Once or daily, which really works?


The doctrine of salvation says that we are saved because of our belief in Jesus and His atonement for our sins IF we accept that as the truth of our salvation. But, what about repentance? Is that a one-time thing or is it a continual practice which we should do each day? Well, the answer to that can be tricky. If you accepted Jesus as your Savior and you truly sought forgiveness and repented of the sins which brought you to the point of knowing that you need Him as your Savior, that is at least a step in the right direction. But…Satan and his forces don’t just walk away and leave when you become a Christian.

Why would they? Before you became a Christian you were part of their “family” in a way. You weren’t saved so you didn’t belong to Jesus and you were living your life in the way that you wanted to live it, so why should they concern themselves with you? You were in control of your life or at least you thought you were.

In reality we have to repent and ask forgiveness of something each and every day. Becoming a Christian and changing your ways to follow Jesus doesn’t create in each of us a heart and soul like Christ, one that is sinless from that point on. We are still human and Satan is going to ramp up his attacks on you in order to dirty your witness toward others in their walk. He doesn’t get tired and he doesn’t have to sleep so you will be hit with tempting thoughts when you least expect it from this point until your last breath on Earth.

Study God’s Word and fill your mind with gospel songs and messages from Him and you will be able to resist the temptations which Satan throws at you or me. This is the way that we should live our lives with Jesus every day, no matter what we are doing or where you are. God’s Word will strengthen you in your daily walk through life because it is the Living Word.

God said…


At the beginning of Creation, God spoke almost everything into existence. I say “almost everything” because when God created mankind, He did so with His hands. He didn’t just speak mankind into existence. He said “Let Us make mankind in our image”; the man was created on the sixth day and God said that everything was very good. In chapter two God rested on the seventh day after all of His work in creating everything. The Lord caused a mist to water the ground and He formed mankind from the ground and breathed into him and gave him Life. Then God placed him into the Garden to keep it, with the exception of one tree the man could eat of any tree in the Garden.

God created a helper for Adam which he named Woman because she was taken from man. God used a rib to create Woman and yet we don’t value women as much as we should, even today. But…God does! There are many others in the world who are not valued today, not just women. Unborn children are not seen as much more than a group of cells rather than the miracle that they are whether they are wanted by their mother or not. People who believe in a different Savior are looked down upon because they have faith in their Savior rather than in someone else’s idea of a savior.

In many ways, our world chooses to ignore what “God says” and choose to follow their own ideas and ways. Many people seem to be unwilling to acknowledge God at all, whether by His Word or by the Truth contained in it. Yet, the laws by which most of our laws are based on actually come from the Bible! Yes, the words are arranged differently or they may phrase the law as being different but the laws which God gave to Moses are still the basis for most of mankind’s own laws regardless of how you phrase those laws.

When God says something in His Word, whether it is a commandment or a precept, it still carries His Wisdom and His intent with it. It doesn’t matter whether we like the law or the precept or not. Truth and laws are not things which are open to interpretation or opinion. A law is a law and agreeing with it or not doesn’t change it. Truth is the truth whether you want it to be so or not, especially when it is a Truth from God’s Word! God said it and that settles it.

Whether you believe in His Word or have a different opinion of His Word doesn’t change His Word or the effect of it in your life or in the lives of everyone around you. Just as your idea or belief about gravity does nothing to change it, God’s Word is immutable whether we like what it says or not.

Life after life


If you have ever been to a church and heard a sermon or if you heard one on TV, then you have heard of the life to look forward to after this one. Have you given your heart to Jesus? Salvation is available for you if you will give your heart to Him. So, what will you do with your life here that will take you into eternity? Your own “righteousness” will not do the trick, just as Jesus told the Pharisees and as it was told in the Old Testament, “your righteousness is as filthy rags“.

God doesn’t want us all to go to hell, but there are those who will not accept Jesus as their Savior. God knows who will and who will not give their life and their heart to Jesus but it is not set in stone. When you feel the touch of His Spirit in your heart and you feel that you need Him in your life, don’t turn away from Him. Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross and we are able to be saved from the punishment which comes from refusing to accept the gift of salvation.

Granted, your punishment in hell is not just for refusing salvation but that is the main one which will send you there. Any sins in your life which aren’t covered by the blood of Jesus with your acceptance of His gift of salvation will be paid for in hell. But if you decide to give your heart to Him and confess your sins then your eternity is guaranteed in Heaven with your Savior.

Your salvation is available to you when God touches your Spirit and brings you to that place where you truly know that you need Him. You can’t just decide to be saved or ask Jesus into your life, He touches your soul and draws you to Himself. I pray that all who read this will seek Him in a church or in the Bible and come to the realization that you need Him in your life.

One at a time


How can we advance our faith and our church in our community? One person at a time. That is how Jesus did it, at least at the beginning of His ministry. So, what should we do with our own testimony? Should we tell everyone or should we just talk to one person who needs to hear it and pray that it makes a difference in their lives?

Have you ever considered the impact of your testimony about the impact which Jesus had on your life? Few of us really think about this after we have accepted Him as our Savior. Even fewer think about what His influence has had in our own lives. It sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it? Why would you give your life and your heart to Jesus and then rarely think about Him or even the impact He has had in your life?

Although it seems that many people try to live a solitary life with Jesus as their Savior. That is not what He called us to be. We are supposed to be His witnesses in the world and His representatives in the world so that others might see the difference that He made in our lives! You can’t really live a solitary life with Jesus, can you? Yes, but it isn’t a lonely life as long as you acknowledge His Presence in your life each and every day!

John 5:1-18
After this, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.…

I. THE PATIENT.

1. He was fully aware of his sickness and owned it. He was not like those who are lost by nature, who do not know it or will not confess it.

2. He waited by the pool expecting some sign and wonder. This is how many people wait, persevering in ordinances and unbelief, expecting some great thing, that on a sudden they will experience strange emotions and remarkable impressions, or see a vision or hear a supernatural voice. No one will deny that a few have been thus favored but such interpositions are not to be looked for. Jesus Himself is the greatest of wonders. In regard to this matter of waiting.

(1) That it is not the way which God has told His servants to preach. The gospel of our salvation is “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”(2) This un-gospel-like gospel of waiting is immensely popular. Why? Because it administers laudanum to the conscience. When the minister preaches with power and men’s hearts are touched, the devil says “Wait.”(3) Is not this “waiting” a very hopeless business? Of those who waited how few were healed? What right have you to expect that if you wait another thirty years you will be different?

(4) There lies our poor friend. I do not blame him for waiting, for Jesus had not been there before. He expected some person to have mercy on him and help him to get into the pool when the water was disturbed. Then when Jesus came and He expected Him to help him to get into the pool but Jesus said that your faith has made you whole.

(5) Having been so often disappointed he was growing in deep despair. Moreover, he was getting old; and life is wearing away with you. You have waited all this while in vain, sinfully waited. You have seen others saved, your child, your wife; but you are not. So how can you make a difference in your life? By believing in Jesus for your salvation and living with Him each day expecting Him to give you an eternity like He has promised to do for those who believe.

II. THE PHYSICIAN. (Jesus the Christ)

1. He made an election. This man was possibly selected because he was the worst case and had waited longest of all.

2. Jesus said, “Wilt thou be made whole?” not for information, but to arouse attention.

3. He gave the word of command.

4. There is nothing said in the text about faith, but the whole incident shows that the man must have had faith.

5. The cure which Christ wrought was —

(1)  Perfect. The man could carry his bed.

(2)  Immediate. The man was not carried home by friends and gradually nursed into vital energy.

Did he gradually get better on the way home? No! He was healed right there at the time that Jesus said so according to his expectation (faith).

 

Too much


Have you ever thought that God asks too much of us? I haven’t. God gave His only Son up to be killed on the cross so that all of us have the chance to be saved from our sins. Sometimes we do too much like I did today because it was cool outside, but God always does exactly what is necessary. He knows what is needed in every situation and for every need in our lives. So why don’t we trust Him for our salvation and for those needs in our lives more than we do?

Is it because we have too many needs? Is it because we don’t trust God enough to depend on Him for those needs?

Why do we think that our needs are too much for God? He is the Creator after all. He can create a star that is large enough that it would swallow almost all of our solar system, so what makes you think that a car payment or a disease in your family is too much for Him?Sun;_VY_Canis_Majoris_and_UY_Scuti_size

Our problems are easy for God to take care of IF we will give them to Him so He can. Many of us give our problems to Him and take them back as soon as we say “Amen”. Why? Because we don’t think He will do what we are asking of Him. So we take them back and essentially tell God, “I can do it myself”.

Have you ever thought that the reason for your prayer for Him to take care of whatever it is was because you couldn’t take care of it? Most of the time with disease or accidents we can’t take care of it on our own so why do we choose not to give it to God?

In most cases, it is because we are either not totally committed to Him or we really don’t have a relationship with Him (Jesus) in the first place. We have been to church or Bible school and we have heard the messages and even read the Bible a little so we think we are Christians…but we aren’t. Those are motions which we have gone through in our past but we have not given our heart to Jesus and we aren’t following Him in our daily lives.

Yet, we think that our prayers are being heard because we have had His blessings in our lives at some point. Those blessings may be because of someone else’s prayers for our blessing. They have a relationship with Jesus and it is their prayers which are being answered, not ours.

Prayers work when there is faith involved in them and in the person praying. God listens to the request and the faith of the one who is praying as well as the focus of the prayer. A child in a hospital or their parent’s treatment for cancer or some other disease may be the focus of the prayer but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it is a prayer to give traveling mercies to someone on a plane or driving somewhere. Occasionally it is a prayer for a passing grade on a test for someone.

Does God care about these things? Yes, He does. If He cares for the food provided to birds don’t you think that grades or healing or your car keys mean just as much to Him?

Give your heart to Jesus and keep Him in your life every day, no matter what you may be doing because He does care for you.

How does the love of God compare?


There is no comparison between God’s love for His creation and for us in all of the Earth. No human can understand God’s love because His love is deep and without limits. He loves us because we are made in His Image and we are to be His servants into eternity. We will not be as slaves in this but we will be willing servants as bondservants in ancient days. They loved their masters and did not wish for freedom and would serve him even if they were to be set free.

God’s love for humanity is fierce and limitless and yet the angels have no understanding of His love for us. Why should God love mankind so? Because He is God and if it pleases Him to love us in this way then He will do it! God is our Creator and has made us be His adopted children, we are not forced to be His but we are voluntarily His children because of His love for us!

So, why do we live as if He doesn’t love us or doesn’t care for us? Mostly because of the fact that we can’t see God even though we can see all of His Creation and it shows His majesty and His creativity and His artistry in Creation! It is His Creation after all! We didn’t have any part in it except when He created us. He knows your talents and abilities and all of your problems. He gave you your talents and your sense of humor and your abilities so He knows more about you than you do about Him.

Why not pick up the Bible and learn more about your Creator and your Savior and get to know Him personally. Then when you hear His voice speaking to you, you will recognize Him and then you can respond accordingly! God wants the best for you but only if you know Him and He knows you can both of you benefit from what is best for you. Give your heart to Jesus and let Him come in and clean up every part of your life so that you can represent Him in every area of your life as well.God is good all the time

Do you feel broken?


I do, sometimes. There are days when I feel broken to the point of being depressed. Then there are days when I feel as if I can’t reach out to God. He feels distant, and it makes the day feel empty and cold. The only redeeming knowledge that I can bring to the day is that God is always near me. But, even in knowing this sometimes I can’t shake the feeling of being alone, even when I know I am not.

Many of us feel this way but we don’t know what to do about it. Brokenness is the feeling of being…well not whole. It doesn’t have to be caused by any specific thing or person, it just happens. It happens to people who aren’t Christians as well but their lives are already in a state of being broken anyway. Because there is Someone missing in their lives. It is the absence of the Holy Spirit and Jesus in your life which causes us to feel broken before we become Christians.

We search and seek all kinds of stimulants and sometimes people to take the place in our life which feels empty. The problem is that nobody on Earth can fill that space and no amount of money or drugs or alcohol or sex can fill it either. The drugs and alcohol may give you a whole feeling for a while, but it eventually wears off and the hole feels bigger somehow. It is a vicious cycle which Satan lures us into before we accept Jesus as our Savior.

After we accept Him it is still Satan who makes us feel worthless or alone and even depressed and that is when we feel broken and without God. We need to remember that He is always with us regardless of the situation we are in or even how far we feel from Him. God never loses sight of you nor does He let you out of His hand. When you have given your heart to Jesus for real, not some emotional experience, you can never be taken away from Him. You may walk away from the church and you may stop reading your Bible for a time but He is still near you and only a prayer away from your side.

BeautifullyBrokenGod mends us when we are broken and when He does this we are made more whole than we were before. God has never made a mistake and nothing ever catches Him by surprise. Don’t think that just because you may have made a mistake or thought something or even did something wrong, that God won’t take you and make you better than you were.

Even when your idea of being broken seems to be too bad for anyone to fix, God can. He can take a murderer like Moses or a Pharisee like Saul, who hunted down Christians to be put in jail or stoned, and He can make them into men who were changed into His most useful servants. God can make a universe out of nothing, what can He do with you?

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.