We will never behold the glory of Christ by sight in the next world if we have not in some measure beheld it by faith here in this world.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
The eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews lists many examples of men that had great faith and the things they accomplished.
Yet, it is not the quantity of faith that saves us. A little faith is just as real faith as the person with the greatest faith. A drop of water is just as real water as the whole ocean. A spark of fire is as real fire as a whole forest fire. A sickly man is just as real of a human being as a healthy man. So it is not the measure of your faith that saves you, but the blood of Christ. We all start out with little faith, but as we grow and see the hand of God in our lives and the lives of others, our faith increases astronomically. So if your faith is small, yet you seek Christ, He will not let you perish. The weakest hands may take the gift as well as the strongest. Christ is that gift, and a little faith is all it takes to begin a journey that will lead to a life of triumphant joy in our Lord.
As Christians, our greatest desire should be to be more like Jesus. How do we do that? By surrendering our lives to Him. By making God’s will more important to us than our own desires. As we strive to do this we will find our own desires being more in line with God’s desire for us. We will experience the love of Christ flowing through us.
When asked what was most important, Jesus replied, “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind…The second is to love your neighbor as yourself.”
God is love. His nature is love. It is impossible for Him, not to love. He loved us so much that He gave His son, Jesus Christ, to die a horribly painful death to save us. He did this while we were sinners. We certainly didn’t deserve it. Jesus loves all of us. He loves us when we are unlovable. He loves the worst of sinners, people who we think are unlovable and don’t deserve God’s love are still loved by God. He doesn’t love the sin in their lives, in fact, He hates their sin, but He loves them.
We have all heard love the sinner, hate the sin. This is very hard to do, it seems impossible; it is only possible for us when we allow the love of Christ to flow through us. When we surrender our own will and seek to do God’s will, we will find God’s love flowing through us naturally, without even thinking about it.
If we want to be more Christ-like, we must love those we may not like. We don’t have to like or accept their lifestyle, their behavior, what they stand for, or even their religion. We may not like to be near them or listen to them, but we need to love them as a creation of God. If we do this, we will find that we are becoming more concerned about their salvation and where they will spend eternity. We are becoming more Christ-like. Love others.
The point Jesus is making in the parable of the prodigal son is that we are never too far from God. No matter what we have done, God will always welcome us home.
The Parable of the Lost Son
11 “Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
We are all children of God. Sometimes we stray far away from the family of God. We may have strayed so far that we feel so unworthy, to even ask God’s forgiveness. We may think we are too far gone for God to accept us. The truth is that none of us are good enough. We can never be good enough. The good news is that God has made a provision for us. The blood that Jesus shed on the cross will cleanse us of all our unrighteousness. No matter where we are in life, Jesus is there waiting. He will accept us just as we are at this very moment. All we have to do is ask!
Say this simple prayer or something similar: Jesus I believe that you are the son of God. I believe that you died on the cross for our sins and that on the third day you rose again and are alive in heaven right now. Please forgive me of my sins, (we are all sinners) and come into my life.
If you said this prayer and meant it, you are now a child of God, you are a child of the King. You have come home! God will help you and bless you as only a Godly Father can.
Bill Anderson told the story about the day the devil decided to go out of business. He decided to have a sale in which he would sell off the tools of his trade.
On the night of the sale, the devil’s tools were all attractively displayed. Malice, hate, jealousy, greed, sensuality, and deceit were among them. To the side lay a harmless wedge-shaped tool, which had been used much more than any of the rest.
Someone asked the devil”What’s is that? It’s priced so high.” The devil answered, “That’s discouragement.” “But why is it priced so much higher than all the other tools?” the onlooker persisted. “Because, replied the devil, with that tool I can pry open and get inside a person’s consciousness when I couldn’t get near him with any of the others. Once discouragement gets inside, I can let all the other tools do their work.”
How does the devil get us discouraged? By lying to us. Jesus said Satan is a liar and the father of lies. There is no truth in Him (John 8:44). He knows what lies to tell each of us to get us discouraged. To name a few:
You’re not going to make it! You’re not good enough! You’re not pretty enough! Nobody likes you! Everybody’s against you! You can’t trust anyone! You’re a failure!
These are just some of the lies Satan will use on us. Don’t believe his lies. Don’t let Satan steal your joy. God created each of us unique and special. God doesn’t make mistakes. He loves each of us more than we can humanly understand. He loved us before we were born, He has always loved us and always will. To God, you’re not a failure. You are more precious than gold. There is nothing we can do to keep Him from loving us. All He wants is for us to love Him back.
You are not a physical person in a physical body, but rather you are a spiritual being in a physical body. Do you need to think about that for a minute? You are not a physical person in a physical body. You are a spiritual being in a physical body. We live in physical bodies, with physical senses, and we live in the physical world. It is hard to imagine being anything but a physical being.
Almighty God, who created the universe, is a Spiritual being. David tells us in Psalms 139:7 that the presence of God is everywhere, His spiritual presence extends to the end of the universe and beyond. He created the universe, therefore it cannot contain Him. He is the absolute ultimate spiritual being.
Spiritual beings are everywhere. God, the angels, and yes Satan and his demons are all spiritual beings. Not just in heaven, but on earth and probably anywhere in the universe if they chose. Therefore it is not unreasonable that we are also spiritual beings.
Genesis chapter one, verse 27 tells us that God created us in His image. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
God is a spiritual being. He created us in His own image. He created us as spiritual beings, just as the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all spiritual beings with spiritual bodies. He created us as spiritual beings with a soul. We are not purely physical, our souls are spiritual. The animals do not have a soul, they are purely physical. They live and die and that’s the end of them. We, however, will never die! Oh, our bodies will eventually waste away and die, but when that happens, it simply means that our spiritual being will be released from being imprisoned in these earthly bodies, and we will soar away to heaven.
What is your perception of God? Your perception of God determines the foundation you will build your life on. It determines how you view everything else in life. To our ancestors, the universe consisted of the sun, the moon and the stars. Astronomers tell us … Continue reading How Big is your God?
HOW THE APOSTLES DIED. 1. Matthew Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, Killed by a sword wound. 2. Mark Died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead. 3. Luke Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost. 4. John Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered From death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully 5. Peter He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition, it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died. 6. James The leader of the church in Jerusalem was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller’s club. * This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation. 7. James the Son of Zebedee He was a fisherman by trade when Jesus Called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and Knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian. 8. Bartholomew Also known as Nathaniel Was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present-day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip. 9. Andrew Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: ‘I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.’ He continued to preach to his tormentors For two days until he expired. 10. Thomas Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Sub-continent. 11. Jude Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. 12. Matthias The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot was stoned and then beheaded. 13. Paul Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament. (Jayar Landingin)
After Christ’s crucifixion, the disciples and other followers were disillusioned and discouraged, they were fearful and many were in hiding. The person they thought was the Messiah was dead. Their hope in Him as the savior of the world was crushed. They began to disperse and return to their former way of life. But after the resurrection, they came together and began boldly proclaiming the Jesus was alive. There can only be one explanation for the change in the disciples. Jesus was alive and the disciples had seen Him (1 Cor. 15: 5 & 7) and ate and drank with Him(John 21:12-15) (Acts 10:41). They knew with certainty that Jesus had risen from the dead. They faced a lifetime of hardship and persecution, and eventually died a martyr’s death. Could they have sustained such unwavering faith if they knew what they were preaching was a lie? Men will die for what they believe to be true, though it may actually be false. They do not, however, die for what they know to be a lie. (Paul Little “Know Why You Believe”)
We know that the Old Testament contained 60 major messianic prophecies and 270 minor prophecies or conditions that were fulfilled by one person. That person was Jesus Christ.
Professor Peter Stoner and his mathematical class, overseen by the American Scientific Affrication, determined that the chance that any man might have lived to the present time and fulfilled eight of these prophecies is 1 in 10 to the seventeenth power. Or to put it in perspective that would be like covering the state of Texas 2 ft. deep in quarters, mark one quarter, bury it somewhere in Texas, blindfold a person and tell him to go find it on the 1st try. They determined that the odds for someone to fulfill these 8 of the prophecies were 1 to 13 trillion.
But what about the New Testament Gospels, can we believe the gospels about His life, crucifixion, and resurrection? (more…)