Thursday, April 30, 2015

Repentance Vs Salvation ~ Aren't they the same thing?

The simple answer is no!

Some people believe that if you do certain things, you are guaranteed a place in heaven. That is not true.

Galatians 1: 6-9 (NIV) ~ "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"

Without salvation, man kind would be lost forever!

Let us not be confused with what repentance is NOT:

1. Repentance is NOT BEING SORRY for what you have done. People who are truly sorry for their past mistakes, but they are not believers in Jesus. When you mention belief in Jesus as part of true repentance, they want no part of it. People can be truly sorry for messing up in their lives, but not be believers in Jesus.

2. Repentance is NOT FEELING GUILTY for what you have done. Just because you're feeling guilty in your conscience and may sense a burden of shame, that guilty feeling can be masked by external things. So how are you dealing with guilt? (drugs, alcohol, denial, staying busy). Unless you are confessing your wrong doings to Jesus, you are just a person who feels guilt for something you have done.

3. Repentance is NOT REGRETTING that things have turned out poorly. This is what a criminal or a lawbreaker feels whenever they get caught doing something they knew was wrong to do.Even Judas was remorseful.

Matthew 27: 3-4 (NIV) ~" When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and elders. "I have sinned," he said., "for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility."

Dr. Charles Ryrie points out that "there are many criminals who are very sorry about their criminality and the damage they have caused, but they are not willing to come to Christ and have their sins forgiven. This is not a biblical repentance - this is a carnal remorse, this is guilt, this is sorrow, but this kind of grief does not lead to salvation. It is imperative that you search your heart to determine if you are willing to not only face your sin, but to pick it up and run with it straight to Jesus and give it to Him. That act of doing so is biblical repentance."

 True repentance NEVER had conditions.

Mark 1:14b - 15 (NIV) ~ "  Jesus went into Gailee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

Jesus doesn't fix mistakes, he died so you could have your sins forgiven. We need to change our minds and opinions about Jesus.

God doesn't listen to the prayers of non-believers unless it is a prayer asking for salvation. You can't come under the authority of Jesus, with your prayers, unless you confess Jesus is your Savior. You don't confess your sins to anyone but Jesus.

God is simply waiting for the non believer to change your opinion (repent) of who Jesus is before He will hear you and you will be saved. You have to have a complete 180 degree change of heart before you can be saved. The believers in Jesus have hope in this scripture. Our sins when we confess them and ask Jesus into our lives are removed. We have been forgiven.

Psalm 103:12-14 (NIV) ~ "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust."

2 Corinthians 6: 1-2 (NIV) ~ " As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now it the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation."

When you hear the truth of God's Word, the truth of what it takes to be saved through Jesus Christ, and you do nothing, God may not speak to you again. You need to stop accepting the biblical world view of Jesus and accept the Bibles view of who He is and what He did for all of us.

We have to remember as believers in Jesus, that when we sin, we don't change our beliefs of Jesus, we simply need to confess our sins. This is the mistake most Christians make when they sin, they believe they need to start the "sinner's prayer" all over again including accepting Jesus into our lives again, and that is NOT what needs to happen when we confess our sins.

So many Christian think that just because they have sinned, they have to go back to the beginning like restarting a game, and go back to the start again. That is where we make mistakes when it comes to confession of sin. Just confess the sin part and move on. We need to see when we give our lives to God, with a change of true repentance, a change of opinion of who Jesus is and who what He did for us, when we slip up, our salvation is NOT LOST. We just disrupted the fellowship between ourselves and God.

Just like the old Verizon commercial, "Can you hear me now?" When we have unconfessed sin our in our life, God won't talk to you until you confess or remove that barrier that is preventing God from hearing you. We need to clear the air between us and God. When we sin, if we don't confess it, God momentarily stops listening to our prayers, our fellowship with Him has been temporarily severed, but our salvation is still intact.

1 John 2:1 (NIV) ~ "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One." 

1 John 1:6-7, 9 (NIV) ~ "If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

The bold text is emphasis on the words fellowship, not salvation. Notice the difference! We need to confess sin to restore the fellowship with Jesus, not go back to the beginning and keep repeating the sinner's prayer for salvation.

We need to make sure however, when we do sin, we confess it on the spot, don't wait!

Mark 11:25 -26 (NIV) ~ " And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins."

It's not about losing our salvation when we forgive others, it is about restoring the fellowship we had with God through the confession of our sins. And we remember just how many times, we are called to forgive, according to the Bible is it 70 times 7, which is 490 times, a number in Jewish culture that means an infinite number of times. That should be such a verse that frees believers to the simple difference between our salvation and the confession of our sins! It doesn't say the Father will forgive you and restore your salvation, NO it says forgive you of your sins!'

You can't tap out the limits of God's grace as a believer in Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Being Saved is So Simple!

What would you do if someone you knew came up to you and provided you with an airline ticket to Hawaii for two weeks. All expenses paid, airfare, hotel and car rental were all included and upgrade to the very best money could buy. There is even traveler's checks included for all the expenses you might incur from souvenirs, meals, you name it. You didn't have to provide anything except to accept the ticket, pack your bags and show up. Would you accept it?

Or would you stand back and wonder how real this all was? What if the ticket is fake? What if there really isn't a place called Hawaii, I mean you never have been there before, maybe it really doesn't exist after all? What if the plane doesn't show up? What if my seat assignment is wrong? What if my luggage gets lost? What if the plane doesn't start? What if ....???

Why is it, that when we put our faith in Jesus, for our salvation, we can't accept it as freely as we would a plane ticket and trip to Hawaii, no questions asked?

Because it is too simple!

We have all heard the saying, nothing in this life is really free. That is true but it isn't in this life, that we are taking about.

People who purchased tickets on the Titanic were of one of three classes of people. Those in first class got the most opulent accommodations that were available. Those in second class, were in what many would call coach on airlines today. And then there were third class passengers who would have had to sit in the baggage compartment, but they all got to travel.

When reports from the newspapers got back to New York about the sinking of the disaster, however, there were only two lists of people, lost and saved. It didn't matter what class passengers were on. They were either lost or saved.

All of humanity is placed into one of two groups today. Lost? or Saved?

You have the opportunity to change today, which list your name will appear on.

Grace defined is simply unmerited favor. You don't need to do anything to receive it.

Just like you get a present for your birthday from friends and family, you simply accept it if it is given to you. You don't have to do anything to earn it. Such is the way of salvation in Jesus Christ. We simply must accept the gift He gave us, that if we believe in Him and accept what He did for us in our heart we can be saved.

James 1:17 (NIV) ~ "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows."

Ephesians 2: 4-5, 8-9 (NIV) ~ "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."

1 Corinthians 15:50, 53-55 (NIV) ~ "I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. For the perishable most clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the say that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"

The minute you confess and place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, you are saved! Instantly! No works are needed.

What happens now if you are still among the living is that you will begin to battle against your old sin nature. The way you were living your life before you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Our old ways are no longer appealing to us.

Hebrews 9:24 (NIV) ~ "For Christ did  not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one: he entered heaven itself, not to appear for us in God's presence. "

Which means that at this moment, Jesus is standing before God getting from Him, everything you need to get through your day. Jesus is now our mediator before God, helping us get through our days by giving us strength, grace or mercy when we need it.

Hebrews 10:10 (NIV) ~ "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

This means we have been sanctified through the death of Jesus Christ once and for all. It isn't what we can do, but what Jesus did for us that will get us into Heaven.

Hebrews 10:14 (NIV) ~ "Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy."

At the moment of the rapture or when you die, you enter into heaven, your faith will no longer be needed. We are saved from sin at that moment for all of time and eternity.

Romans 5: 9-10 (NIV) ~ " Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be save through his life!"

We have been justified when we place our trust and faith in Jesus Christ. It was as if we had never sinned. We need to believe that we are saved and begin living our life out now for Jesus.

Matthew 10:8b (NIV) ~ " Freely you have received, freely give."

2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV) ~ "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"

Romans 5:15 (NIV) ~"But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!"

Ephesians 2:8 (NIV) ~"It is by grace you have been saved."

Start using the same faith you have when you get ready to go to the store and get in your car, that it will start and you'll get to where you're going, as you do in your faith in Jesus Christ that you are saved. Stop doubting it! It is received by faith alone! Let us start using it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Day of Prayer

Oh Lord, knows we all need prayer. Sometimes it is for sickness, a job opportunity, salvation, a prodigal child to return, but sometimes it goes beyond our own needs or those of others. Today is a day of prayer for the state of California and the United States.

I woke up this morning after a troubling night of visions and nightmares of what is to come in the future of not only this country I believe but in the world. Where the persecution of the Christians is rising like never before. May God help future generations if this continues on the same exponential path that it is. Sadly, many people will go about their day today, and not care at all about what is happening in the world. We are becoming an apathetic nation.

My husband and I were both looking at future events and what is currently spiraling out of control while so many were watching the riots happening in Baltimore. Now don't get me wrong, I think that anytime someone is killed while in police custody, that is wrong. But to go to the extremes that people did last night was completely wrong. Do you think it helped bring attention to the situation or caused people to shake their heads in disgust for a mayor who could condone such action, even if she limited where it could take place. As any parent who has raised a child, knows when your child is angry and throwing a tantrum, we don't give them the okay to do it as long as they stay in the boundary we set them in. No, we tell them their actions for dealing with things are wrong. We need to grow up people! We need religious leaders to stop encouraging people to do this as a way of drawing attention to the cause.

We need to look at the bigger picture to what is going wrong in the United States. We have made small concessions over time to the moral standards of this country. What is wrong is now being looked at by different eyes and people are considering it might not really be 100% wrong after all. And those things that were 100% right are now being looked at as possibly being a bit wrong. Oh how we have fallen in our moral ways.

We have made compromises that have brought us to where we stand now. That the will of the voters is now being cast aside as if we are a bunch of fools, and the government and courts need to exercise their judicial reasoning over us because we don't know any better.

How today, the Supreme Court will decide for every single person living in the United States what the true definition of marriage is based on the judges sitting in the court. Not by the will of voters, but by the judges. The consequences of those decisions will affect us all in negative or positive light. For believers if the definition of marriage is defined as one man, one woman, then we feel victorious. But what about those who are stuck dealing with what the courts have deemed have been right, even though morally and Biblically in our minds it is wrong. How you cope when someone has told you that what you thought was right is no longer right, but wrong. Do you get what I am saying?

These courts have taken it upon themselves to go against the majority of voters and define the moral laws for everyone regardless of what they believe. Like a friend told me on Facebook this morning, no one should have to be forced to do anything they don't believe in. I would agree in that regard that the courts regardless of their choices today, will make things difficult to the point that the riots in Baltimore will seem like child's play. Is there any winner in what happens today?

If the courts define marriage as between a man and a woman only, will they homosexual groups simply give up? Will they accept what the courts have to offer? For that matter, if the same sex marriages are approved as the new definition of marriage, will believers be content? Will they give up?

There has to be an absolute truth, a version of what is 100% morally and ethically defined laws of what is right and wrong. Why does society as it grows, feel the need to change the law to redefine anything? Marriage by the laws of science, is required to maintain species population. It doesn't take someone with a degree to figure that out. If you have two women or two men left on the earth, the species of humans would end. It is that simple. The laws of the universe, science and physics make that 100% true. So why then are we trying to redefine absolute truth.

Oh trust me, I've heard all the arguments that the homosexuals simply want the benefits and rights of what married couples have. Fine, give them the rights, but lets not define that as marriage. Define it as something else. Don't force those of us that believe in the laws governing this world, to cave simply because others want it that way. When will it end if the laws are reversed? Will the new law reflect than any two adults can be married regardless of gender? Will that apply to a father and daughter, people of any relation can be married? What about a sexual predator and his victim?

Where will we as a nation draw an absolute line in the sand and say enough is enough? That the standards we have set are right and will never be called into question again? When will it end?

I pray today that believers everywhere will fall to their knees in prayer. For a healing that this nation so desperately needs. That the traditions, our moral laws, and beliefs are being called into question and are in the hands of people that will ultimately change more today than they think. They will be called into account one day to answer for the choices that they make before God and I hope it is the one thing burning in their hearts and minds today.

Please join me in praying for the Supreme Court to uphold the definition of marriage as being defined between a man and a woman only!

Please join me in praying that the state of California will not force churches in funding abortion in our state as part of basic health care required for women. This is NOT a basic health care right for women. This is selective and elective choices to terminate the life of an unborn child which is nothing more than murder, to a baby that doesn't have a voice to make the decision for itself.

If we as a nation, begin to compromise on these issues, then all I can say is Lord Jesus, please come quickly because it will introduce more opportunities in the very near future to change ALL our existing laws to benefit a small minority of people instead of the majority who believe things need to change. This is NOT the kind of change our country needs.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)~ "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Monday, April 27, 2015

Best Decision of Your Life

Why is it that when people get to the end of their lives, they suddenly look back and have so many regrets about the amount of time they wished they would have spent with those that they loved in life? They never regret that they didn't make more money, or bought more things, achieved the promotion that had been eluding them all their life as they struggled to climb the ladder of success as defined by the world.

They wish they had more time, if they are indeed lucky to be able to sit back and take their life into account. Most are not that lucky. Their lives ends in a split second with no time for a look back. I think the best thing that we can have happen to us is the chance to see it before we get to the end. Tou realize that everything we pursue in life, will be a waste in the end. All those material things will simply be given to someone else. You take nothing with you in this life, except the memories of how you lived this life.

The best decision isn't what you did during that dash in between your birth and death, but when you realize that this life offers nothing that fills that empty space in your life. We struggle in vain to try and fill it with the things of this world, but nothing stays. We might think, Oh, if only I had the perfect man in my life, things would be great. You get the guy and still there is something more missing. You think, Oh if only we had a family, things would be great. So you have kids and still something is lacking. Oh if only we had a great income where we didn't have to struggle so much financially, then life would be perfect. You get that job and then you realize it wasn't all that it was cracked up to be, and something is still missing.

No matter what you fill in the blank with, if I only had ______, I'd be happy. Unless it is Jesus Christ, you will never be satisfied and you will never feel complete.

I can honestly say looking back on my life now at 51, I truly wasted so many years of my life, living for myself instead of filling it with things of God. I wish I would have done more to further God's kingdom instead of my own. All this stuff around me, is just that, stuff that will go to someone else when I die. I appreciate all that God has blessed me with, but none so great as my eternal assurance that when this life ends, I have hope that will never end. I will stand before Jesus as my Lord and Savior and be welcomed into heaven! This life will pass away, but my eternal home will stay forever.

I only hope that in the days I have left, I impact the kingdom of heaven with what God would accomplish in my life. We need to honestly ask God to show us what He wants for you to do today to bring Him, glory and honor. We need to ask Him to help us be willing to do whatever He asks despite how much we might want to refuse. The best decision in this life, is our willingness to leave our worldly lives behind and be willing to follow Jesus. He is the only thing that can fill that emptiness in side our hearts.

Oh Lord Jesus, I ask that You break down all my barriers of doubt. Help me to realize that this life offers nothing for me. I lift up my face and close my eyes, not so I can't see, but so my heart can feel the power of the presence of Your Spirit moving in me, to be willing to take that simple step of faith, to follow You where you ask me to go, and fear nothing. I give You my life, broken and surrendered for You to use ANY WAY YOU want, just keep me walking on the narrow path and may the remainder of my life, be a true reflection to what You look like when others look at me. Break my heart for what breaks Yours and I'll give You the thanks for it, for I ask this in Jesus Name ~ AMEN!!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

What a Believer's Life Looks Like!

So often we find ourselves judging so many people based on our preconceived notions of what WE think they should say, think and act like. Don't believe me? We all judge "books" by their cover without getting to know the real person inside. I know I have done this so many times based on what someone wears, how they talk and the people or places they hang out. I make assessments and until I get to know them. these are what I see based on the evidence being presented to me on what I see or hear.

I know the Bible speaks of not judging others lest you be judged, a favorite line used by so many non-believers when followers of Jesus try to point out the life they are living wouldn't be pleasing to God. We leave the judging up to God but we can still point out a few things. Yet I would caution you to be prepared for a hard look at your own life, before taking on the task of pointing things out in the life of someone else. You'd better be walking with God and you better make sure your motives are in the right place. Otherwise, stop and say nothing.

The Bible points out in Romans 3:10 , "As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one;"

Sometimes the Christian life is beyond challenging. Not only is our own walk difficult in trying to stay in the will of God, but those who know us, are always looking for any fault they can find, to magnify it and bring it to our attention. It used to bug me. Now I welcome it, because I want to be setting an example not of a perfect life, but a life lived in perfect submission to God. I will be so far from perfect, and I am so blessed by God's mercy and grace, that He takes me as I am right now. The difference between a non believer and believer is when we get knocked down, we get back up. We don't stay there for long. We have a purpose and a hope for a brighter future.

There is no way, I would want to be in the world today, without Jesus. I can't imagine how people cope with life, without having Jesus to turn to. There is a sense of peace that can't be explained. Our problems don't vanish into thin air, but we have a strength that doesn't come from us, but through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

When we gave our lives and hearts willingly to Jesus, a change began to happen on the inside. A seed took root and began to grow. The thoughts we used to entertain before now really bother us. It might be the music we used to listen to, things we used to watch, or even the words we say, but we want everything now to glorify God. We know longer live for the things of this world but for the things of heaven. We look to do the things of God, to bring Him glory and honor.

Just like we can't "see" the wind because it is invisible, we can see the effects or evidence of the wind, on how the trees move as the wind blows. Being born again as a believer in Jesus isn't something you can see happening, but you should be able to see evidence of a marked change in the life of the person who has accepted God.

The things of God begin to concern us. We will begin to detest the things of the world, our old life. Our old life however will still attempt to speak to us. But those thoughts won't have power over us anymore. Sin won't have dominion in our lives anymore. The battle will always be there for the Christian.

Ephesians 2:1-3 (NIV) " As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."

You are spiritually dead when you refuse to believe God.

Galatians 5:16-23 (NIV) ~"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each others, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."

1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 (NIV) ~ " Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves not the greedy not drunkards not slanders nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

Notice the bold text, I emphasized for understanding. It means were, not that you continue to do. We should as believers in Jesus Christ, be constantly repenting of our sins, our thoughts that don't fall in line with God. If we are truly saved then our lifestyle should be vastly different from our sinful old nature. It won't mean we won't have struggles in our old life styles, but instead of entertaining those thoughts our internal spiritual prompting from the Holy Spirit now tells us to RUN!!

Only God can judge any one person's heart when they say they have given their life to God. If they continue living a sinful life however it makes you wonder if they truly gave their life to Jesus. They would have a different role in dealing with their sinful life, instead of continuing in it. One thing is for sure, only if you are born again, will you have the assurance of heaven.

Jesus said in John 3:7, "You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'"

To be born again, is to receive a spiritual birth from above. It is to change your eternal address to a heavenly one. It is to give up the life you had before and take a new one through your own personal belief in Jesus Christ, and Him, alone. There is NO OTHER way, but through Jesus.

Jesus said in John 14:6 (NIV) ~ "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

But once you are saved, you are sealed by God. You can't lose your salvation unless you never truly had it to begin with.

John 10: 27-29. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Fathers hand."

The best advice I remember getting on what a believers life should look like, is a fruit tree. We can be fruit inspectors and make our beliefs based on what fruit we see growing. There should be some fruit of the Spirit otherwise, either you're not growing or perhaps a seed was never planted. Don't wait until its too late to decide where you will spend your eternal life.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

It's Not What You Know, But Who You Know!

Look around you in the world today and you can't argue how drastically things have changed since you were younger. My husband and I have this debate all the time when our kids tell us how much finding a job is. No longer do people venture into a future place of employment and fill out an application. They are told to apply through the companies website. It's funny because if they are called, they are then required to fill out an actual application on paper as part of the hiring process.

In fact if you look at your current employment position now, that you probably got your current job based on someone you know. Isn't that true? Odds of finding a job right now in our city and most of the state is now based more on who you know than what you know. Interesting how things have changed from when we were looking for work so many years ago. Of course having someone who worked at the company was definitely an added asset, but know it's almost the only way to get in to a company.

Looking around at what is happening quite literally all over the world today, we see an increase in the amounts of people who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. Why is that? Why isn't there a freedom to believe in whomever you want? Why is there no beheadings for people who believe in Buddha, or Confucius, or Mohammed ?

It's because the same analogy applies. It's all in Who you know! There have been more deaths of believers in Jesus Christ in the 20th century alone, than in all the years before! How can faith in Jesus Christ compel so many people to willingly step out in their beliefs and die for what they hold to be true?

We know that it began with the death of Jesus Christ and the fact that He rose from the dead on the third day. It was that one significant event that will strengthen people to watch their children be torn from them, and have the most unspeakable things done to them and then killed in an effort to get them to deny Jesus, but they don't. Why?

Why the hatred by so many people to have the 10 Commandments removed for any public place? Why do so many want crosses or Nativity scenes removed from anywhere someone can see them? Why is the most popular piece of jewelry, the cross?

Because despite how much people try to deny there is nothing to Jesus Christ, or what He did, they can dispute the power of what followers of Jesus Christ believe. Jesus spoke in John 15:13 (NLT), There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."

Jesus also reminded us that as followers and believers in Him, that we would suffer persecution as well.

Matthew 10:22 (NIV) ~ "You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."

Proverbs 29:27 (NIV) ~ " The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.

John 15:18 (NIV) ~ " If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first."

John 15:19 (NIV) ~ " If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."

2 Timothy 3:12 ~ "Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."

All 11 of Jesus's disciples with the exception of John, all died brutal deaths for the faith in Jesus. They would not change their belief even in the face of unspeakable torture and punishment. But Jesus also promises that there is a great blessing for enduring persecution to the end. 

Matthew 5:11 (NIV) ~ "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." 

1 Peter 4:13 (NLT) ~ "Instead, be very glad--for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world."

Luke 21:19 (NIV) ~ "Stand firm, and you will win life."

James 1:12 (NIV) ~"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."

Let us continue to keep our brothers and sisters in Christ in our prayers every day. Let our hearts burn with a passion to pray and encourage our leaders in government to do something about the many people who are losing their lives every single day or suffering horrible persecutions because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Let us not grow weary in our efforts but let us move in the direction God has laid before us to stand firm in our faith, remembering James 1:2-4 (NIV), "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything."

Some great sources to help stay on top of the Christian persecutions are Open Doors which evaluate countries by their levels of persecution, or even The Christian Post. Just googling the term Christian Persecution will net you tons of links to what is happening that our news programs are failing to highlight.  

Lord Jesus, 

I pray for dear brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering so terribly. I ask that You will rescue them from your enemies and give them what you gave Paul: endurance to carry on in the face of evil - persevering until you bring them into your heavenly kingdom. For we ask this in Your Precious Name , Jesus, ~ AMEN!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How Important Is The Bible?

Just how important is the Bible? Isn't it just another book filled with words that people believe in but is really just a book written by men? How can reading a book change my life?

The one thing that has forever changed the way I view the Bible was a illustration that Pastor Jack Hibbs, Pastor and Teacher at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills used.

If you take your Bible and skip all the introductions that proceed the first chapter and take the Bible and start at Genesis 1:1 and move to Genesis Chapter 3. Hold those pages up. It should just be a couple of pages. It illustrates the creation of the world by God and everything in it, up to the falling away of Adam and Eve when they sinned in the Garden of Eden. Creation and the Fall. In just those couple of pages.

Now look at all the pages that remain from Chapter 3 to Revelation. That is God calling you back to Him. To redeem you and save you! WOW! Did that just blow your mind at how hard God is working on the salvation of mankind.

From creation to salvation each time you look at your Bible. Hopefully you will never look at it the same again. What a testimony to the power of the Bible and the love of God.

So isn't there a cheat sheet, some cliff notes that some up the Bible's importance without having to read it all. I mean why does it matter anyway.

1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (NIV), "For what I have received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve."

It sums up everything as believers in Christ understand.

1. That Jesus died for our sins.

2. That He was buried.

3. That He rose again on the third day.

4. That He was seen after His resurrection by witnesses.

The Bible is the answer to everything happening in the world. When the world takes a pill, believers take to the Scriptures.

The Bible insulates us from financial collapse, from violence and crime and from death itself.

It is the gospel, itself, that transcends this world and takes us from this world. The gospel will announce to the world, the end of time.

Psalm 23:4 (NIV), "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," This life is only a shadow. 

Matthew 24:14 (NIV), "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

Revelation 14: 6-7 (NIV), " Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth - to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of judgment has come. Worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."

The Gospel is Important because it is the very origin of God, Himself. It's origin is in God,

"For God..." It is God, it originates in Him, from John 3:16.

Even when we do right in this life, our motives are wrong. We are self centered and self focused.

God is sending us a message. It is a bold message of the power of absolute love. No other gospel shares this message of unconditional love and redemption in it.

"Whoever believes in Him"...applies to every single person on the face of the earth. YOU are a whoever! God is speaking to YOU! Are you hoping that by living a good life will get you into heaven? We don't live for us, but for God!

In Psalm 23:4 (NIV), "WE, as believers, walk through the valley of the shadow of death." Christians will NEVER see the grave. 

2 Corinthians 5:8 (NLT), "Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord."

The Gospel provides hope. As Christians, even though we still struggle with the same challenges as everyone else, we have hope in our challenges. God can so transform us with a hope that forever changes us from the inside out. We don't need any other outside fix, like drugs or alcohol, to get us through the day as long as we are plugged into the Word of God. Spending time in the Bible fills us up with the power we need to get through the day.

Romans 15:4 (NIV) " For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. "

Romans 10:17 (NIV), "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." 

There is power in the Bible through Christ. Don't believe me? Take your Bible to any restaurant, lay it on the table or even better open it up and watch the reactions of your server. Without doing anything, the Bible changes people. Why are so many nations burning Bibles? Because there is power that lies inside if you take the time to examine it and read it for yourself. Don't take any other persons word for it. Do the homework and see for yourself.

The Old Testament is a letter of man's inability to redeem himself. It's man's last will and testament. It points to (1) man's sinfulness and (2) that one day God will come one day in the future, and fulfill the promises of the Old Testament with the Redeemer.

A Last Will and Testament is simply a paper written by you before you die. It lacks any power until a coroner announces your exact hour and date of your death. Then the power is unleashed with a declaration of power in all types of legal issues from lawyers, banks and government only upon the moment of your death. Before then, it's simply a piece of paper. 

When Jesus announced on the cross, " It is finished, Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit." God recorded that precise moment of Jesus's death and set in motion that the God of all Creation was appeased for all the sin of mankind, past, present and future. It was an agreement between God and His Son. Sin was killed. We no longer have to stay under the burden of the shadow of this world.

No one can take away the resurrection of Jesus. His resurrection was to ensure as our advocate that those who believe in Him, can take part in the benefits of what He accomplished on the cross. He didn't leave it up to a will, Jesus is our Living Trust. It defines the very benefits of what we, as believers in Jesus, have in putting our trust in Him alone.

That is why we hold onto the Words of the Bible. It is living, it can change lives, transform addictions, and promise the gift of eternal life to those who believe. Let us take comfort in knowing that in the Bible, all the promises of God are yes and AMEN through Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Are You Really a Christian?

I guess the biggest ploy the devil uses against people is to question whether they are really believers in Christ. To get them to question whether or not they are saved. Think about how great that ploy would work?

In most cases when a new believer gives their heart to Jesus, they don't feel anything. Sometimes they do, but in most cases nothing. They might have shed some tears when their recited the sinner's prayer and really meant in their heart but other than that really nothing has changed.

I guess they are looking for some notable change on the outside, but it's on the inside where the change has actually occurred. If Satan can keep them guessing, just like when he enticed Eve to eat of the fruit in Eden, he responded with," Did God really say you shouldn't eat of the fruit?" he makes us second guess ourselves and our faith in God.

Then we often times keep giving our lives to God each time an altar call is given, because we want to make certain, we really gave our lives to God. Don't want to die and realize, "Nope, your not saved, but you almost made it."

God's not like that. My youngest daughter asks me that question all the time, and my best answer for her, is "Do you feel convicted when you did something you know you're not supposed to?" She'll usually respond, "Yes." That is the Holy Spirit dwelling within you, helping you to know sin from what isn't sin. If you're convicted in a big way, guilt is just riding you til you can't deal with things anymore, and you've given your life to God, THAT is the proof you're looking for!

Now keep in mind, you don't want to quench the Holy Spirit either. Wait what? What is that? It means to keep on sinning, knowing your sinning and you basically tell him, thanks but no thanks to the feeling of repentance or turning away from your sin and confessing it to God.

So what? What does it matter? Well it does. The Holy Spirit is something Jesus sent to be with us as a helper to get through life when He left to go to Heaven to prepare it for us.

"When the Counselor (Helper) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of through who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me." ~John 15:26

It is here to keep us on track. But we can grieve it so much it becomes hard to hear the truth any more. This is the path of the prodigal child, you wander away from God, by your own choosing, He doesn't leave you. He stays with you despite all the things you choose to do. Constantly trying to tell you what you're doing is wrong.

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." ~ Ephesians 4:30. 

This is where you find power in the Holy Spirit, He comes to you in songs that stay in your head from church, often hearing them when you wake in the middle of the night, or that message at church that you feel is meant just for you, you're so blown away that it feels like you've been discovered; that what you are going through right at that moment is exactly what your pastor is speaking on. Isn't He truly wonderful?

Here are 5 great ways to confirm that what you believe makes you a true believer in Jesus.

1. You believe in the deity of Jesus Christ. 

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." ~ John 1:1 (NIV).

"Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God." ~ John 20:28 (NIV).

"But about the Son he says 'Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of  your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you about your companions by anointing you will the oil of joy." ~ Hebrews 1: 8-9 (NIV).

2. You believe in the virgin birth. 

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." ~ Isaiah 7:14 (NIV).

"The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel - which means, "God with us." ~ Matthew 1:23 (NIV).

"to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary." Luke 1:27 (NIV).

3. You believe in the blood atonement of Jesus Christ for our sins.

"God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished - " ~ Romans 3:25 (NIV).

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." ~ Ephesians 1:7 (NIV).

"He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God." ~ Hebrews 9:12-14 (NIV).

4. You believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, that He rose from the dead.

" Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?”So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.And He took it and ate in their presence.Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, " ~ Luke 24: 36-46 (NKJV)

"Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures," ~ 1 Corinthians 1-4 (NIV)

"And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:14-15 (NIV).

5. You believe in the Inerrancy of the Scriptures; God's Word is True. 

" And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times. " Psalm 12:6 (NIV)

"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." ~ Romans 15:4 (NIV).

""All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for the teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV).

"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation." ~ 2 Peter 1:20 (NIV).

 If you can answer yes, to all of those statements, than stand true in the Word of God that you are saved through your belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that he became flesh through the birth of the virgin Mary to dwell among us, and that only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ's death on the cross as the perfect atonement for our sins, and that He rose as promised on the third day and now lives in heaven, leaving behind the perfect Word of God as a map for our lives, that we will not perish but have everlasting life.

That is 100% absolute truth that you can rest in the peace that when this life ends, your last breath here, that you will go immediately into the presence of Jesus and take your first breath there and will never have to face death again. For a believer is born twice and dies once, while an unbeliever is born once, but dies twice. 

If you wonder what its like to be a child of God and rest in the peace that when this physical life ends, that you will have an eternal home with Jesus, then pray this prayer with your heart. 

Father, I come to You, confessing my sin and asking for Your forgiveness. I thank you, Lord, for You have promised that if I will confess my sins, You will be faithful to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I want to turn from my sins and live in Your will. I ask that You give me the power through Your Holy Spirit to live the right way.

I thank You that Jesus Christ died on the cross, paying the price for my sins, and then rose from the dead. I accept Him now as my Savior, my Lord, and my Friend. Thank You for giving me new life in Christ. I surrender myself to You; make me what You want me to be. In Jesus' name. Amen!

If you have prayed that prayer from the bottom of your heart, then friend, I'd love to welcome you to the family of believers in Jesus Christ! Now it's time to get busy and get plugged into a church, pick up the Bible and begin reading it, and see how wonderful the changes are going to be in your life as a Christian!

Remember just because you go to church doesn't make you a Christian, anymore than sitting in a garage doesn't make you a car! It has to be your choice, God won't force His way in, He's waiting for an invitation from you, one He can't wait to accept as long as it comes from you!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Can You Trust the Bible?

I guess for believers in Jesus Christ, the epitome of what we believe all comes down to the Bible that we believe without question is 100% absolute truth. There are many that would argue that since it was written by men, it has to have errors, mistakes, things that aren't true in it. I would beg to differ and challenge you to prove to me that it isn't true.

You can trust the Bible. Why? Here are 8 reasons that will hopefully convince you to look deeper and explore it for yourself to see if it is in fact, 100% true.

1. You can trust the Bible because of fulfilled Bible Prophecy. No other book in the world offers the clarity and details of Bible prophecy that has come true like the Bible. 743 years before it occurred the prophet Isaiah predicted the virgin birth of Jesus. That is pretty amazing. The study of the science of Bible Prophecy is Eschatology. It is in depth research to proving that the things the Bible predicts have happened or will come to happen. There are still events that have not happened but we can already see signs that they are slowly coming true. Did you know that 27% of the Bible is prophecy.

2. Archaeological Evidence points to the places, people and events the Bible describes. The science confirms the Bible is true. Any school or university will have at least one common book in the Archaeological Department, and that is the Bible. Why? Because when they discover things like the Hittites, they can reference the Bible for information and define where they lived during history and what their lifestyle was like. The evidence is backing it up!

3. There is evidence for first century crucifixions. Through discoveries in historical manuscripts and evidence that is being uncovered, they know this event really took place in Ancient Roman times as the cruelest form of punishment.

4. The Bibles Internal Consistencies. You can take Old Testament events and match them up with New Testament teachings. There is nothing that isn't consistent in the entire Bible.

5. Extra Biblical Writings - Other sources outside of the Bible confirm such things as a Great Flood in almost every culture, long life spans prior to the flood, details surround the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, The Assyrian invasion of Israel, Nebuchadnezzars invasion of Judah, King Cyrus freeing the Jews from Babylon, the murder of John the Baptist, the prolonged darkness on the day Jesus died in 32 A.D. is recorded in astronomical charts in other parts of the world, King Herod Agrippas' sudden death after being hailed as a god.

6. The Bible's scientific accuracy. The ancient mariners can attest to the accuracy regarding currents, the changing of seasons, and even the water cycle before man discovered them is mentioned in the Bible. God even puts migration in the minds of animals like the Monarch butterfly. It always knows where it's going even if it hasn't been there before.

7. Manuscript Evidence. Yeah but the Bible has been rewritten by so many people over the years, there are bound to be errors. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in a cave in 1947, copies of every book in the Old Testament have ben discovered with the exception of the book of Esther. In some cases multiple copies of the same book were found. 19 copies of Isaiah, 25 copies of Deuteronomy, and 30 copies of the Psalms. It has enable Biblical scholars and textual critics to go back and verify the Bible we have today is the same as the early church had 2000 years ago. It remains unchanged.

8. The Bibles transforming power for good in the world. Hospitals and orphanages have been created and founded by Christian missionaries all over the world. Universities and schools like Yale, Harvard and Princeton have been founded by Christian scholars; untold amounts of humanitarian efforts all over the world for the poor; work for the equality of men and women and those of different skin color; scientific exploratory ventures to the world and universe; the development of great arts; and the work of people like William Wilberforce to abolish slavery in the world.

Jesus Christ never traveled more than 200 miles in the world but He has impacted the entire world, more than any one person. The historian Philip Schaff summarized the enormous impact the Bible has had on people when he wrote this about Jesus, "Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more people than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and divine than all the philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, He spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since. and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, He send more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times." (Schaff, The Person of Christ, page 29).

So if you are doubtful whether the Bible is true, examine the evidence and see if based on facts, where you have 66 different books, written by untold numbers of authors and yet that all collaborate perfectly on the same theme and that is God exists. You can take a handful of people and ask them to write on one specific topic without getting all kinds of variety, yet the Bible does it with precision and accuracy that can not be disputed by all of its authors.

John 1:1-4, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men." (NIV)

2 Peter 1:16-21, "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation. For prophecy had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Why Does God Put Up With You?

If you're a Christian, then you probably have had an occasion to get into a conversation with a non believer about their faith. You ask them why there aren't a Christian, and you're likely to get some heart felt arguments laced with emotion about how someone in their life, a "Christian" rejected them, didn't quite live up to "their" expectation of what a "Christian" should be. Maybe they were even rejected by a church because of what they looked like, they weren't wanted.

If you were faced with a life or death decision, would you ever let anyone else answer for you? I don't think for one minute that standing on the precipice like that, that anyone would EVER let someone else make a decision like that for one moment, but that is exactly what they are doing when they let how someone has treated them, to risk their eternal salvation.

Think about it.

We will all die a physical death at some point in our lives. When we do we will wind up in one of two places, heaven or hell. Hebrews 9:27, "Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment," The Bible tells us that.

For believers, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:8 (NIV)

For non believers, " If anyone's name is not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:15 (NIV).

This is not like those days in school, where people used to kid about hell being a fun place to be. It will be the absolute last place to be. But the amazing thing is, that everyone has a choice about whether or not they want to wind up there. God has given human's free will. God is such a God of perfect love, that He doesn't want people in heaven who don't want to be there serving Him, just because he created them.

If you have ever been in any kind of relationship, you know free will is something you have NO control over. Sure you might influence someone to lean one way or another, but ultimately the choice is ours. God understands that.

That is why He is working so hard at sending people to tell you about Him. It's like being sent a engrave invitation to the best party in the world. It will be the party that surpasses all parties. The one you don't want to miss out on attending. By the R.S.V. P. part is up to you.

Stop believing the lies that if God was so loving, why would he want to send people to hell! He doesn't. The people who wind up there will be there based on their own choice.

Throughout their lives, they have had countless times where someone told them about Jesus, what He did and how to get to heaven. Perhaps it was on Christmas or Easter, or just going to church with a friend.

If you heard about it and didn't respond, the choice has been made by you that you rejected God. Well wait! You might say, I didn't say yes or no. That is it! If you don't say yes, by default you are technically saying No to God.

Stop waiting for the opportunity to make a choice. Stop thinking that one day, when you've lived life on your own terms perhaps then, you will make a decision. Well good luck with that one. I don't know of one person who knows exactly how much time they have left in this world. What if you don't make it that far, and your life is taken away in an instant? What then?

By then, it will be too late.

God's got a great 1 step program for getting you to heaven. It is that simple. Just like a gift. There is NOTHING you have to do by way of earning this gift, because YOU can't. No one can. It's the perfect gift of believing that Jesus Christ was sent by God, as His Son, to die for the payment of your sins because He requires payment for our wrongdoings. Jesus paid a cost for those sins, His perfect life that knew no sin. He was the only one who could do it. When He died on the cross, ALL your sins, past, present and future sins, were all paid for, by His blood.

I don't know anyone who would die for a perfect stranger willingly, but Jesus did it for You because He loves you. He wants you to be a part of His eternal home in Heaven, where there will be NO more death, NO more tears, No more pain. (Revelation 21:4).

The best part is Jesus didn't stay dead, as He promised, He was resurrected on the third day and went back to Heaven to prepare a place for us when we get there. The amazing thing is that He has been gone well over 2000 years, and since He hasn't come back for you yet, you know He's been working on it all this time. If God created the world in 6 days, imagine what your heavenly home must look like?

Why let what someone did you to, sway your opinion of what is right when it comes to God and YOUR salvation. God wants YOU on your terms to come to Him, not based on what someone else did. He wants the choice to be ultimately yours. Still undecided, pick up a Bible, start with the Book of John, and see what God has done for You and ask Him to reveal Himself to You without any outside interference from anyone else. I promise you, it will be powerful!!! You don't want to miss it.

The choice is yours ultimately.

There will come a time however when time will run out for you. Either physical death will claim your life before you made that decision, or your heart will simply grow too hard and you will no longer hear the call of God on your life. Make the choice now. Make it for YOU!

Don't wait. Don't let what someone said or did, make that choice for you. When you arrive on the day of judgment, God won't accept your plea that someone else ruined your choice for you. It is the one decision that is truly a life or death decision.

Make that choice today! You never know what the future holds for you.  If you're ready to accept Jesus as your personal Savior, it's really simple. Simply say the prayer below with all your heart. God knows where you're coming from.

Father, I come to You, confessing my sin and asking for Your forgiveness. I thank you, Lord, for You have promised that if I will confess my sins, You will be faithful to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I want to turn from my sins and live in Your will. I ask that You give me the power through Your Holy Spirit to live the right way.

I thank You that Jesus Christ died on the cross, paying the price for my sins, and then rose from the dead. I accept Him now as my Savior, my Lord, and my Friend. Thank You for giving me new life in Christ. I surrender myself to You; make me what You want me to be. In Jesus' name. Amen!

Remember when you say this prayer, you may not experience anything new. But what you will notice is when you go back to doing the things you know were wrong before, the Holy Spirit, living inside of you, will remind you to make different choices, it will make you feel guilty if you go against God in the future. It is that perfect reminder that is proof that You have been changed and are now born again. Don't let anyone tell you different.

Next get yourself a Bible! Can't afford one, download a free Bible from any of the app stores. If you need physical copy, contact me, and I'll make sure you get one. There is no greater gift in the world than your salvation and where you will spend eternity.

Get plugged into a church in your area. As a new believer, you will need some encouragement and think of church as your spiritual gym. Your vitamin B12 booster to keep you going through the week. You might find you simply can't get enough of God at this point. Good for you. Keep going, the more you eat of God's Word, the more power you will have in your Spiritual life. The battles will come. Friends and family might not understand your new life, but this is your life. Live it for God. It's now how we begin our lives that matter, but how we end them.

Trust me, if you just made this commitment, WELCOME to the family! It will be the best decision YOU have ever made in this life. If you have questions or need prayer, please reach out to me on I'd love to pray with you or answer any questions I can. If not, I'll help you find the answers you need.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

In God We Trust

In Psalms 33:12, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for His inheritance."

First of all, I apologize for the length of this post, but trust me when I say it is important for everyone to read it, whether you live in California or not. Oh how far we have fallen and continue in a downward spiral, but it is not too late to change our path. For those of us in California, I think we have forgotten how truly blessed we used to be. Consider these things that you may or may not have known about this once great state:

Used to the the 8th largest economic nation in the world, even though we are just a state. Now our state is broke and on the verge of becoming bankrupt.

Space Technology and Aviation was born in California. Doubt the achievements, visit Soaring Over California and see how wonderful we used to be.

1845-1851 it was said you could walk from Mexico or Canada by firelight to California thanks to the Gold Rush. It changed the economy and created the gold standard in the world.

The Silicon Valley was born in California, now it has moved to Israel.

The Pentecostal Movement began in Azusa, California.

The movie industry used to boast about being something, now they are turning out more and more questionable movies.

Father Serra established 21 missions from San Diego to San Francisco along the coast of California.

You can find the Kings Highway which includes portions of Highway 101, California State Route 1, Route 82 in San Francisco and S11 in San Diego. This was named the Royal Highway which later changed the name to Kings Highway to link the many missions and towns along the way.

Los Angeles, the name means City of Angels. Oh how far we have fallen even today. There used to be a time when things were closed on Sundays because so many people observed that day as being a day where people attended church and spent time observing the day of rest.

The Salinas Valley is considered the Salad Bowl of the World because so much of our agriculture comes from California. Think about that the next time you're sitting in another state and wonder how this impacts you. It does, all your salad ingredients, broccoli, almonds and oranges come from California. Our greatest wines come from the vineyards of California.

What used to be a blessed nation is now, falling away under what I believe could very well be the judgement of God. .Don't believe me check out what God's Word says will happen for nations that are obedient to Him.

Deuteronomy 28:1-14 "If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow the commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if your obey the LORD your God.

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock - the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at your from one direction but flee from you in seven. The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

The LORD will establish you are his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity - in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground - in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.

The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them."

Sounds great right, but have we maintained that standard, keeping God and His laws first and foremost. I mean there is nothing that can happen right. Perhaps you should check again to see what happens when we begin to compromise and make concessions on God's truth when a nation disobeys. You just might see a lot of what is happening to California happening right before your eyes and wonder why. It's not global warning, it's God lifting up His hand of protection He has promised for those who obey Him and instead is letting curses fall upon us for disobedience.

Deuteronomy 28: 15-24 "However, if you do not obey the LORD your God,and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.

You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. (Violence) Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.

The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.

The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and frustration in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. The LORD will plague you will diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess.

The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. The LORD will turn the rain from your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed."

Verse 43, "The alien who lives among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. He will lend to you, but you will not lend to you. He will be the head, but you will be the tail. "

So what can we do to change things?

Simple, just like the city of Nineveh did, we need to turn back to God. Trust in Him in our obedience to His Word as believers and intercede for this state. We need rain. There is no denying that. God can easily make it rain here and we need believers everywhere to begin praying for rain in California again. That we repent of our disobedience to God and prayer for healing in this once great state. God is willing to stay His judgment, but if we continue, things will only get worse.

2 Chronicles 7:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

It's never too late to trust in God.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It's True if It's on the Internet

You've all seen the commercial for State Farm the debate over how things that aren't true can't be found on the Internet right? Where did you hear that? From the Internet.

Yet how many people find their version of truth to match up with the lifestyle they feel that is okay because of something they read on the Internet. Like the Internet is a source for the absolute truth right?

Makes you wonder just how silly people can be especially if you watch the commercial about woman who dates a French model she found on the Internet because he said he was. You watch it and think, people can't be that gullible right?

I would challenge you on what some people might believe just because someone else tells them, or they find it on the Internet. What we need to be doing when someone tells us that someone tweeted that information to them that they believe is true is " shoot the bird! It's a lie!"

"Well Facebook said..." The only book your face should be looking for the truth in is the Bible! Stop believing the stuff you read on the Internet.

In fact, there is so much falsehood on the Internet, like your favorite celebrity just died, only to find out it was an Internet scam or rumor. There are even websites geared to help you weed out the lies that sound so convincing you might just believe them.

I mean how many of you have been conned by something you read on the Internet? I know I have. Guilty as charged.

We need to begin doing what we used to and go to the source to determine if things are true or not. If you aren't sure God exists or that He really created the entire universe, or that Jesus really is the Son of God, you would go to the Bible. It's the Word of God. It is 100% true. Those who would say otherwise just don't like some of what they read so they disregard it.

One of the biggest reasons evolutionists don't want to believe in God is found in a devotional Greg Laurie, Pastor of Harvest Church in Riverside shared that I love is this:

"To say that all of the beauties of God's creation came about randomly is ridiculous. The person who believes in the theory of evolution makes a choice to believe it. I believe they make that choice because the lifestyle they want to live has no place for God. If there is a Creator, then there is a God. If there is God, then there is a Judge. If there is a Judge, then there is a judgment. And if there is a judgment, they will have to stand there one day. So they have to try to find a way to write God out of the script.

But I think we know intuitively there is a Master Designer behind it all. To look at this world and say that it all just came about randomly borders on the absurd. It would be like saying the 747 aircraft was not the result of the engineering efforts of countless engineers, designers, and workmen at Boeing, but came into being because a tornado swept through a junkyard, and after it was done, there it sat in all its glory.

Yet people will look at something as intricate and amazing as the human body and the creation around us and say it all came about randomly. The Bible says, "Only fools say in their hearts, 'There is no God' " (Psalm 53:1)."

There is no religion on earth that shows God redeeming the lost, the alienated, like God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob does. No other religion in the world offers a redeeming God. In most cultures in order to pay a debt, there has to be some sort of restitution, money, labor, or material possessions. In fact if you ever read the small print of your credit card paperwork when you applied for it shows that the credit card company has the right to call your loan at ANY time. Bet you wish you read that one, right? Meaning ANYTHING they want, they can ask you to bring your account current 100%, no more payments otherwise they will take legal action.

Aren't you glad that we serve a God that LOVES us enough that He provided a way out of this mess we are in. It is through the redemption and the blood of His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, that if we believe in Him, that He died, that He rose again and turn from our sins, He can save us and restore us? There is NO OTHER WAY!

John 14:6. "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me."

Not believing in Mohammad, Not Buddah, Not any of the other New Age gods, Not in being good enough, providing all your wealth to help the world, NOTHING but what Jesus Christ offered on the cross.

In Romans 3:10, "It is written. There is no one righteous. No even one."

Ecclesiastes 7:20, Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins."

 So if you're wondering if that latest information from a church you've been looking into or a friend has shared with you goes against what the Bible teaches. it is probably a cult. We need to be reading our Bible so we know what the truth is and can be prepared to know what isn't.

When people look at counterfeit money to determine if it's fake or not, you know how they prepare, not by looking at all the fakes, but by studying the real currency.

We need to be spending more time looking at what is true than reading stuff on the Internet that claims it's true. Grab your Bible next time and see if it lines up with God's Word before you believe any of the stuff that is surrounding our culture today. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Can You Miss Heaven by 18 Inches?

Let's say you're at the beach with your Golden Retriever, throwing the ball out to him in the waves and suddenly you see him begin to drown. At the same time you look over and see a human being drowning as well. Who do you save?

Tough question I know, one tugs on our emotions and feelings and the other impacts our values. It is possible to miss heaven by 18 inches. That is the approximate distance from your brain to your heart. We have to make sure the decisions we make in life are not based on emotions or feelings but what we know is true. 100% true.

What we do, see, and hear needs to be grounded and based on Biblical doctrine otherwise we begin to make small compromises as believers. Don't believe me look at the state of the America from the foundation of the country to where we are now. I believe quite a bit of the blame is the fault of pastors, church leaders and the church. We began to make small changes and allow compromises so people wouldn't be offended by what they hear as the absolute truth. People need absolute truth, it's a part of who they are on the inside, they just internally argue with their brain, what they will believe in their heart, logic or feelings.

We are not here by accident, or some cosmic speck in the universe.

Psalm 19: 1-3 spells it out quite clearly, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hand. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard."

It surprises me at what people believe anymore. If you ask people where do you think you came from, not Mom or Dad but your origin of creation, you will likely get one of three answers. (1) God, (2) Evolution and (3) Aliens.

It is sad when you consider the believability of the final two. The Bible speaks of this truth in 1 Timothy 4: 1, "The Spirit clearly says that in the later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons."

It's funny when you think about how humans evolved. At what point did we stop? When our eyeballs wound up in just the right place? Evolution is meaningless. Everything that is, wound up as an accident. So why when we want to create a car for example, don't we blow up a junkyard and see what happens? If you want a watch, why not take a stick of dynamite and some metal, stick out your arm and see if a watch appears on it.

Psalm 14:1 "The fool says in his heart, There is no God."

Your heart speaks what you believe, because if you used your brain, you would have to believe in the existence of God. It isn't an intellectual issue, it's a heart issue.

Romans 1: 18-20, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be know about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

Gods love, his promises and His Word, The Bible, never changes. It is the world now that is changing God's Word to be relevant and change with the times. Churches are even now beginning to break away from the traditional teachings of the church in an effort to be more acceptable with today's culture and generation.

The church is not to shape itself to a culture and what the culture says, even if they have to stand alone. The church needs to be the ones to stand without apology on the doctrines of God, people need to be convicted by God, and the truth of God's Word.

We certainly don't want people to come to church because they want to feel good about the sinful life their living, being accepted and told it's okay to continue to live that way, that we accept you anyway. While they are being patted on the back by the church, they are being led to hell, just so they can feel better about their lifestyle choices. There are no homosexual Christians, just like there are no pedophile Christians, no Christian murderer, adulterers or liars. If we are true Christians, we repent of those ways and we hold onto to God's truth and we are forever changed. It doesn't mean we won't still be tempted or struggle in those areas, but we no longer have to walk freely in them and do as we please thinking there is no accountability there.

Stability can only come from standing on the truth, that God never changes. Don't follow your heart on spiritual matters, follow God, the absolute truth!