John’s message


2 John 1

Greeting from the Elder (3 John 1:1-4)

1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; 2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever. 3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Walking in the Truth (John 8:31-41)

4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. 5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

Beware of Deceivers

7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an Antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Final Greetings

12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. 13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

The second smallest book of the Bible, officially, but very profound, in wisdom and truth from the only disciple which died of natural causes also known as old age. God blessed John with a ministry which spanned the known world around him at the time. Since he was also one of the youngest disciples he was able to go and tell others and shepherd a number of churches before his death at the end of the first century. Why did I get drawn to this letter? Because of its encouragement to the lady in the text and it should be taken as an encouragement to us as well.

Love one another in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, walk in obedience to His commandments and beware of the deceivers that are in the world today working in the spirit of the Antichrist because they deny that Jesus came in the flesh and died on the cross and rose again on the third day.

The one who will be known as the Antichrist has not come to power yet, but the spirit of rebellion against the teachings of God and the Word of God is alive and well in our world today. So we must walk carefully in this world and not be drawn away toward doctrines which do not acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God. You can hear and see the effect that this spirit is having on our world by just watching the news and it is troubling, but our Lord has overcome the world and we must follow His example in our daily lives.

Seeking to follow Him in all things. Teaching our children about Him, reading and studying the Bible as a family and praying that we are counted worthy as Christians. Still, we need to be bold in our witness toward others who are receptive to His message. Don’t back away when someone asks you about your faith, tell them about the One who saved you and what He has done for you since you became a Christian.

If you have given your life to Jesus and become a Christian when you felt His Spirit calling to you, then you truly should tell others. Live your life according to His plan for your life. If you are wondering what that might be, seek His advice about it. Many of the answers will be found in the Bible and if they aren’t then by reading His Word and praying for what He wants you or me to do will bring that answer to you. God will answer you in this. He may not answer at the very second that you ask, but He will answer your prayer.

Living every day in His pathway and in His will for your life is the very best that you can do for God’s Kingdom and for your walk with Him so don’t miss it!

Ups and downs


upsAndDownsWe all have them. One day you feel great and you can do anything. The next day…you feel as if you have fallen into one of the deepest pits that you could possibly find. Life is that way and it continues to be that way. Very likely it will keep on feeling that way or rather being that way for most of us until we are called home to Heaven with Jesus.

If you are NOT a Christian or your religion doesn’t believe in God or Jesus or any part of the Bible, then I can’t give you much encouragement about the way life is now or what is coming in the hereafter. Many Religions beyond Christianity don’t look at eternity the same way. Some look at death as a final chapter which ends the “book” and that is that.

Other Religions look at death as a doorway into eternity and it is your performance in this life which determines your reward or punishment in the next life. It isn’t your performance in this life which determines that even if it was a huge amount of money given or many good deeds done. The factor which has the determining and deciding vote is whether you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior or not in this life.

Yes, we all have ups and downs and sometimes they last much longer than we want them to but with your life in God’s hands and with Jesus as your Savior they can be managed and be far less stressful. Can they be managed without Him? Yes, you can manage them and get through them but those ups and downs and the stress that comes with them will be harder to bear on your own.

God didn’t intend for humanity to live in this condition of a fallen world with all of the problems and pitfalls that come with it, but we are in it and without Him to guide us and comfort us through it our lives will feel much worse than it should be. God is not a doting grandfather ready to dole out gifts and money at a whim nor is He a genie to call on when you want something. Thankfully many of the things which people ask for are not granted because He knows what is coming next week and the thing which you are asking for isn’t the right thing that you need.

Our time here is short compared to eternity and God, Who lives outside of time, can see next week or next year and He knows what is good for you and what will be the best for you in the long run. Your request for something like a Cadillac may not be granted because He can see that it wouldn’t be good for you and your family. A good Chevrolet with a few miles on it will be better in the long run and won’t cost nearly as much.

Be mature enough in Christ to thank God for the unanswered prayers which you didn’t get and thank Him for the answers which you did get which were so much better than what you had in mind!

How do you know Him?


First, you have to get to know Him

Getting to know your Savior isn’t hard to do but you have to figure out if He wants to know you too! Have you felt drawn to Him in a church setting or when watching a religious program? If you have then you need to get your Bible and read a bit about Him in the gospels and Acts. When you feel His Spirit calling to you from His Word, don’t shut the book and walk away, ask Him to come into your heart and free you from this burden of sin.

Whether you have ever felt that you needed Jesus in your life or not, consider the fact of life after death. If you have never thought of it before, consider that God doesn’t lie. When you read about being condemned to hell in the Bible and it says that this punishment is for eternity…that is what it means. This is not a joke!

God loves each of us deeply but if we don’t take advantage of the salvation offered to us through Jesus His Son, then we are being foolish and following Satan’s steps saying “I will do it myself”; but you can’t! We can’t do anything to bring salvation to ourselves. If that were possible, then Jesus died and was raised again for no reason and God doesn’t do anything for no reason!

God knows you intimately. He designed your DNA and He knows exactly how you are going to act in any situation. What you will do, what you will say or not say, how much you will give at church or if you don’t give at all…He knows these things about you better than you know them yourself. He will come into your heart and redeem you from the sinful life that you have lived before, but only if you are willing to ask Him to do so and you really mean it!

God doesn’t create people who can’t know Him, but it is your fault if you don’t. The world around us testifies to His glory and His power, you don’t need a church or a pastor to tell you this. The stars in the sky and the sun and moon also testify to His power and glory, but if you think all of that just happened because there was a huge cloud of dust in space then you won’t get it.

I watched a show that I have never watched before last night called Lucifer. If you have watched it you know what it is about. Satan came to Earth and paraded around as a man, consulting with the police and helping them find criminals. My point here is this: without them knowing or realizing it, they told a true Biblical statement last night. One of the characters was talking with Lucifer and accused him of causing people to go to hell and he very plainly told this person that it wasn’t him doing that it is each of us choosing to do so! Of course this person didn’t believe him but in the end of the story, he ended up on a “hospital bed” in hell thinking that he had another chance at life.

You get to choose whether you are following Jesus and decide to live your life according to His teachings or you can follow your own ideas and never give Jesus or God another thought. Go fishing or hunting on Sunday morning and don’t worry about reading your Bible and praying for your family. But at the end of your life whenever that may be, you will stand before God’s judgement and testify that you refused to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and you will be cast into hell! You will know that your example has very likely doomed your children to hell as well because you did not tell them about Jesus because you didn’t know Him.

Unless they actually seek out Jesus on their own, without your example or your leading them to church they will follow you right into hell. Unless God has His hand on their lives, each person that you have come into contact with cannot say that you exemplified the love of Jesus in your life. Don’t turn away from Him. Make sure that your life and your witness for Jesus makes a difference in someone’s life.

TaketheGospeltoAll

Which Jesus do you know?


There are many versions you know. Some of them are radical clerics who will tell you that Jesus wouldn’t vote for this candidate or that law or this proposition. Some will tell you that Jesus, or at least the One that they preach, wouldn’t condone the killing of babies in the womb, that one I do believe! Sometimes the Jesus which is preached in pulpits on Sunday or even on Saturday if that is your Sabbath day, sounds as if He would go along with almost anything that the right or the left or whichever direction your pastor is leaning which is being reported this week.

Have you ever really found out about the Son of God and Who He is? Does your pastor even know the real Jesus or His viewpoints on sin and salvation? In many churches it seems that there are many Christians, pastors, deacons and members alike, who really don’t know Who Jesus really is today! This is the very reason which, in my opinion, is causing the decline of so many churches in attendance and causing them to close their doors. Is it possible that we have created our own version of Jesus and placed Him at the head of the table, in front of the congregation and declared that this is your Savior?

When He walked through Palestine almost two thousand years ago, Jesus sought out those who were marginalized, those who were persecuted, those who weren’t allowed to climb the steps of the Temple let alone enter it to worship! He taught those people who we would consider outsiders and even vagabonds, the ones who were lame and addicted to substances even then. He went to the lepers who had to walk around yelling “Unclean!”, what an embarrassing way to have to walk through town.

The clothes which Jesus taught in werePsalm23 dirty from the dust and the water at the shores of Lake Galilee. He didn’t look like He just stepped out of a dry cleaners, with His clothes all white and glowing. In many of our churches today, Jesus would not be allowed in because of His dress and His hair and beard, because He would look like a homeless person. Even He said that “the Son of Man has not a place to lay His head“.

Would Jesus be seen as a radical cleric today? In many ways, yes He would. He would be in the shelters and in the parts of the city where “church people” are afraid to go. Why are we afraid to go to these places? Is it because of our dress? Is it because of our jewelry or our cars? Why can’t we enter into the places where those in need are? Is it because we don’t feel that we belong there or that we won’t fit in because of our race?

In today’s society and the culture which has developed in our country in the past few decades, it is true that we are divided by race or skin color and also by culture. We are not a society which has gotten past our collective wrongdoing in the past, simply because we have ignored it or brushed it behind the door or under a rug. We have done this with the pretense of being enlightened and better than our past, but we never really learned the lesson of our past.

When you choose to ignore a lesson in school or in life, you will repeat it. There is no possibility of not repeating it. Life and experience are hard teachers, just as Jesus was a taskmaster in the Temple when He ran the money changers from the court of the Gentiles! Except, He was doing this from His love of the people who were coming there to worship and not out of bitterness.

God loves us, regardless of our clothes or our car or our house. Stuff doesn’t matter to the Creator, it is your heart which makes the difference and where your heart is in serving Him. If you are in conflict between being popular and having money or serving God and His Kingdom, pick God’s Kingdom. Stuff like popularity and money are temporary and only work here in this life. Eternity is a very long, long time and if you aren’t prepared for it by trusting in Jesus and His atonement for you then you are wasting His time.

Where are we in our lives?


Strange title, huh? Well, I wanted to name it as such so that we who read it might think about where we are. Are you in a relationship, personally with God or do you despise Him and His laws? Maybe you don’t believe that He exists at all! You are one of those foolish people who thinks that everything in our universe, all of the trillions of galaxies and stars and planets came from a compact singularity long ago and just “evolved” from that big bang.

mygodisawesomeMaybe you even believe that we come from a pond of proteinaceous soup which formed from a random comet impact billions of years ago and all life on Earth came from those proteins. If our planet had more time than it is estimated to exist, it may have happened this way, but it did not happen like this.

I know, evolutionists will want to argue this point but according to God’s Word, He created all of these things with His Words. He placed the stars and galaxies in their places. God created all of these in His time, not ours. Life is sustained by Him, the stars are sustained by His strength, your strength is given to you by His Grace for you each day.

God does all of these things because He loves us, whether we love Him or acknowledge Him or not. Although, He did provide a way for our salvation and our life in Jesus and through Jesus Who gave Himself for us and for our eternal life, if we will only believe in Him. Seek Him while there is time and don’t delay because we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Please, for your eternity and your life in it, believe in Jesus and the atonement that He paid for with His blood and He did it willingly for all who would believe.

themissingpieceBut don’t just take my word for it, read it from God’s Word in the New Testament. The gospels all tell the story of His ministry and His birth, death and resurrection, some tell different aspects of it or from a Jewish perspective and one from a Greek perspective in Luke’s gospel. He was a physician who traveled with Paul and he gathered the story of Jesus meticulously, as a physician would.

God uses each of us with our own voice or talent in telling a story to get the Word out and tell it in the unique way that He gifted each of us with. Some of us can tell it better or maybe more to the point, and some tell it like we see it through our eyes of faith in Him. To each of us, God gives a unique voice because He knows who will listen to that voice and what they will get from it.

That is why Jesus went to common fishermen who were devout Jews. He didn’t go to the Pharisees or the others who were sanctimonious in their faith, because they were “safe” in their blood lineage of being Jewish. They were “sons of Levi and Abraham”, they didn’t need some carpenter telling them how to serve God!

Many of us live our Christian lives this way today. We create god in our image and we give him aspects which we are comfortable with him having and we convince ourselves that this is the God of the Bible. But our “god” is nothing like God and we would know this if we read and studied His Word and prayed to Him to reveal Himself to us in it! How many of you do that? Would you do that? Are you brave enough to ask God to show up in your prayer life? What would you do if you actually heard His voice in your spiritual ears while praying?

Many of us would fall over wondering just what or Who that was which spoke to us! Many others would think they were imagining it and just ignore Him. Until He spoke again. In the Old Testament God usually called to someone three times. Sometimes it took that many times to get their attention, but often it was because God wanted to impress a point on them.

Make sure of whom you are hearing and know that it is God. The only way to do this is to get to know His voice by reading His Words in the Bible. The more familiar you are with His Words and His Word, then you will be able to accept that the Voice speaking to you is Him.

Do you preach?


Actually, I do. I was called to be a preacher about seven years ago, and this unique part of the Christian religion is imperative for all of us who believe. Each of us was also given a command to go into the world and tell others about what Jesus has done for you. In this instance preaching and telling about your salvation sound very much alike, but they are different. In many ways they are very different.

Consider this: Jesus came to his disciples teaching and preaching the Word of God. Sometimes He did it with parables, then sometimes He used examples from Scripture. Then at other times, He healed people in ways which couldn’t be explained except by the acceptance that He was and is the Savior, our Messiah, the One Who was to come and save not only Israel but the whole world!

preach-the-wordTelling others about your salvation and what Jesus saved you from is a good thing and we are commanded to tell others when they ask us about our joy in Christ. Preaching is telling others about the good news of Jesus and why He came to save us from our sins and our sinful nature. To change us from the inside out and make us become more like Him in our nature and in our lives. To do the things which He would do if He was here. That is why He came, that is why I preach even when I am just writing it down like I am here!

God loves each of us in a way that we cannot understand because He has loved us from the beginning and even before. We are loved by our Creator even if we don’t return that love and that is what makes it hard for us to grasp. To our human mind, that kind of love doesn’t make sense. But, if you look at the first few days of Creation in Genesis, those days don’t make sense either. God said “Let there be Light!” and there was. He didn’t fashion a star, like our Sun, to make that Light on the first day but Light was there!

All of the other days in that first week of Creation, He commanded the fish in the sea and the birds of the air to come forth and they did! He called forth the plants and trees and all kinds of animals and creeping things and they were there! Then the only creature which God made with His hands was mankind. We were not called forth out of the mud, God fashioned Adam from the dirt and breathed the Breath of Life into him and he became a living soul! If God didn’t love us, why would He get His hands dirty while making us?

Because He is God! He could’ve called forth man from the mud and made male and female like He did everything else…but He did not! Man is special to God and in the grand scheme of things, His plans for us include being fruitful and being married. He also wants us to live to please Him and to worship Him. He doesn’t need us, but He wants us to need Him. God is a Triune being and He and the Son and the Holy Spirit are capable of being and doing anything necessary for the universe to keep going and to create whatever they wish.

Life is a gift from God and every good thing which we have is a gift from Him, even before we come to realize that we need Him. If you haven’t given your heart to Him and asked Him into your life I pray that you will do so soon. Our world is dangerously close to the edge of history which Jesus told John about almost two thousand years ago. Read the book of Revelation and see if some of its warnings don’t sound like the news today. Read Matthew 24 along with the news and see if that doesn’t sound eerily similar. It sounds that way because it is prophecy coming true in our time.

What is the Bible good for?


2 Timothy 3:16-17: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

This is the belief of Jewish scholars today and it was at the time that Paul wrote this letter to Timothy. God inspired the different writers to put down in written word His instructions for us. That is where the Scriptures came from, specifically from the Holy Spirit of God who inspired men to write the words down.

What is the Bible and the Scriptures contained within it good for? Specifically it is for doctrine, for reproof and correction, for instruction in righteousness because without it and the knowledge that is contained in it we would know nothing of God! We would also know nothing of Jesus and the Gospel of His life and teachings.

heaven-or-hell-eternal-destinyWhy study the Bible? Because..if you intend to be an adopted child of God through Jesus, then you must get to know Him and the Father. I mean, how else could you know how to do their will in your life or even get to know what that will might be? We are each given a purpose for our life by God when He formed each of us in the womb. The only way that we can find that purpose is to get to know Him through His Word and find our purpose there.

Life can be fulfilling for each of us through our work on this Earth, but it will be much more so if we are working for our treasure in Heaven where we will spend eternity! The only way that we can do that is by learning God’s will for our lives and it really is pretty simple actually. Live your life the way Jesus did, in your business and in your everyday life so that others will see more of Him through you, reflected by your life and not just your ideas and opinions.

Seek His will in the Word for your life and for your reward in eternity because our time is growing shorter by the day. Read Revelation and see the events leading up to the time of Tribulation and you will see that the things happening today are the rumors and the birth pains of Creation leading up to the end times. Don’t wait until it is too late! Don’t put it off because you don’t know if you have tomorrow or not! None of us knows for sure if we will wake in the morning or if we will open our eyes in eternity, whatever that may be for you or me.