Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why Do You Believe?

Too many times I have found people's interest in Jesus Christ to be what He can do for them. Indeed there are life-breathing elements He brings to a dead soul. Through your belief that He is the Son of the Living God, sent from God to be a propitiation for our sins, we are saved from eternal separation from God the Father. By this grace, we love Him because He first loved us. 

Many of us seek Him or accept Him because of what He can do for us. He is sought for the means of financial and physical blessings as well as emotional and physical blessings.

Many times people seek Him out as a self-help guru. They read and focus on the "good parts" of the Word of God to validate their emotions. What's wrong with that? You may ask. The problem arises when your relationship with Him is based on HOW you feel, which is a foundation that can break at the moment of hardship. People with "emotional" relationships with Christ really do not have a relationship with Christ for it does not come from faith. Any bond with Christ that does not stem from  full, complete, loyal Faith and Trust in Him is NO bond at all. It is only by Faith can we have a true relationship with Him. When this relationship is true, it is validated by our genuine desire to ask, not what Christ can do for you, but what you can do for Christ.

What exactly IS Faith?

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Let's break down this verse for clear understanding.

Substance

The term substance comes up as many definitions. Please click on the link Substance to see the complete details. The primary definition of the term is:

1. that of which a thing consists; physical matter or material: form and substance.

The first part of the definition of Faith in Hebrews 11:1 describes Faith as the substance of Hope. Faith makes up the "physical matter or material" that defines Hope. It is the very essence of  of the things that are hoped for. We can see the clear correlation between Faith and Hope in this short passage of Galatians  5:5

"For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith."

Evidence

Without Faith, there is no hope. The second part of the definition of Faith is "the evidence of things not seen". If Faith is the substance of Hope, it is also then the proof of things that cannot be seen. The use of the term evidence is powerful in the understanding that something is manifested from Faith that proves it's unseen existence. What IS manifested from Faith? It is Charity, in other words, LOVE! Love for HIM that results in a strong desire to do HIS will as opposed to our own.

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity"-- 1 Corinthians 13:13

Charity is the manifestation of Faith, the substance of things hoped for. The chapter of Hebrews 11 is full of examples of those who have FAITH that resulted in CHARITY, an actionable self-sacrifice, for the HOPE of the promises set before them. Read the 11th chapter and the characters it names as examples. Then go back to the Old Testament and read those actual stories for yourself.

So Why DO You Believe?

Why do you believe in Jesus? The Bible is clear, He does not promise us riches, or health. He does not promise us a life free of trouble.  He does not promise us perfect marital relationships. He DOES promise a life of trials.

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" -- 1 Peter 4:12

He DOES promise opposition with the "world".

"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you". -- John 15:18

"Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you". --  1 John 3:13

He DOES have expectations.

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." -- Luke 9:23

So again I ask why do you believe in Jesus? If you come to Him seeking on how He may "fix" what is wrong with your life IN this world, you come to Him for the wrong reasons. Anyone can see this world continues to deteriorate under the reign of imperfect, sinful man. If you believe in a spiritual aspect of life, then you must recognize the evil aspect of that spiritual realm. It is THIS evil aspect that is currently reigning over this earth. He is called Satan, prince of this world. If we understand that, then we understand that this life we live, in this world, in this present time, isn't the life we want to have. It is the promise of Eternal life with Christ we HOPE for. It is only with this understanding does this passage make clear sense:

"He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." -- John 12:25

Related Posts:

Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Sower Addendum

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Truth Be Told

One thing that can be confusing is this Christian society are the holidays that are observed. There is a holiday that is celebrated that marks the very center of their belief system, the death of Jesus, who died, so that they may be saved from eternal separation from God, this holiday, according to them, is Easter.

Easter was celebrated last month, so you may be wondering why I'm bringing it up now. Easter is a tradition, adopted by Christians that celebrates this theme with colored eggs, pastel colors and bunnies. However, there has always been confusion by many, even Christians, of how all of these elements represent their belief. I'm bringing up this holiday in light of another approaching holiday called Passover or Pesach. The truth is the Passover explains the central belief of true Christianity, not Easter.

Pesach - The True Christian Holiday

Understanding Passover can help understand the purpose of Christ's death. I truly believe that if the original day of Passover was not altered by Roman Catholics after the establishment of Church by Jesus, many, especially, modern day Christians ,would be able to understand, grow and represent Jesus in way that stood for all that He died for. This, issue, like many other issues, I question about Christianity today, is another reason why, I am uncomfortable applying the name to myself. Before I can move on, it is vital to understand that Jews and TRUE Christianity have a direct, in separable link towards one another. As I mentioned in my last post, Jesus was Jewish, as were the original Christians. After a period of time, Christianity included and grew a large body of gentile believers, another name for, non-Jewish Believers, as more Jews chose not to accept Christ as the promised Messiah of prophecy. Christ was prophesied to the Jews for hundreds of centuries prior as the coming Messiah, a promised deliverer of the Jews. These prophecies can be found in the Old Testament of the Bible. The story of Moses, leading God's people out of Egypt, incorporates the very first Passover. This story is ripe with symbolism and the prophecy of Jesus, the Messiah, who DID come in POWER, with GRACE and SALVATION.

Passover - The Christian Story of Salvation

I will briefly sum up the story of the first Passover, that explains the purpose of Jesus' death and the connection between Jesus in the New Testament (Son of God, born in the flesh, virgin) and the Promised Deliverer/ Messiah of the Old Testament. I encourage you to validate what I'm saying here, by reading it for yourself. You can find the origin of the story of Moses starting in the book of Exodus. The origin of Passover can be found in the 12th chapter of Exodus. The story of Moses and the exodus is a fairly popular Bible story, if you are not familiar with it, I suggest that you read the story from the beginning. You should read from the beginning even if you believe you are familiar with it. It is easy to miss vital concepts because you've heard the story from someone else. Many years after Joseph had died ( Genesis 37) the people he brought to Egypt to escape the famine had grew to astounding numbers that threatened the present Pharaoh who did not know the works Joseph did to save Egypt from famine. In his fear of being overtaken by the Jews, he enslaved them to hard, punishing labor. The Jews cried out to God in their time of hardship, and God heard their prayers. He promised a deliverer from the cruelty that they were experiencing. That deliverer was Moses. When Moses accepted his call from God to lead the Jews out of Egypt, he first had to deal with the Pharaoh who continually refused to let the Jews go. God had sent many plagues as punishment and encouragement to the Pharaoh to free the Jews. The last plague, after numerous chances God gave the Pharaoh, was death to all the firstborn of every family of every age, as well as the firstborn of every animal. To protect the Jews from this plague, God had commanded that a lamb be killed to His specifications and it's blood placed on the door posts on the house of every Jew. In this act death passed over the Jews.

"For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.

And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.

And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?

That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped." Exodus 12:23-27

Pesach and the Last supper - a fulfillment of a promised messiah

The Jews were literal saved by the blood of a lamb during the first Passover.

Jesus is the symbolic lamb of the Passover.

"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." -- John 1:29

In which death, eternal separation from God, passes over all who accept His blood-shed sacrifice on the cross.

Jesus, the Passover Lamb, was preparing for His own sacrifice during His last supper.

"I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God…Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes" (Luke 22:15-18)

Author's Note:

Please read the article, A Jewish Believer's Passover, by Mitch Glaser. This Article is located on the Jews for Jesus web site. This site can explain much more in depth the concepts and symbolism conveyed in the Passover. My desire and goal with this post is to inspire interest in the truth, and eliminate what has been so falsely promoted about Christ. I realize that this post does not do the subject of the Passover justice, consider it a "stepping stone" on your quest for clarity.

May God bless you and to all who believe in the saving power of the blood of Christ, HAPPY PASSOVER!

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" - - John 3:16


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Not So Free Bible Offer Ending

The quota for "The One Year Bible" has been met :)

God Bless!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Why I Do Not Call Myself Christian

Since I've made the life transforming decision to lean not on the understanding of doctrines taught by pastors in churches. I've become more and more uncomfortable with the word "Christian".

In so many ways,  today's Christianity seems to contradict the very principles taught by the Bible itself. It has come to represent an ideal and a view, that to be Christian, is to be arrogant, self-righteous and judgmental. I have found to be Christian, by today's standards, means deviating from the Bible in some way, shape or form.

Who Can Be Today's Christian?

There are many who call themselves by this precious name. They have varied beliefs. So who is a Christian? This becomes a question in the mind of those seeking Jesus. They may have a predetermined idea of who Christians are based upon what they have seen and heard in mainstream Christianity. This may mean to some a confession of some sort by one who claims to be one. Maybe it is consistent church attendance that makes one Christian in the eyes of another. But one thing is clear, the name has certainly become muddied, if not down right distasteful to many.

It is only in today's society that I do not, can not, call myself Christian.  In hopes that I may be an effective, appropriate advocate for Jesus, I must disassociate myself from anything that may cause confusion.

What's In a Name

So what DO I call myself?? There are many names I can choose from to label myself, and separate myself from those who practice Christianity loosely, unfaithfully. Typically I refer to myself as a Believer when speaking of  my Faith in Jesus, however, I believe that every true Believer has a name that only Jesus knows.

True Historical origin of Christianity

You may be surprised to know that the original Christians were Jews that accepted Jesus Christ as their Messiah as foretold in Bible prophecy.

"And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" Acts 11:26

The history of church started the moment Jesus ascended to heaven and the Holy Spirit promised by Him arrived to invigorate large groups of people to accept Jesus and the good news that He has risen.  Acts 2

True Historical Origin of Church

While the general consensus of church may be  a specific place  you go to "worship".  It is important to understand the correct history of how "church" was established. You may have heard the Roman Catholic church referred to "early church" history, but if you read the Bible, Acts 2, for yourself, you will see that church was not made out of a building or a specific place. Church is spiritual.  Church became of a body or group of those who believed in Christ Jesus as God's Son.  Nor was church established by a specific person, it was established by the Holy Spirit, which was promised by Christ before His ascension. Christ who promised the Holy Spirit to teach, guide and lead His people is the Founder and Author of Church. To sum it up, only a group of people who Believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God make up the spiritual body of the Church. These people who have genuinely accepted Jesus, also are governed spiritually by the Holy Spirit...the true, biblical definition of a Christian.

Today's society of Christians generally require consistent church attendance to a place as a condition of Christianity and a means for eternal salvation. Today's Christian culture also emphasizes spiritual growth and understanding comes from a pastor or leader of  a church. This concept is also erroneous by biblical standards. The Bible teaches that true growth and understanding comes directly from the Holy Spirit. The emphasis  by  many churches places Faith on physical behavior, and not on spiritual concepts as indicated in the Bible. It is misleading to many who believe that through specific behaviors and actions (church attending, worship acts and rituals) one can be seen as right in God's eyes. The truth is NO ONE has the power of themselves to make themselves whole or sinless. It will not be found in a specific church, or pastor or bible study group. It can only be found in your acceptance as Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Bible Books to Study and Read

Acts 1 and 2

John chapter 16

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Light of the World American Sign Language movie part 1



In part 1 of "The Light of the World", it talks about creation (the beginning). There are no exact passages listed in the clip so I will list them. I can't say I'm too thrilled about the type of pictures shown in the clip (in the background), but I do agree with the very basics explained. It's a good clip for those seeking. Who want to know who God is and how it all began.

Scripture to read along with the clip:

Genesis 1
Genesis 2
Genesis 3
Genesis 4
Isaiah 14:9-15
Acts 26:18

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Redirect - Faith-Healing

I wrote a post in regards to the news of the death of Ava Worthington, whose parents practiced "Faith-Healing" in TheOliveParent blog. Please take a moment to check it out as this blog continues it construction. :)

God Bless!

Links:

Faith-Healing, A Question of Accountability

Under a Bit of Construction

Please bear with me as I make changes to my blog. I am currently experimenting with colors and pictures as well as adding and removing page elements, so things may look "funny" for a while.

God Bless!