Is It Truly Golden?

Gold-24I know many people who say they follow the “Golden Rule”.  They say they  live by what Jesus has taught in the Bible and they love others as they love themselves.  Or they do to others as they would want done to them.  Many of these same people consider themselves Christians just because they claim to follow this teaching.  Is that all it takes in life?  Is that all it means to follow Jesus Christ and thus this makes a person a Christian?  Perhaps the most important question is, is that what the Lord Jesus means when He laid out this commandment, to just simply do unto others as you would have them do?  Or is there more to this and more to being a Christian?

Let’s take a look at a few places where the Lord Jesus has said this.

27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  Luke 6:27-36

Here we have Dr. Luke recording this account.  In vs. 31 the statement appears.  But in context, what is the Lord Jesus saying?  Is He saying do good so you can have good back?  Is He saying don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you?  Or is there something bigger that the Lord Jesus wants those who hear to grasp?  I believe the answer is in vs. 35-36. Let’s take a look at what Matthew records.

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! 12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:7-12

Here in vs. 12 we have this command again.  Matthew records it at the end of the Lord Jesus teaching His disciples about prayer and asking God in faith.  Then vs. 11 leads right to the point of vs. 12 and vs. 12 to the point of this great sermon delivered by the Lord Jesus.  Are you starting to see it yet?  Is it about doing good to get good?  Also in vs. 12 the Lord Jesus mentions the Law and the Prophets.  This referes to the Old Testament writings of which the Lord Jesus has fulfilled.  I pray you are starting to see.  Let’s take a look at a few more places this “Golden Rule” is mentioned.

34 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40

Again, Matthew records here the Lord Jesus answering a lawyer (scribe) when asked about the great commandment.  The Lord Jesus gave him two.  The second is the “Golden Rule” in vs. 39 and again He states the Law and Prophets (Old Testament) depend on this command.  But wait, what is the first?  What is the greatest?  Let’s take a look at one more record of the Lord’s 2 commands.  

28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

Here the Lord Jesus gives the same “Golden Rule” answer for the second, but the first He states slightly differently.  “Hear, O Israel!  The Lord our God is one Lord”.  What the Lord Jesus is quoting from is Deuteronomy 6 in the Old Testament.  This is also the Shema that the Jews would pray daily, and still do.  The Lord Jesus knew this and He was stating how important it is to obey this command over every command.  He was stating here, and as recorded in Matthew, that there is no other God and He is to be loved with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  This is the most important.  And this God we are commanded to love is the God of the Bible. He is the same God of the Old and New Testament.  To love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength is to obey all that He commands.  That is to obey all of the Bible and not just what we decide to obey.  In deciding for ourselves we create a god in our image and we don’t obey the true God who created us in His image.

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But what does that mean for the “Golden Rule”?  This rule is not “Golden” unless we obey the first.  We can not truly love others until we truly love God.  We can not do to others as we would have them do until we understand the love of God and His grace and mercy.  Notice in Matthew 7:11 the Lord Jesus talks about evil people giving good gifts to their children who show love back.  God goes beyond and gives gifts to those who do not love Him to start.  Those who do not love Him do not ask because their hearts do not love God.  In Luke 6 the Lord Jesus is explaining how the love of God is unconditional.  Giving to those who do not deserve and being merciful to those who deserve wrath.  God wants us to be Holy and imitators of Him.

The point of the “Golden Rule” as truly taught by the Lord Jesus is not for human gain.  It is not a simple guidline to go through life.  It is not what Christianity is as many may believe it to rest only on this command.  It is not the gospel.  It is not any of these becuase it needs the Shema.  It needs the person following the “Golden Rule” to submit to the will of the One true God.  In order to do that a person must have their heart changed. They must turn from their sin of creating their own god and put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to be forgiven and born again to know God.

What does this mean?  The Lord Jesus became a man.  He lived a perfect life of obedience, loving the Father with all His heart, soul, mind and strength, the way we are commanded to but can not.  Through this He also loved neighbor. This we also truly can not do on our own either.  Then He was crucified on the cross.  This is the death you and I deserve for our sins.  This is what all sinners, of which i am the worst, deserve.  The penalty of sin is death.  But God, being merciful, poured His wrath out on His Son.  His Son, showing us how to truly love God and neighbor, laid down His life.  The He defeated death rising from the grave after 3 days and He is now seated at the right hand of the Father ruling as King over heaven and earth.  Now when a sinner believes that this life, death, and resurrection was for them, they are forgiven.  His heart becomes regenrated to be able to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Then inturn, they can begin to truly love their neighbor and do unto them as they would have them do unto themsleves.  Then the repentant sinner will also recieve the grace of eternal life in paradise with the loving God of all.

This is GOOD NEWS.  This is the GOSPEL!

I pray you recieve this message and truly love God so you can love neighbor and be a true Christian and a son or daughter of God.

It can’t truly be “Golden” without the true God.

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It Can’t Stay Down

Holding it down yet it keeps pressing up. That inflated ball won’t stay under the water. We try to hammer it down like playing a game of whac-a-mole. But we can’t keep all the moles down at once. One will pop up and reveal itself.  The ball will come to the surface.*

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This is what happens when we deny the existence of God. We hold down the truth. We hold down the truth in our unrighteousness. This means we love our sin. We love being our own god. We love having a god we have made or that other men have made. These man made gods, or gods of self, say we are in control or we have a way to get to God through our own deeds. This is man centered and goes to the root of our sin that was from the garden. “Did God really say?” Is echoed from Genesis 3.

So many deny the truth of God. The God who reveals Himself to us in the Bible. The God who reveals Himself to us in His Son Jesus Christ. The God who has reveals Himself in His very creation.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

We all have no excuse to not know God exists. We want justice when we feel justice needs to be done because God is just. We want people to be honest because God is not a liar. We know adultery is wrong because God is completely faithful. We Know these things also because we are made in the image of God but we just deny His existence when we choose us over Him.  We choose the way we want to live over the way He commands us to live. We suppress the truth.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Romans 1:18-25

This is what I thought.  I created my own god. I worshiped created things, and most of the time it was myself who I worshipped.  It wasn’t until I repented, turned from my sin, and put all trust in Christ.  This trust was that He lived, died, and rose for me.  If I was to stand before God and tell Him He didn’t give me enough evidence it would not be an acceptable excuse.  If I was to stand before God and say my good deeds outweigh my bad He would not accept that either.  He commands perfection.  This perfection can only come from His Son.  If I stand before God covered in the blood of Jesus Christ, He will see His righteousness and not my filth.

I pray your eyes will be open to see Him.  I pray your ears will be open to hear Him.  I pray your heart will be open to receive Him.  Without Him everything is ultimately worthless.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3

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Jesus is the only way to God. You can’t suppress the truth forever.  It will make His way to the surface of your life.

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

*a similar reference was made by Pastor Jeff Durbin from Apologia Church.

 

Come Into the Light

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I would like to believe the majority of people in the USA would agree that taking the life of an innocent person is wrong.  We would all call that murder.  It would not matter the reason either. While there may be reasons a murder is committed that we may say we understand, the majority would still not condone the action.  I believe the majority of people in the USA would say that murder in any case is wrong.

You shall not murder.  Exodus 20:13

An example would be murder for hire.  I have seen some shows over the years about cops doing undercover stings to catch people who hire hit men to murder their spouse.  They may want to murder them because they are abused by them, they may inherit a sum of money, they are having an affair, or any other reason that will be more convenient rather than letting that spouse live.  Again, I believe the vast majority of people in the USA would agree that this is wrong and should be illegal.  Thankfully it is illegal and no one seems to be pushing to make it otherwise.

But there is a murder for hire that is not illegal.  This murder is done for convenience.  This murder is committed on people who have no chance at defending themselves what so ever.  This murder though has a different name.  It is called abortion.  Sadly, I believe most people in the USA find nothing wrong with this murder.  My evidence is 55 million murdered, or more, since 1973.  No police undercover sting was done to stop these murders.  No national outrage over these murders.  Just 55 million plus dead babies who never had a chance.

Posterity shall serve him;
    it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it. Psalm 22:31

I know you may be saying this isn’t a fair comparison.  You may be saying I’m taking it to an extreme to prove my point. If I offended I am sorry, but this isn’t extreme.  While it seems harsh this is truth.  This is consistent.  I see people on social media complain when a child is murdered at 5 years old.  I see people complain with outrage when a child is left in a car on a hot summer day.  I see people weep for animals who are abused or hunted and killed in the wild. Many of these people are for a woman’s choice.  But let’s please call that choice what it is, a choice to murder.  Where is the consistency?  Where is the love for the unborn baby?  Where is the compassion for that little girl or boy who was murdered?

I know all situations are different and I may sound like I do not have compassion for the women and men who have made this terrible decision to take life of their baby.  I am sorry if this is how it looks.  The truth is I have tremendous compassion for you and all who come to this decision.  I myself am not innocent of this.  I bought the lie.  No!  I lied to myself.  I knew it wasn’t just tissue.  I knew it was a life.  Yet, in my young days, I did not stop the girl.  I, like Adam in the garden, stood by in silence because it was more convenient for me for a baby to die then to be a dad. Yes, if that didn’t happen my life would be different, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that I had a part in the murder.  But others do not have to make that choice.  All babies should be given a chance to live.

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For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them. Psalm 139:13-16

I have to live with that choice I made all those years ago.  I am guilty.  If you made that choice, so are you.  But you can be forgiven.  You can be shown that life matters.  Your eyes can be opened to the light and then proclaim the truth and save lives. You can be consistent in your thoughts and actions.  This is made possible only through the saving power of God through Jesus Christ.  Not because it is deserved, but because God is full of mercy, grace, and love.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

While I am guilty I am forgiven by Jesus.  God granted me repentance and I put my faith in Jesus Christ.  Without Him I stand condemned of murder and every other sin.  With Him I am clothed in His righteousness.  At the cross He took my murderous hands and gave me His righteous hands.  It is the great exchange.  It doesn’t sound fair.  I deserve to be on that cross, but I get God’s grace, mercy, and love.  Now my eyes are open.  I see sin for what it is.  It needs to stop.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

This can be for you too.  If you have had an abortion, or you were an accomplice, you can be forgiven.  Just come to the cross of Christ.  This sin isn’t greater than the cross.  I pray you can get on your knees before the cross and that your heart will be made able to receive Jesus.  Please turn from your sin and turn to Jesus.  Then you will begin to see.  The light will shine.  You will support life because you will have life.  Abundant life. Eternal life.  Consistent life.  A life giving life.

baby roo kissy

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3:16-21

Please, come to the Light.

Journey to Where?

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I was once on a journey.  I was trying to find myself.  Isn’t that what life is about?  Trying to find out who you are and how you fit in this world?  Isn’t it about getting ahead, getting a degree, getting a job/career, getting a house, getting a wife and starting a family?  The list of stuff to go after is non-stop.  It is all part of the American dream.  You want it?  Go get it!  Just be nice along the way and the universe will move for you.

Is this what you believe?  If so, then what?  What happens when you get all you ever wanted?  What happens when you are living the dream?  What happens when you are suddenly on your death-bed or suddenly dead?  Will that house, car, wife, family, iPhone be of any use to you?

Sadly, some preachers even preach this.  It is refered to as the “prosperity gospel” or “name it claim it gospel”.  It is not the true gospel.  I once heard it said that he who dies with the most toys wins.  But in actuality, he who dies with the most toys dies just like everyone else.  The question goes back to, “then what?  Is it all over?  Did I amass all this stuff for my vapor of a life on earth and now nothing?  Or did I amass all this stuff in my vapor of a life on earth and it was my idol and I worshipped it instead of the creator of all?  Did I love stuff and hate God?  Did I love the dream and hate the Spirit?  Did I love the world and hate Jesus?”

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14

“So what? My life is short.  So I am not supposed to pursue things.”  Here in America so many have the privilege to have stuff.  It is when the stuff becomes the focus.  But nothing matters at all if you do not know God.  Nothing matters at all if you are an enemy of God.  “So pursuing things makes me an enemy of God?”  If anything is put in front of your relationship with God you need to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5

“But I do not believe in the God you speak of.”  If you don’t know God at all then yes, you are His enemy.  You have created your own god in the image of yourself instead of worshiping the true God who made us in His image.  We all know there is a God.  Some will recognize Him as God and others will hold down the truth.  They will actively hold it down like trying to hold an inflated beach ball under the water.  But the truth still exists that we were all created in His image.

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Romans 1:18-23

This is what happens when we deny God.  We create gods in our image.  We love ourselves and try to reason away our behavior by denying God for who He is.  We don’t want there to be a true and just God because then we will be held accountable for our actions.  Or we try to have a god who will let us in to heaven on our own works.  We know that God is just and will punish us for our sins.  So we hold down the truth in our unrighteousness and the world says that is ok.  The world and flesh and the evil one tells us to keep seeking self. They tells us to keep doing what feels good.  They tell us our good deeds out weigh our bad so if there is a heaven we will go there.

This is a great lie.  It is a lie that started from the fall.  “Did God really say????”

Yes! He has said and Yes! there are eternal consequences for not obeying His standards.  We all have lied.  We all have taken His name in vain.  We all have dishonored our parents. We all have not loved the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and strength.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  Romans 3:23

But God did something for sinners.  He came down and became a man.  He lived a sinless life.  The life we should live.  He died the death that we deserve.  He rose after three days dead to prove who He is.  “So we just believe that?”  We turn from our sins, with the power of the Holy Spirit, and put our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and follow Him as Lord of our lives.  Putting our trust in Jesus is not just believing He lived and died and rose.  It is believing that it was for you and without it God sees your sins and punishes you with all His wrath.  When you put your trust in Christ, God sees His righteousness.  He poured out His wrath on Him so you can be saved.  This is good news.  This is the gospel.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8

Are you on a journey to find you?  Are you on a journey to amass things?  Are you running away as an enemy of God?  If so I pray you will turn away from your sins and striving for things (repent) and put your trust in Jesus Christ.  I know I can’t convince you to believe any of this.  I just want you to think about it.  Then think some more.

Holy Father, give them ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart that is regenerated by You gospel.  It is in the name of Jesus alone they can be saved.  Works, church attendance, praying the rosary, sacraments, or any other thing added by man can not save.  It is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, by You alone God, any can be saved.  I pray in the saving Name of Your Son Jesus Christ I pray.  Amen!

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

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Works or Faith? RC church or Bible?

What is truth? This was a question Pilate asked of Jesus. It is asked a lot these days. Truth is important. What you believe is important.  That is why I am posting this.  I know I may get some backlash and some rebuttals.  I pray that a conversation is started and the Truth will be known.

Having a Roman Catholic background I was taught certain things.  There were also certain truths that Rome teaches that I was not taught or that I missed.  I hope that this brings to light some of the teachings and doctrine of the Roman Catholic church and what the bible truly teaches.  I do not go into much detail in this video but just wanted to start the conversation

In the end what we believe is important. What we believe about heaven, hell, this world, and God has eternal consequences.  Believing the correct Gospel of Jesus Christ is essential. Your eternity is at stake. Truth is critical!

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

The Pursuit Of………………..

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Everyday is a gift.  I know this is a cliché but it is true.  Even if that day you have been given is a rainy one.  It is a gift.  The air we breathe we take for granted.  The water, the food, the clothing, the shelter are all gifts.  This is what allows life to continue.  What happens in that life may not feel like a gift.  You may feel your life is terrible.  Maybe even unlivable.  Maybe you are jobless, friends less, or homeless.  Maybe the life you were  living suddenly changes because you lost a loved one to death or they left you.  Maybe you get up everyday and go to a job you don’t like going to.  Maybe there is some “dream” you want to be living.

There are a few ways you can look at those situations.  Some say life is what you make it.  If you want to go after your dream just go get it.   You can do this but be careful.  Make sure going after your dream doesn’t negatively affect others you love. Even before that, make sure going after your dream doesn’t negatively affect your relationship with God.  This should be first before you go after that dream.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?  Mark 8:36

Go to any book store and you will see a huge self-help section.  There will be many books about improving yourself.  There will be many books about how to succeed in business, health, and life overall.  There may even be a few of these books in the religious section teaching you how to live your best life now.  But what good is any of this if you lose your soul?  What good is any of it if you don’t have a relationship with God?  What good is any of it if you don’t know Jesus?

That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

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I was one of those people with ambitions to be successful in business.  I was chasing that American dream.  Mean while things in my life weren’t firing on all cylinders.  More than that, I didn’t know Jesus.  I was truly just doing my own thing.  I was just after making me happy and serving myself.  I was my own god.

I see this as a common occurrence in the world.  People are chasing success.  Again, there is nothing wrong with going after your vision, but your why is what is important.  Are you chasing that dream to say you did it?  Are you chasing that dream because the world says you have to leave that type of legacy for your life to mean something?  Are you chasing that dream because it is now your identity?

I chased it for these reasons.  But if I would achieve what the world sees as success what would I really have?  What would I really have if I didn’t know Jesus?  In the end I would still end up dead.  I may end up with a bunch of money to hand down, but I would still be dead.  If I was to live my entire life successfully, as the world sees it, and not know Jesus, I would end up dead and forever separated from God.  I would have lived for nothing.  All would be in vain.

But all of that changes when you know Jesus.  Your heart changes.  Your thirst for the things of this world will be quenched.  He gives you living water that is so much better than the water of the world.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

When you know Jesus you will have eternal life.  Will that make your life easy?  No!  It may make it harder.  Following Jesus is not the easy road, but it is the road that leads to life.  It leads to an abundant life.  Not with the things of the world that are perishable, but with the things of heaven.

 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:9-11

My prayer is that if you don’t know Jesus, He begins to work in your heart.  I pray you know that He came down to earth

to take our punishment for our

sins.  We deserve death, but He took our death on the cross and gave us life. 

I pray you repent and put your faith in Jesus and live the life He gives. 

I pray that if you know Jesus that you are living for Him and not chasing your own god. 

I pray you aren’t thirsting for the water of this world but that you

share the water of Jesus Christ by sharing His gospel.  From there what you do is not what defines you. 

Jesus Christ defines you. 

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Get in His Word!  Stay in His Word! 

For You

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Life is short. You don’t know what tomorrow holds.  You don’t know if tomorrow holds anything at all.  You may wake up.  You may not wake up. If you are blessed to wake, what will you do with the time you are given?  What will you live for?  Will you take advantage of the time or will you let it take advantage of you?  If you knew today was your last what will you do with it?  Will you spend it having fun?  Will you spend it living out the stupid acronym that was popular a few years ago YOLO?  Or would you use your last day sacrificially?  Would you give all you are?  Would you do what you think will help people the most?  This life is short.  I pray you come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  He offers everlasting life.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

I live today to tell you about Jesus Christ because I love you too much not to. I believe the most important thing I can do is tell you about Jesus Christ.  I need to tell you what He did for us on the cross.  I need to tell you that I am a sinner and so are you.  I need to tell you God loves you and became a man and died the worst death because we are sinners.  I need to tell you this because your sin, my sin, deserves to be punished.  I need to tell you that God, who loves, is also just and will carry out the judgment, wrath, and the punishment we desever if we don’t come to the saving knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ who took that wrath for us.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

These are tough words.  DEATH and WRATH!  But it is justice.  Think of the most horrible crime imaginable.  Think of this crime being commited against you.  Maybe it is theft, murder, rape, torture, or worse.  Should that person be punished for their crime?  Should that person receive justice?  Should that person be judged and sentenced to the full extent of the law? What if you are the theif or the murderer?  I know you might be saying “I may have only taken something small, or told a little lie, but I never murdered.”  Jesus said:

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.  Matthew 5:21-22

Jesus is saying holding ill will, hate, and anger for another in your heart is as bad as murder.  I am guilty of that.  This is a crime commited against God.  The justice we want for a crime against us is the justice God has to carry for our sins against Him.  We deserve to die for our sins.  Not just the big ones, but all of them.  This is because God is just.  God is holy.  Any sin we commit deserves to be punished by a holy and just God.  The fact is all sins are against God.

We are all doomed!

No!  While God is just He also shows amazing grace.  God provided a way for all who believe.  He provided the Way, Truth, and Life.  He provided the wages for sins of all who believe.  He provided Jesus.  Those who believe need to repent and put their trust in Him.

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Matthew 4:17

Repenting is turning away from our sins.  When you know Jesus is your savior you see your sin for what it is.  He will give you the power to turn.  You my have tried to do it on your own.  Let Him lead you.  Let Him sanctify you.

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13

The Truth is Jesus, who was from the beginning. May you know the Truth.  May He work in your heart.  May you come to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  May you be freed from your slavery to sin.  May you meet and follow Jesus.

This world is temporary, but then comes eternity.

while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

I pray you repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ. 

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How We Get Stronger

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I am a personal fitness trainer and strength coach.  Clients come to my gym to lose weight and get stronger.  Some may think it will happen just by coming in.  Some may think they will get results by doing just enough.  Some may think there is some magic trick that only the trainers know.  These people often don’t last long.  They don’t understand that in order to get stronger you have to lift things that you haven’t lifted before.  In order to get results you have to be challenged.  Many trainers have used this great saying “if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.”  So in order to get stronger you need to lift heavier weights. I look at faith in a similar way.  If there are not challenges in your life how can your faith grow? How can your faith increase?  If things continue on in a nice status quo manner is anything making you stronger spiritually?

So we pray for our faith to be increased.  This is one of the best things to pray for.  Just be ready and understand what that may mean.  Understand that in order to increase your faith, it may be challenged.  This should not discourage you from praying that prayer. In fact, let it encourage you knowing that Jesus will be with you every step of the way.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I wrote a post a few months ago about faith being a gift from God.  For Him to increase our faith is a huge gift. It comes with many blessings.  But like I stated, it may come with trials.  Persevering through those trials is what we need to do .

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3

The enemy will try to attack. He will come at you and tell you to give up.  He will come and tell you to run away from your faith and not to trust anyone.  He will show you the dangers that having faith will bring.  But much like lifting a heavy weight and being under the barbell when you are on the bench, you know when you lift that weight you will become stronger. You know that you have a spotter, a coach, a Lord and Savior named Jesus Christ, who will be with you as you press that bar of trial off of your chest and high to the sky.  Then you pray for more faith and put some more weight on that bar.

Remember this too, Jesus won’t give you what you can already handle.  No! He is looking to get you stronger. Prepare for more than you think you will get.  Why? Because He is there with you.

Let’s take a look at Peter. Here is a man who was out fishing.  Jesus said to him “follow me” and He did.  Throughout each Gospel story Peter is asking many questions.  Even after just following Him without asking why at that moment.  Even after walking on water.  When Jesus asked the Apostles who they thought He was, Peter gave an answer.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  Matthew 16:15-18 peter

This answer that Peter gave was of faith.  Jesus even told Him this faith was given to him by God and not man.  He then called him a rock and said on this confession of Him as the Christ the church will be built.

Something I find interesting about Peter was even after these miraculous things, his faith was tested even more.  Tested to the point of him denying to know Jesus even after he told Jesus he would not.  Even after this Jesus still loved him.   He was not done with him.

But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. Mark 16:7

Peter went on to do many great things in the face of persecution.  He preached, healed, raised to life, all by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Everyday his faith must have been challenged and everyday his faith must have grown.  In fact he wrote:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,  who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter  1:3-9

I can pick several people in scripture who faced trials and tribulation, all the while their faith increased.  God could have just left them alone.  He could have turned His face from them.  He can turn His face from us.  But He loved them and loves us.  He blessed them and he blesses us.  He sent His Son to die on the cross just so we can be with Him.  We are sinners who deserve death but we get life, freedom, grace, mercy, love, and faith.

There are many promises in the bible.  One way I know it is true is because we are promised tribulation.  We see that everyday.  But we also see hope.  We believe in hope because after three days in the grave our Savior rose from the dead. He is alive and in every believer.  He can raise our broken spirits back from the dead.  He can raise our broken relationships back from the dead.  He will leave the 99 sheep to get the one. He will welcome you home meeting you on the road as He sees you in the distance.

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Your faith may be under the bar right now.  The weight may be more than you can handle.  Stop trying to lift that bar alone.  Those hand that are helping you lift it have wrists that have been pierced so you can know you are not alone under that bar.  I might have a day where I miss the spot and the bar crushes you.  Man will fail.  God will not.  Sometimes He will just spot you with 2 fingers instead of pulling the bar off quick.

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I pray that if you are reading this and don’t know the Savior I speak of, that you desire to know Him.  I pray He is at work in your heart right now.  I pray that you get on your knees and talk to God.  Ask Him to show Himself to you.  Tell Him what you are feeling.  Tell Him what you want.  Ask Him to give you faith, and if you have it, ask Him to increase it.  If you are under the heavy barbell press hard.  Jesus is with you. A funny thing about faith, it really doesn’t take much for miracles to happen.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.  Luke 17:5-6

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True Miracle

This past week a friend of mine lost his sister to cancer.  I did not know her but he told me she fought hard.  She never gave up.

My friend is a fellow believer in Christ Jesus.  He gives his life to Christ.  As a believer he prayed without ceasing for his sister to win her battle.  He talked to his sister about the healing power of Jesus and what faith in Him can do.  He even found a church where the pastor had a personal physical healing by Jesus and took her there.  He said she began to gain greater strength to fight for her life.  In the end though her life on this earth has gone.

After losing a loved one after praying and believing in miracles many would lose faith.  Many would turn from God.  But my friend is an inspiration.  He knows the truth.  He demonstrates true faith in Christ Jesus.  Instead of turning from God he boldly turns to Him.

At the viewing he said a few words about his sister.  He spoke of how he and many other family and friends had been praying for a miracle.  He said that many prayed for her life.  Then he spoke more truth of how in her battle with cancer he saw her grow closer and closer to the Lord.  He saw her faith grow.  You see, he knows the truth.  He knows the true miracle.  He knows the true promise of Christ Jesus. He knows that when we believe in Him we never die but we have eternal life.  Life without pain.  Life without suffering.  Life without cancer.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26

While we all prayed for a miracle of her life continuing on earth, another one happened.  She came to truly believe in Jesus.  We prayed for her to live and now she lives forever.  If we believe, we will live forever as well.  My friend believes.  He will see his sister again.

Some may not see it as a miracle.  Some only see miracles as the blind seeing, the lame walking, the dead rising back on earth.  Once they see they will believe.  But believing is seeing.  Jesus didn’t work miracles in his life to draw attention to himself.  He worked them for the people who already believed.  All throughout scripture there are examples.

They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. And entering in, He said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.”  They began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and entered the room where the child was. Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat. Mark 5:38-43

I recently listened to a sermon by Alistair Begg about this passage.  He had a lot of eye-opening points.  The one that spoke to my heart about this loss is that after Jesus heals the little girl He tells those in the room not to tell anyone.  This is after He puts out all those who were laughing.  Alistair Begg points out that those who were laughing at Jesus, unbelievers, did not get to see the miracle.  He said something like, “those who laugh at the words of Jesus don’t get to experience the works of Jesus.”

Again I see that a true miracle did take place in my friend’s sister’s life.  She believed and now in her death she finally gets to live.

I pray that his family gets time to grieve.  I pray that when they are done grieving, whenever that may be, that joy comes in the morning.  I pray that they all see the miracle and they all find their way to give themselves to the Lord Christ Jesus.

To my friend, you are a godly man.  Your love and boldness for Jesus is inspiring.  Thank you for setting a great example for so many.

I saw how many people your sister touched with her life.  I am sure there are many more.  She is home now.

Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. John 5:25

Father

I am writing this to give thanks to my father.  He is my hero.  Anytime I need something he comes through.  He has always been there for my sister and I.

I haven’t been a perfect son. I remember things I have done and worries I have caused and he has stood by me through it all.

When I was a baby I had pyloric stenosis.  I don’t remember having it, but apparently, it is when your intestines are in a knot.  Having a little girl of my own, I can imagine how he and my mom must have felt when I was sick.  I know that I made it through that with him never giving up.There were other times growing up when I would fall down and he’d pick me up.  There were stupid kid things I did and he would love me through them, even when I caused damage to the house.  I remember this one time I was watching him fix something on the house.  He had his hammer and he was hitting nails into the wall.  So I grabbed my toy hammer and began to hit our plaster wall inside our house as I watched it crumble saying “look dad, I’m like you.”  How he or mom didn’t beat me I have no clue.

He granted me grace even when I damaged the house.  To this day I still mess up and I know he will always be there.

I know that God placed me in a house where I was loved.  I know my dad loves me.  Too many people don’t.  They have horror stories of their fathers. My heart breaks for them.  Coming from my situation is a big reason why I trust God.  You see, when we think of God as Father, Abba, most of us tend to think of our dads.  God as Father is a merciful, loving Father who gives us His grace through His Son Jesus.  Some people don’t know how to comprehend that if their image of God as Father is of their abusive father.  But Jesus is love, mercy, and grace.  He wants us to come to him as we are.

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:9

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19

My relationship with my father has made it easy to see my Heavenly Father as He truly is.  He is a loving God who loved us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son to die the most brutal death in th history of mankind.  He gave us Jesus not because we deserve Him to take our sins, but because He gives us grace because what we deserve is death.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

When I put that hole in our wall some might say I deserved a beating.  Instead what I got was grace.  Thanks dad for showing me how to be a father and showing me the Grace of God.  I love you!

Happy Father’s Day!