Don’t be Deceived!

4837676390_c6f809629e_mMany of today’s Christians have a very worldly point of view regarding certain kinds of sin. It’s a view that is deceiving thousands of people every day because the truth is, it doesn’t matter what we think or what we deem should be acceptable in the eyes of the Lord; it’s about what God has said and what He will not accept. Learn the truth and don’t be deceived!

 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [homosexuals], nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” … 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Most of us will acknowledge that many of these acts are sin and we don’t even look in that direction. We are aware that to have a sexual affair outside of our marriage is adultery or that to go to a bar and drool over some seductive person could lead us into fornication, and so we don’t even consider it. However, there are sins on this list that we let slither in and they can be just as damning if we don’t take control over them.

None of us would deliberately steal anything because we know it’s wrong, Computer screen and hand with cardand yet some of the things we do just might convict us as a thief. Some of us enjoy a social life at work and love to chat with co-workers about personal issues, or spend excessive time on the phone or in sending e-mails or texts to our friends. Are we not “stealing” time and money? [Romans 2:21]

We’re being paid to work, but because we’re not falling behind in our work responsibilities and because what we’re doing isn’t bothering anyone we feel that it’s acceptable. Everyone does it and so we just follow the crowd. But the truth is that we’re guilty of both stealing and lying when we do these things at the time when we should be working. And if we don’t take this serious now, what could this careless attitude lead to as time goes on?

Idolatry is a word that most Christians hate because we all believe that God should be1016655_520489118042387_530834914_n the only one we worship, and yet He has a lot of competition even among His own children. Many of us don’t even realize that we have a love for money or things that is equal to or greater than our love for God. We work hard to earn the money to buy our possessions and we cherish them more than we cherish our relationship with God. “God understands” is a frequent expression, but it’s not His understanding of our incompetence that’s in question. It’s our love for Him, our devotion to Him and our commitment to Him above our possessions and status in society that is being challenged. If God supplies all of our needs as He says He does in Philippians 4:19, then let’s not make the gift greater than the giver.

Paul said in 1 Timothy 5:23 that a little wine for a sick stomach or for an ill person is good because it numbs the body, but many of us have abused that suggestion and alcohol has become a grocery staple in our home. We depend on it to get us through the challenges of life rather than depending on God. But more than that, some of us like to indulge in it so that we can enjoy the total freedom of thought that it gives. Yet, God has told us in Ephesians 5:18 not to drink to excess and not to get drunk.

The advertising world has made it almost impossible not to covet material possessions. The commercials on TV and in magazines make things look so desirable that we just have to have them, and so we become unappreciative of what we have and we want more – bigger, better, fancier and more technical – even though what we already have works perfectly. [Matthew 6:19-20] This “greed” attitude is what has almost bankrupted our country. Few of us can keep up with the cost and so we use “charge cards” and run up debts that we can’t repay. We work longer hours to meet our financial responsibilities and then we become stressed and live on medications – and all because we covet something instead of waiting on God to see if this is what HE wants for us.

3072213457_578676b34d_mWe have it in us to be peacemakers [Matthew 5:9], but the tension of this world and the pressures and challenges that beset us each day can slowly break down our peacemaking defences if we’re not careful. And there are times when we lose it and speak unkind words in very loud disagreements. (We all know about road rage!) We feel justified because we know our political and social rights and so we have no regrets for taking a stand. But the stand we take should be for Christ and not one to make us successful in a world that is drifting from God.

Most of these sins can be corrected easily especially when we seek God and are willing to follow Him, but there are some that have crept into society and have been deemed acceptable by the government and even by many churches – but God has never changed His view on them. Homosexuality is one of those sins and it’s an abomination to God. He has made it clear that it is not acceptable. In Genesis 1:27 we learn that “He made them male and female” – clearly only two genders.

In Leviticus 18 God was instructing the people through Moses in the things that they should and should not do. He begins His instruction in verse 5 where He says, “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments:”, and then in verse 22 He says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

The governments of this world are electing to recognize that the act of homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle and is no longer considered a sin. But this world is run by the devil whose destination is hell, and sadly, he will take as many people with him as he can.

We must always keep our eyes on God and in the scriptures so that we can know what is good and acceptable to Him [2 Timothy 2:15]. Judgment is coming to the people of earth and we will all face eternity whether we want to believe it now or not. What we think doesn’t matter; it’s what God has said that will come to pass.

Taken3Heaven is the eternal home for those people who love God and who have accepted that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came from Heaven so He could be nailed to the cross with OUR sins. [John 3:16] He took the punishment of hell for those sins so that we could be free, forgiven and filled with His Spirit. And those who accept this and believe it will belong to Him forever.

Hell, on the other hand, is for those people who don’t care about God, who would rather enjoy the things – aka sins – of this world and who prefer to stay ignorant of the things of God. [Psalm 9:17] But when they face God on Judgment Day they won’t have an excuse and they’ll feel the remorse as they stand ashamed, filled with sin and wishing they had the Spirit of Christ in them. They will be sentenced to hell where they will have to pay the price of their sin throughout eternity.

Don’t be deceived! People who deliberately indulge in sin will never inherit God’s kingdom. The devil controls this world and he doesn’t want any of us to know God or to know that God loves us, so he’ll use every trick and persuasive tactic to keep us away from Him. He tries to deceive us into thinking that this world is all there is, that a little sin is okay and we shouldn’t judge others who indulge in sin. But if the love of God is in us then will do our best to show others the truth so they will break away from their sin.

There is nothing on this earth that can compare to the love of God or to the home in Heaven that He’s prepared for those who love Him and obey His commandments. Don’t be deceived!

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” … Matthew 6:33

Have you made a heartfelt decision to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, to take away your sins? It’s very easy to do. Just get in a quiet place and ask the Lord to take away your sins, and tell Him that you want Jesus to come and live in your heart so you can belong to Him. And then read the Bible so you know His love – and begin with the New Testament that’s about Jesus.

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 “Welcome!”

 

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How Attitude Gives Away Secrets We Didn’t Know We Had

6447825367_d360021037_mThere are times in life when we deliberately fake our feelings and we are able to control our facial expressions and our words because we don’t want our true feelings to be known. It’s a test of discipline and when we succeed we’re happy because we managed to hide our true feelings, which is what we intended. But it’s a very different story when we think we have control over certain feelings, but then our unexpected attitude or reaction gives away secrets that we didn’t even know we had.

We’re taught in this world that it’s a sign of maturity to be able to manipulate our feelings and our attitudes when dealing with people and situations.  For example, people who have anger issues are encouraged to attend anger management therapy to learn how to control their anger. Recovering alcoholics are enlisted in counselling classes to learn how to resist temptation. And Christians are taught to memorize Bible scriptures so they won’t stray from the Lord.

But none of this “therapy” will do anyone any good because they have not defeated the enemy in their battle; they have just been taught how to control it. In other words, they’ve surrendered to it and have learned to live with it.

However, Christians are never encouraged to control their feelings and attitudes. We are all told to give them to God and to become more like Him so that our attitudes and our feelings and our opinions become the same as His.

“Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.” … Psalm 25:4

It comes as quite a shock to us when we think that we’ve surrendered something to the Lord and that it’s all behind us, and then during a conversation with someone or an unexpected incident the old buried feeling along with the worldly attitude just bursts forth and reveals the truth. And that truth is that we still have that worldly attitude – aka sinful nature – inside us and that what we thought was gone is still there.

So how do we get passed this? Do we work harder and become more determined than ever to take control over those issues? No, not if we’re a Christian – in fact, it’s just the opposite.  Jesus told us to take on HIS yoke and HIS burden and to cast OUR cares onto Him.

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” … Matthew 11:29-30

God teaches us to resist the devil and all the temptations that he plants in us47550929_f16edec385_t by filling ourselves up with His Word and His instruction. The devil, on the other hand, will continue to fight so he can bring out the old attitudes and habits. We cannot win over the devil and we’re told not to even try it on our own merit because we don’t have what it takes to fight him.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” … Ephesians 6:12

We need to study the Bible and get the gospel of Jesus down into our spirit so that we don’t just know the Word in our mind, but so that it’s alive in our heart and we believe it.  Then whenever the devil attacks us with this temptation we won’t fall into it; we won’t be caught off guard because our very first reaction will be the same as the Lord’s, and that will send the devil fleeing so that he cannot succeed in bringing us back to our old habits and attitudes.

When we got saved the “old” person or nature that we used to be died and we became “a new creature” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We were forgiven for all of our sins and the sinful nature in us was replaced with God’s Spirit through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross. But the devil doesn’t want us to stay saved and so he will continue to bring the temptation of the old habits and attitudes back, and we will never defeat them or him by taking control over them. The only way that we can defeat him is to be filled with the love and the knowledge and the wisdom of God and let His Word be our defense and our offence against the wiles of the devil.

1236142_10152173139714056_874476393_nWe can’t suppress these feelings and attitudes and then think that we’re okay because they’re still there and the devil is just waiting for the most inopportune time to bring them out. Then when we least expect it, we’ll burst forth with the old attitude and give away secrets that we didn’t know we still had. These surprises can be very painful – and very embarrassing. On the other hand, if we can put our pride aside we’ll realize that we’re still holding on to this part of our old sinful nature that shouldn’t be there, and it’s an opportunity to give it all to God and ask Him to take them from us and to fill us with HIS attitude and with HIS love.

“But love covers all sins.” … Proverbs 10:12

We grow every day when we spend time with the Lord; when we praise Him and study His Word so that we can be more like Him, but we will never grow if we feel in any way that it’s us who is in control of our thoughts, attitudes and feelings. The only control that we have over our own lives is the choice that He’s given to us – we can choose to surrender all and follow Jesus or to surrender to the lusts and desires of this world and of the flesh and follow the world.

It’s our choice, but if we want our attitude to reflect Jesus and not hidden secrets, then we need to be vigilant and choose wisely.

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” … Joshua 24:15

 

Waquas

 

 

 

 

 

Faith: Use it or Lose it!

k3190689Studying the Bible is comparable to studying music. We can mentally learn how to play the piano, but until we actually begin to work the keys with our fingers and apply the knowledge that’s in our head, it’s just education that’s stuck in our brain and will fade away after time. But when we apply what we’ve learned it comes alive in us and the music begins to flow through our heart.

And so, just as we need to apply works to what we’ve learned about music, so it is with faith: we either use it or we lose it!

It’s not enough to say, “I am a Christian” and then expect that we really are a Christian while we continue to live in the world without any change. In order for us to become a Christian, we need to study the Bible and apply our faith to all that we’ve learned so that our character becomes the same as the character of Christ.

But before we can even consider the thought of being a Christian, thinkerwe need to know why we want to become one in the first place. Is it to find a godly formula to get rich? Is it to have a social club to attend on Sunday’s? Or is it to be forgiven for breaking the laws of God so that we won’t go to hell when we die because of these sins? Is it possible that the main reason for being a Christian is to be forgiven for our sins and to be assured that we have a home in Heaven so we can be with Jesus when we die?

Contrary to the fallacy that many Christians believe, nice people don’t get into Heaven just because they’re nice. There is only one way to get into Heaven and that is through the cross. Jesus tells us in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

And in Matthew 8:22 Jesus says that many people will face God after death and be shocked when they’re not accepted into Heaven, but instead, will be cast down into hell.

Unfortunately, many people believe that John 3:16 means that everyone will automatically be saved because it says that Jesus died for the whole world, and so if you believe that then that’s all there is to salvation. Well, He did die for the whole world, but not everyone who acknowledges that or who calls them self a Christian is saved. Even the devil acknowledges that – and he is not saved.

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” … James 2:19

8472731872_67f246af9c_mSalvation means more than just saying, “I’m a Christian”, but this is what the devil wants us to believe. True salvation comes only with repentance and a heart that wants to change from its sinful nature to the righteousness of God through the blood of Jesus.

We need to come to Jesus with an honest heart, ask Him to take away our sins and fill us with His Spirit so we can belong to His  family – and then we need to study the Bible so that we can be like Him.

Here is a simple analogy that will help to understand the issue of repentance.

Let’s take two families: the Right family and the Wrong family. Little Jake of the Wrong family realizes that his family is filled with evil thoughts, bad actions and attitudes and that they will all eventually be cast into an eternally dark, evil future that he fears. He sees the Right family where the members are filled with love and hope and who have a beautiful home in Heaven waiting for them. He wants to be like them, so he responds to their invitation and moves in with them.

He acknowledges the mandate of the family; he talks about it as if it applies to him and he refers to himself as a family member, but he doesn’t change or commit himself to the head of the family. He’s still filled with his old ideals, mannerisms and values; he still bears the family name of “Wrong” and he still will end up in eternal darkness with them in the end. He never became a member of the Right family and will never receive the Right family inheritance when he dies, but sadly he’s been deceived into thinking it will be so. The only way that little Jake can become a member of the Right family is to give up membership to the Wrong family, walk away from them, become adopted into the Right family and take on their characteristics, inspirations, hopes and purpose. Then he’d no longer be little Jake Wrong, but little Jake Right, and he would be blessed by them while he lived and he’d be part of the Right family inheritance when he died.

When we become a Christian we come out of the world when we repent of our sins and we take on our Godly membership when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and commit ourselves to Him. We study our Bible to learn who Jesus is and who we are in Him, and we realize that the glue that holds us all together is our love for God.

“Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.’” … Matthew 22:37

The world says that to be saved we just have to accept that Jesus4701911204_6fda84b3bb_m died on the cross for our sins so matter what we do now as Christians we’re okay, and then we just have to love each other. While these are two elements of being a Christian, these are not the only prerequisites for salvation. To be saved – to be a Christian – we must realize that we have broken God’s laws if we’ve committed even just one sin – and so we deserve the punishment of hell for those sins. But when we come to Jesus and ask Him to forgive us, He takes those sins away and we are saved from the wrath that God will give out to everyone who IS found with sin on them. We have become righteous through Jesus, and we become committed to Him and will never go back into those sins again – John 8:11.

And like the piano player, we never stop practicing! We do everything we do in faith to please God. His Word – the Bible – becomes our benchmark and we take on the attitude that, “If God said it then I believe it”, and we follow the teaching of Jesus and we reverence God our Father. The world becomes a place to live in until we get to Heaven, but it’s no longer our benchmark and we are no longer a member of its system.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” … Hebrews 11:6

As our faith grows we are able to trust God with our lives and our faith becomes our shield against the attacks of the world. We use our faith and we get the victory through our trials.  But when we call ourselves Christians and don’t come out of the world and don’t live or practice faith, then we are living a lie. Don’t be deceived: salvation means repentance of sins, commitment to God and gratitude for the life that He’s given us. We need to put our trust in God and our faith to work because if we don’t use it, we will lose it.

 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” … Psalm 27:1

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I Wish You Knew My Father

944431_692565744102162_465147567_nWith Father’s Day upon us, I just want to tell you a little bit about my Father because He’s very special and I’d like you all to know Him. He’s got more love for me than any person in this world ever could have and He’s bailed me out of more messes than I’d like to admit. He’s always there for me and He never leaves me alone. Let me tell you about my Father.
When I’m nervous and can’t sleep, He’s always there to comfort me and to make me feel safe.

“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” … Psalm 4:8

When I’m overwhelmed with fear He reminds me of His love.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” … 1 John 4:18

When I am sick, He heals me.

O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.” … Psalm 30:2

When I am hungry He feeds me.

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” … Matthew 6:26

When I ask Him for things to wear, he gives me clothes.

So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you? … Matthew 6:28-30

When I’m sad he comforts me.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” … Matthew 5:4

When people criticize me for being His child, He reminds me of my home in Heaven.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” … Matthew 5:10

Whenever I feel alone and scared in this world, He reminds me that He’s right at my side.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” … Hebrews 13:5

When I feel weak I remember His love and that makes me strong again.

“For the joy of the Lord is my strength.” … Nehemiah 8:10

Whenever I feel depressed He puts a joyful song in my heart.

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” … Isaiah 61:10

Whenever I’m weighed down with burdens He tells me to give them to Him and I feel at peace.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” … Matthew 11:28

Whenever I feel alone or depressed He reminds me that I am special and that He has chosen me.

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” … Matthew 22:14

Whenever I question His love, He reminds me that He loves me so much He died on the cross for me and took away all of my sins.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” … John 3:16

Whenever the sin and fear of this world overwhelms me, He reminds me that He is going to come and take me out of it one day to be with Him.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” … John 14:3

And He’s waiting in Heaven for me so that I can live with Him forever.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” … John 14:2

Yes, I have a wonderful Father and I love Him with all my heart. I wish you knew my Father so you could have the hope and the joy that I have. And if you do know Him, then that is great!

But if you don’t know Him, please don’t let another second pass before you meet Him. My Father came to earth in the body of Jesus and He died on the cross so He could take all of our sins away and restore us back to Himself, and when we accept this and ask Jesus to come into our heart, we belong to our Heavenly Father.

Just close your eyes and ask Him to cleanse your heart, take away your sins and then come live inside your heart so you can be one with Him. He’ll come in right away and if you’ll read the four gospels in the New Testament over several times, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and then the rest of the New Testament you’ll begin to see who God is because He’s alive in Jesus, and there is no cap on the love that He has for us.

And if you just met my Father, then let me be the first to say, Welcome to the Family of God! We have a wonderful loving Father and He is worthy to be praised.

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain.” … Psalm 48:1

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“I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
… Psalm 34:1

 

What does it Mean to be Saved?

3147461049_35b009962d_mMany of today’s modern Christians have a very different concept to the meaning of being saved than what the Word has declared it to mean. They think that to be saved and to ensure a home in Heaven is to simply acknowledge that there is a God and that Jesus came to the cross and died for everyone – so we’re all saved if we acknowledge it. But is this all there is to being saved?

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” … John 3:16

Jesus did die for everyone, but we need to make it personal and believe that He died for “my” sins, for “me” so “I” can have everlasting life. Just because we accept that there is a God doesn’t make us a Christian; after all, many people acknowledge that God is “up there”, but they don’t love or respect Him. The Bible tells us in James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”

The devil acknowledges that God is real and we all know that he’s not saved. So what does it mean to be saved? Saved from what?

We are saved from the punishment of sin that we all deserve for breaking God’s laws.8472731872_67f246af9c_m There is not a single person on earth who can say that they have never sinned or never broken one of the Ten Commandments.  And sadly, even one sin will separate us from God and put us into the court of judgment to be sentenced to hell. That’s for just one sin! We cannot stand before a Holy God if we have even one sin in us and that one sin is enough to condemn us.

 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  … Romans 3:23

Many people think that because they live good, clean lives and don’t break the laws that they are good people, and they likely are but they are still not “whole” before God because it’s not just the big sins that count against us and make us guilty.

Have you ever stolen anything in your life – anything at all? A candy bar when you were a child? A pencil or pen from work? How about time? How many of you have a job and enjoy a social life at work on company time where you should be working as hard as the boss thinks you do. If you can say yes to any of these, then that makes you a thief. And what happened to the thieves in the Old Testament? They were crucified as we see at the time when Jesus was crucified.

“Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.” … Matthew 27:38

6447825367_d360021037_mHave you ever told a lie before? How about a tiny white lie that was really said with good intentions to help someone? Or perhaps you have not told a whole truth or even twisted it a bit to give a better perception of yourself or to protect someone else? If so – and most of us will admit that we’ve done this some time in our lives – then this makes you a liar.

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” … John 8:44

Here’s one for the guys; have you ever walked along the beach in the summer and seen some gorgeous girls out sunbathing and had some kind of “innocent” lustful thoughts? Have you watched a movie that has explicitly sexual content and got lost for a few seconds in the heat of the moment? And what about those adult magazines that some of you have stashed away? You may be happily married and faithful, but if you’ve ever looked upon another woman (or even a picture of one) and had lustful thoughts, then according to the Bible you are guilty and that makes you an adulterer.

“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” … Matthew 5:28

What does Jesus say about liars, thieves and adulterers, just to name a few of the commons sins?

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [homosexuals], nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” … 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Although there are only ten basic commandments given to us by God to follow, it’s impossible to live a day without breaking at least one in the slightest way. We cannot live a perfect life and so we will all face judgment and a life apart from God if we try on our own merits. However, God knows this and so He sent Jesus to save us from the judgment that we deserve for breaking God’s law.

311648_715477408477662_866568947_nJesus became the ultimate sacrifice for us. He took all of our sins upon Himself and died on the cross on our behalf and then took the punishment for those sins by being sent to hell when he died. He paid the price of sin for us, and if we will believe that and accept that, then He’ll clean us from the old sinful nature and fill us with His Spirit so we’re whole and righteous because of Jesus before God. We become born again.

Once we’re saved, though, there are changes we have to make. We will no longer have the desire to live the sinful way we did before because the things that once interested us or entertained us no longer matter. Only Jesus matters. BUT if we don’t change our lives and have no desire to change, then we really are not saved and it’s just an acknowledgment of the mind – not of the heart; we just think we are saved and that will be devastating when we die and face God.

“The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” … Matthew 24:50-51

We need to study the Bible and learn all about God because He is the epitome of love, and He loved us enough to die for us even before we knew Him. We want to make God number one in our lives and live for Him and worship Him, and tell others about Him so they can come out of the world and be saved, too.

God is love and when His love abides in us our personalities change and we become more like Jesus; we bear the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and people will look at us and know that we don’t belong to the world of sin any longer. We are different, not just in our words but in our thoughts, in our actions and in our priorities. We begin to see sin for what it is – sin! And we begin to hate sin just like God hates sin, which means that we cannot be Christians if we continue to live in sin.

“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” … Psalm 97:10

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” … Proverbs 8:13

We no longer desire the lifestyle of the world. Unfortunately, many believe that they don’t have to change and they say that when Jesus died for their sins, that included all their sins so nothing will be held against them again so it doesn’t matter what they do because they’re automatically forgiven. This is erroneous teaching. The sins of our past are forgiven when we come to the cross and accept Jesus, and we now live under grace, which means that when we slip up – and we all do – we can come to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to forgive us. BUT Jesus expects us to grow and to stop doing them. Grace doesn’t give us a licence to live how we want (how we used to); it gives us the chance to grow and change and be forgiven for mistakes as we get closer to Jesus.

We receive God’s Spirit inside us and He guides us throughout life, and when we die His Spirit calls for God’s angels to come and get us and take us to Heaven. But if the spirit that’s in us is still of the world, then guess whose angels come? And Heaven won’t be the destiny.

Being saved means coming out of the world and serving Jesus with a whole heart; it means loving Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). And the world might not like you anymore (John 15:18),  but that’s because you are no longer like them and the world hates God.

Being saved is the best thing that can happen to anyone, and coming away from the world and praising the Lord throughout eternity for our salvation comes automatic to those who love Him.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” … 1 John 4:7-8

 

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Out of Sight But Not Out of Mind

 
8434502461_07aca4d033_nSo many of us are living in defeat because we have issues from years gone by that we have never dealt with as they are just too painful to think about. Some of us know about them, have forgiven the ones who hurt us and have chosen to ignore them and pretend they never happened. Others of us don’t even realize that the hurts are there because they’re buried so deep into the cobwebs of our mind. They are hidden from all recollection, and yet every day we live the nightmare of their effects without even knowing it.

So, how do we know that we have unresolved issues that need to be taken care of? Often, we don’t know about them until we begin to analyze some of the things we do. We all have our opinions and attitudes toward various issues, but when one of those issues strikes a key with us and we become defensive or aggressive or sad, we have to wonder why we react that way when it doesn’t bother anyone else.

As we grow in the Lord our thoughts, attitudes and actions should be like those of Jesus, but if they’re not then we need to find out why. The best way to get to the bottom of every single issue in life is to take the matter to God in prayer. Psychologists and psychiatrists are all waiting to hear from us because trauma today is a growing business and we will make their day. But as Christians, the Bible says that the only person we should talk to is Jesus.

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”  … 1 Peter 5:7

When we can identify our reactions by comparing them to those of the Lord, then we’re on our way to discovering the problem. But if the problem is buried deep, it’s not going to be a simple answer because it’s not a problem that we are able to easily detect.

Sometimes we need to fast and pray and wait on God for Him to give us the answer, and He WILL give us the answer. But when we get it we may also realize that we’ve opened that door to fear and pain that we had subconsciously locked, and the issue may come at us just as it did years ago when the real issue came at us. The difference between then and now, though, is that Jesus is going to fight it for us; we are no longer alone.

The issue is now in the hands of Jesus and so we need to thank Him for taking it, for defeating it, and for setting us free of it. We need to look at it as something very material that we visually hand to Him and then we need to accept that it’s gone.

But it doesn’t stop there because we 1236142_10152173139714056_874476393_nneed to replace that void with something good or else we’ll find another issue to fill it and bother us. We need to ask God to fill that void with His Spirit. He has set us free from the clutches of the devil and we are no longer under the curse that the world is under and His Spirit is inside us to keep it out.

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” … Galatians 3:13

When we’re hurting from these kinds of things, it’s almost impossible for us to even realize that we have an issue, let alone know how to solve it. In some cases, our reactions are disciplinary issues that come when we haven’t committed that particular thing to the Lord yet. But when we are committed to the Lord and we see that our feelings or reactions are wrong, the only way we are going to understand fully why is to talk to Jesus about it.

He will bring it to light and we’ll remember it all including all the fears and hurts, but He doesn’t do this to hurt us; He does this so we can understand why we’ve reacted the way we have and He does this to get rid of it and to give us closure on it. And when Jesus takes it away, IT IS GONE for good! The devil can no longer play on it because it’s no longer buried inside us and he can’t cause us any more pain.

1382842_529674627123836_2075953538_nThe Holy Spirit lives inside us and He gives us strength and He reminds us that we belong to God – and there is no one greater or mightier or more defensive of His children than our Heavenly Father. So we don’t need to be afraid anymore because we know that God loves us and cares for us, and nothing else in this whole world is more meaningful than the love of God.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” … John 8:36

…But Can You Walk the Walk…

 

85483828The world is bursting with people who proclaim to be Christians, and what is really surprising is that it’s becoming very difficult to see the difference between them and the non-believers. This begs the question: do Christians today know how to walk the walk?

What is the walk? Do we have to prove to the world that we are Christians to be authentic?

The walk is simply to live in faith and trust God with every aspect of our life. Once we accept Christ into our heart, we no longer belong to this world, which means that our focus is on Jesus and not on the world. We study His Word and live for Him, and the important things of this world fall away. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:12 that we should not be conformed to this world, and Luke 9:23 says that we now live for Christ and that we should deny our self and follow Him.

The church pews are filled with Christians who pray with enthusiasm, tithe with honor and sing with exuberance, but …… do they have faith to trust Him with their lives? Will they let go of their worldly security blanket and trust God completely with situations that challenge them? Are they brave enough and trusting enough to walk the walk of faith?

James 2:20 says that “faith without works is dead”. It’s one thing to say that we are believers and that we have faith in God, but it’s quite another to live in faith and act on it every day. And yet, “faith” is all we have – it’s literally the foundation of our hope in Christ, and Hebrews 11:1 says that it’s “the substance of things hoped for”. Without faith, we are nothing and our Christian walk is dead. Faith is the gift that God gave us initially to allow us to come to Him and get saved, and without faith it is impossible to please Him once we are saved.

We need to wean off of the reliance that we have on the world 944431_692565744102162_465147567_nand begin to build our faith in Jesus so that HE will become our source of hope for every part of our life. And as we grow, we will endure small trials along the way where we can test ourselves and realize just how much faith we actually have in God. Some things will seem easy to trust God with, but then comes that big one from left field!

If you were told that you had a terminal illness and that you had only a few months to live, what would you do? Where would you immediately direct your focus? Would you seek out all the medical help you could find and take whatever treatments were necessary to beat it? Or would you stop in your tracks and cry out to Jesus for His help because your faith and your trust was in Him? If you go to the world for help, then that’s where your faith is; and if you go to God for help, then that is where your faith is.

We need to constantly build our faith every day so that we can know Jesus and so that when the big trials come our faith and our trust is securely in Him. We can’t put it off with the mindset that life in this world is what it is. We need to put our faith to work every day of our life so that we grow stronger and closer to God.

Another example would be giving to others. When someone needs financial help we need to put our faith to work and do more than just pray for them and send them out with a hopeful attitude. We need to give whatever substance we have that they need so we can help them, and then we need to trust God that He will meet our needs. When we have faith in God and trust Him to meet our needs, we can give what we have to others with a cheerful heart (2 Corinthians 9:7) and know that God will take care of us. If we don’t have the faith we won’t be able to help others because our faith will in the means of the world – our pay cheque - and we will be reluctant to share it.

When we walk the walk, it’s more than just a show of good faith – it’s acting ON our good faith and on what God has laid on our heart first and with the confidence that God will supply all of our own needs so we don’t have to worry.

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” … Philippians 4:19

As Christians, we are not set out to prove a single thing to the world. God has never asked us to do that and we need to get that type of thinking out of our mind. Our only obligation as a Christian is to love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, and we can do that by studying the Word, knowing Jesus personally and loving Him enough to want to let Him live through us so we can be a blessing to others.

When we walk the walk of faith, we trust the Lord all the way and we encourage others to do the same. Yes, we’ll have to make changes in our lives and yes, we’ll have to take a public stand from time to time as we uphold the things of God and declare His glory to those around us. And when we can do this without hesitation and as a part of our daily life here on earth, then we’ll know that our faith is not just talk: with our faith we are walking the walk.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” … Romans 12:2

Taken3

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