Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Feeling Blessed To Be A Christian In America

II Timothy 3:11-17
(11)“Persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. (12) In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,(13) while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (14) But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, (15) and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (16) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (17) so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Matthew 5:3
"Blessed are the poor in spirit
, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Recently, I have read some commentaries/blogs preaching that a true Christian is a persecuted Christian. They often say, “We must always feel persecuted as Christians, if we do not, we are not truly in Christ and we serve another Jesus” then I usually see verse 12 of II Timothy 3 used somewhere in their context along with the second scripture I noted Matthew 5:3. Now, Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” is mainly perceived in three different ways. Some perceive it as saying that Christians should not be financially rich, where they get that meaning in this verse is hard to say, but others, which I am referring to in this post, perceive it as feeling persecuted (poor) in the spirit for Christ. The third meaning, which I believe is what this verse is truly saying is that we as Christians should be poor or weak in our own human spirit or to say that as Christians we need to have a humble spirit and recognize that we can not just rely on ourselves in this life, but we need to seek God’s help in our lives in all situations to guide us.

Now concerning II Timothy 3, Paul noted in verse 12 that if we choose a Godly life for Christ we “will be persecuted,” not that we should feel persecuted. Yes, persecution will happen when we chose a life for Christ, though I believe, the persecution experience will happen on different levels. Some Christians will barely scratch the surface of persecution or just experience verbal persecution, and unfortunately others will experience horrific persecution, but no matter the level of persecution in which one will experience does not make us any less or any more a Christian. Also, note that Paul said in the previous verse (11) that The Lord rescued him from his persecution, not that he is still enduring it. My question to those who believe a true Christian is a persecuted one, especially, those who live in America--What is the extent of your persecution in the “Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave.” We live in America, for goodness sake, how can any Christian living in America even perceive persecution. What--did somebody call you a name, taunt you, or say, “God is not real?” Big deal is that persecution--not even at its least. True persecution to me is being thrown in prison for our faith, beaten/tortured for our faith, and dying for our faith in Jesus, read the book of Acts--the first century Christians were facing this everyday: Is that going on in America? I haven’t seen that lately in news. What do we know of persecution in America than just mere words? Remember the saying, "sticks and stone may break my bones, but names will never hurt me," I think this can apply here. I know and I pray for Christians in other countries that are being imprisoned, beaten, and even dying for their faith in Jesus Christ. It is sad and horrible, the ultimate test of faith, but Christ in them keeps them strong, upholds their hope that in Him this life is just a mere vapor compared to eternal life with Him. Now, they are experiencing what a lot of us will never experience-- so please place it in your heart to always pray for them.

Is it so hard to thank God everyday for living in America?--I do. What a great and glorious feeling it is being able to worship and believe in our Lord without any true persecution that other believers experience. I have always believed that God from the beginning has blessed America for recognizing the importance of His principles, though currently, American is turning its back on those principles and turning to Godless principles such as greed and self-satisfaction. My pledge to you dear Christian of “persecution” in America and to all Christians not only in America, but other Christians in other countries living free to practice our faith. Make it a point to praise and give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ for blessing us to be able to walk in a Christian book store or any other store to buy a Bible, feel blessed that you can wake up on your day of worship without any consequence of imprisonment, and feel blessed that we can walk in faith without true persecution. Please if you are not already to always pray for our brothers and sisters that do not have our same freedoms and pray that we all will keep strong in our faith, love and hope in Jesus Christ. So, that when the day comes that we might experience true trials and tribulations for Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord within us will help guide and protect us. Being in Jesus brings joy, whether there is persecution or not.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Ecclesiastes 7:14
“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.”

Saturday, May 17, 2008

To Those Who Do Not Know...Are You Interested?

The Romans Road to salvation is a way of explaining the good news of salvation using verses from the Book of Romans. It is a simple yet powerful method of explaining why we need salvation, how God provided salvation, how we can receive salvation, and what are the results of salvation.

Romans 1:20-21: "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, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened." We must acknowledge God as the Creator of everything and accept our humble position in God's creation.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God." Everyone is born with the nature to sin or to do wrong and because of that sin we are distant from God's presence in our life.

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Even though we all sin, God still loves us and He showed His love by sending His only Son, Jesus, to earth to die for our sins.

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The consequence of sin is death. And Yes, we all die, but the gift is eternal life in paradise when we believe and trust in Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." This is how we receive our gift from God, when we express with our mouth and believe in our heart that His Son, Jesus Christ, died for our sins and by the power of God Jesus rose from His death, only then will we receive God's gift, which is salvation

Romans 10:13 “For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” That is it and nothing more--to receive salvation from death to eternal life. But remember, you have to mean it. It is not only the words you say, but also the absolute belief in your heart.

Romans 11:36: "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." Determine in your heart, today, to make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life.

If the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is truly something you want in your life--right now is the time, please do not put it off. Here is a simple prayer that you can say right now to receive the great blessing of salvation. If you stumble with the words do not worry, Jesus knows your heart with what you are asking--

"Dear Lord up in Heaven, I have heard Your great message of salvation and I believe with my whole heart. I realize that I am a sinner and that through your death on the Cross my sins can be forgiven: please forgive me. I believe in my heart that You have rose from the grave by the power of God to be my everlasting Savior. With my belief and acceptance of You come into my heart. I commit my life to You, my Savior. Amen"

Now, if you have prayed this prayer and committed your life to Christ--Praise The Lord!!!! Let me know by commenting, so that I can pray for you, to ask the Lord for His guidance in your life as a new follower. Being a Christian does not mean we are made perfect or that you will never sin anymore. We are still only human and have the human nature to sin, but as Christians when we do sin, God opens His door to us at any time that when we come to Him in prayer we can ask Him for forgiveness: He will forgive. In addition, Jesus does not just leave us hanging without anything to help us, when we accept Him we receive His Spirit (Holy Spirit) within us to aid in our walk with Him and to help and guard us against sin. The keys in our walk as Christians is having faith in Jesus, a faithful prayer life, reading The Bible, and finding a good Bible believing church--and remember, Jesus is always near to help us in anyway. If there is any other questions that you might have please feel free to ask?

BELIEVERS BAPTISM: Not Salvation, But A Testimony of Salvation

"And Jesus said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age" Matthew 28:18-20.

Baptism is not an act that gets us into heaven--it is faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord that offers that assurance. Baptism (by full immersion as taught in the Bible) is an act of obedience that should be an important part of our acceptance of salvation offered by Jesus Christ. Baptism symbolizes our relationship with Jesus Christ as well as our discipleship as a follower of Jesus Christ. But it does not mean that one who truly gives their heart to Jesus on their death bed, in the heat of warfare, or in a crashing airplane, will be kept out of heaven because they failed to be baptized. The thief on the cross next to Jesus did not have time to be baptized before he died, but he had an opportunity (as we all do) to believe in Jesus and put his trust in Him, and Jesus responded by saying, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise" Luke 23:43.