Why did Jesus come?


According to the Word of God, He came to Earth in order to die, and He did die for your sins and mine. But…He also came out of that tomb three days later and taught His disciples what they should do and where they should go after He had gone to Heaven. He told them to stay in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit and then they were to go into all the world teaching and preaching the gospel of God!

That mandate has not changed because we have been given a fantastic gift through belief in Jesus and that gift is eternal life with Him and through belief in Him. We can be saved from the penalty of our sins and our sinful life through belief in Jesus. Then we are to take that with us and tell others about Him and what He has done for us and for all people.

Why? Because God loves you and He wants every person to know that He loves them. Jesus came into the world for that purpose to pay the penalty for your sins and for mine, and for every person in the whole world! It is your choice whether you believe in Him or the atonement which is provided for you or not, but if you choose to go your merry way then you may not get another chance to give your life to Jesus!

We are not promised tomorrow. Today is the day of salvation because in hearing the good news of His love for you, then you are responsible for your decision. Once the message is heard and understood by you, if your heart is convicted of the sinful life that you have lived, then it is your choice which sends you either to Heaven or to Hell!

God doesn’t choose to send you to hell, that is your decision and your responsibility and accepting it and believing it is your responsibility because God doesn’t force you in any way. Your eternity is based on your decision to accept or reject Jesus and His atonement for your sins.

There is no amount of work or prayer or money which will do anything toward saving your soul from hell. Only belief in Jesus as your Savior can do that! It has to be a heartfelt belief in Jesus, not just knowing Who He is but accepting Him as your Savior and asking His forgiveness for your sins. Because without accepting Him as your Savior and repenting of your sins, changing your life from what you were before to being a follower of Jesus…then there is no salvation at all.

When you read about Jesus or hear about Him, knowing that you will be in Heaven after you die IF you accept Him as your Savior, then there shouldn’t be any hesitation on your part at all. He is what you have been searching for to fill that empty space in your life that you know has been there but you couldn’t find what fit in it until you hear about Jesus. He is the key to filling that empty space, the longing in your heart that wants to be full but you have searched all over and you have never found what could fill it.

Jesus is the answer to that question. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 )

Is it well with you?


Many times, in church and even on social media sites, I get requests for prayer either in person or by a message. Prayer is a necessary part of a Christian’s life, just like breathing or drinking water, yet many people don’t seem to think that God listens to them so they ask their pastor to pray for them. I don’t mind, but if you are a child of God you have the same privilege and right to step into His Presence at anytime.

1533781_811048015579131_2056361741_nSometimes, people just don’t exercise their right as a Christian until it gets to be so bad they just hit their knees in agony. God can and will answer your prayers, particularly when you pray about a family member’s illness or an accident. I don’t mean to say that He won’t answer a prayer about your children or your keys or other “small” thing, but God looks for ways to bless you in areas where He is the real solution for the problem!

So do you seek out God when things are going good or do you wait until He is the last resort? Don’t you think that when things aren’t going very well, you should seek out the One Who can do something about the situation? The Creator that made all of our universe and every molecule in your body can fix any problem in your life, regardless of the cause! If you will give Him the chance to do so.

When life throws a curve ball at you, swing at it because you might hit it. God can give you the strength and the ability to make it through any real problem in your life, regardless of whether it is one involving your spiritual condition or a medical problem. God is bigger than ALL of your problems or any of the problems in our world today or at any time in the future.

Each of us has a choice to make. To ask Jesus into our lives and repent of our sinful ways or to keep doing what we feel is right, what makes us feel good. To keep being selfish and prideful in what we can do and to do it without anyone telling us that it is wrong. In reality, the Bible doesn’t tell you anything like that. There are no rules about what to do or not, but when you truly realize that you need Jesus and you come to Him in repentance…then you will change. You won’t do it on your own but you will change by the influence of the Holy Spirit after you ask Him to live in your heart!

When that happens, and you begin to change into a new creation, a new person. Then you won’t crave those things which you did before. You won’t go to the places that you went to before. The rules have changed because you aren’t the same anymore. Not because of rules from the Bible, but because your heart, your soul, your inner person has changed and is changing. While you learn more about Jesus and read His Word and pray about this new life, you are changing and becoming the person that God has always known you were since before you were born.

When this change occurs then it will be well with you no matter how life turns out, good or bad. Why? Because you are an adopted child of God! The Creator and King of the universe! How could you possibly feel down or depressed or unloved when God loves you more deeply than anyone on Earth could ever understand? Yes, there will be days which you may be depressed, but with prayer and reading God’s Word it won’t last for long. Seek Him and His Kingdom and all of the things which God has prepared for you will be yours.

Miracles


MiraclesIn everyday life we see them but we may not recognize them for what they are. Some of them are little miracles that don’t seem like God had anything to do with them at the time. Some that we hear about are easy to recognize as a miracle because the healing or the shrinking of a tumor just doesn’t happen on its own. God works like this, in the background doing little things which will accomplish His Work and His purposes even when it seems that things aren’t going very well.

Our lives are like that too. Some days they are very good and some are, well not so much. Do miracles happen in your life? Occasionally you may notice something that couldn’t happen that way otherwise, but I would bet that many of our miracles happen when we don’t know about it. A guardian angel slips between you and someone intent on robbing you or maybe they redirect a car or truck from slamming into you. If you don’t think that God uses angels to do this kind of work, I imagine we will be surprised when we do get to Heaven.

We are His adopted children after all and if you have not given your heart to Jesus and asked Him to forgive you for waiting so long, then you need to get it done! Whether the world believes it or not, this age of grace which we have lived under for almost two thousand years is nearly over. A lot is going to happen in the next decade or two, maybe less, who knows? God does. He knows the day and the hour of your death as well as the time when He will send for all of His Church to be brought to Heaven.

The signs are in the heavens but many people are just saying that this is just astronomical signs and nothing more. The Bible clearly states that God intends to use the heavens to declare seasons and times and we are coming up on one of those times, the end of days or the Tribulation. Whatever you want to call it, it will be a time of war and disease and death as well as the judgement of God, all of it spelled out in prophecy.

Choose today who will be your Savior because your tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

What can we do?


There are many paths to enlightenment in the world today, philosophically speaking, therefore, which one is the correct path for all concerned? Few I’m afraid….actually there is only one.

Philosophy and enlightenment are pursuits which give us knowledge but that will not enable you to be a part of God’s Kingdom. Even knowledge of the Bible and all that it contains will not get you into Heaven without belief and faith in Jesus! Reading and studying the Bible until you know it by heart will do nothing for you spiritually unless the Holy Spirit opens your mind and heart so that you can see Who your Savior truly is and accept Him.

Knowledge and degrees and meditation are wonderful for their own purposes, but the experience of God is found through faith and belief in Jesus. If you don’t have that, then the Bible is just a book of historical figures and facts written by men. God did not give us His Word, the Bible, to be just a book. It is the revelation of Himself and His Son from beginning to end and it doesn’t matter if everyone doesn’t see it that way!

The Sun shines whether you have any faith or belief in it or not. Gravity still works whether you believe it exists or not. God and His promise through Jesus the Christ will accomplish everything written down by His apostles and prophets because He is God, whether you believe in Him and His Son or not.

Life, love, greed, hatred, envy and fear all exist as part of our emotional lives in one way or  another. We cannot change this because we can’t change the character of the entire world and every person in it. All of this boils down to one Truth and that is: Jesus came and died on a cross for your sins and your father’s sins and your friend’s sins. He paid the price for all of them, each and every person past, present and future. Whether we believe it or not doesn’t change the fact that it happened and it won’t change anything about the future which was foretold in the book of Revelation.

Seek Him by believing in Him. Read His Word and ask Him to show you the wisdom that you need to have so that your eyes will see Him as He is. The Savior that you need for healing, strength, and hope for eternity, because Jesus is the Savior that we all have been searching for.

Learning about God from God


lamb-of-god-passoverIt is something that many of us try to do in our lives at one point or another, but many of us have no idea how to do it? We consider reading the Bible through but just as any “new year’s resolution” we soon push it aside like any other exercise. Then we only pick it up on church days and read with our pastor, and sometimes we don’t even bring it to church with us at all.

How can you cultivate a relationship with the Creator if you don’t get to know Him? Our only outlet, our only way of getting to know Him IS to read His Word! His ways are there for us in black and white on a page or today on an electronic reader of some kind, but He and His Words are available! He is near us and if we are Christians, then He is dwelling inside our hearts and so near that we might as well be living inside His skin! Ewww gross! Don’t laugh, I know that is what many of you thought.

The point of this is that He wants a relationship with us, just as He did with Adam and Eve only they chose to be independent and go their own way. Our world has been damaged terribly by this independence because instead of living inside His Love and His Life, we make up our own version of Him and His attributes. We remake God and His Son in our image…how WE want them to be! Then, when we feel like they aren’t doing it right, we try to take over and we usually mess things up pretty good at that point!

God’s Word and Wisdom is in the Bible and if we will treat it as our Creator Who is actually speaking through the prophets and writers then accepting Him for Who He is will be so much better and easier! Please consider it and think about reading the book, “The Shack“. I am going to see the movie and maybe do a Bible study on it soon. God loves you!

Where is God?


Don’t read the title and wonder if I have lost my mind, you have wondered the very same thing from time to time! I have too and it does vex me at times to think of all of the evil and pain in the world and wonder about Him. He is right next to each and every person who is in pain, in duress from a multiplicity of reasons, or who is just lonely. God is as close to you and I as our next breath or even as close as our heartbeat. He is always closer than we can imagine or comprehend and He cares more than we could possibly know or understand!

Jesus said that “not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father knowing it“, now that is my paraphrase of the actual scripture so don’t think it will be worded the same. But…if Jesus said, which He did, that a sparrow doesn’t escape God’s attention, don’t you think He pays attention to the rest of us as well? We can’t touch Him or feel His Presence all of the time, but He is there and He feels your pain and your sorrow and your joy.

12804782_1044929828955942_1233315242139204553_nAs a Christian we can feel Him near us, maybe not all of the time but if you are listening to His voice like you should then you can’t miss it. He is always there and as a Christian you and I have part of Him living inside our hearts, so He can’t get much closer than that can He?

For someone who is not as close to God as they should be or even someone who hasn’t given their life to Him, then the Presence of God may not be felt but that doesn’t mean that He isn’t nearby. Especially if you are being called into His Service! He will not let you get too far away from Him and He will bring you back in order to do His Will in your life and for His Kingdom. He doesn’t force you to serve Him, but when you realize what He has done and is doing for you and in your life, you will want to work for Him.

Paul did and he was persecuting the Way as it was called. He was called Saul at the time, but Jesus changed all of what he had been doing to make him into the greatest missionary of the New Testament church! If he can change and become one of the most successful disciples of Jesus, then you and I can do it too. We have to learn from God’s Word what to look for and how to understand His commands and His Voice in our lives and you can only learn that from prayer and reading the Bible.

So, where is God? He is everywhere! My best guess is that He is where you are and I know that He is where I am too! Give your heart to Him, learn about Him and His voice from the Bible, then you will hear Him and know that He is God and He is in your life, regardless of what may be happening, He will never leave you!

Life, what about it?


baby developmentWhen I was much younger, I wondered about the life that we live. Not so much in philosophic terms exactly, but after watching the coverage of the Vietnam war and Dr. Martin Luther King’s murder, even then it seemed that life was cheap. I knew better, but it still made me think a bit. But, I was young and I didn’t think about it long so I went on to school and played with my friends and did my homework.

Now, I am a father and a pastor and I think about life every day. It still seems that to most of the world around us, not just in America, human life isn’t worth much even today. It seems that life today isn’t regarded as being worth more than a thought, if that much! Why have we come to this point in history? Where the life of a baby in the womb is in just as much danger as one on the street! A baby in the womb is even in more danger today because there usually isn’t anyone to speak up for them and defend them.

No, I am not getting on a platform about abortion, I did that a day or so ago. My point here is that we don’t cherish life today, no matter if it is a pet, a baby, or a person. But…life is supposed to be sacred! Human life certainly, but all life in general because it is God’s Creation! It is true that many people claim to be Christian and yet many of them don’t even have a true relationship with God at all! We don’t look at being a human being and being a Christian as anything special, it seems.

Many believe that by belonging to a church and attending services occasionally that they have a relationship with God. How absurd! That is more akin to visiting McDonald’s once in a while and thinking that you know the owner! God does know you and He loves each one of you. But, being known by God and being His child by adoption through Jesus Christ is something totally different.

Jesus died for you in order for you to be God’s child and when you feel that call by faith in Him you can become a part of His family. It isn’t something that you choose on your own, He chooses you first, then you have to answer. If you don’t, then you have pushed Him away. This part won’t be good for you, now or in eternity, because you are telling Him “Not now, I’m busy” and “You’re not important to me”. Hopefully, He will keep trying to bring you into His family but you can push Him away only so many times. There may come a day when He chooses to let you go your way…not good at all.

Why do I say that? Because if you look at how humanity has fared without Him, it usually isn’t very good and depending on how far they move from God it can be very, very bad for all concerned. Even though God said that He would never again bring a flood on the Earth, that is why it came in the first place. Mankind had pushed Him out of their lives and went after their own ways and their own gods. This is why God chose Noah, because he had not gone the way of everyone else. Sometimes, following the crowd has very serious consequences. Think about it.

Make a difference…


I watiamnotashamedched the movie “I am not ashamed” yesterday and it made me think of our impact on the world and the people around us. Rachel Joy Scott struggled with her new faith in Jesus in high school before the shooting that took her life. Most of us can relate, if we were a Christian in school, which I wasn’t. I knew about Jesus and the Bible because I had been on the drug plan for learning it. I was drug to church every time my Mom went, so I had heard all of the preaching and stuff. But, hearing and knowing about Jesus is not the same as having faith in Him, real honest faith.

I provided the link above just in case anyone wanted to know about the movie, I get nothing from your following or purchasing it. The point of this post is this: will you make a difference?

Her story and the fact that she didn’t back down in the face of losing her life, as many Christians over the centuries have done, has made a real impact on many people. At the end of the movie there was some statistics which said that her life had impacted over 20 million people since April 20, 1999. One life, just one-act of selfless faith and forgiveness can make a difference. It doesn’t take a Master’s degree or a PhD to tell people about Him and to show your faith by your life and your deeds to those around you.

God loves us even when we aren’t sure how we feel about Him. He loved each of us whether we even knew Him and before we were all born and He did so in a way that we can’t understand or comprehend! God is and should be your strength and your source of living water which never dries up and never gives up on you and your purpose in Him!

During high school, I was a very angry boy. I kept it bottled up most of the time, but I allowed it to hurt me by smoking and drinking to the point of being so drunk I barely remember the drive home, if I made it at all. At least one time, I had a wreck on the way home, although the only one that really sticks in my memory is the one where I totaled my mother’s car. I was angry at God and at my parents for getting divorced and I really didn’t care much about what happened to me. I could identify with Rachel in being a child of a broken home.

My point, as I said earlier, is that we can all make a difference in the world. Even if it is only in our immediate area. Heaven rejoices when one sinner comes to Jesus and if you or I have any part to play in that, then be grateful and willing to be useful in His Kingdom for that one person. Make sure that your life means something because we are not guaranteed tomorrow, so make today a day that God uses in your life and your witness  for His Glory!

Real Christianity


realsalvationThe only way to tell if someone is a Christian, is a real change in their life. One which lasts and is evident in their lives from day-to-day. Life has a way of making this hard to see sometimes because of our work or our everyday life, but its the little things which people notice. Such as, giving thanks for your meal at a fast food restaurant and bowing your head at the table to do so. Having an attitude of peace even during times where others would be under stress and this attitude comes from the Holy Spirit which gives you comfort even in times of trouble.

So, what should you do with this religion? If you haven’t embraced and accepted Jesus as your Savior, what are you waiting for? I realize that there are many who are against Christianity that this is totally out of the question. But…allow me to ask one question of you: If you don’t believe in Jesus or the Bible, then what do you believe in? One other question comes to mind as well: What if you are wrong?

If Heaven and Hell exist, which they both do exist by the way, then do you think there is a reason for belief in Jesus and the Bible? How will you feel after death when you find that life doesn’t end entirely but continues on into eternity and there are consequences for your beliefs, in particular if you have rejected salvation through Jesus.

Please, consider the possibility of the facts contained in the Bible being true. Why am I saying this? Because, I am a pastor and I have to! It is my job requirement, just as it was the apostle Paul who began as Saul. He was a persecutor of Christians, he stood by while Stephen was stoned to death yet God saw that he could be used for spreading the gospel of salvation in Jesus! I will be praying that many of you will give it a serious read in the book of Romans at least.

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.