There are many times when the trials and challenges of this life get us down and literally disable us from functioning with any clarity. We become tired and defeated because we are so weak. Continue reading
Many so-called Christian churches today are filled with myths and deception and literally force the people away from God and into a false religion that mocks the God of Heaven. And although many people feel that they are sanctified because they attend church, the truth is that attending church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than strolling through a beautiful landscape makes you a gardener, and if you think it does then you will join the millions of souls who will cry out to God on Judgment Day as He turns you away from Heaven. It is time for people to stop trying to bring God down to their sinful ways and to begin to know and give honor to the real God of Heaven. It’s time for Christians to wake up!
Christianity is about Christ; nothing more and nothing less. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, the apostle Paul tells us, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Paul is telling us to study and to learn the gospel that He preaches because it is the only gospel that Christians are to follow. Paul adds in Galatians 1:8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
Many of the deceptions that come through preachers, teachers and televangelists are that God has a different agenda for us today than what the old church taught; that God has changed and wants to meet us where we’re at; that He’ll accept us just the way we are so we don’t need to give up any bad habits because they’ve all been forgiven at the cross. Many false teachers like Kenneth Copeland teach a prosperity message and twist the scriptures to make us believe that today’s Christians can have all the wealth they want, and that it’s their inheritance here on earth and all they have to do is tithe, claim it and quote scriptures to get it. These actions have nothing to do with Christ or with Christians or with the real gospel of Christ.
We live in a world that’s controlled by Satan and overrun with sin and corruption, and so to be a Christian you have to realize that you’re a minority and that the world is against you. Jesus never promised that life would be a bed of rose; in fact, He said just the opposite:
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” … John 16:33
And because Jesus has overcome the world through His death and resurrection on the cross, we also can have the victory through our trials and tribulations when we give them to Him and let Him guide us through them. But we will have them.
“Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” … Psalm 27:11
God does not want us to be sick or to have lack of finances or to go through marital problems or to have issues with raising our children, but the influence from this world distracts us and forces us to take our eyes off of the Lord and onto our own abilities and inadequacies. But through prayer and trust in God, we can and we WILL get the victory even though the answers might not be what we expected. And that’s because God is molding our lives for His purpose when we let Him.
Many so-called “Christian” leaders today are not teaching us the real gospel of Christ, but are instead teaching us what we want to hear. We want to hear that we don’t have to change our lifestyle or study the Bible or get to know Jesus personally because He’s an easy-going God who just accepts us just as we are and who wants us to prosper in this world. But this is lie because to be a Christian we need to accept Jesus as the Son of God who died on the cross in our place and who paid the punishment for our sins and who rose again and who now sits on the right hand of God in Heaven, waiting for Judgment Day.
We need to read the New Testament and understand what the gospel of Jesus really is – and it’s not about me and it’s not about you. It’s about Jesus. It’s about a loving God who took on the form of a human body and suffered in death so He could fulfill the promise and defeat hell and death. And every single person who accepts this and loves Him will be forgiven of their sin and will receive His Spirit and live with Him forever.
What a promise! And yet churches have filled their pews with people who ignorantly follow their doctrine and their protocol, but who have no idea who Jesus really is or what His gospel is really about.
Christianity is not about being good or doing good works. It’s not about being faithful to the church pastor and fluent with physical gifts. Christianity is about knowing Jesus and becoming like Him and carrying on the mission that He began when He was here. Christianity is about loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and in turn, loving people with the same love that you have for yourself.
Christianity is making Christ the highest priority in our life so that everything we do, think and say is to His glory and for His benefit. The only way any of us are going to know Jesus is to study the scriptures, especially the New Testament, because Jesus filled Paul with all knowledge of Himself and Paul teaches us who God is and what He expects from us and what rewards He has for us.
There are far too many man-made rules inside the church organizations that mislead people and take them away from the Lord. We need to learn to discern the truth from the deception so that we can focus our heart and our purpose on Christ, alone.
I have written a book on these very issues and it will be released in just a few weeks, in the fall of 2014. It’s called:
“Christians, Wake Up! How to find the real gospel in a world of false doctrines”
This book, which I was originally going to title, “In Search of the Real Jesus”, answers many of the questions that new and immature Christians have about rules, doctrines and practices that are spreading throughout the churches today, and hopefully, it will allow you to see the difference between religious doctrine and the true gospel of Christ. You’ll learn how the scriptures have been twisted and changed into a religion that serves the devil, and you’ll see that we serve a mighty and a powerful yet very loving God who is filled with grace, slow to anger and quick to forgive.
We will all stand before Christ one day because this world is not our home; we are just passing through and our final destination will be Heaven with Jesus, or hell without Him. Don’t be deceived because now is the time: Christians, wake up!
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
… Colossians 1:10-14
Christians face many challenges in life and the greatest one is deception. Lots of people think they are Christians, yet their personalities and their lifestyles don’t reflect it. Are they Christians or is it possible that deception has made them Wannabee Christians?
One of the concerns that people have about Christianity is that they’ll have to give up all the good things in life; no more smoking, no more drinking, no more going to bars, no more indulging in unfavorable substances and no more hanging out with old friends. They look at Christianity as a religious organization that comes with a bunch of rules and turns people into unpersonable zombies. This is far from the truth because when you become a Christian you don’t have to give up anything.
When you become a Christian, you choose to give up everything.
There’s a big difference between someone who “wants” to become a Christian and someone who gives his or her heart to Jesus and “becomes” a Christian. The perception is comparable to a diet. Many people yo-yo on various dieting fads to lose weight, but they never succeed and in fact, often suffer poor health effects because of it. They’ll see all the benefits and read all the testimonies of celebrities who engaged in specific diets and now look awesome, and so they’ll go on the diet, too. But they’ll fail.
Why will they fail? Because their eyes are on the end result, but their heart and mind have nothing stable to hold on to. In other words, they are not committed to the diet or to the reason for the diet; they are not committed to good health; they are not committed to change – they just want to look good and so they follow the regime on their own energy and for their own glory.
It’s the same concept for Christianity. Without a commitment, you will not succeed. Unless you are committed to Jesus and to His ministry and to His calling on your life, you will never know what Christianity is all about. You will always remain a wannabee Christian with no goal, no purpose, no hope for the future, and nothing solid in your life to guide you.
Wannabee Christians want to appear to be Christians, want to reap all the benefits of being Christians and want to hold the status and impression of good Christian citizens, but they don’t want to deny their own existence. They don’t want to change who they are and more than that, they do NOT want to give up the pleasures in life that they enjoy.
However, when you are committed to God your heart changes and your priorities shift from being self-pleasers to being Christ-pleasers. Your focus and your goals, and your hopes and your joys in life become entwined with those of Jesus. You no longer struggle to give up old habits because you “want” to give them up; you no longer fight the change, but rather, you willfully submit to God’s ways. You slowly take on the lifestyle and passions of Jesus.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” … Galatians 5:1
The Bible tells us in Galatians 5:22 that Christians are known by their fruits and these are “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” These fruits are the personality and characteristics of Jesus, so the more you become like Jesus, the more of His fruits you will have and the more of His personality will live in you.
After a while you’ll realize that you are different. The things that you used to enjoy doing and places you thought were socially exciting become distasteful things of the past and you have no desire to do them anymore. You have new interests, new joys and new hope. Your outlook on life changes and you begin to see things through Jesus’ eyes.
“Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” … Psalm 37:5
Will every conversion be a simple transformation once you’re a Christian? Not always. People who once engaged in addictive substances, for example, will often have a physical battle to fight because their bodies crave the substance it’s used to.
“The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” … Matthew 26:41.
This requires diligently seeking Jesus to remove this craving and to heal the body. Some people will get the healing and others will need to go to a naturopathic doctor for natural meds to help them overcome it. But when you are committed and when you trust Jesus to give you the victory over it, you WILL defeat this goliath and you WILL enjoy the freedom of life without its evil clutches.
After a while you’ll look into the mirror and see that you really are different. You are not the person you used to be. As you study and grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and as you commit your life to Him, you’ll progressively take on His personality and His passions. Your thoughts and your ideals will become more like His as His Spirit becomes life in you.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” … Galatians 5:16-17
Many Christians don’t know what prayer really is. To many believers it’s the prescribed speech we convey at church or when the pastor prays for the congregation. To others it’s the formal act of speaking to God while on our knees, and to some it’s a quick request to God to do something to help us when we need something we can’t do ourselves. So, it is a legitimate question to ask; does prayer really work?
We need to learn what prayer is before we can know if it works or not, and we need to know what kinds of prayers God actually listens to – which ones He considers important.
Let’s start at the beginning. Prayer is the means of communication that we have between us and God, and there is no “official” or “preferred” time to pray to please God. He will hear us whenever we pray. It’s like a private internet link for each individual Christian to be able to talk to God whenever we want. Every Christian can pray to God regardless of culture, background or financial status, Acts 10:34. We talk to the Lord through prayer, but He doesn’t usually respond by speaking directly to us. He talks to us through His Word.
Before we can pray with any merit, we must believe that God is our Heavenly Father and the Author of our Salvation. We must come to Him in reverence and with respect knowing that He is the Creator of the universe and the Judge of the nations, and that through His Son, Jesus, we have been redeemed back to Him – making our relationship with Him a personal one. And we must realize that because it’s personal, God always listens to what we have to say.
So why don’t all of our prayers get answered if He always listens? God is Omnipotent, the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change a thing to be with us; we have to change our ways to be like Him. It’s us who sinned and broke the original bond between God and us, and so it’s us who have to repent, accept Jesus as our Saviour, and then make the changes to meet God’s standards. We do this through the Holy Spirit who Jesus gave to us, and through His Spirit we are able to communicate with God in prayer.
What Prayer Is Not
Prayer is NOT a public display to impress people, and there are times we’ve all heard and seen this in church. Matthew 6:5 says, “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”
Prayer is NOT an obligation we fulfill such as a public prayer at church or a request in a prayer group, yet we have no heart or confidence in it. Mark 7:6 says, “He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me’”.
Prayer is NOT a ritual performed as an act of obedience. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”…Matthew 23:27
Prayer is NOT an organized set of words that draws people into a church through their own lusts or desires. Matthew 23:14 says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.”
Prayer is NOT a prefabricated set of words; it’s not a formal repetition that we pray to God about specific issues, as some religions contend. “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” … Matthew 6:7
How to Pray
God is a living being, our Heavenly Father. We can only talk to Him when we pray from our heart – as in a child to a father. The words we speak are our own and they come from the heart – our heart to His. We might use incorrect grammar or the wrong words, but God hears our heart and our intent, and He doesn’t sit with a pencil ready to correct us.
We need to pray according to His Word and we can only do that if we read and study the Bible. We know we can pray for healing and we know that it’s God’s Will to heal us, as stated in Matthew 10:8. We know that God hears the prayers of His children, James 5:16, and that God wants us to prosper and be in health, 3 John, 1:2. So we can pray for these things and know that we’re praying according to His Will as stated in 1 John 5:14 because we know His Will, and we know that He hears us when we pray according to His Will.
When we pray and ask God have to have revenge on someone who hurt us He does hear us, but He won’t respond because we’re asking for something contrary to His Will. We don’t have the right to tell God who to judge or who to punish, but we do have the responsibility to pray for them. “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.” … Matthew 5:44”.
So, we need to understand God’s Will so that we can pray according to His will. As we grow in the Lord, He will always be there listening to our prayers and encouraging us through His Spirit to read certain passages of the Bible to inspire us. And as we continue we’ll learn why some of our earlier prayers didn’t get answered and what prayers are being answered now.
When to Pray
There is NO designated time that we need to put aside to pray. Some of us prefer to spend the morning with the Lord as we praise Him and thank Him for things, and lift others up to Him for healing and salvation. Others prefer afternoon or night. Since it’s from the heart, God is always ready for us. But all the hours before and after are also open to prayer. It’s wonderful to keep the prayer line open constantly so that we can talk to God throughout the day non-stop. We might see someone in a store or on the street who needs healing and we can quietly lift this person up to God. We might see something beautiful and praise God for His creations. We may see a puppy run into the street and we can pray that God spare it.
Does prayer really work? Yes, it does. When we pray from our heart to the Lord, and when we pray according to His will, and when we believe that what we are praying for will come to pass, as stated in Matthew 21:22, we will see our prayers answered, Matthew 21:22. Sometimes it’s not right away, and sometimes it’s only after coming to the Lord faithfully and fervently, and even then the results may not be what we were expecting. But God sees the big picture and all the circumstances that are involved in our prayer, and He sets things in motion so that we have the perfect answer and not just the one asked for through our limited knowledge.
God loves us and it brings Him great joy when we talk to Him in prayer.
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”… James 5:16
Life can get so busy and so challenging at times that we often find ourselves fighting the trials that come against us with our own strength. We forget that God has provided an answer for us in a way that will not only give us the victory, but that will be a blessing to everyone involved. When we get burdened down, our greatest handicap is that we forget to “take everything to God in prayer”.
This cherished gospel hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, was originally written as a poem in 1855 by Joseph Scriven, who was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1820. He became a graduate of the Trinity College in Dublin at the age of 25, and then immigrated to Canada where he lived his life until he died at Port Hope, Ontario in 1886. He wrote this song for his mother back in Dublin to comfort her during a time of sorrow in her life, and these great words of passion became an encouragement to her.
It was originally published as an anonymous poem after that, but then in the 1880’s it became the words to the music that Charles Crozat Converse composed in 1868. It quickly rose to be a popular hymn in churches all around, and is now sung by Christians all over the world.
Why is this song so popular? It’s not just because it’s an old song that mature Christians don’t want to see pass away. It’s because the words and the music are inspired by God Himself, and everyone who sings it finds the presence of God in it.
When we’re going through bad times in our lives, sometimes we don’t hear what people are saying to us and we fall deeper into our trials as we struggle alone and face depression and frustration. But God knows how these pressures can affect us and He knows that music is one way that He can get to us. That’s why He blessed this hymn so that it will touch our hearts when nothing else can. This beautiful song will release us from the world and draw us unto Him when we submit ourselves to Him through it.
And once we are free from the clutches of our problems and lost in the ambience of His presence, we will realize that God is waiting to help us. He will step in and make a way where there is no way when we remember to talk to Him and ask Him for help. He is able to give us the victory over the things that come against us if we will just remember to “take everything to God in prayer”. Praise God!
- What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
- Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
- Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.
- Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.
Listen to the song at this link and be blessed. What a Friend we Have in Jesus
“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
There is only one thing in this world that is free and that is given without strings attached. Air is not free because of the pollution it carries that destroys the body; water is not free because it contains impurities, bacteria, chemicals, toxins – all that destroy the body. The only thing that we have that is truly free is love.
It’s impossible to put a price on love because there is no amount of money imaginable that can be applied to influence the value of love. Money can buy faux love and material possessions that mock the security of love, but it cannot buy true love.
There is no greater value that can be applied to life than the gift of love that is given through sacrifice. This world was made for people and everything in it is given to us to make us happy, but the ultimate value of existence in our life is love. When Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice on the cross for us He did it freely and without charge to us. And in doing so He showed us that there is nothing more valuable in our lives than love.
It’s a free gift to all of us and all we have to do is accept it. There is no cost or condition that comes with it. When we accept the love of Christ in our hearts that was given to us through His sacrifice, we are changed and we become eternally grateful to Him. He becomes our Lord and our Saviour and nothing this world has can separate us from the love of God because His Spirit lives in us.
Many people think that once they become a Christian they have to stop doing certain things and they have to change how they act and speak, and they have to go to church every Sunday and they have to give large amounts of money to support the church. Being a Christian for them simply means adhering to a new set of rules and making sacrifices that they really don’t want to make and having to do things that they really don’t want to do, but they feel obligated because they think that this is what Christianity is all about.
That’s what carnal Christians do because they’re trying to follow their own ideals of what a real Christian is, but that’s not how a real Christian acts or thinks. There’s a big difference between trying to be a Christian through works and accepting Jesus as Lord in our heart and truly accepting His love for us and loving HIM in return.
John 1:36 says, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice, and there is nothing we can possibly do to even come close to what He did for us when He gave up His throne in Heaven to become an earthly man so He could die in our place as punishment for our sins. There is no sacrifice we can make that can even compare to what He gave and to what He accomplished on the cross.
He died for everyone regardless of their sins and all He wants from us is to accept His love. It’s free and it’s for everyone. There are no conditions or strings attached. We don’t have to give up anything for Him. Why?
Because once we accept what Jesus did for us on the cross, we are filled with a love for Him that is overwhelming. We don’t “have” to give up anything but we “will” give up everything because our hearts are filled with a love for Christ and we no longer want to be associated with the sinful lifestyle that we had and that offends what He has done for us. Our hearts change and our actions change because we no longer want to be part of anything that mocks the One who loves us so much that He’d die for us.
We have a home in Heaven waiting for us, and our life on earth will still be plagued with trials and tribulations but that’s because the devil runs this world and when we’re here we’re susceptible to the same issues as everyone else. BUT we have an advocate with our Father whereby we can ask Him for help and when we trust Him, He gives us the victory. And it’s all because He loves us.
In 1 John 4:8 we read that “God is love“. Everything He does for us, His children, is done in love. It’s free love and it’s given to us and then we become like Him. We can love others and show them that our Father in Heaven is not the uncaring, harsh, bias god that starves little children in the Third World or that pours disease upon the nations and doesn’t care about them. He does care and when our hearts are filled with the love of God then we become His vessel on this earth. Through us God will do great and mighty things and through us others will see His love and turn to Him for their salvation and for their healing. He wants to heal the sick and He wants to raise up the hungry people and give them a good life, but they are being crushed by the devil of this world and they don’t know what God has done for them. So we will tell them so that they, too, can know the love of God.
God’s love is free to all who ask for it, and what He has for us in Heaven is greater than our thoughts could ever imagine. So, when people rebuke His love and treat us unkind because they resent who we are, we go forth in our mission anyway, because nothing is more valuable to us than His free love.
“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” …Matthew 10:8
Most Christians are familiar with Matthew 5:44 where we’re told to love our enemies, but too often we become confused with the connotation of loving a bad person when we’re dealing with the world. Our emotions become involved and we begin to pick out other scriptures that seem to clearly say that it’s normal to have enemies. And it is normal because the world is run by Satan and he hates God so he’s going to hate us, as well. But that does not change what Jesus told us, and that is to love our enemies.
We need to realize what Jesus is talking about when He tells us to love our enemies. We need to know who the enemy is and we need to understand why we need to love them.
The “enemy” Jesus is referring to is not the devil. It is the people who come against us in life, who cause us strife and hardship and who can turn our life into a terrible existence if we let them. The enemy is the person or persons who belong to the world and who mock us because we belong to God. The enemy is the one who the devil uses to steal our joy, kill our hopes and destroy our faith in God.
But the Lord has said that we should love our enemies and for several good reasons.
First of all, our lives should be a witness of who God is, and 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. So, if the Lord is the epitome of love and we are reborn and filled with His spirit, then we will also show love to everyone and be a witness of Christ’s love.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” …. Acts 1:8
Secondly, when Jesus died on the cross, John 3:16 says He loved the “whole world” and He gave His life as a sacrifice so that every single person who was ever born on earth could receive His saving grace. Jesus did not pick and choose who He would die for but rather chose everyone, and at that time there were only a handful of people who truly loved God. Yet He gave everyone the opportunity to accept His salvation.
As Christians, we have to examine our own lives and realize that we weren’t always saved. At some point in our life – regardless of whether we were raised in the church or not – we had to say yes to Jesus and accept His salvation. We were ALL sinners before we came to the cross and so we have to treat others the way that Jesus treated us before we were saved – and that is that He loved us.
Thirdly, in Acts 10:34 Paul says that he perceives that God is not a respecter of persons. In order for him to “perceive” that, it would have been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. What God is telling us is that He loves all mankind, every person ever born was a child that He gave life to because He loves them. And so if God can love every person – enough to die for them – even though they are filled with sin, then we, being filled with His spirit, will want to love them, as well.
Fourthly, Galatians 6:7 says that we will reap what we sow. If we treat others with respect and love, regardless of who they are, we are not only treating them as Christ treats them but our actions will come back to us and even the world will treat us the same. But if we treat them with disrespect because they are of the world, then it will come back to us and we’ll be treated badly. This is one instance where we can create the enemies ourself because we don’t treat them as we should.
We need to treat all people the way that we want to be treated, and Luke 6:31 says that we should do unto others as we would have them do to us. So, if we want to be treated in love by other people, then we need to treat other people – even those who we consider our enemy – the way that we want to be treated.
Our commission is to do the Lord’s work on earth and get the people saved – the enemies of the kingdom who might not be enemies if they met the Lord. Not all of them will get saved; some of them are devoted to the devil and will never change. But we don’t know which ones will repent and which ones won’t, so we can’t assume the role of deciding who will get saved and who we’ll treat in love.
Does this mean that we have to take everything they dish out? No, not at all. If we’re treating them fairly and with a happy heart and they continue to hurt us or offend us, then we walk away just as it says in Matthew 10:4, and we simply treat them with respect when we meet up with them. They may be a work colleague or a neighbor or even a family member and they may not appreciate our love for them, but Jesus still expects us to treat them as He would. We don’t go out of our way to befriend them or help them or support them, but we don’t offend them, mock them or speak badly of them, either.
Sometimes our enemies will find God through our testimony, our lifestyle, our respect for them and the joyful heart we maintain even though they work hard to break us. We have no way of knowing which of our enemies will get saved so we treat them all in love. Without us, the world has no way of learning the truth about God and if we don’t love our enemies they will never see His goodness through us, and all those people of the world will continue on their path towards eternal doom.
We will obviously hate what they do, but as His children who are guided by His Spirit, we are expected to have His attitude and that is to “love the sinner, hate the sin”. We’ll never have good feelings towards the murderer who stole a life, or the child abuser who destroyed a life, or the drunk driver who claimed a life. But our feelings have nothing to do with the love of God, and even though their crimes make us sick inside we still need to have love for their souls, and we need to pray for their salvation because it’s the sin in these people that made them the monsters they are. Perhaps this sin was fed by a world that never showed them love, because if they had known the Lord, they never could have committed the horrors they did.
It’s so much easier to love only people who love us back, but Christ wants us to love everyone, even our enemies.
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” … Matthew 5: 44-45
Many Christians think that we only need to forgive the people we love and that it’s not necessary to forgive the ones who have offended us that are just acquaintances or people we really don’t like anyway. Or we think that because we’re King’s kids we don’t have to lower ourselves to forgive the people of world, after all, they’re all going to hell anyway and we can’t be expected to forgive people that we don’t love. And the truth is that we can’t forgive people we don’t love, because love and forgiveness go together.
Jesus is the epitome of love and forgiveness. John 3:16 says that God gave His only Son as a sacrifice for the whole world so that whoever believes and accepts this sacrifice would be saved. This was done in love. Jesus didn’t pick and choose who’d He die for because He loved everyone. And we know from those who forced His crucifixion and from the persecution of the Christians throughout history that not everyone loves Him.
And the significance of the cross is that Jesus bore our sins upon Himself so that we would be forgiven … WE ARE FORGIVEN! We didn’t ask Him to do this and we didn’t deserve this grace but His love for us was so great, even while we were deep in sin, that He gave His life for us anyway. We were all sinners destined for hell but now we are forgiven and we’re part of the family of God.
We study the Bible and we praise and worship the Lord, and we become more like Him and less selective of who we’ll forgive and more gracious to forgive all those who offend us. We begin to see beyond the fabrication of the person and see them as a precious child who Christ died for. And when we treat them as Jesus would, then they see past our physical person and they see Jesus.
It’s safe to assume that most of us love ourselves and even though we do things at times that make us angry, we soon forget it and move on – an admirable attitude that God expects us to have towards other people. In Matthew 22:37-39 we learn that Jesus gave us two commandments. The first is to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and body, and the second is to love our neighbor as much as we love ourself.
But then comes the question, who is our neighbor? Jesus was asked that very question and His response to the lawyer in Luke 10:30:36 was to tell the story of the good Samaritan. At the end, He asked the man who he thought the “neighbor” was, and the lawyer replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
So our neighbors are not just the families in our immediate vicinity; it’s the people who we deal with every day, the people who we work with, who we sit with on the bus, who we stand in line with at the coffee shop and who sit at the street corner begging for money.
As our relationship with the Lord grows, we realize that everything He has ever done has been done in love. We become more like Him in our thoughts and in our actions, and everything we do is also done in love. We forgive others because Jesus forgave us. He forgave everyone and so we, too, should forgive everyone. Not because we like them, but because the love of God is in us. And if we can’t forgive those who offend us, regardless of who they are, then we need to get the love of God in our own hearts.
Matthew 6:14,15 says that if we forgive men their trespasses, our heavenly Father will also forgive us, but if we do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will our Father forgive our trespasses . We can only hold fast to our own forgiveness if we, through love, can forgive others.
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” … 1 John 4:8
Michael English pours his heart out in a song called, Please Forgive Me. Watch it and be blessed.
As we each struggle in this world with our own issues, we often meet others who seem to have more faith than we do. The common thoughts are that God must like them more than He likes us, or that strong faith is given only to the really good Christians. But the truth is that faith is a choice we have and a path that some of us accept.
We can’t always choose the battles we’re going to fight BUT we can choose how we’re going to fight them. The confusion comes when we try to analyse the battle and plan a strategy that will make us the winner in it. But before we even get to that phase of the battle, we need to know what we’re fighting.
We have only one enemy. Regardless of what the battle is and how intense it is, there is only one enemy that we fight – and that is the devil. The Bible says in John 10:10 that he has come to steal from us, kill us and destroy us. That is his sole purpose – his reason for being – and he won’t stop until he’s given his last breath in trying to destroy each one of us.
At the same time, we have only ONE defence and that is Jesus Christ. The Bible says in John 16:33, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”. There is no other defence for us that can possibly give us the victory in our battles, except the One who has already defeated the devil.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus said many times that all we need to get the victory over our problems is faith. What is this faith? It’s believing that Jesus set us free from the devil’s control when He died on the cross. It’s believing that we were made whole and healed from every sickness possible, on the cross. And it’s believing that there is power in His name – that we would be saved. Saved from eternal death and a future with the devil and saved from our worldly battles. We just have to have faith and believe.
When we are facing worldly problems, we have to understand that every single one of them is initiated by the devil for the purpose of stealing our joy, killing our hope in Jesus and destroying us. Regardless of what the battle is – sickness, financial issues, problems with our children, our job, our neighbors, our home – it’s all brought on by the devil to hurt us.
And there is only one person who has ever beat the devil and that’s Jesus. He broke the chains of hell and death when he descended from the cross, and then when He rose from the dead He gave us His spirit so that we too can win every battle we have with the devil. This faith is the essence of believing God for the victory and the more we know about God, the bigger our faith gets.
We aren’t born with faith; it’s a gift that God gives us when we first begin to learn about Him. We can’t come to Him without it so He gives each of us a tiny seed, just enough for us to believe that He IS God. Once we get that in our hearts, He wants us to know more and more so He gave us His Bible so that we can learn about Him, and the more we learn, the more that little seed of faith grows into a healthy root.
So when we are brought into a battle and it’s massive and overwhelming, the world is ready to jump in with an answer that it has manufactured to help us during these “trying times”. We tend to look at the individuals – the doctors, the medicines and the therapies – as independent and helpful answers but they all belong to the world. And the world is the devil’s domain. He controls the world, and so we have to realize that anything the world has to offer can’t possibly be good for us.
All the money that goes into cancer research and yet no cure has come out of it yet. Chemo helps to destroy the cancer but it also destroys the good cells in the body, as well. And there aren’t that many people that survive it and regain perfect health. Why? Because the devil doesn’t want us healed. He wants us to believe that even Jesus can’t heal cancer.
Faith is a Choice. We can choose to follow the world down it’s dark, lost path and have faith in what it has to offer us OR we can turn to Jesus who is the light in this world and have faith in Him.
Faith is a Choice. We can choose to follow Jesus and have life or we can choose to follow the world and have death.
“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.” …Joshuah 24:15
There are so many variations of religion that come in the guise of Christianity and many people are wondering if any of it is true or if the whole thing is just another demanding organization to keep people under control.
Sadly, religion is a man-made doctrine taken from Biblical principals that inputes control onto a submissive congregation. There are so many do’s and don’ts, right and wrong ways of doing things, rules and expectations that it’s no wonder people are crying out for help. Is there a God? Who is He? Does He have favorites?
There is one sure way to learn the TRUTH about God and that is by reading the Bible. The Old Testament is the best history book in the world and is the foundation for all school subjects, and the New Testament is all about Jesus and the freedom that we have because of Him.
Pray before you read and let God’s Holy Spirit guide you. He is the only true teacher and His lessons are the same for everyone who wants to learn.
“You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32.