Viewing entries tagged
Salvation

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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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Deceptively close to heaven.

Did you know a person can believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and still not be saved? Many people have been belief and had preached into them these Biblical truths: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved" as quoted fromActs 16:31, or from Christ's own words 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", as well as other Scriptures that say salvation comes by "faith (belief) alone" and it's not as a result of works as clearly explained in Ephesians 2:8-9. These statements are absolutely true! It is only by faith we are saved, and only by belief that God redeems us and adopts us into his eternal family as heirs with Christ! We cannot earn any of it.

So what am I saying? I am here to tell you that some of the most hideous heresies come from taking Bible passages out of context of the whole counsel of God as given by the Holy Spirit inspired Word. While is it true Jesus and Paul and all the new testament writers spoke much about the fact that God saves those who "believe", we must absolutely know, teach and preach how God defines belief! Jesus and the Apostles all wrote much about what this faith is. It's not enough to bark out one line Bible quotes like these 3 verses above if we do not very clearly define Biblical Faith as Scriptures define it.

All sorts of well meaning people have "Faith", but are lost and still in their sins.  We love to make pretty signs and symbols that say "Believe" or "Have Faith" or talk about the 1st Corinthians 13 concluding statement of the greatest attributes to possess as Faith, Hope and Love!

But we must be very diligent and very careful to not let these words stand alone and be defined by every person's whims! They are useless and meaningless left on their own. We cannot and MUST not assume other people know what the heck we are talking about when we say, "Just have Faith"!

There are two types of Faith according to Christ. One type that deceives and one type that saves. Jesus made it clear many times what saving faith really is, and what kind of love is good, and what type of hope is ultimately beneficial and of lasting value.

You see you can have faith in God for the wrong things. You may hope in the wrong things and you may have love for the wrong things. It's not enough to say Faith- Hope- Love and sing Kumbaya and let's all get along.

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Jesus came to bear a CROSS, and so too must YOU, if he is to be YOUR master.  Many people are just "fans", but few are the "followers". Here is the difference in people who believe and are not saved and those who believe and are saved. True Biblical faith is repentant faith. True faith is humble faith. True faith is obedient faith. It's not perfect faith, we all stumble, and God is gracious, but real saving faith costs us greatly.  Matter of fact, it costs you your entire life. Jesus said, If anyone wants to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34)

Here again Jesus is telling us clearly that you can believe and do all sorts of great things, but be as lost as any sinner in hell! Listen closely to his words. 

“Not all those who say ‘You are our Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven. The only people who will enter the kingdom of heaven are those who do what my Father in heaven wants. On the last day many people will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, we spoke for you, and through you we forced out demons and did many miracles'. Then I will tell them clearly, ‘Get away from me, you who do evil. I never knew you'. “Everyone who hears my words and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and hit that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock. Everyone who hears my words and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and hit that house, and it fell with a big crash.”   -Matthew 7:21-27 NCV. Hearing is a form of belief here, but effective belief is that which compels us to obey.

"Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them." Jhn 14:21. ('Has' is the belief and 'keeps' is the obey)

Conclusion is this: Jesus is telling us that by faith we alone are saved; yes this is true, but faith has feet; it follows and obeys him.

A quick nutshell Gospel message and way to more accurately quote John 3:16 in Biblical context is like this: define belief biblically by adding obediently for clarification. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes (has obedient faith) in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."

When you first have faith, real faith, it comes by Holy Spirit new birth, then this same Spirit God leads you into dying to self and living for Jesus.  If this is not your life experience; If your love for Jesus is not a compelling drive to sacrifice your life for him and seek out ways to better serve him, you too may be an idol lover, and your love may well be in vain. Many lost Hindus love Jesus and have shrines dedicated to him in their homes and pray to him also.

Examine your hearts and your lives. Don't be fooled by 'out of context' Bible passages that get you close to heaven, but never really knowing the this living God that demands you bear your cross, just as he bore his.

You don't have to be among those who hear, "Depart from me, I never knew you!"

Repentance and obedience is in order for us today and tomorrow. Just as you received Christ Jesus as LORD, so walk in him... Those who 'know' him, who received him in repentant humble obedient faith must go daily in this attitude.  Teach others likewise and preach a complete Gospel message, lest you lead others deceptively close to heaven, but never helping them enter in.

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Love of Christ saves me

I was put to death on the cross with Christ, and I do not live anymore—it is Christ who lives in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself to save me. - Galatians 2:20 NCV This bold statement of our death was preceded by Paul's explanation that we who have given our lives to Christ by faith, have in essence, died to trying to save ourselves. He says we died to the law, so we can now live for God. The Law represents your attempts to be holy by your own power.

It can be easy to add our own interpretations of what Paul is saying here. Indeed there are many things we have "died" to, so personally this statement can be a long laundry list of specifics, but in context this is speaking of one particular thought. So reading and thinking about this in context is important if we want to gain the full truth being revealed here.  If you read this passage in context you can see that Paul is preaching that we are not justified by the law. In other words,  we are not made holy and pure before God by following a set of rules of right and wrong.  This is our natural human thinking. In reality we all know every wrong demands justice, but justice is not doing some good every time we do a wrong. Justice is about punishment for the wrong. Doing a good deed never undoes the wrong. If that were the case I could kill someone who I didn't like and then simply go save another person from dying to undo my other wrong and be clean. No! You have to pay for your sins.  All of them. This is the great error of all other non-christian beliefs. The flaw in most human thinking is that we think doing some "right", some kind of equal opposing good deed will nullify the wrong. Humanity deludes themselves this way to cope with our own inherent evil. The problem is any good we do, never wipes out or nullifies any wrong. It is like you are a glass of pure water.  You pour in some arsenic.  The water is now poisoned. I can add some more pure water into my glass to attempt to purify it. While I may dilute the poison somewhat, I still am impure and contaminated. I am worth nothing more than to be discarded and poured out, unclean as God has described. Also to make matters worse, because we are already polluted by sin, the good we try to pour in is also dirty and thus we are defiled all the more. As Paul preached, the Law only exposes our impurity and is the standard that shows our filth before Holy God. Good deeds never wipe out our sins. Each sin is still in need of being paid. Justice demands to take an equal eternal punishment of death from the sinner for every sin committed, since each sin is a violation against the eternal holiness of God for which we were created.  He who has broken one law, has broken the entire law (James 2:10). Once broken  it is broke, and you and I cannot repair it. Bleak and despairing thought indeed.

Paul's point in this passage above is not about all the many sins that I have "died" to (even though it is true all our sins were nailed to the cross), but rather in this context, what primarily was crucified with Christ is our root of sin...The sin of self-sufficiency; Pride.

Pride is the thought that I can do anything good on my own and save myself in any way. I cannot, neither can you. We all need God to save us. This is why the Word became flesh, Jesus, and came among us to die in our place. Isaiah 64:6 made it crystal clear. " We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away."

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So the day we fall on our knees and cry out to Jesus saying, "My God have mercy on me a sinner", realizing we have no good in us apart from his life, that is when we are crucified with Christ, born-again so that we can then and now live for God. Christ's blood alone can pay for my sin, apart from that,  eternal death on my part for every one of them is my lot! So, when we do good, it is not done tainted for personal reasons of payment for past wrongs done, to supposedly balance the scales, but rather out of pure love; love for God and love for man. With my sin paid for, I can love purely and do good things purely, even if by human measures it is tainted with sin. My sin is paid, so no poison remains. This is the pure saving cleansing love of God at work in us. ....nevertheless, I live still in this crucified body with Christ. I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Praise God, because of the love of God, I have died to the Law and now I live.

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Jesus knows what YOU do.

To the Church in Ephesus Jesus says,"I know what you do, how you work hard and never give up. I know you do not put up with the false teachings ..." Revelation 2:2 NCV To the Church in Smyrna Christ said, "I know your troubles and that you are poor, but really you are rich! I know the bad things some people say...." Revelation 2:9 NCV To the Church in Pergamum He said, "I know where you live. It is where Satan has his throne. But you are true to me...." Revelation 2:13 NCV To the Church in Thyatira the Son spoke, "I know what you do. I know about your love, your faith, your service, and your patience. I know that you are doing more..." Revelation 2:19 NCV To the Church in Sardis 'The One' said, "... I know what you do. People say that you are alive, but really you are dead." Revelation 3:1 NCV To the Church in Philadelphia God said, "I know what you do. I have put an open door before you, which no one can close. I know you have little strength..." Revelation 3:8 NCV And to the Church in Laodicea 'The Amen' spoke to his people, "I know what you do, that you are not hot or cold..." Revelation 3:15 NCV

Do you see ?  Do you get the theme here? Seven times Christ addresses his Church in various locations and tells them He knows them...He sees them... He is paying attention, and He is not sitting idly by letting it all pass. No.  Take comfort in knowing you are known by the the God of all creation. He knows his sheep, and by his Spirit given to us, we too can know him and his voice. Take joy in your struggles to fight sin and darkness within and around you. GOD is more than watching... He is involved in the welfare of his children.

Take Joy...well that is, unless you are like some of those he rebukes who are living in sin...then take head and repent. Turn from sin and start following Christ as you know you should. For they too shall not escape without due discipline to bring them to steps of life.

This is life... Knowing the Father, and knowing the Son, Jesus Christ, whom He sent. Those who know him obey his voice, not out of fear, but love.  Yet for those who are resisting God and living in sin, he reminds us in his Word, Our God is a Consuming fire, and a man reaps what he sows.

Look at these repeating verses again. What does Jesus say? He knows us? Yes. But more specifically... He knows our works. He knows our deeds.  He knows what we do. Jesus knows what you do. Nothing ....absolutely nothing is hidden from God.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 NCV says this... God will judge everything, even what is done in secret, the good and the evil.

Faith in action is doing, or lack thereof is not.

So. Think on this.  What are you doing?

Do you have ears to hear? I conclude with this beautiful thought for those walking in faith.

“Those who win the victory will sit with me on my throne in the same way that I won the victory and sat down with my Father on his throne. Everyone who has ears should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.” - Revelation 3:21-22 NCV

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5 important truths

Here is the message we have heard from Christ and now announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. So if we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars and do not follow the truth. But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin. If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done. If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and we do not accept God’s teaching.-1 John 1:5-10 NCV

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Truth #1 God is perfect in every way. High and holy. He is compared here to pure light, with no speck of darkness. He is the standard of good; of righteousness; of justice; of perfection in every way.

Truth # 2 To know God and share in his glory, we must be willing to allow his light to penetrate every corner of our life. Only then can the blood of Jesus wash away all our dirt.

Truth # 3 To enjoy the joy of living in brotherly love with others who walk with God, we must walk with God in his exposing light. Those who live in sin; in darkness, not confessing them remain disconnected from God and his Body. Life is a dark evil deceptive lie for them, resulting in ultimate decay and death.

Truth # 4 The blood of Christ will continue to wash us clean as we confess our wrongs; every time... not because we are pure ourselves, but because God is faithful and keeps his word.

Truth #  5 Jesus makes us pure, even though we sin at times, but humbly fight to walk in the Light and believe God, that he always speaks absolute trustworthy truth.

application: Keep walking in the light. Every time you fail God, humbly confess, repent and accept his provision (you not accepting and allowing his forgiveness to wash over you is not of faith, but continued sin). Then  carry on and serve God and others in love. No dirt you have is too filthy for the everlasting blood payment of Christ to clean. It was the blood of God spilled for you!

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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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Something stored in heaven for you and me

Today I am reading, meditating on this passage of scripture, 1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

This Scripture is so full of hope and passion and joy! It goes on revealing that it is being written to suffering Christians everywhere, yet when we look at our immense blessings from God, even among our suffering for doing good in following Jesus, everything in this life seems silly, insignificant and petty by comparison!

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Oh the joy that floods my soul as I am reminded by God's Spirit whose I am ! Amazing grace, and such security I have knowing that it is God himself storing for me an imperishable life; an imperishable body. It's really being saved for up for each one of us who by faith believe and follow Jesus as Lord! The day we truly repent from sin and choose to give our hearts to Christ, we spiritually cross over from death to life (John 5:24), but this sin struggling and decaying body we still keep, and have to learn to make submit to God's will. Oh the struggle of that daily task at times. Some of us even are experiencing much unwanted physical pain and suffering because of messed up bodies, some are suffering because of your identity in Christ and choices to follow him, thus facing world given hardships. Let us have no doubts about it following Jesus will cost you dearly in the this world ruled by Satan and the flesh of mankind. But the joy of knowing who I am, who I belong to, and the joy of walking in the light of God, by faith in Christ, is so much better, so much worth it all!    I just wish all my dead walking dead zombie human friends around me could taste and see you that the Lord is good ...then take sure that step of faith and turn to Jesus. It literally takes a miracle.  It takes you and me walking in the light so they can see The Light even exists. It takes our steadfast love for their souls, showing them there is only one way to Life, and that is in Jesus. It takes worn out knees, praying for God to the turn their dead zombie like hearts of stone, into hearts of flesh. God must make the dead alive, we cant do you that part; so let's do our part and live Christ around them and love them enough to tell them the truth, even if you that disturbs them or causes them to not like you. How evil of us on our part to live in fear and say nothing. God forgive us for the times we have sinned by that act of  ommission. Let us see the joy of our reward stored up by our Father in Heaven and invite many to come join us. Yes, many will decline, but many will accept when they see the love of Jesus in our eyes and hearts. I head to Africa in a week to work with my many east African pastors and fellow Christ servants in Uganda and Kenya, and God will save many, because if only we are willing to go and share Jesus, God acts and responds with salvation. The problem is God gave this responsibility to us. So we must go, or any they perish, and their blood is on our hands. Think about this. It's serious. So for all who read this, pray for Holy Spirit intervention in the lives of those who will hear the Gospel so the halls of heaven will be filled with ones like me, undeserving , but SAVED by grace! You go today, and this week also to your Africa's next door and in your towns and share Jesus. The zombie like lost are waiting on you. How will be they hear unless someone "preach"...each on us are called to be the proclaimers of the the Lords Gospel.

Come soon Lord Jesus, and find us faithful to the end, no matter what. 

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Temptation to do wrong

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires.  Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. -James 1:13-15 NET This thing of temptation, unfortunately I am an expert in, as is everyone who has lived for any time in this life. Unfortunately most of us are also professional "spcapegoaters". Do you know where the term scapegoats came from? In the law given through Moses, a symbolic thing the Jews had to do ritually each year when it came time for a sin offering during the Day or Atonement. They would kill a goat and take it's blood into the Holy of Holies to symbolically pay for the nation's sin and they also had to set a goat loose into the wilderness whose head was put some of the blood of the slain goat. That second goat symbolically carried the sins of the people away. Their blame was laid on it and it took the blame for what they did wrong.  It was the scapegoat. It was a foreshadowing of what the Messiah was to do in taking away our blame before God. This wasn't hard for people to picture because we naturally don't want to face our consequences for our wrongs even today. We want to divert attention off ourselves when we do wrong and blame someone or something rather than humbly take ownership, repentance, and seek godly change.   Some accuse  God of making them sin even if indirectly, by saying it's just to hard to resist some temptations and God should make it easier for them. God does allow temptations to test us, yes, but it's not him tempting us. He equips us with His Spirit and wants us to learn to notice the signs of temptation and immediately turn to Jesus for power to overcome. It is hard to break old habits, but in Christ we can do all things! Now we know Satan and the demons tempt us also at times, but notice their absence in this scripture. What is it that tempts us according to this passage? Our own human desires.  We don't need to blame anyone other than ourselves for failing to live holy, in our own flesh really is no good thing. Thus the war we must daily fight, by drawing near our source of righteousness and power to overcome.  Jesus. 

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  Christ in me is all that really is good.    Thank you Lord for promising to never leave me, nor forsake me, because daily I need you. Thank you also for your shed blood that washes me whiter than snow, the times I do fail you. Because it is against you alone O God who ultimately I sin and must come to for cleansing. May I always confess my sins before you LORD Jesus, and hold nothing back,  since you have promised me you are faithful and just to forgive me my sins and to purify me from all unrighteousness...Always .   Amen.

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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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Justification, Sanctification and the Law

God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do…For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  – Romans 8:3,7-9 ESV This passage is spoken in context of the famous memory verse of many Christians over the centuries Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus   The law was given to illuminate the depravity of our sin nature and impossibility to be pleasing to God in the flesh.

Indeed it is by Grace we are saved and by Grace that we stand. The commands of God never made anyone good, only faith in his provision has ever made anyone good and right before God.

In regards to the law and the New Testament commands, I think where our confusion lies at times is in the difference in keeping the law for salvation (Justification) or following and obeying the commands of Christ and the principles of the law out of pure love and desire to be like God (Sanctification). These are quite opposite, one is outer self-preservation motivation and one is inner spirit motivation.  If you are in Christ you will strive to follow and obey, but if you are not, you will continue in sin avoiding following him. Keeping New Testament "commands" are not our means to purity, but a result of it...evidence of it.  I understand people’s desire to preach holiness and greater commitment to follow Christ and his commands, because so many people who call themselves Christians do not seem to be concerned at living in sin. So audience and context is important.  It may be that these people are the “goats” or the “tares” that Jesus warned us about among the “sheep” or the “wheat” (Matthew 25:31-46, Matthew 13:24-30).  As well we should preach and teach and encourage fellow Christ followers to walk in the light of obedience, for Christ himself said whoever keeps my commands, he it is who loves me (John 14:21). But we must remember this is the result of the Gospel not a way to salvation. Loving God and Jesus as Lord, our master and leader is fruit of the Spirit in us, not the other way around.

For instance murder was and still is wrong.  Under the Law it brings me death and condemnation because evil hateful, careless, or reckless thoughts violate its principle of loving your fellow man, so that sin of that must be dealt with. But since Christ paid the price for my crimes of those thoughts and deeds, through faith in him, I am now justified as clean and pure.  But yet even under grace, God still wants me to love my fellow man and not think or do hateful things towards him, so Christ has emphasized the greater underpinning command to love neighbor as yourself. The holiness of God and his plan for us to be like him has not changed. Once justified and accepted into the family of God, (not acceptance of our sins, but our souls) we have Holy Spirit inner motivation to be more like our Holy Father God. This is what sanctification is all about, in the setting of us apart for God as a holy people. It is a process in this life. This is our new desire. Before salvation, we just “tried” to not get caught and punished. We really were in hiding from God and tried to avoid his ominous Holiness. Now in Christ we are drawn to it.  So we still have rules of living and for holiness in practical life, but these are not for our justification, but for our sanctification.

John Murry said it well… “Indeed, the more sanctified the person is, the more conformed he is to the image of his Savior, the more he must recoil against every lack of conformity to the holiness of God. The deeper his apprehension of the majesty of God, the greater the intensity of his love to God, the more persistent his yearning for the attainment of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, the more conscious will he be of the gravity of the sin that remains and the more poignant will be his detestation of it.”

The "Law" is fulfilled in Christ so its demands for making us holy are no longer needed for our purification and legal righteousness before God.  As the Bible says it’s a school master to show us the need for the Savior. When we as born-again children of God fail and sin, which we all do more often than we realize, we are never condemned by God or by the law of sin and death, but are now free from that curse. Yet we as God's beloved will face difficult chastisement and correction if we don't repent from known sin that the Holy Spirit reveals to us, which many times come to us from other godly Believers in accordance with his Word.

These commands of the New Testament are unlike the Law fulfilled by Christ. These were not given by Christ for making us righteous; we have that imputed into us without anything we have done to earn it. But the commands of Christ are our "marching orders" as in military terms for war, on to how to live for Christ as we were redeemed and created to do. We are at war with the lies of Satan and his darkness.  We don't preach the commands of Christ to the unsaved, but to the saved to help them follow their Master.  We don’t do it in a condemning way, but soberly and with all seriousness because our God is our Father and he does demand of us to walk in his light and will bring correction to us if we do not, but never is the true Christian under condemnation (Rom 8:1) . Just like when one of my children does wrong, I am displeased, but never will I forsake them or abandon them, but I will bring correction and do what must to help draw them towards goodness in their heart. They never need worry that I will cast them out from  my love or family, as neither does a child of God never need to worry about being cast out into the utter darkness from which they came. No we are forever his.  After all his Spirit birthed in us new life and God will not kill that new life, any more than I will kill my baby.  The thought is absurd. But I will demand that my children live upright and do everything to ensure they do.

The Gospel is about salvation and bringing one across from death and condemnation into life, the commands of Christ are unlike the Law of old, they are simply instructions on how to follow him now that we have ability with His Spirit living in us. For those who refuse to obey Christ and live in sin, after loving exhortation to turn from sin(not condemning),  we are told to treat them as outsiders.  But only God knows really if they are a one of his sheep or a goat. They too should know, if they really have the Spirit in them. Yet wallowing in sin will blind them to even God and their security of salvation. This is why we see so much tension in Scripture, even the New Testament warning that our God is a consuming fire.  Sometimes even a wayward backslidden Christian, like I once was,  needs a little fear of the Lord restored back into their heart. Truly the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom, but perfect love, that of walking in his light, casts out all fear as we cry out Abba, Daddy, Father and climb into his holy loving arms to feel the warm hugs of his love! For years as a child of God I walked in sin, I was a prodigal, never climbing in his arms of love, feeling so distant and ashamed of my life before him, but always knowing I had to do something and repent before his strong arm of correction destroyed my life totally. God will even take the life of a wayward child if that is necessary to keep us from polluting his people, but never ever will he forsake us. Never! For he has spoken, “Never will I leave you, nor forsake you.” (Heb 13:5, Duet 31:6)  And by the grace of God, I am here today restored, because he finally got through to me by reminding me that he is a consuming fire and will bring serious correction, so never again will I return to that vileness of living unrepentant in sin.  He has given me a second chance at living for Jesus, and I plan on using every day to proclaim the amazing grace and love of God in Christ!  Truly this is what keeps me wanting to follow every single command of God and making progress towards that.

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