Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A great falling away!

Have you ever wondered how Jesus feels about those who have never received Him as Lord and Savior and also those who have received Him but have fallen away and are not living according to His Word which is the Holy Bible? I have. How do these groups of people that I described here view Jesus as seeing them? As I was thinking back to the time before I had given my heart to Christ, here is what I remember feeling: 
I felt that He would never want me because of all the horrible things that I had done. 
I felt like I had went "too far."
I felt dirty, and like I wasn't good enough to be received by Him.
I was angry at life & wondered if He even cared about my hurt.
I felt that I was so bad that He was wanting to punish me.
I'm sure that I had many other feelings that I struggled with, however, I found it very difficult to remember just how I had felt back then. You see, I have been a born again Christian for many years, & after experiencing the great forgiveness of Christ, it can be so easy to forget just how a lost or backslidden person feels. I had to really think about the personal struggles that I went through when I was away from God in order to write this. You see, when God forgives us, He chooses to forget our sins, and the bible says that he casts our sins as far as the east is from the west, and throws them into the sea of forgetfulness. Hallelujah! When we get forgiveness of our sins and we grow in Christ, over time we begin to forget about our old sin nature, also. However, in some ways, we need to remember just how we thought & felt in order to accurately love those who are lost with the God kind of love. 

Sometimes, if we Christians are not careful, we can portray Jesus as a very angry God who is just ready to destroy those who are in sin, yet the Scriptures are very clear of just the opposite. Look carefully at these here:
2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him." John 3:16-17

Read Ezekiel 18:23-32. It is clear within this Scripture that God takes no pleasure in pronouncing judgment...even on the wicked.
One of the most moving passages of the love of Jesus for the lost is found here in Luke 19: 41-44 where Jesus is entering Jerusalem knowing that this is where the people will reject Him to the point of crucifying Him. As He is entering, He begins to weep over the city, because He knows that the people will reject Him. He weeps over the fact that when He visits them ( in mind, body, and spirit), they won't receive Him. He knows that when they reject Him, they are also rejecting life in eternity with Him. He weeps over them because He loves them, yet they can't see it, and instead of turning to Him, they will turn Him away. He weeps because They choose to remain in their sin, therefore, He has to pronounce judgment upon them. That was not His heart. His heart was that they repent, turn from their sins, and be saved. He wept for the very ones who he knew would later yell, "Crucify Him!"  Let me remind you that many of these people that Jesus was weeping over were not who we would call lost people today, but many of them were in the "church" of that day. They were the ones who did confess God. They were convinced that they were right with God & doing His will while they were living in sin. Yes, it's true that they appeared righteous, but they still rejected Jesus. They confessed God, but didn't truly receive God, His ways, or even recognize Him when they laid their physical eyes on Him. The message of truth was like a burr in their shoes! Christ wept for them because although they confessed God, they did not truly receive nor live for Him, and He knew that they would be destroyed. Because he wept over them, it conveys to us that He did not have any sense of pleasure that they would partake of destruction. 

  Maybe you fall into one of these two groups that I have mentioned here. If so, I'm sad to say that according to the Bible, you are not on the course to Heaven but Hell. This is not God's desire for you, and neither is it mine, but it is truth, and if I really love you like Christ does, I must tell you the truth even though it is not popular. This is why I am taking a good portion of my day to write this blog to you. Have you never yet received Christ as Savior & chosen to live for Him? Have you went through the motions of receiving Christ as Savior and going to church, but you do not live how a true believer should live according to the Bible? Either way, God's desire for you is that you do not perish. 

If you have never experienced turning your life over to Him yet, I challenge you right now with you mouth out loud to recognize to God that you are a sinner (the same as all human beings are). Humbly ask Him to forgive you of those sins & to come into your heart, and be you Lord & Savior. Just begin to pour your heart out to Him...the hidden sins...the worst secrets of your heart...just audibly begin to give them to Him. It is by the grace of God that we are all saved. His Word promises that no matter who you are, He will in no way turn you away when you come to Him in repentance. He promises to have have mercy upon you even though you don't deserve it. He loves you! He is seeking after you now, calling you to Himself. Get yourself into a solid Bible believing Church and be baptized. It is the believer's responsibility to connect with the body of Christ & grow in Him. 

Maybe you are one of those mentioned that proclaim Christ or "God", yet do not live your life as the Bible describes a true believer to live. One of the biggest mistakes that we make in life is having a lack of balance. Grace & works must be balanced in every true believer. The Word challenges that true Christians be balanced. It says that if we love God we keep His commandments, faith without works is dead, and by a person's fruits we shall know them ( If they are true Christians or not). A great love and concern for you will not allow me to tell you that you are "ok" while living contrary to the Word of God. Only someone who would not care about another would do that. James 2:19 tells us something very important that we who "believe" in Christ should heed. "You believe that there is one (God) you do well. Even the demons believe-and tremble!" If the demons believe in Christ , are they going to Heaven? No! When we truly put our trust in Jesus, we live like it.We are saved through grace alone, however, we should never use grace as an avenue to practice a lifestyle of sin because a true believer should believe to the point of living what they say they believe. If you find yourself in this group, Mal. 3:7 says, "Return to me and I will return to you." Jesus is not waiting to pronounce everlasting judgment upon you, but just as He wept when He was entering Jerusalem, I believe that He is weeping for you now. He knows those who will not return to Him in a true relationship, and he is saddened by that. It does not bring Him pleasure at all when a person chooses destruction over repentance. He loves you! Will you ask His forgiveness today, and begin to rid yourself of those sins that separate you from Him? That is my prayer & desire for you today.

Remember, dear Ones, who read this blog that 2 Thess. chapter 2 tells us that when the day of Christ is at hand (very near) for His return to take those that are His out of this world, there shall come a great falling away first. It warns us not to be deceived! What is this falling away that is spoken of here? It is evident that this is revealing that there will be many believers of Jesus Christ who will backslide in their relationship with Him. They will exchange what they once knew as truth because they believe the deceptive lies of the devil, and they will no longer live according to that truth but rather their own fleshly desires. They may confess Jesus as Lord, but will not do His works. Matt. 7:23 clearly says that not everyone who says unto Him Lord, Lord, shall enter Heaven, and it even says that many who call Him Lord will remind Him of all the things they have done to serve Him, yet He will say to them, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Which are those who practice a lifestyle of sin.) A relationship with Jesus coupled with works prove that we are His. Last but not least, Prov. 16:25 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but it's end is the way to death." The devil will do his very best to deceive us into thinking that a lifestyle contrary to the Word of God is alright in order to rob us of eternity in Heaven. It is imperative that we guard our hearts & know that we have a real relationship with Jesus Christ, and one that produces right living. If our relationship with Him is right, we will do what His Word says and live according to it. We will not have the desire to live a life of practicing sin. God's Word plainly tells us that if we judge ourselves, we will not be judged. Let's not overlook our sin and mistakenly believe that we are ok, but rather judge ourselves by God's Word and live an eternity with Jesus Christ.

 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Feelin' the Birth Pains

I am convinced that the greatest works that the Lord does in our lives comes through periods of intense suffering. Everything in the natural has a spiritual parallel to it. Think of a woman as she begins to give birth to a new baby. Life is within her; Up to this point, it has been growing and preparing to come forth into newness of life. She has went through a season of many months of various forms of pains, sickness, and sufferings in order to receive this precious new gift. Just prior to the arrival of the new baby, the symptoms of pregnancy intensify, and then comes the appointed time of labor. The demand that is put upon the woman's body is so great that many undesirable changes begin to happen. She is stretched and in great pain as a doorway for the new infant is being made. There will be many hours of turmoil in her body and mind. She may even feel contempt and anger toward her very husband that had blessed her by planting this new life within her. Suddenly, the new life springs forth, and all of the pain, agony, and suffering of mind and body are gone. The promise has arrived.

I am convinced that the greatest works that the Lord does in our lives come from periods of intense suffering. I believe that it is the spiritual parallel to giving birth. Whenever we experience seasons of sorrow and suffering in our lives, God is birthing something great within us. We may not always be able to recognize it for what it is because of the intense warfare that our spirit, mind, and body goes through. Sorrow and suffering are not very popular to us Christians, and at times they even appear to us to be our enemy, however, they are actually our friends. They shape us, break us, build us, yield us, and mold us into the image of Christ. Just like the baby will come out resembling it's parents, we begin to take on the reflection of our maker.

Heb. 5:8 says, "Although he was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which he suffered." Even Jesus learned to obey God in order to fulfill his destiny... via suffering. As Christians, we are commanded to be Christ-like, and along with this is being a partaker of His sufferings. Jesus said, "Take up your cross, and follow me." We have to be submitted and yielded to suffer with Him. We must not grow angry with Him when sorrow & suffering comes, but must deem it an honor to be counted worthy to partake in His sufferings. If we are His sons and daughters, there will be times that we will taste of suffering and sorrow, however, they will be the very catalyst that propels us into living life in the Spirit instead of staying in that cozy little womb of the natural. They will cause us to spring forth in the things that he has planned for us. Suffering & sorrow are always a doorway into a new season of life. It's time to come out of that womb of comfort, and into the life that we were created for. When we enter that new season, we will forget the pain of the suffering of the past season until God decides to birth something new in us again. He will take us from glory to glory for the purpose of bringing glory to Him.

Just like the baby who comes out of the natural womb of it's mother and into the unknown, it is time for the Body of Christ to come out of the comfortable womb of the natural world and begin to walk by faith in the Spiritual realm of the unknown. Miracles, healings, signs, wonders, and great exploits exist in that realm. When we begin to walk in that realm as the early church did, multitudes will flock to JESUS, and they will recognize Him as Lord. He will be exalted, and Him alone, for the people will know that no man or woman could do these things.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

When Life Gives You Liver, Fast & Pray!

I was sitting here at my computer thinking about the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," and couldn't help but wonder who would have coined that phrase. I mean honestly lemons are a little sour, but they are so very good. Liver quickly popped into mind, and I thought now that's a pretty disgusting food if I may say so myself. Liver is nasty, it stinks, and you can't cover up the taste or smell of it no matter who cooks it up for you. I am sure that your taste buds have to be deceived in order to even enjoy eating it. I thought... lemons? There are times in our lives when liver is thrown at us instead of lemons! 
I mean seriously...sometimes our minds, hearts, and bodies will go through extreme attacks of the devil in order to cause us to turn back from pursuing the promised life in Christ. The Bible says that the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. There are times in our lives where we go through a very intense buffeting from the enemy. A plan of extreme pressure is plotted against us by our adversary in order to rob us of peace, joy, love, & the promised abundant life in Christ; Times that seem like war is relentlessly being waged against us in the spirit realm, but God... 
Although God is not the responsible party, He still allows these times in our lives. We cannot always see what God is doing beneath the surface of it all. All we can see is the trouble, the pain, the afflictions, however, God is allowing it all for his divine purpose. He is using all of it to shape our character for His use. He has a plan to increase us in His spirit as we go through the decreasing of our flesh that the trials bring. I take comfort in Ps. 34:19 which says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all." When life throws something nasty at me, I don't want to take it & build upon it until it becomes something that is acceptable, but I determine to trust God until He delivers me from those circumstances. I was thinking...lemons aren't so bad at all, but if liver were to be thrown at you, that would definitely stink! Well, my life has been given a lot of liver over the past couple of years so I determined not to take that nasty stuff, cook it up a special little way, and try to accept it as good. I say, "When life throws you liver, fast & pray!"  Fast & pray until every hindrance, stronghold, & attack of the devil is destroyed. Fast and pray until the powers of darkness flee! 
Even though we are promised afflictions, persecutions, battles, and a cross to carry, God is on our side. He sees the whole picture and the end of the story. He is Almighty, All powerful, and all knowing. He is the one true living God, and there is none other like Him. I will run & hide under the shadow of His wings, and eat the good stuff from His table!

Monday, September 6, 2010

On Labor Day, I would like to remind you of the scripture found in I. Corinthians 15:58, which says, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."

For all of you born again Christians out there, I understand just how tiring that it can get at times when you work for the Lord spreading the Gospel. As a matter of fact, the more that you are determined to live & work for Christ Jesus, the more attack it brings from the kingdom of darkness. Always remember that when you have God's attention, you will always have satan's attention also. He will constantly try to destroy those who labor in Christ Jesus. This verse reminds us to be steadfast, which means consistently adhering to a principle or action, unwavering, faithful, firmly fixed, direct, and steady. Secondly, we are told to be unmoveable, which means to firm; to stand firm. Through the trials of life, do not be moved from your right belief in God; do not change your mind and fall away from Him. Last of all, abound in God's work....Be busy in taking the Gospel to the world around you, and that means to those who are at your job, Walmart, the hair salon, etc...etc... You don't have to hold a technical position in a church to preach the Gospel of Jesus, but you are expected to preach the good news to those that come across your path. You will not always be received but many times rejected for the sake of the Gospel, however this scripture encourages to continue on in the midst of it all because we are laying up treasures in heaven. We are not working for the Lord in vain, but we have an eternal reward that we cannot yet see, but will surely possess it when we pass into eternity. Keep on, don't give up...Happy Labor Day!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Will You Receive Him Today?

I am thankful today that the Lord Jesus has inundated us with His incredible love. His love for us is unwavering, unchanging, undying, and without conditions. God proved His love for us when He gave His only son, Jesus, to suffer and die for a world that did not receive Him nor appreciate Him. He proved His love then. God does not only love us when we do what is right, but He loves us when we are unlovable; He loves us when we are living far apart from Him and His ways. That is the us that He died for. If we are put together in any way, it is because He took the emptiness & brokenness of every one of our lives & put us back together. Everyone has being lost, empty, and broken, and if they cannot see themselves as ever having been that, they are deceived; living in the bondage of self-righteousness. The Bible in Rev. chapter 3 calls this group of people "...wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked." We are all continually in desperate need of the power of Christ in our lives in order to live a life of victory. Without the finished work of the cross being received into each of our lives, we will live a life of hopelessness;  in bondage to sin and defeat without ever experiencing victory. The victorious life does not come from the church. The church could not bring you victory if it wanted to. There is only one who can break the stronghold's of addictions, lust, anger, etc...off of our lives, and it is Jesus. The church is vital and absolutely necessary to the work of Christ because we are a conduit that brings the message of the Gospel to a lost and hurting world, however, only Jesus has the power to break the yoke of bondage off of the lost & hurting lives. Going to church is necessary, but having a deep and meaningful relationship with the one who died for us is imperative for our eternity. Many churches are full of people who have religion but no relationship. It is so sad that many will not make it into heaven because they trust in a church and not the living God. Relationship is everything to a Christian believer; without it you're really not a believer, but one who has been deceived into thinking that paying your dues of time and money to a church will get you into heaven. A true Christian is being transformed regularly into the image of Christ because God's Holy Spirit lives within him. One of the saddest things in life to me, is to know some of the most incredible people on earth who reject a relationship with Christ, and choose an eternity in hell separated from the very one who died to rescue them from that awful place. The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is the only way to get heaven, yet many wonderful people will not go to heaven because they reject a relationship with Him. That makes me very sad. How much more sad do you think that this makes God? He said in the Word that it is not His will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9  He died to rescue you from destruction...Will you receive Him as your Lord and Savior today?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sometimes Promotion Looks like Demotion

I have a question for you. Why did God ask Abraham to sacrifice Issac only to stop him when he had done all that God asked of him concerning this & was in the very act of plunging the knife into his son? The Lord knew before he asked Abraham to sacrifice his son that he would do it. Why then did he make Abraham carry it out...all but the actual death itself? For what purpose would God ask Abraham to put to death the actual promise the He Himself gave to Abraham? This act was asked of Abraham by God not only for Abraham to prove himself to the lord, but also for God to promote Abraham through his obedience. Abraham had to walk out the obedience of the Lord's request of him in order that he himself would know that there was nothing that he loved more than God...not even God's promise

Look at what the angel said to Abraham as he stopped him from plunging the knife into Issac in Gen 22: 12. "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: For now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." Abraham could have feared  losing what he loved more than fearing God enough to obey him, but he didn't. Verses 15-18 shows us how an angel speaks this powerful blessing over Abraham after he had walked out his obedience to God, "...for because thou hast done this thing, and thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all of the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." 

Abraham proved by his actions that he loved God more than what he wanted to keep...his son. Since God is all-knowing, He will always know ahead of time what decisions we will make, however, there is something about making us walk it out anyway. It is really for us. If we love God enough to give up that thing that we love,... even the very promises that He has given us,... He will cause us to walk in a great blessing. In a hard time of my life and in a valley of decision, the Holy Spirit said to me, "What you are willing to walk away from, I will give back to you." 

It is hard to walk away from what you love, but if God asks it of you, He has already made provision for you. He cannot return to you what you refuse to give Him. It may feel like God is demoting us at times, but God will never demote those who love Him enough to be obedient, but rather promote them. God had a plan to increase Abraham's life through this act of obedience and sacrifice. God sees the big picture of our lives, even when we are confused by His seemingly odd requests.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How Are You like a Map Pencil?

When I was taking some courses in Bible college, they taught me to use erasable map pencils in replacement of highlighters when I highlighted scriptures in my Bible. To my amazement, they work better than anything I have ever used. I have a variety of quite a few of these in many colors. As I was studying my Bible last night,  I was really having a hard time making the mark on the scriptures. I had to press harder & use more time to get the results to show. I looked at the tips & noticed that they were past due to be sharpened; they had become dull & unable to perform their duty as they were supposed to. Finally, after continuing to try to use them in that condition, I grew tired of the effort that I was having to put forth without getting the results that I needed.  I decided to spend a little time sharpening all of the pencils. After sharpening them, I was amazed at the effectiveness of the pencils. Suddenly, I saw it! God was speaking to me. Why had I used these same pencils on a regular basis for so long, yet not even realizing that they were slowly regressing into an almost unusable condition; as if they were never sharpened at all? I had even noticed that they weren't working well, but didn't even take the time to look close enough at the lead to see what the problem was. We can be just like those pencils. We come in a variety of styles and different colors set apart for the use of the master, yet if we are not sharpened through the trials, persecutions, and adversities of life we will not be near as effective.When that pencil is put into that sharpener, and the blade begins to rotate around it cutting off the dullness and residue that is clinging to it, if that pencil could talk, I'm sure that it would testify that it did not feel good at all! However, to a true believer, the sharpening process is vital; necessary. If the pencil were never used, it would never have to undergo the process of sharpening. We will be so much more effective for the kingdom of God after we have been sharpened by the master. While living in this fallen world, we pick up so much residue that clings to us and dulls us; it renders us less effective and many times ineffective. In order to be used by the Lord effectively, we must be willing to go through the sharpening process as often as is necessary. I have certain pencils in my bag that I do not use as often as other ones simply because my task at hand requires certain colors. I have a method of doing things as we all do. Therefore, the colors that I use more often require more sharpening. If those colors could talk, they might just say, "Why don't you use another color, this frequent sharpening doesn't feel so great." Although the sharpening process does not feel good for us to go through, it is worth the Master reaching into his bag of this fallen world, and saying, "I have need of this one, today." Through the pain & agony of the frequent sharpening process, I still desire to be a vessel that God would choose to use often. The pain is worth being used by the Master. He has need of you; Are you willing to go through the pain of the sharpening?

As I write this I am reminded of this scripture in II. Tim chapter 2. There are all kinds of sins listed and commands given from verse 14 through 25, and in the middle of them all falls this scripture in verse 21. "Now if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the master, prepared for every good work."