The Clock is Ticking – Are you Ready?

1000906_692060157486054_1242072892_nChristianity 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.”

5578273602_79073a7036_mJesus 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 Christians2407960698_667f19de7b_m 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: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 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.

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“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

What is love?

The Bible is all about love and it tells us that God is the epitome of love.  John 3:16 says that He gave His own Son as a sacrifice for us, and although this shows what the essence of love is, it gets lost in the modern world. Even in the Christian realm love has been confused with emotions and social liberation, and too many people have lost the true meaning of the word and really wonder, what is love?

Love is the motivation within us that causes us to act and react the way we do. It’s the virtue that allows us to love others. It’s the commitment to God, the reverence and respect for Him, the appreciation for the life He has given us, and the reason for our devotion to Him. It is the most important virtue that we have and without it we are nothing but shells that exist through the natural creation of humanity.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 tells us the importance of love:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself (does not boast), is not puffed up,

5 Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil;

6 Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;

7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abides faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Why is love the greatest virtue? Why is it more important than faith in God?

We can learn about God; we can accept everything we read about God; and we can understand all that He is. We can even believe that He is God and that His Word is life and that it is power. This is the knowledge that is the foundation for love and the basis for our faith in Him. But we must activate our faith to show our love because without love our actions are carnal.

James 2:20 says, “Faith without works is dead.”

Love is the feeling in our heart, the commitment, the devotion, the allegiance and constancy, the trustworthiness and the dependence that we have towards God. We can know it all but there’s only one way to get it in our heart, and that is through the Holy Spirit. He is love, God’s love in us.

When His Holy Spirit is in us, the love of God resides in us and we inherit His loving personality. We have the same heartfelt commitment and purpose as God and our reason for doing what we do is because we want to share the truth of God with others. It’s not just an emotion or an obligation as a Christian; it’s God’s love living and loving through us.

And when His love is in us we are able to love others in spite of their faults, and we are able to forgive those who hurt us and offend us, and we are able to do all that we do with a pure heart because we don’t treat others badly or the way some of them may treat us. We treat them the way that Jesus treats us – with love.

 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.” … 1 John 4:7

What is Unconditional Love?

The word “love” is one is that we use to convey a passionate feeling towards someone or something. It’s a word that we often use as an expression or a selective emotion but without the heartfelt conviction of true sentiment. It has become a popular word in our vocabulary, but do we really understand what the word “love” means? Do we know what unconditional love is?

Webster’s Dictionary defines love as:

“(1): strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2): warm attachment, enthusiasm or devotion <love of the sea> (3): unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another as the fatherly concern of God for humankind, or brotherly concern for others; a person’s adoration of God”.

Many of us use the word to simply express an emotion – ie: “I love this hat”, or “I love chocolate”. But in truth, there is no “emotional feeling” towards the hat or the chocolate. It may be an obsession or an excitement, something that delights us or that we have s a preference for, but we don’t have any emotional attachment to either of them.

In today’s world, love is often expressed loosely and without commitment, and comes with conditions. This is clearly noted by the number of divorces that are filed each year and it’s shocking to see that half of the marriages in 2009 in the US ended in divorce. And according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri, the divorce rate in America for first marriage vs second or third marriage is: 50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second marriages and 74% of third marriages end in divorce.

So, when these marriage partners said “I do” at the altar, there were some conditions to their love that weren’t realized until afterwards because if the heartfelt meaning of the word “love” was part of their relationship, they would have overcome their differences and worked things out.

The affect of this conditional love is that there is no inner security that gives us the strength to have a happy and successful life because the attempts at love fail and are hurtful. Adults becomes angry and non-trusting and children grow up with an understanding that love has conditions that can’t always be met; that love is only temporary; and that love is something only we can have for ourselves to make our own lives successful.

However, this is not love because love overcomes everything, forgives everything and covers a multitude of sins. (1Peter 4:8) And this love is called, unconditional love.

When Jesus went to the cross, He took on all of our sins and our hatred and our sickness. If Jesus was not God, He would likely have chosen who He’d die for because there were few people who truly loved Him and so to become a sacrifice for anyone else would not have happened. Would you die for someone who was a child murderer and who would take your child if they could? I know I couldn’t do it.

But Jesus did! His love wasn’t conditional upon who we are or what sin we’ve commited. It wasn’t even conditional on whether or not we accepted His sacrifice. He became our redemption anyway so that ALL of us would be saved if we accepted it. He died for the men who scourged Him, for those who cursed Him and for those who hated Him. Jesus died for every person that ever lived and yet not one of us deserved it. His love for us was unconditional. He didn’t point a finger and say that our sin was too great or too hideous. He didn’t choose some of us over others. He died for ALL of us and allowed us all to be forgiven, regardless of what we have done in our lives. This is unconditional love!

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for His friends”

… John 15:13

Why We Can’t Walk by Sight

Many of us are standing in faith and believing God for healing, financial release or for some other need in our lives. We have given the situation to the Lord and we truly believe that He has heard us and answered us, and so we live each day in a state of waiting to see the blessing. But we have to be careful to not lose our focus and begin to walk by sight.

When we walk by sight we can do ourselves a lot of harm because it destroys our ability to believe and accept the things we’re hoping for.

Faith is the substance – the energy or the spiritual power – that’s inside us and that gives us the ability to hope and believe.  We can’t see faith because it’s an intangible substance that’s in our heart and in our mind. It’s a trusting and accepting attitude that has nothing to do with what we see in the physical world.

Sight, on the other hand, presents a tangible substance and when we focus on what we see, our natural senses take over and we accept what is in our sight as being what we’re going to get. Once we allow ourselves to walk by sight, we tend to lose the hope we had of getting something beyond what we see.

We live in a natural body that exists in a natural world and that is governed by natural elements.  When we step out into the spiritual world it takes a strong spirit within us to stay focused and to not look into the natural world that’s all around us.

The two worlds are very different and since the natural world is the only tangible one, it’s very easy for us to look with our natural eyes for the things we’re believing for in the spirit. But we can’t walk by our natural sight when we’re looking for things through faith.

We were healed on the cross and when we believe that, God begins to change our body so that it can receive the healing, but sometimes there’s a lot to do and since our body is a natural being, it takes time for the healing to manifest. This isn’t to say that God can’t or won’t give us instant healing because He still does that, but in most cases the Lord works within the system that He created.

Sometimes it can take weeks or months for the body to properly repair itself and become whole again. If we focus too much on what we see now, we may become discouraged and begin to doubt the fullness of the healing that will come later.

Our physical eyes can become our enemies when we’re standing in faith, so we need to close them and look with our spiritual eyes that see us healthy and healed.

We can’t be in a hurry to receive the manifestation of the healing when we’re trusting God for it because He knows the fullness of our problems and He’s fixing all of them. He created us and He designed our body to repair itself and be healthy, so in His infinite wisdom He works within the natural elements of our body and repairs it, one cell at a time.

We have to trust Him and we can’t allow ourselves to focus on the body because then we begin to doubt Him. He’s working through us the whole time and we can’t rush Him and we can’t put a timeframe on Him. We have to believe that He knows best; that He knows the whole situation and that He loves us and is healing us, in spite of what we think we see – or don’t see.

Walking by sight will not only bring doubt into the healing that God is doing in us but it will destroy our faith in Him as our God. We have to walk by faith and believe that He is the “God who heals us” and that “by His stripes we are healed”.

Whether it takes a day or a month or a year to see the fullness of the healing, we need to realize that God knows more than we do and we have to give Him the reverence and the respect to do what He has said He will do in us and that He will do it in His timing.

“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” … Malachi 4:2

When do we Reach Our Goal With Faith?

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

As we continue to struggle in this world and build our faith, we realize that we are able to believe God for bigger and greater things. When we started out we used our faith sparingly, then more often for daily situations, and then for things that were crucial circumstances in our life.

We get to the point where we are so committed to the Lord that our every thought becomes a step in faith. We begin to communicate with the Lord all the time, thanking Him and praising Him for all the things in our  life, like the birds that welcome the morning with a friendly song, our home, our family and our job. We realize that everything we have is a direct blessing from God, and we learn to trust Him for every minute of our lives.

Some of us face life and death situations where we literally put our lives in God’s hands and trust Him completely for healing that the world says won’t happen. But we know our Father, we know His Word and we know that Jesus already healed us on the cross. So, we praise Him and thank Him for that healing and we stand with other prayer warriors and then we receive the manifestation of that healing. Our faith grows even more because we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is greater than any problem this world can throw at us.

But where do we go from here? Have we made it to the top? After all, we stood on faith and survived a situation that otherwise would have killed us. Surely, there can’t be anything greater that would need faith than that?

True, we stood on our faith and trusted God with our lives and it may have been a hard battle that we won because of our faith, but it doesn’t end here.  Why? Because faith is not a goal while we’re on earth; faith is a lifestyle. As long as we live here we need faith to be our substance for the things we hope for from God. Without faith we will live in doubt, and with doubt we will live in defeat and fear, and we’ll become servants of the devil.

We need faith so we can maintain a good relationship with the Lord, so we can know His will for us and so we can live victoriously. Our faith never ends. The Bible says that His mercies are new every morning, but at the same time, there are tribulations waiting to attack us. Our faith in God will allow us to trust Him to get us through each day with victory, with grace and with love.

There is only one goal for faith, and that is for us to get to Heaven and be with the Lord. Once we are there, we no longer require faith to know the truth because we will become one with Him and the truth will be in us – and there won’t be any conflict to challenge it. Our goal and final destination for our faith is to be with Jesus. This is when we reach our goal with faith.

“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 

 

 

 

 

 

Religion – who needs it!

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.