The path of least resistance


heaven-or-hell-eternal-destinyChristianity has never actually followed this path because there has always been resistance to God’s Word and the Truth which is contained within it. In some form or another, that resistance has spurred the message of salvation and following Jesus to expand into the world. Just as people went across the world after the languages were confused at the tower of Babel, Christianity has gone to places where it was the only religion of real hope. In today’s world those places and the people in them violently oppose the Christian view of the world and this has been happening since the first century.

Stoicism was a philosophy and still is today which many people enjoy mainly because it doesn’t require anything of you exactly. One of its practical sayings was essentially this: Change what you can control, let go of that which you cannot. Wisdom doesn’t know doctrine nor creed, it just is. It doesn’t matter what language or country the wisdom comes from or is written in, a wise phrase is what it is regardless.

The only problem with living your days according to wise principles is when you come to the end of your days, if you are fortunate enough to live a long life and die with family around you, you really don’t have much to look forward to into eternity. Wisdom cannot carry you over the threshold of Heaven’s gates and it doesn’t atone for the life which you have lived, even if you lived wisely.

Following Jesus and learning of God’s wisdom in His Word is the best end of life that you can have. Having Him as your Savior and living your life with His Presence by your side is a very wise course because your life doesn’t end when your physical life does. We all have eternal souls but we have to choose the path which we walk on in this life. Will it be the one which everyone else is travelling on? One which is easy and without rocks or bumps or briars and hills to climb or will it be a wide path that all of your friends are on?

The number of years that you travel on this road doesn’t matter except that you never know when your road will come to its end. There are exits along the way and sometimes they lead to the Christian life if we will choose to follow them, but sometimes they don’t. Seeking out the Creator of everything can give you insight enough to know which is the right exit and which is not. The one which carries you on toward life with Jesus narrows quite a bit compared to the wide and easy road which many of us walk on for many years before finding the exit to get on His path.

Yes, the Christian life is a bit harder than not knowing Him because each of us has to deal with the temptation of going back to the easy path rather than continuing on with Jesus. Can you do that? Yes, if your heart has never accepted Jesus and His Spirit which changes you completely you can turn back to your old life. But…you may never find that exit, that pathway leading to eternity with Him again.

Today, it seems that every news story on TV talks about someone or some group which is offended by a truth or some part of a church or a scripture on a statue, something which is pointing the way to Jesus. Many times it doesn’t take but one complaint in a town, one person bringing it to the attention of the media and then there is an outcry for this offensive statue or monument to be taken down.

How many years has that monument been there with that inscription? How many eyes have seen it and read it and never said a word about it, good or bad? We give too much power to that small percentage of people who get offended because someone else is offended today. Being a nation which was founded by Christians fleeing persecution was good for us until the past fifty-eight years or so, then the children of those who came back from the Second World War became the voice of America protesting against injustice.

Many of those injustices included being taught Biblical principles in school, praying in school, having the Ten Commandments posted on the hallways in schools and of course the Vietnam War and Civil Rights movements too. While it is true that the Vietnam War was a tragic one, it was also one which was run by suits in Washington and not by those in uniform. The Civil Rights movement would’ve been much better if segregation had not been the norm in the South, but that was a different generation than mine.

My point in this is this: society always follows those who stir up the most and accomplish the least.

Jesus stirred up people because of His message of love and forgiveness, not because of promises He couldn’t deliver on. He will return one day and those who are against Him today will bow to Him whether they want to or not because He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and He will reign on Earth with a rod of iron. Make sure that you know which side you will be on in that day.

Persecution


PersecutionTodayToday just as in times past, persecution is like gas on a fire or fertilizer for plants in regard to the number of believers. The church grows! No matter where the persecution may be or what form it takes, people notice how believers have faith and joy in Jesus! Then they turn to their faith and realize that they don’t have that. No other faith offers that joyous hope in Jesus because there is no hope of eternity in anyone else!

Hundreds of years ago, persecution caused the church to grow. Even at the end of the first century after Jesus’ burial and resurrection which was why John was exiled to Patmos, there was much persecution but believers didn’t give up their beliefs. No matter what they were threatened with, they still held onto their faith in Jesus. Many were killed, martyred in horrible ways which I won’t describe here, but they still held to their faith!

Nobody would hold onto a lie or a fantasy and die because of something that they knew wasn’t real! All but one disciple of Jesus died a martyr’s death in one way or another. Some were beheaded, some were crucified or run through with a spear or sword, but all but John died this way. They tried to boil John in oil but by a miracle, it didn’t work and he died of old age.

If you truly want to know how many of the believers died, read the Book of Martyrs. It will strengthen your faith and make our sufferings look mild in comparison. Does persecution cause people to turn to Jesus? Yes, it does! Many do, even today, although they don’t want it to be known because they would be killed if it became public knowledge. Are Muslims coming to Jesus? Yes! Are others coming to know Jesus? Yes!

Why? Because they see the joy that people have in Him, even when they are poor or persecuted for their faith. It is a joy which defies human comprehension because to someone without faith in Jesus, this joy makes no sense at all! Just as the Bible says, to the world our faith is foolishness.

To someone who is drowning but may not know it, a rope tossed to them will be flung aside. A float will be ignored until they realize that they truly need it. It is the same with someone who is living without Jesus. Until they realize that they NEED Him, they will go about their life with no worries. Until that point that God touches their heart and they know that they need Jesus, they will refuse to pay attention to any part of the Bible!

The image above shows that it is happening today and even though those in the picture may not look joyous in their time of persecution, their hope is still in Jesus. It is the reason that they are being killed, because of their belief in Him. Could we be brave enough to stand and declare our faith in the face of being burned or shot? I don’t know. God would give each of us a measure of faith and strength in that time of testing but to tell you that I could face it without fear and trembling? I just can’t say. Seek Him today so that your faith will be made complete in Him.

Why so much division?


Beliefs, creeds, denominations…it seems that our world is cracked into thousands of pieces when it comes to deciding about Who we believe in and serve. Why?

DivisionMostly it is because of the work of Satan. He has been at work in the world creating other “gods” for people to worship and also creating division in the church itself. Sometimes these are small cracks but over time and with a little help from willing people they get bigger until the church splits in two or crumbles into the dust.

In the first century, just after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the disciples taught His Truth as The Way. Some called it The Truth. For many years it stayed that way until Catholicism and the Catholic church became the dominant form of worship in the crumbling Roman empire.

Until the Reformation, there were no Scriptures that a worshiper could have in his possession and read for himself or herself. Then, when the Bible was printed in English and German, many people were put to death when they were found to have one of these Bibles. The persecution of Christians by the church and by pagans, is found in the Book of Martyrs if you would like to read it. It is difficult to read, but it will show you what it took to be a true believer in Jesus, all the way up to recent history such as in the communist countries since WWII.

The fracturing of the church into so many denominations has caused many problems between believers. Some believe only parts of Scripture, some follow only a few verses in one book or another, when we are supposed to be people who believe in the entire Word of God! Not bits and pieces of it but ALL of it, the Old Testament and the New Testament should be taught in its entirety. Yet, many churches today seem to pick and choose what they will teach or believe and the parts that they will not.

This is not the way that Jesus wanted His church to be! We are not supposed to be bickering and fighting over parts and phrases, choosing which to teach and which to tell others that it is not God’s Word! If it is included in the Bible, whether it be a Jewish Bible or Orthodox Bible or a Protestant Bible, then it should be taught to everyone in the congregation, young and old!

I ask that anyone who is interested in God or Jesus and the Word in the Bible, please seek out a Bible teaching church and search out the Truth. God’s Word is true and has never been found to be wrong in any manner. Many try to bring parts of it to trial saying that it contradicts itself, but if you would seek the Truth it can be found that all of it is more true and accurate than many historical works. Praying that all of you who read this will seek Him out in the Bible and as your Savior. Amen.

What is your trigger?


It seems that today, people get “ticked off” at the drop of a pin or anything that has happened to someone who they don’t know at all. Maybe they have something in common with that person and feel that it, whatever “it” was, was directed at them in general. Such as the people who protest against police violence toward “black men”. They are protesting because they perceive that all police are racist and have a chip on their shoulders against all people of color. Which is not true, but for some reason it is coming to the front of news stories more and more today. Why?

Some would say that it is because it is happening more often and that the violence is justified. The “trigger” is very subtle though and it is not happening more often, it is because everyone in the street has a smart phone and it is capable of recording video of anything, anywhere and at any time. There doesn’t have to be a news crew around, but by recording an event, regardless of its significance, and uploading it to the Internet then it may become newsworthy.

I have a trigger which moves me to pray for all of those who come to this site and read or just look around. I don’t know most of you, but God does. Even if you have never attended church or sat through a sermon, God knows who you are. He values you above the riches of the whole world. He loves you enough that if you were the last person on Earth, He would want you as His adopted child. It isn’t fear or anger or frustration which drives us, it is our collective need for this world to be healed and all of the problems which we face every day to be taken care of. Only Jesus can do this.

Other religions boast of having more followers or having larger church buildings or worship centers, it doesn’t matter what they are called. If you aren’t worshiping God and His Son, Jesus, then you are in the wrong building. I know, there are many who would tell me that my way of thinking is too small or non-inclusive of others, but aren’t most religions today? Islam doesn’t allow for other faiths, you have to accept theirs, yet no one ever tells them to be quiet and not pray or not tell others about their faith. It is the same with any other faith in the world, with the exception of Christianity. We, who are Christians, and believe God’s Word can’t read our Holy Scriptures in public. We cannot pray openly, we cannot tell others about our Savior because it offends people.

Jesus said to turn the other cheek when someone strikes you. I think we have done that far too often, yet we are still doing it. Why? Because, Jesus said for us to endure persecution to the end and we will be saved. Is this world going to be better in the future? Yes, it will when Jesus sets up His Kingdom and rules the world from Jerusalem. But, until that time comes we must endure.

Yes, there is anger and bitterness in many cities today but there is also…hope. Hope for tomorrow, hope for a peaceful day today, hope for reconciliation between police and those who protest against them. Where does this spirit of hope come from?

Jesus.

The world can’t give you hope, but He can. The world doesn’t care about you or your circumstances, but He does. The world is ruled by the spirit of Antichrist, Satan and his followers and it shows in the news and in our papers every day. Jesus loves you and wants all of us to share in His love but in order to do that, we need to accept Him and then share Him with others too.

How do you live?


Are you a Christian? Do you believe in Jesus’ atonement for your life? Have you walked with Jesus or did you just get baptized and go on with your life?

Do you deny that Jesus is real? Do you believe that He was “just a prophet”?

If you believe and you accept Him as your Savior, then the first sentence should apply to your life, but are you living your life according to His will for you? It is a question that needs to be answered by all of us. Have you “given your life to Him”, but then walked away from the church and never went back? You are denying Him.

If, on the other hand, you fall into the group of people who don’t believe in God or Jesus at all, then who do you believe in? Yourself? Satan or Allah? Mohammed? Can you change the color of your skin or your hair by thinking about it? Of course not, you and I are not going to be gods and we can’t do anything like God can.

Has Satan appeared to you in a robe of white with wings so bright you couldn’t see? He can you know. Mohammed is dead and he isn’t coming back until God raises him up one day to pay for what he did in his life.

Satan can appear as an angel of light and he can tell you that he is Gabriel if he chooses to, but that doesn’t make it the truth. Mankind is easily deceived and especially when it comes to the master of lies who has had many thousands of years to perfect his deception. One day there will be a man who will appear to be our savior and he will be able to do things that will look miraculous, like Jesus did, but he will be a false savior. Many people will be taken in by him and his words and power that he shows, but he is not the Son of God.

All of those words that I wrote in the past couple of sentences are foretold in Daniel and in the book of Revelation. It is God’s Word and it is True. It will come to pass. I don’t know when, but with all that is happening around the world I would bet that it won’t be much more than a decade or so away. I could be wrong, of course. The point that I am trying to make is that when this person shows up and everyone seems to think he is so wonderful, that should cause a bell to go off in your mind. Remember what you may have heard or read in the Bible or in Sunday school.

Don’t just follow someone blindly because they seem to be more than they are! Many false “Christs” have appeared in the past, but they all died. Many things are going to happen in the near future which will cause many people in the church to leave their faith behind. When all of this begins, take notice and get a Bible and read it. If you have lived a life which wouldn’t have been acceptable to Jesus, then you should repent and ask for His forgiveness.

Why? Because if you see all of these things happening then the end is getting very near. When the peace treaty between Israel and all of her enemies is signed and the Temple begins to be built, take note of who is brokering that deal. All of these must happen before Jesus comes to get the elect, His church, His Bride. Make sure that you are part of that number. In the picture there are many promises for His elect, if you have repented of your sins and given your heart to Him and asked for His forgiveness.

Persecution of Christians


The news media doesn’t report this much, but it is still happening. Christians in many countries are being imprisoned and tortured or killed because of their beliefs. Christianity is not a popular religious belief in countries where Islam is the main religion. Converting to Christianity in those countries can get you put in prison or killed. The so-called “religion of peace” is not at peace with anyone.

Our faith in Jesus and in His grace gives us hope for a life in eternity with Him. Can any other religion give you eternity? Some claim to, but if you look closely at their claims it is a lie! Thousands of Christians have died for their beliefs since Jesus’ time, because they would not reject their beliefs or their faith in Him. They received their reward and are now in Heaven with Him. Few other religions, if any, can claim this truthfully.

To go to other countries and try to evangelize people with the message of Christ is our duty and privilege but it is dangerous in some parts of the world. Jesus told His disciples that they would be hated because the world hated Him and in many places that is still true today, even in our own country. Our country has banned prayer in schools and has taken any display of the Bible or the Ten Commandments from public buildings. In the media Christian principles are being challenged every day as well as in the courts.

We have to stand in our faith but we cannot be truly open about it or we get labeled as extremists. Any other belief, regardless of what it is, can be talked about and spoken aloud openly in the media and in public but not Christianity. Is it because no one wants to hear about a religion which has, as its base, truth and moral absolutes which no person in the world wants to hear about.

Moral absolutes are wrong by most people’s standards. We all ascribe to “personal or individual or even relative absolutes” or so the media reports. What is relative to me doesn’t have to be relative for you. For most of the past two thousand years there has been a standard by which the un-believers and the believers were judged and that standard was and is the Bible.

It is true that there have been wars and other atrocities over religious viewpoints as well as whether the church was the only authority in a nation or who could have access to the Bible itself but there are always opinions in our world. Opinions are going to differ inside a home, let alone on a planet where there are more than six billion people!

The point is that God has not abandoned us to our own devices and beliefs! He is still in control, although He is allowing our own choices to play out as they will. He doesn’t control us, but gives us the choice and the opportunity to see the Truth and to accept it. It is our own choice that will condemn us or save us because the choice is between living as if we are in control of our life or allowing Jesus to have control of it. One will allow your own desires and passions to rule your life and the other will change you into the person you are truly meant to be!

Many people don’t want to accept this change, they fear it. They don’t want to lose the life or the friends that they have. But, your life won’t change only your character and when your character changes, people will notice. Your friends may not like the change but they also may want to know what has made such a difference in your life!

Your witness about many things that you like or are passionate about is known to all of your friends because you talk about it and you tell them about it! It should be no different if you decide to follow Christ as your Savior  But in some countries, it is dangerous for you to witness to people, to tell them about Jesus. He will be with you to strengthen you and guide you through this, no matter what happens.

If you live in an area where persecution against Christians is normal, pray about it. God hears those prayers and He will send a comforter and a Helper. You are not alone. If you are considering becoming a Christian in a country where persecution is harsh, become one and then get on your knees and pray for strength and for help in your new faith. God is near you, when you ask Him into your life, He comes into your heart and is there always. You can make the choice to “kick him out” but that is the only way that you can “lose your faith” and it is your choice to do so!

He won’t leave you unless you force Him out and no one can take you from Him! Eternity is the prize that we strive for but the life that you will “live” in eternity is dependent on which choice you make while you live today, because once you die, the choice has been made. You will either live in eternity with Christ or you will be condemned to spend eternity away from God in a place only reserved for Satan and his fallen angels. It is your choice.