A Humbling Experience

Corrie ten BoomI recently read a book called, The Hiding Place, and it’s the true story of Corrie ten Boom, a woman who not only survived the brutal concentration camps of WW2, but who saved the lives of countless persecuted Christians and was a light to many other women in the camps.  I was totally captivated by the horrors that she and her family endured and yet amazed at how God was right there in the midst of it all through this woman. To read her story was truly a humbling experience for me.

There are many times that we Christians get caught up with the niceties of life and we complain when we have to endure an inconvenient trial or suffer through something that we were sure God should have exempted us from in the first place – after all, we’re Christians. Sadly, we turn toward the loud prosperity preachers and false doctrines that are designed to appeal to our personal desires and because of our lack of scriptural understanding, we totally miss God. And this is NOT a good thing.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” … 2 Timothy 4:3-4

We can’t be fence-sitting Christians anymore. We either need to dive deep into the Bible and study it diligently to know God and what His direction is for our lives, or we need to dive deep into the Bible and study it diligently to know God and what His direction is for our lives. In other words, if we’re going to say that we’re a Christian then we need to get serious and be one!

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day 5352515370_7f2a4426e6_mwhom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” … Joshuah 24:15

We can all look around us and see that the world is falling apart. It’s plagued with illness and unusual climatic change, but more than that, it’s becoming over-burdened with sin, corruption and deception and it’s getting worse every day.  The devil is busy destroying people and he’s moving faster and harder now because his time is almost over – Jesus is on the verge of returning!  We need to stop following false doctrines and showy preachers and get back to basics – the Bible!

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” … Romans 10:9

There is only ONE gospel and that is the gospel of Jesus found in the New Testament of the Bible, and most of it is written by the Apostle Paul who was a disciple of Jesus. He didn’t walk with Jesus during the Lord’s earthly ministry as the “twelve” disciples did, but Paul had a unique experience on the Road to Damascus shortly after the Lord’s resurrection where he met Jesus in person and was converted. The Lord filled Paul with the knowledge of the full gospel and Paul wrote about it throughout the New Testament. This “gospel” needs to be our benchmark for Christianity. This is the real gospel of Jesus.

“And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” … Acts 9:3-6

When we study the New Testament we learn who God is and who Jesus is, and we realize the big picture of what’s in store for the people on earth, AND we learn how to survive and get the victory through many of the trials that await us. Jesus tells us many times that the world will continue in sin and get worse, and that there will be persecutions and tribulations that will beset the Christians – and that’s because Christians oppose sin and the devil doesn’t like it.

So, if we’re having issues in our home or at the job or with our health, then we need to remember that trials are going to come and will continue to come at us as long as we live in this sinful world. But we also need to remember that our destination is Heaven where we’ll be with Jesus forever and where life will be good – no sin, no sickness, no tears, no death. BUT, while we’re here, God’s Holy Spirit, who lives in us, will guide us along the way.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

… John 16:33

There are two great deceptions that are robbing Christians of this truth: 1) that it’s God’s will for us to be rich on this earth and so we should strive for prosperity because we’re a “king’s kid” and our focus should be on reaping the wealth here on earth; 2) that Jesus died for everyone on the cross and that individual repentance isn’t necessary because we’re all automatically forgiven of all sins and are all headed to Heaven and that God loves each of us just the way we are.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” … Matthew 7:15

untitled These are false teachers that cater to our personal desires and to our ignorance of the truth about the scriptures, and both will rob us of our salvation if we don’t find that truth and live it. There is an mp3 teaching series by Rev. Rich Vermillion that is called, The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel, that is FREE and he not only teaches you the real gospel, but he shows you how to discern false teachers and doctrines.

The truth is that we are in a battle as long as we’re on earth and we need to put on the whole armour of God and resist the devil. We need to study the Bible and get prepared because earth is NOT our home where we can relax and bask in the wealth of the land; earth is a battleground and when we accept Christ and come out of the sinful ways, the devil is going to come after us and he will defeat us if we aren’t prepared because he does his job well – he has come to steal, kill and destroy.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” … Ephesians 6:12-18

Our hearts and our goals and our reason for living should be for Jesus. We can enjoy our life here on earth and share God’s love and blessings with those around us, but we also need to be prepared and ready to stand for Christ; for what’s right and true according to the scriptures.  When we realize that Jesus was God in Heaven who put Himself into the body of a man so that He could come to earth and live among us and then take on our sins and die on the cross in our place after being brutally tortured, we see that the greatest treasure in all of the world is the love of God.  And nothing is more humbling to us than to realize that He did it all for “me”.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” … Romans 8:38-39

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What God Sees in Us

Stressed at work - office multitasking on whiteNo one is born with a silver spoon in their mouth and few of us are raised in a wealthy home amid servants and personal care takers. Most of us work hard to reach our goals and become successful whether it’s toward a prominent career or at a laborer’s job. We’re all proud of our accomplishments and yet, none of it matters because we are all like filthy rags before God.

 

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” … Isaiah 64:6

What many people forget is that our worldly accomplishments mean nothing to God and they won’t count as credits when we stand before Him. There is only one thing in life that matters and that is our soul because that is who we are and what is accountable – whether we go to Heaven or to hell.

When God looks at us He sees our heart (soul) and He sees if it’s clean or not clean; He knows if we’re saved or not saved. We can follow the Christian crowd and attend church and be a really nice person, but if we’re not saved then our heart is not clean and we are like filthy rags because of the sin that defiles us. We were born into this world and we naturally inherited Adam’s sinful nature and that is the opposite of holiness. We will never get near Heaven with even one tiny piece of sin in us so we need to get rid of it, and we cannot put it off because we may never get a chance later.

2245700673_f8643977ee_mWe need to be cleansed and have the sin removed so that God sees us as clean and pure, and we can only do that by having our sins pardoned or washed away. When Jesus died on the cross, He took upon Himself all of our sins and then paid the punishment for them when He took them down into hell. When we accept that and repent of our sins, then we are cleansed and freed from the inherited sin and we are born again and filled with God’s Spirit. So now when He looks at us, He sees the blood of Jesus and He knows that our sins have been forgiven and that we stand righteous before Him.

In the Old Testament, the angel of death passed over all the houses that bore the blood on the door posts, and this was done by those who loved God as a symbol for the blood of Jesus who became the propitiation for our sins. [Exodus 12:22-23]

When we stand before the throne of God one day, He will look at us and see either filthy rags or the blood of Jesus. What will He see in you?

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” … Revelations 3:5

Jesus is waiting for you

 

 

When All Else Fails, Trust God

 

 

WaquasAs intelligent and civilized people, we all feel at one time or another that we can handle most of the situations that come against us. We believe that we have the skills and abilities to attack the problems head on, but sometimes our problems are beyond us. And it’s often at that point that we turn toward Heaven and call for help because we believe that when all else fails, trust God.

As admirable as this practice seems, it’s really not the way that Christians should address any problems. We should never turn to God for help as a last resort, but instead He should be our FIRST choice for help.

The Lord has given us instruction on how He will help us through our trials, and so we begin at the beginning and that is with wisdom – Godly wisdom. We need to have Godly wisdom inside us so we know how to live in this world, how to avoid situations and how to overcome others. And we can only get this when we study the Bible and learn it.

Many of us create our own problems out of ignorance. We are burdened with debt from credit cards and so we try to work out a solution before the problems ruin us, but the Bible tells us in Romans 13:8 to owe no man anything but love, and in Philippians 4:19 He tells us to trust Him to supply all of our needs and not to depend on the world (and it’s financial system). If we’re having marital problems because our spouse isn’t saved then we need to realize that He warned us in 2 Corinthians 6:14 not to be unequally yoked; if our children are rebelling it’s because we missed the scripture in Proverbs 22:6 that says to train up a child in the way of the Lord.

Other times we face outside problems that come against us and they WILL come against us. That’s just part of living in a world that is controlled by the devil and overrun with sin. We can’t escape problems, and Jesus even told us that we’d have problems, so we shouldn’t adopt some doctrine that says we won’t get them because that isn’t realistic according to scripture.

“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” … John 16:32-33.

The Bible tells us that the beginning of wisdom 553951_673061322719271_2063579971_nand knowledge is the fear of the Lord. We need to have reverence and respect for God as being our Lord and Savior, the Creator of the Universe, the God of Heaven, the One who loves us enough to die for us and the One who the devil [an angel created by God] has to answer to. We need to realize that God is omnipotent and omniscient and that He can and He WILL judge and sentence to death all those who do not know Him.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” … Psalm 111:10

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“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” … Proverbs 1:7

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“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” … Proverbs 9:10

So, we need to get into the Bible and study it and learn who God is and realize that the love He has for those who love Him is beyond what we can ever imagine. We can get a good appreciation of His love when we look at Jesus because He died on that cross and took the punishment for every sin and sickness ever conceived upon Himself in our place so that all those who would accept His sacrifice would be pardoned from their sin and grafted into God’s family.

When we study the Bible and the Holy Spirit lives in us, He will guide us and help to keep us out of problems because of God’s wisdom that is in us. And He’ll remind us of scriptures so that when we face problems we’ll know how God would handle them. Our reactions and actions would be the same as God’s because it’s His wisdom and His knowledge that’s in us.

But there will be times in life when we’re not prepared for the things that will come against us and we don’t have God’s wisdom inside of us to fight that particular battle. This is when we take the problem to Jesus and let Him fight the battle for us.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” … 1 Peter 5:6-7

47550929_f16edec385_tWe should never let our pride lead the way when it doesn’t know where to go. We need to get used to being submissive to God our Father, and we need to realize that God sees the big picture and we just see the immediate situation.  Where we would put a band-aid on it and hope for the best, God will heal the entire wound. And that’s what we want and what we need – total healing whether it’s a health issue, financial issue, marital issue or anything else.

Sometimes, though, we pray and give God the problem, but it sits on us and weighs us down and our mind begins to wander as we sit in awe and just hope that God will do something. We’re going in the right direction, but we’re missing the trust. We need to trust God and know that He will take care of this need. But we can’t do that if we don’t know Him and if we don’t have faith in Him.

God is faithful and if He said He’ll do it then He’ll do it. He told us to take on His yoke – which means that we focus on the things of God and not on the world, that we should love Him and trust Him and follow His instructions for our lives.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” … Matthew 11:28-29

And we can trust that God hears our prayers and answers them because He loves us and He’s promised us that He we will answer and help us when we believe Him and trust Him.

 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” … Matthew 21:22

One very grave mistake that many of us make when we pray and ask God for help is that we tell Him how to do it. We tell Him the problem and then go on to tell Him how we feel it should be resolved. Well, if our way was the right way, then it would have worked when we tried it, so we shouldn’t insult God with our ignorance. He sees the big picture and He knows what to do.

And we must never forget that sometimes God will allow things to get to this point because it’s this point that we need to jab us to get us to realize that God is in charge. He has a plan for each of us, a job for each of us, and sometimes in our walk our life gets in the way and leads us off of the path that God has set out for us. And so sometimes the answers He gives us might not be the ones we were expecting. We need to trust Him – with our lives.

When problems are beyond our ability to comprehend, let’s not forget that they are never too big for God. We need to give them to Him and then praise Him and thank Him for loving us and for helping us. The peace that will come and the way He resolves the issues will be amazing.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” … Romans 8:28

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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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*If this inspirational message was a blessing to you, please subscribe to my blog so that you can receive all future messages right into your private inbox and never have to miss another message again. Thank you and God bless you.

 

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

 

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