Archive Page 2

12
Jul
10

Dealing with Suicide


Yesterday morning, I woke up and for some strange reason I was thinking about people  who commit suicide. Where do they go; heaven or hell? So I decided,  in my mind, they go to hell. Murder is sin. They murder themselves and don’t have time to repent. Right??….. Well …..

I went to Sunday school yesterday morning and Pastor Clayton got to talking about suicide. I don’t think he really meant to get on the subject, but he did.  He was talking about the only unforgiven sin.   Matthew 12:31-32

31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

So does this mean suicide is forgiven? It clearly says the only unforgiven sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. It even says words against Jesus are forgiven. Another scripture he brought out is           Romans 5:20-21

20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So where do people go who commit suicide? I personally do not know for sure and Pastor Clayton never said he knew for sure. I think it is the easiest argument to say hell. I also think grace goes far beyond what we can comprehend. We are not to judge, but we are to be judged. So if you are dealing with a lost loved one who has committed suicide, and your not sure what to think, just remember, where there is sin, there is much more grace.

As a side note….

Just because the lord is very gracious, it doesn’t mean we can go about sinning all the time.        Romans 6:1-4

6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Advertisements
09
Jul
10

Is God Real?


I am not going to post  an answer to this question until I have a few good answers from my readers. I want everyone who reads this to click the “comments” button on this topic and give me an answer. I would like to hear both sides of the argument; those who do believe He is real and those who do not. I believe this will challenge the believers more than the nonbelievers. But, it will be good for us.

Also, in Brett Wilson’s comment he said “I’ve never been one for debates, mainly because people on both sides tend to defend their side and use the other participants words as ammo to turn back on them.”  I totally agree. I will not approve your comment if it turns into a unprofitable argument.

08
Jul
10

Add to Your Church Daily


On my way home from work today I was thinking about the end of Acts chapter 2. I was thinking about how the Bible says that “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” So then I started wondering. What did they do that pleased God enough for Him to add so many to the church? They had to be doing something right or the Lord wouldn’t have added to them people to disciple. Well lets look at Acts 2:42-47.

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Now I’m going to break it down into the way I see these verses. Verse 42- They were totally sold out to the apostles’ teachings. They lived every inch of their lives the way the apostles taught. They were this way with three important factors; hanging out together, eating together, and prayer…(I’m going to assume prayer together since the others were.) Verse 43- Awe came upon everyone of them because they bought into what was in verse 42. The awe led to great faith. The great faith led to many signs and wonders. Verse 44- They were all together, not bickering, focused on the same thing. Verse 45-They were selling their possessions so that they could give the money to those who needed it. Verse 46 and 47- Everyday, they were at church together, eating together, thankful for everything, praising God, and having favor with each other. That is why the church was added to daily.

So what is the best form of outreach? Apparently it is the outreach of the believers in Acts chapter 2. Their way of outreach added people everyday. Their outreach was spending everyday together in church and then at each others houses in fellowship. In today’s world we complain if we have to go to church more than two times a week.  They also had favor with all people. As christians, we need to be careful and find favor with everyone; at work, playing sports, dining at a restaurant, at school. There are too many so called “christians” in this world that act ridiculous in public and they have given real christians a bad name. Another thing the believers in Acts chapter 2 were doing was selling their own possessions so that they could give money to the ones in need. In today’s world, we love to have the biggest house, the best car, and the newest phone. What do all these have in common? Each cost the most money to have them.  I’m not saying its horrible to have money or have nice things, but if you are stretching yourself to the limit to aquire these things then you are doing the opposite the early church was in Acts 2. If they didn’t have the money to give to the needy, they sold something to get it. How many of us would sell something of ours, just so we can give the money to those in need?

So how do we add to our churches? I think following the example of the early church in Acts is the best way. As a church family, why don’t we devote ourselves to the teaching of the Bible, be in awe of it, fellowship daily, pray daily, support those in need (even if it takes a sacrifice of our own), and lets see the church grow. And as a final challenge to all who are reading, next week invite someone you want to know a little better to your house for dinner, and get to know each other. It is time to see the church grow.

03
Jul
10

How Do I Know I’m Saved?


I was listening to a song today that described life after receiving salvation perfectly. The song is “More Like Falling in Love” by Jason Gray. Some of the quotes are “more like falling in love, than something to believe in,” and ” more like losing my heart than giving my allegiance.”  Wow! Talking about hitting the nail on the head! This song has an awesome description, but what does the bible say? I think it clearly talks about the answer to “how do I know I’m saved?” It is a combination of two things; inward and outward.

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.

What is that “belief?” Is it just believing that Christ came and then doing whatever we want? Well I guess if I just went by this one verse it could be. (Many people believe in Christ but still do not call themselves christians.) But, I like to take the Bible as a whole and see what it says. The Bible was put together to work together as a whole, not contradicting itself. So lets take that verse and put it with some other verses. 

Inward:

Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.”

This verse comes from Stephen’s speech to the council before his stoning. Notice he called them “uncircumcised in heart.” These men were about to have him stoned for doing things for the sake of Christ. So I would think it’s safe to say they were unsaved men. So maybe to be saved is to have a “circumcised heart.” What does this mean? Well if you were circumcised in the Old Testament it would prove you were a Jew. So maybe “circumcised in the heart” is to establish the fact of being saved. So how do I know if I am circumcised in heart? Answer: Think of the song. Are you falling in love or are you just believing that Christ existed? If you are totally in love with Christ inwardly it will show outwardly. I think Colossians and Galatians gives some good examples of what the outward appearance will be.

Outward:

Colossians 5 – 17

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Galatians 5 19-24

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Well, theres not much to add to that. I think the Bible describes it perfectly. It tells us what we need to stop doing and then what we should start doing. It tells us what the works of the flesh are (which we are to put off). Then it tells us what we will produce with our inward heart changed. We will produce the fruits of the Spirit. I know that we are all human and we slip and fall sometimes, but I think that excuse is used too much. Read verse 24 in Galatians 5. If you’re not producing these fruits then just maybe there is something wrong.

Listen to this song and if you feel the same way he sings about then just maybe you will know you’re saved.

As a side note, I also like another quote from this song. It says “Cause all religion ever made of me was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet.” Expect a blog on this quote.

23
Jun
10

The Blood of Jesus: The Crucifixion


In my last blog, I wrote of the blood that was shed from Jesus during a prayer and the scourging that took place before the crucifixion. In this blog I want to talk about a very familiar story; the crucifixion. I want to focus on the suffering of Christ that took place on Calvary. I know these blogs aren’t favorable in the mind of some people, and I don’t blame them. I don’t want to think about all the suffering that someone went through just so I could have life. Its easy to always talk about the wonderful things that Christ brought us. But, I feel that we can’t truly appreciate the love of Christ, which has just turned into something simple that we say to people, without seeing what he went through for us. When we tell people that  Jesus loves them and his blood will cover all their sins, why don’t we prove to them this fact by telling them of what he did, just for them. Not only did he die, but he suffered before he died. Hopefully, I can share enough of his suffering in this blog to make us truly appreciate these sayings: “the blood of Jesus”,  “the love of Christ”, and “Jesus loves you.”

So, just how bad is death by crucifixion? What did Jesus go through?

Well, after the scourging, the Romans returned his garments back to him, and the patibulum, which is attached to the cross later, is tied to Christs’ shoulders. This weighed about 110 pounds normally. Next Christ and the two thieves head down the Via Dolorosa. This is the path going to the scene of the crucifixion at Golgotha. On the way, the weight of the cross, along with all of the blood loss, becomes too much for Jesus to withstand and he collapses. The rough beam then digs into the already lacerated skin and muscles of Jesus. He tries to rise and keep going, but he cannot carry it any longer. So, Simon of Cyrene is appointed to carry the cross as Jesus follows behind. Finally, the 650 yard journey to Golgotha is complete. Then the Crucifixion begins…

Simon is ordered to lay the cross down on the ground. Jesus is then thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood. Then the legionnaire drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and into the wood. Then quickly he moves to the other side doing the same, being careful not to pull the arms too tight, but allow some flexibility and movement. The patibulum is then lifted in place at the top of the stipes (the verticle wood of the cross which is set prior to the crucifixion) and the titulus(a board at the top of the cross telling why the person is being crucified) reading Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews is nailed in place. Next, the left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. Then Jesus hangs until the point of death. I know there is much more that goes on while Jesus is hanging on the cross, but for the sake of the length of the blog I won’t go into them. But what a horrible death!

Imagine yourself hanging by the nails, trying to pull yourself up through the pain just to get a gasp of air into your lungs. It should have been you. It should have been me. But Jesus took my sins and your sins, and covered them with his blood, at Calvary, so that we can have eternal life with him.

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.

Please feel free to leave comments… If you agree, disagree, like, or dislike any of the blogs…. let me know… just click leave a comment above each blog.

15
Jun
10

The Blood of Jesus: Prayer and Scourging


I apologize for the length of the blog  in advance. Please keep reading. I wanted to give a full description of everything.

A phrase known and often quoted by christians is “The Blood of Jesus.”  What a horrible but wonderful thing. I heard my pastor a couple of weeks back talk about how the blood of Jesus covers our sins. And I have heard countless messages on the blood of Jesus, but for some reason my mind went to wondering about the actual physical blood of Jesus. Just thinking about the “physical blood” has given me a new appreciation for the sufferings that Jesus went through for me. What a price he payed for an undeserving me!

Luke 22:41-44 says:                 

41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

This is when Jesus is with the disciples at the Mount of Olives just before the betrayal of Judas. He is praying for God to remove what is about to happen from him unless it is his will that this is to happen.(Great example to how we are to pray) What happens? An angel comes down from heaven and strengthens him. Then notice verse 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. This is actually physically possible. The clinical term is “hematohidrosis.” This is where someone under a great amount of stress can rupture the blood vessels around their sweat glands and it pushes blood out with the sweat. This is the first account of the blood of Jesus in Luke.

Next is the Scourging. What is the scourging? How does the process take place?  

Well, first preparations for the scourging are carried out.  The prisoner is stripped of his clothing and his hands are tied to a post above his head. Some say it is doubtful whether the Romans made any attempt to follow the Jewish law in this matter of scourging.  The Jews had an ancient law prohibiting more than forty lashes.  The Pharisees, always making sure the law was strictly kept, insisted only thirty-nine lashes be given.  (In case of a miscount, they were sure of remaining within the law.)  The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum (or flagellum) in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. 

The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across the shoulders, back, and legs of Jesus.  At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only.  Then, as the blows continue, they are cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles.  The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broke open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn bleeding tissue.  When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped.

The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood.  The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king.  They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter.  They still need a crown to make their travesty complete.  A small bundle of flexible branches covered with long thorns (commonly used for firewood) are plaited into the shape of a crown and this is pressed into His scalp.  Again there is more bleeding (the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body.)  After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp.  Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back.  This had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, causes exruciating pain…almost as though He were again being whipped – and the wounds again begin to bleed. Most of the facts of the scourging come from http://www.csun.edu/~hbeng151/icc/studies/account.html.

In the beginning of this blog I said the blood of Jesus was a horrible but wonderful thing. Let me explain. It is horrible because of what Jesus went through and what is above is not even close to all of the suffering. There is still the Crucifixion and the mockery of the past and present and much more. But, O how wonderful is his blood! Because of his blood we can spend eternity with him. He paid the ultimate sacrifice. His blood is what covers our sins. Jesus died a brutal death for all. Now an undeserving me can spend eternity with him because of his death and resurrection. I cannot thank or praise him enough but I can try to spread the love that He has through this blog and conversation with others. He didn’t have to endure all the suffering, but he did because he loves us. Thank you Jesus.

I almost didn’t put this video on the blog. But I think sometimes it takes a visual for people to understand what Jesus did for us. I warn you though, don’t watch if you have a weak stomach or don’t feel as if this should be shown to people.

05
Jun
10

The Love of Christ #2


 

Not only did Christ show us his love by giving his life but also through how he lived here on earth…

While Jesus was on earth he was the prime example to how we should strive to live our lives. He went around teaching the ways we should live, he performed miracle after miracle (alot of the time to people who didn’t deserve it), and he did not give into temptations of the devil. Yes, we are all human, and we are going to fall sometime… that is why we have grace.  No we cannot perform miracles on our own, but we can pray for them and let God decide what his will is.  

Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

But we can teach what the scripture says on how we should live our life. Remember the old saying “What Would Jesus Do.” (yeah I know that turned into something kinda corny, but how true it is!) In all situations why dont we ask ourselves what would Jesus do?…Lets all try to show love through everything we do.

A great description of love and how it is to benefit us is in

1 Corinthians Chapter 13

13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.