Who are the Children of God?

we-are-the-worldThere’s an attitude spreading across the globe today that wants us to put our differences aside and live as one big multi-cultural family under God. It says that regardless of what we call Him, we are all God’s children. Well, God does love everyone, but we are not all His children. Continue reading

Walking a Thin Line

 

 

85483828The earth is being filled with “Christians” as the day of Christ’s return draws near. Some of these people are genuine, born-again believers, but most of them don’t even know God. They are captivated by a doctrine that speaks of universal love and heavenly blessings. The gospel they learn from says they were all saved at the cross and all of their sins were automatically forgiven, so there’s no need for repentance. They think they are saved, but they are missing the salvation of Jesus because they are walking a thin line that doesn’t stem from the cross. Continue reading

There Are No Shortcuts to the Cross

ShortcutOur world is quickly racing toward convenience and short cuts in almost every facet of life. The things that used to require time and effort can now be accomplished online in seconds—things such as banking, paying bills, shopping, ordering a meal and even securing lucrative employment. These conveniences require little effort and almost no thought as we take for granted what technology has given us—short cuts! We just click a button and we have instant success. However, when we’re looking for salvation, there are no shortcuts to the cross.

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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

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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

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Have You Made Your Reservation?

431832_669162449775825_1904920909_nMany Christians think that going to Heaven is an automatic destination for them when they leave this world, but this is not true according to the Bible. Heaven is a promise to those who have made their reservation while they’re here on earth. Have you made yours?

Heaven is mentioned over 500 times throughout the Bible and each time it’s referred to as a literal place. Jesus said in John 14:2, “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.” This place is Heaven, a real, physical dwelling place.

We can find a beautiful description in Revelations 21: 1-5 of the new city of Jerusalem, which is the city where we’ll dwell with Jesus after the devil is thrown into the pit for a thousand years:

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.’ 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. And he that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’”

So many people think that when they die or when their loved ones die68998146_6136ce06da_m that they just automatically go up to Heaven and live with Jesus in a peaceful, joyful, scenic world forever, but this is an error that needs to be addressed. There are only some people going to Heaven when they die, NOT everyone.

Who goes to Heaven? Every Christian who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, who repents of their sinful ways and lives for Jesus, who is born again and whose purpose in life is to follow the precepts of Jesus, will go to Heaven.

Jesus died on the cross for every man, woman and child on this earth. It doesn’t matter who they are, what they’ve done or how sinful they’ve lived their lives; forgiveness at the cross is for everyone who will accept it.

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” … John 3:16

Jesus is the only hope we have of getting into Heaven. He says in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enters in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.”

380772_186711078089848_177717718989184_356422_1516336833_nUnfortunately, there aren’t too many people who will find this door and who will accept Jesus as the sacrificial lamb for their sins. So, even though He died for everyone, not everyone will be saved from God’s judgment and punishment.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at.” … Matthew 7:13

It’s God’s plan that everyone should be given the opportunity to break away from the clutches of sin – from the sinful nature of this world – and to accept what Jesus did for them on the cross, but He knew from the onset that not everyone would choose to accept it. He knew that many people would not want to turn from their way of life and see what Jesus did for them on the cross, and He knew that most people would not make it to Heaven. But He died on the cross for them anyway.

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

There will be more people who won’t go to Heaven than who will go there, and God outlines for us clearly who will NOT go to Heaven. Just because we’re a nice person doesn’t get us into Heaven. It’s not what we do on the outside, but who we are on the inside that qualifies us as Christians.

“Not everyone that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven.”  …  Matthew 7:21

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists shall inherit the kingdom of God.” … 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

So what Jesus is saying is that people who profess to be Christians and yet do these things are really not Christians at all because the Spirit of God is not in them or else they wouldn’t do them. Christians who have the Spirit of God in them also bare the fruits of the Spirit in their lives and in everything they do.

954613_681318915226845_230126598_nBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” … Galatians 5:22-23

Yet, many believe that they will still go to Heaven when they die just because in their own eyes they’ve lived “good” lives and believe in God. They think that because they go to church and live decent lives that they’re automatically going to Heaven, but unfortunately, they will also miss it. After all, the devil believes in God and he’s going to hell.

“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” … Matthew 25:30

We are Christians because God lives in us and we belong to Him. We have accepted what Jesus did on the cross, repented for our sinful nature and now have HIS nature living in us. But how do we know what is the right way to live?

We read the Bible every day and study it and learn who Jesus is so that our faith and trust in Him will grow as we become His disciples in this lost world.

“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

We don’t magically change into a perfect person when we become a Christian; 3147461049_35b009962d_mit’s a step-by-step process as we study and learn and then put into practice what we’ve learned. We pray every day and develop a relationship with Jesus, and He will become very real to us. None of us will ever become perfect because we live in a sinful world and its influence is all around us.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” … Romans 3:23

Christians live under grace and what a privilege it is that we don’t have to perform the physical rituals for repentance that they did in the Old Testament. With so much overpowering sin all around us, most of us would spend our lives at the altar just getting forgiven. But through the cross we have the grace where all our sins are forgiven and all we have to do when we slip and do something that we shouldn’t is come before God and tell Him we’re sorry – and then we don’t do it again. (Because if we continue to do it then we really have repented of it)

As Christians, we are saved and we live under grace; we bear the fruit of the Spirit and engage in a daily relationship with Jesus. He IS our ticket into Heaven. Jesus is at Heaven’s door waiting for us to come to Him, and when we come and accept Him, He gives us our reservation for Heaven. No other time; no other way.

Time is running out, but there are reservations left and He wants YOU to get yours. Don’t put it off because they will not be available as a last-minute option when you leave this world and stand before Him. Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior today and get your reservation for Heaven now!

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Revelation 3:20

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