Will being Christened get you to heaven?

I received an email offer to purchase Christening gowns for my newborn angel’s Christening, which is interesting because I don’t have a newborn. The company also offers children’s apparel for baptisms and other special occasions because I should “make every moment last.”

That leads me to the question, “Last for how long?” Most importantly to consider, “Will it last for eternity?”

Baby Christenings and baptisms are cute ceremonies and to some extent demonstrate a commitment to God by the child’s parents. But what does it directly do for the child? Is it effective in any way for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven?

What if you asked someone, “Why do you believe you are going to heaven when you die?” and they answered, “Because I was Christened as a baby,” or, “Because I was baptized as a baby”? Would they be correct? Can they really be certain they are going to heaven because of an infant ceremony?

In his letter to the Romans, Paul says, “That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, man believes for obtaining righteousness and with the mouth confession is made for salvation … For whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved … So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of God.”

John wrote, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” John also recorded Jesus saying, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give to them eternal life, and they will never perish, neither will anyone snatch them out of my hand.”

When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” they replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”

When Peter preached on Pentecost, the people asked, “What shall we do?” Peter answered “Repent.” After healing the lame man, Peter told the crowd, “Repent, therefore, and be converted, so that your sins may be blotted out.”

In all of these verses, we see a need of action on the part of the one who is to receive eternal life. Peter speaks of repentance, Paul of confession, Paul and John of believing, John of receiving Him, Jesus and Paul of hearing. These are all cognitive acts. They are decisions made based upon hearing the gospel message and for the listener to understand he/she is a sinner and thus is in need of a Savior, of a need to repent, and a need to call upon Jesus for salvation. Babies cannot do any of these things.

A person is held accountable for his/her decision to accept Christ and call upon Him for salvation or to reject Christ. Parents actions and faith do not transcend to their children. There is no example anywhere in the Scriptures of a baby being baptized. When Paul and Silas told the jailer his whole household would be saved, it doesn’t mean there were infants in his home. When the Holy Spirit fell on those gathered at the home of Cornelius, it was on those who heard the word spoken by Peter. Hearing means understanding; again babies cannot comprehend.

Do not fall for the argument that if all of Cornelius family and if all of the Philippian jailer’s household was saved there must have been babies there and therefore babies can be saved. There are no babies in my household. Do not read things into the Scriptures that are not there.

If you believe that you will enter heaven when you die because you were Christened or baptized as an infant, please consider what the Bible has to say. You must personally come to Christ to seek forgiveness and salvation.

What Is Salvation?

The difference between religion and Christianity is, basically that religion is man’s attempt to reach God, and Jesus is God reaching out to man. You can never obtain salvation by your own works. According to Ephesians 2:8- the bible says it’s by the grace of God that we are saved and not by our own good works. Romans 3:23 says we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God and thus we needed a Savior to bring us back to God. God gave His Son Jesus that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life and He did not send His Son to condemn the world but He sent Him to bring salvation to mankind. (John 3:16-17).

God is the only one who can provide salvation for man, through Jesus; and any other attempts to approach God, regardless of how sincere they may be, will end in total failure with the result of eternal death. To be saved, you have to recognize your complete dependence on Jesus only and make a surrender of your life to Him as Lord. As it says in Romans 10:9, “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”

The commitment to Jesus as Lord of all has to be there. That doesn’t mean that you can’t ever fall short of that commitment. The Lord is full of mercy, and His love covers multitude of sins (Proverbs 10:12). But, regardless of how well you fulfill it, you have to have made the commitment that Jesus is Lord of all.

I accepted the Lord Jesus as my Savior when I was 16 years old and that’s years ago. Before then, I didn’t know about salvation though I used to go to church, sing in the choir and was involved in all kinds of church activities and I thought I was on my way to heaven. But later in life, I stopped going to church, got involved with bad company, and became a rebellious teenager. I must say, the devil was up to destroying my life.

I didn’t care about life anymore because according to me, no one loved me. I grew up without a father and I think that contributed to the bitterness and emptiness I felt in my life. But God, in His own mercy and kindness, sent a good friend of mine my way, who preached the message of salvation to me and I accepted Jesus in my life as Lord and that’s when new life began for me. It didn’t matter to God what I had done, just as I was, I came to Him and He transformed my life, that’s love in action! It has not been easy, but with the Lord in my life, I have triumphed over the battles of life. What a good God HE IS.

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life, just pray this simple prayer with me and mean it with all your heart, and you shall be saved:
Say “Father, I recognize that I am totally dependent on you to save me. I accept Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for my sins and I now make Him Lord of my life. I believe that Jesus is alive from the dead and now living in me. I am saved, Amen!

Welcome to the Kingdom of God, where you find righteousness, peace, joy, divine health, success and all the perks that come with salvation!

Are You The Last Gentile?

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Are you the Last Gentile?
Romans 11:25: Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
Anytime the Bible speaks of Fullness, it means “completeness” or “finished”. The Church age began with the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus the Messiah. Through the shedding of His blood, ALL mankind is eligible to be forgiven their sins and receive eternal salvation. (Acts 2:21 Romans 10:13). All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. The Church (Christians) has not replaced the Jews, but is grafted in to God’s covenant – if the people accept Jesus as their Savior.
As I have posted before, this has always been God’s plan for us, and it was sealed with Jesus’ sacrifice at calvary. The Israelites (Jews) have been God’s chosen people from the time of Abraham; through his son Isaac; and then through Jacob whose name was changed to “Israel”. This is defined “triumphant with God”; given after he wrestled with the angel. (Genesis 32:28; 35:10)
God has special plans for His chosen people, and He will give His full attention to them after the Church is removed. Please note: The Church is not a building; not a particular religion. It is ALL people who have accepted Jesus and are called Christians.
God knows that the Israelites today have not fully accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah. It is estimated only about 7% have done so and are known as “Messianic Jews”. By the end of the tribulation, the Bible says All His People will believe. (Philippians 2:10-11 and Romans 14:11). Every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord.
Now, the main topic – what happens when the Fullness of the Gentiles comes in? As with every war, there is one final victim. With every sport, one final play and then the end. This is the same with God. He has one final Gentile in mind before sending Jesus to take His Church home. (Rapture)
1 Thessalonians 4:16: For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout with the voice of an archangel and with the sound of the trumpet of God. The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and so will we always be with the Lord.
This refers to the “Church age” people who believe in Jesus – Jews, Gentiles – EVERYONE! However, Romans 11:25 tells us that when the last Gentile God has in mind gives His/Her life to Jesus, the rapture will take place. Just as God gave the world time before closing the door to Noah’s ark, He’s giving us time right now to accept Him through His Son – Jesus. He will not wait much longer. I believe we are at the very threshold of this event.
Are you that Gentile? Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? Do you want to go through the tribulation? All prophecies leading up to the Rapture are done. Now it’s a matter of when the “fullness” is done.
To put off accepting Jesus is to not accept Him; to say maybe is a NO; to say anything but yes is to be lost.
The only unforgivable sin is to not accept Jesus. The door is about to close. Please be onboard and enjoy the trip “up” with the rest of the Christians. Hope to see you there!

Jesus – A Beginners Guide (Part 1)

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Jesus – A Beginners Guide (Part 1)
First, you may have seen the “Books for Dummies” and might think this is a guide like that. Let me just say that anyone who seeks Jesus is no dummy, and never will be. There are some who have never been introduced to Jesus, the Bible, Church and anything involved with them.
Starting at the beginning, when a person travels somewhere they’ve never been, it’s always a good idea to have a “guide”. A Christian’s guide is called the Bible. It has been around for over 2000 years, and is the same today as it was then. A good way to remember this is Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. This is God’s love letter to us and it has a total of 66 books within it; written by about 40 men inspired by the Holy Spirit who is part of the Trinity. (Father, Son and Holy Spirit.) The Bible has two sections; the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament contains 39 books, and provides history from earth’s creation to the birth of Jesus the Christ, and prophesies that show future events all the way to the end of this earth’s existence. The New Testament starts at the Birth of Jesus, and covers His life through His ministry (about 33 years), death, burial and resurrection. From there, the subjects covered are Christian living, history of the early Church, and events that are to come all the way to eternity.
There are people today who claim not to believe in Jesus, however there is an overwhelming amount of evidence He is real. Even Satan and his demons know Jesus exists – they just have a pride thing and don’t accept Him. They would like you to spend eternity with them in torment.
Before we get into the “how to be a part of Jesus”, some simple definitions need to be given.
a.) Church – this is not a building, but the PEOPLE who have accepted Jesus. When He talks about His Church, He doesn’t refer to any particular religion (see #c.) In Matthew 16:16-18, Jesus is talking to his disciples and Peter makes the statement that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus replied that on this “Rock” (Peter’s confession) He would build His Church – all who accept Him as their Savior. Remember the word ALL. When Jesus comes to take His Church home (Rapture) He will be taking people not buildings. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.)
b.) Christ – Not Jesus’ last name. Means “Anointed One” or “Messiah”. His coming was prophesied throughout the Old Testament. He was to be the Savior of everyone – Jew and Gentile. He did not appear majestically as they expected, and therefore was rejected by most of them.
c.) Religion – Surprise! Jesus does not really care for organized religion. His biggest conflicts were with the religious leaders of that time. He gave guidelines that His followers were to follow to be accepted by Him, yet the religious leaders fell back on tradition and ceremony that were man-made, not God-inspired. Titles such as Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox and so on do not impress Jesus. (see #d) It’s what’s in the heart that counts.
d.) Christian – Follower of Jesus. Acts 11:26 says His followers were known as Christians first at Antioch. ANYONE can become a Christian: Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Protestant, Catholic – EVERYONE can be accepted if they will accept the free gift God gives us through His Son. (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13).
There is more to know about Jesus. Please continue to part 2 for concluding information that will change your life and eternal destiny. Thank You!

Jesus – A Beginners Guide (part 2)

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Jesus – a Beginners Guide (Part 2)
Continuing with some definitions:
e.) Bible – the true and inspired word of God. There are many versions which follow the original texts and are great for use. The best one for you is one you can understand. The King James Version is written in 16th century English, and sometimes difficult to understand. The New King James is better, but still somewhat complicated. Modern versions are English Standard Version (ESV); New American Standard (NASB) and New International Version (NIV). For ease of reading in today’s language I would recommend for a beginner the ESV. Also, it should be a “study Bible” which has scripture on the top with explanation on the bottom. This is best if used daily.
f.) Hell – Also known as Sheol, hades and Lake of Fire. This is a place prepared for Satan and his demons, and unbelievers who do not accept Jesus. Anyone who goes there CHOOSES to do so.
g.) Heaven – dwelling place for God, Jesus and Holy Spirit (Trinity), Righteous Angels and ALL Saints that accept Jesus Gift Of Salvation.
h.) Salvation – Jesus died for EVERYONE’s sin. Through His grace, we get something we do not deserve and through God’s Mercy we don’t get what we do deserve. You cannot “earn” or “buy” this – it is given Freely to those who put their Faith and Trust in Jesus.
Some Basic Questions:
1.) Who Can Accept Jesus: Romans 3:23 says ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. However Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 says ALL who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
2.) How do I accept Him: First, admit to yourself and God you are a sinner, and know you can’t save yourself. God Loves You! If you will ask Jesus to forgive your sins, He will do it. Tell Him you want Him to come into your life and rescue you from Hell. Again I refer you to Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13. You do not have to do this in a Church or confess to any person. Jesus is the only one who can save you. (John 14:6)
3.) What if I have committed the unforgivable sin: The only unforgivable sin is to die without accepting Jesus. No other sin you have done will disqualify you. You might say, “You don’t know what I’ve done!” Nope, but God does and will forgive you according to 1 John 1:8-10. If you say you can’t be forgiven, you’ll be the first person in ALL of history that this applies to. Romans 8:1 says there is No Condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
NOTE? Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18 Assures us God does not lie!
4.) What if I accept God but not Jesus: Best Bible passage is 1 John 5:10-12. (paraphrased) All who accept the Son have the Father – All who do not accept the Son do not have the Father. This is the Unforgivable Sin!
5.) How about all the good things I’ve done: Ephesians 2:8-10 – We are saved by the Grace of God through faith, not by works.
You now have something to think about. Do you want to continue without Jesus and spend ALL eternity in torment? Or do you want to start your eternity RIGHT NOW by accepting Him. Your Choice!
Go back to question 2 and follow the steps. You might want to find a Bible Teaching Church for reinforcing fellowship. Main thing, get a BIBLE and read from it every day. A good starting place is the Gospel Of JOHN, and then Romans.
My Prayer for you is you will accept Him today. Tomorrow may be too late!

Believe Jesus, Know Jesus – God’s Salvation is Only Through Jesus Christ

Jesus, somewhere is someone who is very close to accepting God’s salvation through You, and that someone does not know how to believe it. This is what I sense from You this morning.

“Knowledge without belief is not salvation. Belief must come from the heart.”

I did not know how to go from knowledge to belief, even after years of going to church.

“You could not do it for yourself. My Father called you to Him. You needed only to desire to know Me, and not just know about Me. He touched your heart at the moment you were willing. Tell them what I did for you.”

But how can I explain it, Jesus? I am a small person with small words.

“I will help you. I will cause you to remember.”

I remember what it was like when I was not sure that God would forgive me and accept me into His Kingdom. I had never known love so great as Your love. I could not even imagine it. I thought of conviction at that time as a bad thing, and as something to avoid. I did not know that conviction is more than feeling guilty; it is truly the beckoning of God, through the Holy Spirit, to the heart.

One Sunday morning, I was at church, listening to the sermon, and I was trying to convince myself that I was good. God made it clear to me that I was not good. He caused the Holy Spirit to pass through my skin and touch my heart. At that second, I realized that You know every thought, act, word, and deed, and yet I felt so loved. I knew with certainty that every word in the Bible is the Truth. I do not know why I had not understood salvation earlier.

“You were not looking for Me.”

Not until that morning. As the pastor spoke God’s message, my heart ached for something I had never known and could not understand. I only knew that it had something to do with heaven and love. I was thinking within the limits of my own mind, and Satan was working against me. He tried to get me to condemn myself, so I would believe him and not believe the Truth. There was a very rapid sequence of memories and mental images of my sins against You. The evil one tried to convince me that God would not forgive me through You, but even so, I could feel You holding my heart in your hands.

I thought all of the people around me were good. I was afraid they would reject me if I admitted that I was a sinner. I was afraid You would tell me that I was too bad to be forgiven. That was the work of the evil one also. But You did not give up. You flooded me with Your love. My heart felt warm and large. I felt cherished as never before. I knew that You had chosen me and I was sure that His miraculous way of penetrating my heart was real and true. It was as if time stopped and it was just You and me, heart to heart, on that pew. Your love for me was so pure that I was ashamed, but Your love was bigger than my shame. I wondered how You could love me so much that You would die so I could live in heaven, forever. Jesus, I wanted desperately to be sure I would go to heaven when I died. I thought of how much I must have hurt You. How long I had ignored You. How much I did not deserve God’s mercy. How I had made life all about me.

Satan was counting on my fear of rejection to keep me from asking You to forgive me. He then switched tactics and aimed at the pride within me. He wanted me to think I was good enough without Your salvation. But that opened up another realization—that not only is heaven real, but so is hell. I knew without a doubt that if I did not accept God’s forgiveness, I would go to hell, forever. Then suddenly I realized that it did not matter what others thought of me. I understood how great God is and how small I was. I understood how far below His standards are the standards of man and that even if I could live perfectly according to the highest of human standards, I could never get to heaven by being good in the sight of man. I could sense the pressure of evil pushing against me, all around me. You kept Your touch of love evident within me. I knew the spiritual realm was real. I knew I had to choose. I knew You were my only protection from the evil one.

At the very second I told You in my thoughts, with a broken heart, that I was sorry for my sins and accepted God’s forgiveness through Your sacrifice for me, the Holy Spirit expanded within me to every cell of my body.

“You were cleansed with forgiveness, because you believed and desired to know Me.”

Yes! I felt completely clean. I felt no fear. I felt no guilt. I felt no shame. You took it all away instantly. I felt NEW. I was so filled with joy that I could hardly talk when I prayed with the pastor and confessed You as my Lord and Savior at the front of that little church. Believing You and knowing You changed my life, and my eternal destination.

“What I did for you I will do for anyone who calls upon My name. Tell them: Believe Me. Trust Me. I am the only way.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NLT)

I’m forever grateful

You did not wait for me⃒ To draw near to You⃒ But You clothed Yourself ⃒ With frail humanity⃒ You did not wait for me⃒ To cry out to You⃒ But You let me⃒ Hear Your voice calling me⃒ And I’m forever grateful⃒ To You⃒ I’m forever grateful⃒ For the cross⃒ I’m forever grateful⃒ To You⃒ That You came⃒ To seek and save the lostᶦ

We don’t realize all that Jesus Christ has done for us. We take Jesus for granted for His birth, His ministry on this earth, His walk of shame, His death and then His resurrection from the dead to be seated on the right hand of God. We don’t see the whole picture of His sacrifice for us. We go to church on Saturday/Sunday and we play this part in a show called ‘Church’. We take our position in the seats as the Pastor/Priest/Preacher/Reverend play their part in your life. We perform our part with finesse and as leading lady/man we excel perfectly in our role but we are lacking the conviction that there is more to this life with Christ then church.

But, you say you are a ‘Christian’ that you go every week or at least once a month to church. Just, because you are filling up the seats at church doesn’t make you a believer in Jesus Christ. It’s what you do when you are not at church that shows who you really are. The word says ‘you will know them by their fruits’. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.  (Matthew 7:16, 19-20) Fruit is a visible sign of the power of the Holy Spirit working in you. When you have a relationship with Jesus Christ it will show in your life as the ‘fruit of the Spirit’. (John 15:2-8, 16) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance.  Against such things there is no law. ²⁴Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22)

When Christians come to know the Lord through their conversions we still have our sinful nature even though we are now forgiven. (Romans 8:6-8) We have a struggle with that sin whenever we come in contact with the thing we love more than God. Are we going to submit to that sin to God or allow the sin to continue in your life? That is why so many people say we have a battle field in our being for good or bad. The word says therefore, since we are surrounded by such a ‘great cloud of witnesses,’ let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, ²fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ³Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff shall comfort me. (Psalm 23:4) We walk through the valley of the shadow of death everyday but if you fix your eyes on Jesus as your Lord and Savior and we throw off all that entangles us (our sinful nature) and run the race with perseverance the Lord says in His word ‘I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me’. (Psalm 23:4) If you have allowed the Holy Spirit access in your life you have a valuable asset; for the Holy Spirit will make known to you the sins you hold in your heart. Now, if you say you are a Christian you will allow the Holy Spirit to rule and reign in your heart; and when He convicts your heart of sin then you will repent and give the Lord your sin. We have a lot to be thankful for that Jesus Christ was born and came to die. I’m forever grateful⃒ To You⃒ I’m forever grateful⃒ For the cross⃒ I’m forever grateful⃒ To You⃒ That You came⃒ To seek and save the lostᶦ

Recently, my prayer was that there was something hindering my closeness with ‘my Lord’. The Holy Spirit took me on a journey through my past pain and we came to a door I couldn’t open. The Lord opened that door and it has brought some major pain in my heart and it has caused me to stop writing. Even though my writing stops for a time I continue to read my Bible and pray. The Lord says in His word “a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” their is a season for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:3-4) A believer though they walk thru the valley of the shadow of death, they will fear no evil, for Jesus Christ is with us. We will persevere and throw off what entangles us and fix our eyes on the Lord for He is our prize; and we’ll be forever grateful to the Lord and to the cross.

You did not wait for me⃒ To draw near to You⃒ But You clothed Yourself ⃒ With frail humanity⃒ You did not wait for me⃒ To cry out to You⃒ But You let me⃒ Hear Your voice calling me⃒ And I’m forever grateful⃒ To You⃒ I’m forever grateful⃒ For the cross⃒ I’m forever grateful⃒ To You⃒ That You came⃒ To seek and save the lostᶦ

The Lord doesn’t wait for us; but draws us near. The Lord wants all to know Him because His heart is HUGE. The Lord is seeking you…His purpose is to save the lost…a relationship with Jesus Christ gives you Salvation and a free ticket to live forever with Him…you become His son/daughter…first you need to repent of our sinful nature and the following others gods…second believe that Jesus Christ was born, died and risen…surrender your life and ask Jesus Christ to come and live inside you… Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Thank you, Father when I was lost you came after me. Thank you, Father that when I repented you made your home in my heart. Thank you, Lord that after I surrendered my life to you that I wasn’t ever alone, again.

Dear Lord, You are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and you reign on this earth. I’m forever grateful that you do not stop but continue in your work in our lives. I’m forever grateful that you saw my weakness and pain and you bound up my wounds. I’m forever grateful that your sacrifice on the cross brought healing in my life. I pray that others will repent and believe and find safety in your arms of grace. I pray that you will heal them and continue to work in and through their lives until completion. I pray that they will be rooted and established in your love, that they may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that they would be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b-19) In Jesus Christ name I pray. Amen.

 

ᶦ Don Moen, “Forever Grateful” Forever Grateful, Integrity/Hosanna 1988

Grace of God

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. ᶦ²It teaches us say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, ᶦ³while we wait for the blessed hopethe glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, ᶦwho gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. ∽Titus 2:11-14

Our salvation comes at a price which God gifts us as grace, but it can only happen when we step out in faith. So, grace needs faith to work; we need to continually move forward in our salvation, faith is that action that keeps us going. The definition of faith is belief and trust. We need to believe and trust in the crucified and risen Christ as our Lord and Savior to be saved. The word says for in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith. (Romans 1:17) A person who does right and continues to walk in faith will grow into a mature believer that will reflect God’s glory.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But, when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7) For this reason we say “No” to ungodliness, lying, cheating, blame calling, adulterous living, and worldly passions. We say “Yes” to self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

Lately, I have been spending time in praise and prayer before the Lord and old songs keep popping up in my head. One old time favorite is sung by Don Moen and the song is “Think about His love”.ᶦ

Let us clear the clutter from our mind and remember when Jesus first appeared in your life. Now:

Think about His love, think about His goodness| Think about His grace that’s brought us through| For as high as the heavens above| So great is the measure of our Father’s love | Great is the measure of our Father’s love| So great is the measure of our Father’s love|

How could I forget His love| And how could I forget His mercies| He satisfies, He satisfies, He satisfies my desiresᶦ

Now, how can we even think about going back to our old life and its desires and pleasures? When we have the love of a Father who gave up His life so that we can experience His grace? How could we forget His love? Those pleasures and unforgiveness will eat you up inside and make you feel guilty afterwards. But, the love of the Father offers you grace that will end your cravings of sinful pleasures that will lead to death but grace leads to eternal life in Christ Jesus. Think about His love, think about His goodness, and think about His grace that will bring you through. Do you think Satan cares about you after he is through with you? “No”. Satan is here to destroy you that is his mission in life but Jesus Christ’s mission is to save. Satan means enemy and Jesus means Savior who do you wish to serve?

  1. We know faith means believing and trusting in Jesus Christ death and resurrection.
  2. We know that God gives us the gift of grace. (1Corinthians 1:4)
  3. Faith includes repentance, a turning away from sin. God commands everyone to repent. (Acts 17:30)
  4. We know that God gives grace to set me free from sin. (Romans 8:2)
  5. Faith includes being obedient to the word of God. (Romans 1:5)
  6. We know God’s grace must be sought in our reading of the word, hearing the word, praying, worshipping in Spirit and in truth, fasting, and having Communion. (2Tim. 3:15; Rom. 1:16; Jude 20; Matt. 6:16-18; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:18; Acts 2:42)
  7. Faith includes a new relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37)
  8. We know God’s grace can be resisted (Hebrews 12:15), cast off by the believer (Gal.5:4), received in vain (2Col. 6:1), put out (1Thess. 5:19), and set away (Gal. 2:21).
  9. Faith in Jesus Christ is the act of believing and then receiving the gift of grace.

 

Think about His love, think about His goodness, think about His grace that’s brought us through… Great is the measure of our Father’s love.ᶦ

While we live this self-controlled and upright life; let us wait for the blessed hope the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:12-14)

Our Father’s love…devised a plan so that we could live a life free from sin…so He sent His one and only Son to be born…His Son grew and when he was 30 he began his ministry…many people opposed him and wanted him dead…one of his own betrayed him for a handful of coins…before the judge he was silent…he was whipped until he was unrecognizable…but still he was silent…they handed him a cross and he walked through crowds of people who mocked him…but still he was silent…the nails went into his hands and feet…the pounding the splitting of the skin…the oozing of the blood…think about his love, think about his goodness, think about his grace that’s brought us through…stretched across a wooded cross our Lord cried out… “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus died and 3 days rose to be with His Father God and is reigning and interceding for us…we are redeemed through Jesus Christ blood…all you have to do.

Repent of your sins…Jesus is waiting for you to turn and believe on Jesus Christ who was born…who died and rose on the third day and is seated at the right hand of the Father…so that you can have eternal life …surrender your will and ask Jesus Christ to come and live in you…

Thank you, Father for your grace that brings us salvation. Thank you, Father that you teach in your word to say “No” to ungodliness and personal pleasures that satisfies our desires and does nothing to build your kingdom. Thank you, Lord that you give us hope for a new future in you. Thank you!

Lord Jesus we come before you with hearts that are humble seeking the Great I AM, the Great Shepherd, Jehovah-Jireh our provided. I pray for your lost people that they will see your grace and repent of their sins. I pray they will turn to you and away from their sins entering into a new life of hope. Open their eyes so they can see and unstop their ears so they can hear; so that their hearts will open wide for your love. In Jesus Christ name, I pray; Amen.

ᶦ   “Think about his love”, Don Moen, WoW Worship, 2001

God with us

Emmanuel, God with us, Emmanuel, Emmanuel, God with us, the Son of Israel, the Son of Israel.ᶦ

I believe that the Lord has a plan for each and every minute of our day and when our plan doesn’t work we get upset. But, God in His heaven is in control and He knows what comes next and what we must learn to grow in Him.

This week has been a growing time for me in my relationship with the Lord. This week song has been Emmanuel, God with us from the Home for Christmas CD of Amy Grant. The Lord has played this song in my head all week day and night. But, I couldn’t seem to get what He wanted me to write about. I said “Lord, give me a Bible verse? But know Bible verse came but this song played in my head day and night.

My week was a different week: 1) going in for a critical eye exam. I have a condition called narrows glaucoma which needs laser surgery in both eyes. I have been praying for the Lord to heal me because I have no vision insurance. 2) Having oral surgery for a back tooth that was infected; no dental insurance so everything has been out of pocket. During this whole episode the Lord was lining up jobs to pay my office visit bills. The song Emmanuel, God with Us played the whole time through this whole ordeal giving me this peace that I was not alone.

Satan has tried to rob me of this victory by causing discontent and migraines. But, God was fighting for me with songs of deliverance what time I am afraid I will trust in you. (Psalm 32:7) In the dentist chair I felt God’s presence with me…You dance over me, while I am unaware, sing all around but I never hear the sound, Lord, I’m amazed by you, Lord, I’m amazed by you, and how you Love me²…God was with me.

Immanuel (Emmanuel) is used for Jesus name which means God with us. (Matthew 1:23) God was with Moses when he delivered the Israelites from captivity in Egypt. (Exodus 3:12) God was with Joshua “I will give you every place where you set your foot…As I was with Moses, so I will be with you: I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:3-5) Throughout the ages God was with someone who put their trust in God alone; that someone could be you.

This week I committed my ways to the Lord and I trusted Him to bring it to completion. (Psalm 37:5) However, my plans are not the same as what God plans for us. But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. (Psalm 31:14-15) I committed my ways to the Lord in His name alone; in Jesus Christ name.

We do not know why God does what He does. But, know this that He has your best interest at heart when He begins working in your heart the things of God. God will take you down avenues that you would have never gotten there on your own; without a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Lord doesn’t mean to harm you but to grow you into the reflection of your Father Jesus Christ. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) We can learn from God through his word or we can be taught the hard way through lessons.

So, if you want to begin your journey with Him you need to be clothed with righteousness. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off ⎯ for all whom the Lord our God will call. (Acts 3:38-39)

The lesson learned this week is that the Lord was listening to my heart cry that I needed Him this week to step up big for me. We all struggle with unbelief on some level when we hit a place when we think God isn’t on the same page as we are. We know we need to get some serious money and we wish He would send it in the mail but He says continue to work out our salvation fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13) The Lord was perfecting His good purpose in my life so that He would be glorified in the earth.

GOD’S PLAN
So know this right now:
•God’s with us even when we don’t feel Him or see Him.
•He is making a way for you before you cry out your prayer to Him. (Psalm 23)
•Trust in Him and He will sustain you. (Psalm 31:5)
•The Lord does not want any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2Peter 3:9)

Emmanuel, God with Us, the song and its words are just part of the package. The Lord wants you to know that He is an awesome, powerful God who cares for our every need and that He will send us comfort when we struggle. For me, God uses songs to soothe me and the words He used this week were: Emmanuel, God with us, Emmanuel| Emmanuel, God with us, the son of Israel| and still he calls through the night| beyond the days of old| A voice of peace to the weary ones| who struggle with the human soul| All of us, travelers, through a given time| Who can know what tomorrow holds?| But over the horizon, surely you and I will find.| Emmanuel, God with us, Emmanuel| Emmanuel, God with us, the Son of Israel| and the years they come, and the years they go| though we may forget somehow| that the child once born in Bethlehem Is still among us now. | Emmanuel, God with us, Emmanuel, |Emmanuel, God with us, the Son of Israel, the Son of Israel.ᶦ

Thank you, Father for the lessons we learn at the feet of an amazing God who promises to be with us and never forsake us. Thank you, Father that through each lesson we grow stronger to reflect your grace. Thank you, Lord that you are the great I AM who carries us through each trial.

I pray for your people who are called by your name will humble themselves and pray and seek your face in all that they do; and then trust you to carry it out according to your good purposes. I pray that you give us a compassionate heart to serve in the great commission; or to give and pray to support our sisters and brothers who are serving in the missions’ field; because the enemy goes about feeding on our fellow workers. Give us insight into praying with a fervent focus so that we will have victory in the harvest fields of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ name, I pray. Amen.

ᶦ Grant, Amy; Eaton, Chris; Hall Robert. Home for Christmas. Emmanuel, God with us. 1992
² Anderson, Jared. Desperation Band, Songs 4 Worship, Amazed. ©2003 Vertical Worship Songs/ASCAP

Inward Heart

Once upon a time there was a woman with three children who sang to her children every night. One night she decided to forgo the singing and read to them instead from the book of proper manners. Each day the children showed increasing manners that the mother was well please in their politeness. But, one day the report came home from school that her children were expelled from school. The young mother was up in arms how could this be my children are welled manner. The teacher explained that her children were polite but their heart was cruel. They have learned to have outward compassion but their inward heart was void of human kindness. They were caught bullying younger children from their money and they were extremely polite doing it. The moral of the story is outward appearance doesn’t make the man but the inward Spirit of God carries a man through eternity.

When life sends you a curve ball do not think that putting up appearances will solve your problems. When your inward self is in tumult the place to go is to the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ took all your tumults on the cross and died in your place. When we visit the cross where Jesus bled and died. It should release the pressure in our heart knowing it is already done for us. My God placed everything on his son so that we can live the risen Christ life in Jesus. Do not wait and exhibit traits like these children did by exploding or spewing words to hurt others with your pain. It is written “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)

The cross is the sign of victory for those who hang their hurts, diseases, and sin across its frame. Jesus won the victory for you and me when He was nailed to the cross, one lonely night, thousands of years ago. Place your heart before your God with a prayer of repentance that you cannot live this life along without His saving grace. That you will put your hope in Him it is written that Jesus is called “the blessed hope”. (Titus 2:13)

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

Salvation is a gift from God but to receive this gift you need faith. Faith is an active movement towards the Lord. It is written: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) Faith means confidently believing and trusting in the cross and risen Lord as your personal Lord and Savior. (Romans 1:17) You have to believe with all your heart, surrender your will, and commit yourself to Jesus Christ. (Romans 6:17) Faith consists of repentance of yours sins, obedience to His word, and a relationship with Jesus Christ. (Acts 17:30; John 3:3-6; Matt. 22:37)

Now God gives the unbeliever the gift of grace so that they may be able to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. 2:8, 9) This grace sets you free (Romans 6:20, 22), to be obedient (Matt. 7:21), to pray (Zec. 12:10), to witness for Christ (Acts 4:33), and grow in Jesus (2Peter 3:18).

When Jesus Christ was on the cross He cried out “It is finished”. Your transgressions and iniquities was all finished on the cross and they are no more. Are you looking for someone to take the pain and guilt away? Look to the cross where Jesus Christ took the blame for us all; beaten and shamed He walked to the place called Skull. Nailed to the cross were His hands and feet He suffered for us all. He died and rose to sit at the right hand of His Father to reign in victory over all our enemies. (Luke 23:24-26)

Come, the inward man is thirsty for the things of God. Come drink of the well that never runs dry. Jesus Christ is waiting with open arms.

It is written “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? ⁹And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ ¹ºIn the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  (Luke 15:8-10)

The Lord cares about the ones who are lost. Do you hear him wooing you…He is calling you home. Do you hear Him calling? Do not resist. (Hebrews 12:15) Do not receive in vain. (2Cor. 6:1) Do not abandon the gift. (Gal. 5:4)

The spirit is wiling but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41b)

Pray with me

“Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe in you and that your word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may now have forgiveness for my sins and eternal life. I know that without you in my heart my life is meaningless.

I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Please Jesus forgive me, for every sin… (Name each one to the Father) I have ever committed or done in my heart, please Lord Jesus forgive me and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior today. I need you to be my Father and my friend.

I give you my life back and ask you to take full control from this moment on; I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.” Amen.

Thank you, Father that you care for the inward man and you want to change us. Thank you, Father that you come as a light to uncover the secret sins in our lives. Thank you, Father that we don’t need to live alone with our sickness but you came to set us free to live a life like no other.

Thank you, Lord that you are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and you reign in our lives. You broke down my walls and laid claim to my life, thank you Lord.

I pray that you set us free of the chains that bind us up. That we give up the secrets that keep us guilty and bitter. I pray we look to the cross where you set everything under your feet and said it is finished. Grace has claim victory. Let us stand and give you praise for the victory is won! In Jesus Christ name I pray. Amen.

Give the command to save me

In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. ²Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. ³Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. ⁴Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men. ⁵For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. ⁶From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. ⁷I have become like a portent (omen) to many, but you are my strong refuge. ⁸My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long. ⁹Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together…be not far from me O God; …¹⁴But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. ¹⁵My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure…~Psalm 71

We do not know who wrote this Psalm but I think maybe David did in his old age. David was concern that his failings as a King, Father and a friend were eventually his downfall. In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me not be put to shame. David was feeling shame for all his past sins and was sharing with God his fears. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go. When I am in trouble I want to always depend on God to bring me through. David sought God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. God already knows what we have done the sins we have committed but he also knows our hearts. David heart looks to find favor from a God who had also become his Father. He did not want to stop his union just because his own strength was leaving him. I think he equated his strength with God’s but God’s strength doesn’t change when we get weaker. The Lord says in his word “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. (2Corinthians 12:9)
David reminds God that since his youth he has relied on God and put his hope in Him. David is older now and is looking down that old road to the victories and the major fiascoes in his life. He is not sure where he is with God. David is surrounded by people who hate him and want him dead and he is calling out to his advisory God are you still with me. Give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. My rock and my fortress; let’s make this plea personal your my God. God you have been there from my youth you have nourished me and strengthen me when I had no other looking after me. How many victories in the field have we won together? When Saul was chasing me you were my hope and my strong tower I look to you again. Be not far from me, O God; come quickly, O my God, to help me. May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace. David through his plead to God is drawing strength from God not the world but a source who has not forsaken him. The Lord is pulling David in even though you grow old you still need my strength. When our bones grow weary and life concerns come pressing in on us we can still depend on Jesus Christ to be our eyes, ears and our strength.

¹4But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. ¹⁵My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. ¹⁶I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. David starts his prayer in fear and slowly his voice changes to confidence in his Lord saying “I will” always have hope; I will praise you more and more; I will come and proclaim your mighty acts; and I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. David is not putting his confidence in himself to do the job he is looking to his source of life. God became this all-consuming source of power that transformed David’s life from an ordinary sheep herder to a Warrior King who represents who Jesus Christ supposed to be to us.

David is witnessing to us and proclaiming his power for us today. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) David is not unique there are many people that God has used throughout history in the proclaiming of God’s word.

Do you need faith and hope because you can get both through prayer. David put together prayers that spoke of searching and finding, running and hiding, resting and abiding, thanking and proclaiming each of these were answers to prayer that was prompt by the need for a relationship to God. David spoke his fears out loud to a most powerful God knowing He would ²turn your ear to me and save me.

We are going to suffer on this journey with Christ Jesus but let us rejoice like David did, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1Peter 4:12-13)

If, I come to you O Lord and find shelter in your arms do not look away or reject me. Shame is unbearable and when we seek for help we think shame will be are undoing. But, the Lord covers our nakedness with His robe of righteousness. We come before the Father in prayer bearing all of our faults and He in his awesome power covers us with His blood from a cross of shame. Jesus Christ took on that shame at the cross already for us so that we can humbly come to the throne room of God when we seek shelter.

If, you do not know God and you want him to give the command to save you. Repent and believe on this:
“Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe in you and that your word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may now have forgiveness for my sins and eternal life. I know that without you in my heart my life is meaningless.

I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Please Jesus forgive me, for every sin… (name each one to the Father) I have ever committed or done in my heart, please Lord Jesus forgive me and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior today. I need you to be my Father and my friend.
I give you my life back and ask you to take full control from this moment on; I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.” Amen.

Thank you, Father for saints that came before us that proclaim your righteousness and power; so that we may imitate and grow into and amazing fellowship with you. Thank you that I can run into the shelter of your arms and be renewed. Thank you that my name is written in the book of life with people like David. Thank you, when I bend my head and speak your name you hear every word and it brings me into the throne room of God and your presence.

I pray that we can all pray like David and be renewed through our fellowship with you. So that we can proclaim your name to the nations that you are our hope and strength and a presence help in time of trouble. In Jesus Christ name I pray, Amen.

Commit your way to the Lord

⁵Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: ⁶He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. ~Psalm 37: 5, 6 (NIV)

When I was thinking of what to write the Lord gave me a picture of marionettes or a better name hand poppets. When we commit our ways or plans in God’s trust we become marionettes in the hands of the Lord. From now on He directs our paths when we entrust our ways to him. God is in control of our life. The whys of life we have no answer but the line of communication between the Lord and us is clear every minute of every day to cry out or fervently pray for clarity.

I have struggle most of my life with migraines but in the last 7 years they have gotten far worse. My migraines when they would come would last from two days to a week. I also experience the aura migraine too. I’ve taken pills that cause side effects that cause more problems and then the migraines. So, one day I said “no more pills their most be a reason why I get migraines.” Crying out to God I put my trust in God to direct my path to a solution or healing. With the help of my church family praying I soon heard from the Lord; dairy products were causing my migraines.Ridding my entire dairy from my house my migraines have stopped. But, then eventually the aura migraines started up and it’s like what is going on. Driving to work, I am blinded by an aura which is not good and the pain afterwards it worst.  The Lord says “commit your way to the LORD; trust in him.” Again, I go to my Father with my request “Lord help, I can’t do this on my own I give you this migraine why is this happening? I can’t live like this anymore.” In the natural foods store I was talking about aura migraines with a guy and he tells me about his friend who gave up wheat and her migraines are gone. He told me to go on celiacdiseases.org for all the products and foods that are link to wheat. It is almost three weeks now and I am pain free. “Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus!”

Who will be glorified? Jesus Christ. Who will we boast about? Jesus Christ. So that, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is KING!

⁵Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do his: ⁶He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

When you put all your hope on Jesus Christ and commit your way to Him. He becomes your King, husband, and love in your life. “You can say to this mountain, move from here to there. Nothing will be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20)

The Lord will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. This righteousness is God’s grace given as a gift in His son Jesus Christ who lived, died and rose from the dead. Not by works can we attain this gift of righteousness but by faith and trust in Jesus Christ we become the righteousness of God in Him. (2Corinthians 5:21) Abraham had such faith in God that He submitted to God’s control in his life; in return God credited to him righteousness. (Romans 4:3)

⁶He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. 

The Lord has promises to His people who believe in Him:

  • Answer prayer
  • Justification of their righteous values
  • Spiritual inheritance
  • Lord’s sustaining help
  • Lord’s guidance, protection, and abiding presence
  • Salvation

When we exercise our faith bringing our soul into union with God in Christ which produces righteousness according to God’s will. (Romans 4:3, 5, 9, 22) Faith is our bridge the word says “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes to the Jew first and also the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16, 17)

The word says, “there is no one righteous, not even one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” (Romans 3:10). Those who live in law do not know God or seek God they are slaves to their sin. But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you whole-heartedly obeyed form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:17,18)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our word.” (Romans 6:23)

Do you have a peace that you are forgiven or are you a slave to sin? Do you live in fear of death? The Lord does not want any of his children to be lost. That is why He chose to die for us so all who come to the Father will all have the gift of eternal life.There is no sin bigger than another “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory to God.” (Romans 3:23)

Take the step of faith and receive the gift of life. Repent of your sin… believe that Jesus Christ came to die on the cross for you… ask Jesus Christ to come and live with you.

“Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe in you and that your word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may now have forgiveness for my sins and eternal life. I know that without you in my heart my life is meaningless.

I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Please Jesus forgive me, for every sin… (name each one to the Father) I have ever committed or done in my heart, please Lord Jesus forgive me and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior today. I need you to be my Father  and my friend.

I give you my life back and ask you to take full control from this moment on; I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.” Amen.

Thank you, Lord that you are my healer, my victor and my strong tower; that when I run to it I am consumed intocyour robes of love. Thank you, Lord that your people by faith can return to you and you will credit them righteousness. Thank you, Lord that you never turn your back when one has committed their ways to you; that you move mountains to act on our behalf. Gracious are you my God.

I stand and praise you, for your might and mercy towards me in my search of a cure for my migraines.  You are a God of promises. I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. (Psalm 9:1, 2) You are the King of kings and the Lord of lords you are my Great I am. I love you. With my arms raised and my hands lifted up I give you honor; for honor is do.

I pray for your people Lord Jesus that they will commit their ways into your hands and trust you. Give them the faith to step out in knowing the end results and be obedient to your plan for their life. I pray for the lost that they will step out in faith and give their life up for yours; so that they can say they are saved and righteous in the sight of God. In Jesus Christ name I pray this, Amen.

Jesus and the Rich Man

Jesus and the Rich Ruler

Last week, our pastor talked about the passage in the Bible where the rich ruler asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.  Mark 10:17-29.

I think most people are unsure or misunderstand what this passage really means.  In this article we’ll try to answer the following questions:

  • Does this passage say that Jesus is denying his divinity?
  • Does this scripture say that every rich person will go to hell or that we must give all your money to the poor to get into heaven?
  • What can one do to inherit eternal life?
  1. In Mark 10:18, when Jesus responded to him saying “why do you call me good…only God is good”, does he at that point deny his divinity?  Let’s take a closer look at the situation.  This man came to Jesus.  He called him teacher.  The fact that he called him teacher shows us
    that he did not see Jesus as the Son of God…he saw him merely as a good, smart person…that is why he responded to this man saying “why do you call me good…only God is good?”  Jesus talks to us personally based on where each person is coming from.  If Jesus had meant to deny his divinity, he would have replied simply that he was a sinner. But Jesus’ divinity isn’t the issue.  He was merely questioning him based on the rich man’s response, to make him reflect on his words.  Jesus realized that this person was blind as to who Jesus really was and that this person based his view of salvation on works and on lineage since he used the word inherit.
  2. In Mark 10:21-23, Jesus tells him to sell everything and follow him.  When the young man turned away sadly, Jesus explained that it is hard for a rich man to find salvation.  There are actually two important points to be made concerning these verses.  Will selling everything get us into heaven? NO.  1 Corinthians: 13 is clear on this.  Even if we give all your money to the poor, it will not provide salvation.  We can’t buy our way into heaven.  What Jesus was talking about is this – he knew the person’s heart.  He was simply testing his character.  He knew that possessions were more important to him than following God.  Luke 16:13 says “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money”. That is why he went away sad, because he was unwilling to lay down his wealth (the idol in his life).  We need to lay down all of the idols in our
    lives…especially money.As  far as all rich people going to hell is concerned…just remember that some of the greatest people in the Bible like Abraham, Noah and others were some of the richest people of their time and God loved them and they loved God.  God wants us to be successful.  The key is to keep our hearts on God and not allow ourselves to be focused on our possessions.  By the way, we can be just as obsessed by money and thinking about money if we are poor.  We can get into the trap of thinking that more money would solve all our problems.  In reality, if Jesus is our focus, everything else will fall into place.  It’s a good reminder for all of us.
  3. Starting in Mark 10:23, Jesus starts explaining how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.  He says “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  What does that even mean?  For a long time I actually thought that he was talking about a sewing needle.   However, what he was talking about is a small opening in a city wall that was big enough for a camel or a person to get through if they took everything off and kneeled down and crept through.  In other words, we need to leave everything behind.  There is nothing we can do for God.  There are no good deeds (no matter how good) that could ever get us into heaven.  Living a good life will not save us.  It is simply being saved by Grace. The Bible says that we have all sinned and fallen short, and that Jesus died for us and paid the price for our sins.  The Bible simply says to accept Jesus’ free gift and turn from your sins and we will be saved.  That is it.  Doing good things, being baptized, reading the Bible, etc. is really just a sign of us being saved but not the key to salvation.

Follow these links for more information on Salvation. Are you a good person – A Test, Salvation.

God Loves Everyone the Same, No Matter How They’re Created

Psalm 139 is a wonderful song of praise to God. Verse 14 says, “I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” The Psalmist notes that he is imperfect, but that God’s thoughts toward him are wonderful (v. 17), because he will guide anyone through anything, from the usual difficulties – such as when Paul learned God’s strength was made perfect in His weakness – to those not so usual.

Each of us is a miracle, created by God for a specific purpose. He doesn’t want there to be imperfections; He created this world perfect, but then sin entered intot he world through mankind’s free will. So, now, there are people who experience all sorts of difficulties in their lives because of the curse of sin which caused this world to become broken down. It’s not any one person’s sin that causes it – it’s the imperfection which came when this perfect world had imperfection brought into it.

So, because of that imperfection, there are people like me born with low vision (in my case, from Dandy-Walker Syndrome) or hearing (in my case, bad enough to need a hearing aid.) There are those with other things physical or mental. And, there are even those whose creation is really unique – those born with a mix of anatomical traits considered both male and female, or which are atypical for each. Such people are known as intersex.

Intersex has nothing to do with sexual orientation, by the way; that has no relevance to this. In fact, it has nothing to do with homosexuality or the transgender movement. These are among numerous major fallacies. about it. The Bible says nothing specific about the issue, except that obvioulsy we must show the same love Jesus showed everyone. Numerous websites devoted to the issue merely seek to raise awareness of the issue and of difficulties encountered in society which are related to it.

We can’t always figure out why God chose what He did for us. I have a few ideas, based on what I’ve accomplished, of why He gave me low vision, low hearing, a bit of cerebral palsy (enough my feet point out a touch & I couldn’t do little things like open cans or jars as early as some kids), and possible even a touch of mild Asperger’s Syndrome. But the important thing is that He is the God of all comfort who provides a peace which passes understanding when we trust Him to. I’ve been able to do things I never would have, and help people I wouldn’t have, without these – some of which nobody else would have. Even though my body isn’t perfect, like anyone else, I’m a miracle.

God’s most amazing miracles surely include those connected with His birth, death, and resurrection. He came to die for each of us, to take the punishment for our sins, mine as well as others. Then, He rose from the dead, having the victory over everything.

For Him to do this, of course, He had to do as John 1:14 says He did – He “became flesh and dwelt among us.” He was fully God and fully man. While here, He showed great care for the hurting people of this world. While the Pharisees, the religious crowd, cared only for the usual and tried to impress others, Jesus cared for those who were unusual in some way. He performed many healings, not only of physical things but also of broken hearts.

Some of those hearts were broken by the treatment which the Pharisees gave, I’m sure. But, these people recognized that Jesus was special. He was different. He and god the Father are one. (John 10:30) God had ordained the Law in the commandments to teach the people that they couldn’t follow even those laws all the time, because of the nature of their hearts. So, they had to trust Him by faith in order to be saved. Salvation has always had a faith component. However, the Pharisees, as people often do, turned it into a totally works-based system and condemned those who went against it.

They even thought they had answers for why God created people such as the blind man in John chapter 9. They asked a strange question of Jesus – whether the man or his parents had sinned that he was born blind. Jesus told them that neither one had; the man was born blind that the works of God might be made manifest in him. Then, Jesus healed the blind man. The Pharisees were so upset that they threw him out of the synagogue; this man then wound up becoming a follower of Jesus.

We don’t know much about this man as a follower, but his testimony must have been amazing. He had the same testimony as anyone can who has experienced something other than the usual from their physical body. That testimony is that Jesus can and will overcome anything if they trust Him, and help them through anything.

This doesn’t mean that Jesus will heal everyone of physical problems while living. For some, healing won’t come until He calls them home to His perfect Heaven, at which time I will have perfect sight and hearing, those confined to whellchairs will be able to run, and so on. I know of one young man, in fact, who must wear braves on his legs. When he reaches Heaven, the first thing he plans to do is leap 100 feet in the air.

It does, however, mean that Jesus will give anyone the ability to get through anything with His help. It also means that – while not everything is good in this world – all those things we face will work together for good to them that love God. (Romans 8:28) God has a way of taking anything and using it for good. Even the bad things which people do because they have not learned of His love. God lives in each believer through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 113-14, 4;30; John 14-16, etc.) So, it is up to each believer to let Him guide them in the truth, being control by His Spirit. Thankfully, He will always love and cleanse us from sin when we turn to Him by faith. (1 John 1:9-2:1)

What He can’t take are peoples’ sins. No sin can enter Heaven. Heaven is a perfect place which God established so there would be no suffering, no tears, no pain, no parting, no sorrow. No bad stuff can enter there. So, He had to find a way for people like me and you and everyone to get there. Because, while our imperfections aren’t because of our own sin, we do all sin and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) that means each of us comes short of God’s perfect Heaven.

God gave us each a wonderful gift, though. The wages of sin – what we earn because of our sin – is death, separation from God forever in a place called Hell. But, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

That is the awesome gift which we must remember to celebrate, whether or not we celebrate Jesus’ birthday on December 25 or not. That gift of life forever in that perfect Heaven is free; all a person has to do is to receive it.

People have been mistreated throughout history because of differences. That mistreatment comes through actions of various sorts; words play a part, too, but focusing only on surface things like names can make one as bad as the Pharisees, who refused to do as God commands and look at the heart. The important thing is that God loves each of us because of who we are on the inside, not because of what name we go by.

The way to have that personal relationship with God – so you can get His help here and also go to His perfect Heaven someday – is to simply “believe on the Lord Jesus Christm, and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31) Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13) That whosoever means anyone – any person can put their name in there because God is talking about them.

We may each have different physical characteristics. But, we each have one thing in common – a need for God’s love and forgiveness. Our differences are not because of sin – they are because God created each of us in a unique way so that we can glorify Him in who we are and what we do. However, we all do hve sin – myself included. We fall short of God’s perfect glory.

God doesn’t demand works like the Pharisees, though. That would be unfair anyway because some people could work more than others; some can’t do any. God made sure it was all by grace through faith in Him. It is not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians. 2:8-9)

Because it is by faith alone in Christ alone, each of us is only a single, sincere prayer of repentence to Jesus away from eternal life. The words don’t matter – but it can go something like this. “Dear Lord Jesus, I know I’m a sinner. I can’t reach your perfect Heaven myself. But, I know you died for my sins and rose from the dead. You took my punishment so I could get to heaven and also have life with you now, so you can guide me and help me on earth. Lrod Jesus, today I choose to turn from my sins and trust you to save me. I call on your name, asking you to save me from my sins and come into my heart to live. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

That’s all there is to it. We don’t know what God has planned – I heard about a condition from an online friend and I considered a number of ways to do it. Suddenly, this blog came out of my thoughts and prayers. I know that whatever happens, though, the Christian life is a great adventure in trusting the Lord to see you through everything. He has always been faithful to me, and He wants everyone to not only call on Him but also to let Him guide them in showing His love to others and telling of His great gift to them.

Homeless for the Holidays – How To Love The Poor

Though few like to admit it, a catastrophic illness or other major setback can leave anyone on the brink of homelessness. And, features like this shows that many homeless are families with nowhere to turn.

What is the key to helping such people?

Many try to blame or credit the policies of one party of another, but Jesus said “The poor you will always have with you.” This doesn’t mean that they will be poor on purpose. This just means that in this fallen, sinful world, circumstances will not be rosy for everyone. Jesus was exhorting us to care for the poor and love them as His disciples loved Him.

When we look at Matthew 26:7-12, in fact, we see in the context that a woman had come with a box of ointment, and poured it onto the Lord. (Note that this was *not* the same woman who wiped His feet with her tears. This woman was in a totally different situation and poured the box on His head to boot.)

She was criticized and it was mentioned that the box, full of a very special and expensive ointment, could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus then remarked that the poor would always be with us. Further, He said that she had done this in preparation for His burial, as He was soon to be crucified for our sins, taking our punishment, dying, and then rising from the dead. She had done this to show her love for the Savior.

When Jesus says that we will have the poor with us always, but we will not have Him always, He is not saying to sell everything and give to the poor, though that is one option if a person feels led to do so. He is also not saying that things of value are what the poor are seeking. That is looking only at the outside, at the box this woman had.

God wants us to look upon the heart, though – that is where He always looks. And, it is on the heart of this woman that Jesus wants us to look. Because, in seeing how she loved Him, we can see how we ought to love and help those who are homeless – or just really poor.

It is most important to give them hope. Yes, soup kitchens are wonderful, and most churches that follow Christ and seek to make a difference in their community will provide some kind of help for the poor. It may not be a soup kitchen, it may be something else. The key is, it will be something that will not only minister to the peoples’ physical needs, but to their spiritual.

A number of Proverbs and other Biblical sayings mirror the concept of this famous saying – “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” Jesus certainly gave people fish and other great things – He healed the sick, cleansed lepers, raised the dead, and many other great miracles. Peoples’ physical needs were met. That was wonderful. It was satisfying for a while. But,t he 5,000 who were fed the loaves and fish wound up hungry again. Lazarus, who was called out of the tomb, died again. And so on.

Jesus called people to receive His spiritual blessings, though. He wanted people to recognize that they had needs which went beyond the physical. He wanted people to do as the woman at the well in John 4, when He told her He had water springing up into everlasting life, a well which would never run dry. This woman responded, “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come here to draw.” (John 4:15) While she was still focused a little on her physical needs, she was starting to realize that there was also a deep longing in her.

So, you may ask, what does this have to do with the poor or the homeless?

These are not just people who have no money or homes. The poor and the homeless are people with a deep longing for something better. If we ignore or scold them, we are making them feel worse. If we only give them nourishment or a gift, they will be satisfied for a while, but they will feel empty again, just like the woman at the well had to come to draw water each day. By providing hope for them, however, we can truly shower that love upon them that Jesus wants us to shower upon them. The riches which will matter the most go beyond the mere cost of an alabaster box of ointment.

Some will complain that there are people who use the system and are poor on purpose. There are a few of them, but that doesn’t mean all are like that. But, let’s look at them for a moment. They are that way for the same reason he woman at the well in John 4 kept going after different men; she’d had five husbands and the man she was with now was not her husband. Jesus didn’t condemn her, though – he went to her to provide her with something better.

Those who misuse the system are like the Samaritan woman with her men when she hadn’t experienced the unconditional love and goodness that comes from a personal relationship with jesus Christ. There is a God-sized hole in each of our hearts that only Jesus can fill. He showed her the way to let Him – who is the way, the truth, and the life – work in her heart so she could follow Him and be an example of Jesus to others in what she did and how she behaved. In the same way, those who misuse the system need to be shown, in a loving way, how serving the Lord is so much more fulfilling, because they can earn for themselves treasures in heaven. They need to be shown it’s worth it, and encouraged to become more productive.

However, the main thing we must be concerned with is those who are not poor by choice. Because, as noted in the beginning, there are many like that. They have likely tried, some given up hope. We don’t know which someone is, so we should presume that the poor person is trying. By showing them the love that Jesus has for them, we are giving them hope, which as noted, is the main thing.

For each group, of course, the adage applies that we should not only give them a fish, but where applicable teach them to fish. However, merely teaching them to fish, so to speak, isn’t enough to truly restore hope to them.

All of us have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. We are all poor in our lack of a relationship with Christ until the moment when we call out to Him, “Lord, save me.” Just as the many poor, diseased, and so on called on Jesus in His earthly ministry, each of us must realize we need His perfect gift of salvation.

Rich and poor alike, then, must recognize that God has a plan for their lives, a plan which first of all includes them letting him make them new on the inside, cleansing their sins through His finished work on the cross. Then, they will not be building treasures on earth, where moth and rust can corrupt, and thieves can steal; they will be building treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust cannot corrupt and thieves can’t steal. Where our treasure is, there is where our heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

That plan is not just to get them to Heaven, though – He wants to help each of us believers right here on earth to get throughh everything and to feel His love and closeness all the time when we remain close to Him.

Part of that personal relationship is being able to take all our cares and concerns to Him. He wants to help us through this world becasue that is how we can show others what He has done for us so they can have that peace and comfort. The old say is that we’re just beggars teling other beggars where to find bread.

By showing them how to follow Jesus, then, we are helping the poor, the homeless, and so on to realize they don’t have to despair about their situation. They don’t have to keep waiting for a handout and thinking this is all there is. They don’t have to fret thinking that if they don’t find something they’re a failure. Because, you know what? If they are only going for something in this life, they are going for something that will get old, wear out, and so on; something that will not last forever the way Heavenly treasures will.

That makes them just the same as the rich. If they are only focusing on a small shack, they are in the same position as the rich person only focusing on a million dollar home. They are focusing on an investment which will not last. Whether we have $1 or $1 billion when we die, we will all answer to God. And, what He will ask is this – Were your sins washed away by the blood of Calvary’s cross? Did you call on Jesus to save you with something like this – “Lord Jesus, I know I’m a sinner and don’t deserve Your perfect heaven. But, I know You died for my sins and rose from the dead. Lord Jesus, I accept You as my Savior, I turn from my sins and call on You to come into my heart and save me. I believe you took all the punishment for my sins and and I trust in You alone to get me to heaven when I die. I Jesus’ name, Amen.”

The words aren’t what saves you, of course, it’s Jesus who saves when you call on him.

But what you might be asking is, how will this help the poor and homeless now? Well, remember that Jesus didn’t just tell people to follow Him, He gave them things, too. But, that giving needs to be with an attitude of, “Just as I am giving you this physical thing, be it food, clothing, or whatever, Jesus has something spiritual that is special for you.” People will be much more likely to listen if we give a thing with our message.

Or, at the very least, if we give a kind ear, so that person can tell about the spouse who took all they had, or the cancer, or the house fire, or the lost job. Then, they will see that someone cares about them and who they are inside.

Then, we can show them Matthew 6:33 and the verses before it. How that if they seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, all these things will be added unto them; the things Jesus is talking about in the previous verses are necessities, like food, clothing, and shelter. They may mean a job for someone. They might mean a friend. Whatever that need is, Jesus can meet it, but he wants them to realize His love and Lordshp It is Jesus who provides us all with every need, it is ultimately His love that lets us have whatever we have.

And, that is true of rich and poor alike. Some people are in a position to do moer for Him. But, the peson who is in the center of His will – whether that will is for them to be rich or poor – is in the safest place they can be. Because, he wants us all to tell others of His great love and the great hope which is in Christ Jesus; a hope that is there for everyone, which we celebrate this time of year.