You Can Be Sure Pt. 3

“Did Jesus teach about confessing Him as our Savior, or did he teach about loving our neighbors as ourselves?”

This is a very insightful question asked by one of my commentators in “You Can Be Sure Pt. 1”.

The answer is that Jesus taught both! He said:

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Ma 10: 32 KJV

 “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty….All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away….For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:35, 37, 40 NIV

And He said

 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25,26 NIV

But He also said:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies  and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Ma 5:43-48 NIV

Here’s the thing, I have found it is impossible to follow the love command unless I first obey His call to come  and believe!

How about you?

You Can Be Sure Pt. 2

In my last “You Can Be Sure” post Noel asked some good questions which have spurred me on to write a little bit more about this subject of assurance.

Noel writes,“I can be sure that I am saved (go to heaven) when I accept Jesus.   Does this mean we should be concerned about going to heaven, or should we be concerned about doing what Jesus commanded us to do, which is to love one another as He loved us?”

Here, Noel alludes to the truth that salvation is not just about going to Heaven. Heaven is a perk of salvation but not the point. The point of salvation is being made right in our relationship with the God of the universe, even Jesus Christ.

The Bible teaches that no one is acceptable to God and that no man by his own actions can make himself accepted by God.

“As the Scriptures say, ‘No one is righteous— not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.’ ” Ro. 3:10-12 NLT

Isaiah 64 tells us that all of our attempts at righteousness are but filthy rags.

While this is a central truth of God’s word, standing alongside it is the truth in tension, that while we cannot save ourselves, the God who created us can and will save those who trust Him!

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” John 3:16-21

 To answer Noel’s first question I don’t think we should truly be concerned with going to Heaven or doing what Jesus commanded; Both things are impossible for us to attain without first coming to Jesus and trusting Him for saving grace. When we “come to the light”, put ourselves in the hands of Jesus,  then getting to Heaven and obeying Jesus both become possible.

What do you think?

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 72

I love the Bible because of its honesty about the complexity of humanity. The characters which walk through the pages of The Book can hardly be called flat or one- sided. The Bible shows its people…truly shows them in all their human joy and misery. Balaam for instance, the sorcerer/ pagan bank rolled by God’s enemies working as a double agent for God and then trying to stick the knife in God’s back on the way out the door even as he slits his own throat, what a mess this guy was! And yet how like us; We’re on God’s side one second and then we forget He even exists the next. We like to think we would never find ourselves in such messy situations as the biblical characters, until of course we’re suddenly there!

Here is what I got out of today’s chapter charts!

Numbers chapter 24 sermon topics/titles:

1. Not Sorcery! Prophecy! Nu. 24:1-3

2. Falling Down, Seeing Clearly: Nu. 24:3-9

3. A Star, A Scepter Nu. 24: 15-19

Numbers chapter 25 sermon topics/titles:

1. How To Lose the Unloseable Blessing: Nu. 25:1-5

2. Flaunting Sin In A Place Of Repentance: Nu. 25: 6-9

3. When Family Becomes Enemy: Nu. 25: 16-18

What do you see?

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 71

Well we have finally gotten to one of the most famous stories in the Book of Numbers. The story of Balaam has inspired many devotionals and sermons. Let’s see what you come up with!

Numbers chapter 22 sermon topics/titles:

1. Sent By God, Unwelcome By Men: Nu. 22:1-5

2. The Fee For Divination: Nu. 22:7

3. Negotiating With God and Man: Nu. 22: 7-20

I don’t even have space to talk about the donkey!

Numbers chapter 23 sermon topics/titles:

1. the Death Of the Righteous: Nu. 23: 7-10

2. The Shout Of The King: Nu. 23:18-24

3. Trying to Go Over God’s Head: Nu. 23: 25-30

Now you try 🙂

Share Your World With Cee Cee Pt. 3

Here we are in week three for me (week 16 for some others) of sharing my world. This week’s questions are great!

  1. If you had a choice, which would be your preference: salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, hot tub, or desert? My definite favorite is salt water beaches. Not because I like salty water but because there is something powerful about the ocean. I love to watch the waves from under a beach umbrella! 🙂
  2. What book do you think everyone should read and why? Wow this is a long list but way up at the top far above all others is the Bible because it is the true revelation of God and His plan for redemption and the single authoritative rule for faith and conduct!
  3. What’s your favorite way to wake up and what’s the first thing you do?  I like to wake up slowly. I love to push snooze for at least a half hour. Then I walk the dogs and pray and read the most important book which everyone should read (see question  number 2 if you skipped it as soon as you saw the “B” word)
  4. What do you do to relax? I read a lot, I  pray, I go to the movies, and I absolutely love  getting my fingers into the earth and planting!

Here are this week’s photo offerings.                                                    French Rose

                                              Mountain Laurel

                                           Black Locust Flowers

Ahh! Yes I am looking forward to my yard this summer!

You Can Be Sure Pt. 1

“If you were to die tonight would you go to Heaven?” That question never fails to make people uncomfortable. The whole dying thing aside, the discomfort comes from the fact that so many folks are just plain uncertain about their eternal destination.

But the truth is that you can be certain; You can know that you are going to Heaven. Let’s look at some of the assurances:

1. The Bible makes us sure!

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9 

The Bible declares that your guarantee of Heaven rests not on what you do but on what God did in sending His Son. All you are required to do is to turn to God and trust Him for forgiveness. The Bible says so. You can be sure!

2. A changed life makes us sure.

 While righteous works are not a requirement to go to Heaven they are an inevitable side effect of being saved by Jesus. I am in no way indicating that when you become a Christian you become perfect but there is a progressive change from what you used to be. Have you begun to change? That is a proof. You can be sure!

3. Our consciences being cleansed  makes us sure.

“let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean” Hebrews 10:22

Something happens internally when Jesus forgives our sin and makes us ready for Heaven. Our guilty feelings are washed away. People may still blame us. Earthly consequences may still plague us but in our hearts there is a sense that we have been made right with God.

Let’s pray: God I thank you that I can know I am Heaven bound! I turn to you now and trust you to forgive my sins through Jesus’ death on the cross. I thank you that I am assured of Heaven according to your Bible. I claim a changed life for assurance. I claim a clean conscience! I am sure of my eternal reward! In Jesus Name A-men!

Heaven Pt. 47

“The LORD also said to me, ‘I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Leave me alone so I may destroy them and erase their name from under heaven. Then I will make a mighty nation of your descendants, a nation larger and more powerful than they are.'” Deut. 9:13,14 NLT

I am a little shocked by how many verses connected with the word “Heaven” tie in to the theme of judgment. I suppose I shouldn’t be; Judgment belongs to the Lord and it is His tool to ensure the eternal purity of His Kingdom. Still the thought that many will  be blotted out of memory from under Heaven is a little shattering. It is even more shattering to realize that those whom God was about to blot out in Deut. 9 were not “sinful, wicked, reprobate Canaanites.” He was referring to His own back-slidden people freshly delivered by the supernatural hand of God from slavery in Egypt!

That sobering thought echoes down through the ages until it is picked up again in Hebrews 10

Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”  and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” ” Hebrews 10:28- 30 NIV 

I know it may be unpopular to speak of this but I am convinced there are people today who think of themselves as Christians who are going to be turned away at Heaven’s gates because they’ve trusted in their church membership rather than Jesus’ blood. Some will stand before God with a list of good works and find out that their charity counted for nothing because it was not founded on the cross. Some will expect entrance into Heaven even though they refused to follow Jesus because they gave large donations to the church or worked hard in their community. To them Jesus will say:  ”I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Ma 7:23 NIV

Entrance into Heaven is not based on what we do or don’t do (though a by-product of the Christian life is righteousness). It’s not based on how much we give or how frequently we go to what church. It is based on totally selling out to Jesus and trusting that His death on the cross takes away our sins! Everything! Everything! Everything! in real Christianity flows out of that watershed truth. Basing our hope in anything else only promises that we will be among the blotted out!

Heaven Pt. 46

“Hear, O Israel: Thou [art] to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,” Deut. 9:1 KJV

Sometimes our problems just seem bigger than we can handle. But sometimes our problems ARE bigger than we can handle.

I’m not here to tell you that all your problems are really trivial, it’s all in your head or that you just have to change your view-point and suddenly all your mountains will become mole hills. With certain mountains you can change your point of view a hundred times; You can choose to look at the issue from every possible angle and the mountain remains a mountain. To be truthful Jesus never promised to shrink your mountain. He promised to remove it when you spoke to it in faith.

The Israelites faced cities with “walls fenced up to Heaven”. God didn’t say the walls just seemed tall. He didn’t lie to them or tell them to pretend it wasn’t so. He acknowledged the walls were big…insurmountable to their families who didn’t have their own walls to hide behind. But he also gave them some heavenly perspective. The walls were tall. The Israelites were helpless before them, but the God of Israel was not helpless. The walls were still beneath Him and His kingdom.

Today your problem, your mountain, may truly put you beyond the realm of human aid. Don’t be discouraged you don’t need human help anyway. You need the help of a  real God who can remove real mountains and you have that in Jesus.

Let’s pray: Dear Lord no one on Earth can help me with this issue. It’s just You and me now Lord. In this place I cry to You, my only Savior. I will not look to man whose strength fails. I look to the God who knocked down the walls of Jericho, to the God who split the Red Sea and the Jordan River. I look to the God who raised Christ from the dead. I say I trust You! Come quickly to my aid. In Jesus Name A-men!

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 70

 Can you come up with three unique titles for Numbers chapters 20 and 21?  View it as a game!Give it a whirl!

Here are my offerings for today’s chapters.

Numbers chapter 20 sermon topics/titles:

1. When We Forget Our History We Are Doomed To Repeat It: Nu. 20: 1-6

2. Meribah and Mistrust: Nu. 20: 7-13

3. The Passing of Power: Nu. 23-29

Numbers chapter 21 sermon topics/titles:

1. How To Attain Certain Destruction: Nu. 21: 1-3

2. Snakes On a Plain or Complaining Yourself to Death: Nu. 21: 4-7

3. Taking the Long Way Around: Nu. 21: 4-17

Now you try! 🙂

Here’s the link explaining how you play!

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 69

I don’t know how you choose a topic to write about but for me I most often start with a concept that quickly reduces down to a title or a topic sentence. I seldom get an outline before I have the title but once I have that first line I am good to go and the outline can flow. So it is with the chapter charts. A title is born (out of the study) and from that flows the future sermon of Pastor Wrinkles! Here are the topics I discovered in today’s chapters.

Numbers chapter 18 sermon topics/titles:

1. Priviledged and Appointed to Serve: Nu. 18:1-7

2. Provided In Service: Nu. 18: 8-14

3. Are You Covered In Covenant Salt? Nu. 18: 18,19

Numbers chapter 19 sermon topics/titles:

1. How To Stoke A Heifer Fire: Nu. 19: 1-6

2. Are You Washed From Death? Nu. 19: 11-13

3. The Hyssop Cleanser: Nu. 19:16-22

How do your ideas for writings develop?