It is so Helpless

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:5-8

My wife and I were recently blessed with this gorgeous flower arrangement of orchids (Pictured below). It is beautiful, the stems shaped in amazing ways, the moss carefully placed, the pedals in full bloom, and with each flower beaming in beauty. Seriously, when you look at this thing, it’s quite breathtaking. Both of our jaws dropped when we saw it. Even the vase it is placed in is gorgeous! It has basically become the centerpiece to our apartment, ha! The only thing more gorgeous in here is my wife!

This morning I was drinking a cup of coffee, sitting on the couch, looking at it, and admiring it. Then all of the sudden this thought popped into my head. This flower is so gorgeous, yet it is so helpless. In all of its glory, it will die if left to itself. All of its beauty will shrivel up, turn brown, become ugly, and die unless it is saved.

God created us in some ways the same as a flower, but also differently. We are the same in that we are alive. We are the same in that we are all beautiful in God’s eyes, because He created each of us as He wanted us, gorgeous in His eyes. In the same way that He created the heavens and the Earth, and everything in them. He said, “It is good!”

However, we are different from the flower. We have a brain to think, eyes to see, ears to hear, arms and legs to move around, feet to walk and climb, hands to grab things, and more. These differences often times distract us, making us believe that we are so much better than the flower.

In reality, we are just like the flower, in that we are so helpless. Yes, we can move around, find our own food and water. We can seek shelter by looking around. However, because of our sin, we are so helpless, and we NEED, we REQUIRE… a Savior. Nothing we do in ourselves will save us. We try and fix this with good deeds, by being good people, helping others, giving money, etc. Our own actions are insufficient. Without a Savior we will be separated from God for all of eternity. Without a Savior, we will die, and a life long rebellion against God, the darkness in our hearts, will reveal the monsters within. That sounds harsh, but it is the reality. Without God, we are the opposite of everything that He is.

This Savior must take our sins upon Himself, removing the sin from us. This Savior must, by love, mercy, and grace, provide us with His righteousness. Jesus is our Savior. Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus, He who is perfect, took our sins upon Himself, for those who believe, saving us. For those saved in Jesus, our sin is removed, the darkness removed, and we will be with God for all of eternity. For those who believe, God has taken the heart of stone, of darkness, and replaced it with a heart of flesh, one of beauty. When Jesus comes back for His faithful, we will no longer have these bodies of flesh, but rather be beautiful and glorious before our Father. We will be beautiful, in the same way that God has changed our lives, saving us.

In Jesus, we are no longer helpless.

2015-04-01 11.33.36

q-and-a

What does it mean by someone “Being Born Again”?

We received the question, “What does it mean by someone being born again“?

This is a great question and very important to understand. First let’s break things down a bit. There are two types of people:

  • Believers / Saved: Those who have repented of their sin, and believe in the person and work of Jesus, accepting Him as their Lord and Savior. Aka Christians or followers of Jesus.
  • Non-believers / Not Saved: Those who do not believe in the person and work of Jesus, and/or do not believe in God.

Let’s focus in the non-believers for a moment, those not saved. They have one life and two deaths.

  • One life: Born from their mothers womb as a baby. All of us are born this way to enter the world.
  • First death: When the physical body dies.
  • Second death: This is when the person is thrown into the Lake of Fire with the devil and his demon angels (fallen angels). This is the eternal separation from God. (Revelation 20:6; Revelation 20:14-15; Revelation 20)

Now let’s look at the believers, those who are saved. They have two life’s, and one death.

Life one: Born from their mothers womb as a baby. All of us are born this way to enter the world.

Original sin:The problem is, we inherit original sin from the fall, the disobedience of Adam (1 Corinthians 15:21; Romans 5:12) in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). This disobedience created a bad smell, a bad aroma, already separating us from God.

Even while in the womb being formed (Psalm 51:5), each person has this bad aroma, which follows them out of the womb (Isaiah 48:8), and as they grow up. Even though the baby has not personally sinned, had no evil thoughts, said nothing bad, and committed no evil actions, they still have this bad aroma, which is not pleasing to God, and must be wiped away in order to be in His presence in heaven. This bad aroma within us, causes us to have a natural instinct to rebel against God, which grows into thoughts, desires, and actions as we grow up (1 John 3:8; James 1:15).

Personal sin: The original sin is a trigger in a person to be drawn towards, like a magnet, to pride, wanting our own way, power, greed, lust, envy, etc (Matthew 15:19; Jeremiah 17:9). Sin is not like a tsunami which enters our life all once once, something that we can easily see present in our life, but rather the very opposite. Sin is more like yeast (1 Corinthians 5:6), that slowly spreads through the bread dough, slowly making it rise. A person who sins belongs to the devil, because they cannot belong to God (Matthew 6:24). A person who sins prefers the darkness, to do evil deeds (John 3:19-21), the deeds of the devil (John 8:44).

As a baby we take ownership of our parents, of our toys, don’t like to share, and often become envious of other kids toys, wanting them for ourselves. We don’t know or realize what we are doing, this is our instinct, in our nature, however, is like the growing stem of a plant, leading to more, and the realization of it.

As young people we grow, and are not often times humble, but prideful, rather stubborn, blaming others for what we did, not taking ownership or being accountable for what we do. We begin to know good from bad.

As teenagers we grow, our eyes begin to see what money, fame, and power can do. We desire more and more to be popular, and do not often care the method it takes to obtain it, or how it affects others. We become defiant, knowing something is wrong, but doing it anyway to satisfy our selfishness.

As adults, the desire of our heart becomes wealth, power, and status. We chase the almighty  dollar to which we believe will bring our happiness and security for this life. We tend to want more, often times putting the God of our creation, family, and friends, behind our drive for success.

As parents, grandparents, mentors, teachers, brothers, sisters cousins, uncles, aunts, etc, our example in this life is seen and mimicked. We teach the younger generations, and the follow suit, lusting, craving, desiring, and striving for the same things, believing the same things, to their own peril.

Second Life: There are those, some young people, others on their death bed, and those in between, who God allows them to go through a season of life that drops them to their knees. In this time of vulnerability, they are humbled. Their heart of stone, the walls of rejecting God and His Son are down, their pride is gone, crumbled, and their ears are open.

Just like the ancient days where God would send a prophet to tell the people to repent of their sins, and to look to the Lord. God sends a messenger to this person (Isaiah 52:7). They may have heard the Gospel message before in life, and this is a reminder, or this is the first time they are hearing it. At this moment, their ears do not reject the message, their eyes are seeing the sin in their life, they understand the person and work of Jesus on the cross, who died for their sins, and they see the love that God has for them. In that moment, the walls of pride and rejection are down, and they do what they were unable to before in their defiance (1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 2:14). In His perfect timing, God uses this vulnerable time to allow them to see Him through Jesus (John 14:6-7).

This person, in agreement of the sins in their life, their rebellion against God, confesses their sins, repents, turning away from their sins, and toward God (Acts 3:19), believing in the person and work of Jesus as their personal Savior (John 3:16-17; Romans 1:9), that He is the Lord of their life. This person now instantly receives the Holy Spirit within them (John 20:22; Acts 2:38; Ephesians 1:13), and is wiped clean of their sin (Isaiah 44:22; Luke 7:48; Ephesians 1:7). They are no longer being seen as evil in God’s eyes (Ephesians 2:3-5), but rather one of His children, part of the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-5). Their heart of stone is now a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). They have been born again (John 3:5-8), a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), not longer belonging to the world (John 17:16), of the devil , but of God (Ephesians 2:6), and in His protection.

The phrase born again means that the person is like a little baby all over again. They have spent a lifetime consumed in the darkness, and must now be taught, discipled (1 Peter 2:1-3), grown up in the ways of God, conforming more and more into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29). The Holy Spirit will help them to see and understand scripture in a new way (John 14:26), where they could not before. The Holy Spirit will reveal to the person the dark chambers of their heart (Proverbs 20:27, to purge their old life out (Job 12:22), and the light and love of God in. Their love for their Father God will burn and grow like a flame. The person will love others more and more, with the desire to be kind, compassionate, giving, helping, and share the same Gospel message with them (Matthew 22:36-40). All of this conforms the person more and more into the image of Jesus. The person will disciple their home, spouse and children, in the ways of the Lord (Joshua 24:15).

This is what is means to be born again.

q-and-a

Does the Bible say that we should not eat meat?

We received the question, “In Genesis, during creation, scripture says that the vegetation is given to people for eating, but does not say we can eat the animals. Should we eat meat?

Short answer: Yes, we can eat meat, for sustainment.

What is being referred to as part of the story of creation comes from Genesis 1:28-31. Mainly focus on verses 29-30. Here, God is giving the vegetation for food to the people, the beast, and birds. The Hebrew word used here is oklah, means: food, eating, object of devouring. When reading the context of the chapter, God is clearly providing the vegetation as food.

As for eating meat, there is no explicit command to eat or not to eat. Being that the birds, animals and fish had just been created, it is possible that man was not supposed to eat them as to allow them to multiple, and not make the species extinct. The first mention of animal skin being used is by God in Genesis 3:21, to cover Adam and Eve after they disobeyed God and were being kicked out of the Garden of Eden. The next mention of animal sacrifice to God is by Adam’s son Abel, who tended to the sheep (Genesis 4:4). There is no mention of eating animals all of the way through Genesis 6 at the time of Noah.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. 

Some time goes by, and then God see’s that the heart of man is full of wickedness, and causes a great flood to occur to wipe out people and animals. However, Noah found favor in the eyes of God. We know this as the story of Noah’s Ark (Genesis 6). God instructed Noah to build the Ark, and to fill it with his immediate family, as well as species of animals to preserve life. The flood comes, wiping out all living creatures, except for those on the Ark. Right before the flood is to happen, God tells Noah to gather food for both his family and for the animals on the Ark (Genesis 6:21). The word used here is food, with the same Hebrew word as above, oklah. Again, this is not explicit, but assumed to mean vegetation for eating.

You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

Once the water receded, the creatures on the Ark got off, as well as Noah and his family. We see the first burnt offering of an animal mentioned in Genesis 8:20-21 by Noah to God.

Then in Genesis 9:3, Noah is given permission by God to eat both meat and vegetation. This verse states, “every moving thing that liveth”. “Every moving thing” is the Hebrew word remes, means: creeping things, moving things, gliding things. “That liveth” is the Hebrew word chay, means: living, alive, green. So this means that all living creatures of the sea, on land, and the vegetation are now approved by God for people to eat.

Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

However, God did have one rule about the eating of meat, which we see in the very next verse, Genesis 9:4.  The word flesh is the Hebrew word basar, means: of the body. The word life is the Hebrew word nephesh, which means: living being. This basically means that man is not permitted to eat an animal while it is still alive. They must fist kill the animal and make it clean before consuming.

But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

The next verse, Genesis 9:5 warns man that God has given man the creatures to eat to sustain them, and not for the pleasure of taking the creatures life. And if an animal kills a man, that animal shall be killed.

And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man;

q-and-a

According to John 20:23, could the Disciples forgive sins?

We received the question: “According to John 20:23, could the Disciples actually forgive peoples sins?

If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” – John 20:23 (New American Standard Bible )

The short answer is “No“.

Point 1: Only God can forgive sins

Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 Then the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man. – Mark 2:1-12

Verse Explanation

This verse is not stating that the disciples have the authority to forgive a person’s sin. Rather it is stating that the disciples have the Holy Spirit in them, and can examine the person’s life, the fruit of their life, has their life been changed since they repented, and accepted Jesus as their Savior. If that person’s life has changed, if the fruit of the Spirit is indeed visible; you are seeing them conforming into the image of Jesus; to help encourage that person, they are told that they are saved. This is not the act of actual forgiving of sin, but rather the encouragement that when examining the fruit of their life, the visible change, and comparing it to scripture, it appears evident that they are born again, that their sins are forgiven. However, only God can confirm what is in the person’s heart, and will do so on Judgement Day.

On the other hand, there are those who have said they have repented, and accepted Jesus as Savior, but you see no change in their life. They are still living the same way they originally were. You see no fruits from their life. They are not conforming into the image of Jesus. After examining their life against scripture, the two do not match. In this case it would be said that they have retained (still have) their sin, and show no evidence of being saved/born again.

The below scripture shows the situation of one who does not show evidence of conversion. Treating them as a pagan means that they are still a sinner, not saved.

Point 2: Dealing With Sin in the Church

15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. – Matthew 18:15-17

 

 

q-and-a

Can the Pope Intercede on a Persons Behalf for their Sins?

It is very important to test everything, to know that what you know is correct in accordance with God’s Word.

We received the question regarding the Catholic church, “Can the Pope intercede on a persons behalf for their sins?

The short answer is “No“. Here is the explanation.

According to the Catholic church, the role of the Pope is to be the “Head of the Catholic church”. He is considered to be the “Vicar of Christ”. Vicar comes from the latin word vicarius, which means, “instead of”. Put these words together and you get, “instead of Christ“. The Catholics believe that the Pope has the same authority as Christ did, and is His successor.

There are several problems with this:

  1. Jesus is the High Priest for all eternity
  2. Jesus is our only interceder
  3. The Holy Spirit is the successor
  4. What authority did Peter actually have?

Jesus is the High Priest for all eternity
Jesus has many titles that show His attributes (who He is). The High Priest is one of His titles. Hebrews 4:14-16 and Hebrews 2:14-18 tells us very clearly that Jesus is High Priest. Priest in the Greek is archiereus, means to be set a a part, to the holy. Back in the Old Testament days, the Priests were the only ones allowed to be in the holy place within the Tabernacle. They would offer sacrifices, and ask for the sins of the people to be forgiven. When Jesus died on the cross, the ground shook, and the veil that separated the holy place containing the ark from the rest of the tabernacle was torn (Matthew 27:51-52). This symbolized that for those who believe in Jesus as their Savior, we now have direct access to God through Jesus, no longer needing a human Priest to intercede. Jesus is our High Priest, because, unlike the Levite Priests had had some offer sacrifices everyday for the sins of the Israelite people (Hebrews 7:26-27); Jesus only had to provide sacrifice once, His life, by His own blood (Hebrews 9:12), for the sins of all humanity, redeeming all who would come to the Father through Him. His one-time sacrifice was pleasing to God. Jesus is called our, “Great High Priest” in Hebrews 4:14, and that gives us the boldness to come “unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Jesus is our ONLY interceder
One of the sacraments (rules) of the Catholic church is that a person must for to confession, and speak with a priest. This is back from the Old Testament, as referred to above, as a function of the Levite Priests who were the ones designated by God to provide offering on behalf of the Israelite people, for forgiveness of their sins. Jesus tells us Himself says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me“. This means that Jesus is our only interceder. When the vail was torn (refer to above), for those who believe in the person and work of Jesus, we can come directly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) with our confession, in the name of Jesus, and be heard by our Father (Hebrews 13:15). We come to God, praying in the name of Jesus, in the authority of His name, as our Great High Priest, as our only interceder (John 14:13-14). Scripture tells is very clearly in Romans 8:34 that Jesus is our interceder.

The Holy Spirit is the successor of Jesus
After Jesus rose from the dead, spent some time with His disciples, it was time for Him to go to be with the Father, to one day come again for His Church (His people). Before leaving He told them not to be sad, but that it is good for them that He goes, so that the Father would send the Holy Spirit as their councilor (John 16:7-11). To say that the Pope is the “instead of Jesus”, is to say that the Holy Spirit is not sufficient, which is blasphemy.

What authority did Peter actually have?
In church history, the Catholic church identifies Peter as the first Pope. This comes from scripture Matthew 16:18-19, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” They interpret this to mean that Peter had authority over the other apostles. “The Roman Catholic Church maintains that sometime after the recorded events of the book of Acts, the Apostle Peter became the first bishop of Rome, and that the Roman bishop was accepted by the early church as the central authority among all of the churches 1″. As time went on, they teach that this same authority is handed down, or inherited, by each succeeding Pope. “The Roman Catholic Church also holds that Peter and the subsequent popes were and are infallible when addressing issues “ex cathedra,” from their position and authority as pope. It teaches that this infallibility gives the pope the ability to guide the church without error. The Roman Catholic Church claims that it can trace an unbroken line of popes back to St. Peter, citing this as evidence that it is the true church, since, according to their interpretation of Matthew 16:18, Christ built His church upon Peter.2

While interpretation does agree that Peter was central, scripture does not teach that he had any authority over the other apostles, or over the Church. Peter also never claims in scripture to have authority over the other apostles. Jesus is the head of His Church body, the authority (Colossians 1:18). Nor does it state in scripture that any man, with any title (Pope, Bishop, etc), is to have authority over the Church. No man, aside from the person of Jesus, was sinless. Only Jesus lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21). No man is infallible, without mistakes. Scripture also states that the authority given to Peter, was also shared by the other apostles, to share the Gospel, and spread the Church (Ephesians 2:19-20). The “passing on of authority” (apostolic succession) is also not stated in scripture, rather read into from scriptures such as 2 Timothy 2:2. The apostles never claim that their authority would be given to successors. Their mission was to share the Gospel of salvation in Jesus, to continue that mission. Peter points to Jesus as the overseer, the supreme authority of the Church in 1 Peter 2:25.

The Bible teaches us to be cautious of what we hear,  what we are taught, and what we see. God’s Word is perfect (Matthew 5:18; Psalm 19:7-8; 119:160; Proverbs 30:5; John 17:17; 2 Peter 1:19-21), it does not change, nothing need be added, nor subtracted (Revelation 22:19). Scripture warns and cautions about wolves that go out from the Body of Christ (Romans 16:17-19). Just because something is taught in a church building, does not mean it is what God’s Word teaches. Just because you grew up learning something, does not mean it is accurate. It is ok and good to verify, to test, to make sure what you know, what you believe, and what you are being taught, is from God’s Word (1 John 4:1-3). It is not easy to learn something new, to realize that what you knew is not in God’s Word. My prayer for you is that the Holy Spirit will provide you a peace, remove any guilt, and help you to accept and embrace God’s Word as your rock and foundation. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help you release what you have been taught, that is not in accordance with God’s Word.

Resources:
https://www.biblegateway.com
http://www.gotquestions.org/Peter-first-pope.html
http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-High-Priest.html
http://www.gotquestions.org/vicar-of-Christ.html

warning-banner wisdom

Warning Against Rejecting Wisdom – Proverbs 1:20-33

2015-02-03 08.39.24

Scripture: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=proverbs+1%3A20-33&version=NIV

This Proverb is broken up into 11 sections:

  1. Wisdom calls out for all to hear (v20-21)
    • from multiple places: 1) at street level 2) public square lots of people 3) gateways where the court and marketplace, busiest place in the city. No excuse for not hearing, lots of opportunity.
    • Calls aloud, cries out: wisdom wants to be heard, not whispering. Shouting out above the noise of the people.
  1. The 3 people who reject wisdom (v22)
    • Simple ones. Sinners are fond of their simple notions of good and evil, their simple prejudices against the ways of God, and flatter themselves in their wickedness.
    • Mockers / Scorners. Proud, jovial people, that make a jest of everything. Scoffers at religion, that run down every thing sacred and serious.
    • Fools. Those are the worst of fools that hate to be taught, and have a rooted dislike to serious godliness.
  1. You could have spared your selves (v23)
    • You didn’t have to choose the bad path, could have spared yourself all of this trouble and distress.
    • If when hearing the wisdom and correction, you responded (intentional) by realizing your ways were not good, agreeing with God (confessing) they were not good, and turning away from your bad ways (repenting).
    • God would have lavished you with His love, mercy, grace, and opened your eyes to Himself, to have understanding of His peace, His ways, His wonderful path for you, His purpose for you, and most importantly, salvation in Jesus.
  1. You have rejected and ignored (v24-25)
    • You chose not to listen to my wisdom
    • You chose your own path, that will lead to pain, distress, trouble..
    • You have chosen to turn away from God’s wisdom
    • You chose not pay attention when I tried to give you help, guidance, warning. You were consumed in your own pleasures.
    • I saw that you were headed in a bad place, tried to offer you correction, redirection, but you chose to ignore me and you chose not accept my words.
    • People know basic good and evil. When we reject God’s wisdom for our own pleasures, knowing what we are doing is wrong, we are being defiant. Purposely choosing to going against good, for the bad we desire.
  1. I will now sit back and watch (v26)
    • God takes no pleasure in watching us go through the results of the messes we choose.
    • God cannot and will not force His love upon us.
    • God will allow us to go through seasons of our own making, in hopes that with a genuine heart, we will come back to Him, or come to Him for the first time through Jesus. He wants us to change our ways, to repent.
    • God can use a season of challenge, for our good, to teach us.
  1. 3 consequences to rejection and ignorance of wisdom (v27)
    • The 3 consequences
      1. Calamity: Any great misfortune, or cause of misery; generally applied to events or disasters which produce extensive evils, as loss of crops, earthquakes, conflagrations, defeat of armies, and the like. But it is applied also to the misfortunes which bring great distress upon individuals.
      2. Disaster: Misfortune; mishap
      3. Distress: Extreme pain; anguish of body or mind; as, to suffer great distress from the gout
    • The force of the storm, its elements, the winds, will overwhelm the person, to where they finally have no choice but to cry out to God for help. God was not their first choice, but now they know He is their only Savior!
  1. You will cry out for help (v28)
    • The person / people, will cry out in their misery to God to save them, but will receive no answer.
    • They will look for God, but will not find Him.
    • God is not being cruel. The people are desperate, but have no intention of actual change in their heart. A person wants their definition of good, but not God’s good for them. They want God to be their servant, to jump only when they call, but to submit and bow down to Him. Without the Holy Spirit, salvation in Jesus, repentance of their sin, people will continue to do what they want, and only call on God, without actually loving Him, to save them. Then they get mad at God for not answering, blaming Him for their misfortunes.
    • God desires good for us, wants none to perish, but all to come to repentance. God sent His only begotten Son Jesus to die for the sins of the world. He has nothing but love for us, yet, most people do not love Him back.
  1. Since they turned away, rejecting, hating my help (v29-30)
    • Because you rejected and hated the wisdom that was being given to you freely. Since you did not take God seriously, and turned away from Him, having no respect for Him, not His love.
    • Since they were not willing to advice and guidance, and despising my correct.
  1. You will endure what you have chosen (v31)
    • You will endure through what you have chosen
    • You will endure through the path you have chosen for yourself.
    • God does not want bad things for us, but rather amazing and wonderful things are His plans for us. However, unless we hear, receive, and go on His path, we cannot prosper, will not have peace, will not come to know His love more, and will not love Him more.
  1. Choosing your own way will destroy you (v32)
    • Most people definition of good and bad is based upon the blowing of the wind. We are easily swayed by creative and fancy talking and lies. It is not difficult for the devil to use his tools to sway us, or turn us away from God. When this happens, it leads the person down the path of destruction, pain, agony, and ultimately they will perish.
    • Those people who are just existing, like a raft on the water, going back and forth. Those people have no anchor of faith, or belief, and the devil an easily turn them away from God.
  1. Whoever listens to me will be safe (v33)
    • Scripture gives us the opportunity for a happy ending, to not face and endure life or a season without God’s love. The word is, “but”, which is the off ramp from a path that leads to destruction and perishing.
    • When wisdom is calling out, whoever looks up, listens, and obeys. They will be the ones to be in the safety of God, to reside in His strong tower, to walk on His path, to receive His peace, and to live in His love. Whoever turns to God, through Jesus, is secure. Whoever turns to God for correction, is secure. Whoever allows the Holy Spirit to mold them into the image of Jesus, is secure.
    • Those who are secure, have no need for fear of the devil, of evil, of perishing. How do you know you are secure? Are you looking up when wisdom is speaking? Are you listening to wisdom and allowing the Holy Spirit to correct your walk? Are you allowing wisdom to teach and instruct you in love? Are you obey wisdom? Or…. are you still looking down and ignoring wisdom for your own selfishness, to satisfy you own desires?
life insurance

Life Insurance 180

Life insurance is something that many people have. Its purpose is to help provide a degree of financial security to the loved ones of the person who has died. This way they are not burdened with funeral expenses and trying to pay bills with the loss of an income.

Life insurance is extremely important, but what about the life insurance for the person who has died, before they died? You might be raising your eye brow in confusion.

Recently my wife and I were watching TV and a life insurance commercial came on. We are expecting a little one soon, and my mind started thinking about them, if something was to happen to me. I told her life insurance is something we should look into. She then said something very profound, which I believe the Holy Spirit put upon her heart to remind me of. She said, “I do have life insurance, in Jesus. I have eternal life insurance.”

If you are reading this, do you have eternal life insurance in Jesus? Look over at your spouse, and then if you have, to your kids. Do they have eternal life insurance in Jesus? If the answer is no, you should be very concerned, for you and for them! First for yourself, as to not have this coverage means to have an eternity of darkness, anguish, and dispair in hell. Also for your loves ones, not concerned because you won’t see them in heaven, which is a selfish reason, but rather because they will spend an eternity a part from God in hell with the devil (Revelation 20:7-15). There is no worst fate in existence that an eternity a part from God. Scripture tells us that those covered under the eternal life insurance in Jesus are in God’s hands, that He has a plan for us, a wonderful plan, for those who delight in Him, and though we may stumble, He will uphold us (Psalm 37:23-24). Being covered does not mean you will be a perfect person, but it does mean that you are secure.

What is eternal life insurance in Jesus? It is a sinful repenting heart, crying out for God’s mercy, being able to stand without shame or blame before Him, being forgiven of your sins by God’s love, through the person and voluntary work of Jesus on the cross, dying for your sins in your place (John 3:16-18). If you have this coverage, you are secure for all eternity.

How do you get coverage in Jesus? No you can not buy it, earn it, work for it, do good deeds, or even be a good person. This coverage is a gift from God, in His love and mercy to us, so that we may be redeemed (Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 2:38-40, Romans 5:8). You acknowledge and admit that you are a sinner, cry out for God’s mercy on your life, repent (2 Peter 3:9), say your sorry, turn toward God, and receive Jesus as your personal Savior. Believe that he died on the cross for your sins, and that on the third day He rose again, and is now alive (1 Corinthians 15:1-5, Mark 16:6-7), sitting at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:19-21, Mark 16:19). Believe that He will return again to collect His believers. You will then be filled with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-14), which is your deposit from God of eternal life insurance in Jesus (Ephesians 1:13-14). When a person receives Jesus, they will have the light of life, as He is life (John 8:12, John 14:6-7). Their sin has been crucified with Jesus (Romans 6:1-4), and they are now a new, born again life (1 Peter 1:23).

How will you know you are still covered later in life, should you still be alive? When a person has truly covered, truly received the Holy Spirit, they are renewed (Titus 3:3-8). This means there is a complete change in them, they are new (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Holy Spirit gives them the spiritual eyes (Ephesians 1:18) to see the darkness in their old life (2 Corinthians 4:1-6) that they were blinded to before (Isaiah 29:15). Scripture tells us that someone who is covered under the eternal life insurance in Jesus, the evidence will be seen by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20). The fruits meaning how is person acts, how they work, by their deeds, their intentions, their motivations, how they present themselves, what they are drawn toward, where they put their focus, how they pray, how they praise God, how the worship God, how they speak about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. As one covered under this insurance policy, having the deposit of the Holy Spirit within us, we are being changed that more and more of our old self is dying off (Galatians 2:19-21), and we are conforming more and more into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29).

You can test yourself if you are covered. If a person does not see their life changing from the point when they repented of their sin and professed Jesus to be their Savior, they need to pray, examine their heart, and ask God to reveal to them through His Word, and with a peace, if they are truly covered, truly redeemed, or not. This self examination is to check ourselves, to allow for correction in our lives. There are 4 points to the examination, which comes from 2 Corinthians 13:5 (Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?).

  1. Examine yourself (Galatians 6:3-4, 2 Corinthians 10:12, Colossians 3:23, Ephesians 6:7): The Greek word for examine here is dokîmázô, which means, ‘to test, prove,’ with the expectation of approving.” It can also indicate “to discern” or “to distinguish,” suggesting proving whether a thing is worthy or not. In everything we do, words, actions, thoughts, intentions, motivations, are we doing it for the Lord, to point all eyes to Him, to lead others to the cross? Are our intensions to make God popular, or to make ourselves popular? We need to pray, asking God reveal to us the areas in which we are not pure of heart, so that we can repent, receive correction, and allow the Holy Spirit to conform us more and more into the image of Jesus. Continuous repenting is a sign of a true believer, not just one time when a person received Jesus as Savior.
  2. Do you not know yourselves (I Corinthians 6:19-20, Proverbs 4:23, Ephesians 3:14-21, I John 1:9): Scripture tells us that we are not our own, that we were bought at a price, and that you are a child of God, bought by God, by the blood of Jesus. It is important to not only know and understand that relationship, but to also live within the relationship. This means putting forth effort to love and know the Father God, to know the person and work of Jesus, to know the Holy Spirit whom is within the child. A child of God needs to put forth effort in prayer, in praise, in worship, in reading God’s Word, in learning their Father’s attributes, in learning what it means to love others, in repenting, and in realizing who you are as a child of God.
  3. That Jesus Christ is in you (2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1): A child of God has the Holy Spirit within. Scripture tells us, “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.” This means that when a person compares their life style, what they are drawn toward, what they enjoy, where they put their focus, the motivation behind their decisions, words, and actions, when compared to God’s love and His standards for us, how do those things rank? If a person has the Holy Spirit, it is like a magnet drawing them toward the things of God. A person with the Holy Spirit craves God’s Word, craves fellowship with other believers, craves for his/her spouse, children, family, friends to be saved. A person covered under the eternal insurance of Jesus desires more and more for good things, to go into them, and less and less for darkness to go in, for the mind to be pure, and the heart to be seeking that which is pure.
  4. unless, of course, you fail the test (disqualified) (Romans 1:28, Titus 1:16, Hebrews 6:7-8): The Greek word failed or disqualified is adokimos, means: not standing the test, not approved, that which does not prove itself such as it ought.  It is far better to know if you are not truly converted, not truly covered under the eternal insurance of Jesus, than to believe falsely that you are, and stand before Him at judgement, only to be cast into the Lake of Fire with the devil, and other non-believers (Revelation 20:7-15).

If you find yourself to have not passed the examination, and are not truly be covered under the eternal life insurance in Jesus, be honest with yourself the state you are in, do not be prideful and attempt to justify case, but rather be humble, and accept that you are an unregenerate sinner, not saved by the blood of Jesus, that you are not a true child of God, and that you are destined for hell. I pray that you would cry out for God’s mercy, profess that you are a sinner, profess that you want Jesus as your personal Savior, to be cleansed and forgiven of your sins. Understand what it is to repent, turn away from your old life through the power of the Holy Spirit within, receive God’s love, and allow the Holy Spirit to conform you into the image of Jesus.

Can you lose your coverage? Scripture tells us no, coverage cannot be lost (John 3:15-18, John 10:28-30). A person is either covered or they are not. We are still people, tempted into sin by our flesh. We can be distracted by the devil, and stray from our path (Ephesian 6:10-12, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20). However, in the power of the Holy Spirit within, we are given the power to overcome the devil (Romans 8:1-4). If you are covered, however, do not see much fruit coming from your life, you need to pray, asking God, through the Holy Spirit to help reveal what is in your life that is distracting you from producing fruit (1 Corinthians 15:33-34). In either of these situations, repent, turn back to God (2 Chronicles 7 14-15), allow the Holy Spirit to clean you, and return you to the relationship with your Father who loves you dearly.

Then there are those who those who did not truly believe, were not truly regenerate, and never were actually covered. This goes back to #4 in the above examination. These are people who said a prayer, but were never truly converted, and kept living their same life without change or desire for change. People who heard and believed a false or twisted version of the gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), and put their faith in something false. People who say they are a follower of Christ, yet do not follow Him. People who simply hold the title of Christian, but live, act, and do like the world (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). People who grew up in a Christian home, and believe they are Christian just by being under the same roof, yet profess no repentance, or belief in Jesus. People who say they are Christian, but put their faith in an organization, not their faith in Jesus.

Eternal life insurance in Jesus is the most important thing you can receive in this life. There is no financial obligation to obtain it, no good deeds that you can do (Isaiah 64:6), you can’t perform a service or trade anything material to get it, but rather it is a free gift from God (Romans 5:9). In God’s love and in His will, (Luke 22:42-44) Jesus gave His life willingly to save yours (John 10:17-18).

The best thing you can do for yourself and family, the only security you and your family in this world, going into eternity, is to receive Jesus as your personal Savior. Don’t put it off! Jesus will be coming back to bring His believers to Him in heaven, the dead first and the living after them (Revelation 22). When He comes be ready (Matthew 24:42-44).

showyourbible

#ShowYourBible

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I use the NIV version

The #ShowYourBible is a social media challenge to do exactly that. Take a photo of your Bible, open and closed, and post it. Why do this?

Do you remember back in the 80’s-90’s when VHS tapes were what we all watched movies on? We all had our few movies that we would watch over and over, or my mother with her exercise tapes. What happened when watched the same VHS tape each day? It would begin to become worn.

Our Bible is no different. Scripture tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Romans 10:17, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ (Bible).”

My wife and I are in our Bibles all the time. When we are at church listening to the Pastor, we are writing notes, highlighting/underlining key points,  and adding important leaflets from the Sunday handout. When we do our own studies we are looking up the original language and writing notes on the pages. Our Bibles do not look brand new, but rather quite used, studied from.

The goal of this challenge is to encourage you to read your Bible more, to read all of the amazingness God has for you within the pages. The Bible has every topic, answers many questions, and teaches you what faith is all about. By reading the Gospel, you will read about the person and work of Jesus, and how you can be saved through Him. You will read about God’s love, as well as His wrath. You will learn about spiritual eyes through the Holy Spirit. There is so much within the pages of your Bible.

People verbalize a lot, whether it be accurate scripture, twisting scripture to fit their desire, or things that are not even in the Bible. This is a wonderful opportunity for you yourself, to read direct from the source, from God’s Word. We challenge you to take this challenge, a wear your begin or continue to wear your Bible out! :)

So take out that smartphone and snap a photo, hashtag #ShowYourBible . See you on Twitter and Facebook!

 

soldier guarding door

Is Your Gateway Guarded

Teenagers and adults, are surrounded by the influences of the world: bad language, alcohol, lust, hurtful comments, sensuality, peer pressure, impure images in magazines / internet / TV / movies / video games, etc.

We don’t always realize that our eyes and ears are the gateway (doors), into our mind. Our thoughts, words, and actions all come from the thoughts in our mind. If good stuff goes in, good stuff will come out. It’s really pretty simple. If you allow yucky stuff in, your mind will become polluted. If you let good stuff in, and run away from bad stuff, your mind will remain more clear, and you will be able to see God more in your life.

As our standards are often times changing by the persuasion of others, the popular, “oh i’ll just watch/try a little”, or what is fair in peoples opinion today, our standard is not sufficient. So, by what standard can we measure what we should allow into our eyes and ears? God has blessed us with His Word (Bible), which is an unchanging standard of His perfection and love.

So when your friends ask you to go see that bad movie, compare it to God’s standards. When you are offered alcohol, compare it to God’s standards. When you are surfing the web, and that innapropriate image appears on the screen, compare it to God’s standards. When your friends are using bad language, compare your own talk to God’s standards. As a Christian, we are in this world, but belong to God’s eternal Kingdom (John 17:6-19). As you were at one time, under the hold of the devil, and acted as the world did. Now you are a child of God. Shine your light for all to see. The only way to shine your light is to be full of light, and not darkness.

eyes ears gateway - post

new year

10 Points for Preparing for the New Year

2014 is coming to a close, and 2015 is knocking at the door. As I look back at 2014, there are decisions I am pleased with, and others that I am not. Was I wise or foolish in this decision or that one? Should I have listened to my wife more on that decision, or sought the advice of a wise man, like my dad, for that other decision. In other words, there is a lot to look back on and learn from in 2014, that can be used to grow and mature in 2015.

So how do you prepare yourself for the coming new year?

1. Accept the past: 2014 is over and done with. Learn from the past and move forward. What is your intention for the new year? Are you still trying to strike it rich? Or are you ready to try life in a new direction?

2. All 365 Days: This may sound a bit morbid, but will you live to see December 31, 2015? We are not guaranteed to live until we are 100 years old, much less another second. It is vitally important that you think about life, and how you want to use the time God has given you.

3. Your Intentions: Are you intentions to be intentional? Meaning, are you thinking about 2015 changes just to have them so when someone asks you, you have an answer. Or, are you intending to actually be intentional with changes in your life for next year? It is very easy to say something out loud and not mean it. To actually change your life requires actual change.

4. The Why Question: The areas you are choosing to change, why do you want to make that change? Is your intention to become rich, so you are choosing to buy a new phone to get you there? Do you think about the cause and effect of the choices and changes? Or maybe, you know the direction of your life is not on the correct path, and you are seeking help to change things? In everything you are doing, you need to ask, “Why am I doing this? and How will this effect my life and others?”. I want to work out so he or she will love me more. News flash. If they don’t love you for who you are, a body change will only make them want what you are changing, but not you.

5. New Attitude: Don’t like what’s happening in your life? Having problems with money, your job, your marriage, your kids, etc? The first change in attitude comes with acknowledging that your way doesn’t work. Be open minded and ready to hear a new way.

6. Hear the Gospel: The Gospel is “God’s Good News”. Forget the negatives you have about Christians, or the negative opinions you have heard from others about God, and focus your lens in only on the Gospel. Are you not curious at all about why the Gospel translates into “God’s Good News”? There is a good chance that you have heard of John 3:16-18, but do you know what it says, and do you understand what it means in your life? Most people stop at verse 16, however, the good news keeps going for 2 more verses.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.– John 3:16-18

The Gospel is very simple. The Problem: Scripture tells us that God is perfect, He is perfect love, and that He is the Creator of all things, everything, including us. Scripture also tells us that in God there is no darkness, none at all. People, you and I, on the other hand are easily tempted by the devil, are not perfect, have thoughts of darkness, impure thoughts, selfish desires, thoughts of lust, and do impure things (thoughts into action). This is in our nature, and is called sin.  This sin is the impassible barrier that separates God’s perfection from our imperfection. Because of this separation, we are destined to spend an eternity apart from God, and instead with the devil in hell, who enticed us with our dark thoughts, which we chose instead of God’s love.  How is this solved? How can we return to God, and to His love? Can we earn our way? Scripture tells us no, this is impossible. The Gospel is the answer. Scripture tells us that God wants none to perish, but for all to come to repentance. This means that God does not want you to spend an eternity away from Him, but rather an eternity with Him. God not only created us, but also provided us with the way back to Him. The Answer: The answer is Jesus. God’s good news is the best news! Go reread John 3:16-18 real quick. Since we are imperfect, and God is perfect, we need a perfect person to redeem us. Scripture tells us that Jesus born of a virgin, and lived a perfect life. Scripture also tells us that Jesus lived a life without sin. Jesus, who knew no sin, took our sin upon Himself, was crucified on the cross, and died in our place. This is where the devil would think that he won. However, in God’s amazing plan, Jesus was risen from the dead after 3 days, defeating the devil, and making it possible for humanity to be redeemed back to God, through Jesus. What better news is there! Our Way Back to God: So if Jesus is the way, how do we take His path? Go back and reread John 3:16-18 again. If you hear the Gospel, and you believe by faith that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for your sins, and rose 3 days later. That acknowledge that you are a sinner, that you need a Savior from your sins, and you repent of your sins. The Bible tells us that you will be forgiven, and cleansed from your sins, from red and crimson, to white as snow. The scripture tells us that in Christ, you are forgiven, a new creation, a Child of God, and no longer under His wrath. From this point forward, your life will never be the same. The next step you take, will no longer have the purpose that it used to. You will now have a new purpose, one that will bring joy to each step taken from now on.

So why am I telling you to hear the Gospel as preparation for next year? So that you can start the new year in the best possible condition, with your salvation in Jesus secure. Nothing else will have you better prepared, even if you only live the first day of the year.

7. Read the Holy Bible: If you are on board with 1-6 to this point, this one should put a smile on your face. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” This means that God’s Word is sufficient, good, and useful for everything. Reading the Bible daily, even a little bit, creates a life style of learning and living. Reading the Bible helps you to learn God’s character, His love, the person and word or Jesus, and your purpose for each day on this Earth. The Bible helps you with all aspects of life. The more you read, the more you will fall in love with God and others.

8. Attend a Bible Preaching Church: Yeah I know, you stay up late on Saturday and want to sleep in. Or football is on, and you can’t not watch and let your team down. A Bible preaching church is essential. Yes, not all churches are created equal, as not all preach the Bible. Many churches just want to pack people in and make them feel good so they will come back and buy their books. A church is to preach the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, so help you God. Motivational speaking about how you’re such a wonderful person and you can have your best life now is not going to help you, rather will actually hurt you. A Pastor who preaches/teaches from the Bible will help you to better understand what the Bible says. You will begin to better understand the areas of your life that are good for you, and the areas that are not. At church there are other Christians who can pray with and for you, to help support you in challenging times, and there is a good chance that at least one of them has gone through what you have. I have heard many say that they don’t need to attend church to be a Christian. My question  to them would be. How can you claim to be Christian, and not want to hear God’s Word or be around other Christians? I’m pretty sure you hang out with your non-Christian friends pretty regularly.

9. 2015 Financial Budget: First off, God owns all of the money, it’s His. “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” – Psalm 24:1-2. Every penny you receive from God is to be managed well, as you are its steward. Why should you believe this? Money comes from the Earth, which God created. “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” – 1 Timothy 6:7- 8. If money comes from God, He will provide to you what you need. Don’t fall in love with it or crave it. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5. Create a budget where every dollar has a name. Purchase what you need for food, clothing, and shelter. In your abundance, give to those who are in need. I recommend looking at Financial Peace University by Dave Damsey. He is a Christian who puts in place what the Bible says about managing the money God provides you.

10. Sharing is Caring: Scripture tells us that the two greatest commandments are to love God with all of our heart, mind, and body, and to love others as we would ourselves. If you heard the Gospel, believes, repented, and received Jesus as Savior. Why would you not want to share this same gift with others? You share movies you see and like with others. Make it a point to share the Gospel with others. Your life was changed. Why would you not share the Gospel with your friends and family? If you share the Gospel with someone, and they don’t want to accept it, simply thank them for listening, pray for them, and go share with someone else.

If these 10 points of preparation are received well by you, I pray that 2015 will be one for the record books. I pray that you will see and live life in a new way, for the intention in which you were created. I pray that if heard the Gospel and are now saved in Christ, that you will make the effort to grow and mature, just as a little kid does showing up. I pray that you will take each of these points to help you grow and mature, and come to know the love of God, and be conformed more and more into the image of Jesus.

From my family to yours, a very Happy New Year in Jesus name!

 

Reaching the Lost, Equipping the Saved, and Daily Steps by Faith that bring you Closer to God