Are you certain?


Do you know for sure, without a doubt, that you are saved and sanctified by the blood of Jesus? Have you read through the gospels and wondered if any of this was real? When I was younger, I wondered if the Bible itself was real or was it just some fantastic book put together a long time ago. The more I studied it and read it and then read it again, I came to realize that, especially when I read about the martyrs and how they died for their faith in Jesus, this book and the stories in it had to be real! Because people would not die for a lie!

God loves each of you so much that He sent His Son to the Earth clothed in humanity’s flesh to be the sacrifice for ALL of our sins! It doesn’t matter if you are black or white or Asian or Turkish or from Kenya or Norway or Australia…God loves you!

There is no secret formula to become a Christian, other than believing in Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins and giving your heart to Him in repentance of those sins. That’s it! Then, walk with Him daily for the rest of your life so that others might get a chance to see Him in you! Christ died for you and for every other person in the world. He paid the price for your sins so that you could have eternal life through Him.

Why did He do this? Because of God’s LOVE for you, that’s why! God did not pick and choose who was going to be saved and who wasn’t, the choice is up to you! When you feel that conviction in your heart and know that if you died today or tomorrow without Jesus, you would go to hell. Make a commitment to Jesus as His disciple from this moment on so your life will have a true meaning and a purpose now and into eternity!

God loves you and wants the best for you in His Kingdom so make sure that you are serving Him in your lifetime.

GodsBlessing

What is your experience?


Have you thought about your experience with Jesus? What about your salvation? The reason that I am asking this question is that each of us experiences each one in a different way. Some of us get emotional and nearly fall apart because of the grace that is given to us when we accept Him. Some of us fall down and worship Jesus and walk away from the experience a changed person and one which will do all that they can by telling others about Him.

The experience, especially if it is truly genuine, changes your heart spiritually and your life permanently! Salvation is not an experience which you can go through without the Holy Spirit and choose to turn it on or off when you want to go back where you were. True salvation begins when your heart is broken because of the Holy Spirit showing you through faith that your life is sinful and it needs to change. Sometimes this realization is brought about at a church service other times it is by a night or three or more in a jail cell. God will use whatever is necessary to get your attention and sometimes it is painful.

God loves us but like any Father or Mother, He sometimes has to use tough love to get a stubborn child to listen! Many times…we truly need this tough love and until God has your undivided attention, He will bang your head against whatever is necessary to make you listen. Why do I say this? Because, when God wants you to listen and He has a specific lesson or purpose for you, that only you can fulfill, He will not let go until you come around.

God knows the talents and gifts which He has given to you. You may not be aware of them until you have given your heart and life to Him, most of us aren’t. I never would’ve gotten in front of a group of people to speak for ten minutes or more if I had not been called by Him to be a preacher. I struggled against this calling for years until finally He got my attention enough and didn’t really give me a choice about it.

Some people think that God forces us to salvation, but that isn’t true. He will call to you and prod your heart, sometimes for years, but until you realize that you need Him in your life, it won’t make much difference. If you think that you have an arrangement with God and consider yourself good enough without accepting Him as your Lord and Savior, you may never hear His call on your life because you don’t think you need Him or the salvation that He is offering.

At that point, you are just like those Pharisees in Jesus’ day…too religiously minded to be any Earthly good to themselves or to anyone else! God only uses those who know that they need Him. Truly our Creator doesn’t need us in any way other than what He can see in your heart and your life. He can cause things to work out in His time so that your life or mine will line up with His will and purpose. He has already given you a talent or gift that He can use in His Kingdom but only if you answer the call on your life to change like the disciples did.

Peter denied the Lord three times on the night of His “mock trial” before going to Pilate. Paul was a Pharisee and was doing everything that the priests would give him permission to do in order to get rid of the “Jesus followers” or the Way. Both of these men were changed by the Lord’s actions of redemption and healing toward Peter and by Jesus’ confrontation of Paul on the Damascus road. Both of these men became true witnesses to the Gentile world as well as to the Jews after their redemption and conversion.

So…what about you? Are you willing to give your heart to Jesus as a follower and a disciple? If you have felt His call on your life, don’t put it off or ignore it. God loves you.

 

The Be-attitude


Do you have this kind of outlook on life with Jesus? Be His in humility and love, not wanting prideful outcomes in your prayers. Living by the words of Jesus which He spoke on the Mount of olives (or as it is so often called, the sermon on the mount) is the beginning of your walk with Him. Here are some of the statements He made that day:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

Jesus was not saying that we should be doormats or act like little mice. He was telling His audience then and now that we should be more like Him. Meekness is submission to control, not weakness. This is the same spirit which a horse has when trained to follow the direction of its rider because even a child can direct a strong horse with a bridle if the horse is trained right.

Jesus wasn’t telling His listeners that they should be happy to be persecuted but to learn to live in a state of dependence on Him for strength every day. All of the statements which He preached on the Mount of Olives were meant to show how to live daily in contact and dependence upon Him. It is a blueprint for your walk with Jesus.

Why is that so important today?

Because we are close to a time in the history of the world where things are coming to an end. I am not saying that the world will end in five or ten years but when the church is called home the world which is left will be on a short journey toward judgment by God. It may be another ten years or more before that happens, no one knows the day or the hour except God. But when it does happen it will plunge the world into chaos and the life of those who are still here will become far more difficult than anything the world has experienced in recorded history.

Why am I writing this today? Because of the number of people who don’t know Jesus. He is the only way to eternity or rather an eternity that you would want to live in. If you don’t want to know Him, that is fine but don’t complain when you are turned toward the lake of fire to spend eternity. God has provided a way to know Him more deeply and securely through Jesus because He paid your debt of sin in full at the cross. All you have to do to receive your gift of forgiveness is to accept Jesus as your Savior and believe in Him.

No amount of good deeds or money will change your destination or the outcome of your death. Believing in Jesus and accepting Him as your Savior will make an eternal change in your life today and into God’s Kingdom. Don’t walk away from Him or His call on your life! If you have felt Him calling to you, then answer the door of your heart and let Him in. Your life will never be the same again.

Do you hear what I hear?


This is part of a wonderful song for Christmas which I have loved for years. These days, there isn’t much that you hear about Christ on a daily basis, sometimes even a weekly one. People don’t want to hear the Truth of God’s Word unless they are in need of God’s help. The problem with this is that God is not a genie! We are not supposed to treat our relationship with Jesus as one where we seek His help when we need it, but when things are going well we don’t want Him around!

God loves each one of us far more than we can even understand, and yet we don’t seem to give that love back to Him. Jesus came to Earth as a baby, born to a virgin long ago. He also came to pay the price for ALL of our sins and be our Savior if we will only believe in Him. So…what is the problem that many of us seem to have with Jesus? Is it that He was born Jewish? He preached long ago and we don’t think that His message is relevant today? Could it be that we don’t want to offend anyone with our faith so we don’t tell anyone about Him or our belief in Him?

The message and the lessons which Jesus taught have more to do with today than at any time before now! We are to love each other as we are loved! Why can’t we look past our perceived differences in skin color and culture and just see another person in need of Jesus? Why is it so hard to get past our genetic differences and just see the similarities?

I mean, we all have two arms and legs, most of us have hair (some more, some less), all of us have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth (even if that last one gets us into more trouble than it should)! That is why the Bible says that we should be quick to listen and slow to speak.

Quick2Listen

It doesn’t matter what you are speaking about or who you may be listening to, make sure to measure your words before you speak and listen to what is being said, carefully seeking the truth in what you are hearing. As one wise person said, “Taste your words before you spit them out”; in that way, you will know if they are good or not. People will think you are wise or smart depending on your speech. If your speech is full of big words but not much substance then you will seem to be smart but like a politician you aren’t saying much at all.

Consider your words and your speech because God hears every word, whether you are His or not.

Jesus loves you!


The entire world seems to be on edge because of that phrase and I have no understanding of the reason. It is true that He wasn’t from Bethlehem, but He was born there. His Earthly parents were descendants of David, but it seems that bit of information was overlooked by many. He came to do the work of God on this Earth in order to pay the debt which the whole of humanity has owed since the garden of Eden!

So many wise men have lived in the past. Some in the distant past and some fairly recently, but they are only teachings of a human mind…wise though they may be, to most of us normal people. God’s wisdom, which is in the Torah and the Writings as well as canonized in the Bible, is foolish to the world around us because much of it goes against what the world wants to hear!

Everyone, it seems, wants to live in their own reality with their own truth and no consequences at all if it offends others. We shouldn’t live in a world like that! I mean, how can your truth not be offensive if it involves a behavior that I find offensive? If everyone lived their lives this way there would be total chaos in the world and nothing would ever get done! Riots and shootings would become the normal way of life and anyone who couldn’t live that way would just have to live in a bunker underground! What a dreadful life that would be.

God didn’t create this world and all of us in it so that we could live in a singular space of our choosing which means we could do as we wished and to hell with everyone else! That is the same world which was destroyed when God brought the flood when Noah lived. Everyone was living and being what they wanted, the way they wanted and if you didn’t like it then they would likely kill you for the fun of it. What a rotten world that would be!

If you haven’t given your life to Jesus, what are you waiting for? None of us are guaranteed to be here tomorrow and dying without Jesus as your Savior is a true death sentence because your soul will experience death in hell because you are apart from the Author of Life! Giving your heart to Jesus and asking for forgiveness of the sinful life that you have led prior to knowing Him begins your eternal life anew. Don’t turn away from God’s gift.

What is your focus?


What do you really want? Life and energy flows where you focus your attention in the world. God has given each of us enough energy and ability to accomplish everything that He has for us in this life. So what is your focus? Health and happy family life? Or has someone convinced you that you that your life can only go so far because God has limited us to be in this body.

God never said that. He created humanity to be an immortal being, but our ancestors listened to Satan and his lies and temptation and followed him. If they had only followed God, they and we would be in a far different world than we live in today. Although, God knew that they would be tempted and go along with Satan’s lie, so He made a plan, a way to cure the curse that our ancestors laid upon humanity.

The problems which we have today…the drugs, the guns, the wars, the cancers, etc. All of these are because we are still following demonic thoughts which we don’t realize are being put into our brains by demons! All of these “human problems” are there because of our minds listening to the wrong spiritual authority!

Even Christians think along the same lines because we think that we are thinking these thoughts on our own and most of the disease laden thoughts are placed in our minds by principalities under the direction of Satan. How can we get these kinds of thoughts out of our heads? By reading God’s Word every day throughout the year, every year! Keep God’s Word in your mind and think about it, meditate on it and then you will know when a thought creeps in which doesn’t line up with Scripture.

Make sure of your status as a Christian also. There are many people who claim to be Christians, even claim to believe in Jesus, but there are many churches that are closing their doors, why? Because many of those who claim Christian belief aren’t attending church. Belief in Jesus and thoughts of success and reward are not the same thing. Prosperity and fame are what the rest of the world looks at in their definition of real success.

Success in the eyes of God is believing in Jesus and following Him in this life, regardless of the problems or the blessings in our lives. We have a God who says:

          “My thoughts are not your thoughts,
               neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
          For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
               so are my ways higher than your ways
               and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8–9)

God doesn’t think like us, regardless of how much we try to make Him into a human being. He isn’t, He is our Creator and so much more! The “new age” Christianity says that we have the power to change our lives for the better just by thinking of what we want in this life. Really? I have been thinking about all the debt that I have had over the years and instead of bringing wealth into my life, I have more debt. How does that work? IF you want to believe this hocus-pocus type of “universal energy” is God, be my guest. But, don’t look in my direction after you die and say “He told me that this worked!”; because I did not.

God loves us and HE does want the best for us, but there isn’t a scripture anywhere in the Bible where God tells us or the Israelites to just sit down and think about what you want and it will be provided! If the universe granted wishes like that, there wouldn’t be any poverty or hunger in the world. God is Holy and righteous and there is no shadow of evil in His Person, but that does not mean that He won’t use evil in this world to accomplish His purposes. He used the Pharaoh in Egypt and Babylon and Assyrians as well to accomplish His purposes, so why not?

 

Christianity and religion


These two words are not the same thing. Religion covers many different types of worship, while Christianity is only one of the many. Why am I writing this piece? It seemed like a good idea at the time.

So, which are you following….Jesus the Christ or a religious observance of a lifelong habit?

We can make a religion about anything and we can be religious about anything and it doesn’t have to be a true religion at all. It can be a hobby or your family or your job, it can also be going to church because you have done it all of your life. Sunday morning comes and you do what you have always done, eat breakfast and get ready for Sunday school and church.

But, what will you do when that isn’t enough? What will happen on the morning or the night when Jesus comes for His Bride, the church, and you hear about the devastation on the news the next morning? What about your faith and belief in Jesus then? Will you be angry at Him or with yourself because you didn’t read the Bible and didn’t take the messages seriously?

These are questions which need answers and need them NOW!! Why? Because, He could come tomorrow or tonight or next week, we just don’t know the day but there are no other prophecies which need to be fulfilled before He comes to get the church! If you don’t want to believe me, that’s fine, but what will you do when you find that your habit of going to church wasn’t enough?

Being in church because your grandmother says you should go is not going to save you. Sitting in a pew and listening to a sermon, and maybe reading the verses which the preacher tells you to read is not enough. Going through the motions of being a Christian to please other people’s idea of who you are doesn’t cut it with God! HE can see your heart, your true self and He knows if you are REAL or not.

God sent His Son to live as we live, to teach His disciples the way to know God and to be saved by belief in Him and then die on a cross and rise again on the third day. After His resurrection, He taught them for another forty days and then told them to go into the world telling others of the gospel and baptizing them in His name. They did their part even when they were stoned, beaten, whipped or locked in prison and then most of them were killed while doing what Jesus had told them to do.

The only disciple which died of natural causes was John who wrote the book of Revelation. Will you read and believe in Jesus the Christ, your Messiah and Savior? Give your heart to Him and seek your salvation through belief in Him and follow Him every day until He does return!

IamtheWay

Are you empty?


themissingpieceEmptiness is something which we all feel at times. Sometimes it is during times of stress or severe testing in our lives. Sometimes it is because of how we feel about ourselves. I feel it at times when depression comes on my day. I never know when it will come, but I know it when it does. Emptiness is a feeling that makes you feel like you don’t have enough..of something. At times you can’t put your finger on what is missing exactly, but you know inside that something just isn’t right.

Some people try to fill that place with stuff or sex or money or ???? You know what you put there and many times it still doesn’t feel full or maybe it doesn’t feel like what you have in that spot isn’t quite enough. So what do you do then? Most people go out and try to find something else to add to the pile. Like traveling, spending money on trips for no apparent reason because every trip can’t be for business and most of us don’t have family scattered all over the place.

Why am I writing about this today? Because, it is usually during the holidays when people feel empty most often which is why most suicides happen during this time. Make sure that you are close to your family and friends, especially if they are empty-nesters and their house feels that way. Holidays are bad for those of us who have lost a loved one, especially if it happened on a holiday. My mother passed on Christmas in 1995 and a few months earlier around Easter of that same year, my grandfather passed, so I do know a bit about how this feels.

There is an empty place at the table when someone isn’t there, an empty room or closet but most of the time the emptiness is felt inside yourself, as if something is missing from your life and you just don’t know what it is. That is where knowing Jesus comes into your life because that spot which has felt empty for a while is shaped specifically for and filled only by your Savior. It is a part of each person on Earth which each one of us has, it isn’t there because of something we did or didn’t do. That longing for feeling is part of your life and mine until we find the Person Who actually fills that space.

The only One Who does that is Jesus, the Son of God. It cannot be filled by a person that you have a relationship with except the Person of Jesus. It can’t be filled by anything other than Him either, so if you are reading this and you know what I am speaking of, don’t go looking for something or some other person to fill that place because it can’t be done. Only Jesus fills that space, so give Him the chance to make you whole and you will never feel empty again. I promise.

Times and times and half a time


So many meanings, hard to understand, only metaphors and not literal prophecy, these are the interpretations of the book of Revelation or at least the way that many Christians have looked at it and declared it too hard to understand. Why? The fig tree blooming is the nation of Israel coming back into their country after nearly 2,000 years. The time of the gentiles being over in the city of Jerusalem came about after the 1967 war. Now, we are fifty years past that time and the generation is about to see many other prophecies coming true in that land.

What are the people of the world seeing in these things? Not much actually. Nobody is paying any attention to what is coming about, nobody is noticing that prophecy is coming true before them. Why is that? Because few people believe that the Bible is the Word of God and His promises and prophecies always happen at the time that He chooses.

The book of Revelation is not a fantasy and none of the prophecies in the Bible are wishes, they are foretold by God Who lives outside of time as we see it. He can know what day you and I will die, and He also knows when you will read this post or if you will just scoff at the first few lines and leave. God loves each of us and the Bible is His way of telling us that He knows all that is knowable about us and about our world. It is also His way of telling us that He loves us and He doesn’t want us to go down the wrong pathway!

Learn about Jesus and read the Bible, regardless of which version that you read it tells the same story if you open your mind and ask Him to reveal it to you. Your life is special to God and He knows exactly what you can do for His Kingdom, if you will give your heart to Jesus and follow Him the rest of your life. Jesus taught His disciples that the Old covenant only pointed to Himself, His covenant was ratified by His blood that was shed for you and me on the cross. When He rose from the grave three days later, He proved Who He was and when He left after forty days, He said that He would return to take His church with Him.

It is true that you can choose not to believe this and go on living your life without Him, but when you breathe your last breath here and stand in judgement without Jesus as your Savior….what can you say about your life? Were you righteous in all of your ways? Did you manage to live a sinless life as Jesus did? If you told one lie, no matter how big or small you thought it was, then you are a wretched sinner and will pay with your eternal life in hell.

Sounds harsh? Yes, but the only decision which was needed and necessary was the one of belief in Jesus as your Savior and giving your heart to Him, turning from your “old life” and living as well as you can with His Spirit guiding you each day. Learning more about Him through study of His Word. Is living with the Holy Spirit as your guide easy? No! Because you are now an enemy of Satan and he will try to make your life worse, but through Jesus you have defeated him and you have the victory.

Follow Jesus


Romans 14   Disagreement between believers.

In Rome believers squabbled over whether or not to eat meat or whether to observe Jewish holy days and customs. If they had kept their convictions to themselves, there would’ve been no problem but they began to criticize and judge one another. The squabbling hasn’t abated even today. We argue over many more things, such as the color of carpet or which flowers to put out on a certain day or week. Some churches argue over even less important things than these, but the point is…we are supposed to be united in Christ! Regardless of our denomination or doctrine, yet the collective church is very divided in many ways.

Verses 1-12

In this section of the chapter, Paul begins and ends it with an admonition. He addressed those who were strong in their faith and did not waver toward holy days or diets but kept their freedom in Jesus Christ. He also addressed those who were worried about their diet or the Law and told them that they were immature in their faith. Many people think that Christians who follow strict rules in their faith are the more mature, when it is really the other way around. In the Roman church, the weak and immature Christians were judging the more mature Christians and the strong Christians were despising the weak Christians.

Paul told them to welcome one another and gave four reasons why they should. We are only focusing on one today.

The first reason is: God has received us into His family

It is not our individual responsibility to decide the requirements for Christian fellowship in a church, only the Lord can do this. To set up man-made restrictions or rules based on the personal prejudices or convictions is to go beyond the Word of God. Perhaps St. Augustine got it right when he said: “In essentials-unity; in non-essentials-liberty; in all things charity”. We are free in Jesus Christ to do that which brings honor and respect to the church and to the Word which we hold as the Truth.

When God sent Peter to take the gospel to the gentiles, the church criticized Peter because he ate with these new Christians. But God revealed His acceptance of them because He gave them the Holy Spirit just as He had done in Jerusalem at Pentecost. Peter did not stay in this freedom because later he refused to fellowship with the Gentiles at Antioch, where Paul had to rebuke him.

God showed both Peter and Paul that Christian fellowship was not to be based on food or religious calendars, but on their faith in Jesus and the freedom that we are given through Him.

In every church there are some who are more mature in their faith and some who are weak. The weak and the strong, young Christians in the faith and those who have been studying God’s Word for many years, are not to look down on each other because one feels freedom through Jesus and the other sees being a Christian as “following the rules”.

Peter asked the Lord, “Lord, what shall this man do?”; the Lord’s reply was, “What is that to you? Follow thou me!”

In other words, the Lord told him this: “Peter, make sure you have made Me Lord of your life. Let Me worry about John” or any other believer. When other Christians are criticizing other Christians for what they do, we are being judges. Don’t worry about what someone else is doing, follow Jesus and let Him be your Lord!

Paul emphasized this in verse 8 when he said: “Whether we live, therefore, or whether we die, we are the Lord’s”. Our responsibility is to the Lord and following Him in our life, not worrying about other Christians and their lives. If your brother in Christ is still drinking beer, don’t chastise him. If Jesus hasn’t convicted him of this, let him be. The same goes with smoking or any other so-called “vice”, follow Jesus in your life and let Jesus take care of other Christians.

Paul asked those who were young in their faith, the weaker Christians, “Why are you judging your brother?”; then he asked the same question to the stronger more mature Christians in the church. Both of them will stand at the judgment and be judged by the Lord in their walk with Him, so what is that to you or me?

All of our works, good or bad, will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ by the Lord Himself. It is not our place to do so in this life and it has nothing to do with our sins or our salvation since Christ paid the price for all of them and as believers our sins cannot be held against us anymore. In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 Paul compares our ministries in Christ with the building of a temple. If we build with cheap materials, the fire will burn them up. If we use precious, lasting materials, then our temple (works) will last. If our works for the Lord pass the test, we receive the reward. If they are burned up, we lose our rewards but we are saved “yet so as by fire”.

Anything that we do in this life for the Lord and through His Strength will last, we should make sure of our faith in Him and our belief in Him. Your life is your witness just as every word and deed which others see you do. If it is done to please Jesus and would be approved by Him, then you are secure in your salvation. Don’t worry about what others say or do in their walk with Him, because Jesus is the final Judge and it is His approval which we should seek!