Saturday, August 29, 2009

All Roads Lead to Heaven

2Timothy 3:2-5 “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

Just the other day, a Christian friend wrote me that he was in discussion with an old High School classmate on Facebook on various topics. Their discussion gravitated to religion and his friend gave their perspective on God and faith. They wrote: “Not negating anyone’s beliefs - I just don’t understand how any one religion can dispute the validity of others. I was raised very conservatively, but have learned a lot through my life to know that all religions that claim to be the only one God recognizes or acknowledges and discount any others with differing beliefs is simply one man putting thoughts into the minds of others. Each religion was created by one man or a group of men who wanted to customize their religion to fit their needs or beliefs. I thought God was all forgiving and all accepting. Things like that don’t make sense to me. I know none of us are perfect or free from fault - but it seems that if Religion is your primary focus in life then it should be pure and accepting of all others. I believe it is more about how we live our lives every day - and that goodness and kindness are rewarded. Here is what I believe in - I believe in myself, my family, my love of humankind, and the earth, my respect for my parents, my willingness to help others in need, and my personal ethics. I know, as far as most religious people view life, I am not an exemplary person, but I have two children who are decent and good, and good friends who I would do anything for and they would return the favor if I asked. Do I need to attend a church every Sunday to feel this contentment? No. See! It's a matter of what you need in your life to feel complete. Whatever that greater power is up there - knows who I am and what I am - and that is good enough for me. :) I have just always been one to question logic and reason, and to me any cookie cutter religion doesn’t do God the justice He or She deserves.”

Is this line of thinking uncommon? No, it is actually the prevailing faith today in America ... the moral and religious relativism of secular humanism (which is a religion itself), who believes in self, materialism, and physical nature above spirituality; believing that they can live completely free of religious faith and observance. A characteristic feature of secular Humanism is the number of times that they used the word “I” (notice in the writing above). The earthly focus is on “self” in this world, and this life (It's a matter of what you need in your life to feel complete) - heaven is not the goal or focus, and God (if they believe in any higher power or force at all) is, at best, “all forgiving and all accepting”, and therefore, all roads lead to heaven. Why? Because the idea of obeying their Creator God’s standards, statutes and commands, and answering to God for your thoughts, words and actions outside of God’s will and way is unthinkable, then secondly, nobody wants themselves or those they care about to go to hell. So they take the easy route, a wide road, and fabricate mentally a different God – themselves or a false god who accepts their sin and expects nothing of them.

The minute that men and women turn from God, they turn to another god. Disregarding the Bible, social acceptance of sin, and a strong cultural influence on individualism that ignores social responsibly and accountability and creates a peer pressure in our culture to fear man more than God. This lie is affecting every man, woman & child in this nation and we are reaping the results. The secular humanist claims to be tolerant to all, but can not be tolerant of the “true” God that they are denying & rejecting, and the people that trust and believe Him - His holy & sovereign Word, Will, and Way. John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” & John14:23-24 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me”, is offensive to the secular humanist, and they must silence the truth that convicts the heart of their sin against a just and holy Creator God. The Secular Humanist may say, “Well I believe if you live right, you’ll go to heaven.” But even this person who wrote my friend admits the truth, “I know none of us are perfect or free from fault”. She is actually paraphrasing scripture – Romans 3:22b-23 “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If you could be saved by living right, then Christ’s atoning death for our sins was a blunder by God. It was no blunder! But because of our love of the sinful desires of our flesh, cherishing acceptance from our peers in a truly God-rejecting world, and believing the lies of Satan Genesis 3: 4 & 5 "You will not surely die ... you will be like God", many turn the back on the only hope for the world. Knowing the eternal loss, we pretend that either sin is not sin, or that our god forgives all sin and accepts all.

Why do Christians (God’s children) need to get out and tell those around them the “good news” of Jesus Christ and what God has done in their life? Because that is exactly what the Lord wants us to do, and exactly what this lost and dying world in sin needs and seeks. The Peace of Christ that leads to peace with God that brings true peace within you. Who doesn’t want that?! John 7:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6-7a “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.”

True peace is a result, a natural bi-product, and the fruit of our restored righteousness with God through his Son, our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ and, by grace, is a free gift from God to everyone who chooses to believe and accept the offer of salvation by faith alone, that leads to spiritual “rebirth” and the indwelling of the Spirit of God. You look at the world around us today, and you see that they do not see or perceive the seriousness of their willful disobedience to God. The sinful bent towards being the god of our own life and making all our decisions free from a higher power’s standard, (we’ll call Him “God”), is the downfall of mankind and puts us at enmity with our sovereign Creator, so the unrepentant finds no real and lasting peace. Ephesians 2:1-5 explains, “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. 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.” The God-rejecting world system, the flesh (our self-centered desires) and Satan do not want us to hear, know or even think about sin and the consequence of that sin today and tomorrow, lest we seek God’s mercy & grace.

What great loss did God have to suffer, and what great price did Jesus have to pay for our sinful transgressions and iniquities; for our restored relationship and our peace? The Holy Scriptures tells us: Isaiah 53:5-6 & 8b “But He (Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Romans 4:25 – 5:2 “He (Jesus) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the (confident) hope of the glory of God.” This is why through Christ alone we receive forgiveness, salvation, adoption by God - our Father, eternal life, citizenship in the kingdom of Heaven, and the fruit of the Spirit which includes peace. Don’t bother looking anywhere else, except Jesus – the Prince of Peace.

Micah 5:2 & 4-5 "But you, Bethlehem, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one (Jesus) who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And He will be their peace.” Jesus is our peace! I saw a car license plate cover that read: “No Jesus, No Peace / Know Jesus, Know Peace”. How true! To know and follow Jesus, as Redeemer and Lord, is to know the voice of the “Good Shepherd” that laid down his life for the sheep and listen to him - John 10:1-18. The Shepherd that brings us peace, comfort and contentment by leading us to the peaceful and satisfying green pastures and still waters of life. By restoring our soul and by leading us on paths of righteousness For His name’s sake – Psalm 23:1-4. Can the world provide this? Solus Christus ("Christ alone")

In John 14:27, Jesus tells us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Also in Philippians 4:4-7, we are told, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Christians, Believers, Disciples and Followers of the Prince of Peace have something to shout about; something that the world does not know – the peace of Christ. Spread the good news. It’s what everyone is looking for, in all the wrong places. Peace be with you and peace be within you!

Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Matthew 25:34-37 & 40 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink ... "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?" The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

The Zimbabwean cholera outbreak is an ongoing cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe that began in August 2008, swept across the country and spread to Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia By 23 July 2009 there had been 98,592 reported cases and 4,288 deaths making it the deadliest African cholera outbreak in last 15 years. The Zimbabwean government declared the outbreak a national emergency and requested international aid. The principal cause of the outbreak is lack of access to safe water in urban areas. This is due to the collapse of the urban water supply, sanitation and garbage collection systems, along with the onset of the rainy season leading to feces with cholera bacteria being washed into water sources, in particular public drains, as well as providing readily available but contaminated water. Wikipedia

John 4:13-14 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Awareness is the first step and action, in the name of Christ, to help is the next. I received my second newsletter for Campus Crusade for Christ, who we support with prayers and offerings, updating the details of this crisis situation. 1.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. For children under age 5, water-related diseases are the leading cause of death. American families use an average of 400+ gallons of water per day – African families use about 5 gallons a day. The water and sanitation crisis there claims more lives through disease than any war claims through weapons. Water is an absolute necessity to life. Water is scarce, murky and contaminated with life-threatening germs. So when CCC teams bring lifesaving water filters to these thirsty people suffering from waterborne illnesses, it easily translates to talking about the Living Water of Jesus Christ, and, of course, they need them both. Clean water opens the door to life, health and faith. The Zimbabwean people are spiritually thirsty as they are physically thirsty, and mission teams are providing a wellspring of each.

John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

I hope that you take a minute to pray about, research and check into this dire need for clean drinking water for these dear people, made in the image of God, and precious in His sight. And if you are able, to help in some way, shape or form. There are many organizations on the internet that you can contact; we used May God bless you.

Revelation 21:2-6 “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.”

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Numbers 6:24-26 "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.'"

It is always a joy to spend time with my goddaughter, who is in college now, because she keeps me in tune with what are the trends, fads and popular ideas of the day. Just the other day, while at a local mall, she stopped in one store to look at some new clothes for school, and I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of peace symbols printed on shirts and in jewelry. This little dove’s footprint in a circle from the 60’s has come back into style in America in a big way. May the peace of God come to light and shine in the hearts of Americans, and may we all discover the source of peace in this world at war spiritually. Peace that surpasses all understanding, because it does not come from mankind, but from the Lord.

Psalms 29:11 “The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.”

There is a quote that goes: “God doesn't promise security from life's storms but security in life's storms.” That security is peace in the storm. Jesus tells us in John 14:27 that the peace that comes from God is not the same as the world gives. Note the words “His people” in the verse above. I heard a story about a young man, who while walking home one day, came face to face with the neighborhood bully, who struck fear in the hearts of the local kids as he terrorized everyone by shoving them to the ground and calling them obscenities whenever paths crossed. Horror came over this young man immediately, but quickly changed to a confident smile. The Bully turned around to see the young man’s father had walked up behind him. The Father brought security, strength and peace of mind to his son. Sin is in this fallen world, but God is peace. Isaiah 26:3-4 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord is everlasting strength.”

Isaiah 32:17 “The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” Peace found in relationship through righteousness ... Peace with God & Peace of God. Sin separates us from our Just & Holy God, but our Father, in Heaven, Creator provided a way of restoration that we could not. Romans 5:8 tells us: “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” By accepting the free gift provided by God, in the atoning death, resurrection and ascension of His Son in our place to pay for our sins and redeem our souls, the “right” relationship with our Father is restored. John1:12-13 says: “To all who received him (Jesus), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. And in John 14:23 promises “My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” is peace today. Plus, the blessed assurance of eternal life with Christ in Heaven is peace for tomorrow.

Romans 8:6-7aThe mind of sinful (unregenerate) man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit (born again) is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God.” Galatians 5:22-23a “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” The world needs the peace of God, and then, despite the circumstances of life, we have security and peace within, from God.

In John 16:33 Jesus, our Lord & Savior said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Great Hope

Psalm 33:8-22 "Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-- He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you."

Not so long ago, my wife & I drove out to visit my brother and his family in Arizona. It was a great trip, spending time with family and experiencing the love that God created us for. One morning, out of the blue, my ten year old niece asks me what my favorite word is. I said: “Joy”, but what I remember more is what she said when I returned the question. Her favorite word was “Hope”. She has hope for all people on Earth, who do not have enough money to live, who do not have a house to live in and children who don’t have the basic necessities of life. Her hope is that their needs be met. What a great hope! Now that got me thinking about the sure hope that we have as Christians in God, our salvation in Christ and our eternal home.

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “Hope” as: The desire and expectation of good, with an expectation of fulfillment. Wikipedia states: Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life (i.e. I hope that you have a nice day, I hope for the best, etc.). The “great hope” of Christianity is different than the optimistic wish or feeling that may or may not come to fruition. Hope is not doubt looking for evidence. Hebrews 11:1 explains Hope as: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” We do not hope for something that we already have or achieve. Eternal life with the Lord in Heaven is the goal, and this pilgrimage on Earth is the journey to that Kingdom of God, filled with Divine ordained learning experiences and duties. With no doubt, the Christian stands on the promises in the Word of God with certainty, the blessed assurance of salvation in His Son Jesus Christ, adoption into the family of God as children, and ever-lasting life, though we are not yet in Heaven, have only a slight vision of the Kingdom to come and cannot fully comprehend its true splendor. Psalm 62:5 "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." (In Him & from Him) “confident” hope, now & forever, in His word & laws, in His unfailing love, and we wait (our Refuge, our redemption, and our shield). This is the eternal perspective that brings a peace of God that transcends all understanding.

1 Corinthians 13:12-13 “Now (on Earth) we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then (in Heaven) we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” In this life, here today, we live in faith, hope and love. The reason that love is the greatest of these virtues is: when we finish this life and get to Heaven, we no longer need faith or hope, because what we had faith and hope in Christ, is face to face in front of us. Romans 8:24-25 says, "For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance." This spiritual truth should guide our steps daily, filled with love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control: the fruit of the Spirit. To walk in the “Light of Christ” and the “word of truth” – the gospel.

1 Thessalonians 5:5 "You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Got Hope?

Soli Deo gloria ("glory to God alone")


Saturday, August 8, 2009


Hebrews 11:1 Gives us a definition of faith that we can wrap our minds around: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

This definition is applied to both faith in the one true God (not only His existence, but His sovereignty and plan of Salvation for fallen mankind) and unbelief (atheism, pantheism, humanism, etc.). To put your faith in a lie is an exercise in futility. If there is no substance, then it is both empty and a waste of time. An empty faith is a useless faith and all hope is gone. But that is exactly what “unbelief” is ... hopeless. Nothing is more unthinkable then that the things we care about don’t matter; that all our labor is a waste of time and all of our love ends at the grave. Nobody wants to throw their life away on a myth, a dream or a fantasy. John 3:17-21 explains unbelief in God & Christ: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." Non-Believers think that if God does not exist and Jesus Christ is not His plan of salvation, then they shall not be judged or condemned for their dark, immoral, sinful desires and deeds, which they love. If there is no law-giver with commandments to live by, then there is no One to answer to for their decisions and actions. They are a god unto themselves, with no responsibilities, and not responsible for what they do; subject to nobody; free to live a sinful lifestyle. They pray that God and Hell are not real and do not exist. It’s more than not believing in God, just because they can not see God. True “Character” is how we act if nobody was looking and you know that you would never get caught, judged or punished. Though knowing the consequences of unbelief, the darkness of unbelief in individuals attacks the light of true Christianity and attempts to silence, bury and eliminate the True Creator God; first in public then completely. Darkness can not exist with light. Satan rejoices at their pride and belief of the big lie "you will be like God" (Genesis 3:5).

True Christians do not play the “What if ... “ game, but knows & understands that God is real; made everything, sees all, knows all, and can do anything. God exists, and all the implications are true. What God promises in His Holy Word, we believe and trust it! His grace abounds. Forgiveness is available, redemption is for the asking, and eternal live in Heaven as a Child of God is the reward of the true Believer. If Jesus Christ (our Lord and Savior) said it; I have faith in it and shall faithfully follow until He comes for me. John 14:1-4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.". A Christian is not someone who merely believes that Christ died for our sins. A Christian is somebody who repented of their sins and asked Christ into their heart to be their Lord and Savior. We don’t earn our way to heaven. We can't because the standard is absolute perfection for us to go to heaven, but our sins are forgiven and we can enter through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Our performance has no merit to our salvation, but Christ’s merit and substituting death in our place, to pay the penalty of our sins, can only redeem us – Jesus is the Way. John 14:6-7 “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well." Acts 16:31 “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” At the moment we trust Christ as our personal Savior, we are eternally saved, eternally secure, and God begins to work on us. When you give your heart to Jesus Christ, (give your life to the Lord as a living sacrifice & commit your life to Christ), He takes control of your life and begins to form you into the person He wants you to be, for His purposes. Not like some mindless robot, but like a parent teaching and forming their child utilizing their unique gifts and personality. You are a Child of God! Acts 17:28 says "We are his offspring." How awesome is that!

God shall provide for our lives (Matthew 7:7-11), but real faith is not just receiving the things that we want. Our expectations are not the goal and, most of the time, we have the wrong intentions behind our desires. Remember what Jesus said concerning what we pray to God for, as He gave us the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:8your Father knows what you need before you ask him”. James explains further in Chapter 4 / Verses 2-3: “You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”. Real faith is accepting from God the things He gives us. Those God calls, He equips and we can not even imagine what He has planned in store for us, as we serve Him (not in vain) and influence others for Christ’s sake. God is good! - All the time! That which is “spirit’ is unseen. John 4:24 tell us that “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." We do not see the wind, but see the affects of the wind. We do not see love, but see the affects of love. Do we not see the affects of God? And do we not see the affects of belief & unbelief today? Yes to both! Ephesians 6:16 “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one”.

2 Corinthians 3:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight”. Got Faith in what you can not see? In John 20:27-29 Jesus said, “Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Keep giving. Keep praying. Keep praising. Keep servicing, Keep witnessing. Keep worshiping. Don’t fail to be faithful.

2Peter 1:2 “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord”

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jesus Light

Romans 8:1-9 “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”

The Bible is very clear that Christianity is a life or death matter. “Life” meaning “Eternal Life” with God in Heaven, and “Death” meaning the Second Death in “Eternal Damnation” in the Lake of Fire of Revelation 20:11-15 & 21:8. God’s Holy Word tells it like it is, but why are so many ignorant of this truth? We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners by nature. The natural man, the unregenerate sinner, has no desire or inclination to turn to God. Justly, God owes us nothing except His everlasting wrath for our sins. The “Good News” of the Bible is: that because of God’s love, forgiveness & salvation has come, by divine mercy & grace, only through the work of the sinless Son, Jesus Christ to anyone who repents and believes. The “real” Jesus is the Light of the World, the Bread of Life, the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God; our atonement and redeeming Savior. But why don’t people know about this Jesus that came to “seek & save” the Lost (Luke 19:10), or the Jesus that said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17), or the Jesus of John 3:16-18 that "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.”?

The Jesus that is presented to the world today, however, often bears little resemblance to the Jesus we find in the Bible. In other words, many people respect a Jesus who does not exist. Nowadays, you hear of a Jesus that came to give us a “better life”, that wants everyone to be prosperous and experience every pleasure, and that would protect and conserve the earth’s natural resources ... and that's it. So many people understand Jesus to be the supreme ethical teacher who is concerned with accepting all into His kingdom, even if they never repent or believe (cheap grace & easy believism); however, reducing the purpose and teachings of our Lord to any of these ends up domesticating Him. Then we might as well pray: “Our Genie, who art in Heaven, grant me my wishes.” Do we desire a false Jesus that embraces the culture’s values without challenging them to Biblical knowledge, righteousness, obedience and holiness that meets God’s values? If so, then He is a “safe” Jesus, who is no threat to the established secular humanist way of doing things. Yet Jesus Christ did not come into this world to be “nice” or “safe”, and all roads do not lead to Heaven. Jesus said that there is a wide gate and a broad road that leads to destruction and many enter through it (Matthew 7:13) Who exactly is Lord?

Psalm 4:2 “How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?”

Our Lord, Christ’s coming produces life and peace among His people, but it also sets the fallen world against His own. The Cross and the blood of Christ brings with it the promise and blessed assurance of final redemption that will include all who believe and put their faith in Him alone. At the same time, it becomes a stumbling block to the unrepentant and foolishness to the hardened heart against God. Nobody wants to think that any of their friends, family members or anyone else is going to the fiery lake of burning sulfur in Hell, where they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. But making up a Jesus light, and presenting sin and disobedience to God’s Word and Will as “no big deal” is heresy that saves nobody. If you want to know the true perspective on the seriousness of sin, look at the extreme nature of the solution to the problem. If sin were “no big deal”, would God have sent His only begotten Son to die a horrific death on that cross for the sins that we committed against Him to deal with it? If you are truly compassionate about the Lost and worried about the souls of Sinners (which we all were at one time), then get out there and tell others about the gospel truth of Jesus Christ, our one true living Lord and Savior – the Light of the World.

Psalm 40:4 “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.”

In Christ, Brian