Everlasting Life. Guaranteed!

Everlasting Life. Guaranteed!

“He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” ~Jesus

Two men were discussing what happens after death here on earth and one of them said that since they were both Christians, it was certain that they would not really die but pass from this life into the next, living forever with God. The second man, however expressed doubts about that, saying he sure hoped it was true.

        Are you a Christian? Have you expressed faith in Jesus Christ? If so, the Bible promises that you will spend eternity with God. The following are Bible verses that give all Christians assurance of eternal life with God.

        John 11:25-26  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.”

        John 10:10-11  “I came that [you] may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

        1 Peter 1:3-5  “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.”

        John 10:27-30  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

For those who express doubts about eternal life with God, such as the second man above, notice in these verses, that Jesus is very specific about who will experience eternal life with Him, “My sheep!” If you believe that Jesus is the Savior then you are a member of His flock and your eternal destination is secured, not by what you’ve done but by your faith in Christ (Rom. 10:13)

        John 6:35-40  Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. . . For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

        John 6:47  “I assure you, anyone who believes in Me already has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life. . .I am the Living Bread that came down out of heaven.”

        Romans 8:38  “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”

        John 3:16  “ God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.

        It is by faith that we are saved and our sins forgiven. It is by that same faith that we believe in eternal life with our Heavenly Father…without exception. Sometimes, after taking Christ as Savior, we begin to doubt our salvation, usually because of what we’ve done or a traumatic personal experience. But consider this before you sink into the abyss of doubt and depression, would God send Jesus as the virgin-born Savior, to such a horrible death on the cross followed by the majestic resurrection from the dead, ultimately to take the seat of honor at His right hand and then cross out our names from the Lambs Book of Life because of poor performance? Don’t be fooled. Don’t listen to your fears. Don’t allow Satan’s demonic forces to fill your heart with uncertainty and self-loathing. We cannot be taken from God’s hand. EVER!

 

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Pray For Your Enemies

Pray For Your Enemies

 

“Pray for those who torment you and persecute you…”  Matt. 5:44

Jim looked forward to Saturday evenings at his Bible study group. It was prayer night. He loved praying for so many friends and loved ones; his and those of his fellow Christians. But this night would be a milestone for Jim—a point of no return. It would be a reshaping of his prayer life.

Phil was leading the group this night and he asked everyone to make a list during the coming week. The list was to be of those people considered their enemies. Included should be politicians, rude clerks, greedy corporations, worldly church leaders and so on. To kick start the project they would begin with prayers for “enemies” now.

Jim almost bolted and ran. He had been deceived and stolen from by a best friend. His now ex-friend had taken his business, good credit and left him with a pile of debt. In addition to the business debt, Jim was forced to hire an attorney which cost him thousands of dollars and did little to help. Later he discovered the attorney was noted as one of the least competent in town.

As Phil asked everyone to pray, Jim began with a simmering anger, clenching his fists, silently asking God why He allowed all of those terrible things to happen to him. And now, when he thought it was all behind him, how could God ask him to pray for those who used and maligned him? His heart was breaking and his blood pressure was rising. Tears began to flow.

“I know that some of you will ask why we’re praying for our enemies,” Phil said. “Why not just try and forget them and hopefully never talk to them again. After all, we are admonished by Jesus to love as proof of our Christianity. You may even feel that as long as you don’t still nurture the hate and anger toward them, you’ve done well. As always, let’s see what the Bible says about this issue.”

Matthew 5:43-44  ~You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you—

Acts 7:59-60  ~As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

Romans 12:15  ~Base your happiness on your hope in Christ. When trials come endure them patiently, steadfastly maintain the habit of prayer.13 Give freely to fellow-Christians in want, never grudging a meal or a bed to those who need them.14 And as for those who try to make your life a misery, bless them. Don’t curse, bless.15 Share the happiness of those who are happy, the sorrow of those who are sad.

Romans 12:20-21  ~If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.*

1 Cor. 4:11-13  ~Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home.12 We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us.13 We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.

1 Cor. 13:4-8  ~Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!

1 Peter 2:20-21 ,23 ~Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. 

By now, cleansing tears were flowing throughout the room. Calling out to God in prayer opened their hearts for change, for a touch of the Master’s hand, for purification and redemption. And what of us, do we harbor ill feelings, grudges, anger toward someone who has actually wronged us? Someone who took advantage of us? Someone who has not paid the price, as far as we know? And that is the point;  as Stephen asked God to forgive those who killed him, we must allow God to help us forgive those who have wronged us. We must pray for them.   

*Proverbs 25:21-22

The New Self

The New Self

 

“Put on the new self, created to be like God”  Ephesians 4:24

Now that you’ve taken Christ as your Savior, understanding the He has forgiven all your sins, washing you whiter than snow, life is a dream with no problems—right? If you are at all like most Christians, your honest answer would be, not exactly. Instead of a bed of roses, you can’t help but notice quite a few thorns along the way. Perhaps you’ve been confronted with difficult trials, rejection by friends and relatives along with feelings of uncertainty. Count yourself among the countless number of people who have accepted the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. You have become a new person and just as you have always made daily choices in your life, those choices will now be assisted by God’s Holy Spirit. So, even though you may feel alone in this life-long battle, God has promised: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~Hebrews 13:5

Although our feelings will remain, the facts have changed. God has interceded in our lives for eternity. We are never abandoned to slug it out with the enemy of our soul on our own…God is always by our side. Our job is to remember that relationship when life seems hopeless and troubles seem overwhelming. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit and he did. Every Christian is indwelled by God’s Holy Spirit for guidance, comfort, support and recollection of Christ’s instructions.

Ephesians 4:22-24  ~ throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

2 Peter 1:1-8 ~ This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.

I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:20 ~ My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Colossians 3:1-4 ~ Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

Colossians 3:13-16 ~ Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

Philippians 2:1-4 ~ Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.


God has given us all the tools. We must remove them from the toolbox!

Human Wisdom

Human Wisdom

“Destruction is certain for those who think they are wise

and consider themselves to be clever”  Isaiah 5:21

Human wisdom is limited and finite, not able to penetrate the heart and soul; to uplift, encourage, challenge and give hope all at once. Only God in His infinite wisdom, through the Holy Spirit, can teach, encourage, forgive, and heal by divinely inspired words. As Bible teachers rely on God’s spiritual guidance for a foundation, His supernatural touch may go forth, penetrating the heart, planting seeds of hope and peace.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25  I know very well how foolish it sounds to those who are lost, when they hear that Jesus died to save them. But we who are saved* recognize this message as the very power of God. For God says, “I will destroy all human plans of salvation no matter how wise they seem to be, and ignore the best ideas of men, even the most brilliant of them.”

So what about these wise men, these scholars, these brilliant debaters of this world’s great affairs? God has made them all look foolish and shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. For God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find God through human brilliance, and then he stepped in and saved all those who believed his message, which the world calls foolish and silly. It seems foolish to the Jews because they want a sign from heaven as proof that what is preached is true; and it is foolish to the Gentiles because they believe only what agrees with their philosophy and seems wise to them.

So when we preach about Christ dying to save them, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But God has opened the eyes of those called to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, to see that Christ is the mighty power of God to save them; Christ himself is the center of God’s wise plan for their salvation. This so-called “foolish” plan of God is far wiser than the wisest plan of the wisest man, and God in his weakness—Christ dying on the cross—is far stronger than any man.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5  When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters,I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

Christians have been given an amazing gift; the gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, His only Son. Not only that but with the gift, God filled us with His Holy Spirit; a supernatural link to God Himself. With that connection comes supernatural wisdom and discernment not available to the world.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16  But the man who isn’t a Christian can’t understand and can’t accept these thoughts from God, which the Holy Spirit teaches us. They sound foolish to him because only those who have the Holy Spirit within them can understand what the Holy Spirit means. Others just can’t take it in. But the spiritual man has insight into everything, and that bothers and baffles the man of the world, who can’t understand him at all. How could he? For certainly he has never been one to know the Lord’s thoughts, or to discuss them with him, or to move the hands of God by prayer. But, strange as it seems, we Christians actually do have within us a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ.

Human wisdom seems brilliant to our human understanding but in comparison to God, it is primitive and limited. Human wisdom took a bite of the forbidden fruit; human wisdom passed laws in America to stifle worship of God; human wisdom established false religions that deny the one true God, and human wisdom said the earth was formed, with all its complexities, from a collision of errant planets billions of years ago.

Proverbs 3:7-8  Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong. If you do, it will be like good medicine, healing your wounds and easing your pains.

1 Corinthians 3:19  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As it says in the book of Job, God uses man’s own brilliance to trap him; he stumbles over his own “wisdom” and falls.

Have You Failed?

Have You Failed?

“Oh what a happy soul I am, although I cannot see;

I am resolved that in this world contented I will be.

How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t;

To weep and sigh because I’m blind?

I cannot, and I won’t.” ~Fanny J. Crosby1

To most of us, the thought of failure in anything—projects, business, romance, or athletics, equates to disaster. We are our worst critics in this regard even if our friends or family are more gracious. Men especially beat themselves mercilessly with the hammer of failure. We take one definition of failure very personally: an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success: His effort ended in failure. The campaign was a failure.

Viewing our efforts which did not end in success through a filter of negativity, sending ourselves into a pool of pity is actually thumbing our noses at God. We decide that failure or success is entirely in our hands and if we don’t win or achieve our goal, we are poor miserable failures, off to the shoulda, woulda, coulda room filled with feelings of loathing and worthlessness. Sound like God to you? Sounds more like fiery darts from satan’s quiver to me.

The Bible says, regarding failure:

Deut. 31:8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

1 Kings 8:56 Praise the LORD who has given rest to His people Israel, just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises He gave through His servant Moses.

Joshua 21:45 None of the good promises the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed. Everything was fulfilled.

1 Peter 4:12-19 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you…But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News?…So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you.

If, in regard to these verses above, I feel a failure, abandoned and discouraged…what am I saying to God?

Luke 22:32 “I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”

Because Jesus knew Peter would deny him three times, He was preparing Peter for the future and how to resolve his coming “failure.” Repent and turn to Him again is our answer as well. Jesus must be our focus, not ourselves with all our flaws.

The apostle Paul’s life, when viewed realistically, seems remarkably like a failure according to his own words in 2 Corinthians 11:24-27 ~ I received the “forty lashes minus one” from the Jews five times. I was beaten with rods three times. I was stoned once. I was shipwrecked three times. I spent a day and a night on the open sea. I’ve been on many journeys. I faced dangers from rivers, robbers, my people, and Gentiles. I faced dangers in the city, in the desert, on the sea, and from false brothers and sisters. I faced these dangers with hard work and heavy labor, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, and in the cold without enough clothes.

When viewed through the filter of human success stories, this commentary of Paul’s life fails miserably. But viewed through the filter of Jesus Christ, Paul’s life stands as an excellent example of keeping his “eye on the prize” (Phil. 3:10-14). An example established for all believers in contrast to the worldly idea of success.

1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be done away. . . In this life we have three great lasting qualities—faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love.

God’s love never fails and He has given us His never-failing love!

1. Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915) was a lifelong Methodist. She was one of the most prolific hymnists in history, writing over 8,000 hymns and gospel songs, with over 100 million copies printed. This is despite her being blind from shortly after birth.