Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Life In Christ-Living a New Life With A New Power And New Desires

Have you been born again? When a person comes to Christ in repentance and faith, he or she becomes a new creature in Christ. He or she is learning to live a new life in a new way, with a new heart, and the power of God to say 'no' to sin and 'yes' to righteousness.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Monday, November 14, 2016

There Is No Other Way Out Besides Taking Hold of The Rope

  Let's imagine a situation where there are many people stuck in a deep pit. There really is no way out for them. Most of them want to get out and some have tried to get out by climbing the sides or by coming up with clever ideas. But nothing works. People are still stuck in there. Unless there is some kind of outside intervention, these people will never be out of the pit. They will die there.

  But let's imagine that a rope appears. There is a place on the bottom so that the people can grasp the rope and hang onto it. So one by one, each person gets an opportunity to take hold of the rope. The rope pulls them out of the pit. They were helpless and could not rescue themselves, no matter what kinds of ideas they came up with or how strong and determined they really were.

  One difficulty about holding onto the rope was that the person could not take anything with him or her. Whatever the person had while he or she was in the pit had to stay behind. The person could not hold onto the rope and something else at the same time. It would be hard to leave things behind but if it meant getting out of the pit then it would be worth it, no matter how difficult it was to leave behind.

   This is much like our relationship with God. We are all in the pit of sin and darkness. We might not think we are in darkness, but the Bible says that we are all sinners and we all need to be saved from our sins, and from the wrath of God who will destroy sin and those who do not repent of their sins.

  Just as the rope was the only way out of the pit, Jesus is the only way out of the kingdom of Darkness. There is no other way. We cannot be good enough to go to heaven. Even if we produced thousands of good works in our life times, that would never erase the debt of sin that we have before a holy God. But, God sent His Son to die in our place, for our sins. Two thousand years ago, Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life without sinning, died a horrible death, not for anything He had done, but for all the wrongdoing we had done. He is the only way to heaven. We must believe on Him and repent of our sins. We must believe in His death on the Cross for our sins. We must turn to God and trust Him to cleanse us from all our sins. When we are clean from our sins, we can stand before a holy God and not be eternally punished for our sins.

   Jesus died for our sins. He was buried in a tomb. Then, He arose from the dead. He is alive today and will return to earth to take with Him those who belong to Him. Do you know Him yet? This is the time to come to Him. Turn from your self-centered life and trust in Him. He will give you a new heart that is filled with His love. He will help you love and forgive others who have offended you. He will give you power to live a holy life.

   Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me." John 14:6.
   "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 2:5

It's like God gives out the rope. You and I can take hold of it. Jesus is the only way out of the pit. If we don't take the rope, we will never leave the pit. Please consider this serious matter before you go to sleep tonight. Tomorrow could be too late.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Innocent is Killed, While The Guilty One Goes Free

The crowd went wild. "We want Barabbas!" they yelled out. Pilate gave them the choice. Either he could let Jesus go free, or someone else could go free. The crowd didn't want Jesus to go free. When they were asked, "What should I do with Jesus, who is called the Christ?", the crowd answered "Crucify Him". 


Barabbas was a notorious prisoner, who was sentenced to a cruel execution by crucifixion. While Barabbas was awaiting his sentence, Jesus of Nazareth was also brought to trial. Only the authorities could not find any thing to sentence Him with. Pilate wanted to set Jesus free, but the crowd insisted that He die. An offer was made by the authorities to set a prisoner free. When the crowd was asked who should be set free from his penalty, the crowd answered 'Barabbas". "We want Barabbas", they continually shouted. Imagine, choosing a notorious convict who made have even hurt your own family! Jesus didn't do anything wrong, but the crowd insisted that He must die. Jesus was innocent. Barabbas got to go free.
Friend, we are all Barabbases. We might not be a notorious murderer, but we have all turned against God and wanted our own way instead of His. Barabbas goes free. Jesus is crucified. But why?
Several significant things happened when Jesus was being killed on a cross made of wood. For about 3 hours, the whole atmosphere turned dark. God, the Father, was putting the sins of all of us on His Son. He was taking the penalty for our sins that we deserved. If Jesus were to be set free during that court session, He would not have taken our sins upon Himself.
The Bible says that "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
Jesus' last words were 'It is finished". He was done with taking the punishment for our sins. Now we can go free, if we want freedom from sin and its consequences. Barabbas went free from having to die the death by crucifixion. Jesus died so we won't have to spend eternity in hell.
Jesus was buried in a tomb. But He didn't stay dead. He rose from the dead, and was seen alive by many people. He ascended back up to heaven, and will come again to judge the world and to take with Him those who belong to God.
The question for all of us is, do you belong to God? Do you have a relationship with Him? Have you come to Him to receive forgiveness of your sins? Have you trusted in Jesus to be your Savior from sin, and from the punishment that God will pour out on every person who does not respond to Him?

Friday, February 20, 2015

What Is The Gospel And Why Do We Need It?

What is the Gospel? According to the Bible*, it is:

1. Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.
2. He was buried.
3. He rose again on the 3rd Day according to the Scriptures.

  You might be asking, what does that have to do with anything? Why is it important?

  From the time Adam and Eve first disobeyed God, sin required something to have to die. An animal was usually killed to cover over sins (animal blood itself could not take away sins, but the animal's blood would cover sin).

  The animal was normally a lamb. Today we do not kill lambs to cover over our sins. But a sacrifice is still required. Why? For the same reason. Something has to die for our sin. Our sin requires death from someone or something. If our sin is not covered, we will die for our sins. Sin affected us physically, and spiritually. We are spiritually dead in our sins.

   Two thousand years ago, Someone did die for our sins. This person never sinned or did anything wrong. This person did not have to die for His sins, because He didn't have any. But we needed someone to die in our place, so our sins could not only be covered, but God says He will remove our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. He also says that even though our sins are as scarlet, they will be made white as snow**.

    When Jesus was walking on this earth, John the Baptist pointed Him out and called Him, 'The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" *** . Jesus died for our sins. All of our sins were placed upon Him when He was dying on a rugged Cross. He died a terrible death so we would have the opportunity to turn to Him and be set free from the penalty and power of sin.

  For three hours, darkness covered the whole earth. Just before He died, some of the last words Jesus said were, "It is finished" meaning that the sacrifice that was necessary to pay for our sins was now accomplished. A heavy curtain was torn in two, which separated the Holy of Holies from the people. Because God's presence was in this place, no one could go in there, except a priest to bring an offering before God. Now the way to God was made open to people, because of Jesus' death on the Cross. Now, every sin we have ever committed or will commit has been placed upon Jesus and will be taken away from us if we repent and turn to God.

  It is not enough to know all this, as important as this is. We must individually act upon it and respond to it, or it will do us no good.

   We respond to it by turning away from selfishness and living for ourselves, and we turn to God in repentance and faith in what Jesus did on the Cross for us. We do not have to sacrifice lambs today in order for our sins to be covered, but we do have to turn to Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins.

   Here are two lies people believe in today, concerning the Gospel. Please take notice for many will argue about the need to turn to God in repentance and faith.

Two lies:
1. God is all-loving and will not send people to hell.
2. I am a good person, and will go to heaven when I die because I am not bad.

   First of all, God is love. His love is so great that He sent His Son to earth to pay for our sins. That is the greatest manifestation of love that exists. But He did this because He must punish sin. Either your sin will be punished by spending eternity in hell, or, by Jesus death on the Cross. God does not spare the world of punishment for sin.

   The Bible is clear that no one is good. No human being is good enough to go to heaven. Only Jesus lived a perfect life with never sinning. Even if we only committed one sin in our lives, it would be serious enough for God to punish it. But we sin continually because our fabric is made up of a sinful heart and nature. Only God can give us the power to say 'no' to sin, and 'yes' to righteousness.

God is merciful to us and does not want anyone to go to hell. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Have I ever told a lie?
2. Have I ever taken something that doesn't belong to me?
3. Have I ever looked with lustful intent on someone whom I am not married to?
4. Have I ever taken God's name in vain?
5. Have I ever loved something more than I loved God?
6. Have I ever wanted something more than I wanted God?
7. Do I let God have complete control over my life, or do I want to be my own boss and call the shots?
8. Have I ever hated anyone?
9. Have I ever been angry with someone because they didn't do what I wanted them to do?
10. Have I ever told others something untrue or stretched about someone else?
11. Have I always honored my father and mother, or my guardians?
12. Who am I living for; God or myself?
13. Have I ever had an abortion?
14. Have I ever had a sexual relationship outside of marriage?
15. Is God precious to me, and do I talk about Him and show my love for Him in the things I say and by the way I live out my life?

There are many more questions we can ask ourselves to see if we really are without sin, but this is a start.

Here is the url to a video that deals with the two lies people believe. It is a worthwhile video to watch.
Two Of The Scariest Lies On Earth Right Now

* 1 Corinthians 15:3,4
** Isaiah 1:18
*** John 1:29

Any questions or comments are welcome. Also, please send an email for more information on the Gospel if interested. Send to: awestruck@bellsouth.net





Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Born Once, Die Twice; Born Twice, Die Once

  Born once, die twice; born twice, die once. What does that mean?
 
  When you were born, you had a physical birthday. You were born to a mother who gave physical birth to you. That is the first birth.

   Jesus said to a man named Nicodemus, 'You must be born again.' What does it mean to be born again? Nicodemus wanted to know too.

   Being born again doesn't mean coming out of your mother's womb a second time. It is talking about a spiritual birth.

   Every living person has a physical birth, but not every person has a spiritual birth. Being born a second time is called, being 'born again'. It is a spiritual birth.

   Every living person will die one day. If the person is not 'born again' he will face God's judgment. He will go to a place called 'hell' to live forever. This is called the 'second death'. The physical death is the first death. That is why a person who is born once (only the physical birth) will die twice. Once a physical death, and then the second death.

   Every living person will die and meet God. If the person has been 'born again', he will enter heaven and live with God forever. He will not face the 'second death'. His only death will be physical. He will only die one time.

  Born once, die twice pertains to those who have rejected the salvation that was provided by God through the death of His Son on the cross, around 2,000 years ago. They have one physical birth, yet two deaths; one physical, and the other spiritual.

  Born twice, die once pertains to those who have come to Christ and who have turned from their sins and trusted in Jesus Christ to save them from sin. They have both a physical and spiritual birth, and they will only die a physical death.

  Have you trusted in God's Son, Jesus Christ, to take the punishment for your sins? If not, you can repent right now, and turn to Him. You can trust in Jesus Christ as the One who took the punishment or payment for your sins. Either you will have to pay the price for your sins in hell, forever, or, you can turn to God and trust in His provision for the forgiveness of your sins, by trusting in Jesus Christ as the One who can save you from sin. There are only 2 choices. The response is up to you. Please send an email to RUgood@mail.com  or leave a comment in the comment box if you have questions or want more information.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bad News, Good News

Don't give up when you hear the Bad News. Keep reading to find the Good News.

Here's the bad news: " Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
But here's the good news (if you are in Christ) " And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 ESV  If you are not in Christ yet, you can be. If God is working in your heart, He will help you turn from your sins and trust in Him! Let God work in your heart today. For more help see http://test4gp.wordpress.com
If you have questions, please send an email to RUgood@mail.com
We will be glad to help you!

Are you good enough for heaven?
How good do you have to be?
Go to www.thegoodtest.net
and take the test to see!

Remember that any score less than 100% means failure. That's bad news! But the good news is that we don't have to get into heaven on our own score. We can get in on Somebody else's score. Someone did score 100%. You won't get in on your score. You have to have a perfect score to get in!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Devil's Two Lies

   In the Bible, Jesus has a lot to say about the devil. He describes the devil as a thief and murderer. Another description of the devil is the 'Father of Lies'. "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's ... When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44 NIV). But why is this important to know? 
  There are times in the Bible where we can see the devil lying, such as the time he tricked Eve into disobeying God by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God had instructed Adam and Eve about what they could eat in the Garden of Eden. Eve was by herself when the devil came up to her and asked her, "Did God really say that you should not eat of any tree of the Garden?" Eve told him that they could eat of any tree, but not of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If they did, she continued to tell him, they would die. The devil came in and said "You won't die. You will be like God...." Eve considered and fell for the lie. Sad. Ever since that time, people have had hardship and difficulty in life. That was when sin entered the world. Eve took the fruit. Adam came along and joined in and ate as well. The first murder that took place was with their children! A couple of generations down the road, the Bible says that man was so wicked, that he was inventing ways of being evil! Then came the great flood that destroyed the world, except 8 people. You can read about this event starting in Genesis chapter 6 in your Bible.
  What are the two big lies that the devil tells people today? He has told people these same lies down through the centuries, ever since Adam and Eve sinned against God that day in the Garden. 
   The first lie is this; "You are basically a good person." Or another way of looking at this lie is, "You are not a bad person". A lie that the devil also tells that goes along with these two lies (which are both sides of the same coin) is that, "God loves you and He doesn't send people to hell that He loves. Therefore, you won't go to hell because He loves you." 
   One thing that is interesting about the devil's lies is that it is almost always mixed with half-truths. It is true that God loves us. But that doesn't mean that people won't be punished in hell! God's love made a way for us to not have to go to hell, but we have to respond to that. 
   The second lie is this; "You are so bad that God can't forgive you." Or, "You are so bad that God won't forgive you." This lie is directed toward people who understand that they have sinned against a holy God. They know that God will punish sin, but they don't understand the power of the Cross. What is the power of the Cross? 
   During the days of the Old Testament time period, God instructed His people to offer the blood of animals to cover over their sin (this is called 'atonement'). The animal was usually a lamb. The offering was called a sacrifice. People would slaughter a lamb and offer the lamb's blood as a covering for their sins. Lambs were continually being offered because people were always sinning. Acts of sin are committed when we break the 10 Commandments. We break the Commandments because we are born with selfish, sinful hearts. Ever since Eve listened to the devil in the Garden, and took the forbidden fruit, people have been born with sinful, self-centered hearts that don't love God. Because we don't love God, we are always breaking the 10 Commandments. We need our sins atoned for (covered).
   The blood of the Lambs could only cover our sins, but God did something amazing. Two thousand years ago, God sent His Son to live on earth. He lived in the Middle East and He never sinned. He had a cousin named John the Baptist who one day exclaimed, "Look! There is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!" That would be an interesting way to talk about your cousin! But this was a situation like no other one. Jesus lived for about 33 years, and never sinned. He went about doing good and helping people. He healed people who were sick and raised up people who had died. He fed people with a lot of food that multiplied from just a couple of fish and loaves of bread! But one thing He did that no other person could do, was to die a terrible death in order to take the place of people who were sinners. Cruel people brought Him to court and told lies about Him. Many people wanted Him dead. He could have been acquitted, but He died in your place and my place for our sins. 
  When He was dying on the Cross (crucifixion), God the Father put His punishment for us, on His Son. All of our sins were placed on Jesus. He died a terrible death. He did this so that we wouldn't have to spend eternity in hell. That is why He is called, "The Lamb of God". But now it is different. You and I do not have to kill lambs when we sin. Jesus died once for all. He doesn't have to die again for our sins! That action provided the power of God to forgive all our sins. 
    After Jesus died that terrible death, He was buried. But this death was different than any other one. You see, He didn't stay dead! He arose from the dead. He walked around with some of the disciples during this time and gave them more instructions. Then He went back up to heaven, while the disciples stood there watching! He is going to come back to earth for those who belong to Him, and He will judge the people who don't know Him. Those people will spend eternity in hell. But those who know Him will be in heaven.
   Don't let the devil lie to you. Every person has sinned against God. Sin is serious and God will punish sinners. On the other hand, your sin is not so great that God cannot forgive you of your debt. I encourage you to consider what I have written here. Before you put your head on your pillow tonight, please make things right between you and God. Turn away from your sin and selfishness, and turn to God. Trust in what Jesus did on the Cross for you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Send an email to RUgood@mail.com  or if you have any comments please write them below.