Miracles

Do you believe in miracles happening today? Some people do because they have seen people healed when there was no chance that medicine could accomplish it. Others look at all of the problems in the world and think “Why bother? God doesn’t care anymore.”

Yes, He does. He has never stopped caring for the world and those in it. His grace for each of us today is for us to have the chance to come to know Him. He waits for us to decide to come into His Presence, and yet many are turning away because of apathy and mistrust and just plain tiredness.

Why do I say this? Because…it is true. Young people especially have turned away from God, even with the fancy churches and the concerts. Small churches which can’t afford those entertaining ways of getting your attention are losing people under forty by the thousands today. Why?

Because of boredom. In today’s world, where technology reigns supreme, people young and old just don’t get the wisdom in the Bible. It’s not flashy enough. It’s not loud enough and it doesn’t keep their attention long enough. Think about this for a moment.

Anyone born since 1980 has had video games, music videos, computers, cell phones (smart or not), and many other techno-gadgets in their lives at all times. None of this generation knows what it is like to be disconnected from family or friends because one way or another they have all had some form of communication available. Look in a crowd at a concert and see if you can count the number of screens lit up, even at a movie. Depending on the size of the crowd there will be hundreds if not thousands, so even in a venue where their attention is supposed to be focused on the stage or screen, they are usually focused on a small screen.

The only reason this doesn’t happen at my church is because it is in an area where there isn’t much cell coverage, so there isn’t any reason to look at the screen…no connection. That is also why the church is losing people in droves…no connection. How can you connect young people to a Savior and their Creator when they can’t touch Him or Google Him?

God cares for you and me. He loves each of us more than we can understand, and yet we latch on to doctrine and dogma made up by men. Just as those in the past did. The Law of Moses was held in high esteem, but it couldn’t save their souls. All that they Law could do was to point out that they couldn’t perform to perfection, that we can’t live or perform to perfection. The doctrine or discipline that some churches and their congregations cling to is no different, even though it is worded differently.

Man-made rules cannot be above God any more than we can be. His Way through Jesus is the only way to salvation, anything other than Jesus leads to death…the kind that never ends. Separation from God for eternity because of your choices, your choice, not because of any act or sin on your part except for the rejection of Jesus as your Savior. This is the unforgivable sin, and usually pride is the culprit which causes you to think that you can do better. That you can get into Heaven without Jesus.

Not possible. The door narrow and small in such a way that only you can get through with Jesus leading you in. Nothing that you have on Earth, whether it is money, power, fame or whatever it may be will help you be sinless and pure in heart enough to get into Heaven. Only through the blood of Jesus and your repentance of your sinful lifestyle whatever that may be will get you there. Some can wait until they are in the electric chair or the table to be killed by an injection in prison because they know the day and hour of their death. Most of us don’t have that luxury. Our death could come any time.

Seek Him in the Bible and pray that you can choose to follow Him for the rest of your days.

Do we all go to Heaven?

There is a song that is sung in our churches called “When we all get to Heaven” and today there are many who believe that this is the way it is. God would not allow someone to suffer for eternity in hell if they were a good person, whether they had given their life to Christ or not, right? After all, He is the epitome of Love and it says so in God’s Word, that He is Love, right?

Well, yes, God is Love and He is a loving Creator but He is also Holy and without sin so think about that for a second…could He allow people who are sinners into Heaven? Unfortunately, the answer is no, He couldn’t. If He did that, then what was the reason for Jesus’ death on the Cross?

He came into our world as a human baby, grew up in our world into a man, taught about God during His ministry, healed many people of sicknesses and diseases as well as brought a few back to life, then was rejected, beaten, hung on a cross until He died, buried and three days later rose to life again. Yet, in all of this, He relied on the Father‘s strength and wisdom to guide Him to do these things without sin. I know the argument that many say about that, “Well, He was the Son of God. Of course He could do this without sin!”

True, we are not capable of being sinless, if we were then He came for nothing! There was no reason for His death and resurrection. So, how can you think that someone who is good, and kind and who hasn’t committed any big sin can get into Heaven without Jesus? If they are without Jesus in their heart and their life, then they are still sinners because at some level they have sinned and according to God’s law, one broken commandment breaks them all.

The answer then must be no. We can’t all get to Heaven, unless we have accepted Jesus as our Savior. When we have done that, then we are covered with His righteousness and it is His righteousness that grants us access to the Father and to our place in Heaven, nothing more. We can’t add anything to it because until we have accepted Jesus into our hearts and asked forgiveness for our sinful ways, nothing that we have done prior to that has any real meaning for the Kingdom of God.

You are important to God! He did not create all of this and each of us and then sit down to wait and see what would happen! He is near to us every day since His Word says that “not even a sparrow falls without the Father knowing it” (Matthew 10:29). We are all precious in His sight and when you feel something tugging at your heart or a small voice whispering to you to give your life to Jesus, it is like Jesus calling His disciples. Will you answer or will you turn away? Turning away doesn’t cause you any pain now, but you will know it later. Think about giving your life to Him, because the stuff and fluff of this world don’t matter at all in eternity, so make sure that your eternity is one worth something!

Matthew speaks…. (part one)

My name is Matthew. I was a tax collector in Judea during the time when Jesus was teaching and healing in the country. Oh, those were wonderful days, but I digress. He had asked me to follow Him and I felt that I should. I am not sure why, but I did and I learned so much from Him and His teachings! We, that is his disciples and I found out that He really is the Son of the Living God! Can you imagine being instructed by Him?

One day as we were going through the cities and the countryside around Jerusalem, He was healing many of their infirmities and teaching the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. Some women that He had healed and who also were disciples of His, were tagging along with us and helping us with our mission to Israel and its people.

Many people were following us, so we sat down on a hillside and He taught them with this parable about a farmer sowing seeds. He said, “Some of the seeds fell along the roadside, but with little soil they were eaten by the birds. Some fell on good soil, but they fell among thorns. They sprang up with the rains, but were choked by the thorns and were not fruitful at all. Some fell on very thin soil on rocky places and they sprang up but since their root was so shallow, they weren’t able to bear the heat of the day and withered. But some of the seed fell on good soil and they produced a harvest of thirty, sixty and one hundred-fold. The people looked confused about this so we asked Jesus why He was teaching them with parables.

He told us that it was given to us, His disciples, to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God but unto them it is not, because by seeing they might not see and by hearing they might not understand. He explained that the parable was like this: The seeds are the Word of God and the ones that fell by the wayside are those that hear but the devil comes and steals the word away lest they believe and be saved. Those which fell on the rock with the thin soil are those which receive the word with joy but they have no root and so believe for a while but when temptation comes they fall away. Those which fell among thorns are them that have heard but are choked by the cares and riches of life and they produce no fruit. But, those which fell on good soil are they which have an honest and good heart and having heard the word bring forth fruit with patience.

Then Jesus said that we were not to light a candle and put it under a basket but to put it on a lamp stand so that the whole house could receive its light. Meaning that when we have received the Word of Truth and have taken it into our hearts, we are to let others see its effect in our lives so that they will want that light too! He also told us that when we are given this knowledge, we are not to keep it to ourselves lest we lose it, we are to give it away so that others may have it too.

Jesus’ mother and his brothers came to see him, but they could not get to him because of the crowds. It was told to him that “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside desiring to see you.” He told them that His mother and His brethren are those which hear the word of God and do it.

The next day, Jesus told us that He wanted to go to the other side of the sea of Galilee. So He got into a ship with us and we set out for the other side. As we were sailing, Jesus fell asleep on a cushion in the rear of the ship and a storm came up which was casting water over the sides of the ship!

We all felt that we were going to sink and here He was sleeping through all of this! We went to Him and woke Him saying, “Master we are about to die!” But, He got up and rebuked the wind and the waves and it became calm again. Then..He said, “Where is your faith?” We were afraid and wondered “What manner of man is this? Who commands the waves and the winds and they obey Him!”

Are you ready?

For what? There are many things in life that we are or should be ready for, but how do you know when you are ready? Do you even have a clue what it is you feel the need to get ready or be ready for?

Many people, including me, don’t have a clue. Should I be ready for a “zombie invasion” or a nuclear winter, or maybe a financial meltdown and the anarchy which will follow? Some of these are just fantasies of course, but what about the rest? Are you ready for things to really get bad? And when they do, what will you do? Are you going to be one of those who may be helping or will you be part of the problem?

Life on this earth, the only place that we have to live at the moment, is getting harder to handle in light of the economic crisis that the whole world is in right now. Can we have an impact on the way things turn out in the long run? In a way, we can, but we will have to make sure that our heart is right with God first. The reason that I say that is because the world is getting close to the time when this age will end. I don’t know when, nobody knows that except God Himself, but it will likely be in our lifetime.

Many people are worried about asteroids hitting the earth or some other catastrophic, world-wide calamity that will plunge us into anarchy and the only one that is going to happen with any certainty is the one that is predicted in God’s Word. You will have to choose sides in this time of conflict, whether to serve the one who is “in charge” of the world at the time or to be a servant of God and try to help others who are His servants at the time.

Many people will leave the church during this time because it has been prophesied that there will be a falling away from the faith at this time. What will cause this? People have asked this question this for many years and the cause that has been debated and discussed has changed many times. Apathy, dissatisfaction with religion in general, many people, even now, are turning their back on the religion that they grew up with.

The “falling away” during the Tribulation will be so great that very few devout, believing Christians will be left. I know that many people are going to read this and wonder about the “rapture” and whether it happens or not, the answer to that is…I don’t know. The theology that brought that into the teaching of the church did not come into the church until 1830 so I am not sure when we will be gathered up with Him.

The point is that we must be ready regardless of when Jesus sends His angels and blows the trumpet which signals that the saints will be gathered to Him. Like the ten brides in the parable, only a few of them were ready with their lamps when the groom came and that is what we must be…ready.

We must be looking, watching for Him, but we also must be telling others who will listen about Him if they don’t know their Savior. We have to be about the Master’s work when He comes so we won’t be caught unaware and unprepared. If you have given your life and your heart to Jesus, then you must tell others and keep praying, looking for Him until He comes. Whether it is five years or fifty years until that time, I don’t know but when they time comes we must be ready.

Don’t listen to false teachers who tell you that they are the Christ or that they have seen him because they have not. Jesus told His disciples that “many will come in my name claiming ‘I am the Messiah‘, and will deceive many” Matthew 24:5. We have to be studying the Word of God and learning all that we can through it, so that when claims are made about a particular someone, we will be able to see through the lies and deceit that will be spread to all of the world.

If you have not given your heart to Jesus, please consider that when your life is over on this earth you will stand before God in judgement. We are not good enough, regardless of the charitable things that we have done while living, to be ushered into Heaven. Unless you have asked Jesus into your heart and accepted Him as your Savior, you will be condemned the same as the fallen angels and Satan himself!

That is the only requirement that we have to meet to be allowed into Heaven, no amount of good deeds will help, because Jesus accomplished everything that was needed, all that you have to do is accept it as His grace to you and believe that He died for your sins. When you have accepted this and believed in His sacrifice for you, then you are an adopted child of God! Don’t wait, because we are not guaranteed our next breath, or tomorrow let alone years from now!

 

God is in control, even when it seems that He isn’t

Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, the list could go on and on. These are the signs of the end of the age and it is because of this end that these things are happening. God knew that they were going to happen and how many people would be affected by them long before they happened. He is not the cause of them but many people are asking “Where is God? Why didn’t He stop this from happening?”  Because it is part of the birth-pains of creation that is why.

Our Creator and His Son, Jesus, knew these things would happen before the end of the age. That is why Jesus told His disciples that they would happen before the falling away and before the end of the age. He did not specify where or what would happen only that it would be a sign to watch for.

4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

   9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24: 4-13)

In many ways verse 13 confuses people when it refers to the “one who stands firm to the end will be saved”, this verse is not a reference to those of us living in Christ now because we are supposed to be taken to heaven before the terrible part of the tribulation begins. This verse refers to those who come to Christ during the tribulation and hold onto their faith without giving in to the Antichrist‘s demands that they worship him. Even though they may be killed because of this, their souls will be saved.

The time to come to Jesus and give your life and heart to Him is NOW! We are not guaranteed any time past each breath that we take and each breath is given by God. So, when you draw your last breath only God knows when that will be and hopefully you will be ready to meet Him at that time. No one can save your soul and grant you entrance into Heaven except Jesus and belief in Him, other than that you are wasting your time!

God loves you all and wants you all to be His, but that will not happen by wishing or hoping that you have been good enough. None of us can be good enough to merit a place in heaven on our own, even Abraham had faith in God and that is what was credited to him as righteousness. Your only hope of eternity is through Jesus, that is it! The pope can’t get you there, praying to Allah can’t get you there, Buddha can’t get you there, Scientology can’t get you there. None of these man-made religions can get you into eternity and Heaven! Only belief in and following Jesus can do that!

Give Jesus a chance in your life and leave everything in His hands from this point on. Once you do that, your Hope in Him will sustain and keep you until you meet Him and when you do, you will have an eternity to get to know Him and the Father and everyone else in Heaven.