What Is Missing In Our Lives?

September 28, 2011 at 4:55 am | Posted in Christian Living, Christian Teaching-, Encouragement-, Inspiring-, Spiritual Growth- | Leave a comment
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PURPOSE – MEANING – A REASON FOR LIVING…

These are all things we desire and search for in life. Despite steps each one of us takes to find purpose and meaning in life, we still feel empty, unfulfilled. That’s because there is a spiritual emptiness in each of our lives. We each have a hole in our heart, a spiritual vacuum deep within our soul; a “God shaped blank.” Possessions nor success will fill this hole. Relationships and morality cannot satisfy this emptiness, and even religion cannot fill the void in our heart.

There is only ONE way to effectively fill that void. This way will not only help us to have a life full and rich on this earth, but more importantly, will give us the absolute hope of spending eternity in the presence of God. But before we can truly appreciate this good news, we need to understand the bad news, which is a serious problem we all have.

t h e  p r o b l e m:  s i n…

The Bible clearly identifies our serious problem as sin. Sin is not just an act, but the actual nature of our being. In other words, we are not sinners because we sin. Rather we sin because we are sinners!  We are born with a nature to do wrong.

In Psalm 51:5, King David wrote, “For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.” Because we are born sinners, sinning comes to all of us naturally. That’s why it is futile to think that the answer to all of life’s problems comes from “within.” NLT

According to the Bible the problem is within.

Scripture tell us in Jeremiah 17:9, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” NLT

We are not basically good; we are basically sinful. This sinfulness spills out into everything we do. Every problem we experience in our society today can be traced back to our refusal to live God’s way. Clear back to the Garden of Eden, Adam made his choice, and he suffered the consequences of it, setting the pattern that all humanity would follow.

The Bible explains in Romans 5:12-18, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.” NLT

“That’s not fair!” you may protest. Why should we suffer because of what someone else has done? Yet, given the opportunity, each one of us would have done the same thing as Adam. In fact, not a single day passes that we do not face the same test that was set before Adam. God has given us the freedom to choose between two separate paths: the path that leads to life and the path that leads to death.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 30:19, “Today, I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” NLT

w i t h o u t  a  l e g  t o  s t a n d  o n…

Someone may say, “But I live a good life. I try to be kind and considerate to others. I live by the Ten Commandments.” But the truth of the matter is that the Ten Commandments, or the law, as they are called in the Bible, were not given to make us good but to show us how bad we are.

The Bible tells us in Romans 3:20, “No one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.”NLT

The purpose of the law is to make us realize how sinful we are. You might say that God’s law was given to “shut our mouths” and show us that we desperately need his help and forgiveness for our terminal condition as sinners. Look at the passages below to get a better understanding of the nature and seriousness of sin.

1. We Have All Missed the Mark (see Romans 3:23). Romans 3:23 says, we have all sinned. For those who would claim to be the sole exception to this eternal truth, verse ten of this chapter plainly says, “No one is righteous—not even one” (Romans 3:10). Another word for righteous is good. The word righteous means, “One who is as he or she ought to be.” When the Bible says that no one is righteous, or good, it is not so much referring to behavior but to inner character. What exactly is “God’s glorious standard” that Romans 3:23 says we have failed to meet? God’s “glorious standard” is absolute perfection. Jesus said, “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). In other words, anyone who is not as good as God is not acceptable to Him. One definition of sin, derived from the Greek word hamartia, is to “miss the mark.” As far as the mark of perfection goes, we miss it by a mile. Although our sinful nature makes it impossible for us to live up to God’s standard, we cannot blame sin on our nature alone. Sin is also a deliberate act.

2. Sin Is a Deliberate Act (see Ephesians 2:1-3). Another word for sin in Ephesians 2:1 is transgressions or trespasses. This word speaks of a lapse or deviation from truth. In contrast to simply “missing the mark,” this is a deliberate action. Because sin is a deliberate action, we cannot blame our sin on our society or our environment or our mental or physical state. Everyone has chosen to do what was wrong. If we protest this point, “we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.”

1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that His word has no place in our hearts.” NLT

3. The Ultimate Penalty for Sin Is Death (see Romans 6:23). According to the Bible, we have offended a Holy God. We have not done this once or twice, but so many times that we are unable to keep count. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death…” Wages are something you are paid for work rendered. In other words, you earn your wages. Because we have all repeatedly sinned, we have earned the penalty of death, which is eternal torment and punishment in a place called hell.

Amid all this talk about sin and death, there is some good news. God has given us a way to escape the penalty of our sin. He has made it possible for us to have a relationship with Him and enjoy the hope of eternal life without punishment.

t h e  s o l u t i o n:  J e s u s  C h r i s t

God understood our problem and knew that we could do nothing about it. Because God loves us, He sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to bridge the chasm of sin that separates us from Him.

See  H O W  Y O U  C A N  K N O W  G O D  to find out H O W. . .

Taken from the New Believer’s Bible New Testament                                                           http://files.tyndale.com/thpdata/FirstChapters/978-1-4143-0257-7.pdf

He Gives Power to the Weak…

August 22, 2011 at 10:24 am | Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement-, Inspiring- | Leave a comment
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“MEET ME in early morning splendor. I eagerly await you here. In the stillness of this holy time with Me, I renew your strength and saturate you with Peace.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 says, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Even the strongest people get tired at times, but God’s power and strength never diminish. He is never too tired or too busy to help and listen. His strength is our source of strength. When you feel all of life crushing you and you cannot go another step, remember that you can call upon God to renew your strength.

Trusting in the Lord is the patient expectation that God will fulfill His promises in His Word and strengthen us to rise above life’s difficulties. Do you believe God loves you and wants the best for you? Can you relax, confident that His purposes are right? Are you convinced that He has the power to control all of life, and your life as well? Though your faith may be struggling or weak, accept His provisions and care for you.

He desires us to sit back and rest in Him. In every situation, He longs for us to ask Him for His strength and direction, and to be thankful for what we’re going through. When we do this He promises to give us peace… His Peace. Have a blessed day as you seek His face. He delight’s in our enjoyment of everything that is true, noble, pure, lovely, and admirable. When we think on these things, His light will shine brighter in us day by day.

Philippians 4:6-8 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Why God Created US…

August 17, 2011 at 4:59 am | Posted in Christian Living, Christian Teaching-, Inspiring-, Personal Relationship- | 1 Comment
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Have you ever wondered why you’re here? Why did God create you? Or perhaps you haven’t ever stopped to think about it from a Godly perspective. You may just wonder “Why am I living”… “What’s my purpose in life?”

I assure you, we all have a purpose and God created each one of us with that purpose in mind… Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

He not only created us with a plan in mind, He created us to be in fellowship with Himself…

He loves us so much that He wants to be a part of our lives! Unfortunately, SIN got in the way when Adam & Eve sinned in the Garden. That SIN severed our relationship with our Heavenly Father. You see, God is Pure and Holy and because of that, He cannot be in fellowship with SIN.

The good news is that He loves us so much…

Even though we’re sinners, He sent His Son Jesus into the world to save us from our SIN. Jesus was perfect, without blemish, yet He was willing to be the ultimate sacrifice… for US! He died a horrible death, being nailed to a cross, crucified, taking on ALL of our sins, that we might have life (fellowship with God)… IF we just believe.

The apostle John gave one of the clearest testimonies and admonitions to the fact that believers in Jesus Christ can enjoy a rich, dynamic, unbroken fellowship with the Lord God through His Son, Jesus Christ. God’s final and most complete revelation of Himself is in His Son.

In John 14:9 Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

And in John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”

Jesus came to give us eternal life…

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”

John 20:31 says, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

The eternal life was with the Father…

1 John 5:11-13 tells us, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

1 John 5:20 tells us, “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true. And we are in Him who is true by being in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”

Eternal life is the fullness of life such as that which is divine. Jesus Christ has manifested to us this life that was outside the human sphere of space and time. It comes from God and is His kind of life…

John experienced eternal life and wanted to share that life with others…

1 John 1:3-4 says, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”    

There is no greater joy in this world than sharing Jesus Christ with other people so we can present them complete, mature and perfect in HIM!

For A Personal Relationship See:

Salvation Begins With God…

4 Steps to Knowing God…

Just Stop And Think…

Christianity for Realists…

May 31, 2010 at 5:27 am | Posted in Christian Teaching-, Encouragement-, Inspiring- | Leave a comment
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…As God, Jesus is the supreme realist, and he recognized the existence of Satan.

Everyone has different expectations from Christianity, but one thing we should not expect is a problem-free life. It just isn’t realistic, and you won’t find one verse in the Bible to support that idea. Jesus is blunt when he tells his followers:

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” …John 16:33

Trouble! Now there’s an understatement. If you’re a Christian and you haven’t been ridiculed, discriminated against, insulted or mistreated, you’re doing something wrong. Our trouble also includes accidents, illness, job layoffs, broken relationships, financial setbacks, family strife, the deaths of loved ones and every kind of nastiness that unbelievers suffer as well.

What gives? If God loves us, why doesn’t He take better care of us? Why doesn’t He make Christians immune from all the pains of life? Only God knows the answer to that, but we can find our solution in the last part of Jesus’ statement: “I have overcome the world.”

The Major Cause of Trouble

Many of the world’s problems come from Satan, the ‘Father of Lies and Dealer in Destruction.’ In the past couple decades, it’s become fashionable to treat that fallen angel like a mythological character, implying that we are too sophisticated now to believe in such nonsense.

But Jesus never spoke of Satan as a symbol. Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert. He constantly warned his disciples to beware of Satan’s traps. As God, Jesus is the supreme realist, and he recognized the existence of Satan.

Using us to cause our own problems is Satan’s oldest ploy. Eve was the first person to fall for it and the rest of us have been doing it ever since. Self-destruction has to start somewhere, and Satan is often the small voice that assures us our dangerous acts are all right.

There’s no doubt: Sin can be enjoyable. Satan is doing everything he can to make sin socially acceptable in our world. But Jesus said, “I have overcome the world.” What did he mean?

Exchanging His Power for Our Own

Sooner or later, every Christian realizes that their own power is pretty puny. As hard as we try to be good all the time, we just can’t make it. But the good news is that if we allow him, Jesus will live the Christian life through us. That means his power to overcome sin and the problems of this world is ours for the asking.

No matter whether our problems are caused by ourselves (sin), others (crime, cruelty, selfishness) or circumstances (illness, traffic accidents, job loss, fire, disaster), Jesus is always where we turn. Because Christ has overcome the world, we can overcome it through his strength, not our own. He is the answer to the problem-filled life.

That doesn’t mean our problems will end as soon as we surrender control to him. It does mean, however, that our unbeatable ally will bring us through everything that happens to us:

“A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all”  …Psalm 34:19 NIV

He doesn’t spare us from them all, he doesn’t shield us from them all, but he does deliver us. We may come out the other side with scars and losses, but we will come out the other side. Even if our suffering results in death, we will be delivered into the hands of God.

Confidence During Our Problems

Each new problem calls for renewed trust, but if we think back on how God has delivered us in the past, we see that unmistakable pattern of delivery in our lives. Knowing God is on our side and supporting us through our troubles can give us a sense of peace, hope, confidence and faith.

Once we understand that trouble is normal and to be expected in this life, it will not catch us off-guard as much when it comes. We don’t have to like it, we certainly can’t enjoy it, but we can always count on God’s help to get us through it.

A problem-free life is a myth here on earth, but a reality in heaven. Realistic Christians see that. We don’t view heaven as pie-in-the-sky but rather our reward for trusting Jesus Christ as our Savior. It’s a place where all will be made right, because the God of Righteousness lives there.

Until we reach that place, we can take heart, as Jesus commanded us. He has overcome the world, and as his followers, his victory is also ours.

Jack Zavada, a career writer and guest contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack’s Bio Page.

http://christianity.about.com/od/topicaldevotions/a/problemfreelife.htm

What’s So Great About Being a Christian?

May 6, 2010 at 4:38 am | Posted in Christian Living, Christian Teaching-, Inspiring- | 2 Comments
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“More than anything this world has to offer, following Christ eliminates despair and fills your life with meaning.” ~Steve May

 
 
Why it is so great to follow Jesus… 
  • The message of the Bible is that no matter how bad things appear to be, with God in your life, you don’t have to give in to despair. With God in your life, there is always reason to hope.
Following Jesus gives you a reason to be optimistic…

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints—the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel.” …Colossians 1:3-5

  • This is not wishful thinking. It is sensible optimism.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,who have been called according to his purpose.”  …Romans 8:28

  • This optimism that we have—this hope that is ours—gives us the ability to live a life of faith and trust him with the details of our lives.
Following Jesus gives you a handle on the truth…
  • The difference Christianity offers the world is that we believe—even in this day and age—that truth exists.

“All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.”  …Colossians 1:6

  • When you make a choice to follow Christ, he lays a foundation in your life of absolute truth that will guide you through the rough spots.
Following Jesus gives you the ability to get results…
  • When you make a choice to follow Jesus, you can live every day of your life with the assurance that your efforts to serve him will produce results.

“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”  …Matthew 7:18-20

  • Paul says that when you commit to following Jesus and dedicate yourself to doing the work of the gospel, your efforts will bear fruit.

The Fruit of the Spirit is the Holy Spirit; God’s active love and work within and flowing through us, so that we can bear and convey His Fruit. Because we have a personal relationship with Christ, we have God’s living presence in us, living in us. This results in us having the ability to reflect His Fruit and character.

  • When you serve Jesus, you are never at risk of wasting your life; your efforts will produce results—results that last for eternity.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  …Galatians 5:22-25

So, “What’s so great about being a Christian?” …more than anything this world has to offer, following Christ eliminates despair and fills your life with meaning.

Romans Road To Salvation

April 28, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Posted in Christian Teaching- | Leave a comment
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Romans Road: The Highway to a Relationship with God

It’s not just a systematic way to build highways inherited from the Roman Empire in the 1st Century. It’s also God’s plan of salvation set forth in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Also known as the Roman Road, the following is a collection of passages that build a beautiful and systematic approach to the gospel of grace by and through Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:20-21 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” We must acknowledge God as the Creator of everything and accept our humble position in God’s creation.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” We must all realize that we are sinners and that we need forgiveness. We are not worthy of God’s grace.

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Through Jesus, God gave us a way to be saved from our sins. God showed us His love by giving us the potential for life through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” If we remain sinners, we will die. However, if we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and repent of our sins, we will have eternal life.

Romans 10:9-10 “That 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. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Just confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved!

Romans 10:13 “For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” There are no religious formulas or rituals… Call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved!

Romans 11:36 “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Determine in your heart to make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life today.

Are You Ready to Accept God’s Gift of Salvation?
If you truly believe the message of the Romans Road, and want to accept God’s gift of salvation right now, it’s a matter of repenting of your sins and turning the rest of your life over to Jesus Christ. Again, this is not a ritual based on any specific words or prayers, but rather, a willful decision and a sincere step of faith.

    “Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” …Acts 2:38

If you decided to receive Jesus today, welcome to God’s family. Now, as a way to grow closer to Him, the Bible tells us to follow up on our commitment.

  • Get baptized as commanded by Christ.
  • Tell someone else about your new faith in Christ.
  • Spend time with God each day. It does not have to be a long period of time. Just develop the daily habit of praying to Him and reading His Word. Ask God to increase your faith and your understanding of the Bible.
  • Seek fellowship with other followers of Jesus. Develop a group of believing friends to answer your questions and support you.
  • Find a local church where you can worship God.

http://www.allaboutgod.com/roman-road.htm

Where Would You Go If You Died Today?

April 2, 2010 at 12:46 am | Posted in Christian Teaching- | Leave a comment
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If we look to the bible to answer this question, there are only two possible answers to where you would go if you died today: Heaven or hell.

If you’re saved, you’ll be in heaven. If you’re not, you’ll be in hell. It’s as simple as that and it’s very important to realize that whichever one of those two destinations becomes your final dwelling place, you will be there by choice. Granted, the state in which you came into this world was not by choice, but the state in which you leave it will be.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  …Deuteronomy 30:19

Now choose life. We all have that choice to make. Why? Because the day that Adam and Eve chose to follow the lies of Satan, instead of the instruction of God, it resigned all future generations to be born into a world of sin and sinners, death and destruction. We are born as sinners, and the penalty of sin is death and eternity in hell, but it doesn’t have to end that way. It all depends on our decisions. Do we want to honor God and seek redemption, or do we instead pay homage to the ways of evil currently at work in this world? For those of us who choose God, those of us who want to shrug off that cloak of sinfulness we were born with and instead rise up from beneath it as a son or daughter of God, He has provided a way for us to regain our right standing as children before Him.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.  …Romans 3:21-26

We are justified freely by His grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. All who believe. Therein lies the choice to be made, and the explanation as to how the man sent to hell will actually be there by choice. God has set forth the way to salvation, He has given us the key to the doorway of heaven, but it is still each individual’s decision as to whether or not it’s accepted. The alternative is hell. Let’s talk about that for a minute. Hell. The abode of evil. Eternal punishment. The dwelling place of Satan. Everlasting fire. Place of condemned souls. Eternity without God. The words of Christ regarding Lazarus and the rich man give us quite an education on hell:

In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.‘ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ” ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ” …Luke 16:23-31

Disturbing as it might be, we have been given a literal window into hell. It’s torment, it’s agony in fire, and a great chasm exists between it and heaven, which means it’s once in hell, always in hell. We are also given an alarming bit of insight here: The rich man, who wanted desperately, to warn his family to change their ways so they would not face the same punishment, was told that there are some who have so firmly set their minds against the knowledge of God, that not even someone rising from the dead, as a witness to the existence of hell, would be sufficient enough evidence to warn them of the reality of it. It is a testament to the stubborn, hard-hearted and prideful nature which exists in much of mankind, and it is further explanation as to how a man in hell will be there by choice.

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?  …Hebrews 2:1-3

God does not send anyone to hell who did not previously choose to be there, by their own decision to honor evil instead of good, and by refusing the gift of salvation offered through acceptance of Christ:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  …John 3:16-18

If you’d like to continue on the subject of salvation, more information can be found here: How Do I Become Saved? 

Maybe you’re one of those people who don’t believe hell even exists. Maybe you think you’re above it, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be the one to test that theory. I really doubt you’ll get a do over; on the contrary, it’s do or die, right now. That brings us back to the decision that must be made by each and every one of us. Think you still have plenty of time? Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t. Maybe this is the day you’ve been waiting for, because you may not get another chance. Not a single one of us knows the number of days allotted to us in this life. I assure you, the end will come, and when it does, it will either be eternal life with God in paradise, or eternal life without God in hell.

Which one is it for you?

Written by Saraiah Faith Gracie ~

Where Would You Go?

Easter…

April 1, 2010 at 7:00 am | Posted in Christian Teaching-, Inspiring-, Know What You Believe- | Leave a comment
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Easter: celebrating Jesus’ victory over death…

As Christmas is celebrating Jesus’ birth, Easter is celebrating Jesus’ victory over death and mankind’s hope for eternal life. The highlights behind the Easter story include Jesus’ execution, His burial and, most importantly, His rising from death… the resurrection.

The account of Jesus’ rising from death was recorded in the most authoritative historical records, the Gospel books: Three days after His death, a few women first found His tomb empty. Then Jesus appeared in front of these women and His disciples, talking and eating with them. Out of doubts still, one disciple did not believe Jesus was alive again until he actually touched Jesus’ fatal wounds.  In the following forty days, hundreds of people witnessed this Jesus who had returned from death until He ascended to Heaven.

Before His death, Jesus had promised eternal life to those who followed Him. If the story ended at His death, Jesus would have been no more than a religious figure with a finite life span. But the fact the Jesus rose from death demonstrated He has the power over death, and only through Him can people have hope for eternal life.  Jesus said,  “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” …John 3:16 ♥

http://www.jesuscentral.com/ji/lands/easter.php/

Salvation Begins With God…

March 25, 2010 at 5:30 am | Posted in Christian Teaching-, Inspiring-, Personal Relationship- | Leave a comment
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Have you felt the “tug” of God on your heart?

Becoming a Christian is one of the most important steps you will take in your life on earth. Continue reading to learn what the Bible teaches about becoming a Christian and what it means to be a follower of Christ.

This call to salvation begins with God. He initiates it by wooing or drawing us to come to Him.

    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him “ …John 6:44

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in “ …Revelation 3:2

Human Efforts are Futile:

God desires an intimate relationship with us, but we cannot obtain it through our own efforts.

    “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” …Isaiah 64:6
     
    “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” …Romans 3:10-12
Separated by Sin:

We have a problem. Our sin separates us from God, leaving us spiritually empty.

    “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” …Romans 3:23

It is impossible for us to find peace with God through our own efforts. Anything we try to do to obtain God’s favor or gain salvation is worthless and futile.

A Gift from God:

Salvation then, is a gift from God. He offers the gift through Jesus, his Son. By laying down his life on the cross, Christ took our place and paid the ultimate price, the penalty for our sin — death. Jesus is our only way to God.

“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” …John 14:6  

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” …Romans 5:8

Responding to God’s Call:

The only thing we must do is respond to God’s call. But how do I respond?

Receiving God’s gift of salvation is not complicated. The response to God’s call is explained in these simple steps found in God’s Word:

1) Admit you are a sinner and turn away from your sin.

    Acts 3:19 says,”Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

Repent literally means “a change of mind that results in a change of action.” To repent, then, means to admit you are a sinner. You change your mind to agree with God that you are a sinner. The resulting “change in action” is, of course, the turning away from sin.

2) Believe Jesus Christ died on the cross to save you from your sins and give you eternal life.

John 3:16 says,”For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

Believing in Jesus is also a part of repenting. You change your mind from unbelief to belief, which results in a change of action.

3) Come to him by faith.

    In John 14:6 Jesus said,I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

You may want to make your response to God a prayer. Prayer is simply communicating with God. Pray using your own words. There is no special formula. Just pray from your heart to God, and believe that he has saved you. If you feel lost and just don’t know what to pray, here’s a prayer of salvation you can pray.

5) Now, don’t doubt.

Salvation is by grace, through faith. There’s nothing you did, or ever can do, to deserve it. It’s a free gift from God. All you have to do is receive it!

    Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

6) Tell someone about your decision.

    Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” 

 http://christianity.about.com/od/newchristians/p/becomechristian.htm

Saved By Grace…

March 20, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Posted in Christian Living, Christian Teaching-, Inspiring- | 2 Comments
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By grace, you have been saved…

Ephesians 2:8-10 …“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

According to the dictionary, GRACE is defined as:
  • The freely given, unmerited favor and love of God
  • The influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them
  • A virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces
  • Also called state of grace: the condition of being in God’s favor or one of the elect

These definitions are from the dictionary, but they were first found in the Bible. Grace has been defined as the unearned, unmerited favor of God. This definition helps us to see that it is something good that comes from God, which we don’t deserve. Salvation is a gift.

The LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” …Psalm 84:11

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” …James 4:6

Two important things to realize about grace is:
  1. The totally undeserving nature of the recipient… us
  2. The totally generous nature of the giver… God

In Luke 15:11-32, the ‘Parable of the Prodigal Son’, grace is well illustrated. In this parable the Master paints for us a beautiful word picture of the love of God for lost sinners. Who can forget the tender scene of the loving father receiving back his wayfaring, undeserving boy and restoring him to a position of honor which he had forfeited and did not deserve to regain? But the matchless love of that daddy looked past the sins and mistakes to see a repentant boy whom he loved with all his heart. Could God’s grace be better illustrated?

Why do we need this grace?

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” …Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” …Romans 6:23

Since we deserve spiritual death, it is only by God’s grace that His hope can be extended.

How can we gain access to the benefits of God’s grace?

“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” …1 John 4:9-10

The fact that salvation is a gift does not mean that God has not set conditions we must meet to receive the gift.

What are the conditions upon which God, by His grace, will give the gift of salvation?

Paul says it is “through faith” …we must believe.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” …Ephesians 2:8

What is faith?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” …Hebrews 11:1

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” …Hebrews 11:3

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.” …Hebrews 11:6

Faith is the confident belief of that which we both desire and expect. Also, faith includes trust; for he who comes to God must believe that He (God) is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  The three elements of saving faith are belief based on evidence, trust and assurance.

We have seen that God has provided a marvelous salvation from all the consequences of man’s rebellion. This salvation is to be received through repentance and faith. God expects us to change our allegiance. We must now love Him and serve Him—not our old selfish and corrupt desires. It is the means by which we gain access into the grace of the loving Father.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” …Romans 5:1-2

Have you been saved by grace, through faith?

“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” …Acts 22:16

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