Do you enjoy life?


joySome of us do, but many don’t. Oh, we tolerate everyday ups and downs and we go to work and come home. Living or existing as the day permits and allows. So, what do you enjoy in your life? Your children or grandchildren likely give you some enjoyment and joy. But…what about your life with Jesus? Does being a Christian bring joy and fulfillment in your worship and study of God’s Word?

For some Christians it does exactly that, but for many who think they are Christians and are not, the worship service and study of the Bible is confusing and frustrating. It is that way for many that I call “casual Christians” as well. The biggest problem with this is that you can’t be a casual Christian, claiming Jesus on Sunday or when a loved one dies and then living as you please the rest of the time. Jesus is not a hero which you call on when you need Him and then send Him away until the next time!

He is our Savior and yes, He is our Hero and our Creator but He is not on-call some days and not on others. God and His Son are available at all times, not exactly for your convenience or at your time or on your schedule. God works according to His timing and His schedule. Don’t turn away from Him, especially when you need Him! Not just on bad days or at times when trouble is making your day feel like a week, but call to Him and lean on Him every day!

God loves each of us and wants the best for us, but His best and our idea of best are sometimes very different. His idea of a mansion and no debts may be your home in Heaven, not a beautiful home and no bills here. God’s ideas for us are not the same as our ideas of Who He is, thankfully. If our salvation was no better than our idea of what salvation is, then we would never see Heaven at all!

Don’t close the door on an opportunity in your life to get to know Jesus because the moment that you give your heart to Jesus your name is written down in the book of Life. After that, your life here and into eternity will never be the same!

Why did you bring me back?


I have read some books from doctors about patients who have asked this question. Patients who had experienced death or as it is called in the media a near death experience. That is not exactly the right name for it, it is death but with a spiritual twist. If God had wanted that person dead then nothing that the doctors or anyone else did for them would matter. God allowed them to return because their story needed to be told, the feelings and experiences which they had in a few minutes or seconds needed to be told.

Many people experience peace and joy and a feeling that everything is fine. Some experience a horrifying and agony-filled few minutes which may change their beliefs after they return for their second chance. The point of this is that the veil which separates this life from the next is very thin spiritually speaking. We can’t see through it, although at times we feel things or see glimpses of someone or some place. We just brush it off as “it’s because I am tired” or “I didn’t really see that, did I?”.

Most of us forget those glimpses through the veil after a day or two, but for those who have crossed through the veil during a heart episode in the hospital or died on the operating room table and are brought back, the experience is too real to forget.

Is there life after death? YES! Jesus said so and He was and is alive now to prove it! He also told His disciples that He would return to take His church to be with Him. The veil which separates our earthly bodies from that eternity is thin and we are surrounded by spiritual beings all of the time. Do I have proof of this? No, I just have faith in God’s Word and it seems that the realm of the spirit was always there, even when Elisha was facing an army in the Old Testament. He asked God to show his disciple that they had more protection than the ones coming against him and he saw them!

The demons were and are everywhere in our world, yet thankfully we can’t see their form and their actions as we go about our daily lives. In Jesus’ day, a whole legion of them had taken over one man and when He told them to get out, they entered into a herd of pigs and the pigs drowned themselves in the lake.

My point is this: don’t discount the words of someone who has come near to death or has been brought back. They have seen something which few people see and live to tell of it. Does life continue after this shell of our bodies dies? Yes, it does. The enjoyment of life with Jesus is there but there is also a place without Him and it is a terrifying place without Jesus.

Our minds can barely imagine a few hundred years forward or back from our point of reference. One thousand years is a long time, but if you begin to think of one million or try to consider it then you can’t take it in. Any amount of time beyond one thousand is just a number to us, our minds can’t process it.

Why would someone who has been brought back to life be angry about having another chance at life? Because, for a believer the other side of the veil is so much more than we can comprehend now! Even a few seconds of life with Jesus away from the pain and mental anguish in this life would make you long to be with Him even more! But, when God sends a person back to this life, it is for a reason…His reason. Others need to know about the spiritual life that waits for them whether it is a life with Jesus or not!

john317Please, read God’s Word prayerfully. Seek Him out and His Son’s Life which is in His Word. Ask Jesus to come into your life and open your eyes so that you can experience His Life for eternity. God doesn’t want you to go to a dark place where He is not, because it is your choice if you refuse to allow Him into your life.

Are you sure?


 

Can you be sure of your salvation? Yes, you can. Many people seem to wonder if it is possible to be absolutely sure of your salvation and it is. If you are sincere in your repentance and your decision to follow Jesus.

Have you made that decision? Have you felt the Spirit’s call or touch upon your heart? Did you answer that call or did you do like so many, decide to wait until a better time? There is no better time.

Some doctrines claim that you can’t turn away from the call of God. These are people in our own country and in others who claim allegiance to Calvinism. Baptists are Calvinists, but there are some Calvinists who believe that there is no reason for them to call people to be converted in church, there is no reason for us to tell people about Jesus because the call of God on your life is irresistible! You cannot walk away from it without giving your life to Jesus!

I want to tell you that they are WRONG!! If one of the disciples of Jesus could walk away from the evidence laid out before him, which he saw and experienced every day for the three years of Jesus’ ministry, if you are as stubborn as he was about his life or his version of it, then you can too. If Jesus doesn’t measure up to your idea of a Savior or Lord of your life, then you will possibly turn away from Him.

Even Jesus said that on that day, when all who are on Earth will bow down that there will be many who claim Him as their Savior saying “Have we not cast out demons in your Name and healed many in your Name?” He said that He would tell them to “depart from me, I never knew you.” This is a very frightening thought, not only for them but for us as well. How do you know, without a doubt, that you are saved by Him and that you have His Spirit in your heart? Are you absolutely sure?

This is what we are searching for today…absolute assurance that we belong to Jesus! Do you have it? If not, then how can you get it?

What is a better time than today? When would be a better time than right now? We are not given a certain number of days or years to live. We wake up and we should thank God for one more day to  work in His Kingdom, one more day to enjoy our children and the world around us! Do you take tomorrow for granted? Do you make plans six months or a year in advance? How do you know that you will be here at that time? You don’t know for sure, none of us do.

Paul told the Philippians this in chapter 3:8-9:

“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”

Even Paul’s only hope of salvation and eternal life was found in the person of Christ and His presence and righteousness in him. Paul did not trust his efforts or beliefs to get him to Heaven, but he did trust in Jesus and his confidence was in Christ alone and the work of Christ in his life!

That is where our assurance is…in Christ alone, living and abiding in our hearts and in our lives and doing His work through us for Him.

In John 6:51, Jesus said a very hard saying for those around Him:

“I am the living bread that came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Jesus also referred to His blood as well, for us to “drink of Me”; these sayings made many of His followers fall away and leave Him.

He was teaching that if you want eternal life, then you have to open your heart and allow Him to come in, by receiving Him and His Spirit into your heart and your life. Becoming part of your life, every day.

Some people say that they believe in Jesus so they are saved. Not necessarily. You can believe about Jesus, but unless you have the person of Jesus living in you then you don’t have Him at all!

In 1 John 5:12 the apostle writes it even clearer: “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

The evidence of His Presence in your life is seen in your life through your actions, your words, your attitude because all of these will change from the person that you were before to the person that you are because of His Spirit living in you. It is true that many of your old habits will still pop up occasionally, but if you learn more and more about Him through the study of His Word and prayer then the “new creation” will become evident. The sins that you enjoyed once will be repulsive to you. There will be an excitement about learning from the Word of God, which once was so boring.

2 Corinthians 5:17 King James Version (KJV)

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Essentially, you will become more like Christ. If you want the assurance of eternity and of your salvation then you have to look for the evidence of the person and the work of Jesus Christ in your life! He did everything that was needed for us to have salvation, all that we need to do is stop looking at ourselves and focus on Him and on His life in us. He is making you into a new creation, a new person who is more like Himself which your old self could never be!

On your own strength and your will you or I cannot become more like Jesus. The Pharisees are proof of this because they worked hard to learn all of the Law of Moses and God’s commandments. Many of them, though not all, even tried to abide by the Law as closely as they could. The knew the Scriptures, they knew about God and His acts of forgiveness, they knew about what sacrifice to give and when to give it at the Temple, yet their faith was in the works and keeping the Law…not in God.

Misplaced faith will bring all of us to ruin. Knowledge of God, memorized scripture, tithes given faithfully to the church, attendance of church services faithfully, these are all good things BUT unless you have crucified yourself by seeking out what God wants of you, placing Jesus on the throne of your life instead of yourself, unless you have died to your selfish wants and have been resurrected as a new creature in Christ Jesus….? All of those good things that you have done are useless.

Jesus must be on the throne of your heart and your life. Doing His will by reading God’s Word and learning what He desires most above all…which is obedience to Him. If you haven’t done this on a daily basis, not just on occasions when you feel that you NEED God, because we need Him every day in order to do His will! If you neglect learning about Him because it doesn’t fit into your life or your schedule, then you may not know Him as Lord and Savior.

Those who were the “teachers of the Law” knew all of the right things to do and say and sacrifice, yet they did not obey God in all things. They had “book knowledge but not heart knowledge”.

Search your heart and your life. Does your speech and your actions reflect Jesus as your Savior? If your salvation is not evident in your life enough that people can tell that you are saved before you say a word, then you might need to pray and ask God to show you where you fall short and ask Him for the strength to give Him a place of honor in your heart.

Day in….day out


We all live for the day. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but the Day! What day would that be exactly? The day that our Lord returns of course!

I know, it was foretold in God’s Word over two thousand years ago and people have been expecting it for that long. It hasn’t come yet. When will it get here? When will He come? There are some to think that His arrival is imminent and that it could come at any time, any day now. That is what we have been taught for many years and through many generations, but you know…it could be wrong.

Oh no! I have gone and done it now! I have put something on a Christian site which goes against the teachings that have been taught and preached for over 150 years! Well, you see, that is the thing, it has only been in our pulpits and the teachings of churches for a little more than one hundred and fifty years!

Why did this teaching come into our beliefs and what makes it wrong? Because, until the early 19th century, the return of Jesus was NOT taught as imminent, but that we should be ready regardless of the day or hour. There are different and various opinions regarding the return of Jesus and the rapture of the Church and I will not go into them. My reason for writing is that we should be ready regardless of the time or day that may be. Whenever the times are set, it is set by God Himself, we can’t point to a day or an hour and we can’t give a proven timing for the saints of God to be taken up or brought home.

Jesus said that He was coming to receive us to Himself. He didn’t say when or what year or time this might happen and unless He said it, we should live as if it were tomorrow or today! Be vigilant like the priests on the walls of the city to warn of a coming army or to tell of the times which were of importance such as the Sabbath beginning at sundown. We are to be the ones crying out that He is coming and telling people how to be saved from the wrath that is to come!

Be the watchman who is doing his job and letting others know about their Savior and not one that is trying to be more like the world around them.

What do you hear?


From the television and almost all of the news sources, mostly…JUNK! The world is going down the tubes fast, and all anyone seems to care about is their shows on TV or what is happening on Facebook. What difference does it make? Facebook, Twitter, Survivor, and so on are all just there to distract us from what is happening in the world. Yes, there are some on all of those social media sites which are talking about actual news, but what news?

What about our freedom? Freedom to worship ANY way you want to in America! We have that freedom right now, but it seems that there are so many on one side who can’t stand ANY mention of God or Jesus! I am not trying to force anyone, anywhere to worship the way that I do, but it seems that there are many who just can’t stand to read or hear about Jesus at all. If you want to worship a rock, I don’t care! That is your option, even God gave you the choice to do so even if He doesn’t agree with it.

We have a choice and it was given to us by God Himself. You can choose to believe it or not, it doesn’t matter to me. I pray that you will come to Him before your life is over, but it is your choice regardless of where you live, at least as far as I am concerned. Many of the countries in the world are not nearly free enough to have the choice of Who they worship, as we are in America.

Christians, whether you agree with their faith or not, are being killed not just persecuted and yet the Christians there are not converting to Islam. They would rather die for their faith, just as the martyrs have done for hundreds of years. I pray that we in America don’t see this kind of persecution, but it may happen yet.

What can we do? Pray for those in areas where Christians are being persecuted severely like in Iraq and Iran and Turkey. I don’t know what to tell you about things that we could do other than pray. Since God is in control and He can send Angels to comfort and help those people, prayer is powerful because God is able to deliver them by His power.

The world is tearing itself to pieces and it isn’t over, this is just the beginning. It actually hasn’t gotten to the point that most are fearing will come yet. Read your Bible, study the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, pray about what you are reading. We are at the beginning of those times! Watch and pray that you will have the strength to endure until He comes again to take the church out of this.

What is your passion?


A friend asked me once, “What would  you do if you could make more money?”. My answer was, “Pay off all of my bills.” The problem today is that I am disabled and can’t work at a regular job, so I write on this blog. It doesn’t pay me anything, at least in this life, but I am hoping that some of you get a lift from it or from the words that God gives me to write.

Your passion is usually something which you are, well passionate about! For some people it is their job or making money, for others it may be conservation or community projects, still other people may just be passionate about their immediate family and their well-being. Then there are the sports fanatics and others who are passionate about their teams or whatever. Today, many people seem to be involved in online gaming and for some this is a bit too much.

The point that I was making in the paragraph above is that we sometimes put more of ourselves into something which has no future at all. It doesn’t provide us with any tangible reward other than the enjoyment of our passion, but outside of that, what do you get from it? In truth, many people don’t really care about getting something from it, they just enjoy it period.

Writing does that for me. Sometimes, the words that I am given are inspirational and sometimes they are uplifting or even critical. The reason behind my writing is something which we can’t experience yet and that is eternity. We all have it ahead of us in one form or another. Some think that they will be buried in the ground for an eternity and that is it, others think that when you die, that’s the end of everything like turning off a light.

I write here to tell you that you and I have an eternity ahead of us because that is how God created us. We have a part of us which will live on, our soul or spirit, and depending on our choices in this life will determine where and how our eternity will be spent. Your life, compared to even a portion of eternity like one million years, is pitifully short like a puff of smoke in the wind. It is gone in an instant, like the snapping of fingers.

That is the amount of time that we have here to make a small difference in our lives and in the lives of others. How we accomplish this depends upon Who we choose to follow, God or our own desires. Following our own desires is what we do to begin with and for a while we feel okay with it. But, when you feel something from the Spirit of God usually like an empty feeling like something is missing. Then, you want to fix it as if something just isn’t right.

We try doing this by experimentation with all sorts of “feel good” things. The problem is that they don’t work, at least not in the long-term. They are temporary just like our life. The only real fix is seeking out the Creator, Jesus, Who will fill that empty spot with Himself and then your life will be totally changed. Your passion won’t be the same any more, the hunger that you felt for other things will change.

Following and learning from Jesus is a journey and it is one which doesn’t end, until we are in His presence. When we are there, we will know as we are known. At that point, it won’t matter because our eternal life will be in front of us and all of those friends that we know now who are Christians, we can have fellowship with them for eternity. Although, I am sure our experience will be far above what we can experience here on Earth.

Determine your destiny, seek out God’s wisdom in His Word, seek Him out by prayer and learning of Him because until you find Him and His purpose for your life, you will feel as if something is missing that you can’t put your finger on. That something is Jesus, the missing piece to all of our puzzles.