In Him we are…

We are MORE than conquerors through Christ, no matter what this world throws at us! In Ephesians 1:16-21 says this in the Amplified Bible:

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. 17. [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, 18 By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), 19 And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, 20 Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], 21 Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.”

God has given to each of us as believers, the victory through His power and through Christ who also conquered this world and the one who is in this world! You might say, “Victory over what?”!

Victory over your circumstances, whether they are involving money, loss of a job or a loved one, depression, alcoholism, drugs, illness, whatever it may be. Paul wrote the scripture above to the Ephesians because that is what he prayed for them to experience in their lives, not just some of the time but every day! I am not saying that God will heal all of your sickness or your addictions overnight, but He will comfort you and be there with you through the process of getting over them and through the healing process.

Sometimes God will heal you or me when we claim that healing through faith in Him and His power in our lives. But, Satan is going to try to derail your faith and stop any victory that you gain over his demonic powers which enslaved you to that illness or addiction. He will tell you that it isn’t possible, that God doesn’t care about you and that God won’t do anything for you that you can’t do on your own. Those are lies from the master of lies!!

God does love you. He does care about you and your problems and He will make a way for you to get through them! If you have given your heart and your life to Jesus and asked Him to come into your life and change your life into what He sees in you, then you can make it through all of the things that are going on, no matter how bad they are! It may require that you are killed by someone who is not a Christian, but you are the conqueror because as a Christian you have a sure victory through Christ and a place..an everlasting home in Heaven with Jesus!

We see and hear every day that more bad things are happening in the world because of hatred and violence in places from America to the Middle East to Africa, but these are ‘birth pains” of a world that is coming to a close. Look up and pray, expecting Jesus to come because He will. Your salvation and redemption draws closer every day!

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Christians in the crosshairs

Some Muslims even expressed their sentiments to Christians in Baghdad at a Sunday service.

“You are the true original people here, and we are sorry for what has been done to you in the name of Islam,” whispered one Muslim woman to a Christian woman fighting away tears, according to The New York Times.

This was from an article on the forced evacuation of Mosul (Nineveh) in Iraq. For a so-called “religion of peace”, Islam is not being very peaceful at all, especially with the Christians who have inhabited this city for over one thousand years. Mosul has been a Christian dominated city for at least that long, according to the information that I have been able to find.

Here is another quote from the UK:

“What are the moderate Muslims saying?” the Lebanese Catholic Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Rai, asked acidly last week. “We do not hear the voices of those who denounce this.”

Indeed not. The Caliphate’s threat to the Christians – convert, be taxed or die – contradict, in the words of the Chaldean Patriarch, Archbishop Louis Sako,  “1,400 years of history and of the life of the Muslim world and of coexistence between different religions and different peoples”. Archbishop Sako spoke, too, this week of how Iraq itself had become a “humanitarian, cultural and historical catastrophe”. But he added that Christians in the region must remember that the Koran demands respect for minorities and that the Christian people must also remain respectful to Muslims and show “patience and endurance”. Which, I would have thought, might be turning the other saintly cheek a bit too far.

We, as Christians, should help those in need if we can. I am not sure if the help that we provide would reach the ones needing it though, so I am not sure what to do. All that I can do right now is to pray for them and I ask all of you who read this to do the same. It seems that the American government is not offering any sort of help for these, yet they are willing to help the oppressors of Israel. Of course in the media, Israel is the oppressor of the Palestinian people not the other way around. Israel has belonged to the Jewish people since at least four thousand years ago according to the covenant made with Abraham and God’s covenant cannot and will not be broken.

When you pray about the trouble in our world today, please include a prayer for those Christians being persecuted in Iraq and those in North Korea and China as well. Pray for Israel and for God’s protection for them too. We need Him and they do too.

 

What can you say….?

The times and the days that we are living in are changing rapidly, yet nothing seems to be noticed by the world outside of the church that we attend. Weeks go by, sermons are preached, plates are passed, commitments are made sometimes, life goes on in between church services. It seems that not much changes. Sometimes the faces in the crowd change, some grow up and move away, some die and go home to be with our Lord. As the Preacher said in Ecclesiastes, nothing changes under the sun. All is as it was in the past and will be in the future.

So, what makes today any different from yesterday or one hundred years ago or even one thousand years ago? The only thing that has actually changed in that amount of time is our technology. We have more ways of communicating with each other, faster over longer distances than we did even fifty years ago. We see and hear the news from around the world in the same way. It is not slow and tedious as it was during the middle of the 1800’s when it would take weeks or months to find out what was  happening on the other side of the world. Even when the attack on Pearl Harbor came in 1941, it took at least thirty minutes to an hour or more to get news back and forth to Washington, DC. Now, it only takes seconds.

Is our world better off with all of the instant communication that we have? Is your day more productive because of technology? Yes, in some ways technology has made our lives better, but the Internet has also made it easier to commit an anonymous crime and get away with it too. It also puts images and videos within easy reach of our children and us. Images and videos which at one time were regulated by being only available to persons over a certain age. We have allowed pornography, murder and the ways to commit murder to come into our homes by way of games and the Internet. So, what can be said about the decline of morality in our culture today?

Religion is not the answer because you can create your own “religion”, and it will be accepted and taken up by anyone who might be disappointed with their own, if they have one at all. No, the answer to our dilemma is the Bible and the wisdom contained in it. Also, the Saviour mentioned in the New Testament has paid the price of atonement for all who will confess their sins and ask Him to come into their lives by believing that He did what He said and what He will do in the future. He is the only way…the only path to Heaven and if we lose sight of that, we have lost everything. Seek Him while He can be found.

Despair and depression, where do they come from?

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 42:11

The words above were written for us today. Because they speak to the depression and the solitude which Satan uses to take over our life and make it one which is filled with despair and heartache. Why does he do this? Because he doesn’t want you to tell anyone about Jesus and he knows that if you are “down in the dumps”, you won’t feel like spreading the Good News of Jesus to anyone! If he can stop you from telling one person, he has done his duty. Because, that one that you might miss because of your depression just might be the next great evangelist and he doesn’t want them to be that.

Satan hates us as human beings because God loved us more than He loved the angels, of which Satan was a principle cherub, the guardians of God. Not only does he hate humanity because of God’s love for us but because of the special position that God gave to us, the relationship that we can have with God through His Son. So, you see it isn’t personal, he just hates us with such a deep and abiding hatred that no human could ever understand it. Satan will make people think that he will reward them with power and wealth and he might for a time, but the day will come when your “contract” will be up. No amount of money or power will save you from the eternal punishment that will fall on you because you chose to align yourself with the consummate liar and deceiver that is Satan.

Some religions teach that there is no eternal punishment for us because Jesus paid that price and we are all saved through Him. Well, technically that is true but if you have not repented of your sins and asked Jesus into your heart and your life, you don’t have Him as Lord and Savior to keep you from being thrown into the lake of fire with Satan and his followers. Just as if I told you that I have one hundred dollars that I will give you, if you don’t come to my home and claim it then you still don’t have it. The offer of salvation is there, the price has been paid and once you take hold of it then your salvation cannot be un-done, but if you don’t grasp it and repent of your sinful ways and follow Jesus when you ask Him into your heart, then they were just words and nothing more. You can even get baptised in front of a church or in a stream, but without repentance and a commitment to follow Jesus, you just got wet in front of an audience and nothing more.

The Church which was started on the day of Pentecost was not a specific denomination. It wasn’t called the Church of God or the Church of Christ or the Pentecostal church. At the time, the Jews in Israel called them believers of the Way, a sect that they wanted to crush and destroy. Which is why they sent Saul to imprison and beat the believers in this “Way”. The persecution of believers began then and it has not stopped since. It may be subtle here in America, in other countries it is more pronounced and vigorous. Elsewhere, Christians are imprisoned, beaten, and sometimes killed because of their belief in Jesus.

Satan has used this jealousy and animosity against the Church to destroy and persecute it for centuries simply because he wants to undo the plans of God as much as he can. That is why there is so much suffering in the world and so much pain and death. God allows this because He gives each of us a choice, whether to follow Him or not. Without a choice, there is no real love. Think about this, if someone tried to force you to follow them or love them….would you? I wouldn’t.

Are we there yet?

Did you ever hear this from your kids? I know that nearly every parent has heard it a few times. So what about all of us who live in the world today? Do you ever wonder about when or where you might end up when this life is over? Well, the when I can’t help you with and to be truthful I personally can’t help much when where either unless you listen carefully to some of the writings that I have placed here.

First, the when is entirely up to God. He knows specifically when and how you will die and leave this life, so you need to consult Him about that. Although, He won’t give you that information. We never find out when or how we die ahead of time, because that would make things too easy. The Bible says that no one knows the time or the hour of the second coming of Jesus and we also don’t know our own time of departure from this life. I really don’t want to get into the “when I will die” discussion because I don’t want to know for myself. When God decides it is time, I will go..period.

What can I tell you about the part of life concerning “are we there yet?” ? Well, with all of the movies which show aliens or asteroids or some other “end of the world” scenario, I believe that there are many people who are wondering just that very thing, are we there yet? The answer is…..we are getting close. I know, for many people this will be a let-down and a non-answer, but it is the truth and its the only answer that I can truthfully give you. No man knows when these things are going to take place, unless God gives him that information and He won’t likely do that until it is very close to happening. Even then, they won’t be given an exact day or hour if they are given any information at all!

We are to be watching and seeking Him until that day. We are also to be doing His work until that day and it will come because it has been foretold, regardless of the fact that it has been over two thousand years since Jesus’ time. Our life and everything that goes on in this world will go on as it has until the events foretold in the book of Revelation begin to happen. Paul said that we would not see any events until the “man of sin is revealed”, even though many Christians are taught that we will be “taken up” before any of the events in the book of Revelation come about.

I don’t want to get into a debate about interpretations of scripture either so I am going to stop there. The point of my writing is that we are not there yet, but the time is growing shorter by the day. Step up the attack, tell as many people as you can about Jesus, teach as many as you can about Him, because the time is right. Your Salvation and your Savior draws nearer with each passing hour and day that goes by.

Too much information

Our world, and our everyday lives are drowning under a tidal wave of information. Some, we don’t truly need and some is just too repulsive to look at or read and yet we see it on the news and television, on the Internet and in our homes. Degradation in the world is rampant and meaninglessness is felt by many who should be too young to feel that way, but they do.

There seems to be a fogginess in our way of thinking and living which clouds people’s minds to what is right and what is wrong. Cults of all kinds are rampant, gangs and drugs assault our young people in grammar school with poisonous teachings and ideas. Paganism is deemed to be acceptable yet Jesus is not. Any religion apart from Christianity is fine and will be allowed in all areas, but don’t you dare mention Jesus or try to tell someone about Him.

The information that is needed in our world is being rejected by most, even in countries which were founded upon Christian principles. Yes, many Americans claim to believe in God but so does Satan! Yet, one out of three is the best you can find who truly claim to be Christians that attend a service once a week, and of those, some statistics show that only one in ten actually practice what they claim to believe.

Information has had a powerful impact on our world, especially in the past twenty years or so. Because of the “world-wide web”, information is available to everyone at any time of the day or night on computers, smart phones and tablets. The biggest problem is that most of the information out there is of the variety that you can’t discuss or show to a mixed crowd. That statement may strike some as odd, but I don’t believe that much of the content out there should be discussed between men and women or especially with your kids.

The “dark side” of the web is or seems to be bigger than the “good side”. It is more prominent, more out there so to speak. Just as the few in the media seem to be louder than the majority, from the gay agenda to the lobbyists who are trying to take our right to keep and bear arms to those who don’t want any religion in America at all, the side of the Internet that is more visible is really visible because people are looking for it.

Just as when you find a treasure of yours, whatever it might be, you didn’t just happen to find it…you were looking for it. That is the way that the information on the Internet works too. You didn’t just “accidentally” run upon that site that had pictures that you wouldn’t show your mother. You didn’t just happen to find the recipe for making a bomb by accident, you were looking for it. When we get into trouble, regardless of the kind of trouble it might be, it is not by accident. We were trying to find something or trying something out that we hadn’t tried before, but it was not an accident.

Just as when you come to the knowledge of Jesus, it wasn’t by accident, it was and is because you were called and chosen by God. You can fight it, you can attempt to run from the knowledge if you wish, but by revelation through a dream or by a visit by an angel or by going to a worship service, you will come to Him once you have felt that call. God knows each of us, intimately, and He knows who will answer the call on their lives and who will not answer immediately. The love and patience that He has is far above what we can exercise ourselves.

The information that is in the Bible is enough to keep you searching and looking for a way to tell others for the rest of your life. That one book is not out-dated or just a collection of stories, but it has been inspired by God’s Spirit and as such it is the Truth. That is why the focus of the entire Bible is the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Believe it, as Satan does, or not…that is your choice, but at least give Jesus a chance to show you Who He is and what He can do in your life. You only have the time allotted to you on Earth, so make sure as soon as you can.

Can God use you for His purposes?

Are you willing to let God use you in your life? Have you given your heart to Him so that He can use you? There are many people who don’t know about the Bible or what is in it these days in America. It really isn’t hard to understand why though. We have pushed the Bible, prayer, reading the Bible and many other activities related to being a Christian completely out of our lives. There are many who don’t know the first book in the Bible and many others who can’t even name the four gospels telling of the life of Jesus and the good news that was His life and ministry. I use “was” to denote that it happened about two thousand years ago, not that He is dead because He isn’t, Jesus sits at the right hand of God awaiting the time that He will come back and get the Church.

I am getting a bit ahead of myself here though. Are you a Christian or do you want to be a Christian? If you do, then ask Jesus to come into your heart and forgive you for the life that you have lived. He will show you how to live a different way with a new purpose and a new attitude. Once you have done this, pick up a Bible and pray that God will teach you through it because He will do that. Just reading it will help, but asking God to show you the things that you need to learn will help more than even going to church.

Although you will want to attend a church which teaches from the Bible soon because meeting with others who believe like you do is necessary. The early church in Jerusalem met in their homes, but they did meet together. The fellowship gained during this time is necessary for your growth in Christ as well as your learning more about Him. It is also necessary to your growth as a Christian because the fellowship that you enjoy with other believers grows sweeter and more like family as you grow in your faith!

Now, to get to the issue of being used for His purpose…first of course you have to be a believer and you should be willing to do the will of God. That being said, it is not an automatic thing that every believer is going to work for God in some way. The easiest way to do this is by studying God’s Word daily, then praying about what you have read and seeking His will for your life. He will answer your prayers in His time, of course, not yours so be patient. The best advice I can give you at this point is DON’T EVER ASK GOD FOR PATIENCE! He will hear that prayer and you will learn patience but you may not like the lessons!

God loves you and all of humanity and He does answer prayers, just realize that some of those answers are His way of testing you and teaching you. So, don’t be surprised with the answers that you get especially those that don’t seem to be what you asked for. God loves each of us and He does take care of our needs every day, but He is not One that you can ask for money and it will just fall into your account. Prosperity comes with sacrifice and work, not from schemes and gambling. Read through Proverbs carefully in either the Living Bible translation or the English Standard Version, then you will understand His view toward work and laziness and debt.

The Bible can teach you more than a college can in four years, but you have to meditate on it, pray about it and ask Him to give you the wisdom to understand His message for your situation when you are reading it. Believe me, I used to think that it was just an old book until I became a Christian and started really studying it and praying about what I read. Then I learned that your education is severely lacking if the Bible is not part of it. Give God’s Word and Jesus a chance in your life and your life will never be the same again…it will be one hundred percent BETTER!!!