And the Sword of the Spirit

Posted: February 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

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But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'” Matthew 4:4

These are the words of Jesus as He was tempted in the wilderness by Satan.  From what is recorded in Scripture we know Jesus was tempted with three things.  Each time Jesus answered with Scripture.  Even Satan used Scripture to try and tempt Him.  What does this mean?  To me it means how highly Jesus thought of the Word.  It also means that the enemy knows the Word as well.  Don’t you think we should too?

I am sure many of you who profess Jesus Christ attend church each week.  Each week I hope the Pastor is teaching you the Word of God with expository teaching.  I hope he gets out of the way and explains what is there.  But is this enough for the Christian?  Is once a week in the Word enough to feed the Christian to fulfill the mission?  Is this what was done in Scripture itself?

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

According to Scripture a key component to making disciples is teaching them to observe what Jesus has commanded.  How can we teach if we don’t know what He commanded?  Where do we find His commandements?  The Bible!  Is learning once a week enough for a believer to be able to teach what Jesus has commanded?  Did Jesus just teach once a week?

Getting up, He went from there to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan; crowds gathered around Him again, and, according to His custom, He once more began to teach them. Mark 10:1

All throughout His ministry Jesus taught His disciples. He taught in the temple, synagog, homes, on mountains, as well as other places.  Was He just teaching a new philosophy on life?  Was He teaching a new law that He made up?  Or was He teaching what was already spoken by God?

But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”  Matthew 22:31-32

Jesus quoted the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).  Was He doing this to show off?  No.  He also knew the people He was talking to had studied the Tanakh. They didn’t just learn once a week.   The teacher didn’t just teach once a week.  People were devoted to learning who God is.

There is a need for Christians to be students of the Word.  We have the written revelation that has been so well preserved.  We have a way for God to speak to us.  If we start looking elsewhere as Christians to have God speak to us then we don’t trust His Word.  Jesus trusted His Word.

I encourage you to be in your bible everyday.  Don’t just read it.  Study!  Meditate on it!  Ask your Pastors to offer more learning oppurtunites outside of Sunday if they don’t already.  I feel it is a responsibility of a church to provide these opportunities for the saints to learn.  True biblical teaching by someone trained to do so helps many to steer away from false teachers.  It helps us to know the gospel more clearly and to see when a preacher of lies is hiding in sheep’s clothing saying that you can have your best life now.  Also, knowing the gospel that saves will allow the saints to fulfill the commission and proclaim the gospel that saves. Amen!

Clear biblical teaching helps in so many other ways as well.  Just read what Paul wrote to Timothy.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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I pray you get with the Word.  I pray you stay in prayer.  I pray you dig into knowing God in the beautiful gift of the bible.  So many have died for us to have this book in a language we can read.  It is a shame to not love the Word of God and the living Word Who died for the salvation of all who believe.  There is still a battle going on.  Although almighty God has won and Jesus Christ is reigning King, we still need to put on the armor, pick up the sword, and stand firm!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-18

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I was once on a journey.  I was trying to find myself.  Isn’t that what life is about?  Trying to find out who you are and how you fit in this world?  Isn’t it about getting ahead, getting a degree, getting a job/career, getting a house, getting a wife and starting a family?  The list of stuff to go after is non-stop.  It is all part of the American dream.  You want it?  Go get it!  Just be nice along the way and the universe will move for you.

Is this what you believe?  If so, then what?  What happens when you get all you ever wanted?  What happens when you are living the dream?  What happens when you are suddenly on your death-bed or suddenly dead?  Will that house, car, wife, family, iPhone be of any use to you?

Sadly, some preachers even preach this.  It is refered to as the “prosperity gospel” or “name it claim it gospel”.  It is not the true gospel.  I once heard it said that he who dies with the most toys wins.  But in actuality, he who dies with the most toys dies just like everyone else.  The question goes back to, “then what?  Is it all over?  Did I amass all this stuff for my vapor of a life on earth and now nothing?  Or did I amass all this stuff in my vapor of a life on earth and it was my idol and I worshipped it instead of the creator of all?  Did I love stuff and hate God?  Did I love the dream and hate the Spirit?  Did I love the world and hate Jesus?”

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14

“So what? My life is short.  So I am not supposed to pursue things.”  Here in America so many have the privilege to have stuff.  It is when the stuff becomes the focus.  But nothing matters at all if you do not know God.  Nothing matters at all if you are an enemy of God.  “So pursuing things makes me an enemy of God?”  If anything is put in front of your relationship with God you need to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5

“But I do not believe in the God you speak of.”  If you don’t know God at all then yes, you are His enemy.  You have created your own god in the image of yourself instead of worshiping the true God who made us in His image.  We all know there is a God.  Some will recognize Him as God and others will hold down the truth.  They will actively hold it down like trying to hold an inflated beach ball under the water.  But the truth still exists that we were all created in His image.

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Romans 1:18-23

This is what happens when we deny God.  We create gods in our image.  We love ourselves and try to reason away our behavior by denying God for who He is.  We don’t want there to be a true and just God because then we will be held accountable for our actions.  Or we try to have a god who will let us in to heaven on our own works.  We know that God is just and will punish us for our sins.  So we hold down the truth in our unrighteousness and the world says that is ok.  The world and flesh and the evil one tells us to keep seeking self. They tells us to keep doing what feels good.  They tell us our good deeds out weigh our bad so if there is a heaven we will go there.

This is a great lie.  It is a lie that started from the fall.  “Did God really say????”

Yes! He has said and Yes! there are eternal consequences for not obeying His standards.  We all have lied.  We all have taken His name in vain.  We all have dishonored our parents. We all have not loved the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and strength.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  Romans 3:23

But God did something for sinners.  He came down and became a man.  He lived a sinless life.  The life we should live.  He died the death that we deserve.  He rose after three days dead to prove who He is.  “So we just believe that?”  We turn from our sins, with the power of the Holy Spirit, and put our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and follow Him as Lord of our lives.  Putting our trust in Jesus is not just believing He lived and died and rose.  It is believing that it was for you and without it God sees your sins and punishes you with all His wrath.  When you put your trust in Christ, God sees His righteousness.  He poured out His wrath on Him so you can be saved.  This is good news.  This is the gospel.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8

Are you on a journey to find you?  Are you on a journey to amass things?  Are you running away as an enemy of God?  If so I pray you will turn away from your sins and striving for things (repent) and put your trust in Jesus Christ.  I know I can’t convince you to believe any of this.  I just want you to think about it.  Then think some more.

Holy Father, give them ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart that is regenerated by You gospel.  It is in the name of Jesus alone they can be saved.  Works, church attendance, praying the rosary, sacraments, or any other thing added by man can not save.  It s by grace alone, though faith alone, in Christ alone, by You alone God any can be saved.  I pray in the saving Name of Your Son Jesus Christ I pray.  Amen!

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

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What is truth? This was a question Pilate asked of Jesus. It is asked a lot these days. Truth is important. What you believe is important.  That is why I am posting this.  I know I may get some backlash and some rebuttals.  I pray that a conversation is started and the Truth will be known.

Having a Roman Catholic background I was taught certain things.  There were also certain truths that Rome teaches that I was not taught or that I missed.  I hope that this brings to light some of the teachings and doctrine of the Roman Catholic church and what the bible truly teaches.  I do not go into much detail in this video but just wanted to start the conversation

In the end what we believe is important. What we believe about heaven, hell, this world, and God has eternal consequences.  Believing the correct Gospel of Jesus Christ is essential. Your eternity is at stake. Truth is critical!

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

A “Whoever” Christmas

Posted: December 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

What is Christmas these days? What does it mean to people? I know what it used to mean to me and what it means now.  The holiday itself is not everything.  The One we celebrate is.  It is all about Him. His birth, life, death, and resurrection. Not just one day a year. Everyday!
for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

As you watch this video I pray this Christmas, and everyday, that you are “whoever”.

Here It Is

Posted: December 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

Here is a little video I made the other day. I feel some people may not be reached by the written word alone.  You may need to hear truth spoken to you.  Here it is.

This world is filled with problems.  No one can deny this.  There is however a solution.  One that is more powerful than the problems.  One that has already fixed the problem.  I pray you can believe the Answer.  I pray you can repent (turn from your sin) and put your faith in the Answer …………………  Jesus Christ.

 

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I have had more than a few conversations with people about destiny.  No, not what you think the future holds for you in a way of career and family, but what eternity holds.  What happens to you when you die?  Most people have told me they believe in heaven.  Then I ask the million dollar question…. How do you know that is where you are going?  Most common answer. “I am a good person”.

Is this how we get to heaven? Do we need to be “good people”?  How do we know what “good” is?  Do I use our own standard of “good”?  Do I use someone else’s standard of “good”?  Or do I use God’s standard of “good”?

Some will use their own standard of “good”.  I recently heard a Tim Keller sermon in which he made the point that if someone uses their own standard of good and took a tape recorder and put it around their neck, then at the end of the day played back everything they said, they could not even live up to their own standard of “good”.  I agree.  I know me and know I couldn’t do it.

So let’s look briefly at someone else’s standard.  If I can’t live up to mine how can I live up to theirs?  Unless theirs is so low that they allow me to live how I want.  This may be so they can live without the guilt of not living up to their own standard.

Now let’s look at God’s standard.  How do we know God’s standard for good?  We have His Word.  We have the bible.  We have in the bible the commandments given to Moses.  I will not list them but I will test myself against a few to see if I live up to the standards God’s wants me to live by.

Have I ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Have I used it as a curse? Yes! One commandment broken.

Have I ever dishonored my parents?  Yes!  Strike two!

Have I ever taken something that wasn’t mine?  Maybe even something small like a pencil?  Yes!  Strike three!

Have I ever been angry with someone and not forgiven them?  Yes!  Jesus says this is like committing murder in your heart. Strike four!

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.  Matthew 5:21-22

Have I ever looked at a women with lust?  Yes!  Jesus says if you look at a women with lust you have committed adultery in your heart.  Strike five!

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

Let’s stop at five.  I can keep going because I have broken them all.  There is no one who hasn’t.

as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; Romans 3:10

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23

So what does this mean?  We can’t live up to our own standards.  We sure can’t live to God’s standards.  He will judge us.  If God is just, He will give us what we deserve.  He will not weigh the good we have done against the bad.  That would not be just.  That would be like if a person commits murder and goes to the judge and says “judge, look at all the good I did.  It must outweigh the bad.”  Would he be a just judge to let the murderer go? 

 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

Here is the GOOD NEWS!!  Here is the GOSPEL!!!  We have someone who took our punishment for us.  God sees our sins and says “guilty”.  My punishment is death.  But, God came down and became a man in the form of Jesus.  He was fully man and fully God.  He lived that perfect life that God commands.  He was tempted as we are tempted.  He did not sin.  Then He took a sinners punishment being whipped with a cat of nine tales being lashed to the bone.  He was spit on and mocked made to wear a crown of thorns.  He took my cross up Cavalry and had nails driven into His wrists and His feet and before He died said “It is finished.”  He atoned for our sins.  Now we can repent and put our faith in Him for our forgiveness.  We no longer have to be slaves to sin.  We can be free as slaves to Jesus Christ.

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I do not write this to make you feel bad.  I do not write this to lift myself up in self righteousness. I struggle with sin everyday!  I am not perfect but I am being made perfect through Jesus Christ.  I am a wretched sinner in need of the Savior.  My hope is that you think about these things: “Am I good?  By what standard? Can I live up to God’s standard on my own?  Why did Jesus die?  Can I put my faith in Him for taking my punishment and repent?  Can I pick up my cross and follow Jesus? 

I know this is a popular Scripture but it is truth.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16

My prayer is always that you are “whoever”.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Saved by grace alone, through faith alone, through Christ alone, by God alone.

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Everyday is a gift.  I know this is a cliché but it is true.  Even if that day you have been given is a rainy one.  It is a gift.  The air we breathe we take for granted.  The water, the food, the clothing, the shelter are all gifts.  This is what allows life to continue.  What happens in that life may not feel like a gift.  You may feel your life is terrible.  Maybe even unlivable.  Maybe you are jobless, friends less, or homeless.  Maybe the life you were  living suddenly changes because you lost a loved one to death or they left you.  Maybe you get up everyday and go to a job you don’t like going to.  Maybe there is some “dream” you want to be living.

There are a few ways you can look at those situations.  Some say life is what you make it.  If you want to go after your dream just go get it.   You can do this but be careful.  Make sure going after your dream doesn’t negatively affect others you love. Even before that, make sure going after your dream doesn’t negatively affect your relationship with God.  This should be first before you go after that dream.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?  Mark 8:36

Go to any book store and you will see a huge self-help section.  There will be many books about improving yourself.  There will be many books about how to succeed in business, health, and life overall.  There may even be a few of these books in the religious section teaching you how to live your best life now.  But what good is any of this if you lose your soul?  What good is any of it if you don’t have a relationship with God?  What good is any of it if you don’t know Jesus?

That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

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I was one of those people with ambitions to be successful in business.  I was chasing that American dream.  Mean while things in my life weren’t firing on all cylinders.  More than that, I didn’t know Jesus.  I was truly just doing my own thing.  I was just after making me happy and serving myself.  I was my own god.

I see this as a common occurrence in the world.  People are chasing success.  Again, there is nothing wrong with going after your vision, but your why is what is important.  Are you chasing that dream to say you did it?  Are you chasing that dream because the world says you have to leave that type of legacy for your life to mean something?  Are you chasing that dream because it is now your identity?

I chased it for these reasons.  But if I would achieve what the world sees as success what would I really have?  What would I really have if I didn’t know Jesus?  In the end I would still end up dead.  I may end up with a bunch of money to hand down, but I would still be dead.  If I was to live my entire life successfully, as the world sees it, and not know Jesus, I would end up dead and forever separated from God.  I would have lived for nothing.  All would be in vain.

But all of that changes when you know Jesus.  Your heart changes.  Your thirst for the things of this world will be quenched.  He gives you living water that is so much better than the water of the world.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

When you know Jesus you will have eternal life.  Will that make your life easy?  No!  It may make it harder.  Following Jesus is not the easy road, but it is the road that leads to life.  It leads to an abundant life.  Not with the things of the world that are perishable, but with the things of heaven.

 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:9-11

My prayer is that if you don’t know Jesus, He begins to work in your heart.  I pray you know that He came down to earth

to take our punishment for our

sins.  We deserve death, but He took our death on the cross and gave us life. 

I pray you repent and put your faith in Jesus and live the life He gives. 

I pray that if you know Jesus that you are living for Him and not chasing your own god. 

I pray you aren’t thirsting for the water of this world but that you

share the water of Jesus Christ by sharing His gospel.  From there what you do is not what defines you. 

Jesus Christ defines you. 

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Get in His Word!  Stay in His Word!