Interactive Flash presentation of the Gospel:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Do you know ... Jesus is Everything you need!

You say you want to know God. You think head knowledge is all you need. What more could there be? Truly knowing God comes from the heart. It is much more than attending church services and halfheartedly listening to the sermon.  Although you may not know what you are hearing, what it means, how you are supposed to digest it and what you are to do with the information,  God is knocking.  At the door of your heart, the Lord Jesus knocks, desiring you to invite Him into your life. A positive response from you will get you started on the path of knowing God, knowing Jesus. You alone must take the step.  No one else can take it for you. It is your choice.

When Jesus knocks …
·       Do you step out on faith and enter into a relationship with Him
·       Do you step back and decide you know all the answers and are doing just fine by yourself?

Perhaps you know you’re not doing fine and you don’t know the answers, but … something is holding you back. Satan …

The darkness will keep you centered on yourself.  No one else matters but you. Your spouse doesn’t matter. Your children don’t matter. Your friends don’t matter. Your self-respect doesn’t matter.

Satan discredits everything that is good and true and right.  His goal is  to deceive you any and every direction he possibly can, by first getting you to listen to the lie, then to dwell on it and believe it, and then finally act on the lie.

Once we’ve listened to one lie and thought about it and then acted on it,  we fall prey time after time to one falsehood after another, never really believing the truth, because we’re very unsure what the truth is.  It’s a sad state of affairs when we can’t differentiate between what is a lie and what is the truth,  between what Satan suggests and deceives you into thinking  is true and what God knows to be true.

Think about this lie – God doesn’t love me.  You feel God doesn’t love you, just like you feel  your husband or wife doesn’t love you.  You don’t really know that  to be true, but because you feel it is true, it must be. And if that is true, it must equally be true that God won’t forgive you for all your mistakes, for all your sins.  How can God possibly love or forgive someone who is  so unlovable, so filled with sin.

But God does love us. God loved us (and loves us still) so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to become the once and for all time sin offering. Jesus died for us. Not just some of us, but all of us. Some of us accepted His gift of salvation and are sinners set free, while a great majority of us refuse to accept, remaining sinners still imprisoned.

Jesus came down from heaven to become human, to become just like you and me, to show us how to live in freedom instead of bondage to our feelings and thoughts and emotions.

 Let me share with you how to become a Christian …  a believer in Christ, a child of the Most Holy One.

·       ADMIT to God you have sinned.
Recognize you are separated from God because of your sins.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
Acknowledge your sin.    “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” (Romans 6:23)
Ask His forgiveness and turn from that sin (called Repentance). “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but shall have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)  “But God demonstrated His love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

·       BELIEVE Jesus died for your sins.
When you believe Jesus died for you, you receive God’s gift of forgiveness from sin and a new life.  You accept Christ into your life and turn your life over to His direction and control. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life.” (John 3:36) “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

·       CONFESS  that Jesus is Savior and Lord.
Tell the world that you believe in Jesus. “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 with your mouth that you confess, and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

You can’t have both worlds … you may want both, but a choice has to be made. You may not believe that to be so, but it is. You either follow what is right or you follow what is wrong. It is not a sometime thing. Yes we all make mistakes … we do not always do what what is right, but our mindset is to follow the right path, not the wrong one. You cannot move from one place to another, depending on your mood for the moment. Struggles will be wherever you live. If you want any kind of calmness to your hectic life, you need Jesus. He is The One you need most of all. Without Him, everything around you will continue to fall apart and bring destruction.

Satan works overtime to keep you frustrated, angry, exhausted, overwhelmed, discouraged, defeated, depressed, ashamed, uptight, unstable, insecure, lonely, fearful and even suicidal. His goal is to prevent you from overcoming every negative, to keep you spiraling down, down, down.  

Other  lies Satan prompts you to believe -- I can’t help the way I am. I have my rights.  I should not have to live with unfulfilled longings.  I can sin and get away with it.   My sin isn’t really that bad.  God can’t forgive what I have done.  I am not fully responsible for my actions and reactions.

We all have choices we make.  It is up to each one of us to accept personal responsibility for our own choices, attitudes and behavior. It is not someone else’s responsibility. We think we are the victim and the problems we face are because of other people and outside circumstances, but truth be told, it is ourselves who is often to blame. We can change. Through the power of God’s Spirit we can break free from the negative chains of our past. You cannot sin and continue to get away with it. You may think you can, but you will discover God’s judgment upon you.  Your sin is just as bad as my sin or another’s. Your sin of having an affair is just as sinful as another’s sin of viewing pornography on the Web.

Have you forgotten your marriage vows? Did you say them without thinking about them? Did they go in one ear and out the other with barely a thought about what they meant?
The man and the woman each repeat after the minister … promising to love and cherish each other,  to honor and sustain each other in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in the bad that may darken your days, in the good that may light your ways, to be true to each other in all things until death do you part.  The ring symbolizes your commitment to each other. Do  the vows mean nothing? Is it just gobblygook?

 Satan prompts us to believe more and more lies. The more we listen, the more we believe and act. The circle is unending. But we don’t have to believe these lies. We can get off the merry-go-round and refuse to accept Satan telling us:  My spouse is supposed to serve me. I’ve got to take the initiative or nothing will get done.  We are not responsible for how our children turn out.  If I feel something, it must be true. I can’t control my emotions.  If my circumstances were different, I would be different.   I shouldn’t have to suffer.   My circumstances will never change – this will go on forever.   I  just can’t take any more.   It’s all about me.

Take for example Satan’s thought: “If my circumstances were different, I would be different.” If we are not happy with our present circumstances, we are not likely to be happy in a different set of circumstances. We may think we would be, but in the long run, we find out we are as discontent as before. Nothing has changed. We still think we deserve better, deserve happiness, and so we find ourselves continually in a state of motion – back and forth.

 Jesus is the answer every time to every problem. We all need Him. Jesus is the first step to every problem you and I face. He is the second step and the third step. He is every step to every problem. He is the answer for you and for me, for everyone of us.

Trials will come at your with a fierceness. Circumstances will change.
Death will happen. It is a part of life and there is nothing we ourselves can do about it. We do not physically live forever.

No matter what is thrown at us,  we need Jesus first and foremost.
Without Him, we cannot be the person He desires us to be.
Without Him, we are proud and selfish and preoccupied with personal feelings and thoughts.

This all became very clear to me when reading James 2:1, which says, “Do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.”  The word partiality jumped out at me. It’s like sitting on the fence, wavering between what is right and true and what is wrong and false. We shouldn’t waver, because we can’t do both. You can’t claim to be a born-again believer and do things contradictory to what the Lord commands. You are being partial  -  you either give yourself wholeheartedly  to Jesus for Him to mold and perfect or you are true only to yourself and your wants, your needs, your desires. It is your call.

God’s desire is for you not to be spiritually dead – to  receive His free gift of salvation and to live under His guidance.

“For as the body without the spirits is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26)

Jesus will take care of you. He can transform, cleanse us from our selfish ways, but we must come to Him first. He will take care of you when you have sought His help. Turn where you are to the one who has the answers.

It is natural for us to want to fix things in ourselves and in others, but we really have no power to fix. Again, we think we do. We think our suggestions, our ultimatums will accomplish what we think is best for ourselves and for another. But what we want and see as reasonable, is not necessarily what God wants. And it is God’s will that will ultimately be accomplished.
Our best is to seek God first, to pray without ceasing that His will be done. His will is for your good, your best always, at all times. God yearns to help you, but He will not if you do not ask.

“For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion  and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”  (James 3:16-17)

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. … Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4: 7-8a, 10)

God gives us time to repent, but He doesn’t give us forever. When we continue to put it off, in time judgment will come and then we wonder why? Why indeed? We are given the way to go, but we refuse. It is our choices that bring our ultimate demise.

“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of truth there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin, but a fearful expectation of judgment.”
(Hebrews 10:26-27 English Standard version)

Christians are as much susceptible to sin as unbelievers and  God is grieved when darkness overcomes us and dims the light of His grace.  Jesus is stronger than Satan. We must always seek Him. If we do not look to Him for our everything, Satan has gained a foothold in our lives and he will seek ever harder  to bring us down to the lowest level. We must return our focus to Jesus.

All day long we are to remember God, but that is not the easiest thing to do when irritations develop and we end up responding negatively to those very things that irritate us. We know what we are to do, but doing it often fails, because of our sin nature. Our nature is to do bad, not good. Our nature is to be selfish and self-centered, not loving to all we come in contact. Our nature is to react in the moment, not think about it and formulate a better response.

The battle rages
As on a field
But in your mind
Good and Evil fight
for control.

God is
the ultimate winner
He is true and just
and righteous
But Satan and His followers
do their utmost
to bring you down so so low
you’ll just give in, give up.

God threw Satan
out of heaven
You too can throw him
out of your life.

Turn to God
Cry out to Him
He hears your cries
He mourns your decisions
He is the answer
He cares for you
He loves you
He sent His Son
for you, to die in your place
Turn to God.
Trust in God.

There is nothing
when its Satan
we trust.
He will never build us up
He will tear you down
at every step.
He will continue to tell you
sinning is okay, rebellion is good.
Satan is in opposition
to everything God is and does.

Satan is a deceiver.
You believe you deserve better
because Satan has said to you:
“There is nothing wrong with two-timing”
“There is nothing wrong with affairs”
“There is nothing wrong with sex before marriage or extramarital  sex”
“There is nothing wrong with drinking and getting drunk”
“There is nothing wrong with depleting your life savings”

When you are lonely and forlorn and get to thinking about past things, Satan enters your mind and takes over, planting seeds of doubt into every good thought you once had. Satan is out to destroy you.  God will lift you up. God will embrace you, surround you with His love. God will show you how to cope with the pitfalls of life. God is Good. Satan is Evil. It is your choice. I pray you will desire the good and seek the good.
by Cathy Orrick Luders
June 6-13, 2014

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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6