…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
Through the years since the life of Jesus Christ on this earth, the gospel, or good news of God, has changed and evolved into different guides and peramiters that we have put it in.
Simply believe on Jesus and His shed blood on the cross, and you’re saved. Nothing more. It’s nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all true, but A man’s professed faith may be nothing more than mental assent to a well-known fact. Such intellectual agreement involves no commitment of the person, and does not produce a transformed life. It is not enough to believe in the existence of God. True, this is essential, but it is not sufficient. Even the demons believe in the existence of God and they shudder at the thought of their eventual punishment by Him. (James 2:19)
The word believe carries with it much more than just an intellectual accent to this existence of God. I think our human nature is always willing to give just what I have to to get by and no more.
Look at all the failed marriages in America today. People that believed and vowed their alligence to one person, until death due they part, but when life starts to crash against us, and spill it’s waves inside our boats, we look for the first way out. Where is our love and commitment when these storms arise?
There was the rich young ruler who asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus told him to keep the commandments, and he replied that he wholeheartedly has kept all of them. He had kept the law, the rules and regulations that the law required, he had done just enough, but what was Jesus reply?
“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was extremely wealthy.” Luke 18:22-23
Jesus told him that he still lacked something, and that was a real commitment from the heart, and he couldn’t do that because his money was filling that empty spot in his heart. Jesus said get rid of that money and I will fill that empty place in your heart with Me.
Jesus knew what he was thinking and told him, ” don’t worry because you will have treasure in heaven.” Sadly the rich young ruler couldn’t make a real commitment. He turned and walked away.
I’ll bet that rich young ruler looked real good in church on Sunday. Probably was the head of a men’s bible study, maybe even an elder in his church, and even helped people out with his money, but where was his heart really?
There is the story of the lawyer in Luke 10:25-37, who asks the same question of Jesus and this time Jesus goes further with His answer with a story of His own, about the good Samaritan. It is more then just doing what you have to do to get by, if you aren’t willing to live it, then you haven’t made a real commitment.
Peter also made such a commitment to Jesus. After Jesus told them of His death and how they would all scatter and leave Him alone., Peter turned to Jesus and vowed that even if everyone else ran off, he would never leave, as a matter of fact, he would even give his life for Jesus.
Peter meant what he said and Jesus knew that, and Peter’s life proved it, but he had it all wrong, it was Jesus who would lay His life down for him. Peter’s heart was in the right place, but Jesus knew that he was still going to have to go through more training. Remember what Jesus told him;
Luke 22:31 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” Satan wanted to get at Peter because he was a leader and his heart was 100% sold out to Jesus.
Jesus never taught easy believism. Whether He was telling the rich young ruler to sell everything he had and follow Him or telling a crowd of people, who were only looking for the next miracle, that to do the work of God was to believe on Him, (John 6:28-29), He called for people to abandon their own agenda and trust Him radically. Radical trust calls for both believing and acting upon that belief.
Love is believing and committing, and always followed with action. Any other way is not real.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matt. 16:24-25
The world rests uneasy.
Just a few weeks ago, artillery shells from North Korea sailed across the Yellow Sea and struck a South Korean island, killing four and injuring 18. Shortly afterward, the U.S. announced it was holding joint military exercises with South Korea and dispatched an aircraft carrier to the volatile region.
Within days of that incident, hundreds of thousands of confidential cables from U.S. diplomatic sources were published, revealing the backstage drama and tension of seeking to maintain peace and security in an increasingly unstable world.
The cables highlighted the growing concern over the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran. Blunt remarks from several prominent leaders in the Middle East and Israel warned of the menace posed by a nuclear Iran, with one Arab leader referring to Iran’s president as “Hitler.”
This month, South Sudan will hold a referendum to decide whether to become an independent nation. If that happens, it will no longer be under the rule of the Muslim-dominated North. Many expect conflict to break out again, resuming the violence of two decades of civil war that killed more than 2 million civilians in the South.
None of this should surprise anyone who follows Christ and has a biblical worldview informed by the Scriptures. The Bible says that the heart of man is “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), and from that depraved heart flows unending greed, lust, and desire for power. Mankind is lost in sin, alienated from God, at enmity with Him and with each other.
Jesus told us that while wars and natural disasters have always characterized this present evil age, these symptoms will increase at an alarming rate as the Second Coming of the Messiah draws near (Matthew 24).
However, none but the Father in Heaven knows when that will occur. Until that time, we are to be busy proclaiming and sharing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
While the world relentlessly and unsuccessfully pursues political and economic solutions to our problems, followers of Christ are to be busy sowing the seeds of the Gospel found only through faith and repentance in Him. Lasting peace and security will only come when the King returns and sets up His Kingdom.
At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we will be busy proclaiming that Gospel of the Kingdom around the world in this new year, starting in Haiti this month, followed by Liberia, the Philippines, Lithuania, India, Canada and the United States.
As the world sinks into increasing depravity, violence and turmoil, nothing is more critical than growing our roots deep into a stable faith in Jesus Christ, and making Him known to those around us. And be encouraged that as the world grows darker, the light of the Gospel shines ever brighter.
“In this world you will have tribulation,” Jesus said, but we can be of good cheer, for He added, “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version.
As I look around at the state of the union, our country and the world, I’m not encouraged about the future. Many people feel the same way today. There are not a lot of happy smiling faces around anymore.
Watch the news, and all you see is story after story of the disintegration of our culture. Violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and corporate scandals fill the headlines everyday. Lawlessness and immorality are running rampant right in front of our eyes every where you look.
Want to see the direction we are headed, just take a look at the entertainment industry. That’s always a good meter to read if you want to see where we are going. Vulgarity, nudity, unwholesome innuendos, are what our movies, music, and television are consumed with. It’s almost a race to see who can out do the others for higher ratings. There is no public embarrassment or outrage as they continue to push the boundaries of normal decency further and further out. People have become numb as we spiral further and further down this deadly road.
We have a president and an administration, that’s more liberal then any other in our history. They were dealt a severe blow in the last elections, but the long road we are on is by no means any closer to the end. Many are wondering what new laws are coming that will harm our security, our freedoms, and the sanctity of life and marriage. Especially Christians, who have a growing concern of vocal government hostility, that my hamper the way we worship and our ability to teach and preach the truth of the scriptures publicly.
Mix all these things together and add the “Christian Church” that is trying so desperately to be like the world, and it isn’t hard to see the many unanswered questions that we face today.
One question I hear a lot is, “where is God in all that is happening today?” Is His plans for our country, and for His people, being defused or sidetracked somehow?
That’s a question everyone has had in his heart and mind, weather you want to admit it or not. It’s easy to wonder that, with all this wickedness and immoral conduct taking place all around us, where God is? We are all concerned about the future for our children, and grand children, and what’s it going to be like for them?
You will never find the answer, or any source of truth, in the media or the many talk shows that are on the air. The answer is from God in His Word.
First, God is on the throne. Not a single molecule escapes His notice or operates outside of His immediate control. Despite the way things are going, He remains unchanging, immovable, and supremely in control. This is not some wishful thinking, or some pious platitude – it’s an anchor of truth we can’t rehearse enough.
Quit standing on the premises and start standing on the promises. God’s promises for His people have not changed and they will never change.
Our relationship with Him is irrevocable. This is true for us and every generation of believers that follow us.
Finally, God’s Word is not silent about what He is doing among sinful nations. The Bible offers clear, detailed insight into how He actively accomplishes His sovereign will through the worst expressions of natural depravity. Despite all this, scripture leaves no question about who is in control and what the ultimate outcome will be. God is always moving and working everything toward His ends and to achieve His means.
This should give every child of God, amazing security and comfort in grasping this truth. I pray it does for you.
If you would like to become a child of God, and you’re not really sure what that is and how it happens, click the picture below. We’re all prying for you.
“The Love of God” is an old hymn sung by “Mercy Me” Enjoy and be blessed.
This is an old hymn, that you don’t hear very much anymore in church. I just had to print it out here for you. Read the verses and take in the message of the song. There is a little side note at the end, about the song, that I didn’t know.
As you read the lyrics, think about the extreme love that God lavishly pours out on you and me every moment of every day of our lives. This incredible love can never really be understood be the unregenerate heart and mind. We can only begin to come to the very fringe of understanding God’s great love for us, as He comes into our lives and starts to change us to be more like Him. It is this great love of God, that even starts to take this tremendous task of changing your heart and mine, as His gracious gift to you and me.
Verse 3 was penciled on the wall of a narrow room in an insame asylum by a man said to have been demented. The profound lines were discovered when they laid him in his coffin.
Here is a link to the song with the words right in front of your eyes to read along. Be blessed
We live in a world of deception and untruths. There was a time when a man was as good as his word. Two people would agree, shake hands, and it was as good as done. Today, we need attorneys, meetings, and clarifications on every single little point, so that we won’t get taken down the primrose path and get stuck holding an empty bag. People live today in very tight quarters, and we are so afraid to come out, we are so afraid of getting taken. This is the world we live in today.
It’s OK to lie, as long as you get what you want in the end. We cheat on our spouses, taxes; lie to our bosses and business partners. Banks lie and cheat their customers and governments make laws to legalize their thievery, so they can vacation in one of their four homes that they own. Congressman and the President’s cabinet members forget to pay their taxes and they get a slap on the wrist, while you and I go to jail.
The point I’m making, is that it is an accepted practice to lie and cheat, in our society today, were as your grandfather and great grandfather would be rolling in their graves, if they could see the world as it is now.
I have a friend that works in a bank and they have to go through extensive training to teach them how to spot a counterfeit bill. The biggest part of the training is to know all the marks and identifying traits of a real bill first. You see, when you know what the real one looks like, you won’t fall for the counterfeit.
The same truth applies to our walk with the Lord, Jesus Christ. Many people have met Jesus, but not a lot of people know who He is. These are the ones that will fall quickly to those that are false teachers of Christianity. Those that believe only parts of the bible, those that say Jesus was just another prophet. These are deceptions and deception is just another word for not telling the truth or lying.
Have you ever heard the story of how to boil a frog alive? You put him in a pot of water and every hour, you turn the temperature up one degree. The water will gradually get hotter and hotter, but the frog will never notice because it is such a slow increase. The frog will adapt to the heat at first, but by the time he realizes it’s getting really hot, it will be to late, and their will be frog legs for dinner that night.
So it is with the deception and untruths of false teachers of Christianity. They tweak a little bit here and there, and to those who don’t know the real thing, they will be lead down the wrong road. After all, “there are lots of people there, and many of my friends are going that way also”.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:11; “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.”
Can you tell when someone has erred from the truth of the scripture? Do you know what you believe? Can you give an answer to those who would argue with you, that the Bible is not the very Word of God? If you can’t, then perhaps you need to take another long look at your walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said in John 17:3; “And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Do you know Jesus Christ? You see, many people have met Him, but not many know Him. You will only know who He is by taking into your heart and mind the very living word of God, the bible.
John 1:1; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.
Genesis 1:3; “And God said, ”Let there be light; and there was light”.
I am known by the words that I speak. In my mind are the thoughts formed from the feelings and emotions that make me who I am, and those are expressed to you through the words that I speak to you. Right now, you are reading my words, and if you were standing right here in front of me, you would be hearing my words, but it is by my words that you know who I am. It is the same with God.
Hebrews 1:1-2; “God, who at many times and in many ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds...”
He looked down at this pile of muck and sin that we live in, He loved us and came here to die on the cross and save us from the penalty of our sin, but He also wanted us to know who He is. He wants a relationship with you and me. He wants to communicate Himself to you. He did that through Jesus Christ, the living Word, and through the Bible, the written Word of God. Jesus Christ has put God on display to the whole world.
John 1:18; “No one has seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”.
There is the true, and there is the false. Can you tell the difference? This battle between truth and lies has been going on since the dawn of time.
Go all the way back to the book of Genesis and you will find Satan questioning God’s Word to Eve. He was telling Eve, that you can’t believe what God says. He doesn’t have your best interests at heart. He’s not giving it to you straight.
Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
Listen to what Jesus says about the devil to the religious leaders back in those days. John 8:44; “You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.”
My friends, he is still doing that today. There has always been a war on the truth of God’s Word and who God is. Satan does not want you or me to know God. The longer he can keep you out of the truth, the better he has at taking you and me down.
1Peter 5:8; “Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Have you met Jesus Christ? Are you one of His children? Then get to know Him by taking the time, every day, to get into His word. Make a quiet time where you can read God’s Word and talk with Him. Tell Him what’s on your heart. Open yourself to Him. Discover what the true looks like, and you won’t fall for the false.
He’s waiting to hear from you.
Matthew 11:28-30; “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus Christ saved me and came into my life to change me forever, way back when I was about ten years old. My mother and father were catholic and they would always watch Billy Graham on TV. Well we would all have to watch it if they were watching it, but this one night was different. I felt like Billy Graham was talking directly to me. I never told anyone, but that night before I went to bed, I prayed and asked Jesus Christ to forgive me and and come into my life. He did and the journey began.
The story below is from Billy Graham;
Although thousands were present, he seemed to be speaking directly to me—even when I hid behind the large hat of the woman in front of me! I realize now that God’s Spirit was working in my heart, convicting me of my sins and convincing me of my need for Christ.
One night as he gave the invitation for people to commit their lives to Christ, I knew I had resisted long enough, and I finally went forward (although I held out until the final verse of the last hymn). A kindly man explained how I could invite Christ into my life, and at his suggestion I prayed a simple but sincere prayer of repentance.
When I got home, I went upstairs to my room, sensing something important had happened to me—although I wasn’t exactly sure what. I didn’t feel any strong emotion or dramatic change, but looking out over the moonlit fields of my father’s farm, I thought about the step I had just taken. Then for the first time in my life, I spontaneously got down on my knees and prayed: “Lord, I don’t know what happened to me tonight, but You know.”
Only gradually would I understand my commitment and what it meant. Decades later I am still learning, for the Christian life is one of constant growth.
What really happens to us when we believe in Christ? Let me list seven gifts God gives you when you commit your life to Christ.
A New Relationship
The first thing that happens when we give our lives to Christ is that God gives us a new relationship.
Once we were separated from God because of our sins—and not just separated, but alienated from Him. The Bible says we were “excluded. … without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
But Christ took away all our sins—not just part of them, but all of them! You are forgiven! The one thing that separated you from God—your sin—has now been removed, and therefore you are reconciled to Him. Instead of being God’s enemy, you are now His friend. The Bible says, “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). We aren’t only His friends, however. We are also His children.
The Bible uses two vivid images to illustrate this. First, it tells us we have been born again. A second image the Bible uses is adoption. If we have given our lives to Christ, God has adopted us into His family. He is now your loving heavenly Father, and you are now His child, spiritually born into His family.
A New Citizenship
The second thing God gives you when you commit your life to Christ is a new citizenship. You are still a citizen of a particular country—but now you are also a citizen of the Kingdom of God.
In Jesus’ day, one of the most coveted privileges a person could have was Roman citizenship. A Roman citizen paid fewer taxes, and if he went into the army, he automatically became an officer. A Roman citizen couldn’t be flogged or put to death by crucifixion (except in very rare cases, such as treason). If found guilty in a Roman court, he had the right to appeal directly to Caesar.
But Jesus said His followers possessed something far greater than Roman citizenship—and that was citizenship in the Kingdom of God. In His first recorded sermon, Jesus declared, “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). God’s Kingdom, He made clear, wasn’t an earthly political kingdom, but a heavenly spiritual kingdom—the realm over which God rules. The Bible says, “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).
As long as we are on this Earth, we possess dual citizenship. On one hand we owe allegiance to our nation and are called to be good citizens. But we are also citizens of the Kingdom of God, that invisible Kingdom of which Christ is the head. Our supreme loyalty is to Him, and if someone demands we do wrong, “we must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29). And someday, the Bible tells us, this world’s kingdoms will become “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
A New Family
God also gives us a new family. You aren’t just related to God; you are now related to other believers. Everyone who truly believes in Jesus Christ is now your spiritual brother or sister. We are bound together in God’s family, not by an organization but by a spiritual relationship. The Bible calls us “members of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:19). One of the most frequent terms for Christians in the Bible is “brothers,” underlining our family relationship.
In my travels, I have often met men and women who were very different from me. And yet after a few minutes it was almost as if we had known each other all our lives. Why? Because we both knew Christ. Our common spiritual bond cut through the barriers that separated us, and we enjoyed fellowship as members of God’s family.
A New Purpose
When we come to Christ, God gives us a new purpose. Now we want to live for Christ and not just ourselves. We begin to see other people differently—not for what they can do for us, but for what we can do for them. The Bible says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
When I came to Christ, I had little inkling of what I might do with my life, but I knew something was different. Before my conversion, for example, I tended to be touchy and irritable. Now I deliberately tried to be considerate and courteous. Some may not have noticed, but my parents did—and so did I. Little by little I was beginning to have a new purpose in life: a desire to live for Christ. I was learning that “those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
A New Power
One of the Bible’s most comforting truths is that when we come to Christ, God Himself comes to live within us by His Holy Spirit. We are not alone; God is with us!
The Bible says, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). If you know Christ, you don’t need to beg for the Holy Spirit to come into your life; He is already there—whether you “feel” His presence or not.
But why has God given us the Holy Spirit? One reason is to help us live the way we should. God has given us a new purpose—but without a new power we’ll never be able to achieve it. We are too weak!
But the Bible says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:26). Jesus promised, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8). We aren’t meant to live the Christian life in our own strength. God has provided His Spirit to help us.
A New Destiny
The word conversion means “change” —and the most radical change of all when we come to Christ is that God gives us a new destiny. Once we were headed for hell; now we are headed for Heaven. Once we were bound for eternal separation from God; now we will live with Him forever. Once we had no hope of eternal life; now we do. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Note carefully what this verse says: Eternal life is a gift. Many misunderstand this (even some Christians). They still think they must earn their salvation by their own good works.
But we can never be good enough to earn our way into Heaven, because God’s standard is perfection. Our only hope is Christ, who purchased our salvation at the cost of His own blood and now offers it to us as a free gift. The Bible says, “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3–4). What a gift!
A New Journey
God gives us one final gift: a new journey—a whole new path to follow until the day He takes us to Heaven.
In other words, your decision for Christ isn’t an end but a beginning—the beginning of a whole new life. We aren’t only called to become Christians; we are also called to be Christians. Don’t ever think that faith in Christ is just a type of “spiritual life insurance,” something we obtain and then put away until we need it to get into Heaven. The Christian life is a new journey—one that will take us the rest of our lives.
And the best part is this: We never walk it alone, for Christ walks with us.
When driving to, from, and through Frankenmuth, Michigan, I’m always intrigued with the many small simple crosses in the front yards of the homes we pass by.
Those crosses are a statement of support for Frankenmuth’s Christian foundation. Two years ago an atheist living there complained about two crosses on a bridge in town.
He requested that they be removed and the town removed them. He then decided that, since he was so successful with that, the city shield should also be changed since it had one it, along with other symbols, a heart with a cross inside signifying the city’s Lutheran beginnings At that point, the residents decided they had had enough. Hundreds of residents made their opinions known by placing small crosses in their front yards. Seeing this quiet but powerful statement from the community, the man removed his complaint. Those simple crosses remain in those front yards today.
After passing those crosses for two years, it finally hit me that a small cross in millions of front yards across our country could provide a powerful and inspiring message for all Americans passing them every day.
I think it might be time to take this idea across America. We have an administration that says “we are not a Christian nation” and everywhere you look the ACLU and others are trying to remove from our history and current lives any reference to God, prayer, or the fact that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Our administration can’t bring themselves to talk about “radical Muslims or Islamic terrorists” for fear of offending them, but they can talk about Americans “clinging to their guns and their religion”, or insinuate that our own military troops coming home from service overseas might turn into terrorists. The majority of Americans are Christians, why are we letting this happen to us?
It would be a beautiful thing to see crosses all across America.
God Bless America!
Bay City, MI
To read about the cross controversy in Frankenmuth: