Blessed Be The Light

God begins with light. Life requires light; faith requires light. Why, because we live in dark times. Yet in the midst of darkness stems the following truths: Jesus still saves! Jesus still delivers; Jesus still heals, and Jesus is still coming back for His children!

Matthew 5:14 – “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. (Verse 15) “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. (Verse 16) “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

When light stands next to darkness, the darkness fades. Blessed to be light by who you are. We can not be light until we discover who we are. What defines us? Are we defined by our past or by our circumstances? You can be if you choose to. Or are we defined by what others say about us?

Here is the good news: Christ defines us! We are defined by the Spirit inside of us. We are defined by His covenant. We are not defined by our failures, we are defined by His forgiveness. We are not even defined by what we do for God. We are defined by what God already did for us. The cross, the tomb, the upper room, His blood, His word, by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit defines us.

Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

How we respond to what defines us will determine whether our light will overcome the darkness in this hour here on earth. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world!” You are the church of Jesus Christ and the gates of hell shall not prevail. That’s who Jesus said we are. Every believer has this light that they let shine to the world around them.

Too many times when people allow circumstances to rule their lives, they forget who they are. The enemy may come against us in many ways and many times, but Jesus says we are victorious in Him!

Jesus is not coming back for a defeated church. He’s coming back for a glorious, thriving church. Shouldn’t we all remind ourselves that we are blood washed, blood-bought, children of the living God! We’re far from perfect, but God calls the willing not the perfect.

We are blessed to be light by removing the obstacles. No one hides a light. When it’s in you, you let it shine to light up the darkness that surrounds. We can not be light until we embrace the following: Today’s complacency is tomorrows captivity! There is no such thing as comfortable Christianity. We are what we tolerate. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.

There is a spiritual battle to turn off our light and some have allowed this to happen. I believe the church slept for decades while secular garbage took over. All the while the church sat back and didn’t get involved. They thought for too long that being in government was not their concern. I’ve talked to Christians that don’t even bother to vote. It’s called “complacency!” Just let others fight that battle.

If we as Christians are supposed to be “Light of the world,” then how is that going to happen if we continue not to do battle? Christians, listen up! Don’t drink the kool-aid! We have tolerated evil too long by compromising what God calls sin and what society calls sin. Society says anything goes. Just because society accepts a life-style does not mean God does. Read His word. It’s plain as day and night. He does not change, people do!

All of these principalities and evil spirits that are running rampant over this earth are still not as powerful as the “Living Holy Spirit of All Mighty God!” They can be defeated!

Zachariah 4:6 – “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD.”

It’s time for Christians to stand up and be light with courage and conviction! For every devil that rises up against you, there is a Mightier God that rises up to take up battle with you!

1 John 2:8 – Again, a new commandment I wrote to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

Blessed to be light by where you stand. There are not “many ways to heaven!” There is only one way to heaven and only one wat to be saved; one way to eternal life; one way to be born again, and that one way has the name above all other names in which every knee shall bow and that name is Jesus!

Psalm 89:14 – Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face. We stand on that! We stand on the certainty that Christ is the only way.

In today’s society where most are looking to their government to solve all their problems, that government will never take care of you like our heavenly Father does and will. That government didn’t die for you to bring you life! God is God all by Himself.

Blessed to be light by what we do. Do you know that every time we help someone we are letting our light shine? Jesus changed the world because of who He was, what He said, and what He did! Let us do likewise.

Ephesians 5:8 – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. 

There is no such thing as “Silent Christianity.” We magnify our light when we do for others. Others need to know: Jesus still heals; Jesus still delivers, and Jesus still saves!

Matthew 6:33 – “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Let your light shine among men!

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it!

 

Following Jesus In A Self-Centered World

Have you ever taken a “selfie?” When I was growing up, no one turned the camera on themselves. Most of the pictures taken today are selfies and then posted on some type of media. Now we live in a “Selfie” absorbed world. If you are in a group picture, you know you look for yourself first, we all do.

However, any pictures we take today can be filtered to make the image much better than what it really is. Because we portray a filter with things, the less authentic we actually appear to be. Technology and social media are changing the way we interact.

How is technology changing our relationships?

There are a lot of good things about this new technology though. For instance: we can “face-time” with people who don’t live close. But there are many unintended consequences and here are a few:

People are starting to fear unfiltered communications.

There is an entire generation that is fearful of not showing their best self. Very few people talk on the phone anymore, they text. When doing this, it makes us in control of our response. We either answer right then or wait until a more convenient time.

Most 18 to 25-year-olds don’t like talking on the phone at all. This is all about filtering what is said when it is said, and how it is said. They have total control.

But what does the Bible say about authenticity? 2 Corinthians, Chapter 3 is a reflection of when Moses ascended to Mount Sinai and he received the 10 Commandments. When he came down off the mountain, his face was glowing and he put on a veil to cover his face.

Read in the New Testament, the reason Moses put on the veil was to keep the people from seeing that the “glory” was starting to fade away. It was like “putting a filter” on the picture that he wanted everyone else to see. In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul wanted the Corinthians to know how much greater the New Covenant was than the Old Covenant.

2 Corinthians 3:13 – unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. (Verse 14) But their minds were hardened. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament because the veil is taken away in Christ. (Verse 15) But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. (When the Old Covenant was read in the Sanogogues, there were unbelieving Jews who could not see the truth.)

2 Corinthians 4:4 – whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe…

22 Corinthians 3:16 – Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 

However, by nature, most are not transparent people, they are insecure. We try to cover up our faults in front of others, and most would rather conceal their sin instead of confessing it also.

So, what image of ourselves do we show other people? Are we authentic all the time? What image do we portray to others? Is it the real you?

I think this is especially true in the church. People want others to think they are the best of Christians all the time when in reality they don’t follow any of Christ’s ways outside of the church building.

A veil that first covers the face eventually covers the heart.

What starts as a superficial covering, becomes a spiritual condition. If people are not going, to be honest with themselves and others, they more than likely will never be honest with God in their relationship with Him.

There is an entire generation growing up that has no idea who the real self is. When they are eventually exposed, we see the anger that reaches rage. They have tried to hide behind a veil for so long that when they finally are exposed, they fly into a rage. I’ve seen this in teenagers and adults.

Christians come under pressure also to prove they are so spiritual all the time when their real world is falling apart. Why are there so many people today afraid to show who they really are? They are afraid others may not like the real them. They fake their true personalities because it’s so easy on social media. They may have over three-hundred friends on facebook but in reality, only two friends that truly know who they are. But when they post something about themselves, or a “selfie” they get hundreds of likes and all these people telling them how pretty or great they are. This meets their immediate need for attention. They may impress people through their strengths, but they should be connecting through their weaknesses. We connect when we are open and honest with first ourselves and then others.

If you find yourself living behind a veil, go to Christ because He is the only One that can remove the veil. 2 Corinthians 3:16 – But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 

The person doesn’t take the veil away, Jesus does it after turning to Him. But a person must turn to Christ first and stop pretending. Turn away from the “Me” and turn to Jesus. When our identity is in Him, we can stop looking for approval from others.

Don’t be obsessed with what others think of you. How about being obsessed with what God thinks about you. He’s the only approval you need. Surrender to Christ and He will remove the veil. We are not who others say we are, we are who Christ says we are.

2 Corinthians 5:20 – Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

We are the light of this world and are filled with the very same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead!

When the veil is removed, suddenly we are authentic, transparent, not trying to be something we’re not. The true person God created us to be will shine through!

 

 

Treasures Of The Heart

The Treasure of the Kingdom

Matthew 13:44 – “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid, and for joy, over it, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Most think that the treasure that the man finds is the kingdom and he gives up everything he has to gain that treasure. I don’t think that is accurate and here’s why: First, you can’t hide the kingdom and second you can’t buy it. If the treasure is the kingdom then nothing in that verse lines up.

You can’t find it because we didn’t find God. God found us! We love Him because He first loved us. The Bible says that we were blinded to the gospel so we could not have found the kingdom on our own.

You can’t hide it because it’s too big! We might be able to hide the light that is in us, but we can’t hide the entire kingdom of God.

We defiantly can’t buy it! It’s not for sale. This parable is not about us attaining the kingdom or us doing or giving enough to obtain it.

Here is the meaning of this parable: The field is the world. The man is Jesus and the treasure is you and me! So that old tradition that people may have been taught that the treasure is the kingdom makes no sense. You and me are the treasure! Jesus is the One that gave up everything to buy us. Ver plainly in 1 Corinthians, it says we are not our own, we were bought with a price.

This is not a parable about us doing something to get the kingdom. This is a parable about Jesus doing something to get the kingdom and people are the kingdom!

Jesus found us and paid the price for us. We are a treasure to Him. And notice, He bought the whole field. He paid the price for the entire world. So how much are we worth? The value of anything is how much someone is willing to pay for it. Everyone that comes to Christ is worth the same amount which is the “The blood of Jesus!” The highest price that’s ever been paid for any one person, was paid by Jesus for you and me. For joy, He bought the whole field!

Do you know why God found you? Because He values you and was looking for you! You are the treasure of the kingdom.

The Treasure of the Heart

Matthew 6:21 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

So many pastors and others miss quote this verse: They will say, “Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also.” That’s backward! Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Your heart will follow your treasure.

If we invest in a “stock,” we will start checking that stock, although we never did it before, but, because we put some of our treasure there, value, we put our heart there also. Make sense?

If you want your heart to be in the kingdom, put your treasure there, because your heart will follow your treasure. You are God’s treasure!

The kingdom is like a treasure, hidden in the world, and a Man, with joy, sold everything He had and bought that treasure!! The treasure is you and we should never forget it!

Why Did God…?

So many people ask why did God…? For instance: Why did God create hell? Why would a loving God send anyone to hell? Why did God create two trees in the Garden? Here’s the key to all these questions you have to remember when answering why to any of these questions: You can never answer any question about God that goes outside of His character and nature and expect to get the correct answer.

We know His nature and character through Scripture and the whole of Scripture, not just picking here and there. If a person tries to answer difficult questions about God without taking into consideration His character, they will come to the wrong conclusion of His nature.

God Is A Good God!

Psalm 119:68 – You are good, and do good; teach me Your statutes. God isn’t good because He does good. God does good because He is good. God being good is not dependant upon Him doing good, He does good because He is good. It’s because God is truth. Because God is truth He can’t lie!

This falls in line with the way people think about the Sovereignty of God. Most people think this means that God can do anything He wants to do. What it means is that He’s sovereign, because He’s the supreme ruler of the universe. But because He is who He is, He can’t act outside of His character.

Now in this same way God is love. So everything we read in Scripture we put in the basic, God is good, God is truth, and God is love.

Moses had asked God to see His glory. Here is a practical definition for glory: Glory is what you’re famous for; it’s what you’re known for. So when Moses asked God to show him His glory, he wanted God to show him what He’s famous for. What is God best at doing?

Exodus 33:18 – And he (Moses) said, “Please, show me Your glory.” (Verse 19) Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

Now we know that anything we read in the Bible about God has to line up with “God is good.” If we don’t do this, we will think that God is harsh or mean. For instance; When we read that Adam and Eve sinned, God drove them out of the Garden and gave the reason why He did it: Genesis 3:22 – Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” – (Verse 23) therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. (Verse 24) So He drove out the man, and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Too many people think that God was mad at Adam and Eve and just kicked them out of the garden. No, that’s not correct. Here’s why He drove them out. Adam and Eve sinned and were now in a fallen state. They became separated from God and if they ate from the tree of life, they would live forever in a fallen state! Separated from God forever. God didn’t want that so He drove them out!

That is God’s goodness. People won’t pick up on that if they don’t have it rooted in them that “God is a good God!”

By the way: That same tree of life is in heaven and we can eat from it all we want because we will be in a redeemed state. God didn’t want Adam and Eve to stay in a fallen state.

God Is Also Just!

Isaiah 45:21 – …”And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me.” There will never be injustice with any of God’s judgments. That’s why I don’t believe that God chose some people to go to hell and some to go to heaven because that’s not just. God doesn’t choose anyone to go to hell. It’s a choice by the individual.

People still ask: Would a just God send anyone to hell? Here’s another question people ask: Would God send someone to hell that’s never had a chance to hear the gospel? Never answer these questions in your own opinion, use Scripture.

Romans 1:18 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (Verse 19) because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. (manifest, to make known)

(Verse 20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

God manifests Himself to every person internally and externally. God makes His presence known to every human being. That’s what this Scripture is saying. God manifests Himself by giving to every person what only God can give.

God gave us a conscience so He manifests Himself on the inside of each of us. He manifests Himself on the outside because we have His creation all around us. Conscience and creation both manifest God’s presence. Our conscience tells us there is a God. And creation tells us there is a God.

Why do you think He created a universe this big? There are stars 300 million light-years away. He wants us to walk outside and look up in awe and say, “There’s got to be a God that created all this!” Here’s another amazing thing; Nothing collided with nothing, it all stays in perfect orbit! The “Big bang” theory is still just a theory.

Did you know that God put eternity in every person’s heart? No person will ever be able to say, “No one told me.” Here’s why: Because God can come and say, “I told you!” He’s got so many ways to speak to us, including His creation. From the time we are a small child, God puts it in our hearts to wonder about Him. Every person who seeks after God will find HIm.

Proverbs 8:17 – “I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me diligently will find me.” 

Jeremiah 29:13 – And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 

Matthew 7:7 – “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Verse 8) For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Acts 17:26 – “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”

God Is Love

God is a good God, He’s a just God, and He is love! 1 John 4:8 – He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. Now for the question so many ask: “Why would a loving God send anyone to hell?” Let’s look at this from a Biblical perspective. God did not create hell for people. God created hell for the devil and his angels.

Matthew 25:41 – “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: God prepared heaven for people that love Him and created hell for the devil and his angels. However, man became evil.

Isaiah 5:11 – Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; who continue until night, till wine inflames them! (Verse 12) The harp and the strings, the tambourine, and flute, and wine are in their feasts; but they do not regard the work of the LORD, nor consider the operation of His hands. (Verse 13) Therefore my people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge; their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. 

(Verse 14) Therefore Sheol (Old Testament word for hell) has enlarged itself and opened its mouth beyond measure; Their glory and their multitude and their pomp, and he who is jubilant shall descend into it.

Hell was enlarged by necessity, not by design. Satan enlarged it by getting a third of the angels to follow him and then he got people to follow him.

Let’s look at the constant, inexcusable, rebellious rejection of a loving God that does everything right. Lucifer was the worship leader in heaven and lead a third of the angels to rebel against God. They were not created in a bad situation. God never abused them, never treated any of them bad and a third of them, including Lucifer rejected Him. That’s the first rebellious story of the rejection of God.

The second one is found in Genesis 3. God creates Adam and Eve, perfect bodies, perfect health, perfect garden, perfect marriage, perfect relationship with God and a perfect relationship with each other. And they rebelled against God.

Here’s the third story of the rejection of God: God sent His own Son to this earth who explained the Scriptures and who did nothing but good for thirty-three and one-half years. He healed people, raised people from the dead, loved on people, had dinner with sinners, never acted prideful or arrogant, and the people rejected Him so bad that they tortured Him to death.

So the answer to that question, “Would a loving God send someone to hell,? is that people send themselves to hell by the choice they make. Jesus already paid for all of our sins and all we have to do is believe in Him and we choose heaven for all eternity.

Here’s another question people ask: “Why did God create us with a free will?” You can’t truly love anyone unless you have a free will to do so.

This earth and what’s in it and on it, one day will be burned up. What is left is God’s family. He gets a family that truly loves Him! Choose to be in God’s family and we spend eternity with Him. Choose a life of rebellion and you choose not to be in His family.

My question is: Why would anyone reject a loving God? Eternity is your choice. You will never be able to blame God because God makes Himself known in and to every person in this world.

 

 

 

“Where & How”

It is our choice where we go and how we spend eternity. Yes, we are saved by grace, but there are many, many, Scriptures on being judged for our works. Too many believers believe that after they are saved, their works are not judged. Evidently, they haven’t read the same Bible I read.

People need to understand two words: Belief and behavior. Our belief determines where we spend eternity and our behavior determines how we spend eternity. There are degrees of punishment in hell and there are rewards in heaven according to our works while living on this earth. So, yes, works and our behavior matters while living.

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourself; it is the gift of God, (Verse 9) not of works, lest anyone should boast. This gift of grace to us was paid for by Jesus, but what we do and how we choose to live is up to us!

Ecclesiastes 12:14 – For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

1 Peter 1:17 – And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.

Matthew 16:27 – “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

Don’t get too hung up on perfect behavior because we can’t be perfect, yet. However, what you believe will determine your behavior! There are people who say that they believe in Jesus but have never even tried to live for Him. I don’t think they really believe. When you truly believe, the Bible says God gives us a hew heart and we have a “desire” to turn from sin and follow Him and His ways. If a person still wants to live in sin, their heart hasn’t been changed, they just gave “lip-service” to being saved.

It is absolutely ridiculous to say you believe in Jesus but doesn’t follow any of His teachings to the point of not even reading Scripture that tells us how to live. If a person truly believes then they will do what He has commanded in His word.

There will be two judgments: The believer’s judgment and unbelievers judgment. These two judgments are separate, not mixed together.

The Judgment Seat of Christ is the believer’s judgment. 2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, whether good or bad.

We are not judged for our sins, because Jesus already took our judgment, but we are judged for our works. According to Scripture, we either receive a reward or lose a reward.

Romans 14:10 – But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:10 – According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. (Verse 11) For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

(Verse 12) Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, (Verse 13) each one’s work will become manifest for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.

(Verse 14) If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. (Verse 15) If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

The foundation of the gospel is and always will be Jesus Christ. Everyone has a choice to either do works that will last through eternity or do works that will be burned up. The motive behind the works is very telling.

Matthew 6:1 – “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

In other words, Jesus said don’t do your works to be seen. This is a matter of the heart. This doesn’t mean that everything we do for others has to be hidden. It simply means to not do them in front of others to get praise from them. Your heavenly Father is the One that has the true reward. It’s the motive of why and how we do charitable things and that’s a matter of one’s heart. Did you do it to be seen so others will brag on you or did you do it out of compassion?

Matthew 6:2 – “Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. (Verse 3) “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, (Verse 4) “that your charitable deed may be in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”

One day, all believers are going to get to meet the Father! Think about that for a moment; billions of believers gathered and the Father Himself comes up to each individual and gives them their reward! Amazing! Your reward is done openly in front of all those billions of people.

Unless you fully understand that our works do matter while on this earth, this next verse will be confusing to you: 1 John 2:28 – And now, little children, abide in Him, and when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

Why would a believer be ashamed at His coming? Well, if the Christian is not living for Jesus by wasting their life on what hey wanted to do and did it their way; they were selfish in giving or just never did any chartable deeds for anyone else, and they lived for themselves, then they are going to be very ashamed. If a believer never reads God’s word and doesn’t know there are rewards for the deeds they do while living, they are going to be very disappointed come judgment day.

The other judgment is  The Great White Throne Judgment. This judgment is for all unbelievers. Here is a Scripture as to why we call this the “Great White Throne Judgment.

Revelation 20:11 – Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. (Verse 12) And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 

(Verse 13) The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. and they were judged each one according to his works. 

This book is the Book of Life and if your name is written in this book, you go to heaven. But then there are books, plural, because its more than just names written in them, their works are there also. There will be degrees of punishment in hell according to their works for all unbelievers.

However, a person can accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and all their sins are washed away by the blood that was shed on Calvery by Jesus Christ! How a person lives this life does matter in life after this one! Make your own choice. I suggest you choose Christ and spend eternity with the Father.

 

 

Whosoever Will

There are certain beliefs that can hinder a person from sharing the gospel with someone. First, what is the difference between “doctrine” and “dogma?” Has your doctrine changed over the years since you became a Christian? In other words: You don’t believe something you used to because you’ve grown as a Christian, or you believe something after years of maturing that you didn’t use to.

Doctrine by its literal definition never changes. The word “doctrine” comes from two Greek words: “Didaskalos”; “Doctor”; either that which is taught or the act of teaching. Doctrine means “the masters teaching and the master’s teaching never changes. But our understanding of the master’s teaching changes.

Dogma is a belief. Dogma is where we get our word “Dogmatic.”

A lot of Christians say they believe in “Calvinism,” so what do they believe? They have five points in their belief system.

(1) Total Depravity

What many believe this means is that we are so depraved and have such a fallen sin nature, that we can’t even choose Christ on our own. That God just kind of “Zaps” us and we get saved one day.

I totally disagree with that! I believe what it means is that we are born with a sin nature and yet God still gives us the ability to choose. Eternity is our choice! God is a merciful and just God and gives every person a chance to accept God. Whatever belief we have has to be consistent with the nature of God. A God that would give His own Son to the world for their sin, gives everyone an opportunity to choose. But we all are born with a sin nature: Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Simple question: Did you have to teach your children to be bad or, did it just come naturally to them?

(2) Unconditional Election

This belief is that God chose some people to go to heaven and chose some to go to hell. I do not believe that is true! If our salvation is our individual choice, how could God have already chosen for us?

The truth is God wants everyone to come to Jesus Christ! There are way too many Scriptures that tell us to “Take the gospel to the whole world.” If God has already chosen who will go to heaven or who will be saved, why waste our time telling someone about Christ?

Matthew 24:14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.”

What kind of God would allow the gospel to be preached and then not allow but only certain people to receive it? Doesn’t make sense, does it? Mark 16:15 – And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

John 1:29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

All through Scripture, we can see that God wants the whole world, not just the elect, to be reconciled to Christ! Jesus has already paid for everyone’s sin in the whole world. Jesus has already paid for the whole world to be saved. This is why it should be easy to witness to others. Their sins have been paid for, they just need to accept and believe.

People don’t go to hell because of their sin. They go to hell because of “Unbelief!” Jesus did not say that the ones that don’t sin go to heaven and the ones that sin go to hell. John 3:36 – “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

When we believe by faith, all of our sins are paid for in full and the righteousness is deposited into our account! But it’s up to the individual to choose.

(3) Limited Atonement

This basically means that Jesus died only for the “elect.” Again, I don’t believe this. There are too, too, many Scriptures that Jesus died for the whole world. Look at these two Scriptures that have a phrase, “Once for all.”

Hebrews 7:27 – who does not need daily, as those high priest, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 

Hebrews 9:12 – Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

If certain people are already chosen that they are going to heaven, why witness, why tell anyone about Christ? Why even pray for the lost? The truth is that we are to compel people to come to Christ!

(4) Irresistible Grace

What this means in Calvinism teaching is that those who are chosen cannot resist the grace of God. They will accept Christ because it’s just irresistible. I totally disagree with that. I believe that a person can, and will and does resist God. God gave us free will. If this teaching is true, then God created “robots!” We would have to have no will or a choice. Our belief determines where we will spend eternity. Our behavior determines “how’ we will spend our eternity.

Acts 7:51 – “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.”

Matthew 7:24 – “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:” (Verse 26) “Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:” Matthew 10:32 – “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” Does that sound like everyone has a choice? Yes, it does!

(5) Perseverance of the Saints 

This means to the Calvinist that, if you are one of the chosen, you will persevere to the end no matter what. This takes personal responsibility out of our choice. I believe in the “Preservation” of the Saints. In other words: I believe that God preserves those whom He loves and who calls on His name.

Psalm 31:23 – Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful. 

Psalm 37:28 – For the LORD loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever…

Psalm 97:10 – You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints…

God is able to keep that which I have committed to Him! I’ve committed my faith in the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Matthew 16:25 – “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

Whosoever Will!

 

When God Says Wait

Does anyone enjoy waiting for anything? No, I personally hate it. And yet, forty-three times in the Old Testament, we are instructed to “Wait on the Lord!”

Isaiah 40:29 – He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. (Verse 30) Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, (Verse 31) but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Has God ever been silent when you are desperate for an answer to your prayer? I’ve been there as many have. You get alone, pour your heart out and wait. The only thing you hear in your spirit is, “Wait!” We get so frustrated because we feel like we have been waiting already too long. We need so many things to line up and work out, but it all goes away and nothing changes if the Lord doesn’t come to our rescue immediately.

But God says if we wait on Him, He will renew our strength to endure where He’s taking us. It’s all right there in Isaiah 40. God always answers His children. We are to walk out that calling and not give up. He is faithful to complete His purpose for our lives.

We on the other hand just want the crises or nightmare to end, but we end up waiting some more. Have you ever waited, not days, weeks, or even months, but years on an answer from God? I have and it’s the hardest thing a person will ever have to do and not lose faith. How about while going through something and turmoil starts to break out in your home church and you have to find a new church family right in the middle of your crises? That can begin a new struggle. We pray, we ask, and we wait, all to no avail, so it seems. The only thing that will sustain us during a time of waiting is that we know that we know God has spoken to us!

Patiently waiting is a part of God’s nature.

2 Peter 3:8 – But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. (Verse 9) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

God is on a different time table than we are. We want God’s blessing, but not His timing; we want His help, but we’re not willing to wait. There is always a purpose behind the waiting.

John 11:5 – Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. (Verse 6) So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. (Verse 7) Then after this, He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”

They had to go to Bethany, which was about two miles, to meet with Mary and Martha. Jesus and Martha have a conversation and then Martha goes to Mary and tells her Jesus is here. Then Mary has a conversation with Jesus and Mary leads Him to Lazarus’ tomb.

John 11:38 – Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. (Verse 39) Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” The sister of him who was dead, said to HIm, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” (Verse 43) Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” (Verse 44) And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

What was the purpose of Jesus delay? The Jews believed that when a person died, the soul would hoover around the dead body for three days. But after three days the body would start to decay and the soul would leave. The Jews believed that absolutely no one could come back to life after three days because the soul was gone. They also knew that the only person that could possibly resurrect a dead body after three days would b the true Messiah. So Jesus waited for two more days before He went to Lazarus’s tomb.

Even as Jesus was moving toward His own death, He wanted them to know that God can turn death into life even after the third day. Waiting on God always has a purpose.

When God says wait there are always lessons to be learned. God’s desire is greater in what He wants to do in us, than our situation we are in at present. The waiting is more about the lessons and testings that we need to learn. We are not always ready for what God plans to do in our lives because our faith needs to be tested at times.

We also don’t always see what lesson we should be learning while going through the situation. But I do know this: If we don’t realize what God is trying to teach us, we will either stay there until we get it, or we will repeat it. Look for the lesson and ask God what He’s trying to show you. We can’t force it any sooner than what He has planned.

Waiting on God requires absolute trust! Sometimes we are in a place that if God doesn’t come through, we will utterly fail. Most of the time the situation calls for a miracle or we’re done for it. I’ve been there. No one could get me out but God, so we wait and we trust. Our confidence in money and others doesn’t matter because it or they can’t fix what we need. Are we willing to trust Him through the waiting?

Waiting on God will humble us.

In our society today, the more status a person has, the less waiting they have to do. However, that’s not how it is in God’s economy. Waiting on God means, “I’m not in charge!” We cannot wait on the Lord without being humbled in the process. Have you ever went through a situation where no matter what you did, how hard you worked, you still lost everything? If you have, that will humble you.

Waiting on God will change you.

We usually ask God to change our circumstances instead of changing us. But first He wants to change us.

Do you remember the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus? He was rounding up Christians to be persecuted. And on that road God strikes him down and a bright light appears and out of that light Jesus says, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” In that moment, Saul is converted. As Saul stands up, God blinds him and for three days Saul is lead by his own men. 

Why do you think Saul was blinded? Could it have been that God needed to give him a new set of eyes, a set of spiritual eyes? When we are in a situation, we can’t see it the way God sees it. We have to gain God’s perspective or the stress and the pressure will destroy us.

There is a blessing at the end of waiting.

Genesis 21:2 – For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. This was 24 years after God’s promise to Abraham and the blessing was fulfilled. 

Anna had lived in the temple 64 years as a widow form the age of 20 to the age of 84, believing when God said your eyes will see the Messiah. And then one day, that 84-year-old woman held the promised Messiah in her arms (Luke 2:36-38).

There is always a blessing when God brings us through the waiting. He renews our strength while we wait, but the blessing is better than anything we may endure. It’s worth it all if we can help one person’s life to come to know our Lord and learn to wait on Him because His timing is always perfect.