Thursday, March 31, 2011

Psalm 23

I ran across this a while ago and thought you might enjoy it.  It explains Psalm 23 very well.

The Lord is my Shepherd = That’s Relationship
I shall not be in want = That’s Supply
He makes me to lie down in green pastures = That’s Rest
He leads me beside the still waters = That’s Refreshment
He restores my soul = That’s Healing
He guides me in the paths of righteousness = That’s Guidance
For His name sake = That’s Purpose
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = That’s Testing
I will fear no evil = That’s Protection
For You are with me = That’s Faithfulness
Your rod and your staff they comfort me = That’s Discipline
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies = That’s Hope
You anoint my head with oil = That’s Consecration
My cup overflows = That’s Abundance
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life – That’s Blessings
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord = That’s Security
Forever = That’s Eternity

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Plan of Salvation - How to be born again.

Are you going to heaven when you die?  It’s not how good you are or if you go to church, or how much money you give to charity.  In John 3:3 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again”.

To be born again means to receive salvation, to believe and trust in the name of Jesus Christ.  When we do that, we bury the old life of sin and begin anew.

There is only one way to heaven. 
John 10:29b – Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.”
John 14:6-7a - Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” 

If you are unsure of your relationship with Jesus, take you Bible some place quiet where you can be alone.  Ask God to speak to you and to reveal Himself to you.  Take time to listen as you read the words.  Know that God created you and is always with you.  He decides what is right and wrong because He is holy, perfect, and pure.  God has authority over your life.  He watches over and provides for you.

His simple plan:
Acknowledge God as Creator of everything, and accept our humble position in God’s creation.  Revelation 4:11 – “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

Admit to yourself and God that you are a sinner.  You have ignored God and wanted to do your own thing leaving God out completely.    
Romans 3:23 – “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death.” (because you are a sinner, you are condemned to death – eternal separation from God in Hell)
Romans 5:12 – “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death come to all men, because all sinned.” (that one man was Adam)
1 John 1:10 – “If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.”

Confess your sins (try to name them specifically – don’t forget pride and self-righteousness).  
Psalm 139:23-34 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.
1 John 1:8-10 – “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives”.
Romans 10:9 – “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”.

Luke 13:5 – Jesus said: “I tell you, no!  but unless you repent, you too will all perish”.
Acts 17:30 – “…. He commands all people everywhere to repent.”  (repent means a change of mind that agrees with God you are a sinner and agrees with what Jesus did for us on the cross)
Acts 20:21 – “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”

Believe that Christ went to the cross for you, taking your guilt upon Himself and enduring God’s judgment in your place.  He took God’s judgment of our sins on Himself.  This means that God has pardoned and cleared you from any guilt.  
John 3:16 – “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.”
Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.
Romans 10:13 – “for, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
John 5:24 – “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life”.

A Sinner’s Prayer

If you realize you are a sinner, right now lift your head to God in prayer.
“Oh God, I know I am a sinner.  I believe Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for my sins.  I believe His death, burial, and resurrection were for me.  I want to receive Him as my Savior.  Thank you for the forgiveness of my sins – the gift of salvation.  Amen.”

It can’t be that simple.
It’s hard to believe it’s that simple, but it is.  Don’t trust your feelings.  They change.  Stand on God’s promises.  They never change.  After you are saved you should be baptized in obedience to the Lord Jesus as a public testimony of your salvation, and then unite with a Bible-believing church.  Other Christians will be there for you with encouragement and will pray for you as you walk closer with God.  Remember - don’t judge other Christians, because they are not perfect.  If they were, they wouldn’t need to go to church.  Only God and Jesus are perfect.
Then there are three things to practice daily for spiritual growth:
          Pray – you talk with God
          Read your Bible – God will speak to you
          Witness – you talk for God telling others about Him

Sunday, March 20, 2011

How do I know the Bible is true?

The Bible was written over 1500 years ago.  It was written by 40 different people, in 3 different languages and on 3 different continents.  It is 1 big story and 1 author, God.  There are 66 books in the Bible – 39 in Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament.  It has high standards of morality and is the best selling book in the world has ever known.  No book has ever been more analyzed or criticized.  Why is it attacked?  It’s the revelation of God whose message demands must be destroyed - or - obeyed.  Many times people have tried to destroy it.  The Bible is God’s Word.  God reveals himself in many ways, but mainly He chose to reveal himself through his word.

The Bible is about:
How the universe and the human race started, how humans sinned and how the suffering started, and how the human rescue plan of God started - Gen 3:15 (the promise).

The Bible reveals:
God, his creation, his unlimited power and wisdom, his laws, a God of moral standards, history with God in control, Jesus as a God of compassion, God’s solution to sin, his special people in a special place, a special family, a special child:  John 3:16  (fulfillment of his promise)
It also reveals the future with a new heaven and a new earth without pain and cruelty.  Only the righteous will be there with the Lord.

75 % of the Bible is Old Testament.  Jesus came to fulfill the OT prophecy.  God tells how, why and when Jesus, the Messiah would come.  Proverbs 30:5-6 tells us His word is flawless.  Revelation 22:19 tells us not to add or take words away from it.  We should not sit around and argue about what it says.  It implies complete authority and we should not debate over it. 

Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”   So matter what your age, 10 – 110, it can speak to us.

The purpose of the Bible is essential for:
          Salvation – it reveals God, ourselves, our Savior
          Teaching – foundation of what we believe
          Conviction – it’s the test of our action
          Training – the rod of discipline

Why do we believe it’s true?
          The Prophets – spoke for God.
          Jesus – the spirit will guide you into all truth.
          Paul – we speak in words taught by the Spirit.
          Peter – not clearly invented myths, but an eyewitness.
          John – we proclaim what we’ve seen.
          It speaks with authority.
          Many gave their lives for it.
          By listening and weighing the evidence.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2 Peter 1:20-21– “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit “.

When you read the word of God, do you believe it is God speaking to you or do you read it and then just go back to your regular life?  If God came in person and told you to stop stealing or cheating, or whatever, wouldn’t you say, “OK, I will”?  Why wouldn’t you do it if God’s word says to do the same thing - that is, if you believe it’s God’s word?

I’ve always believed that the Bible is God’s word, but never really read it like I believed it.  I don’t know about you, but I will never just read scripture the same way again.  It is God speaking to me!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Basic Truths About The Trinity

Last Sunday our sermon was on the Trinity.  I though it was explained so well that I wanted to share with all of you.

“Trinity” means three in one.   The term “Trinity” is not found in the Bible, but most Christians agree it’s meaning is clear.  The Trinity is one God who externally exists as three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Each one is fully God. 

There is only one true God.  The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equally declared in the Bible to be God.  Through my BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) Isaiah study this year, God declares himself to be the one true living God over and over.  Here are a few of these passages.
Isaiah 41:4 - “I, the Lord – with the first of them and with the last – I am he.”
Isaiah 43:11 – “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.”
Isaiah 43:15 – “I am the Lord, you Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King.”
Isaiah 45:5  - “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.” 
Isaiah 45:6 – “I am the Lord, and there is no other”.
Isaiah 45:18 – “I am the Lord, and there is no other”.

There are several places in scripture where God refers to “us” or “we”.
There are several in Genesis alone --- 
Genesis 1:26 – "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air ………' ”.
Genesis 3:22 - "And the Lord God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil...'".

John 1:1-2 - “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.”
John 1:14a – “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
Genesis 1:1-2 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters”.
Luke 1:35 calls the Holy Spirit the Son of God.
Matthew 28:19 – “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.”

Jesus is God -
There are people who followers cults and are taught that Jesus is “just a prophet”, “a great teacher”, or “only the son of God” – not God.  This view can be clarified by looking at Isaiah 9:6 and Isaiah 43:12.  I could go on and on with scripture references, but you get the picture.  Just open up God’s word and start reading and He will reveal Himself to you. Jesus said himself, "I and the Father are one."  -  John 10:30

God bless you all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Order of The End Times

My goal is to tell you how I believe the main events of the last days will play out.  The book of Daniel is very good in prophesying what will take place on the earth (chapters 2,7, & 9) in the last days. The prophecy indicates that it will take 70 weeks or 70 units of 7s = 490 for all of the events to be fulfilled.  Revelation 11, 12, & 13 describes the last week of Daniel's prophecy as a period of time lasting 7 literal years, half of the week is described as 1260 days or 42 months, which both amount to 3.5 years. 
All of Daniel's prophecies has been fulfilled except for the final 7 years in the prophecy that will begin sometime in the future, on the day that the Antichrist will enforce a false covenant with Israel.

Antichrist will come into power.  (Satan attempts to be like God and presents himself as a fale trinity which Satan is god, the Antichrist is the messiah and the false prophet is like the Holy Spirit - Rev. 13). The Antichrist is a powerful world leader who comes to power and promises world peace, which happens but lasts only for a short while.  Then he sets himself up as God in the temple and commands all to worship him and take his mark (666).  He does everything he can to destroy the nation of Israel.

The Tribulation starts.  It starts at the signing of the covenant between the Antichrist and Israel, which begins the 7 years of Tribulation (Daniel 9:26-27).

The Rapture will occur.  The Church (all believers) will be raptured sometime prior to 7 years of the  Tribulation - (1 Thess. 1:10, 5:1-11, Rev. 3:10) .  (Some believe the rapture will occur just before the 3.5 year mark which marks the Great Tribulation.) Those "Dead in Christ"  are not the saints from the Old Testament for Christ had not yet come to earth.  The Church (all believers since the Church in Acts 2 both dead and alive) will be taken to be with Him in heaven - (John 14:1-4, 1 Thess. 4:13-17, 1 Corin. 15:51-58)
Resurrection falls into 2 categories:
1st resurrection or resurrection of life in John 5:28-29 includes the redeemed of all the ages - OT saints, Christians who lived before or at the time of the Rapture, or Christians martyred during the Tribulation.  All are part of the resurrection of life.  People who become believers during the Millennium will be resurrected at the end of the Millennium even though they are alive.
2nd resurrection is resurrection of judgment will include the unredeemed of all the ages and will happen at the end of the Millennium called the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15).  The unredeemed will be cast into the lake of fire.

The Judgment Seat of Christ.  Although there is no condemnation for believers, all believers must be judged on what is due to him for things done good or bad - (2 Corn. 5:10-11).   Rev. 19:7-8 happens in heaven so the Church that was raptured with Jesus could be adorned as His bride, when the Church descends with Him at the Glorious Appearing.  Those who remain alive will be judged by Christ soon, before the Millennium actually begins.

Tribulation begins.  21 judgments during the 7 years.  Zechariah 13 says 2/3 of Israel would die and those left will be saved.
1st half of Tribulation - 2 witnesses (Rev. 11:1) ministry will last 1260 days (Rev. 11:3).
The Antichrist promises peace and security.  Then he will defile the temple of God, called abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15, Dan. 9:27, 2 Thess 2:4, Rev. 13:131-14.  He declares himself to be god.  He demands everyone to worship his image, breaks the covenant with Israel and wages war ( Dan. 9:27)  Believers are persecuted and many are martyred for their faith (Rev. 7:9-17).  Israel refuses to worship him and flees where God can protect the remnant of Israel (Matt. 24:16-28, Rev. 12:6, 13-17).
2nd half of Tribulation is called the Great Tribulation (Matt 24:15-21).  There will be earthquakes, plagues, wars, disasters, and persecutions against Israel.

144,000  - These are Jews who came to believe and that God marked or sealed so no harm would come to them during the Tribulation.  144,000 are from the 12 tribes of Israel.

Goirious Appearing or 2nd Coming of Jesus - When Jesus returns, all the remnant of Israel repents and believes that Jesus is the Messiah (Zech. 3:9,12:10, Rom. 11:26).  When He returns all who were raptured (the Church) will return with Him.  The Resurrection of the Dead  (Isaiah 26:19) OT saints will be resurrected with the return of the Messiah at the end of the Tribulation and all those who believe and died during the Great Tribulation will be raised to life at the 2nd coming of Christ (Rev. 29:4-6).
Jesus will be a rider on a white horse who slays the nations with a sharp sword and alll the birds gorged themselves on their flesh called ,Wedding Supper of the Lamb.  He captures the beast (Satan) and false prophet and throws them into the Lake of Fire.  Those who return to earth with the Lord Jesus have been given a new body (Col. 3-4; 1 Thess. 3:13). 

1,000 Reign (Millenium) - Jesus will rule the world and all nations surrender to His authority. Satan is bound for the 1,000 in the abyss and can not deceive the nations. 

End of the 1,000 year reign - Satan is released so he can deceives many people on earth.  Anyone born during the Millennium must make the decision to follow God or Satan.

Satan thrown into the Lake of Fire - After Satan tries to deceive the nations for a time, he will be thrown into the Lake of Fire along with the false prophet and will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev. 20:7-10).

Great White Throne Judgment - The final judgment for unbelievers (Rev 20).  Before the final judgment unbelievers who died will go to Hades, a compartment of Hell, where they will suffer until the final judgment and then they will be cast into the Lake of Fire, known as the 2nd death.
The books were opened for all  unbelievers to be judged.  There are at least 3 books (Rev. 20:12-13).
Book of Deeds - book of your deeds
Book of Life - name in written in book when you are born.
Lamb's Book of Life - name written in book before foundation of the world.  If you don't become a believer, your name will be blotted out of the book.

New Jerusalem (on earth) - For all whose names that are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.  God destroys the old creation that has been corupted by sin and replaces it with a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21).  There will be no need for a moon or a sun.  Jesus Himself is its light (Rev. 21:23).


Are you a believer?

I believe there is one Creator, one true God.  He is in control of the universe.  We are born into sin since sin entered the world through Adam and Eve.  Sin separates us from God, because God is holy and can not be in the presence of sin.  OT sinners were required to offer up sacrifices for forgivness of their sins, but this forgiveness did not last because it was not perfect.  God sent His Son, Jesus the prophecied Messiah to earth in human form to atone for the sins of man. He lived as a man and was tempted in every way, but did not sin. He served as a willing perfect sacrifice and was cruified on the cross, died, and was buried.  Then 3 days later God raised Him from the dead. Because of Jesus' atoning death, God forgives those who repent of their sins.  Then they become part of His family and will live with Him in heaven for eternity.  If you are not a believer, turn to God in prayer, confess your sins, and ask Him to forgive you.  God is faithful to His promises.  Believe in Him and you will see Him in the new heaven.