Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Muslim Dilemma

As Christians we have many opportunities to come in contact with Muslims, maybe at Starbucks, the grocery store or at work or wherever else it may be. It is not very tough these days to meet them, they are our neighbors, colleagues and fellow citizen of this great country. Because so many people from different parts of the world with various backgrounds and different beliefs have come to this country,  makes it much easier for us to share what we believe as Christians. We don't necessarily have to travel abroad on mission trips, with that said, I do respect and admire those who do have the calling of God to go out into the world. God has brought many of them right here to America, from Europe, China, Asia and of course the Middle East.  In the past I had plenty of conversations with Muslims, some of them were moderates almost secular and some of them very religious following the Quran. It is always exiting and interesting to me, starting up a conversation about God and faith. I like to share my faith when the opportunity arises, and as Paul said: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Gentiles).  Rom 1:16.

In the past I  tried to show that the Bible is the true word of God verses the Quran,  or that Jesus was and is more than just a prophet of God. But those conversation never really went anywhere, most Muslims have made up there mind that the Bible is corrupted and the Quran is the true book at that Muhammad is the greater prophet of God. Most of these conversations or debates just go back and forth without any real outcome or a changed mind on either side. I believe that we have to go to the fundamentals, one of them is the subject of a just God. Asking Muslims about Allah and how they view him, they will answer most likely with that Allah is just. Allah is a just god. My second question to them would be, I am a sinner and you are a sinner, and both of us will die and one day stand before God to face judgment. If Allah is just, how do you as a Muslim have assurance to make into paradise?  If Allah is a just god, he has to punish sin, he cannot let sin go unpunished. The Muslims will most likely answer that Allah is also merciful. That is what Muslims believe, Allah is just and at the same time merciful. If sin demands justice i.e. the punishment for the offense, how can Allah be just and at the time be merciful, would he not compromise being just?  It would be like a criminal found guilty before the jury for his crime and the judge saying, well I feel really good this morning, I will let you off the hook. That judge would not be just. He would have compromised justice. Some may argue that they can be merciful and just let someone go. That is a human perspective and many people may think that way, but none of them or any of us for that matter know true righteousness. If Allah is a just god, he cannot be just and merciful at the same time. And that in my view is a dilemma for the Muslims.
Do Christians have the same dilemma as the Muslims? The Bible clearly teaches the God is just and cannot let sin go unpunished. God is also perfect in His Holiness and a perfect God cannot compromise His justness. The Bible declares that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all have offended God, no matter who we are or from where we are, we all have fallen short i.e. missed the mark. How can God be appeased? How can we get a right standing before Almighty God? The Bible says that we cannot come before God and stand on our own righteousness or by our works. The Bible also says that the law cannot make us righteous and save us from the wrath of God. What are we to do, how can we escape the punishment for our sins?  May I say, nothing? God has provided a way out, and that way is Jesus Christ. God in His foreknowledge has determined long ago before the foundation of the world that He would send His only begotten Son. Jesus Christ is the propitiation i.e. satisfaction or appeasement for our sins.  Jesus who knew no sin became sin for the sinners. He suffered on the cross and payed the penalty that we deserved as sinners with His blood.  Justice was served without God compromising His justness, and because the penalty for the sin of the world was paid in Christ, God by His grace showed mercy to those who will believe by faith in His Son Jesus. God loves us so much that He provided, the unblemished passover lamb, the only acceptable sacrifice and payment for fallen man. The God of the Bible YHWH is truly just and merciful without compromising His perfect Holiness. For a Christian there is no dilemma, God is Holy and just and merciful to those who believe in His Son and His finished work on the cross. The Islamic faith however has a dilemma, and if you are a Muslim, you have to ask yourself this question: How can Allah be just and at the same time be merciful?

"He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God." 1Peter 1;20, 21

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved." Eph 1:3-6

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jesus Christ; The Man Who Changed The World And Divided Time.

December the 25th symbolizes the birth of Christ i.e. the Messiah. Who was this Man that Christians 2000 years later regard and worship as the Son of God? Was He just a mere man that was born over 2000 years ago in a little town named Bethlehem, or was He more than just a historical figure? What does set Jesus apart from so many that came before Him that claimed to be the Messiah? Maybe He was just another one of those delusional people with a Messiah complex, or could it be that He was the Savior of the world as God had promised long ago and prophesied through His prophets? Jesus did not just come on to the scene out of nowhere, He came to the exact appointed time that God had determined before the foundation of the world. Jesus was the only One that ever qualified to be the true Messiah. There are over 300 prophesies in the Old Testament concerning the first coming of the Messiah, and they were all fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Here are just some of OT prophesies and the NT fulfillment of them:

The Son of God,  Ps 2:7 Luk 1:32, 35. The seed of the woman,  Gen 3:15 Gal 4:4.  Seed of Abraham,   Gen 17:7,  22:18 Gal 3:16. Seed of Isaac,  Gen 21:12 Heb 11:17-19. Seed of David,  Ps 132:11 Jer 23:5 Acts 13:23 Rom 1:3. Coming at the appointed time,  Gen 49:10 Dan 9:24, 25 Lk 2:1. Born of a virgin,  Is 7:14 Mat 1:22, 23 Lk 2:7.  Called Immanuel,  Is 7:14 Mat 1:22, 23. Born in Bethlehem of Judea,  Mic 5:2 Mat 2:1 Lk 2:4-6.  Great persons coming to adore Him,  Ps 72:10 Mat 2:1-11. The slaying of the children of Bethlehem,  Jer 31:15 Mat 2:16-18. Called out of Egypt,  Hos 11:1 Mat 2:15. Preceded by John the Baptist,  Is 40:3 Mal 3:1 Mat 3:1, 3 Lk 1:17. Anointed with the Spirit,  Ps 45:7 Is 11:2,  61:1 Mat 3:16 Jh 3:34 Acts 10:38. Prophet like to Moses,  Deut 18:15-18 Acts 3:20-22. Priest after the order of Melchizedek,  Ps110:4 Heb 5:5, 6. Entering public ministry,  Is 61:1, 2 Lk 4:16-21, 43. Ministry in Galilee,  Is 9:1, 2 Mat 4:12-16, 23. Entering publicly into Jerusalem,  Zec 9:9 Mat 21:1-5. His coming into the temple, Hag 2:7, 9 Mal 3:1 Mt 21:12 Lu 2:27-32 Joh 2:13-16. His poverty, Is 53:2 Mk 6:3 Lk 9:58. His meekness,  Is 42:2 Mat 12:15, 16, 19. Tenderness and compassion Is 40:11 42:3 Mat 12:15, 20  Heb 4:15. Without guile,  Is 53:9 1Pe 2:22.  His zeal,  Ps 69:9 Jh 2:17. Preaching in parables, Ps 78:2 Mat 13:34, 35. Working miracles, Is 35:5, 6 Mat 11:4-6 Jh 11:47
His bearing reproach,  Ps 22:6 69:7,9, 20 Rom 15:3. Rejected by his brethren,  Ps 69:8 Is 63:3 Jh 1:11 7:3. Stone of stumbling to the Jews,  Is 8:14 Rom 9:32 1Pe 2:8. Hated by the Jews, Ps 69:4 Is 49:7 Jh 15:24, 25. Rejected by the Jewish rulers,  Ps 118:22 Mat 21:42 Jhn 7:48. Jews and Gentiles combine against Him,  Ps 2:1, 2 Lk 23:12 Acts 4:27. Betrayed by a friend,  Ps 41:9 55:12-14 Jhn 13:18, 21
Disciples forsake Him Zec 13:7 Mat 26:31, 56. Sold for thirty pieces silver,  Zec 11:12 Mat 26:15. His price being given for the potter's field,  Zec 11:13 Mat 27:7. Agony of his sufferings,  Ps 22:14, 15 Lk 22:42, 44. Sufferings for others Is 53:4-6, 12 Dan 9:26 Mat 20:28. Patience and silence under suffering,  Is 53:7 Mat 26:63 27:12-14. Smitten on the cheek Mic 5:1 Mat 27:30. Visage being marred,  Is 52:14 53:3 Jhn 19:5. Spit on and scourged,  Is 50:6 Mk 14:65 Jhn 19:1. Hands and feet being nailed to the cross,  Ps 22:16 Jhn 19:18 20:25. forsaken by God, Ps 22:1 Mat 27:46. Being mocked,  Ps 22:7, 8 Mat 27:39-44. Gall and vinegar being given him to drink,  Ps 69:21 Mat 27:34. Garments being parted, and lots cast for his clothing,  Ps 22:18 Mat 27:35. Numbered with the transgressors Is 53:12 Mk 15:28. intercession for His murderers Is 53:12 Lk 23:34.  His Death,  Is 53:12 Mat 27:50. No bones would be broken,  Ex12:46  Ps 34:20 Jhn 19:33, 36. Pierced Zec 12:10 Jhn 19:34, 37. Buried with the rich,  Is 53:9 Mat 27:57-60. Flesh not seeing corruption, Ps 16:10 Acts 2:31. His resurrection,  Ps 16:10 Is 26:19 Lk 24:6, 31, 34. His ascension, Ps 68:18 Lk 24:51 Acts 1:9. Sitting on the right hand of God,  Ps 110:1 Heb 1:3. Exercising the priestly office in heaven,  Zec 6:13 Rom 8:34. The chief cornerstone,  Is 28:16 1Pe 2:6, 7. King in Zion Ps 2:6 Lk 1:32 Jhn 18:33-37. Conversion of the Gentiles to Him Is11:10 42:1 Mat 1:17, 21 Jhn 10:16 Acts 10:45, 47. His righteous government,  Ps 45:6, 7 Jhn 5:30 Rev 19:11.  Universal dominion Ps72:8 Dan 7:14 Phl 2:9, 11. Perpetuity of His kingdom Is 9:7 Dan 7:14 Lk 1:32, 33.

Jesus was more than just a mere man, He is truly the Son of God who took away the sin of the world and nailed them to the cross. He rose from the dead, thus He overcame death and defeated Satan. He is the light of the world and He gives eternal life to those who by faith believe and trust in Him as Lord and Savior. He did not just live and died, He divided time, because of His birth the calender changed from BC to AD. The world was never the same again after Christ came and He has transformed many lives throughout the centuries. If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, maybe you have heard about Him, maybe somebody told you about the His birth, His ministry, His crucifixion and that He rose from the dead on the third day.  He offers salvation and eternal life to those who repent and believe in Him. This Christmas season, take some time and think, what Christmas is really all about and why Christians celebrate this season. It is not about Santa Claus, gifts, parties etc. it is all about Jesus and the gift of God to mankind. Jesus came at the appointed time, he died at the appointed time and He rose at the appointed time. His birth has changed the world and it will change you, He offers salvation to those who will believe, and that they shall not perish but have everlasting life. Salvation is a free gift of God. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, no one can earn salvation or a right standing before God through their good behaviors or good deeds. Various religions are trying to reach God on their own merit, trying to live a good enough life, and maybe God will let them into heaven. In biblical Christianity, God reaches down to man offering salvation through Jesus Christ and through Him alone. God provided as promised a sacrifice for us, all we need to do is receive Him and open our hearts to him. This Christmas I pray wherever you may be that you would take some time and reflect on the message that Christians have proclaimed for the last 2000 years, that Jesus is truly the Son of God who died and shed His blood for our sins on the cross, offering forgiveness and eternal life to those who by faith call upon Him. God loves you and He does not want you to perish, but you must come to Him by the way that God provided, through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to salvation.  "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6  "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thankfulness to God

I think sometimes we as Christians wonder too much about what God thinks about us or how He looks at us. We read and study the Bible, we fellowship at Church, we are witnessing, helping others who are in need and whatever else we might do for the furthering of His kingdom. All these things are not bad in itself, we as believers should do them. However, so many Christians are thinking and wondering each and every day how they can please God. The Bible clearly teaches that we cannot please God on our own by our good works or deeds. Our own righteousness won't get us very far. Unfortunately  many believers are not resting in the finished work of Christ on their behalf, they labor to either please God or to appease Him. The good news is that God has done for us what we were not able to do ourselves. By His grace He has forgiven us of our sins through faith in His Son who died for us on the cross at Calvary. Jesus Christ the Son was the only One that was pleasing to God the Father. Through Jesus we have received the reconciliation, and we are at peace with God, we are not appointed unto the wrath. God has imputed the righteousness of Christ onto all of those who believe in Him by faith. As believers in Jesus we have nothing to worry about, God does not remember any of our sins. They are forgotten as far as the East is from the West. The blood of Jesus has washed and cleansed us from all unrighteousness. Jesus took the wrath of God upon Himself so that we do not have to face judgment on the day when God will judge the world. So, how can we please God in our daily lives, if we cannot do it through works or good deeds?  I think God would be very pleased if we as believers thank Him for everything that He has done for us, He has provided a substitute for us and He has promised us eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Eternal life is definitely something to be greatly thankful for. Everyday God blesses us and He is so good, that He even blesses those who reject Him. Everyday the sun rises,  giving light and warmth to all. He sends the rain upon the land. He gives the air that we breath, He provides food, He clothes and cares for us. There are so many blessings that we receive everyday that probably most of them go unrecognized. Let us be thankful to God as His children everyday, thanking Him for His goodness, His love and His grace. Giving thanks is pleasing to God. Giving thanks shows gratitude. A thankful heart is a right heart in the eyes of God. I thank You Father for everything, I am truly blessed and I am so thankful that You have transformed my life. I am what I am, but I am not what I used to be. Thank You for your mercy and Your grace, thank You Father for giving us your Son, Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Muhammad or Jesus?

Muslims around the world believe that Muhammad and Jesus/ Issa were prophets of God. The Muslims however regard Muhammad as the greater prophet. My question to my Muslim friends is, if Muhammad was the greatest prophet, why was there no prophesy given of his coming? Not even one? The first coming of Jesus was  prophesied long beforehand by the prophets of God in the Holy Scriptures. There are more than 300 prophesies concerning the first coming of the Messiah Jesus i.e. Yahshuah which means "God is salvation". 300 prophesies that were fulfilled by the Messiah, and not one prophesy concerning the so called greatest prophet of them all, Muhammad? I find that very odd. If God or Allah as the Muslims call him gave us so much information in His Holy Book about Jesus, why not once did He give us any indications of the coming of Muhammad? 
If we compare Jesus and Muhammad, we find that Jesus performed miracles, He healed the sick, made the blind see, He cast out demons, He raised the dead, He set the captives free, He rebuked nature, He forgave sins, something only God can do. To top it off, He died for the sinners by shedding His blood on the cross. He raised Himself from the dead and descended  to heaven, He overcame death and defeated death. He promised that those who would believe in Him would have their sins forgiven and have eternal life, being for eternity in heaven with Him. Did Muhammad, do any miracles at all, did he heal the sick, made the blind see? Did he raise the dead, was he able to forgive sins? When Muhammad died did he raise himself and descended to heaven? Jesus' tomb is empty, Muhammad's bones are still in his tomb in the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Mosque of the Prophet) in the city of Medina. Muhammad thought that he was demon possessed, Jesus cast out demons.  Jesus who was sinless taught His disciple and followers to, "love one another as I have loved you". He came as prophesied to die for the sin of the world. He who knew no sin became sin for us. He gave His life because God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son. Muhammad on the other hand conquered with the sword and killed those who would not convert to Islam. Muhammad did not teach love but hate. Many Muslims would say that their religion is a religion of peace, looking at the world and the history of Islam, I think it is quite the opposite. Jesus came to give us life and eternal peace. As Christians we know that we have eternal life through Christ, ask any Muslim if he or she will go to heaven, and they are not sure. They don't know if they are good enough. That to me is no security at all, the Bible or the word of God gives the Christians assurance of their salvation. Salvation is a gift of God by His grace through faith and faith alone. No one can be saved by doing works, by working themselves into heaven by somehow pleasing God and hopefully God will accept their good works. God clearly said: "They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one." Psalm 14:3. And in another place He said: "But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6
No one, no matter who can stand on his or her own righteousness, God regards our righteousness as filthy rags. Thanks be to God who imputed the righteousness of Christ onto the believers. Christians stand in the righteousness of Christ and not on their own. How glorious is that? My Muslim friend, consider Father Abraham, He believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness as it is written in the good book: "And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness." Genesis 15:6.

The Apostle Paul addresses justification through faith in his epistle to the Romans:

"For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith." Romans 4:13.

"He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness." Romans 4:20-22.

Paul goes on to say that it was not only imputed onto Abraham but to all that come by faith: "Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification." Romans 4:23-25.

Believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior justifies the sinner before God, it is not what we have done, but what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. The blood of Jesus cleanses the sinner from all unrighteousness. King David knew this very well after his sin with Bathsheba: "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit." Psalm 32:1, 2.

The blood of Jesus was so sufficient for the to the Father, He has forgotten every sin that was committed and He will not remember them. "For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear (reverence) Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:11,12.

My Muslim friend do you have that kind of assurance from Allah and his prophet Muhammad in the Quran, can Muhammad give you forgiveness and eternal life, can he wash your sins away and cleanse you from all unrighteousness? If you are not sure that you will go to heaven, don't you think that that is pretty risky not knowing were you will end up? Consider Jesus/Issa and His words, He is the only one that can reconcile anyone to the Father. He is the only way to the Father, we must come through Him. I pray that you my Muslim friend would pick up the Bible the Holy scriptures of God and get to know Jesus, and why He came and why He will come again. Not knowing were you are going for eternity, either heaven or hell, does that not scare you? Read the word of God and you will find Him. He will reveal Himself to you because He loves you and does not want you to perish.

"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6

Sunday, December 12, 2010


In 1957 Dr. Richter of John Hopkins Medical School did an experiment on laboratory rats. He placed a few rats in a cylinder filled with water and placed the rats into the water. Frantically the rats were trying to stay afloat, resulting in them drowning within a few minutes. The next day Dr. Richter placed some more rats into the water, he waited just before they started drowning, and pulled them out of the water for just a few moments, he placed them back into the water, this time the rats stayed afloat for more than three days. Why? Because they had hope, they were rescued once before from certain death by drowning. The rats had hope, a savior in the form of a hand. It was hope that made them continue to stay above the water, waiting for the hand to once again pull them to safety. Hope is something that we as Christians have, hope of eternal life because of a Savior Who saved us from drowning and certain death. Hope is a beautiful thing and as Christians we have a sure hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Rom 5:1-5
As Christians, we are to live by faith, not sight, feelings or emotions, we know that Christ died for us, cleansed us from all sin and gave us eternal life through faith. That is a faith and hope that the heathens don't have. We as believers have the Holy Spirit within us who testifies to us of this truth. We can face any kind of trial, tribulations and hardships, knowing that God will uphold us by the power of His Spirit. As long as we abide in Christ and seek His wisdom, guidance and direction for our daily life we have a hope, a blessed hope that will not disappoint. God has promised the believers to never leave them nor forsake them. Joshua 1:5 We are never alone, in times of despair, He is there, in times of trouble, He is there, in times of tribulations, He is there to lift us up and pulls us out of the water. "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?" 1Th 2:19

Unlike the first batch of rats that drowned fanatically without hope, so will the people that reject Christ drown in the judgment of God, unlike the Christians who were saved by the mighty hand of God, these unbelievers have no hope of eternal life. Christ has given us a hope and peace that surpasses all understanding, the world is frantic, almost hopeless, they are drowning and most don't even know it. It is my hope and prayer that we as believers would feel the need to pray for the lost. God does not want anybody to perish but come to repentance. Let us be good witnesses and tell them about the hope that we as believers have. This world as we know will come to an end, things will change dramatically in the very near future. The Bible tells us what is going to happen, we have the comfort of God's word for the believer, let us warn people of the danger to come and save those who want to listen to us from drowning and certain death, (spiritual death).

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1Peter 1:3-5

Friday, December 10, 2010

For unto us a Child is born...

"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Isaiah 9:6, 7 

"For unto us a child is born" This glorious prophecy of the birth of the Messiah reminds Israel that the victory bringing Messiah would be a man. The Messiah could have been an angel. The Messiah could have been God without humanity. Neither of those options would have qualified the Messiah to be our Savior and High Priest as Jesus was. The Child had to be born.

"Unto us a Child is given" This Child would be a man, but more than a man. He is also the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Godhead. Theoretically, the Messiah didn’t have to be God. He might have been a sinless angel, or merely a perfect man like Adam. Neither of those options would have qualified the Messiah to be our Savior and High Priest as Jesus was. The Son had to be given.

"And the government will be on His shoulder" Ultimately, this will be fulfilled in the Millennium, when Jesus Christ will rule the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords ( Revelation 20:4-6, Psalm 72, Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 65:17-25, Zechariah 14:6-21.) We are still waiting for the ultimate fulfillment of this promise.

"His name will be called" This is not be mistaken as the literal names of the Messiah. Instead, these are aspects of His character, they describe who He is and what He has come to do.
The Messiah is "Wonderful" The glory of who He is and what He has done for us should fill us with awe and wonder. No one can really look at Jesus, know Him, and be bored. He is "Wonderful" and will fill our heart and minds with amazement.

The Messiah is our "Counselor"  Jesus is the One fit to guide our lives, and should be the Christian’s immediate resource as a counselor. Jesus can help us with our problems. He may use the presence and the words of another Christian to do it, but Jesus is our "Counselor"

The Messiah is "Mighty God" The God of all creation and glory, the Lord who reigns in heaven, the One worthy of our worship and praise.

The Messiah is the "Everlasting Father" The idea in these Hebrew words is that Jesus is the source or author of all eternity, that He is the Creator Himself. It does not mean that Jesus Himself is the Person of the Father in the Trinity.

The Messiah is the "Prince of Peace" He is the One who makes peace, especially between God and man.

From His names and character/attributes, verse 7 goes farther into the future, into the millennial reign of Christ.

"Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end" The reign of the Messiah will not last merely 1,000 years, though the millennium is a special aspect of His reign. There will be no end to the reign of the Messiah, and He will rule for all eternity.

"Upon the throne of David" Jesus will rule on David’s throne, and over his kingdom that is Israel. This is a fulfillment of God’s great covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7.

Jesus can be Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace for everyone now. One day, these offices will be imposed upon the world. For now, they are real for those who receive Jesus and submit to Him. Have you surrendered your life to Him? Jesus is coming again to set up His kingdom here on earth. At His first coming, He came as the Passover lamb, at His second coming, He will come as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Which one would you rather meet, the lamb or the Lion? Jesus will come in judgment, He will judge the world in righteousness, those who rejected Him will face judgment at the great white throne of God. Do you think that you can face God and defend your life before Him? Those who put their faith and trust in Jesus will not face the great white throne judgment. Believers in Christ have the imputed righteousness of Christ and God the Father will not look upon their sins, they are forgotten as far as the east is from the west. If you are not sure if you go to heaven or hell, call upon Jesus and ask Him to come into your heart, He will forgive you, no matter how bad you may think you are. The only unpardonable sin is to reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He laid down His life for you, so that you can have eternal life and be with God forever. It is a choice everyone has to make, whether they believe it or not. God is real and death is real, physical death will come to all, no one is excluded. Are you sure that there is nothing after you die? How can you be sure? Jesus has told us of the afterlife, what happens to those who reject God and it is not a pretty picture, eternal separation from God. Eternity is a long time. I hope and pray if you have not received Jesus into your heart, stop and think, you may be young at this time, healthy, but things change real fast, sooner than you know you will look back at your life wondering, where did it go? Our spirit will not die, the decision whether to follow Jesus or not can have dire consequences, once a person dies without Jesus, it is too late. Think about it.

"For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." 2Cr 6:2

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christianity; the oldest religion in the World.

I believe among others, that Christianity is the oldest religion known to man. You may say, how can you say that? There are many religions that were way before Christianity that came along about 2000 years ago. Did Christianity begin 2000 years ago with a man named Jesus? Let me begin with saying that Jesus did not come to bring something completely new, He did not start a new religion and new doctrines. God's truth is never changing. Jesus did not just suddenly appear and brought a new message or believe to the people. The Old Testament is all about Jesus and the promise of a Savior was given long ago, long before Jesus came to the earth. The first gospel message can be found in Genesis: "And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel." Gen 3:15.  It is widely understood that this verse is a Messianic prophesy. This prophesy was given by God in the Garden of Eden, you can not go any further back as the Garden. Throughout the Old Testament God gave progressive prophesies concerning the Messiah. In the old the new is concealed, in the new the old is revealed. When we get to the New Testament, and we look back at the Old Testament, it's all clear.  In the Old Testament the gospel was there from the early beginning. The Bible is a book of redemption. The Bible does contain history like the creation and the beginning of mankind, kingdoms, people and places, but the main purpose of the Bible is redemption, God's plan of salvation for fallen man. Jesus is all over the pages of the Old Testament, there are many prophesies concerning His first coming and many allegories that pointed to Christ. Abraham offering up Isaac on Mount Moriah which is the temple mount today, a picture of what God would do 2000 years later. Joseph in Egypt, he was not recognized by his brothers at the first meeting, but they recognized him at the second time they met. A picture of the first coming of Jesus and He was not recognized as Israel's Messiah, which will happen at His second coming. Moses lifting up the bronze serpent in the wildness on a pole, and everybody that looked up to it was healed, a picture of Jesus lifted up on the cross dying for the sin of the world and giving healing and life to those who would look upon Him and believe. He was the Rock in the wildness bringing forth water, He was the Bread that came from heaven and so much more. The 70 weeks of Daniel given by the angel Gabriel gave the exact time and day when the Messiah would ride into the city of Jerusalem. Zechariah prophesied that the King would come riding lowly on a donkey. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on what we now know as Palm Sunday. Nothing was by coincidence, God had a divine plan and time schedule and Jesus came at the appointed time, His hour. The day the Lord has made. There are over 300 prophesies concerning the first coming of Christ, and He has fulfilled them all. Jesus was nailed the cross at the time of the morning offering on passover, He gave up His Spirit at the time of the evening sacrifices. This day was also predicted long ago and God had a certain day in mind and Jesus died on that exact appointed day. Old Testament believers were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, they believed God, thus it was accounted to them as righteousness. Today we look back at the cross and the finished work of Christ and because we believe by faith we are accounted righteous before God through Christ who is our righteousness. The gospel i.e the good news is therefore much older than 2000 years, the gospel and the coming of the Messiah goes all the way back to the beginning. There are many religions today and in the past, but they are all man made and they are all man centered. The Christian faith is not really a religion per say, it is a relationship with the true and living God. Christians worship and serve the God of creation, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God that is truth and His word which is sharper than a two edged sword. If you read this and you are of another faith, like Islam or maybe Hinduism etc. consider Jesus and the claims He made. He came to die in our place, God did what we could not do for ourselves. He gave His only begotten Son. Jesus said that He came to set us free from bondage. Are you in bondage to sin or religion? Do you want to be forgiven of your sins and have eternal life? Jesus promised that those who would believe will never die. He died for us and rose from the dead to overcome death and give eternal life to those who would believe. Jesus is God and only God can forgive sins, all other gods are impostors and they do not exist.

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. "You shall have no other gods before Me. "You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them." Exd 20:2-5

Many religions have made their own gods made out of wood, metal, in the likeness of man, they worship the creature rather than the Creator. These gods do not move, they can't hear or speak. They are dead, they cannot give life eternal, only the true and living God of the Bible can. There is only one way to be reconciled to God the Father, and that is through His Son Christ Jesus. May you find Him and feel His peace and His love. May you realize how much He loves you.

"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Trinity; is it biblical?

The doctrine of the Trinity, simply stated, is as follows: The Bible teaches that there is one eternal God who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is the only God that exists. However, within the nature of this one God are three persons, or three centers of consciousness - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three Persons are co-equal and co-eternal. They are also distinguishable or distinct from one another. These three distinct Persons are the one God. Everything that is true about God is true about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. While the Bible teaches that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Spirit is God it is wrong to say that God is the Father, God is the Son, or God is the Spirit. God's nature consists of three distinct Persons. Therefore it is incorrect to limit God to one particular member of the Trinity.

We find all three members of the Trinity at the baptism of Jesus.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased". Mat 3:16, 17

God the Father acknowledged God the Son, while God the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus.
The doctrine of the Trinity was not clearly formulated until after the New Testament was written. However there are anticipations of the doctrine in the Old Testament. A hint of the doctrine of the Trinity can be found in the first verse of the Bible. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Gen 1:1 The Hebrew word for God is Elohim. Elohim is a plural noun but it is used here with a singular verb bara. In the remainder of the Old Testament, when Elohim speaks of the true God, it is always used with a singular verb. The conclusion to be drawn is that in some sense God is both singular and plural. The doctrine of the Trinity states this – within the nature of the one God there are three eternal persons. We find a further hint of the Trinity in Genesis 1
Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth" Gen 1:26

The phrase "let us" again gives the idea of plurality. The word "us" cannot refer to angels because angels do not create.
Therefore, in the first chapter of the Bible we have a hint of the Trinity with the plural title Elohim used with a singular verb and God speaking and saying, "Let us."
The words "let us" is used elsewhere of God speaking in Genesis. After Adam and Eve sinned the Bible records.
Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever." Gen 3:22
At the incident at the Tower of Babel we read God saying.
"Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another's speech." Gen 11:7

Isaiah the prophet recorded God saying.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me" Isaiah 6:8

There is one statement in the Old Testament that gives a fairly clear indication of the Trinity.
"Come near me and listen to this: "From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there. "And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, with his Spirit. This is what the LORD says - your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." Isaiah 48:16, 17

In verse sixteen, God the Son is speaking. He identifies the Father [the Sovereign Lord] and His Spirit as having sent Him. In the next verse, the Son is clearly spoken of as the Lord. Consequently these verses identify three distinct Persons who are God without denying the fact there is only one God.
The concept of the trinity is clearly taught in the Bible, there are many more verses in the OT and of course in the NT where the trinity is more explained. People that try to deny the triune nature of God, do so to diminish Jesus and His deity. The baptism of Jesus mentions all three, Father Son and Holy Spirit. When Thomas who was doubting that Jesus had risen wanted proof. Jesus appeared to him: "Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" John 20:27, 28

Thomas clearly calls Jesus God. In Acts we find Peter calling the Holy Spirit God when he confronted Ananias about his deceit: "But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? "While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." Acts 5:3, 4

Peter clearly calls the Holy Spirit God. There is one more example, in the account of Steven who was the first martyr we read this:  "But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" Acts 7:56, 57

Here we can clearly see that the Holy Spirit was indwelling Stephen, God the Father on the throne and Jesus standing on the right side of the throne to receive Stephen. 

The trinity or triune nature of God is clearly taught in the Bible and was not made up later as some claim, there are some religions like Islam, Cults and even some Christian denominations who would deny the trinity. I personally can not see why anybody would or can deny the trinity given the overwhelming evidence in the Bible about the triune nature of God.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Law Breakers

Driving around San Diego County, I see many people texting and talking on their phones while driving. Although there is a law in California against texting while driving and talking on the phone without a hands free device, many choose not to obey that law. Doing so is distracting people and because of it, there have been many accidents in the past, some of them fatal. There is also a law against drinking and driving, but many choose not to obey that law. Many innocent people have been hurt or killed because of the disobedience of some. People are breaking the law of the land everyday, I am not excluded, not always keeping the speed limit of 65mph on the freeways for example. There is a law against using the car pool lanes for single drivers, yet some choose not to obey that law. People that break the law are called law breakers. There are consequences for breaking the law, most likely a fine, in some case even jail time. The governing authorities will persecute law breakers and a just judge will not let a person go unpunished for breaking the law. It make me wonder, if people cannot obey laws set by men, how can they possibly obey the laws given by God? People are breaking God's laws every single day. Just as we have laws given by the governing authorities, so has God given us laws to live by. The Ten commandments given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai, sets the standard of God's law by which men will be judged. Many today would argue that the Ten commandments are outdated and do not apply to today's modern society. I tend to disagree with that and I believe that God's law is perfect. The Ten commandments can be grouped in two categories, the first four, man's relationship to God and the remaining six, man's relationship to the community. By these Ten commandments, true theology and true worship, the name of God and the sabbath, family honor, life, marriage and property, truth and virtue are well protected. Many people when asked if they are a good person would answer, Yes I am a good person. Just as the self righteous religious leadership of Jesus' day thought that they were good and obeyed the law of God. Jesus proved them wrong, they thought that they had kept the law perfectly. Jesus showed them how God looks at the law versus how man looks at the law. Jesus actually, put a much higher standard on the law, pointing to man's heart rather then the outward appearance of keeping the law. Jesus said:"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. "I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." Mat 5:17, 18 Jesus fulfilled the law and kept it perfectly, He was without sin and He showed the Pharisees of His day what the law really meant.  The Pharisees thought themselves to be righteous and perfect before God, but their supposed righteousness was nothing more than self righteousness and pride.  "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Mat 5:20
The religious leadership thought they obeyed the law and thus were ok with God, and Jesus pointed them to the last six commandments. "You have heard that it was said to those of old, "You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment." The leadership would have answered Jesus that they never murdered anybody. Jesus went on to say: "But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire." Mat 5:22 Jesus was saying that if someone hates another person, that they have already committed murder in their heart. The religious leadership of the Jews hated for example the Gentiles, the Samaratian or any others that were not of Jewish descend, they thought that God created the Gentiles for heating up Hell fire. He went on to say: "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery." Mat 5:27 Again, the leadership would have said, "we never slept with another women, we have not committed adultery." Jesus: "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Mat 5:28. Again Jesus points to the heart of man, they may not had any adulterous relations but they by just lusting after a woman, committed adultery in their hearts. Jesus went on with some other examples, showing them that it is a heart issue and that they all had broken the law. So even today many call themselves good from an outward perspective, not considering that God looks at the heart. "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." Mat 15:19
If people cannot obey simple laws like not texting and talking on the phone while driving, how can they think that they are ok with God when their day of judgment will come? None of us can keep the law perfectly, Christ has set the believers free from the law that was a tutor to bring us to Christ, He did what we could not do. As believers we are forgiven of all transgressions by the shed blood of Christ on the cross, he died for the sin of the world. By receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior by faith saves the believer from the wrath of God that will come upon all law breakers. If you are not a believer and you either think that God does not exist or that you can defend yourself on the day of judgment, please think again. A just judge must judge just and fair and cannot allow lawbreakers to go free, a price/fine needs to be rendered. Jesus has paid the price, He took the punishment of our transgressions. By believing and asking for forgiveness, a person is declared justified before God, because God has imputed the righteousness of Christ on the believer. Think of what will happen when the day of judgment comes and God declares you guilty and the punishment is eternal separation from God. Why did I refuse to believe? God loves every person, but He cannot allow sin in His kingdom, Jesus cleanses a person from all sin and unrighteousness. God does not want anybody to perish, but it is a choice that you have to make, God does not force Himself on anybody, He has given every man a free will to choose. Eternity is a long time, forever and ever, being tormented, thinking why did I not listen?

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16


Thursday, November 18, 2010

YouTube - The Lord Jesus Christ; God, Creator and Savior

YouTube - The Lord Jesus Christ; God, Creator and Savior

YouTube - guardafango1's Channel

YouTube - guardafango1's Channel

"The World Hates You"

"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:18, 19

As Christians i.e. followers and disciples of Jesus we  are to be separated from the things of the world. We are in this world but not of this world. If we are genuine believers we should separate ourselves from many things that this world has to offer, we are not to participate in the things that the world seeks after. Jesus said: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Mat 6:33.  

The apostle John in his second letter warned the Churches of the danger to compromise with the world: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world." 2John 2:15, 16. 
It was pride that caused Lucifer to fall from heaven, (Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14). When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he used those three to tempt Jesus to compromise and to worship him. Jesus did not give onto those temptations. Jesus answered all three temptations with scripture, "It is written". Satan is the ruler of this world and Jesus did not deny that, but He did not sub-come the the schemes of the devil. Just as he tempted Jesus, so is he tempting people all over the world today. Satan really has no reasons to change his tactics, he knows mankind too well and knows how to keep the world in his grip. If it is not broken, why fix it? As Christians we have to be very careful not to buy into the deceptiveness of the world. We need to discern the times and stand up against the wiles of the wicked one. We need to put on the whole armor of protection. (Eph 6). Everyday we are getting bombarded with all kinds of temptations, just turn on your TV.  Everyday we have to decide, do I wanna serve God or do I want to serve the world?  The problem is that the closer we want to be with God, the more Satan attempts to make us fall. Genuine believers have a bulls-eye painted on their chest. Satan could care less about the backsliders or lukewarm Christians, they have already compromised with the world sitting on the fence, one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom. I am not writing this to criticize others, I am including myself in this and I once walked in the things of the world just as most of you have. When I surrendered my life to Jesus, and ask for His forgiveness, my mind was changed, I looked at things differently. I repented, which means a "change of mind". Things that I used to do, just like everybody else, not even thinking that it is wrong in the eyes of God, everybody else is doing it. Looking back now, most of the stuff I did was unfruitful, unimportant and a waste of time. Seeking after the things of the world never satisfied and I was striving after the wind as the wise King Solomon said. Sin may satisfy for a while and there certain pleasure in it, the Bible does not deny that, but in the end it stings. Living after the world is traveling on the broad road that leads to destruction, as Jesus said, "many will enter into it". Traveling down the road of destruction has caused people all kinds of pain, just look at the world, it is so broken and lost, there seems to be no way out. Society is on a moral decline and is sinking deeper and deeper into it. Paul wrote this:  "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them." Rom 1:28-32.  Sounds just like the world today, doesn't it?  This last part of the verse, "that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them." Do we as believers approve of these things, or have we become silent, not speaking out against these things?  There are many that have the attitude of "live and let live" like it's ok, let's just not ruffle any feathers. I assure you if we as Christians stand up for the truth and  the things of God  not giving in to the world standards and it's beliefs, we as people and children of God will suffer persecution, ridicule, mocking and genuine hatred. Just as Jesus said, the world loves it's own, but they will hate us if we stand up and speak up. As disciple of Christ we have to choose, either the narrow gate or the broad road that leads to destruction. Compromising and giving into the world is dangerous and can lead to a broken fellowship with God. Jesus had John write seven letters to the churches, Jesus rebuked all of them to a degree, except the church of Philadelphia. These seven churches were actual churches in then Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) but they were also representative of the churches throughout the church age. I also believe that these seven churches represent different believers, some have compromised, some have mingled with the world and some have become lukewarm. I think that Jesus had a purpose for the letters for us today, we need to examine ourselves if we are truly in the faith and are indeed seeking after the kingdom and not the world.
"Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified." 2Cr 13:5

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Mat 7:13, 14

If the world calls us narrow-minded, good, it is better to be narrow minded in the things of God, rather than being on the broad and dark road that will lead to certain destruction in a persons life.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Empty Tomb.

Pontius Pilate was baffled as Joseph of Arimathea came to him and ask to take away the crucified body of Christ. "What do you want with the dead body?" Pilate ask. "I want to lay the body of Jesus into my own newly carved out tomb" Joseph replied. "But why"? Pilate ask, "You are a very old man, and it takes years to carve out another tomb. You may not have enough years left and you are willing to give up your tomb?"  "Don't worry Joseph of Arimathea replied, He only needs it for the weekend".

Probably not the way the conversation went down on that day of the crucifixion, but I believe that Joseph of Arimathea knew in his heart that Christ would rise on the third day as prophesied by Jesus to His disciples. Even if he did not fully comprehend the things that had happened, the ministry and first coming of Christ, His brutal death on the cross, but something changed him. Joseph had become a believer.  Just as Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night, became a follower of Christ, so also Joseph of Arimathea became convinced that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Both Nicodemus and Arimathea who were well respected Pharisees became born again. The impact of Jesus on their lives transformed these two men, they would never be the same. Many people had a life changing transformation by meeting Jesus, yesterday and today.  He truly came to save the lost. The apostle Paul is another good example of a radical life transformation, a former persecutor and hater of the believers and followers of Jesus known as "The Way." Saul/Paul was a zealous Jew who hated the Christians with a passion and had them killed, arrested and persecuted. On the road to Damascus seeking to arrest Christians in the city, he met the risen Christ on the road. This encounter changed the man forever and he became the greatest missionary to the gentile world. Paul of course heard about the crucifixion, the death and burial of Christ and the story that was told about the the empty tomb and that Christ had risen. Paul was a changed man and he preached Christ crucified and resurrected. "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." 1Cr 2:2
Jesus died for the sin of the world, He rose and defeated death to give those who believe in Him forgiveness and eternal life. The Christian faith hinges on the resurrection of Jesus, if the resurrection did not occur, the Christian faith is empty. Paul addresses the death and the resurrection of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15.

"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas (Peter), then by the twelve. 1Cr 15:3-5

There were those who denied the resurrection and Paul writes about the importance of the resurrection.

"Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!" 1Cr 15:12-17

Christianity without the resurrection is dead, as Paul said if Christ was not who He said He is, than we are still in our sins and the most pitiable people. Many unbelievers have tried to disprove the resurrection and have failed miserably and became believers in Christ. Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins? Do you believe that He rose and defeated death to give eternal life to those who believe? Have you ask Him for forgiveness and received Him in your heart?

Jesus is the only way to the Father, He came to die for mankind to reconcile all of us that believe to give us peace and eternal life. If you have not received Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, thinking that He was maybe a good man, a good teacher but nothing more, may i encourage you to look into the claims and promises of Jesus? Don't just listen to the media or so called intelligent people who think they have all the answers. Seek Him for yourself and you will find Him. The Bible says:
"In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." 2Cr 6:2
God does not want anybody to perish, you may say, "how do I know that God loves me?" Look at the cross and you know how much God loves you, He loves you so much that He gave His Son.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Come As You Are"

What does it mean when Christians say "Come as you are?" Many of the unbelievers  have the wrong notion thinking that they have to change their habits and lifestyle etc. before they can come to Jesus and ask Him for forgiveness. They think, well I am an alcoholic or a drug user, I am angry or I have too many issues. They think that Jesus will not receive them in their current condition and that they need to clean up their act before asking Jesus for help and forgiveness.  Jesus does not see it that way, He had dinner with sinners, He sought out the sinners, just look at the disciples, they were sinners just like anybody else, He chose them in their current  sinful condition. Look at the woman who was caught in the act of adultery or the Samaritan woman at the well who had 5 husbands and was living now with a her boyfriend. He did not condemn them, He ministered and reached out to them in their current sinful condition. There are many more examples of Jesus reaching out to the lost, something the religious leaders of the time did not. The religious leaders looked on the outside and not at the heart. They judged purely on appearance, and instead of welcoming them, they cast them out.  Many Churches today cast out people simply by their appearance which is a shame and not very "Christ-like".  In the late 60's and early 70's many of the Hippies came to faith in Christ and they came to a little country church in Santa Ana Ca. They were long haired "dirty looking" people and not what some might expect coming to church on a Sunday morning. It was small church, and the Pastor was Chuck Smith. The small congregation at the time was upset with Pastor Chuck because they had just installed new carpeting and these long haired hippies were messing up the carpet. Pastor Chuck assured the complaining members of the Church that he would take care of it. They sensed victory and thought that Pastor Chuck would just cast them out. Little did they know, when they saw Pastor Chuck  ripping out the carpet and welcomed the hippies with open arms. They came by the thousands and were called "Jesus people" or "Jesus Freaks". The church known as Calvary Chapel has grown into a fellowship of over 1500 churches world wide. Because of one man that did not look upon the outside, many of these broken people that had believed the lie that peace and happiness can be found in sex, drugs and Rock'n Roll, found true peace, happiness and salvation in Jesus Christ. He transformed a generation. Jesus never told anybody, "clean up your act and then come back to me",  He received them just as the were.  Jesus is the One that transforms lives, He changes people. There are millions of testimonies around the world of transformed lives.  Drug addicts, alcoholics, broken people,  you name it, they all have a testimony and story to tell about how Jesus changed them when they surrendered their lives to Him. That's what we need to remember when witnessing to unbelievers, no matter what their condition is, no matter what they have done, no matter how grave the sin,  Jesus wants to forgive them and save them from a life of sin that leads into destruction and eternal damnation. Jesus wants them to "Come as they are".

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."Mat 11:28-30

Friday, October 29, 2010

Faith a gift from God

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Heb 11:1

Many people claim to have faith, faith in something or someone, but what is faith from a biblical perspective? Can faith be proven or can it be seen? God's word says,  that the just shall live by faith and without faith it is impossible to please God.  Can a Christian prove his or her faith to an unbelieving world and how do we explain faith? Paul in writing to the church in Corinth writes: "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1Cr 2:14 

Jesus in speaking to Nicodemus who came to Him at night said: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3 

Jesus is saying,  that without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a persons life, there is no way for them to know God or to see things from a spiritual heavenly view. Unbelievers are blind to the things pertaining to God and His kingdom,  they cannot see beyond the human realm which the Bible calls the flesh. They go by their instincts, feelings and emotion that are purely  from a human level and not a divine level. Most people live by what they can see touch or smell and they disregard faith as something childish or foolishness. Many Atheist are very outspoken these days about people of faith, especially the Christian faith. I like what Norman Geisler once said in his book: "I do not have enough faith to be an Atheist." What is this faith within the believer, is it something that can be learned or can be earned by some kind of practice or ritual? Where does this faith come from?  Christians walk by faith, a faith that was not earned or attained.  I believe that faith is a gift of God just as salvation is a free gift of God for those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Before anybody was a true believer and disciple of Christ, they walked in darkness just as everybody else. I came to Christ pretty late in life, at the age of 46 years. What took me so long, and why wasn't I a believer much earlier in my life? Certainly I had heard about Jesus, and that He died on the cross for my sins.  I heard about His resurrection from the dead and that He promised eternal life to those who would believe and follow Him. I'm pretty sure that most people know John 3:16.  It seems that knowing about Jesus and reading about Jesus is not enough. There are many people saying: "I think He was a good man and a great teacher."  They put Him in the same category as Buddha, Krishna and others.  And that is as far as most people will go,  they refuse to come any closer towards the truth of God that would set them free. Why is there such hostility towards Christ?  Why would people not receive Christ by faith and the forgiveness of their sins by repenting of their former ways?  God's promise is  forgiveness and eternal life. Could it be because there is no faith nor hope in them,  unless God draws them?  "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Eph 2:8  
How come that some received grace and some not? Did God predestined some to be saved and some not?  I do not believe that God has chosen some unto salvation and some to hell for eternity (although He knows in His foreknowledge who would come to Him and who not).  People have a free will to choose, and that those who reach out to God asking Him for forgiveness will be saved by His grace.  I can only go from my experience,  how I came to the Lord.  I can't speak for others, everybody has their own unique story.  I'm not going into a long winded story, but I had a severe alcohol problem, and my life was going downhill real fast.  I would go on binges days upon days drinking until I would be sick. I took me about a week to get better after these binges and a couple of weeks to get back to drinking resulting in another collapse. Well, long story short, one Sunday morning, May 14th 2006 to be precise, I hit rock bottom. I sat on my patio chair feeling pretty lousy and I remember as if it were today, I cried out to God saying, "please help me, I don't want to be like this anymore, please God help me I am sorry." From that moment on, my life completely changed, I was still feeling sick, but something happened, something I can't fully explain. God took the desire of drinking away and I have not had a drink or desire to have a drink one ever since. That day God changed me, He transformed my life. There used to be twelve packs of beer in my car and Ozzy on my radio. That all changed that day,  I went and bought a Bible. Not knowing anything about which translation to get, the first Bible I bought was a NASB version. I was reading everyday and because I didn't work at that time and spent all day and night reading God's word. Looking back, I know that the moment I cried out to God that He saved me from a life of destruction, and the transformation within me started. Did I have true faith at that early stage? To be honest I don't know, what I do know is that reading the word of God brought me closer and closer to Him. I had a change of mind which came through His word, His word ministered to me. Reading the Bible and studying it, showed me without a doubt that I was reading the truth and that God had a wonderful plan for my life.  Faith came by reading the word of God just as it say's it in the Bible. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Rom10:17

Today I have absolute faith in God. It is not a "blind faith" as many atheist like to call it. I know in my heart that God is the truth and that He is faithful. He keeps His promises, and one day I will see Him face to face. Can I prove faith to an unbeliever? Maybe not, but I believe that faith can be shown by the conduct and behaviors of  Christians in the world. Genuine faith brings forth good fruit.
Many will laugh at believers and mock them, but the genuine believers have a blessed hope of salvation and eternal life. They have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, something the unbeliever searches for but will not find apart from God. Jesus explained why many will resist Him and fight tooth and nails against His Lordship: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed." John 3:16-20

Many want to stay in darkness, they want to live a life with out being accountable to anyone, they love the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.

Thank you Lord Jesus for seeking me and saving me, Maranatha Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Has the Church replaced Israel?

                                                      Monsignor Cyril Salim Bustros

“The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands,” Monsignor Cyril Salim Bustros, Greek Melkite archbishop of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Boston Mass., and president of the “Commission for the Message,” said at Saturday’s Vatican press conference. “We Christians cannot speak of the ‘promised land’ as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people – all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people."

I believe that the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church is gravely mistaken and have embraced the "replacement theology" and are in the process of abandoning Israel.  

Replacement theology also known as supersessionism  teaches that the Church has replaced the nation of  Israel regarding the plan, purpose, and promises of God. There is no biblical evidence that God has cast Israel aside, quite the opposite is true. God has made an everlasting covenant with Israel, in Genesis God made a covenant with Abraham: "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you." Gen 17:7 God said everlasting, not just for a certain time period. God promised Abraham that through his offspring all the nation shall be blessed i.e. the promised Messiah would come through the nation of Israel (Gen 3:17)  from the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God made another covenant through Abraham's son Isaac: Then God said: Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him." Gen 17:19  The word everlasting appears 100 times in the KJV/NKJV and if God says everlasting it means everlasting i.e. forever. The replacement theology has been around for a long time,  but is contradictory to what the Bible teaches. Israel and the Church are two different entities, God never made a covenant with the Church as He did with the nation of Israel. It is true and documented in the Bible that Israel disobeyed God many times, which caused them many afflictions, enslaved to Egypt for 400 years, captivity in Babylon for 70 years and much strives and wars with the neighboring nations. They rejected Jesus as their Messiah at His first coming, which resulted ultimately in the destruction of the temple in 70 AD by Titus and the fall of Jerusalem which caused them to exist as a nation, resulting them to be dispersed all over the world. Because of their rejection of Jesus/Yahshua as Messiah, the Gentile nations became heirs, with that God fulfilled the promise He made to Abraham, that, through him all nations will be blessed:  "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,…" Eph 3:1-6
God wanted the nation of Israel to be a shinning light before the pagan nations, He chose them not because they were special people but because He loved them and keeps His promises: "The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; "but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. "Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; "and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face." Deu 7:7-10
Israel did not keep the commandments, and they even went in to idolatry, something the LORD hates, they failed miserably, despite all this, God has not cast them out or broken His covenant with them. Currently we are in what is called by many the Church age, which began at the time of Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the believers. (Acts 2)  God is using the Church to preach the gospel of salvation in Christ and Him alone. The Church was chosen by God for a specific time period i.e. Church age,  to preach the gospel and reach the lost, the church was grafted in. (Rom 11:17) The apostle Paul certainly did not believe that Israel was cast out by God, he wrote: "I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, "LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"? But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Rom 11:1-4

God has always preserve a Jewish remnant. One of the biggest evidence of God not breaking His covenant is manifested in the re-birth of the nation of Israel on May 14th 1948. After almost 2000 years of Israel not existing, God brought them back into the land as prophesied by the Prophet Ezekiel in chapter 36. The Jews are back in the land, as one nation/kingdom not two as it was before the dispersion, ( 2 southern tribes Judah and Benjamin and the 10 northern tribes) they speak one common which is Hebrew and the shekel is their currency. Today Israel is one of the most fruitful areas in the Middle East, they are the biggest vegetable and fruit exporters in the region. Israel is on the news daily and Jerusalem with the temple mount has been a sore point to many nations and has become the epicenter of the world. Israel is surrounded by many hostile Islamic nations, and one day the war of Gog and Magog will take place as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Most scholars believe that at the time of the rapture of the believers in Christ, the church age will end and will usher in a 7 year tribulation period on the earth spoken of in Daniel chapter 9. 70 weeks were determined for Israel, 69 weeks or 483 years or 173880 days have been fulfilled, from the commandment by King Artaxerxes in 445BC to rebuild the walls and Jerusalem and with Jesus riding into Jerusalem April 6 AD 32 as prophesied by Zechariah: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey." Zech 9:9 The Messiah was cut off as prophesied in Daniel 9 i.e  the crucifixion and finished work of Christ upon the cross.  This leaves a seven year/one week period which has not been fulfilled, commonly referred to as Jacobs troubles or the  seven years of great tribulation. It is in these seven years of tribulation that God will once again turn to Israel and they will recognize that Jesus is their promised Messiah, and they will embrace Him as such. The tribulation period will be a time of trouble like the world has never seen before or ever will again, God will pour out His wrath upon the unbelieving world and Christ will come again with all the believers, which is the second coming, this time He will come not as a lamb but as the Lion from the tribe of Judah. Christ will judge the nations, and the once who made it through the seven year tribulation period who did not take the mark of the beast will enter into the millennial reign of Christ here upon the earth. This is the separation of the sheep from the goats. 

"I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years." Rev 20:4-6

Many Jews will receive Christ as their Lord and Savior during the great tribulation, many Jews and Gentiles will have to die/martyred, but because they have not worshiped or bowed down to the Antichrist , they will be saved and enter into the kingdom of God and have everlasting life. God has not cast out the Jews, neither has He forgotten them, God keeps His promises, to us as Christians and to His chosen people; Israel. God has always preserved for Himself a remnant. 

The Roman Catholic Church is wrong regarding Israel and the Bishops are contradicting what the word of God clearly states.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Peace in the Middle East?

Why is it so difficult to archive peace in the Middle-East? Could it partly be because of wild donkey's like Ahmadinejad? He hates Israel and wants them to be wiped out from the face of the earth. He wishes nothing more than for the talks to fail. So much for a peaceful Islamic religion, there is nothing peaceful about radical Islam... and it's teachings, nor is the Koran a book of peace. Muhammad was a wild donkey, conquering by killing with the sword. Most people look at the world today from a human perspective or the human level, there is also a divine perspective a divine level. Most people would say, well it is just the way it is, but one day if we can make just a few changes, we can have worldwide peace. Nice dream. There is a spiritual war raging all around us, unseen with human natural eyes. There are Satanic forces that control certain areas in the world, Iran is one of them. In the book of Daniel, God gives us some indication's that there are in deed spiritual battles between the angels of heaven and the fallen demonic angels that once rebelled against God. Daniel prayed for help and guidance to understand the 70 weeks in the book of Jeremiah. He prayed for 3 weeks until Gabriel one of the Archangels finally came to him, saying that he was held up because of the prince of Persia, (Iran today) opposed him. The prince of Persia was not the physical human prince that was ruling Persia at that time, but the demonic force over Persia, and Gabriel went on to say that he had to go because the prince of Greece was coming. So, there is battle going on unseen to us a battle of good verse evil. Does evil exist? I'm sure of it and I think we all know that there are evil people in the world, Ahmadinejad is one of them, controlled by Satan and his demonic army. Israel is the center of the world and Jerusalem with the temple mount being the epicenter. Satan is doing his best to cause conflict after conflict trying to destroy the Jewish people, the temple mount is the most holiest place on earth, the temple of David build by Solomon was there and Jesus was crucified there on the very same spot where God had asked Abraham to offer up Issac. Jesus sacrificed His life there for us by spilling His blood as the acceptable offering, the unblemished lamb of God, just as God told Abraham, "I will provide a sacrifice". This is much more than just humans not getting along, it is spiritual war and Satan knows his time is running out, he has tried throughout history to destroy the Jewish people, Haman, Herod, and many others including Hitler, demonically controlled by Satan and his forces. Just as he tried a to wipe out the Jews, so is he coming after the true believers, the bride, he wants nothing more than for us the believers, to fail. He has penetrated the church from the beginning, infiltrating from the inside.
So if you read the newspapers watch the news and see all the stuff that is going on around the world today, think off it as a spiritual battle and we are right in the midst of it. Let us not look with human natural eyes but spiritual once, God has given us His Spirit and we see things for what they really are: a battle of of heavenly proportions. Let us put on the armor of God. 
"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:11-13