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Jesus Christ

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Poverty is bondage

Poverty. What is it?

  Is it being so poor all you have in life is a meal or two of ground corn and have school in a mud wall buildings and live in mud wall homes, like the many we help at AFM Mercy School in Kenya?

Some might define it as having barely enough to survive in life. Some might say it's being too poor to afford your own means of transportation like a car or motorcycle or bicycle. It seems to be defined relative to a persons personal state of peace or satisfaction.

our Kenyan children of AFM Mercy School

our Kenyan children of AFM Mercy School

I think an accurate definition of poverty is where a person is entrapped in some misery by life's circumstances, and no matter how hard they work, they cannot move beyond that place of misery! They need a rescuer to help set them free. Poverty is a form of Slavery. Slaves need redeemers! 

But the greatest poverty of all is a life without Jesus Christ as your Savior and Master. He alone can set us free from the poverty of sin and death! Every man, woman and child was born into Satan's slavery.

But we; We were created to run free with our Maker; to walk in the goodness of his righteous light!

Your sins have bound you in utter poverty, but Christ is the Redeemer who will break your chains and wash you clean! If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. -1 Jn 1:9

Christ said,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord ’s favor has come. ”

 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

These words of Elevation Worship say it well. 

Are you hurting and broken within?
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin?
Jesus is calling
Have you come to the end of yourself
Do you thirst for a drink from the well?
Jesus is calling

O come to the altar
The Father's arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ

Leave behind your regrets and mistakes
Come today there’s no reason to wait
Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling

O come to the altar
The Father's arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ

O come to the altar
The Father's arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ

Oh what a savior
Isn't He wonderful?
Sing hallelujah, Christ is risen
Bow down before Him
For He is Lord of all
Sing Hallelujah, Christ is risen

Oh what a savior
Isn't He wonderful?
Sing hallelujah, Christ is risen
Bow down before Him
For He is Lord of all
Sing Hallelujah, Christ is risen

O come to the altar
The Father's arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ

O come to the altar
The Father's arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ

Bear your cross as you wait for the crown

Tell the world of the treasure you found

 

(Luke 4:18‭-‬19 NLT

http://bible.com/116/luk.4.18-19.NLT  Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 NLT

http://bible.com/116/mat.11.28-30.NLT

O Come to the Alter, Elevation worship  https://youtu.be/rYQ5yXCc_CA )

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Coconut gods

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Coconut gods

When you describe only one attribute of someone, are you actually describing that person, or are you creating a false image of them? Lets make an analogy.  A man became stranded on a tropical island with no fresh water and he was about to die, but he had a two-way radio with signal in which I could communicate with him, and let's assume I knew for a fact that that island had coconut trees with water filled coconuts and it was the right season for young coconuts, but that man knew very little about coconuts and the life-giving water found inside.

 

coconut shell

Say I talked to him and told him about how wonderful coconuts were.  That coconuts are brown on the outside and have this fibrous husk and wood-like shell, and maybe I talked about how the coconut can be made into nice little wooden bowls.  Would I be doing that poor thirsty person any good?  No, not unless it rained before he died! If I told him coconut is wood, and certainly they are wood all over; would I be giving that person a real and accurate view of what a coconut really was?   It's inaccurate to tell someone a coconut is wood only, it's a partial or a functionally incomplete description the thing called a coconut and its benefits. Actually quite a useless conversation to that person dying of thirst. Although it's really not inaccurate to say coconuts have fibrous hard shells; to say that only in describing a coconut to someone who does not know what a coconut is, would be a part-truth that is in reality a deception or a lie; a distortion of truth. A false image. The image I described above in reality is a false image of what a coconut really is.

In this story above, not only is it a twisting of truth, it's downright evil, because I have knowledge of the truth of how that coconut could save his life, but I did not inform and help him find the full useful truth of that coconut. Truth is vitally important to someone who does not know enough of it.  Coconuts are so much more than wood!  Wood is one of many attributes of a coconut. Coconuts are full of water and nutritious fleshy food also. Their husks make great firewood for cooking and warming . Later in their cycle they can be pressed into beneficial oils.  There are many attributes of coconuts.  Nothing at all what you would think if all you knew was what I said above.

What am I getting at?

Many well-meaning people today are giving a false reality of who God is and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God has made it very clear. He hates falsehood! He hates false images being made of him, misrepresenting him as something lopsided or one dimensional emphasizing only the attributes of which we prefer for our own selfish reasons!  God spoke long ago and even coded it into the law given Moses .  "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth." (Ex 20:4).  Then Jesus Christ himself repeated this timeless truth when he spoke to the woman at the well in John 4:23-24 when he said,"But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

Truth.  God wants us to know him in truth, through the empowerment of his Spirit  though our spirits. Truth is so important because if we misrepresent

watery coconut

it in some important way as to leave someone with a twisted or one-sided view of God, then they like the man above in the fictional story, will likely perish.

We need to care about people enough to tell them the truth about God as graciously as possible. I recently watched the TV special of "The Passion" play, hoping in vain that truth about Jesus Christ might be brought out in such a way as to demonstrate what the love of God was all about some 2000 years ago when Jesus died for us. I turned off the TV feeling so incomplete and unfulfilled.  It really only spoke of Gods love in a confusing way and for us to love our fellow man and basically all get along.  They all sang familiar hit songs of modernity that wrought out human emotions and many were in tears watching and enjoying what they felt was the Love of God on display. But was it really?

What we saw on TV that day was a false image, an Idol. The very thing God hates! The Gospel of Christ and the passion of which it was conceived and brought forth in to living flesh was only done in response to the eternal holiness and justice of God Almighty! Yahweh, God I AM, cannot and will not let the guilty go unpunished. Listen to what God said about himself to Moses: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,  maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” (Ex 34:6-7)

This God of love, who is very much described as Love throughout the Bible, is also the God from which all mankind must learn to tremble...tremble...TREMBLE! He is high and lifted up in extreme searing holiness! Even the demons bow before Jesus and tremble in fear!  (James 2:19) But rarely does proud and arrogant man. No. We just want to add Jesus to our portfolio of niceties and love songs to make us feel happily deluded so we can go about our way living as we so please. But God, he is a perfect God in whom no darkness exists ( 1 John 1:5) and who requires each and every one of us to likewise be perfect as He is perfect (Matt 5:48) in order to not face judgement to a life in eternal fire punishment! (Matt 13:42)  The Word of God says, "Our God is a consuming fire!" (Heb 12:29)  The Gospel is good news of God!  But good news about what? It is in the Gospel we come to see the true love of God and what HE did to rescue us.  But what was Jesus really rescuing us from?  Was it from Satan and hell?  Sure..but what is hell and what is the power of Satan over us?  It's quite simply the justice of God being worked out in our lives for all our lawlessness and rebellion....for our sins. There was only one mention of the word sin on that Passion TV show that I heard when Perry said Christ came to save from our sins. But in this world, who knows what this means?  No one speaks of it anymore. We are all told we are basically good people who just need a little direction and love of God in our lives. Who doesn't want love?  Sure we all like that. But what we do not like is to be told we are sick and utterly ruined and depraved to the  core! But without this part of the Truth, we will not repent and we will accept a false vision of God, not God at all, but a coconut god, an Idol. Yet this is what we are and this is why Jesus came to die. He humbled himself and the majestic Son of God became like one of us to die and become the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God to atone for our evil doings.Without the shedding of pure blood there is no forgiveness of sin! (Heb 9:22) God alone could only do this because no person, no not one of us is good and thus are unable to save ourselves from the very righteous ANGER from God over sin (Rom 3:10); God the very One who created us in love  to know him intimately and be his children. God's love compelled him to do this for us, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!  (Rom 5:8) This is the real God of the Bible.  The God who hates sin, and the God who came and died for our sins, and then proved his power over sin and death and rose victoriously from the grave on that Resurrection Sunday! Do you really think God would go to all that extreme measure if He did not  both love His holiness and his people? Gods blood took place of our eternal punishment! Christ paid the price and took the blows from the justice of God the Father! This God demands holiness. You must likewise be holy in order to live. Come before him unclean and you perish forever in Gods burning wrath! So by God's grace and love he did for us what we could not ever do. He spilled his own atoning blood.

But... But not everyone has their sins atoned.  While the blood of Christ is enough to atone for all peoples sins, only those who choose to follow Jesus by surrendering their life to him and be his forever slave will find this great and eternal Salvation and be set free!  Jesus said it in many ways, but in a succinct manner in John 3:16 " God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."  But it is not enough to leave it at that one summary statement, we must hear the full counsel of Gods Word and the teachings of Jesus and see the bigger picture of truth so we do not end up with a crazy coconut belief about God.   Jesus explained what it means to believe and he demonstrated it. He said “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."(Luke 14:26)  Belief means obeying and following Jesus as Master and owner, forsaking all else as of little importance compared to him. This is the Jesus of Calvary who died for us!  This is the God who calls us to "repent" and have obedient faith! When we fall on our knees before him willing to surrender it all to him, then we are given the new life of the Spirit, born-again into the eternal family of God with new power to overcome sin and live for Him. This is what the Gospel is about, humbling ourselves before God so that HE will then lift us up! This is love, not that we loved him, but that he loved us first and called us out from among sin and death to live no longer for ourselves, but for him who was crucified and rose from the grave, our Master... Jesus of Nazareth!

No more Coconut gods !  Please no more just talking about the love of God out of context of how and why that love was expressed on on the bloody Roman cross!  Go help people see the real God; the real Jesus living in you and preach in loving grace, knowing but by the grace of God, we too should have perished, but preaching the truth of the holiness of God and the wickedness of man. For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God...Every human needs to repent.

Jesus came to declare the Truth. His truth is this: We all are sinners, utterly wicked by comparison to Holy God. We all will perish by the very anger of God against us for our sins. God loves us so much he came and died for us in the person of Jesus Christ and rose and ascended to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Truth is we must repent and accept by humble faith God's free offer of salvation  in order to receive Christ's atoning blood as our payment and restoration. This faith means following and obeying Christ as Master of everything in your life.

Truth is... This is the Biblical faith that saves!

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. - 2 Cor 5:21

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LGBT people who repent can have the forgiveness of God.

AMNESTY! AMNESTY! God's loving offer of amnesty through Jesus Christ the Son is available to all. No matter how "minor" or "horrible" a sinner you are! All sin will banish you from the holiness of God forever and make you face his eternal wrath. God patiently waits to allows people to come to see his love and truth. Homosexuality is clearly one of the most hideous sins listed in the Word of God.  But as always has been and always will be, the Gospel of Jesus Christ begins with REPENTANCE. Jesus Christ preached, "Repent and Believe the Good News" (Mk 1:15) This means we must agree with God what is sin and turn from it. Once we agree and turn to Christ from the sin, Jesus Saves. Only then.I am not here to gay bash, I love all people from all races, but I refuse to condone any sin as acceptable before man or God... but to clarify in the most loving way possible the truth so you too can be FREE and no longer a slave to sin!   All behaviors are controllable, you are not an animal, but made in the image of God. God will provide the way for those who really seek him. You cannot both have God and your sins. The two are opposites. You cannot redefine what is sin and what is not sin, try as you may, that too is sin. All throughout God's teachings sodomy is called sin and one that the Israelites were even told to punish with the death penalty in the old testament Levitical law. New testament teachings are likewise revealing that it is a perversion of God-given sexuality between husband and wife male and female.  All sex outside of this God ordained marriage covenant is sinful and a perversion and likewise is an offense to the holiness of God. Yes all sex outside of marriage is a perversion of God also. It is sin. So is uncontrolled lust of the mind.

The LBGT community of homosexuals must repent from the sins of sodomy just like I had to repent from the sins of being a womanizer with sexual lusts and perversions in order to find peace with God.  I was born with the natural desire to lust, and to commit all sorts of wickedness! But being born with that desire does not make it good or right!  So please do not try to excuse your sin by saying you were born that way. Serial killers say the same thing, claiming it is just the way they are!

This is true of every human being because like the prophet and king David spoke under Holy Spirit inspiration, in Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” and as Scripture declares,  "There is no one righteous, not even one" (Rom 3:10) And we all will die and face God on judgment day to give account of our actions and lives. No one person escapes or will have their friends to cheer them on in their old tired excuses. For is is appointed unto man once to die and after that Judgement. (Heb 9:27)

There is no room for pride and smugness on anyone's part here!  If you are human you are likewise a sinner in need of repentance and salvation.  We all are but by the grace of God one moment away from judgment and hell if we have not chosen to submit to God and follow Christ. Christ followers are not sin free, but saved by grace and struggling to overcome their sin natures  because they have chosen to agree with God what is right and good and to follow him... ( no matter what your vice may be).  God wants to free us from the power of our sin nature and he can do that with anything he calls sin, even homosexuality or wanton lust of the mind by "straight" people. Jesus came to set us free and in him we gain exactly that. But you must choose to accept him on God's terms, not your own.

repentance

To clarify, Repentance, or turning from a sin does not mean you do not struggle with it and fight the temptations to do it, nor that you will be perfect in keeping from it always, but it means you in your heart  and actions agree God is right and that you must follow him and not your own fleshly urges. God then gives the power to overcome and leave the life of sin. But power from God comes through his Holy Spirit to those who repent and receive Christ as "Lord God", Master of your life.... not as some good luck life insurance genie who magically waves a wand over your sins and allows you to keep on sinning.

Salvation comes through really accepting Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, believing that his bloody death on the cross was payment for your sins before God's holy righteous requirement and that his resurrection from death to bodily alive to the throne of God was evidence of new life and power available to you. Jesus says we must agree with God, turn from our sins and follow him. If you are willing and say " Yes Lord Jesus" then you will be set free by this truth also.

Jesus said "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)

If you stop fighting God and surrender to Christ you can find real rest and peace. Come to Jesus. Find life.

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The Milk of God

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation- if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. - 1 Peter 2:2-3 Peter just cited Isaiah 40:6 that speaks of the Word of God remaining forever and so in this context he urges us to put away any evil living and to long for the nourishment of knowing God through his Word just like a baby craves his mommies milk. In craving and actually feeding in God's Word, we mature and grown up in our salvation....this is the natural progression of what the Holy Spirit does in us. Then he qualifies it saying if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good...quoting from Psalm 34:8. image

God is not telling us to remain as spiritual babies, but to desire him like a baby desires its mother's milk. This is a deep basic instinctive desire.  Is this how you desire God and crave his Word? Have you really 'tasted' of the goodness of God in your own life? Often tears come to my eyes as I meditate upon the magnificent grace of God and his loving kindness to me in spite of my own sins.  How can such a holy God love me so much? I deserve none of him, yet he gave me all of him.

For this the 'taste buds' of my soul relish and soak in his goodness. Yes, I want to drink in this God; this Jesus Christ who came to us to redeem us; this Holy Spirit who makes his home inside me.  He did this! God alone made me what I am today. I who was once his enemy, not his own, have been made an object of his affection and loved, and adopted into his forever family! I have been made his!    Come with me and drink in the this milk of God.... This living water of Christ and enjoy the Shalom of God. The Peace of Christ that surpasses all comprehension and explanation. He is the reason for my existence and for yours.

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Purity only found in Christ

Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.- Heb 9:14

 

water of life

 

Without trusting in Christ for your cleansing and purification, you would be too unworthy to even say a praise of Adoration to God, much less expect a prayer to be heard and acted upon by the Holy Creator God. Seek Jesus Christ as the very Son of God, and his salvation offered by his pure holy blood shed in love for you. Know Christ and you will know God. Jesus said, "I and the Father are One" - John 10:30 God is Father, Son and Spirit.  One God in essence, 3 in person-hood.

 

 

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Tell the Nations of his Glory!

Tell the nations of his glory; tell all peoples the miracles he does,

because the LORD is great -Ps 96:3,4

It should only make sense that because of the great things God has done for us...for me, that I should go and bring this great love of Christ to everyone who will listen, no matter where in the earth they may be. Some have asked me why go to Africa when there are so many lost people here in America.  I simply tell them that God has moved me to go to places like Peru, Ecuador and Africa, and.... because they will listen and respond unlike most Americans, where hearts are hard.

Where the hearts are ripe and tender we should go to harvest for the Lord.

Matt 9:37-38 Jesus said, "Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." Someone's gotta go, why not me...why not you?  I like pastor John Pipers recent messages on this.  There are 3 types of Christians, the "Senders", the "Go-ers" or the "Disobedient". The mission field begins at home and our city and state and country, but it must not stop there. It must be global according to the command of Christ. I want to be like the prophet Isaiah who said in Isa 6:8 "And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." Lastly, for anyone who truly loves Christ and wants to see God face to face, knowing that they have done well in serving him shouldn't we be working on making his return expedited by reaching the last unreached people of the World?  When will Jesus Christ return in glory?  He told us. Matthew 24:14, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." Nations here in the Greek means people groups. So let's be about our Fathers work, going or sending, and making this our priority!

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Love is missional.

Enslaved are not set free by  ambivalence, but by loving intervention. True love purposes to rescue those in need. If you are aware of some injustice or hurting person, or someone trapped in some horrible or dangerous situation, and you have the means to help them, even at some risk to yourself, would not human compassion within you move you to intervene on their behalf?Sure it would, you would at least try to help if there is even an ounce of goodness in you. Something more horrifying than a person in distress is someone who sees them and passes them by without rendering aid, either out of selfish ambivalence, hateful pride, or unwillingness to get their hands dirty, or fear, even when they had means to render aid. God hates cowardliness in people. That is one of the most despicable things I see and often hear about in humanity, and yet it happens all the time. It's abuse or murder by neglect. We live by what we really believe, not by what we say. Our character is determined by our actions not our words.  So we must honestly examine our actions. We need to ask ourselves, "Do I  really care about my fellow man, or is life all about me and my comfort?".  Yet even the most vile of humans will do nice things for those who will do nice things in return, or good things when it's convenient.  But true goodness will force you to leave your comfort zone and go confront people who even otherwise think they are in no danger.  If a dam broke upstream and you saw a home full of people who you knew were in the floods path, a decent person would do what they could to warn and help that family. An evil person would do nothing. Do you ever warn people of God's impending justice if they don't turn from sin and to Christ?

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Jesus Christ sent us out to warn people of God's impending judgment and that his wrath is about to be poured out and could happen any moment on anyone. Do you remember some of his first words of his preaching? "Repent and Believe for the kingdom of God is at hand." The tower of Siloam in ancient Jerusalem fell on many people and killed them, and Jesus was asked if those people were being punished for their sins against God because they were greater sinners than them, do you remember his reply? (Luke 13:4-5) He said, "unless you repent, you too shall likewise perish". You see, he was telling us that every man is in danger of hell fire and deserves to die. As Scripture says, "It is appointed unto man once to die,  but after that judgment". (Heb 9:27) We who are saved by Grace are so enamored by God's love we forget at times that the lost do not live under God's favor and Grace, but under his condemnation and wrath. Yes all humanity experiences some of God's providence for a time, but they are still enemies of God, given just opportunity to seek him. Jesus did not come to earth the first time to condemn us, we already were in condemnation,  but he came to save. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). The lost is everyone separated from God's divine Spirit because of imperfections of sin and on path to eternal destruction. That includes everyone born since Adam. For all have sinned and fallen short of Gods glory. (Romans 3:23). Our standard to meet is perfection; God is our standard. We must not just speak of Gods love as though it is a take it or leave it thing with no consequences of rejecting it, because Jesus will return again not as Savior, but Judge and conquering Lord to all who live in rebellion to God. Revelation 19:13-16 gives us a glimpse of his awesome return. "He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords." This King Jesus will come and call his people to his side but for prideful, it will be a dark day. Do you really believe this? If so let your actions prove it.

But are we people who really believe what the Bible reveals about God and our crimes and unholiness before him? Jesus came as a Rescuer, he is the God who Saves. This is the meaning of the Hebrew name Yeshua, Jesus in Greek. His time of human intervention was a great sacrifice on his part. He came as God, humbled in the limited form of a man, he faced ridicule and shame to help us relate to God and identify with us becoming intimate with our sufferings, and most importantly to rescue some of us who would take his saving hand by faith, trusting his offer of salvation as God among man; our Emmanuel. Jesus being perfect God and perfect man, took upon himself willingly God's wrath over our sins and shed his blood becoming cursed for us hanging on a wooden cross. He being God rose from the grave proving his power over life and death, leading the way for humanity to see how imperishable life with God will one day be for all who trust in him. Today Christ Jesus offers life to all who are under Gods curse, by freely applying his blood payment for their sins and rescuing them from death and the enslavement of Satan and certain hell fire. All we must do is repent from sin and turn to him to save us. That is it. For it is by God's grace we are saved through faith, that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, so no one can boast. (Eph 2:8-9) ....But while many of us have made claim to this salvation and claim we are Christian, which means a Christ follower, our actions say otherwise. Many people seem to "buy into" Christ as some life insurance add-on. They do this by trying to say a sinners prayer or go through certain motions to have "salvation"  but don't really turn to Jesus as king of their life, nor forsake and fight sin. They sort of want to follow Jesus, but not really. They lack saving faith that cries out from their heart "Jesus Son of David, Save Me!" You know a Christ follower by their follow through.  Saving faith radically changes you from the inside out as the Holy Spirit births God's life in your once dead spirit. To enter the kingdom of God, Jesus said it clearly, "you must be born again". So if you do love God and you follow Jesus you will have also a love for your neighbors and you will lovingly share truth and warn them of their danger before God apart from Christ as Lord. You will work hard and smart to rescue the perishing. In Luke 10:1-12 Jesus gives us the model of how to reach those perishing apart from God. He sent 72 disciples out into the villages to share the Gospel of peace and for us to intentionally invade their world with God's love, doing acts of kindness, and healing and blessing people showing God's  amnesty offer, looking for the ones whom the Holy Spirit is drawing to Jesus. Then once finding them stay and disciple them and teaching them to obey everything he has commanded. Yet also he prepares us for the certain rejection that also will happen. Take back your blessings and leave them in the hands of God warning them that God came near and they rejected him. So as to leave them with clear knowledge of the severity of their disbelief. Truly Jesus said later in Rev 21, the unbelieving and cowardly are the first mentioned that are destined to be cast into the Lake of Fire where the pain never ends.

So, as you go about your days, is your life consumed with your work, fun and entertainment or one of many other earthly pursuits? Or does your love for Jesus drive you to think and act daily about how to help more lost people find life in Christ? Do you pray for hearts to be softened for Christ, and do you work to tell others about God's holiness, sin, hell, heaven and salvation in Jesus .  You can and should be doing this personally to those you are able, and also helping his people, his Church, to corporately do this kind of mission work around you and all over the world. You were created, saved and left here on earth to be missional in intervening in peoples lives and waking them up to the truth. No matter how happy they may seem in their life or the risk of upsetting them and them not liking you. No, I'll tell you what, what a shameful day it will be for you and me when they walk off the cliff of life into hell and we didn't say anything before it was too late.

This is your mission and mine. Let's do more intentionally today. Don't wait for them to come to you asking how to be saved, that rarely happens. Go to them. Rock their world.  Some will hear and be saved. God has put this responsibility in your and my hands. If you think I'm nuts. Listen to what God says in Ezk 3:18

"If I declare that the wicked will die but you don’t warn them, if you say nothing to warn them from their wicked ways so that they might live, they will die because of their guilt, but I will hold you accountable for their deaths."

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God created us for adventure

Rick Warren in his recent teachings about missions just wrote "God made us to long for adventure" in his design for us to follow the Holy Spirit into the most unusual of places seeking to share the gospel. image I know what he means!  Yet these adventures do not come at no cost or not without pain and suffering. The costs are enormous, sacrificing all my vacation days every year, all the income most people use to buy nicer homes or nicer cars or nicer "vacation excursions"... The literal costs are high indeed. I have been on a few trips in my recent years and I have come back mauled from bugs and infections...nearly killed by being run over by a boat load of 13 Oxen that badly bruised my shoulder and nearly broke shoulder but filled full of pain. Other times had my expensive phone broken and shattered along with other belongings lost, damaged or destroyed, endured many hours of cramped and painful long trips wedged in tight cars, buses, taxis and way too long of air flights and jetlag, boat rides, and huge heavy Amazon loaded canoes loaded down that run out of fuel and go adrift on the river forcing us to paddle with sticks for hours on end...haha. Times of enduring of extremely hot and scorching sun and humidity carrying cargo and supplies to help the hurting and care for our teams, preaching and teaching in remote places not much fun to get to, putting my health and life on the line with potential sickness and disease eating things that are "very" questionable back home....on and on and on it goes.....yet... God empowers me each and every time for these great Adventures for him. Somehow HE always pulls me through and people get saved and the Church gets built up and people encouraged! Yes following the Holy Spirit can be a bit scarey for those unwilling to fully trust God, because He will take you places you otherwise would have never ever gone, and you will learn what dying to self entails, but in process you will reach people who never would have been reached, had you not gone. This is our calling. Yes it is an adventure, not a burden, but a love thing for Jesus Christ, and a work of the passion of God in us. But if we were to look at it all through man's eyes, some see it as a vacation adventure, which it "aint"!  Yes there is some fun we make of it along the way... haha! But it's a lot of sacrifice! It's a lot of work and planning and difficulty.  It is not easy following Christ!!  But it is much better than staying in 5 star hotels or visiting the nicest safaris or seeing the most attractive and amazing tourists sites, or living in luxury. While staying in dumpy motels or living in mud homes with no power or running water or going poo poo in holes in the ground, I have found the greatest adventure of all that this life can afford... the adventure of following Christ and his Spirit living through me. God my Creator uses me to flow into the lives of willing and open hearts of people for the gospel love of God!   It is an adventure!  Yes, just not an easy one. But... it is the most glorious one that will bring the greatest tears of joy to your eyes that you will ever experience!  Jesus said come and follow me!  Let all his people say and "do" a big AMEN with our lives by going and doing what he commands, no matter what! Come with me, commit to stretch yourself from your comfort zone in following Christ and lets go!  I am leaving for Africa mid November and Lord willing India and Pakistan end of February of which is plenty of time to still go. Think about it and pray and ask God to send you. Will you be like the prophet Isaiah who heard God calling out for someone to represent him, and his cried out. "Here am I Lord. Send me!

http://www.aboutfacemissions.com/Missions

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Mosque of Isa al Masih (The Mosque of Jesus Christ )

Read and be blessed! This excerpt story of one of the many told about what Christ is doing in the Muslim world to bring forth his Church. Many powerful Holy Spirit miracles are happening, from healings, to rescuing from the flames, to angelic protections, to visions of Christ, to raising of the dead!  While most of the time God is bringing an outside Christ followers into a town to begin these movements, here is one amazing account as recorded in the book "Miraculous Movements" by Jerry Trousdale, that is so sweet, I just wanted to encourage you all with it. God bless you are you read and ponder how God wants you to change your world for Jesus! http://isaalmasih.net/isa/dreamsofisa.html

http://isaalmasih.net/isa/dreamsofisa.html

THE CHURCH THAT WAS SUDDENLY THERE

At about the time that Sa'id's story (with which we opened this chapter) was taking place, another Muslim community in that same region (of North Africa) discovered that four people among them were telling the stories of the Bible and speaking of Jesus. A leader of the community had become a Christ follower, along with his family, and he had shared the gospel with another man, who in turn took the gospel to his sons, who then went to another family, and soon there were many people sharing their faith in the town.

And that's when the local officials decided to stop this movement. The four men were arrested and forced to stand in an area of the town center for ten days awaiting their public punishment for abandoning Islam. The homes of these men were damaged and some were burned, and the men were forced to stand all day for many days in the sun. When The day of punishment came, the whole town assembled. Some people had urged the local officials to have mercy on the accused, and the leaders feared that there might be more people in the community who were secret Christ followers, so they said, "Today these men will receive their judgment for leaving Islam. But if there are any of you who are also following Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah), then you should let that be known and join their punishment. We will discover who you are, either way.

No one moved. A hush had fallen over the crowd, as people shifted uneasily on their feet, some impatient to get on with the spectacle, others fearful and undecided. The seconds ticked away . . . then a hand was raised in the middle of the crowd. A collective gasp was heard as an elderly man pushed his way to the front.

"I also am a follower of Isa al Masih!" he declared boldly.

The officials gnashed their teeth in fury, but before they could speak, a young man on the other side of the crowd raised his hand. Then two women raised their hands, then a young married couple. And almost instantly, hands shot up through- out the crowd. The leaders stood aghast: half the community were secret believers in Jesus Christ!  The officials stared at one another, not knowing what to do or say. One of the bolder officials finally put on a stern expression and challenged the crowd: "Are all of you with these four?" He pointed to the doomed men.

"Yes! " was the unanimous chorus.

The leader looked around in consternation as half the village stepped forward, their hands still raised. "How is this possible?" he cried. He turned to his fellow leaders, hoping for guidance on what to do. "There have been no outsiders here to bring this about," he said.

"Well," answered one of his fellow leaders, "we cannot do anything now . . . can we?"

The perplexed officials separated the people and said to the Christians, "Since you have made your choice, you can no longer attend the mosque.

But no one will harm you. You can have your own mosque, and you are now free to practice your religion in a mosque of Isa al Masih." And that is what the Christ followers call the place where they now openly worship God. (pp146-148 Miraculous Movements)

This is one of the many accounts of what God is doing in drawing many Muslims to the Biblical Jesus.

Come and see, Go and be.

For those who are from Muslim families and cultures, they are told many false things about Christ and following him. They have many misconceptions because they associate "western culture" as Christian and Christianity, of which not!   It is a LONG distance from true Biblical Christianity.  While there are many who were born into mixed pagen/christian belief system and lifestyle, this does by no means most are Christian. Just like there are many who call themselves Muslim, many within their own cultures do not purely follow the teachings of the Quran.  A Christian is one who follows the authentic Christ of the holy Scripture as seen in the Injeel, the Bible, not someone who attends a church or does some traditional religious things to ease their consciences.  For Muslims seeking real truth about Christianity, I ask you to visit this website for simple common questions that most Muslims do not know about true Christianity and how it relates to their own faith of Islam.  http://goldenripe.org/theway/

or visit this site where you can see how Christ is appearing in visions to many Muslims and drawing them to Pure faith in God. http://isaalmasih.net/isa/dreamsofisa.html

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When is a person truly saved? What does saved really mean?

At what point does a person cross over from death to life? Salvation can be defined biblically in many ways, but in it's simplest terms reduces down to one thing, no longer being an object of God's wrath but now an object of his eternal love and filled with his very own life forever.While many people want to be right with God, many are not sure God is 100% for them. As Holy Scripture tells us, we are all born into sin, inheriting our parents sin nature and are all under God's wrath and the curse of sin and death from the start.  So when can you and I know we are no longer subject to God's Holy justice for our sins past, present and future?

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According to Christ Jesus it happens at some point in this life, never after we physically die. Hebrews 9:27 says,"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." So there is no choice to be made after death, it is too late. In John 5:24-25 he says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live." The dead? Well certainly he was not talking about the physically dead. In the parable Christ told about the rich man and Lazurus the beggar, he illustrates that the dead have no visibility or connection to the physically alive, just memories, as they await their time of final judgment, or resurrection as in the case of the saved. So who are these  "dead" Jesus is speaking about. In context of Jesus speaking, he is addressing this message to the disciples and crowds listening to him teach. He says when someone referring to those listening hear his words of Truth and by faith, believe he is from God the Father at that point they cross over from death to life. So the dead he is referring to is people alive right then, people alive right now; all who can possibly hear his message salvation in him from your dead in your sins judgment, not the physically dead. Their destiny is sealed. So if I share the glorious Gospel message with a person and ask them to bow their head and pray to Christ by saying a simple prayer or repentance and faith in him, are they saved at that moment?

Well for some yes, and some no. Why you ask? Simple.  We are not saved by knowledge of the truth, nor are we saved by saying a confession of faith or voicing a particular prayer.  No, we are saved at the moment we truly see and Believe in our heart we are worthless apart from Christ and we need need him to save us. The moment our heart cries out to Christ, "Jesus, Son of God, save me!"... And when your heart cries out that vision of trust in him, so too does your outward action and lips. This is why in Romans 10:9 it says, "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". Notice the confession with mouth must include the faith, the belief. So when is God seen as 100%for you and you are saved and given his Spirit for eternity? At the moment of true humble  Faith. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink, so too with the Gospel message. It takes the Holy Spirit to give them an thirst for the living water of God that only Christ can give. This is why prayer is so very important. We must pray for supernatural thirst for God to draw people to Jesus the Life.

I like how John Piper describes this moment of saving faith, Even though a new Believer may not be able to eloquently say it in such words, this described well saving faith.

" What the Bible teaches is that God becomes 100% irrevocably for us at the moment of justification, that is, the moment when we see Christ as a beautiful Savior and receive him as our substitute punishment and our substitute perfection. All of God's wrath, all of the condemnation we deserve, was poured out on Jesus. All of God's demands for perfect righteousness were fulfilled by Christ. The moment we see (by grace!) this Treasure and receive him in this way his death counts as our death and his condemnation as our condemnation and his righteousness as our righteousness, and God becomes 100% irrevocably for us forever in that instant."

At the moment of justification we are saved, which happens at the moment we receive him as our atoning sacrifice by faith through the grace of God filling our dead souls with his eye opening Spirit of Life.

Some still doubt if they really have that kind of saving faith or ever did. They just are not sure. Well ask yourself these questions. Do I really love Jesus as he really is; how he is revealed in the Bible? Do I see him as hating my sin so much and loving me so much that he was willing to do the unthinkable for me, spilling his own life-blood for my soul? Does it bring a tear to my eye to think of how my sins are an unholy shameful thing before his glory as Holy God? Does it drive me to my knees to cry to him often to rescue me and wash me and hold me up, as I stumble and fall? Do I really see him as my daily life and reason for living? If yes, then you are saved, you have the Holy Spirit living in you.... and not some phoney emotional hyped up human attempt to emulate the Holy Spirit yet not be willing to die to sin and self daily. There is a deceiving spirit in this world that dresses up as an angel of light and loves to delude people with drummed up sensationalism. It happens in Churches and many pagan faiths, but is demonic.  The presence of the Holy Spirit in you draws you to your knees in humble adoration to Jesus the Holy One. Yes he is our seal of redemption and he always leads us to daily struggle to take up our cross and to die to sin and self as as we seek to obey our Lord in passionate love.

Then you are truly born again, crossed over at that point from death to life. And keep your hope in this,  that which God starts he finishes, and he will complete you in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

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