|No scripture verse should ever be taken out of context. Individual verses do not stand alone. What preceeds and/or follows them is often very important.
Jesus said, "Not every one that says unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he (or she) that does the will of my Father which is in heaven."
Please read all of St. Matthew 7:13 - 23 for a better understanding of verse 21. For an even greater clarification, read Matthew 5:3 through Matthew 8:27 in its entirety.
Only those of us who have a personal relationship with God through our Lord, Jesus the Christ, will pass from life on this earth through death into eternal life with God the Father in heaven.
Work alone can't save us.
Our gift of salvation is free to us, paid for with the great blood sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God, "God's only begotten Son." Jesus shed His blood on that cruel cross atop Golgatha's Hill for all of us who accept His free gift. Jesus paid with His life for your and my sins, spent time in hell, defeated the devil and death, ascended up into heaven, and lives today, sitting on the right hand of our heavenly Father.
But, once we accept God's gracious free gift of salvation purchased with the precious blood of His Son, we are obligated to work for we "are His workmanship, created unto good works which God has before ordained that we should walk in them."
Our CHRISTian Contract is clearly stated in Ephesians 2:8, 9 & 10.
We must do the will of our heavenly Father.
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|People from around the world...referring to something bad that has happened to them and/or their loved ones - the earthquakes, the deadly and devastating tsunami, Hurricanes "Katrina" and "Rita," a loved one contracting a fatal disease, or someone being killed or just dying...ask me, "Why did God do that?"
Please understand this: God does nothing bad.
God allows bad things to happen, but we usually bring them upon ourselves. God does not interfere with our free will to say and do whatever we choose. However, there are often consequences and/or repercussions. That old law of physics applies to everything. For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.
Satan often tempts us and/or sometimes outright attacks us. He is the author of sin, sickness, death, and destruction. If he can't seduce us to sin, causing us to fall, he will sometimes inflict terrible things upon us. If he can't claim our soul, he tries to destroy our witness, our reputation as Christians, our health, and even our lives. He tries to destroy our faith in one another and in God.
We mustn't let him succeed. Think of Job, pray to God in the name of Jesus, believe, and stand strong.
And...please...always remember this. If it's good, it's from God; if it's evil, it's from the Devil.
Never forget that "God is love."
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A dear lady in North Carolina, USA, asked, "Why was Cain's sacrifice unacceptable? Why wasn't God happy with his 'home-made' gift?"
Well, the short answer is...Cain's offering was not a blood sacrifice.
In fact, Cain's offering was no sacrifice at all. It cost him nothing. And it was not "home-made." It was home-grown.
Abel's offering was a blood sacrifice.
The Bible says, "Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering." (Genesis 4:2 - 4)
Notice that Abel sacrificed his "firstborn" lamb.
In the Old Testament...under the Old Covenant...blood sacrifice, the shedding of blood in seeking forgiveness of sin, was necessary for one to be in a right relationship with God. Cain's vegetable offering, some of the fruit of his labor, was not in compliance with God's already revaled blood covenant. God probably regarded Cain's token offering as self-righteous refusal by Cain to live in accordance with His blood covenant with man.
Abel's offering was a blood sacrifice in obedience to what God had taught Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after they had sinned, and they realized they were naked and should be covered. God refused Adam's attempt to use vegetation as a covering.
God required that innocent animals be killed, shedding their life's blood, sacrificing their lives and giving their skins to cover Adam and Eve...and their sin. Thus, God established the blood sacrifice, which was absolutely necessary for anyone desiring to approach Him and have a right relationship with Him.
So it was clear from the beginning that the shedding of blood was required for man (and woman) to achieve forgiveness of sin.
To protect themselves from the angel of death on that night long ago, the obedient Jews smeared blood on the entrances to their homes, and they were spared.
When David slew Goliath, saving Israel, that was a form of blood sacrifice.
But blood sacrifices by God's people ended when the Lamb of God, Jesus the Christ, God's "only begotten Son," suffered mercilously, shedding His blood, and sacrificing His life for the forgiveness of our sins. He died that we might have life...and have it more abundantly throughout all eternity.
Please...don't let His dying be in vain.
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"What was the 'mark on Cain?'"
"And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him kill him." (Genesis 4:15)
I can find no description or identification of the mark on Cain in the Bible. And his descendants were drowned in the great flood. But please remember that the mark God put on Cain was to protect him, so no one who came upon him would kill him.
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|This man, flying with rockets on his back, would be perceived quite differently by people with no knowledge of rocketry or space travel.
You have difficulty believing and understanding God's miracles and some of the stories in the Bible?
Well...we don't have to understand God's wondorous works, but we must have faith and believe. That's what faith is all about. If we understood everything, no faith would be required.
I am always amazed and amused at the person who doubts "Moses (in Genesis 14:21) stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a stong east wind all that night, and the waters were divided" will drive into one of those modern touch-free car washes and exit slowly after the last rinse to allow the big blowers to blow the water off their vehicle and air-dry it, and then emerge from their garage when they get home with a handheld blower and blow the grass, leaves and other debris off their driveway and sidewalks.
We humans are curious beings. We want to know who, what, when, where and why. And we like to speculate and consider the possibilities.
Sometimes, it seems...to better understand the Old Testament...one needs to be an excellent student of history and scripture, having a good understanding of both...possess some scientific knowledge, especially of physics...and be very open-minded. It probably helps if one is a science fiction fan. Things like "Star Wars" might actually contribute to a better understanding and believability of some of the Old Testament stories.
Look at the above photo of the rocket man, and think about all of the drawings and paintings you've seen that depict angels descending down from or ascending up to heaven with wings on their back and their hands reaching upward.
The Old Testament and the Torah relate the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments, delivered by God on mount Sinai. "And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly." (Exodus 19:18) As I read that, images of Cape Canaveral drift through my mind.
When I read about Jesus being "carried up into heaven," I can't help but think of the crew of "Star Trek" being "beamed up" into their space ship.
The Hebrews believed that heaven was God's curtain that seperated His dwelling place from His creation's dwelling place here on earth, and the primary Greek word that has been translated heaven indicates that heaven is above the earth. And the Bible makes it clear that God and the angels came down.
Had the Hebrews and Greeks possessed our present knowledge of physics, science and space travel they might very well have described heaven, angels and even God in more clear, precise and understandable terms.
The phrases "let us make man" and "let us go down" are plural terms applied by God in holy scripture. We commonly accept the definition of God as plural to mean God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Spirit...three persons that are one.
Holy scripture uses the term man to describe male and female humans, defining them as one. So male and female are two seperate individuals that are united as one, much like God, Jesus and the Spirit. God made it very clear that woman completes man, that they complete each other, and they are one together. Therefore, the human family is a reflection of the God "family."
"Let Us make man in Our own image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." (Genesis 1:26)
Perhaps God meant not only the Trinity but all of the hosts of heaven, including the angels.
We humans are very special.
We should continually thank God for our very existence...for all things past, present and future...for everything that ever was, that is or ever will be. We should forever praise Him and worship Him.
And we should live our lives in accordance with His word, loving and serving Him and one another, looking forward with great anticipation to the time when we will be in His presence in His eternal dwelling place, a place we simply call heaven, forever and ever.
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"What do you think about the television series 'Revelations?'"
Short answer: Not much.
First of all, the last book in the Holy Bible is Revelation (singular)...not Revelations (plural).
Revelation in the Bible is scriptual truth. "Revelations" on television is fictional entertainment.
As a matter of fact, there is very little truth on television today. News is now mostly opinion, slanted to reflect the news source's opinions and beliefs. Accurate documentaries are no more; they've become fictional "docu-dramas" with the show's presenting words and actions that are sometimes the furtherest thing from the real truth and actual historical events.
Believed to be written by the apostle John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit during a time of extreme persecution of Christians and the Church, the Book of Revelation is Biblical prophecy given for the edification, encouragement and comfort of all born-again believers.
We Christians should rejoice when we read Revelation. In the end, we win!!! Good triumphs over evil!! Satan and his crowd lose!
Jesus the Christ, the man and Son of God in His transformed body, is going to return to Earth and reign as ruler over all.
Acts 1:11 states, "This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven."
He will be real and just as He was after His resurrection, as He said, in Luke 24:39, "Behold, my hands and feet, that it is I myself: Handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see I have."
In I John 3:2, we read, "Behold now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall all be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is."
Once Jesus the Christ returns...we shall forever be with Him, beholding His glory forever and ever.
I Thessalonians 4:17 states, "So shall we ever be with the Lord." And I Thessalonians 5:10 says, "Who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him."
As proclaimed in the general epistle of Jude, verses 24 and 25, "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen."
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A friend asks, "Are we living in the end times? Is the world about to end?"
There is no short answer for this one.
People down through history have tried to read the scriptures, identify the signs, and determine the end of the world. All kinds of opinions and theories abound. Some believe that the end of time is going to be in the year 2012 when the Mayan Calendar ends.
Know this: The end could come for any of us at any time. We are all going to die. It is just a question of when and how.
Jesus said, "But of the day and hour knows no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matthew 24:36) In Matthew 24:44, He says, "Therefore be you ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes." In Hebrews 9:27, it is clearly stated, "And it is appointed unto men (and women) once to die, but after this is the judgement."
So we must always be prepared. We are not ready to live until we are prepared to die.
The AntiChrist, Rapture, Great Tribulation, restoration of the nation of Israel, and millenial reign of Jesus the Christ are all described and debated as "last things" or signs of the end of times. The exact time and even the sequence of events is not clear to anyone but God the Father, as Jesus clearly stated.
Read Matthew 25:1 - 13.
Only God the Father knows when Jesus the Christ will return. Down through history people have foolishly tried to determine when that would occur. But in Matthew 25:13, as well as in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32, Jesus the Christ tells us very directly and specifically that no one but God the Father knows. But we and our free will may have much to do with God's timing.
Our duty is made very clear. We are to watch and be prepared for Jesus' return, happily awaiting the day or night He returns to us...or we go to Him. And we must work "for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)
When the end comes is not important. As Paul Harvey likes to say, "None of us are going to get out of this world alive anyway."
What is important for each of us is whether or not we are prepared for our final day on this Earth. We must be properly prepared and ready to pass from this life through death into eternity.
Only the saved will approach the judgement seat of Jesus the Christ knowing they will spend eternity with God the Father, Jesus the Christ, the Holy Spirit, and all of the saints who've gone on before us. The most important thing to all of us should be that eternal assurance.
Jesus promised, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
Those of us who have accepted Jesus the Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, whose sins have been forgiven, who are truly converted, and who are working for Him will be saved.
Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he (or she) that hears my word, and believes on Him that sent me, has everlasting life and shall not come ito condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." (John 5:24)
In II Corinthians 5:21, Paul says, "For He (God) has made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, (Jesus) who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
I John assures us, "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgement: because as He is, so are we in this world."
Like Paul, we should all be able and happy to say, "For me to die is gain!"
As stated in II Timothy 4:7 & 8, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing."
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Someone asked, "Is smoking a sin?"
In a word...yes.
Paul told the Corinthians on more than one occasion that "your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost (or Spirit) which is in you," instructing them not to defile it, to keep it clean, warning, "If any man defileth the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are." (I Corinthians 6:19 & 20 and 3:16 & 17) Smokers, tobacco smoke is a contaminate, both in your body and in the body of everyone else around you.
Smoking is a danger to everyone, smoker and every other person breathing the smoker contaminated air. Seconhand or environmental tobacco smoke, a mixture of the smoker exhaled air and the smoke that comes from the smoker's burning tobacco, contains more than 4,000 substances, many of them poisons that can cause cancer, the third leading cause of death in the United States of America today. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency labels seconhand smoke a Group A carcinogen, proven to cause cancer, killing an estimated 3,000 Americans this year alone.
And nonsmokers who live with smokers are more likely to develop lung cancer.
Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to young children. It can even cause a child to have middle ear problems. A baby, living with a smoker or smokers, is likely to have serious lung disease. A new study indicates that children who are exposed to tobacco smoke may have lower IQs. Research in Europe finds that children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more than three times more likely to develop lung cancer and/or other respiratory problems later in life than those reared in a smoke-free environment. In other words, parents secondhand smoke can and often does eventually kill their children.
But what about the smoker? What happens to them?
Almost everyone knows someone who smoked or chewed tobacco and had cancer, and most of us know someone that died of lung cancer or emphysema. But smokers can simply die from lack of oxygen in the body's tissues. Hypoxia results from a smoker having so little functioning lung left that breathing is so laborious and exhausting that he or she just stops breathing. Other causes of death for smokers include lung infections like pneumonia, lung cancer, cancer of the digestive system, cancer in the urinary tract, and leukemia.
The sixth of God's Ten Commandments says, "Thou shalt not kill." And that means...you are not to kill. You are not to kill anyone...not even yourself.
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|"May God richly bless you and all of those with whom you share love, and may He always keep you safe!"