Suffering..

God, unlike some of the sermons that are heard and preached, doesn’t allow you to suffer. Yes, He is in control. Yes, He told Satan to test Job and Peter but His Spirit was there with them even through all that they went through. God gave them the strength to go through what they had to suffer but He did NOT cause their suffering. God’s only reason behind the testing was to prove to Satan the faith that His servant, Job, had in Him.

We are not made to suffer by a loving God. Jesus did not make Peter suffer, though He did tell Peter that Satan had asked to “sift him as wheat“. He also told Peter that He had prayed for his strength to stand against his sifting. Peter failed because he denied Jesus three times, though truthfully Jesus had also told Peter ahead of time that he would do this as well. Our God and our Lord know us better than we know ourselves, we may think our faith is strong only to find that is not the case in the time that we face a trial.

The most positive point that I can give you here is that after Jesus was resurrected, He forgave and restored Peter. Afterward, Peter became one of the most faithful of His disciples.

We can too! IF we will learn to give our hearts and our faith to God completely, unashamedly and without reserve! This kind of commitment is not impossible, couples who are committed to each other in marriage do it. So, why can’t we give this kind of service and commitment to our Lord and Savior when He gave His life for us?

True, He knew that He could take His life up again but His human body still had to endure the suffering and the pain of the scourging and the cross! That part of Him that was God, had to endure something worse…the separation from His Father during the time on the cross! Something which He had never had to experience from eternity past! A suffering that we, as Christians, won’t have to endure. Those who refuse to believe in Him and live their lives for Him will endure that separation forever, tormented by the fact that their belief in Jesus could’ve saved them from it.

That is the punishment of hell. Yes, there may be a lake of fire. It is mentioned in Scripture, weeping and gnashing of teeth are also mentioned. The torment most grievous will be the separation from God and everything that is good and light and cool. Consider this, search the Bible for your answers, seek out Jesus while you still draw breath because when you die…there are no do-overs, no second chances, no re-spawn to life! That’s it!

What will you do with your life? What are you expecting in eternity? Not believing in eternity now will not change the fact that God says there is an eternity after this life. Make sure of yours while you can.

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You are valuable!

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, said “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” I used to wonder what in the world He was speaking of…and now I know. Think of it this way if you can, picture all of the wealth of the entire world! The oil fields, all of the gold and platinum and silver, all of the diamonds and emeralds and rubies and sapphires that you can imagine, all of the real estate and mansions of every nation on Earth…and God considers your soul worth MORE than all of that. Why?

Because, NONE of that wealth will buy your way into Heaven! It is worthless compared to the worth of your soul…just yours! There are billions of people on Earth and God considers just one worth more than the entire wealth of the world! That is why He sent Jesus to die for us, all of us, but He would’ve sent Him even if there was only one more person who would accept Him. Isn’t that AWESOME!!!

God loves you and me and every person on Earth. He doesn’t love the sins that we commit though like using His name as a cuss word or using drugs or alcohol in an abusive way. There are many more sins than this but you know what I’m talking about. You are loved and valued by the Creator and He extends His grace and His love to you every day. You have a chance to accept Jesus as your Savior, while you live here, the problem is that many people think that they have plenty of time to “get right with God”.

That is a lie from Satan! You may be in a wreck tomorrow. You may have a heart attack tonight or tomorrow. You can’t “get right” after you die! The decision is yours but it has to be made as soon as possible! Then, read the Bible and study it because it has instructions for your life and how to live it! Trust in Jesus and His atonement for you because that is all that is required. Baptism is good, confessing your sins is good, but giving your heart to Jesus and believing in Him is what opens the door. The thief on the cross couldn’t get baptized and he didn’t have a chance to witness to anyone or confess his sins…all he did was believe that Jesus was Who He claimed to be, and Jesus said that he would be with Him in Paradise today!

God doesn’t want you to spend one day in hell, but Satan does because he wants to take you away from God’s presence! Life is only in the Prince of Peace and the King of Kings, Jesus the Son of God! Ask Him into your life today!

Have you considered…eternity?

Your life here is not all that there is, we were created to have an eternity to go into after this life, but many people don’t consider that to be truth. Why? Because, they can’t see any of it or any of the rewards and work to be done for God’s Kingdom in it now! There are many teachers today on the Internet, in pulpits, on television who are teaching their “version of the gospel”, which Satan does as well. He has had many years to perfect his delivery of his gospel and just as he did when he tempted Jesus, he takes scripture from the Bible and either leaves a portion out or takes it out of context. Some preachers today do that too.

Their teaching is full of partial scriptures, bits and pieces, which don’t really make much Biblical sense unless they are taught in context with the scripture or passage or paragraph that they began in. A partial truth, leaving out a word or taking Scripture out of context, is a lie! A lie that sounds like it came from God’s Word, and it did but without the text around that verse, it can be made to say almost anything. This is how Satan used scripture, by picking a verse and using it to make his point…not God’s point.

Today, not just in America but all over the world, people are being killed or put in to prison for their belief in Jesus. The problem with this is that Jesus is the only solution to our problems, here and now and into eternity! Put down your “self”, bury him or her and take up the cross of Jesus! What does that mean? It means to put others ahead of you, to be kind to one another, to love one another with an unselfish love. The kind that doesn’t say, “what’s in it for me?”!!

Living this way is following the teachings found all through the Bible, not just what Jesus taught. God has always had the answer for our lives, we are just too stubborn to listen or even look for it in His Word! Then, sometimes, when we do find the answer that we were looking for we claim it as our answer not that it came from God. We don’t give Him the credit or the glory for what we find. This is exactly what most “self-help” books do, maybe not word for word because that is plagiarism, but the advice you see in them is exactly the advice you can find in the Bible.

Eternity is going to be there after this life, but it is the experience in eternity that people should be working now to ensure. If you follow your own ways or the ways of the world, and reject any or all of the teachings found in the Bible, then your eternity is going to be very different from a Christian’s eternity.

I know, many of you will say that I am being self-righteous about Christianity but I am not. My righteousness alone is not enough and yours isn’t either, as a Christian I claim the atonement and the righteousness of Jesus that He paid for on the cross! It was the “self-righteous” priests who had Him executed because they felt that they were going to lose their “position” with the people.

Before too long it is going to be more persecution, not just in America but all over the world and it will be against Christians just as it is in Muslim countries now. For many people the prospect of persecution will be enough to keep them from becoming a Christian. For the immediate future, I understand that, but think of your eternity. Once this life is over, however the end comes, you will be faced with that. Eternal unity with God and many friends in Heaven or separation from God in a place of torment and misery forever. Which would you rather endure since while you still live, you do have a choice?

We truly are…

Vessels of God’s Spirit and we are also where He resides in us and not in a temple.  When  you have given your life to Jesus, you become the home, the dwelling place for the Spirit of God. At this point in time, we are very important to Him because everything that we do or say from that point on reflects on His Kingdom and His Glory. We are His and He is ours because we  have taken His Spirit in to live in us.

So what have you done to let anyone know Who lives inside you? Have you ever even thought about telling someone about your salvation? Many Christians really don’t think about it, but that is exactly what we are told to do by Jesus himself. We are supposed to go and tell the world or as many people as we can. If you are shy, ask God for help in that area.

People should be able to tell if you are a Christian, but in some parts of the world that is a dangerous thing. True, being a Christian is something which takes courage and strength especially today but it has been this way for many years. It is sad that we are walking away from Him and His Wisdom in droves today, many are even running as fast as they can or trying to take as many people with them as possible.

A line has been drawn, from the beginning at Eden, between good and evil, between God and Satan the world that we live in is being pulled and drawn in directions opposing each other. Please, read the Bible. Pray for clarity and understanding so that God can help you to understand His Word and the Truth held within it.

Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we can be forgiven by God. He is the Creator and the One that can see all that is happening today and tomorrow. When we realize this and ask His forgiveness for our sins and then turn to Jesus and allow Him to create in us a pure heart that the Spirit can inhabit, then we can begin to heal our world and our communities.

The only REAL fix and cure for the ills in the world and the problems which are coming in the near future, is Jesus the Messiah. Not Muhammad, nor Buddha or any of the other “man created” saviors of the past few thousand years, but Yeshua is the One and Only Son of God and He is standing at the right hand of God waiting for the order to be given to get the church, the Bride of Christ. When that happens, there won’t be anything holding the real evil in this world back any longer.

God’s Word is True and it is the Truth. Why or how could you get a book written by about forty different men, separated by hundreds or thousands of years and yet their writings all point, in some prophecy contained within, toward Jesus? It isn’t possible today and it wouldn’t have been possible then, but the Hebrew people who kept the records made sure that the Word and the laws that they were writing down were accurate.

Please read Romans 8, the whole chapter, and see that a man who had tried to destroy the church actually built most of it by his writings and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote 13 books out of the New Testament, he had been trained as a Pharisee, he knew the Torah and all of the writings by memory. Yet, it took an encounter with the glorified Jesus on the road to Damascus to bring him to belief and he did!

Would anyone ever think that you are a Christian?

Well? Could someone look at your life and the things that you do every day and tell that you are a Christian without you telling them? Do you frequent places of worship during the week, not just on Sunday? Does your weekly life show that you are a follower of Christ? Our country needs Christians who can stand up and show that their beliefs are real and not just words. Many people in the world and in our country can’t tell the difference between a Christian and someone who isn’t!

Do you think if your Christianity were put on trial in a court of law, would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian? For many people, the answer to this question would be questionable. For some, there may be enough evidence to actually prove that they are Christians. But in the near future during the time of Tribulation, just having a Bible in your home may be enough to convict you whether you go to church or study it regularly or not.

But, just having a Bible in your home doesn’t make you a Christian. Going to church and Bible study doesn’t make you a Christian. Praying to God, if you are not a Christian, doesn’t make you a Christian unless it is a prayer of confession and submission to become a Christian. God loves you more than you can imagine, but He doesn’t push Himself into your life. You are not required to come to Him or give your heart to Him except for one purpose and that is to become more like Christ. Still, it is your choice.

Will you take that step of faith? Won’t you decide to make sure of your eternal place in God’s Kingdom? If you wish to serve Satan, ignore anything that you have read here and go on your way. He doesn’t care, because as long as he can keep you out of God’s Kingdom then you are already living in his. He doesn’t tell you that after you die, the eternity that is waiting for you is one of no forgiveness, no life, no parties, no light or water…and that its forever. He leaves out all of the fine print, until it’s too late.

Think about it.

 

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.

Time and pain

Pain brings to mind the time and the strength needed to handle it, no matter how hard it is. Time is something that we all seem to think we have plenty of, especially when we are teens. The problem with that kind of thinking is that it isn’t true. There never is plenty of time or too much time. There never is enough time for people to say ‘I love you’. Yes, it sounds sappy, but if that someone you love, is lost in a drive-by shooting or a wreck…where is your time now? It is gone and you can’t get it back.

Just as words said in anger can’t be taken back or un-said, bullets and wrecks and other sudden ways of dying can’t be undone. So what will you do? Have you considered your time on Earth? Have you lived say twenty years? Forty years? Sixty years? Eighty years? Have you been blessed with good health enough to live for an entire century? Yes, adding twenty years at a time brings time into perspective a bit. Now, what about your life? Has it been enjoyable and fun? Did you really enjoy it and not have much in the way of sadness and sorrow?

Most of us can’t answer that last question with anything except “no, not really”. Why is that? One reason is that we live in a world that is paying the price for the sins of the past. Yes, the sins of our world and the consequences of that sin have been around ever since the Garden. In truth, our world and every person on the Earth is paying that price and the consequences of past disobedience. As the Bible says, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:22-23

The world groans because of the damage that has been done by Satan and his demons, his fallen ones, who are confined to the Earth and we are subject to them. They hate us because of their position and they know the consequences of their actions both in Heaven and for the destruction and death that they have caused here. All of the religions made by mankind, the evil committed by men in the past and now have been influenced by them in some way.

Mankind tends toward sinful behavior even without demonic influence, because it is our nature and we are born with it. That is not to say that we can’t do good things or be charitable, but for the most part we are doing those things for recognition, for pride’s sake, to make us feel good. Our time is short and we only have the life that we are given today to make a difference. Tomorrow is not given until you wake up in it and God is in charge of your time here, not you or your job or your family. It is up to His grace and His purpose whether you wake in the morning or not. If you have a part to play in tomorrow’s dealings for His purpose then you will live another day, if not then your time may be up tonight.

Pain, whether it is physical or emotional, is just a part of our lives. We have to live with it one way or another, but through God’s power and seeking Him in our lives we can have the strength to get past the painful times and enjoy the happy times. Seek Him, learn about Him through reading His Word and prayer because when you get to know the Creator better, then your life becomes easier and more useful to Him.