Karma Proves God’s Existence

Subtitle: If religion is a crutch then karma is an excuse for the conscience

I’ve heard people refer to karma frequently as of late. The world’s definition of karma is – “action, work or deed. It also refers to the principle of causality where the intent of an individual action influences the future of that individual.”

Hmm, let’s think that through. If I commit a good act to my neighbor, Richard, what or who causes that to come back to me as goodness in any other form? If there is no God and we evolved from nothing then there’s nothing coordinating or controlling my good action to have it come back to me.

Outside of Richard simply returning the favor, how could impersonal evolution control/create/etc. anything return good to me? It can’t- by definition.

Few people fight against the idea of karma since it seems like a just concept; since they innately know the idea is good and desirable they mostly accept it.

So the world’s definition of karma is self-contradictory and nonsense (meaning it makes no sense).

Instead, let us reason together (Is 1:18) and think a little further. The idea implies and requires an intelligent, powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly judicial being (not simply a force as it has no consciousness since it has no mind) since knowledge of the original act is required, plus all-knowing to determine the best way to return the act, plus power to actually bring about the reciprocating act, and finally perfect moral character in order to return the perfect amount and effect of the reciprocating act in exact proportions.

Since evolution does not qualify let us look around the universe to see if perhaps something else does qualify…

What or who else is intelligent, powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly judicial?… Why, the Bible tells us that God is! And God’s definition of karma is, “for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” – Gal 6:7.

Everyone innately agrees with this concept because their  God-given conscience bears witness that this is true.

Therefore, the concept of “karma” proves God’s existence because your conscience bares witness of God and judges you as to whether you’re good enough to get to heaven or not (Ro 2:15).

The ultimate finality of God’s divine law of “reaping what you sow” (aka, “karma”) will be consummated at the end of the age when every knee shall bow and declare that, “Jesus is Lord” through the Great White Throne judgment (Rev 20:11-15) where God will mete out His divine judgment based on your works.

Will you bow your knee now when you have a chance to avoid the lake of fire through faith and repentance in Jesus Christ? <a href=”https://milwaukeeseedsowers.com/r-u-saved/”>Click here to find out how<a>.

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Unbiblical Messages

We all at some time have taught our children that almost everything they see in movies and on TV is fake (yes, including “reality” TV), but do we also teach them that most shows and movies have anti-biblical messages that are the hero of the plot?

The character can overcome and accomplish whatever they dream, without the reality check that we are promised trials, tribulation, and persecution.

Instead of charters striving for purity and marriage, they follow their heart and become engaged in a romantic relationship.

Without a compass that absolute morals exist, they become beloved by telling a “little lie” or stealing from the rich to give to the poor.

I believe the most detrimental of all the messages is how children are told that deep down they are good and they should have self-esteem. They are subtly led to believe that they can do good things, and that they deserve good things, because they are good. The Bible teaches that there is nothing good within us (Romans 7:18), all our good works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), our hearts are deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), and what we deserve is judgment and condemnation (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Revelation 21:8).

When the Holy Spirit leads, He leads us through His Word. We should never trust our heart without first filtering it through God’s Word. Humans by nature are lovers of self (Matthew 22:39). We love to be told that we are right, and that we should “follow our heart.” But what happens when we don’t get what we want? Should we get mad at God? God forbid! God has provided for every need (and much more), yet people curse at God for not providing them with all of their wants too. People get upset that God would allow bad things to happen, because they mistakenly think that they only deserve good.

I have asked my children, “What do you deserve?” and their first answer is often, “Nothing.” But this is the wrong answer. What we all deserve is eternal conscious torment, and any day that our lives are better than that we should praise God for his mercy. Praise be evermore to God that He is not only merciful, but gracious and has provided a way for us to receive eternal life, joy and peace! He gives eternal life only to those who realize they do not deserve it, and that they cannot accomplish it by believing in themselves and following their heart. Instead they must fully trust in Christ and believe in what He has accomplished. – Randy

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Christmas: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, then the Beauty by Dave and Andrea

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Well, if you’re in or near southeast WI, our wonderland of white snow has melted and there is little sign of any coming before Dec 25th, so…it is just a dream. And with the rain and the surface ground frost gone at the time of this writing, if you have farm animals, everything is basically mud slop. But…back to Christmas.

We’re surrounded by things good and lovely: pretty trees with bright lights and decorations, colorful ornaments, beautiful candles, wreaths, snow scenes, warm fireplaces in the hearth in a family home, beautifully wrapped presents. Everything is bright and light and cheery and happy. It seems that all of that symbolism is conveyed to us most significantly in the Christmas cards that we receive, which present to us almost a world of fantasy, beauty, wonder, loveliness, with folks writing about the highlights of the past year(hardly any mention of hardships),and that is one side of Christmas.

But if we may, I’d like us to talk about the blackness of Christmas, the other side. So grab a candy cane or a Christmas cookie as you read the rest, because there will be no sugar-coating in this letter.

There is lurking behind every beautiful scene on every Christmas card, every lovely sentiment of Christmas, somewhere behind all of that is something very vile and very ugly. And I really believe that to have a proper understanding of the beauty of Christmas, you must have a proper understanding of the ugliness of Christmas.

Because of this thing, there are tears and pain and war and fighting and anxiety and discord and unrest and fear and worry and sickness and death and famine and earthquakes and pollution. All those things which mar our existence are the direct result of it. It disturbs and disrupts every human relationship, whether between man and man, man and creation, or man and God. It’s the phenomena that damns every soul to hell; it’s that blight which pervades the entire world. What is it?

In Matthew 1:21, we read these words as the Angel spoke to Joseph: “And she shall bring forth a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sin.” 1 John 3:5 says, “And you know that he appeared to take away our sins;” 1 John 4:14: “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”

The Apostle Paul says, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,…” 1 Timothy 1:15. The dark and ugly side of Christmas is this: Sin.

The heart of Christmas is this: Christ came into the world to save sinners. “You shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sin.” And that’s the real beauty of Christmas: to understand the ugliness that it cures.

WHY am I talking about this in this Christmas letter? If there were no sin, there would need to be no Christmas. So we cannot divorce the two and we cannot hide behind the fantasy, the smokescreen of Christmas cards and all the rest. We cannot look at Christmas and celebrate its peripheral elements. Sin must come to the forefront. You see, the reason that Christ was born was to be the Savior who came to deliver men from sin.

Sin is that from which no one escapes and all who die in childbirth or from heart disease or cancer or war or murder or accidents or old age, or whatever else, all are dying and all are dying because of sin. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” Every person on the globe will die, and therefore has been affected by sin: the ugliness of Christmas, the degenerative power in the human stream that makes man susceptible to disease, disaster, illness, death, and hell.

It is the reason for Christmas. Every broken marriage & home, every shattered friendship, every argument, every disagreement, every evil thought, word & deed, can be attributed to sin. Anything that sinister, powerful, & totally debilitating for the whole human race must be dealt with if God, who is infinitely holy, is to bring man to himself. Thus Christ came into the world to deal with sin.

How many people does sin affect? The answer is in Romans 3. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. For there is none righteous, no not one.” The definition of sin is “transgression of the law.” All you have to do is, in the quietness of your own heart, look at yourself in the mirror of the 10 Commandments. Take a look at your life: your deeds, your actions, the lust, the lying, not thanking God, not praising Him for everything that he’s done for you day in, day out, living in rebellion to Him. And when you start thinking of the pile, the mountain of sin that you’ve committed against God, think about Him DYING on the cross for you anyway, to be the payment for the sins that you have committed.

What do you need to be saved from? You need to be saved from the wrath of God- He’s angry at sin. BUT- God is rich in mercy! The babe in the manger- the One God sent- His Son- He lived the perfect life to be the perfect sacrifice on the cross. The message of Christmas ultimately leads to the cross. The Cross- where the sin of man was bore. Oh, that Jesus would take the punishment we deserve-bearing God’s wrath- for us! Now the bad and the ugly have become beautiful!

So, think about your own sin and then think about His kindness, and let it break you and let it lead you to repentance.

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Romans 5: 6-8: “… in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 2 Corinthians 7:10: “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation,…”

Acts 17: 30-31: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” So, to receive this offer God made to you, you are called to repent, turn from sin and turn to God, trusting in Jesus alone for salvation. The Bible-God’s Word- teaches that anything added to trusting Jesus alone will not save you- it actually is an affront to God because He has already provided an all-sufficient gift of his only Perfect Guiltless Son to bear the shameful punishment & death of a criminal that sinners deserve. Then Jesus rose again, defeating death. “I Am the Way, the Truth, the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me,” Jesus said this in John 3:16. You must trust in Jesus alone for salvation…. the reason for Christmas!

Look, I know for some of you this is hard-reading, but it’s the truth. Please examine what I have said in the light of the Bible to make sure for yourself. I don’t know how long I have here, so I’m not wasting time or opportunities. Please consider this. There’s nothing more important than where you spend eternity, and you have read how to be saved.

The Beauty of Christmas-The Reason for Christmas- it is God’s greatest gift! With all sincerity and love.

We hope you have the most joyous of Christmases this year! We look forward to hear from you and we keep you in our prayers. Please enjoy these 4 free online movies. MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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You can’t just walk up to someone and tell them about Christ!

Recently I attended a men’s breakfast at a church and the speaker who was a pastor on staff was giving a message on leadership out of the book of Nehemiah.

Some of the points that he was trying to make was that the main focus of the church is Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

So far so good, I agree.

He mentioned that the book of the law was read and it brought such conviction of sin over the people that they repented. Nehemiah 8.

Again, I have no disagreement there.

Then in one fell swoop he mentioned that he and another pastor were exploring a ministry called Q Place http://www.qplace.com where you get to know a person and listen to them before sharing Christ. “You can’t just walk up to someone and tell them about Christ!”

That is a false teaching. My thoughts went to many scriptures and experiences in the Bible such as Moses, the Prophets (Samuel, Jonah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.), Kings, Jesus preaching repentance, Jesus sending out the disciples two by two, Jesus many open air sermons, Peter at Pentecost, Stephen before the council, Paul at Mars Hill, the apostles going to the synagogue and teaching there on the Sabbath.

Now I will agree that when speaking with a person, we do need to listen to them and to answer them. 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

I talked to the speaker after the breakfast and confronted him with the fact that a person has no need for Christ and His church until he sees himself as a wretched sinner in need of a God who can save him from the only problem they have. Sin!

He could not argue or deny that truth, yet his response was the oft spoken rebuttal, “Well, that’s your calling”. I thought the primary mission of the church was the great commission?

NOTE: This was reiterated by a Pastor of the same church in a message just recently – “You can’t make a disciple without having a relationship with your neighbor. You can’t make a disciple without having a friendship with your neighbor.

It seems as if the institutional church wants to yoke themselves to the world, believing that they can bring a person to Christ and they’ll eventually become a disciple. It’s not a biblical approach and a departure from a scriptural gospel. A person only becomes a disciple when they repent and believe the gospel. Then they’ll know why they need Christ and why they need the church.

Our Ambassadorship

I would like to reprint an excerpt from a book that a friend of mine wrote entitled The Ambassador’s Handbook (Available by emailing jesuswaytruthlife@startmail.com): Let’s look at what our ambassadorship does not involve:

  • We don’t try to draw the lost; that’s God’s job: John 6:44 – No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
  • We don’t try to convince their intellect that Christianity is true and all other pagan religions are false. This is a true statement, but it’s not our job to convince them; it’s the Holy Spirit’s job: John 16:8 – And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
  • We aren’t responsible to have an answer for every intellectual rabbit trail someone sends us on; the lost don’t have to first unlearn false beliefs and then learn Christianity. When the law humbles them they’ll have the fear of the Lord and then they’ll be capable and eager to listen to the gospel: Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Pro 16:6 …and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

Ro 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

(Keep in mind that I’m differentiating between preaching the gospel and defending the faith. If someone won’t hear the gospel, or you’ve already given it to them, you can still defend the faith by being salt and light by your words and deeds. Matthew 5:13-16, 1 Peter 3:15).

  • We aren’t responsible to convince them that they’re sinners; that’s the Holy Spirit’s job:

John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.

Ro 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.

  • We don’t ask them if they want to ‘receive Jesus Christ as their Savior’. ‘Receiving Christ’ as John 1:12 states is what happens to them when they’re saved; it’s not what’s required on their part to be saved – they must repent and place their faith in Christ by believing the gospel. By doing this they are saved and then they receive Christ.
  • We don’t ask them to make a ‘decision’ for Christ. They must ‘believe’ and ‘repent’ to be saved – which inherently requires making many ‘decision’s. If they decide intellectually, without repentance, they cannot be saved (Luke 13:3, 5, Ro 10:9-10).

End of Excerpt

At the beach.

I’d like to share a few experiences of “walking up to someone and telling them about Christ!” On Wednesday or Thursday evenings we’ll go down to the Milwaukee lakefront and walk up to people, handing out gospel tracts and listening to them talk about their favorite topic. Themselves!

3 Young Muslim Men

As we were walking in the parking lot, we found 3 young men and handed them gospel tracts. They were the Million Dollar Bill and they kind of chuckled. They were Saudi’s and students down at Marquette. They identified themselves as Muslims so I asked them to consider a man in front of a judge who was found guilty of raping a woman and then slitting her throat, would the judge let that person go based on his good works. “No way”, was their response.

I took the time to take them through the commandments and they admitted to being liars, thieves, blasphemers and adulterers at heart. I asked if when they stood before the judge (God), would he find them guilty or innocent? There was much in the way of, “well, this is what we believe”. I explained that they would be guilty because by His goodness, God much punish the evil doer and that they were deserving of hell, an eternal punishment.

I then took time to explain the difference between Islam and Christianity, between religion and relation, that God provided a way for them to be forgiven and have eternal life. I also explained, that the only way for their salvation, was through Jesus Christ, His death on the Cross, burial and resurrection and by putting their trust in Him, the perfect God/Man who kept the law perfectly where we fail. I also shared that they needed to repent, to turn away and forsake their sin and that they needed a new birth by the Spirit of God.

Now with Muslims, it usually will come up that “How can God die?”, so I explained to them that God did not die but the man, Jesus died but the spirit never dies.

These Muslim men were very respectful, we listened to one another. We exchanged thoughts with one another but most importantly the gospel was shared.

Carrie Alone in the Car

We came upon, Carrie sitting alone in her car and began a conversation. She explained that she was alone, getting older and her health was beginning to fade. She said that her son was offering her a place with his family but she didn’t want to be a burden on him.

We acknowledge all of that and suggested that perhaps she should be thankful and accept his generous offer.

We then switched to the spiritual and that really was the topic. Carrie had knowledge of God but it was more of a spiritual experience. She had some bible-speak, that’s what I’ll call it.

We were able to take Carrie through the law and the gospel and she received the words graciously.

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God is Good

So I was out for a walk today and saw an elderly man walking his dog.   I said hello and talked a bit about the weather.  I was thinking I wanted to talk to him about Christ, but I didn’t.  We said goodbye and I started walking quickly up the street.  I thought, when I get to the top of the street I can turn around and meet up with him again.  I said a short prayer to the Lord for words to say that the man needed to hear and for his heart to be open.  I thought I could ask him about his dog who was limping and walking very slowly; tell him about my sister’s dog being put to sleep last week; and then ask if he himself is ready to die?

Well, I got to the top of the street and looked down and he was not there.  I headed over to the next street and there he was at the bottom.  When I was near the man, I said hello again and asked what was wrong with his dog.  He said the dog was old and had a tumor and had been on a steady decline the last 3 years.  I told him that my sister just had to put down her dog recently.  Then the conversation went something like this.

I said, “speaking of death, are you ready to meet your creator when you die?  Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord?”
He said, “yes, I have heard that all before.”
“Oh, so have you repented and put your faith in Christ alone?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Yeah, then I’ll see you in heaven some day.”
“After seeing what goes on in this world, I’m sure I’ll be at the front of the line at the pearly gates.”
“Oh, are you trusting in your good works or what Jesus did?”
“What Jesus did, but I also live by the golden rule. That’s a good way to live.”
“Have you ever told a lie?”
“Yes, I’d probably call it a white lie.”
At this point the verse that came to mind was all liars take their place in the lake of fire.  But, I did not verbalize it.
(I need to count on God’s courage here.)
“Well, only Jesus lived the perfect life.”
“Yes, but I can’t believe the things that some people have done that are said to be Christians.”
“That’s why we need the Lord.”
“Are you a minister, maam?”
(I was thinking he meant a female pastor ) so I said “no, I’m just a Christian and I want everyone to go to heaven.”
“So you are an ambassador for Jesus Christ?”
“Yes.”
“Well, I’ll be praying for you and you be praying for me.”
“Okay, have a good afternoon.”

We parted ways and I was blessed.  – MJ

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Snow-blower Accident – What is the Loss, What is the Gain

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. – Acts 20:24

It was Thursday, January 16th, 4:15pm. I was snowblowing the driveway when it clogged. I lifted up the snowblower and dropped it on the ground several times to free the clog. On the third clog impatience and inconvenience took over as I reached over with my right hand to unclog it. I just tapped the top of the clog far way from the blades and in an instant it chomped off my index finger’s first knuckle and tore into my middle and ring fingers!

I screamed, “Lord, Lord!”, and ran inside to put it under cold running water. Mary Jean heard me scream from the driveway and knew it was serious. She came running into the kitchen screaming, “Jesus, Jesus! Help us!”

My brain, ever thinking its two main questions, “What is this?” and “What does it mean to me?” screamed, “How am I going to type for my living?!”

We called 911 and not wanting to wait started driving to the Falls hospital. The Falls police car came screaming towards us and MJ flagged him down. He said wait for the ambulance. It came and two paramedics took me inside and put an IV on me and took my blood pressure. They asked how I was and I said, “I’m fine; adrenalin is a wonderful thing!”

God’s grace was already at work! I felt no fear or pain, or anything lacking. I did recall God’s loving care for me and rested in the many truths from Scripture that the Holy Spirit brought to mind.

As we drove to Froedtert the paramedic typed continually on his laptop. We chatted a bit then there was some silence. I wondered what he was thinking about me. Perhaps it was, “Wow, this guy really hurt his hand; I wouldn’t want to be him!” I was thinking, “Wow, if he isn’t saved he’s headed for an eternity without Jesus Christ in hell; I wouldn’t want to be him!”

We made it to Freodtert and they put me on a gurney inside the garage. The young paramedic driver came around to the back and apologized, “Sorry for the bumpy ride.” I replied, “Oh, no problem! I didn’t notice. Never rode in an ambulance before.” He looked at me and said, “I could never be as courageous as you are!” I looked back at him replying, “It wasn’t me; that was God’s grace!” I get faint and queasy at the dentist.

They wheeled me to an operating room. The paramedics swung me onto the bed. I asked, “Is my coat here?” They said yes and he gave it to me. I said to them, “Hang on; before you go I have something for you.” They said they couldn’t take money. I said, “Oh, it’s better than that. Here’s a free ticket to heaven; hope to see you there!” The young driver said, “Oh, I’ve seen these before. Thanks!” The other one echoed his partner, “Thanks!”

They left and three nurses came in. They greeted me and I them, and I said, “I bet you’re here to give me a hand?” One laughed.

They got me hooked up with an IV and checked me out; any other pain? How does it feel? Etc. I felt great! The adrenalin was wearing off but God’s grace was still strong. They gave me a pain shot and took x-rays and I gave one of them a tract when they left. A bit later three young doctors came in. They discussed what to do and ended up deciding to operate right there in the room!

They left and then one came back to prep me. I thought the other two would come back for the surgery but the one guy did it all! Took two and a half hours. We chatted a while. A friend called and during the call I said, “Steve, can you believe it? I’m talking to you on the phone while having hand surgery and I feel no pain!” Quite amazing.

Mary Jean was on my left while the surgeon was on my right. We were praising the Lord, praying, and singing hymns.

At the end we thanked the surgeon and gave him a tract. He said thanks. The nurse came in and explained the meds. We gave her a tract and hoped to see her in heaven. The admin nurse came in and took our insurance info (we had just switched to Christian Healthcare Ministries- chministries.org) and we gave her a tract. The head of the Emergency Department came in to say hi and we gave him a tract. He said he wasn’t sure if he’d go to heaven when he died and as he walked out his professional demeanor changed to kind of a soft, somber, doubtful expression.

We left about 12:30am, went to Walgreens to get the drugs, then to Denny’s for an omelet, and arrived home at 2:00am. Ten days of disability started my healing, followed by exercises and physical therapy. Since then I’ve witnessed to several clerks when they saw my bandaged fingers and asked, “What happened to you?!” and others have asked, spurring conversations about eternal matters.

The first knuckle of my index finger is gone; my middle finger’s first joint’s bone was broken in eight places so they fused it and it won’t bend; and my ring finger’s nail bed was damaged but I’ll have full use of it, Lord willing. I guess now I’m officially an amputee, and I rejoice! I praise God for his love and grace and the faith He gave me throughout!

Some have asked me what was I thinking? I’ve thought about that and the answer is simple- the Bible; God’s Word!

So what were my choices of what to think and how to respond?
• I could complain but that would be like the murmuring Israelites after God rescued them.
• I could get angry at God for allowing it to happen. After all, if He’s a loving God He wouldn’t have let that happen. But I know that’s not true because He let His Son suffer and die on the cross and where was God then? Right were He was when He let me put my hand in the snowblower.
• I could reject the faith because He promised me an abundant life but that only happens to those who get preached the false prosperity gospel and aren’t truly born again because they ran to Jesus for a happy life instead of to escape the wrath to come (Ro 5:9) so they could be saved from their sins (Mat 1:21, Luke 5:32) and hell.
• I could have a pity party and feel sorry for myself but that’s deceitful fleshy thinking that’s selfish (Gen 4:5-7, Phil 2:3-4).
• I could feel less of a person now that I’m an amputee but that’s not true because believers are complete in the Christ Jesus! (Col 2:10)
• I could constantly look back and shake my head over my foolish mistake but it’s not wise to look to the past (Eccl 7:10).
• I could anxiously look to the future wondering how would I do my job and anything else that requires fingers but Jesus said to take no thought for tomorrow (Mat 6:31-32).
• I could look to God to speak to me personally and audibly but since His Word is complete I have everything I need to know! (2 Peter 1:3-4). God told us that Jesus has already spoken to us everything we need to live this life already in the Bible (Hebrews 1:1-2).

So I knew to walk in faith and not by sight or in the flesh, resting and waiting on him to strengthen me and give me the victory. As fleshy thoughts raced through my mind with the typical questions and statements I knew they were imaginations so I cast them down (2 Cor 10:3). I reckoned myself dead to the old man when tempting thoughts came (Ro 6:11).

Psalm 119:105 says, Thy word is a lamp unto thy feet and a light unto thy path. Romans 1:17 says the just shall walk by faith. Hebrews 11, that great chapter referred to as the Great Hall of Faith, twice in verses 2 and 39 says, “…the elders/and these all, having obtained a good report.” I wanted to give a good report and He was faithful!

I’m glad those verses dwelt richly in me (Col 3:16) through study and meditation (Ps 1;1-3, 2 Tim 3:16-17) because without them I would’ve been a wreck! But His Word of truth is my shield and buckler! (Ps 91:4b).

So I rejoice and thank God forevermore! (1 Thes 5:16, 18).

Bob

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. – Heb 11:1-2

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Do Ask – Don’t Tell

“And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

What an unusual opportunity. What would you say? While standing outside the booth at a local county fair this opportunity presented itself, so I told the young couple the gospel:

“God created this world and He is the standard of morality. If you have ever lied, stolen something, used God’s name in vain, Jesus said that whoever looks with lust commits adultery, and if you hate somebody then you have committed murder in the heart. God will judge us and find us guilty; however, God is rich in mercy and has provided a way for us to be saved. Jesus Christ, who is God in His fullness, became a man to suffer and take the punishment you deserve. What we must do is submit to God who has command us to repent and trust in Christ, and He will give us eternal life.”

After explaining the most wonderful news they would ever hear, their response was less than ecstatic. In fact, it seemed like they were not at all that concerned.

I asked them, “So, where do you think you will go when you die?”
They responded that they would probably go to heaven.

So I asked, “Why?”
They responded, “Because I’m a pretty good person.”

It was at this point that I realised how my presentation of the gospel was different from the way Jesus presented the gospel in Mark 10 and John 4. Instead of just explaining the gospel, He waited for them to respond. When the rich young ruler asked “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Jesus used the law to bring the knowledge of sin (“Thou knowest the commandments, Do not… do not… do not…”), but he also waited for the man to respond (“All these have I observed from my youth.”).

In John 4 Jesus used the the essence of the law (“Go, call thy husband, and come hither.”) to make the woman give a response (“I have no husband.”).

While presenting the gospel as a proclamation is a valid method, I would recommend being conversational when possible because it forces the listener to pay attention. Since the young couple at the fair claimed to be good people it was obvious that the law I had just presented was not taken to heart. At this point I started over, but waited for a response:

“If you consider yourself to be a good person do you mind if I ask a few questions to see if that is true?” (Wait for a response.)

How many lies do you think you have told in your life? (Wait for a response.)

What do you call someone who tells lies? (Wait for a response.)

Have you ever stolen something, or downloaded something you didn’t own the copyright to? (Wait for a response.)

What do you call someone who has committed theft? (Wait for a response.)

Jesus said that if you look with lust you have committed adultery in your heart. Would you be guilty of that? (Wait for a response.)

Have you ever used God’s name in vain? (Wait for a response.)

If God judged you according to those commandments, would you be innocent or guilty? (Wait for a response.)

Would you go to heaven or hell? (Wait for a response.)

After giving them the opportunity to respond to each question they now understood that they were not good according to the Bible, and they correctly responded that they would be destined for hell. Now that the law had shown they were about to perish, the gospel could show that they have a rescuer.

God is the source of all knowledge and wisdom. As we relay the knowledge that God has given us, let us be like Christ and remember to engage others in such a way that encourages understanding.

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Good Works – King and/or Kingdom

Recently a conversation was had involving the nature of the term outreach as used within the church.  The discussion viewed evangelism and outreach as one unit.  While I reject the premise that works must accompany, or, more accurately, precede our Gospel message in order to win us a hearing, it did get me thinking about the nature of outreach as a whole within the church.

As we focus on outreach two sides to the coin appear, the works associated with outreach to the poor, homeless, addicts, etc., and the pronouncement of the Gospel.  The idea is this: The Gospel points to Christ while works point to His Kingdom.  Alone the Gospel is effective at getting people into the Kingdom, but works alone are only effective at showing people a picture of a Kingdom they will never be allowed into.   Together they can both show you a picture of the glories of Christ’s coming Kingdom, and introduce you to the King.

Gospel witness on its own can be used of the Lord to change the hearts and minds of the hearers.  Faithful men and women on the streets proclaiming good news to all who would humble themselves, repent, and turn to the one true God and redeemer of mankind Jesus Christ.  To believe on Him, His work on the cross, and His resurrection sets a person free from the bondage of sin and death.  This message must be spread, pray that God sends more laborers.

Mark 16:15-16- “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

On the other side of the coin which the church calls ‘outreach’ is the realm of good works.  People helping feed the poor, clothing the naked, and administering to the needs of the community.  Now we need to further break this down into two categories as well.  The works associated with helping the Christian community locally and around the world by feeding, clothing, and teaching them, but this is rarely called outreach.  (While it may fall under missions this is not normally what we are talking about when discussing outreach.)  Then there is the works associated with the unbelieving community any one church finds themselves in.  The needs can be very similar, the difference is just in who is receiving the help.

This meeting of needs can be seen in Jesus’ feeding of the masses, as there were no doubt both believers and unbelievers were present, but even this feeding is preceded by His teaching, “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34), and we know what His message is because Matthew 4:17 tells us, “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

In the context of Christians helping Christians, the message is obvious to everyone.  Christ takes care of His own through the means of His own, or probably a more common thought to the unbeliever is that we take care of our own.  The message received through works aimed at the community are similar, but creates a different picture.  While some may take the leap and say works show that Christ takes care of the world, this idea, although true on some level, when talking about outreach sounds an awful lot like universalism.

Another issue is that anyone can do works.  It does not take a relationship with Christ to do works, and the idea that our motivation matters is only true in regards to our own spiritual benefit.  As far as those receiving the help, they could care less whether you were an atheist, Buddhist or Mormon, and if you do not make clear that you are a slave to the Lord Jesus Christ they are in no way going to glean that from your motivation.

Combining these two becomes an effective tool to both make disciples for the Kingdom and help the needs of those around us today.  This action accompanied by a strong Gospel message becomes a powerful testimony of both a Kingdom coming and the cost of admittance.  Gospel witness on its own is necessary and more should engage in it, but works on their own tell us only of what cannot be had by the unbelievers who are served, leaving them with no understanding on how one receives it.

Jesus gives us a picture of this in Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Again, works point to a place, whereas Gospel witness points to a Person.  Works tell of the glories of a Kingdom to come with no poor, no needs, no hunger, where “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).  This place is more amazing than can be described, and our works providing physical needs here on earth in many cases are an attempt to point to that reality.  While it is an amazing thing to point people to, if it is not accompanied by any sort of message it can mean nothing to them.

Even with a message people are confused as to what the purpose of the works are.  This is seen all throughout Jesus ministry.  He preached repentance and the forgiveness of sins, healed the sick, and the people continually missed the point.”Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” (John 6:26-27)

The government provides more free food then any charity around, and no one claims they are pointing to Christ and His Kingdom.  So when the church does the same without a Gospel witness, they are pointing to a Kingdom that the unbelievers will never see, and have no way of getting in to.  You may have the motivation of the Love of Christ behind your good works, and you may see this as bringing a bit of the Kingdom to the earth, but without the message of the Kingdom neither do those you serve understand what you are doing nor do they ever get to take part in the image you are portraying.

To contrast that picture, the Gospel points to a Person, the God/Man Jesus Christ the one who is King of that Kingdom.  The Gospel is not just a picture of the Kingdom to come it is the key to get in.  It is a personal relationship with the King Himself.  When we bear witness to the glories of Christ in the Gospel we show a true picture of the Love of God, and invite the needy in this world to be rich in the next.

The Gospel is always the central message.  While the “pillars” of the church reminded Paul to “remember the poor” it was only in the context of going to the gentiles with the Gospel, Galatians 2:9-10- “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.”

Paul shows us this in many of his letters as he travels his goal is always, “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation” (Romans 15:20), and while he did do acts of charity and support we see the support going back to fellow believers, “For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God” (2 Corinthians 9:12).

Works are amazing pictures of the Kingdom to come, and attached to a Gospel presentation they prove powerful witnesses to both the Love of God in the Cross of Christ and the provision of God in His yet future Kingdom.  So alone the Gospel gets you into the Kingdom, but alone works can only show you locked gates with no explanation as to how to enter.

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Religious Burial and Funeral versus the Guarantee of Salvation

As we stood over the casket of a relative who had died, the Catholic Priest invited the burial service attendees who have been lifelong Catholics to spray the casket of the deceased with baptismal water to complete the promise that baptism brings one into the kingdom of God. There was an admonition to remember the loved one in our prayers and to say future masses for the deceased.

I respectfully declined to participate in the ritual. I thought how sad to never know the assurance of our heavenly Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, that we may have eternal life without all pomp and circumstance.

I also thought how sad that people put their trust in a religious system versus the Word of the True and Living God.

Is there is a place called purgatory where I can be purged and enter heaven?

Religion hopes for a second chance. You can see it in many different religions. The hope for reincarnation where I’ll either be rewarded or go down a notch on the evolutionary scale but given another chance.

Or no matter what road you take all paths lead to heaven. Everyone gets to go don’t you know?

Or purgatory where even though I’ve been sinful in this life, God will perfect me with a refining fire. It won’t be fun, but once I’m done I can enter into eternal glory.

God’s Word offers Another Story

Hebrews 9: 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Yes the person in the casket is dead and as soon as they passed they were standing before the Judge of the entire universe which He created. What do you think the person offered as the reason that they should be allowed into heaven? I’m a good person. Well I went to church every week. I took mass every week. What would you offer?

The Bible makes a very clear distinction in Matthew 25: 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

There are only two options. No second chance.

How Does One Earn Eternal Punishment?

There are many scriptures that are very clear about this.

1 Corinthians 6:Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? BE NOT DECEIVED (emphasis added): neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Revelation 21:But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Do you see any sins on this list that you are guilty of? Do you still believe that you are a good person?

Mark 10: 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

We can see plainly from scripture that only God is good. We are not.

But How Does One Get Made Right in the Eyes of a Just and Holy God?

Matthew 25:46 also very clearly states that only the righteous enter into eternal life.

Revelation 21: He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

How do I overcome? How can I be right in the eyes of God?

Romans 3 has a tremendous explanation on the law (rituals and good deeds) versus faith in Christ.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

You Don’t Need to Go to Mass Every Sunday. Christ Doesn’t Need to be Offered on a Altar Again. The Father Offered Him Once for All!

Hebrews 9: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Jesus finished the work of salvation at the cross. Repent of your sins (be in agreement with God that you are sinful and forsake your sins), put your trust in Him and you will have eternal life.

John 5: 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Can You Trust What is Written in the Bible and Know that YOU Can Have Eternal Life?

John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

In closing please just let me add, for anyone practicing religion, I would rather you read this and be angry with me than having you love me for being silent while not sharing the truth. Amen

P.S. Here is a helpful site that speaks the truth in love to Catholics: http://proclaimingthegospel.org/

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Today’s Briefing has Been Canceled

Our team gathers together for a briefing about twice a month at an off-site location. Today was no different. People had already started arriving from across the state to discuss and prepare for an upcoming event.

Just prior to the briefing start time we get a short e-mail, “There is an all employee conference downtown in 20 minutes.”

That is a very short time frame to alert ‘all employees’ of a conference, plus they know many of us can’t make it because we are off-site.

A few minutes later we get another short e-mail, “Briefing has been canceled.”

It was at that point where phone calls started coming in, and everything changed from a normal day to an unforgeable day. The meeting downtown was to inform everyone that our assistant team leader was found dead today. The details are still unknown, but he was young and in top physical condition.

Today we can mourn, because death is an enemy. God created a world that was ‘very good’ and without sin or death. It was man who disobeyed God and brought physical death into God’s very good creation. But it is God who raises the dead, and provided a way for us to inherit eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:21-28). It is our iniquity that cause us to die, but it is by God’s grace that we receive eternal life without works (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Why would God let someone die who was so young and has done so much good for our community? It is God who gives life to all things (1 Timothy 6:13), and it is God who ordains when the hours of our life will end (Psalm 139:13-16). We have all broken God’s commands, and therefore we all deserve the penalty for sin: death (Romans 6:23). No amount of good works in this life can change the days God has appointed for you. Yet we can find comfort in that God is in control.

If the Lord wills (James 4:13-15) let us continue to teach the glorious gospel, that God requires a repentant heart and faith in the Lord Jesus.

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