The Good News in ONE Verse

John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

If I had just one verse to share from the Bible in order to witness to another, instead of John 3:16 as is the favorite of many, I’d choose John 5:24. In just one verse Jesus sums up the Gospel. He says that who believes in Him already HAS everlasting life. Not sometime in the future, now. That this salvation Jesus spoke of is SO GREAT, that the sinner will NOT come into God’s judgment.

So let’s break it down further. When Jesus said “everlasting life”, it means eternal, never-ending. This would refute all those “you can lose your salvation” religions who are guided by Satan, because in order to believe that, you must also believe Jesus lied. Jesus then goes onto say, so there was NO confusion on what He just said, that this sinner would NOT come into judgment, of which He is alluding to the final judgment at the end of time.

Yet, it doesn’t prevent some from ARGUING with Jesus on this, because their world religion such as Catholicism teaches something VASTLY different. They do not teach one is granted eternal life here and now, that comes at the final judgment by which God will weigh their good works, their faith, their sacrament participation, their commandment keeping and then give them a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

But do you notice the CLEAR PROBLEM with looking forward to a final judgment? You WILL then be judged by a comparison to God’s holiness. This is why Jesus said a saved believer will NOT come into that judgment, they have already been granted eternal life, their sin debt was paid in full by nothing other than faith alone in Him.

So if you are in a church or religion which has you grasping at straws, making you uncertain of what your eternal future holds, they are preaching AGAINST John 5:24, what Jesus clearly promised. They are telling you that you WILL come into judgment, “so try to be good enough”. And I am here to tell you that NO ONE will be good enough outside the person and work of Jesus Christ, NO ONE.

Consider this promise God made several times “He will not forsake you nor destroy you“, again it doesn’t prevent some religions as Catholicism and other others to say “not so, He will forsake you and destroy you, so be good”.

Romans 8:1 teaches “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”  Yet I have witnessed to some in these religions who argue day and night that this is not true. Notice what Paul said? He included the word “NOW”, meaning salvation is not sometime in the future at a final judgment, it is a present tense.

Once again Paul taught in Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christthrough whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Again, I have witnessed this passage to those in worldly religions who argue day and night, that there is NO peace with God until a final judgment. When by simple reading comprehension, Paul said “have peace”, which is again a PRESENT tense.

I ask the reader to read and study every word of John 5:24. Are you arguing with what Jesus said, or agreeing with. Are you skeptical of non-trusting of what Jesus promised? If so, you do not have faith in Him, most likely your world religion has indoctrinated you NOT to believe in Him, but to distrust His clear promises.

Records of Sin

On Judgment Day, many are going to be surprised when God displays their record of sin throughout their life. The depiction above are just some filing cabinets filled with your sin record to give you some semblance of what actually transpired. The cabinets would fill a warehouse for just one sinner. The white cabinets can denote what we see are small sins, simple disobedience, white lies, etc. The black cabinets can denote more serious sins we have committed.

The devil on the other hand makes a sinner think there is merely a shoe box with some posted notes on your sins, no harm no foul. Compared to God’s holiness, there are sins you are not even aware such as absolute perfection to the commandments, not just some of the time, but each and every moment. So when the sheer multitude is displayed, as I said, some will be quite surprised at just how many laws which were broken. Each file God has will have clear facts and evidence, the time the offense was committed to the second. There are sins such in our thoughts and lusts and selfishness of which we merely passed off, but God didn’t forget.

Some will foolishly argue with God and say “that’s not a sin”, as IF they can tell the Almighty what broke His laws. Some will also foolishly attempt to pass the blame, “it wasn’t my fault”. Some will be angered that God kept their record of sin, or try to sheepishly say “sorry God, I really didn’t mean to do that”. But WHAT NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO DO is tell God to “look in the mirror at your sins”, because He has no such record.

This grand multitude of sin caused a debt to God. His justice on just one sin is His eternal wrath, and He doesn’t even need to open up more than one page in one filing cabinet. But I suspect that won’t prevent some to try and continue to argue each case of a sin.

Catholics will attempt to call on Mary, she’ll be nowhere to be found. I suspect some will try to blame their priests and popes, but that argument fails when God shows them their warehouse full of cabinets of their own sin records. Some will plead with God, “but Lord Lord, what about my church attendance, and all those good works I did in your name, and the sacraments I religiously participated in?” And sadly they will hear what Jesus already warned them about “I NEVER KNEW YOU, be gone you workers of lawlessness” (referencing Matt 7:21-23).

Without understanding the sheer DEPTH of your sin record against God, you will never fully realize just how NECESSARY a Savior is needed. You will shirk that call of the Mediator for your sins, His name is Jesus Christ, and try to argue your way into heaven instead which ends in failure! Your sin record does not get paid outside of the blood of Jesus!

Those saved also have the same amount of cabinets filled with sin, however in their case each file is stamped “PAID IN FULL”. Yes, the Good News is that Jesus already PAID the debt owed on your behalf IF you place your total faith alone in Him. There is NO OTHER WAY this record will be pardoned. If saved, God won’t even open up these cabinets because His word says  “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17) There is no need to because each file says in this depiction “PAID IN FULL by the blood of Jesus Christ”.

So it is up to you, there are just two paths on Judgment Day. The wide path by which many will try and argue their way out of this record of sin, or the narrow gate where you surrender to the fact that Jesus is the ONLY way this record of sin can be paid.

Understanding the Holy Standard

I has been quite evident, especially in today’s culture there is a vast difference between what human beings expect as a standard to go to heaven, and what the actual standard is.

I will attempt to demonstrate the Holy Standard by an analogy. Let’s say a parent of a child invoked a perfection standard on his or her children, such as if they failed in any way to meet this standard, the rule is the child would be kicked out of the house no matter how young they were or what their intelligence level was. It is simply, if they break one rule of a long list of rules, the child could no longer reside in the house. The child might have kept 100 of the rules, but one day broke just a minor rule, and that parent said “off you go, you are hereby evicted”.

Unbelievers and scoffers of God or those who don’t quite understand God’s holiness will instantly see it as unjust. Children are imperfect, so you would see that parent as being cruel, instead of the child’s rule breaking. There might be second, third, fourth chances we give to our children, but God doesn’t do this, His ways are not our ways. And it doesn’t make Him cruel, or non-understanding, it makes Him holy. Sin is His enemy, He cannot dwell in it, or Satan would also be seen as holy in this respect as well.

So the Holy Standard is ABSOLUTE perfection. You could say this is impossible to achieve, and you would be correct. And one misstep, one sin, and you are kicked out of His Kingdom not temporarily, but eternally! Ask Adam and Eve if you don’t believe me. Their simple disobedience caused them to be booted from the Garden, no second chance, no chance to make amends or restitution, God’s justice is perfect and holy, and there was no appeal.

If you don’t believe the Holy Standard from God, you then will scoff and mock at the remedy He provided. While knowing no human being could meet this impossible standard, God sent a Savior, His name is Jesus Christ. Jesus MET that Holy Standard on behalf of those who could not! Those who place their faith alone in Him, who entrust their soul to Him, instantly meet the standard thus satisfying God’s justice. They are now looked as meeting God’s Holy Standard!! This in a nutshell is called the Gospel, the Good News. Jesus died for you so that you now meet God’s sinless standard. You cannot be kicked out the Kingdom now, because of the absolute perfection Jesus graced you with! He not only pardoned you of all your sins, but He gave you His name as your Mediator which means that perfection standard has been met.

Does it mean when one sins after they had been saved, do they still meet the Holy Standard? Yes! Because justice has been satisfied, the sinner STILL meets God’s Holy Standard. It doesn’t mean one has a license to sin however, the saved sinner realizes what Jesus did on their behalf and naturally repents of sin, nor do they seek sin or desire sin. By His death, He paid the debt of each and every sin you committed, are committing, and will commit in this lifetime. NO BETTER NEWS than this! He placed you on the Holy Standard by His person and His work alone!

Trials are Actually Trails

James 1:2-3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Etymology is the study of the origins of words, so if you look carefully at the word “Trial”, if you switch the i and a, you come up with “Trail”. And if you study this further trials are actually trails.

It dawned on me today as I took my dog for a walk on a trail, that trials are trails. The premise is getting from point A to point B on a trail as well as a trial in your life. I have ignored this trail for a couple of weeks, because of the snow we had. Once we got on the trail, it was easier than I thought it would be. And we do this with various trials in our life as well, the same premise from getting from point A to point B. Some trials/trails are going to be easy, some will be VERY difficult.

Which leads me to the next word “try” which comes from the word “trial”. A criminal is tried in court, where prosecutor describes a trail, point A to point B of which the criminal committed. Or when faced with a trial in our life and we gave up, the response might be “well, I tried”. The trying is our action in the trial/trail.

And my personal opinion is that when faced with difficult trials/trails in our life, women have a much better “try” than men. Men think of a trial as a competition, women think of it as a completion. I think of a woman I know who had her third operation now for breast cancer. Her trail is a mud ridden swamp in the analogy, quicksand. On the other side of that swamp are her children who she will never give up trying to get to. I think of my Mom, faced with a terrible car accident and financial difficulty, never giving up on that extremely difficult trail which is like climbing a hill in 20 feet of snow. I think of the women with Jesus, faced with immediate persecution did not give up trying and were there with Him at the Cross as He died, while every Apostle except for John were cowering in their homes, and probably regretted this for as long as they lived.

Sometimes on a trial/trail in your life, where that be a relationship, financially, a death, a crisis, a serious health issue, you will look behind or look back and see that you had no trail behind you, no footsteps, and that is when God literally CARRIED you on that trail. Sometimes during a trial, the enemy whispers “just give up, you’ll never make it”, and sometimes he wins.

One thing about trials/trails is they don’t vanish. You can’t ignore them thinking “just go away”, they remain and we are tasked to go on them. The key is to completing ANY trial, whether it be easy or difficult is that you turn to God to help you through it. Sometimes He’ll give us a trail as that mud ridden swamp or 20 foot of snow to trudge through so that we have NO PLACE OTHER TO TURN, than to Him.

As James mentioned, “count it all joy” because the trial/trail produced something, your faith and patience. I am the type of person who at times when given a trial, I get so obsessed in the completion of it, that sometimes I miss that part about patience. And if you aren’t patient, frustration will come on the trail.

Some trails like a trail my dog and I go on will be difficult every day. There is one which gets snow blown in every day and we have to trudge through it making it new again. The same can be said for our many trials. We might have thought the trial was over, only to realize it wasn’t over and we must do it all over again. “Count in all joy”, and learn that you already completed the trail, so you can do it again.

Thanks be to God for the trials/trails we complete! If not for Him, we’d still be stuck at point A instead of ever even attempting to get to to point B, the completion.

Lastly, I think of Jesus Christ’s trial/trail. Born in a lonely manger, His trail was leading to His ultimate death on the Cross. And even He faced much difficulty, as He asked that this trial be removed in my estimation NOT because He feared death, but because He would be seperated from the Father and Holy Spirit while He took on our sins so that we could be forgiven. So yes, God understands your difficult trials, He can empathize with every tear and heartache and anxiety you are feeling. Turn to Him, and turn to Him alone and He will help you through the end of the trail!

Are You Ready to be Enlightened

When I was reborn, Scripture suddenly was understood. The words were literally jumping off the page. There was a newness as I kept asking myself “HOW DID I MISS THIS?”

The only way this occurred was that my mind was opened by God. His enlightenment was awesome. Before this time, I really didn’t understand His word outside of importing my own presuppositions mainly from what I was taught by the Roman Catholic Church. A presupposition is our personal conditions placed on a teaching, preconceived notions as to what that teaching in Scripture is supposed to say. And if that presupposition is WRONG, you can find yourself in a juggernaut. Many parts of Scripture will not make sense, and it is disjointed.

I recall the person witnessing to me as she said “maybe we shouldn’t read Romans, it is a very hard book, very convicting”, as if I was not ready to be enlightened. Little did she know, that was all that was needed for me to say “no, let’s READ IT NOW”. And she was correct in one respect, it was very convicting for me personally because of what I had been taught and believed before this enlightenment. Each time I was tempted to import my personal presupposition, I stopped myself, only by the grace of God.

The only correct presupposition to have while reading or studying Scripture is that this is God’s holy word, His revelation, His inspiration, and that He is God, all knowing, omniscient, sovereign, omnipotent. Without that correct presupposition, again Scripture will turn into a gobbly gook of misunderstood doctrines.

I have viewed many testimonies of the saved, and they all mirror my own. There was a point in time when Scripture started to make total sense!

Are you ready to be enlightened? Only you and God would know the answer to this question. But I can say if you aren’t ready, you will continue to be closed minded on your invented presuppositions. When that day comes for you, and I pray it did, or will come, you will be totally AMAZED, totally FLOORED, at just how BEAUTIFUL Scripture actually is and you will then see a systematic tie from Genesis all the way to the end of Revelation of ONE person, His name is Jesus Christ. If you aren’t seeing that tie, you are still importing false presuppositions.

Does Prayer Need Perfection?

Thinking about the Almighty God and our prayers this morning, it dawned on me that many don’t pray because they were taught, told, or believe that there is some secret formulation of words to God that must be said, or God won’t listen.

The number one thing you should understand, is God knows everything. And part of this knowing everything is that He knows you are an imperfect human being and your prayers no matter what you say, are never going to be perfect. God isn’t some snot-nosed teacher red-lining your grammar, no, He is a God of pure love. And in this love He accepts your prayers no matter how long, how broken, how convoluted, how short, how disjointed, and yes your bad grammar as well, because He understands your heart, your intent, what you actually are trying to tell Him well before you thought He did.

So when Paul said “pray without ceasing”, the only way this could be possible is if God does accept imperfection in those prayers. To me, prayer is COMMUNING with God, you believe you are speaking to Him right with you each and every step. God doesn’t take appointments on just Sundays as is the mindset by some, His office is ALWAYS open, day and night. So when for example one says “please pray for”…you can do so instantaneously, you don’t need to wait until work is over, or when you get home, or this coming Sunday, pray NOW.

And it doesn’t have to be well thought out, again God knows what you are asking, He can discern your intent. It is more important in my view that you are communing with Him instead of placing conditions on non-existent things God might demand.

Now this doesn’t mean we should pray frivolously or with any disrespect, it means don’t overthink your prayers. God knows your thoughts, He knows everything, so tell Him, talk to Him day and night! He is never going to be too busy, His light is always on!

The more you pray, the more your relationship GROWS with God! If you talk to Him once a week or once a year for some, don’t expect that relationship to be a close one. Grow your relationship by praying without ceasing!

Newness of Life

The Psalmist implores, “SING A NEW SONG”, meaning the Lord desires NEWNESS. That “new song” for you could be a repentance of sin, a new way of walking in your life. The old worn out tired prayers need a newness from you. If something has shown that it wasn’t working such as a sinful lust, rid yourself of it! Try something new!

I recall Phil Robertson’s testimony, he said when he was reborn a preacher came and told him the Good News. He asked “now what do I do? I am such a sinful person” The preacher said “well, try something new for a change, try to be good”. And Robertson’s response was “gee, you’re right, I never tried that before”. The old ways were getting him nowhere, so he’d try this “new song” and his life has been spent 40-50 years now sharing the Gospel each and every day.

I can relate as well in my own testimony. My old song was Roman Catholicism, trying to be moral and pious once a week out of guilt wasn’t working. The rest of the week I was ungodly immoral. My walk was granted a NEW song by God in 2011 and I never looked back. I left Roman Catholicism and my evil ways and tried this new walk. I have been in joy and peace ever since!

So if you haven’t done so, try a NEW way! Out with the old, and in with the NEW. Have you ever played the same song over and over again? After awhile it gets worn out, it lacks luster and appeal. That is the analogy towards sin. It might give you temporary fleeting joy, so you play it over and over again. Over time there is no joy, it is boring.

I think of political figures who repeat the same old song at their rallies and speeches, over time it gets boring and worn out and people lose interest. Again, TRY A NEW SONG!

Forget about useless New Years resolutions which last a day, a week, a month, and sing the Lord a NEW SONG. Repent and follow Him. Try reading and studying His word and making that your FIRST and LAST priority, and I promise a peace without total understanding will come to your life!

Stricken with Grief

Psalm 23:He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

I will guarantee you that when David wrote Psalm 23, he wasn’t on top of the world, rather he was stricken with grief and sorrow. David suffered the death of his infant son and another son of his sought to murder him, and instead of castigating God, he turned to Him. David realized a peace without total understanding.

We are ALL subject to extreme grief as we live in a fallen world filled with sin, instant loss, failed promises, failed relationships, and all sorts of sorrow. Grief is one of the ways we know we are human beings. We feel the darkness and pain to our very core. But I am here to tell those who are going through the horrors of sorrow and grief, there is a LIGHT which shines and this is God.

During these times of grief, the devil swoops in and tempts you to read God the riot act or to try to get you to believe “there is NO light, just give up!”. And sadly that sentiment wins at times, usually with those who weren’t turning to God before this grievous circumstance enveloped their life. At which point, even though there is a light shining, they ignore it for the darkness and sadly some will never believe they’ll come out of that darkness and take their own lives.

When your loved on is grieving, pay attention! Don’t pass it off, don’t tell them to “suck it up” because it is a serious situation. It can’t be cured with drugs and alcohol which only numb the grief and darkness, but it won’t heal the sorrow. Listen to the grieving, be there for them in any way you can. Lectures on life or the Bible are probably not going to be well received. Just simply exhort them to turn the Master, the God Almighty and keep turning to Him. Telling them where they went wrong will only bring the darkness in more. Rather you has a healing agent must exhort the LIGHT which is there.

When dealing with the grieving, understand there is a VAST darkness they are going through. It seems endless. They’ll tell you this by their tears, their anxiety, their lack of sleep, their depression. So YOU must be that agent of LIGHT by simply reminding them that there is a light of God. And remember, it isn’t YOU who is going to be the healer. You are there to simply help by being there in any way you can for this grieving person. If they ask, give! If they tell you things, LISTEN! Hardly any grieving person will be in need of worldly advice, so don’t give it unless they ask.

Grieving is a process, and that timing is known to God. Some will spend days, some months, some years. There is NO set time by mankind, although mankind believes they can prompt the hand of God.

Grieving also has a PURPOSE from God. Some will need to look back during that time to see what those purposes were, and many times it is NOT what we thought or expected.

Grieving is a way God does commune with His children. The distractions are all removed. And the enemy knows this, so he will try to also commune. I can speak from experience, that during the times of extreme grief it is a minute by minute communing, and if you are turning to God, that peace will overcome the sorrow.

Lastly, no one is above such grief, not even God Himself who grieved the death of His Son Jesus Christ on the Cross. So never think you are more powerful, that your flawed willpower will be able to ignore this grief. Turn to God alone, He will see you through!

A True Guardian

Today, I remember Samson, my sister’s dog who passed away recently. He was 18 plus years old and lived a long life. We hear of “guardian angels” from some, but I do believe dog’s like Samson are also a blessing from God as a true guardian, one we can communicate with, see, touch, feel.

Samson was my sister’s true guardian. He was by her side all of his life. He didn’t beg, he didn’t sulk, he didn’t ask that she do things so that he’d get things. He was content on just one thing, being hers and being her stalworth. Those who haven’t owned a dog might never come to realize in this lifetime just how awesome this type of relationship is. No matter the day whether it be good, bad, ugly, they do not change their love and devotion and loyalty towards their owner. And sadly some only come realize it when the dog passes away, speaking from experience.

Dogs, pets, are not to be taken for granted. Because they are lower in the creation order from God does not mean we get to treat them like expendable garbage. To her credit, my sister realized her blessing from day one with Samson and never took him for granted. She treated him as a true family member and Samson treated her and her husband as his family members.

We can learn so much from our pets! As again, I believe they are sent by God to teach us many things such as patience, true love, obedience, self control, kindness, and true unconditional giving. If they could talk, they’d without question or hesitation give up their life for their owner and this type of love Jesus spoke about as “no greater love”. And this is the love my sister had with Samson. This type of relationship is truly unique and it is actually the biblical relationship we ourselves should have for our owner who is God.

This is why it is so hard when they pass away. We are not granted a lifetime with them and those reasons are known to God alone. Maybe it is to teach us to count our own days and realize our blessing of our own life. Maybe it is because that God Himself experienced the loss of His Son, Jesus Christ, at a young age and we get to feel a snippet of what He felt. Maybe it is to teach us very quickly on that owner/servant relationship our dogs have with us, and how we should be with our owner, God.

The empty house and broken heart are things we go through when they go, the time is mighty sorrowful and hurtful and hard. But be assured, God has promised to “wipe every tear away”, which means I personally believe their lives were not lived in vain, we will see them again in the Kingdom, that is for those who have placed their faith alone in Jesus Christ, saved by Him.

Which leads me to this, if you truly would want to see them again, do not waste another day in unbelief! Repent and follow Jesus Christ now in a full heart, cling to Him during these times and you will surely be comforted. Samson for example was a true guardian to my sister, but Jesus is the ultimate King, the ultimate guardian by which all good things flow! Trust in Him, turn to Him! Say this prayer “I trust in you God alone” until you begin to actually believe it!

Two Christmas Celebrations

There are actually two Christmas celebrated in this world. A Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ each and every day, and a singled out day in December celebrated by most everyone else of which I call the Secular Christmas.

The secular celebration comes complete with Santa Claus and his fictional reindeer, Christmas trees and lights, gift exchanges, family get togethers, a feast, Hallmark cards, and of course a couple of days off from work. Some don’t even call it “Christmas”, it is a “Holiday”. Once this day is over, the CC bills are a headache, the celebration ends as quickly as it started, those presents gave and received with the cards are forgotten, the tree gets burned or put in the closet with the lights, and all that “goodwill” gets put in the closet until next year. It is also engrossed in superstition, “the miracle of Christmas” in the secular mindset is a worldly gain.

You can see this in real time on Facebook and other social media, where Christmas is something wholly different to the poster as Christ is removed from the equation.

Whereas the true meaning of Christmas was the gift of salvation that God granted through His Son Jesus Christ. A birth of the God-man Jesus of which He left His eternal throne not because man was inherently “good”, but because we are inherently BAD. And by “bad”, I mean bad to the literal bone! The mere baby depicted in the lonely manger of Jesus had ONE mission, and it wasn’t to show us how to be better people. It was to SAVE us from our sins!

Yes, that mere infant Jesus started the death clock as soon as He was born. He was to fulfill all the prophesy of the Old Testament Messiah and march to His death on the Cross. By which He would redeem His children by His death, and three days later rise from a tomb which confirmed He surely was who He said He was, the eternal God incarnated. THIS IS WHAT ACTUAL CHRISTIANS HUMBLY CELEBRATE.

It is sad when I see professing Christians caught in between and caught up in the secular celebration and the divine celebration. They desire both, when there is just one TRUE celebratory birth of Jesus Christ that is IF He paid your sin debt. Without this incarnation, all would be condemned to hell, not a one would go to Heaven. Something to ponder if you haven’t done so. And do NOT be deceived who is behind the secular Christmas, it is Satan himself. Santa Claus for example replacing God in every respect is a way to indoctrinate children into that secular Christmas. The fictional Santa did not die for any sin! So why in the world would any Christian parent even teach that nonsense of “Santa Claus’? The removal of Jesus from His own birth is and will be the goal by a degenerate fallen people.

Yes, Jesus was born of a virgin just as promised. He came to save sinners who are born hating Him! “Goodwill to men” should now give you a different notion than useless coffee grinders, and other presents you get. Because there is NO GIFT you will ever receive that is even CLOSE on the scale of your salvation!! We thank a merciful God who by His grace alone saved His children through the person and work of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!

Merry TRUE Christmas!