Prayer: How, Why, and When We Should Pray

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This morning I received a short note from a dear friend who asked me if I would consider writing a book about prayer. This is a subject that is on the minds of many people who love the Lord. We want to know how to pray correctly and use the right words when we come to God. In Jesus, we see a complete illustration for how and what we should pray. More importantly, the reasons that we should pray can be understood as we examine Jesus and the moments when He prayed to the Father.

In Jesus we see that prayer is simply open communication with God. As we sit with friends or family members and talk to each other, so also is prayer. All that God requires of us in prayer is that we are completely honest and speak to Him from our heart. It is not the words that are most important in our prayers, but the heart that supports our words, that God cares most about. We might not be very good at speaking or communicating our thoughts or feelings. Perhaps we get tongue–tied when we try to talk to another person or before many people.

Although a person must be proficient in their speaking ability when addressing a crowd, no such requirement is made when we speak to God.

Continue reading “Prayer: How, Why, and When We Should Pray”

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Christians Today Are No Longer In Expectation Of Jesus’ Return

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On a bright and sunny day in April, 1975, I went forward at Calvary Chapel in Southern California to receive Jesus as my Savior. I was just 19, had hair down to the middle of my back and was touring with a Rock band in small venue’s around Arizona. My life was full of activity but my heart was empty. I knew that there had to be more than what I had experienced so far, I just didn’t know where to find it. That all changed the morning that I trusted in Jesus. From that moment, I began to study the Bible intently and learned about the promise of Jesus to return for those who love Him.

During the Jesus People Movement of that day, there was great excitement over the expectation that Jesus could come for us at any moment. We were constantly talking about the Lord’s return and we were trying to live our lives like people who really believed our Lord could come for us before we drew our next breath. Continue reading “Christians Today Are No Longer In Expectation Of Jesus’ Return”

When the Lord is Your Shepherd

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“The Lord is my shepherd.”

In order for the Lord to be a Shepherd who will lead us and care for us, we must first know Him as the Lord of our life. The term Lord in this context is master or ruler. Until Jesus becomes the Lord of our life, He will not be able to lead us to the places of blessing He desires to take us. Step one is surrender ourselves to Him and submit to His authority over every part of our life. Continue reading “When the Lord is Your Shepherd”

The Importance of Forgiveness and Resolving Conflict in Jesus Church

disunity-in-jesus-churchThe issue of forgiveness is one that few people want to be reminded of. This is, of course, unless they have been offended by someone else. When someone offends us, we expect them to come to us quickly and admit their mistake, seeking our forgiveness. When It is we who are the offender, very few of us will seek to apologize or admit that we are at fault. Jesus was very specific on this matter and quite serious in the manner in which we should resolve ALL conflicts that we have with another believer. He said that if we are unwilling to forgive and forget, then He will not forgive our sins.

Matthew chapter 18, is the quintessential guide on how to resolve all conflicts within Jesus church. May we all read this carefully and follow everything that our Lord has instructed us to do… Continue reading “The Importance of Forgiveness and Resolving Conflict in Jesus Church”

Change Your Life

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Many people live out their lives without the realization that our entire purpose for being here on the earth, is to be saved. We were not born to achieve financial, material, or public success; we were born so that we might have the opportunity to have our sins removed and gain access to eternal life. Just as Jesus’ entire purpose for coming to the earth as a man, was to die for our sins and make eternal life possible, we also have our own purpose, necessitating Jesus’ arrival to save us.

Most people go through their life without realizing or believing that this is true. We forget that everything that we have accumulated during the time that we are here on the earth, will be left behind. One hundred years after you die, barely a sole with remember who you are. The Bible is very clear in its declaration that the only things that you and I can do, that will last forever; is what we do for and with Jesus. The universe was created for Him, and it is He who holds all things together by His great power.[1] It was by His sacrifice on the cross, and His subsequent resurrection, that He achieved the right rule and reign over the entire universe.

What we do right now, during this life, will have eternal consequences. The Bible is very specific in its declarations that only those things that we do to bring glory to Jesus by the way that we live our life, will matter in eternity.[2] If this statement sounds absurd to you and impossible to believe, then you are amongst the great majority of people in the world. I did not know these things myself until many years after I began to study the ancient Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. The universe was made for the Glory of God and we were given the great honor of glorifying Him by our lives. If we fail to understand this, or are deficient in achieving this, we will have missed the entire purpose of our existence. What is personally important about these facts, is the reality that we will also find our greatest fulfillment, when we live to bring the Lord glory and honor.

for in Him we live and move and have our being… Acts 17:28 Continue reading “Change Your Life”

Salvation Without Cost

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It is the greatest desire of man that he could live forever. There have been many books written, movies produced, and songs sung; that express our desire to live a life that would never end. When we think about the ceasing of our existence here on earth, it doesn’t make sense. How could we suddenly cease to exist? It is our sense of eternity and fear of death, that haunts us our entire life. The Bible states that God placed eternity within our heart when He made us, but none of us understands How to achieve it.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

If there was a fee that could be paid in order to gain access to eternal life, it is certain that many wold endeavor to pay it. The reason that people explore religion in the first place is to understand what happens at the moment of death and seek to know if they will go on living after their body dies.

Amongst all religions of the world, there is a common thread: The fact that eternal life can be achieved, at a cost. Those who will acquire the right to live forever, must perform certain rituals, procedures, or follow a set of rules. Only the Bible reveals that eternal life is a free gift that cannot be purchased. God will give any person the right to live forever, without cost, if they will simply believe what He has said.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

The way to heaven is not by a religion, it is through a person. Jesus has already purchased our salvation by the giving of His life. All that we must do is believe this and receive His gift. Continue reading “Salvation Without Cost”

Sodom and Gomorrah: The Gay Marriage and Same Sex Controversy

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Sodom and Gomorrah03What was the reason that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah? When we examine all of the scriptures of the Bible regarding these two cites, we see a picture that helps us understand why so many people lost their lives. Genesis 18 and 19 describes the sins of those who inhabited these cities as “very grave,” necessitating fire and brimstone from heaven.[1] Jude wrote that the sin that is described in Genesis 18 was “sexual immorality,” and a people who had “gone after strange flesh.”[2] Peter described the destruction of these cities as an example of the judgment that God will inflict upon those who live sexually immoral lives.[3]

“Sodom and Gomorrah, The Gay Marriage and Same Sex Controversy,” Now Available at Amazon

When we read the story of Nineveh, this city had also reached a similar place of evil that required the judgment of God. When Jonah walked through the city and informed the inhabitants that God would destroy their city in forty days, all of the people ceased from their sins and turned to God in repentance. No destruction came to Nineveh.

JONAH SPEAKING TO THE PEOPLE OF NINEVEH:

Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them…Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. Jonah 3:1-10

What we learn from these two examples is that God does not want to destroy the lives of human beings, He wants to save us from ourselves. It is not the will of God that evil should overtake our cities and destroy the beauty and serenity that is possible when people live together in peace.

As we examine who it was that determined that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah should be destroyed, we find that it was the pre incarnate Jesus in one of his many appearance in the Old Testament, who issued the order. As we examine the text of Genesis 17 and 18, we see that the LORD, and two angels had come to Abram and Sarai to announce that they would have a son, who would be the first in a long line of descendants that would bring the Messiah into the world. God was sending us a Savior, and this ninety-nine year old man and ninety year old woman would be the parents of the first descendant. Through this son, the entire world would be blessed. God was going to make a way that every person who has been born on the earth, could have all of their sins removed and obtain heaven as their eternal destiny.

It was while bringing this wonderful news to Abraham and Sarah, as they would later be known, that the LORD also determined to destroy two cites, whose inhabitants had digressed so far into sexual immorality that their continued existence would threaten the peace, and safety of every other city and people. This sin in Sodom and Gomorrah had existed for a very long time, with no repentance or desire to cease their immoral actions. When we examine the moments when God had determined that a nation should be destroyed for their unwillingness to turn from evil, we find that hundreds of years of forbearance were given to these nations by God. In the case of the Canaanites, God waited nearly 900 years before the order came for judgement. Continue reading “Sodom and Gomorrah: The Gay Marriage and Same Sex Controversy”

Dead or Alive: The Return of Jesus, FREE at Amazon For a Limited Time

For a limited time, the new book: “Dead or Alive: The Return of Jesus,” Will be Free at Amazon: Beginning at Midnight on January 10th and 16th, 2016

Dead or Alive Cover

Today, we are witnessing the unfolding of phenomenal events around the world:

One: a nuclear proliferation treaty with Iran, which greatly jeopardizes Israel.

Two: an American president who is perceived as weak and unwilling to take any serious military action to stop Russia or Iran.

Three: Russian president, Putin, who is using this weakness of president Obama, to move into the middle east.

Four: Increased violence in Israel by Palestinians that may lead to a new war in the Middle East.

These events will only spell certain danger for Israel. The prime minister of Israel; Benjamin Netanyahu, understands this threat. It is certain that he is near the time when he will order a pre emptive strike against Iran. This will draw Russian into the conflict, and likely begin the events of God and Magog, which are destined to be fulfilled just prior to, or just after, the beginning of the seven year Tribulation period. This event may, in fact, be the reason that a seven year peace treaty is signed between Israel and the surrounding nations. This seven year treaty will be the beginning of the seven year Tribulation. Before this event takes place, Jesus will return to remove His church from the world.

We are living during some of the most exciting days of human history. Although the world is not looking for the return of Jesus, we who know Him and love Him, are ever-watching for His soon return. When we see events that are taking place around the world and compare these things with what the Bible states about the last days, we are struck by the similarities.

“Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive
when he returns, we can live with him forever.”
—1 Thessalonians 5:10

Concerning the return of Jesus to the earth, here is what we know for certain: He came before, He promised to come again.

History is replete with many myths. There is no shortage of colorful people who have made grandiose claims over the years of recorded history. There are many critics of the Bible today who claim that Jesus is a fictitious person who never existed. When we examine the actual facts of antiquity, we find that Jesus not only existed and is a genuine person, history has left us a tremendous amount of proof for His existence. The detailed records of the Roman Senate, as well as the Jewish Talmud, both contain specific references to Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate. These records are not complimentary nor sympathetic parties, but adversarial and hostile witnesses who describe Jesus as a false prophet, a disrupter of the peace, and the cause of great uprising in Israel during that period of history. The Romans and the Jews had no desire to preserve any record of Jesus life or death, yet this is precisely what they accomplished by their antagonistic comments in their preserved documents.

The records of the Romans and the Jews, both reveal that Jesus was in Jerusalem during the same period of time that the New Testament narrative places Him there.

Near the end of His ministry, Jesus promised His followers that He would come again when everything was ready. There were many events of world history that needed to take place first, before He could return. When theses things were completed, He said that He would come again.

I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. —John 14:2-3

When we speak of the “Last Days,” we should understand that this period of time began with the arrival of Jesus on the earth the first time. The last days will be concluded by “The Day of the Lord,” during the Tribulation period. The day of the Lord is specifically detailed in the book of Revelation chapters 6-19.

Some of the confusion over the timing of the Rapture has resulted from a lack of knowledge regarding the term: “The Day of the Lord.” This term is always used to describe the return of the Messiah to the earth, at the end of Daniel’s seventieth week; the seven year tribulation period. In 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4, Paul describes a very specific event in which He states that this information he is giving us, came directly from Jesus (by the word of the Lord).

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. —1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

The Greek word for “caught up” is Harpazo.

Harpazo means “to be snatched away or taken away by force.”[1] It is a word in the Greek language that is used to describe a general who takes hostages by force. Harpazo is also used in the New Testament as translated—by force.

When this verse was translated from Greek into Latin, the word that the translators used here for “caught up” was the Latin word “Rapturo,” which is where the English word “Rapture” originated from. This is why we use the word “Rapture” to describe the event of Jesus’ return for His church, as described by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

“We’ll be ‘caught up’ (Rapturo) with them (together with our loved ones) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Once again, this event is not the Second Coming of Jesus that is commonly spoken of. At the Rapture, we meet Jesus in the air, the atmosphere above the earth; not “tera firma,” earth itself.

Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. —1 Thessalonians 4:17

Jesus is coming for His church prior to His return at His second coming, when He will be returning with His church.


Notes:
[1] New Testament Greek Lexicon, Strong’s Number: 726

Jesus: He is the Most Interesting Man in the World

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Jesus InterestingA Unique Life

There is one man who is so distinct amongst all other men who have lived upon the earth, that He is worthy of careful examination. Many people have great difficulty with the Christian church and organized religion–and so they should. The religions of men are frequently a catastrophe of errors and diversely opposite from who Jesus is and what He represents.

Jesus is not a religion, He is not a church. He claimed to be God, living within the flesh of a man, and the only Savior of the world. Either He is a liar, a man delusional, or He was telling the truth. It is our responsibility to examine the evidence for His life and determine if He is who He claimed to be.

Jesus never commanded men to join a particular church or religion, He said “Follow Me.”

Continue reading “Jesus: He is the Most Interesting Man in the World”

Does God Choose Some To Be Saved And Others To Be Lost?

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I Knew You

The Bible describes God as knowing all things from eternity.

“Known to God from eternity are all His works. Acts 15:18

Imagine that you have existed forever and there is nothing that you do not know. Would you create a race of beings that you knew ahead of time, would rebel against you and necessitate the death of your Son to save them?

Before God created the universe, He determined that Jesus would die for the sins of the world. Jesus is called; “The Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world.”

(Jesus) the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8

This means that before God created us, He already knew that we would all be separated from Him by our sins. He sent His Son into the world to be the one method by which He could save us all.

Because the Lord knew what would happen in advance, He was aware of those who would believe His command to receive Jesus and be saved. Based upon this advanced knowledge, God “chose” these individuals and predestined them to eternal life. Continue reading “Does God Choose Some To Be Saved And Others To Be Lost?”