salvation

The Love of God

How are we portraying the love of God?  This question should be asked of ourselves when confronting any hot-button issue.  It is so easy to get caught up in being right that we can lose sight of being right in the eyes of God.  There is a quote, and I use it often, that says “the truth, without love, is just brutality”.  I am not making a suggestion to sugar coat anything, but I am suggesting there are, at times, a better approach.

As a Christian we accept the inerrancy of the Bible as God’s Word.  We accept His Word is Faithful and True.  We accept that He is right in all matters, in all judgments, in all things.  When preaching to the choir, that boldness and righteous indignation toward sin is understood, to the sinner, it is indignation toward the person and often misunderstood.  Read almost any debate regarding the legalization of gay marriage here in the United States and you will see many examples.  Being right with God must exceed our need to be right to man.

We do, however, have a job to speak the gospel, be a witness, be a light, expose the darkness of sin, and speak the truth of God’s Word.  We must not be afraid of standing on His truth.  Let me ask, though:  Was it a hateful Christian that led you to Christ or was it someone that reached out in love, compassion, and understanding?   How are you responding now?  I have some bad news, this world will get worse and the love of many will wax cold.  Knowing this does not give us permission to let our love wax cold too.  When love waxes cold, the church must be a storehouse of love from which the world can find an example.  The church, and we as Christians, should have love in abundance and readily available.  We are not called to be like the world, but to be transformed from the world and worldly ways.

For those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, I often hear “…but God loves everyone”.  This is true, and thank God for that.  God even loves the sinners, we must never forget this fact.

Romans:5:8: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The love of God has never been in doubt, it isn’t even what separates a Christian from a sinner.  It is the acceptance of God’s love through Jesus that separates and saves.  For those who are yet in sin, God loves you.  This goes for the homosexual, the liar, the thief, the adulterer, and any other form of sinner.  You know the saying “love the sinner, hate the sin”.  Never doubt God’s love.  Yet, it is your acceptance of God’s love or rejection that will define your eternity.  God is love, and Jesus is His love toward mankind.  Jesus took upon Himself the sin of the world and won victory over all sin for those who will accept Him as Savior.

The choice must be clear.  As a Christian, we must show the world the love of God.  For the sinner, God’s love is Jesus, and if you haven’t accepted Him, you have not accepted the Love of God.  Turn from your sin, ask forgiveness seek His love, His Son.  That gift is available, but like any gift, it can be accepted or rejected.  Unlike other gifts, this one has eternal consequences.  Only love covers a multitude of sin, seek Him while He may be found.  Today is the day of salvation, call upon Jesus now and accept the Love of God, there is no promise of tomorrow.

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Where Did You Meet…

We all have a story of how we met our closest friend, our significant other, a distant relative, or maybe even a favorite pet. Do you remember the details? Can you still picture it as though it happened just yesterday?

Did you see them several times before you actually met? Did you hear someone else say their name? Or maybe you read their name on an office door, maybe even on a name tag or badge. Thinking back on that day, do you remember their clothing, their cologne or perfume? Did you meet them by chance or did you purposely start a conversation?

These are just a few of the details and questions that come to my own mind. Whether you remember the smallest details or not, you usually remember the place or setting in which you met. In an office, on the street, in the market, at work, or at church? These are common places to many meetings.

My question for you is this: Do you remember where in scripture you met Jesus? Do you remember the sermon, the message, the song, or the teaching? Where in His Word did you meet Him? Now, let us go back to the second paragraph and ask some very similar questions with Christ as the subject. Did you see Him in others a few times before you met Him yourself? Did you hear others speak His name? Did you read His name and wonder? Did you purposely meet Him? Maybe you just meant to get some information on Him and ended up meeting Him unexpectedly.

I met Jesus in the twenty fourth chapter of Matthew. I had heard about Him and learned about Him from the time I was a small child. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I met Him for myself. When I met Him in His word, He was at the Mount of Olives telling His disciples what would happen at the time of the end. He gave a detailed, passionate prophecy. It sounded so much like the world I live in. I then thought “how wonderful that Jesus was seeing a place and time where He would meet me, and probably many others, in His word”. Since then I have realized the place, time, setting, details, or circumstance did not hold as much value as the simple fact that we met and I accepted Him as my Savior.

It does not matter which sermon led you to the Savior, Jesus Christ, as long as you accept Him. The songs that were sang are now of little consequence, a minor detail in a major event. I am not trying to downplay sermons or songs or words or prayers, they all play a very important, vital part. Yet, nothing compares to the moment of salvation, the perfect work of Christ being made manifest in the life of a believer. It is of little importance where each of us met Jesus, me in the book of Matthew, another in the book of John, one in the book of second Peter, and another in the book of the Revelation, as long as we met Him and accepted Him as Savior. The one common ground we have is this, we all meet Him at the cross.

Ga:2:20: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

There was a time, as a sinner, we drove those spikes into His flesh. The sin of man put Christ on the cross. His work defeated sin once and for all, for everyone that will accept Him as Savior. Once you come to the cross by His blood, our old man is crucified to the cross with Him. No longer are we guilty, for it is not we who live from the moment we are saved, it is He that lives within us! There at the cross, it was He who loved me, it was He that loved you. He gave himself for us. If you have not yet met Jesus, He can be found anytime, anyplace. You can arrange that meeting at once, just simply reach out to Him in prayer, in faith believing, confess your sin and ask Him into your heart, accept His atoning blood to cover your sin, and you too can have a time and place, where you met the Savior. Glory to His name!

Down at the cross where my Savior died,
Down where for cleansing from sin I cried,
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!

Glory to His Name,
Glory to His Name:
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!

Mortality and Time

As a child it seemed the days passed so slowly, especially during school. The days of summer would come and erase the memories of tests, studying, and what appeared to be endless assignments. Those warm nights, though, would again give way to cooler weather and a return to school. Upon finishing formal education, those days gave way to employment. Time passes, swiftly. The older I become, the quicker the days seem to pass.

Looking back, the days spent in school don’t seem so far away. As a child it appeared that time was an abundant, inexhaustible source. Now, time is priceless and something that must be managed wisely. Seeing the sands slipping through the hourglass of life you begin to realize that no one knows how much sand their hourglass starts with nor how much remains. With age comes the realization and reality of our mortality.

This life, no matter how long we have, is short. Whether forty years, sixty years, eighty years or more, it passes quickly. Life consists of doing, working, going, and countless other things. We get busy, we become occupied, and time passes. Much of it passes and we are blissfully unaware.

Job:14:1: Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

In the process of living it is normal to ponder life, God, religion, eternity. I suspect that many, if not all, have pursued the answer to these subjects. I spend every day offering my life, my being, as a witness for Jesus and the Bible. Some days I succeed, other days are not quite as successful. With the time I have been given, I made a decision to accept Jesus as my Savior. Far too many days slipped by, too many times I said “maybe tomorrow”.

James:4:14: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

There is no guarantee of tomorrow. Today is the day of salvation. Once you die, your works here are finished. There is no second chance to come back and make anything right. This life is all we are given, whether your days are few or many, our days are numbered. A decision must be made with the time you are given. No excuse will be accepted. Lies will be transparent. There will be no reason “good enough” for refusing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah:55:6: Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

This day is an opportunity, a moment in time where you too can accept the gift of eternal life. It is a gift. It cannot be bought, it cannot be traded for, it cannot be sold. The giver of eternal life is God, and it is given to all who will confess their sin to God and accept His Son, Jesus as their Savior. If you do not have a relationship with Jesus, let me encourage you to accept Him today, for your tomorrow may not come. Accepting salvation is a simple act, simply pray the following prayer (or something close to it), believe in your heart, and accept the grace of God through Jesus Christ:

Heavenly Father, I have sinned, I have lived a life of sin, I have done wrong and confess my sin to You. God, my sin is against you and I am sorry. Please forgive me. Jesus I ask you now to come into my heart, cleanse me and make me worthy of You. I accept You, Jesus, as my Savior and I thank You for the salvation You have given me now and the gift of eternal life.

If you prayed that prayer I would love to hear from you. I thank God for you, and all that read and share these messages. I continue to pray for you all and simply ask that you do the same for me. May God continue to bless you and all that you do!

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prophetic.steps@yahoo.com
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Handwriting on the Wall

Have you noticed we live in a world where slogans are everywhere and used to remind us of something? For instance, slogans are one of the most used, most efficient, most reliable ways of advertising. Some examples would be “Just Do It” (Nike), “Made from the best stuff on Earth” (Snapple), “They’re Grrrrrreeaattt” (Frosted Flakes), and “Have it your way” (Burger King). Some of these are a bit old, and probably outdated by now, but you get the idea.

Phrases have a way expressing a big idea using few words. We often hear familiar phrases used in a variety of contexts. Lately, I have heard a phrase used several times, meaning that a person “should have seen it coming”, but the phrase used is: “They should have seen the handwriting on the wall”.

For me this always brings to my mind the fifth chapter of Daniel. This is quite possibly one of my favorite events to read, re-read, and study. It is also a realization, shouldn’t we “see it coming”, should we not be able to discern some of those things which are about to happen? Of course I’m not referring to fortune-telling, nor am I specifically referring to the gift of prophecy. When we are given numerous examples throughout the Bible, when we are given specific actions and reactions, shouldn’t we be able to know what is going to happen? Sure, the consequences of repeated actions may not be immediate, but they are imminent.

In the fifth chapter of Daniel we find that Belshazzar was giving a great feast, a party, and gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels, which had been used in the Jewish Temple. Once those vessels were brought out and used, something happened:

Daniel:5:5: In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
Daniel:5:6: Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

The hand and writing caused the king such horror that his bowels were loosed and his knees buckled and began to shake. I suppose the phrase “caught red-handed” could apply here. There is a very important lesson to be learned, you should not mis-use nor tarnish the instruments set apart for the service of God!

1st Chronicles:16:21: He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes,
1st Chronicles:16:22: Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

Those instruments were created, finely crafted, and sanctified for use in serving God. The equivalent today are those who are saved and serving Jesus. We have been cleansed by His blood, we are set apart from this world, and serving our Lord. We are those instruments, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, serving a risen, living Savior, seeking to accomplish His will in our lives, giving our testimony, letting our lives be a witness, moving in faith, praying always, loving in truth and in deed, all that the glory be His. We offer our bodies a living sacrifice.

Just as Belshazzar was living it up in the world (eating, drinking, and being merry), he misused the instruments dedicated to God. Today, this world is misusing and mistreating the instruments dedicated to God. Belshazzar did not see the writing on the wall and his reign ended that very night. There is coming a point in time where someone in this world will say “we should have seen the handwriting on the wall”, and just as it was then, it will be too late. Be of good cheer, we will suffer things in this world, we will be hated in this world, but I have good news, Jesus overcame this world and by Him, we shall too! To Jesus be the glory forever, amen.

The Blood

Since the fall of man in the garden there has been a need for sacrifice. There has been a need for redemption. There has been the need for shed blood. It is by blood an atonement is made.

In the garden of Eden, according to the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve sinned. Shortly after their sin they found themselves to be naked and wanted to hide from God. It is fair to say at that point they understood guilt and shame. One small distinction between then and now is that today, even in the midst of guilt, there appears to be no shame. I really have to wonder if that is due to neglecting the knowledge of an omniscient, almighty, eternal God, to which every knee shall bow. Is the unbelief, the self-denial, really that bad throughout the world?

Before we get too far down the wrong path let me get back on point. Sin was introduced into the world. Because sin was introduced into the world, which is separation from God, there needed to be a way of reconciliation. God, therefore, presented to them animal skins. This indicates animals died, blood was applied, and a sacrifice was made.

Genesis:3:21: Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

There, at the very beginning of time, a way to overcome sin had been established. A way of reconciliation had been supplied to mend mans broken relationship with God. Man did not supply, man did not find the solution, man did not rectify the situation. God presented the answer. God had provided the blood necessary to cover that sin.

As we approach the Easter holiday, we think about family gatherings, Easter egg hunts, and for some, the annual trek to the nearest church. We ponder the cross, the death, the resurrection. This Easter, let me encourage you to also consider the blood.

1st John:1:7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Hebrews:9:22: And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Hebrews:10:10: By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews:10:11: And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
Hebrews:10:12: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

We still have a need today for that precious blood that was poured out for us about two thousand years ago. There is no other blood that can cleanse our sin. There is no other blood, no other sacrifice that can mend a broken relationship with God, only the blood of Jesus Christ. What can make our sin, though it be as scarlet, white as snow? Nothing but the blood. God is still providing the sacrifice if you will accept.

Jesus still sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for you and for me. Why? It is because that blood, that sacrifice is still as much at work now as it was then. That blood is still cleansing all who call upon the Savior. That blood is still being applied every time someone confesses their sin, every time someone repents of sin, every time a person accepts Jesus as their Savior.

This Easter many sermons will be preached, many lessons will be taught. Take the time to give thanks to God, not only for the sacrifice, not only for the resurrection, but also the blood. It is His atoning blood that cleanses away all unrighteousness. If you have not yet taken the time, now is a great opportunity to call upon Jesus and ask Him to apply that precious blood to you and your life, to accept His work, and praise Him for that saving grace, that beautiful sacrifice, and the privilege to become a child of God.

A moment

Things happen, often quickly. The term “moment” comes to mind in defining the instant things come to pass. For example, the moment my son was born I became a father. While it is true that pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, there comes that span of time which changes everything.

Our lives change in moments, yet, the moments move by swiftly and never return. Moments become memories, a small amount of time that stands out. A moment is a snapshot, a picture, a detail, a happening, a culmination. It’s easy to think of moments as being precious, tender, and innocent. For example, graduations, marriages, births, and achievements turn into moments.

Just as there are good moments, there are also bad moments. Vehicles wreck, causing various tragedies, in a moment. Heart attacks happen in a moment. Lives are saved and lost in a moment. On September 11th, 2001, our country was changed in a moment. The gravity of this small span of time we know as a moment should not be taken lightly. Our lives are made up of moments, we are remembered in moments, and ultimately all the time we are given, is but a moment.

As we go forward in our lives, there are moments yet to come. There is one specific moment I live in hope of:

1st Corinthians:15:51: Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1st Corinthians:15:52: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

I hope to not sleep, but to be changed, in that moment, that twinkling of an eye. Every day I have, I live expecting, hoping, longing, looking for that moment. For those who are ready, whether they sleep (euphemism for being dead) or live, this moment is one of promise, glory, expectation, and eternal joy.

For those who are not ready, this is the moment, an exact and coming point in time, where everything (and I do mean everything) will change. Families will be torn apart. Worldliness and wickedness will dramatically increase. Hope will be hard to find. Uncertainty will remain and all that was, will never be again.

Just as we live, there is a coming moment, where we will either be changed or we will die. Can you imagine standing before Almighty God, the Righteous Judge, and being shown every moment, every opportunity you were given to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and refusing? Seeing those moments in your life when you could have said “yes” to the Master, but believing you had time? Deciding, you were too embarrassed, you were too prideful, you just “weren’t ready” or you’re “too busy” living your life? Thinking, you didn’t want to change your life, you were afraid what someone else would think, you may lose out on something you wanted or had?

We don’t know when our last moment will be, nor what our last moments hold for us. We have no promise of time. Things happen, often quickly. Take a moment, this moment, and call upon God, ask Jesus to forgive your sins, come into your heart so that He can present you faultless to God the Father. It only takes a moment, and it will be, in eternity, a priceless moment, the greatest moment of your life. The moment of salvation.

Scattered thoughts

This article marks the one year anniversary of my blog. I thought I would try something different to celebrate, through my writing. I like short, pointed, and articulate articles and make attempts to direct my writing toward that style. Today, however, I am going to depart from that and do something a bit different. Through the weeks many ideas for a writing come to mind, are jotted down as notes, then are rarely seen. Most give way to more thorough, comprehensive, structured teachings, illustrations, or encouragement. Today, I offer a peek into my thoughts and ideas from the past few weeks. These are a small collection of ideas, verses, and thoughts. Enjoy!

I had been considering writing an article on “liberal” Christianity. It is hard to imagine such a concept really exists, it appears to be an oxymoron. Can Christians really have liberal beliefs? Are there Christians who believe abortion, same sex marriage, adultery, or baring false witness is okay? Do certain circumstances make these things acceptable? What is the root cause, the foundational belief to allow any of these things to become tolerable? One concern is that true, doctrinal teaching has become too “old fashioned” or “too boring” for the majority of congregations. Is it because people no longer desire to submit themselves to the whole Word of God? Is this part of the apostasy? Many questions, few answers, but very deserving of a good study. Liberal defined as “abundant” and “broad”, reminds me of the narrow way to eternal life, broad is the way to destruction. Verse references would be:

Colossians:2:8: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
2nd Thessalonians:2:15: Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

A second thought or idea I had been considering began with a title, “The Perception Problem”. The idea began flowing something like this: The church has a perception problem, the way we are perceived and the way we perceive. Perception is defined as “apprehending by means of the senses or mind, it is also defined as “understanding”. The church, in general, perceives worldly ideas and teachings through the lens of the bible, which is the way it should be. The world attempts to perceive God’s truth through a carnal mind, which is not possible. The best description for both sides is “on the outside looking in”. Scripture references are:

John:8:23: And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
John:18:36: Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

The last few ideas are still in their infant stages and are not quite thought out, but here they are:

If Christ is the author and finisher of your faith, be of good cheer, your story ends “happily ever after”.

Waiting upon the Lord is not easy, patience is a virtue, and if He called you to do something, that time and place is on the way and ready, you are still being prepared. In due time He will lift you up, never forget to give Him the praise, it is His will, His strength, His sovereignty, not your patience that puts you there.

Do you love God? The answer should be yes, easily. Is that answer just lip service? Are you keeping His commandments? According to what Jesus said, if you love Him, you will keep His commandments. Yes, He fulfilled the law, but you cannot live to the flesh and reap a spiritual reward.

Sin must be punished. Why would a loving God send people to hell? Because He is a righteous God and has always punished sin. This is why Christ was beaten, mocked, and crucified. If you accept Christ as Savior, your sin has been punished in Him. Your life is hid in Him, and because He was spotless, because He rose again, you too will be made alive by Him. This is why Jesus is deserving of all praise, today and every day. “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun”.

These are a few of the things I had been considering, yet nothing really stood out. So, instead of giving one line of thought, I wanted to share a few of the things I have been considering. I rarely share partial thoughts or writings because so many things need to be corrected and some things can be taken out of context, yet tonight I throw caution to the wind and let these thoughts scatter. I hope you, the reader, have enjoyed reading these articles as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I am looking forward to another year of writing and watching as the number of readers grow, which is only possible by all of you who choose to share this blog with someone else. Thank you so much for your support, your prayers, and your kind words. Thank you Jesus, for the knowledge, the wisdom, and the understanding which has allowed me to serve You, and because You have given me a desire to serve, I pray the glory be to You, Jesus, my Love, my Friend, my Savior, my Lord, and my God.