Not in the “Mood” for Christmas

2123279702_fe72b7a26f_mChristmas season is the one time of year when most people are either totally engaged with the festive occasion or are refusing to have anything to do with it. While many of the reasons may vary, a common one for denying celebration is because some of us just aren’t in the mood for Christmas.

Many Christians carry a deep, anguishing hurt because a loved one has passed on or has moved far away, which has left a void in the aching heart. The memories of past Christmas’s flood our thoughts and control our emotions as we endeavour to imagine celebrating Christmas without them. It hurts.  So, we hide behind our tears and we decide that there won’t be any celebration this year – or maybe ever again – because it’s not the same without that missing person.

However, Christmas for Christians is not about us. Christmas is about Jesus. It’s about celebrating the birth of the Son of God who came from Heaven to save us from our sin. It’s about giving our Heavenly Father worship and praise, thanksgiving and honor for sustaining His promise to us by sending a Savior who would become the Lamb of God and die in our place and take on the punishment for our sins.

Christmas is about Jesus! cropped-imagesca5j11e6.jpgIt’s about celebrating HIS birthday!

“Pilate therefore said to Him, ’Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’” …………. John 18:37

We are saved because of the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross at Calvary. If Jesus hadn’t been born we would not be forgiven and we would not have a home in Heaven to go to. We would not have the hope of ever being free from this sinful world and from the punishment that is about to come upon it. If Jesus hadn’t come, we would still be lost in sin and headed for hell.

 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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” … John 3:16-17

If our loved ones who have passed on were Christians then they are with Jesus now, and what better life could there be for them? Eternity with the Lord is what we all strive for and it’s what we all live for. Those Christians who have gone on would want us all to continue to celebrate the birth of Jesus because now they are with Him and they know first-hand how blessed we are and how blessed we will be when we get to Heaven.

If the one who has gone on was not saved, then we need to give that hurt to God and ask Him for His peace to fill our heart.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” … Philippians 4:7

We celebrate Christmas with our family and friends, and the love and the music and festive occasion makes it a very heart-warming time of year. Families are drawn together and forgiveness is poured out among their members for offences of the past as we give glory to our Lord and sing songs of praise to His Name. It’s the one time of year when hearts truly sense the joy of the Lord.

Christmas is not about us. If we are saddened because we’ve lost someone then we need to seek God and ask Him to refill our heart with His joy, to take the burden that weighs us down and to give us peace that only He can give. THEN, we’ll realize that Christmas is not dependent on our mood; it’s dependent upon our love for God and our gratitude and appreciation for Jesus, and whether or not we want to give Him glory and honor.

“Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.” … Psalm 30:4

We celebrate Christmas out of choice: it’s our choice to see beyond our own issues and worship Him as our Lord and Savior because we love Him; or it’s our choice to deny Jesus the glory that He so deserves just because we have been hurt. We need to give those hurts to Jesus; that’s why He came; that’s why He died on the cross; and that’s why He rose and lives!

Jesus loves us. If anyone could truly get a glimpse of Heaven – 431832_669162449775825_1904920909_nof its holiness and purity, of its beauty and peace, and all because God is there – then we just might realize how serious a thing it was for Jesus to leave His throne and become a man to live on earth amongst the sin and pollution with the devil. And all so He could redeem us back to Himself.  Leaving Heaven to do this for us was something that Jesus did out of choice because His love for us is infinite. And giving Him praise and worship on a day when Christians lift Jesus up to say thank you is something that we all should do regardless of how our tradition of celebrating might be changed because a loved one has gone on.

Christmas is about Jesus.  So, let’s keep our eyes on Him and remember that He is the doorway into Heaven where many of our loved ones wait for us.

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” … Isaiah 9:6

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Children, You’re Hurting Our Heavenly Father!

imagesHZI0J6JDToo many Christians spend their free time criticizing other Christians. It seems that a lot of focus today is put on knocking down the brethren and pointing out how they are still lost in sin. Sometimes I think that our Heavenly Father looks down at us and just wants to shout, “Children, stop fighting!” Oh, how all of this criticism must hurt Him!

None of us are perfect, yet many will argue that we have the right to judge others and some have even turned it into a self-appointed ministry to judge our brothers and sisters. God tells us to love our brethren; He doesn’t instruct us to constantly judge them and mock them.

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” 1 John 3:14

Yes, we should judge doctrine and we should judge 122174710those preaching a doctrine because our spiritual walk depends on it. We should compare what is being taught to the scriptures, and if it doesn’t line up then God says we should not follow that person or that doctrine. He also tells us to speak to the ones who are preaching a false message to correct them and then to even warn others to not listen to them. But that doesn’t mean that we should judge everyone who isn’t exactly as we are.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” … Matthew 7:15-19

Jesus has warned us to beware of the false leaders and He tells us how we can know them. However, many new Christians don’t know the scriptures well enough to discern this and so mature Christians certainly do need to point these false preachers out to them. But it shouldn’t become a goal in life to find these individuals and regularly declare who they are and judge them. And it is not the Christian’s responsibility to bring them down because that is the authority and responsibility of the Lord – to judge them and cast them into the [lake of] fire.

love never failsOur objective in life is to preach the good news so people can be saved. We need to love each other and encourage each other to follow Jesus, not to continually give Satan glory for the wrong that Christians or so-called Christians do.

“And He said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’” … Mark 16:15

Jesus did not say to condemn and criticize those who are weak in Christ or those who are not exactly where we are on the path to Heaven. He said to preach the gospel! He said to love the brethren. He said to feed the hungry and to give to the poor and to pray for one another. When Jesus walked the earth He constantly taught His disciples about God and Heaven, and He was their example and our example of what God, our Heavenly Father, expects from us.

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” … Matthew 4:23

Some will argue that Jesus corrected and even criticized the Pharisees and the Sadducees and it’s true that He did, but only when they confronted Him. He did not spend time searching them out and then going to where they were to criticize and condemn them. It was when they came to Him and tried to trick Him and tried to prove Him to be a false prophet that He rebuked them. If you read the Four Gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke & John] you’ll see what Jesus preached and how He addressed those who came against Him.

Our mission is to preach the gospel and to love one another, and that doesn’t mean criticizing and judging our brethren all the time. We need to be witnesses for God of His love and His grace, of His mercy and His forgiveness, of His strength and His power.

“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”… Matthew 14:1-5

If we aren’t able to change a person or their actions then we should pray for them. God tells us clearly in James 5:16 to pray for our brothers and sisters. When a group of men brought the adulterous woman to Jesus [John 8:7] even He did not condemn her. Instead He told the accusers, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” He knew that these people were learned in the scriptures and so He used the scriptures to throw the condemnation back at them, and in shame and conviction they all left her.

Let’s not become like the Pharisees and spend our time exalting ourselves through our acts of tearing down others. Let’s be humble before God and serve Him with a pure heart and not one that’s filled with judgment toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. We won’t earn Brownie points by showing off how many of our brethren we can judge; instead we will subject ourselves to be judged by God.

“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” … Luke 14:11

When we criticize our brothers and sisters, no matter how wrong they may be about some issues, we hurt God. We are all of His children and when we fight it hurts Him because He loves all of us equally. He knows that some of us are falling off the path and He knows that others are doing things they shouldn’t, but He loves us all anyway. And He expects us to step in and help those who need help, and not to judge and mock them.

So instead of criticizing we need to spend time in prayer for them and we need to love them with the love of God IN SPITE of how they are acting. It’s not our place to judge them. It’s our responsibility to be obedient to God’s Commission and to share the gospel and His love with others. There’s no greater way to show gratitude for God’s grace toward us than to put judgment aside and love our own brothers and sisters as He loves us.

“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. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” … 1 John 4:7-11

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Christmas: is all about gifts

cropped-imagesca5j11e6.jpgChristmas is a special time of year for Christians and it’s celebrated across the globe in a single day of celebration or as many days of festivities. It brings us great joy to honour the birth of Jesus and the fulfillment of God’s promise to us. It’s a time when families and friends get together, and it’s the one time in the year when cold hearts are warmed and attitudes of anger and dispute become lost behind seasonal acts of forgiveness. But for those who don’t know Jesus, Christmas is just a time to party and to indulge in the gifts.

The Christmas season brings the marketing industry to its peak and puts the stores in their glory as they rake in the money from selling branded goods that have been chosen as the season’s best sellers. It’s amazing to watch shoppers this time of year as they scurry through the stores to grab the hottest items for their loved ones. Price isn’t an issue in many cases; getting the promoted fads is what Christmas is all about to them. Pleasing their children and getting them lots of good gifts is what counts.

Gifts have become their god at Christmas. It’s all about the presents under the tree that makes the season a joy to many people. The decorations and the modern, jolly Christmas songs add to their festivities along with all the food – and of course, the liquor. It’s a time to party and a time when children can make out their wish lists and tell their parents what to buy them. Christmas for too many children is all about getting those presents!

Santa Claus is a hero to them and he is their incentive for good behaviorSanta because they’ve been taught that Santa is the one who brings the gifts and that he only brings them to “good little boys and girls”. He has become their focus because he’s the one with the gifts. People who don’t know Jesus give glory and praise to everything except to the One who deserves it!

Christmas for Christians is all about Jesus!

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.” … Jeremiah 33:14

The only gift that matters is the gift of life that God gave to us when He became a man and lived among us and then gave Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Jesus is the promise that the Old Testament believers looked forward to and He is the reason why we sing songs of praise.

To Christians, Christmas is a big birthday party and Jesus is the guest of honor. It’s a time to sing and praise the Lord.

“And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” … Philippians 2:8

Many of us exchange gifts and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as it’s done in celebration of the Lord and not as a prerequisite to define the day. Our focus needs to be on Jesus – the reason for the season. Gifts should be a blessing and not the focus of the day. Children should be taught that Christmas is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus – that Christmas is His birthday!

imagesL2KLQ6VU“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” … Luke 2:11

There is a joy and a hope and an excitement that comes with singing many of the traditional Christmas carols and that’s because our eyes are on the One who is worthy and deserving of our praise. There’s a peace that floods our heart when all that we do to celebrate Christmas gives glory to God. No wonder it’s a time of sharing and of forgiveness! When Jesus is the centre of our reason to celebrate, and when Jesus gets the glory for all we do, then His love is all around us and we are blessed.

“I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.”

… Psalm 9:2

Many Christians are taking the stand that this time of year should be acknowledged as “Merry Christmas” and not as “Happy Holiday”, but the world cannot share in this viewpoint because they don’t know Jesus. To them it IS just a happy holiday. To Christians it’s a time to be merry and celebrate Jesus, so let’s continue to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and not get upset if they don’t share our joy.

December 25th may not be the correct day of His birth, but our celebration of this precious gift brings joy to our Heavenly Father as we show Him how grateful we are that Jesus came for us. And the greatest gift that we can give to anyone at Christmas is to share the truth about Jesus with them and to let them know that we celebrate Christmas because He is God’s promise to us and that because of Jesus, we are saved!

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 Jesus is our gift from God.

“Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” … 2 Corinthians 9:15

 

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How to be God’s Influence in this World

4903040013_6370bb4e87_mAlmost all Christians will say that they are Christians because they believe in the gospel of Jesus and acknowledge that He is the Son of God and their Savior.  Romans 10:9 tells us that we need to confess this truth, but we’re also told that faith without works is dead. We need to do more than just speak it; we need to believe it and live it because this is how we will be God’s influence in this world!

Since God’s spirit lives in us, we are able to study the Bible and get to know Him, and in doing so we become like Him. The things we say and do are a reflection of Christ in us and through us He is able to reach out to the lost people of this world. Our personality becomes like His and we are able to show our love and faithfulness toward Him, and His love and grace toward others.

Giving thanks1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.” This is God’s will for us regarding our daily walk with Him. We begin every day by thanking Him for our salvation, but our thanks doesn’t stop with one prayer. We thank Him for everything in our life throughout the day as we see His goodness and His intervention in our lives. Even in the bad things we give Him thanks because we know that He will bring us through them and that because of them we will serve Him better.

Love each otherJohn 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  God tells us that we are to love each other – not to put each other down and not to dissect each other as if we were a science project, but to love our brothers and sisters in Christ in spite of their faults or their short comings. It grieves God when His children accuse each other; it brings Him great joy when He sees us working together in love.

255661_461700030572651_1452591175_nForgive each otherMatthew 6:15 says, “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Sometimes we get a little self-righteous and feel we have the right to treat others with less respect because of offences they have done to us. But if God can forgive us for our sins that nailed Him to the cross, then surely we can forgive others who have hurt us, and then treat them with the same loving kindness that He gives to us.

Don’t judge each otherMatthew 7:1-5 says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

Too often we get the messages of judging confused, and whereas God has told us to judge the doctrine and the teacher of doctrines so that we don’t get caught up with a false gospel (1 John 4:1), we tend to judge everyone for everything they do or say and feel justified in condemning them. However, God has not given us the right to judge anyone’s life as only He knows the heart of man and only He will open the Book of Life to read whose names are in there.  Life is journey toward God for all of us and we walk at different paces and carry different baggage and have different circumstances in life to endure. None of us want to have the judgment of another person interfere with our walk toward Heaven so let’s not be their stumbling block, either.

Be patient with others1 Thessalonians 5:14 says, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.”  We sometimes forget what other people are going through or that they may not know or understand God as we do, and we are quick to lose our patience with them. But this is not God’s will; after all, when we look at our own lives truthfully, we’ll see that throughout our Christian life and even today, we survive because God is patient with us. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect because that won’t happen until we’re with Jesus, so we need to be patient and kind to others, as well.

Realize that we are all sinnersRomans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, 8472731872_67f246af9c_mand come short of the glory of God.”  Every one of us lives each day in God’s grace and we need to realize that it’s only because of His love and grace that we are saved. Not one of us is deserving of a home in Heaven with Jesus, but He loves us so much that He was willing to die in our place (John 3:16) so we would be free of all sin and be with Him throughout eternity. That should humble each of us to an attitude of gratitude so that we never exalt ourselves and so we’ll always remember that we, too, are a sinner who has been forgiven and saved by grace.

Show mercyJames 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” When God’s spirit lives in us our personality and characteristics become like His, and it is natural for us to have a kind, gentle heart that treats others as Christ treats us. He has shown us mercy through the cross and we need to show mercy to others and always remember that if God didn’t have mercy toward us, we would not be saved in the first place. If it’s true that we reap what we sow then we need to sow mercy.

Give without expecting anything in returnMatthew 10:8 says, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Our salvation was a gift from God. He gave it to us because He loves us so much, so we need to have this same attitude toward giving to others. There is no material possession or earthly status or spectacular event that comes close to the gift of life He gave at the cross. This earth is not our home; we’re just passing through. And so nothing on this earth should prevent us from sharing and giving to others.

Bless those who come against usMatthew 5:44 says, “But I say unto you, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’” Christians are often ridiculed or persecuted for their beliefs and it’s sometimes easy to just hate those who hurt us, but God wants us to pray for them instead. Our prayers will not only bring peace to us in a stressful situation, but it just may bring those to Christ who cause that stress.  God loved them enough to die for them – just as He loved us enough to die for us – and to influence the world with His love we need to possess this same virtue so He can work through us and get them saved, too. If it’s too hard to pray honestly for them, then we should ask God to give us a love for them so that we can pray.

As we mature in the Lord it becomes so much easier to walk the walk than it does to talk the talk! And when we see people through God’s eyes we are able to be a witness for Him everywhere we go. We will be able to influence others and show them the love of God through how we live our lives and how we treat others.

“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. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” … 1 John 4:7-11

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Abusing God’s Love for Personal Gain

1466068_537012743056691_2031786269_nNothing excites the heart more than love. Nothing quiets a restless spirit more than love. And nothing gives us the confidence to endure trials and temptations more than love. Life is all about love and, in fact, the entire theme of the Bible is love – God’s love for us. Yet, many people miss God because they only hear that God loves them and wants to bless them abundantly here on earth. It’s wrong to abuse the love of God and His salvation so it can turned into a venue for personal gain.

We need to tell people about the love of God because it’s the very foundation on which our salvation stands. However, some doctrines turn the gospel into a message of love and prosperity, and teach that once we’re saved we will live in the abundance of prosperity, good health, constant blessings and superiority. The focus turns from Christ to us and onto this life as being the end-all, beat-all. This, however, is far from the truth.

The truth is that God’s love for us is the only thing that we live for and it’s the reason why we are able to praise Him and worship Him. The Bible says that He loves us so much that He gave His life for us. And He didn’t do this so we could live a few years of the good life here on earth; He did it so we could be with Him in eternity forever.

“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

God’s love for us is more than most people can comprehend. There’s not one person on earth who could ever have done what Jesus did for us. He left His throne on high to become a man, live a transient life with no possessions, and then was nailed to a cross for the sins that WE committed against God. And all so He could remove the sins and save the people who He loves.

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’” … Matthew 8:20

A modern gospel encourages the people to reach out and grab hold of all the blessings that will come to them because God loves them so much and wants them to have their inheritance now. But the error is that many of these people think they are Christians, yet they only focus on lusts and desires and things they can get from God. They never really grasp what the cross is all about and never seek to know Him beyond what they can get from Him.

What are Christians?  They are people who have repented of their sins and who now follow Christ. They are people who  have 8472731872_67f246af9c_maccepted the salvation that Jesus provided on the cross and who willfully obey Him, serve Him and love Him for who He is. They are people who want to spread the truth about Jesus so others can get saved and whose heart is to serve Christ and not the desires of the flesh.

Being a Christian means believing the real gospel of Jesus. It’s confessing that Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth to become the ultimate sacrifice for our sins; it’s believing that He died on the cross and took upon Himself all of our sins and then bore the punishment of hell for those sins; it’s believing that God raised Him from the dead and that Jesus is alive in Heaven and is waiting to come again to get  us so we can be with Him forever more. This is the real gospel!

Being a Christian means that we are free of sin and “saved” from the judgment that God will enforce on the people of this earth who follow after its sinful ways and who don’t accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It means being covered by the righteous blood of Jesus and that our name is written in the Book of Life so we can be with Him forever.

“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” … Revelation 20:15

It was never God’s intention that a single person should ever go to hell. However, once sin entered man, He gave them a choice to keep the sin or repent from it. When they choose to not accept His salvation, or when they choose to follow a false gospel, it’s a choice that they will live to regret throughout eternity. But it’s not God’s will for them.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” … 2 Peter 3:9

4668123355_e8fe03b41b_mGod’s love saved us from the judgment to come and made us part of His family so we can have an eternal home with Him. We have a wonderful future with Jesus where we will live, love and laugh forever.  This hope and the presence of His Spirit in us now keeps us alive and gives us the strength to endure life until we will go to be with Him.

“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. 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 14:2-3

God’s love for us makes us eternally grateful and we praise Him for it, but He didn’t do it just so we could satisfy the lusts of the flesh and live healthy and wealthy on this earth without any tribulation. That is not what the gospel of Jesus is about. In fact, Jesus never said that life would be easy if we follow Him. He said that we WILL have tribulation but that we would overcome it through Him.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” … John 16:33

We live in a corrupt world and we are surrounded in sin and ungodliness. We will face most of the same issues that any other person living on this earth will face. We’ll get sick, have lack of finances, suffer tragedies and experience conflicts just like anyone else. The difference is that we have Jesus to help us through them and to protect us during them when we trust Him. We have the Bible to give us wisdom on how to handle the issues of life, and we have His Spirit in us who will guide us and give us peace and confidence when we need it.

When we’re ill we can believe God for healing because He told us in Isaiah 53:5 that “by His stripes we are healed.” He bore the stripes already and if we will believe it then we can receive the healing that He’s already provided for us.

God will bless our finances and give us all the things that we need549554_723795780979158_650624426_n when we ask for them and trust Him to give them to us. He doesn’t want us to live in poverty; He wants us to have everything we need in life so that we can be good witnesses to others and enjoy life. We do have the promise that He will take care of those needs because He’s a faithful and loving father; however, He doesn’t want the possessions to be what we live for or to be the only reason we come to Him.

God even wants to bless us with things that we don’t need but that will make us happy. He enjoys giving gifts to us just as any earthly father enjoys giving gifts to his children. But these are blessings that come because our love for Him is the greatest desire we have and because we are so grateful to Him for redeeming us back to God through the cross. He knows our heart and He knows that we seek Him because we love Him and not because we feel we have the right to material possessions.

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” … Psalm 37:4

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, [not according to greed or lust] He hears us.” … 1 John 5:14

The key is to ask according to His will and not according to what we want. When we become Christians we serve Jesus; He does not serve us. When our mentality is set to get all we can from God now that we’re saved, we are missing God totally and need to go back to the cross and try again. When we accept that He is our Heavenly Father who loves us, then our love, respect and reverence is to Him alone, and we appreciate the sacrifice He gave on that cross. We may still have desires and wants and we will all come to Him and ask if He would bless us with one thing or another. Sometimes we get what we ask for and sometimes we don’t, but regardless, our love for Him continues to grow because it’s not founded on our own greed and lusts; it’s founded on the love that He has for us.

“We love Him, because He first loved us.” … 1 John 4:19

Our inheritance is eternity with Jesus and it’s not possessions or statusJesus is waiting for you in this earth. This world is waiting to be judged by God, and there is nothing here that we will take with us when we go to be with Him forever. Our inheritance is the reward we are given by Him and that is to be in Heaven with Jesus forever.

“Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” … Colossians 3:24

Any doctrine that preaches only the love of God and how great life will be on earth because of everything He will give us is a false doctrine! The gospel of Jesus preaches salvation, repentance and remission of sins, how He died on the cross and was buried and then raised from the dead. It preaches that He will return soon to take those who love Him to Heaven.

“Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” … Titus 2:13

Waquas

His love for us is our reason for living, and that’s why we want to share it with others, but they will only know His love when they can hear the real gospel message about salvation through Christ Jesus. So let’s tell everyone we know that Jesus loves them, but let’s not leave it there so they foolishly chase after things instead of truth. Let’s pray with them and encourage them to study their Bible and know the truth about the love of God because His love for us is far greater than any worldly possession!

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down His life for His friends.” … John 15:13

What a friend we have in Jesus

* If this message has blessed you, please subscribe to my blog so you can get all future posts directly into your personal email. And please feel free to share this message with others. Let’s keep on sharing the love of God to everyone around us!

We Need to Speak Up!

6447825367_d360021037_mWhether we’re a regular follower of the news or just a casual reader we can’t help but notice that the world is in a mess! From contentious issues at work to family disasters to world catastrophes, it appears as if everything is coming undone at the seams. Too often, though, we just brush things off as being part of this world; we don’t take a stand, but instead we complain about the issues. The time to say nothing and just watch it all happen is over; it’s time to speak up!

 

“Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets.” … Proverbs 1:20

Few of us are in a position to go to the front lines and fight the battles that are plaguing our world, but most of us can work in the background giving support and declaring truth in many other ways. We can all do something if we really want to – and as Christians we really need to!

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

… James 5:16

We can’t all be the ones to lead crusades against abortion, 4175850907_9d68e186f2_mbut we can still speak out to individuals and pray for them. Most of us are on Face Book and there are often posts that speak on behalf of the unborn child. We can share these posts on our own timeline, and spread the truth that it’s wrong to murder a baby and that those who participate in abortions are in danger of God’s judgment. We may never know who will read it, but it just might touch someone and save a life!

“Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” … Psalm 127:3

There are so many starving children in Third World countries that it’s heartbreaking, and now with so much violence against Christians, it’s becoming a nightmare for people who want to go there and help. We’re not all called to work as missionaries, but most of us can afford a few dollars a month to support those who are called and to feed and provide medical care for these precious people. And all of us have the ability to pray; to pray for the missionaries and the workers in these countries, and to pray that God will meet all of their needs. We can all do something to support the thousands of orphaned children who are hurting.

We may only be able to give $10 a month to support a child in the Third World, and on its own it might not seem like much, but if many people gave $10 a month, then many children could be able to eat, would get educated, would receive medical help AND would learn about Jesus.

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’” … Matthew 25:40

We can’t all be part of the governing political agencies in our country, but we can pray that God will provide Christian workers who can be. We can all be part of petitions that declare we want God back in our schools. We can all pray that He will raise up mighty men who will serve Him and who will fight for the rights of Christians so we can have the freedom that our country was founded on.

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” … 1 Peter 3:12

941793_584278361594503_2038674924_nWe can’t control the weather or the natural disasters that come at us, but we can let people know that God will help them through them if they trust Him. We can pray for His wisdom so we can know what to do so to stay safe, and we can pray for others and ask for God’s protection on them. We can be part of an active community and help others in our own neighborhoods who need our help.

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” … Psalm 4:8

We may not always approve of the things our own children do and get involved in, but we can pray for them and we can teach them about God and encourage them to trust Him. From the time we discover they will be born we should pray for them, that the Lord will keep them safe from the wiles of the devil and that they would serve the Lord forever. If we didn’t know God when our children were young, it’s not too late to start now. We can teach them, encourage them, pray with them, read to them and sing with them. We can ask the Lord to direct them and make them wise. We can pray for their salvation if they’re not saved and we can pray for God to protect them, and we can pray for our own wisdom to deal with specific situations. They may wonder off track at times, but we must always speak the truth to them while at the same time reassuring them of our love. We can always hope that if they’ve wandered away from God that they will return.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” … Proverbs 22:6

Many of us have elderly loved ones who suffer from some 2142655281_596427963d_mform of dementia such as Alzheimer’s, and few us know how to communicate with them anymore. Too often these precious people are left alone to feel deserted and forgotten because we send them to an old age home. They can’t speak for themselves, but they are still people who are hurting and who are craving for our love and attention.

It’s terrible that so many of the long term homes for the elderly are so poorly managed and equipped, and too often people just put a family member there and don’t realize that they won’t be cared for as well as they hoped. It’s time to speak up and insist that there be a change so that these precious people can live better. We need to pray for God’s protection over them, and that He would send them friends to talk to; friends who make them feel loved when we can’t be there.

“Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.” … Proverbs 23:22

So many people suffer from sickness and disease and then succumb to whatever the medical profession deals them. Maybe it’s a long-term such as cancer or permanent disease such as diabetes or heart disease, or maybe it’s a life-threatening disease that gives no hope for cure. Whatever it is, we can take it to God in prayer and believe Him to get us through it. We need to encourage people to study the Bible and trust God because He said He would heal us if we asked. And sometimes that healing requires us to turn away from the medical world and go to a naturopathic doctor and let God’s natural medicines heal us. And sometimes we have to speak up and encourage these loved ones instead of just accepting the medical world’s prognosis.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” … Isaiah 53:5

Many of us are not able to be on the front lines of the many battles that this world is fighting, but most of us can do something. It’s not right that we should just sit back and complain. God never made us to be complainers; He gave us His Spirit so we could have the wisdom and strength to be His workers. Every one of us, no matter how great or small we are, or how mobile, wealthy or healthy we are, can do something to take a stand for what is right.

The world is in the mess it’s in because too often Christians did not speak up and take a stand when it was clear at the onset that their friends or church or family or the government was doing something wrong. Of course, in many cases we had no idea what the consequences of many things would be, so we didn’t do anything. We just hoped that it would go away.

3163457371_9af9a5bbd2_mBut now we can do something. Now we need to do something. We can no longer just sit and watch and hope. We need to stand up and speak up. We need to let people know when they are doing something that is wrong and not just murmur about it and let it pass. People’s lives are at stake here!

“Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.” … Psalm 82:3

As the world heads closer toward Judgment Day, more and more things are going to become the norm that are wrong before God, and more and more people are going to get drawn into the deception of thinking the world’s way is the norm for Christians, too. We have an opportunity today to steer people toward God, to teach them what God expects and to save them from His judgment. We have the opportunity today to save lives, so let’s not brush undesirable things off like dust and say it’s not our concern. It IS our concern! If we don’t speak up and become part of the answer, then we are part of the problem.

Let’s not keep silent because we’re worried that we’ll cause a scene. Let’s make a noise! Let’s speak out just as Jesus did! Let’s take a stand for God today and show others the right way!

“And He [Jesus] said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’” … Matthew 16:15

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One Last Hope!

Rev Billy Graham

“Today is Billy Graham’s 96th birthday! We know him as the renowned figure who we’ve watched on television for over 50 years as he preached a powerful gospel message around the globe. Many of us have had the opportunity to attend one of his crusades and the impact of the message still ministers to us today. This man of God is aging, yet he continues to tell us that we need Jesus to save us from our sins. His latest message comes in a short movie called Heaven, and it’s his hope that it will bring people to the cross.

The cross is what life is all about!

 

We’ve become so caught up with our own personal lives that many of us have actually fallen into the “modus operandi” or process of this world’s system and don’t even realize it. We’ve made our families, our jobs and our careers so important that we literally live our lives for them and only include God when we remember. And while it’s good that we diligently provide for our families and better ourselves, these should never become our reason for living. They should never come before Jesus and what He has waiting for us in Heaven.

Most Christians can’t really imagine how wonderful Heaven really is, and it’s difficult to put the description of the New Jerusalem into our thoughts realistically because it is so magnificent. The Bible tells that there are mansions in Heaven and that He created them for each of us personally.

“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

Jesus says that there is peace there; no more pain and no more tears.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” … Revelation 21:4

He says that the lion will lay down with the lamb and that children will be carefree and happy.

“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.” … Isaiah 65:25

And while all of these things make Heaven so inviting, the most wonderful part of it is that Jesus is there! In fact, the Bible says that we will be with Jesus throughout eternity, so wherever He is we will also be – and that is the greatest part of Heaven.

“…that where I am, there ye may be also.” … Matthew 14:3

Heaven has no boundaries and its size is beyond our imagination —— and yet, there is only ONE door to get in. That door is Jesus Christ.

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, Jesus is waiting for youand shall go in and out, and find pasture.” … John 10:9

If any of us could see Heaven or get even a glimpse of what it’s like to be there with Jesus if even for just a few seconds, not one of us would want to return to this sinful earth. We live here now, but our eyes and our thoughts and our hearts need to be focused on where we will go when we leave this earth. God has only promised us a longevity of about 70 years, yet He’s made a way for us to live with Him in eternity forever!

Even in our darkest moments here on this earth, we have never been totally without the presence of God because He is omnipresent. We have no idea what evil would surround us and what terrifying lives we’d endure if He ever left us totally alone for even a second. He has always been here waiting for us to invite Him in.

The future that awaits those who don’t invite Him into their hearts and who don’t accept the salvation that Jesus provided on the cross, is one of complete separation from God. The Bible says in Matthew 8:12 and in Matthew 22:13 that they will be cast out into outer darkness.

According to STRONGS Concordance NT 1857, the Greek words for “outer darkness” are (ἐξώτερος) exóteros and (σκότος) skotos. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that exóteros means “the darkness outside the limits of the lighted palace (to which the Messiah’s kingdom is here likened)”, and that skotos means “By metonymy, put for a dark place.”

The Bible often refers to hell as a pit, a low place, a dark place – outer darkness – and it’s a place where God does not reside and that no person, if they thought they’d go there, would want to reside, either. But even hell has its punishment, and after the great Judgment Day, death and hell will both be cast into the Lake of Fire and this is where all those who are in them will burn forever.

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” … Revelation 20:14

8472731872_67f246af9c_mWe learn in John 3:16 that it is not God’s will that any of us should perish. He made people because He wanted a family, and when sin entered into Adam it destroyed that relationship. But God has never given up on us. He came to earth and lived as a man so that He alone could take that sin and put it into hell where it and anyone found with sin would wait for judgment.  And He did it so that we would not have to go there.

Our Heavenly Father has never stopped loving us. He hates the sin, but He has always loved us, and when we accept the salvation that Jesus gave on the cross, then we are free of that sin and then He will come and live in us and be with us until we go Home.

Unfortunately, many people are caught up with this world and few believe there’s a Heaven and even less believe that there is a hell. Some people foolishly think they are Christians, but don’t believe that a loving God could send anyone to hell. They believe that everyone is saved because it says in Romans 14:11 that every knee shall bow. Yes, every knee shall bow, but that’s because there’s nothing else anyone can do in the presence of Almighty God. Whether a person believes now that Jesus is real or not, when they die and stand before Him they will know that He is God ….. AND THEY WILL BOW!

I share this same hope with Billy Graham and I want people to turn to Jesus and know that He is their ONLY hope; that He is their Savior and that He loves them. Too many people push Him away or plan to make it right later on in life. But, there is no guarantee that any of us have a “later on” and when we look at what’s going on in the world around us, we can see that a very “dark” future lies ahead. The time is now!

The opportunity to know Jesus is now. The time to repent is now. The time to turn away from the world and follow Jesus is NOW!

Please watch this short video called Heaven; it’s only 30 minutes long, but it’s 30 minutes that will bring you into the realization that Jesus is real, Heaven is real, and that Jesus wants YOU to be there with Him forever!

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The message in this short video called Heaven will bless you, I promise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christians Are Not Perfect: We are Forgiven!

3147461049_35b009962d_mAs we travel forward in our Christian walk we realize that not everyone along the way is in the same place as we are in our personal relationship with God. Some will be brand new Christians and others will have a mature walk with God. Some were once back-sliders, but are now back on the path, while still others need to be prompted to get back on. There are those who are abundant in love and radiate in peace while others are still focused more on the law than on His grace. Some will have a shallow understanding of the scriptures while others have a deep understanding of them. We have all come from assorted backgrounds and been brought through different circumstances, and we all have our own mountains to climb, but the one thing we have in common is that we are forgiven!

We have all sinned, regardless of what we’ve done, and be it  big or little there is no difference to God. Sin is sin and it will separate us from God. That’s why He gave His own Son to be a sacrifice for us. He wanted to take the sin from us and bear the punishment of it for us so that we could get rid of the sin and stand holy before Him. But we’re not holy on our own merits. We are only holy because the blood of Jesus covers us and has taken away that sin. And when we accept His sacrifice and turn away from the worldly sins, we are forgiven and we become children of God.

We are forgiven! We have been redeemed back to God and every sin we committed before we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior was forgiven. The record has been washed clean and God doesn’t see it anymore. We now live under grace. We are no longer under the law and sin can no longer hurt us.

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” … Galatians 4:4-5

Without God’s forgiveness we have sin in us, and when we commit one sin, 310702990_21eca830bb_mone felony or offence – a single transgression against the law – then we commit sin against God. He gave us the law through Moses and it’s known as The Ten Commandments as set out in Exodus 20:3-17. If it were possible for any person to live one hundred percent according to this law and never once waiver even in the slightest bit throughout their entire life, then they would not have sin in them and they would not need a Savior. But The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that “we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” so we know that it is impossible to live without sinning. This means that every person has sinned and therefore, deserves to suffer the punishment for their sins.

But God loves us with a love so great that few people can really comprehend it. It grieved God terribly to have been separated from Adam and Eve because of sin. It was His plan then to take that sin away from them and from every person ever born because He knew the punishment of sin. He made the world; He made the law and it stands.

“For the wages of sin is death.” … Romans 6:23

The “death” spoken of here doesn’t refer to the death of our earthly bodies when we leave this earth. It’s speaking of the second death that will come to those people on Judgment Day who are found with sin in them, and the punishment will be a complete separation from God forever.

“Then the king [Jesus] said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” … Matthew 22:13

Jesus is the only person ever to have lived a totally sinless life. He was born of a woman, but His father was God and God is Holy, so Jesus was Holy. He was not born of a man and did not inherit the sin of Adam as the rest of the human race did.

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” … Hebrews 4:15

5578273602_79073a7036_mJesus died on the cross and took upon Himself all of our sins so that everyone who accepts it will be forgiven and will live under the grace of God. This means that if during our Christian lives we do something that we know is wrong, we can come to God immediately and ask Him to forgive us and He will not only forgive us, but He’ll erase it from our record.

“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

We are forgiven! We live under the grace of God and as we grow and pray and study the Bible and worship the Lord, we become more and more like Him through the Holy Spirit in us. But every Christian won’t be like us. We shouldn’t judge them or put them down, but instead we need to show the love and grace of God toward them. We need to pray for them and teach them at their level so they can see God from where they are.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” … Colossians 3:16

The Christian life is wonderful when we see others through the eyes of Jesus and not through our own ideals. There are many people around us who aren’t Christians, but who watch us and who deep inside want to know God. We need to treat all people with love and compassion, using only scripture as a benchmark and God’s love and grace toward them so they can see Him. But we also need to tell them about His judgment for those who still live in sin so they’ll know why they need to repent.

The only difference between Christians and people of the world is that we are forgiven and His Spirit now lives in us. And for this we are eternally grateful! Thank you, Jesus!

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” … Psalm 32:1

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Being Blessed is Everything!

631115301_0d78360698Too often Christians act or react badly in certain situations and display the same contempt toward others as many non-Christians. This is because they don’t know the scriptures and have no direct knowledge about how to deal with many of the situations they face. Yet, Jesus was very specific in His teaching and we can get a fairly good insight as to how to act and react when we learn what He said in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5: 3-12:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,  for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,  for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,  for they shall be called sons of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

12Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Jesus is telling us how a born again Christian, someone who is walking in 8472731872_67f246af9c_mlove and who knows Jesus, should conduct their behavior. We all fall short of this and if we are honest, we would all have to admit that there are times when we miss this mark.

He is telling us that this is the way that we should automatically act and react when dealing with the events of daily life. The more we study the Bible and seek Jesus and the more we worship Him, the more these attributes become a part of us and the less we have to focus on them. But while we’re still growing, it’s really a good thing to read the Beatitudes and get them deep into our heart.

What they mean:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The “poor in spirit” are those who don’t know Jesus, but then when they learn about Him they repent of their sins, give up their sinful life and become born again. They are blessed because now they have Jesus as their Lord, the Holy Spirit as their guide and eternal life with God in Heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” When a Christian’s heart is heavy with sorrow, the Holy Spirit inside them will comfort them and give them a peace that they could not get anywhere in the world. God’s love pours over them like only a Father’s love could.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” 944431_692565744102162_465147567_nIt’s the people who love the Lord and come to Him in love and with reverence and respect for Him as their Father, Lord, and Almighty God who will inherit eternity with Christ and who will come back with Jesus to live on the earth. It’s not the ones who “name and claim” their inheritance or who chant scriptures or whose gospel is focused on the prosperity message. The “meek” are the Christians who love the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul and strength and who love others with the same humility.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” These are the people who love Jesus and who want to know Him; these are the people who are not concerned with personal financial gain or career objectives, but who love the Lord and who live for the Lord and whose focus is to serve Jesus. These are the people who believe that the righteousness of Christ is everything and they hunger and thirst to know Him and to be with Him.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” These people treat others with the same love and patience, kindness and forgiveness, compassion and understanding as Jesus has given to them. They know that Jesus loved them and died for them on the cross while they were still sinners; He did not give up on them and He gave His life to save them. And even now when they do something that they realize has displeased the Lord, they know that they can tell Him they’re sorry and that He will forgive them and continue to be their best friend. As the saying goes, what goes around comes around, and if we don’t have mercy on those who offend us, then God will not intervene with mercy at times when we need it.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The “pure in heart” are the Christians who are born again, washed in the blood of Jesus, and who have repented of their sins, turned away from their sinful ways and now follow Jesus with gladness. They are the ones who are covered in His righteousness and who are filled with the Holy Spirit, and they are the ones who now are part of the family of God and who have a home waiting for them with God in Heaven.

6447825367_d360021037_m“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” We can talk to people and deal with situations much better when we do it with a peaceful attitude. Christians who focus on peace know that others will be drawn to them and their example will be a testimony to them. When Christians strike back and retaliate when they’re called names or when false accusations come against them, they are not walking in peace and often will turn an unkind situation into something really bad. Jesus is our example, and although He spoke direct at times He always did it with a soft and peaceful attitude.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” As the world gets closer to its final days, the rampage of sin continues to grow worse and Christians are being persecuted more and more because they love Jesus. The whole sinful revolution is brought on by the devil who hates Jesus and who knows that his time for persecuting Christians and causing problems in this world is almost over. Many Christians won’t speak up for Christ and won’t take a public stand because they don’t like to be mocked or ridiculed or persecuted – and that in itself displays their lack of love for Jesus. But those whose love for Christ is the very reason for their existence will preach the gospel, stand for righteousness, defend the innocent, and declare the love of God – and they will not be ashamed. They may be persecuted, but their love for Jesus is stronger than their fear of persecution.

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” There will be times when non-believers will be upset with Christians and will make up lies about them and try to ruin their testimony. But Jesus said, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.” He does not want us to retaliate, call them names back, post nasty things about them online or spread evil rumours about them. He does not want Christians to stoop to their sinful ways and act the way they act. He wants His children to be glad the Word of God has riled their spirits and hopefully to the point where what was said or done might be the first in a string of events that will lead them to Christ. The Christian’s reward is in Heaven; God does not want them to fight back carnally here on earth as they try to get even in their defense. This is not God’s will for them – it’s the devil’s will.

The blessings of God in our lives make life worth living. We cannot preach the gospel without Him; we cannot be nice to mean people on our own efforts; and we cannot come to God in arrogance and expect anything short of discipline. God is our Heavenly Father. He loves us enough to die for us. He has prepared a home for us in Heaven. And He’s given us these precious Beatitudes so that we can know the heart of God and learn to treat others the way He treats us.

“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tender-hearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9

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Why God Doesn’t Answer Prayers

936000_683879594970777_1307781314_nIt’s amazing how many people – including those who proclaim to be Christians – will totally ignore the Lord and not give Him praise and thanks for anything, but then when they want something or need help they decide to pray and actually expect Him to bless them. Few of them get a positive response from God and so they just go back to the world for help. It seems to them as if God doesn’t answer prayers.

Most people have no idea who God is, and they have little reverence or fear of Him and so think that He is THEIR servant to call upon when needed. The very concept of this is absolute foolishness and anyone who looks to God in this way not only doesn’t know Him, but is walking on a very dangerous path that leads to His wrath.

God is the creator of everything living (Genesis 1:1-31) and verses 26-28 says that He made us in His image. He has personally made each and every one of us.

“Thy hands have made me and fashioned me.” … Psalm 119:73

God loves us, and He placed our ancestors, Adam and Eve, in the perfect garden and then walked with them every day. He had a relationship with them – not as a ghost that hovers around taunting them, but as a real live Father who loves His children. But then when sin entered Adam, God could no longer be there because He is Holy and His presence would physically burn up anything around that had sin in it – including Adam and Eve. He loved them so much that He exiled them out of His presence and into the uninhabited world where they were unfortunately ruled by the devil. God would not leave them there, though, and so promised that He would send a Savior who would take away their sins – the sins that separated them from Him. And God kept His Word and He came to earth Himself in the person of Jesus, and died on the cross and took all the sins of mankind to hell so we could once again walk with Him.

The world is made up of two kinds of people: those who accept the salvation 4257830784_f5c9efb2f9_mthat Jesus gave on the cross and those who don’t. The ones who accept Jesus as the promised Messiah, the Savior, come to God with a heart of repentance and ask Him to wash away their sins. Then they turn away from the world and serve God with a whole heart; they study the Bible, pray for others and praise His name, giving Him glory for everything that He has done. As they grow in Him, the relationship between them and God grows and they realize that they can trust Him with their lives.

The ones who don’t know God have no idea who He is and only respond in prayer because that’s what you do when you need help. But they don’t know Him. They don’t know anything about Him and have no right thinking that He would answer their prayers. When God looks at sinners who do not have the blood of Jesus covering them, who have not repented and do not have remission for their sins, He sees one thing – and that is sin.

What does the Bible say about sin? Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” And for those whose sins have been forgiven it says, “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

People who carry their sins and don’t repent will not receive the blessings of God no matter how much they supposedly pray. Their prayers will not be answered because they do not know Him and sin stands between them and Him.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,  nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” … 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

4015126591_2737b0a037_mYou can’t receive an inheritance from someone you don’t know. For example, there may be a wealthy man in my city, but when he dies I won’t be in his will because I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me. I am not part of his family and he is not obligated to leave me anything – and I have no right to expect that he would. It’s the same with God. If we are not in His family then we cannot expect to receive the inheritance of eternal life with Jesus in Heaven, or of a relationship with Him on earth. We cannot expect that He would hear or answer our prayers.

But when we know Him, we can trust Him because He hears and answers our prayers.

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” … 1 Peter 3:12

If we truly want God to answer our prayers then we need to know Him. He died for everyone, but only those who accept His salvation and turn away from evil to serve Him with a whole heart will be part of His family, and will have their prayers answered.

It’s not lip service; it’s not just acknowledging the cross. Even Satan knows about the cross, but He is the enemy of God and anyone who does not accept Jesus as their Savior belongs to the devil (James 4:4).  Salvation means loving God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving people with the same passion that He loves us. God is our Heavenly Father, our Savior, our Lord and our King and there is nothing that the world can throw at us that Jesus won’t help us through, and that’s because we accept His love and His salvation and we belong to Him.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” … Psalm 23

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