What are we Thinking?

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to look at someone’s life and see the sin that is in it that is likely causing them problems? What is more interesting is that when things arise in our lives we tend to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt as to whether or not we are in sin. When we feel conflicted about something and act in the way that we desire anyway we are most likely engaging in sinful activities, whether it is a minor “white lie” or not standing up for someone who is being picked on or some other activity. We justify our own actions in our minds and convince ourselves that we are not sinning, but when we are conflicted about something would it not be better if we just did what we knew was right?

“Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all” (1 Cor. 15:34). We all have sin of some sort in our lives, but how can we say that we know God if we willingly engage in activities that we know are sin? How can we say that we know God if we build up justifications and excuses in our minds about our actions so that they seem right to us even though they still feel wrong? Would it not honor God if instead follow the guiding of the Holy Spirit within us?

We all face choices every day about how we are going to act and react in life. In Christ we all have the ability to know what path is straight and narrow and leads to life and we all have the ability to know what way leads to death. The way that leads to life is not always the easiest, but it is God’s desire for us and when we submit to the Father’s “good and pleasing and perfect [will]” (Rom. 12:2) we are living our lives in a way that worships the Father. So, “don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Rom. 12:2).

May God bless you today as you are transformed and renewed in the way that you think and act. In Jesus’ name.

Numbers 6:24
24 ‘May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favor
and give you his peace.’

The Cold Hard Truth

Sin separates us from God. Deliberate, intentional sin separates us from God, even if we call ourselves a Christian. Jesus came and died to save those who really choose to follow Him, not those who simply say that they follow Him. You cannot fool God, He knows if you have really chosen to follow Him or not. If you have been lying to yourself and to God, then it’s time to stop because the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). It is true that we all are sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), but there is a huge difference between intentionally choosing to sin and falling into temptation. The first is a deliberate choice not to follow God while the second is an inadvertent choice not to follow God. Both are choices and both are forgiveable, but to be forgiven requires a sincere repentance of sin of which the deliberate sinner cannot rightly do unless they have a change of heart and see the error of their ways.

Sin in running rampant, both intentional and unintentional, and the reality is that sin brings about death even unintentional sin. Unintentional sin that has been repented of does not denote an eternal death like unrepentant sin, but it still causes immense damage. There is no such thing as a sin that does not cause damage to us and the more that we sin the more harm we bring upon ourselves and if we are not careful we will wake up one day and realize that we are not really following God at all and have completely surrendered to sin and have chosen to follow Satan. There is no middle ground when it comes to life and death; you are saved or you are not, either you are a child of God or you are a child of Satan (1 Jn. 3:9-10), either you are alive or you are dead.

Now I know that I have been on this whole child of God or child of Satan thing for a little while now, but it is hard pressed on my heart right now and I cannot ignore it. You see Jesus came to lay down His life so that anyone who would call on His name, repent of their sins, and choose to follow Him would have life. Did He lay down His life for nothing? Clearly not, otherwise we would not be here right now. So why did He lay down His life? He did it so that we could have life. He did it so that we could have life in abundance by choosing to follow Him (Jn. 10:10), but that means that we really need to follow Him otherwise what is the point?

I have taken Jesus for granted in the past and I regrettably would say that I still do on occasion and for that I am deeply sorrowed. I long to know how much Jesus loves me and how much He loves you and what I know is that the more closely I follow Him the more I know His love. He loves us so much and longs for us to know it, but He will not force His love upon us. He will not force us to follow Him. He will patiently wait for us and He will be grieved when we choose to follow Satan over Him, but there is hope for us if we simply choose to follow Him. This does not mean that we need to do everything perfectly because that is impossible. What it means is that we must fully acknowledge and realized just how sinful and lost we are without Jesus and how much we need Him to intercede to the Father on our behalf (Rom. 8:34).

There are so many people out there who are basking in sin and so many who have completely given up hope that their life could ever be different than it is and it grieves my soul. I see these people and I am at a loss, I want to help but the only thing that I can do is to share Jesus with them and put the ball in their court; they have to be the ones who choose to follow Jesus and to submit their lives to Him. You and I cannot save the world, but we can help to bring them to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and then help them to grow in Him and learn to follow all of His commands and to encourage them to share Jesus with others. This is the Great Commission, this is what we are called to do. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age (Mt. 28:19-20).”

You have a choice to make today, right now. Do not put it off for another moment. Do you choose to follow and love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind or do you choose to believe Satan’s lies and follow Him. You are the only one who can make the choice. God does not like lukewarm Christians and He spits them out (Rev. 3:15-16), He wants us to be all in and hot in our faith and obedience. Will you choose to be all in? Will you choose to follow the living God who created all things in heaven and earth or will you choose to succumb to the lies that Satan is shelling out? The choice is yours. Choosing to follow God will make a visible change in your life, if it doesn’t then you need to examine whether or not you have really chosen to follow God. I pray for your sake that you choose to give Him everything that you have. Let’s join together and help to start making a positive difference in a world that is being overrun with sin with no regard for any person. Let’s join together and show and tell the world about what Jesus has done for us and wants to do for them.

Father, thank you so much for your abounding grace and love for us. Father, thank you for your patience. Do not let your patience runout on us Lord! More people are coming to join you that have chosen to follow you with all of their heart. Father bless them and strengthen them. Fill them with your Holy Spirit and empower them to do mighty works in the name of Jesus. Do not turn away from us Lord, there are still men and women who are ready to give you all that they have and to stand up and fight against Satan. Be with us Lord, encourage us, gather us together, show us where you need us. Forgive us for our complacency and help us to do better every day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Children of God or Children of Satan?

Are you a child of God? Does He know your name? Will you inherit the Kingdom of Heaven? Take a moment and really think about it, this is not something to take lightly, either you are a child of God or you are a child of Satan. “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother (1 Jn. 3:9-10).”

These are some of the most important questions that you will ever be faced with in your life, so I will ask you them again. Are you a child of God? Does He know your name? Will you inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?

When is the last time that you sinned? Do you sin? Right now you probably have a bunch of thoughts and emotions rushing through your head. You are probably trying to weigh whether or not you sin and justify whether or not you call yourself a child of God. I would submit to you that if you have to weigh out your actions in your mind right now to determine whether or not they are sin, then they most likely are sinful in God’s eyes. God is so holy that He says that “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Mt. 5:28).”

When we attempt to weigh out our actions in our mind we are fighting against the Holy Spirit who has been given to us forever as a Helper, Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor-Counselor, Strengthener, and Standby (Jn. 14:16). He was sent by the Father in the name of Jesus to represent Him and to act on His behalf. He will teach us all things and help us to remember all that Jesus told us (Jn. 14:26). The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth who comes from the Father, will testify and bear witness about Jesus (Jn. 15:26).

As human beings who are born with a sinful nature we do everything that we can to justify our actions. We often times do it without even thinking about it because we have grown so accustomed to doing it. We have been given the Spirit of Truth to guide us and lead us down the path of righteousness. When faced with a decision we will play out scenarios in our mind with only one clear scenario to choose from as highlighted by the Holy Spirit and when we do not choose it we are choosing our own selfish desire and going against God.

The world is a place filled with temptation and we face different temptations each day and inevitably we succumb to some of them. We all do it, if we are honest with ourselves, because we are all sinners and have all fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). When we are honest with ourselves we are able to see our sin and acknowledge it and are then able to repent for our sin, to turn away from doing the things that we have done, and to turn toward God to ask Him for forgiveness and to choose to follow the path of righteousness that has been laid out before us. And if we do not acknowledge or sin and repent than we “will NEVER get into the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt. 18:3).”

Matthew 18:1-4 (New Living Translation)

About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?’

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then He said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.’

This may seem harsh, but this is the reality that we live in. God is a good God, but we have been born with a sinful nature thanks to the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden, and we are not good. “As Scriptures say, ‘No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one (Rom. 3:10-12, NLT).’”

This is why we need Jesus and we need to follow His ways. He gives us forgiveness when we ask. He gives us salvation and lifts us up in our times of need. It is because of Jesus that we have hope, but we must “turn from [y]our sins and become like little children,” we must humble ourselves before God and before man because God is great and has provided us a way out of our sin. He has provided us a way out of the death that is due us. The words of David Crowder’s “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner” come to mind when thinking about this because when we truly examine our lives we can feel hopeless in a hurry, but hopeless we are not when we trust in Jesus.

“Lift Your Head Weary Sinner” (David Crowder)
Lift your head weary sinner, the river’s just ahead. Down the path of forgiveness, salvation’s waiting there. You build a mighty fortress 10,000 burdens high. Love is here to lift you up, here to lift you high. If you’re lost and wandering come stumbling in like a prodigal child. See the walls start crumbling, let the gates of glory open wide. All who’ve strayed and walked away, unspeakable things you’ve done, fix your eyes on the mountain, let the past be dead and gone. Come all saints and sinners, you can’t outrun God. Whatever you’ve done can’t overcome the power of the blood.

So whatever you’ve done or whatever you are doing that is going against God, whatever you feel the Holy Spirit convicting you of, repent and humble yourself before God as little children and you will be made right in the eyes of God. And when you have been made right let it be known what Jesus did for you. You have been given the gift of life through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ who died so that you may live, who rose from the grave so that you may rise to be with the Father in Heaven. For Jesus told us…

John 14:1-3;6 (ESV)

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also…I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

So I ask you the same questions from the beginning. Are you a child of God? Does He know your name? Will you inherit the Kingdom of Heaven? If you have repented of your sins and if you not only believe in, but follow Jesus then you can answer “YES” boldly and know that you have been made right in the eyes of God and if you have answered yes then you have an obligation to go and tell others about it and to teach them about Jesus so that they too may enter into a renewed relationship with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. It’s time that we take back what Satan has been robbing us of. It’s time we say NO MORE SATAN, because he has no power over us and it is time to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ who has already defeated Satan and the third of the angels that were cast down from heaven with him when they turned against God (Rev. 12:1-9). We have the power to do the things that Jesus did because of the Holy Spirit living within us. It’s time we started showing the world that we are God’s children and that He is a mighty force that all will bow down to and that in Him our lives take on a much bigger picture.

Love and Obedience

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8). “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exo. 34:6). “…God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments” (Deu. 7:9). “How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings” (Psal. 36:7). God’s love is powerful, more powerful than anything that we could possibly imagine. It is life changing and is available to all which gives the Gospel so much power. Isn’t it amazing to know that the God that made the Universe, the God that created mankind loves us unconditionally!

It is absolutely true that “God is love,” but the message does not end there. The Bible tells of God’s glorious love for mankind, but it doesn’t just tell of His love. God’s love is available, but we can only access it through obedience and acceptance of His Son, Jesus Christ. Love is a powerful message, but it is not the whole message, because without obedience to and acceptance of Jesus Christ we do not have access to that love. Therefore, the message solely of God’s love is a false message. You do not get His love poured into your hearts unless the Holy Spirit has been given to you (Rom. 5:5). The Holy Spirit is given freely to those who love Jesus and keep His commandments (Joh. 14:15-16). Notice that Jesus didn’t just say that it is given freely to those who love Him; it was contingent on those who keep His commandments.

This image was originally posted to Flickr by jam343 http://flickr.com/photos/24841050@N00/2461973
This image was originally posted to Flickr by jam343 http://flickr.com/photos/24841050@N00/2461973
Love and obedience is the Gospel message and it is the only message that has any power, because without those two in combination there is no access to God. I know this might be contrary to what you have heard, because so many teach of God’s love and how much love He has for His people, but fail to mention that to be called His people we must be obedient to Him. This gives us a false sense of ownership as well as a false sense of inheritance. God is great and amazing and He is love. He has more to offer us than any of our praise could ever begin to relate to Him how thankful we are, but if we don’t truly understand our relationship in Him we are missing out and have been fed a message that is contrary to the Gospel and is not life giving. Sure it makes us feel good to know that God loves us and forgives us, but it requires our obedience and when we have failed to be obedient it requires our repentance.

Repentance is a sorrowful acknowledgment of our sins and it requires us to turn back to God and away from Satan. Psalm 7:11-16 says the following about God and repentance…

God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts. Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.

In this instance to repent literally means to turn back and to turn away from wickedness. Luke 13:2-5 says it differently it says, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” In this manner Jesus is telling the people that they must morally reconsider what they have done and to think differently than what they had before they sinned. This is a life changing decision; this is a decision to move from the wide gate to the narrow gate of Christ. “For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Mat. 7:13-14).

Jesus said the following, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (Joh. 15:10). He also spoke of His obedience to the Father in John 14:31, “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” Even Jesus was obedient to the Father and because of that obedience the world knows that He loved the Father. Jesus was perfect and thus His love is perfect which is why He bids us to follow Him. We on the other hand are not perfect and we never will be. Our lives our sin stained and without the blood sacrifice that Jesus provided for us we are not worthy of approaching the throne of God and He will never know us. God’s love requires our obedience, at least our honest and best attempt at obedience. He knows that we will fail which is why He sent us Jesus so that all who call on Him and abide in Him can be saved.

God’s love is a powerful message, but without obedience it is a message that leads to death for without obedience we are not able to receive God’s love. But don’t worry because Jesus said “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mat. 11:27-30). Will you accept the yoke of Jesus and see that His burden is light?

Father I thank you for your love and for your Son Jesus whom you sent to die as payment for my sins. I am a sinner and I need you God. I love you and chose to turn from my evil ways and follow you. I know that I will mess up though and when I do I will acknowledge that I did not follow your ways and my heart will be grieved. I will turn back to you God and follow you all of my days. I choose to be obedient to you God because your love is worth everything that I have. Accept me Lord and may my life be a testimony about who you are and the love that you have for the world. I ask this all in Jesus’ name. Amen.

If this was helpful or encouraging to you please feel free to share it with others. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to make a comment. We all have a purpose and can be used to help others draw closer to God. God bless you in your journey to knowing Him deeper than before and accepting yourself with all of the qualities that God desires for you to have.

Drawing Near to God

When was the last time you took a close look at your life, at the things that you aspire to, at the things that you do, at how you treat others? When was the last time you really felt connected to God, desired to worship Him with your face planted on the ground crying out to him in praise and thanksgiving and in repentance? These two things go hand in hand. Unless we truly look at our lives in honesty we cannot truly feel connected to God, at least not more than a surface level connection.

Proverbs 4:20-27
My son, be attentive to my words: incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

How is it that we have gotten so far from the truth? We live in a world where Christians for the most part are no different than any other person, so how can we claim to be set apart? How can we claim that we are going to heaven when our lives do not reflect a heart from which the springs of life flow? Sure each of us does things that are good, but even those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior do these same things and do we even do them with right motives?

dirty ragsWhen we examine our lives and our hearts what do we see? I’m talking about the parts of us that are both visible and invisible to others. Is your life filled with any of the following? Drunkenness, pornography, murder, abortion, profanity, speaking poorly of people (slander), road rage, gluttony, viewing of violent movies/shows, viewing of explicit material (think of what was considered explicit or sexualized sixty years ago), sexual immorality, laziness, etc…? Is your heart filled with any of the following? Lust, greed, anger, fear, jealousy, slander, immoral thoughts, pride, negativity, hate, etc…?

Whatever the things are in your life that are keeping you from God you need to get rid of them.

James 4:1-10
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

We will never be without sin which is why Jesus had to come and offer himself up as a sacrifice so that we could live, but because of Him we are able to repent and turn our hearts toward Him. So “submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let you laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:7-10).

If this was helpful or encouraging to you please feel free to share it with others. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to make a comment. We all have a purpose and can be used to help others draw closer to God. God bless you in your journey to knowing Him deeper than before and accepting yourself with all of the qualities that God desires for you to have.