Jesus is the Only Way to the Heaven?

Jesus is the Only Way to the Heaven?

Jesus is the only way to the heaven, is that true? Well, it depends on whom you ask. Some say yes, others say no. Even among Christians, some will give an emphatic yes, while others will say not so fast.

It is perfectly understandable for individuals of another faith to say no. After all, if they didn’t think their belief was correct, they wouldn’t believe in it. However, it is a bit perplexing for Christians who profess Christianity and believe in Christ to say there is another way to heaven.

For an individual to believe in Christ, profess Christianity, and that the Bible
is the irrefutable Word of God, the answer should be abundantly clear. While this article is written for all to read, it is mainly directed at Christians.

What Does the Bible Say?

First, let’s look at a passage that some believe supports that there is another way.

Rom 2:11-16

11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

This passage addresses judgment and illuminates the truth that God shows no favoritism and that both Jews and Gentiles will be held accountable. It makes no difference whether one lives by the Law of Moses or the law of their conscience; if they obey, they are justified. However, if they sin or disobey, they will be judged.

There is an inward struggle against the conscience when it convicts of wrongdoing. The conscience is an inward monitor that lets us know when we have done wrong. What the law does for the Jew, the conscience does for the Gentile. However, while people can obey the Law without the Law, but with the law of their conscience (vs. 14), this does not mean they are saved another way. Further, if they disobey their conscience, they will be judged (vs. 12).

Notice the judgment in verse 16. According to the gospel he preached, Paul states that they (Jews and Gentiles) will be judged by whom—Jesus Christ. Paul preached the gospel of Jesus to the Jews and the Gentiles for them to be saved. So the question becomes; what in this passage indicates that there is another way to be saved? [Comments and answers can be left below]

Judgment is inevitable, and it will be conducted through Christ’s mediation. As Jesus said in John 5:26-27, For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.”

For those who are trusting in Christ for their righteousness, God’s judgment does not include the fear of exposure and punishment because they have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Either way, individuals who obey the law are not saved on that basis (on works). They are saved by their faith in Jesus Christ only. Gal 2:16 says, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

The Scripture confirms that works save no one, whether by the law of Moses or the law of conscience, but only by faith in Jesus Christ.

Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?

All individuals stand as condemned sinners before God. This truth includes the God-fearing, law-keeping Jews, and the Gentile sinners equally. However, all have hope in the same source: through faith in Jesus Christ.

Titus 3:5-7

5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

This passage is further confirmation of what saves mankind from sinfulness.

What did Jesus Say?

Let us now take a look at what Jesus Himself, said about this matter.

John 3:5-7

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Jesus is the only way to the Heaven?

Jesus said that no one could enter the kingdom of heaven unless we were born again. We are born again by believing in Jesus, as expressed in John 3:16-18

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Verse 16 is a very well-known Scripture in and of itself. However, let’s look at it in its full context. Verse 17 states that “the world through Him might be saved.” God sent His Son to save the whole world, not some of the world, not some through Jesus and some another way. What Scripture indicates otherwise? If there is one, please leave it in the comments section.

Verse 18 clearly shows that those who believe in Him are “not condemned.” It also makes it very clear that those who ‘believeth not” “is condemned already” before the judgment for not believing in the Son of God.

Jesus is the only way to the Heaven

Therefore, is there another way?

John 14:6

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

Here, Jesus is answering one of His disciples, Thomas, who asked Him how they could know the way. Jesus said He is the way, not a way, not one of the ways, not some of the ways, but the way.” No one gets to the Father but through Him (cf. Isa. 43:11). So why is Jesus the only way?

Because He said so, and His Father’s Word (the Scriptures ) confirms it! Are they lying?

Acts 4:10-12

10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead.

11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’

12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” NLT

This passage is a segment from Peter’s sermon to the religious leaders, the Sanhedrin.

In verse 10, he boldly charged them for killing Jesus, the Messiah that God rose from the dead.

In verse 11, he used figurative language from Ps. 118:22, describing Jesus as the stone rejected by the builders. The builders, in this case, were the religious leaders. However, even though the stone was rejected, it turned out to be the most significant stone of all, the cornerstone.

The cornerstone was the most important stone in a building. It was used as the standard to ensure that the other stones of a building were straight and level. Israel’s leaders, like a builder looking for a suitable cornerstone, rejected Jesus, because He was not the leader they were looking for (that’s another article). However, as it turned out, Jesus was the most crucial stone that ties all of the stones together.

Verse 12 announces the result, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Can it get any clearer than this?

Jesus is the Only Way to the Heaven?

No other name under heaven! It is only through Jesus we can be saved. This is the gospel, the good news! Why are we denying it? Why aren’t we just celebrating it?

Conclusion

Jesus is the only way to the Heaven?

It is astounding that any individual that professes Christianity and the authenticity of Scripture can say that there is another way for one to be saved and inherit eternal life. Further, for the Christian, consider this question: Why are you a Christian if there is another way and what is the other way?

 

For those who aren’t Christian, who have not accepted Jesus, take this advice from the Scriptures Acts 2:38

38 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. NIV

Amen

Please share any questions, comments, or concerns below. You will receive a response.

For more information on being born again, please read the article, What Does it Mean to be a Born Again Christian, on this website.

Blessings

 

The Christian Walk

To walk the Christian walk is to walk with God. But how do we walk with God? How do we know whether we are walking with God or not? This article will shed some light on the answers to those questions.

How do we walk with God?

To walk with God is to have a relationship with Him. To walk with God is to keep Him at the center of our thinking: in everything we do, everything we say, everything we think, in our relationships, our finances, our plans, and every area of our lives. He becomes the greatest desire of our hearts. Walking with God is the wisest way to walk.

The word “walk” is used in the Scriptures to describe a lifestyle. We can choose to walk with God or we can walk in the world—the flesh. Walking with God is often referred to as “walking in the Spirit” in the New Testament, (Galatians 5:16; Romans 8:4). When we choose to walk with God we choose to glorify Him in every way we can, regardless of personal cost.

The steps for walking with God

Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior – This is the beginning. If we want to walk with God, it can only be done through His Son, Jesus Christ. As He is quoted in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” 

God sent His Son, Jesus, to save us so that we may have eternal life (John 3:16) and be saved from eternal damnation. Therefore, the best route to take is to walk with God; if we are going to walk Him, we must accept His Son as our savior.

We must learn to listen to God – We must listen to God to walk with Him and follow Him. Therefore, the time we spend with God is essential. We do this through prayer and the reading and application of His Word, the Scriptures.

We must trust God – To walk with God and be a follower of Him, we must trust Him. Prov. 3:5-7 reads:

5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

God frequently requires us to trust Him even though what He leads us to do may not make sense to us. However, if we are going to walk with Him, we must decide that we will trust Him whether we understand it or not.

It is about faith. Scripture says in Heb 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

The Christian Walk - Faith

Scripture reads in Heb 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Walking with God involves having a relationship with Him. A relationship requires trust and faith. This faith and trust is what pleases God and is essential if we are going to walk with Him. Faith is the prerequisite for pleasing God. If we do not believe in God’s Word, we will not please Him. Faith in God’s Word is crucial if we are going to pursue Him and walk with Him.

We must agree with God – We must be in agreement with God in order for us to walk with Him. God may very well require some things that are not agreeable to us. However, God is not required to agree with us. On the contrary, we are required to agree with Him. God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Therefore, it is in our best interest to agree with Him, especially if we are going to walk with Him.

We must obey Him – Obedience to God is essential if we are going to walk with Him. When we disobey God, we indicate that we know better than He does. The thing to remember is partial obedience is disobedience. Therefore, we are to obey Him completely. We are to do what He says to do when He says to do it, and the way He says to do it. Obedience to God should be a lifestyle for those who want to walk with Him.

The Christian Walk - obedience

Jesus said in John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” NIV As mentioned earlier, walking with God can only be done through His Son. Therefore, by knowing and obeying the Commands of the Son, we show our love for Him, and both He and the Father will love us, resulting in a spiritual relationship.

We must walk in the same direction with God– God has a different path and direction for everyone. Some ways may seem better than God’s. However, if we desire to walk with God, we must walk in His way. Scripture reads in Prov. 19:21, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” NIV

We cannot walk in the ways of the world, hold a close friendship with the world, and walk in the ways of God. James 4:4 reads, You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” NIV If we walk in the ways of the world, we will be walking in the opposite direction of God; we become an enemy of God.

We must stay in step with God – In addition to walking in the same direction as God, we must be careful not to walk ahead of God or to walk behind Him, but we must keep in step. To be in step with God is to be together with Him. Living a godly life is a requirement of God in order to walk with Him and receive the blessings He has for us.

We have to love God – If we do not love God, we will not walk with Him. If we love Him, we will obey Him, wait for His timing, and keep an open ear to hear from Him. All of the things listed above we will do if we love Him. This is why Jesus said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Loving God is the first and greatest Commandment.

We must forsake sin – To forsake sin, we must keep our hearts clean by turning away from sin (repent) to receive God’s best for our lives. To confess sin is the beginning, but we must also repent. Scripture says in Prov. 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
Therefore, we must confess and forsake our sins to receive mercy and continue to walk with God.

We cannot have sin and holiness simultaneously. If we are going to walk with God, we must pursue a life of holiness; a life committed to and surrendered to God.

We must pray to Him – Communication is the fuel for a relationship. A relationship with God is no exception, and we communicate with God through prayer. The Scripture says in 1 Thess. 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

This Scripture does not mean Christians should spend all of their time on their knees or with their eyes closed when it says, “pray without ceasing.” In fact, Scripture is adamant that everyone should have work to do (vs. 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6-7, 11). It is feasible, however, for Christians to have an attitude of prayer at all times. This attitude is built upon acknowledging dependence on God, realizing his presence within, and determining to obey him completely. Subsequently, it will be likely to pray frequent, spontaneous, and short prayers.

Prayer is not to be exercised by the church or church leader only, nor is it carried out only in worship services. Rather, prayer can be a part of every believer’s daily walk, and Paul noted how important this would be for one’s spiritual life (Rom 12:12; Eph 6:19). As Jesus told his disciples, “they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1 NIV). Christians should pray together in worship, spend time alone with God in prayer, and pray to God each day as the desire to rejoice or the need for help arises. Prayer should be a lifestyle, not a life jacket. For more detailed information on prayer, please read the article, Christians and Prayer, on this website.

This ties in with listening to God (addressed earlier). When we pray, and we ask and make our requests to Him, we must listen for His direction and answers. So often, we pray, but we fail to hear the answer. Effective communication involves listening as well as requesting.

Conclusion

The Christian Walk - a battleground

The Christian walk is a battleground.

The road to eternal life is always under construction; we all are a work in progress. The Christian walk is not easy, and it takes tenacity and patience. This virtue is one ingredient of the fruit of the Spirit. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we effectively walk with God. Scripture says in Phil 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God works in us through His Spirit.

Again, walking with God is the wisest way to walk.

Amen

Any questions, comments, concerns, or experiences walking the Christian walk can be left below.

The Sabbath Truth

There is a long-standing controversy regarding the Sabbath. Are Christians obligated to keep it or not? Is it a moral principle or a ceremonial one? This article breaks down the Sabbath truth.

 

The Sabbath Truth

What is the Sabbath?

The word Sabbath is translated from a Hebrew word that means cessation or rest and expresses the practice of observing one day out of seven as a time of rest and worship. This practice originated in creation because God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh (Gen 1). With this action, God ordained and established a pattern for living-that man should work six days each week and should rest one day a week.

The Sabbath: A Moral Principal?

The question is whether keeping the Sabbath is a moral or ceremonial law. So, how do we identify the Sabbath as a moral principle?]

Ceremonial law encompasses rules regarding celebrations and regular rituals regarding the temple and worship. Ceremonial law also includes all of God’s instructions around the building of the tabernacle. The ceremonial law was established to reflect physical depictions of God’s holiness as well as the holiness He expected from His people. The ceremonial law regulated how the people drew near God in worship, recognized remembrance of God’s prior actions, and pointed ahead to the Messiah.

The moral laws, on the other hand, focus on conduct and relationships concerning human individuals and God and between fellow humans. Moral laws are generally considered universal, timeless, eternal, and based on God’s particular character. Therefore, they are in force today. This is an excellent functional definition of the moral category, but a problem arises when individuals presume they are aware of what is included in it. Some individuals assert that a particular law is moral, or a specific group of laws is moral, without attempting to see whether the laws are timeless, eternal, and based on God’s character. Rather, they seem to reason in a reverse direction: these individuals take laws that they think are still in force and conclude that they are also a timeless reflection of God’s character.

The Sabbath Truth

So then, is the fourth Commandment morally binding? When God commands His people in Exodus 20:8 to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” – are Christians under the New Covenant morally required and obligated to keep this command? At first glance, it would seem that there is no such obligation if one were to survey the evangelical landscape. The conventional Christian wisdom dictates that since we are “under grace,” we are no longer morally obligated to keep God’s moral law. Therefore, it is no mystery that in the last one hundred years, keeping the Sabbath as God commanded has literally disappeared from the thinking and the practice of today’s evangelical Christians.

The Sabbath Truth

Therefore, asking whether the fourth Commandment is morally binding invites a solid abhorrence to the basic idea, stating accusations such as, “That’s legalism!” Or it is to get a blank stare representing that no one is home upstairs– because they don’t even know what the question means. The response may be what is the fourth Commandment?

However, despite either reaction to this leading question, we must answer it since Scripture addresses the issue. The first and most crucial point to be made regarding the moral obligation of Sabbath-keeping is that this was a creation ordinance before it was even inscribed into God’s moral law (Gen. 2:2-3). As with marriage and work, God instituted Sabbath-keeping for man in his innocence before the Fall. This fact single-handedly establishes the moral obligation of the Sabbath, as well as its infinity. Moreover, this fact also justifies what Jesus Himself declared in Mark 2:27, which states, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” From Creation before the fall, God made the Sabbath for man – to benefit him spiritually, morally, and physically.

Furthermore, the Sabbath was made for man on the whole, not the Jews exclusively. This point is crucial because scores of individuals currently believe that the Sabbath was purely a Jewish decree and ceremony to be kept explicitly as a sign of God’s covenant with the Jews. While there were “Sabbaths” to be kept in connection with Israel’s ceremonial laws as a sign of the Mosaic economy (Exod. 31:16-17), which now have been fulfilled by Christ (Col. 2:16-17); yet, the Sabbath commandment in the moral law stands on the grounds of what God established in creation (cf. Exod. 20:11), which clearly predates and supersedes the Jews and any covenant God made with them.

Further confirmation of this is found in Ex 16:22-23

22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much — two omers for each person — and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses.

23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.'” NIV

Here we have Moses giving instructions to the Israelites regarding the Sabbath. This instruction occurred long before receiving the Lord’s Law in Exodus 20. This passage further affirms the Sabbath as being established as God’s moral law from the beginning.

But of course, the second important reason and the most obvious for the moral obligation of Sabbath-keeping is simply that this Commandment is a part of the moral law itself. It is the fourth Commandment.

The Sabbath Truth - The Law

First, Interestingly, all righteous and unrighteous individuals agree that we should obey the moral law. For example, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not lie, thou shalt not commit adultery, and thou shalt not kill. Yet, the professing Christians will say there is no obligation to keep the Sabbath. The golden question is, why not the Sabbath? What substantiates the disregarding of this particular element of the moral law? Additionally, what substantiated the changing of worship from Saturday to Sunday? For more information on this question, please read the Saturday vs. Sunday Worship article on this website.

There is not one Scripture indicating that we no longer have to keep the Sabbath. In fact, New Testament Scripture says the complete opposite. James 2:10-11 reads:

10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.NIV

If we violate any part of the law, we are lawbreakers and guilty of violating “all of it.” Keeping the Sabbath is a divine command with a moral obligation. To say that the Sabbath command is not morally binding is to deny the moral law as a whole. What would civilization be like without the moral law?

The Sabbath Truth - James 2:10-11

The Ten Commandments stand and fall together because they sum up what it means to love God and to love thy neighbor (Rom 13:8-10). Therefore, the fourth Commandment, with the other nine, is morally binding for the New Covenant believer, demonstrating the fruit of saving grace. No true Christian believer should deny their moral responsibility to keep those commandments. This truth is why they continue in the New Covenant, as God writes them on the minds and hearts of the new nature (Jer. 31:31-34, Rom. 7:22); and why the Holy Spirit enables every Christian to fulfill them (Rom. 8:4).

“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” is just as much a part of the moral law as “You shall not steal.”

Gen 2:2-3

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. NIV

After God created the world in six days, He rested on the seventh day. He blessed it and made it holy, and He wants us, the highest of His creation, to celebrate it with Him.

The Sabbath is a day of rest, a celebration of God and creation, and a celebration of our salvation. God was the first to celebrate it and declared this seventh day a period of rest, even before sin polluted the world.

Many centuries later, it was part of the Ten Commandments, so the Israelites would remember where they came from, who their God was, and what a blessing it was for them to partake of it.

The blessing remains currently. Heb 4:9-11reads:

9 There remains, then, a Sabbath — rest for the people of God;

10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.

11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. NIV

Just as God set it up after creating an entire world for us to live in and care for (Genesis 1:26). We need to rest! The Sabbath can be a welcome break that renews us each week and allows us to grow closer to Him.

The Blessing of the Sabbath

The Sabbath Truth - The Blessings of the Sabbath

Isa 58:13-59:1 reads:
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the Lord has spoken. NIV

In verse 13, we see how important the Sabbath is to God. Through His prophet Isaiah, He reminded the Israelites, His chosen people, that they were to avoid doing their own thing on the Sabbath, conducting business, etc., but to keep it holy by delighting and finding pleasure in keeping the Sabbath.

He also informed them in verse 14 that, as a result, they would find joy in the Lord, and He would bless them with the inheritance of Jacob. This inheritance was an earthly one – the Promised Land.

Today, keeping the Sabbath yields the inheritance of Jesus. We receive the Spiritual inheritance and blessing of eternal life through Him.

Jesus is quoted in Matt 11:28-29 as saying:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Further, Ps. 37:4 reads: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” By honoring the Son and keeping the Sabbath, we are honoring God the Father and delighting in Him (John 5:23), and He will bless us and give us the desires of our hearts.

We are blessed when we honor God and His Sabbath.

Amen

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns below. You will receive a response.

 

 

 

The Remnant Church

According to the Scriptures, shortly before the return of Christ, there will be a church that embodies believers who are faithful to God. This church will be an organized body recognized by obedience to all of the commandments of God and the possession of a distinctive end-time gospel declaration. This church is known as the Remnant Church and is equated with the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.

What Does the Bible say about the Remnant Church?

So let us look at what the Scriptures say about the Remnant Church.

The book of Revelation is a book of heavy symbolism. The reason was that the Roman authorities at that time were beginning to enforce the cult of emperor worship—Christians who held Christ, not Caesar, as Lord were facing increasing aggression. Therefore, the writer John had to write this letter to the Christians using symbolic language so that the Romans would allow its delivery to the seven churches. In Chapters 12 and 17, the church is depicted as a woman.

Revelation 12 unmistakably teaches that God has a remnant church at the end time. After revealing the history of the Christian church (under the symbolism of a woman), from the time of Jesus (the child mentioned in verse 5) to the end of the 1,260 years (538–1798 AD), Revelation 12:17 says: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Satan, the Devil, is depicted as the dragon.

The Remnant Church - Revelation 12:17

This verse leads to a time after the 1,260-year period (Rev. 12:6, 14) in the nineteenth century. Seeing that he could not wipe out God’s faithful people, Satan becomes angry with a group the Scripture describes as “the remnant of her seed”—[the remnant church]. At this point, the focus rests not on the woman (symbol of God’s faithful people throughout the ages) but on this particular group, “the remnant of her seed” or the remnant church.

Twice in this chapter, John mentions a “remnant” (or offspring NIV) of the woman. The first is the male child in verse 5 (mentioned earlier), the Messiah; the second is “the remnant of her seed,”
the remnant church. Both times John plainly identifies the remnant or offspring of the woman in verse 17, supporting the view that “the remnant of her seed”
encompasses the visible remnant church. Two identifying marks, or signs, of this remnant church are given: they keep “the commandments of God,”
and they have “the testimony of Jesus.”

Keeping the Commandments of God

Keeping the Commandments of God most undoubtedly includes the Ten Commandments. Hence, the first identifying sign of the remnant church is the loyalty to God’s Commandments—all of His commandments, including the fourth, the Sabbath Commandment. So if one were to paraphrase Revelation 12:17, it would read: At the end of time, God will have a church—the remnant church—, which will be recognized by the fact that they keep the commandments, including the seventh-day Sabbath commandment.

Remember that during the time of the apostles, or the early church, this would not have been a unique sign because they all kept the Sabbath. However, today, when most Christians “keep” Sunday as the day of worship, the Sabbath has indeed become a distinguishing mark.

The Remnant Church - The fourth Commandment

 

The seventh-day Sabbath, observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening, is an integral part of the beliefs and practices of the remnant church. These churches emphasize biblical references such as the ancient Hebrew practice of beginning a day at sundown and the Genesis creation narrative in which an “evening and morning” established a day, predating the giving of the Ten Commandments (thus the command to “remember” the Sabbath). They hold that the Old and New Testaments show no variation in the doctrine of the Sabbath on the seventh day. Saturday, the seventh day in the weekly cycle, is the only day in all Scripture designated using the term Sabbath.

The seventh day of the week is recognized as Sabbath in many languages, calendars, and doctrines, including Catholic,[1] Lutheran,[2] and Orthodox churches.[3] It is still observed in modern Judaism concerning Mosaic Law. In addition, the Orthodox Tewahedo Churches uphold Sabbatarianism, observing the Sabbath on Saturday and the Lord’s Day on Sunday.[4]

However, Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestant denominations keep the Lord’s Day on Sunday and maintain that the Saturday Sabbath is no longer required for Christians. Conversely, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and many Episcopalians have historically supported the view of first-day Sabbatarianism. They support this by describing the Sabbath as being transferred to the Lord’s Day (Sunday), the first day of the week, merged with the day of Christ’s resurrection, forming the Christian Sabbath. However, there is no Scriptural foundation to support this doctrine.

“Seventh-day Sabbatarians” are Christians who seek to reestablish the practice of the early Christians who kept the Sabbath according to standard Jewish practice. They usually believe that all humanity is obliged to keep the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath, and that keeping all the commandments is a moral responsibility that honors and shows love towards God as creator, sustainer, and redeemer. Christian seventh-day Sabbatarians hold beliefs similar to that tradition that the change of the Sabbath was part of a Great Apostasy in the Christian faith.

Additionally, Seventh-day Sabbatarians hold fast to the Scripture in James 2:10, which reads:

10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Some of these, most notably the Seventh-day Adventist Church, have traditionally maintained that the apostate church formed when the Bishop of Rome began to influence the west and brought in heathen corruption. This influence allowed pagan idol worship and beliefs to enter, creating the Roman Catholic Church that teaches traditions over Scripture promoting rest from their work on Sunday, instead of the Sabbath, which is not in keeping with Scripture.

The Sabbath is one of the defining characteristics of seventh-day denominations. For more detail on the seventh day Sabbath, please read the Saturday vs. Sunday Worship article on this website.

The Testimony of Jesus

The second identifying mark is “the testimony of Jesus.” What does this phrase mean? The expression “testimony of Jesus” occurs six times in the book of Revelation (1:2, 9; 12:17; 19:10 [twice]; 20:4).

First, we look at Revelation 1:1, 2, and 9. In verse 1, the introduction to Revelation makes known the source, in particular, God, and the book’s content—the revelation of Jesus Christ. In verse 2, we are told that John bore witness to “the Word of God” and “the testimony of Jesus.”

We commonly understand “the Word of God” to refer to what God says, and “the testimony of Jesus,” in parallel to “the Word of God,”
must therefore mean the testimony that Jesus Himself presented. How did Jesus testify of Himself? While on earth, He testified in person to the people in Judea. After His ascension, He spoke through His prophets.

In Revelation 1:9, the parallelism between the “Word of God” and “the testimony of Jesus” is again clearly apparent. It reads: “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

“The Word of God” in John’s time referenced the Old Testament, and “the testimony of Jesus” referred to what Jesus had said, the truths He revealed as recorded in the Gospels, and through His prophets, such as Peter and Paul.

The Spirit of Prophecy

Concerning the Spirit of Prophecy, Revelation 19:10 reads in part, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy'” (NKJV). So, what is “the spirit of prophecy”? I discovered this phrase occurs only once in the Bible and in this text. We find the closest biblical parallel in 1 Corinthians 12:8–10, where Paul refers to the Holy Spirit, who, among other divine gifts, bestows the gift of prophecy, and the individual who receives this gift is called a “prophet” (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11).

The Spirit of prophecy is the gift of prophecy and is the work that the Spirit accomplished past, present, and future. The Old Testament prophets predicted the future. The New Testament prophets confirmed the past, addressed the present, and predicted the future.

All Christians are, in a way, prophets since they testify of their faith. For many of the believers mentioned in Revelation, it had meant testifying to their own deaths. For example in Rev 12:11, it reads:

11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

The word “prophecy” means more than seeing and foretelling the future, although in some cases, that is true (especially in the Old Testament prophets and in John’s case). The primary objective of prophecy is to convey God’s message.

These are the three significant marks of the Remnant Church confirmed in Scripture. There are more identifying marks to follow in upcoming articles.

Conclusion

When Christ returns for His church, He will return for the remnant church and the saints within who keep all of “the Commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed below.

Blessings

 

 

 

God and Evil

Evil – What a word! We basically know what it is, but how much do we know about it? What is its origin, and why is it here? Let’s take a look as we explore God and evil.

What is Evil?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary,morally reprehensible: sinful, wickedan evil impulse:arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct a person of evil reputation.

According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, “A force that opposes God and His work of righteousness in the world (Rom 7:8-19). The word is also used for any disturbance to the harmonious order of the universe, such as disease (Ps 41:8). But the Bible makes it plain that even these so-called “physical evils” are the result of a far more serious moral and spiritual evil that began with the FALL of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3).”

“The ultimate source of evil in the world is Satan, also called “the devil” (Luke 8:12) and “the wicked one” (Matt 13:19).

Nelson’s definition states that the ultimate source of evil “in the world” is Satan. However, evil existed long before the fall. Satan bought evil with him and tempted eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil; thus, evil entered the world. So, where did evil come from, and what is its origin?

God and Evil

The one true God is a God of righteousness and love, loving-kindness, grace, and mercy. He is the Creator of all things. But – did He create evil?

God and Evil - Did God Create Evil?

Let’s look at what’s contained in Scripture.

Isa 45:5-7

5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

This passage shines a light on the sovereignty of God. He is the Creator of all things, including evil. From the rising to the setting of the sun, from one end of the earth to the other, all people were to know that there is no God but the Lord Himself (Jehovah, Yahweh). He alone is the Creator, for He alone has created both light and darkness. Moreover, He alone is sovereign, controlling both good and evil, peace and calamity.

Why did God Create Evil?

God and Evil - Why did God Create Evil?

God desires His creatures to love Him, to have a real love for Him. He could have created creatures that loved Him automatically. However, they would have merely been robots incapable of real love simply because love is not real without the ability not to love. This reality is why God gave man free will to choose to do right (love Him) or to do wrong-evil (disobey Him). His desire is for us to do right but out of love and choice, not out of obligation.

Evil is a by-product of good and existed before Adam and Eve were created. Therefore, when God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden and made a law not to take of its fruit, Adam and Eve had a choice to love God and obey or disobey Him and commit evil, which is sin. Before making their choice, they knew nothing about evil; they were innocent. Had they not eaten its fruit, there would have been no evil in the world.

Evil serves the purpose of establishing real, genuine love relationships between creation and the Creator.

Does God do Evil?

God and Evil - Does God Commit Evil?

This question raises some controversy. The most common response is, no, God is not evil; therefore, He cannot commit evil. There is some truth in that response. However, it contradicts Scripture that says He does. For example, the Scripture above quotes God as saying, “I create evil.”

Let’s look at one more, Jer. 18:5-8

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil
that I thought to do unto them.

Here is a message to Israel through the prophet Isaiah. He used the illustration of a potter to depict His relationship between His people and Himself.

The message is that He has the sovereign right and power to save or condemn as He chooses. As the potter holds the clay in his hands, the Lord holds His people in the palm of His hand. The metaphor is a descriptive way of saying the Lord can do with His people as He wills.

There is also a clear illustration of God’s mercy and grace: if a nation repents or turns away from their evil, He will repent from the “evil”
He “thought to do unto them.
There are other Scriptures with God conveying similar thoughts, but the message is clear enough. However, further explanation is required which follows.

There are two kinds of evil, destructive or calamity and moral evil. The Old Testament uses two Hebrew words translated as evil: ra’ah and rash’a’. The Hebrew word used in Isaiah 45:7 is ra’ah, which means calamity, destruction, distress, and hardship.

This evil is the kind of evil the Lord unleashes in His judgment against the unrighteous, those who disobey and break His moral law (sin). The calamities of the world are the result of the original evil sin committed by Adam and Eve. God allows this but it is not moral evil. For more information on this, please read the article, Why Does God Allow evil to exist, on this website.

God does not commit moral evil or sin. Look at what the Scripture reads in Zeph. 1:12,

12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

The Hebrew word used in this Scripture is rash’a, which is moral evil.

Conclusion

God and Evil - Does God Commit Evil?

In summary, the Lord does commit evil, but not for evil or immoral purposes (sin). He uses evil only for righteous purposes to bring calamity to the unrighteous, so they may recognize and honor Him. He does not commit moral evil as that kind of evil comes from Satan. As the Scripture reads in James 1:13, “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.” NLT

God never has nor will He ever tempt anyone to sin; only Satan.

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

Promises of God from the Bible

When someone makes a promise to us, how seriously do we take it? When God makes a promise to us, how seriously do we take it? Do you know what God’s promises are? This article contains promises of God from the Bible.

What is a Promise?

According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, a promise is “A solemn pledge to perform or grant a specified thing.” Therefore, a promise is an earnest commitment to perform what is vowed to execute. When we receive a promise, we should be assured that we will receive what is promised. This assurance is especially true of the promises of God.

Promises of God from the Bible

In this article, we will look at some of the promises of God from the Bible. 2 Peter 1:2-4 reads:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Through our knowledge of God and Jesus, we receive grace and peace, and as soon as we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we become rich. This richness is enclosed within the promises of God. God’s promises apply to us when we make this change in our lives. This promise includes His divine power that enables us to live a life of glory and virtue, allowing us to escape the world’s corruption caused by evil desires. God has promised us the divine nature.

Rom 5:6-11 reads:

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. NIV

God promises reconciliation. When we received Jesus Christ as our personal savior, He forgave us of all our sins and bought us into a personal relationship, and from that point on, we are a child of God; we have a heritage. We are reconciled to God through the death of Christ

He made us a promise found in 1 John 1:9, which says:

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

God promises to forgive our sins and cleanse us if we confess them. To “confess our sins” means to agree with God that an act or thought was wrong, to seek forgiveness, and to commit not to let it happen again (repent). For more on repentance, please read this website’s article, Repentance and Sin.

Heb 13:5

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” NIV

We have His continued presence in our lives. God promises never to leave us or desert us. Therefore, we must focus on Him instead of our material wants and needs; we must be content with what we have.

Promises of God from the Bible

John 14:16

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— NIV

God promises us the Holy Spirit “forever.” The Holy Spirit empowers us and gives us direction and wisdom in our lives.

God promises to supply our daily needs. Matt 6:25, 31

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ NIV

1 John 5:14-15

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

15 And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him. NIV

God promises answered prayers to Christians that pray according to His will. How can Christians pray this way? How do we know what God’s will is? This occurrence happens as a part of their growth in their relationship with Jesus Christ. When Christians willingly align our will with God’s will, the Holy Spirit in us will teach us to understand God’s will more fully. The Holy Spirit discloses God’s will as it is taught in the Bible. The Holy Spirit, in turn, aids us in praying in line with God’s will (see Rom 8:26-27). Jesus was an example of this: He taught His followers to pray for God’s will to be accomplished on earth (Matt 6:10), and he chose God’s will over his own in accepting the bitter cup of His death on the cross (Matt 26:39-42).

James 1:5

5 If any one of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to everyone, and does not reproach one with it afterward,

God promises wisdom. Wisdom enables us to see things from God’s perspective. We have the wisdom of God dwelling within us. It is important to note that God’s promises do not submit to our plans. This verse does not support our asking God for wisdom to bring about our will. Instead, we should humbly ask him for wisdom to remain in his will.

Phil 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. NIV

God promises us peace. When we rejoice in the Lord and present our concerns to Him, He promises to give us a peace that is beyond human understanding. No one can understand having peace when things are going south.

Ps 37:4

4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. NIV

He promises to give us the desires of our hearts. To delight in someone means to experience great pleasure and joy in someone’s presence. This state occurs only when we know that individual well. Therefore, to delight in the Lord, we have to know him better. Knowledge of God’s great love for us will certainly give us delight.

Ps 103:1-3

1 Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits — 

3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, NIV

God promises us healing in times of sickness in addition to forgiving our sins, not that we deserve it, but because of His love, mercy, and grace.

Rom 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,

39 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. NIV

God promises in His Word that nothing can separate His love for us. We have the cherished gift of the unconditional love of God.

John 10:27-28

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. NIV

He promises us eternal life.

John 14:1-3

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. NIV

Last but certainly not least, God promises us heaven.

Conclusion

God’s promises assure us that if we trust Him, we can live the best life on this earth. However, that doesn’t mean our lives will be perfect and trouble-free. But He will be with us and work everything out for our good as the Scripture reads in Rom 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” NIV

Amen

Promises of God from the Bible

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, concerns, or any experience with a promise of God below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

Why is Discipline Important?

Discipline is a word that many may frown upon. However, without it, there would be chaos in the world. Why is discipline important? That is a question this article will answer.

Why is Discipline Important?

If we desire to be our best, do our best, and live a fulfilling life, there is a price to pay. Although the Christian life is not easy, it is still the best life to lead. Self-discipline is the key to living such a life.

The reason life today, in general, is so chaotic is because of the lack of self-discipline. It is the reason why prisons are so full; students drop out of school because they are not disciplined enough to run the course. It is the reason individuals get into debt because they lack the discipline to avoid yielding to the temptation to covet more and more; they want something better, bigger, or just keeping up with the Jones, their neighbors.

Why is Discipline Important?

Self-discipline is vital to living the Christian life. Let’s look at Scriptural confirmation of this in 1 Cor. 9:24-27

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.

27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. NIV

The passage addresses the Christian life by using the metaphor of a race and that we should approach this race with the intention of winning because winning is the only way to obtain the prize. Therefore, we should live our lives in a way that we win the prize of eternal life, the crown that will “last forever” (vss. 24 & 25).

In light of this, we are not to live our lives aimlessly, but we are to fulfill His will and accomplish what He has promised us (vs. 26).

To accomplish the goal and win the prize, we must exercise self-control in all things, all aspects of our lives.

Why is self Discipline Necessary

Self-discipline is necessary because it is better for us to exercise discipline on ourselves than to be disciplined by somebody else, namely God. Additionally, God calls us to a life of holiness and discipline.

1 Peter 1:14-16

14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;

16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” NIV

We must not allow the world to draw us back into the mold we used to be contained in, living in ignorance. Instead, we should be holy. Not that we should be sinless, but have a heart for God in that we desire to please Him, Why is Discipline Importantbe committed to Him, bringing everything into control, every desire by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we may live a godly life that is pleasing to Him.

Understand that we are confronted daily with a three-fold enemy, the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world system in which we live is opposed to the Christian life and the flesh—our naturalness and the desires that we have must be brought under control, or they enslave us (e.g., drugs, sex, and appetite).

Our sins are forgiven when we are born again and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. However, we are not removed from sin. Therefore, we can still be enticed by the things that war against our souls.

1 Peter 2:11 reads, Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

Only the Holy Spirit can help us resist and bring the things that war against us under control and resist enslavement.

Understand that if we do not accept Jesus, we are enslaved by something—doubt, unbelief, or some desire that we would have to lie down to become a Christian.

The Consequences of Living an Undisciplined Life

The consequence of living an undisciplined life is indulgence. Individuals who live an undisciplined life will find themselves indulging in things that are not right or good or things that are good but are out of control. Excess of a good thing is a bad thing.

Additionally, we will defend our indulges, such as, “I just can’t help myself,” or “I don’t feel like it.” In a word, enslavement. Although we disagree with the enslavement of people, we enslave ourselves.

Our health is affected; for example, overindulging in food or overeating leads to ill health.

Why is Discipline Important? - Overindulgence

Indulgence leads to financial problems because we cannot resist buying things and spending more than our resources. The malls will become our second home, and we develop slothful-lazy habits, doing only what we have to get by, leading to bad habits and sloppiness. We become Reckless with our speech—saying things we should not say, talking about things we should not speak about, and making criticisms we should not make

An undisciplined life is a poor testimony. Therefore, we must be disciplined in all areas, including how much time we spend in God’s Word, our giving to God, and our prayer life.

What is Required to Live a Disciplined Life?

We must have a definite, realistic, and specific goal (e.g., to please God, a positive goal in life). Having a specific goal helps us to keep focused and allows us to stay on track. When the goal is achieved, it motivates us to achieve goals that are even more significant.

We must learn to Identify and detach. This exercise involves identifying the things that war against our souls and detaching ourselves from them. Scripture instructs us in 1 Peter 2:11,

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”

We must pursue discipline with diligence and be fully committed to discipline ourselves. Focus on the goal. We must not go by our feelings. There will be times when we don’t feel like disciplining ourselves, keeping ourselves in check. We may not feel like studying the Word, praying, or worshiping. However, focusing on the goal will aid us in maintaining our commitment, and we must be consistent.

Practicing self-denial is a good practice. Matthew 16:24 quotes Jesus as saying,

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Why is Discipline Important? - Matt. 6:24

We must not allow “self” to control our lives but allow the Spirit of God to control it. We must yield to the Spirit’s control. We have to deny ourselves whatever interferes with our relationship with God.

We must learn to say no and not yield to peer pressure when we know the choice before us is the wrong one.

We have to allow ourselves to fail. We are not perfect and will fail at times. However, when we do, we must ask for forgiveness and refocus on the goal.

What are the Rewards of a Disciplined Life?

When we lead a disciplined life, the rewards are multifaceted and include:

  • – A lifestyle that is orderly and more spiritual
  • – A sense of achievement
  • – Contributes to good health—less stress, worry, concern, and insecurities.
  • – More productive because we save time by living an orderly life
  • – It contributes to our personal, intimate relationship with God (loving His Word, sharing our testimony).

The greatest reward will be eternal life with the Lord. We must keep our eyes on the prize!

Amen

Questions, comments, concerns, or experiences living a disciplined life may be left below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

Coping with Stress

Do Christians have stress? You bet! Christians may have Jesus as Lord and Savior and walk with God, but they still have stress. So please read on as we explore Christians and coping with stress.

What is Stress?

Stress is our body’s response to pressure. There are many different situations or life events that can cause stress. It is often triggered when we experience something new, something unexpected, threatens our sense of self, or feel we have little control over a situation. We all experience stress on some level and deal with stress differently.

How do we deal or cope with stress?

Not to be trite, but with prayer. As Christians, we must go to our life manual

Elements for Effective Prayer
Pray diligently!

(the Scriptures) for the answers to the issues of life.

Phil 4:6 reads:

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Be careful or anxious for nothing.

Coping with Stress - Phillipians 4:6

An attitude of joy and gentleness, combined with a constant consciousness of Christ’s return, should diffuse any worry or stress. Christians should not abandon life’s responsibilities to avoid worrying or stressing about them. However, the focus is on Christians’ attitudes in daily life as we face opposition and hardship. (See Jesus’ words to Martha in Luke 10:41.) Christians are to be responsible for the needs of themselves and their families and also care about the needs and concerns of others, but we are not to worry, fret, or have excessive concerns.

In Matt 6:25-34, Jesus said not to worry about our lives, such as what we eat or drink, our bodies, adding time to our lives, or what will happen tomorrow. Despite what is happening around us, we do not need to worry or stress about anything because God holds us securely.

Worrying is a serious state to find oneself because it is a subtle form of distrust in God. When we worry, we are saying that we do not trust that God will provide, and we doubt that He cares or that he can handle our situation. It leads to a helpless and hopeless feeling that causes us to be paralyzed. Nevertheless, the Scripture offers prayer as a remedy to worry and stress.

Prayer contends with worry by allowing us catharsis (ca THAR sis). We can literally offload our stress onto God. Paul said to take all the energy used in worrying and put it into prayer. This action includes praying about everything. No request is too small, complicated, or inconsequential to God. Paul encouraged the believers to pray “in everything” — good times and bad — giving petitions and thanksgivings to God. It can appear to be impossible not to worry about anything, but Paul explained that this could happen if Christians genuinely give their worries to God. Worry and prayer cannot coexist.

Therefore, the fact of the matter is that we are too blessed to be stressed, so let us pray!

The word translated as prayer is a general term meaning worshipful conversation with God, while petition denotes prayer with a feeling of need. These two words frequently appear collectively in Paul’s writings.

Thanksgiving centers on the attitude of an individual’s heart when approaching God. Prayer battles worry by generating in us a thankful spirit. Christians should approach God in prayer, being thankful for the opportunity even to approach him and for his tremendous blessings already bestowed upon us and for the certainty that he will answer us. When Christians focus on God’s great love for us and the many prayers He has already answered, we have no reason to worry if He will continue to answer.

“Requests” refers to directly requesting God’s help regarding specific needs. Prayer opposes worry by building trust.

Mind you, Paul was addressing believers when he penned these words. Prayer is an audience with God Himself and is an awe-inspiring privilege available to those who have accepted Christ Jesus Christ as Lord. God does want us to talk to him. Paul reproved the Thessalonians to “pray continually”
(1 Thess. 5:17 NIV).

Communication with God through prayer permits us to know him better and to identify his will and guidance for our lives. What’s more, we can talk to God about anything. Although He already knows our necessities and feelings, our sharing them with him builds our relationship. It allows us to depend on God as we work through decisions or need support and encouragement in the middle of a trial. It permits us to give God and God alone the praise when His answers arrive.

However, we must keep in mind that presenting our needs to him does not guarantee that God will answer every prayer. Remember Jesus prayed that the cup might be taken from him, but it did not happen; Paul requested that the thorn in the flesh be removed, but God chose to work through Paul despite his problem.

We are to communicate our requests to God in prayer, but we must center on God’s will, not ours. When we communicate with God, we are not to command what we want; instead, we discuss what he desires for us with Him. If we align our prayers to his will, he will listen; and we can be confident that if he listens, he will give us a specific answer.

We all have worries, such as on the job, at school, or home. But Paul advises us to turn our worries into prayers. The best way to worry less is to pray more! Whenever we begin to worry, we must stop and pray.

It also helps us to control our thoughts. To continue with our Philippian text,

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Coping with Stress - Philippians 4:8

Verse 7 informs us that sincere prayer with thanksgiving yields the peace of God. This peace is a peace that no one can understand. It is not otherwise the norm to have such peace in the midst of calamity, sorrow, or pain. We simply cannot generate such peace on our own. True is the Scripture in James 5:16, which reads in part, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  

This peace will “keep our heart and minds” because we have accepted “Christ Jesus” as our Lord and Savior. Peace keeps our minds and hearts from being attacked by whatever is happening around us.

What we put into our minds determines our words and actions, including how we cope with stress. The Scripture tells us to put positive thoughts into our minds and “think on these things.”

Therefore, we must replace worry and negative thoughts with positive ones, read

God’s Word and pray, asking God to help us focus our minds on what is good and pure.

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below. You will receive a response.

Blessings!

 

 

The Bible and Words

Words – How important are they? Do they matter? What are the effects of words spoken, and what are the effects of words heard? The Scriptures shed light on these questions. This article looks at the Bible and words.

The Effects of Words Spoken

The  Bible reads in Prov. 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” The tongue can yield life or death depending on how it is used. It is said that speech is the picture of the mind.

The Bible and Words - Prov 18-21

Because of this, we are warned in the Scriptures regarding the use of our tongues. Eph 4:29 reads, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
In other words, if we don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it at all.

We, as Christians, must be careful about what we say. As part of the body of Christ, we are to be filled with his righteousness and holiness. Therefore, we must not allow any “corrupt communication” to come out of our mouths. Corrupt” means tasteless and worthless (such as gossip and slander), and it involves foul talk (such as coarse language and cursing). This kind of speech is worthless, spreads worthlessness, and leads hearers to think about worthless matters.

The Bible and Words

Not only should our words be kept clean and truthful, but also we should use words that help build others up according to their needs. We must be sensitive to the situation and the needs of anyone with whom we communicate. We must be wise in choosing our words because even good words, when used inappropriately, can be destructive instead of beneficial.

We should not speak unclearly with words that could have many applications. Instead, our words should be sincere and specifically suited to the current individual, time, and place. Our speech should edify and enlighten, not tear down. Unless we are helping the other person, our words are meaningless. What we say should benefit those who are listening. Through our words, God can move to help others and bring his grace to them.

The Effects of Words We Hear

The words we hear can affect us in many ways. Because of this, it is crucial for us to monitor what we hear.

Prov. 15:4 reads, “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. NIV

This Scripture perfectly describes the effects of the words we hear. The tongue that brings healing is a good, positive tongue. A good tongue yields blessings. It delivers healing words to a wounded conscience by comforting it, to a sin-sick soul by convincing it that not all is lost, to harmony when it is broken by differences, compromising matters in conflict, and reconciling parties that are in disagreement. This description is a tongue that heals, described as a tree of life, with the leaves containing healing goodness.

The Bible and Words - Prov 15:4

On the other hand, a deceitful tongue is negative and wounding, for it deliverers perverseness, passion, falsehood, and filthiness, which crashes the spirit. Additionally, it injures the conscience of the deliverer and causes either guilt or grief to the hearers. Both are to be considered to crush the spirit. Hard words certainly break no bones, but they have broken many a heart.

There are numerous examples of good and bad tongues in the Scriptures. Let’s look at a couple of them. Numbers 6:22-27

 22 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,

24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.

This passage contains the Lord’s instructions for blessing those who wished to become Nazarites. Aaron, the priest, and his sons were to speak these words of blessing upon the perspective Nazarenes.

Gen 9:24-27

24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him,

25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”

26 He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.

27 May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave.” NIV

Here we have a negative tongue delivering a curse. In this passage, Noah cursed Canaan, his grandson, when he discovered what his son had done.

Therefore, we see that words can be used to bless, and words can be used to curse. However, we are encouraged to them for blessings instead of cursing. James 3:9-10 reads,

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 

10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. NIV

Here James acknowledges the dual use of words with our tongues. He knew that followers of Christ could be capable of both praise and cursing because of what he had witnessed with the disciples. As Peter promised Christ, “I will not deny you”
(Matt 26:35 NRSV), but later, he denied Jesus with oaths and curses (Matt 26:69-75). In 1 John 3:18, the apostle John says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (NIV). Previously in his life, John was willing to call down fire to destroy a Samaritan village (Luke 9:51-56).

Since words expose an individual’s heart, it displays the same probability to help or destroy. The tongue reflects the inner person (Matt 12:34).

May we take every opportunity to use our words for positive actions instead of negative ones.

Questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

All about the Truth

As amazing as it may be, the truth has become controversial. What is the reason for this astounding reality? This article will illuminate all about the truth.

All about the Truth - Definition of truth

What is Truth?

What is truth? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, truth is the body of real things, events, and facts: actuality. Also, the state of being the case. A transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality.

Therefore, truth is the body of real things—reality, but, oh how far we have been removed from this definition. Since the creation, there has always been the lie, which is the opposite of the truth. It is the body of false things. However, the truth has been at the forefront and objective, and the lie in the minority.

However, with the advent of the post-modern movement, the lie is now equal to or, in some cases, placed ahead of the truth. The truth has now become subjective, subject to what an individual feels truth is.

So, how big of a problem is this? Huge! Truth should be the base of our functions. Outside of time, truth is the only stable element in our lives. Without truth as a base, there is no credence for anything.

Truth is the stabilizer; there is no spin to the truth, and the truth is non-negotiable.

All about the Truth - Judgment

Our words are very important. We must be able to trust each other. Otherwise, our words mean nothing. Words are powerful, and we are judged by the words we speak. Jesus said in Matt 12:37, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” In the context of this Scripture, Jesus is referring to the judgment.

No word is immaterial to God, as every spoken word discloses what is in the heart. Since God knows our hearts, our words are crucially important to Him. Therefore, our words will be a basis for judgment because words reveal who a person truly is.

Additionally, Jesus also encourages us to speak the truth. In Matt 5:37, He is recorded as saying, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. NIV

All about the truth - Yes or No

Here, Jesus plainly emphasized that we should tell the truth: When we say yes, we mean yes, and when we say no, we mean no. Otherwise what we speak is from the devil. In other words, say what we mean and mean what we say.

Nowadays, we truly see how the world is by the actions and words spoken. We are living in an age where we are overwhelmed with information, but not all of it is necessarily true. We live in turmoil because we do not know what to believe.

We actually have a body of falsehoods known as conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories increase during periods of widespread anxiety, uncertainty, or hardship, as through wars, economic depressions, and natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and pandemics. Unfortunately, they do not provide aid during these events at all; they only add more confusion and uncertainty to the events that are supposed to be addressed because they are not truthful but are theories. Only the truth can bring absolute clarity and closure to a situation or issue.

The World of Unbelief

Thanks to the subjective approach to the truth, we now live in a world of unbelief. The former President of the United States could not be trusted to tell the truth. According to the Washington Post, President Trump’s false or misleading claims totaled a whopping 30,573 over four years. Lies, lies, and more lies!

So if we cannot trust the President to tell the truth, what about the rest of the government? Politicians on both sides of the aisle engage in “alternative facts.” Alternative facts—what an oxymoron!

Moreover, unbelief spreads to science. Citizens in the US refuse to follow science, such as scientific proof that wearing masks and being vaccinated prevents the spread of COVID19.

Many in the US claim that the virus does not exist, even though, at the time of this writing, close to a million individuals have died from it in the US and over six million worldwide.

It gets better. Unbelief spreads to religion. In the subjective climate we live in, it is easy to discard God and the Scriptures [For more info on this topic, please read the article, The Bible and Cancel Culture on this website]. Is there really a God; is the Bible really truth? Is there such a thing as sin? Why does it matter whom I have sex with or who I marry?

Unbelief spreads to our bodies: “my body says I’m a male, but I feel like a female” (and vice versa). See the article, Transgenderism and the Bible.

In the world of unbelief, people simply will not accept facts and are walking around in their own reality.

The Answer

How do we find the truth with all the deception and unbelief permeating the world? Unbelief is a spirit and one of Satan’s powerful and effective weapons used in spiritual warfare. He has been using it since the creation of man (Gen. 3:4-5). But praise God, He has supplied us with spiritual weapons of our own to counter Satan’s assaults.

Let’s look at what the Scriptures tell us in 2 Cor. 10:4-5

4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

All About Spiritual Warfare

Therefore, we do not use worldly weapons but God’s mighty weapons. We use these weapons to beat down human interpretations and strongholds and demolish false arguments. Casting down every thought and proud obstruction that stops individuals from knowing God. We “bring into captivity” their rebellious thoughts and ideas and teach them to obey Christ.

Therefore, let’s take a look at these weapons in Eph 6:10-15

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. NIV

This passage describes the armor we are to use with the metaphor of a soldier. We are, in fact, soldiers of spiritual warfare.

All About Spiritual Warfare

It encourages us in verse 10 to “be strong in the Lord,” as we cannot be strong in ourselves against this enemy.  Verses 11 and 12 identify the enemy and his location.

Notice in verse 14 where it mentions “the belt of truth.” This truth is the weapon to use against the spirit of unbelief. Truth will stand against falsehoods any day of the week! But how do we buckle this belt of truth around our waists?

Discernment

We must acquire a spirit of discernment to counter the spirit of unbelief.

So what is discernment?

  • Discernment is about making the right judgments.
  • It’s looking beneath the surface to see what is actually there.
  • It’s having the ability to hear what an individual is saying and yet hearing what they don’t say.
  • It’s taking nothing for granted by evaluating, investigating, and distinguishing; looking deep down below the surface to find the truth.

Spiritual discernment is an essential tool in our arsenal to fight against the spirit of unbelief. It is vital to knowing the will of God for our lives. We must know whether we hear from God, other sources, or ourselves when making crucial decisions.

Spiritual discernment is essential to differentiate truth from error and avoid being deceived by sin, and it leads us to question the consequences rather than focus on the immediate pleasure. It allows us to see beyond what we hear, see, or feel.

The fact of the matter is that it is hazardous in the times we live in not to have spiritual discernment because it is our most significant protection.

How do we acquire spiritual discernment?

The first step is prayer, such as the one David prayed in Ps 119:65-66

65 Do good to your servant according to your word, O Lord.

66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands. NIV

We must, as David did, pray to God to bestow “knowledge and good judgment” upon us, and He answers us through the Holy Spirit, who is the source of spiritual discernment.

Let’s look at Jesus’ description in John 14:16-17

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—

17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. NIV

All About the Truth - Holy Spirit

When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, He gives us a “counselor” to live inside us. He is the Spirit of truth.” He guides us into the truth about God, and He will guide us “into all truth” (John 16:13).

The Holy Spirit is our “Counselor”
and our “Helper” (KJV) and will help us make wise decisions and choices. Without the Spirit, we are as lost as a blind mind walking without a cane. Paul makes this clear in Rom 8:5-8

5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Here we have a comparison of the spiritual mind against the carnal, fleshly mind without the Spirit. To be without the Spirit is to be in the flesh, carnal-minded, and an enemy of God. They are simply lost in their flesh. They cannot please God because they cannot understand God or the things of God. Paul additionally said in 1 Cor. 2:14, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” NIV

Bottom line: only the Spirit of God can provide us with the Spiritual discernment we need to know right from wrong in all areas of our lives. Without it, we are lost.

The next source for spiritual discernment is the Word of God, which is the basis of all Spiritual discernment and keeps us on the right track. Ps 119:11 reads, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” NIV

Hiding or keeping God’s Word in the heart is a deterrent to sin. One way to accomplish this is by memorizing Scripture. However, that is only the beginning because, in addition to memorizing Scripture, we must apply it and live by it (James 1:22).

Conclusion

The truth can be painful at times. However, denying it is not the answer. There are too many in the world denying the truth, walking around in their own reality. The problem with that is sooner or later, truth will prevail, and reality will come crashing down upon them.

Jesus warned about denying reality in Luke 17:26-30, where He is quoted as saying:

26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.

27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.

29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. NIV

All about the Truth - Judgment
We must pay attention and not get caught!

This passage is part of Jesus’ prophecy regarding His second coming. As we are witnessing today, individuals will be in denial, carrying on with life until the time of judgment arrives, just as it happened in the days of Noah and the days of Sodom.

Therefore, we should seek the truth and walk in it to be able to stand before the Lord.

I close with this final Scripture. Luke 21:36

36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” NIV

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns are more than welcome below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

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