Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What Is Christianity?

I would like to give my interpretation and answer to this very important question, because I believe the Christianity we see in this world is often watered down at best and at worst, blatantly inaccurate.

Let's start with some examples of what I believe Christianity is not: Faith in Christ is not a membership to a select group of people who have become perfect. Despite what the bible says about this topic, many Christians have taken it upon themselves to think their faith gives them a moral superiority over those who do not believe in Christ. As a result of this cold behavior, many unbelievers are reluctant to become a Christian because they associate it with being mean and judgmental toward others. Honestly, who can blame them? If that is what it meant to be Christian, I would also reject it.

People who claim to have a moral superiority over others are only fooling themselves. Everyone who feels this way has not taken an honest evaluation of their own heart. When we do this, we learn it is impossible to become perfect or without blame. Once we realize this truth, we also realize our only hope is to trust in the mercy of God through Christ. Following rules or doing good deeds to "cancel" our bad deeds does nothing to change our hearts from death unto life. Only the acceptance of Jesus into our hearts can accomplish this miracle. 

Christianity is not a "get out of jail free" card. Some Christians have this idea that, because we believe in Christ, somehow everything will work out perfectly in life. Some feel Jesus is like a shield against every kind of suffering. Ironically, the bible is clear the exact opposite is true. Yes, God promises He will protect us from evil and be a shelter in our time of need...but this is meant to help us overcome adversity, not necessarily to avoid it.

Jesus is clear that believers will find trouble in this world. Why? Because the world is filled with evil and hypocrisy. They persecuted and killed Jesus, who was perfect; it is therefore logical to assume they would try and do the same to us, if we accurately reflect the nature of Christ. And let us not forget, God sometimes allows us to suffer so we can find spiritual growth. Looking back, I can see how many of my own trials in life have made me stronger and brought me closer to God. 

Christianity is not a rulebook to follow in order to earn eternal life. Our redemption is not a scoreboard where God keeps track of our good deeds versus our bad deeds. The bible is very clear about this topic: Salvation is by faith in Christ alone. It is about admitting we have a sinful nature, and then asking Jesus Christ into our hearts to make us new. A genuine faith in Christ is one where we acknowledge our weakness to Him and ask for help to change our behavior.

The bible is clear: That which is sinful will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Our Lord's death on the cross makes it possible for us to shed our inherited, sinful nature and receive His righteousness in its place. Those who accept Christ are judged by what He did; however, those who reject Christ are judged based on what they did. Needless to say, every person on this earth has sinned against God and what is right. If we try and stand on our own merit, we will fall short of redemption and salvation. Only when we trust in the One who is perfect can we be justified before God and His righteous judgment. 

To summarize, Christianity is not a club for people who want to feel superior to others. The truth is, nobody will ever be perfect, including Christians. To be a Christian means admitting your faults to God and receiving the gift of salvation, found only in Christ. It's a desire to shed our inherited, sinful nature so we can become holy like Jesus. It is important to note this transformation does not happen overnight; and no matter how hard we try, we can never become exactly like Christ. But it is our persistent quest to reach perfection in Him that changes us for the better. This lifelong journey and relationship with Jesus is the essence of Christianity.

(Scripture references: Matthew 7:1-5, Romans 2:1-11, 1Peter 4:12-16, 1John 3:11-15, John 15:18-25, Ephesians 2:1-10) 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Why Do We Believe In Christ?

How would you answer this question? Are you a Christian simply because you were raised that way? Or do you believe in God because it's the right thing to do? Maybe you're just being prudent and saving yourself from going to hell. All of these are valid reasons to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of our souls.

Maybe you are like me and your faith goes a little deeper. Perhaps you struggled with behavior you knew was wrong but couldn't stop. You knew something was not right inside your heart and wanted to change. Maybe you took a look around this world and realized the selfish pleasures in this life could not satisfy your hunger for true love. And when all of these weights came crashing down on your spirit, perhaps you cried out to God for help, in hopes He might prove Himself to be real and rescue you from your helpless state. 

The bible says people of this world think faith in Christ is foolish. In fact, they cannot even recognize the Spirit of God because they themselves lack God in their hearts. I know this Scripture is true because I myself fell into that category many years ago. When I was engrossed in my selfish lifestyle, I was blind to the existence of God. It wasn't until I began to embrace an unselfish and faithful way to love that I started to find truth.

Because of this, I know from experience what it's like to be on both sides of the equation. Later in life and as I sit here now writing this, I realize God allowed me to go through darkness so I would learn from it. Though I wouldn't ever want to go back, what I have learned has strengthened my faith in God and has allowed me to relate to and perhaps help those who are going down a similar path.

I have also learned the spell of deception that engulfs this world is very powerful and deceptive. If my faith were simply choosing to believe words in a book because of my upbringing, it would not survive. Thankfully, my faith has withstood this deceitful world because the words of the bible have come alive in my heart. The reason is, I have become a new creature in Christ and have received the Holy Spirit of God. What I could not see before I now see very clearly; so much so that even when my own feelings and what I see around me betray my faith in God, I can still overcome in Christ by remembering what I've learned.

The bible says anybody who loves the world is an enemy to God. It also says we must live in this world as ambassadors for Christ in a strange land. It took me a long time to really understand what this meant. Why? Because I was too much like the world. 

Deep inside my heart, I originally accepted Christ because of a desire for something more than what I saw around me; and yet, for years I did not fully submit myself to God, choosing (rather foolishly) to hold onto to some of the chains around my heart. Now that I have further distanced myself from the world, I can see why God has declared it as His enemy. But until my eyes were opened it was hidden from me.

The motivation for my belief in Christ was to stop sinning; I cried out to a God I wasn't sure was real in search of help. Because the motivation for my search was genuine, I found what I was looking for. Jesus Christ answered my cry for help and made me new on the inside, making it possible to resist sin, since I was no longer a slave to it. 

If you believe in Jesus Christ, do you know why? If you do then you know what a blessing this is! If you're not quite sure why, there is no reason to despair; all of us have been there. The good news is, any doubts or uncertainties we might have can eventually fade away, if we completely submit our hearts to the One we believe in. May we all strive to give more of ourselves to God, so that we can be confident of the salvation promised to us in Jesus Christ.

(Scripture references: 2Corinthians 5:16-21, 2Corinthians 2:4, 1Corinthians 1:18, 1Corinthains 2:6-16) NIV







 

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Gospel Of Grace

Those who are redeemed and have given their life to Christ; those who truly have spiritual rebirth from death unto life, cannot lose their salvation because of imperfections, weaknesses or mistakes. Salvation comes only by faith in Jesus Christ; it cannot be earned. This can be a hard concept to grasp, because on the surface it seems to be a "license to sin."  


For those who gave their life to Jesus so they could have help to stop sinning, God's grace is not a license to sin. Instead, it gives those who sincerely want to become holy the freedom to grow in the Lord, without fear of punishment when we make mistakes.

If the gift of salvation could be forfeited because of our bad choices, none of us would be saved. Those who think otherwise are being deceived. We must be careful not to look at our salvation as a scale of good and bad works. Some believe as long as our good deeds outweigh the bad ones, we're alright with God. The truth is, our sin is way too heavy to be outweighed by any amount of good deeds.

This is why Jesus died on the cross; only He could do a work that could outweigh and overcome the weight of our sin. Otherwise, why did Jesus have to die for us? Didn't we have the Jewish religion before He came to earth? If doing works in obedience to their laws was sufficient, Christ would never have to die. But since our works were insufficient to overcome sin, we needed Jesus (who is perfect and knew no sin) to do a work of redemption in our place.

If we are focused on earning our redemption, it is inevitable we will judge those around us. This is because our hearts are in the wrong place. Once we accept the truth, that all of us will never be good enough to make up for our sin, now we become focused on God's grace toward us. When our hearts are in this place of love and forgiveness we are more compassionate to others, since we ourselves recognize our faults and weaknesses. In spite of these God still loves and accepts us, which makes it easier to the same to others, in spite of their faults and weaknesses.

Sin is still bad and must be avoided. However, for most of us it is not always that easy. If I am losing my battle with sin in a particular area, does this mean I am not going to Heaven when I die? Of course not, since all of us in some ways fall short of the glory of God. None of us would be saved if salvation was based on our works. This is precisely why Jesus died in our place, so we could have the freedom to grow and learn from our mistakes, without the fear of punishment or relinquishing our redemption.

The key is, we must not accept excuses that justify our sinful lifestyle. No matter how many times we succumb to temptation, we must admit our guilt and get right back in the fight. We must run to Jesus instead of hiding from Him because of guilt. If we trust in Him to give us victory over the demons which have tormented us for so long, and keep fighting the good fight of faith while never giving up, eventually we will overcome.Take it from me, these words are true. I can testify of this because it has happened to me.

If I had died while I was in the middle of this struggle, having not yet attained victory, would I have gone to hell? Of course not! Not if I remained in Christ and He in me. And even when I did temporarily turn my back on God, He didn't give up on me. He waited patiently until I was ready, willing and able to become completely obedient to His will. Only God knows our hearts; I received grace because He knew I would eventually turn from sin.

The bottom line is this: None of us can ever earn redemption for sin and a place in Heaven. Only by accepting the gift of grace through Jesus' work on the cross can we be counted as righteous. That is because we ourselves can never do enough to pay the price for sin. But if we accept Jesus' gift of salvation in our hearts, God doesn't see our unrighteousness and disobedience anymore. Rather, he sees the righteousness and obedience of Christ in its place.

The Gospel of Grace is not a license to sin; it only appears to be when our hearts are in the wrong place. We should be concerned with our own life...but if someone is so worried about others, rest assured that God will not be mocked. Those who believe God's grace is a license to sin do not desire the rebirth found in Christ, therefore their faith is not genuine. They just want an excuse to justify their love for sin. But those who truly have Jesus in their hearts do so because they wanted to STOP sinning. God knows the difference and we will all be judged accordingly. 

In light of this, let us all be focused more on our own hearts instead of worrying somebody else might "get away with something." We need to make sure we don't fall into the trap of becoming like the Prodigal Son's brother. The Gospel of Grace allows us to redeemed and to grow in His love and guidance, all without fear of losing His love for us. It is the greatest gift ever given to mankind.

(Scripture references: Ephesians 2:8-10, Colossians 2:16-23) NIV


Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Devil Is Showing His Hand

I hate politics. While one side of the aisle definitely favors many of my own beliefs, I consider myself neither Republican nor Democrat. Nevertheless, I believe it is important we pay attention to what is going on in politics, nauseating as that may be.

For years I was "politically illiterate" but about four years ago, God put it on my heart to delve into and figure out what was going on. In a nutshell, what I found opened my eyes to a darker reality of our country and world.This ongoing "revelation" has also served to strengthen and confirm my faith in Christ.

Having said all of this, I'd like to talk about something I read today. In a town hall meeting recently, a Democratic politician told her audience that Republicans were evil and they (Democrats) were the good guys. In light of this, I'd like to set aside any emotional, partisan feelings and get to the root of what is really happening, and to the spiritual inspiration behind this sort of behavior.

I'm sure many of you are aware of what the bible says will happen before Jesus returns. The world will be ruled by an evil tyrant (anti-Christ) who will commit mass genocide against Jews and Christians. In the past, I could never imagine how a civilized world could ever buy into that ideology...that is until the last few years. You see, in order to sell his worldwide message that Christians and Jews must renounce their faith or be killed, the devil will need to create a false "moral high ground" if you will, in order to justify his murderous plans.

If we are paying attention, the seeds for Satan's plan are already being sown. If he can get us to pass judgment on large groups according to a "label" rather than as individuals, it becomes easier to successfully demonize those groups .

Now, if I'm being honest, I think in some rare cases this philosophy applies: For example, all people who condone and participate in the rape and murder of children could be considered evil. Or, people who like to torture others for pleasure could reasonably be herded into the category of evil. However, I think it is a bit narrow minded and outright moronic to label all Republicans as evil, simply because they want lower taxes, less government and the right to bear arms. And by saying this, even I am judging a book by its cover. I'm sure there are many Republicans who disagree on one or more of these and other beliefs, in regards to government. The moral of this story is, it is both foolish and inaccurate to judge the masses as one rather than as individuals.

I'm sure this politician who managed to judge millions of Republican Americans as evil would agree that judging a person simply because of their skin color is wrong...so why is the former any different? Shouldn't we all be judged as individuals, rather than as one large body of groupthink Lemmings? Quite frankly, it is arrogant, hateful and idiotic to label any large group of people as evil, simply because of their political beliefs.

The same applies to religious beliefs. Do all Muslims condone murdering innocent people just because some Muslims are terrorists? Are all Catholics child molesters because some Priests rape children? Are all Protestants money loving hypocrites because some televangelists enrich themselves by abusing the money they receive from unsuspecting Christians? Are all the people who didn't commit these crimes guilty and evil, just because a select few of the same religious belief actually did those things? 

I am sharing this with you because this blind way of thinking is what I believe the devil (through anti-Christ and the False Prophet) will use to demonize Christians and Jews in the future, in order to justify his mass world-wide genocide upon them. What will this propaganda look like? I think we're seeing some of it today. For instance, if a Christian simply believes homosexuality is a sin, that means they are hateful and intolerant. Never mind they didn't actually hurt anyone or that they weren't mean toward people who have gay sex. Never mind most Christians love their neighbors, and try to show kindness toward everyone (yes, even homosexuals); simply disagreeing with homosexual sex makes them evil.

Are you seeing it now? Do you see how Satan is showing his hand in these final days? By conditioning us to judge a large group of people as evil just because of their political affiliation, it will be easier for the devil to one day sell the lie that all Christians and Jews are evil and must be exterminated. If you think about it, aren't there many people that believe this lie today? Christian and Jewish persecution and demonization is alive and well right now. What happens in the coming generations, when those who love Jesus and free speech become the minority; when intolerant people who hate God and those who love Him become the majority and gain political power over this nation and the world? When this happens, the world becomes ripe for the devil (through anti-Christ) to gain control and establish the future described in the bible.

What do we do? Should we just roll over and accept our fate? Quite the opposite...those who have the truth must shine the loving light of Christ now more than ever. Our goal should be to reflect Jesus to our future brothers and sisters, who will one day receive His love in their heart and become reborn. Otherwise, how will those who choose truth in the future do so if they cannot see it?

As for those who will choose evil and death, nothing will change their minds. They are blinded from truth because they love lies and hatred, just like their father the devil. Nevertheless, those who love Jesus must continue to be strong in these last days, even if it means we may suffer abuse from these evil people. We can do so, knowing that God warned of this suffering in advance and by anticipating our eternal reward.

Nobody knows exactly when Jesus will come. But if we are paying attention, we can see some of the signs of His return. The devil has indeed begun to show his hand, how he will fulfill the words of bible prophecy. But let's not forget the end of that story; afterwards, Jesus will come and establish His righteous kingdom forever. On that day, once and for all He will remove the devil and all those who love evil from power, and they will never be heard from again.

(Scripture References: 2 Thessalonians 2:3-17) NIV

Monday, October 30, 2017

My Quest For Truth

In some of my previous writings, I've touched on many experiences with Christ in my quest for truth. Today I'd like to condense much of that info and perhaps expand on some of it.

In my own experience, it wasn't until I was ready (or willing) to be completely honest with ALL of my thoughts and feelings that I started to receive true wisdom from God. I can say this with confidence, since I myself have hidden from the truth inside my heart.

Why did I hide? I was afraid to confront deep fears inside myself. I also was unwilling to accept the truth because in some ways, it conflicted with my love for certain "worldly" pleasures. Accepting certain truths would mean I no longer had the "moral high ground" to justify my lifestyle choices. For example, who can say sin is really sin if there is no God? Hence, it was more convenient to believe the explanations given to support the belief God is not real; that way I could fool myself into thinking my actions were justified, or at the very least could not be condemned.

There are other reasons why many of us hide from the truth; though they may differ in substance, they are all born from the same motive, which is to try and justify our reluctance to accept truth. It wasn't until I was finally willing to accept responsibility for my dishonest and selfish lifestyle that I began to find real truth, which is Jesus Christ.

The journey is still ongoing. It seems like everyday God is showing me something else that was hidden to me before. But what has happened up until now has been a long and slow process. For about 20 years I lived my life as a born again believer whose lifestyle was very much like that of our secular world. Yes, even though my initial acceptance of Christ was motivated by a desire to have my dishonest heart changed and finding help to turn away from sin, I was still stubborn and reluctant to offer my entire life to God. This resulted in minimal spiritual growth and maturity, yielding little fruits of the Spirit.

Almost 5 years ago, I reached a critical turning point in my life. Once and for all, I was finally willing and able to give up indulging in a sinful lifestyle choice which had haunted me for many years. I didn't know it then, but this was a crucial step in Jesus changing my whole life. Sin separates us from God; it also blinds us from His truth, making it harder to discern right from wrong in an evil and darkened world. 

The Lord used each victory from my obedience as a building block for more spiritual growth. The pattern of my complete submission to Christ and the Holy Spirit looked like this: After some internal analysis of my feelings and thoughts about a matter, I was able to discern God's instruction over Satan's deception. Once I overcame my temptation to procrastinate or reluctance to give up a worldly pleasure that was blocking me from God's blessing, I was granted a little more spiritual strength and insight.

After I reached a place where my entire lifestyle was in complete obedience to the Holy Spirit's instruction in my heart, God's wisdom about the world around me and life in general began pouring into me. Many of the deceptions and mysteries of this world hidden to me before began to be exposed and uncovered. Not only that, a deep desire to speak His truth began to grow inside my heart. But it wasn't until I submitted everything to Him that I received these blessings and guidance in my life. 

Before I continue, let me make it clear I do not see myself as some enlightened guru who is better than anyone else. Quite the contrary...though God (through His grace and my strong desire to pursue it) has given me this priceless wisdom, there are many, MANY ways in which I struggle in this world. My guess  is, He has done this to keep me humble...at any rate my point is, I am not telling you this so I can be a big shot and have people think I'm smart or perfect (which I'm not). I am just some fool that God (for some reason) has chosen to learn and share these things with others. I am no better or worse than any of you. Indeed, we are all equal; brothers and sisters in our walk with Jesus, in the hope we might share eternal life with Him in glory one day.

Here is everything in a nutshell: The level with which we are willing to deny ourselves (in regards to our useless lusts and desires) and instead accept the truth and responsibility for our actions, will directly relate to how much spiritual enlightenment we receive from Jesus Christ, who is the only source of real truth in this world full of lies. If we do this a little bit, we will gain a little bit of victory over sin and uncertainty. But if we do this a lot...yes, if we are able to submit every thought, action and lifestyle choice over to the Holy Spirit for approval or denial, and then we are able to obey God in every single way He instructs, our lives will miraculously be transformed for the better. If we do this, like never before we will know the true meaning of when Jesus said:

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

(Scripture references: John 8:31-32) NIV



Friday, October 27, 2017

Godly Discipline

"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:7-11) NIV

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Sin And Suffering

In the bible, it tells of a man described as an "invalid" that was healed by Jesus. The man did not realize who Jesus was, and then:

"Later Jesus found him at the temple and said, 'See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.'" (John 5:14) NIV

From this we learn sin has a negative impact in our lives. In this case, a man's body was severely damaged. Why did this happen? Is it because God was punishing him for his disobedience? Many people might think so. In fact, I believe it is human nature to think this way. However, I don't believe this is true.

We all have a tendency to blame God for our troubles. But in doing so, we forget about one important person: Satan. The bible says Satan looks to kill, steal and destroy. Since he hates God he hates us as well, because we are God's cherished creation and made in His image.

When we are frustrated at God because of our suffering from sin, we are focusing our angst on the wrong person. For example, what loving parent would intentionally hurt their children in response to their mistakes? Sometimes we let them fail so they can learn from their mistakes and to know there are consequences for bad choices...but I don't believe any loving parent would intentionally hurt their children because they did something wrong. 

I believe our Heavenly Father is the same way. If we suffer because of bad choices, God will allow it so we can learn to avoid sin. However, the source of pain is the devil. God works everything for our good; He does not cause our pain but He will use it to make us stronger.

Notice what this bible passage says:

"When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." (James 1:13-15) NIV

It is Satan who is responsible for temptation, sin and the pain that results from it, not God. When we suffer because of sin, it is because we have opened a spiritual door for Satan to cause pain in our lives. If we put our hands into fire, we are burned because that is what fire does. It doesn't pick and choose who gets burned; it doesn't single out the "bad" people and refrain from burning "good" people. In the same way, if we suffer from sin it's because that is what sin does: It causes suffering and eventually death. God does not punish us because we are bad...rather, we are giving the devil a license to cause pain in our lives because of sin. When you play with fire long enough, eventually you get burned.

I should mention the bible says not all suffering is because of our sin. Sometimes God allows hardship in our lives to make us stronger. However, if we are suffering because of a sinful lifestyle, we can be confident God is not punishing us. The devil is the source of sin and the painful results associated with it, not God. One day God will punish the world for their evil ways and refusal of His love, but until then we are covered in grace because of what Jesus did on the cross.

Are we suffering right now because of sin? If so, let's start to listen for the Holy Spirit in our hearts. If we practice distinguishing His voice from everything else, we can start to know what direction He wants us to go. By doing this, He will eventually shine a light on the sin that is the source of our suffering. God commands we refrain from certain things, not because He is a mean tyrant but because those things are actually harmful to us, even though they might seem good. 

Eternal life cannot be earned; we receive it by faith in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of our sins. However, our level of obedience to God in this life will have a direct effect on our mental, physical and spiritual health. If we suffer because of a sinful lifestyle, let us obey God and slam the door of influence Satan is using in our lives to harm us. 








Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hiding From The Truth

Have you ever had a thought in your head that challenged your integrity? Have you ever hid from this thought (even though you knew it was right) because you did not want to deal with it, preferring to sweep it under the rug of your conscience by pretending it away or simply ignoring it? Of course you have...in fact, we all have. 

When we hide from the truth, we think we are taking the easy and less stressful way out. It certainly seems that way...but the truth is, it is the exact opposite. That is because, these confrontations in our mind are similar to being bullied by someone stronger than us. If we do not face our fears and stand up to the bully, and choose the "easy way out" by capitulating to his demands, what happens? For a moment in time the stress of our confrontation goes away. But inevitably, the bully will come back and demand more from us. Why? Because he knows we won't fight back.

When we give into a bully's demands, we sink deeper under the weight of our fear. The more we give in and try to avoid confrontation, the more we become a slave to our fears and the bully. Before long, we will do just about anything to try and placate the one intimidating us. 

Many don't realize it but this is exactly what happens inside all of us. By hiding from certain things in life that make us uncomfortable, we become weaker in our spirit. This submission to fear and lies negatively affects us in ways we do not realize. When we hide from the truth by believing a lie or trying to ignore it, this blinds our spiritual vision and our capacity to see truth in other matters. Also, it makes it harder for us to find inner fortitude in our times of despair. 

I myself hid from the truth by denying God's existence. Why? Because I could not handle the truth, which was I loved doing things that were wrong more than I loved the truth. When I was willing to accept the truth (that I was a sinner in need of a Savior), this choice started the process of finding true happiness and spiritual enlightenment. By obeying the new voice of God inside my heart, in time I gained the strength necessary to face my fears and overcome the bully tormenting my thoughts. The more I submitted to Christ and allowed Him to rule my life, the more His strength was able to shine in my life.

Facing and admitting the truth about our sinful heart by embracing Christ is just the first step. In fact, the journey to be completely freed from the chains of fear and sin is just beginning. When we become a new creature in Christ, we gain the opportunity to overcome everything that torments us in our lives; our sinful nature has been replaced by the nature of God. However, it doesn't mean we are made perfect immediately upon receiving this rebirth. We must continue to face our fears and confront the evil that the Holy Spirit shines a light on. By doing so, each victory will become a brick in the newly constructed wall of faith around our spiritual hearts. As it grows in size and strength, this wall will shield us from all of the attacks by the bully in our mind, who is tirelessly trying to destroy our lives.

Life is a struggle; many of the obstacles we face are way too strong for us to overcome. Thankfully we have a Champion who lived on this earth, who experienced every temptation we have faced. Unlike us, He never once buckled under the weight of pressure the bully creates in this life. Instead, He defeated this enemy of humanity by choosing what was right instead of weakness, every single time. Jesus knows how to defeat this bully and when we embrace Him in our hearts, we too can share in this victory, one battle at a time. May we all find strength and courage in the One who loves us, so we can fight back and overcome every fear in our lives. Amen.
(Scripture references: Hebrews 4:15-16, John 16:33, John 8:31-32)



Thursday, October 12, 2017

Wrestling With Demons

Earlier today I began to be tempted by a familiar feeling, one I know very well; it has hounded me ever since I was an adolescent young man. Even though I have been through the process of indulging, experiencing shame and then being delivered, it can still be a challenge to resist at times.

Why is that? If there is something that seems good but is really bad, and I have experience in knowing for myself and breaking its chains of spiritual bondage, how could it ever again be hard to resist? It is because of my sinful flesh. The sinful pleasure is so alluring and strong, and it tries to blind me from the truth through its deceiving spell.

As a youth, it is this very struggle which lead me to Christ. At that time I had allowed myself to be deceived and believe the lie that God isn't real. Why? Because I knew some things I enjoyed doing went against what I had been taught of God and what is right. Once I stopped hiding from the truth and embraced faithfulness over selfish pleasure, it started me on the road to finding real truth, whose name is Jesus Christ.

The fact I derived pleasure from doing something selfish told me my heart was bad. But I couldn't see this until I started to put other people's feelings above my own. However, this was only half the battle; it's one thing to know what is right and yet another to have the strength to do it. Because I was unwilling to hide from the truth any longer, I also was unwilling to sweep this under the rug of my conscience and pretend it wasn't real. Desperate, depressed and ashamed, I cried out to a God I wasn't sure even existed for help. He answered and the rest is history.

Perhaps you are like me and your demons have strong roots inside your sinful nature. Left to my own devices as a youth, I sowed many bad habits into my sinful flesh. It is extremely damaging to do so, since how we are raised and our experiences as a child help to mold who we will become as adults. Whatever we learn during this time become second nature to us later on. 

This is very bad news for those who have grown up like this. Once these habits are formed, they are impossible to escape or overcome during adulthood. Many of us hide from them, even self-medicating to escape the cold and painful reality they create in our lives. The good news is, even in the most extreme cases we can find victory and deliverance in Jesus Christ.

When I was going through my trial of temptation earlier today, I analyzed the experience. When these temptations come, the devil tries to overwhelm us with a feeling of helplessness, while trying to deceive us in the heat of this fire to give up and give into what is tempting us. Earlier today, as I was able to endure and ultimately resist (until the next battle comes), I remembered why I used to relent to this pressure in the past: It was because I was too weak. Then God showed me how He has used all of the struggles and suffering in my life, through various trials and tribulations, to make me stronger. 

Each time we face and eventually overcome temptations or bad things in our lives, God uses these victories like building blocks, creating an enormous and impenetrable fortress around our hearts from which we can resist evil and its attacks. If we are faithful to God and never give up, even after we fail over and over again, we will eventually be able to stand against and overcome those demons which used to have their way with us.

If you are wrestling with demons right now and they are getting the best of you, take heart! Jesus died so we could make mistakes while growing in His love and mercy. If we never give up no matter how many times we fail, the King who never once gave into Satan's temptations will empower us to also resist his attacks. When we give everything to Jesus, eventually He will build us up so we can also share in His victory over sin, not only in the next life but in this one as well.

(Scripture References: Ephesians 6:10-17, James 4:7)

Monday, September 25, 2017

It's Happening For A Reason

We are mortal and limited in our understanding of life. For this reason, we tend to react and think only in real time. What I mean by that is, if something happens to us in the present, we respond accordingly. God, however, thinks very differently.

If a tragedy befalls us, it almost always comes unexpectedly; that is because we cannot see the future. On the other hand, our Lord and Protector is not subject to our limitations. The bible says, God knew us before we were even born. If this is true, He also knows every mistake we will make and every hardship we will endure, before they even happen. 

When we are in a very painful situation, we pray for strength and deliverance. While we wait for an answer to our prayers, oftentimes it can seem like God will never respond. In fact, it may seem like He can't even hear us. The truth is, God made a solution before our problem even existed.

So then, if God created our solution before we were even born, then He also knew about our painful ordeals in advance. Why does He still let them happen? That varies for each individual. We are all unique creatures with unique problems. Sometimes God will use our suffering to tell us we need to change. Other times, He uses adversity to bring us to another place in life where He needs us most. Whatever the reason is, we can rest assured God is using our suffering to make us stronger.

Nothing is by accident in our lives; everything is according to His plan. We can trust in Him because, not only does He know what truly is best for us, He sees everything in advance. All of life's variables are before Him, and He arranges them in an equation that equals eternal life, for those who believe. 

Whatever struggles we have, let us always remember that God loves us. He knew exactly the mistakes we would make before the creation of the world. He knew every storm that would come our way before we were given life. Our deliverance and path to victory was also prepared for us in advance. Everything is happening for a reason and all according to this plan, which is eternal life and salvation for those who love Him.

(Scripture References: Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 1:5)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Good People Are Being Deceived

The truth in this world can be hard to find; that's because there is a devil who works very hard to hide it. Just as there are good people who look to share and expose the truth, there are also bad people who look to hide others from it. 

I'd like to share a bible passage:

"At this they (the crowd) exclaimed, 'Now we know that you (Jesus) are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?'”

"Jesus replied, 'If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.'”

“'You are not yet fifty years old,' they said to him, 'and you have seen Abraham!''Very truly I tell you,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!' At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds."
(John 8:52-58) NIV

What is happening here? Clearly these people were offended at Jesus' words. But it wasn't until Jesus told them He was God (by saying, "...I am!") that they became enraged and tried to kill Him. Rather than focus on the intolerance and hatred in their hearts for wanting to kill a man, simply because He said something that offended them, I'd would like to focus on their ignorance.

First, I'd like to share another bible passage that describes the Jewish Messiah:

"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this." (Isaiah 9:6-7) NIV

Please notice the words I have highlighted. In the very Scripture these Jews believed to be God's word, it clearly says the Messiah will be a son and God. So why did many of the Jewish religious leaders and citizens consider it "blasphemy" when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God? The Jewish religious leaders had no excuse for this behavior. They had access to the Holy Scripture and knew the truth, but refused to acknowledge it because they valued their power and authority in this world over God's truth. However, most of the common, everyday Jews did not have as easy of an access to the truth found in Scripture.

Those days were not like today, where it is easy for people who live in a free society to obtain God's word. Because the Jews were unwilling or unable to find the truth in God's word on their own, many were deceived and believed the religious lies from religious leaders of that day, who claimed it was blasphemous for Jesus to say He was the Son of God.

This type of deception is happening today. Many in power right now are evil and deceitful, just like the Jewish religious leaders of the past. They look to hide others from the truth by telling lies that fit their agenda, which is to accumulate power and wealth.

Why do the common people believe? Some are deceived by their evil heart and are all too glad to persecute others who have been deemed as "intolerant or hateful" by the so-called gate keepers of our society. But sadly, there are many others who are decent people and have good intentions that are also being deceived. Why? Because they are not digging deeper to find the true meaning of things and the real intentions of those in power. It is easier to accept what is being spoon fed to us, rather than go against popular culture and dare to question the status quo.

Just like in Jesus' day, we are surrounded by people in power that do not have our best interests at heart. On the outside they seem to care: They speak eloquently and follow all the "politically correct" social guidelines. But inwardly they are selfish and evil, caring only about power, wealth and their own pleasure. 

Now more than ever, we must cling to the Holy Spirit in our hearts for guidance. We must grow closer to Jesus and turn away from the lies and deceitful pleasures of this world, which only help to blind us from God's truth. Starting today, may we all have a renewed sense of commitment to God, so that we will not be deceived when the coming tidal wave of evil engulfs this world.










Monday, September 18, 2017

Keep Fighting

All of us have failed in our relationship with God. When this happens, it can be difficult to right the ship and not sink deeper into failure. The good news is, no matter how many times we fail, a clean slate and success is just around the corner.

In the midst of our struggle, God can seem very far away. Sometimes this struggle is self-inflicted. Other times it comes from seemingly nowhere, unrelated to anything we may have done or not done. Both situations have the same effect: Our sinful lifestyle blinds and separates us from God. Also, while in the heart of a storm that is not self-inflicted, God's love for us can seem non-existent.

If our pain is self-inflicted due to sin, guilt is our greatest enemy. It tries to make us feel unworthy of forgiveness; it tells us we are too weak and will never dig out of the hole we have created. If our painful situation is due to circumstances out of our control, doubt is our greatest enemy. We are tempted with thoughts questioning whether God still loves us; we question whether He is still in control, and wonder if He has left us all alone in our suffering.

The good news is, no amount of lies the enemy fills our mind with can change the truth: God loves us and will never leave us. We have an intercessor on our behalf, who knows exactly what we are going through. I'd like to share this bible passage which tells what Jesus said while suffering on the cross:

"From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). (Matthew 27:45-46) NIV

Why did Jesus say this? How could God forsake Jesus, when Jesus Himself was the Son of God? The answer is, Jesus became sin for us on the cross. As the Scripture says, He who knew no sin became sin for us. Just like sin separates us from God, it also separated Jesus from the Father. When He became sin, He temporarily lost the feeling of fellowship with God's love. 

What does this mean for us? Our Lord can relate to every pain we feel, even the consequences for our sin. He knows what it feels like to have separation from God. Just like He persevered through this darkness and overcame, He knows how to lead us through our darkness so that we can overcome. 

Also, if we are in the midst of a terrible and painful ordeal in our lives, one so bad that it seems we cannot even feel God's presence in our lives, Jesus knows exactly how that feels. No amount of suffering we feel will ever compare to the pain He endured. It must have been hard for Jesus to know the Father was still there with Him as He suffered on the cross, yet by faith He persevered and won the fight. He can and will give us victory as well, if we trust in Him through our painful ordeal.

I believe Jesus, as His body was tortured, torn to pieces and left bleeding on a cross, thought of you and I to help Him overcome. He knew if He could just keep going until the fight was won, we would have eternal life and know freedom from the shackles of sin. Just as His love for us helped Him win the fight, His love for us now will help us win our fight. 

(Scripture references: Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 13:5-6, 2 Corinthians 5:21)





Friday, September 15, 2017

Spirtual Exercise

In some ways, our physical bodies mirror our spiritual bodies. A key to a healthy, physical body is getting plenty of exercise. This will help us build strength and enable us to better overcome physical obstacles in our daily lives. Likewise, when we exercise our invisible spiritual body, we gain strength to overcome the invisible pressures and emotional struggles we encounter in this life.

In the gym, we lift weights and push ourselves physically in order to build endurance. In regards to our spiritual bodies, we build endurance by facing our fears and doing what is right. There is an invisible bully who looks to intimidate, denigrate and deceive us in our minds. When we stop hiding and finally gain the courage to look him in the eye and fight back, our spiritual bodies grow stronger. The bad news is, the bully is way too strong for us to overcome. The good news is, we have a Champion; one who never backed down to the bully and always overcame his attacks. Our champion's name is Jesus Christ.

It is important to note, before working out in a gym, a wise person consults a trainer to help get started. If you don't exercise properly, you can do serious damage to your body. The same is true when exercising our spiritual body: We need someone to guide us through the process so we do not hurt ourselves. Thankfully, God has given us the Holy Spirit to live inside us and help. Who better to fix the spiritual body we cannot see than the one living along side it? Plus, we can trust in His instruction, knowing that He loves us and created our spiritual bodies. He knows exactly what is wrong and how to fix it.

When we work with a physical trainer, often times we resent his constant motivational instructions. During our painful struggle, we hate to hear that voice pushing us harder and farther. But afterwards, once we have overcome our physical obstacle and reap the rewards, we are thankful for our trainer. The same is true in the spirit- Oftentimes we will be angry and resent God as we go through our emotional struggles and obstacles in this life. But when we stay obedient to His commands and make it through the storm, we look back and are thankful for His strength and guidance. Also, the spiritual strength and wisdom we gain from this process is priceless. 

There is a tendency in our society to look at every adversity in life as a bad thing. Some people believe we must shield ourselves and hide from everything that might upset us. If something is challenging us emotionally, some would encourage us to find a safe place to hide, rather than face it head on. It is for each individual to judge what to do in these situations, but I will say this-We cannot grow and gain maturity in this life unless we accept responsibility for our actions and face adversity. 

There comes a time when all of us must face the fears and pressures of life. To do this, we must be stronger than the obstacles in our way. We are not born with this strength; rather, we must exercise our spiritual body until it becomes strong enough to overcome adversity. For those who have rebirth in Christ and are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, we have a guide who can help us gain this strength. May we all submit our lives and will to His guidance, so that none of us will live in fear or submission to the evil one who rules this world.

(Scripture references: Timothy 4:8-10, Jude 1:20-21)



Thursday, September 7, 2017

Something More

For many of us, life is very busy. It can be difficult to maintain everyday affairs, much less our spiritual relationship with Jesus. Having said that, it is imperative we take time to listen for God's voice inside our heart each day. 

I'd like to share these bible passages:

"That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: 'A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.'” (Matthew 13:1-9) NIV

And...

Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:18-23) NIV

Please notice the words that I have highlighted. I believe all of us fall into this category of people that Jesus described. In this deceitful world we live in, it is nearly impossible not to be negatively impacted by the "worries of this life." As a result, many Christians have had the power and love of God living inside them muffled or hidden entirely. This has lead to an unfruitful life, in regards to the fruits of the Spirit of God.

I believe with 100% conviction that God wants to be closer to each and everyone of us. The benefits of this are twofold:

1) The closer we get to God, the further we get away from sin and the negative impact it has in our lives. We will start to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit and less of the selfish characteristics of the flesh. The peace and love of God, which passes all understanding, will begin to spring up and come alive inside our hearts.

2) The closer we get to God, the more His light will shine inside of us. We will begin to see life and this world in a whole new way. Many of the hidden deceptions all around us will begin to be exposed; those who pretend to be good will be exposed as liars. The devil and his accomplices are extremely clever and deceptive. However, there is no deception that can fool God. As we get closer to God, the Holy Spirit can begin to open our eyes to many things we were once deceived by.

This is extremely important because of the days in which we live. As our country and world descends deeper into darkness, those who seek to deceive others for selfish gains are on the rise. There are some who are so good at their deception that it cannot be seen as a lie. Indeed, the very things they say seem to be good and wholesome; their character appears impeccable. But if we watch them long enough, they will eventually give themselves away and bear fruit that is evil. However, unless we have the Holy Spirit to open our spiritual eyes, we will never see this evil fruit and will remain deceived.

Wherever we are in our spiritual relationship with God, He wants something more. He wants us to give our whole heart to Him and turn away from worldly pleasures that are harmful. In doing so, not only will our hearts become filled with His peace and love, we also become more aware to those things around us which seem to be good, but in reality are very dangerous. The latter is extremely important as we live through these troublesome times. The closer we get to God, the more our doubt of His existence disappears. When this doubt has been completely erased, even the most clever of deceptions cannot pull us away from the truth found in Jesus Christ.




Thursday, August 31, 2017

Division

It seems America has never been so divided as it is today. Why is that? Some people believe certain politicians are responsible for this problem; but the truth is, this country (and our world) has always been divided. That is because those who love evil will always fight against those who love what is holy and pure.

The English settlers who originally arrived here from Europe were Christians searching for freedom from religious persecution. While it is true that not everyone who formed our government after winning their independence was a Christian, many if not all were greatly influenced by Christianity and the bible.

Regardless of their religious background, all of our founding fathers believed in free speech and freedom from tyrannical rule; our Constitution reflects this truth. They instituted a government that was subject to the people, not the other way around.

These principles are clearly inspired by the Christian faith. In the bible, we are taught to respect authority, but that God is above all of us; no person is better than another, regardless of their wealth or social status. It teaches us to have patience toward others and not physically harm someone in a vengeful way, simply because we disagree with what they say or believe. It teaches that mankind is blinded by sin and we should look to Christ for wisdom and deliverance. Mankind should worship God, not those in power or each other.

Because of this rich history, Americans have been blessed and fortunate to escape much of the evil found in other nations. But what would happen if Americans were to stray from our values and align ourselves with the world? We are seeing the answer to this question right now all around us. This is the main reason why there is so much division in our country today.

I'd like to share this bible passage:

"You, (Christians) dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:4-12) NIV

And...

"You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." (James 4:4) NIV

God is very clear that we are to be separate from the world. How do we know who is of this world? Quite simply, people who love this world reject God's word and those who speak it. For example, if you are harassed, persecuted or accused of preaching "hate speech," simply for quoting what the bible says, whoever does this is of this world, even if they claim to be Christians.

For many of us in America, the truth about our separation from the world has been watered down. We have created a false sense of reality; our blessings have blinded us from what is really happening around us. In essence, we are enjoying the fruits of our ancestors, even though we have strayed from the formula that enabled us to enjoy these fruits of prosperity.

What has this done? It has empowered those who hate God into thinking their way is better. Life is all about reaping and sowing. When you do bad things, inevitably you reap suffering and turmoil. But what happens if this spiritual law is temporarily rescinded? Evil that results from mankind's sinful nature is able to flourish.

Though we do not like to admit it, suffering has a way of bringing us to a place of truth. What happens when we are coddled and kept from experiencing the penalties for our bad choices? We grow up with a selfish and distorted view of life. Each generation is producing more and more of these types of individuals. The result is a society that is more susceptible to be deceived by Satan and those who advance his agenda on this earth.

We are seeing the horrible results of this process today. Those Americans who love this world instead of God are growing in number. Once their numbers are large enough, they will be able to completely remove the freedoms we enjoy. They will be able to change the laws and install a government that reflects their ideology. 

How long will it be before these people succeed? Can it be stopped? If it can't, our lives will be much different than what we experience today. Free speech will totally evaporate; those who speak or believe something contrary to a totalitarian government will be punished. Those who worship God and believe in traditional, biblical values will be persecuted, ostracized and even physically assaulted. When you really think about it, aren't we witnessing the birth of this future right now in America?

Those who love evil are attacking and blaming those who love the truth for the problems all around us. They claim to be loving and tolerant, yet they hatefully abuse and shun those who disagree with them. Those who truly love others respect those around them and desire to live in peace, even with those who hate them. On the other hand, those who are filled with hate cannot coexist with those they oppose. When those who have God's love in their heart outnumber those who love hatred, there is peace in the land. What happens when those who hate outnumber those who love God? Violence, civil unrest, anarchy and war.

There always has been and always will be division in America and on earth. Also, the bible says the earth will one day be ruled by a dictator who is hostile toward those who love God. We must prepare our hearts for this inevitability, since we are not sure when that day will come. The only time this earth will ever truly see peace is when God Himself (Jesus Christ) comes down from heaven and eliminates all liars from power. May this truth comfort us during these violent and turbulent times.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Spirtual Blindness

What is spiritual blindness? It's when the truth (according to God) is hidden from us. The biggest and most important truth is, we must receive Jesus Christ into our hearts and believe in Him to gain eternal life. But there are also numerous truths to be learned in our everyday existence. The devil and his demonic underlings are tirelessly working many deceptions in our lives right now. The only way we can truly recognize and expose the lies that engulf the world around us is with help from the Spirit of Truth, or the Holy Spirit of God. 

We are blinded when we are separated from God. What separates us from God? Sin. Since we are all born having a sinful nature, immediately upon entering this world we inherit spiritual blindness. This sinful nature is ingrained into our mortal flesh, making it weak and vulnerable to sinful urges and thoughts, all of which are inspired by Satan.

If we are aware of this truth, we can also learn this: Not everything that feels or seems good to us is from God. In fact, some things in our lives that feel good are actually sinful and self-destructive in nature. If this is indeed true, how can we ever completely trust ourselves to know what is right or wrong? The answer is, we can't; nor should we try. God tells us we must trust Him with all of our heart and not lean on our own understanding to guide us through life. 

The perfect scenario for us in this life is to only be subjected to God's truth. However, we live in a sinful world; we are surrounded by lies and destructive, sinful pleasures. Quite simply, as long as we are alive on this earth, there is no way to completely avoid being influenced by the evil all around us. For example, even if you don't smoke cigarettes, if you stay in a smoke filled room long enough you'll eventually leave smelling like smoke.

Most if not all of the pleasures found in this world feed our physical needs and desires. In some cases, there is no way to avoid doing this. However, it is important that we become disciplined when indulging or satisfying these needs.

I believe our spiritual diet parallels our physical diet: Those things in this life which cater to our flesh are like junk food. Junk food tastes really good...but when we eat too much, it will often make us sick and give us an upset stomach. Also, if we only eat junk food and never give our bodies the healthy food that it desperately needs, our health will deteriorate over time. The same is true in our spiritual life: If we only feed the desires of our physical body but ignore the desires of our spiritual body, we will become spiritually sick and unhealthy. 

The level by which we eliminate sin from our lives and resist the urges of our flesh, will have a direct effect on our level of spiritual blindness. The more we feed our spiritual body with God's Word and Truth, the more our blindness will give way to spiritual clarity and wisdom. God's truth will become like a light inside our hearts, guiding and leading us down every good path. Once we have received this light inside of us, we will no longer stumble through life in spiritual darkness.

We must learn to discern right from wrong in all matters, and to test the spirits which try to influence us on a daily basis. Think of our spiritual battle like this- The devil sits on one of our shoulders with a megaphone, screaming lies and temptations into our ear. On the other shoulder rests the Holy Spirit, whispering very softly and gently things from God.

Because the devil's voice and influence is much louder in this world, it can seem nearly impossible to hear God's voice. Therefore, we must learn to muzzle the devil's voice. How do we do this? By resisting the empty, sinful pleasures found in this world, and embracing the hidden treasures found only in God. When we sow in the flesh, we reap emptiness, sin and vanity. But when we sow in the spirit, we reap the fruits of the Spirit of God. Doing this will also help remove the spiritual blindness that is present in our lives.

(Scripture references: Proverbs 3:6, Psalm 119:97-105, Isaiah 59:9-10, 1 John 4:1-6, Galatians 6:8, Luke 11:34-36)



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What Separates Christianity From The World?

In America today, we are seeing an increase in attacks on individual freedoms. For example, if someone publicly says something that might offend others, they are often vilified and persecuted. Instead of simply ignoring or quietly disagreeing, many feel they are justified in punishing others with different viewpoints.

This type of demonization or de-humanizing of others is the catalyst behind this behavior. In the minds of those who love hatred, this gives them the moral authority to impose judgment upon those they disagree with. If the target of their abuse is guilty or "deserves" it, this serves as justification, at least according to their way of thinking.

On the other hand, the love of God (which was revealed to us through Jesus Christ) is completely different. Jesus commanded us to love those who hate us, and to pray for those who persecute us. In the eyes of a loving God, there is never an excuse for one person to physically instigate violence toward another individual.


I don't believe this means we have to be best friends with our enemies. Nor does it mean we should let people physically assault us without defending ourselves. It does mean that we should treat everyone with respect and kindness, even those who hate us. 

We have laws in this country. If somebody commits a crime, they are subject to punishment according to our laws, not according to vigilante "justice." This also applies to imaginary crimes, such as the ever popular "hate speech" crime that many Christians are supposedly guilty of these days. There is never a time when a person is justified in persecuting another person, or physically/verbally assaulting someone just because of their words or beliefs; at least not according to God.

The bible says that when Jesus returns, He will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep are those who receive Christ as their redeemer. Having been forgiven, they likewise extend this forgiveness to others. The goats are those who embrace the hypocrisy found in this world. Though they themselves are imperfect and make mistakes, they refuse to show mercy to those around them who are also imperfect.

So then, what separates Christianity from the world? In a word, love...but not the love that is born of this world. It is the love of God; the kind that requires us to keep showing His love, even toward those who hate us. Indeed, it is only God's miraculous love that can truly overcome the hatred and hypocrisy, drowning this evil world in which we live.

(Scripture references: Matthew 25:31-33, Matthew 5:43-48)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Nearing The End

I believe the entire bible is the literal word of God. For me, this includes what it says about our future. We do not know what day Jesus will return, but He did tell us we could know when His arrival was near. What are some of these signs of His return? I would like to share some that exist today, that are happening right before our very eyes.

The bible speaks of a future where Christians are persecuted and murdered for their faith. While it's true this is happening today, it will one day reach epic proportions. In fact, the entire world will condone this behavior. Notice what the bible says about this subject:

"Then the dragon was enraged at the woman (Israel) and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus."
(Revelation 12:17) NIV

...

"It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.


Whoever has ears, let them hear.

'If anyone is to go into captivity,
into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed with the sword,
with the sword they will be killed.'


This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people." (Revelation 13:7-10) NIV

These passages speak of a future where a world dictator, commonly known as "anti-Christ", will have authority over the entire world. He will wage war on God's people and murder many innocent people. This beast, or anti-Christ, will especially target both Jews and Christians.

It seems hard to believe the whole world will condone mass genocide. But if we are paying attention, don't we see the seeds of this behavior being planted today? Jews are often scapegoated and falsely blamed for many problems in our world. Christians also are often unfairly attacked and persecuted for their beliefs.

These days, many Christians (or anybody else who does not subscribe to a progressive or politically correct ideology) are attacked simply for disagreeing with some aspects of our modern culture. Some even condone the use of violence as punishment for their beliefs. They accuse others of using "hate speech", which in their mind justifies the use of physical violence or persecution.

America was created on the foundation of free speech. It's citizens could speak their mind without the fear of retaliation by government or their neighbors. But there is a growing movement in our country which ignores these rights found in our Constitution. These people believe they are morally justified to silence those who they disagree with. In fact, their opponents are often demonized, which in turn leads to persecution and sometimes violence.

This would explain why there are many who often attack America and its history. Those who hate freedom cannot stand someone else having a right to speak their minds without being punished (unless of course they agree with what others are saying, in which case they are allowed to share their ideas). There are many groups who try and slander America in everyway possible. Little do they realize the very freedoms they enjoy will be lost if they get their wish, which is the elimination of the rights found in our Constitution.

I believe the devil is inspiring the hearts of many people to hate America and our liberty. He knows that before his anti-Christ can gain control of the world system, America as we know it must be eliminated. Will he one day succeed? The answer sadly is, yes.


The bible speaks of a world kingdom more fearsome than any before it, that will come to existence shortly before Jesus returns:

“He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.
 
“ ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’" (Daniel 7:23-27) NIV

The United Nations is a world leading organization that is very interested in uniting the earth under one government system. (I encourage you to do some research into this organization). Indeed, there are many powerful people in our world who consider themselves "globalists". A lot of money and political power is being used to push a world government ideology on the population. If these people get their way, we will one day (perhaps very soon) see the fruit of their labor, which is one world government.

To summarize, in order for the future described in the word of God to come into existence, we would need to see a world government come into power. Since a free America stands in the way of this, it would have to be drastically changed in order to graft it into this new system. Also, Christians (and Jews) will be demonized to such an extent that world wide genocide of its people would be justified by the masses. Do we see the evidence of these circumstances happening in our world today? Do we see the seeds of these ideologies being planted in the hearts of people everywhere in our society right now? The answer is, yes.

May the Lord give strength to those who one day will face the rapidly approaching avalanche of evil, descending upon our world today. Amen.








Monday, May 15, 2017

The Truth Can Be Found

I like to be honest about everything so let me be honest in this matter: The things found in the bible are foolish to our natural mind. There is no way to effectively dispute this fact. I'll take it a step further...in my opinion, a person would have to be crazy to accept what it says strictly upon face value.

While we are being honest, can we be honest about something else? In spite of all our scientific and technological advancements, there is still so much we do not understand. More importantly, in our own hearts there remain many important questions unanswered.

Regardless of what we believe, we are all in the same boat. Nobody was around when the universe was created. Sure, we can believe a scientist's explanation of creation based on their data and research. But do we really understand every single detail that went into their research? Probably not. If not, aren't we on some level simply trusting their explanation without knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt it is true?

The same goes for those who believe in God. Do we really know for sure He exists, or are we just trusting our parents, pastor or whoever else taught us about faith? If we do not know for sure what or why we believe, or if we are not absolutely sure that God exists, aren't we just trusting someone else's explanation?

So how do we know for sure if God exists? It may sound crazy, but why not ask God Himself? If He isn't real then you won't receive an answer. If He is real, surely He could find a way to prove it inside your heart. Makes sense, right?

Sadly, there can be major obstacles to this simple process. The biggest is this- If we are not willing to open our hearts to the possibility that God is real, He will never be able to come inside and prove His existence. Why? Because the God I know is a gentleman and respects the free will of all people. He will not force Himself upon anyone.

Why are we not willing to open our hearts to the idea He might exist? Some are not willing to change their lives according to God's plan. For others, the existence of a loving and righteous God would mean they are guilty of sin. If God is not real then a person will not have to address these difficult issues.

The truth is, many of us are afraid to deal with these issues inside our heart. Making matters worse, the world around us often serves as an enabler for our desire to hide from the truth. We mask our pain and hide by indulging in various pleasures in this world. Our actions are justified and normalized in our mind because we surround ourselves with people who do the same thing. In essence, we create a reality that serves our agenda, rather than facing truth and shaping our reality around that instead of lies.

Since I have done all of these things, I am qualified to speak about the solution I've found. Until I was ready to accept truth and responsibility for my own actions, I was unable to see truth around me. Indeed, we are all in some ways blinded by the spell that engulfs this evil world. The only way we can accurately see truth is to receive the Spirit of Truth. Unless we are willing to admit our blindness, the Light cannot come inside our heart and expose the lies around us.

People can argue about science versus God, politics, or anything else. I have no stomach for this because it is vain and useless. My motivation is not to sound smart or to be right about everything...I am motivated by my love for truth. Here is my testimony and question for you and the whole world: Truth is there for everyone to see, if we are willing to receive it no matter what form it takes. Why not just ask for it?