Archive for the ‘Gospel’ Category

This is a wonderful Christian hymn.  The words are true and comforting even today.  Jesus Christ did it all and he did it all for you and me.  Amazing!


Philip P. Bliss (1838-1876)
Words: Phil­ip P. Bliss, 1876. This is per­haps the last hymn Bliss wrote be­fore he died in a train wreck. He sur­vived the in­i­tial crash, but was killed try­ing (un­suc­cess­ful­ly) to res­cue his wife. The lyr­ics were found in his be­long­ings af­ter the ac­ci­dent.This song is one of the first ever re­cord­ed on a phon­o­graph. George Steb­bins made the re­cord­ing dur­ing a dem­on­stra­tion of Thom­as Ed­i­son’s new in­ven­tion in New York C­ity.Music: James Mc­Gran­a­han, 1877 (MI­DI, score).
James McGranahan (1840-1907)

I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free.

Refrain

Sing, oh sing, of my Redeemer,
With His blood, He purchased me.
On the cross, He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and made me free.

I will tell the wondrous story,
How my lost estate to save,
In His boundless love and mercy,
He the ransom freely gave.

Refrain

I will praise my dear Redeemer,
His triumphant power I’ll tell,
How the victory He giveth
Over sin, and death, and hell.

Refrain

I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His heav’nly love to me;
He from death to life hath brought me,
Son of God with Him to be.

Refrain

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 Oct2007 011

October’s beauty!

Have you ever thought of yourself as a slave to Christ?  I hadn’t until recently.  I thought more of myself as a servant of Christ.  Like a helper at times.  But a slave, no.

As I began to think about this I realized that we can be slaves to many things.  Who or what are you a slave to?  Anyone or anything that controls us owns us, and we are slaves to them. 

Some could be slaves to alcohol, money, lust, sex, pornography, smoking, sports, illegal drugs, pot, television, work, or fear, worry, and anxiety.  Those are just some of things we can be controlled by.  We can also be a slave to people; our husbands, our children, our friends. 

On the other hand we should be a slave to Christ.  However, the Bible tells us we cannot serve two masters.

Matthew 6:24 NASB  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

So there is the problem.  Who or what do we serve? 

When we become a Christian we do not any longer have to be a slave to fear.  God adopts us into His family.  He takes care of us from then on.

Romans 8:15 LITV  “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery again to fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba! Father!”

It is the same with the other bondage’s that we find ourselves in.  When we turn our lives over to the Lord as our Lord and Master, then we no longer have to be a slave to anyone or anything. 

Rom 6:6 NASB  knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;

The Greek work “Doulos” in the Bible is often translated as servant.  It should be slave.  It does make a difference.

A servant is one who has a choice.  They worked for wages and could quit at any time.  A servant can do what he wants and is free to make his own decisions. 

But a slave is bought and owned.  He is to do the will of his master.  He has no rights and cannot do as he pleases.

1Co 7:22-23 LITV  For the one called while a slave in the Lord is a freed man of the Lord. And likewise, the one called while a free man is a slave of Christ.  23  You were redeemed with a price; do not become slaves of men.

You see when Jesus died on the cross for the payment of our sins he bought us with his own precious blood.  He now owns us and the Word says we are to become a slave of Christ.  That is an awesome thought!

In the Bible, Paul saw himself as a slave of Christ. 

Rom 1:1 LITV  Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated to the gospel of God,

Gal 1:10 LITV  For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I would not be a slave of Christ.

Paul is talking to Timothy here.  He refers to Timothy as a slave of the Lord.

2Ti 2:24 LITV  But a slave of the Lord ought not to quarrel, but to be gentle towards all, apt to teach, forbearing,

When we see ourselves as a slave of Christ our whole attitude changes.

  • We realize we have been bought and are not our own.  We can then die to “self.” And, let that part of us go.
  • We need to be always available and ready to serve our Master.
  • We need to make sure we don’t get caught up with trying to serve two masters.
  • We need to pray and keep close to our dear Lord.
  • We need to be dependent on Him for all things.  He will supply all our needs according to His riches in Glory.  (Philippians 4:19.)
  • We need to realize that God may allow trials and troubles to come into our lives, but they are to discipline us and grow us to be more like Him.  They are for our good.
  • And, we need to know that everything good that comes our way is from God Himself. 

We’ve truly been blessed when we come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. 

  • He has made us a child and heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ.  (Romans 8:14-17) 
  • We are an ambassador for Christ, (II Corinthians 5:20),
  • a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a citizen of a holy nation, a possession of God (I Peter 2:9),
  • and a holy temple of the living God. (II Corinthians 10:5)

We will actually rule and rein with the Lord in Heaven some day.  Isn’t that truly amazing!  What a Savior!  What a Master!

That is only a few of the blessings God bestows upon us.  And to be honest none of us deserve any of it.  I’m truly happy to learn that I am a slave to Christ! 

Scripture taken from NASB  New American Standard Bible and LITV Literal Translation of the Holy Bible

Note: For more teaching on the subject of slaves for Christ you can go here to John MacArthur’s web site. 

http://www.gty.org/Products/DVDs/8280-321

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Mourning Dove

March2008 008

In my last post we looked at different kinds of fears.  We saw that they were the fear of man, the fear of death, and the fear of the future.  A lot of our fears fall under these groupings.  These are all sinful fears. 

Today I want to address some good kinds of fears.  Yes, there are good fears!  Our goals should not be to eliminate all fear but to distinguish between what are the good kinds and what are the sinful ones.  After all, God made us with the ability to fear. 

Natural Fear:

Proverbs 22:3 NASB The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.

This shows that man sees the danger ahead and takes steps to avoid it.

The fear of falling off a cliff, for example, is a natural kind of fear.  It is healthy to prevent us from taking that next step when we come up to the edge of the cliff.  Also, the fear of a wild animal is a natural good kind of fear.  It helps our bodies rev up so that we can run and escape. 

However, when we have  a panic attack our bodies go into this kind of fear when there is no real danger. This is not healthy. There could be many reasons why this happens the first time.  I’ve talked about that in a previous message where we talked about the physical side of panic disorder.  The problem is that our bodies get sensitized when we continue to have panic attacks and it is easy for us to slip into this kind of fear at the drop of a hat.  The way out of having panic attacks is to make more time between the attacks, by not pushing ourselves, resting, and let our bodies readjust.

Isaiah 7:25 NASB As for all the hills which used to be cultivated with the hoe, you will not go there for fear of briars and thorns;

This is saying one would fear the briars and thorns as they will cut and scrape you and be painful.  That is natural fear.

Wayne Mack says in his book, The Fear Factor, “The problem is, our sinful nature takes this good, helpful emotion and twists, perverts and distorts it.  As a result, it’s no longer productive but paralyzing, no longer natural but sinful.”

Holy Fear:

Proverbs 1:7 NASB The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 14:27 NASB The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death.

Psalms 31:19 NASB How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men!

Again I would like to quote from Wayne Mack because this is so good.  Here he shows the differences.

“Holy fear and sinful fear are opposites.  Sinful fear destroys; holy fear enlivens.  Sinful fear is a terrible affliction; holy fear is a great benefit.  Sinful fear shortens our days; holy fear lengthens them.  Sinful fear is a source of misery; holy fear is a spring of joy.  Sinful fear leads men astray; holy fear puts men on the right path.  They only way to overcome sinful fear is to replace it with holy fear.”

There you go.  We are back to “put-offs,” and “put-ons.”  We have to put off the bad fear and put on the good kind of fear. 

You may ask, what is this holy fear you are talking about?  It is the fear of God.  There are many scriptures that talk about the fear of God.   

Results of Holy Fear:

1.  It produces a fear of sin.

Philippians 2:12 NASB So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

Working out our salvation with fear and trembling means that it is a serious business.  We shouldn’t take it for granted.  We need to keep studying the Word and learn how we can obey what God says.  We should not take sin lightly.  We recognize it for what it is and repent and get right with God.

2.  It produces a fear of God’s Word.

Proverbs 16:6 NASB  And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.

The only way we can know God and know what he expects of us is to read and study the Bible.  As we do we will realize many things that God wants us to change or do in our lives.  We obey out of high respect and honor to God.  He first loved us, and now we love Him.  We should have a heart attitude of pleasing Him.  When we do this we will not fall into sin.

3. It produces knowledge and wisdom.

Proverbs 1:7  NASB “The fear of he Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” 

Proverbs 15:33  NASB “The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom.

True wisdom and knowledge are found in the Word of God.  We learn what the Bible says and then wisdom gives us the ability to apply it to our lives.

Psalms 119:11 NASB Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

That is wisdom.

4.  It produces joy and contentment.

Proverbs 15:16 NASB  Better is a little with the fear of the LORD Than great treasure and turmoil with it.

Isn’t that the truth?  I’d much rather have little of this world’s wealth then be rich and have all the problems that it entails.  People talk about winning the lottery and they’d be happy.  I don’t think so.

As you can see the Bible is where we need to turn to discover how to live our lives in a healthy and blessed way. 

The Fear Factor: What Satan Doesn’t Want You to Know by Wayne and Joshua Mack can be found here:

www.mackministeries.org

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 Wintry Blast of Ice and Snow!

February2008 034

We’ve been looking at the spiritual side of our lives.  We have seen that once we are saved we are a new creation.  God gives us a new heart and the ability to change.  Isn’t that wonderful?  What I like about this is that God makes it possible for us to change.

We have many old habits that tag along with us and keep right on popping up in our lives.  We have to get rid of them.  The Bible tells us that the way to do it is to put-off the old habits and for every one we put off, we are to put-on new habits. It out with the old and in with the new!

As we study the Bible we need to evaluate all that we think, say, and do, and see if it lines up with scripture.  When it doesn’t then need to change.

Romans 6:12-14 NASB Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Isn’t it great that God has made a way for us to change?  We do not have to be a slave to sin again. 

Let’s take a look at some of the “put-offs.”

Ephesians 4:25-31 NASB Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.  Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Colossians 3:8 NASB But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

When we notice a habit that we need to change. We must confess our sinful behavior to God.

1 John 1:9 NSAB  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

In order to change from our old bad habits, we not only have to put off the old habits, but we must replace them with good habits.

Romans 6:19 NASB  I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

Now let’s take a look at some of the “put-ons.”

Colossians 3:10 NASB  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him–

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.

Ephesians 4:28-29 NASB He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

Ephesians 4:32 NASB Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Colossians 3:12 -17 NASB So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

2 Peter 1:5-8 NASB Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Study these lists of put-offs and put-ons.  Then, you could make a list for yourself.  On one side write the “put-offs” and opposite of that write down the thing you need to “put-on” in place of the old bad habit.  When we replace bad habits that are not Biblical with good habits that are Biblical we will see a lot of growth in our Christian life, and God will bless us for it.

Yes, we can live as believers and not as unbelievers.  Our Lord is  gracious in that He gave us His Word so that we can really get down to where the rubber meets the road and make changes that He desires for us.  He made us and knows how we should live.  We came into this world and got caught up in it.  It has influenced all of us in a negative way.  We all have things we need to work on and I pray that is study will help you change your habits.  

Blessings,

Bonnie

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February2008 001

Previously we talked about how different we are in God’s eyes when we are not saved and when we are saved.  We saw from the Word there is a great deal of difference.

Now that we are believers are we living like a believer, or are we still living like an unbeliever?

If you are not living as a believer, then you must examine yourself as the Bible says.  If there is any doubt in your mind about whether or not you are truly born again, please write to me privately, and we will go over it together.  This is very important because the things we will learn will not work for the unbeliever. 

2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?

“When you see our situation the same way you would if you were still an unbeliever, you are failing to realize what a great gift God has given you.”  (Wayne Mack, The Fear Factor, Hensley Publishing, pg.18.)  That gift is the Holy Spirit and all the resources God has.

You see we don’t have to live the same as before.  We don’t have to carry all our old baggage with us when we become believers.  Take a look at your own life.  Can you see any changes in your before and after picture?  Did you have panic disorder before you were a Christian?  I did.  When I became a Christian I did not know that God had made a way for me to be rid of fear.  But, it was still true.  It took me many years of Bible study to learn this.  That is why it took me so long to get better. 

When we become a true believer something wonderful happens to us.  God creates in us a new person.  We are not the same.  It is a supernatural work that the Lord does. We don’t look any different in our bodies, it is a spiritual new birth.  God gives us the Holy Spirit to come and live inside us.  Knowing this gives us the hope we need to be overcomers of any situation that comes up in our lives.

The world teaches us that the key to success is to “believe in yourself.”  Have “self-confidence” and good “self-esteem.”  Well, no matter how much you believe in yourself, and feel good about yourself it just won’t hold up.  We are not that powerful.  We cannot stop things from happening in our lives.  God is the only one who can control everything.  Isn’t that true? 

Look at the verse below.  It plainly says that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature.  The old things passed away and brand new things have come.  Isn’t that amazing?  We are actually new creations in Christ! 

2 Corinthians 5:17 ‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

I love that verse because it tells me I am now different.  It is possible for me to change.  It gives me hope.  I want you also to have that hope.  You can change too.  Fear and anxiety, or whatever other thing plagues you, don’t have to dog us all the days of our lives.  We can be victorious.

Here is a story to illustrate this:

Suppose there was a very poor person who had a job but didn’t have any way to get there.  So, everyday, that man had to get up extra early to walk the five miles to work.  Then, after putting in a full-days work he had to walk all the way back home.  He was exhausted, and all he could do was eat some soup and go right to bed to be ready for the next day.  He didn’t have a home life with his wife and children.  All he did was toil and rest.  Sounds like a pretty boring existence doesn’t it?

Then one day along came a rich man who saw this man’s plight and said to him, “Here I will give you this brand new car.  It has a full tank of gas.  Oh, yes, take this, it’s a gas card so that whenever you need a refill you can fill up the tank.”  The poor man was very grateful and carefully parked the car in his driveway.

The next morning he got up and walked to work again and then walked home that evening as had been his habit. He continued on this same way ignoring the wonderful free gift the rich man had given him.  Oh, he would take the car out on Sunday and drive it to church and back but that was it.

What is wrong with this picture?  It is plain to see that the poor man was not taking advantage of the free gift that was given him.

Isn’t that how some of us live the Christian life?  We have been given so much from the Master, but do we really apply it to our lives?  He has made us a brand new creation spiritually in Christ. Not only that, He has given us the fuel to run on, the Holy Spirit.   That is similar to how the gas in the car gives the car power to run on.  The Holy Spirit gives us the power we need to do whatever God asks us to.

But, we too, can be like the man in the story and not use what has been freely given us.  It might be because we don’t realize what we have.  Or, it can also be like the man who was so used to walking to work that he could not change his habit.  We have many old habits that need changing, and God has given us the power and the ability to change them through salvation and the Holy Spirit. 

Sometimes we are like the man in the story and only show our spiritual side on Sundays when we go to church.  We go, sing songs, listen to a message, and go through the motions, but then just leave everything there behind us. When Monday morning comes along we act like we leave our spiritual side at home.  What a waste!  If we do this we need to examine ourselves and see if we really are in the faith. 

Being a Christian is far more than a Sunday habit.  We need to be in the Bible everyday, pray, and meditate on the Word.  Then, we can activate the power in our lives to conquer fear and anxiety.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

That is another amazing and wonderful scripture.

Blessings,

Bonnie

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April2007 020

This pansy started out as an dried up, dead looking, unattractive seed.  Then the Lord made it into this beautiful flower. What a transformation!

Quiet often when people are saved they are left to themselves and no one comes along beside them and explains how they are different and what has just happened.

We will look at ourselves from God’s point of view before and after we were saved.  Below are the actual words of God and not man’s ideas of mankind. 

Before:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death,

We were spiritually dead.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

We were eternally separated from God because we were all sinners.

James 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

We were actually enemies of God.  I didn’t realize that myself.

Romans 8:7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,

We were not only enemies but were actually hostile toward God, and helpless. 

2 Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

We also were blinded by Satan to the gospel.

2 Timothy 2:26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Satan held us captive to do his will.  We were working for him, but we probably didn’t realize that.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.

Everyone has sinned at some time.

John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.

We were powerless on our own to overcome sin’s hold on us. It owned us.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

We were unable to understand the things of God.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

We were incapable of living a spiritually fruitful and meaningful life.

Ephesians 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

We were without hope.  No hope for the future, and no hope of accomplishing anything on our own in this world. 

God had to reveal himself to us in order that we could be saved. We were hopeless left on our own. He had to open our eyes of understanding and allow us to hear and understand the gospel message.  He gave us the faith we needed to respond and we were saved.  Then he ushered us into his family and gave us eternal blessings.

When I go over this and think about all God has done for me in allowing me to become a believer and all the benefits and blessing that go along with it I am humbled and forever grateful.  I see where I was and what God saved me from.  It is scary to realize that I could have stayed in the “before,” state and my fate would have been eternal hell.  What a Savior! God’s love surpasses any that we know, and his grace is abundantly poured out on us time and again.

After we became a Christian our position in Christ changed dramatically.  Here is how God see us now.

After:

Colossians 2:13 -14 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

We were forgiven of all our sins.  Christ bore them on the cross for us.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

We became a new creation in Christ.  That is something we need to understand.  We are truly a new creation, and we can live out a new life here and now.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

We had a new spiritual birth.  We were born again.  We became babes in Christ.  And, we have a new home in Heaven.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

We were baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. 

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

We were sealed in Jesus Christ, and given the Holy Spirit.

John 10:28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

We were given the gift of eternal life and we cannot lose it.  We are in God’s hands.

Romans 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

We have been adopted into God’s family.  We need not to fear.

Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

We are a citizen of Heaven.  We are in this world but we are not of this world.

Romans 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

We are now freed from sin and a slave of God, with many blessings.

Colossians 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

We were delivered from darkness to light. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

We can defeat any problem because God will not allow any difficulty that can overwhelm us.

Romans 5:3-5 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

We can now realize that God uses our problems and trials as opportunities for our spiritual growth.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

God has chosen us and blessed us to be different and special so that we can glorify him for what he has done for us.

These are just some of the blessings we have been given when we came to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  I pray as you read this over and meditate upon it you will see how much God has changed us from what we were before. 

Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

We can be more than conquerors through Christ in anything that comes our way in life.  That includes panic attacks and agoraphobia. 

We need to ponder this question:  Am I living like a believer or an unbeliever?  Stay tuned.

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What does God want us to know?

Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.  “Though
your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”We have all sinned.  We are naturally bent toward sin.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

  Do you agree with God’s Word that says you are a sinner?
   What does sin earn us?

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Because God is Holy and without sin He cannot accept us the way we
are.  That is why He sent is only Son, Jesus Christ, to take our place
and die on the cross for our sins. He paid the price for us. (John 3:16)
  
   Who is the Lord Jesus Christ?

He is God’s Son. He is Lord. He is fully man and He is fully God.

John 10:30, “…I and the Father are one.”
  
   What must we do to be saved?

Acts 3:19 “Repent then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped
out…” 
Acts 16:31 “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”

What do we need to believe?

The Gospel (good news) message.
I Corinthians 15: 3-4 “For I delivered unto you first of all that which
I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the
scriptures.  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third
day according to the scriptures.”
  
   Will you respond to God?

Romans 10: 9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and
believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be
saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified,
and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

   We must confess (agree with God in prayer) with our mouth, Jesus is
who God says He is, and believe in our hearts (not just head knowledge)
that He was raised from the dead.  Then we can have assurance that after
our life ends here on this earth we will continue to live on in Heaven
forever.
  
   Will you pray this prayer?

   “Dear God, I realize that I am a lost sinner. I’m sorry for the
sinful things I have done in my life and want to get right with you. 
Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for the
payment of my sin.  I know that after He died He was buried and on the
third day He rose from the grave.  I know He is now alive and with you
in Heaven.  I want to make Jesus Christ Lord of my life, and turn the
reins over to Him.   I  ask you, God, to accept me right now just as I
am.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

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                      WHAT IS THE TRUE GOSPEL MESSAGE?

There are many “gospel” messages being circulated today. In some circles one would believe that if we simply say “Jesus come into my heart,” we are saved.  They do not teach the whole gospel.

They leave out the cross and resurrection.  They don’t tell us that we are sinners and that we need a Savior. They don’t tell us that we will either spend eternity in Heaven or hell and our destiny depends on what we believe about Jesus.  They don’t tell us that now is the time to make that decision and after we die it will be too late. The gospel is sometimes presented as something we do, like going forward in church, or having some kind of emotional experience, so that we can find peace, happiness, wealth, and good health. The emphasis is not on the fact of how we are all dreadful sinners and in desperate need of a Savior.The Word “gospel” means good news.

What is the good news of the Bible?

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day  according to the Scriptures,…” I Corinthians 15:3-4 NIV.

The Apostle Paul wrote this scripture as he was inspired by God.  He tells the Corinthian believers that the first and most important thing he wanted to share with them was the gospel message as follows:

  1. Christ suffered and died on the cross for our sins, according to the scriptures.
  2. He was buried in a borrowed tomb, which was then sealed and guarded.
  3. He rose again on the third day, according to the scriptures. Death could not hold him.

My friends, that is the gospel message. Very short and to the point.

In order to understand the importance of these scriptures we must dig a little deeper.

Why did Christ have to die for our sins?

In the beginning God created the first man an woman, Adam and Eve.  They were made perfect. At that time there was no sin in the world. God placed them in the garden of Eden to live and populate the earth.

Genesis 2:16-17 “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die. ‘”

But, Satan came along and enticed Eve to eat of the fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve picked the fruit and ate it and even gave her husband Adam some to eat too.

Sin is disobedience to God.  Adam and Eve became sinners, and they passed that heritage down to us. From then on everyone was born with a sin nature. We do not have to learn to be sinners it comes naturally to us.

God came to visit with Adam and Eve, but they hid from him.  Why? Because they were ashamed and full of fear.  Here is where the blame game got started. Adam tired to blame Eve and Eve blamed the serpent (Satan) who enticed her to eat the fruit.  But, as God is all knowing He  knew the whole story. He knew they had disobeyed Him.

Up to this time Adam and Eve were naked in the Garden of Eden, and that didn’t bother them.  After they sinned they became aware of their nakedness and tried to cover themselves with fig leaves. They became aware of themselves. This is when conscience entered the human picture.

God did not view the fig leaves as a proper cover for them so he sacrificed animals to use their skins to make Adam and Eve clothing. Have you ever wondered why God replaced the fig leaves with animal skins?

God had told Adam and Eve that if they disobeyed him they would surely die. (Genesis 2:17) You see life is in the blood. If a person gets cut bad and loses too much blood he will die. Without blood there is no life.

Leviticus 17:11 says, ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for [Heb 9:22] it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’

God could not go back on His Word. He didn’t want to end the human race so He had to make another way.  He allowed the slain animals shed blood be a substitution for their own. Blood was shed and the sins were covered or atoned for. The skins were their covering and a reminder of the shed blood.

God is love. He made mankind so that he could communicate and fellowship with them.  But, God is also just.  He requires that justice be done. That is why he had to shed the blood of animals in the place of shedding the blood of Adam and Eve. The animals paid the price, for the disobedience of Adam and Eve.

In the Old Testament times, God required the people sacrifice animals daily to cover their sins. These sacrifices were looking forward to the day that God would give the ultimate sacrifice, His only Son, to die for the sin of the world. This happened in the New Testament era when the Lamb of God, which is Jesus Christ, came to this Earth to give His live and shed his blood on the cross to cover our sins.

God also said in the book of Romans that the wages or payment for sin is death.  Because God is just this payment must be made.

Romans 6:23   “For the wages of  sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The other side of the coin is that God will give us eternal life as a free gift when we understand and accept the true gospel message.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

So, we can plainly see from the Bible that we need a Savior because we all are sinners.  God met our need by allowing His Son to come and be a substitute our sins.

Could anyone have died for our sins?  Did it have to be Jesus Christ?

Yes, it had to be Jesus Christ, because the sacrifice for our sins had to come from a perfect person, and none of us are perfect because we are born with a sin nature. He wasn’t because he did not have an earthly father. Christ was born of a woman and the Holy Spirit.  He was perfect without sin or imperfection.  He is fully man and He is God. He is the only one who could qualify to die in our place.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not parish but have eternal life.”

How was his burial different from others?

Jesus was buried and placed in a borrowed tomb.  He didn’t even own one of His own.  The Roman officials didn’t want anyone to steal the body and say that Christ rose from the dead. They didn’t want to stir up the people. So, they placed a huge stone in front of the tomb and even sealed it. Then they set a guard to watch it. There was no way the Lord’s disciples could pull a fast one. (Read John 19:38-42)

Why is the resurrection important?

Do you realize that the Christian religion is the only one that has a risen Savior?  All the others worship someone who is dead!  What good is a dead savior?  How could prayers be answered if our Savior was dead?

Jesus Christ rose from the grave on the third day, just as the scriptures foretold.

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40

He now sits at the right hand of God in Heaven pleading our case before our Father.

Hebrews: 10:12 “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;”

Romans 8:34  “Who is he that condemns?  Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life– is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

The resurrection of Jesus is what makes the Christian faith different. He not only died for our sins, but he beat death.  Death could not hold Him! He rose again just as predicted in a glorified new body.

Oh friends, this is what gives us so much hope.  If Jesus could die and rise again with a new body, we can too. Death doesn’t have to be the end!

Some day we who know him as our Savior will meet Him face to face in Heaven and spend eternity with Him. Those who don’t know Him in this personal way will spend eternity in hell with constant torture and suffering. He has given each of us a choice.

Would you like to accept the true gospel message?

If you have read this far you now know the true gospel message. Perhaps you are wondering if you have accepted the correct gospel message.  If you have any doubt or question about it at all, then here is your chance to know for sure!

Or, you may be one who has have never been privileged to hear the gospel message before, and you are reading it for the first time in your life.

II Corinthians 6:2b “…behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.

Lets again look to the Bible to see what it says about how to accept the gospel.

Romans 10: 9 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 10:10 “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with our mouth that you confess and our saved.”

Have you ever noticed that what is deep inside us eventually comes out of our mouths?  We are ready to pray when we really believe deep down in our hearts what the Bible says about how Jesus died and rose again for us, and our hopelessly lost condition without Him. And when we are willing to count the cost of following Jesus and truly submitting to Him as Lord of our life.  Yes, then we are ready to pray.

Instead of walking an aisle and repeating some words that really mean nothing to you, like, “Yes, I accept Jesus into my heart.”  Or, just raising your hand in some church service where the pastor is asking if anyone wants to “accept Jesus.”  Instead you need to go to God on your knees, repent and confess, beg and plead with Him to accept you into His family.

Are you willing to follow Him?

II Corinthians 6:2b “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (KJV)

I could give you a sample prayer, but I’d much rather it came right from your own heart in your own words.  I pray you will submit to Jesus Christ as Lord of your life today.

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