Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Short Blogging Break

Hello everyone, I just wanted to take a moment and let you all know that I will be taking a short blogging break for about a month. I will not be posting over the next month, but I hope to stop by and visit the blogs which I normally visit during this time. I am in need of a little time for refreshment and devote some time elsewhere. I appreciate all you who visit my blog and I am looking forward to returning in August.
May God bless each of you,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Time…Where Did It Go?

Antique Clock Face

Last week my wife and I took my step granddaughter and two nephews on a vacation to San Diego, California. We had a wonderful time; we visited Sea World and let the kids swim in the Pacific Ocean. Over the last few months we anxiously awaited for this vacation to arrive. We choose our destination and booked our room back in January.  We looked forward to taking the kids and spending this time with each other. Not to mention a vacation from work. Then the time arrived and then passed just like that. I am sure you have heard many people say, “The time just flew by.” Perhaps you have said it yourself. This statement I certainly do echo. Now with every moment our vacation is slipping away further into the past, never to be experienced again. We just have a few pictures and our memories. It is like watching a sail boat drift away into the sunset, soon to be out of sight. This vacation is now in the history books of our lives.

Looking back at my life I remember a trip some twenty years ago to the Glacier National Park in Montana. This too was a most enjoyable trip. Likewise, time just flew by.  I remember we hated to see our vacation come to an end so much that we dubbed the road home, “The Trail of Tears.” Even though we had an awesome time, this vacation is now a distant memory. I can only recall very few of the conversations we had plus some of the highlights of the trip. So it is with time. People who lived two hundred years, or two thousand years ago journeyed through life and then their time passed away. Now they are long gone. Except for a few, most of these people are not even known of this day. They had their dreams and their plans, their victories and defeats. They had things which they looked forward too, then these things also came to pass.

Concerning time, a few years ago I heard an analogy which went something like this: Here in the USA we have a measurement know as an inch which is roughly about 2.5 centimeters in length.  Suppose there is a tape measure which starts here and stretches to the moon, the sun, then to the stars and keeps on going…forever. Now on this tape measure the first inch represents 100 years of time. Our life begins here on earth at the beginning of the tape measure. Most of our lives will not fill up that one inch of time. Now suppose what we do with that short amount of time will affect the rest of the time represented on the tape measure. Would it not be wise to invest this time wisely? Obviously coming to faith in Jesus and receiving His free gift of salvation is of most importance. What a wasted life it will be for all who end up spending eternity in hell. Yes, there are many other important things in life, such as helping others and being a blessing to those who we know. These are all good things which we must do. But the one thing which is weighing heavy on my heart is this: Most of us live our lives looking out for number 1, which is ourselves. The thing is God did not place us here on earth for ourselves. Think about it like this, when we live our life looking out for number 1, then we actually short change ourselves. The truth is that God has something much bigger than ourselves for each of us. We are here for God's purposes. That is, through each of us, He wants to be glorified and to make Him known. In Christ, we become servants of the Most High God. We must remember, not only what I do with my life will affect the rest of that tape measure I mentioned above, but also may have a positive or negative impact someone else’s rest of their tape measure. So the question we must all ask of ourselves, “are we going to shortchange ourselves and others in living for ourselves? Or are we going impact others for good and live life bringing glory to our God so that others may come to know Him?”

Below are a few scriptures to meditate on:

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. (Matthew 23:13 NKJV)

While Jesus is addressing the scribes and Pharisees, I believe us believers may also stand in the way of people from entering into the Kingdom.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 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. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, (1 Timothy 2:1-6 NKJV)

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. (Matthew 9:37 NKJV)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Peace In A Crazy World

Picture from www.Landscape-Photo.net (CC BY-NC-ND)

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:4-8 NKJV)

The above passage from Philippians is one of my favorite in all of Scripture. My wife tells me that I am very patient in the things which matter most, but the things which do not matter, I am very impatient. I hate getting stuck behind a slow driver!!! Then there is worry, which is also something I must always constantly do battle with. All of us believers face many things in our lives which may drive us crazy, such as arguments with those close to us. Then there is the issue of divisions in the church for various reasons. If you read the above passage in context with Philippians chapter four, it gives us a biblical procedure for attaining unity in the church. Beyond this, one may also draw application into many areas of our lives if we would only apply it more deeply. If things have you down, for what ever reason, count your blessings. If you are fighting with a loved one, write out a list of the things you love about that person. While we do not neglect things which are troubling, our focus must always be on the Lord and the things which are good. We should also always rejoice, be gentle, be patient, and pray always; then we receive His promise. What is His promise? It is the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.

I will not be writing a post next week as I am blessed to spend some precious time with loved ones. Take care and God bless.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tempted, Now What?

Photo Credit: Flickr, Eduardo Amorin

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)

I am sure all us have battled, and still battling sin in our lives. In my journey with the Lord, I have experienced times in which sin kept knocking on my door saying, “Just go do it…it will be pleasing…” I resist, yet it keeps knocking. I am sure many of you, if not all have experienced the same thing. Often times when we come to Christ and get saved, there is a sin (or sins) in our life which does not want to go away. Maybe we are tempted to party and get drunk or stoned. Maybe it is a sexual sin. Maybe it is something else, like anger or worry. We believe we are starting to have victory, only to find ourselves doing the very thing we do not want to do. Fortunately, God has given us a way of escape, but the question is, do we want to take it? And if we do, then what is the way of escape? In simple terms, the answer is that Jesus is the way of escape. Below I am going to share with you three things from Romans chapter 6 which will help one overcome their temptation. Before I share with you these with you, I first want to make a quick statement. Be persistent, do not give up in your battle!

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV)

3 Things You Need To Know:

  1. Know The Truth.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 6:5-6 NKJV)

The first essential is to know the truth. As believers, our old man was crucified with Christ. We no longer need to be slaves to sin. How would you know this fact if you have never taken the time to learn what God says in His Word? Many of us, we are only fed on Sunday morning. Commit to spending time daily in the Word learning all you can about what God has to say. It is also wise to commit to memorizing Bible verses that way you have truth hid in your heart to draw upon in the time of need. Remember Jesus used Scripture to defeat the devil when He was tempted in the wilderness. (See Matthew 4:1-11) Just as a side note, here are a couple free tools you may use to help memorize scripture.

  1. Reckon Yourselves To Be Dead To Sin.
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:10-11 NKJV)

Other translations say to count or consider yourselves dead to sin. In order to consider yourself dead to sin, you must believe God’s Word to be true. It is then when one may behave as though he is a child of God, instead of a child of the devil. As believers, Jesus set us free from the penalty of sin and we are able to walk in His strength. We will never stop sinning in this life, but we are no longer salves to it. Instead, we become salves of righteousness.

 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:18 NKJV)

  1. Quit Presenting Yourself To Sin, But To God.
And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (Romans 6:13 NKJV)

We must all remember that “we have been bought at a price in, therefore we are to glorify God.” (See 1 Corinthians 6:20) Make it our hearts desire to live life to bring glory to God, not ourselves.  Rejoice in all things of God and be a man or woman after His own heart. As we do this, we will love the things God loves, and hate the things God hates.

Delight yourself also in the Lord,

And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 

(Psalm 37:4 NKJV)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

We Are Filled With Something

Photo Credit: Pixabay

"And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18 NKJV)

While comparing the above verse with other translations, I found a couple interesting observations. First, the Holman Christian Standard Bible translates the phrase, "in which is dissipation" this way: "which leads to reckless actions." The New Living Translation reads, "Because it will ruin your life." Sunday in church, our pastor spoke concerning this verse, "You will be filled with something." As I meditate on this passage, I realize one may draw application even further than getting drunk, but anything which we pursue more than God. I think of people who spend their life pursuing wealth or career. They have no time for family or God. Their children grow up not knowing who they are. Their spouse may feel like their partner is married to their career, not him/her. For other people, it might be the pursuit of pleasure, which could include the party life among other things. Often times us believers may get caught up in the things of this world, and God gets choked out. The devil will use the things of this world to entice us, thus leading us away from the will of God. Scripture teaches us that the devil cannot snatch us out of God's hand, but he sure may wreak havoc in our lives or make us unproductive. This person also will not be growing in their faith as they ought.

And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.

22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. (Matthew 13:7,22 NKJV)

Take this to the extreme, this person may fall away. I am sure we all know of someone who was faithful in the church for a long time, and then they are gone. Some may even reject God, saying they "no longer believe like they once did." I am not talking about someone who started attending elsewhere, but they have left the Lord. They got caught up in the cares of this world, and drifted away. There has been a debate in Christendom for hundreds of years as to "once saved, always saved" and those who believe one can "lose their salvation." Others say, "you cannot lose your salvation, but you may choose to walk away from it." Some may call them backslidden Christians. Some will say this person "was never saved, thus there is no salvation to lose." Others will argue to the contrary. I am not going to get all caught up in this debate here. Unfortunately, people who love the Lord and are way smarter than I have argued their views for centuries. This being said, I am sure we all can agree that this is not a good place to be. How is it that this person can have assurance of their salvation? Of course we also have many in the church who have saved souls, but wasted lives. They are unfruitful in what they do for the Lord. Be it unfruitful or unsaved, this is not a wise path to take.

"For to be carnally minded is death, 
but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." 
(Romans 8:6 NKJV)

Our salvation is based upon Jesus and what He did, not on us and what we do. No amount of good works, religious rituals, or anything else can cause one to be saved. Nor will any of these things cause us to keep our salvation. Jesus went to the cross and died a brutal death so that you and I might spend eternity with Him. All you or I may do is turn from our evil ways seeking to follow Him and get down on our knees and cry out to God, "Have mercy on me, a sinner." He will then save us, not because of what we do, but because He is good. Jesus came to save sinners. Then God will give us a new heart, we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. I heard one pastor say, "We are a new species." We should be so thankful and appreciative of what Jesus did for us, we should want nothing more that to get to know Him and love Him more each and every day. Jesus said, He who loves me, Him and the Father will make their home with them. We know that we are His forever because we continue abiding in Him.
What I do not understand is, why anyone would would even want to leave, those who are truly His.

21 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.”

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:21,23-24 NKJV)

Let me say it again, "God makes His home with those who love Him." How cool is that? Let that one sink in.

The question we must ask of ourselves, are we going to be filled with the Spirit, that is to be lead by Him or something else?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Honor Thy Parents

Photo Credit

I am not sure about the rest of the world, but last Sunday here in the USA we celebrated Mothers Day. I hope and pray all you Mom's had a wonderful and blessed Mothers Day. Also, here in the USA, next in June we celebrate Fathers Day. I am thankful to God everyday that God has allowed my mother to live as long as He has. She is a woman in her 90's. I am also thankful to God that she loves the Lord and raised me to know God. Unfortunately, I went the way of the world for many years. But the Godly upbringing she gave me had a great influence on my life. I might not have ever came to the Lord if it were not for her. As for my Father, he passed away 20 years ago. While he did not follow the Lord for most of his life, he did get saved before he passed away. This too, I am thankful for.

I was so blessed this year that my wife and I were able to go spend some precious time with my mom. It was a time to be cherished. She lives about a half days journey away from where we live. We try to get up to see her every couple or three months, as it is such a blessing to her, and us.

When we look at the 10 commandments, it is interesting to note that the first four relate to our relationship with God. Then, the next six concern our relationship with other people. I have always found it interesting that God choose to list "Honor your Father and Mother" above "Thou shall not kill." If I were to write it, I would think "thou shall not kill" would come first. After all, is not murder the worst thing a person might do to another human being? But, I believe God had a good reason. First of all, how is it that we can honor God, if we do not honor our parents? Also, how is it that we may honor our neighbor if we will not honor our parents?

The first commandment with promise:

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12 NKJV)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Heavens Declare The Glory Of God

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
(Psalm 19:1 NKJV)

Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth,
And My right hand has stretched out the heavens;
When I call to them,
They stand up together.
(Isaiah 48:13 NKJV)

I am just in awe as I look at the below photos. This is just a small glimpse of the majesty of our God.

According to NASA's "Imagine The Universe" website,
about one million earths would fit into the sun.

This irruption on the sun would engulf the earth many times over.
The earth is the little blue dot in the lower right hand corner of the above picture.

In the photo above, the earth is not even visible and the sun is tiny compared to the star "Arcturus."


And Arcturus is nothing compared to Antares.

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
(Colossians 1:17 ESV)

Our God measures the universe with the span of His hand and in Christ all things are held together. Scripture tells us that God knows even when a sparrow falls to the ground, and that we are more valuable to God than this bird. Our heavenly Father even knows the number of hairs on each of heads. And our God desires a personal relationship with us which is real. It is mind blowing to think about this. Take a look at creation and see the wonders of His work, it reveals the glory and majesty of our God. The creation which we see is cursed due to sin, can you just imagine what it will be like in the new heavens and earth, which is not corrupted by sin?  In light of all this, we should get excited every Sunday when we get to go to church and lift up our praises to Him. Each and every morning we should rejoice that we get to spend some time in His presence singing Him praises, listening to His voice through reading His Word, and our precious time in prayer with our God. Any time you do not feel like praying or spending time with the Lord, just remember who He is and how awesome He is, and how can we not want to lift up our praises to Him and come into His presence?

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31 NKJV)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Salt Series Part 2

Photo Credit:Pixabay

“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. (Matthew 5:13 NKJV)

A few weeks back I wrote of us believers as being the salt of the earth. If you have not read it, you may go here and read, if you like. As I spoke in my first post in this series, I mentioned most people refer to just one or two ways we are the salt of the earth. In this series I am going to share with my readers a few different ways in which we are the salt of the earth. A lot of this series will be based on a sermon I listened to by Pastor Joe Schimmel of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley California. He did a message in October 2009 in which he spoke of ten ways we are the salt of the earth. He was not the only source I drew upon, but my writings will heavily, (but not entirely) follow his teaching. I took what I learned and put it into my own words along with sharing my own thoughts. I wish I was able to share a link to the message, but the only way I know how to find it is to download the podcast from Blessed Hope Chapel. I find that he is an excellent teacher and someone I can learn a great deal from, even though I do not hold the same interpretation concerning the timing of the rapture. He is post-trib and I am pre-trib. Today I will share with you two ways in which we are the salt of the earth.

Salt Signifies Purity.

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;Though they are red like crimson,They shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV)

How is it that salt symbolizes purity? In scripture purity is symbolized by white, and God made salt white. We are not to live lives contaminated with filth and sin. When we come to faith in Christ Jesus, He washes away all our sins and we become white as snow and be as wool. This however, does not give us license to sin. The Lord calls us to be set apart, to have pure hearts and live pure lives.

Salt Is A Seasoning

Salt brings out flavoring, it makes food taste good. We are salt in the things that we do and in the things in which we say. In as far as the things we do is concerned, we do things which helps others in some way. For example we feed the hungry or tend to the sick. I think of all the homeless shelters, hospitals, and orphanages which were started by Christians.

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 NKJV)

for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; (Matthew 25:35 NKJV)

As far as our speech, with our words others should know we love Jesus. When we are saved, we have received grace form the Lord. His grace should be in our hearts; therefore we speak to others with grace demonstrating love and mercy. In doing so, our speech is seasoned with salt. When speaking to unbelievers, we speak the truth in love so that they might come to know the Lord. As far as believers, we build them up in the Lord. With our tongue, we may tear others down, but we should always be about building people up.

...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34b NKJV)

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29 NKJV)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Know God, Know Peace

Picture from www.Landscape-Photo.net (CC BY-NC-ND)

My heart and prayers goes out for the victims at the Boston Marathon along with their friends and families. I pray the Lord comforts those who are grieving and heals the injured. I pray that the Lord reveals His love through this tragedy that many come to know that the Lord is good. It is troubling to see all the things going on around the world today. I often ask, "How much longer, O Lord, till you come and put an end to the works of the devil?" The local news is loaded with murder, rape and theft. We hear of wars and rumors of war. There are many without jobs, with little hope of finding one. In various places around the world, those who follow the Lord are persecuted, even martyred for their faith. Perilous times are upon us. In our world today, the things which are evil, are called good. Then things which are good are called evil. Sin is being glorified. Those of us who make a stand for what is good, the things which are true are called "haters." There are many who are suffering from an illness, or lost a loved one. For others, their marriages are on the rocks.

How is it that we can have peace in a troubled world? Or is peace even possible?

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
 Trust in the Lord forever,
For in YAH, the Lordis everlasting strength. 

(Isaiah 26:3-4 NKJV)

The only true and lasting peace is found in the Lord. Yes it is true one may feel as though they are at peace for a time and a season. But at any moment, earthly peace may be shattered. If our security is found in anything of this world, it will come to an end and let you down. The keys to true and lasting peace is through faith and rejoicing in the Lord. When we do these things, Jesus will give us His peace. He is the "Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End. Jesus came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly.(John 10:10) No matter what may come our way, Jesus will give us His peace which surpasses all understanding, but our faith must be in the Lord because He knows the beginning from the end and all things are under His authority.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18 NKJV)

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:4-8 NKJV) 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

To Believe Is To Follow

Photo Credit: FreeFoto.com ? Ian Britton

I have people in my family who profess to be saved. They say, going to church is not necessary for salvation, so there is no need to go. My stepdaughter chooses to live a sinful lifestyle with no plans of changing. She said, "I got baptized, so I am saved. Since I cannot lose your salvation, I am not going to change. I will do as I please with my life." She feels as though there is nothing to worry about, when she dies, she believes she will be in heaven.

This brings up a good question, since we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, does it matter what we do? After all the Bible is clear, all who believe on the Lord Jesus, will be saved. It is also a true fact that one need not do anything to get saved except receive the free gift of salvation. So why must I change the way I live my life? The reason is because Jesus also said that "unless you repent you will like wise perish." (See Luke 13:3) Yes, this may be confusing, if you believe, then you are saved. If you don't repent, then you will perish. 

The statements above by my family members are actually a testimony of disbelief, not belief. The thing is, saving faith will produce change. What I believe or put my faith in will affect the decisions I make and the things I do. It is like this, suppose you are staying in a cabin in the forest. One morning you wake up surrounded by a raging forest fire. Everywhere you look, there is fire. Someone comes to you saying, "Follow me, and I will lead you to safety." If you believed him you would follow him. If you felt you were safe, or knew better than him, you would not follow him, now would you? The same way with Jesus, if you belie Him, you will follow Him.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (John 10:27-28 NKJV)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Salt of the Earth

Photo Credit

“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." (Matthew 5:13 NKJV)

What does it mean to be "the salt of the earth?" Lately I have done some research in this area and I have found most will point to one or two different ways in which we are "the salt of the earth." One of them being, "salt is a flavor enhancer or seasoning." That is, we make life better for others. Another way being; "salt is a preservative." That is, we hold back the moral decay of society. The second is the way is the way I have usually viewed the meaning of the phrase; "you are the salt of the earth." I would agree fully with either of these interpretations, however, I have discovered that there are more ways than just these two to be the "salt of the earth." What I have found is that there is a treasure of truth to be mined here in just these few words. Jesus said, "we ARE, the salt of the earth," not may be the salt of the earth. Therefore, I believe it is worthy to spend some time digging into this and find out how it is that we are the salt of the earth so that we may become "more salty." I plan to, Lord willing, do a series of posts on different ways we are "the salt of the earth." I will make a couple points this week and give one way we are "salt of the earth." In the near future, I will write about a couple other ways, and so on. A lot of this series will be based an a message given by Pastor Joe Schimmel of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley California. 

Point number 1:

You are treasured by God.

In the first century salt was a valued mineral. In fact, Roman soldiers were paid in salt, which is where we get the word, "salary" from. To demonstrate God's love for us, look to John 3:16. "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." We were made in the image of God, and He loved us so much, that He gave His only Begotten Son so that we could spend eternity with Him. How is it that me, a sinner, could be loved by a Holy, just and all powerful God? If you ever doubt if you are loved by God, just look to the cross. He gave His best for me, why in the world would I want to reject it?

Point number 2:

Salt is essential for life:

One of the ways salt is essential for life is that it regulates water balance. According to the Salt Institute, "salt is also important to hydrate our bodies." The world needs us Christians to bring them the living water so that they may live. If we do not take the Gospel of Christ to the lost, how will they hear and be saved? 

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 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 4:13-14 NKJV)

14 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?15 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!” (Romans 10:14-15 NKJV)

The first way that we are the "Salt of the Earth":

Realize that we are made in the image of God, not evolved apes on a mission to share the message of Jesus with a lost and dying world.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why Did Jesus Die?

Image credit: FreeFoto.com / Ian Britton

Hello every one. I pray that all of you to have a blessed Easter. The last couple weeks has been quite busy for me. My wife's aunt came from Chicago to visit, then at the same time I had to work extra hours every day. Not to mention I had a number of things to get done around the house. While it was a good couple of weeks, there was just not much time for blogging. But I am excited to get back and get an article posted and visit the blogs which I follow.

I have a confession to make. Over the last year I have not been out witnessing like I use to. A friend of mine and I use to go out after church on Sunday's sharing the message of Jesus with anyone who would listen. But he moved on and I have been quiet. The Lord has been prodding me as of late to get out there and share the gospel again. Over the last couple of days I have been reflecting on some of the experiences we had sharing the gospel with the lost. Often times we would speak to someone who professed to be a believer in Jesus and attended church regularly. I use to like asking them the following question to see where they stood in their relationship with God. "Suppose I was someone in your life which you cared deeply about. Maybe your brother, or something. I came to you saying, 'I have cancer and in 30 days I will be dead. I do not want to have to go to hell. What must I do to be saved.' What would you tell me?" It was sad to see how many people did not know how to answer this question. I remember one young woman who replied, "Well, you should have thought about that sooner." I replied, "really now, that is what you would say?"

While I do not remember exactingly how the rest of the conversation with this woman went, below is a dialog that would explain to someone the answer to the question I asked above.

I ask, "In a few days from now is Easter Sunday. Do you know what the meaning of it is?"

Response, "It is celebration of the resurrection of Jesus."

I ask, "Do you know why Jesus had to die?"

Response, "That we would be forgiven of our sins."

In the book of Genesis, after the sixth day of creation, God considered His creation to be "very good." See God created man to live forever in His presence. There was to be no death. Creation was not just good, but "very good." (Genesis 1:31) God gave Adam and Eve one commandment, and that is to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the tree God had commanded them not to eat. As a result, sin entered into the world. That day Adam and Eve died spiritually and also began the path toward a physical death. See, the wages of sin is death. Not only did Adam and Eve have to die, all their offspring must also die because that sin nature has been passed on to them, that is all of us. Any one of us would have done the same thing as Adam and Eve, and disobeyed God. The bad news is, if we die in our sins, then we will be eternally separated from God. But God put into motion a plan to redeem His fallen creation.

When someone tells a lie, they are guilty of being a liar. If you or I have ever stolen anything, then we are guilty of being a thief. If you have ever taking His Holy name in vain, the bible says that He will not hold you guiltless. (Deut. 5:11) To further that, James says, "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." (James 4:17) We are all sinners, it is impossible to live a sinless life. Yes it is true that God is a God of love and mercy. He is a forgiving God who wants to forgive all for their sins. But God is also good and just. As a result, He must judge and punish sin. If He does not, then He not good. Could you imagine a judge in a court of law letting murderer go free just because he promised to not do it again? If a judge is good, then he must uphold the requirements of the law. We cannot on our own live a sinless life and meet all the righteous requirements of God in order to enter in to the kingdom of heaven, but Jesus can, and He did.

Jesus being God, came down from heaven to earth. He lived a sinless life fulfilling all the requirements of God. Then He went to the cross, shed His precious blood so that we could live. He took the sin of the world to the grave, but the grave could not hold Him. He defeated death, and on the third day, He rose from the dead. He paid the penalty for our sins on our behalf.   

So what must I do to be saved? The Bible says, "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. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10) We cannot be good enough to enter into heaven. We cannot do enough good works either. God did everything to make it possible for us to receive this free gift of salvation through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. However for a gift to be a gift, it must be received. We receive this gift by placing our faith and trust in Jesus alone for our salvation. Repentance goes hand in hand with faith. To believe in Jesus in not just an head knowledge. If we have true faith, it will change who we are. If you have not received Jesus as Lord and Savior, I encourage you to call upon Him today. Repent of your sins and put your faith and trust in Jesus.

"For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)