Most of us are familiar with the expression, “coming out of the closet”. We relate it to people who once felt ashamed of their “sinful” homosexual behavior”, but who have come public since society no longer views it as sin. But this closet also hides many Christians Continue reading
As Christians, we all come to God in prayer with our needs and desires because we believe that He will deliver us from our sorrows, heal our bodies and bless us. Unfortunately, when some of us ask God for things, we are compelled to tell Him what to do and how to do it. We’re taught to “come boldly to the throne of grace”—(Hebrews 4:16), and so we feel that it means it’s okay for us to tell God how to do what we want Him to do for us. Some of us feel as if it’s our right to just tell God what to do for us. This attitude is more of self-righteousness than of humility, and it’s one that the Lord won’t bless. Continue reading
Many of today’s modern Christians have a very different concept to the meaning of being saved than what the Word has declared it to mean. They think that to be saved and to ensure a home in Heaven is to simply acknowledge that there is a God and that Jesus came to the cross and died for everyone – so we’re all saved if we acknowledge it. But is this all there is to being saved?
“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 did die for everyone, but we need to make it personal and believe that He died for “my” sins, for “me” so “I” can have everlasting life. Just because we accept that there is a God doesn’t make us a Christian; after all, many people acknowledge that God is “up there”, but they don’t love or respect Him. The Bible tells us in James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”
The devil acknowledges that God is real and we all know that he’s not saved. So what does it mean to be saved? Saved from what?
We are saved from the punishment of sin that we all deserve for breaking God’s laws. There is not a single person on earth who can say that they have never sinned or never broken one of the Ten Commandments. And sadly, even one sin will separate us from God and put us into the court of judgment to be sentenced to hell. That’s for just one sin! We cannot stand before a Holy God if we have even one sin in us and that one sin is enough to condemn us.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” … Romans 3:23
Many people think that because they live good, clean lives and don’t break the laws that they are good people, and they likely are but they are still not “whole” before God because it’s not just the big sins that count against us and make us guilty.
Have you ever stolen anything in your life – anything at all? A candy bar when you were a child? A pencil or pen from work? How about time? How many of you have a job and enjoy a social life at work on company time where you should be working as hard as the boss thinks you do. If you can say yes to any of these, then that makes you a thief. And what happened to the thieves in the Old Testament? They were crucified as we see at the time when Jesus was crucified.
“Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.” … Matthew 27:38
Have you ever told a lie before? How about a tiny white lie that was really said with good intentions to help someone? Or perhaps you have not told a whole truth or even twisted it a bit to give a better perception of yourself or to protect someone else? If so – and most of us will admit that we’ve done this some time in our lives – then this makes you a liar.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” … John 8:44
Here’s one for the guys; have you ever walked along the beach in the summer and seen some gorgeous girls out sunbathing and had some kind of “innocent” lustful thoughts? Have you watched a movie that has explicitly sexual content and got lost for a few seconds in the heat of the moment? And what about those adult magazines that some of you have stashed away? You may be happily married and faithful, but if you’ve ever looked upon another woman (or even a picture of one) and had lustful thoughts, then according to the Bible you are guilty and that makes you an adulterer.
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” … Matthew 5:28
What does Jesus say about liars, thieves and adulterers, just to name a few of the commons sins?
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [homosexuals], nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” … 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Although there are only ten basic commandments given to us by God to follow, it’s impossible to live a day without breaking at least one in the slightest way. We cannot live a perfect life and so we will all face judgment and a life apart from God if we try on our own merits. However, God knows this and so He sent Jesus to save us from the judgment that we deserve for breaking God’s law.
Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for us. He took all of our sins upon Himself and died on the cross on our behalf and then took the punishment for those sins by being sent to hell when he died. He paid the price of sin for us, and if we will believe that and accept that, then He’ll clean us from the old sinful nature and fill us with His Spirit so we’re whole and righteous because of Jesus before God. We become born again.
Once we’re saved, though, there are changes we have to make. We will no longer have the desire to live the sinful way we did before because the things that once interested us or entertained us no longer matter. Only Jesus matters. BUT if we don’t change our lives and have no desire to change, then we really are not saved and it’s just an acknowledgment of the mind – not of the heart; we just think we are saved and that will be devastating when we die and face God.
“The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” … Matthew 24:50-51
We need to study the Bible and learn all about God because He is the epitome of love, and He loved us enough to die for us even before we knew Him. We want to make God number one in our lives and live for Him and worship Him, and tell others about Him so they can come out of the world and be saved, too.
God is love and when His love abides in us our personalities change and we become more like Jesus; we bear the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and people will look at us and know that we don’t belong to the world of sin any longer. We are different, not just in our words but in our thoughts, in our actions and in our priorities. We begin to see sin for what it is – sin! And we begin to hate sin just like God hates sin, which means that we cannot be Christians if we continue to live in sin.
“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” … Psalm 97:10
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” … Proverbs 8:13
We no longer desire the lifestyle of the world. Unfortunately, many believe that they don’t have to change and they say that when Jesus died for their sins, that included all their sins so nothing will be held against them again so it doesn’t matter what they do because they’re automatically forgiven. This is erroneous teaching. The sins of our past are forgiven when we come to the cross and accept Jesus, and we now live under grace, which means that when we slip up – and we all do – we can come to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to forgive us. BUT Jesus expects us to grow and to stop doing them. Grace doesn’t give us a licence to live how we want (how we used to); it gives us the chance to grow and change and be forgiven for mistakes as we get closer to Jesus.
We receive God’s Spirit inside us and He guides us throughout life, and when we die His Spirit calls for God’s angels to come and get us and take us to Heaven. But if the spirit that’s in us is still of the world, then guess whose angels come? And Heaven won’t be the destiny.
Being saved means coming out of the world and serving Jesus with a whole heart; it means loving Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). And the world might not like you anymore (John 15:18), but that’s because you are no longer like them and the world hates God.
Being saved is the best thing that can happen to anyone, and coming away from the world and praising the Lord throughout eternity for our salvation comes automatic to those who love Him.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” … 1 John 4:7-8
Have you ever wondered just how it is that Christians got saved in the first place? What turned them away from a worldly lifestyle that seemed to offer everything and drew them to the foot of cross? How did that atheist ever find God in a world of denial? It happened because it’s not their doing; it’s a miraculous call for salvation that begins with a gift of faith.
The very first step toward anyone getting saved is hearing the message of Jesus and how He died for our sins. He has instructed us in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” This is our commission, our ministry as Christians. We don’t want to keep the goodness of God to ourselves – and we can’t because the love of God within us compels us to share it. The more we know Jesus, the more we want to share His love with others, and so we live our lives as testimonies of His love and we joyfully tell others about Him.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 3:6 that salvation is a three-step process: “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” In other words, one person preaches and plants the seed or the interest about Jesus in someone, another person comes along and elaborates on that message so the interest is sparked to the point of submission, and then God gives the increase. What is the increase?
The increase is the gift of faith that is needed to actually believe in God, in the cross and the gospel of Jesus. It’s one thing to hear it and be interested, but it’s another thing to actually want it. When the message makes sense and the heart wants to try it, God gives that person a gift of faith. And this is called grace.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” … Ephesians 2:8
We cannot come to the cross on our own even if it sounds like a great idea. We cannot become a Christian on our own enthusiasm or good intentions. It is a gift that God gives to each and every person who hears the true gospel of Jesus and who decides in their own heart that they want it instead of the world. At that point, God gives them the gift of faith that allows them to accept the truth so they can repent and invite Jesus into their heart.
It’s an overwhelming feeling to know that Jesus died for all of us while we were still sinners and didn’t even care about Him. When He was nailed to the cross, He took upon himself every sin that we have ever committed or will commit. Regardless of what it was; whether we stole something, cursed someone, mocked God, killed an unborn baby or abused someone, He took it all for each and every one us and He paid the price of death for it all.
Some people would easily give their lives to protect the ones they love, but no one would give up their own life so that the evil people of the world could become good, or so that a brutal murderer could have a second chance. No one has that much love in them to want anything good for them. Yet, Jesus did that for us.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus is the Son of God; the lamb that God sent from Heaven to save all of us and He did it because He loves us. God knows that no person can come to Him without faith, and so to all those who hear the Word and want to change and become saved, God gives this special gift of faith.
Does this mean that once we accept salvation we’re always saved? No, and this is a lie that many people believe. It means that when we heard the truth and wanted it, God gave us a gift of faith to accept it. But not everyone will keep the gift and use it wisely. In Matthew 25:15-30, Jesus refers to the gift of faith as talents:
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
What He’s saying in a nutshell is this: when we are given the gift of faith to believe, we can lose the salvation opportunity that was initially given to us through this gift if we don’t act on it.
Some people, like the servant with ten talents, will spend his or her life living a Godly lifestyle and preaching and teaching others – and a good example is Billy Graham. He is committed to God and so God gave him a very large responsibility to preach to millions, and Mr. Graham accepted the responsibility and spent his life serving the Lord.
The second servant was given five talents and he could be compared to a husband and father who loves the Lord, but who has to work and provide and care for his family so he can’t be as committed as the first servant. Yet, he loves God with all his heart and lives a Godly lifestyle, so he preaches and shows God’s love to everyone around him and gives what he can to help others.
The third servant was given two talents, but sadly had the attitude of, “once saved, always saved”, and he didn’t care to live for God or to tell others about Him. This selfish person thought that the gift of faith to believe was sufficient to get him into Heaven, and he didn’t care about sharing it with anyone else. He continued to live his own life and felt that as long as he was saved that was all that mattered. This same lie and deception of false preaching affects many people who think they’re saved, but are not. And this is why God says, “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Yes, you CAN lose the initial gift of grace if you don’t truly appreciate that it cost Jesus His life to give it to you. It’s a priceless gift that comes around to every person at least once in a lifetime; some people are given it several times and it’s usually because someone else is diligently praying for their salvation.
As we share the gospel of Jesus with others, we need to pray that their hearts be opened to accept this precious gift of faith, and that they’ll treasure it. The message goes out to so many, yet only a few will hear it, accept it and thank God for it.
“For many are called, but few are chosen.” … Matthew 22:14
Let’s keep the message going out and pray for a harvest.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised;19 to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” … Luke 4:18,19
**An encouraging book of faith is one that I wrote under God’s anointing last year when I cried out to Him to make my faith strong during a nasty battle with cancer. It’s a daily devotional that’s loaded with scripture and it brought me through a very dark place in my life and into victory – and I want to share it with you to help you get the victory over situations in your own life.
You can visit my website for more details.
I have lost many friends to cancer in the last few years, and I know so many more who are currently stricken with this horrendous disease and who are battling it with their very lives. It grieves me beyond words that so many people – so many Christians – will turn to the world of chemotherapy for their healing rather than simply accept that GOD is their healer.
Isaiah 53:5 says it very clearly – “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.”
And our salvation is made clear in Isaiah 53:10 – “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.”
If we can believe that Jesus is our Saviour and that through His shed blood we were redeemed back to our Father, forgiven for our sins and saved from His coming wrath, then WHY can’t we believe that He has also healed our bodies? Why do we insist on turning to the world to heal us?
When Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden of Eden after they’d sinned against God, they lost favour with Him. Oh, He still loved them, but there was “sin” between Him and them and He couldn’t be with them like He was before because God is Holy and cannot be in the presence of sin. He couldn’t bless them like He did before; He was no longer the Lord over their lives like He was before. They were exiled into the government of the devil who had tricked them into sinning against God, and whose law still controls this world. The freedom, wholeness and blessings of God no longer belonged to Adam and Eve.
“Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?” … Romans 7:1
And that is the state of majority of the people in our world today; they don’t belong to God and so their only hope for healing is in the world. They’re lost and separated from God just like Adam and Eve were separated from God and His outpoured love.
But we DO belong to God. His promises belong to US, and we CAN stand on them and expect to see them materialize in our lives. God has removed the curse from us through Jesus’ death because He became the curse for us on the cross.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” … Galatians 3:13
And Jesus redeemed us back to God our Father through His resurrection, Romans 8:34.
That means that Isaiah 53:5 isn’t just a nice verse, but it’s a powerful statement of our life in Christ.
“…by His stripes we ARE healed.”
So, if we are healed, then why do we get sick? How can cancer kill and destroy so many lives?
We need to understand that our bodies are not just for our own pleasure, but they are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” … 1 Corinthians 3:16
Therefore, we have a responsibility to care for our body and to keep it healthy. And when we get to a point where our body becomes ill, we need to make some changes to bring it back into a healthy state – and that does NOT mean pumping it full of poisons like the ones that are in cancer treatments. We get our body healthy by changing our lifestyle, cutting out all the impure foods such as packaged, canned and fast foods, and sugars and meat products and by products that are infested with chemicals and toxins because these are the culprits that cause the illnesses in the first place.
We need to return to eating food that God gave us to eat, to foods that are free of all toxins because these foods will build up the weak immune system, and a healthy immune system will fight off all disease. God healed us and gave us back the right to a healthy body, but we have to maintain the body and feed it good, wholesome food. We cannot just accept the healing and then treat our body poorly.
For example, if I take a hammer and begin to hit my finger with it, my finger will break, bleed and be in tremendous pain. If I cry out to God and accept His healing then I AM healed and with some attention my finger will be restored. But if I continue to hit the hammer on my finger, I will never see that healing and eventually I could lose my finger.
Many of us have become lazy and we want God to do everything for us, but we have to grow up sometime and begin to take care of ourselves – and that begins with knowing that we are healed and then becoming responsible for how we treat our body so it stays that way.
I know what I’m talking about because I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to have cancer and suffer from pain and distress, to subject myself to surgery and then learn that they “didn’t get it all”, and “sorry, but you only have a few months to live unless you do immediate chemo and then we might only be able to give you another year or so.” I’ve experienced the anguish and the torment. I’ve also experienced the peace when I accepted beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had healed me, and that all I had to do was get my body to line up. It wasn’t easy, and in fact, at times it was very challenging – but I did it!
I am now cancer-free because I turned to God’s ways and not the world’s ways. I pray that everyone reading this will realize that with God all things are possible, and that by His stripes we ARE healed. But we have to choose where our healing will come from because that source will be the Lord over our life.
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” … John 10:10