The Christmas season is upon us and it’s truly the most wonderful time of year! Not counting the bah-humbug groups, most people everywhere are happy and friendly and filled with the seasonal joy. And while many of these happy people celebrate the “Happy Holiday” with Santa; we Christians celebrate “Merry Christmas” with Jesus! Continue reading
The full impact of what was accomplished on the cross at Calvary is often not fully understood by many Christians. We all know that our sins were washed away, but many assume that now any sin they commit is automatically forgiven. Some continue to keep one foot in the world and others don’t realize who Christ is in them. We need to dig into the scriptures and learn about our sins and the cross. Continue reading
We all have days when everything goes well and we feel happy and free, and then there are other days when it seems as if Murphy’s Law just takes over. We get frustrated and stressed, and we feel that everything we’re going for in life is just not going to happen. We take our eyes off of God and put them onto the problem and we get frustrated because we cannot see that Jesus is our only hope.
We tend to take on the responsibility to rise above the things that come against us, and let’s face it, we don’t always have the wisdom or the strength or the ability to get the victory over everything that comes against us. We try and we fail. And while this failure is a major stresser on its own, the fact is that what we do or try to do also has a great impact on those around us, which creates an even more “hopeless” situation.
When we look at the various circumstances through our own eyes – the eyes of carnal man – we have no hope. This corrupt world is out to get us and if our confidence and our hope is in us alone or the people around us, then we eliminate the One person who can help, who does have the wisdom and the ability to overcome.
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” … John 16:33
As Christians, our hope must always be in the Lord. Our very existence is totally dependent upon what Jesus accomplished on the cross, and our hope must extend far beyond the struggles of life that we endure; it must go far beyond His love and protection over us in our daily lives.
Jesus took ALL of OUR SINS upon Himself at the cross. He was pure because He was God in the flesh, but at that cross God withdrew His Spirit from Jesus so that He could absorb our sins and take them to hell on our behalf. But death and hell could not keep Him there and through God’s Holy Spirit Jesus rose out of hell, and after a short stay on earth to encourage His disciples, He rose to Heaven where He lives forevermore as our King and Savior!
Every one of us who accepts this gospel message will go to Heaven when we leave this earth because Jesus took away the sin that would have otherwise sent us to hell. If we believe in Him, then we are saved.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” … Romans 10:9
The Bible says that Jesus has made a place in Heaven that’s just for you and just for me.
“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. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” …John 14:2-3
This is our hope; that Jesus will come for us and take us home to Heaven to be with Him for evermore. This world is not our home; we are just passing through because our home is in Heaven with the Lord.
But when this hope is not embedded deep into our soul, we tend to depend more on ourselves and less on Him, and after a while we take our eyes off of Jesus and we lose that hope. We must protect our heart and NEVER lose that hope because once it’s gone, nothing else matters. If we can’t trust Him with our eternal lives, then we lose the inspiration to live for Jesus on earth, and we become like the world and just struggle and get defeated through life’s parade of trials.
This Friday is what we know as “Good Friday” and we focus on that dark day when Jesus was nailed to the cross for us so we could be restored to our Heavenly Father. Sunday is Easter Sunday and we remember that Jesus rose on the third day – Easter Sunday – in what is referred to as the first resurrection. We are all part of this first resurrection when our hope is in Jesus because He WILL come again to take us Home. Many Christians have already gone Home; their hope has become a reality.
Where is your hope? Is it in Jesus? If it is that’s wonderful and one day we’ll all meet in Heaven and praise the Lord together for saving us. But if you don’t know Jesus, it’s never too late to say, “I believe. Forgive me Lord Jesus and wash me clean of all the sin that’s in me and fill me with Your Spirit so that I may be with you in Heaven throughout eternity.”
Our hope is in Jesus! Praise His name forever more!
“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2 For He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
4 Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 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.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken.
9 And He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bear the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. … Isaiah 53:1-12
Christianity means different things to different people, depending on where in the world you live. In some countries Jesus is truly their Saviour and their only hope for survival here on earth with the promise of a better life in Heaven with Him. In America, however, our lifestyle is very different; we don’t endure a daily fight for survival even though we are oppressed with crime, and the provision of food, shelter and medication is not nearly as threatened.
We live in the land of “milk and honey” and many Christians don’t feel the need to depend on Jesus for everyday living because of education, financial investment, medical care and social status opportunities. As a result, we focus on our own successes, our own material wealth and our pleasures, and if we feel guilty we can always repent because we take on the attitude that God is forgiving so we can repent any time. But the clock is ticking and the world is entering its time of great sorrows. It’s time now to take our eyes off of ourselves and get them onto Jesus.
It’s amazing that so many Christians are still focusing on what God will do for them now, how He will bless them now and what wealth they can collect as His children now. They seem to misunderstand what God has done for us. He is not our servant and His name is not one that we chant to get things. He did not save us from our sins so that we could just live it up here on earth and demand His blessings. We need to grow up spiritually, step out of our little frame and look at the big picture.
John 1:29 says, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
When we study the Old Testament we learn that the people of God had to come before Him with live animal sacrifices to be given as atonement for their sins. This was necessary for God to forgive them so they could continue to be His children because if there is sin between them and God, then God couldn’t communicate with them because good and evil cannot be in the same place.
When Jesus died on the cross, He took upon Himself all of our sins so that we could now be filled with His Spirit and be holy before God our Father – without sin. This is an amazing and miraculous event because we can now communicate with God; we can pray and He hears us; we can ask for help and He helps us; we can pray for others and He’s there for them. (Matthew 7:7)
Isaiah 53:5 elaborates on what Jesus did for us on the cross. “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.”
Jesus not only washed away our sins, but He healed our bodies, as well. Through the cross, we have the privilege of being healed and living in good health because we know that He healed us, and so when we get ill or injured we know that our bodies can be restored. We do not have to accept illness.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:27 (NKJ) “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” Paul was telling us to not accept illness, but rather to keep our eyes on the Lord and put our bodies under discipline so they can be healthy.
But many of us just want to know about the good living that we all feel we’re entitled to because we’re Christians, and we know from 3 John 1:2 that God does not want us to live in poverty. He blessed Abraham abundantly, and King Solomon was the richest king in history so we know that God does bless us with earthly possessions. What God does NOT want is for us to “love” riches, “love” money and “love” the wealth and fame more than we “love” Him. He instructs us very clearly in Exodus 20:3 to not put any other gods before Him, and when our thoughts, concerns and goals are for personal wealth, be it large or small, we have in essence made that to be our God because we serve those thoughts and those hopes and those goals more than we serve the Lord.
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” … Romans 14:17
When we become absorbed with our own lives and with reaching our goals and maintaining social status and collecting material possessions, we take our eyes off of the Lord so that we can serve our own desires – and lusts. The Bible says in Matthew 6:24 that we cannot serve two masters and that if we try we’ll love one and hate the other.
Many of us live within our own little frame and miss the big picture.
Since the fall of Adam and Eve, the citizens of earth have been steadily drifting away from God, and today many Christians are totally deceived about the truth of the Lord. Too many churches are preaching the prosperity message and this deception is growing – get all the riches from God because He wants you to be wealthy. This is a lie because this world is not going to carry on for much longer. We are running out of time and we need to get our eyes on Jesus. Our redemption is drawing nigh.
The world is in a growing state of turmoil, sinful living and unrest and it’s getting worse by the day as it speeds toward its own destruction. The clock is ticking and Jesus warns us of the signs to look out for in 2 Timothy 3: 1-5:
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
These sorrows have already begun. Immorality and perversion are spreading like wild-fire across the globe, and the attitude and actions of many people are just how Jesus predicted they would be. And there are false prophets out there who are encouraging this behaviour for their own financial gain, “having a form of godliness”, and far too many Christians are falling into their deception because they have not taken the time to know Jesus and to study the Bible for themselves.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” … 2 Timothy 2:15
With so much unrest in the world and the anticipation of more disasters and even a major war waiting in the shadows, it’s time for Christians to wake up and see what’s going on. This world is living out its last days. Life here will continue to get more challenging, more fearful and more corrupt. Contrary to what our governments promise, life is not going to get better; the economy is not going to improve and we are not going to be able to relax. Life is going to get worse and more fearful as we roller coast toward that final hour.
The Bible says in Luke 21:26 that, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”
Christians need to stop looking for what they can get from God and start surrendering to Him and ask what they can do. There are so many people who don’t know the Lord and even more who think they do, but are following a false teaching. We need to focus on Jesus, know that He’s returning soon, and accept that this world is nearing its end. Saving up wealth for the future is pretty useless when we realize that it’s all going up in flames in the not too far future.
The clock is ticking. No one knows how much time is left, but if you spend one hour reading the headlines of any newspaper, or watch any major news station, or just look around at the immortality and disrespect for life that has become the norm, you’ll realize that the end is closer than you think. But if you keep your eyes on Jesus, you will make it.
“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” … Psalm 18:2
Jesus is coming soon and since we don’t know when, we want to be ready. We don’t want to be so caught up with the world and our own lives and then we miss Him.
“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” … Matthew 24:44
Let’s spend more time studying His Word and knowing what’s really going on so that we will be like little children and hear His voice when He calls.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” … Luke 21:28