He holds my world in His hands.

Salvation

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Come to Me

What she needed all along was Jesus…


Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

It’s a sadly all too common thing these days for people to lash out at the preaching of obedience to Christ by crying ‘don’t judge me!’ supposing to back up their position by adding such phrases conveniently pulled from scripture such as ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ and ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone’. But are these scriptures even fully understood? The fact is…by most people, they’re not.

‘Judge not…’

First of all, if someone is preaching obedience, or preaching against specific sins, or are addressing you personally, and in your mind (or by your mouth) your response is ‘don’t judge me’, you should examine your heart honestly. There is something in there that causes you to say that. Often this is the response of someone who is under conviction but fighting against it.

The cry of our hearts as children of God should be:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)

Understand that God doesn’t only speak through His word (the Bible), He also speaks through His servants. He will use men and women who truly know Him to preach and teach His truth – and that includes preaching against sin. God is Holy, and God doesn’t wink at sin.

God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now He commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to Him.
Acts 17:30 (NLT)

I’ve heard it suggested more than once that if one were to just go about their business never judging anyone in any way shape or form ever…that God wouldn’t judge them. This logic is flawed. God is the supreme judge…He will bring (is bringing) His judgement to the world, and He will judge every single one of us. God’s judgement begins in the House of God. No warped theory or head buried in the sand will be able to avoid that.

His judgements have come to the world in the past, and they come now, to wake up His sleeping Bride and to deal with those who continually reject Him. The hearts that can turn to Christ He will draw to Himself…no matter what it takes to do it! And those who will continue to rebel against Him…will pay for it!

Then, when the time comes, He will judge the dead, and reward His servants the prophets, as well as His holy people, and all who fear His name, from the least to the greatest. And He will destroy all who have caused destruction (corruption) on the earth. (Revelation 11:18)

For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1 Peter 4:17

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

Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
Jude 14b-15

It would be far wiser to listen to the uncomfortable conviction and turn away from sin, then to put up the walls of ‘don’t judge me’, and block out the warnings against sin. And it’s better to heed God quickly, and not resist Him. Such warnings are delivered with love and trembling, though you may not see or feel it. Such warnings are delivered to try to spare you from God’s judgements and snatch you from the brink of Hell – but ultimately it is up to you whether you heed them or refuse to listen.

‘Judge not…’ on the surface this verse would appear simple enough, but we have a problem if that is the case. Humans make judgements both consciously or subconsciously all the time. You judge the weather when choosing your clothes. You judge whether food tastes good or not. You judge whether you like certain colors or not. You judge whether something is clean or not. You judge whether someone is treating you the way you want them to, or not. We spend our days doing a lot of judging.

What this verse is specifically referring to is rash, harsh, fleshly judgement – the kind that does no benefit to anyone. The kind that says, ‘You‘re not attractive enough to be my friend’, for example, or ‘your words aren’t smooth enough so I won’t listen to you.’ These are fleshly judgements that serve no good purpose.

But there is a righteous judgement that benefits the tender hearted. This is a judgement intended to correct. The same way that parents correct their children, God will give correction to His children, because of His love. God has a clear path for us to follow, but often times we can get sidetracked, wander, or stray completely. It is God’s love and mercy that puts us in a place where we get confronted about what we do wrong…no matter how he chooses to deal with us.

For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.
Hebrews 12:6

God tells us we will know people by their fruit – this is also judging, because you cannot examine a fruit without making a judgement about it, whether it is good or bad.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Matthew 7:16-20

Moreover, we are given in God’s word clear directions on how to judge:

Fear the LORD and judge with integrity, for the LORD our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.
2 Chronicles 19:7

God actually commands His servants to judge righteous judgement. For example, He asked Ezekiel to ‘judge the city of murderers (Jerusalem) and to confront them about their sins!

Will you judge, son of man? Will you judge the city of murderers? Then tell it about all the disgusting things that it has done.
Ezekiel 22:2 (God’s Word)

So…judge not? Judge not a harmful, useless, fleshly judgement. Judge not the way the world does, with no godly motive. Judge not to condemn, but to point and to lead closer to Christ and to lead to obedience to Christ.

– – – – – – –

‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…’

This verse quotes Christ. Yes, it is true Jesus said this, and we all know the story of what happened when He said it. But most people who quote this to defend themselves forget key facts surrounding this quote.

I would point out that the stones were intended not to bring the woman to repentance, but to simply fill the letter of the law by killing her. Without a doubt, those holding the stones weren’t looking at her with love, but with hate for her sin. They had condemned her.

Christ stepped in and spared her life out of love. But there’s something else, too. He told her to ‘go and sin no more’. The same is asked of us, by Jesus. He spares our lives when we ask him to save us and repent…and He tells us ‘go and sin no more’ (John 8:11), to be ‘perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect’ (Matt 5:48).

The question is, are you saved? Saved from what? Did Christ save you from idolatry? From lying, cheating, and stealing? From adultery or fornication? From lust, pornography, or other addiction? If you want to be saved from hell, you must also be saved from sin. That’s not to say the people of God never stumble, but we are absolutely not permitted to habitually, wilfully sin, using God’s grace as an excuse to do so. The same rule applies to all of us…if we sin, when we become aware of that sin, we must repent (turn away) from it.

It is not casting stones at a person who is in sin to tell them that they are in sin. It is stating facts. It is not casting stones at a person to tell them they need to repent, it is love.

My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
James 5:19-20


The Art of (No) Compromise

Therefore brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

2 Thessalonians 2:15

Going to the books section of Amazon.com, and entering the word ‘Compromise’ in the search window returns more than 273,000 results. Fortunately, the first book on the list is by noted evangelical theologian Norman Geisler and author Ron Rhodes: Conviction Without Compromise: Standing Strong in the Core Beliefs of the Christian Faith.

Is it possible to be a Christian without compromising? One has only to read the New Testament to see that neither Jesus nor Paul ever compromised on matters of theological truth. And when Peter did, he received a stinging rebuke from Paul. (Galations 2:11)

Yes, there is room for concession at times on practical matters. But when it comes to giving in to critics of Christianity in order to spare their feelings, the Bible knows no such strategy. Christ and His gospel are a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (1 Peter 2:8) to those who choose to disagree.

When your faith or stand for Christ is challenged, ask yourself who’s disappointment you’ll regret most, the critics of Christ, or Christ Himself.

It is better to die for a conviction then to live with a compromise.

-Vance Havner

(The above text was taken from Pathways by David Jeremiah)

– – – – –

Compromise is not something that should be in the church or in a Christian home. Compromise is what says, “Okay, do things the way the world does them, it’ll make our faith more cool and approachable”. Compromise makes allowances for pet sins that should, according to an uncompromised Word of God, be repented of, and purged, turning away from them completely.

Compromise is what raises generations of young people that have had the lines of what is right, what is wrong, and what is acceptable, so blurred that what should be viewed as wrong is accepted, and even lauded! With such an environment, at times it becomes difficult, without help, to distinguish what is okay and what isn’t…until one steps back and with a nudge in the right direction, sees things for what they really are.

Compromise is the enemy of Christianity. Compromise desensitizes us to things that ought to offend us. Compromise is one of Satan’s ways of infiltrating the church with the filthy things of the world, painting them as innocent, desirable, harmless. The same way he tempted Eve with the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he tempts the saints of God with the lure of things that feed the flesh, starve the soul, and rob it of the desire to be in pursuit of holiness with the same basic whisper: “Did God say you shouldn’t? Oh, He’s wrong, it’s okay, it doesn’t hurt anyone.” When these things DO hurt people, whether it is realized or not, there are consequences to choices that involve feeding the flesh over feeding the soul.

Compromise is something I recently fell victim to, and so I speak from personal experience when I say that it’s as deceptive as the devil who uses it against you. There’s a whisper that tries to convince you that “it’s harmless” but in reality, it isn’t. But I thank God that like Peter, my poor choice was quickly seen and rebuked!

I saw what I had, regretfully, missed before and I repented of it with tears to Almighty God, who used this incident as a reminder to me that it is so important not only to stay on guard, but to continue to lean on Him for sight, because the things that tickle the flesh grieve and starve the soul, and they grieve God! Not only this, but it was used to show me that what the world considers trivial, can very easily be a very serious thing that offends God much. And what offends God should not in any way be entertaining to Christians. It can and will hinder your growth in Christ – be rid of it!

“14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:

“I will live in them

and walk among them.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

17Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,

and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.

Don’t touch their filthy things,

and I will welcome you.

18And I will be your Father,

and you will be my sons and daughters,

says the Lord Almighty.”

1 Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.”

2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1

So it boils down to a choice: Do we want to serve only our flesh, and by doing so, serve Satan, or do we want to serve Jesus Christ?

Serving Jesus Christ means following Him, which means by extension an uncompromised Word of God, and not compromising on His teachings and doctrines. It means choosing to be set apart from the world, because you cannot serve two masters. (Luke 16:13) It means putting pride aside and accepting proper correction and chastenings if and when you start to stray from your chosen path. It means repenting…not just once when you get saved, but any and every time that you become aware of something that you did that was wrong in the eyes of God. It means obeying God’s commandments out of love for Him and striving for holiness, knowing that his opinion matters infinitely more than the opinions of men.

To serve Satan…all you have to do is nothing. You may think you can sit on the fence and serve neither God nor Satan, but Satan owns the fence. He is pleased if you try to stay neutral, because if you’re neutral, you’re not serving God. And if you’re not serving God…that only leaves one other that you can be serving.

My choice is Jesus…and to let Him lead me like a little child, for I am His child. And though I may be relatively small in years, and in widsom, though I am small in strength, what I do have is His, because He has given it to me. The best possible use for all of His gifts, are to use them for Him!


Take it to Heart

I implore you, when you hear sound Biblical teaching – don’t just say ‘amen’ or clap your hands to it, or say, ‘Brother, preach it’. Examine your heart and life against the preaching you are hearing, and if you find yourself lacking in one or more things – repent and take care to fix those things with God’s help. Your heart’s goal should be to please the Lord in every area of your life. Not to simply pay lip service to Him on Sunday and act as a Christian during the service to make your peers think you a Christian. No, not at all – I feel that’s an insult to God, actually.

Going to church is good, and I support it, but I think it’s more important that you go with the right heart, then the simple act of going. I would also say that not attending church does not mean a person is backslidden, or some kind of heathen. To judge your brother who doesn’t attend church in these kinds of lights without knowing their heart, isn’t right. Only God can make that judgement with complete accuracy.

Likewise, attending church does not make you a Christian, nor does it save you. It’s completely foolish to think that by simply attending church you’re somehow earning your way to Heaven. Repenting of sin with a genuine heart and asking Jesus to save you, to wash you of your sin, and to lead your life saves you. Loving Christ as your Lord, and trying your best to live like Him, makes you more a Christian than walking into a Church on Sundays. There are people who attend church regularly for years, that never fully surrender to God, that never accept Jesus into their hearts, regardless of how many invitations are given, no matter how many times a loving minister pleads for their soul. And there are people who do not attend church for any of a plethora of reasons, yet they seek the face of God earnestly. They feed their souls through scripture, and worship the Lord their God with authentic adoration.

There has to come a point when you accept that doctrine applies to you as much as anyone else. Yes, it’s easier to spot someone else’s flaws than your own on times, but when those flaws are pointed out to you, your responsibility is not to scoff but to seriously consider what’s been addressed. Seriously think about your ways and actions and prayerfully ask God to not only search your heart but reveal to you what things you need to change. Then further, your responsibility is to work on those things and strive to change for the better.

It would be even better to examine yourself this way without the prompting of another brother or sister. It would be better if your heart were so set upon the things of God, that your desire to please Him is so strong, that you vigilantly guard your heart against ungodly things.

The attitude that says ‘this message is meant for someone else’ whenever sin is being rebuked is dangerous. Let us look internally and search ourselves. There needs to be an attitude in us that takes sound doctrine to heart. There needs to be an effort from us to put sound teachings into practice on a day to day basis, that decides to live for Christ and not for the fleeting pleasures of this filthy world.

Christ’s death on the cross was not so that we could continue to live as the world. It was so that you could be free from the absolute bondage of this world. And if you think you were never in bondage to this world – well – there’s a term for that, it’s called Stockholm Syndrome. You’ve been captive to Satan for so long that you’ve come to relate to him and no longer see him as any threat to you.

If you’ve come to Jesus and have grown in Christ even a little, you will have come to realize, at least partly, what the bondage really is. A mental and spiritual slavery in which you once searched for anything and everything to fill the hole in your soul that only Jesus Christ Himself can fill. Music, movies, sports, drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality – Satan uses these temptations and more to distract people into a self-indulgent, godless life.

Jesus can free you from this bondage if you ask him to. Does it mean one prayer will end all the temptations? No, not in the least. Satan will still try to tempt you in an effort to separate you from Christ. However, as you grow in Christ, you should fall into these traps less and less. When temptations arise, you can choose to call on Jesus for strength to deny the temptation, should it feel to difficult to overcome on human strength.

To get back to the point – if you’ve been calling yourself a Christian but haven’t recognized the things of the world as bondage, I urge you to prayerfully re-examine that opinion. Search scriptures instead of simply listening to the words of men, which are so easily corrupted by opinion.

Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.

2 Corinthians 6:17 (NLT)

This scripture succinctly encapsulates the main point of what’s on my heart. It says it with clarity. If you truly love God, don’t be playing around with the filthy things of this world. Don’t be dabbling in fortune telling and horoscopes. Don’t be idolizing celebrities and sports stars. Don’t live in such a way that the only ‘Christian’ activity you do is to go to church. We are supposed to be lights unto the world – how can we ever do that if we live in the same darkness that the world does?

Listening to correct teaching is well and good…but so much better to take it to heart, and put it into practice, too.


A Little Clarity…

I found a video on YouTube that was slightly fascinating and somewhat troubling to watch. On one side, is the maker of the video, stating a warning to False Gospel teachers. His main point is a warning against the teaching that salvation is through perfect obedience to all of God’s commandments.

On the other side, are the people he’s addressing. One person says that Jesus’ blood doesn’t cover all sin. Several, who state repeatedly the notion that you must stop sinning, if you sin at all you’re not saved and you’re going to Hell, and so forth.

It appears these involved in this video, on both sides, aren’t expressing themselves completely. The clear truth of the matter is as follows:

Jesus died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. It is ONLY through Him that we can be saved. Salvation is a gift, it is undeserved mercy, and it only comes through Jesus. There is -no- other way to Heaven.

Works do NOT win you your way to Heaven. The scriptures clearly state this and even tells us why. You can only be saved through Jesus by repentance, making Him the Lord of your life, and putting Him first, choosing to serve Him for the rest of your days.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Obedience is fruit of salvation. The more we love Jesus, the more we will -want- to obey Him, and serve our selfish desires less. You don’t obey God’s commandments to be saved. You obey them -because- you’re saved, and it’s a sign of your love for your God. While works don’t earn you your way into Heaven (you could never do enough to, even if that -was- a way), once saved, you should be doing good works out of love for God and your fellow man, instead of sitting idly and attending only to your own interests.

If you are a born again Christian, that doesn’t mean you’re immune to sin, and that nothing you do can ever be called sin because you’re ‘born again’. As humans we all have times in which we stumble and fall. But once we are born again, those occasions should be fewer and fewer as we grow in Christ.

God’s grace isn’t just detergent to wash the sin stains out of your soul. God’s grace is God given strength and help to overcome sin on a continual basis when temptations arise. Think about this for a minute: when someone takes the higher path when at first they felt like doing something else, how often is it said, “It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t (fill in the blank). That’s not just an idiom. For the born again believer, if you’re faced with a temptation to sin and overcome it – it is by God’s GRACE that you did it, and God should be glorified for it.

When you repent for sin, you don’t just repent once and then all past, present, and future sins are washed away. That’s not how it works. Your past sins are forgiven, yes. But you cannot continue in current sins, saying to yourself, ‘it’s okay, Jesus saved me.’ Or that, ‘God doesn’t mind this because it’s not hurting anyone’. Those wilful sins -must- go.

Those idols you clung to before coming to Jesus must likewise, go. Not all idols are statues and pictures, in our society the most common idols are television sets, movie, tv, sports and music ‘stars’. The simplest definition of an idol is anything that’s more important to you than Jesus.

You -must- make a conscious effort to pursue a perfect, sinless life – yes. However, it’s the earnest pursuit of perfection that matters – not realized perfection. God knows your heart. God knows if you’re trying to obey and please Him. He also knows if you’re harbouring impurity in your heart, and He also knows exactly what those impurities are.

If you’re a Christian and you do sin, and you repent of that sin, you are still forgiven. But this is not an excuse for wilful sinning. It’s not permission to hold on to an addiction. It’s mercy extended by God to sinners – and we are all sinners. If we say we do not sin we are liars.

We all have sinned. Every single one of us. And that’s why Jesus’ blood is so precious. He is the only one without sin, yet He died to cleanse us of ours. We are the ones who deserve to be hung on a cross! Yet by His mercy we are spared.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

1 John: 1:8-10 (NLT)

So, don’t say you don’t sin. Or have not sinned. If you do so, not only are you a liar, you’re calling God a liar, and God cannot lie. Confess your sins to God, repent, and ask Him for help to not do those sins again.


My Hiding Place

The only true Hiding Place is God. There is no where one can run where they can be out of his reach.

Psalm 139 says it this way:

“Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if

I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I

settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.”

-Psalm 139:7-10 NIV

He is with us wherever we go, no matter how difficult things seem on the outside, no matter how painful things feel on the inside, He is there. He is the only shoulder to lean on that gives true and lasting comfort. He is the only place in which real peace abides. His love is the only love that is forever. His mercy is unending and his grace is everlasting. God Almighty is of greater significance and more importance than anything else. More important than pride, more important than fame, wealth, or anything else the world sees as important.

The creation is not greater than its Creator. Likewise, we are not greater than God. To be a Child of God is a joy indeed, for there is no stronger, more caring, devoted, or loving father than Jesus Christ. There is no better hiding place from the world and its woes than the shelter of His arms.

No place on earth and no recess of the mind will let you escape God, if you’re trying to run from Him. Oh how much better it is to run to Him! To cease a vain attempt to flee the God that made you and instead accept and relax in His love. His love is endless, He is matchless, He is blameless…and yet He came upon this earth in human form, suffered a most brutal death, and rose again for the sake of your soul and mine. This love which none deserve – the salvation that none can earn – is given by mercy. By repentance and faith that Jesus Christ is Lord.

I am no more worthy of this most precious of gifts than anyone else, but I accept it gladly. I weep tears of sorrow for my sins which grieve Almighty God, and seek forgiveness for each one. Beloved we are all works in progress, none of us achieve perfection on this earth. If such perfection were possible, the victory Christ Jesus claimed on the cross of Calvary would be pointless. We all fall short of the glory of God. Not a single person could ever do enough works to win salvation, that’s not how it’s achieved. Salvation is given to those who repent of their sins and claim Jesus Christ as Lord. This goes deeper than just a mouthed ‘I’m sorry’ with no real passionate feelings. There has to be a true regret and sorrow in the heart over the deeds done that have offended God. There must be a desire to sin no more.

Moreover, you cannot simply pray the ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ and then go about your merry way as if nothing is different. If you have truly chosen to accept salvation and become a Christian, you are a new creature, your old self dies and a new you is born. That new you should be focused on the things of God, on seeking His face, and on learning and obeying His will.

Then, there is declaring Him the Lord of your life. This means more than simply stating with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord”. Saying it is well and good, but you must also fully believe it. Christianity is a lifestyle, not a hobby. It’s choosing to shake off the idols of this world in favor of your redeemer. It’s living a life set apart from the secular world. It’s a host of things that our modern society thinks unfashionable and uncool. But the opinions of dissenters shouldn’t sway you. Instead, turn to your Hiding Place. Spend quiet time with God.

In the center of His will, you are in the palm of His hand. And there is no safer place to be.


He Saw Me…

He saw me…a wretched sinner. He died for me…even though I am not worthy. He loves me…even though I make many mistakes. Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to save the lowliest sinner who would just repent and believe that He is Lord, and let Him be the Lord of their life.

He is God, He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the only hope of this world. He is the blessed redeemer, the only real savior, the most precious friend, the most skilled healer, the most talented craftsman, the only perfect thing. He is peace, love, joy, and hope. All the praises in all the World could not begin to touch the vastness of His glory. No carefully measured amount of speech could speak the depth of His power. Nothing could measure how much I owe Him but my very life.

My failings and shortcomings I bring to Him, them all. I pray for forgiveness and help, and have received much, though I still stumble and fall. I know He is there, I know He will still pick me up, brush me off, and set my course again, because of His great love. No one ever cared for a single soul as much as Jesus. No one ever loved me or you like Him. Even if you scoff at the mention of His name…He still loves you, and that won’t change. Loving Him back, is what gives life meaning. Praising Him gives life purpose. Speaking to Him gives – life.