Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Am I Accepted?

Photo Credit: Image Base

I believe most people want to be accepted by others. Many high school students smoke their first cigarette because they want to fit in with the "cool kids." Us adults are no different, we may wear one mask at work, another when out with friends and yet another when we around church members. Why is this? The reason is that we want to be accepted.

Unfortunately most people give no consideration of the acceptance of God. Some people believe in the existence of God, yet care less if they are accepted by Him. Of course we have those who do not even believe in God’s existence. But for those who do care, is it possible to know for sure that that I am accepted by God? If I am not saved and done many horrible things, would He still accept me? How is it that I can know for sure that I am accepted by God?

1 John 5:13 informs us that we can know for sure that we have eternal life, which means we are accepted by God. I have spoken to many people who say, "no one can know for sure, we just have to wait and see." Those who say this may (in fact) have good reason to question their salvation. They may be in church, yet are not walking with the Lord or obeying His commandments. However, we may rest assured that God desires a relationship with each of us. "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:3-4 NKJV) 2 Peter 3:9 confirms Gods desire for a relationship with everyone, even those who has done many horrible things. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." If you are an unbeliever who feels as though God would not save someone like you because of the things you have done in the past, I encourage you to do some Biblical research on this matter. First you may investigate the thief of the cross who died along side Jesus. You may also research the life of the Apostle Paul before his conversion then consider the transformation God made in his life.

Now that we have established that God is willing to save us, we must ask, “On what bases does our salvation rest?" The answer is that our acceptance is totally based upon Jesus. I cannot do enough good deeds to right my wrongs. No amount of religious activity, rites or rituals will earn me God's favor.  Only through faith in Christ Jesus may one be accepted of God. Please consider the following passage: "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21 NKJV) Note that those who love Jesus are loved by the Father. Now let’s read the passage from 1st John mentioned above.

11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:11-13 NKJV)

Ask of yourself these questions: Do I have the Son? Do I love Jesus? If you can truthfully answer yes to these questions, you can rest assured you are accepted of God. My friend, you are either with Jesus or against Him, there is no middle ground. If you do not have the Son, you must come to Him. Scripture says "All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Call out to Him today, repent and believe in the gospel.

For further study:
Read the Gospel of John. John wrote this book that we believe in Jesus and be saved. (See John20:30-31)

Read the Book of 1st John which informs us on how to know that you are saved. Print the little work sheet here and use while you study this book. This is a PDF file. The First John Project by Life Action Ministries.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No Need to Fear, But I Do


22 Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. 23 But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 But He said to them, “Where is your faith?”
And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” (Luke 8:22-25 NKJV)

There are times when storms wreck havoc in our lives leading us to believe all is lost. We cry out to God, yet feel as though He is sleeping. The disciples experienced this when Jesus slept through a storm while waves crashed against their boat filling it with water. The disciples felt as though this thing is going down. I can just picture the disciples in a panic crying out, “Why is He sleeping?” In their desperation, they awoke Jesus saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” The book of Mark says the disciples sounded out, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” (See Mark 4:38) Now were the disciples really in any danger? Of course not, God would not allow Jesus or the disciples die before their time. God had a plan and a mission for them to accomplish; absolutely nothing could derail it. In fact, I am sure Jesus knew beforehand exactly what would happen, and what He would do. Maybe it was His plan to cause the storm while sleeping through it in order to test and teach His disciples that they might grow.

I know I am no different than the disciples. Oh boy, in this day and age, with all the crazy things going on, it is easy to get caught up in worry and fear.
What are some of the things people fear in this world today?

People fear losing their jobs.
People fear an economic collapse.
People fear a stock market crash.
People fear illness.
People fear death.
People fear people.
People fear the devil. 

The thing is, as followers of Christ, we do not have to fear. Then, why do we fear? He promised to never leave us or forsake us, didn't He? (See Hebrews 13:5-6) Does His word not guarantee us that God will deliver us from every work and preserve us for His heavenly kingdom? (2 Tim 4:18) Of course it does. Did He not give us a spirit of power, love and a sound mind? (2 Tim 1:7) Yes, God did give us a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. The spirit of fear does not come from God, now does it? If fear does not come from God, then where does it come from?

Recently I heard someone say, "If the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, then fear of the devil must be the beginning of stupidity." I can see many things in my life where fear caused me to do something stupid or kept me from accomplishing something worthwhile. Then I think of the many times where I had an opportunity to speak to someone of Jesus, yet I did not. Why? Plain and simple, fear.

Lord, help me to be wise while bold and living a life not in fear.

(Scripture references for the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom:  Proverbs 9:10 and Psalms 111:10)