Sunday, October 25, 2015

Undeniable Faith  
The great fall of Adam and Eve set in motion God’s plan for faith as the way to regain His grace. When they disobeyed God’s command, everything changed. They became ashamed and hid from God. Guilt entered the picture and fear overtook their conscience.

When sin entered Adam and Eve’s heart, those same effects are still felt today. We can’t ignore or escape this truth, and it’s through faith we discover God’s gift of salvation. (Ephesians 2:8)

Adam and Eve came face to face with God’s displeasure. We too are in the same predicament. Our sin is the same. In God’s eyes, we are born into sin (Romans 5:12-14)

But the Lord’s love for humanity is remarkable and through the bloodshed of His Son we find our way out. Faith in Christ is our responsibility and unlocks the wisdom to stay on the narrow way. (Matthew 7:13-14)
God established faith as an act of exerting our wills over to His merciful grace. He wants us to want Him above everything and waits for our walk in faith to do the talking. Through humility, we become open, receptive and conscious of His presence. Seeking Christ in everything we do, say or think is humbling ourselves before God. Christ lives in God’s will and to know Him is living in the Spirit of truth.    

In the Old Testament, the Lord used prophets as guides in identifying real faith. The Israelites struggled with the faith required to stay in His favor. They didn't understand the essence of this precious and eternal act of glorification. Their lack of faith caused them immense suffering.

What faith is favorable to God? 

A faith centered in trust and exemplifying His holiness. It’s a faith showing the world the inner strength He provides in turning away from sin. A strong endurance to stay spiritual in the midst of deception, wickedness, and the hurt caused by other sinners. And Christ holds the key to a faith acceptable to God. No other faith can grab the Lord’s attention than the one placed in Jesus. (John 14:6)

Faith is the fundamental principle connecting us with God’s kingdom. An active faith is abiding by God’s command, regardless of personal sacrifice. One of the finest examples of faith in action is Abraham. He was a faithful servant of God. His wife Sarah (unable to bear children) received a miracle from the Lord and gave birth to Isaac. Then one day God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. (Genesis 20:18; 21:1-7)

Abraham’s love for God was stronger than the one he had for his son. He didn’t bargain, plead or ask the Lord to change His command. God took notice of his unshakable faith and spared his son’s sacrifice. The outcome resulted in God blessing Abraham’s offspring with a spiritual strength stronger than their enemies (Genesis 22:1-19).

Abraham understood the penalty of disobedience and put aside his personal feelings. He did as God asked. His faith is incredible and an excellent model for us to learn the quality of an unwavering trust in God.

Another great biblical illustration of faith is when Christ converted the Samaritan woman. In her conversation with Christ, the reality of her sinful ways couldn’t be denied. The truth, Christ spoke to her changed the way she believed. As the result of Christ’s intervention, she was reborn. (John 4:1-26) 

Apostle John’s account of the Samaritan woman’s talk with Christ didn’t stop with her miracle. It showed another way of faith. When she returned home and proclaimed Christ, many believed in Him from her spoken truth. Then when Jesus stayed in their town, many more believed in Him. (John 4:39-42).

When we proclaim Christ as the savior of the world, then God sees our faithfulness. Here we are losing ourselves in Christ and finding our spiritual lives. We are living in His Spirit and have gained the freedom from sin. Our faith is on solid ground, and we are no longer afraid of physical deaths. And our hope is secured for we understand God’s eternal promise.

How do we know our faith is real?

The Holy Spirit is the answer. God releases His Spirit in the soul of those who believe in Christ. We become embraced with His love and are awakened to His holiness. God leaves no doubt who He is and the Holy Spirit is the proof of God.

Real faith motivates us to be more Christ-like, and we become disgusted with sin. Our whole outlook on life changes and we see the world in a Christian way. We rely more on Christ and less on ourselves. Trials and tribulations become spiritual opportunities where we enjoy the challenge they bring in strengthening our walk in Christ.

True faith is developing a passion for Christ and striving to live holy. It has no room for complacency.  Faithfulness is understanding the room for improvement and accepting the weakness of the flesh. It’s easy to become complacent and stop growing.

A living faith is based on repentance, forgiveness and love. It’s centered in serious devotion, bible study and selfless serving. Confession of sin becomes an integral part of a faithful follower. Self-control becomes automatic and when the flesh fails the believer’s trust in Christ prevails. Take those actions and experience Christ's impact.

In my journey with God the results from living His word have been astonishing. One incident involved falling victim to a financial scam. When I first approached by the scammer my response was silence.

Then one day while attending church, God commanded me to take action. The Lord called on me to offer my services. A lady who claimed to be dying from cancer needed my help. She wanted some help in donating funds to orphanages. 

I relied on Christ every step of the way for His guidance. My consultation was with God making sure I was in His will. I ended up sending over a thousand dollars. When the scam was exposed my reaction wasn’t full of revenge, but centered in Christian morals.

It was disappointing, but I understood the value of acting on God’s commands. I was grateful to give the money and Christ supplied me with a plan of action to restore my finances. My forgiveness for them was from the heart and I asked God to fulfill His will in their lives before doing something for me. I grew closer to Christ and enjoyed the way God used me.

Faith goes beyond belief. Each of us has found incredible strength as the result of trusting God’s infinite plan. Every time we are in distress and turn to Christ those troubles melt away. Faith in action is our greatest defense against God’s enemy. Our victory over sin is the direct result of Christ’s sacrifice and faith is essential in knowing the significance of the cross.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Eternal Awakening

Every man, woman, and child will experience the eternal awakening. It’s not up for debate. God will judge everyone. The question is where will your eternal destination take place heaven or damnation?

Contained within the Bible is God’s truth, warnings and realities of our lives beyond the flesh. Everything we need to know about our spiritual resting place is in God’s book. The Bible is the blueprint of God’s master plan. Here is where you will find the correct and direct path to God’s kingdom. 

God’s mighty wrath is tough to grasp. The Lord’s love is unconditional, but His judgment is swift, just and righteous. We are commanded to fear God.

Why should we fear God?

The answer is in the way God dealt with our ancient ancestors.

God closed the Garden of Eden’s gate from Adam and Eve for disobeying His command. (Genesis 3: 23-24). And in Noah’s generation He wiped out the population for wickedness (Genesis 7: 1-24).

These two truths are prime examples of the way God hands out His penalty for disobedience. They are severe and should be feared. Remember Christ told us to fear the One who can kill both the body and soul (Matthew 10:28).

The fear of God isn’t meant to make us afraid of Him.

“Wait a minute, I thought fear is a natural instinct to stay away from an injurious experience.”

That is a human definition.  But, God isn’t a man. He is the creator, alpha, omega and the beginning and end.
Christ is where we find God’s wisdom and understand good from evil (Genesis 3:22). This provides us proof to draw closer to God and fear the results from disobedience. So, fearing God isn’t fleeing from Him, but knowing the outcome of our defiance has fatal consequences.

Humanity’s eternal destination isn’t a theory. Theories have no weight or depth and disproved. They are not reliable and are changed to meet the needs of the collective agreements among those involved. Science can’t explain the mysteries of God.

God never changes, is always faithful and lives inside our spirits. The bloodshed of Christ’s, His Resurrection and Ascension into heaven is real. God makes His presence, indisputable, undeniable and everlasting. 

The Holy Spirit, a remarkable union between God and us, is the entry into heaven. Nothing in the world can offer matches God’s incredible presence. The overwhelming love, serenity and spiritual energy God releases is a profound awareness of His sovereignty.

Faith is crucial in our Christian walk. Without it, we can’t become God-conscious. But the Bible warns us about the improper use of its purpose. Apostle James preached on dead faith. He emphasized faith in action by being doers of the word. (James 1:21-27; 2:14-26)

Quoting scripture is not enough. Knowledge of Christ is a good start, but it won’t be enough for finding the wisdom to live with Him. The way to be a doer is to exert our efforts in applying the commands of God’s word. We have to react to life’s terms in a holy way so others can witness Christ’s way of dealing with a hostile world.

An excellent example of a living faith comes from the Apostle Peter (2 Peter 1:5-11). Here Disciple Peter listed seven Christian principles to stay active in faith and grow in our walk with Christ. They are Christ’s commands and lead to unshakable faith. Besides their fruits, they help keep us renewed in God’s spirit.

John the Baptist pointed out the urgency of repenting (Matthew 3:2). And repentance allows Christ to cleanse our souls. Here John shows repentance as a crucial action in entering God’s house.

Repentance goes beyond words. It begins with confession and ends in making amends to God for the sin we commit. Even though God has forgiven us through Christ, it doesn’t mean we have a free ride. The Lord is watching the Christian action we take in turning away from sin.

Real repentance is a change in sinful behavior. Once we admit to God the evilness we did in front of Him, then we have to make corrections. The key to changing our sinful nature is self-discipline, perseverance and reliance on Christ’s strength for the courage to live holy. If we don’t repent, then, we can’t expect to receive God’s mercy.

I struggle in my walk with Christ. Sometimes I leave Christ out and make unwise decisions. This is the subtle way pride works in my life and feeds other sinful desires. Here is where the evil one is working hard to take root and keep me away from God. The way out of this wicked cycle is seeking Christ daily. 

My reactions to sin, glorifying God and abiding in Christ are proportionate to my final resting place. The Holy Spirit allows me to know the right steps to take in staying in God’s favor.  Whether I’m active or complacent in faith, my fate is in God’s judgment.

The Bible has many other scriptures explaining the right way of following God’s will. Christ is our intercessor. We will have to stand before God and let Him decide our destiny. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Great Divider 

The Old Testimony is full of scripture showing God’s plan for bringing great division in the world. In those days, every Prophet and miracle God used wasn’t enough for them to stay firm on His word. The Lord needed another way for His truth to stand out and prepared the world for Christ. God made Christ the sole heir to His Kingdom.  

Jesus is the ultimate Authority on God’s law.

Christ, the great divider unites us with our inheritance to God. When Christ lived on earth, people had problems grasping His sovereignty. They expected the Messiah to crush the Roman’s rule and lead them to another promised land. Their focus was on how God delivered His mercy in the past, and it blinded them from the Lamb of God.

Christ made it obvious He wasn’t the peacemaker. One reason for Christ’s division is in Matthew’s gospel. Jesus said this: “Do not think that I came to earth to bring peace on earth, I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” (Matthew 10: 34)

The sword Jesus brought is God’s justice for disobeying His commands. God gave Christ the power to put right His people and shine light on His word. Christ’s wisdom stunned those believers and made them uncomfortable. Jesus came to separate the truth from the false. 

Here is where God established one of His holy reason for being in the flesh. Jesus identified the family as a place of separation and used love as its reason. (Matthew 10: 35-37).

Christ pointed out the love of Him is greater than one’s love for any family member. To love others more than Jesus is a sign of unworthiness. Real self-esteem results from one’s love for Christ. God values our lives, and His greatest manifestation of our worth comes from loving Christ. The Christian reality of loving Christ first is our affection for family glorifies God.

Remember, we are God's creations and are given His trust in helping Him to create. Wow, God allows us to be partners with Him! Now if this truth isn’t enough to convince me to love God above everything, then I need to reevaluate my conviction?  My eternal destination rests upon my love for Christ.

Jesus disclosed the enemy has no boundaries and exists in the family. Satan uses abortion, contraception, same-sex marriages and artificial stimulation as the means to destroy the family. The destruction they bring is undeniable and aimed at abolishing our genetic connection to God. Satan is cunning and knows God cherishes the family, so he attacks its moral fiber.

Christ’s next two commands (Matthew 10: 38-39) are action steps. First, Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him. Then He tells us to lose our life for His sake. Again the Messiah places our worth on abandoning ourselves over to Him or faces eternal consequences.  

Seeking Christ takes daily action, and our experiences with hidden obstacles are proof of this truth. God gives us a daily reprieve and waits for us to turn to His guidance and protection. Without trusting Christ, we are weakened and make it easy for God’s enemy to permeate our spirits. Our eternal lives are at stake, and imperative to have God’s grace in our lives.

Humility is a prime example of losing ourselves in Christ. A humble life is a selfless existence and the key to unlocking the essence of God’s favor. Pride flees from spiritual submission for it can’t stand Christ. Humility opens a channel so God can fill our hearts with His Spirit.      

Another place Christ brought great division was amongst the spiritual leaders. The Messiah was candid with them and never stopped correcting their self-righteous ways. God exposed their prideful deeds. They couldn’t digest this unpalatable reality and plotted Christ’s death.

Christ used brutal honesty to put God’s truth in the face of the scribes and Pharisees. The entire 23Rd Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel is directed at their wrongful interpretation of God’s Law. They used their understanding instead of living in the purity of God’s word. Jesus exposed them as unbelievers and divided them from the divine doctrine. Their reaction to Christ’s truth resulted in killing Him.

Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites. Christ, backed up this claim by naming a list of their prideful sins. They balked at His accusations and couldn’t accept being challenged by a man. Here God was in front of them, but they didn't notice Him. They tried to test Christ by asking Him tricky questions about the law, but Jesus showed them God’s way and crushed their false faith.

The separation Christ has brought to my life is remarkable. Part of my past involved agnostic beliefs, sexual immorality, alcoholism and self-seeking attitudes. This lifestyle was unmanageable, unreliable and unholy. I caused emotional, mental, spiritual and sometimes physical harm to those in my path. My conscience was nonexistent and my spirit was dead. I wanted to die!

Then one day I heard God’s call. That day was the end of my unsaved life and the start of a Spirit filled life centered in Christ. I am grateful to share this with you today. The power of Christ is extraordinary. Glory to God!

My Christian awakening continues to evolve and my spirit is renewed daily. One truth, Christ has shown me is knowing part of my family is lost. I don’t know God’s plan for them, but their beliefs are not right. My prayers to God is for Him to do His will in their lives before doing something for me. I place their souls in Christ’s hands.

We have discussed a few ways Christ separates good from evil. The Gospels are full of Christ’s wisdom of right and wrong. It’s our responsibility to understand, believe and honor those truths.  

Christ division is simple. It happened the day He shed His blood and took on the sins of the world. Jesus defeated Satan and opened God’s door. God is available to anyone who loses their life in Christ.

What effect has Christ’s division made on your life?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Our Holy Purpose

What is our holy purpose? Obedience? An active faith? Spreading the Gospel?

Those are a few of God’s attributes and essential to our Christian existence. Without them, we stop growing in Christ's image. They are the byproducts of God’s divine plan. But they are secondary to the Lord’s most precious desire-glorification

Our primary purpose is to glorify God through walking in the footprints of Christ.

This is our top priority and the focus of eternal life. God delivered Christ to the world and completed His eternal plan. The Lord made Christ the entrance to His kingdom.

Our eternal destination rests upon building an unshakable trust in Christ. This means seeking the Messiah with our minds, bodies, and souls. Lukewarm faith avail us nothing, but abiding in Christ glorifies God, and we become sanctified.

It’s impossible to worship God without the cleansing Christ brings to our sinful lives. Jesus is the bread of life. We cannot afford to miss the mark for God is watching the way we seek Christ as our savior.              
We must glorify Him or face eternal damnation. This may sound harsh, but God rejects those who mistreat Him. The Bible is full of God’s justice to those who don’t give Him glory.

In the Old Testament and during Noah’s generation the power of God’s glory is displayed. It took the Lord’s wrath to rectify the wickedness of that era. Evilness had reached an epidemic where God had to take drastic action. Here, God showed Noah His mighty justice.

The Lord took away the life of every human except Noah’s. In those times, Noah’s faith glorified God, and the Lord used Him to repopulate the earth.

It’s hard to imagine God did such a thing. He did, and the Book of Genesis recorded the great flood. The Lord made sure that future humans understood the penalty for not giving Him glory. God makes glorifying Him imperative to our salvation.  

Another excellent biblical account backing up God’s displeasure is when the Lord called on Moses. The Lord gave Pharaoh several chances to show Him glories by releasing His people. God took away the life of Pharaoh’s son before he unwilling succumbed to God’s glory. Either by choice or consequence, God’s always gets His glory.

The greatest example of God’s glory is in the New Testament. It came in His New Covenant through His resurrected Son Jesus Christ. Here, God rose Christ from the dead and showed His glory to the real believers.

Most of those people witnessing Christ painful death didn’t realize God’s display of Glory. They watched Christ shedding His blood waiting for a sign, but didn't understand the real meaning of His sacrifice. Even Christ’s faithful followers had trouble grasping it, but when Christ rose from the dead, they saw God’s glory was at hand.

The moment Christ spoke and showed Himself to Mary Magdalene God’s glory is fulfilled. She knew it was Jesus and rejoiced in His name. And from this point forward Christ became the way to glorify God.

I try my best to worship God daily. To live my life in Christ’s sovereignty is a challenge. Every day I try to steal God’s glory and my spirit suffers. It happens in subtle ways, and the villain is pride. During the day Christ steps in and reminds me of this and gives me a chance to humble myself.

I’m grateful to have the opportunities Christ presents in correcting my wrong behavior. The “Spirit of truth” makes my suffering well worth the pain, for I know it’s for my good. And I shed a tear when I absorb what the Lamb of God did the day He died. I have a long way to go on staying in God’s spirit, but His promise of heaven motivates me to continue seeking. 

A life centered in Christ radiates to the world the essence of God’s glorious attributes. In our private relationship with God, we are given an unconditional abundance of love, forgiveness and selflessness. Then, as the result of abiding in Christ the courage to take those same holy principles to believers and unbelievers glorifies God in our righteousness.

The list of ways to glorify God is limitless. Christ holds the keys and will unlock those ways to the faithful. Each day is a fresh start. An opportunity to give God glory. Let’s unite and continue giving God, His precious desire-glorification