Saturday, August 2, 2014

"Born-again" Through Wisdom

Proverbs 1:7 declares, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," and thereby from wisdom we also get understanding and knowledge. In a broader sense, Wisdom is the application of how the "Born-again" experience is realized.

1.) When we realize who God is and the power of His might, the fear of the Lord is ignited and initiated within our heart.

2.) By seeking out the attributes of God through His Word or the witness of His people, the beginning of Wisdom (the fear of the Lord) turns into a desire for more Wisdom. In the search for more of who God is provides us with the confrontation that God is not only just, but also a loving God who desires our love and fellowship in return.

3.) When we yield our love and fellowship over to God by making Jesus the Lord of our lives, it opens up a new and greater understanding of who God is. That understanding of God in return, stimulates us to continue to seek for an even greater understanding of who God is and His love for us. As Proverb 9:10 points out, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of  wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding." Thus, understanding is gained through wisdom.

4.) Understanding of God then provides knowledge. When we have understanding of how something operates, we store that information into our database called the heart, and when a situation comes up concerning a specific situation, we recall our knowledge from the database that applies to that particular circumstance. So it is with understanding of God's Word. The more you study it, the more the Holy Spirit reveals to you and the more He reveals to you, the more you understand and therein knowledge is attained and retained.

Here we see how Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding from the Book of Proverbs is activated in the "Born-again" experience as mentioned by Jesus in John 3:3, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." Notice, you do not see the Kingdom of God by growing up into a church or by becoming a member of a church or merely stating that you are a Christian--you first must become "Born-again." We have other articles about becoming "Born-again" in this blog site.

In the above illustration, it must be mentioned that the secular mind cannot teach you the things of God, because they are foolishness to him as 1 Corinthians 2:14 clearly points out. When you seek out knowledge from a secular viewpoint, you are seeking knowledge from someone who has never received the wisdom, understanding and knowledge of who God is. In other words, the love of God has never permeated his heart because the world and the flesh remains embedded therein and not the Word and the Spirit. Without the fear of the Lord activating a desire to know who God is and knowledge of His Word, understanding cannot motivate the individual to become a "Born-again" believer in God's Kingdom. John 3:3, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." You cannot see the wind, but you can fell it. Likewise, you cannot see the Spirit, but you can feel Him -- and it all begins by making Jesus Lord and believing in your heart that God raise that same Jesus from the dead. Yes, God has made it that simple for us

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Are You Going To Heaven?

Heaven? Is there any way to know for sure that Heaven will be your new home when you die? Jesus gave us the answer to that question in John's Gospel in chapter #3. Simply stated, you must first be Born-again to enter into the Kingdom of God. But what does that term mean and how is becoming "Born-again" accomplished?

First of all you must be aware that the Bible tells us that sin cannot enter into heaven. Therefore, most people believe you can get into heaven by keeping the ten commandments or other laws. As you are probably aware -- no one can keep the commandments and laws. Simply stated, since no one can keep the commandments or laws, no one will ever get into heaven. Romans 3:20 states that by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for the law is the knowledge of sin. Can you then go to a priest and confess your sins to him? By no means. You are still attempting to be justified by the law.

Can a man under the law forgive another individual who is also under the law his or her sins? The Bible says that only God can forgive sin. In any case we cannot be saved by the works of the law even if we confess our sins to a thousand priests. If we could, then Jesus died in vain. We are saved by grace and not by the works of the law or by any deeds of the flesh. We are save by grace through faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross and in that fact alone takes away our sins by His shed blood and opens the door to heaven for us. It is not by works of righteousness that we have done, but by His mercy He has saved us.

Let's carry this a little further and consider a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes 9:3:
  • "There is an evil among all things that are done under the sun...the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead."
The hearts of men are evil of evil because we were all born into sin. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." - (Romans 3:23) Sin cannot enter into heaven. If it did, it would be just as bad there as it is here on earth. So we must get rid of our sin first if we want to enter into heaven. That is where "we must become born-again" comes into play.

Ecclesiastes goes on to say that: "The living know that they shall die, but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more reward; for the memory of them is perished. Also their love, their hatred and their envy is now perished; neither have they any portion of any thing that is done under the sun."

All of our hurrying and backbiting is over in the grave. So, did God just haphazardly put us on this earth without any reason or purpose? The Bible says "God made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." Why did He do that? The next two verses tells us -- "So they should seek the Lord, if haply they seek after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us. For in Him we live, and move, and have our being...for we are also His offspring." - (Acts 17:26-28) We are His offspring, but sin has kept us apart. What is the answer? "Born-again"!

So back to the question, "Are You Going To Heaven?" The primary answer to that question is "Have you been Born-again?" Jesus said: "Unless a man is Born-again, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." The next question is: "How do I know I have been Born-again?" Two things are necessary to be Born-again. First - repentance. The Bible states in Isaiah 55:7, "Let the wicked forsake their ways." Second - Romans 3:23 states: "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." and Romans 6:23, "...but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus." Therefore, by repentance, (which is the forsaking of our sinful ways) and calling upon the name of Jesus Christ and invite Him to become Lord and Savior and believing in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead. This is how we become born-again. After that happens the following verse kicks into play.
  • "But scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." - (Galatians 3:22)
When we make these two decisions on our part, God takes over on His part. Our part is to initiate the decisions and desire for salvation. God will not violate our free-will, but He awaits for an invitation from us. When we have repented and invited Jesus to become our Lord, we are Born-again according to the Scriptures. Do this now and the next time someone asks you if you are going to Heaven, you will know for sure and answer with a definite - ("YES I am, but -- how about you my friend?.")

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The World's Standards or God's?

The Christian life is held to a higher standard than the standards of the world. Whereas the world changes its standards to meet the flow of the moment, the Christian standard is set firm in the directives that govern his or her walk through life. In other words, the two standards are diametrically opposed. That same standard holds true for the different characteristics of Jesus and Satan. Where at one point, Jesus referred to Satan as "the god of this world", another Scripture reveals that Satan was the actual one responsible for the death of Jesus. However, the world's response to those claims would be to rebuke any similarities that Satan is this world's god or that he was  the one responsible for killing Jesus. Those who have set themselves apart from the world and have become separated from that lifestyle, understand this contrast, because they have lived by the world's standards before becoming a Christian. This is not so with those still in the world. They only know the ways of the world and have never committed themselves to a covenant relationship with Christ. The Bible tells us that they are actually blinded of the things of God due to the great influence inflicted upon them by the god of this world.

Individuals of this world, who  conform to the ways of the world, do not understand that the things of God do not change. Jesus made the statement that "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall never pass away." When the Bible stated, "Thou shalt not" way back then -- it still means "Thou shalt not" even today." The Bible declares, "God is the same yesterday, today and forever -- He never changes." However, by creating laws in the world to fit a certain lifestyle, will not change God's laws. Simply put, we have a free-will to choose. We can believe God, or we can believe this world. The Bible was not written with a bunch of  do's and don't's so God could beat us over the head if we do something wrong. God gave us those directives to govern our lives by. These standards are for our good, so we can live a full, rich and satisfying life. The world seeks after something to fill the emptiness of their soul. Many times religion is the way it chooses, but the Bible says:, "There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Jesus came to give us life, and that more abundantly. Christianity is not just for a chosen few, but for the whole world (John 3:16). It is not automatic, but you must make the choice to invite Jesus into your life and make Him your Lord and Savior. The standards of the world will keep you under bondage to the god of this world. The standards of God will set you free from the bondage of this world. Jesus said, "Whom the Son sets free, he shall be free indeed." He will set you free, if you so choose to be free.

"The Unveiling of the Trinity" (2003)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Religious Fanatic

Identity labels help us determine some one's particular interest. Individuals involved in various interests and causes are generally branded with labels such as: devotees, supporters, fans, followers, visionaries, etc. For those dedicated to promoting God and His Word, the term religious fanatic is generally used. Of course, there are many variations of religious fanatics today, but Jesus said we could recognize them by their fruits. A good tree will not produce evil fruit, nor shall a corrupt tree produce good fruit.

A Christian religious fanatic is someone who has come out of the world by recognizing his or her inability to live a righteous life through self determination. Therefore this passionate devotee attempts to warn those still under bondage to the evil forces of the world, about the freedom available for them. Many times these warnings are met with hostility. Those under bondage cannot understand the freedom of the fanatic, and thinks he or she is sending him into a trap. Contrarily, the fanatic is merely attempting to set that individual free from the trap he is already entangled in.

Saint Peter refers to these fanatics in his epistle as peculiar people. That is, they have been set free and no longer look or act like the rest of society. Certainly, not everyone will become a fanatic, but that is not to say they cannot if they so choose. Many times it takes the deathbed to open the blinded eyes, then again sometimes even then is too late. The Bible tells us, "Now is the acceptable day; today is the day of salvation. Today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart."

It all boils down to this: Everyone can become a religious fanatic, but not everyone will. Many look for some type of life from within themselves. However, because of sin, the only life available to them within their own body, comes from the flesh. Because they do not realize there is another life available to them, they rely upon their flesh as the source of happiness, enjoyment and supply. In essence, the flesh becomes their god, which makes themselves their god, instead of the Creator God.

When a religious fanatic is able to infiltrate their flesh and reveal to them another life source available to them, the news is sometimes met with hostility and sometimes joy. The one requirement to attain this new life is that  they must give up being the lord over their life and allow Jesus to become their Lord and Savior. The contrasting consequences is this -- unless they undergo a pledge to strike a covenant relationship with God, they shall forever remain under bondage to the evil forces of this world. But, when they make the pledge with a covenant relationship, they will find another life -- a new life brought about by the Spirit of God touching their spirit and radiating life into their soul. Whereas before, the soul sought after temporary life from the flesh, now it seeks after everlasting life from the spirit.

Remember the Proverb, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Also remember the words of Jesus, "Whom the Son sets free, he is free indeed." The fields are ripe for harvest, but we need more laborers in the field --consider becoming a Christian religious fanatic today.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

President's Day 2014 - "Against All Odds"

            From A Blog Article In 2008 - (His 200th Birthday - Feb. 12, 1809 - Feb 12, 2009)

 
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With Presidents Day fast approaching, I thought I would re-post this article from 2008 by linking to it in this blog. You will appreciate this man, who against all odds, persevered and won the biggest prize of all. How does that connect to Christianity? See for yourself. Click the link below.

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    Is The Road Getting Rough To Travel?

 
 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Is America Going To Pot?

In the late '50's, '60's & early '70's, a dictator by the name of Nikita Khrushchev ruled over the Soviet Union. Watching television one day, several years before I became a Christian, I remember vividly watching that man make a startling statement and wondering what he meant by it or how such a thing could happen in America. As he pounded his shoe on the podium, he said in so many words, "We will bury you." "We will not fire a shot." "America will die from within."

That was 5 decades ago, and within the past few years we see his prophecy coming to pass. Communists have encroached the executive branch and without doubt, the other two branches of government. Laws are being made today to promote lifestyles and other issues that in the '50's and '60's would be unthinkable and shocking.

It was one of Khrushchev's predecessors, Vladimir Lenin, who realized the possibility of changing the values of a culture and set it on a course to the desired direction, by teaching its values early on to the children. He said, "Give me four years to teach the children and that seed will never be uprooted." The first step in that endeavor for America occurred soon after Khrushchev's remarks, when in 1962 the Supreme Court sided with one atheistic woman against the will of millions of Americans by removing prayer from the schools. To see the results of that ruling, view one of my earlier blogs by clicking here.

That event happened over 50 years ago, much longer than the four years to change the minds of our children. Many children from that era have grandchildren and great-grandchildren in this generation. A great percentage of them reared without any teaching of God as noted by the explosion of atheism in today's society.

Is America really going to pot or have its citizens merely lost direction? It seems Khrushchev and Lenin were both right. Oh by the way, Lenin also made another statement that seems to fall right into line with what America is facing in society and government today. He is quoted as saying, "A lie told often enough becomes the truth."

Not to take sides, the Church must also shoulder as much of the blame. When we, as a called out people, will humble ourselves and pray and seek God's face and turn from our wicked ways, then He will hear from heaven and forgive our sins and heal our land. Although I believe we are beyond the point of no return, this passage from 2 Chronicles 7:14 is still valid, if not more so.

One final Scripture for the Church living in a decaying culture of today, is this one from Titus filled with hope for tomorrow:
  • "Looking for that blessed hope,and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." - (Titus 2:14) To God be the glory.