Friday, August 23, 2013

If you don't have the Lord, you don't have anything

   If you don't have a relationship with the only true God, creator of everything, you really have nothing. If you don't have the relationship described by Jesus in John 17:3
 "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."

    This is not the "know of" we used to describe distant characters or people. This is a "know" like I know my wife. I know what see is all about, dislikes and likes, we communicate feelings and dreams with each other. If someone wrote a long letter to me I would be able to tell you if she wrote it or not by how things are written. I know the things she says, her desires, her humor...I could tell you if she would express things that way or not. To know God this way only comes through the saving power of Jesus. Our sinful state of being separates us from the perfect Holy living God. But he loves us so much He made a way that we can be clean and changed through His only Son Jesus. Now we can have that close relationship.
    If you don't have this relationship, then you don't have anything. If you don't have this relationship with God you have a false sense of security in the things around you. Your, money, relationships, retirement plan, job can all be gone tomorrow. Even the things you take for granted...your family, friends, health, ability to think or reason can all be gone in a moments notice. The only thing that has and ever will remain or mean something is your state with the living God. If you just "know of Him" there is still something between you and Him. If you "know Him" you have everything that will last for eternity.
 For most people this life in creation with all it's beauty and pain is as close to Heaven as they will ever get. For true Christians who have entered in to a relationship through the saving Grace of Jesus...this as close to Hell as they will ever get.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Evidence Of A Hard Heart

The Bible describes something called a hard heart. The heart is the sum total of our inner most being. Here are some evidences of a hard heart.
1. They interpret all information(especially moral) negatively.
2. They spin every situation so that they are innocent and you are guilty, or they are the victim and you(or somebody) owes them.
3. Everybody who opposes them needs to change not them...including God. Oh, by the way, they found many things wrong or mistakes in the Bible.

BAD NEWS- Before Trusting Jesus for salvation

Ephesians 4:17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles(non Christians) also walk, in the futility of their mind, 4:18 being darkened in their understanding(their view of reality is wrong), excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart 4:19 and they, having become callous(don't care about sin), have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

GOOD NEWS- The transforming power of God once you become Christian

4:20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 4:21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus... (NASB - sent from CadreBible)

When you put your faith, hope and love in Jesus(who he says he is and what he did for you) he gives you his righteousness, a new heart and a new being "In Christ".
  If you want to know more study the book of Ephesians in the Bible.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

In Christ

Romans 8:1 "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (NASB - sent from CadreBible)  This is a famous and abused verse in the Bible. We see many nominal believers(my old self included) use this verse to say " I can do whatever... and God will forgive me." But I think the key words to look at are not the "no condemnation" but more importantly "In Christ". When you are In Christ you have a stronger desire to please God then to continue to follow the old self. So if you have no desire to love God and your strongest desire is still the love of the world... then maybe you are not "In Christ". Just believing in Jesus is apparently not enough.  
James 2:19 "You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder." (NASB - sent from CadreBible) You can bet that the Devil knows who Jesus is and what He did. You can also see that he knows the Bible well when he quotes it many times when tempting Jesus (Matt 4:1-11). So knowing the information is not enough. Being "In Christ" is something different... there is a transformation that happens when you accept the gift of salvation. To be "In Christ" is a free gift of God's grace and the transformation that happens when we make him the Lord of our life is a new set of desires(a new heart). A gratitude that shows your deepest desire is to love him back. So think twice before using this verse to excuse your choices in life. If you are "In Christ" you really do have "no condemnation"...but if you really don't care about your relationship with God, then you might want to question if you actually have one.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

God is Good

Part One: What is Good?
"God is Good!!!" As Christians we blurt that statement out so easily. Without really understanding it or having a wrong concept of what it means.On the other hand I also hear people say, "I don't need God, I am good person". Our concept of good is usually that which comes from a person. We can say...that bad Guy did a good thing. On the other hand Jesus says "why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone." (he was testing the man to see if the man knew in fact that he was God) Luke 18:19. Jesus's definition of "good" is what the Bible states clearly. God is good. Good is defined by God's nature. We tend to look around and measure if someone is good or bad by what they stand for or if their good things out weight their bad things. Like a measuring scale we weigh someone's good attributes or deeds with their bad and if one tips the scale then we define them by it. This is a religious way of seeing people and the world. This is comparing people to people. If we compare ourselves to Mother Theresa we look pretty pathetic. Oh, but if we compare ourselves to a serial killer, we look like a saint. This is not how the Bible defines it. The Bible says God is good and all of us are bad and in need of a savior. We are being compared to God Himself as the standard of His perfect good. Those of us that are saved by accepting Jesus's death and resurrection as the payment for our sin(bad), now carry God's perfect good in us as His gift of Grace.We didn't earn it or have to work to keep it. We cannot say we are good by our own means but God calls us good because of Jesus.
  Also, If God is the standard of what perfect good is, this is also how we measure the world around us as to what is good and bad. Our point of reference. Being selfish is not bad because we decided it is is bad because it is opposite of God's nature. The same goes with telling lies, stealing, being prideful...etc. Consequently, if you take the image of the God of the Bible out of the equation, then the only standard is "whatever I think" is bad or good. Then things like being selfish is not a bad thing, it is just "natures way of ensuring survival"...survival of the fittest. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What holds us back?

1 John 3:16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 3:17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 3:18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.   (ESV )

"By what can it be know that a man has a true sense of the love of Christ for perishing sinners, or the love of God that has been planted in his heart by the Holy Spirit, if the love of the world and it's good overcomes the feelings of compassion to a perishing brother" -Matthew Henry

My observations- Notice it refers to not just the evil things of this world but the good or goods. We can say we don't desire to do evil, but do the good things of this world (comfort, convenience, security, enjoyment, entertainment...just to mention a few without specific things attached to them) hinder us from being like Jesus to those around us? Very convicting for all of us. Repentance is a way of life to all Christians who are growing in the Lord. God ill show us things that we need to repent of and we need to respond to progress or we can begin our inevitable regression.

I like what John Wesley's mother once wrote to him. She said:

"Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself." -- Susanna Wesley (Letter, June 8, 1725)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Performing Christianity

What can I say, it is something that we all have a weakness towards. Doing Christianity, rather than just being a Christian. Sometimes we get it...what it is all about. Relationship with our God and out of that, our cup being filled to overflowing, we naturally live out what is inside. But then, being human we continue the same actions but start slacking off on the relationship side. Soon we find ourselves struggling to have the right attitudes and controlling things to help guide our actions. We set up rules and guidelines for ourselves to achive what it is that we know how we should be. We either fail and beat ourselves up feeling guilty for our lack of self discipline...aiming to try harder or give up. OR even worse we achieve our goals and have a self righteous attitude within ourselves(pride). What we never stop to think is that the Lord hasn't transformed us...WE did(or tried). If we are the ones that do the transforming it is only surface based and temporary, only to be revealed that we are not so transformed at the time of testing. The real us rears it's ugly head usually to our surprise...or worse, we think it is normal. Snapping at people, getting frustrated when things don't go our way, impatient, domineering....all are opposite of what the "fruit of the Spirit" is in Col. 2:13.
 What really throws us is scriptures like "in my weekness, He is strong"(Rom...) and hopefully when the Lovng God brings us gently to a state of brokeness, we respond by abondoning our pride in our abilities to do Christianity and recognize that it is actually a weakness. We need to reapproach the cross and ask for forgiveness. Restarting the relationship with Him and re-establing our dependency on Him. It then becomes such a refreshing feeling as burdens are lifted and we feel truly free again.
 The discouraging thing is after time we start the cycle again. The Lord will always meet us where ever we are at. At any part of the process we can repent and come back to the life that Jesus said "My yoke is easy and my burden is light". Matt 11:30

What is Eternal Life?

 What is Eternal Life? Does it start after we die? Jesus uses this word a lot with explanation to what exactly He means. That leaves use to assume many things when we read that phrase "Eternal Life". Did you know Jesus actually explains exactly what Eternal Life is?

 John 17:2 ...that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 17:3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (NASB - sent from CadreBible)

Do you "KNOW" God? That word "know" is not like...I know who the President is an intimate level of know. For example I know my wife and kids. I know my wifes likes and dislikes, I know my kids fears and triumphs. All this knowledge only comes through relationship. So do you "KNOW" God? His likes and dislikes? His favorite things? His personal interactions with you? You see God is Eternal. If you interact with Him you are entering in Eternity with Him, even at that moment while still being trapped in time and space(creation).
 Eternal life starts now. And it only comes through Jesus who is able and eager to forgive us of our sins, and therefore making us able to have a relationship with God.