Monday, November 30, 2009

A Divine Appointment

Several months ago I was loading up on some fishing supplies at WalMart. The guy in line next to me was getting some, too. I'll call him Brian, because that's his name. He just moved here from Pennsylvania and didn't know much about bass fishing. That's okay, because when I was in training with New Tribes Mission in Pennsylvania, I didn't know much about trout fishing.

We ended up walking to our cars together. He and his wife were a delight to talk to, so I gave him my phone number and told him to call me if he really wanted to catch some nice bass. I have access to a lake that is full of huge bass and it's not open to the public.

A couple of weeks later he called and said he'd like to take me up on that offer. He met me after work and I took him fishing. I had four nice bass landed before he could set his tackle box down. He had a camera in one hand and was on the phone with his wife in Pennsylvania. He told her he couldn't believe how nice the bass were.

I couldn't believe he was talking to his wife on the phone instead of fishing! He said she wanted to know if I would take her fishing when she got back. I told him to tell her, "No, she doesn't know the secret hand shake." Somehow, she thought that was funny.

We fished until nine o'clock and were totally wore out from fishing. I used to count about 50 or 60 bass caught each time I fished there. That night I didn't bother counting. It was at least that many. Only difference now is, I also have a digital scale. The biggest one was 4 1/2 lbs. (really, he has a picture)

We'd still be fishing there if I hadn't driven my Jeep near the levee so that Brian could see the headlights and find his way back. He's a man after my own heart.

On the way out, I asked Brian if he'd found a church since he moved down. He said he hadn't (not surprising, since he wasn't looking). He said he was raised somewhere between Lutheran and Methodist. He's been confirmed and God knows the content of his heart, so he doesn't think he'd go to Hell.

I explained the purpose of the law and ten commandments to him and then shared the Gospel with him. He couldn't get over how wrong his concept of salvation was and how dumb (his words, not mine) he felt. He started associating the truth of the Gospel with the situation in the world today, the Crusades and all sorts of stuff. He was pretty much on track.

Brian trusted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. I told Brian I like to fish, but I really like to be a fisher of men. I told him that it wasn't a chance encounter at WalMart. I trust God to direct my path and bring people into my life and then give me the boldness to share the Gospel with them. That's a divine appointment.

It would have been easy to just keep talking about the great fishing and then go our separate ways. I thought to myself, "If that hillbilly pastor of mine can to it, so can I!" I knew the pastor wouldn't let him got out of the car without hearing the Gospel first! So I asked Brian a personal question and he was willing to listen.

I don't know who was more excited, but I know who caught the biggest one, that night!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Heaven is real. See, I told you so!

Jesus said: "Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you."

"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 unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also."

"And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know."

Thomas said unto him, "Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?"

Jesus saith unto him, "I am the way the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

"If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him."

Philip saith unto him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us."

Jesus said unto him, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?"

Note: Jesus said, "I am THE WAY, ...no man comes unto the Father but by me."
Truth is always in some sense narrow.
It is error that is broad and accommodating. 2 x 2 = 4 --always!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Heaven

Heaven is not a reward for the righteous.
It is a gift for the quilty.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Utmost for His Highest

My Utmost for His Highest - Oswald Chambers
http://www.rbc.org/utmost/index.php

(Daily devotional reading.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

A. The Holy Spirit is a Person


John 16:7-18 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me, Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

My heart is not a receptacle, the Holy Spirit is not a substance that He pours into my heart. He is a Person, I either have all of Him or none of Him.

B. I already have Him living in me.

Romans 8:-17 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

I Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Galatians 4:4-6 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Galatians 3:26-27 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (comp. Eph 4:1-6)

C. He will never leave me/abide forever.

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

D. He wants to control me.

James 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

Dwelleth means to take up a permanent residence, indwelling of Christ in hearts of believers. To dwell fixedly in a place.

He does not lust to come into my heart, but to have more of me.

He resides in every believer, He does not preside!


Galatians 5:16-17 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

E. Evidence of a Spirit controlled person.

Power to witness: Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 2:4 the Spirit gave them utterance. (16 different languages): :8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? :11 we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. Why? - :21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. :41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Fruit of the Spirit – not me!

:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

“We argue over the expression of it and die for the lack of experience.”

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Story

My Story
I recently decided to write down how I got saved. I want to make sure my boys know that I will be heaven and it wouldn't be heaven without them. They all profess to have trusted Christ as their personal Savior. I was nineteen, and sharing an apartment in Jacksonville with my cousin Wanda and her husband Richard. Richard and I were students at Massey Business College.

 
I thought I was a Christian.

Up to this point in my life I thought I was a Christian. I lived in a "Christian nation," I went to a Christian church and was raised by a Christian family. Isn't everyone in America a Christian or religious?

But God started showing me that something was missing early in life. One summer, our church group went to the Methodist Youth Camp in Leesburg, Florida. I was in a cabin of 10 or 12 boys that I had never met. At the end of the day we held hands in a circle and each person was asked to pray. You know, "Thank you God for a wonderful day at camp, keeps us safe when we try to learn to swim tomorrow, etc."

When it was my turn I didn't say a word. The only prayer I knew besides "God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food..." was "Now I lay me down to sleep." The camp counselor nudged me and said, "George, say Lord help me to pray."

I did, five nights in a row I prayed, "Lord, help me to pray," and then nudged the guy next to me.

I watched the faces of the kids that stood up in chapel and saw in them something that was missing in me. They had something that was real. A relationship with God. I had religion; they had a personal relationship with Him.

I walked out to the lake where we had Vesper Services and sat on a log. I wanted to give myself to God and have that relationship, too. Nothing happened, so I took a walk through the garden path where campers could go for a quiet time with God and pray as they walked along with Him. It was getting darker and the shadows were scary. I wanted God to just grab me or something, just let me have that same relationship with Him as the other kids had.

Nothing happened.

Later, in the ninth grade, I met a young lady that went to a Baptist church. I heard the word "Saved" for the first time. I started to think that the Baptist used the word "Saved" the same way Methodist used the word "Christian."

My first year of college, I married that Baptist. The pastor of the Baptist church down the street came to visit. I made fun of him. He invited us to church and left.

The next week an older woman knocked on the door. I knew she was from the same church. She was interrupting me as my favorite new program was starting, Star Trek. I told her "No thank you," and started to close the door in her face.

She said, "Can I ask you a question before I go."
"What?" I blurted.

"Are you Saved?" she said.

"Yes, I'm Saaavveed!" I sneered while thinking, "These Baptist think they're the only ones going to heaven."

My wife came to the door before I could close it, "What about you, young lady, are you Saved?" she asked.

"Oh yes, I'm saved," she said with an angelic look on her face, "I was Saved when I was nine." It was the same look I saw at the camp in Leesburg when some of the other kids talked about God.

The thought that went through my mind was, "I lied... she didn't."

Later that night as we lay in bed I asked my wife, "You know your Saved, don't you."

Then I explained to her John 3:16. I had memorized it when I was about five years old at a vacation Bible school in Norfolk, Virginia. A group of Baptist were using the community center where I lived to start a new church and my Mom took us there.

God so loved the world, that whosoever believes.... not goes to church, not tithes, not do this or do that, but "believes" that Jesus Christ died for my sins, has eternal life.

I told my wife, "That's too easy, what about all the things I've done?" (I was clinging to my hope of being good enough to get to heaven. And, it was hard to let go of what little I had.)

She said, "I'm sorry, that's all you can do (is believe), complain to God, not me!"

So I prayed, "Now I lay me down to sleep..." and when I realized that all I needed to do was trust in Him.... in my mind I was back at the lake in Leesburg and didn't know what to do or how to tell God that I wanted to trust his Son as my Savior and I thought of the words my camp counselor said, "George, say Lord help me to pray."

So I did!

I can see how God saw that mischievous little boy that, despite everything he did and was, wanted to have a personal relationship with Him. It took awhile. But God brought people into my life that had answers to the questions that I was asking and when the time came for me to decide that I would put my trust in Him, He was there and more than willing to have me as his son.

I had always thought that faith was blind. It was like taking one step into the dark, and then taking one more step. Scary! But, faith is trust in a Person and what He has done. Faith is believing that Jesus Christ had paid the penalty for my sin and by believing in Him and what He did, I had eternal life.

We trust in a lot of things and a lot of people everyday. We even say, "I have faith in him or her."
Why not put my faith in the one who "so loved the world, he gave his only son..!"

For me!


 
What if your life were to end today?

Are you 100% sure that you would go to heaven?

I was saved when I finally understood John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Do you see it?

The only thing I could do to get my name written into the Lamb's book of life was to believe that He, and only He could pay my sin debt.

The next verse reads, "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

I thought, surely, the good would outweigh the bad and God would let me in, but the Bible says, "condemned already!"

The purpose of the law and ten commandments was to prove that I was not "good.”

"Told a lie, you bet!

Took something that wasn't mine, done that!

Looked at a woman with lust in my heart, guilty!

Wow, I'm a lying, thieving, adulterer!

I'm a sinner, the wages of sin is death, and according to the last book in the Bible, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

So, it was either die and go to hell, or put my trust in Jesus Christ, the One who already died for me, in my place.

I closed my eyes to pray (part of what I thought was "being good" to get into heaven). I was in my first year of college, married, and a father to be. My eloquent prayer was: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die..."

Oh my, I realized I would go to hell. All I could say was, "Lord help me to pray."

He did!

I prayed something like, "God, I know I am a sinner, I believe Jesus died for me, come into my heart and save me."

He did!

I woke up everyone in the house. I asked my wife to show me in Bible what I did. I wanted to read John 3:16!

All my life I was "doing" something to go to heaven. I had to let go of all the things I was trusting in (not easy to do) and put my faith where God put my sin - on His Son.

On that November 10th, my name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life!

John 5:24 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."


 
Now you've heard. Believe!

 
"Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that Jesus died on the cross for me. Please forgive me of my sin, come into my heart and save me. In Jesus' name, Amen.”

"These things have I written unto you (me) that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know (not hope so) that ye have eternal life..." I John 5:13

Notice that the word 'know' and 'saved' are past tense. This is something you do here and now, not while standing at the Pearly Gates.


 
What if?

If you are not certain about the answer to that question, then please listen to what God says in His Word.

The Bible teaches that you need to understand and believe four things in order to have a home in heaven.

1. You have sinned against God. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

2. There is a penalty for sin. "For the wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23

3. Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again, victorious over sin, Hell and the grave. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 4.

4. Jesus is able and willing to save you from your sin penalty. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13


God wants you to believe His Word and receive Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour.

If you will... then right now, in simple faith, pray asking Him to forgive your sin and save you.

CONFESS: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

CALL: "Dear God,  I know that I am a sinner. I know that Jesus died on the cross for me. Please forgive me of my sin, Come into my heart and save me.

(Jesus said: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.")

OPEN THE DOOR: Come into my heart and save me. In Jesus' name, Amen."


It's not what you prayed that saves you... it is who you trusted to save you. It is by believing that Jesus, God's Son died for your sins... in your place... and to prove He is God and can give you eternal life... He rose again! The moment you believe that your sin is forgiven, you have eternal live and Heaven is your home.

It says in I John 5:13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.

Have you done that? If you have, leave a comment.

Or, if you have a question... let me know if I can help.

Better yet, ask God. Read John, Chapter 3 and let God open your eyes like he did mine.