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I Can Make It On My Own

FreeFallWe all like to think that we have it all under control, that we can make it through life on our own, without help from others.  But can we really?

Let me tell you a story about two skydivers.  Both are in a plane flying at 12,000 feet.  One is wearing a parachute, and is ready for his jump.  The other has left his parachute hanging on its hook in the plane, confident that he can make the jump on his own.

The diver with the parachute jumps first, feeling the absolute freedom of free-fall, tumbling in somersaults and soaring through the air like the worlds fastest bird.  And then, at just the right moment, he pulls the rip-cord, his parachute deploys, and he floats safely to the ground.

And now it is the others jumper’s turn.  He watched the first person’s jump and noted how much fun he seemed to be having.  And with a smile on his face as he jumped from the plane, he vowed to do even better.  He soared and somersaulted, he dove head first, then spread his arms and legs and took up the perfect free-fall form.

As the ground neared, he decided to do another head first dive.  He put his arms by his sides and rolled his head slightly toward his chest until he was diving vertically toward the ground.  Hurling toward the ground at over 150 miles per hour, that is how he hit, head first, his skull and body shattered nearly instantly, and death was both instant and inevitable.

I would like to make a few observations about this second man’s performance.

  • First, his belief that he could make the jump without a parachute had absolutely no impact (no pun intended) on the outcome of the jump

  • Second, his ignorance of the laws and forces that come into play when one jumps out of a plane had no impact on the outcome of the jump

  • The consequences of the jumper’s actions were fixed and unchangeable.  The only way to avoid the consequences would be to change course while there was still time.

  • Finally, both jumpers had an inevitable appointment with the ground, and the outcome of that appointment was dependent on the choice they made about the necessity of wearing a parachute.

In just the same way as both jumpers had an inevitable appointment with the ground, we all have an inevitable appointment with God.  We will all meet Him on Judgment day.  The Bible teaches:

 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, Hebrews 9:27

Both skydivers had ultimate control over their ultimate fate, just as we have control over the outcome of our meeting with God on Judgment Day.  But, you may ask, on what will we be judged on that day?  Will it be on our good works?  On all the good we did during our lives?  Or will it be according to something else?

We must understand that God is a Judge, and a Just One.  And we will be judged according to our obedience to God’s Moral Law, The Ten commandments.  So, let’s assume that this judgment will be today.  How would we measure up?  Let’s see.

First, have you ever told a lie, even a little one?  Then you are a liar, and guilty of breaking the ninth commandment.

Have you ever stolen anything, even if the value was small?  Then you are a thief, and guilty of breaking the eight commandment.

Jesus said that if we look at another person with lust, then we have committed adultery in our heart.  Have you ever done that?  Then you are an adulterer, and guilty of breaking the seventh commandment.

Ever used the name of God or of Jesus as a cuss word?  If so, that makes you a blasphemer, and guilty of the third commandment.

So, I have assesd my position before God along with you, and I find that I am a lying, thieving blasphemer and adulterer, and we have looked at only four of the ten commandments.  And the Bible teaches:

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.  James 2:10

So, if you are guilty of even one of the commandments that we discussed, in God’s eyes, you are guilty of all, I am guilty of all.  So, is there a need to go on?

The question is, what is the consequence of breaking these commandments?  The answer lies in a particular verse in the book of Revelation, and elsewhere:

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.  Revelation 2:18

Just as the foolish jumper did not understand the seriousness of jumping from a plane without a parachute, many times, we do not understand the seriousness of our sin, nor the terrible consequences of our sin.  But God, being a just Judge will punish all sinners in just the was the Bible describes.

But John, the Bible teaches that God is a God of love, surely He will not punish me for the sins I have committed,  or perhaps you will hold up all of the good things that you have done as expiating circumstances.  Have you ever tried that in an earthly court of law?  If you had robbed a bank, how likely do you think the judge would be to let you off if you showed him that you frequently feed the poor and help the orphans of your city?  True, the judge may commend you for your goodness, but he will still sentence you to a just sentence for robbing a bank.  And so it is with God.  If you have committed sins, then there must be a punishment.  That is a principle in earthly courts, and it holds true in the heavenly court as well.

BUT…

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

God does love you!  In fact He loves you enough that He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect, sinless life, and then to die on the cross as punishment for YOUR sins.  Jesus committed no sin of His own, making Him eligible to die in your place, taking the punishment that is justly yours, allowing you go go free.

If you will admit to God that you are a sinner, that you can’t make it on your own, and then repent, that is, turn away from your sins, and turn toward God, trusting in Jesus as the complete payment for your sins, then, just as Jesus was raised from the dead three days after His crucifixion, never to die again, , you also will be given the gift of eternal life as a free gift.

But, how do we trust in Jesus?  In just the same way that the wise skydiver trusted in his parachute.  He didn’t just look at it and say, “Yep, I trust this parachute”, he put it on!  The Bible says it this way:

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.  Romans 13:14

For more information, please visit:  AfterLifeCatalog.com/GoodPerson

 

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Christian, Follow Jesus, Knowing Jesus | , , , , | Leave a comment

My Testimony

JesusI grew up in a religious home. I came from a moral family and I knew the difference between right and wrong. But as a teen I began smoking cigarettes and fifteen, and then experimenting with alcohol at sixteen. By the time I was eighteen I was using marijuana, and a year later, I was using heavier drugs, mostly LSD and cocaine, but I had experimented with others as well. I was also becoming sexually active and had developed an addiction to pornography.

I was doing everything I wanted to do, but the longer I continued down the path of living only for self, the emptier I became. Finally, I reached a point where I just didn’t care whether I lived or died. I was not suicidal; I just had no desire to go on any longer.

I was talking with my Mom while in this depressed state, and she tried to explain some things to me. She said that the things I was doing, living for self, and the activities I was involved in, God calls sin. She said that we are all sinners, and because God is a holy God, that we are separated from Him. She said that Jesus died to take away my sins, that He died in my place, and then rose from the dead, having paid the debt in full.
And then she asked if I would turn away from my sin, confessing them to Jesus, and turn my life over to Him, letting Him be Lord of my life.

At that point, I didn’t want my life, so I said that if Jesus was willing to take it, then yes, that is what I would do.

And in that moment when I decided to turn my life over to Jesus, a miracle happened. In an instant, He cleansed me from my sin and made me a new creature. A moment before, the old me didn’t care if I lived or died, in fact, I felt half dead already. A moment later, the new me, the alive in Christ me, felt vital and alive, and eager to move forward. But I knew that from that moment onward I would not be moving on my own, but with my Lord at my side.

July 22, 2013 Posted by | Christian, Discipleship, Forgiveness, God's Grace, Knowing Jesus, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Are We Married To Jesus But Having An Affair With Satan?

First off, I want to acknowledge the source of my title phrase, it comes from the “Be Better Not Bitter” Blog, and this excellent post.  My thanks to Shenine and her excellent work! When I first read Shenine’s phrase about being married to Jesus I knew I had to expand a little on it, so, here goes.

Many Christians would like to believe that they can have their salvation with the Lord, and still play around with their favorite sins now and then.  They want to profess a relationship with Jesus on the one hand, but still have a little fling from time to time, to keep things interesting.  In other words, they want to be married to their Lord, but still maintain an adulterous relationship with Satan. Here is what the Bible says about that idea:

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  —  Joshua 24:10 (KJV)

The Bible does not leave us free to serve the Lord part-time and then turn around and serve Satan part-time.  The Bible calls on us to choose, and choose today, who will we serve?  This choice is not to be taken lightly, much is at stake here so it is up to us to choose wisely.  The Bible says:

15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;

16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lordthy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.

19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.  —  Deuteronomy 30:15-20

What will we follow?  Will we follow life and good?  Or will we follow death and evil?  Jesus, or Satan?  We can’t follow both.

The prophet Elijah asks the same question:

And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”  —  i Kings 18:21 (NKJV)

We have a choice to make: Who is our God?  Is it Jesus?  Is it Satan?  Is it our flesh?  The world and its pleasures?  But Jesus says:

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.  —  Luke 9:23 (KJV)

Notice, Jesus does not say that we are to indulge our flesh when we wish or take a little time away to keep company with the world?  No, he said that we are to deny ourselves.

And finally, it is not enough that we call Jesus our Savior and then don’t do the things that He says.  Jesus put it this way:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  —  Matthew 7:21 (KJV)

Remember, we are to:

Enter (ye) in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.  —  Matthew 7:13,14 (KJV)

August 17, 2012 Posted by | Christian, Discipleship, Godliness, Knowing Jesus, Prayer | , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

How Is It That There Are Divisions In The Church? The Answer Is Simple!

How can it be that there are divisions in The Church?  And when I refer to The Church here, I speak of the Universal Church, The Body Of Christ.

Well, I was reading John 17 today, “The High Priestly Prayer” of Jesus, and the answer jumped out at me.  I will quote part of it here:

18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Jesus prays specifically that His Church be united, and in verses 21 and 23 He gives the reason,  “that the world may believe that You sent Me” and “and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me“.  When we are One Body in Christ, united under One Lord, we are a powerful force in the world, proclaiming through our unity, that Jesus is the Christ, sent be God as a Savior to the world.  That is what God intended for His Church from the beginning.

But it seems we have listened to Satan rather than to our Father and to our Lord Jesus Christ, and instead of being a unified body, we have divisions everywhere!  We have one group that believes, “Once saved, always saved” and another that believes you can lose your salvation.  We have one group that believes that anyone can be saved, and another that believes that only a group specifically elected to salvation by God can be saved.  I could go on and on, but that would be boring, and I think you have gotten my point.  So, we have hundreds of denominations and sects, all of them believing that they are right, and all others are wrong.

Rather than listening to God’s Holy Spirit that dwells within us, and clinging to His simple Gospel message, we have chosen rather to allow Satan to stir up our pride and to divide us against ourselves and against our Lord, making us complicit in his attack against our God and His (our) Church, our very own Spiritual Body.

Divisions in the Church were first addressed by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians and since that day, divisions among us have only gotten worse!

The really sad thing is, it never had to be this way.  In Christ, we are more than conquerors, over Satan and over every enemy of the Church.  It has always been in our power to stop divisions, but sadly, we never have.

And, can I share the really, really sad thing?  If we were half the followers of Christ that we claim to be (and I do include myself) this NEVER would have happened!  How can we say that we are His followers, and that Christ lives in us and through us, and then, through our inaction allow this situation to be perpetuated?

This is not something that we will change in a year, or even five or ten.  It is something that we could change in a generation.

But only if we start today!  Won’t you join us?

August 7, 2012 Posted by | Discipleship, Knowing Jesus, Prayer, Spiritual Commentary | , , , , , , | 23 Comments

There Is Nothing Left To Say But Thank You!

If I were to ask any born again Christian if they believe that Jesus died for all of their sins, I know that nearly all of them would answer with an unequivocal “Yes!”.  And that is great, because Jesus truly did die for all of our sins.  And, if that were all there was to it, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.

Unfortunately, probably a majority of those who answered “yes” to the first question would, if asked, “What do you make of verses like John 1:9 then?”, would answer with something to the effect of we need to keep short accounts with God, otherwise we will be out of fellowship with Him.  It is that issue that I would like to address in this post.

If Jesus truly died for all of our sins, and I believe there is ample evidence to conclude this decisively, then there are no sins left for God to hold against us, correct?  If God is still holding my sins against me, then it must not really be forgiven.  If it is not forgiven, how can it be dealt with?  It seems to me that if any of my sins are yet unforgiven that Jesus would have to die once again to make payment for it.  And we know the Bible is clear, that is not going to happen.  The Bible says that Christ died for sins once!

Another explanation I have heard is that today, we get our sins forgiven by confessing them  to God and then repenting of them.  Really?  If sins can be forgiven by confession and repentance, then why did Christ have to die?  If we believe that sins can be forgiven so easily today, then we are doing two things, first, we are drastically under estimating the seriousness of sin, and second, we are drastically under valuing the preciousness of Christ’s blood.  We are saying that our (works) confession and repentance are of equal value to Christ’s blood.  I would call that pretty close to blasphemy, wouldn’t you?

No, the title of this piece says it all.  When we sin, there is nothing that we can do but fall on our face in worship and thanksgiving that our God has already forgiven our sin when Jesus spilled His precious blood on our behalf and accept His free gift of Love for His children.

The person who lives a life of confession and repentance lives in constant fear that he might have missed  a sin, or that maybe his confession or repentance is not sincere enough.

The person who lives a life knowing that His sins are already forgiven lives in continual thanksgiving, worship, and praise of His Lord for the gracious gift He has provided.

August 2, 2012 Posted by | Discipleship, Forgiveness, God's Grace, Knowing Jesus, Revival, Salvation, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Progressive nature Of God’s Personal Revelation

In Acts chapter 21, Paul learns that when he journeys to Jerusalem, he will be captured by the Jews and handed over to the Gentiles.

10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”  —  Acts 21:10-11

Paul’s response here is very important.  He says,  “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”  (Acts 21:13)  The key phrase is “I am ready”.  This tells me that Paul was already aware, at least, that something unpleasant was going to take place when he reached Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit had already prepared him for the event.  Therefore, upon learning the exact nature of the event that would occur, his response is that he is ready.

Do you suppose that if Paul had learned on the road to Damascus that he would one day be turned over to the Gentiles and eventually killed that he would have so readily followed Jesus?  That is a hard question to answer, but I have a feeling that he would not.

But over time, day by day, and bit by bit, as Paul’s faith grew ever stronger, the Lord revealed to him, a bit at a time, exactly what would be required of him, until, eventually, when he learns of his eventual demise, he is able to respond, “I am ready”.

And it is the same with us.  Our God does not reveal to us what we will be enduring five years from now, or ten.  But He does faithfully prepare us for what will happen today, tomorrow, or next week.  And as we grow in our faith, the Lord will trust us with ever larger and more specific revelations about our circumstances and what we must endure for His sake.

So, what about you Christian, are you ready?

Lord, I bow humbly before you as I seek your will for me life, trusting that You will fill me always with your Spirit so that when asked, my response will always be, “Yes Lord, I am ready!”  Amen.

July 8, 2012 Posted by | Faith, Knowing Jesus, Prayer | , , , , | 10 Comments

Are We Fans Or Followers Of Christ

I am reading the book, “Not A Fan: Becoming A Completely Committed Follower Of Jesus”, by Kyle Idleman.

 

The first section of the book is devoted to distinguishing between the fans and followers of Christ.

 

Fans tend to want Jesus as part of their lives, but only to the extent that they are not too inconvenienced by His presence.  For example, fans want what Jesus offers, as long as they don’t have to give more financially than they are comfortable with.  Fans want Jesus, but are not willing to give up that favorite sin, whether that sin be drinking or drugs, sexual immorality, lying, coveting, etc.  Fans want Jesus, Continue reading

March 31, 2012 Posted by | Discipleship, Godliness, Knowing Jesus | , , , , | 14 Comments

Jesus Take the Wheel

First of all, I would like to thank Bernadette for her wonderful post, Jesus Take the Wheel, and for introducing me to the song of the same name by Carrie Underwood.

I read her post this morning and commented on it, but in thinking about it afterwards, I realized that I have more to say, and I wanted to share it here.

Continue reading

January 11, 2012 Posted by | God's Grace, Knowing Jesus, Prayer, Uncategorized | , , , | 8 Comments

Are You Prepared To Do Battle Today?

I just read That’s Why They Play The Game which talks about the importance of preparing to meet your opponent when playing a game like basketball or soccer.  No matter what the other team’s abilities or record, we must never assume that we have won the game before the game is played.  We must never assume an attitude of over-confidence, but rather, of being fully prepared for battle in every contest we engage in.

It is true of sporting contests.  How much more true is it if our Christian walk?

Continue reading

November 26, 2011 Posted by | Knowing Jesus, Prayer, Uncategorized, Worship | , , , | 11 Comments

In Time Of Trouble, Jesus Loves You

Sometimes we reach a point in our lives where it all just stops making sense.  Sometimes the things that used to be fun have become boring.  Or maybe a relationship is ending or has just ended.  Or life has become a sad and lonely place, and full of questions and doubts.  Is this all there is?  What’s the point?  Is it really worth it?

If this sounds like you, then know that you are not alone.  I am writing from personal experience, and each of the above circumstances is from my own personal history.

Sometimes things can seem pretty hopeless.  Inside, there is a gnawing, perhaps a feeling that there are needs that are not being fulfilled.  Perhaps some of those needs are so deep that they don’t even have a name.

But, there is hope!  There is one who knows every one of those needs, and who knows exactly how to fill them.

If you are like me, you have tried many different avenues to try to fill those deep needs.  Perhaps it’s been drugs or alcohol.  Perhaps it has been relationships or promiscuous sex.  Or spending money, or risky behavior, or any of a myriad other “fixes”.  But, except perhaps for a short while, none of those things have worked.  They may feel good for a little while, but soon the good feelings have worn off, and the feelings of emptiness return, only now they are worse than before.

The fact is, none of these things have worked, because none of them can work.

We are, each one of us, created for a personal and intimate relationship with our God.  Two thousand years ago, God was manifest in flesh when Jesus Christ walked the earth.  The Bible tells us that God is love, and Jesus demonstrated that love when He ministered to the sick and hurting, when He forgave sins, and even when He restored families by raising a dead loved one.

That same Jesus is calling to you, right now.  Jesus said,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

“Rest for your soul”.  I don’t know about you, but my soul could use rest.  And Jesus’ invitation and promise are one hundred percent reliable.

Did you know?  There is only one thing that separates you from God right now.  Sin.  And not just the big ones like murder, adultery and fornication.  When God speaks of sin He means the seemingly less important ones as well.  Sins like, lying, bearing false witness, disrespect to parents, and the like.  You see?  Our God is a holy God, and all sin, any sin, is sufficient to separate us from His love and His presence in our lives.

But Jesus loved us enough that He took care of that as well.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

But, what does it mean when the Bible says, “God gave His only Son”?  Well, the Bible tells us, “The wages of sin is death”, and the death the Bible talks about is not physical death, but spiritual, that is, separation from God.  In fact, all of us start our lives spiritually dead, separate from God.

And this is where Jesus comes in with His love for us.  Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the debt for our sins, that is, He died, and was separated from God, His Father.  But Jesus not only paid the price for our sins, He rose from the grave, victorious over death, and providing a way of reconciliation with God, that we may once again enjoy that intimate and personal relationship that sin destroyed.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!   Romans 5:8-10

The way is clear!  With Jesus paying our sin debt for us, there is nothing to stand in the way between us and eternal life and a wonderful relationship with God and our Savior.  There is but one thing to do:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

Will you do it?  After all, isn’t a relationship with the One who created you, who knows you and understands you, isn’t that what you are really after?  Will you pray with me now?

Lord Jesus, I am a sinner.  But I now understand that you came to earth to die for my sins, and that my sin debt is now paid.  I believe that You rose from the dead, victorious over death, and that you offer eternal life to me now as a free gift.  I accept You as my Lord and Savior, and I accept your gift of eternal life.  Amen.

Did you pray with me?  Because if you did,  God’s Holy Spirit now dwells in you, and He is now testifying with your spirit that what I have told you is all true!

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Romans 8:16

If you prayed with me, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself,  “I am a child of God, and Jesus is my Lord and Savior!”.

If you would like to send me an email to tell me what you have just done, or if you are still not sure and have questions, just click on my picture on the far right of this page.  If you would like to read more about asking Jesus to be your Savior, please visit Just 33 Minutes.

God bless you, and I hope to hear from you soon.

November 13, 2011 Posted by | Christian, Evangalism, Godliness, Knowing Jesus, Salvation | , , , | 4 Comments