Tag Archives: Christianity

Seek the Approval of God NOT Other People

Dear readers,

As promised, here is the 2nd part to/the full blog about pleasing others instead of pleasing God. It did not turn out how I expected it to, but I wrote what I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to write, so here it is! Thank you for your patience! Here it is:

Alexis Malek

April 12-13, 2017

Seek the Approval of God NOT Other People

10 “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”

 https://www.bible.com/116/GAL.1.10

I know I have previously written on this subject, but it has come to my attention a lot recently that it needs to be addressed again. I myself have always been a people pleaser and this has gotten me nowhere but heartache, pain, and sometimes trouble (especially trouble with God). I am trying to break free of this habit, and have been trying to do so since learning this was a sin and foolish in the eyes of God, which I learned sometime after being saved almost 5 years ago (April 18, 2012 I was baptized and received the gift of the Holy Spirit). Since I am trying hard to break free from this awful habit, I must also cut ties with people who are habitual and unapologetically people pleasers – especially ones who claim to be walking with the Lord, Jesus.

But how can a person say they are walking with the LORD, that they trust only Jesus and love Him with all their being but then in the next breath (or in some cases, in their next written or typed sentence) say that they want to make everyone happy and please everyone and nothing is more important to helping others than to try to make sure they are all happy? Sounds like people-pleasing to me. However, the Bible specifically states that we are not to please people, but God in several places in both OT and NT.

Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 says, “For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.”

John 12:43 says, “For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”

There are also examples of men putting pleasing people before pleasing God into action in the Bible. For instance, when Jesus was handed over to His enemies by Judas and He stood before Pilate and the high priests had gotten the crowd all fired up against Jesus, Pilate asked who to release, the prisoner named Barabbas or Jesus and the crowd shouted: “crucify Him!” So to please the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas (a murderer), and ordered for Jesus to be flogged (whipped) and crucified (Mark 15:9-15). Pilate knew Jesus was innocent of the crimes He was arrested for and that he’d been sent to prison because the high priests were envious of Him (v. 10), but to please (or pacify, as it is written in my NLT version), he released a vicious murderer and had an innocent man (who they found out too late truly was the Son of God) beaten and crucified.

Being in the business of people-pleasing is still similar today. Whenever we make a decision to try to please everyone (or even 1 particular person or group of people), we are telling Jesus that we do not fully believe in Him and/or that we do not love Him as much as (or at all, depending on who the people-pleasing person is) we love the people we are trying to please. Jesus warns us against this in Matthew 10:37-39 that if anyone loves their mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, or anyone else more than they love Him, that they are not worthy of being His follower. He is not telling us to hate our family, friends, or other loved ones – He is telling us to love them less, because their lives are finite and will end (and those who do not believe in Jesus will be separated from all who believed, loved, and obeyed Jesus while they were here on earth, whether for an hour or most of their lives or anywhere in-between), but Jesus is infinite (He has existed since the beginning of time and will always be in existence) and holds the keys to eternity with Him and the Father in Heaven. When we love, follow, and obey Jesus in faith, we learn how to live the right way and we get prepared to how life will be like in Heaven when there will be no more evil, no more sadness or crying, no more suffering or pain or loss or betrayals: all bad stuff will be done away with and the things that remain will be love, peace, faith, hope, joy, and those who were faithfully obedient to the Lord Jesus, the Son of God and our Lord and Savior.

On the other hand, living for worldly pleasures and to please people will lead to a life of self-destruction and also your actions and words will have a negative impact on others in the world and it is insecurity and self-centeredness that led to the first sin ever committed in this world from Eve after the serpent deceived her. She was deceived because she was naïve and she was insecure after the serpent (Satan in disguise) told her she could have the same knowledge God had and be like Him and be equal to Him, and she wanted it so badly that she went against God’s command not to eat from the 1 fruit tree that was forbidden and we all know what happened after that! —> Sin entered the world along with death, destruction, pain, suffering, separation, sickness, greed, poverty, and all the other problems we face in today’s world.

Why am I bringing this subject up again, one might ask? I have been guilty of being a people pleaser my whole life, and for the past few years, I have been working hard to break the cycle. I still hate confrontation because I don’t like hurting other people’s feelings (or the possibility of it) and I do not want to upset anyone or rock the boat of our friendship or current relationship status (including blood family, and spiritual family at church). And honestly, their reactions/possible bad reactions cause me anxiety because sometimes people (including me, another bad habit I am working to get rid of) explode in anger or get super offended and hurt and cry or yell or both, and some throw things as they yell, and relationships end sometimes when the other person is unwilling to accept what they are hearing and distance themselves as far from the truth they do not want to hear as possible. But I know, because it says so in Scripture, that it is wrong to aim to please people above pleasing God, and fearing man is dangerous, but trusting God leads to safety (as we can read in Proverbs 29:25. And the flip-side to that is this: “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge (or wisdom, depending on translation).” Proverbs 1:7a

The second part of that Proverb (Proverb 1:7b) is that “but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Why do we act so foolish? Is it lack of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding? Is it selfishness? I believe it depends on the person, because some people are not selfish, they just lack the proper wisdom or understanding to know what is right in a situation that is not as simple as black and white (right or wrong). “Thou shalt not murder” is an obviously wrong/bad thing to do. However, doing something good for someone else may not necessarily be easy to see as doing something wrong if the person cannot see that their motive is to please the person instead of honoring God. Sometimes, people do the right things for the wrong reasons and then it is considered a sin against God because God examines the heart, He examines the reasons for our words and actions. If our motives are pure and bring glory to God (and that is our intent), then God is pleased. However, if we do something to please another person, then God is not pleased. And to do something we know in our hearts goes against God, but we do it anyway because we are afraid what the person we are doing the thing for will do to us if we do not do or say what they told us to, then we are guilty of acting against God in more than 1 way: first, because we feared man more than God and second, because we did something that went against God (i.e. lying to others because they demand it and cannot handle the truth).

There is a third option if you are unsure whether or not to do something, to do the right thing for the right reasons, and if you rightly fear God if you’re being asked to do something wrong and sinful but you know it is wrong and do not want to do it: pray. We are told to pray on every occasion, continually and persistently, in Ephesians 6:18. There are many other places in the Bible where we are told to pray in NT, and in OT, we have many examples of those who did the praying, such as Daniel (Book of Daniel), and King David (1 and 2 Samuel). God has the right solutions to every problem we will ever encounter in life. The question is, will we be willing to pray to Him to reveal what it is when the right thing to do is unclear to us? Will you continue being a people pleaser, or will you give up your life to follow the Lord (Jesus Christ) and do things His way, which is the right way? This question is for both believers as well as non-believers. For non-believers: it is not too late to turn your life around, be saved (take the necessary steps to be saved including proper form of baptism), and to daily follow Jesus and live life the way He taught us to both in words and example by the way He lived His own life here on earth as a human.

I recently had to end a very short-lived friendship with someone I met in a support group for anxiety and depression because he claimed to be a man of God who loved Jesus above everyone else and trusted only Jesus. Yet when he created his own support group with “hope” in the title (for those of us who suffer from depression, so we would know there is still hope that it will not last forever and that things can and will get better), at one point he forgot that Jesus was a major factor in the helping and supporting others (since it is important and also brings healing to those who believe when they hear it that Jesus loves them unconditionally, and has the power to heal them) and banned any mention of God or Jesus from the group and was not afraid of other believers leaving the group (and there were others besides me who also left due to this). He said that the reason he created the group was to help others, and there were those who were against hearing about God and Jesus and complained to him about it. Another admin after she left the group had said that there were only a few who did this objecting but most of the members joining were for hearing the Truth, were for hearing about God and Jesus. So one person who began with good intentions, let a few people dictate what was allowed and what was not allowed in his support group. He let their anti-Christ mind-sets wreak havoc with his own sense of right from wrong and he forgot that Jesus is a key to healing. Some people believe in doctors and the medicine they prescribe to heal them of whatever sickness or ailments or pain they experience. Some rely on natural remedies (which both of these things are OK initially, but not when that is the sole thing they rely on: medicine – whether RX or over the counter (self-medicating), or natural remedies). Jesus may, and sometimes does lead us to a specific doctor who will prescribe specific meds or let you know of natural alternatives (depending on the doctor) to help heal us or make us better. However, the first step should be believing that Jesus has the power to heal us, step 2 is to pray to Him about how to get the healing we need from Him, and step 3 is obeying Him whatever He tells us to do. Also, truly believing and accepting that Jesus loves us unconditionally can be healing as well, knowing that no matter how well or poorly we act (as long as we continue to confess our sins to Him like in 1 John 1:9), He will forgive us because when He died for us on the cross, it was to save us from all of the sins we have and would ever commit and not just the sins we had committed prior to being made right with God through a soul-saving relationship with Him (Jesus).

Standing on this truth in your heart, in your mind, and letting it enter every fiber of your being, will help you to be at peace in the midst of storms and feel joy when things are bad in your life, and you will no longer be crushed by the overwhelming weight of anxiety, depression, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, rage, discouragement, fear, doubt, unbelief, and/or whatever else currently weighs you down. I know that these things currently weigh me down (though I thank God that bitterness has not taken root in all areas of my life and just in a couple of relationships, which I am working to uproot the bitterness so it does not spread to every other relationship and to every area of my life) and I feel like I am drowning and that Jesus (my “lifeguard that walks on water”) is too far away to reach me and save me most days. Part of my personal problem is that I am having a hard time internalizing personally what I know and understand on an intellectual level about God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice of His life for me on the cross. I believe that many others suffer from this problem too. It is one thing to know a fact about something or someone, but it is completely different to reconcile the truth of it personally in your own life, especially when it comes to something as truly wonderful as God’s unconditional unfailing and everlasting love, mercy, and grace for us, which makes Him slow to anger and eager to forgive and blot out the stain of our sins and not remember them anymore. I believe if we could all (everyone alive today not already doing this successfully) learn to personally feel and believe and accept in our hearts how much God truly loves us, and feel the full extent of His forgiveness that was given through the shedding of Christ’s blood so we would not have do die for our sins because Jesus did for us all, each and every one of us, then it would be a whole lot easier to live life to please God and to do what is right, even if it means that not every person will be pleased. In fact, when we do what pleases God, there will always be people who don’t like it and who will complain or leave your life. I learned this the hard way several times since coming into a right relationship with the Lord nearly 5 years ago – on April 18, 2012.

 

What we need to learn is that not everyone wants to believe or accept the truth, so as much as we want it to be, those who live like this will not be saved. We need to let loving and honoring Jesus be more important than pleasing people. We need to learn to be full-time God-pleasers and to accept that there will be people, even among those we love, that will not be pleased by our words, actions, attitudes, behavior, or devotion to Christ. It is hard to let go of people we love and of seeing God’s promises for our lives come to pass on our timeline and in the way we want it to, but it is something we need to learn to do and to do well if we are to live joyful and peaceful lives. We need to trust God’s timing, and that the rare times God says no (instead of “not yet”), that the thing we want is bad for us, and/or that He has something better in mind for us because God sees the whole picture and we see only a partial picture.

 

And consider this: Sometimes when we aim to please people by saying or doing what they want and not saying and not doing things that offend, upset, or annoy them, we are doing them a disservice. We are enabling them to continue living in spiritual darkness, and to live selfishly to please themselves, which will lead to eternity in Hell for them. Part of our jobs as Christians is to make sure everyone in our lives and everyone we come across (when given the opportunity to do so) know/be told the truth about God and Jesus, and learn about the Good News of salvation and how to attain it. Then it is up to the person receiving the information whether to accept it or reject it. We can try to water the seed planted with words of love and encouragement and by the way we live our own lives, but we cannot force anyone to believe or accept something they either are not yet ready to accept, or will never believe or accept as the truth because of the veil Satan placed on their minds. But we may never know if the person initially rejecting Jesus or the truth will ever turn their lives around and give their hearts to Jesus if we do not try to share the truth/Jesus’ love with them, and if we do not try to find out why they are so against anything having to do with Jesus or God. It is possible they were hurt by a “Christian” or that there was a tragedy in their lives or traumatic event, and they cannot understand how a “supposedly loving God could ‘let’ such bad things happen to them or to innocent people in the world. I still do not understand such things myself, but there comes a time when a person needs to learn to “trust in the LORD and do not depend on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), and to believe His promise in Romans 8:28 “to work everything together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Instead of working so hard at pleasing others and trying to pacify them or keep them happy, what if we decided to live out the truth Jesus taught us in the Gospels and live pure lives that please and honor God, and perhaps someday we will see the miracle (especially if we continually pray for the unbelievers and non-believers among us: friends, family, and others God puts in our paths) of at least 1 (possibly more than 1) of those people having a change of heart and giving their hearts to God and their lives to Jesus to be saved! How incredible would that be? When we please God, it can bring about miracles. He can make our enemies be at peace with us. Pleasing God can bring non-believers to (and unbelievers back to) the Lord to be saved. It can bring healing to our bodies, hearts, minds, souls, and spirits. Nothing is too hard, or impossible for God. However, when a person dies, so does any help you were receiving from them and any hope of whatever you were hoping for or expecting from them. That is why we are to put our hope and trust in God and not in people, money, or circumstances.

 

Yes, it can be painful either when someone we care deeply for leaves our lives and treats us like lepers because we love and follow Jesus and they want nothing to do with the truth or Jesus because then they’d have to admit they are wrong and change their ways. Yes it is painful when we have to say goodbye to someone we care about because they are toxic to us and if they stayed in our lives, they could lead us astray and we would forfeit our salvation. However, wouldn’t it be even worse to lose our salvation because we thought keeping everyone we love in our lives (even non-believers/anyone against Christ/Truth/God) was more important than the salvation of our own souls, and we did everything the other person/other people wanted in order to get them to stay in our lives? What is more important, pleasing people or the salvation of our souls? If the answer is the salvation of our souls (and pleasing God and following Jesus) then no matter how painful it is for us, we need to do what is best according to God, because He truly knows what is best and what is right for us, and knows better than any other person would what is right for us. It will not be easy, and Jesus warns all of us to count the cost before following Him, but it is more rewarding to be able to learn to live your life filled with peace and joy, even in the midst of horrific storms (trials and tribulations) in our lives now and the promise of eternity in Heaven forever after Jesus 2nd Coming. Am I saying to never please other people? No! In fact, Jesus came to serve us and has commanded us to do the same (to serve others). The key is to remember we are doing it for God and not solely for the other person to win their approval or like or love. When we work to serve others, we are to examine our motives for doing so and make sure that our reasons are pure and to honor God and help the person (regardless of whether or not they can ever return the favor or do something in return), and not to please people or expecting something in return. The right people will be pleased when we obey God and do things that please Him. And we are not to worry about those who do not like or accept what we do in obedience to the LORD, or in the way we conduct ourselves and live our lives.

 

What will you decide to do? Will you work to please God (first) and do what is right and for the right (pure) reasons, or will you continue to be a people pleaser who either does wrong, or does the right things for the wrong reasons or does the wrong things for the right reasons? When our goal is to please God first and foremost, He will reveal to us the right way to do things and give us the right words to say to others. The decision whether to please others, please yourself, or to please God is entirely up to you. I hope you will at least pray about it and ask the Lord to help you make the right decision and to stand by it and do the right things always, no matter how difficult. Thank you for taking time to read this. I believe in doing so, that you truly do want to please God and that there is hope for you! I hope there is still hope for me, but I believe there is definitely hope for you, as long as you have breath in you to make the necessary changes in your life, with the help of the Holy Spirit and Jesus. May God’s love and peace be with you!

Quick Question About How to Live_Update

Hello readers,

I just got an unusual comment (did not approve it because it needs clarifying first) on one of my posts where I’d had a revelation from God about something and shared it on here. And based on this comment where I was told what I wrote about might be considered taboo, I would like to ask the following question, and please think about it. You do not have to answer unless you feel compelled to (and if you do respond, please keep it respectful or it will not be approved), but this is the question:

Do we do whatever we do in life to please others, or to please God?

If we live to please others, we may stop doing something God has told us to do (or created us to do, like writing and sharing God’s Word and advice with biblical back up through my writing) because we have offended someone or because we might offend someone. But consider this: Jesus did not stop preaching or teaching His disciples and followers when the Pharisees got offended by some of the things Jesus said. He kept preaching, kept healing, kept doing what the Father (God) told Him to do. So, do we live to please other people, or do we live to please God with the way we live our lives? I think this may be the beginning of a possible full blog post I may write about, because some other things have been happening in my life in regards to this issue of pleasing people verses pleasing God and I feel compelled to write about it, but currently lack the energy to do so at full strength.

So for now, I leave you with this question to silently answer for yourself and I hope to be able to write more about this topic with Scripture and in more depth than now. For now, thank you to my readers for reading this! I love you, and God and Jesus love you unconditionally! May God’s peace be with you!

Attention!! I finally followed through and wrote and posted the promised blog to follow about living to please God and not other people! It has already been read by 2 of my faithful readers (thank you). Now the rest of you/all of you can link it to this post in your minds and possibly go back to the questions above and answer them again. Perhaps your answers will be the same, perhaps after reading my blog covering this topic and giving it thought, you may change your mind/answers. But I encourage you to read my post about pleasing God above people and then come back to this post and answer the questions I posted in here. If it will be easier for you all, I can (if asked) move the questions to the end of the blog I just posted in connection to this one. Let me know. I am here to help!

Excerpt from How to Live A More Godly Life

Dear readers, I thought I would share an excerpt from the inspirational book I put together based on the best blogs I posted on here that I compiled together into a book, and am now editing. I am over half-way done editing and must decide (and will with God’s help) whether to self-publish, or look for the right publishing company that pays the author and royalties, and their payment is part of the royalties, but for me I do not get charged for them to publish my book, and a company that will read unsolicited manuscripts. If anyone knows of any such publishing companies, and they publish inspirational books (about God), then please let me know and I will appreciate it, and with your permission, add you to my acknowledgement section where I thank everyone before the intro to the book.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Alexis Kaye

How To Live A More Godly Life

Chapter 1

Answers to Questions and Concerns About God’s Existence

Are you a child of God who is trying to reach someone in your life to bring that person to the Lord to be saved? Are you having problems reaching anyone in your attempts? If you are there are different possible reasons as to why you are being met with opposition or reluctance, or with hesitance or flat our refusal. It could be that someone suffered the loss of a loved one or something else bad happened to them and they haven’t fully recovered and are unwilling to believe that if God really does exist, that he would be so cruel as to take a loved one away or to let us go through horrible experiences. Other people may worship money or other things that takes away the right frame of mind to worship God because they have made something else their idol of worship (such as jewelry, clothes, shoes, cars, houses, etc). There are people who have wrong information about God based on how they were raised or on what they have been surrounded by religion-wise and they could simply be confused or loyal to their family members who practice a different kind of religion that either believes in many Gods or practice other false beliefs such as putting more emphasis on Mary than they should. Jesus should be our focus of worship, not Mary and not any other God. It seems that no matter the different reasons for not believing in God, one thing these people who are non-believers (or false worshipers) is that they have somewhere in their lives been given false information and do not know the one true God.

In order to find out origins of other religions, go online and type in the name of the religion (for example – Roman Catholic, or Mormon) and you will find articles or books (if you go to the library you may find books on the library database search engine) that will give you the origin of when these different non-Christian religions started and if they are good references, they will tell you what their proof is of the origins of these religions that do not follow Christ’s way of living. After doing that, research where to find an older bible that has all Old Testament and New Testament books in it and then if it is harder to read because it is on old English, Hebrew, Greek, or any other language you do not understand, find a translation that you can understand like NIV or NLT and the text should be saying the same thing, but in a way that is easier to understand so that we can grasp the proper context of what is written in the Bible, which is God’s written word. Any Bible that adds or takes away from what was originally written, or any Priest, Rabbi, Pastor, or Minister (or any spiritual teacher) who adds or subtracts from God’s word or twists it around in any way is a false teacher and you must be careful to test everything you hear with the Bible (and a non-Catholic and Non-Mormon Bible that follows the original text and the only difference is the wording to make it easier to understand, but the message should be the same no matter if you are reading King James version or New King James, or New International Version, New Living Translation, The Message, Amplified Version). The message should be the same in all of these translations of the Bible which means they should all contain the content that was originally written in the Old Testament and in the New Testament for the Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews). And when you find a church, they should teach from the Bible and follow the word completely and not add anything of their own or subtract anything that is written in the Bible.

God does exist and Paul tells us in Romans 1:18-20 the proof of it, saying, “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” This verse backs up the claim David made in Psalm 19:1-4, which says, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.” The reason we should know God exists is because who else could have created the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the sand, the oceans, the trees and everything else including animals and humans? Yet people do not consider this and others who have considered it dismiss the possibility of God because it is too awesome an idea to fathom to them. They would rather go on doing whatever they please without having to worry about an invisible God punishing them for the sins they commit against him. There are other people who think that if God really existed, how he could let people die or let bad things happen to them when he is supposed to be a loving and caring God. What they don’t understand is that God takes no pleasure in people dying or in bad things happening to them but sometimes it happens due to sins they committed and other times they are being tested by trials to test their faith and when the good people die – that is, good people by God’s standards – he is saving them from pain or protecting them from the evil to come, which Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 57:2. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.” Since all parts of the Bible are God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16-17, which you will see quoted later when I get into proof about all Scripture being God-breathed), and Paul saw Jesus himself after persecuting him (Acts Chapter 9), then it must be true that Jesus does exist.

When people reject Jesus as the only way to get to heaven, they are fooling themselves when they believe they can get there in their own might by their own good deeds or by their own power. In the gospels, Jesus gave specific instructions on how to live and they are The Way, the only way to Heaven. You cannot get to Heaven except through Jesus and you must believe that Jesus exists, that he roamed earth as a human, believe he died to save us all from our sins and was raised 3 days later so we could have a right relationship with God based on faith. You must also believe that Jesus is coming back for the chosen ones that God has chosen to spend eternally in Heaven after Jesus’ second coming and must believe that Jesus has not yet come back, since he hasn’t yet come back and nobody, including Jesus, knows when Jesus is coming back again. The only thing we do know is that it has not happened yet.

Some people believe (and will argue the point with others) that the Second Coming has already come, but the Bible says that nobody knows when the second coming is but that there will be a series of events that happens before the end (before Jesus’ Second Coming). These events can be found in Matthew 24 (and Luke 21). In Matthew 24:4-8, Jesus says, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.”

Jesus lists a whole bunch of other things that will come after, but pick up at Matthew 24:23-42, where he says, “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time. “So if someone tells you, ‘Look, the Messiah is out in the desert,’ don’t bother to go and look. Or, ‘Look, he is hiding here,’ don’t believe it! For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near. “Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.

Jesus not only exists, but he is God. Philippians 2:5-8 says, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

 

Also, in John 17:5, Jesus said in a prayer to his Father, our God, “Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.” I also encourage doubters to read all of the Book of John (also known as the Gospel of John) chapter 1, and all of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and Revelations where Jesus makes several statements about who he is, and his apostle Peter confirms it in some of them, like in Matthew chapter 16 where Jesus asked his disciples who people said he is and then asked who they think he is and Peter said, “You are the Messiah.” Jesus told Peter that he was blessed that his Father told him who he (Jesus) was, which was an affirmation to the statement that he is indeed the Messiah. The great prophets in Old Testament like Isaiah and Jeremiah predicted the first coming of Jesus  (Isaiah 9:6 and Jeremiah 33:15-16) and the New Testament books after the gospels all talk about Jesus, how he died for our sins and was raised 3 days later so we could be made right with God through him and through faith, and how Jesus is coming back soon for the Chosen ones that will be brought up to Heaven after Judgment has been made to all on the second coming of Jesus, which has not occurred yet between then and in the present time of 2014.

Jesus is The Way (the only way) to Heaven and proof of this is also found in the gospels, with special attention paid to John chapter 6 where Jesus talks about being the Bread of Life. Jesus also makes the statement in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Peter, who spent time with Jesus, stated in 2 Peter 1:14-21, “For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone. For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” This powerful statement from Peter in the above verses prove that not only did Jesus exist, but that he is God’s Son, and that the Bible is not a work of fiction but God-inspired – which means that God helped the prophets and other original authors of the Bible to write it from beginning to end (and everything in-between). So this statement knocks out two or possibly three arguments or issues people have about believing in Jesus’ existence, who Jesus was, and the authenticity of the Bible actually being God’s written word. Another statement made in the Bible to support that it is God’s written word comes in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which reads, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The translation I used for 2 Timothy was NIV for anyone interested in checking it to make sure it is true.

There is a verse that goes perfectly with the intention of this blog and it is found in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, which reads, “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”  The barriers people have put up to justify not acknowledging God’s existence, that Jesus is the Only Way, that baptism is necessary to be saved (read Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 2:38-39), that Jesus is the Son of God and is also God, and that the Bible is real and not a work of fiction need to be removed. It is important that everyone see The Truth so they may be saved before it is too late. In order for the truth to be known, the truth has to be told to people who do not know it; for those who know the truth but deny it, they need a wake-up call and they need to read the truth in the bible and soften their hearts and open their minds to understand and accept the truth for what it is.

There is only One God and one true faith, and Paul mentions this in Ephesians 4:4:6 where he says, “For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

Paul goes on to tell us in Ephesians 4:11-16 that we are all given gifts that we must use to build one another up until we are mature in the faith. He says to us (everyone who will ever read the Bible and to all who already have), “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

God makes it clear in that he is the only God in the Old Testament too, and tells us through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 45:5-12 (NIV), “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of it  setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form  the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things. “You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the Lord, have created it. “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? Woe to the one who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’ “This is what the Lord says— the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry  hosts.” Anyone who believes there is more than one God, when it states clearly in the Bible (the original versions which have been translated into forms of English we can easily understand but still have the same meaning), is mistaken and misinformed.  Drop down to verses 16-25 in Isaiah 45, where God once again makes a statement through Isaiah about what will happen to people who worship idols (other Gods, anything that people place more value and importance on than Him) and also what will happen to those who will enjoy everlasting salvation because they believe in Him and make Him their only God and honor Him: “All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced; they will go off into disgrace together. But Israel will be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting. For this is what the Lord says—he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited— he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right. “Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. Declare what is to be, present it— let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’ ” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord and will make their boast in him.” God is also telling us about his nature, how he does not lie and everything he says can be trusted in these verses above. Everything God predicted would happen happened already, except for parts of the book of Revelation and other parts of the Bible that have foretold what will happen right before Jesus’ Second Coming and after judgment has been passed and the new heavens have been made. God will forgive you once you have willingly received and accepted the truth and worship only Him as your God.

Paul instructed Timothy to “Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants,” in 2 Timothy 2:25-26. God directs us to do the same thing today. We who are children of God and have gained enough understanding of the Bible and fully understand the Good News should help instruct others who do not know God yet either because nobody has ever talked about God to them or due to misconceptions they were given growing up. People who are not members of the body of Christ need to be fully informed of The Truth and they need to know the Good News about salvation and eternal life. It is our job as Christians to make sure everybody knows The Truth so that they can make an informed decision whether or not to follow God and be saved or to continue on their current path. Once we have presented them with the information, all we can do is continue to be shining examples of the way Christians should act – which is like Christ in all we say, think, and do – and it will be up to the people we try to reach to decide whether or not they want to be saved.

God also gives us instructions on how to help those in the faith who are fading away or in danger of being lost or snatched by the devil. Jude, an apostle to Jesus, tells us in verses 22-23 of Jude that we must show mercy on those wavering in faith. His exact words are, “And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.” (Jude 1:22 -23) God wants everyone to be saved so when we see a fellow believer struggling in their faith and deep in sin, we are to do our best to help bring them back to God and help strengthen their faith, and we must help in a way that we do not ourselves get caught up committing the sins that are ruining their lives and separating them from God.

For anyone struggling in their faith or who do not believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or that the Bible is God’s written word, study the verses and the full chapters and books they are written in and you will find answers to your questions, or you will gain understanding as to why God lets bad things happen to good people. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:45, “For he gives sunlight to both the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” What Jesus is saying is blessings come to both children of God and to people who are not. Everyone receives God’s favor at some point in their life, so do not envy the evil ones who are prospering right now for God tells us through King David in Psalms 37:12, “Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone.” If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, read Isaiah 57:2 as to a possible reason why they were taken (it says that God takes some good people away to protect them from the evil to come), or in Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, David’s son King Solomon tells us, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest,” and he goes on with a list of things there is a time for, which you can find up until verse 8 in Ecclesiastes 3. God can break the stronghold of human reasoning for whatever reason you have come up with for not believing and when you turn your heart towards God and live for him, you will see your life improve. Remember, when you are suffering for any reason, that it is temporary and that all children of God (who have confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior publicly, repented their sins, and been baptized to be cleansed by Jesus’ blood of all sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit) will enjoy eternity in heaven after Jesus’ second coming and you will enjoy an eternity of peace, love, joy, and being in the presence of the Lord and your loved ones who will also make it to heaven. If you are unsure if someone you love will make it to heaven, then it is not too late to do something to help them. Enlighten them by talking about Jesus and the good news and about salvation and how to gain salvation. Tell them how they can be saved and then you have done your part and it is up to them to decide for themselves if they believe and follow God.

Chapter 2

Faith in God

It is important to have faith in the one true God, who exists in the trinity which consists of God, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Without faith, you cannot please God and you will not live the amazing life God promises He has for us. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as, “The confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” A few verses later in Hebrews 11:6, it says, “And it is impossible to please God without faith.

Abraham, a servant of God you can read about in the book of Genesis starting in chapter twelve where he was known as Abram, had strong and unwavering faith in God and was made the father of many nations. He was given many descendants and God considered him a friend. The Bible is also full of promises that those who trust in the Lord and have faith in His promises will lack nothing they need and will be blessed.

When I first started reading my bible actively, I didn’t start at the beginning with Genesis, I started in the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The gospels are written books on Jesus’ time on earth as a human and provides us with His teachings and how He healed the sick, blind, lame, and everyone else who came to Him in need of healing. I also read Psalm 18 in the beginning because King David, from back in Biblical times (1 and 2 Samuel tell about the events of King David’s life) talks about how God helped him and saved him from his enemies and is full of praise for the Lord. Between reading about how God helped King David and seeing his praises to Him in Psalm 18 and reading about Jesus and how he healed many, including raising people from the dead, and His teachings about faith and on how to live life God’s way, I was inspired in my own faith in God. I found a good Bible-based church that does not add or subtract from the Bible’s teachings and started attending every Sunday for church service and every Wednesday for Bible Study. I also do a daily bible study and I take notes, especially at church, so I can apply what I learn to my life, increase my faith, and be more faithful and obedient to God. God’s way of living protects us and promises eternal life.

In order to receive salvation and eternal life promised with it you must do the following: 1) realize you are a sinner according to God’s guidelines because we are all sinners. We may not do it intentionally, but whenever we have a bad attitude or do something that goes against God, we sin 2) confess your sins and repent (repent means you stop intentionally doing what you know is considered to be a sin by God) 3) confess Jesus died for our sins, was raised from the dead 3 days later so we could have a right relationship with God and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior 4) be baptized and then you will 5) receive the Holy Spirit who will guide you to live a life that is pleasing to God.

People tend to get the wrong idea about God. He is not always angry with us and He does not have rules to drag us down. His rules and laws are meant to protect us and help us live a long, healthy, prosperous life. Psalm 103:8 assures us that “God is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” God has His arms open wide waiting for you to accept Him into your heart. God wants to help us and make our lives better. He does not want us doing everything on our own or to live life frustrated or in lack, but rather God wants us to have abundance in every area of our lives and for us to experience His joy, peace, love and other fruit that comes from the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22 lists all the fruit that comes from the Holy Spirit. Today I encourage you to see God as the loving, merciful, forgiving God who honors His promises and gives you grace, favor, and blessings.

 

Trust is the Only Way to Live a Happy Life

Trust is extremely important in all relationships whether it be with God, with family, with friends, or with someone you love romantically. Trust is also important to live a long and healthy life in happiness and peace. Without trust, you will be miserable in all of your relationships and miserable at your job, and miserable in every area of your life. You first need to trust God and trust in his mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead, and in his promises. God is a faithful God who honors his promises to his children. Trust in God opens the door for you to be able to trust in all of your other relationships including your relationship with the person you love romantically.

Trust in God also opens the door to live a less-stressed and more peaceful life because when you trust God, you are believing that everything will work out in your best interest no matter how bad the situation may currently appear to be. When you are at peace, you are happier in every area of your life including your work life and you will be healthier too. Stress causes a ton of sickness and pain in your body, but as soon as you release the causes of stress into God’s hands, you will experience peace and good health. Not to say that you will not experience problems, just that when you give your problems, situation, worries, and fears and doubts to God and trust him to take care of you and work things out for you in your favor, you can breathe easier and feel at peace and be happy.

In Isaiah 26:3-4, it says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal rock.Psalm 37:3 states, “Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.” In Psalm 91:14 is the promise, “The Lord says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.‘” We find out in Hebrews 6:18 that God is incapable of lying so every word written in the bible, which is all God-breathed, is true. Find comfort in knowing that when you put your trust in God, you will be protected and brought through all of your difficult situations to a better place and will be given his perfect peace which is not any kind of peace that the world can offer you. The peace God offers is only available through believing in him and in his son Jesus.

You should, of course, question things people tell you, especially as it relates to God by looking it up in God’s word. This way you will know what is the truth and when you know the truth and live out God’s truth, you will have no reason to fear, doubt or be anxious. Jesus tells us in John 8:32, “For you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Can you believe that? The truth, God’s Truth which is the only real truth, will set you free from living a life filled with misery, doubt, stress, other forms of sin, and anxiety. You will be free to live a peaceful life pleasing to God which will greatly extend your life as you trust him and follow his way. Fear and doubt trap you, but faith in God and living by God’s truth will set you free.

When you are set free you can live a life open to love, faith, trust, peace and joy. You can breathe easy and enjoy your life and have happy, healthy, loving relationships that last long-term when they are meant to. And your relationship with God and Jesus Christ can be eternal if you choose for it to be by living life God’s way. It starts with believing in God and believing Jesus came to earth as man, died for our sins, and that God raised him from the dead three days later so we could have a right relationship with God. Then you realize that you sin, even if unintentionally because everyone sins, as pointed out in Romans chapter 4:10-25, which says, “10 But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised! 11 Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith. 12 And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised.13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. 14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. 15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)

16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. 17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. 20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.”

At the end of chapter 4 of Romans and the beginning of Chapter 5, the apostle Paul tells us we are made right with God through faith. After you realize you are a sinner, repent of your sins and confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior and then be baptized. After baptism, you will receive the gift of the Holy spirit (Acts 2:38), who will lead you and guide you to the best pathway for your life.

When you place your trust in God and live a life pleasing to him, you will experience his perfect peace. When you experience his perfect peace, you will no longer feel a need to run and hide from people you love and who love you. You will no longer feel a need to run from life or find an escape through harmful means such as alcohol, drugs, are cigarettes. You will be free and you will be happy and healthy, and you can experience prosperity in all areas of your life including health, finances and relationships. When you trust in God, you will find you are able to openly express your feelings to others no matter who the person is that you are expressing your feelings to. God will bring you through all difficulties you will experience in life when you trust in him. If this sounds like the kind of life you would like, it can be yours starting today. Start studying God’s word daily and get into a good bible-based church if you have not already done these things. If you have a bible and a good church to attend but still struggle, check to see that you are applying God’s word to your life as you learn it and understand what you are reading in your studies. Ask your Pastor or minister if you have any questions about any of the scripture and utilize bible study tools that are available and were created to help you study God’s word and interpret it more easily. The Life Application Bible Study is a good example. It has a dictionary in the back and it explains each book and what you will be reading about and there are notes for many of the verses. There are a few other tools in there too that have been very helpful and can help you too. Let the truth set you free today.

 

Forgiveness and Why It’s Important

You may have heard the saying “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you,” or “To err is human; to forgive is divine.” Both sayings are absolutely true. When you forgive someone, you are freeing yourself from the pain, hurt, stress, anguish and all of the other negative emotions attached to unforgiveness and giving yourself a chance to heal and find peace. Forgiving yourself and forgiving others is an important key to happiness and to God’s blessings. When you hold a grudge against someone, you are not punishing them, you are only hurting yourself. Once you come to that realization, you can forgive whoever has hurt you or whoever you hold a grudge against and know you’re not saying “I’m okay with what he/she did,” but are saying, “I refuse to let what they did to me hurt me and steal my peace anymore.” When you forgive, you lift a huge weight off of you and are free and feel peace and love instead.

It is a bit trickier when you need to forgive yourself, but that is as important as forgiving others. When you are angry with yourself, you are punishing yourself and blocking God’s blessings for you. You need to understand that you are human and are bound to make mistakes but that what is important is to learn from the mistakes and that starts when you open your heart and forgive yourself and let yourself receive God’s forgiveness He had already given to you and His love and love of yourself.

You should have your heart and mind open to forgiveness regardless of whether or not you believe in God, because whether or not you believe in his existence, unforgiveness causes physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health problems. People who hold grudges and harbor unforgiveness tend to feel body aches and pains all over, have low energy and are always tired, have trouble concentrating, and are miserable most of the time. Why would anybody want to live that way? As soon as you understand the two concepts mentioned earlier: First, that when you forgive someone you are not condoning their actions or saying it was okay and second, that the person suffering as long as you refuse to forgive is you and not the other person, then you will find it easier to forgive.

Another thing to understand about forgiveness is that by forgiving you are merely letting go of the anger, bitterness, pain, hurt, resentment, and all other negativity attached to unforgiveness and that this does not require you letting the person back into your life if they did something really horrible to you. But if the offense was minor, such as the other person using the washing machine or oven (or other appliance) when you were going to use it, then overreacting and being rude and holding a grudge is a waste of your time and energy. The reason why you have low energy when you are holding a grudge is because it takes all of your energy to stay angry with the other person. So whether someone is guilty of a minor offense or a major offense (or one in between), it is important to forgive the offender for your own health and peace of mind and heart. You do not even have to let the other person know you have forgiven them, particularly if it was a major offense. Just simply let go of all of the anger, pain, hurt, resentment, and bitterness; let go of whatever it is the other person did to you. If it was not a major offense (and sometimes even if it was, depending on how much the person means to you), once you have realized that then you may want to let the other person know they are forgiven, especially if they were (or are) a close friend, family member, or someone you love in any way.

Are you holding a grudge against anyone or harboring unforgiveness towards others? Are you condemning yourself and refusing to forgive yourself for something you have done to God or to someone else (or to both God and someone else)? If it is something you did against God, he tells us in 1 John 1:9, “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.” All of Psalm 32 also talks about forgiveness and it would be worth reading, whether or not you have ever read it before. God forgives you the moment you confess your sin so you should forgive yourself too. For sins others have done to you, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:14-15, “If you forgive those who have sinned against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.Colossians 3:13 tells us to, “Make allowances for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” It probably won’t happen overnight, but you can learn to forgive completely and frequently so that every time someone commits a sin against you, then you can forgive them and whenever you do something wrong and have confessed (to God or to the person(s) you sinned against) your sin, you can forgive yourself. There are other verses on forgiveness that can be found in Matthew 18:15-35, Mark 11:25, Luke 17:3-4, and 2 Corinthians 2:7 (The Apostle Paul is talking about a man who wronged him, and wants to forgive him so he does not get discouraged). Try it today, it is very freeing! When you forgive yourself and others, you will be unloading a huge burden and you will feel joy, peace, and love and you will feel wonderful.

 

 

Put on the Full Armor of God

Ephesians 6 tells us that our true enemies are not of flesh and blood but of evil rulers and authorities in the unseen world and says to “Put on all of God’s armor.” (Ephesians 6:11 and 12) and then verses 14-17 tell us what the full armor is: “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Children of God must make sure they do this daily and also pray persistently and on every occasion, like Ephesians 6:18 tells us to do, for all believers everywhere. Of course it is also important to pray for non-believers since Jesus told us to love our enemies in the gospels and the Apostle Paul tells us to pray for everyone in 1 Timothy 2:1. We must keep the word of God written in our hearts and minds and remember that when we live God’s truth, we are free (as Jesus tells us in John 8:32).

Salvation comes when we confess that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, that He did live on earth as man to teach and heal us then died for our sins so God would forgive us, then was raised 3 days later by God so we could have a right standing with God and finally, get baptized so we can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38). We receive peace when we read, believe and accept into our hearts and minds the four books of the gospel which tells us of the Good News that Jesus died for our sins and was raised 3 days later to save us.

Faith in God is our shield against the enemy’s lies because anything that goes against what God said is false and we can then answer the enemy’s lies with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God and we do this by faith. When we live a life pleasing to God, we have put on the body armor of His righteousness. And it is not enough to put on the whole armor of God once because the enemy is constantly attacking so we must stay alert and continually put on all of God’s body armor and pray for one another (not just for ourselves) and this is how to daily defeat the enemy. We must remember Jesus already won the fight against the devil when he conquered the grave, when God raised Him from the dead. We know the outcome so it is important to keep our peace and joy and to stay in faith, trusting God to honor His promises and bring us where we should be according to His good plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11: ”’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, to give you hope and a future.”)

The way to strengthen your faith is to study God’s written word daily and believe God to bring every promise to pass and believe in God’s truth and mighty power which raised Jesus from the dead. You must also apply what you learn through God’s word to your life daily so you will live a life pleasing to God and keep yourself from intentionally turning away from God’s ways. Taking action steps to show your faith to God is also important, as the Apostle James points out in James 2:14-26. He says that faith without works is useless. You can claim you have faith but if the way you live does not display this faith then you do not truly have faith, or enough of it. Jesus says that with faith even as small as a mustard seed, he can use to do great things for God through Him. Living in faith to God is also the way to living a righteous life in God’s eyes. One thing today from God’s word you can apply to your life today is to love God with all your heart, mind and strength and to love others as you love yourself (which fulfills the requirement of the most important two commands Jesus gave us in the gospels). In order to love others, you must love yourself and in order to love yourself in a healthy way, you must love God completely with an open and loving heart and mind. Just focusing on these commandments alone can change your life drastically for the better. And as you study more and more of God’s word and apply what you learn to your life daily then you will see even more change and not just in your life but in other people’s lives as well and huge positive changes will be made and visible to you and the people in your life.

Discrimination (of any kind) Goes Against God

Alexis Malek

04/24/2016

Discrimination Goes Against God

People are being discriminated against for saying the name Jesus, or for sharing their true faith with other people in public places, and not too many people seem to be upset about this (except of course, for other Christians). The pledge of allegiance has been taken out of a lot of schools, and is now only 3 times a week at other schools who still have it. People are being taken to court or arrested and thrown in jail for saying the name Jesus, or sharing their faith. And the government keeps making laws either in individual states, or all over, that go against the 1st Amendment, which was created to protect religious freedom, and then making laws that go against God’s Word.

Yet it is believers who are trying to put a stop to these laws that are getting the heat. Disney is threatening to boycott the state of Georgia if they pass a bill that will protect religious freedom (which is within the constitutional rights to do), and yet it is okay that Disney is discriminating against people who believe God’s word and in Jesus. Disney used to be family oriented/friendly and now they are copying today’s worldly values instead of the wholesome values they used to have. Go read the constitutional rights (the Amendments), and pay close attention to the first Amendment, which is all about protecting religious freedom, and was meant to do so always, until the end of time, not until people/the world decided to turns their backs on God or Jesus, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and all of its inhabitants – all animals, including humans.

Everybody sins differently, so to discriminate against anyone who commits one particular sin is hypocritical. And the Apostle James tells us in James 2:10-12 that if you are guilty of breaking one law, you are guilty of breaking all of God’s laws, and everyone will be judged for their words and actions, and the way they lived their lives. Ever told a lie? You are guilty of breaking God’s laws. Said an unkind word to someone, and disrespected and hurt them? Or decided to be judge and jury and judge someone for something they do or do not do? If you have done both or either, you are guilty of breaking God’s laws. If you commit adultery – whether one or both of you are married, or just “in a relationship” with someone else, then you are guilty of great sin/breaking God’s laws. If you have ever stolen anything, even accidentally (but did not rectify the situation by bringing the stolen item back and either returning it or paying for it), you are guilty of breaking God’s laws. Do you curse or swear? Using foul language makes you guilty of breaking God’s laws.

No matter what sin, or sins, you have committed, you still committed it and have no right to judge or discriminate against someone else for sinning differently than you do. I admit, I am guilty of cursing (which makes me feel guilty every time, and I keep praying to God to help me get rid of all foul and all abusive language, and will do so until I am successful), and some other sins, but instead of focusing on someone else’s sins because theirs are different than mine, I pray to my God to forgive me and to help me change my ways so that I can be a better daughter of God.

The Word of God states clearly that we are not to discriminate against anyone and lists most of the things people do that against such as race, color, ethnicity, age… and Jesus stopped an adulterous woman from being stoned to death in John 8:1-11 (with focus on verses 8-11). He told the people who wanted to stone her, “let the one who has not sinned throw the first stone,” and then they thought about it and all fled because they knew they were guilty of their own sins. Jesus asked the woman if even one person was left to condemn her, she said “no,” and Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

If Jesus is against discrimination of adultery (or stoning a woman for it), then how does He feel when He sees those of us declaring allegiance with Him and God discriminating against someone because they are gay or transgender? Some of you may be aware of something I wrote in response to what Chik-fil-a did to a gay couple (refusing them service) and the public statement the head of Chik-fil-a made to defend the employee who did that at one of his restaurants. I was against it because refusing to serve someone, or let them into your store, or anywhere else is discrimination and judgmental, and God warns us against that. I am all for protecting your religious rights, since I myself am a Christian, but, that does not make it okay to show hate. Some may argue they were just protecting their rights to religious freedom, which could by why the government is trying to work to put an end to it, but there is protecting your rights and your religious freedom, and there is discriminating or bullying, which is unacceptable. If you do not want to serve someone, that is within the owner’s or their employee’s rights, but do not do it only because they are guilty of breaking a different law of God’s than you are guilty of breaking. If someone is obnoxious, scaring customers, or rude, then those are all valid reasons to refuse service. But if someone who just happens to be gay wants a bite to eat, or to shop in a store, if you ask them quietly to leave then maybe people would not make such a big deal out of it, but to say “I refuse to serve you because you are gay and it is a sin against God” or to have that attitude goes against God as well.

It is wrong to refuse service to anyone because they are black, white, Mexican, or any other color or race, so it is also wrong to do it because a person, couple, or group does something you don’t like – with exceptions of people being obnoxious in their behavior, being rude, or stealing/attempting to steal or walk out without paying for whatever they ate, or took. And if someone feels strongly enough about something someone, a couple, or group is doing that it goes against the owner’s, manager’s, or employee’s beliefs, then ask them to leave quietly and respectfully, without showing hate or discrimination for them or their actions, or they and other people at the restaurant or store will think you are judging, showing hate, and being discriminatory against the person or people you are kicking out – and all of the above attitudes go against God. God is against hate, against judging others and condemning, against discrimination of any kind. So two wrongs do not make a right! So before kicking someone out because of your faith in the Lord, consider praying silently to God about it, and if necessary, instead (of throwing them out), quietly pull the person, couple, or group aside in private and gently sharing God’s Word with them and letting them know how much God and Jesus love them and want to have a relationship with them, then gently and kindly explain how they can enter into a right relationship with the Lord. Sharing God’s Word with others and spreading His love and peace is what pleases Him, not hate, discrimination, or judging and condemning or making others feel hated, judged, condemned, or discriminated against because it is ungodly, and a major cause of this world’s problems. If everyone who follows Jesus made the decision to spread love and share God’s Word respectfully and gently, the world would become a better place to live because we could all live in love, peace, and harmony together.

The point I am making is, that yes the Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman (and so then, are all romantic relationships), but that is just one type of sin people commit. I am guilty of sinning against God every day whether in thought, speech, attitude, behavior, action, or any combo/all of the above. But I own up to my own sins to God and Jesus and I pray for forgiveness and for God to help me change the way I think, learn to control my thoughts and emotions, and become more like Jesus; I do not go around judging others like a hypocritical and judgmental person. As someone who has been unfairly judged and mistreated, I work hard at not doing that to anyone else. God loves all sinners, no matter what they have done. Nothing a person says or does can make God love them less or more. When we sin, those of us who know God and Jesus pray to God for forgiveness and repent (and pray for help repenting if it is a sin you have a problem with not doing anymore), and God who is just and fair, will forgive you and will help you. I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty, but the opposite. I am stating that everyone alive today, including me do and say things that go against God’s will and are sinful and ungodly, so to target 1 group of people for committing a sin different then your sins is wrong and ungodly. We are to love everyone, no matter who they are or what they have done. And the more love we spread to others, the greater chance we have of bringing more people into a soul-saving relationship with the Lord, which is meant to be all Christians’ responsibility (to win souls for Jesus), so that more people will be saved on the Coming Day.

The point I am making is, that yes the Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman (and so then, are all romantic relationships), but that is just one type of sin people commit. I am guilty of sinning against God every day whether in thought, speech, attitude, behavior, action, or any combo/all of the above. But I own up to my own sins to God and Jesus and I pray for forgiveness and for God to help me change the way I think, learn to control my thoughts and emotions, and become more like Jesus; I do not go around judging others like a hypocritical and judgmental person. As someone who has been unfairly judged and mistreated, I work hard at not doing that to anyone else. God loves all sinners, no matter what they have done. Nothing a person says or does can make God love them less or more. When we sin, those of us who know God and Jesus pray to God for forgiveness and repent (and pray for help repenting if it is a sin you have a problem with not doing anymore), and God who is just and fair, will forgive you and will help you.

If the Holy Spirit dwells inside of you, then you will be able to make the changes you need to make in order to stop committing the same sin(s) over and over again. It will not be an overnight thing for most people, but if you keep working with the Lord and show Him a heart willing to change for Him, then over time, you will have victory over those sins. If you do not have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of you, then you need to hear God’s word and believe and accept it, repent of your sins, confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior, be baptized in the name of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (and baptism is being fully submerged under water, where one comes into contact with Jesus’ blood spiritually, and then are raised up to a new life in Christ), you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. He will guide you to the right church and help you study your Bible daily to gain spiritual wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. And then you must make the daily decision to let the Holy Spirit lead you, and to live for Jesus instead of for yourself.

Imagine how much better the whole world would be, if instead of hate, discrimination, judging and condemning, persecuting, anger (unrighteous) and lack of forgiveness there was love, kindness, compassion, respect, forgiveness, mercy, and grace for ourselves, and for one another. Jesus has called us to love our neighbor and that includes “our enemies.” (Matthew 5:44-48) If we all put this command into practice, along with the first and most important one to love the one and only Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength, then there would be no more bullying, no more crime of any kind (whether theft, murder, adultery, or any other crime against another person, including insulting someone), no more homelessness, no more people (adults or kids) starving, and a ton of other issues the world faces today (like killing the environment with careless actions like littering and other forms of pollution) would go away and we would live in peace, harmony, love, joy, and hope. Unfortunately, that will never happen, and the Bible even said as much, because people are too caught up in living for themselves and worshiping money instead of living for God and worshiping Jesus, our Lord and Savior who died for all of us to save everyone from their sins. Jesus came into the world to save everyone, not just those who claim they are in a right relationship with the Lord. And if you are in a right relationship with the Lord, then love will be how you act and respond to things instead of hate. We are to hate the sin, but love the sinner, but people tend to get that all wrong and hate the person committing the sin that is different from the sins they have committed, which goes against Jesus’ teachings and the word of God. Let those of us who truly believe and follow the Lord show it by spreading love, compassion, kindness, and goodwill to others and sharing the word of God in kind and respectful ways as instructed by the Lord/in the Bible so we can band together against hate and discrimination!

The main point I was originally trying to make was that just as it is wrong for us to discriminate against others for things they do that goes against God/our beliefs, it is also wrong to go against our Constitutional Right for religious freedom. People should be allowed to say the name Jesus and share their faith with others (respectfully of course) without being thrown out, boycotted, brought to court, or arrested and sent to jail. Sadly, God told us that these things (persecution for our faith) would happen. But that does not make it right. Everyone has a right to defend their rights, but it must be done in a respectful way that does not go against someone else’s rights.

“Religion” Verses Jesus

I just finished reading this Daily Devotional and wanted to share it with all of you! Too many people confuse following Jesus (being Christian) with being a “religion.” Religion to most people is focusing on what makes you right with God, but Jesus says that he makes us right with God by faith. And the new law is to love one another as Jesus loved us. I hope you will read this and learn the difference between the definition people give “religion” and what it actually means to seek Jesus. Note: This is not a free pass to be a jerk or to have self destructive behavior like drinking too much alcohol. What this is meant to be is enlightenment on what Jesus meant when he told us he came to fulfill the law, which means that we don’t get right with God by being “moral” (but you should still have good morals anyway and see Jesus as your example), but by seeking Jesus who died for our sins in fulfillment of the law (which happened when he was raised back to life and seated at God’s right place in Heaven. The following is an excerpt from the author’s book about it, which is why quotations are used. I hope you find this to be enlightening, helpful, and encouraging! (By the way, he gives permission at the end of the email where I received this excerpt to share this with others)

 “Daily Devotional

Why I Think Jesus Hates Religion and You Should, Too
by Jefferson Bethke from Jesus > Religion

Some of you may be thinking, Wait a minute: you can’t hate religion and love Jesus. Jesus IS a religion. To which I’d answer yes and no. If you mean by religion, “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe,” then yes and amen, Christianity is a religion. But by that definition, so is atheism. But if we mean by religion, “what one must do, or behave like, in order to gain right standing with God,” then real Christianity isn’t a religion.
I had been a Christian for about a year when I realized Jesus isn’t just one of many saviors. Following Him is fundamentally different from practicing other world religions. There was something almost upside-down or antithetical to Him.

All the other religions center on people’s righteousness — what we do and how good we are. Real Christianity centers on Jesus’ righteousness — what He has done and how good He is.
All the other religions essentially say, “This is what you have to do to be in right standing with God.” Jesus comes to earth and says, “This is what I’ve freely done for you to put you in right standing with God.”
Religion says do. Jesus says done.

Religion is man searching for God. Jesus is God searching for man.
Religion is pursuing God by our moral efforts. Jesus is God pursuing us despite our moral efforts.

Religious people kill for what they believe. Jesus followers die for what they believe.

That’s when it hit me: No wonder Christianity and Jesus’ message of salvation is called good news. It isn’t just good advice (religion); it’s good news (Jesus). It’s not declaring what we must do, but declaring what He has already done. It’s almost as if Jesus is the eternal paperboy delivering a newspaper declaring something that has already happened.

The only question with Jesus is, will we follow Him?
Now, a lot of people might fire back, saying, “Jesus didn’t come to abolish religion. He even said he came to fulfill it.”
Well, not quite. He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
When I read that, I say amen. Jesus isn’t talking about religion; He’s talking about the law.

Jesus wants to make it clear: He isn’t taking God’s moral law lightly.
The only difference is, He didn’t come to crush us with it — which religious people do, like the leaders in John 8 — but rather, He came to fulfill it for us. When something is “fulfilled,” it means it has reached its end or completion. That’s what Jesus said He was doing. He was fulfilling the righteous requirements of it, on our behalf, to give us perfect standing with God.

For example, at the time of writing this, I’m getting married in a couple of weeks. Once Alyssa and I are married we will no longer be engaged. We fulfilled that requirement, which suited us well for the time between dating and getting married. We, however, are moving on to something better.

That’s what Jesus was saying here. It’s not like He is abolishing the law. It was there for a reason. It had a purpose. The Old Testament law’s role was put in place to show us how God aligned the universe to work, and also to show us we couldn’t live up to His standard.
It’s scandalous to say, but one of the uses of the law was to show us we couldn’t fully keep it and needed a savior. It was — and still is — a mirror to show us where we need Jesus. Even the animal sacrifices mandated in the law to the Israelites were there to show them they needed a substitute. They couldn’t do it on their own, and ultimately Jesus fulfilled that requirement.

So Jesus came and fulfilled the requirements of it to satisfy God.
He lived it perfectly. And then instead of the Old Testament law becoming our standard or law, Jesus himself became our law. He gave us his perfect standing by fulfilling God’s righteous requirements and then on the cross took all our sin, failure, guilt, and shame. A pretty sweet exchange, if you ask me. And now we no longer solely live up to an external code, but rather live in relationship with a person who then shows us how to properly view that code. Jesus became the face of the Law rather than the concrete tablets Moses is always holding in those ancient depictions.

Love is the new law.

The way I think about it is this: if I’m ever tempted to cheat on Alyssa, I could motivate myself by the law — I won’t cheat on her because I might go to hell, etc. — or I could motivate myself with love — I don’t want to cheat on her because she is better than anything out there. So it is with us and God. Jesus ushered in a more beautiful covenant. One that is perfected in love, not in hateful and fearful obedience.

The law was just a foretaste of Jesus. To know all the shadows and pictures in the Old Testament were simply a picture of him is astounding. Sacrificing a goat seems a little weird and disgusting until you see it actually had a reason.
The sacrificial system was God’s way of saying sin breeds death. Someone must die when there is sin.

All the mandates and requirements God laid out for the Israelites were ultimately mini arrows pointing to Jesus. The lamb the Israelites needed to sacrifice for sin was God’s way of saying, “There is one coming after you who will not only be a picture of sacrifice and forgiveness like these lambs, but one who will actually be able to take away your sin and cleanse you forever.”

All of it was God working so His people wouldn’t miss Jesus. The reason Israelites needed a priest was to show them there had to be some sort of mediator between God and humans — which, of course, was Jesus. Also, once a year the High Priest would enter the place where he gave a sacrifice and would sprinkle blood on the mercy seat seven times.

Under the mercy seat was the Ark of the Covenant where the Ten Commandments were hidden. It was God’s way of pointing to the fact that because of His mercy, Jesus’ blood was going to cover those righteous requirements for us. He is the ultimate fulfillment of the Old Testament.

That fact is actually what led early Romans to consider the first Christians atheists. They’d ask, “Where is your temple?” to which the Christians would reply that they didn’t have a building, and Jesus was their temple. So then they’d ask, “Well, who is your priest?” To which they’d reply that they didn’t have a priest on earth, because Jesus was their ultimate priest in heaven. Finally they’d ask, “Who is your sacrifice?” to which the early Christians would respond that they no longer offered sacrifices because Jesus’ sacrifice was once for all.

That is what Jesus meant when he said, “I have not come to abolish [the Law or the Prophets] but to fulfill them.” That truth changes someone from dead, man-made religion to a vibrant relationship with Jesus and his body.

The Meaning Behind

Back in my dorm room, I was trying to put all these thoughts down for the students I was talking with who wanted nothing to do with religion. I knew we needed a common starting point for any conversation about Jesus to get off the ground and decided on this:
“So know I hate religion. In fact, I literally resent it. Because when Jesus cried, ‘It is finished,’ I believe He meant it.”

While the poem did resonate with my peers, I need to clarify that when I say I “hate” religion, I am not saying I hate the church.
I’m not saying I hate commandments, traditions, or laws. I’m not saying I hate organizations or institutions. But what I am saying is that I hate any system that upholds moral effort or good behavior as the way in which we can have a proper relationship with God. My main problem with religion, how I defined it, is if that is possible — the fact we can just be “good enough” for God — then that is spitting in the face of Jesus. That’s mocking Him, saying His sacrifice isn’t good enough and wasn’t necessary.

I started to notice this vein in a lot of strong theologian-type people, people who are seen as giants of the church. People like John Owen, Tim Keller, Oswald Chambers, and A. W. Tozer. Even the famous German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wanted to get to a place of “religionless Christianity.” In 1944, while he was in prison for trying to sabotage the Nazis, he wrote, “We are moving towards a completely religionless age; people as they are now simply cannot be religious anymore.

Even those who honestly describe themselves as ‘religious’ do not in the least act up to it, and so they presumably mean something quite different by ‘religious.’”

Bonhoeffer knew that the term religious had become stale, so he fought for something entirely new. He actually found it helpful to juxtapose religion and Jesus.

Now, I love the word religion, in its true sense, and it’s helpful in some cases, but I’ve also noticed it’s the easiest way to expose someone who trusts in their own works, which is a major problem today. In a postmodern world where all religious activity is seen as what we do for God, we need to proclaim Christianity is about what God has done for us. This would take people’s focus off of their behavior and put it on Jesus.

When you distinguish Jesus the God-man from the religion that developed around Him, people investigate the person of Jesus rather than the rules of Christianity.

And the truth is, when someone is pursuing, investigating, and attempting to understand the Son of God, he or she is pursuing truth personified, and that Person will find him.
The minute I started to frame the discussions in this way, there was an interesting change. A lot of people didn’t want to talk about religion, but seemed fine talking about Jesus.
When we studied Jesus, we could actually look stuff up. He said what? He did what?
And the facts often shocked my friends.

The Jesus of the Scriptures is so much more radical and subversive than we realize.

When religious discussions are broad and consider the ideas of theologians rather than the facts about Jesus, they generate apathetic views of Jesus. Changing the focus of the conversation from religion to Jesus actually invites people to face Him and the grace He provides. It lets His grace so confront them that they have to address it.

The response that proved this is when I’d ask my friends about Jesus and they’d say, “He’s a nice guy.” Or, “He had good moral principles, but He’s not God.”

Sadly, that’s one of the most unintelligent things a person can say.
If Jesus claimed to be God, claimed to forgive sins, and claimed to heal the sick, then He either did those things, or He was a despicable liar. Either He is who He says He is — God — or He has deceived billions and billions for the last two thousand years.

That wouldn’t make Him a good moral teacher; it would make Him the most damnable person on earth. Either He’s God, or He deserves to be cast into human history as one of the worst. And that’s why, in my conversations with others, I take the focus off what we do for God and put it on what He has done for us so we have to actually deal with Him.

We can talk theory until we are blue in the face. We can talk about what the word God even means. But you start investigating and pushing into this guy from Nazareth who lived two thousand years ago, and you will get somewhere. You will have to face up to who He is, what He has done, and what you will do about it.

Be careful when you pursue truth, because you just might find Him.”

Happy Resurrection Day! Christ IS Risen!

Happy Easter and Resurrection Day! Today, over 2,000 years ago, Jesus was raised from the dead after dying for us 3 days earlier to save us all from our sins. He was raised up from the dead so we could all have a right relationship with God based on faith. Here are some encouraging verses about our Lord Jesus Christ, who IS Risen!

The Resurrection
1Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
2Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
5Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
8The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. 9And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”
The Great Commission
16Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!
18Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.20Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Christ is Risen!
5The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13“Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.
“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15“Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
16“Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).
17“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
19That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”22Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.23If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
The Ascension of Jesus
6So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
7He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
This same resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead over 2,000 years ago is in you who are children of God (who have been baptized and have the gift of the Holy Spirit! Today, let God resurrect your health, your finances, your relationships, your faith, your dreams! Whatever currently lays dormant in you, I declare will be resurrected in the name of Jesus! As Jesus told his disciples when he returned from the grave, peace be with you! Have a blessed day and let God’s resurrection power live on in you 365 (or 366 on a leap year) days a year! Let us all rejoice that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ lives! Hallelujah!