Thursday, December 30, 2004

Can You Answer This Riddle?

What is greater than God, worse than the Devil, dead men eat it, and if you eat it you will DIE?

Send your answer to me: or leave a comment, If your answer is right I will send you a confirmation.

Love, Howard

Friday, December 17, 2004

Two Questions God Will Ask

First Question:

Since Jesus Christ said "I am the way the truth and the life", and proved it by His sinless life, His sacrificial death, and His miraculous resurection, have you believed or have you rejected Him?

Millions have believed and have proved by their changed lives and good deeds that what he said of himself was true, and still is true. God will not ask what church you belonged to, or if you were a good person. He knows if you have accepted His Son as your Savior or not, and if your life has been cleansed and changed by His grace. Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through Me!" If you have not believed, do so now. It will change your life.

Second Question:
Since I created you on purpose to love me and to love your fellow-man,
how have you used the life I gave you? What did you do with your gifts, talents, opportunities, energy, relationships, and resources you have had? Did you squander them on yourself, or use them for the purpose I intended ?

Your answer to these questions wil determine where and how you will spend eternity.

If you would like more information Leave a comment below. God loves you and so do I. The only reason I post these blogs is to help you get the best out of life.

Love, Howard

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Have a Laugh

Go to
read "I Know You're Gonna Laugh"
Love, Howard

Friday, November 12, 2004

About Jesus and Me

The Preachers Kid

Jesus now is the focus of my life. It wasn't always that way. I was a reprobate hypocrite.

I was a Pastors son, born in a parsonage, brought up in church. My religion was environmental not personal. I was always interested in science, particularly, electronics. I was employed by the Army Signal Corps as an engineer during WW2. After the war I started a Two Way Radio business in Ferndale, NY. Built a house for my wife and family of three girls and a boy. I joined a local church and became a very good hypocrite. Many nights I wept in my pillow for I didn't know the Lord. An evangelist from Pittsburg called Rusty came to our church, he was the son of the largest beer distributor in that city, but he had found the Lord because he was infatuated with a pastors daughter who wouldn't date him unless it was to go to church with her. When he did he heard the Gospel for the first time gave his life to Christ.

He was so full of the love and compassion of Jesus. It just spilled out of him as he spoke. He showed that love to me and my wife. And we gave our lives to Christ.We wanted that Love. That changed my life. I loved my new life, Church became a joy. Sunday school was a blast. Prayer meeting was delightful.
As my business grew, the burdens of running the business, supporting a growing family was hard. But temptations of putting temporal things before spiritual things. Short cuts on integrity etc, etc. Skipping my devotions. Coolness set in and I had lost the joy. A brother-in-law reminded me that something must be wrong with me, he said I lost my tenderness. After a while I began to admit it to myself. I decided to spend some time alone with God and get this thing settled. As I poured out my heart before Him I promised to sell my beloved business, become a missionary or do anything he wanted me to do no matter what it cost. I was desperate. This was the turning point. I can never explain it, but Jesus spoke to me as if we were face to face. He said "I want you to give your family and business to me. You run things for Me. You are my friend I will be with you and show you the way!"
He did, and He does yet. There are still hard times. But since I determined to have that "ruthless trust" in Him and obey His Spirit completely. I have a source of power that spans the universe, and I know a LOVE that is unconditional and unshakable, followed by a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

I am now 86 years old. God has been so very good to me. I live in Florida, attend a wonderful Church where people realley love the Lord Jesus. Visit us :

Love, Howard

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Pure Love

Love Is The Goal!

Paul always taught the principles that Jesus taught. Loving God and loving our neighbor is one of these teachings.

In 1 Tim 1:5 Paul says to Timothy that love is the goal of the commandment. The commandment that just precedes this statement is"
"Command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work--which is by faith. 5The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."
He is saying that if men have pure love they will never teach false doctrine, nor do anything to harm the kingdom of God. What these "teachers" needed was a revival of Christ's love in their hearts.

He is teaching here that three things will characterize those who have God's love.

What is a pure heart?

Psalm 24:4: He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

Psalm 51:9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

A heart filled with pure love; No hypocrisy. No hidden agendas, No insincerity, but pure (agape) love for everyone. Jesus said:
"Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."

What is a good conscience?

A conscience trained by the standard of pure Christ-like love. Paul's example of a good conscience is this: "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men." He also wrote "Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace."

No offense toward God or man that has not been confessed and repented of and forgiven. The slightest offense not forgiven causes the conscience to pain and hinders our love.

What is a sincere faith?

No hypocrisy, no facade, no mask. The faith has to be in Jesus. Not in our own wisdom and pride or even in our church or pastor. Total commitment and trust in God. God is the source of our love and faith, if we are not fully committed to him his love cannot work in our lives.

How can you know that you have this kind of love? How is our love tested?

Here is how Jesus' was tested:

Matt 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

The first temptation was a test to see how much love we have for physical satisfaction.

4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."

This was Jesus' answer. It showed that his highest love was not for physical things but for God's word.

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
6 "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"

The second temptation was to determine how much love we have for emotional satisfaction.

7 Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

This was Jesus' answer. I t showed that Jesus first love was not on himself, but on God.

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down
and worship me."

The third was to determine how much love we have for God.

10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

This was Jesus' answer. It showed that His highest love was for God his Father.

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

If you are responding, as you ought to the pressures of life, God's angels will minister to you too.

Our trials and temptations test us every day. How are you doing? Check out how you are reacting to the choices of everyday life.

My prayer for you, personally, is: Lord, please make my friend more like Jesus every day. Amen.



Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Greatest Fact

The single most important fact in the world for you is that:


How do you respond to that fact
So what?

Do you realize that this one who loves you is Jesus, the only unique Son of God Almighty, the Creator of the universe? He has a good reason for loving you. He created you, then He sacrificed his life to pardon your sins and has a wonderful plan for your life.

I couldn't care less!

But he cares very much, and knows that unless you respond positively to his love your future is very much in doubt.

Leave me alone!

If you insist, Jesus will leave you alone and you will never find the joy and peace he has in store for you. Do you know that you are dependent on him for your life and breath, your strength and skill and all you ever want to accomplish in this world?

But it’s my life. I'll live it as I please.

You certainly will as far as he is concerned. He loves you too much to ever take that privilege away from you. But do you think you can do a good job of it? Don't you think some of his wisdom and truth would help you find the way to happiness and fulfillment?

But I want to be in charge!

Of course you do. You think you know better than God what is best for you. That is the same mistake that Satan made. By that mistake he brought sin, evil, and death into the world. Don't you think that God, who designed the universe knows the best way to direct your life?

I don't need him or want him in my life!

Who or what are you going to trust? Is it luck or chance or the odds? Maybe you trust your own wisdom or your instincts, but who gave you these and who is in charge of this universe. Remember, He loves you and whatever success you may attain, He has been there behind the scenes all the time and enabled you to do it. Whatever failures, mistakes and messes you make are your own responsibility because you have not allowed his love and wisdom to guide you. If you have hurt people, abused yourself and rejected Jesus. God will make sure you pay for it.

Leave me alone !

Wouldn't you rather have a clear conscience and peace? He is ready to forgive you and make you one of his family and lavish his love and favor on you until you wonder how you ever lived without him.

Yes! That sounds good to me.

Just confess your need to Jesus and tell him you love him and ask him into your life. Because he loves you so much he will forgive your sin, give you his Spirit to guide you. He will fill your heart with his love and the desire to live right in his sight.

Just ask him for this. You will never regret it.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1John 4::9-10


Saturday, October 23, 2004

How Do You Love Yourself?

Conquering The Beast Within

In Jesus' statement of the second greatest Commandment He says love your neighbor as you love yourself. Being selfish and self centered has never been hard for us, but to try to love everybody else the way we love ourselves -- that seems impossible. God gave us a list of rules to tell us how to live. Perhaps in them is the clue we need to help us find that love. We call them "The Ten Commandments"

They are the exact opposite of our natural tendencies, the selfish, sensual and sinful desires we inherited from Adam. If we could keep them all it would appear that we love appropriately. However, I cannot do it. I cannot as a natural independent person with the right of free choice, help getting angry when anyone (including God) tries to make me accept his choices for me. When he tells me what I can or can not do I am insulted.

In the first commandment God says I should put him first in my life, my reaction is, "I will decide the important things. You stay out of it."

In the second, He says "no idols" I say, "There are some things in this world that are very dear to me. If I choose to give one of them my best attention and love, think it is no ones business but mine. I will idolize whatever I please."

In the third, He says, "Don't misuse my name." What nerve! I will use his name any way I please.

Fourth, He can not tell me when I should work or when I should rest, that's my decision.

Then fifth, He wants me to kow tow to my parents. I am grown up now, who needs those old fogies.

In the tenth He says, "Do not covet ". If I want something, I believe I have a right to pursue it until I obtain it. He demands honesty. However, I have to disregard the truth sometimes to get what I want.

He says, "Don't steal." I think it is unfair that others have what I want. I'll take whatever I want, even if it is my neighbor's wife, who God says I can't have. In addition, I will hate and may even kill anyone who tries to stop me.

The reason I break all Ten Commandments is that the two most important principles, loving God, and loving my neighbor, are not in my heart. God, by his love, gave these commandments to us just so that we could see how sinful we are. This is part of the plan God devised to bring us back into a loving relationship to him.

The Ten Commandments play an important part in our understanding of what is right or wrong. They also help us recognize the wisdom and power of God. But even before Moses received these written laws, men already knew right from wrong. God provided each one of us with a conscience that judges our actions. Paul wrote in his epistle to the Romans, "For we know that the law is spiritual-- I agree with the law, confessing that it is good, I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man." If God gave us the same law in our hearts as is written in the Bible it makes it extremely difficult for us to deny His authority or the validity of His word.

If God really loves us, then it follows that he gave us these laws for our own protection and well being. So if we really love ourselves it seems like we would want to keep these laws. Just think: How many lies do we have to tell to be a liar? How many times do you have to steal to be a thief? How many laws do have to break to be a law-breaker? If we care about who and what we are at all, we will try to keep the law!

However, keeping the law is not easy. The people of Israel did not keep the law. Jesus pointed out that the scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders of that time did not keep the law. Paul, the Apostle,before he was transformed by the grace of God, said he couldn't keep it. He says. "I am of flesh sold into bondage of sin. I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. "{Rom. 7:22}

Paul wrote in Galatians 5: If we do not live by the Spirit (of God), we will gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

We are in the same trouble. None of us can keep the whole law. One of the reasons is that Satan has implanted into our minds a false image of God. He has shown us a picture of an angry and tyrannical god who enforces his law haphazardly, if at all. Another reason is that Satan is a liar. He lied to Eve the same way and we have inherited the results of the "fall". Because of this we have an attitude that is not apt to be loving and obedient. God says of us through Jeremiah, "The human heart is more deceitful than all else and desperately wicked." We have been deceived by Satan and tricked by our own hearts so that now we believe that we know how we should live better than God does. We think our interests and ambitions should come first. We want gratification of our lust now. Anger, envy and hate control our actions. Pride and vanity dictate our attitudes. We lack gratitude and compassion. Is this any way to live?

Jesus came to show us a better way!

First, Jesus gave us a new picture of God. God sent his Son, ("The radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being." Heb 1:3) as a sweet little baby born of a virgin and laid in a manger. He grew up to be the most loving, tender and compassionate teacher the world has ever known. John wrote of Him, "And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as the only begotton from the Father full of grace and truth." Paul saw him as, "The image of the invisible God. "Col 1:15 We see Him in the gospels as the "Good Shepherd", the "Good Master", the "Great Physician", the "Friend of Sinners" and finally as the "Lamb Of God".

So you see that the concept we had of God was false. The reason that God asks us to keep the commandments is that he loves us so much that he hurts when we hurt, and he knows we will suffer if we ignore laws that were designed to protect and nurture us.

Second, He taught us the difference between the Spirit of the law and the letter of the law. and that the two most important principles to live by, are, "Love the Lord God with all your heart, and Love your neighbor as yourself." He said that these were the two greatest commandments and they support all the rest of the law. He knows what we do not know -- exactly what is best for us in the long run. He knows that we are full of lying, deceit, dishonesty, lust and false pride. Jesus teaches us that in properly loving him and loving our neighbor, we can defeat these things and meet all the requirements of the law.


Third, He provided, by His love, the power we need to meet the requirements of love. How much does God love us? God's declaration of love is this, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have ever-lasting life." John 3:16 Jesus further qualified the devotion of His love when He said, "Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friend." But Jesus didn't stop there. "For while we were yet sinners (rebels, enemies) he died for us." He said " I will never leave you nor forsake you." How can I find words to express the kindness, caring and compassion He lavishes on us in spite of our disobedience and waywardness. More than that, He promises to do for us "more than we can ask or think." He has all the resources of Heaven available to supply our need and cleanse us from the sin that stains our secret life. Even more important He even has all power and authority to do miracles on our behalf.

The next question is, how much do we love him? I need to ask this question because unless we know the greatness of His love we will not love Him as we should. John said "We love him because he first loved us." It is hard to realize that this wonderful love is actually directed to you and me. In response to God's love the hymn writer wrote: "Love so amazing so divine demands my soul, my life, my all." When we love him supremely and have yielded ourselves completely to his will, whatever it takes us to obey his will seems almost trivial. We obey not because he asks, but because we need to express our gratitude and devotion to Him. The smallest indication of His preference becomes a command. Every time we obey, expressing our love to Him, He responds by filling our life with peace and joy

Our response however is not directed only to Him but also to our neighbor. Jesus said: "To the extent you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me. "Matt 25:40. It is our privilege to regard every person we meet as a potential child of God and to love them as Jesus would. We can keep the commandments if Spirit of God controls us and cleanses our hearts and fills us with his LOVE!

With this kind of love keeping the commandments is no problem. If you are not sure you are obeying God completely make an irrevocable decision that you will, and pray with me:

Dear Jesus, I do love you. I need more of your love in my life. I surrender every part of my life to you for now and forever. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, your love and your power so that I may perfectly obey you and live a clean, pure life. Amen.


Sunday, October 17, 2004

Being A Follower Of Jesus Is Serious Business!

We have heard many times that Peter, Jesus' disciple, became serious about serving Christ when he was filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Certainly that was the source of the power and boldness of Peters witness. We have also heard many times that Peter denied Jesus three times after his mock conviction as a criminal. I think it was four times. Eight days after the resurection Peter said to some of the disciples, "I go a fishing".

For him the adventure with Jesus was over. Jesus died, arose, and Peter thought now it was time , even though he had had a a wonderful experience with the Christ, to go back to his old life, fishing, earning a living, enjoying and loving the old routine. But when Jesus ask him, at breakfast on the shore the next day, "Do you love these more than me?-- Feed my lambs. " It was a shock, Peter was puzzled and angry. Here was Jesus, still alive, still the Christ, still calling him to discipleship, "Feed my sheep." There were higher priorities than, living the old life, making a living, enjoying the fish. Peter could not have caught any fish that day except for the Lord's intervention. Being fishers of men was more important! After Jesus reminded him three times, he realized it and re-affirmed his true love for the Lord.

How about you. Have you become a "disciple" but now are denying it by "going fishing"?



Sunday, October 10, 2004

A Silly Poem

Was ever there a soul so dead,

That to his wife has never said:

“Move over give me half the bed”?

Then she too with heart quite dead

With strident tone would oft reply:

“Please give me space before I die!”

Is there a pair with heart not dead

That to each other would have said:

“I love you dear.

Stretch out in comfort in our bed.”

And then would find with love’s embrace,

They only needed half the space.

By Howdim

Monday, September 27, 2004

I suspect you are a sinner!

I suspect you are a sinner!

I wouldn't say that to your face, but I know it is probably true. The Bible says "all have sinned". That means I have too, and I admit it. I know that you don't like to be accused of sin. I don't either. It hurts.

I would, if I could, tell you that it's alright, everybody sins, you don't mean to hurt anyone., you have a good excuse, and it don't matter anyhow. And if it only hurts you, it's nobody else's business anyway. Maybe that would make you feel better.

But if I were a real true friend and cared about you wouldn't it be better that instead of lying to you, I shared with you the real peace and comfort that I found when discovered the real truth is that Jesus loves me, and when I confessed to Him that I was a sinner he forgave me for all my sin! I mean it, He did! I am not worthy of the least of his notice, yet for you and me He humbled himself, came to earth as a man, gave his life for us, that we might be free from the guilt of sin, have power to defeat temptation and sin and inherit eternal life. What is more, it is not for any good thing I have done or that you could do, but it's a free gift because He loves us so. Why don't you confess your sin to Him now and ask Him for this free gift? He will give it to you, He really will!

I would like to hear from you. Post a comment.
Maybe you would like to read my earlier post in this blog: "What Jesus Said.", and the little epistle the Apostle John wrote in the Bible. Look for 1 John in the New Testament.



Friday, September 24, 2004

Our Mission

Our Mission

Colossians 1: 24Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

As I pondered what Paul meant here, at first I was puzzled, for I fully believed that Jesus’ work was completed on the cross. I know that the work of redemption for our salvation was complete. But after he was resurrected He gave clear instructions:

1. Wait for the filling of the Holy Spirit.

2. Go into the entire world.

3. Preach the Gospel.

4. Make Disciples.

After Jesus had ascended his physical body was no longer here, and so we have been made his ambassadors. Our preparation for this task is the infilling of the Spirit. Paul said, “We have this treasure in vessels of clay.” And those who are filled become the Church, which is His body in the world today. Paul personally felt that holy obligation to accomplish that mission which was given to him, that is to build up the church of Christ. When we are transformed by the new birth these things must happen:

1. We repent and turn from sin.

2. Our sins are forgiven.

3. We are made a new creation in Christ.

4. We are given the gift of the Holy Spirit.

<>We all gladly receive the first three of these, but sometimes we do not understand about the fourth one. The scripture says, this is the deposit or seal (confirmation) that we really are children of God. It involves our will, our determination to obey God’s will in our lives. It means that we will strive with all our heart to maintain this wonderful relationship. Paul warns us not to quench the Spirit or grieve the Spirit for in so doing we jeopardize our growth as a Christian, on the other hand, if we continually seek God’s will in our lives by reading the Word and yielding to his will He will have our all and we will be filled with the Spirit and exhibit the fruits of the Spirit.. This is the qualification we need to be effective in reaching others for Christ. Then we will feel that holy obligation that Paul experienced.



Thursday, September 23, 2004

A Great Prayer

A Great Prayer!

The Apostle Paul’s Prayer For The Colossians.

Col: 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Clearly Paul wanted them and us to know God’s will. But so often we think we have some kind of ideal what God’s will is, but because it seems fragmentary and “iffy” we add our own “wisdom” to make it more suitable to our desires. Paul tells us here the secret of really knowing God’s will. He says it is through spiritual wisdom and understanding. Spiritual means the work of God’s spirit. In order to have the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in our thinking we will have had to surrender our ways, our ambitions and our agendas completely to God. In other words Paul prayed that they would be authentic Christians, submitting to Christ by faith, born again and filled with the Holy Spirit.

10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might

He is saying that once that transformation has taken place in our lives, we who were unworthy become worthy to bear the Lord’s name. God is pleased with that. The fruit we will bear is the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The strength we will have is God’s strength.

So that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully

Why would Paul want us to have endurance and patience unless he thought we would need them? I am sure he foresaw all the pain, frustration, calamities, and persecutions that Christians would encounter but he also saw the Joy at the end. He prayed that we would not only be properly equipped to handle it all, but be victorious and joyous!

12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.



Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Christianity, The Most Misunderstood Religion In The World

Part III

Christians Do Not Understand The Grace of God Either

In the first two parts of this article I concentrated on the misunderstanding of unbelievers, now I want to show you how many who profess to know Christ also have an inadequate understanding of God's infinite grace.

Grace has been defined as "the unmerited favor of God". When we look at the moral condition of mankind in Jesus day, we can't help but wonder why God would even care at all about pagans who completely ignored Him or the Jews who circumvented Gods law with their own rules and regulations. But God's grace is so caring and universal that John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." This gives us a faint idea of the depth and quality of grace.

But His grace also makes provision for a Christian's care, maturity, and reward that are even more amazing. A Christian has a special standing because trusting Christ, has transferred us from the kingdom of this world to "the kingdom of His dear Son". We have become the beloved of God. We now can sing, "This world is not my home. " for our citizenship is in Heaven.

Jesus said, (John 15:5)"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

This is the framework in which the true believer lives. He is confident that he can remain in Christ as long as he believes and is obedient.

In the Epistle Paul wrote to the Ephesians he told them of the great privileges we have as those predestined in God's grace' In Chapter one he says:
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.
15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength.

In Chapter two he goes on:
4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

He goes on in chapter three, to pray for us. Paul's prayer is not for things he knows nothing about but for the same things that he has experienced in his own life and therefore knows that the are not only available for us but they are what the Father desperately wants us to have. This is that wonderful prayer!

14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

We have not begun to realize the wonderful blessings God has prepared for us here. We have misunderstood and far under estimated the magnitude of His glorious grace that, as Peter said, allows us to partake of the Divine nature. And all of this says nothing about the Glory that will be revealed to us in the day when we shall see Jesus Christ face to face. In 1 John 3:2 it says: Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Have you begun to tap these riches? They are for you too. I confess I have only begun, but like Paul says in Philippians 3:14:
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

What Jesus Said To Me!

I was only half awake. It was four o'clock in the morning and someone was trying to talk to me.

He said, "Do you think you could put this conversation with me on paper? I need to get to the hearts if some people that I am very concerned about.

"Yes Jesus", I said, as my whirling mind tried to make sense of what I had just heard.

He said, "Do you have questions about me?"

"Yes," I said, "Who are you?"

This is what Jesus said!

"You are the one that I that I love and am concerned about! I want you to know that I am the proof that God loves you. There are some other things you should know about me as well.
" Because my Father so loved the people of the world, I, Jesus, His unique and only Son, was sent to earth so that no one would need to perish because of their sin, but could have a wonderful life now and forever. So I willingly, yes, even gladly, was nailed to the cross in agony and pain, and gave up my life, to make this new life possible for everyone who believes in me. Because of this, they who will believe will be spared the awful penalty of sin, and enjoy eternity with me in Heaven.
In other words, I am the way to Heaven, the ONLY way to Heaven.

"Don't make me laugh", I said, "Heaven is just for dreamers".

"Yes", He said, "Unless you believe in me and that your soul lives on forever, Heaven does not make any sense to you. But one day your life will come to an end and you will wish that you had prepared for the heaven that I know is real for I came from there to offer you safe passage to that beautiful place. There will be no sin, no evil, no deceit allowed to enter there. Only those who have accepted God's love and forgiveness that has been purchased by the blood I shed on the cross will be admitted.

"But Lord, It's hard for us to believe that someone who was executed on an ancient cross has any bearing on our lives today or on our eternal destiny".

" Listen," He said, " If I had not died on that cross and then came back from the dead to prove I was really God's Son, who would have believed? But because I am alive, millions have trusted me with their lives and have received this new life. Many have been heroes and martyrs driven by their love for me to spend their lives ministering to the needy and communicating my love to others. And I continue to add to my following all that turn from their sin and believe on me.

"Lord", I said, how does that work? Can I be changed like that?

Jesus replied, "Yes you can! This is how it works. My Father and I are of one mind and one spirit and when we planned forgiveness and salvation for you, our most cherished creation; we had to take into account the eternal principles of truth and justice. Satan has lied to you. He has told you that sin is pleasurable and profitable and you believed him. You have chosen to follow his lead and have sinned by disobeying the very laws that were lovingly designed to keep you from evil and harm. We cannot lie and say it didn't happen, nor can we continue to accept that kind of behavior, because we have designed and predestined you for something far better. The death penalty is prescribed for sin. In justice it must be carried out. The Father said to me," Son, you and I and our Holy Spirit are the source of all goodness. Surely we can find a way to have mercy on these loved ones the enemy has damned." "Yes", I replied, "I know we can".

"It sounds like an awful dilemma to me. How did you solve it?"

" So we devised a plan". He continued, "Father would commission me and send me to the earth to be born as a man and live with men so that we might know and feel the plight of men. I did that and I experienced many things. Since I was the first man who ever walked on earth without sin, Satan tempted me in every way he had devised to tempt you. Satan was more active against me, for he had much to gain if he could discredit me. Since I had a body like yours I had all the passions and cravings that you have. I knew the tiredness and weariness and frustration you endure. Now I could understand your feelings and problems. I can really sympathize with you. Because I love you so much I determined that I would pay the death penalty for you.

It worked out that envy in the hearts of men in the corrupt religious and political systems of that time shortly brought me a death penalty. I had been successful and true to my Father's instructions. Even Pilate said of me 'I find no fault in him.' However now I faced the most difficult part of the plan. Though I dreaded the horrible death on the cross as bad as that was, but it was the, I-can-hardly-say-this, taking on me your awful load of guilt and sin so it could die with me on the cross. As I took it on I could feel the horror of your guilt and the dread and fear of death and hell. I knew that my father loved me, but how could he do this to me! How could He ask me, his Son, to carry this filthy sin and then actually forsake me as I hung on the cross just because he hates sin so much? I asked him if there was any way I could escape it. He didn't answer. I thought, no, if I abandon this plan there would be no way in heaven or on earth to save the ones we love so much. Yes, I could have called ten thousand angels to save me and let you die. But my love wouldn't let me do that. Now I scarcely remember the nails and the spear and the gore. It was wonderful to be able to pay the penalty for your sin. However, the Father didn't leave me there! I came back with victory over sin and death and the grave! I did pay the penalty for your sin! My blood, which flowed from the cross, fully atoned for all your sin. It is my free gift to you. All you need to do is to confess your sin and turn from it and it will all be forgiven and forgotten. The angels will have a party in heaven and rejoice and praise the Father, because you have come home".

"Lord," I said, "Please forgive me for not realizing how much you love me and how much it meant to carry my sin to the cross. I guess I didn't realize how bad sin really is. Can you tell me about that?

He said, " Sin means breaking God's law, that is, doing what we know is wrong because we don't love God and others as we should. Since God's law was lovingly designed to protect and enhance your life, you are at risk if you ignore, or disobey it. When you disobey it you show contempt for my love and care, saying, in effect, that you know better than I do what is best for you. It appears, then, that you have no respect for my wisdom or the fact that I have created both you and the world in which you live. Even though I love you dearly, I cannot ignore your hateful attitude.. Fellowship between us therefore is broken. I can no longer comfort you with my presence nor protect you by my power.

"But Lord," I said, " I am not a bad person. I try to do what seems right, but I get confused sometimes and things don't seem to go right."

Jesus said' "That is because your mind and spirit are disoriented because of the conflict within. Your conscience requires truth and justice but you sometimes balk at these when your personal gain or comfort is at stake. The guilt you carry damages your mind as well as your emotions and your body. You are unable to love, as you ought. You show disregard for your neighbors who are influenced by you and should have a good example from you. The whole fabric of society is poisoned by your lack of strong moral principle. Because I love you so much I am deeply hurt because you push me away and then pretend everything is all right and sometimes even claim you love

"Whew!," I spouted, " I had no idea that sin was like that. No wonder you hate it".

"But that isn't all", Jesus continued, "My Father has created you in his own image, the very greatest product of his creative genius, and I, in love, have purchased your salvation by my death on the cross to provide forgiveness for your sin.
How do you think I feel when you reject all this so that you can sin as you please? I know, and I want you to know, that a sinful life will bring you neither peace nor joy, only disillusionment and frustration. Satan adds to your trouble and pain by leading you deeper into sin. Then you resent any effort my servants or I make to help you. I am disappointed that your potential as one of my followers is being wasted and your influence is working against me. Sin is a horrible master. It is only by my grace that it has not led you farther n to the depths of wickedness than it has. When sin takes hold you cannot escape without my help. I still love you, long for you. It makes no difference how far you have gone or what you have done. I am ready to help you. Trust me. Let me welcome you home.

Evidently Jesus didn't mind all my questions and I was beginning to like the honest and gentle way He talked to me. But it seemed to be going too far. I thought: I had better try to politely turn him off.
" Lord," I said to him, "I appreciate your love for me, but there are many things about my way of life that I like. I'm comfortable and happy with my friends who would think I had become a religious nut. I like the pleasure I get from doing a lot of things that I don't think you would approve of. Besides I don't know if I am capable of becoming the kind of person that you want me to be. It seems you ask a lot of your followers. I feel as though I have lived too shabby a life to ever change that much anyway. So lets just forget about it."

"My dear one." He said, "Nothing is to hard for me. I turned the rogue who was Saul of Tarsus into the Apostle Paul. I have been changing lives by the thousands. You can trust me. I offer you a life with joy and inner peace, with purpose and power and an unlimited future.

"I was startled that He called me His dear one. How did He get that close to me? He must really love me. ------ L-Lord, I stammered, "I don't understand at all about how people can start a new life, being 'Born Again' as they call it. It just seems impossible that I could ever do that. Wouldn't I have to be a preacher or missionary or do some great and good things in order to earn your love and respect."

"It is really quite simple", Jesus said, it is nothing you do. You can't earn it or deserve it. It is something I do for you. It is a free gift. You don't deserve it. You never will deserve it. I am the one who paid the price on the cross for your forgiveness and salvation. All you need to do is accept it. I will send the Holy Spirit like an unseen breeze through your soul with cleansing and energizing power, and He will fill you with a kind of love you never had before and a peace and joy you cannot understand. Your conflict with God will be over and your attachment to sin will be broken. For if I make you free you will be totally free! If you believe in me, and what I did on the cross for you, and promise that you will try your best, with my help, to stop sinning, I will see to it that you are 'Born Again". You will then be able to live a truly worthy life until I take you home.

"Lord", I said, " You make it sound awfully tempting but I really have to think about it. Maybe I can get some things in my life straightened out. Maybe some things will change so that I can see my way clear to do it. But right now it seems like a to big and too scary a step to take".

"My dear one," He said, "It never will get any better or easier than it is now. It can only get worse. Sin will never let go of you! You can't even begin to change your own life. Trust me now. I will be with you every step of the way. I will never leave you nor forsake you. I want to be your very best friend. You have never been closer to me than you are right now. This is your time.

You and I know that life is uncertain. This may be your only time. Think about it. Trust me to change you and give you a new life. Will you?"

I waited a while but He said no more.

What should I do?

I decided to give my life to Him. I'm glad I did!

What will you do?

I Gave MY Life For You

I gave My life for you,
My precious blood I shed,
That you might ransomed be,
And rescued from the dead;
I gave, I gave My life for you,
What have you given for me?

And I have brought to you,
Down from my home above,
Forgiveness full and free,
My pardon and my love,
I bring, I bring Rich gifts to you,
What have you brought to me?

Francis R. Havergal 1860

Friday, September 03, 2004

Most Misunderstood Part 2

Part II

Why? The world does not understand God's GRACE!

Are you under the LAW or under GRACE?

There are two ways to deal with sin.

In our world Law has been exalted as the way to achieve domestic as well as international tranquility. There are enough laws, rules, regulations, precepts, commandments and suchlike to fill tons of books and boggle the minds of even the best lawyers. They cover every phase of human life. Relatively few of them are obeyed or given much attention. However our focus is and has been so much on law that we ignore the fact that God has two ways of dealing with sin. One is LAW the other is GRACE.

The moral law expressed in the Ten Commandments refers to the revelation of the will and purposes of God in the Old Testament. These commandments have become the foundation of the system of justice in much of the world today.

The Ten Commandments were not given only for the Hebrew people but are abiding laws for all people. Men knew the moral principles of these laws from Adam's time, apparently intuitively. People even in the most primitive societies know most of them. They convey duties for everyone and reveal to us the basic morality required by God.
Without God, the Commandments lose their foundation.
Law is one of the primary concepts in the Bible. It is based on the commandments, which God revealed to Moses.
These ten laws define negatively the relationship between God and mankind. The first four Commandments are related to ones relationship with God. The next six Commandments have to do with human relationships. Right relationships with others follow being rightly related to God. Being rightly related to God compels one towards right relationships to one's neighbors. Here one can see the wonderful balance that is maintained in the Law. Duties to God and to our peers are not separated.

Jesus respected the Law and often referred to it. Jesus was both a critic of the Law and a supporter of it. He was critical of the law as taught and practiced by the scribes and Pharisees. The enemies of Jesus frequently accused Him of violating the Law. It is clear that keeping the letter of the Law had become more important to some of the Jews than the purpose or spirit the Law.
On several occasions Jesus set His own teachings over against those of the elders (Matt. 5:21-6:34). Jesus' greatest conflict came over the Sabbath. He rejected their interpretation of the Sabbath Law and said that the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8); that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27); and He taught that it was permissible to do good deeds on the Sabbath (Mark 3:4).
Jesus inaugurated a new era in which the Law as understood by the Jews of His day would no longer be the guiding principle for the Kingdom of God (Luke 16:16). Nevertheless, Jesus claimed not to have come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17-20). That is, Jesus moved the understanding of the Law from its external, legalistic meaning to its spiritual one. Moving from outward observance to inward motivation and intention is Jesus' concern (Matt. 5:21, 22, 27, 28).

He pushes the Law out to its ultimate meaning (thus filling it full). In this sense Jesus affirmed the heart and the spirit of the Law. He moved to a deeper level of meaning, to the spirit behind the Law, which God had intended from the beginning. Jesus did not give us new law. When Jesus was asked which commandment is the greatest, He said, "You shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind," (Matt. 22:36, 37). Jesus said the second commandment is like the first, "Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matt. 22:39). Then He said, "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 22:40). To the surprise of many, Jesus summed up the whole Law and the teaching of the prophets with these two commandments. Behind all of the Law had stood these two great principles of love for God and neighbor. It is important for us to remember that love can never be adequately portrayed in rules or in teachings. It can be seen in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the establishment of the age of Grace. Jesus emphasized them in a way that would forever change how we should look at them.

Grace is God's way of dealing with sin. Paul had a lifelong struggle with the Law. By the term "law," Paul meant the Law of God as contained in the Old Testament. He also spoke of a kind of natural law, which existed in human beings (Rom. 7:23, 25). The "law of sin" meant conduct determined by sin. Paul also used law in this sense when he referred to the "law of faith" or the "Law of love"-that is, conduct determined by faith in God or ones love for God. (Rom. 3:27-28).
Paul's attitude toward the Mosaic Law can be summarized under several main points. First of all, he recognized that the Law had been given for a good purpose; it was holy, just and good (Rom. 7:12, 14; 1 Tim. 1:8). The demands of the Law were not evil, but had the effect of pointing out the sin of human beings (Rom. 7:7). Because of man's sinfulness, the Law became a curse instead of a blessing (Gal. 3:10-13).
Second, Paul believed the Law was given for a good purpose, but it could not save (Gal. 3:11; Rom. 3:20). If persons were to be reconciled to God, it would be by means other than keeping the Law. The third theme we find in Paul is that Christ freed us from the requirements of the Law of Moses by His death and resurrection (Rom. 8:3, 4). Therefore, Christ has become the end of the Law for Christians (Rom. 10:4), and it is faith that saves and not Law (Eph. 2:8, 9). God's Grace that establishes the law of love makes it possible.
Paul, like Jesus, saw the Law fulfilled in the command to love (Rom. 13:8; Gal. 5:13). Only with the aid of the Spirit of God can we meet the requirement to love, which fulfills the Law (Gal. 5:16; Rom. 8).

Paul saw the Law as no longer to be viewed legalistically. Nevertheless, it is still the revelation of God, and it helps us to understand the nature of our life in Christ (Rom. 8:3; 13:8-10; Gal. 3:24). Law is the way of self-help, trying to earn one's own salvation. Grace is God's way of salvation, totally unearned (Rom. 3:24; 4:4; 11:6; Eph. 2:8). Grace is obtained by faith in what God has done in Christ (Rom. 4:16). God's grace comes to repentant sinners, not to those who think they merit God's acceptance (Rom. 5:20-21). It is through Christ's atoning work on the cross that God's grace comes to us, setting us free from the bondage of sin (Rom. 3:24-31). Christ is the representative who breaks the reign of sin and brings life and acceptance with God through divine grace (Rom. 5:15, 17). . It was in the beloved Son that God's grace came to us. (1 Cor. 1:4; Eph. 1:6-7; compare 2 Tim. 1:9). God's grace abides in us (2 Cor. 9:14); we stand in it (Rom. 5:2). Our calling, our witness, our works are all based on the power of God's grace in our lives (2 Thess. 1:11-12). Paul taught that the true experience of God's grace changes one's life in the direction of righteousness (Rom. 6:1, 14-15). Grace never gives freedom to sin. But reproduces, in all who experience God's grace, gifts of the Spirit for ministry and service (Rom. 12:6; Eph. 4:7)

You can receive God's grace today!

Pray this way:
Dear Lord, I want your GRACE although I may never fully understand it. I have sinned many times and in many ways. I am terribly sorry. I believe Jesus atoned for my sin when he died on the cross. Please forgive me. I sincerely want to live a new life. AMEN!

(There is no magic in these words. You may express your prayer in your own words. Your truthfulness and sincerity is what will bring faith and deliverance.)

God loves you and so do I.
Howard S. Dimmick

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Most Misunderstood!


Why? The world does not understand God's GRACE!

Many people think Christianity teaches that:

1. You are a sinner but you must not commit sin.

It really teaches:

1. That you as a sinner cannot help but sin, for your good and loving nature, the image of God, in which you were created, has been corrupted by sin. God's word in Genesis 1:27 says: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God's word in Romans 3:10 says: As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; Romans 3:11 says: there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. Romans 3:12 says: All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." Romans 3:20 says: Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. Rom 3:21 says: But now righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (Rom 3:22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (Rom 3:23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Rom 3:24) and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

2. If you sin God does not love you.

The Bible really teaches:

2. God always LOVES you for His very nature is Love. "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. 1 John 4:16." Rom 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." He loves you in spite of your sin and rebellion against Him. However he will never force you to submit to Him. He says: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Rev. 3:20.

3. God punishes you if you sin.

3. God does not punish you for sin now. He knows that the sin itself will hurt, damage and punish you. It is sin that will evenually separate you from God eternally. He has provided a real remedy for sin: It is his grace, through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. This remedy not only pardons all past sin but provides power to be free from sin so that you never need to sin again.

4. If you do not sin too much you will go to Heaven.
5. If you do enough good deeds, you will go to Heaven.

4 & 5 The sin you have committed or the good deeds you have done has no bearing in your right to go to heaven. Jesus has prepared a place for all who have trusted, that is, put their faith in Him and the remedy for sin he has provided by his grace.

Most people, therefore, think that:
6. That it is generally more fun and profitable to sin than to be good.
7. Sin, when I do it, is not so bad.
8. Somehow I will get by. Someday God will have mercy on me.

6, 7,and 8 That is only wishful thinking. The penalty for sin is death. We sin because we do not love God and our fellowman as we should. God's grace includes filling our hearts with His love, so that we can be free from sin .

9, When I sin, I have a good reason. I don't really want to hurt anybody.

9. This shows how twisted your thinking has become because you don't understand or accept God's grace.

10. I could stop sinning if I really tried and if I believed it was worth the effort.

10. You cannot stop sinning. If you have ever really tried, you know that you can't. Sin will never let you go. Jesus has the only remedy for sin. He will forgive your sin and will give you the power to stop sinning. Believe in Him today. Accept his grace. Get your life straightened out, and begin to really live!.

Do you know what God's GRACE is?
Let me explain the difference between LAW and GRACE.

Do you want to live under Law or do you want Grace? Consider this:

God's law is good and was given to us to show us how we should live. God's penalty for sin (law-breaking) is spiritual death.
Grace is the forgivenes and power over sin provided through Christ's sacrifice for us on the Cross.

Law is the way God tells us what is right and wrong, it is the way men deal with sin and crime.
Grace is God's new way of dealing with sin.

Law sees sin as an evil act of disobedience.
Grace sees sin as a motive and intention to do selfish, evil or mean things that hurt God, yourself or others.

Law exacts judgment, condemnation and punishment for sin or crime.
Grace grants mercy and responds to the confession of sin and true repentance with pardon and forgiveness and provides for and enables renewal, reconciliation, and restoration of fellowship with God and our fellowman. It enables us to have victory over sin.

Law backs up its demands with fear, power, and punishment.
Grace loves unconditionally and places great value on the sinner.

Law puts down and degrades the lawbreaker.
Grace forgives, restores and empowers him.

Law condemns and sentences the perpetuator.
Grace accepts and cherishes him.

Law regards a sinner as a criminal never fit to live freely in society.
Grace sees him as a precious soul in need of love and restoration.

Law has no hope for him.
Grace will, when he repents and turns from his sin by believing that Jesus is the Son of God, and trusts God's provision for salvation, grants him salvation and eternal life.

Under Law he is always a convict.
Under Grace he becomes a newborn child of God!

Are you under the LAW or under GRACE?

Continues in Part II

Monday, August 30, 2004

How Does God Love You?

How Does God Love You?

I pray that you being rooted and established in LOVE may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the LOVE of Christ. And to know this LOVE that surpasses knowledge--That you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

These are the words that Paul the apostle used to try to get us to realize how wonderful the God's love is, and how great it is to have it in our lives. He is saying that we can have the very essence of GOD poured into our lives! In order for us to understand what the apostle is talking about here let us note that the LOVE we are considering is a divine love that is unconditional and undeserved. It originates with God but is imparted to men as they respond to it. His prayer is therefore, that we, each of us, might be completely filled with it and fully understand it. He calls it the fullness of God. Wouldn't you like to understand it and find out how to obtain it?

God's love is the central fact and theme of the Bible, and in all of history. Love is God's unchanging nature or essence. "God is love" John says in his first epistle. In Jer 31:3 God says he loves with an everlasting love. Paul says: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." [Rom 8:38-39]

The nature of God's love is such that He is reaching out to us with an intense longing and a divine purpose to bring us into a friendly relationship with him. He says: "Behold I stand at the door and knock: If any man will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." [Rev 3:20] Jesus said: "I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me he will bear much fruit." [John 15:5] "As the father has loved me so have I loved you. Now remain in my love". [John 5:9] "God so loved---that whosoever---should not perish but have everlasting life." [John 3:16] "I go to prepare a place for you--- that where I am you may be also." [John 4:2-3]

God's love is impartial and unconditional. It makes no difference who we are, or what our condition, his love extends to us. God loves men because he has chosen to love them. He loves them in spite of their sin, filthiness, pride, arrogance, and rebellion. No reason for his love can be given. But the love of God is free, spontaneous, unevoked, uncaused. His love for us is such that he cannot be happy, satisfied and fulfilled until we his beloved are out of trouble and danger. His purpose and delight is to comfort, inspire provide for, educate, guide and love us so that we may be fulfilled in doing the same to others. There is joy (God's own joy) in the presence of the angels when a person recieves this Jesus and his love. "For there is no respect of persons with God." [Rom 2:11]; "God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right" [Acts 10:34-35]; "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us." [Rom 5:8]; "But because of his great love for us, God---made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions." [Eph 2:4]

In his crucifixion Jesus willingly suffered intense pain, thirst, mockery, injustice, cruelty, shame, and abandonment. In spite of the fact that he knows the very core of who we are and our rebellion and our selfishness, and our sin. He poured out his lifeblood as an atonement for us. He took the punishment that should have been ours.. He himself said, "Greater love hath no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." [John 15:13] But he did it even for us who were his enemies. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ lay down his life for us." [1 John 3:16a] "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities." [Isa 53:3-5]

God is motivated by his love to accomplish certain things in his kingdom. By his word we can discern what some of them are. First to establish a human race who would have the ability and choice to love, serve him and glorify him. Be enough like him to be able to be friends with him.

From what I can understand from the scripture, it appears that God has an intense longing and an urgent desire to establish a deep mutual relationship with you and me, his created ones. This can be seen as we read the creation narrative in Genesis. 2:7 (NIV) "The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Then after they had disobeyed God's specific command he still tried to re-establish the relationship. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" God knew that it was not their physical nakedness that caused them to hide but that it was their guilt resulting from their disobedience which he could see in spite of their clothes. He loved them and promised that a time would come when the damage inflicted on them by Satan would be reversed.

The friendship that he desires would be restored in those persons who would put their faith in him. You are one of those persons. He created you for that specific purpose. He created you "In the image of God". You are singled out as the one that God is dealing with now. God's purpose is focused on you.

It was for you that the earth was created so that a suitable habitat could be established for you. For the earth to exist, the sun and the solar system was created. The solar system could not exist or be created by itself so our galaxy, the milky way, was created. And that is related to the whole universe which was created to support it. We have not yet discovered the extent or boundaries of the universe in either time or space. God also created with precision and infinitesimal detail the very building blocks of matter, electrons and such.

The details of creation are so complex and intricate that in all the centuries the genius of man has not been able to sort out but few of these mysteries, but God has in control everything from the infinitesimal building blocks of matter to the galaxies hurtling through space, all obeying every law he has laid down by his infinite wisdom.

He made the world of the relationships of life, personalities, mind and spirit, and interrelationships that allow us to be aware of and practice the principles of love or hate. He created the world of the spiritual in which the forces of evil and righteousness exist, the domain of spirits, angels and demons. This realm is beyond human comprehension and understanding. The Bible shows us that this is all but for one purpose: That God could have you personally enjoy his friendship and share his love, being rescued from your evil ways, cleansed from your wickedness, and restored to the likeness of God as you were created so that you could live a life of loving service. Then live with Him forever in a paradise and bliss that is way beyond anything that you can imagine. It is the gift of God's amazing grace!

He allowed man to be deceived by Satan or Luicifer, who invented sin and rebellion against God, and be ruined morally and become evil. And so that if a man chose to he could be restored. This was not an experiment to test his theories. He knew the answers. He wanted to show us the truth: Law is insufficient, we cannot and will not live by a set of rules. Wisdom or ceremony or works cannot reconcile man to God. Man can't redeem himself. A loving saviour is needed.

Adam (and his descendants) were created for one divine and eternal purpose: To love and fellowship with God. Eve was given to Adam as a helper. They had a choice. They blew it. No doubt God knew they would, but he had to give them the choice. Love cannot be coerced it must be freely chosen. By choice then Adam and all who were born after him were born in sin and strayed from God, going their own way and doing their own thing.

We find as we study the bible, God is holy and cannot overlook sin. Sin means breaking God's law, that is, doing what we know is wrong because we don't love God and others as we should. Since God's law was lovingly designed to protect and enhance your life, you are at risk if you ignore, or disobey it. When you disobey it you show contempt for God's love and care, saying, in effect, that you know better than he does what is best for you. It appears, then, that you have no respect for his wisdom or the fact that he created you and the world in which you live. Even though he loves you dearly your attitude is repugnant to him. Fellowship between he and you therefore is broken. He can no longer comfort you with his presence nor protect you by his power

. You are made in the image of God but Satan has deceived you and you have made some bad decisions because your mind and spirit are disoriented because of the conflict within. Your conscience requires truth and justice but you balk at these when your personal gain, comfort or pleasure are at stake. The guilt you carry damages your mind as well as your body. You are unable to love as you ought. You show utter disregard for your neighbors who are influenced by you and have a right to a good example from you. The whole fabric of society is poisoned by your lack of principle and loyalty to God

Because he loves you so much he is deeply hurt because you push him away and then pretend everything is all right and sometimes even claim you love him. The Father has created you in his own image, the very greatest product of his creative genius, and Jesus, in love, has purchased your salvation by death on the cross to provide forgiveness for your sin. How do you think he feels when you reject all this so that you can sin as you please.

God knows that a sinful life will bring you no peace nor joy, only disillusionment and frustration. Satan only adds to your trouble and pain by leading you deeper into sin. Then you resent any effort that is made to help you. He is disappointed that your potential as one of his children is being wasted and your influence is working against him

Sin is a horrible master. It is only by grace and the prayers of the saints that it has not led you farther in to the depths of wickedness than it has. When sin takes hold you cannot escape without God's help. He still loves you, longs for you. It makes no difference how far you have gone or what you have done. He is ready to help you."

She Went To Be With Her Lord !

She Went To Be With Her Lord !

That is what was published about a dear lady in our town when she died. I suppose if He really was her Lord,she loved and worshiped Him and served him and obeyed his commandments.

What about you and me? Is he OUR Lord? Is our love, worship and obedience to Him a testimony to His glory?

Are there any good reasons why our loyalty to Him is sporadic or partial? Why is it so hard to yield our complete allegience to The Lord Jesus Christ? Is not His love for us unconditionial and totally generous and faithful? Do we not gain great reward and benefits by following Him? Our service to Him is not to His advantage but to ours! He is The Way, The Truth, and The Source of Eternal Life. How can we get by without full committment to Him?

Do we deserve His Grace? Were we not sinners and rebels? But he loved us and gave His life for us. We have His promise that he will never leave us or forsake us. His promise is for eternity, while our interest seems earthly and temporary. His way is the better way!

I am going to take the better road. How about you?

Love, Howard