Life after death


1 Corinthians 15: 12-20

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up if so be that the dead rise not.

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

If we believe in Jesus the Christ and His resurrection then we will be raised to life with Him one day. This is the very thing which Paul was writing to the Corinthian church about because some were saying that there is no resurrection or life after death. Jesus said that there was and He proved it by coming out of the grave like He said He would.

WhereAreYouGoingIf there is no life after death or resurrection then our faith in Him is useless and the word which we preach is false. But the Word of God is truth and all of His Words are true so there is life after this one. Whether it is to a heavenly home or to be cast into hell is your choice by choosing to believe in Jesus and His redemptive power for your life or not. It is your choice and it is your decision about this which will determine which eternity you will endure or enjoy…so make the right choice for you.

Don’t turn away from His offer of forgiveness and eternal life with Him because without Him eternity will be punishment and pain because of your own choice of not believing in His redemptive power.

God is always near you whether you believe it or not. Whether you have accepted Him as your Savior or not, He still knows where you are and what you are doing at any time. You cannot hide from Him or get away from His sight, so it is best not to try. Give your heart to Him when you feel His touch on your heart, repent of your sins and follow Him as the disciples did. That way your eternity will be secure and safe in His home which He prepared for you.

Jesus came and died for the sins of all mankind. Whether you accept His offer of salvation through what He did for you or not is still your choice. It is not God who sends people to hell but it is your own choice about believing or not in the One who died for you which will send you to heaven or hell.

Who is God?


Well, that is an easy and a hard question to answer because God is God! He told Moses that He was I AM. So how do we make sense of that? In some ways, most of us try to put Him in a box or we try to see God as being like us or maybe like our father or grandfather. While picturing God and your father or grandfather is flattering to them, it puts limitations on God and it gives Him some very human characteristics which God does NOT have!

We think that God is mean or hateful or maybe He really does love us but He expects a lot from us which we think we can’t accomplish. God’s ways and thoughts are so much above ours until we are all like little children to Him. He is not a human being although Jesus did come to live as a human for a time, so God does know the limitations and our temptations through the life of Jesus.

God is our Creator, meaning that He created everything in the universe including you and me and anyone who will be born in the future or who was born in the past. God is everywhere because He exists beyond our dimension of time and space. He can be wherever He looks or thinks or even whenever He wants to be. God is indescribable because we have no point of reference to know His nature or His face except for the descriptions of Jesus in the gospels.

When Jesus walked the Earth, He was the embodiment of all of God’s nature in human form. So, as we read about the things which He did and said we can get a glimpse of God in the flesh of His Son. Reading the Bible is the only way to know the mind of God because it is inspired by the Holy Spirit so all of it has come from God’s wisdom and has been imparted to us through the writers who made sure to get the words right.

God is the only god in our universe yet many believe that there are others. These “others” are the demons and fallen angels who followed Satan in rebellion who have deceived mankind to make them believe that they are gods and are not. To know the mind of God and to know Him you must read and study His Word, the Bible. The letters and books which are within its pages are all that we need to know Him.

Seek Him out while you have time in your life to make sure of your eternity in His Presence because there is no second chance after your death.

Bridge2Salvation

Abounding Grace


Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people because all sinned—

13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

OurGodisAbleIn these verses, Paul writes that because the knowledge of sin increased, grace abounded even more through the man Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins. We are made free from sin in Christ, not because we don’t sin anymore or that we are made sinless but because through Him our sins are forgiven and we can be made free from the burden of sin. Sin has made mankind slaves to its influence for thousands of years and yet through Jesus’ sacrifice, we can gain our freedom if we will put our faith in Him and believe that He did this for us!

In Jesus, we can have life eternal because He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith.

But…sitting in church or having knowledge of Jesus and Who He is, yet without accepting His gift of eternal life through belief in Him and what He did for you will gain you nothing! Satan knows about Jesus, the demons in hell know about Him but knowing about Him is not enough. Believing in Him and what He did for you is the key when you feel convicted of your sins. Don’t turn away from Him when He calls at the door of your heart.

God loves each of us dearly or He would not have sent Jesus to go to the cross and die for your sins and the sins of all, past, present and future! He knows which of us will accept this gift but it is available to everyone who will believe in Jesus and ask for His forgiveness of our sins. Don’t throw this opportunity away.

 

No boundaries


In the world today there are borders which are not visible on the ground which separate nations from each other. But there is no boundary between us and God Himself, at least not anymore. When Jesus said that “It is finished” on the cross the curtain between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies ripped from top to bottom. This didn’t happen because of an earthquake or by someone cutting it but because of the Holy Spirit giving access to God’s mercy seat.

Why did this happen? Because the sinless Lamb of God had died and paid the price for all of mankind, not just a few people but for all who had lived and died in the past, the present and in the future where we are today! God’s love doesn’t have any boundaries, regardless of the rhetoric that we hear in the world. His love is such that He gave a part of Himself, His Son, to pay for all of our sins so that we can have access to Heaven and to Him. Nobody else would do that!

The question for us today is this: Do you set boundaries in your life where God is NOT welcome? If you do then you are limiting His work in your life and through you for the world around you. God loves each of us and He will draw each of us to Him when we feel the conviction of our sinful ways. That conviction comes through the Holy Spirit and each time that you feel it, if you have pushed it away or ignored it, it will get a little bit weaker and not quite as loud. Until one day, you may not feel it or hear it at all.

Don’t push Him away. Listen for His call on your life because it doesn’t matter what you may have done in the past, God is willing to forgive and take you into His family. Paul and Moses had both committed murder, yet God used them in mighty ways! Your life can be a witness to others who may believe wrongly that they can’t be saved, but they can be if they are willing to repent of their sins and follow Jesus.

The Bible is God’s Word and it is not just some old dusty book written by a bunch of old men! It is the Living Word! The Bible is a testament of God’s love for us and it is the tangible representation of the Son of God that we have today. John called Him the Living Word and that is what the Bible is as well. Each person who reads it gets a different message from the same passages because He speaks to each of us differently.

Don’t turn away from Him or the study of His Word because it is the mind of God which was given to us for instruction and training and for wisdom in this life! There is no education in the world which contains the wisdom in this Book except maybe a few seminaries where future pastors are trained. God loves us and He is coming back soon, so be watchful and be praying for those who haven’t given their lives to Jesus.

Why did Jesus come?


According to the Word of God, He came to Earth in order to die, and He did die for your sins and mine. But…He also came out of that tomb three days later and taught His disciples what they should do and where they should go after He had gone to Heaven. He told them to stay in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit and then they were to go into all the world teaching and preaching the gospel of God!

That mandate has not changed because we have been given a fantastic gift through belief in Jesus and that gift is eternal life with Him and through belief in Him. We can be saved from the penalty of our sins and our sinful life through belief in Jesus. Then we are to take that with us and tell others about Him and what He has done for us and for all people.

Why? Because God loves you and He wants every person to know that He loves them. Jesus came into the world for that purpose to pay the penalty for your sins and for mine, and for every person in the whole world! It is your choice whether you believe in Him or the atonement which is provided for you or not, but if you choose to go your merry way then you may not get another chance to give your life to Jesus!

We are not promised tomorrow. Today is the day of salvation because in hearing the good news of His love for you, then you are responsible for your decision. Once the message is heard and understood by you, if your heart is convicted of the sinful life that you have lived, then it is your choice which sends you either to Heaven or to Hell!

God doesn’t choose to send you to hell, that is your decision and your responsibility and accepting it and believing it is your responsibility because God doesn’t force you in any way. Your eternity is based on your decision to accept or reject Jesus and His atonement for your sins.

There is no amount of work or prayer or money which will do anything toward saving your soul from hell. Only belief in Jesus as your Savior can do that! It has to be a heartfelt belief in Jesus, not just knowing Who He is but accepting Him as your Savior and asking His forgiveness for your sins. Because without accepting Him as your Savior and repenting of your sins, changing your life from what you were before to being a follower of Jesus…then there is no salvation at all.

When you read about Jesus or hear about Him, knowing that you will be in Heaven after you die IF you accept Him as your Savior, then there shouldn’t be any hesitation on your part at all. He is what you have been searching for to fill that empty space in your life that you know has been there but you couldn’t find what fit in it until you hear about Jesus. He is the key to filling that empty space, the longing in your heart that wants to be full but you have searched all over and you have never found what could fill it.

Jesus is the answer to that question. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 )

God’s Timing


Yourplans&GodsHave you ever wondered “When will God get around to answering my prayers?” or “When will God give me those things which I have been begging Him for?”

God does hear our requests and if our request is part of His will for our lives, then He will give us what we asked for. But…if we have asked for something which is selfish or outside of His will, then the answer is likely a “No!” There is always a third option though. If we ask for something like money or fame or a big promotion at work, something which has a lot of pride and “me” in it, God will answer our prayer with something like “maybe” or “later”.

You see, we need to get the “we” and the “me” out of the way before God can answer with a resounding- “YES!!”. In other words, we have to get out of God’s way before He can accomplish His purposes in our life. We have to learn that pride is the root of all sin in the world and it is also the sin which is the hardest to overcome and it can’t be done without submission to His Spirit and allowing Him to lead us down the path which He wants us to follow. We have a problem with His authority over our lives. Because we are human.

In many ways, we have always had problems with rules and authority and this proof is in the Bible right from the beginning. God’s timing of our blessings or gifts to us usually doesn’t follow our obedience or the amount of money that we give in tithes. God knows exactly what He should give us and what we can handle far better than we do. Begging for years and then trying to do it our own way doesn’t work. That disaster can be seen where Abram and Sarai tried to help God by using her slave to give him a son. The family feud is still going on in the Middle East.

When we try to help God in a way that He has not told us to do, we are just getting in the way. Will we find out about the consequences of our actions? Yes and sometimes much sooner than we expect to. Learning to wait upon God and His timing is one of the hardest parts of being a Christian. We, meaning most of us, have grown up in a culture which can barely wait for instant coffee or microwave popcorn. So how can we wait on God’s provision or His answer to our prayers if it doesn’t come in the instant that we ask for it? Most of us can’t.

So is it possible for us to learn how to do this? Yes, it is but it is a hard lesson for most people today. 

Why do I say this? Because very few people are patient enough to wait for God’s timing. His timing just doesn’t fit our schedule and we have to learn a hard lesson from Him in order to learn this. My advice to people who want to learn this lesson is never ask God for patience!!

If you do…you will learn patience but you will not like the lesson. Because it will take much longer for the learning to happen while He is teaching you. Remember Abram in Genesis? He was almost one hundred when his son, Isaac, was born. He had asked God for a son over twenty years before he got the answer. God also changed his name and Sarai’s name to Abraham and Sarah, so God has plans which He doesn’t always give us the details to.

Be sure of your plans and your pride and make sure of your relationship with your Savior and your Lord. God loves all of us because He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins even before we were born! He knows the plans and the rewards which He has in store for us as well, so make sure of your steps in following Him daily.

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.

The shed blood of Jesus Christ


1 Peter 1:13-21
13 Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

17 And if you address as Father, the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

john_3_16_17_scripture_memory_card-raf7013e639264b87b918bea9971565b3_vgbaq_8byvr_540Sin deceives you because its roots are from the deceiver, Satan. Sinful actions can and will destroy your life in many ways and in the end of this life, it will bring eternal death which is eternal banishment from the presence of God.

The only way to save yourself from sin and the consequences of it is to believe in Jesus and the blood which He shed for us, each of us, on the cross. The Son of God gave His life for you and for me…He didn’t have to but He wanted to do it. Because He loved each of us far more and deeper than we can know or comprehend.

He redeemed us from sin through His blood shed on the cross for you! The only action needed on your part is belief in Him and the atonement bought by His blood.

Colossians 1:19-22 King James Version (KJV)

19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Do you understand what God has done for us? For you and for me? Each person who has ever lived in this world, before the Flood and up until now, is born with a natural bent toward sin! I mean you don’t have to teach anyone to lie and you know it as well as I do.

Tell a toddler not to do something or eat something and you can see their wheels turning trying to figure out how they can get away with doing exactly that! If you are able to catch them right after doing it, whatever it may be, ask them if they did what you told them not to do. Even with crumbs from those cookies on their clothes they will tell you no, they didn’t do that.

In life you see many people behaving exactly the same way, even if they are supposed to be grown-ups. Why is that? It is because until you have a changed heart through the Spirit of God living within you, you are a sinner from the day you are able to decide to do something which you were told not to do! God’s will for your life is to glorify Him in all that you do and the only way for us to do that is to believe in Jesus and the atonement that He bought for us and ask God’s forgiveness based upon that belief.

Now, many religions teach that you can work out your salvation by yourself but that is not true. If that were possible, Jesus died for nothing! No amount of gold or silver or any amount of good works that you or I do in this world can bring salvation to your soul, only belief in Jesus can do that and accepting His atonement for your sins. If you can’t or won’t do that, then you have condemned yourself to hell.

Please, don’t go there, because hell was not made for humanity at all. It was made to punish angels who rebelled against God’s rule and authority including Satan or Lucifer if you know him by that name. Because of deception and our own stubbornness, many people are going to hell and it won’t be a party or a friendly place to be for eternity at all.

Make sure of your salvation in Jesus soon before the church is taken from this Earth, because it is going to happen soon. Plan on being part of that company.

 

Humor, it is a difficult concept.


It feels strange writing words which I heard first in a movie about the Federation of Planets and Star Trek. My blog has nothing to do with science or fiction, but I thought I would start off this way, if for no other reason than to get your attention.

joyHumor and laughter have been proven to be beneficial to our health, mostly in ways that doctors can’t really explain. It does release endorphins which ease pain and it has been shown to help in healing with some cancers and other injuries such as surgical and other breaks in the skin and bone. Here is a quote from one of many sites which give the benefits of laughter: “Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.”

In the stressful times that we live in, sometimes humor is not appropriate and it may cause hurt feelings and anger. Used wrongly, anything good can cause problems, even humor or religion. So, how do we live our lives daily in light of the effects of our beliefs or the effect of laughter? Some might say that you have to live circumspectly. What the heck is that? It is a big word meaning “cautious” living. The definition of it is this: Near synonyms are prudent and cautious, though circumspect implies a careful consideration of all circumstances and a desire to avoid mistakes and bad consequences.

Why should we be cautious in our living on a daily basis? Because today everyone that you meet has a small movie camera and a recording device called a cell phone. Anything that you say or do in front of people is very likely to be posted at some point whether you like it or not! But…Jesus told us to take His Message to the world! So, how can we do that?

One person at a time. I know that is limiting in our reach to those who don’t know Him, but in any town or city today there isn’t a huge crowd of people who will be receptive of His salvation message. Many of them will call it “hate speech” and try to have you arrested or maybe beat you up like they did Paul and Silas. Yes, in these days that we are living in now, life and living is getting to be a hard to understand prospect in light of our mission given to us by Jesus.

God loves each person, regardless of their belief or lack of belief in Jesus or even whether they believe that God exists. Yet, we are supposed to take His message to the world as best as we can. Whether we do it by means like this or by going in person and telling others about our Lord and Savior. One person at a time is the best way to go, maybe two if you can get them to listen. Jesus said to His disciples: Go into all the world; and that is what we should be doing, every day.

Conclusions


In our society, we draw conclusions about everything and most of the time we do it immediately. Especially when it comes to violence in a public place. Writers for many publications are disavowing any responsibility when it comes to owning the reason for any crime which has a violent outcome. In spite of our collective ideas of terrorism, whether it is done by a person of color or of a certain religion, we still tend toward segregation of blame.

If you are Muslim, then you were radicalized. If you are African-American then you are angry; about what doesn’t seem to matter, but that is what the pundits on “news” programs label people as. But when the person is white, they are labeled as insane and a gun nut or even disturbed because of PTSD. Yet, many of them bought their weapons legally with background checks and apparently passed those checks multiple times.

bible-verses-about-the-downheartedThe shooter in the most recent event bought quite a number of guns, some modified to fire more quickly like an automatic. According to what we have heard so far, he actually bought these legally with background checks. So, why didn’t the number of purchases by one individual not raise a flag or at least suspicion? Even if he passed the background checks, the amount of ammunition bought and the number of guns purchased should have gotten someone’s attention.

Why do we or at least some in America make snap judgments about each other and about people who buy firearms and use them. It is true that we only think these things when some person uses a firearm to take lives in a way that is inconsistent with society or its norms. But honestly, any life taken is one which was taken too soon! Murder is against the law of man and God as well! It doesn’t matter if you kill someone with a knife or a gun or a bomb, murder is still against God’s law!

What can make someone snap to the point of shooting at people just because they are convenient targets? I will never understand the kind of crazy that sounds like!

Was God there? Yes, in the first responders who came to the aid of those in danger. He was there with the police who stormed the hotel and found the killer who was taking lives like targets on a range. Yes, God was there and He is still there giving comfort and strength to families and friends and to those who are recovering! We all need to pray for the victims and for our country because there could be another person who may snap and begin to do this somewhere else.

Seek Him out in all things and look for God in every place where you are because He is there, sad though He may be because of our intent and because of the apathy that is in our society today. God still cares and loves all of us, whether we return that love or not is our choice.