Are You Positive You Are A Christian?

If you’re wondering why there’s so much preaching about Christianity and about receiving Jesus as your savior, or if you think you’re already a Christian, here is an excellent foundational teaching.  Clarity is always good, and these scriptures have not been shared with the majority of people, which leads many to think that if they believe there is a God, they’ll be accepted into heaven.  If these foundational scriptures have never been shared with you, let’s check them out.

  1.  THE NEED: Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.

That one man who sinned was Adam.  He committed high treason against God, and when he sinned against God, death entered his spirit.  Sin produces many variations of death, and sin was the only thing Adam could pass on to his offspring versus the life that used to reside in him.  He didn’t have the ability to produce anything greater than what he had lowered himself to.

2.  THE SOLUTION: John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

God didn’t take this turn of events sitting down.  If He had been a God of resentment, he could have snuffed Adam and Eve out and started over, but because He’s a God of love, He sent his own son to give his life and to introduce the plan of salvation.

3.  THE NAME OF THE SOLUTION: Acts 4:10-12

Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him, this man is standing before you well.  This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Jesus is the solution to the sin problem.  He was born without sin, and He paid the price for all of mankind to be redeemed back into God’s family.

4.  SALVATION IS A GIFT: Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.

You cannot perform good works in order to be approved by God or become part of His family.  If it were by works, one person might out-do another, and then would one qualify to be accepted while the other did not?  No, your works are not good enough.  Salvation is a free gift.  It’s by grace—unmerited favor.

5.  YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE THIS GIFT: John 1:12

As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.

There are no limitations on who can receive Jesus.  Salvation is not limited to a select group.  It’s for everyone.  You can receive Him.

6.  HOW TO APPLY THE SOLUTION: Romans 10:8-10

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim).  Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

These scriptures in Romans let us know that the first step is believing that Jesus died for you.  God wants your heart—not a rote speech based on fear.  If you believe, you can receive the gift of salvation.  The second step is opening your mouth to tell God that you receive Jesus as your savior.

7.  YOUR PART – Open Your Mouth and Say This Prayer

“I believe that Jesus is the son of God.  I believe He died for me.  I quit the sin life and I receive Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and right now, I am born again.  I belong to God.”

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU JUST GOT BORN AGAIN!!!

I Know Why You Do What You Do

Usually, we trust people who like us just the way we are without trying to change us.  They welcome us with open arms in the kind of way grandparents do.  It’s so much easier to spend time with someone like that.  Trust is a friendship factor.  When you find someone who is similar to you, loyalty grows and seems to come naturally.  You can support that friend in whatever they decide to do even if it means they have to move far away in order to achieve their goals.

They say that true friends can be separated for long periods of time, meet again and pick up right where they left off as if they’d never been separated at all.  That’s connectedness of the soul.  Connectedness is a friendship factor.  And when you start speaking and your friend finishes your sentence with exactly what you were going to say, that connection shows itself again.

We also like to think that friends are non-judgmental, and that’s true.  However, a true friend is often the only one who can get away with saying “That was dumb, Captain Crazy!” and still be a friend.  I mean, you can have a knock-down-drag-out fight with your best friend, then get a call the next day asking “What are we doing today?” and you make plans.

It’s comfortable to be with that person.  It’s fun, non-threatening.  You look forward to times together even when you know what they’re going to do next or how they’ll react to certain things.  You have someone who has spent time with you because they chose to.  They know you.  They think of you when they see something in a store that reminds them of you and they know you would love it.

If you had a “friend” who was ashamed to be seen with you in public, they wouldn’t be a friend long, would they?  You would feel that you didn’t measure up.  Others can be late meeting to go to the party and you’ll leave them, laughing that you taught them a lesson.  But if your best friend is late meeting up, you wait because there’s no real point in going without them.  It doesn’t even make sense.

This is one of the primary reasons why some of us don’t like going to events alone.  Many don’t like going into a huge meeting alone.  It’s because no one knows us.  That right-hand support person is not there to bounce thoughts off, to pick up on the things you usually miss.  You walk into an unfamiliar place and you feel like the invisible person.

A friend is a person who has spent time listening.  They care.  They know you.  In essence, your friend knows why you do what you do.  Even if what you’ve done is a little “off center,” they approach you with a sense of understanding.  They understand why you do what you do and may be the only one who can talk to you.  Talk you down off the ledge.  Make you feel like you’re capable of dealing with life in a better way.  They can remind you of who you are–your true self–so that you can get back on track.  That’s real love—no greeting card needed.

That’s how God loves us.  He’s trustworthy.  Loyal.  Supportive.  Fun.  Easy to be around.  Full of good ideas.  Non-judgmental.  Connected.  A great listener.  And did I say loyal?

He knows why you do what you do, and guess what?  He keeps on loving you.  He waits patiently for us to accept His friendship in return.  Who wouldn’t want a genius with a great sense of humor and loyalty as a friend?  He’s waiting for you with open arms.  Been waiting.  Let Him embrace you.  He can be trusted.

 

photo credit: Rod Waddington <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/64607715@N05/35716550336″>Best Friends</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

 

What Had Happened Was

Picture this.  There’s a really nice guy, a giver.  He likes beautiful things, he’s loving and kind, smiles a lot.  He has an extravagant estate and likes to have company over all the time so he can entertain them and make them happy.  One day, he creates a clay figure and gives him a grand home of his own.  When he creates a living space for the man, he tells him he has authority over everything that happens there.  He shows up every day to see how things are going and to talk about the fun the man had that day in discovering his new environment.

The only warning the man has is to stay true to His relationship with the one who created him.  In doing so, he can maintain his authority and not to bow to another.

One day, the male and his female companion encounter another creature in their home environment who begins to question them about their Creator.  This creature uses an approach they haven’t known before.  Doubt.

Through the avenue of doubt, a door opens allowing him to peddle a different way of looking at things.  He shows them the merchandise he has for sale by appealing to a lust for what the natural eye can see.  Advertising the sweetness of forbidden fruit, he makes their flesh lust for something they’ve never consumed before.  And with an appeal for personal power, he awakens the pride of life.  A scammer and an evil salesperson, this other creature convinces the female that he can give them more than the One who created them.

As soon as they comply, as soon as they allow themselves to be sold a bill of goods, they notice that the glory–the life force that emanated from them–suddenly went out.  They’ve suddenly lost a vital part of the way the creator made them, and added to that, they have forfeited their authority to the evil presence.  Instead of owners, they are now slaves.  In place of freedom, they now obey a lower force.  If they procreate, they cannot produce a human who has that higher life force that they once knew.  They can only produce humans restricted to a lower level of life.

Have you ever heard anyone quote that scripture “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23]?  When God made the man, He would come down at the end of the day to talk with the man.  The man would see this bright glory radiating from his Creator.  It wasn’t odd; it was normal.  God made man in His image, so the man and woman had a life force that radiated from them, too.  When the animals were brought before the man, they didn’t have that same presence, but when God made woman and brought her to the man, that’s what he saw and that’s how he knew she was his mate.  It wasn’t because she was 36-24-36 and knock-out gorgeous.  She had the beauty of pure life, light and love emanating from her.

But now there’s a dilemma.  They’ve lost open communication with the one who created them and a new mentality has taken over.  Its’ name is fear, and fear always puts up walls.

However, the Creator is not a quitter and does not stand idly by watching the persons he created and who rightfully belong to him go without rescue.  He loves them, but legalities stand in his way.  The Creator had given charge of the beautiful new homestead to the male and female.  They, in turn, gave their authority and possession over to another.  If the Creator steps in at this point and takes everything back from the scammer, he then becomes a thief himself—trapped into obeying a lesser force.  A force with no integrity, no love and who has the capacity for death.  If he resorts to underhanded methods, he loses his own freedom and all light goes out forever!

This is war!  Expert strategy is demanded here.  Blood will be shed if necessary to win back freedom of choice for the male and female—the right to leave the dark side and return to the light.  How can this be done?

Let’s examine the attributes of the two major players.  The Creator–good, a giver, full of life, peace and truth.  The scammer—a shady thief full of death, turmoil and lies.

Strategy of the Creator:  In order to regain control, the Creator must sacrifice his own self because he is the only being who is completely innocent and without fault.  But he cannot kill himself, or all creation would cease to be.  So, he has to place himself into a position where the scammer takes his life unjustly.  When the life of the innocent one takes place and the evidence is presented in the court of the universe, the scammer is found guilty and must release everything he has gotten by illegal means.  It was a great strategy that was executed and freedom of choice has been returned to all people at great cost.

It is now up to each person to choose life.  Or death.  This is the story of salvation.

God loves hard and there’s nothing you can do about His unchanging love.  Believe the Love!