in their turn will say something to others in the church and before you know it there is an argument and a split forms and another church denomination is born.

My reason for the quotation marks around Christians in the previous writing is because they are those who have gone through all of the motions of being a Christian. They have done everything right in their eyes, but they have neglected to truly wash themselves in God’s Word. They bring a Bible to church that you could kill a mule with, but most of its pages have dust from 1995 still clinging to its pages.

 

There needs to be a true revival in the Church, the Body of Christ and I mean one that goes down to the bone! Not one that is a stirring of the waters on the surface, or everyone doing the “happy dance” and shouting “Praise God!” Those are nice, but the change needs to be and go further than that! The change should go all the way to your soul!!

How do we do it? I don’t know. We can’t do it on our own, but God can. Our pitiful revivals are mostly on the surface, like stirring the water in the pool of baptism with your hand. It lasts for a few seconds, maybe for a week, but it’s gone soon after. Nothing really changed, nothing happened down at the heart and soul of the church, the body of believers. Everyone, from the pastor on down to those who haven’t accepted Jesus yet, needs to give their life to Jesus or at least re-dedicate their life to Him. Not just saying the words or going through the motions, but really asking Jesus to cleanse your heart and your life!

Then, take your faith in Him with you from that building, to where you work, to the restaurants that you go to, anytime that you meet someone, one of your first questions should be, “Do you know Jesus as your Savior?” Yes, this is being radical as a Christian, but if we don’t you can be sure that those who do not believe in Christ will be!

 

If my people….


14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

What would really happen if Christians, not just in America but all over the world, took this to heart? Could a change happen? Would we be determined in our worship enough to keep on being humble in His presence until something..everything began to change? I would hope so.

The world sorely needs this to happen everywhere, in all countries, even those who don’t follow God nor believe in Jesus as the Savior! Especially in those countries! The church, the body of believers in countries where persecution is a daily practice, is growing just as it did in the early centuries after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Some would ask, “Why?”, and the answer to that is this: when persecution comes the church leans on and depends upon God more than ever before.

So, why can’t we depend on Him when we aren’t being persecuted? We should be thanking Him and praising Him for living in a country where persecution is not so bad yet! We should be getting out into the streets and telling people about Him, so why aren’t we? Because we are afraid.

We are afraid that the people will see us as freaks or religious nuts. I would rather be a nut in God’s basket than a huge rock in Satan’s fortress!

Yes, we are afraid to let people see that we actually believe in something or Someone! Why? Because we don’t want to be lumped in with all of those “deplorables”! What is so bad about being seen as a true believer in Christ? Many seem to be afraid of being seen as a fanatic. The disciples were fanatics! The early church would be considered fanatical in their beliefs, so much so until they were killed and tortured in ways that are hard to imagine today.

God loves you and He doesn’t require you or me to be a fanatic with our faith, but He will give you the strength and the words to go with it if you will. You don’t have to walk around carrying a cross or stand on a corner yelling about the end of the world being near, but in the world that we live in people still need to hear the message. Many don’t come to church, so the only way they will find the message is to put it out on the web or be a nuisance enough to get your message on the news.

Jesus told His disciples to go and tell the whole world about the gospel and they did. It seems that the church has drawn back from being the voice of Jesus in our world. We will shine the light in our community, but taking it with us into our workplace or into the city and the towns nearby is another thing. We are supposed to be the feet of Jesus too! By taking His gospel with us at work, at school, at home, into restaurants (fast food or otherwise), people will see our faith, if they don’t want to see it they don’t have to look or listen.

We should turn our lives and our hearts back to belief in Jesus and serve Him in every way that we can, especially at home teaching our children Who and why we believe in Him! Because as soon as they leave home for college, their minds will be open to many things and if Christ isn’t in their hearts and minds, then something or someone else will get in there.

By faith…


If you have ever read the Old Testament at all, you have noticed that many of the patriarchs stories begin with that statement, “By faith…”. Did you ever wonder why? Because nothing that is done for God in this life will work unless it is done by faith. Even people who didn’t know Jesus, like the servants at the wedding at Cana, had a smidgen of faith. His mother told them to do whatever He tells you.

They had run out of wine at the wedding feast, so Jesus told them to fill six water jars with water, then draw some and give it to the master of the feast. When they did, he exclaimed that the groom had saved the best wine for later rather than giving it out at the beginning. The servants didn’t know Who He was, but on Mary’s word they did what Jesus asked and they knew that what they put in the jars was water but what came out was wine.

By faith, we can do many things if we will believe. Faith in God and in His Son can heal relationships, disease, heartaches, and all sorts of other maladies particularly those caused by sinful behavior. By faith and without doubt, you can do anything through Jesus and the Holy Spirit!

By faith the mouths of lions were shut, by faith Samson conquered the Philistines, by faith David vanquished Goliath, by faith Peter stepped out of the boat and walked toward Jesus on the surface of the water. All of these were accomplished by faith. It is true that faith can be short-circuited by doubt and by obstacles in life, but if you will keep your faith focused on Jesus and His Spirit, then there is nothing which can’t be done for God’s Kingdom!

Ministries can expand, the effect of those ministries can impact even more people, when you have faith in the power of God to accomplish His purposes through your life or your ministry. I am not giving you a way of getting wealth by this fashion because that is not what serving God is about! Yes, there are some out there who use their ministries to do just that, but they will have to answer for this and many other things one day.

All that I ask is that those of you who read this post, search the Scriptures for faith, do your homework for God and your ministry for His Kingdom because in the end, when this life is over you will be standing before Him. Do you want to bow before Him as a humble servant and a minister or will you stand arrogant and proud of what your ministry accomplished! IT WASN’T YOUR MINISTRY!! If you truly are a child of God and have surrendered your life to Him, then anything that your ministry did or accomplished belonged to God and it always did!

Jesus said…


“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”

John 21:25

There were far more things which our Savior said and did during His time here. Things which we are not privy to, but His disciples saw them and heard them.

When He got angry about the way the temple was being used, His anger was a righteous anger not like rage or “blow your top” anger like we see in cartoons. Jesus was angry but He sinned not, and the reason for that was because the temple was supposed to be a house of worship, not a place of merchandise and money exchange.

Is it possible for us as Christians to be angry about something without sinning? Yes, if we don’t allow our anger to get out of proportion to the circumstances. Yes, we can if it is due to something not directly associated with our person and we don’t take it that way. But…when someone takes God’s name and uses it in a fashion which is disrespectful in the extreme, for no reason, then the anger that you feel and may express is righteous anger. Why do I say this? Because if you have the Spirit of God inside you and you truly are a Christian, then if someone says something like “God****”, they are insulting not only God but the Creator and the Father of our Savior!

To some people, that is not a cuss word, it is just everyday speech. If it is, then Christians are told in the Bible not to associate with them because we are approving their way of life when we do.

Before anyone gets all bent out of shape over what they see as “judgmental” thinking, that is not what I am doing. I am not judging them, but God will. I am not saying that what they are saying is wrong, although it is. But their actions and words prove that they don’t know Jesus. If you do not like what I am saying here, you don’t have to read it anymore. My point is that Christians shouldn’t put up with the world the way it is because we were sent out into the world to bring Christ to it, to change it. Not by force or by war but through our witness and by bringing the gospel of Jesus to them, all of them.

We are to love people the way that Jesus loved them, but that didn’t keep Him from being angry about their stubbornness and their refusal to listen and recognize Him for Who He was. Tolerating the actions of the world should not be seen as approval of their actions and the church and those in the church have been too tolerant in the past. ¬†Amen.

Happy Birthday, America!


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I know this is supposed to be a site where you learn more about God and your salvation but the birthday of America wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for people of faith.

Our land has been around for 240 years, or at least that is how long it has been since our Declaration of Independence was put forth. Life around our land would be very different if it weren’t for the influence of Christian leaders and the beliefs of those who started our land on its way to becoming the greatest nation in the world. It is true that some people don’t think that of her anymore, even some people who live here and are benefiting from her generosity.

America has been a light for people to turn to when they need to find their way and it has been a place of refuge for many people as well. It is true that in the past some really terrible and horrible mistakes have been made regarding the treatment of Indians and Africans who were brought here to be slaves. These things shouldn’t have happened, but they did and the worst part is that we either have swept what happened under a rug and out of  the history books or we just ignore what happened altogether.

The biggest problem that we have today is that just when we think that we may have crossed the line toward better relations between the “races”, something happens that is done by one person with an off-kilter way of looking at life and here we go again.

Then you see the old hatred and bitterness come boiling up and we are at the same point in our nation as we were when there were race riots and clashes with the police on television every night. It tends to confuse the kids who have grown up without it and many of them wonder “Why?”

Why do we have to rewind an old tape that was worn out years ago?

Yes, there were many atrocities committed during those times and before then, but can’t we stop dragging the past into the present? Make a new day and a new way of getting along with one another! Stop looking at their skin color or their music and just listen to each other for once. Begin to TALK to one another, not texting but talking! Put the phones down and sit down and talk! Turn the TV off and talk to your kids or grand kids about the past but also about the future…their future!

Don’t repaint their future with the brush that you used when you were their age! Help them find a better one, one that is positive about what may happen in the future and not drag the negative parts of history in to cover up the progress that has been made!

America can be great again, if we as Americans will stand up and take our country back and MAKE it better! Shuffling money around from the rich to the poor won’t do anything but cause more problems. Fixing the things which are wrong is going to take more than a new President or a new set of laws or regulations. It is going to take Americans getting together and working toward fixing the problems one at a time!

What can we do?


In a manner of speaking, that is the question being asked all over the country this year. What can we do? Specifically, what can one or more of the candidates for the Presidency do to get our country turned around? Is there anything that we, as Americans, can do to help get our country turned around in the economy and other areas?

Truthfully, I don’t see individuals being able to do much more than vote with a Biblical mindset, meaning vote with your Spiritual conscience and much prayer going into the election. God is in control and the person that He wants to be in that office will be voted in, but if our country and her citizens don’t turn back to God and ask for healing and forgiveness, we may get a more punishing outcome than we were expecting. The outcome of the past two election cycles has been more people out of work, more racial divisiveness, more problems with terrorists, more economic problems in many areas of healthcare and other industries.

Why am I bringing politics into a site which usually has uplifting, spiritual messages? Because, we as Christians cannot sit idle on the sidelines and just “wait until Jesus comes”! God expects us to get involved with telling others about Jesus and the wisdom contained in God’s Word! We are supposed to be doing the Master’s business until He does come,not just sitting on a pew singing hymns and praying! Those are nice things to do and they do much good for us spiritually and for those who we are praying for BUT there are other important tasks for us to do.

Search your heart and discuss these things with your friends at church and in group Bible studies. Pray about it and ask God for His advice in all areas which you feel the need to get something accomplished and then get to work! We are supposed to be God’s ambassadors and priests, examples to those who need Him and helpers to those who are in need. By God’s grace and favor we can do this, but it requires more than just sitting around praying that things will get better.

Think about it, pray about it and then get up and DO IT!

When?


There are many times that this is asked of us and of God Himself. When will we see your deliverance of the church? When will you return, Lord? When will the church wake up and take salvation to the places that truly NEED it?

This question cannot be answered today. But, we as Christians need to get off of the pews and into the streets and take God’s gospel to those who may not have heard it. Yes, there are some places in the South and all over America that still haven’t heard the gospel preached in a way that people truly need to hear it right now. God loves all of you, but the sinful lives that we lead and the sins that all of us commit are not included in that love. He wants us all to come to salvation, but God doesn’t force anything on you or me. It is our response to His call, His Spirit which gets His attention and His Spirit should get our attention too.

When will we learn to be disciples and be the feet and hands of Jesus? When will we be the church that Christ wants us to be…intended for us to be? I don’t know, but the time is winding down. There is very little left to happen before the angels will sound the Trumpet of God. More people have to hear about salvation, more people need to be ministered to physically and spiritually. If the church doesn’t do this by being the REAL church that Christ intended for us to be, then who will?

Life today is hard enough, particularly in places that are devoid of churches or where there are many miles between them. Yes, there are places in the world where Jesus hasn’t been preached yet, and those are the places that need to be touched with the gospel. Working at it for a few years, telling people in your community or your county is good but will they take the message with them? When will those in Mexico hear about Jesus’ love for them? When will those in Jamaica or Honduras or Bolivia or Columbia hear about a loving, caring, powerful God Who wants to save them? These are questions which need answers and I can’t give those answers to you.

The church needs to sit down and have a Holy conference of all of its members, regardless of denomination, and determine to get out there with the message of love that we are supposed to be telling others about! We were not saved from hell to sit in the pew and say “amen” in a timid little voice! God needs people to blow the shofar and tell others about the God Who loves them so much that He sent His Son to die for them, in their place, so that by grace we can come to Him and know Him!