Posts Tagged With: Crucifixion

The light that is darkness


Light of the WorldUpdate: I wrote this before the Boston Marathon bombing and some other tragedies that have occurred before the Sandy Hook Shooting. Just in these few month since the school shooting we see an increase in violence around the world.

We witnessed another tragedy in the US, a shooting at a school in Connecticut.  Twenty young children and eight adults including the 20 year old shooter died on this horrific day. My heart and my prayers go out to the families that lost their loved once today.

It was a day filled with evil, pure evil. Evilness is real and is on the rise worldwide. We are seeing it first hand in days like these.  A few days ago it was a Shopping Mall that cost the lives of people, before that it was a movie theater in Aurora.

Columbine is another haunting memory and there are many more and there will be more in the future. People are looking for answers, how can something like this happen?

Psychologist try to find answers why people do these horrific things with a scientific explanation and look at these evil acts as something that is caused by society and circumstances in peoples lives.

They admit that there is a problem in today’s society, but they come from a point of human reasoning.  A human perspective. If we could just change the behaviors of people in society, these horrific acts would lessen or disappear they believe.

They forget that there is darkness in the world,  a darkness which is satanic and evil in nature.  They look at the world from a purely human level rather than from a spiritual level.

Evil exist,  darkness exist. The only way to fight this darkness  is to shine light on it and it will flee. Darkness can only exist due to the lack of light. Darkness i.e evil cannot exist when light is present.

Jesus Christ is that Light and we as believers are partakers of that Light in this dark world. We need to shine light onto that darkness and expose it for what it is; pure evil.

We can blame guns and other things all day long for these atrocities,  but as long as society dismisses the fact that evil exist and that it is controlled by an unseen force, they will never see the truth. We are living in a fallen world and the ruler of this world is the evil one.

Many people do not want to acknowledge that Satan exist, exactly what he wants. As long as people are in the dark they will not see the Light. They serve the prince of this world, unknowingly to most, but as Bob Dylan once sang, “you gotta serve someone.”

Jesus spoke about the darkness quite often. We have a choice, to either listen or ignore what Jesus said. Many ignore Jesus and basically make Him out to be a liar.

“The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. “Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. “If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.” Luke 11:34-36.

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Mat 24:12.

That is exactly what we are seeing today, people without a conscience or feelings. They can take the life of others and commit horrific crimes without feeling an ounce of guilt.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:28-32.

I believe that it will get darker in the future and believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior need to stand against the darkness and share from God’s perspective and His Word that was given to us. There is an answer to our sinful and fallen world, that answer is Christ.

Many want to live and participate in that dark world, even after Jesus offered them the gift of eternal life by dying for them on the cross. Why? Because they love the darkness.

“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. “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. “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. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” John 3:16-20.

I pray that some who may read this and not yet know the Lord, to seek Him. Come out of the darkness into His marvelous light.

“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.

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Christmas, the Tree, Pagans and Faith


decorated-christmas-tree-widescreen-765740Christmas is right around the corner and every year we hear the same rhetoric. There is much opposition to this particular religious holiday from many people, secularist, atheist and others. Mainly from liberals that call for tolerance as long as it has nothing to do with Christianity,  Jesus or the Bible.

Christianity is under attack in this country and this year the same people come forward to speak out against the name of Christmas, the Christmas tree and other Christian symbols. To be honest, personally I do not believe that Christmas as we know it was celebrated by the early church or that the early church used a Christmas tree to commemorate the birth of Christ.

I can’t find anything in the Bible that teaches the believers to celebrate Christmas i.e. the birth of Christ as we traditionally do in many places around the world.  I do believe that it is a man-made holiday and that some aspects of it are rooted in ancient paganism, adopted by Constantine, who compromised with the world, mixing Christianity with Paganism.

Many books have been written about this subject and people have discussed this issue for many years. I don’t really care to go into too many details about this. Christmas has been a longstanding tradition and I’m not opposed to it.

Jesus wasn’t born on Dec 25th but since no one knows the exact date, the world settled on that date. The world celebrates Christmas and it has become nothing more than a commercial holiday,  especially over the last few decades.

I participate in the celebration of Christmas with the family and the exchange of gifts etc. and I do enjoy a decorated tree in my living room, but I firmly believe that the only Holidays the Lord cares about are His seven divine appointed Feast which are: Passover, Unleavened bread, First fruits, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles.  Three of the Feast are in the Spring and four in the fall. Some could argue that Jesus may have been born during the feast of Tabernacles.

Those are the Holidays that we should learn and care about. Whenever God has done great things, He has many times done them on His divine appointed times. Jesus was crucified on Passover, He was in the tomb for Unleavened bread and rose on First fruits. The Holy Spirit inaugurated the church age on Pentecost. I believe that the rapture will happen on the feast of trumpets, the world will be judged on Yom Kippur and God will dwell with us on the Feast of Tabernacles.

Once again we will celebrate Christmas this year almost like the world celebrates it, with the one difference that we think of Jesus Who became flesh, dwelled among us and took our sins and nailed them to the cross.  We believe in Him by faith. Many Christians have Christmas trees in their homes and many churches display them these days. I used to have a problem with seeing a Christmas tree in the church, but I’m over it now.

Then there are those who believe that the tree is a pagan symbol and that the Bible speaks about it in the book of Jeremiah chapter 10. Louis Farrakhan, who I would not consider to be a biblical Christian in light of various statements he has made over the years and his antisemitic views. Farrakhan has come out again addressing the Christmas tree and points to a passage in Jeremiah. Many people have used these passages over the years to supposedly prove that God is against a decorated Christmas tree.

That of course is absolute nonsense and those passages have nothing to do with a Christmas tree or any other Christmas decorations.  Here is another classic example showing how people use certain passages or verse to twist it in order to fit their agenda and ideology.

“For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good.” Jeremiah 10:3-5

Those verses clearly talk about people cutting a piece of wood, to make idols that they bowed down to and worshiped. The Israelites turned their backs many times on the Lord and worshiped pagan idols, decorating them with gold and silver. Many idols had a human likeness. Instead of worshiping and praising the true and living God, they bowed down to a dead piece of wood.

That is one thing God does not like, man making idols and bow down to them. Israel was punished many times because the turned to idols and today we as the church i.e the bride of Christ, need to be careful not to make idols or worship something that is not real. Some people worship wealth,  material things and themselves. There are three things that we need to guard against, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.

There is nothing wrong with having some nice things, as long as they do not come before God. The Christmas tree is not an idol and I have not seen anyone bowing down to the tree or worship the tree.

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, a time to reflect and realize that God send His Son, Who humbled Himself and left Heaven to become one of us, God in the flesh.

“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.” Isaiah 9:6.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.

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Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin


mene

“Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’ To silent stone, Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, Yet in it there is no breath at all. “But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Hab 2:19, 20.

Cast away your Idols, don’t live after the things of the world, seek the Kingdom. God will topple every idol that man has made for himself. God is shaking the nations. It’s time to awake and seek what is real and everlasting.

The handwriting is on the wall for the world. The world is blind and will be struck with perplexity.

Those who have spiritual eyes understand the times and season. God’s message to the world:
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Mat 6:19-21.

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Living in Biblical Times


We are inching closer to a two state solution which would be disastrous for Israel. The day will come and looking at the Middle East especially the massacre by the Syrian regime on it’s own people without the UN really helping the people of Syria.

The world just looks on while according to the rebel forces over 40.000 people have been slaughtered.

I believe that we are coming very close to  Joel chapter 3 being fulfilled:

“For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem.”  Joel 3:1.

God did that in 1948,  when Israel was back in the land. Prophecy fulfilled.

“I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.”  Joel 3:2.

The first part will come after the division of the land, which will happen. Note, it says “they have also divided up my land.”

Israel will be divided, whether Israel likes it or not.

This  will happen in the very near future. Something will happen with Syria. There is one prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled. It is a prophecy in Isaiah 17.

“The burden against Damascus. “Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, And it will be a ruinous heap.” Isaiah 17:1.

Damascus is one of the oldest inhabited city in the world. Listening to the news and the advancement of the rebels towards Damascus could bring this prophecy into reality sooner as we may think. All it takes is one nuke.

The stage is set for a two state resolution, Syria is in a civil war and Iran is going rogue, sympathizing with the Syrian regime, Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations.

In Egypt, the Muslim brotherhood has taken over and President Mursi is trying to set himself up as a dictator. The US is almost powerless in the Middle East and has lost the confidence of some Muslim that want freedom and a democracy in the region. Maybe one of the reasons that we can’t find America mentioned in the Bible?

The Middle East is a powder keg that can go off big time at any time. Iran is getting closer to a nuclear weapon threatening to wipe Israel of the map. Ahmadinejad is reigning in chaos and is eagerly awaiting the 12th Imam.

We are truly living in biblical times and we see things that no other generation has seen. We see the globalization of the world, the US moving toward socialism and President Obama as a promoter of a global economy i.e a one world order with a worldwide currency.

Now is the time to watch. Everyday something is changing and I do believe that God is shaking up the world. The world is struck with perplexity and we hear of wars and rumors of war.

Jesus told us about all these things that will come to pass and there will be a person that will emerge to bring a peace plan to the Middle East. A 7 year peace plan that will according to the Bible fall apart in the middle after 3 1/2 years which will usher in the Great Tribulation.

I’m not making any prediction when this will happen, but looking at the way things are developing, it’s time to wake up and look up.

I think that we will see some things in the very near future that will drive the world into a tailspin. Are you ready?

The study of Eschatology is important, especially now that we are getting closer to many prophecies come to pass.

Ezekiel 38, 39. Daniel, Mark 13, Luke 21 and Matthew 25, some of Paul’s writing, the book of Joel, Zechariah and of course the book of Revelation. There are other that I didn’t mentioned, but God has given us His word. We should not be surprised or shocked as the world will be, because the Lord has given us all knowledge.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for the Muslim world and pray that many people will come to the knowledge of the truth. God is working all things for good. He is on the throne and He is in control over all things.

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Joy in the midst of suffering


silhouette-of-a-man-in-front-of-a-crossTurning on the TV today, can make one down right upset. There is the unrest in the Middle East and other places. People protesting, hating and killing one another. The economy is in shambles, many are without a job and can’t find one. The government is making promises it can’t keep and wants the people to rely and depend on the government to fix everything in due time. Many people have lost their hope.

The world seems to have become a dark place and is getting darker every day, as many are suffering in this time of uncertainty from a variety of circumstances. Is there a way out? Will this world ever get better? How much longer can it go on like this?

The world is struck with perplexity, just as the Bible tells us. Everyday, there is something reported in the news media that confirms that. The world has changed and is changing by the minute. The world as we know it is dissipating right before our own eyes.

Many people around the world are suffering and the joy that once existed or what is left of it seem to go down in flames. We are finding ourselves in a downward spiral. There seem to be more questions than answers. There are more and more politicians with their rhetoric proclaiming that they have the answers. Not!

Many Christian’s today find themselves in the same dilemma as those who are of this world. They have lost their joy in life. They seem to be hopeless and are suffering because of it. Of course I realize that Christians face many of the same problems as others do. Unemployment, financial problems, health issues and many other things that come with living in the 21st Century.

Here is my question in all of this, are we as believer in Jesus Christ exempt from all the problems that are in the world? Are we somehow shielded from all things? I think not, but are we to lose our joy in the midst of all the suffering?

First of all, let me say this, believers in Christ and His word should not be surprised at all when looking at this world. Jesus was very clear about how things will be in the last days. We as believers should be very aware, seeing the signs of the time, that the end is near.

“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28.

We do see many of these things starting to happen, the birth pangs are more frequent every day. The world is struck with perplexity. We are getting closer. Look up!

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; “men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” Luke 21:25, 26.

In the meantime, we as believers should not lose our joy. This world and it’s pleasures and problems will fade. We as believers have already eternal life, because we believe in Him Who laid down His life for us. That is something we should and need to rejoice in. This world is passing away, so why worry about these temporal things, we need to see the eternal picture. We need to see the world from God’s perspective.

Of course we will have trials and tribulations, our Lord told us so. But in the midst of all this suffering, we should not lose our joy. Paul suffered a lot as did many of the others that went before us, but they never lost their joy or purpose. They had eternity in view.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith; the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9.

“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. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” Romans 8:18, 19.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8.

There are so many passages in the Bible, that speak of the joy within the believer. We need to rejoice, even in these dark days with all its suffering, both personal and in general. The joy of the Lord needs to be in us on our journey to the promised land, the path that leads to eternal life.

Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10.

The book of Philippians is also called the book of joy. Read it and see how Paul rejoiced in the midst of suffering.

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Jesus and the woman at the well


There is a beautiful story in the Bible, that many of us are very familiar with. It is the story about Jesus meeting the woman at the well. This woman was a Samaritan. Jews had no dealings with Samaritans, in fact, they were hated by the Jews, probably even more than the Gentiles.

The rabbi’s would travel around Samaria to go north, although the distance would have been much shorter by traveling through Samaria. They went out of their way not to go through Samaria, because of their extreme dislike of the Samaritans.

Not so with Jesus, He came up from Judea, traveling towards Galilee which is north of Jerusalem. Jesus did not choose the longer route in order to avoid contact with the Samaritans. In fact, He had a divine appointment with that woman at the well. “But He needed to go through Samaria.” John 4:4. 

Jesus knew exactly what He was doing, this divine appointment was foreordained and was God’s plan. Jesus arrived at the well around noon time i.e the sixth hour shortly before the woman would come to the well to draw water. It is interesting that the woman was all by herself, normally the women would come early in the morning to draw the water. Some believe that the woman came in the later part of the day because she was somewhat of an outcast in her village. As we learn later on in the story, she had several husbands and she was living with a man that she was not married to.

Why did Jesus go out of His way to meet this particular woman? Even she was baffled that a Jew would talk to her.

“Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? “Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:9-14.

At first the woman did not understand that Jesus was talking about spiritual things to her. At this point she had no idea that she was talking to the Messiah, the true and living God in the flesh. This woman had no idea that this encounter with Jesus would change her whole life and the life of many more Samaritans that came to faith because Jesus went out of His way to meet the women at the well.

What can we as believers learn from this story today? The religious leaders of Jesus’ days would go out of their way no to come in contact with the sinners and avoid them at all cost. What about us? Are we willing to go out of our way to meet sinners, those who do not yet know Jesus? Or are we more comfortable living in a Christian bubble, no contact with those outside the church? I wonder how many divine appointments we may have missed. Jesus went out of His way many times, in fact He sought out the sinners and even dinned with them. He cared about those who were lost.

Should we not have the same heart as Jesus did, telling people about Jesus and the promises of God that can change many peoples lives? Our testimony as believers and the love of God can change the heart of many, if we are willing to go out of our ways and to meet people like the woman at the well. Because of Jesus’ testimony about Himself to the woman at the well, many people of that city believed in Him and were saved. Salvation had come to them because Jesus was willing to go out of His way.

I pray that we have the same urgency and compassion that Jesus had. What the world needs is Jesus. The world needs to know about Jesus, not religion but the forgiveness, salvation and eternal life that God promised to all those that believe by faith. A loving relationship with the living God. Let us be the messengers of light to a lost people and a hopeless world.

“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” that is, the word of faith which we preach: that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:8, 9, 13-15, 17. 

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Thank You Jesus…


“I woke up this morning with a wine glass in my hand. Whose wine, what wine, where the hell did I dine?”  (Peter Frampton)

That was me six years ago on May the 14th 2006, the day of my spiritual re-birth, the day I was born again. I am so grateful to the Lord Jesus that He has changed me and transformed my life on that day. (My testimony and follow up post can be found here.)

Six years without any desire of drinking or partying and all the other things that come with a lifestyle of destruction. I truly hit rock bottom on that day and it was Jesus that came to the rescue. I have never looked back and I never ever want to go back to Egypt, living a life of bondage and addictions.

Am I perfect? By no means, I am what I am, but I’m not who I used to be. In these past six years I had so many awesome experiences and the Lord changed my life completely. I have gifts that I never knew I had. I made so many new friends and met some wonderful people that are truly a blessing in my life.

Thank you Jesus for saving me from a life that was without purpose and fulfillment. Thank You for your kindness, your mercy and grace. Thank you for your forgiveness and most of all, thank you for dying in my place. I don’t have all the answers, but one thing I know for sure, Jesus is alive and He is real and His blood cleanses us from all sin. He forgave me and transformed my life. I know that He can change anybody’s life, if a person is willing to let Him. He is very gentle and does not force Himself on anyone, but He is right there with open arms, ready to heal and forgive.

If you are feeling empty and lost, may I be a witness to you and tell you that if you want to find true happiness and peace, turn to Jesus. He changed my life, the moment I asked Him to come into my life. The world is full of empty promises and lies. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. The world with it’s desires it’s pleasures will sting you in the end like a viper.

Living in the world is a life seeking after the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life. I have lived after those things, but even-though the appeared to be pleasurable for a season, in the end everything was in vain and nothing ever truly satisfied. Quite the opposite, pleasures turned into pain and grief, disappointment anger and jealousy.

Today I look back at my life and I know it was all vanity and grasping for the wind. It was a life of illusion, deceit and full of emptiness. I look at some people that are still living in the lifestyle I once adhered to and I see the destruction, the pain and grief so many endure because of it. Jesus is life and He does not deceive anyone. Thank you Jesus for giving me life eternal. I am truly thankful for what You have done for me.

I pray that if someone reads this finding themselves in a similar situation as I was in that they would seek you Lord and call upon your name, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

“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.

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The power of a personal testimony


I believe that followers of Jesus Christ should share their testimony with others, especially with people who are not believers. All of us  have some kind of conversion story. Some conversions may not be as dramatic as others, but every believer has a story to tell about how Jesus changed their lives.

There are many life changing testimonies out there from people who were saved by Jesus.  Many of them experienced a radical transformation of their live after meeting Jesus for the first time. That’s what happened to me.

You can read my personal testimony here: https://media4lifeministries.com/2011/11/14/my-personal-testimony-and-how-jesus-transformed-my-life/

Just like me, many born again believers came from a life of sex, drugs and Rock and Roll.

There are many unique stories told about people who lived a life of destruction,  a life after the flesh. The situation and circumstances may have been different,  but everybody agrees that it was Jesus that changed their lives. Jesus is the One that transforms a person’s life of spiritual blindness and death into a life after the spirit. How important and powerful are personal testimonies?

A personal testimony can be more effective and powerful than running around hitting people over the head with Bible verses, condemning them. There are lot’s of Bible – thumpers out there telling people that they go to hell because they are sinners. They have a holier than thou” attitude and in my opinion do more harm than good. If someone would have come to me in my drinking days and told me that I’m a sinner and that I would end up in hell, I would have told him or her to bugger off.

How can people who do not know Jesus personally know anything about what the word of God teaches? Pushing a Bible and Bible verses in their faces will only alienate most of them. In the end more harm was done than good. That’s why I believe that a personal testimony can be way more powerful than a condemning message to an unbeliever that has no clue about what sin really is or how God looks at the sin problem. Many times when I talk to unbelievers about God or the cross and what it means to be forgiven of their sins through Jesus Christ, they just brush it off as a fictional fairy tale. They come with typical arguments about why God does not exist and that believers in God are delusional.

I don’t want to make this a long story,  I believe that all of us believers should have a written testimony as a witness to the world. I have posted my testimony on many social websites and I have gotten many positive responses because people were able to relate to my story. I can tell about my conversion and transformation to people either face to face or by posting it online.

Who can argue against a personal testimony that has truly transformed and changed a person’s life? I had once an Atheist tell me that it was not God but rather my will power. I told him that I had tried many times to overcome things by my own will power and failed every time. It was only when I surrendered my life to the Lord that my life changed, not by will power but by His might.

I would like to give you one example from a response I received from a person in India and why I believe that a personal testimony is so important.

“…very inspiring testimony for youth and for drinkers, those who are investing money for their physical death and for spiritual death through drinking these people have to read this and I have been praying for them . I have shown your testimony to my father and he starts to cry because he is a drinker and he is suffering from heart problem already doctor’s advised to my father many times but he ignored always their advice, miracle after reading your testimony my father starts to pray the God and he said to me I want to baptize in the holly name of Jesus Christ,when I heard this words from my father I shocked and I realized God has no Partiality to save by his Grace through your testimony. And finally I never forgot you because your testimony changed my father by God’s grace I am very thankful to you…”

That brought tears to my eyes and this shows that people’s lives can be changed through personal testimonies. As I said in the beginning, we all have a different story to tell, but there are people out there that can relate to your story. I would like to encourage you to share your testimony with other, either on your blogs, Facebook and other social networks. A personal testimony is a powerful tool. Try it!

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6.

Categories: Apologetics, Believe, Bible, Biblical Perspectives, Christianity, Eschatology, Faith, Jesus Christ, John 3:16, Salvation, Spiritual, Truth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments
 
 

Of one Spirit and one Mind?


“For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” 1Cr 1:11-13.

Paul wrote this to the church in Corinth almost 2000 years ago. Even in the early days of the church, divisions and conflicts plagued the church in Corinth. Paul wrote this letter from Ephesus to correct and rebuke them. People had formed cliques and had their own leaders.  There was the “Paul Party,” who declared “We are following in the footsteps of the founder of the church, the apostle Paul. We’re the ones that are right with God!” There was the “Apollos Party,” who declared “We are following a man who is great in power and spiritual gifts, and impressive. We’re the ones really right with God!”  There was the “Peter Party,” who declared “We are following in the footsteps of the man who is first among all the apostles. Jesus gave him the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and he’s our man. We’re the ones really right with God!”  There was the “Jesus Party,” who declared “You all are so carnal, following after mere men. We are following in the footsteps of no one less than Jesus Himself. We’re the ones really right with God!”

Really not all that much different from today’s church. There are many denominations that claim that they are right with God and others are not because of what they believe or teach. They believe that the have the truth. There are so many denominations that it can get outright confusing for believers, let alone unbelievers.

Many unbelievers that watch the church are asking the question: “Which of all the different churches is the right one?  Shouldn’t you Christians all be the same? How come there are so many contentions and divisions amongst you?” I can see their point. There are the Roman Catholics, the Protestants, the Baptist, the Methodist, the Presbyterians and the list goes on. Which one holds the the truth? They all claim to be the right church, yet there are vast differences between them.

Than there are these Tel-evangelist who are fleecing the people of their money, selling their anointed holy oil or prayer cloth on TV like a shopping channel. Some teach the prosperity gospel, talking about sowing “your seed” so that God will bless you. Send in a seed of a thousand dollars and God will double it. God is not an ATM machine. Some of them want you to send them a love gift. These people are greedy and exploit people. They prey on the vulnerable and weak. They come in the name of God, but have alternative motives. Mostly to fill their own pockets and boast about their awesome ministry and how God has blessed them. No, you ripped off the people, that’s how you can afford to be on TV selling your anointed prayer cloth.

Jesus never taught a prosperity gospel. He never taught that we should be after riches in this lifetime. Seeing these TV preachers makes me not want be a identified as a Christian sometimes. They turn me off and admittedly they do make me angry.

What about so-called churches like the Westboro Baptist church that demonstrates at military funerals, condemning all homosexuals to hell and preach on the street corners that God caused 9/11. Is that anything like what Christ taught? Did Jesus come to condemn the people? Shame on these so-called Christians. They are not representing Jesus and they are far from Him. Is that how the church should act or look like to the outside world? Is that what a Christian church should look like?

What is the church? I know on thing for sure,  it is not a building,  a temple or denomination. The true church is the bride or the  body of Christ. Every true believer are individual stones that make up the temple of God, with Jesus being the cornerstone.

There are so many today just as in Paul’s days that follow a denomination, a certain preacher or liberal theologians. Many of the churches have compromised with the world, they are lukewarm and some are so far removed from the true faith that I could not even consider them as true followers of Jesus Christ. Many of those are seeker friendly churches, that do not address sin or talk about the blood. They want to be politically correct and don’t want to offend anybody. Was Jesus politically correct during His ministry? Jesus went right to the heart of a person, convicting them of their sins which led many to repentance. He did not hold back or softened the message.

The true Gospel is offensive and many churches are refusing to preach that message today. They care more about how many people attend their church, giving their tithe and offerings or making them feel comfortable. Let’s not talk about sin or hell.  Let’s rather focus on prosperity and how God will bless you if you do certain things. God loves you and blesses you and as long as you give us your money and stay at our church, He will continue to bless you.

I don’t even want to go into certain churches that are either sects or cults. They shall remain nameless at this time. So many of them are very legalistic in their teachings and some have total control over their congregation.  Some teach that the Sabbath and dietary laws need to be kept or  that water baptism is needed to be saved etc. Others teach that Sundays is the wrong day and that those who go to church on Sundays are worshiping Satan. Others deny the Trinity i.e the triune Godhead altogether, they teach that there are 3 gods or more. How much more confusing can it get? No wonder many unbelievers and especially atheist think of Christians as delusional and backwards.

Paul was very clear about being of one mind and one spirit:

“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1Cr 1:10.

“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation,  and that from God.”Phl 1:28.

“Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.” Rom 12:16.

This is happening today, people follow a denomination or a leader. They listen and follow the teachings of those denominations and some put their trust in their salvation by being members of a certain church. Many people are very religious, but do not know the first thing about true faith or what the Bible teaches. Membership does not save anyone, a certain denomination does not save, neither does following a cult, sect or religious leader. Jesus Christ is the One that saves and a person that has received Jesus as Lord and Savior belongs to His church, the bride of Christ.

I for one rather follow Jesus rather than man. He is my guiding light, He is the way, the truth and the life. If I would rely on a church, pastor or priest for my salvation, I might be in trouble. Man is finite, corrupted and sometimes deceived. Unfortunately many have been deceived by certain church doctrines.

Jesus is the head of the church, it is He that we need to follow. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He is God in the flesh. He humbled Himself to become one of us. Because of Him we can know the Father. Because of Him we are reconciled and justified before the Father. Because of Him we have eternal life. If we know Jesus, we know God. If we know Jesus,  we are One with God.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Col 1:15-18.

Just think about it, the Creator of all things, Who was and Who is and Who is to come, the great “I AM” loves you and me with an unconditional love. He lives in our hearts and we are secure in Him, if we abide in Him. He is our teacher and He is the One that sees us through every obstacle or challenge we might face. Don’t follow finite man with their egos or pride and often times wrong motives. Follow Jesus instead!

Categories: Apologetics, Believe, Bible, Biblical Perspectives, Christianity, Eschatology, Faith, Jesus Christ, John 3:16, Salvation, Spiritual, Truth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Repentance before Salvation?


I had some very interesting discussions after writing two relating articles about faith verses works.  Is a person saved by faith alone or does he or she have to do something to earn their salvation?

I believe that the scriptures are very clear that people are saved by grace through faith and not of works. “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.

Now to me it can’t get any clearer than that. Paul wrote this so that no one can boast about what they did in order for God to save them from wrath.

One person was bringing up repentance, he wrote that repentance is part of salvation, which means that the repenting person is actively involved in the salvation process. Is that really so, do people have to repent before they are considered saved? Repentance means a change of mind/heart. I believe that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, He is in the world to convict people of their sin. Some receive it and some will reject the truth. My pastor once gave a nice analogy about repentance.

When the Babylonians invaded the land of Israel, they took captives and transported them to Babylon which was in what is  now modern-day Iraq. The Babylonians not only took the people, they burned down their homes to the ground, so that there was nothing for them to come back to. That is what believers should do, burn down their homes, spiritually speaking.

The question is, does repentance come before salvation and can we consider repentance as work?  I believe that repentance must come first. There are several verses that would back up that believe. Jesus spoke of repentance many times in the gospels. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”Mark 1:15.  Jesus confirmed that a person must repent, which means the acknowledgment that they have missed the mark and are sinners in need of forgiveness.

Luke wrote: “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38.  At first glance that sounds like that a person needs to repent before receiving the Holy Spirit, i.e to be “born again.”

Peter was talking to the Jews that had rejected Jesus as their Messiah. It was the day of Pentecost. Many believed that day, about 3000 souls were saved. The crowd listened to Peter as he preached that  Jesus is the promised Messiah and many had a change of mind (repentance). They believed the words of Peter and realized that Jesus was the Messiah that the patriarchs and prophets spoke about. That change of heart was a genuine repentance which resulted of the Holy Spirit indwelling them.

Question, was that change of mind the works of man or was it the Holy Spirit that convicted the crowd?  It is interesting, because in the very next verse, Peter said this: “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:39. “As many as the Lord will call.”

Sounds like it is God’s work. He is the initiator and He is the One that saves. Did these 3000 people do any kind of works or did they simply believed God through the message preached by Peter? Where did the faith that they all  had come from? Did they earn it or do something that triggered faith in them? I believe that is was the work of the Holy Spirit that convicted the people and brought about a change of heart. They heard and believed the truth.

Paul said in the book of Ephesians, Faith is a gift of God. It is all God’s sovereign work and I believe there is nothing anyone can do to either earn salvation or work for their salvation. People are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and in Him alone. No one can please God by their works. Abraham had no works, yet God declared Abraham as righteous. “And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Gen 15:6.

Abraham was justified because of his faith which was given to him by God. Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the Faith chapter or hall of faith. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham are on that list. Did Abraham do any work in order to be declared righteous? Was it works or his faith that made him righteous before God. It was faith in God and His promises that gave Abraham a righteous standing before God. Abraham had nothing to boast about, it was all God’s action and all the glory belongs to Him.

The Bible is very clear about that our works cannot please God. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Heb 11:6.

“Diligently seek Him.” I believe that God works differently in the life of every person. Some may hear the gospel preached at a crusade or at a church or maybe from a person that witnessed to them. They hear the message and believe and at that moment the Holy Spirit comes into them, making His abode. They heard and believed, changed their minds and received the gift of salvation. It was the Holy Spirit that worked in them and brought the conviction of their sins. God drew them and they repented.

I can only speak about my own experience that I had on that day when I received the Lord.  I did not go to a church or crusade. Nobody witnessed to me. I hit rock bottom about 6 years ago from alcohol abuse and I sat on my patio all by myself, feeling miserable. I remember it so vividly, I cried out, “God if you exist, please help me. I do not want to be like this any longer. This is not me!”

From that moment on my life changed. Something happened that was so amazing. I believe that a genuine repentance happened that day that came from the heart. I did not say, “I repent. I repent.” I do believe that God saw my heart that morning and that it was a genuine admittance that I was wrong and I was in need of a Savior.  God began a good work in me from that day on, I never had a desire of drinking again. I firmly believe that the Lord took that desire from me completely. I ask the Lord to forgive me for all the things I had done.  I was forgiven and born again that day and fell in love with Jesus my Lord and Savior.

To be honest, I didn’t know much about repentance, sin or anything else that the Bible teaches. I didn’t know about justification, sanctification, let alone the grace and mercy of God. All I know is that the Lord came into my life that day and I never have looked back. How was I saved? By my works?  I certainly had no works to boast about. I can’t say that I was an atheist or agnostic. I believed that there was a God, but I never paid any attention to Him or knew much about Him.

On that day something happened and I know that the Holy Spirit came into my life and changed me. Where did this faith come from? Not from me, I had no faith before, it was a gift of God. I believe that God knew that this day of my surrender would come long before I was even born. I lived a life seeking my own pleasures for 46 years  and when I hit rock bottom, He was there. God is always there, all a person needs to do is to make a U-turn and there He is.

On that day I was justified because I believed God, just as Abraham did so many years before me.  Justification is instant and cannot be changed or improved on. Sanctification is a life long process in which the Holy Spirit works in the lives of  every believer to conform them more and more into the image of Christ. That I agree requires participation of the believer, the willingness to surrender all to Him. That is the sanctification process, the Holy Spirit working in the life of a believer.

Sanctification can be painful at times, the Holy Spirit is pointing out what needs to be purged and done away with in our lives. Sometimes we may put up a fight to surrender it all, but one thing is for sure,  the Holy Spirit is patient and longsuffering, but He will never let us get away with what is not right in the sight of God for long.  He will sanctify us. Sanctification is a process, the Holy Spirit teaches us and shows us what needs to be purged out of our lives. This is the continuous work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the sanctification of every believer.

We need to see things from a spiritual level rather than from the human level. God gave us spiritual understanding and the mind of Christ. God wants us the be holy as He is Holy. He will complete that work.  “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;…” Phl 1:6. Again,  not our work but His work. He began the good work and He will finish it.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Phl 2:12, 13. 

I know that some may not agree with what I’m writing and I am not being dogmatic about this whole issue. I do believe however that it is not us but God that has done it all for us. We have nothing to boast about, not about our own goodness or how wonderful we might think we are and how we deserved to be saved by God. It is by His grace and because He loved us. He loved us so much that He became flesh to become one of us and to die and shed His blood on the cross. That is unconditional love and what could I compare that with? Before I say I did this and I did that, I look at the cross and say;  Jesus did that. The thief on the cross?  No works and nothing to boast about, yet he was saved by the Lord.  The thief had a change of mind that was genuine and from the heart. That in my opinion is what it is all about, the heart. People in the world have a heart problem with a God shaped hole, a void that only God can fill. The Holy Spirit calls people to repent, some will hear His voice and some will not.

“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.

Categories: Apologetics, Believe, Bible, Biblical Perspectives, Christianity, Eschatology, Faith, Jesus Christ, John 3:16, Salvation, Spiritual, Truth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

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