The Living Water of Jesus

Jesus came into this world to change everything.  Before Jesus arrived, those who worshiped God had a long list of rules that had to be carefully followed.  Some people today, shy away from Christianity because they believe those rules still apply and Christianity will somehow restrict their lifestyle.  Jesus made it clear there are actually only two rules that need to be followed to be his true follower.  The first rule is to love the God that created you.  The second rule is to love your neighbor. Anyone and everyone has the ability to meet this simple requirement.

Eternal Life

When we place our faith in the understanding that Jesus died on the cross on our behalf and rose from the dead to demonstrate his power over death, we become a recipient of what Jesus called “living water,” and we are granted the gift of eternal life.  Jesus provides us with the “living water” that fills our spirit with love for God and our neighbor.  The supernatural power of Jesus is impossible for us to fully comprehend; however, the fact that he died and rose again is an astounding miracle that should convince anyone the “living water” he is offering is real and something we should share at every opportunity.

Everyone is Qualified

No one is disqualified from receiving the “living water” Jesus provides.  Jesus went to the cross to die on our behalf so that we no longer have to fear death.  Jesus came into this world to save us from death.  Everyone who puts their faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus, receives his “living water” and is placed on a path to live forever, filled with the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  This guidance will direct us toward loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and open our heart to care more for others than we do for ourselves.

Share the Good News

This understanding should have a profound impact on all of us.  If we are sincere followers of Jesus, it should be impossible to keep this amazing truth to ourselves.  We should be running through the streets letting the world know about the “living water” of Jesus.  How can we keep this good news quiet?  How can we not share this wonderful news with everyone we come in contact with?  Of course, the reality is most people have heard this story before and many, for various reasons, have rejected this offer from Jesus as mere fantasy.  We should never forget that Jesus has an enemy in this world that works day and night to disguise the truth.  For that reason, we have to be more strategic about how we share the gospel message.

Outsmart the Enemy

The enemy of Jesus is a highly sophistic adversary that uses money, lust, and power to divert people away from God.  In addition, the enemy gives every individual a series of confusing personal events to further hide the truth, which means no two unbelievers are alike.  Sharing the good news with those who have been manipulated in this way can’t be accomplished in one simple message; it often takes years of constant, thoughtful, concerned instruction.  We’ve all heard stories of those who took a long journey to find Jesus.  If you’re a believer looking to point someone in the right direction, be diplomatic, understanding, and sincerely filled with love as you gently share nuggets of truth.  Never give up.  If you’re searching for the truth yourself – keep looking – in time you will find your way. Jesus want’s everyone to drink from the well of “living water.”  Once you step into the light of Jesus, you will be greatly blessed.

 

Living Water Scripture

Jesus is Truth and Light

Our human nature is something that has to be constantly checked and corrected.  We all have a tendency to do things the easy way, or the selfish way, or the way that is inconsiderate of others.  Of course, God wants us to consider others first, and to go the extra mile rather than barely giving enough.  When we have these thoughts that go against God’s desire for our life, we have to push them aside and focus on finding the light of truth that Jesus provides.

Eternal Life

Humans were created by God to live eternally; however, when Adam and Eve made the choice to follow their own desire rather than God – our ability to live forever was removed and we were assigned a time to die.  God of course, knew Adam and Eve would be overcome by their human nature because he created us in this way to set in motion thousands of years of practical lessons in what it means to trust God above all else. But God’s ultimate plan was always to return our ability to live eternally with him at an appointed time.

The Teachings of Jesus

Jesus came into the world to save us from our human nature.  The teachings of Jesus are the light that exposes our flawed human nature and they are the truth that points us in the right direction.  The death and resurrection of Jesus was a demonstration by God that he has complete control over death, and can therefore easily supply us with the ability to live forever.  When we place our faith in Jesus, and make a sincere effort to follow his teaching, we are once again granted eternal life in heaven.  When we walk in the light and truth that Jesus provides, we are demonstrating our complete trust in God.  As followers of Jesus, we are putting our selfish desires aside and seeking that which is the will of God in our lives.

The Darkness of this World

The world we live in is full of darkness; we see it every day in the lies and deception that is ever present all around us.  People in this world are seduced by money, lust, and power.  For some of us, these dark avenues are hard to avoid; however, when we make the decision to follow Jesus, we are at that moment blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be our guide and protector.  When we follow the internal voice of the Holy Spirit, we can be certain God is on our side pointing us in the right direction.

Salvation

Those living in darkness have a profound fear of the light; they know the light of truth will expose their selfish deeds.  As believers, we have a duty to guide these lost souls toward the light.  God wants all of his creation to come to the light and he uses followers of Jesus to be his ambassadors of truth.    Our mission is not one of force or coercion; it is a diplomatic mission of thoughtful understanding and careful instruction that leads to salvation through Jesus.  We have to take advantage of every opportunity to expose any sliver of light on those living in the dark.  Truth and light are powerful tools that are undeniably connected to God, and when used properly will always lead away from the darkness of this world into eternal life in the kingdom of heaven.

Truth and Light Scripture

Have You Been Born Again?

Jesus tells us we cannot enter the kingdom of God unless we are born again.  Our natural birth is how we entered this world and our spiritual birth is that which propels us into the kingdom of God.  Entrance into the kingdom of God is only granted to those who have achieved perfect righteousness; only salvation through Jesus Christ can supply that main ingredient.  When we place our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus as payment for our misdeeds, and turn our back on our human nature in order to follow the teachings of Jesus, we are at that moment “born again” into our spiritual rebirth in the kingdom of God.

No Greater Love

God loves us so much, he sent his Son to die on our behalf so that we now have the opportunity to be “born again” into the kingdom of God.  Jesus tells us that whoever believes in him will be granted the gift of eternal life in the kingdom of God.  I think this is hard for some to accept or understand because it seems too simple.  If you’re “born again” I’m sure you’ve tried to share your faith with others that may have listened politely to your testimony but in the end rejected this gift from Jesus.  So why do some trust Jesus and others turn their back and walk away?

Apart from this World

Those that ignore the offer of eternal life from Jesus are so caught up in this world they are unwilling to make a spiritual connection that might jeopardize their fleshly desires.  Those who have yet to be “born again” are trapped in the endless cycle of their pursuit of things that make them feel good, material wealth, and personal status in this world.  Those who have been “born again” know all too well there’s nothing in this world that compares to knowing Jesus.  Knowing Jesus is peace which surpasses all comprehension, treasure in heaven, and the honor of becoming a true child of God.

Seek and Save the Lost

As “born again” Christians, our mission is to share this information with unbelievers; but in the end, it’s God that will bring about the needed change that will guide the lost to Jesus.  Some will come early in life and others will spend many years floundering around in this world trying to find something that simply doesn’t exist.  Jesus is the way to eternal peace, Jesus is the only source of truth, and Jesus is the path to eternal life in the kingdom of God.  As followers of Jesus, we can’t give up on those who are wandering around in the wilderness.  It is our duty to Jesus to continue pointing the way and to always be a guiding light toward salvation.

A Gift from God

The world we live in is filled with camouflage that hides the truth.  When Jesus walked the earth, he was rejected by many who witnessed his miracles.  We should not be surprised to find many still distracted by money, lust, and power; nevertheless, salvation is available to anyone who looks beyond this world into the spiritual truth Jesus provides.  God wants everyone to be “born again” but he only supplies this gift to those who sincerely participate in the process.  If you look for Jesus with all your heart, you will find him.  If you’ve been “born again,” share this message at every opportunity.  If you are still caught up in this world, take a long walk out in nature – God’s creation – and give some careful consideration to what it might be like to be “born again.”

 

Born Again Scripture

Don’t Let Temptation Control You

Temptation is all around us.  We long for things that make us feel good.  We long for things that we can own.  We long for positive recognition and affirmation from others.  These are the three avenues the enemy of God pursues in his effort to distract you from sharing God’s love with others.  You will be tempted with pleasure, wealth, and prestige on a daily basis.  It’s up to you to identify the source of these distractions and keep yourself pointed in the right direction.

Seeking Pleasure

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with seeking pleasure, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your ability to love your neighbor.  All things are to be consumed in moderation – too much of anything can become a problem.  There is far more personal value in serving God by serving others than there is in any amount of personal consumption.  The enemy uses food to distract some, various forms of intoxication to distract many, and an over indulgence in physical intimacy to distract others.  Don’t be fooled!  This is the enemy’s misdirection designed to keep you focused on yourself and distracted from the needs of others.

Seeking Wealth

Like pleasure, there is nothing inherently wrong with seeking wealth.  Wealth can be an enormous benefit in doing the work of God.  Wealth becomes a problem when we start trusting our bank account more than we trust God.  And the pursuit of wealth can become a distraction when we are more focused on a new house, new car, or big vacation rather than helping others.  Obviously, your immediate family will all benefit from your extravagant spending; however, in the long run, some careful consideration needs to be given to the needs of those less fortunate.  Keep in mind, every dollar you earn is a gift from God – don’t let the enemy tell you otherwise.

Seeking Prestige

It feels nice to be recognized by others as being valuable in some way.  God wants you to achieve this blessing by serving others.  The enemy wants you to achieve prestige by demonstrating dominance over others.  If your desire is to be better than everyone else, you are pointed in the wrong direction.  If your desire is to be the best at providing for others, you are on the right path.  Always remain humble before God.  Every talent you possess is a gift from God.  Everything you accomplish in this world is a blessing from God.

Avoid the Enemy’s Distractions

If we carefully consider what God wants from us, it’s unlikely the enemy will be able to move us off in the wrong direction.  Simply put, when we put others first, we are following God’s plan for our lives.  The temptation to seek our own pleasure, wealth, or prestige over the needs of others, is easily identified as misdirection when we put God first in our lives.  Don’t let temptation control you!  Let God work in and through you to accomplish His will.

Temptation Scripture

Knowing Jesus Completely

Everything you need to know about Jesus is found in these 13  video messages.  Click on #001 to start your journey or click on the video message that’s speaking to your heart.  Each message is only a few minutes long.

#001 Trusting Jesus

When you put your faith and trust in Jesus, you are granted access to the spirit of God.

#002 Connecting with Jesus

When we develop a relationship with Jesus, we become children of God.

#003 Following Jesus

Those who have connected with God through a relationship with Jesus Christ will win.

#004 Jesus and the Bible

Everything we know about Jesus is found in the pages of the Bible.

#005 Jesus and Salvation

Salvation is a gift from God that allows us to retrieve our ability to live forever.

#006 Jesus and the Holy Spirit

Knowing Jesus is a connection to the Spirit of God known as the Holy Spirit.

#007 Growing with Jesus

Trusting Jesus as your Lord and Savior is like planting a seed from which your Christian life will grow.

#008 Pulling Weeds with Jesus

God has determined that mingling good and evil will be to our overall advantage.

#009 Jesus and the Devil

Those who are followers of Jesus are protected from the devil by the spirit of God.

#010 Jesus and Fellowship

Christian fellowship includes a shared inheritance in the kingdom of heaven and it begins with Jesus.

#011 Jesus and the Body of Christ

As a follower of Jesus, you become an important part of God’s complex creation – you are part of the body of Christ.

#012 Jesus and Religion

True religion – or true worship of God – is played out in service to others.

#013 Finding Jesus

Becoming a follower of Jesus is not an intellectual experience – it is a spiritual experience.

Jesus Points the Way

Christians and unbelievers alike are both seeking contentment.  We are all trying to find a peaceful existence that is fulfilling, meaningful, and void of discouragement, loneliness, and fear.  Jesus came to earth to help us achieve this goal.  Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is where we want to be in order to find the ultimate contentment that we all seek.  So how do we get there?  In a recent Bible study, I came across seven truths that will help us all focus on our journey.  When we pay attention to these guiding principles, we can be certain we are moving in the right direction, and we can share this advice with others who are also seeking the kingdom of God.

We Have to Start as Infants

Anyone who has cared for a newly-born baby knows all too well that they are totally dependent on their caregiver.  Babies trust their caregiver for food, clothing, and a safe place to live.  This dependency carries on for many years for most children.  Jesus wants us to know that the first step toward finding the kingdom of God is to let go of our self-control and willingly accept a total dependence on our Father in heaven.  “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”  (Luke 18:17)  When we truly trust God for all of our needs and desires, we are moving in the right direction.

Become one with God

We demonstrate our trust for God by placing our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as payment for our misdeeds and a guaranteed reward of eternal life.  Our salvation through Jesus establishes our status as children of God.  “The glory which You have given Me I also have given to them, so that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and You loved them, just as You loved Me.”  (John 17:22-23)  Our salvation is a grand demonstration of God’s love and His desire for us to be one with Him.

Don’t Let the Influences of this World Control You

As a follower of Jesus, we need to separate ourselves from the darkness of this world.  When we study the teachings of Jesus, we are transformed into a new understanding of what it means to love God and love our neighbor.  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  (Romans 12:2)  Seeking God’s perfection in our interactions with others is our ultimate goal; and if we stay focused on our relationship with Jesus, we will reach this goal when he returns to destroy evil forever.

Use Your Connection with this World to Help Others

Until Jesus returns, we have to continue to exist in a world that is often hostile toward followers of Jesus.  This is by design.  We are to be a light pointing the way for others to find Jesus and pursue their journey toward the kingdom of God.  Our mission is to present our spiritual self to the world in a way that is compelling and not judgmental.  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”  (Matthew 5:6)  When we continue to seek the righteousness of God, we will be supported in that effort by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and thereby able to help others along the way.

Be the Eyes, Hands, and Feet of God

Following in the footsteps of Jesus is our daily calling.  We need to see the world as Jesus sees it.  We need to reach out to others as Jesus did during His ministry here on earth.   And we need to take action to help anyone that we have the ability to help.  When we follow this prescription, we are on the right road.   “By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says that he remains in Him ought, himself also, walk just as He walked.”  (1 John 2:5-6)  Our desire to be more like Jesus every day is the energy that will carry us into the kingdom of God.

Embrace Your New Self

Knowing God brings peace.  Letting go of worldly expectations that only bring anxiety, fear, and discouragement, in order to pursue a relationship with Jesus, is the key to our total transformation into the kingdom of God.  “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Romans 5:1)  God sent His Son to earth as a guide for us to follow.  This is a very simple process.  The Word of God paints a clear picture and a detailed road map into the kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is Closer than you might Imagine

As a follower of Jesus, you are a member of the kingdom of God waiting for king Jesus to return and establish his kingdom here on earth.  Until that glorious day, don’t allow the enemy to disrupt your progress.  Keep your eyes on Jesus, trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and stay in contact with your Father in heaven through constant prayer.   “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”  (Luke 17:20-21)  Jesus is pointing the way.  Keep moving in that direction and you will be there sooner than you think.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Moving Toward God’s Perfection

 

Moving toward God’s Perfection

Our Weakness and Need

When we placed our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we became travelers on the road toward God’s perfection.  Only through the power of the Holy Spirit are we able to even consider such a lofty destination; however, with God’s help every day can bring us one step closer.  Of course, we will never attain perfection in this life.  Perfection will be our state of being in our new life with Jesus, but this life is how we get there.  Everything about this life is designed to bring us closer to God’s perfection.

Our Desire

We all want to be more like Jesus and the apostle Paul gives us this clear guidance in the book of Philippians, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”  (Philippians 2:3-4)  This seemingly simple advice can be more difficult to follow than it sounds.

Our Opponent

We have an enemy in this world pushing us off in the wrong direction. Everything about this world is designed to distract us from our pursuit of God’s perfection.  Our enemy believes if he can make our journey difficult or confusing, we will become frustrated and turn back.  For most of us, life is a series of ups and downs.  One day we are walking in the footsteps of Jesus and the next we are distracted by the enemy’s manipulation.  Keep in mind, learning to avoid the enemy’s distractions is our primary mission.  The enemy is a tool that God is using to help us grow to perfection.  Without struggle, there would be no growth.

Our Plan

When we stay connected to the instruction found in the Bible, we can be certain God is with us and we will eventually find our way to perfection.  We find this in the book of James, “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  (James 1:2-4)

Our Battle

Every day we have choices to make in pursuit of the fruits of the Spirit.  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the goals we seek in our quest for perfection (Galatians 5:22-23).   Every day there are road blocks that we need to overcome to make our joy complete, demonstrate our sincere love for others, and move all the other fruits of the Spirit closer to God’s perfection.

Finding Ourselves

We are not traveling this road on our own – far from it.  As a child of God, we are not part of this world.  We are one with each other and one with God.  Jesus made this clear statement in the book of John when speaking to His Father in heaven, “The glory which You have given Me I also have given to them, so that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and You loved them, just as You loved Me.”  (John 17:22-23)  We are “perfected in unity” with our Christian brothers and sisters and with God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Our New Life in Jesus 

Every challenge in our lives is designed to move us closer to God’s perfection.  We each have different weaknesses that we need to work through and God has a personalized plan for all those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ.  In Colossians chapter three we find this encouragement:  “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 must you do also. In addition to all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ, to which you were indeed called in one body, rule in your hearts; and be thankful.”  (Colossians 3:12-15)  Achieving God’s perfection is not easy, but as followers of Jesus Christ we are given all the tools necessary to reach this awesome goal.  When we follow the teachings of Jesus and make every effort to respond in all circumstances with love, we can be certain of our final destination.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Standing on the Rock of Jesus

 

 

 

Standing on the Rock of Jesus

Are you trusting God or money?

How much money do you need to have in the bank to feel safe and secure?   I think we all have a natural tendency to feel better when our bank account is full; but as Christians, our safety and security should come from God.  Rather than a life focused on monetary gain, Christians should live a life focused on spiritual gain.  Of course, we all need money to survive in this world; however, the ultimate supplier of that income is God.  When our lives are dedicated to money rather than God, we are following a path to destruction rather than a path to prosperity.  Keep in mind, it’s possible to have billions of dollars in the bank and still be spiritually empty.

How to feel safe and secure with an empty bank account.

When we place our trust in God, we can feel safe and secure regardless of how much money we have in the bank.  When we rest in the knowledge that God will provide, we can stop worrying about financial gain and spend our time seeking spiritual gain.  We generate our spiritual gain by following the teachings of Jesus.  There isn’t any place in the Bible that Jesus instructs us to get a high paying job and build up a large bank account.  Generating wealth is not part of the teachings of Jesus.

The financial needs of this world.

Even when we trust Jesus and find safety and security in knowing God, we still have an enemy dedicated to destroying our spiritual foundation.  The world we live in is designed to push us away from God by making money our number one priority.  If we don’t have money, we won’t have a place to live, food to eat, or the resources needed to handle any of our everyday needs.  Money is the driving force in this world and if we aren’t paying attention to our finances, we can end up in deep trouble.    The enemy wants us to believe it’s impossible to survive without dedicating our lives to earning more money.

God’s ultimate control.

As followers of Jesus, we have dedicated our lives to following the teachings of Jesus; the foundation of which is to love God and love your neighbor.  Love earning money is not on the list.  When we love God and love our neighbor, everything else will fall into place. That’s the simple solution to surviving in this world.  Obviously there is a need to seek some kind of employment in order to earn an income of some sort; however, that is secondary to loving God and loving your neighbor.  The enemy wants us to put money first; God wants us to put Him first.  We will never earn any income without the help of God.

You are not in control!

The enemy wants us to believe we are in control of our own lives.  In fact, this is a popular point of view among many people these days; however, it’s a misguided distraction.  God is in complete control.  When we fully embrace God’s control in our lives, the lies of the enemy become evident.  If we don’t acknowledge God’s control, the enemy will manipulate every aspect of our lives and lead us down a dark road to destruction.  The battle between light and darkness is going on all around us and our safety and security are fully dependent on which side we choose to follow.

We are nothing without God.

God is our Creator.  Who our parents were, where we live, what our abilities are, and what the future holds are all in the hands of God.  Absolutely nothing happens outside of the control of God.  Every life challenge we face is in the hands of God.  The enemy wants us to turn our back on God when life becomes difficult, but God wants us to reach out to Him so that He can guide us through any problem times we might face.  Trying to go through life without God is a big mistake. When we travel though life with God by our side, we can be certain that whatever we are going through, ultimately it will be for our benefit.

Stand firm and secure on the rock of your salvation.

Safety and security is God’s domain; don’t let the enemy tell you money is the answer.  When we place our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are placed on a road to an eternal life in the kingdom of God.  Following the teachings of Jesus is how we get there.  There will be difficult times along the way designed to build up our spiritual strength and prepare us for our eternal existence with God, but ultimately we will have the victory.  In the book of Matthew Jesus tells us, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.”  Jesus is our rock foundation.  Nothing is more safe and secure.

 

Trusting Jesus

Would You Like to Know More About Jesus?  #013  Finding Jesus

Before I became a follower of Jesus, I didn’t trust the Bible to be the true Word of God.  I thought attending church was a boring religious ritual.  I felt uncomfortable around Christians that treated me like an outsider.  And I was fascinated by the willingness of so many to constantly donate money to religious organizations that didn’t appear to be doing anything worthwhile.  From my point of view, the Bible, church, religion, and Jesus were unnecessary distractions from real life.  So what happened?

Finding Meaning

I was in a period of deep depression.  My life had become empty and meaningless.  I was searching for a new direction.  I felt like there had to be more to life than the day-to-day struggle of making it through the day, avoiding negative outcomes, and earning enough money to survive.  I was looking for a solution which I was unable to conjure up in my own mind, or with my clever talent, or my worldly experience.  I wanted my life to have meaning.

Finding Jesus

I was in my late twenties, and over the years many people had tried to tell me about Jesus.  I politely entertained their evangelistic efforts, and dismissed them as not for me.  But at this low point in my life, I was ready to listen to the message of salvation through Jesus with an open mind.  I was flipping through the channels on my television when I came across a preacher starting his televised Sunday message.  I stopped flipping and started listening.  I listened to the whole message.  The preacher talked about how Jesus died for my sins and came back to life demonstrating how he could provide me with eternal life if I put my faith in him. By the end of the message I was on my knees in tears, confessing my sins to Jesus, and trusting Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

A Spiritual Experience

I didn’t become a follower of Jesus because I intellectually figured out the Bible is the true Word of God, or because I was able to figure out who the real Christians were and who the false Christians were.  Becoming a follower of Jesus was not an intellectual experience – it was a spiritual experience.  I felt the presence of God in my life.  I felt the door open and I walked through it.  I believe there were other times in my life that Jesus opened the door for me, but I turned my back and walked away.  This time I stepped over the threshold and started a journey that brought me to this day – the day that I am encouraging you, if you have not already trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Now is the perfect time.

One Prayer Away

Here’s a simple prayer for those who are ready to step through the door:

Father God, forgive me for turning my back on you for so long.  As I look back on my life, I can clearly see that you and you alone are responsible for everything good in my life.  Luck and coincidence are words made up to describe the work of God.  I want to thank you now for all of the times luck and coincidence brought me good fortune.  From this day forward I will humble myself before you Lord and trust you completely.  Thank you for sending your Son to die on the cross for my misdeeds.  Today I place my faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus to supply me with Salvation from death, and to grant me eternal life in the kingdom of God.  I pledge my life going forward to be a sincere effort to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, serving you Father God by serving others.  I pray this all in the precious name of Jesus.  Amen!

Your Journey with Jesus

If you’ve prayed this prayer for the first time right now, tell someone, don’t keep it to yourself.  Share the news with one of your Christian friends or family members and let me know so that I can pray for you as well.  I’ll just say again, I’m not looking to sign you up for anything, and I have nothing to sell you, I’m only interested in helping you start a life-long relationship with Jesus.

A good place to start your journey with Jesus would be in my series on the teachings of Jesus.  This will get you pointed in the right direction.  Of course, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have going forward.  You’ll also find a wealth of information throughout this blog and on my YouTube channel, Pointing the Way.  Thank you for sharing this time with me.  May you be greatly blessed by God for your effort.

 

Here’s some fun music about knowing Jesus.
Shake” – MercyMe

Knowing Jesus     

                           

The Teachings of Jesus

     

Would You Like to Know More About Jesus?  #012  Jesus and Religion

Whenever I think about religion, my brain fills up with an endless list of denominations:  Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Latter Day Saints, Seventh Day Adventist, Judaism, Islam, Scientology, and the list goes on to infinity.  My mind instantly becomes jam-packed with a conglomeration of religious doctrine that spans the gap between spiritual truth and pure insanity.  God could not have possibly intended for his story to be so misconstrued as to produce this ocean of fact and fiction all mixed together in such a way that it’s nearly impossible to identify where the misdirection ends and the truth begins.

Knowing God

All I want, is to know God, and clearly understand what he wants me to do with my life.  I have to believe that’s what God wants as well.  So why is religion getting in the way?  In my mind the answer is simple:  the devil.  We want to know God.  God wants us to know him.  The devil wants to keep us all running around in circles going nowhere.  We can’t make the mistake of discounting the devil as just a literary tool used to keep us focused on God.  God is real.  The devil is real.  From the very beginning of Christianity, the devil has been subverting the message through a devious manipulation of the minds of religious leaders.  The devil’s tactic is to divide and conquer.  He’s winning.

Jesus and Religion

When I read the New Testament of the Bible, I’m struck by the fact that those who cheered to have Jesus crucified were the religious leaders known as the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  The devil so clouded their minds, they could not see God standing right in front of them.  The devil so clouded their minds, they elected to kill the human incarnation of God.

I don’t think anyone can deny that during his time spent here on this earth Jesus had a problem with religion.  It is for that reason that I feel comfortable saying I have a problem with religion in today’s world.  Is there more good than bad in today’s Christian religions?  I don’t know how you do that math.  I will tell you that I attend a Christian church just about every Sunday, but there were several years in my Christian walk that I did not.  I still maintained a close connection to God during that time.  I was still a Christian.  I just wasn’t attending church.  Being part of any organized religion is not a necessary component of being a Christian.

Corporate Worship

It also should be noted here that Jesus frequently went to the Jewish temple to preach the gospel – he didn’t avoid church.  I think it’s obvious there is value whenever people gather to worship God.  People getting together to worship God is a good thing.  Jesus believed in corporate worship of God.  Jesus also believed religion would be a focal point of the devil’s attack on Christianity.  “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”   (Matthew 7:15 NIV)  Jesus carried out his religion – or his worship of God, in service to others.  Jesus was the ultimate servant going all the way to the cross to die for our sins.  As followers of Jesus, our mission is to have that same servant’s spirit.  Our mission should be to have the same religion that Jesus had – that is the religion of worshiping God by serving others.

Serve God by Serving Others

It appears to me that Jesus had a love/hate relationship with religion.  He warned us there will be those who use religion to take advantage of us.  True religion – or true worship of God – is played out in service to others.  Jesus demonstrated this kind of worship with his life.  Jesus also spent time worshiping together with others the way we do in church today.  Corporate worship is, in fact, a means of serving others through mutual support and fellowship. We need to find a balance of true religion – the religion of serving others – and corporate worship without falling victim to the devil’s schemes.  Make no mistake about it, the battle between good and evil is real and is being played out in the halls of organized religion.  It’s time for true followers of Jesus Christ to rise up and return Christianity to its foundational principle of serving others.

I hope I’ve sparked your interest further and you’ll be looking forward to my next message.
There is much more to this story…
Don’t keep this to yourself.  Share it with a friend.

 

Here’s some great music that worships the love of Jesus.
Fill This Place” – Red Rocks Worship

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Finding Jesus