Having eternal life

John 17.3 records this is eternal life that they may know You the only true God and Jesus Christ.

Eternal life is not a place but a relationship. Eternal life is not something to be earned but Someone to love.

Eternal life is not a future event but a present reality that extends into the future.

Regrettably we have made eternal life and heaven synonymous but they are not.

Jesus is life, God is the Creator and Sustainer of life, heaven is His current dwelling place though He is among us now too but life is in Him and with Him.

Having eternal life is not a matter of having religion but of having a relationship. Religion is a means for worshiping God and not the ends for appeasing God. This misunderstanding leads to the false belief that all religions have the same destiny.

Religion is the means for knowing God and the wrong religion leads to knowing and serving the wrong god.

Thus religion is important but it is not the final determinant for life: knowing God personally is life both now and for eternity. This was one of the primary messages God wanted us to understand when He lived with us as one of us in Jesus.

God was not interested in creating a new religion per se but in restoring a right relationship between the Creator and the created.

Christianity is the right religion only in so far as it remains helpful in growing the relationship with the only true God. The various nuances within Christianity have both helped people to know and love God better and led to some missing Him completely.

God is a Person and as such He desires a relationship now with the people He has created, people who are free to love Him and worship Him.

Knowing and loving God is the purpose for which we were created and the proper end of our religion.

We mustn’t confuse heaven with God for God is not confined to any one place.

There is only one way to eternal life and that is in Jesus Christ Who is God visible so we can know Him and knowing Him is eternal life.

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Living a life pleasing to God

John 16.1 reminds us that Jesus said all these things to us to keep us from falling away.

The Lord Jesus recognized that living with God and for God in this world full of selfish people, idolaters and evil entities would be hard but He gave His people all they needed to live a life pleasing to God.

First the Lord Jesus warned that three things would hinder both our relationship with God and our effectiveness for God.

The first was worrying about things we cannot control. We are to live in the contentment that God is sovereign over all and that He watches over us for good regardless of our circumstances.

Second, men pursue things that don’t matter. Titles and trophies do not define a man but rather His relationship with God and people determine his well-being. Wise is the man who knows this and lives that way.

Third is the wanting of things that don’t last. Like the second, the pursuit of treasure is foolish when eternity lies before all men that cannot be purchased by anything except the blood of Jesus.

In addition to His warning about worrying, the Lord Jesus provided His recorded word so that we could know Him and obey Him.

To live a life pleasing to God we must know God and what He demands from us. God has given us the Scriptures so that we are without excuse for knowing Him and fulfilling His purposes on the earth.

Finally, He has provided the Holy Spirit to empower us to obey Him.

People are full of good intentions unfulfilled. The good we want to do we don’t and the evil we hate we do.

Helpless and hopeless to live lives pleasing to God are we until we are surrendered to Him and empowered by Him through the Holy Spirit to obey all that He has commanded us.

Blessed be God our Savior Who has given us everything we need to know Him and please Him.

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A place in heaven

John 14.2 describes in My Father’s house are many rooms. The Lord Jesus tells us that living with Him in heaven is having a room in His house.

We have twisted His teaching about a mansion in the sky. The mansion is God’s not ours and we are but residents in His mansion not owners of individual mansions.

This picture Jesus paints is one of family living together in the same house where the love, joy, peace, protection and provision of the Father reigns and where the children dwell without fear, worry or concern but in contentment with great peace and joy.

Heaven is where the people of God will live in the very physical presence of God seeing and enjoying Him and all those who love Him.

Heaven is where the diversity of men is melded into one peaceful family where distinction is irrelevant for everyone is focused upon the Father and not on the self.

Heaven is synonymous with family; a healthy, wholesome, loving family where the Father is a adored and the siblings are greatly appreciated.

Heaven is where the pettiness of men that defines us now and causes us conflict today is foreign and absent for our individuality will be subordinate to our unity.

Heaven is where we truly live as children of God in all His glory, splendor and wealth.

No child of God will be ashamed neither will they consider themselves poorer than any other for each will dwell with the Father in His house having all the rights and privileges as the Firstborn Son.

While this is the picture of the future the Lord Jesus desires His people to begin even now to recognize, love and serve all those who claim Jesus as Savior as their beloved brethren until we all reach home in our Father’s house.

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God’s enemy

Revelation 12.17 observes he will make war on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. The enemy of God targets men who love God as demonstrated by their obedience to God and their confession that Jesus alone is the only means to heaven.

Those who claim to be Christian but deny its truth by their disobedience and belief that all roads lead to heaven are of no concern to the enemy of God but rather serve as his ally.

The enemy of God hates God but is powerless against Him so he turns his wrath upon God’s children – those who obey God and proclaim Jesus as the only Savior of the world.

Those who seek to please God and make Jesus known in the world are a target for the enemy; as a result many suffer just as God suffered in Jesus when He lived among us in the flesh.

God defeats His enemy not through brute force but through humility and sacrifice; God’s people win by laying down their lives not keeping them.

If we would be a people that would attract the attention of God and demons then we must pursue obedience to God as defined by the Scripture and work to make Jesus known in the world as God’s provision for man’s reconciliation to God.

It is far easier to fit into the world and thus become ignored by God’s enemy however the cost is to also be ignored when God gives His eternal rewards.

Jesus commands we deny ourselves and take up our cross, laying down our lives for Him and the gospel if we truly wish to be His people.

When God returns in Jesus and makes a new heaven and a new earth it will be for those who were faithful to the end; those who obey God and proclaim Jesus as Savior.

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Living the Good Life

2 Chronicles 24.20 asks why do you break the commandments of the Lord so that you cannot prosper?

Knowing God personally is not the means to health and wealth for few are those who have known Him so that have not also suffered at various times in their lives.

Yet these people have also known the riches that come from the presence of God – His peace, His joy, His provision, His care – Himself!

God is wonderful to know and knowing Him is living life to the full. The enemy of God has lied to men and blinded their eyes to His obvious presence in the world so that we deny and ignore Him pretending God doesn’t exist and condemning the speaking and teaching of His ways in the public sector.

What is so wrong with teaching people it is evil to murder, lie, steal, be greedy and commit adultery? Yet we murder the unborn mercilessly, we lie continuously, we breed covetousness daily and we divorce repeatedly.

All of these things cause our destruction, hardening our hearts toward one another such that we constantly see and hear violent crimes done against one another.

These acts of violence are the sole result of our godlessness and nothing more. We explain them away as mental health disorders when they are actually spirit and soul disorders because God is ignored and denied in our schools, in our government and in our media.

God’s ways do lead to prosperity of heart, soul and body. When we obey His commands we live better, our families are healthier and our society is happier and more peaceful.

God’s ways are good ways designed for us to live abundant lives.

We so desperately need to return to God, seek His face, surrender to His will and do good and then we will have the life we truly seek.

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Seeing and Believing

John 9.41 observes that because they say they can see their guilt remains.

In a couple of days the world will end according to some interpreters of Mayan prophecy. This end will occur by cataclysmic flood destroying the world.

When I first heard this some fifteen years ago I scoffed because God has clearly recorded in His Scripture that He will never again destroy the world by flood. Furthermore He told us when He lived with us in Jesus that the day and the hour when He will return to destroy this earth and to create a new heavens and a new earth is unknown to men.

I believed I could see the truth about this Mayan prophecy and that it was quite false.

However many people in Jesus’ day and even more today, think they see and know the truth about Him – that Jesus may have been a good moral teacher of religion but He was certainly not God nor is He the only means to heaven.

These people who can see that all religion is basically the same and really unnecessary for humanity are as smug in their belief as I about the Mayan prophecy.

However their blindness to the truth about God in Jesus will result in their condemnation for God will declare guilty all those who reject His appearing in Jesus as Savior.

From the beginning of human history man has sought after God and continues to do so on every continent among every people to this day. Yet God so loved the world that He wanted people to truly know Him and to worship Him for Who He really is and not how we created Him to be.

This knowledge of Who God really is was revealed by Jesus and recorded in the Bible so people could truly see and know the truth thereby having the capacity to love and obey God as He requires.

Unless we see God in Jesus we remain blind to God and ultimately condemned by God.

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Hated by the world

John 7.7 observes the world hates Jesus because He testifies about it that its works are evil.

A long time ago Judah had a king whose name was Jehoshaphat, he was a good king who followed the Lord and sought to keep the people’s hearts devoted to God. However he had a propensity that greatly irritated the Lord and was a source of both trouble and rebuke for Jehoshaphat.

This sin that God despised in Jehoshaphat was that of trying to cooperate with the king of Israel whose heart was evil before the Lord.

Like Jehoshaphat, the modern Church has done much to befriend the world rather than stand apart from the world.Much compromise has crept into the Church because of this overwhelming desire to fit into rather than be separate from the world.

Much of the Church buys into evolution, abortion and homosexuality – all things the Lord clearly condemns in His Word. We dress like the world with our daughters wearing provocative outfits while we live and speak like the pagans pursuing fame, fortune and fun rather than being focused on the Kingdom of God being brought to earth by the works of our hands and the testimony of our mouths.

Jesus was despised by the world because He testified that its deeds were evil.

The gospel begins with repent for we have all sinned against God.

Like Jesus, the Church should be constantly engaged in doing good for people so that God’s love for humanity can be clearly seen.

But like Jesus, the Church must not be pulled into the world’s ways of greed and selfishness.

Jesus loved the world and gave His life as a sacrifice so that sinful people could be reconciled to God.

We too must love, give and sacrifice so that the world will come to hear and believe that Jesus alone is Savior and the only hope for sinful people to be reconciled to God even if the world hates us in the process.

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Why the murders in Connecticut happened

Matthew 13.37 describes the field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one.

The world is shocked and incredulous that a young man would murder his mother then 26 other innocents. Certainly what happened in Connecticut this past week is horrible, sad and the worst picture of our human situation.

Yet the Bible from the beginning portrays this story of man killing man after choosing to depart from allegiance and obedience to God. In only the fourth chapter of God’s story of love and hope for His creation, He pleads for a man not to kill his brother but alas is ignored and the first born son into the world murders the second born son.

Since the beginning men have killed men and will continue to do so until God ends the world as we know it and creates a new heavens and a new earth.

We ignore God and have declared there is no absolute truth, morality or religion yet when the kind of mayhem that occurred in Connecticut happens we immediately know in our deepest parts that a great evil has transpired and something is terribly wrong with the human condition.

This condition is why we celebrate Christmas. Not the rejoicing over evil but the rejoicing over the Savior Who has come to restore people’s hearts to God and empower them with the ability to overcome evil with good.

All of us do wrong. We know we are broken. Not as bad as a murderer but when we argue with our spouse, reject our parents, yell at our children and ignore our friends we know we too are broken.

This brokenness is God’s calling card left in our hearts so that we might cry out to Him our Creator for restoration. We desperately need a Savior.

This evil occurred because evil exists in our world. Evil has been brought about by our own choosing to ignore God and our own unwillingness to obey Him unequivocally. The result is our incapacity to consistently love, to consistently do good and to consistently treat our neighbor as we ourselves wish to be treated.

There is only one answer to this dilemma: Jesus the Savior, God incarnate must be welcomed back into our hearts and when He comes He will empower us to love one another as He intended and as we truly long to do.

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God seeks worshippers

John 4.23 teaches the Father is seeking people to worship Him. God created man to worship Him so He seeks people who will worship Him.

The worship God requires is not determined by people but by God so that people’s worship is truly honoring to God.

The worship God requires is first born from a relationship with Him – the brokenness from God people enter the world with is fixed through confession, repentance and commitment to Jesus as Lord and Savior thanks to His sacrifice at Calvary.

This is what is required for people to be born again and receive the Spirit of God which is the first requirement of God for worshiping Him.

Second, while people must be born again they still dwell in a body opposed to the ways of God which can cause us to be proud and selfish even in the worship of God.

God requires worship that is true, that is genuine, that is not for personal gain or to garner other people’s approval but is focused solely upon the goodness and greatness of God.

Thus Jesus teaches that the true worshipers are those who worship God in Spirit and in truth. Amazingly God is pro-active in seeking such worshipers.

God does not sit back passively waiting for men to discover Him, neither is He content to accept any form of worship people choose to bring to Him whatever that may be.

Since God has revealed Himself to people in Jesus He has specific requirements of people for worshiping Him.

All religions do not lead to the same God, neither do they honor God as He requires.

Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth and the Life meaning He is the only Way, the only Truth and the only source of Life.

If there really is a God doesn’t is seem like He would have an approved form of worship?

Jesus, Who is God, is both the means to worship and the way to worship.

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True Christianity

Revelation 3.19 promises those Jesus loves He reproves and disciplines so be zealous.

Watching most religious television would cause people to believe that if they were a Christian they could expect nothing but health and wealth because God was on their side. Yet the Founder of Christianity, God in Jesus the Christ, said those whom He loves He reproves and disciplines requiring a zeal for God from His constituents.

The mindset for becoming a Christian should be similar to that of a person committing to the military. The military requires absolute surrender of self in order to build a team singular in purpose which makes it strongest in effect.

The Lord Jesus requires those who come to Him to be His people, to deny themselves, and to take up their cross daily and obey His commands.

To be a Christian is to be born again of the Spirit thus no longer living a selfish or self-centered or even self-directed life but rather a sacrificial, Spirit led and empowered life.

Jesus brings His people into a relationship with God where He begins His work of restoring them to the image of God He created them for since the beginning of human history.This restoration requires the removal and death of the old nature so that the new nature may shine forth like stars in the universe.

To engage this work the Christian must be zealous for God; reading, studying and applying His Word by the power of God in him.

To be effective for God, which is the expectation of God, the Christian must be disciplined like the soldier in saying no to evil and yes to godliness and holy living.

Christianity is not living on easy street but working on the broken streets of humanity restoring God’s glory to themselves and the rest of the world by the Holy Spirit Who lives in us.

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