Other paths lead in a different direction


You may wonder why I didn’t put something specific where “paths” is and there is a reason. It is because we are giving legitimacy to so many religions and beliefs when we shouldn’t be! There are too many paths which would fit in that title. What are they? Dowsing, pyramid energy, mediums who claim to be using “angel cards”, ouija, etc.; all of these and more are part of the occult and people shouldn’t be consulting with them, but they are.

Giving these “optional” beliefs or paths legitimate status doesn’t help us to get the message out into the world that Jesus is the way to salvation, not “alternate religions”. There are so many different beliefs in the world until it is hard to understand just why there are so many. Satan has been working very hard to give people an alternate viewpoint which can be molded into a new religion or faith. It seems that today it is so easy to put your faith in almost anything besides God and Jesus!

separatechurchesWe talk about religion and being religious as if that covers all of Christianity but you can be religious about anything. Just because someone seems to be religious doesn’t mean that they are a Christian. They could be religious about any one of the hundreds of different religions out there, you could even be a religious atheist! My point is this: don’t give religions other than Christianity a legitimate foothold!

I know, I am not being inclusive of all people and their beliefs and I will own that. What I am trying to get people to think about here is ETERNITY!! There is only one God and Jesus the Christ Who can grant you access to eternity, or at least one that you would enjoy living in! The Bible states it plainly that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, all other paths, even though they may be morally good, will lead you elsewhere for eternity.

Some faiths don’t believe in eternal punishment like the lake of fire foretold in Revelation. But, if God says that is where you will be and He doesn’t lie, then that is where your choices will take you! Seek out Jesus and His gospel, believe in Him and repent of your sinful ways and then follow Him, reading His Word and praying for strength each day because it is through Him that we are given eternal life and forgiveness.

Don’t let someone pull you away from faith in Jesus just because they believe in some other faith a bit stronger than you believe in yours. That is what has happened to many today, especially young people. They meet someone who is very passionate about their faith, regardless of what that faith may be in, and it is their passion which draws people in. A question which comes to my mind when I may be confronted with this would be: Would you be willing to die for that faith, that passion in your religion?

Does it convince you enough that you are on the right pathway to Heaven that you would give your life under fire or being burned at the stake for it? If you question this just the least bit, then you might want to back up and consider your faith again.

Nominal Christianity


Romans 10

Paul was writing to those Christians, those who accepted Jesus as their Savior. But he saw no distinction between election by the Spirit and prayer to God. Because only God who has rights to move unilaterally in human affairs can answer our prayers. Whether you truly believe it with all of your heart and soul and mind or not, God is truly in control. He doesn’t force us to do things His way, but He can intervene in the affairs of humanity to bring His purposes and His will to pass.

Considering those who don’t believe in Him, we don’t know who will respond to a sermon or to the call or touch of the Holy Spirit, so when you think of election don’t look at it as God has picked you and not this person. He wants all men to come to salvation, yet it is still up to us and our choice to believe in Him or not.

This is why, in this chapter, Paul was praying for the Jews to come to know Jesus as their Savior and we should be diligent to tell others about Him as well as pray for their salvation. It is never proper to just give up on someone because they don’t come to church or even believe like you do.

Verse 10 says: “For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”

In verse 9, Paul wrote that with the mouth you shall confess the Lord Jesus and shall believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Why did I write this after verse 10? Because, you can’t confess something with your mouth that you don’t truly believe in your heart. This is why Jesus said that “out of your mouth comes defilement”.

God’s nature and the humanity of Jesus existed in Him when He was here and after He was raised to life again, this is the confession which Christians should believe in and confess to others. It is the way to Life eternal and for our hope when He comes again. The world is moving away from belief in God and has been for a long time. Even many “Christians” today only have a head knowledge of Jesus and God. They claim to know them but they only know about them, and that knowledge is not enough.

In the USA, 70% of the population claims to be Christian, but only half of that number or less says that religion is important in their lives. I mean, if only about half of that number claim that religion is important, then are they really Christians?

So how do we define a Christian? Only God knows for sure who really belongs to Him. According to the world, anyone who says they are a Christian is a Christian.

But consider, if someone on a jihad came up to you with a knife and asked that question…what would be your answer? Would you truly answer them that you are a Christian and belong to Jesus the Christ, in the face of death? I don’t know if many people would do that, none of us know for sure what our answer would be in that situation. So, what would be your answer? Will you believe in Jesus as your Savior? Our time is growing short, so don’t take too long to find the answer to that question.

Church?


Today we look at buildings, great and small and call them our church or “the church”. What is the Church? Truthfully it is the people who worship God. It doesn’t matter if it is in a tent or a cathedral, it is the people who make up the church. Just as it was after Jesus went to be with the Father, it was the people who believed in Him and worshiped Him that made up the Church. It was NOT a building at all! Some did worship in a building, like other believer’s homes, but it didn’t really matter about the place of worship as much as it mattered about the hearts of those who came to worship!

You can come to church, to a building, for many years and play the part of a Christian from the time you are a child in Sunday school on up into your 90’s. That doesn’t make you a Christian, only belief in Jesus and a daily walk with Him can do that. Belief comes first, then the desire to worship Him and then the desire to learn more about Him and baptism is mixed in there as well but my point here is that you can live in a cardboard box and still worship Jesus! The building made of bricks and mortar and wood and sometimes steel beams is just a structure…it is the people who attend services and worship God in that building that make up the Church!

God is doing many miracles even today that many don’t recognize or may not know about because the media doesn’t report on things which happen without the influence of science. Unless it was something which was so BIG that they had to report on it, miracles go unnoticed by the majority of people and news organizations…but they still happen.

If you are not a believer in Jesus or God and you have everything that you need, you probably think that you will never need God even if He exists. But what about when you go to the doctor and he finds a mass or a spot on your lungs or your liver and it turns out that it is cancer, stage 4, and there is little he can do. What then?

You could just lie down and die or you could search the whole world for some treatment which may help. The best cure for this cancer is in the person and the power of Jesus! Cry out to Him, seek His Presence and learn more of Him. Why? Because He loves you! Praying that He will take the cancer away is not the answer, asking Him to come into your life and your heart and make you a new person is!

Could He cure you of the cancer? Yes, He can. I don’t know if He will and I am not going to tell you that He will, but your life will be so much more with Him in your heart even if He doesn’t. Why do I say this? Because your friends will see the change that He has brought into your life and they will likely want what you have. He will give you peace, even when your life is getting worse OR He may heal you and take the cancer out of your body. Then you can tell people what an awesome God He is!

They will ask you why do you believe now when you didn’t before? Because the Creator came and took my sins away and destroyed the cancer and I am alive to tell it, that’s why!! God loves each of us but we have a rebellious spirit inside of us from the day we are born. Until we realize that He is the answer to all of life’s questions and our problems too, we won’t seek Him out. We will keep doing what we did yesterday or last week or last year, but when our heart and soul tells us that we need Jesus we will seek Him out.

Give your life and your heart to Jesus because He gave His life for you! One day soon everyone will see Him and then many will either ask Him to save them or they will hate Him with an unreasonable hatred. Your life is terribly short compared to eternity, make sure of yours before you enter into it.

Romans 8:23: And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. The link for this passage has many of the Scriptures which will show you that you do need Jesus, if you will seek HIm for your salvation. I pray that you and all who read this will do so before your day comes.

The possibilities


In the environment of today’s Internet and the education afforded by it, the possibilities are almost endless. It is true that you have to be careful about which information that you trust as truthful and which is junk, but so much is there until it is spectacular in amount and scope! One hundred years ago, you would’ve had to spend hours and hours reading through countless tomes to find as much information as  you can get with one click in a search today!

The possibilities in your life, whether you are religious or not, are also endless. Your life is endless because of Jesus’ atonement for you and His Life in you, if you have accepted Him as your Savior. If you are not religious in any way, then your “life” is here where you are and you aren’t worried or concerned about an eternity. So, which side of the fence are you on? Unfortunately, those are the only possibilities regarding your eternal future, you either believe in Jesus and His atonement for you or you refuse to believe in Him.

Those are the choices and you should choose wisely and carefully because eternity is a very long, long time. All of the stars and galaxies will go dark before eternity and its march in time because time doesn’t mean anything there. Why do I bring up the eternal question? Because your choice in believing  or not believing in Jesus and His atonement for you changes your place in eternity and your real Life in that eternity!

In God’s Word it says that the smoke of their torment will rise forever referring to Satan and his demons and fallen angels. Forever and eternity are the same, so reading this should frighten you if you haven’t given your heart and life to Jesus. Why? Because, if you have chosen to follow Satan in his determination to not serve Jesus in this life, then you will share in his fate in eternity. The line between the two states is a very thin one called belief/unbelief and you are either on one side or the other. Make sure which side you want to spend eternity on before you draw your last breath.

Loss, life and Love


Everyone goes through all of these in their lifetimes. Some go through them a little earlier or more frequently, sometimes it happens a bit later in life. But…we all have each of them at some point. Regardless of when or how things happen in your life, God is always near your heart and available to comfort your spirit and give strength to your soul. We cannot see Him or feel Him physically, but if you are a child of His you can feel Him spiritually by your side in all things, good or bad.

Why do I bring this up today? Because, all over the world there are people who are hurting because of one reason or another. Whether it is because of the loss of a loved one or because of disease or war or persecution, even in America people experience these. Maybe not to the point or extent that those in other countries do, but we should at least be in prayer for our brothers and sisters everywhere.

God cares for all of the human race regardless of the country or religion which you may subscribe to follow daily. He knows your struggle and would like for you to come to Him in faith. Though many people seek Him by other names, that is not how you get to know and love God. Faith and belief in Him and in Jesus is the only way to come to Him. You can’t call a statue “god”, nor can you pray to Him as another name and think that He hears you.

Jesus said that the only way to the Father is through the Son. No other name or worship is part of that relationship, just faith in God and belief in Jesus. God provided a way to salvation through belief in Jesus and His atonement for us in His death and resurrection. No other religious leader in history has ever come out of the tomb or grave after their death, except for Jesus! There were many witnesses of His resurrection body and His teaching after He came out of the tomb because He taught for another 50 days before ascending to the Father.

Life is in Him and eternity is only one heartbeat away. Make sure that your eternity is with Him!

Is listening so hard?


Sometimes it seems that we just can’t listen to each other’s problems or to our preacher’s sermons. Listening to each other is the best way to get along with each other, yet there are so many problems between couples and countries all over the world. Most of those problems could be solved if we could put our pride and our attitudes on a shelf and sit down like adults and talk and listen to each other!

This would solve many if not most of the world’s problems, but it seems that when pride gets in the way and our attitudes become broiled in the juices of envy and hatred, then our ears and the ability to listen to each other becomes cut off or stopped up. Believe me, Satan has his hand and his followers all in the middle of these conflicts, whether it is between a man and woman trying to make their marriage work or between political parties in a country!

Our ears, spiritually and physically, become muddled to the point that we don’t hear what we should and we hear only part of what we shouldn’t. Which causes more misunderstandings and problems and it just gets worse from there, like a wet snowball rolling downhill. Pretty soon the problem or the snowball is so big that it can’t be fixed or stopped by just one person!

Jesus listened with His ears and with His heart and that is something which the church in general seems to have lost the ability to do, especially in the times that we live in today! The problem that we have is that we can’t understand the problem today because we aren’t really listening with our spiritual ears, our heart. We listen with our ears but we try to use psychobabble to “take care of the problem”, or make people feel good about themselves, or try to work around the issue.

In truth…all we are doing is putting a band-aid over a large cut or rather we are bandaging it but we aren’t helping in the healing of it. This kind of “help” is not helping at all, it only makes the problems worse! Like putting used tires on a car every six months, they wear out sooner and will still go flat easier than new ones, even if they are cheaper it is not helping.

Making people feel better about themselves is good, but spiritually it is suicide and murder. If you smooth over people’s sins and make them feel okay about them without telling them about salvation through Jesus, you are not a preacher…you are acting as a psychiatrist and that won’t do anyone good for eternity! PREACH FROM THE BIBLE! Tell the salvation and healing story of Jesus and His atonement for all of us from the gospels!

People need that today more than they know! John 3:16 is so powerful that it is a sermon in itself! Please, the Church needs to wake up and be the Body of Christ that this world needs NOW! This world will soon be in more of a situation than anyone alive has ever seen or experienced and the only rescue is through Jesus!

What can we do?


There are many paths to enlightenment in the world today, philosophically speaking, therefore, which one is the correct path for all concerned? Few I’m afraid….actually there is only one.

Philosophy and enlightenment are pursuits which give us knowledge but that will not enable you to be a part of God’s Kingdom. Even knowledge of the Bible and all that it contains will not get you into Heaven without belief and faith in Jesus! Reading and studying the Bible until you know it by heart will do nothing for you spiritually unless the Holy Spirit opens your mind and heart so that you can see Who your Savior truly is and accept Him.

Knowledge and degrees and meditation are wonderful for their own purposes, but the experience of God is found through faith and belief in Jesus. If you don’t have that, then the Bible is just a book of historical figures and facts written by men. God did not give us His Word, the Bible, to be just a book. It is the revelation of Himself and His Son from beginning to end and it doesn’t matter if everyone doesn’t see it that way!

The Sun shines whether you have any faith or belief in it or not. Gravity still works whether you believe it exists or not. God and His promise through Jesus the Christ will accomplish everything written down by His apostles and prophets because He is God, whether you believe in Him and His Son or not.

Life, love, greed, hatred, envy and fear all exist as part of our emotional lives in one way or  another. We cannot change this because we can’t change the character of the entire world and every person in it. All of this boils down to one Truth and that is: Jesus came and died on a cross for your sins and your father’s sins and your friend’s sins. He paid the price for all of them, each and every person past, present and future. Whether we believe it or not doesn’t change the fact that it happened and it won’t change anything about the future which was foretold in the book of Revelation.

Seek Him by believing in Him. Read His Word and ask Him to show you the wisdom that you need to have so that your eyes will see Him as He is. The Savior that you need for healing, strength, and hope for eternity, because Jesus is the Savior that we all have been searching for.

What will you do?


john317Jesus did not ask this question exactly, but He did ask His disciples “Who do you say that I am?”. The answer that Peter gave was one which wasn’t available in the Scriptures of the day, but it was given to him by the Holy Spirit. So…what will you do with your knowledge of Jesus and Who He is to you?

He is our Savior and our Creator and our Lord, but He doesn’t cram Himself into your life. It is your decision to accept Him as your Savior when you feel the Spirit touch your heart about your need of Him. We do need Jesus, each and every one of us. So…what will you do?

God loves all of humanity but we don’t return that love and that is a sad situation which most of the world is living in right now. God made a way for us to be sanctified and cleansed by His Son’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection. The only thing that we can do for our salvation is to accept it by faith.

There is nothing which we can add to our salvation because it was taken care of by Jesus. Your money won’t get you a better home in Heaven, your works here on Earth won’t get you any closer to righteousness here on Earth. The only place where your salvation could have any impact is right here where you are and that by telling others about your life and the new life that Jesus gave you!

No evangelist or preacher can earn a better place in eternity and no amount of charity will do it either. We are ALL equal in God’s sight when we accept Jesus as our Savior, no matter our position or place in our country or a business. The pastor’s saying is true: “The playing field is level at the cross”. The rich man has no advantage over the poor and a salesman or janitor has the same opportunities as a President or a Prime minister when coming to salvation and their place in God’s Kingdom. Slaves and statesmen are equal and no one stands any taller than a person on their knees asking for God’s forgiveness.

God loves the saint and the sinner alike, but God doesn’t love the sinful lives which we all have led at one point or another. So….what will you do? What is your decision? Consider that Jesus said for us not to worry about tomorrow because it has enough trouble of its own and we are not guaranteed even our next breath. So…what decision will you make about making Him your Savior and Lord?

God’s Gift to mankind!


Some may wonder why I placed an exclamation point at the end of the title and it’s because of the importance of that Gift. God gives each of us life and breath each day that we live, which is a good thing and a great gift to be sure, but His most wonderful Gift came in the form of His Son, Jesus.

In the beginning, according to Christian and Biblical Scripture, the Godhead was/is made up of three Persons of the Trinity. In Genesis, God’s Spirit was hovering over the waters. This was the Holy Spirit which was searching for a place for us. Then God the Father said, “Let there be light”, and all of Creation lit up with Light. The Living Word of God had begun Creation, and one day the Living Word would be known as Yeshua, the Son of God.

So, in the beginning there were the Three Persons of the Godhead. There are other places where they all show up, but that is the first one. The Gift which God gave to us, all of humanity that has lived or will live, is the Son of God Who gave up His place in Heaven to be placed in the form of a child which was born to a virgin in Bethlehem.

Many of you will know the story from Scripture or from watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas, but the point is this: IT HAD TO BE DONE!

Why? Because, human beings are sinful and we can’t keep God’s Law perfectly because our nature won’t allow it. But, Jesus did it because His very nature was God’s nature even though He was living among us as a human being! He walked with His Father throughout His life here, He spoke with Him every day about the things which were happening and His concerns about the state that humanity lived in.

Jesus came to us, not to show us that we are imperfect and can’t be like Him, but to give us a gift which would allow us to become more like Him one day. I don’t mean that we will become gods, but that we will have His righteousness to cover our sinful life’s failures! His blood is the only spotless sacrifice which could do this. Lambs and bulls and the blood from their sacrifice were able to give a temporary satisfaction of a sort in the Old covenant, but it was only temporary and had to be done daily or weekly or even yearly.

The blood which Jesus shed for us permanently covers our sins, all that we can do is accept it by believing that His atonement was for us! Each person on this planet had their sins covered, but each one of us has to accept it and turn away from that life and those sinful behaviors. Then we begin a new life of walking with and trusting in Him to give us the strength every day to do this for the rest of our lives! That is our gift to Him, to keep walking in His strength daily to show our lives to others as a reflection of His Life in us.

I have had people ask me, “Why should I do that?”, like they are supposed to get something out of this deal too?!  You do get something out of it! Eternal life with God and with all of your family who have learned this as well!

If you were offered one million dollars with no strings attached, except with one requirement, that you had to use it not only for your family but to bless others along the way in your life, would you accept it? Could you live by that requirement? With today’s technology, you could be monitored so that if you failed to fulfill that requirement you had to give up all that you had bought with the money which didn’t fulfill it. Now, could you do it?

Most of us could not do it completely and to the letter. That is what the Christian life is supposed to be like, except that we don’t have to give up or give back the salvation which we gain through belief in and acceptance of His Love and sacrifice for each of us. We are supposed to go through life-giving His Life and His message to every person that we meet, if they will accept it. Sometimes its hard to tell others about your Savior, because when they get upset when you tell them that they are sinners and they reject Him, it feels like they are turning on you, rejecting you. When they are actually rejecting Jesus’ message and His offer…His Gift to each of them.

Nativity-29

The day of His birth…


Most of us celebrate our birthdays, although many seem to worry about them as the numbers get bigger. Why worry about a number? It just means that God has given you another year, another day to live and enjoy your life here with friends and family! Yes, there are some who feel as if their life would be better if they didn’t have so many birthdays piled one on top of another, but let me ask this question: Without killing yourself, what can you do about the march of time and another birthday?

Blunt answer: nothing

God gives us the air that we breathe and the food that we eat throughout our lives, so what will you do with another day, another week or month or even another year? Will you glorify Him in your days, telling others about His grace and His mercy?

This is one of the jobs that we are all supposed to be engaged in, particularly if you are a follower of Christ. Why do we walk as though we don’t know Jesus? Are there some who do this? Yes, there are some who only come to church on holidays or weddings or funerals, what good does it do for you to come at these times? Do you truly listen to the message or did you come to be seen and be in the community?

If you are doing this for your personal gain, it is no good at all for your spiritual well-being. Like the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in the Temple:

Luke 18:9-14 King James Version 

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Jesus’ day of birth is celebrated in December not because that is when He was born but because it was easy to get pagans to celebrate a day that they already celebrated. Jesus was likely born sometime between the middle of September and October, in any case we do celebrate Him by giving gifts to each other, just as He was the ultimate gift to us. He came not to bring a kingdom down or to begin His reign as Lord and King, but to shed His blood as a perfect sacrifice for ALL of our sins! He died for the whole WORLD, not just for the Jewish nation but for all of the people on Earth and His sacrifice was necessary for us to be able to atone for our sins.

God loves us because that is what His Word says! He is not a liar nor a cheat, yet some people seem to feel cheated by Him because He doesn’t magically provide all of their needs or their desires. He provides for exactly what you need, WHEN you need it. Not more than you need or less, yet that is why many people don’t like Christianity. They seem to expect God to provide for them because He owes them something. God doesn’t owe you anything at all! If you are blessed by Him with riches and wisdom be thankful for it and help those who don’t have what you have been blessed with, as much as you can without offending them.

Why do I say this? Because many people don’t like charity. They don’t want you to give them something and to some it is insulting that you would even think of helping them. But, if they truly needed it I don’t believe the offer would be turned away. It is the same with salvation. It doesn’t cost us anything and we don’t have to do anything to get it. Sometimes it is because of this that people don’t see the value of coming to church and accepting Jesus as their Savior.