American Christianity


I hear about Christians getting slaughtered in Sudan or persecuted and killed in the Middle East by radical Islamist just about everyday. There is a pastor in Iran,  Youcef Nadarkhani that has been sentenced to death because he is a believer in Jesus Christ. The Iranian regime, governed by Sharia law gave him a chance to recant his confession in Christ which he did not. This man is a true believer that even though he was threatened with hanging he will not denounce his faith in Jesus. The Iranian regime has also declared that their goal is to wipe out Israel from the map and Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust ever happened. I was watching the O’Reilly factor yesterday and the son of Oliver Stone whose name is Sean Stone converted to Islam and is pretty much a defender of Iran and it’s regime. 

Newsweek has a bloody picture of Jesus on its front page with the title “War on Christianity.”  There is an all out war against Christians around the world.  This war is real, in Sudan the Arab radical Islamist from the north slaughter the black Christians in the Nuba mountains which is the border between Northern and Southern Sudan. They kill men, women and children with machetes, burning down churches by the churches. These brothers and sisters in Christ endure heavy persecution and many are facing death by the sword. Christians are hated by radical Muslims and there is no tolerance towards people of a different faith.

Everyday I read the articles and reports about what’s going on and it saddens me to hear and see these gruesome reports that come out of Africa and the Middle East. The Syrian government is killing its own people, Iran will soon have a nuclear weapon to attack Israel and the war against Christianity is becoming a reality. Can we as believers here in the west, especially here in the US even imagine what these brothers and sister have to endure and face everyday? The White House and the President who supposedly is the most powerful men in the world has been silent for the most part on many of these atrocities. Just yesterday Franklin Graham was on Pierce Morgan’s show talking about the crisis in Sudan and how the radical have once again started to bomb the churches in the Nuba mountains.

He also addressed the dire situation the Iranian pastor is facing and that he could be hanged within days. Graham said that the President hasn’t called anybody to the White House for a prayer meeting or to put pressure on the Iranian regime to free Youcef Nadarkhani, instead the President apologized to the Afghans because our military accidentally burned some Qur’an”s.  He did that on the same day when two American service men were killed because of the incident. What is wrong with that picture? Mr. President, stop bowing down to the Saudis and stop your political correctness when dealing with countries like Iran. We don’t have to apologize to the radical and the radical regimes, they attacked us. They should apologize to us for killing our brave service men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq. Christians didn’t fly the planes into the World Trade towers, radical Muslims did.

These are the same fanatic radicals that want to wipe Israel off the map, destroy America and the West. If any Muslims says that Islam is a peaceful religion, I doubt that very much and if the so-called peaceful Muslims are silent about what’s going on with the radicals of Islam, than they have become irrelevant.

Thinking about that, made me wonder, what are we as Christians suppose to do about this? Let me say first that I am not talking about every believer here in the US, I’m just broadly generalizing and please don’t take it personally if you read this. There are many good and strong believers that care and go out of their way to help those in need.  In general however, most of American Christians go to church on Sunday’s and think they have done their duty. They sit in a nice comfortable pew and listen to either a sermon or a Bible study in an air-conditioned facility, coffee and donuts afterwards, a little fellowship and off they go. Is that all or should we be more in tune about what’s going around the world to our brothers and sisters in the faith? There are a lot of activities and events, special concerts and many programs throughout the week. That in itself is not a bad thing, but are we that voice in the world for those who have no voice and are desperately crying out for help? Do we genuinely care about people who are persecuted and killed because they believe in Christ?

I hope that many of us are. I have to admit that we live pretty comfortable lives here in the US, which may change one day. Are we ready for that day? Or will we unlike the Iranian pastor turn away from Jesus because of persecution? We are living in days where prophecies are being fulfilled just about everyday, yet many of the churches or denominations have no clue about Bible prophecy or what some of these current events mean to us as believers. We are living in the very last days and I believe that the Lord will come soon for His bride. Will He find us sleeping as the five foolish virgins or awake and on alert as the five wise once? Israel is God’s time piece and we need to look at Israel because everything relating to the end times is centered in Israel, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount or the epicenter.

I wish I could go over to Iran and talk to Ahmadinejad and ask him to let  Youcef Nadarkhani go, or to be in Sudan standing with our brothers and sisters. Sometimes I feel like James and John who asked the Lord if they should call for fire to rain from heaven and make an end to all of this. There are many good Christian organization already over there. There is Far Reaching Ministries  led by Wes Bentley that trains chaplains  for any kind of situation that may occur.  Many of them know that they may never come home again. They are risking their lives every single day for the furthering of the kingdom and they are willing to give their lives and reach people with the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

I don’t have all the answers, but there is one thing that we as believers can do. Praying without ceasing. The prayers of the saints avails much. We can be a voice if we want to and not let the opposition silence us as some would love to do. The Lord Himself said: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Mat 5:13.

If we are silent we will loose the good fight and we will be trampled under foot. Political correctness is killing this country and the liberal agenda is anti Christian. Just as the liberals are uniting for their causes, we as believers can unite and speak up and fight the good fight. We can be that voice crying in the wilderness….unless we let the enemy silence us.

Personally, I would like to finish the race as Paul did: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2Ti 4:7.

The Integrity of Job


So often, when I have a conversation with unbelievers and skeptics they will bring up the book of Job.  Their argument is, why did God single out Job and bragged about him to Satan?  Job did all the right things and loved the Lord, yet He allowed Satan to take everything that Job had, his family, servants and possessions.

Why would God do that to someone who loves Him. Isn’t He suppose to be a loving God?  At first glance I admit, it might look that way, here is a guy just going on about his day thinking about his sons and daughters when tragedy strikes him out of nowhere.  In one day he looses it all,  his sons and daughters and his livelihood. Everything that he worked and lived for, up in smoke. Job had no clue what was going on and why this came upon him. He did not have the benefit that we have when we read the story in the Bible.

The first two chapters give us a unique look behind the scenes, a look into the spiritual world unseen from the human eye. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Job 1:6, 7. Satan was most likely prowling the earth as a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour.

“Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”Job 1:8. Poor Job, he had no idea that God and Satan had a conversation about him. It almost seems like God may have been bragging a little bit about Job. Satan seized the moment:  “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. “Does Job fear God for nothing? “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” Job 1:9-11.

It is interesting to hear Satan say that God had a hedge i.e a protection around Job, he was blessed by God in all he did. I believe that believers in Jesus Christ have a hedge around them just as Job did. Satan in his arrogance challenged God by stating, hey if you take everything away that he has, he will not love you and curse You to Your face. Satan thought that Job or for that matter any other believers only love God when He blesses them, but turn from Him when tragedy or tribulations arise. God in His sovereign will gave Satan the permission to hit Job with afflictions.

“And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.” Job 1:12.

That was the moment when Jobs world would be turned upside down. We read that Job lost his seven sons and three daughters in one day as well as all of his livestock. What a terrible day in the life of poor Job. Yet in all this tragedy, he did not curse God. As a matter of fact, he praised God.

“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Job 1:20-22.

I don’t think that was what Satan intended, he was hoping that Job would blame God and turn from God. The opposite happened, although deeply grieved, he did not forsake or denounce the Lord. I can only imagine that Satan was a bit furious.  Some time later Satan appeared before God again and we have the same conversation in chapter two of Job.

“And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Job 2:2, 3.

We need to read this verse very carefully, God allowed it because Satan incited Him and God allowed Satan to destroy everything that Job had. I believe what we can glean from this is, that without God’s permission, Satan can’t do a thing to harm believers. This second time around Satan wanted even more.

“So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. “But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” Job 2:6.   It was Satan’s  desire to physically harm Job in hope that he would curse God.

Again, God only allowed Satan to strike Job, but not to kill him.  “So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” Job 2:7. Here is Job, covered in painful boils and now even his wife asked him to curse God. “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:8.

In ancient times, people thought that the person that was punished so severally must have done some kind of sin to deserve something like that.  This time even his wife wanted him to curse God and die. But Job just answered: “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Job 2:9.

Even now Job does not curse or blame God for his sufferings. Now I don’t know how I would have reacted if I were to be in the shoes of Job. As the story goes on, three of his friends come to comfort him, but as it turns out they were no comfort at all. They either blamed Job for everything that happened to him, because they thought that he must have sin in his life and lost favor with God. In the end however it turns out that these three wise men  weren’t all that wise. At the end God intervenes and rebukes his friends. What happened to good old Job? God restored everything to Job and more, He restored everything ten fold.

I think we as believers can learn a lot from the story of Job. We do have a hedge around us that protects us from many things of the world. At the same time, we are not immune from pain and suffering. Many Christians are going through various hardships, from persecutions and tribulations to financial issues to many other tragedies in their life’s.  We are not exempt, but ultimately, God is in control of all things and nothing happens without a purpose and His permission. Sometimes God uses sufferings and tribulations for His divine purpose and to work in people’s life’s. I may not understand why sometimes, but God knows and nothing is done without a reason and a purpose.

Even the Apostle Peter was subject to Satan on more than one occasion.  “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” Lk 22:31.

Peter had to go to some trials, He denied the Lord three times and he had hardships and was imprisoned and crucified upside down in Rome, just as the Lord told him when He was still with them. So were many of the other disciples. All of the Apostles except John died a martyrs death. The Apostle Paul experienced many afflictions, beatings, imprisonment and ultimately death by beheading.  This is what Paul thought about sufferings in his lifetime:  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”Rom 8:18.  

Paul looked at the eternal not the temporal. In this life, Christians who follow the Lord will face opposition, trials and tribulations. The Lord told us so. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

We as Christians have an enemy that is relentless, the world, the flesh and Satan. I believe that most of our afflictions are not caused by Satan but by our own flesh. The flesh is warring against the Spirit. Many people want to blame Satan for everything that is going on in their life’s, but I think many times it’s just the flesh and the world. Of course we should never underestimate Satan, he is called the prince of this world and if Christians are living in the world as if the world were their home, then they are subject to Satan. The Bible speaks of Satan as the accuser of the brethren, he accuses us day and night before God.  (Rev 12:10)

Sufferings and pains are not easy, but they do strengthen a believers faith and draws them closer to the Lord. That’s what happened to Job, Peter and Paul as well as many others throughout history. In the end everything turned out well for Job and Satan was proven wrong.

That’s what Satan wishes to happen to the believers today. He wants us to curse God as soon as some kind of trial, sufferings or pain come our way. Most of us may never face the kind of tragedy Job was confronted with, although there are many that have had tragedies of various degrees in their lives. The question becomes , if any one of us who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior gets confronted with tribulations and trials similar to Job’s, will we keep the faith and integrity that Job demonstrated?

I hope and pray that none of us will ever face something like Job, but if we do I hope that we will stand tall and firmly rooted in the Lord. There is a spiritual warfare raging. Satan knows that he only but a short time left. We need to fight the good fight and stand against every fiery dart that the enemy may throw at us.

No matter what happen in this life, the destination of the believer is to be with the Lord. God will never leave us nor forsake us as long as we abide in Him, no matter what may come our way.  Satan is already defeated and he will try anything to distract or harass the believers. We need to stand on the promises of God. We as believers are secured in Christ and nothing can take that away.  The book of Ephesians is all about our position in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Rom 8:38, 39. 

We are secure in Christ and we are not of this world. The world can’t touch us, unless we allow the cares of this world to dominate our lives.  As long as we abide in Christ to live after the spirit rather than the flesh and we resist the Devil and his temptations and lies, we can overcome every obstacle and tragedy that we may face. All things here on the earth are temporal and will fade with time, our destination as believers is eternity. We need to set our eyes on the eternal and look up, our redemption draws close. Maranatha Lord Jesus. 

Love


“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,  but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.” 1Cr 13: 1-8.


I was meditating on these verses today and thinking about what Paul wrote: Love, the more excellent way. What is a Christian without love? Nothing. We can talk all the “Christianise”,  play “Churchianity” and go to church all we want, but if we fail to love our neighbor,  we do not have love. Have you ever tried to replace the word love in the above verses  with your name? Try it and see how it fits. Replace the word love with Jesus and it just flows.


There are many people in the church and outside who are hurting for various reasons. If we fail to see them and encourage them, we have no love. Sometimes I ask people, “How are you doing?” Many times the response is “I’m fine. Thank you.” Then I ask, “How do you really feel?” The answer is quite different sometimes. In reality, many are suffering or going through trials in their lives.  They are either afraid to say something or ashamed about the things that they are facing and going through. They need someone who reaches out to them and the church would be a good place to start.


Unfortunately, some people come to church and just want to blend in and enjoy some of the worship and the message and go home almost unseen. Church is supposed to be a fellowship of believers that comes together, loves each other and encourages one another. All of us have gone through trials in our walk with the Lord at one point or another. Those who have gone through similar trials should encourage and pray with those currently enduring them. You see, it is very easy to put on a mask and play the Christian in church, everything is fine, I am blessed, thank you. It is easy to live in a Christian bubble.


We can either play church or be the Church and do what Jesus asks us to do. Love one another. We need to be honest with one another and, if we see someone who is hurting inside (they are not that easy to overlook), we need to engage with that person rather than just walk by the person. Maybe that person is just looking for one person to stop and talk to them and encourage them.

We have all been there, we have had our ups and downs in our walk with the Lord. I think that the people in need look at other believers as more spiritual. They think the Pastors have everything figured out. On the contrary, Pastors, just as other believers, go through trials in their lives. We are all just finite human beings with hurts and pains, with good times and bad times.

So, the next time you’re at church, look around and see if someone maybe just needs some encouragement. Talk to some people you think you know from church and  ask them if there is anything for which you can pray. Iron sharpens iron. We do outreaches to save the lost, we feed the hungry, but I believe  we fail to reach out to those in our own church who need our encouragement and spiritual support. Without love, we,  the Church, are nothing.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34, 35.

 

“It is written….”


il_fullxfull.262556887Have you ever felt like you are not worthy or deserving of God’s love?  Is the enemy whispering in you ears sayings like, “look at you, you messed up again” or “for sure, God does not love you after this one.”  Do you feel condemned and live a life of uncertainty?  He loves me, He loves me not. He loves me, He loves me not? 

That is exactly what the enemy namely Satan wants for the believers in Christ Jesus; a live of condemnation and fear.  Satan is the accuser and he accuses us all day and night before the throne of God.  That is what he does best.  He is a liar and a murderer.  Are we as finite human beings perfect?  If we could be perfect on our own, Jesus died in vain.  As believers we do stumble from time to time, we do things that are not pleasing to God.  Does that mean that we have lost favor with God?  We have three enemies, Satan,  the world and the flesh. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,  against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Eph 6:12.

These three are powerful enemies.  Satan tempted Jesus three times in the wilderness.  Satan tempted Jesus with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.  We face those same temptations today.  Things have not changed much from 2000 years ago, the enemy is still the same.  His tactics and maneuvers are the same.  We are in a spiritual battle,  just as Jesus was.  Jesus did not give in to those temptations presented by the deceiver. He answered all three temptations with, “It is written.”   Jesus was quoting the scriptures from the book of Deuteronomy

He answered with the word of God, which is sharper than a two-edged sword.  The word of God is powerful and living and we as believers can overcome every temptation the enemy throws at us.  We can be confident because of the word of God.  Here are some scriptures that can give us the confidence and strength we need to overcome all things. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8:38, 39. ” But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:8. 

That would be on to throw back against Satan if he makes you doubt God’s love for you.  If we stumble or commit a sin ( nobody is sinless) we have this scripture to stand on: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”  1John 1:9, 10. 

Satan was defeated at the cross, everything that he does is only because God allows it for His divine purposes.  Jesus came to set us free from condemnation and to give us eternal life.  Satan tries to hinder us from fully realizing this freedom. So many Christians live a life of self-condemnation and a feeling of worthlessness. They fear God because in my opinion they have never really understood the true grace of God.

There is a very good book written by Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa entitled “Why Grace changes everything.”  He once lived as many of us a life of condemnation and had a legalistic relationship with God.  This book and the understanding of the true Grace of God can change a person’s relationship with the Lord.  A life of love, forgiveness and freedom that can only be found in Christ.  He came to set us free, not back into bondage.  “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. 

Who is the thief?  It is Satan, the world and the flesh.  Satan condemns, the legalistic people put you under bondage and the flesh wants to bring you back to Egypt.  We as Christians can all enjoy a live of freedom through the power of the Holy Spirit, if we just step out of His way and let Him do His work. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27.  We can relax in Christ, He is the author and finisher of our faith. God wants us all to walk in victory over Satan our accuser. 

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 118.  Victory without fear, trusting in the Lord and Him alone. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. “In My Father’s house are many mansions;  if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3. 

The Lord promised us to come back and that we will spend eternity with Him.  That is a comforting thought and our hope, to be with the Lord forever.  In the meantime we need to stay strong and run the race to finish it.  Satan may throw some stumbling blocks our way, but we will overcome, we are free.  If Satan ever whispers in your ears, “God does not love you”,  tell him, “It is written” and point him to the cross: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.  

We are the once that will spend eternity with Him because He loves us.  Satan’s fate doesn’t look all that great to me.  “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:10.

The Lord Jesus Christ; God, Creator and Savior


This is a video I made some time ago. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….

“Revival”


 I hear many pastors and believers say: “Pray for a mighty revival.”  I am all for revival, but the revival needs to start with the church first and foremost.

There are many issues within the body of Christ that are conveniently swept under the carpet by many of today’s churches. The divorce rate within the church is greater than outside the church. Immorality is overlooked and sin is not addressed because “we don’t want to offend anybody”.  In many ways the church has compromised with the world.

A lot of churches lack good stewardship. We have so many church programs, activities and festivities, etc.  Many of us are running around looking busy doing the Lord’s work… are we?  Are we

really doing the Lord’s work? There are outreaches, altar calls and crusades which are good in itself and needed, but I have to ask myself the question, what are the motives?

Many times I hear about big numbers of people coming forward to receive Christ on some major outreach events.  “Thousands of people accepted the Lord over the weekend and they are going to heaven.” Really, how do we know?   Perhaps some just come forward because of emotions and atmosphere of the rock concert like environment. Thousands of people raising their hands to praise the Lord.

Personally I wish and pray that everyone that has come forward at any church or event, received Jesus as Lord and Savior.  In reality, only God knows the heart. Many of our churches have missions and missionaries that go all over the world bringing the gospel to people. I love missions and many good things have been accomplished and many have come to know the Lord.  We establish churches around the world, reaching out via the internet and radio. Awesome, love it! 

What about right here at home, in our home church? Are the pastors and others reaching out to their own congregation and see the problems of many? Many people are sick with cancer and other diseases. Some are in financial problems, had their homes foreclosed, lost their jobs and are in desperate need for help. Some person that sits next to you in the seat at church, may be spending the night in their car because they are out of a job and lost their home.

I’m not downing the church, I think overall we as the church do a good job. The reason I was thinking about this in the first place, is because of a comment I received on one of my videos. This following  comment made me think about all the hoopla in the church and the failure to serve our next door neighbor.  I believe, this church failed horribly and was a poor witness to a person in need.

Here is the comment: “I agree there is a Heaven and Hell. I believe Jesus said it best when he spoke of The Great Commission. I actually had lost my parents to cancer just recently, and went to the church, I was told the pastor was too busy, and the associate pastor was gone. I then called up my Buddhist friend who told me, “I think Jesus wants to use in a special way.” His compassion, and understanding helped me more than any MAN has ever done in a VERY difficult time in my life.”

This is a sad situation when you have a supposed shepherd of the flock being too busy with activities instead of ministering to a person in need of help and comfort. I think we all need to step back sometimes, (that includes me). We all need to test and examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith as Paul wrote. Are we reflecting the love of Jesus with our lives and deeds to others?  Like so many like to say: “What would Jesus do?” What do you think Jesus would have done with this person that came to the church seeking for comfort?

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” 2Cr 13:5

“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1Peter 4:17.

Knowledge puffs up and there are many that claim knowledge of the scriptures, prophesies and eschatology. Some quote scriptures all day long condemning and judging others.  What good does all that knowledge do, if there is no love? What good does all the knowledge of scripture do, if there is no wisdom? Paul said that the greatest gift of all is love.  Love for our neighbors,  just as Jesus has commanded us. Jesus would not have turned this person away saying, “I’m sorry, but I AM to busy right now, come back later”.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12

Jesus Christ; The Man Who Changed The World And Divided Time.


Christians around the world believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Who was this Man that Christians 2000 years later regard and worship as the Son of God?

Was He just a mere man who was born over 2000 years ago in a little town named Bethlehem and was nothing more than a historical figure? What does set Jesus apart from so many that came before Him that claimed to be the Messiah? Maybe He was just another one of those delusional people with a Messiah complex

Is He the Savior of the world as God had promised long ago and prophesied through His prophets? Jesus did not just come on to the scene out of nowhere. He came to the exact appointed time that God had determined before the foundation of the world. Jesus was the only One that ever qualified to be the true Messiah. There are over 300 prophesies in the Old Testament concerning the first coming of the Messiah. They were all fulfilled in Christ Jesus . Here are just some of OT prophesies and the NT fulfillment of them:

The Son of God,  Ps 2:7   Luk 1:32, 35.

The seed of the woman:  Gen 3:15   Gal 4:4. 

Seed of Abraham,   Gen 17:7,  22:18   Gal 3:16.

Seed of Isaac:   Gen 21:12   Heb 11:17-19.

Seed of David,  Ps 132:11   Jer 23:5   Acts 13:23   Rom 1:3.

Coming at the appointed time:   Gen 49:10   Dan 9:24, 25   Lk 2:1.

Born of a virgin:   Is 7:14   Mat 1:22, 23   Lk 2:7. 

Called Immanuel (God with us):   Is 7:14   Mat 1:22, 23.

Born in Bethlehem of Judea:   Mic 5:2   Mat 2:1   Lk 2:4-6. 

Great persons coming to adore Him:   Ps 72:10   Mat 2:1-11.

The slaying of the children of Bethlehem:   Jer 31:15   Mat 2:16-18.

Called out of Egypt:    Hos 11:1   Mat 2:15.

Preceded by John the Baptist:    Mal 3:1   Mat 3:1, 3   Lk 1:17.

Anointed with the Spirit:    Ps 45:7   Is 11:2,  61:1   Mat 3:16   Jh 3:34   Acts 10:38.

Prophet like to Moses:    Deut 18:15-18   Acts 3:20-22.

Priest after the order of Melchizedek:   Ps110:4   Heb 5:5, 6.

Entering public ministry:   Is 61:1, 2   Lk 4:16-21, 43.

Ministry in Galilee:   Is 9:1, 2   Mat 4:12-16, 23.

Entering publicly into Jerusalem:   Zec 9:9   Mat 21:1-5.

His coming into the temple:   Hag 2:7, 9   Mal 3:1   Mt 21:12   Lu 2:27-32   Joh 2:13-16.

His poverty:   Is 53:2   Mk 6:3   Lk 9:58.

His meekness:   Is 42:2   Mat 12:15, 16, 19.

Tenderness and compassion:   Is 40:11 42:3   Mat 12:15, 20    Heb 4:15.

Without guile:  Is 53:9 1Pe 2:22. 

His zeal:   Ps 69:9   Jh 2:17.

Preaching in parables:   Ps 78:2 Mat 13:34, 35. Working miracles, Is 35:5, 6 Mat 11:4-6 Jh 11:47


His bearing reproach:  Ps 22:6 69:7,9, 20   Rom 15:3.

Rejected by his brethren:  Ps 69:8   Is 63:3   Jh 1:11 7:3.

Stone of stumbling to the Jews:  Is 8:14   Rom 9:32   1Pe 2:8.

Hated by the Jews:   Ps 69:4   Is 49:7   Jh 15:24, 25.

Rejected by the Jewish rulers:  Ps 118:22   Mat 21:42   Jhn 7:48.

Jews and Gentiles combine against Him:   Ps 2:1, 2   Lk 23:12   Acts 4:27.

Betrayed by a friend:  Ps 41:9 55:12-14   Jhn 13:18, 21


Disciples forsake Him:   Zec 13:7   Mat 26:31, 56.

Sold for thirty pieces silver:    Zec 11:12   Mat 26:15.

His price being given for the potter’s field:     Zec 11:13   Mat 27:7.

Agony of his sufferings:   Ps 22:14, 15   Lk 22:42, 44.

Sufferings for others:  Is 53:4-6, 12   Dan 9:26   Mat 20:28.

Patience and silence under suffering:  Is 53:7   Mat 26:63 27:12-14.

Smitten on the cheek:  Mic 5:1   Mat 27:30.

Visage being marred:   Is 52:14 53:3   Jhn 19:5.

Spit on and scourged: Is 50:6 Mk 14:65   Jhn 19:1.

Hands and feet being nailed to the cross:   Ps 22:16   Jhn 19:18 20:25. 

Forsaken by God:  Ps 22:1   Mat 27:46.

Being mocked:   Ps 22:7, 8   Mat 27:39-44.

Gall and vinegar being given Him to drink:   Ps 69:21   Mat 27:34.

Garments being parted, and lots cast for His clothing:   Ps 22:18   Mat 27:35.

Numbered with the transgressors:   Is 53:12   Mk 15:28. 

Intercession for His murderers:  Is 53:12   Lk 23:34.

His Death:  Is 53:12   Mat 27:50.

No bones would be broken:   Ex12:46    Ps 34:20   Jhn 19:33, 36.

Pierced:   Zec 12:10   Jhn 19:34, 37. 

Buried with the rich:    Is 53:9   Mat 27:57-60.

Flesh not seeing corruption:  Ps 16:10   Acts 2:31.

His resurrection:   Ps 16:10 Is 26:19   Lk 24:6, 31, 34.

His ascension:  Ps 68:18   Lk 24:51   Acts 1:9.

Sitting on the right hand of God:   Ps 110:1   Heb 1:3. 

Exercising the priestly office in heaven:   Zec 6:13   Rom 8:34.

The chief cornerstone:   Is 28:16   1Pe 2:6, 7. 

King in Zion:  Ps 2:6   Lk 1:32   Jhn 18:33-37.

Conversion of the Gentiles to Him:   Is11:10 42:1   Mat 1:17, 21   Jhn 10:16   Acts 10:45, 47.

His righteous government:   Ps 45:6, 7  Jhn 5:30   Rev 19:11. 

Universal dominion:      Ps 72:8   Dan 7:14   Phl 2:9, 11. 

Perpetuity of His kingdom:    Is 9:7   Dan 7:14   Lk 1:32, 33.

Jesus was and is more than just a mere man. He is truly the Son of God who took away the sin of the world and nailed them to the cross. He rose from the dead, thus He overcame death and defeated Satan. He is the light of the world and He gives eternal life to those who by faith believe and trust in Him as Lord and Savior. He did not just live and died, He divided time. Because of His birth the calendar changed from BC to AD. The world was never the same again after Christ came and He has transformed many lives throughout the centuries.

 

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, maybe you have heard about Him, maybe somebody told you about the His birth, His ministry, His crucifixion and that He rose from the dead on the third day.  He offers salvation and eternal life to those who repent and believe in Him. This Christmas season, take some time and think, what Christmas is really all about and why Christians celebrate this season. It is not about Santa Claus, gifts, parties etc. It is all about Jesus and the gift of God to mankind.

Jesus came at the appointed time. He died at the appointed time and He rose at the appointed time. His birth has changed the world and it will change you if you let Him. He offers salvation to those who will believe, and they shall not perish but have everlasting life.  Salvation is a free gift of God. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, no one can earn salvation or a right standing before God through their good behaviors or good deeds.

 

Various religions are trying to reach God on their own merit, trying to live a good enough life, and maybe God will let them into heaven. In biblical Christianity, God reaches down to man offering salvation through Jesus Christ and through Him alone. God provided as promised a sacrifice for us, all we need to do is receive Him and open our hearts to him.

I pray wherever you may be in the world regardless of your religious background, to at least take some time to think and reflect on the message that Christians have proclaimed for the last 2000 years. Jesus is truly the Son of God who died and shed His blood for our sins on the cross, offering forgiveness and eternal life to those who by faith call upon Him. God loves you and He does not want you to perish, but you must come to Him by the way that God provided, through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to salvation. 

 

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6  “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Can man orchestrate his own salvation?


The Bible is very clear about that man cannot save himself. No one can reach God on his own merit or on their own goodness or righteousness. Salvation is a gift of God by His grace through faith. The context of Ezekiel 14 is that Israel had turned to idol worship and God was pronouncing judgment on them. They had become faithless, they did not trust and believe in the true and living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but rather chose to worship man made gods.

“Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord GOD. Eze 14:14

Even if these 3 OT heroes would earnestly pray as intercessor for the nation, even they could not stop the judgment of God against Israel.
The OT teaches that people were saved by faith which accounted to them as righteousness. Abraham was a man of faith who believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. The OT saints believed in the coming Messiah and the promises of God, they looked forward to the cross as we now look back at the finished work of Christ on the cross.

“And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Gen 15:6

“For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Rom 4:3

“just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Gal 3:6

“And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.” James 2:23

Religions have always tried to reach God, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhist and other religions believe that they can appease God by their works of their righteousness. No one can appease God on his own righteousness. The Bible teaches that there is none that is righteous in the eyes of God.

“As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;” Rom 3:10

Mankind is separated from God because of sin, and God has given mankind only one way of being reconciled to Him through His son Jesus Christ who died for the sin of the world. Jesus by shedding His blood on the cross has paid the price for sin and everybody who believes by faith in Him and Hid finished work is forgiven and God does not remember their sins anymore. It is the righteousness of Jesus that is imputed onto the believers and thus the believer is saved, not of works or achieving righteousness before God.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph 2:8, 9


It is because of God’s grace that we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ. Grace is something we do not deserve, or earned, it is a gift of God because He loves us and He sent His Son to bring us into a right standing with Him.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Eternal Life


Some days I find myself contemplating about life, death and eternity. What is life and what is the purpose of our being here for an appointed time and then we die? Last year my good friend Don passed away and went to be with the Lord. It came suddenly and unexpected and no one was really prepared for it. I just had lunch with him not too long before and we had a great time conversing about many things. He was a good man, a very gentle soul. He always had a smile and a kind words of encouragement to anyone he would meet.

I guess you could say we were the odd couple, he was about 25 years older than me and sometimes people would ask me, is that your Dad? We had an instant bond from the day we met about 6 years ago and our friendship grew stronger year after year. I will miss him a lot and I will always keep him in my heart until I will see him again in heaven.

As believers in Jesus Christ we have the blessed hope of eternal life. We don’t have to fear death. Jesus said: “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” John 11:25. Jesus is the life and all those who believe in him have the promise of eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

That is what sets Christianity apart from all other man made religions, the promise of eternal life through the the Savior Christ Jesus. Jesus died on the cross and He rose on the third day, defeating death. That is the blessed hope Peter spoke off: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5.

This is the blessed hope that the Christian enjoys. Of course we mourn the loss of a loved one. We miss that person, the husband, the wife, the brother the sister or friend. But we as believers don’t have to be sorrowful as those who do not believe and have no hope because of their unbelief.

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep (died), lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” 1Th 4:13, 14.

Unfortunately many will reject this truth and call it nonsense. They mock the Christians and call us names. Jesus gave us the reason why so many will not believe and will perish. These are the following verses of John 3:16, which many people leave out:

“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.” John 3:17-20.

Jesus makes it very clear why so many will reject the truth and the free offer of salvation by faith in Him and that they are already condemned because of it. Many people want to live their lives as they please and they do not want to be accountable to anyone. That is their choice and free will which by the way is given by God. One thing is for sure, there is one thing the believer and unbelievers have in common, all of us have to face death at one point. The statistics are not good, one out of one dies. There is not one that has lived forever, no matter how rich or famous that person may be, death has no partiality.

It’s always easy for an Atheist to say, there is no God and that Christians are delusional and worship the flying spaghetti monster. That’s easy to say when someone is still somewhat young and healthy, who writes books, makes it on the media circles and earns a pretty good penny by denying the existence of God. Life takes funny turns and I would like to see that person one day lying on their death-bed facing death. I assure you that they are in fear of death. They may deny it now, but one day every knee shall bow and confess Jesus is Lord. No one will escape death. And those who do not believe, can they say for sure that there is nothing after death? I don’t think so. Can I prove that there is life after death? No, but I do believe God and He cannot lie. I know in my heart that the believers will be with God for eternity, just as my friend Don is now.

That’s why I believe the words of Jesus, that those who believe in Him have eternal life. I will miss Don and his friendship, his wife Beverly will miss him as well as his children, but we all know and are comforted that Don is in a much better place now and one day whenever the Lord decides, we will see him again, that smile and his humor. Thank you Don for your friendship, you have touched many people and I know that you do not want me to be depressed and sad, but to press on and run the race until the Lord calls me home. Farewell my friend.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mat 11:28-30

Choose Jesus today before it is too late because death can come so suddenly. If your are not sure what happens after death, maybe you should consider the words of Jesus. Receive Him now, because you will meet Him one day no matter what. I encourage you to at least learn about Jesus. Pick up the Bible and start with reading the Gospel of John. Seek Him and you shall find Him.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:17.

“You Must Be Born Again”


“This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:2, 3

Nicodemus came to Jesus because he knew in his heart that Jesus was someone special, nothing that he had ever seen or heard before. He saw the miracles Jesus performed, he heard Him teach with authority. He knew Jesus was no ordinary man, he saw the glory of God in Him. What did Jesus mean when He said to Nicodemus,  “you must be born again?” I’m sure many people have heard Christians use that term, “born again”. What does it mean to be born again? Nicodemus ask Jesus that very question,  not clearly understanding what Jesus was talking about.  Jesus was talking about a spiritual rebirth.

Every person that is born, is born of the flesh with a sin nature due to the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the garden. The result of their disobedience was sin entering the world and sin brought forth death i.e. spiritual death. Mankind was separated from God because of the inherent sin nature that is passed on throughout the generations. The Bible speaks of iniquity and that all were all born in iniquity. What is the definition of iniquity?  1) lack of justice or righteousness; wickedness; injustice.  2) a wicked act; sin. King David wrote about iniquity in the Psalms.

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” Ps 51:5 God also spoke about iniquity when He gave the ten commandments:  “…you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:5, 6.

This passage makes it pretty clear,  that those who hate God and reject Him have a curse upon them, from one generation to another. There is a lot of truth to this, character defects, personality and behaviors get passed on from generation to generation. Many times we hear of people ending up doing the same things previous family generations have done. For example, the son that had an alcoholic father, has a tendency to be an alcoholic himself. The children of a dysfunctional family have the tendency to be dysfunctional themselves when they start a family. People that are born out-of-wedlock, most likely end up doing the same thing, bringing forth children born out-of-wedlock, just as their parent did. Divorces are another example, many children of parents that got divorced end up in divorce themselves. These tendencies get passed on from one generation to another and it is an endless cycle unless that cycle gets broken. The good news is that this generational curse can be broken when a person turns to God. The passage in Exodus states that He will visit the iniquity of people from generation to generation, but only to those who hate Him. “…but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Ex 20:6.

Once a person turns to God, by repentance i.e. change of mind, that person has broken that endless cycle. He or she has becomes a new person, old things have passed away and all things have become new.  There are countless testimonies of people who have come to faith in Jesus Christ that had a life transforming experience and not only that, many times other family members will come to faith in Christ because of their radical transformation. I am no exception, I grew up in a non believing family and I inherited many of these iniquities/tendencies. My two grandfathers were alcoholics, my three uncles were alcoholic and I ended up being an alcoholic. I had the tendencies to become an alcoholic and I did. There are many other things that I did. Today I can see certain family members displaying the same behaviors and they have not changed, they go around in circles blaming everybody else or society.  So many say, I cannot help myself,  I am an addict or this is how I was made. I don’t believe that they were made that way. There is a way out to break free from this inherent curse. The way to true freedom is through Jesus Christ, He can change the life of anybody, if they are willing to come to Him and submit their will.

Most people are self-willed, they want to do as they please,  without being accountable for their actions. Actions have consequences and unless the cycle is broken, people will go around in circles doing the same things over and over again, just as the once that came before them, and as the once following them. Jesus wants to set people free from all of this bondage, this heavy load upon people’s lives. Jesus can break this vicious cycle. If you are reading this and find yourself in bondage to sin or in a seemingly endless cycle with no hope or end in sight, may I say that there is? The way out is through Jesus Christ the Savior of mankind who calls you out of this lifestyle of bondage, pain and grief. He wants to set you free from all of this and break the cycle. God loves you and He wants you to return to Him.  Turn to Him now and He will shower you with His love and will embrace you into His loving arms. It is never too late to turn, to turn away from those things that offend God. He will change you life, as He has changed mine and the life of countless others. He will give the believers a life of abundance.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
A lifestyle of sin steals the person of true joy. Sin is deceiving and may look inciting for a while, but in the end it stings, making life miserable. That is not what God wants for us. He wants us to be free from the heavy load of sin in our lives. Whatever you may be facing in your life right now, turn it over to Jesus and He will set you free. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30