True Joy

All of us want to have a Happy New Year. But for most of us, it seems like 2024 is just like a stick of dynamite that could blast off at a moment's notice. The video below by Bethy is a great object lesson for us adults as well as the kids in her video class. That happiness balloon is ready to go bang! Happiness is a real emotion that we can capture. There will be happy times ahead but how do we keep that happiness going non-stop? We can't....we must recognize that we live in a fallen world and that we are not in heaven yet. It is unrealistic to think that we can somehow find fulfillment in this world. Jesus said that in this world we would have tribulation. Ok there goes the world's promises to somehow give us what only God can provide. We will always find disappointment in life. We will never wake up any day and find life without problems. Life is bittersweet. The world gives us promises and expectations but they are far from perfect. They disappoint sooner or later. Jesus said that we should stop chasing happiness in this world. It's like trying to catch a butterfly without...

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5 Warnings for Christmas

God became a man and added a new nature so that He could identify with us and die for us. The Incarnation is the placement of the Seed of God into the human flesh of Mary - how remarkable! She gave birth to a Child who was born from above by the power of the Holy Spirit. His name is Jesus and He came in fulfillment of many promises spoken throughout the history of Israel. He is the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Christ. Nothing in the history of mankind can surpass this amazing decision by God to enter our world as a human being without giving up any of His Deity. What an awesome intervention into the affairs of mankind. He came so that we might believe in Him and receive eternal life. Without Him, we will die in our sins. He is our only Blessed Hope to heaven. By trusting in Jesus Christ, we can be born again and receive new birth into the family of God. How much does God love us that He would send His only Son so that we can believe in the meaning of Christmas and have eternal life? Without Christmas, we have no Savior, we have no...

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You Must Be Born Again

If we must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must understand what it means to be born again. Nothing is more important! All of us hopefully want to go to heaven. We do not want to leave this question fuzzy or gray in our minds. God wants to make it clear. But, we must be open to the Holy Spirit to make it a reality. That requires humility, honesty and an openness to change (repentance). All of us, of course, have been born the first time, we are human beings. But what about the second time? There must be a second time. The first time we were born was in the flesh as R.C. Sproul teaches in the video below. We celebrate our birthdays and rightfully so. We are made in God's image and likeness, we are a gift from God. However, we are born into Original Sin and since no sin is ever allowed into the kingdom of heaven, we need to remove the sin as the first step. There is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood according to the Bible taught in countless verses  (Hebrews 9:22). All fall short of the glory of God, all have sinned, all will die in their...

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God’s Destination for Your Life

Did you know that we don't belong here? The Bible says that we are aliens and strangers to this world (1 Peter 2:11). We belong in heaven. This world is simply a means to an end. This world is finite, we belong in an infinite world. This world is passing away but the next world is eternal. Our current bodies will perish but our new bodies will be imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:42). This world is imperfect but God's world is perfect. God desires to prepare us for the transition from death to life. When Israel was saved from Egypt and delivered from the oppression of Pharaoh, God gave them a destination. They didn't belong in Egypt. They belonged in the Promised Land. All of that is in God's Word to help us understand that this world is a desert and it is not our final destination. We are pilgrims on our way to a better land. During the time in the desert, the Holy Spirit was the divine GPS who led Moses and His people for 40 years. A cloud moved them by day and fire in a cloud moved them by night. We are called by God to be led by the Holy Spirit...

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Merry Christmas!

Somehow, the greeting "Merry Christmas" began to fade from the Christmas conversation several years ago. Now, there is a wavering about using the term Christmas at all. Some like "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" or some just want to call it a "Winter Holiday" or another December holiday. There are some very interesting facts concerning the History of Christmas at History.com. The truth is that the vast majority miss the true meaning of Christmas. John MacArthur gives six reasons why in his excellent article titled "Why Do So Many People Miss the Real Meaning of Christmas?" As you go through the next two months, you will interact with many family and friends. They perhaps need help to appreciate the awesomeness of that day. Christ who is God came into this earth as a baby to save the entire world from their sins. Jesus means "Savior". Christmas is the centerpiece of human history. Even our calendar is BC and AD before and after Christ. The Incarnation is Divine Intervention. Our Creator joined His creation to make us fit for heaven. It is the most significant RESCUE ever imagined. Much like Seal Team Six coming to save helpless victims from death, Christ has come to deliver us all from...

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Righteousness, Self Control and The Judgment to Come

On October 8, 2023, Pastor Gary Hamrick delivered a 30 minute message on Righteousness, Self Control and the Judgment to Come. Pastor Hamrick is preaching from Acts 24:22-27. Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs. Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison. At this particular juncture in the Bible, Paul is going through a series of defenses following his arrest in Jerusalem. His life is on the line. What would you say if...

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Am I Good? (Understanding Original Sin)

The answer to this question depends on our relationship to Christ. Connected to Christ, we are good. Disconnected, we are not. A good illustration would be the branch of a tree. Christ is the Tree of Life and all the branches connected to Him are good and fruitful. Jesus said "I am the vine and you are the branches". Christians are connected to Christ and remain or abide in Christ by faith. As we obey Him, we produce fruit just like a natural branch. But, of course we are talking about the supernatural Fruit of the Holy Spirit. The answer to the goodness question depends on where we have placed our faith (our connection). I am the vine: you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit,...

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The Cult of Scientology

Scientology falls under the umbrella of Syncretism which we reviewed in a previous message. There are not many spokes in a wheel that all lead to God. Many religions claim to represent God but do not. If a religion teaches a "truth" that directly contradicts the Bible, both cannot be true at the same time. 2+2 cannot equal any other number but 4. Christianity is built on the Truth that Jesus Christ is God and no one can reach heaven except through His forgiveness freely given at the cross. Salvation is a GIFT not a reward for human effort or religious performance. God's love cannot be earned by being good enough. God's love is undeserved, unmerited and unconditional. All other religions require human effort (conditions) to satisfy God. The problem is that no human effort whatsoever will ever be sufficient. Only Christ is good, only Christ is sufficient, only Christ is worthy. We receive that righteousness of Christ by abandoning self and trusting in Christ for everything we need to please God the Father. No one will be declared righteous in the sight of God by keeping the law (Romans 3:20). Only Christ kept the law. Christians are not guilty of breaking the...

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Skepticism

Skepticism - doubt as to the truth of something   Why do most people believe that the Bible is not true? Why do most people dismiss miracles? There are two worlds in God's eyes - natural and supernatural. According to Romans 1, God states that they both exist and that the natural world should lead us to the supernatural. Another way to say it would be that the visible world should lead us to accept the reality of the invisible world. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so the people are without excuse (Romans 1:20).  Theologians call this General Revelation. We can see the world every day as the product of God's handiwork. Creation reveals that there must be a Creator. Both worlds are real. But, if we deny the existence of God and choose to accept only the natural world, it will bring disaster to any unbelieving individual or nation. Truth is Light and Truth is God. To deny the Truth is to place a blindfold over our eyes and act like we are ok. All of us were skeptics at some time before we came to...

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Charge the Sin to Me

What if all the sins you ever committed in the past and all the sins you will commit in the future are placed on Jesus Christ instead of you? That is exactly what happened when Christ sacrificed His life on the cross for your sins and the sins of the world. He died for you personally and made one full payment once and for all for all sins for all time. The Sacrifice was perfect and that is why no future sacrifices including yours and mine cannot add to or improve upon what Christ has already done. Our sins are Paid in Full. We owe a debt we cannot pay and He paid a debt He did not owe. The payment was His Blood. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22). The Hebrews understood this well. A lamb was sacrificed in Egypt at the Exodus to enable the Passover. The blood on the doorpost of the house saved those inside from the angel of death who killed all without the blood. That lamb symbolized the ultimate Lamb, Jesus Christ. All who believe place His Blood on the doorposts of their hearts and are saved from death. Sin must be paid...

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Syncretism

What is Syncretism and how is it part of "The Collapse of the World System"? Pastor Jack Graham delivers a powerful message on this topic in the video below. Syncretism is the mixture of all religions that are not Christian. At the end of time, Christ is coming to save all who have placed their faith in Him. All others will not be saved. That is true because the only way for our sins to be removed is through faith in Jesus Christ as the payment for our sins. All other religions have faith elsewhere. Jesus said that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no one could come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). That verse alone tells us that apart from Christ, we are lost. Let's look at this very important issue in three ways. 1. Christ Missing or Insufficient Any religion that does not see Christ as God and Man as the Lord and Savior of the world is not Christian. Christianity is built on Christ alone as the Author and Finisher of our faith. Christ is the Cornerstone and Foundation of Life. Apart from Him, there is salvation in no other name (Acts 4:12). Jesus said in John...

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God Has Declared You Righteous

We can live in God's righteousness and forsake all attempts to be righteous by striving to be good enough. God desires that we live in righteousness day by day through faith in the finished work of Christ placing no trust in our own goodness. We simply cannot be good enough for God by any means other than Christ. Paul said that he considered his own righteousness rubbish compared to the righteousness of God that comes from God by faith. (Philippians 3: 7-10) If anybody could have been saved by being good enough, it was Paul. But he preached grace knowing that not one single person could keep the law and earn their way to heaven (Romans 3:20). Righteousness is a GIFT that we receive by faith not based on any human effort.  For those of us who are trying hard to earn God's approval. We will never get it! God declares us righteous because of all the righteous things that Christ has done for us not because of what we have done for God. Christ's Perfect Sacrifice cannot be improved. Jesus said from the cross "It is Finished". We cannot add anything to what Christ has done. What needs to be done has been done. We have been...

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Antichrist

If we are in the End Times, the Antichrist is either already here or will arrive soon. How are we to respond? Greg Laurie gives a wonderful message on this topic in the video below. According to Greg, Christians will be raptured before the Antichrist arrives so that is an extremely urgent reason to turn to Christ and be saved from all the turbulence that will in fact come upon the world. Today is the anniversary of 9/11. Those of us who were alive to experience that terrible day have memories of where we were and how we felt. But that day will pale in comparison to the end of the world which comes with Armageddon. Greg describes that Day in his message. The teachings on Antichrist are all over the Bible. We don't know when many things will happen, but we do know a lot about how they will happen. Prophecies are clearly spoken in the Old Testament in just about every book, especially the prophets. God knows the future and He reveals the Truth to help us be prepared. These warnings are given to emphasize that we need a Savior. After all, the opposite of the antichrist is Christ. The Answer to the Antichrist is Christ....

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Foolishness

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 26:12 The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. For since in the wisdom of God the world in its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. As we look at these verses, it is apparent that God's wisdom and man's wisdom are two different things. Man without God certainly has wisdom, but it is deficient. Man without God has eyes that cannot see unless God reveals true wisdom to him. Man has ears to hear but cannot hear unless God opens the ears to understand God. Man can be blind and deaf spiritually if the Holy Spirit is not inside that person to empower him or her. So how do we get the help of the Holy Spirit? Answer: Faith in Christ. What...

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Remember Lot’s Wife!

Much is being said these days about End Times. Are we living in the days when we will see Christ return? What are some guidelines to follow? This question was asked by the Pharisees in the verses below, "when is the kingdom of God coming?" We are essentially asking the same question when we wonder about the End of the World. Here are some thoughts to ponder based on the verses below. 1. Silent That time will not be visible with a dramatic announcement. It will happen while people are living life with business as usual. For over 2,000 years, these verses warned every generation to be prepared. When nothing happened, it tempted some to think that Christ's words were empty threats. Others, of course, think the entire Bible is irrelevant. But, God's Word may be silent or prophetic in the present but it will be fulfilled in the future. Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away (Luke 21:33). You can bet your life literally on the fact that though there are no visible signs that Christ is coming back, we who live by faith in the invisible world of God will see Christ return. Yes, many people are living as if...

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The Secret of Contentment

If contentment depends on the outer circumstances of our lives, we will live in a boat that is tossed to and fro by the waves of life. Contentment depends on the object of our faith. If things are going our way, we can experience the feeling of contentment but it will come and go. We need to make Christ the Rock upon which we build our lives. God said that if we did that we would be able to withstand the storms of life. But, if we place our faith outside of Christ, not only will we not be content, we will find our lives crashing down eventually. Building our lives on any foundation other than Christ is building a house on sand. God created us and He is the only One who can fill the void in our souls to make us content. Contentment does not come automatically into our lives. We must LEARN contentment. By obeying the Word of God and building our relationship with Christ, we grow up into the fullness of Christ. Christian maturity is like a tree that begins as a seed, grows into a plant and bears fruit reflecting God's glory. We were made by Christ, for Christ and through...

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The Wrath of God

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  Romans 1:18-20 This verse is just one of countless others that warn humanity about the wrath of God. God's wrath is the punishment that He promises to deliver if SIN is not removed. God hates sin and His judgment of that sin is His just wrath. He will not tolerate any sin whatsoever therefore no one is going to heaven with sin. It must be removed otherwise a penalty must be paid. God's justice and holiness demand perfection. Sin is imperfection and it will eventually end in death. This is a serious problem that we must resolve. All humanity is guilty of sin. The Bible says that if we excuse sin and pretend that we are not sinners, we make God out to be a liar. we suppress the truth. All have sinned and...

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Bernhard Langer

We overcome by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony. Revelations 12:11. What is your testimony? If you have not simply placed your faith in Jesus like a little child, you can do that now. God has given all of us free will so that we might choose voluntarily to place ourselves at the foot of the cross and ask for forgiveness. Bernard is a professional golfer (won the Masters in 1985) who like many of us wrestled with God. His testimony is a very clear 6:44 video helping us to know Jesus as our Savior. What does it mean to be born again? Let Bernard explain his experience in searching for the Truth and a simple prayer for salvation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfwabcKQwVc A comment on the video from one of Bernhard's fans: Bernhard I have always heard your testimony in all of your victory speeches after a major. As a born again Christian I have been so encouraged by your witness to Christ in your life. This is a beautiful video to see and praying for many to come to Christ through this. Amen to you both ❤

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God is Counterintuitive

Counterintuitive - dictionary definition: counter to what intuition would lead one to expect - the direction we had to follow was counterintuitive - we had to go north first before we went south. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9 There is a way that seems right to man but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12 Most people misjudge God and that can be a fatal mistake. Some think He does not exist, some think God will be fair and consider our good works sufficient to qualify for heaven. Some see God as an idol or a false god. All of these beliefs are fatal. We need to see God correctly and that starts with acknowledging that Jesus Christ is God. All who think that another person or being is God are in grave danger. Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6). When Christ was on earth, His own people did not receive Him according to John 1:11. Those who crucified Him thought they were killing a criminal - the ultimate...

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Reawaken America

For 45 years, Dr. James Dobson has faithfully stood for God's Word to prevail in the lives of Americans. His letter below is a reminder of the urgency of our times. What can we do? Let's start by asking God to help us share the Gospel as best and as much as we can every day. We are called to be Salt and Light in a dying, dark world. All of this is not in any way surprising to God. We are in the End Times. We are here for a reason. If you do not consider yourself a Christian, please listen to the message "Forgiven Forever" by Erwin Lutzer (Next Steps). What we have been given is full pardon for all of our sins forever. God has chosen to bless exceedingly and abundantly all who place their faith in His Perfect Sacrifice on the Cross. This crisis we face is not Republican or Democrat, it is saved or not saved. There is an End to the End Times, there will be a Day of Reckoning, all of this is on God's time clock. The time between now and the End is time for people to reconcile with God before it is too late. God's...

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Forgiven Forever

How would it be possible to be forgiven forever? to know that all you have ever done wrong will not be held against you? When we sin, we can often feel quite negative. Guilt, shame, fear and depression are just a few of the by-products of the failures in our lives. Can we break God's laws and find enough mercy to wash away our transgressions? The answer to these questions is YES. It would seem too good to be true. How could I know that no matter what I think, say or do, God has my back? Some people would say that this kind of forgiveness is just not realistic, too generous. But, we all fall short, we all are very imperfect and we need forgiveness moment by moment just like the air we breathe. If forgiveness is not forever, we are all doomed. What is required of us to escape all of the consequences of sin and find this kind of forgiveness. The video below by Pastor Erwin Lutzer will help us all understand the power of God's plan revealed through Jesus Christ. The following verses may encourage you to see that God is, in fact, perfect in His love toward us no matter...

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God’s Perfect Love

Understanding the love of God is the most important issue in your life. But, the vast majority of people are not seeing Him correctly. Such misunderstanding could cause eternal damnation. A horrible thought but true from the very warnings of Jesus Christ Himself. Many think they were going to heaven because a loving God would never send anyone to hell. Others think that I have lived such a good life that a God of love would never say that He never knew me. Yes, God is love and yes God's love is perfect but that does not mean that He will not judge sin. The love of God sent His Son to the cross to die for our sins so that we could go to heaven and know the perfect love of God forever. But, the justice of God is equally as perfect as His love. How can they both operate at the same time? Answer: THE CROSS Justice and love met at the cross. God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life. We must understand that if God did not love us enough to die for us, we...

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July 4th Division

A house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25). We have a most serious problem in America as we approach July 4th tomorrow. The United States can become the Divided States of America. The reason for that disunity lies in the understanding of the word FREEDOM. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed and a nation was born. There are two views of freedom that are discussed below. 1. Absolute Freedom If freedom is defined as absolute then nothing can limit how that freedom can be used. Absolute freedom means no control, no conditions, no restrictions. Absolute freedom makes freedom an End in itself. There is no higher value than freedom if it is not under control. This viewpoint applied to behavior has enormous power over our choices about everything. For example, if sex has no boundaries, anything goes. Furthermore, anyone who tries to restrict that freedom is seen as  a threat. We can see this powerful divider at work in our nation in 2023. God has clearly defined limits on sex across all relationships. That limitation is Marriage between a man and a woman. Marriage with God's conditions is the foundation of Christianity and Western Civilization. The conditions go back to Genesis and God's creation of man...

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Resurrection

Easter happened way back in early April and the real Easter happened 2000 years ago. Christ was raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit. That promise of resurrection was given to every believer in Jesus Christ. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He declared "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die" (John 11:25). The only Person who has ever lived and been raised from the dead is Jesus Christ. When anyone believes in Christ's death, burial and resurrection, they are forgiven by faith in the Finished Work of Christ. Confession of sin and faith in Christ's payment for sin clears the way for the Holy Spirit to come into the life of the believer and take up residence. Sin must be removed for God to come into the human heart. Romans 8:1-2 says "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." An illustration: compare the Law of Gravity with the Law of Lift. Both laws are real scientific facts. Jump out of a building and gravity will take you down....

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Forgiveness

What if we learned to forgive whatever hurts, abuse, failures and sins in general that were ever committed against us? What would that look like? How would that change you? How would that change our world? It would make you more like Christ for one thing. He came to demonstrate forgiveness to us through His death on the cross. He was teaching us how to die to sin right along with Him. We need His example to place our faith in and follow often in spite of our feelings. Easier said than done! It's not easy to be a true Christian. In fact, it is impossible to truly forgive without the power of God. Forgiveness has so many deep and complicated parts to it that many, many teachings can be given on this cardinal doctrine of Christianity. Consider memorizing these verses from Peter below, it will change your life. Are Christians unloving or unforgiving? Not if they follow Christ's example. Finally, listen to Lisa Terkeurst in the video below, she can help you think on this topic in such a way that we all can be more like Christ. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit...

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4 Kinds of People

How does God view people and how does He view you? The answers are revealed in the Bible in Romans 8. Romans 8 is like a mirror. We need to look at it and ask God to show us ourselves so we can see ourselves correctly. Far too many people go through life not even knowing their true standing with God. This is so unnecessary. God wants us to see the truth so we can have understanding of who we are and what our future will be. Are there more important questions in life? We would never get into a car or a plane and not know where we are going or why we are going there. And yet, many go through life not knowing that they were created by God and not knowing where they are going. In the video below Pastor Jack teaches on Romans 8 and describes 4 kinds of people. We all need to see which one we are and take action if necessary. Our eternity depends on getting this correct. Type 1 - this group is not interested in God at all and have no desire to pursue anything beyond this life. Obviously, atheists belong here as well as people who...

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America on Trial

Today, 16% of Americans say that religion is the most important thing in their life. Question: what is most important to the other 84%? The first commandment states that we should love God with all of our heart, mind and soul. Thou shalt have no strange gods before Me. Anyone or anything that is placed before God is idolatry. https://www.prri.org/research/religion-and-congregations-in-a-time-of-social-and-political-upheaval/ Does the fact that America and much of Western Civilization has forsaken God indicate that there is anything wrong with God or God's Word. Has God failed and become obsolete? Is the Bible just another book and possibly defective? Is man smarter than God? Is God just a myth? Man without God is like a lamp without electricity. America without God is like a dead branch cut off from the tree. Empty churches would seem to indicate that something better is occupying the time of most people. But, if God's Word is true, these choices are extremely bad. Man without God is like a traveler without a map, a blind man trying to feel his way through life. God wants us to choose Him freely. He does not need us, He wants us. That in itself is a true mystery. Why does God pursue us and why,...

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America in Peril

We enjoy the freedom to say and do whatever we want thanks to the sacrifices of countless lives who shed their blood on our behalf. Others died to set us free, our liberty is precious. We have a deep responsibility to use that freedom to serve not to be served. Christ laid down His life for us to set us free from sin. There was no other option. Sin is real and the tyranny of our fallen human condition can only be broken through Jesus Christ. Without the shedding of blood, mankind is doomed to slavery, the exact opposite of freedom. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1). But does that freedom really mean that we can do whatever we want, whenever we want? Freedom requires limiting our personal freedoms out of love for others. Love requires sacrifice. The loss of lives in WWI and II, Korea, Vietnam and the Civil War brought great pain to the spouses and families who did not see their loved ones return. Over one million soldiers paid the ultimate price for us. So what are we going to do with our freedom as we remember these fatalities on this Memorial...

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Artificial Intelligence

The danger of any human attempt to replace God with a substitute god is alarming. The wisdom of God compared to the wisdom of man is like comparing a drop of water to the ocean. God is Omniscient, there is nothing that He does not know. Man, on the other hand, is continuously learning because he has been granted that ability by God. Man has nothing to boast about, nothing to discover that is greater or equivalent to God. God is infinite and man's intelligence no matter how great is finite. God is eternal; man is temporary. Paul stated that compared to Christ everything was rubbish (Philippians 3:8). Isaiah wrote in chapter 40 verses 12-17 the following: "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hands, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in the balance? Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him...

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I Am, I Am Not

Am I a Christian or am I not? There are only two kinds of people in the eyes of God. Saved or Unsaved. Those who are Christians identify with Christ and say "I AM". What about those who are not? A woman who is pregnant knows it and she can say with confidence "I AM". We have a life inside or we don't. In the same way, all Christians who are born again have received the Seed of Christ (eternal life) into his or her heart. Peter says that we are born again with Imperishable Seed (1 Peter 1:23). When we receive that Seed, we are born again into a new creation. Yes, we all were born once by our earthly fathers seed (perishable seed) but we need to be born again a second time (imperishable seed). I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24 What does it take to cross over? What does it take to receive the spiritual Seed? BELIEF Believing God's Word is taking the Seed into the heart and becoming spiritually pregnant. We see Christ using this example in...

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No Condemnation

Do you know today that you are innocent in the eyes of God? If you were to die today, would God find you not guilty of sin and welcome you into heaven? We need to understand our relationship with God in order to have peace with God otherwise we will live in uncertainty. If you are not sure that you are ok with God, you will likely feel that since you are not perfect, you will possibly be judged for falling short of His standards for holiness which we looked at last week. Here is the amazing Truth that we all need to grasp. All condemnation for sin for all time, once and for all (Hebrews 9:26-28), was taken by Christ as the Perfect Sacrifice on our behalf. If we believe that, we can simply trust that all of our sins (past, present and future) have been paid for by His Blood Sacrifice. If we don't believe that, God will condemn us for our sins because God will not let any sin go unpunished. We have a choice. Complete pardon due to Christ death for our since which satisfied the justice of God or suffer the judgment of God for our personal failures. All...

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 Holiness

Holiness is an extremely important word to understand. Without holiness no one will see God (Hebrews 12:14). If that is true, the obvious questions are as follows. Are you holy? How do you know if you are or are not holy? Are you at peace with God? To start with, holiness is not an achievement earned by human effort rather it is a gift received by faith in God's holiness. Holiness is how God sees us if we are free of sin. If anyone has sin, they cannot enter heaven. That is a real predicament if we are counting on being holy enough to deserve God's acceptance into heaven. No one but Christ is holy. Only Christ has lived a sin free life so we can be holy only if we believe that He took away our sin on the cross. He is our holiness. What we cannot possibly do for ourselves, He did for us. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30 We do not need to worry about ever being rejected by God because He has taken away all our condemnation according...

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Glorification

There are three stages in the Christian life: justification, sanctification and glorification. We need to understand all three as much as possible. That can only happen through the revelation of truth in the Word of God and the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Most people are going to miss these three stages and therefore miss heaven. Please listen carefully. Ask God to give you the Truth that will set you on the path to eternal life and your reason for life here on earth. We are three parts: spirit, soul and body. Justification is what happens to our spirit as we begin our life in Christ through the rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, it is our spiritual birthday. Sanctification is what happens to our soul (mind, will and emotions) as we grow as the children of God. Sanctification is a lifetime process, it never stops until we die. Sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit as we learn and grow through knowing and obeying God. Ideally, we mature through stages of life as we deal with the tests of life. Growth comes through cooperation with Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives. Sanctification will always be necessary because we...

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 Sanctification

Sanctification is the growth stage for a Christian from birth to death. Our entire life as a Christian on earth = sanctification. Sanctification follows justification. Growth requires life first then growth of that life. When any person is born again, he or she becomes a new creation, the old is behind and the new is the future. No one can enter into sanctification until one is born again. When we become a child of God, we cross over from death to life and all of that is by the power of the Holy Spirit. We had to have our sins removed first so that the Holy Spirit could come into our being and begin the work of sanctification which is further purification or separation from sin inside our hearts. When we are born again, we receive a new spirit which is inhabited by the Holy Spirit. He takes up permanent residence in us and begins to change us from the inside out. He does that work in our soul which is our mind, will and emotions. This work will be for a lifetime since we will never be perfect in this life, there will always be a need for improvement. But we grow into...

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Justification

There is nothing more important than the answer to the question below. When we all stand before God to justify why we should be admitted into heaven, we need to be able to place 100% of our confidence in Christ. We don't want to place any confidence whatsoever in our good works. We are justified to do good works but we cannot be justified by good works. Good works matter but they cannot save anyone and that is the danger of religion which ties God's acceptance to our performance. God's acceptance is a gift not a reward for good behavior. God will reward our good behavior but only after we have been justified. Good behavior is part of the work of sanctification which follows justification. Good works are only good if they are based on faith in Christ. This understanding is critical to our health and salvation as a human race. Jesus said that the way to heaven was narrow and broad was the way to destruction. It's easy to miss justification by faith. Ask God to give you understanding that you can see this truth and believe it for yourself and those you love. Finally, there are many questions that face...

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Why is Good Friday Good?

This Friday is Good Friday, a most incredibly important day that we must understand to know who God truy is and what He has done for us. This Holy Week as you meditate on the meaning of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday, think on how you are loved. Suggestion: Memorize this verse and meditate on it all week: But God demonstrates His love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 How can Good Friday be good? After all, that’s the day we remember Jesus’ death on the cross. Good Friday is good because it represents the gift of Jesus Christ as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. (Romans 5:8–9) We may think we need to do something to earn eternal life, but that is not God’s way. We receive everlasting life simply by trusting in Christ. A Divine Exchange Only good people go to heaven, but only God is good. Our sins must be removed for us to be good...

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A Letter from Dr. Dobson – Retirement

Dear Friends, Recently, a colleague sent me an article that described a retirement center where the residents spent most of their time playing cards, pickleball, shuffleboard, and drinking heavily at parties. For them, life was like being on a perpetual cruise ship, where leisure had become an obsession. Most of these people had retired early to capture what they perceived as "the good life." From my reading of Scripture, this is not biblical. Retirement is not even mentioned in the Holy Word. Now, I'm not suggesting that people shouldn't slow down or "retire" from their primary vocations. As we age, we need to make adjustments along the way. But I believe that as long as we are able, we should continue working on the Great Commission, that is, seeking to win people to Christ and to serve others. And without a doubt, our nation and the generations following us need mature men and women with godly convictions to be involved in this democratic system of government. I find that meaningful at this stage of my life. Let me tell you why. On August 15, 1990, I was playing basketball with friends early that morning some 20 feet from the spot where NBA legend Pete...

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Who’s in Charge of Your Life?

Who is in the driver's seat of your life? You can run your life,of course, and most people are deeply passionate about that. It's my life, my body, my future, don't tell me what to do. God has given us free will to make that decision if we want to. However, we may not like the consequences which often are reflected in our feelings. A sign that God is not in control often is a lack of peace. Anxiety, depression and anger are like red lights on the dashboard of life that tell us we need to pull over and make an adjustment. On the other hand, if we are enjoying a strong sense of peace, it can be a good sign that God is in control. When the Bible uses the word "fruits", we see many emotions in that term. For example, the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. There is that word "control"! Who is in charge? Galatians 5 describes two different hearts - one is very agitated and discontent. The other is producing good fruit. Humility is recognizing that God is smarter than us and giving Him control. How's that working...

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Sola Christa

Sola Christa is latin for "Christ Alone". There are many reasons why this statement which was first made 500 years ago is true. These are only a few to consider:Sola Christa is latin for "Christ Alone". There are many reasons why this statement which was first made 500 years ago is true. These are only a few to consider: 1. Christ said it about Himself, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6). 2. Christ is the Fulfillment of the entire Old Testament. Every single prophecy before Christ was fulfilled by Christ. He is the Messiah who was the Promise of God to come to earth to save the world. His birth was the revelation of Jesus which means "Savior" (Luke 4:21). Jesus declares in His hometown in Nazareth that He is the Messiah promised by Isaiah in chapter 61. That claim was given as the launch of His public ministry. 3. When Christ asked Peter who he thought Christ was, Peter answered "You are the Messiah, Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). 4. Only one Person was ever conceived through a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit - Jesus Christ was...

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Letter to the American Church

The American church is in the process of repeating the history of the German church in the 1930's. During that time, the church was largely silent in pushing back against a tide of evil that took the lives of more than 60 million people. The church has been called by God to be the pillar and foundation of truth and to be salt and light in a dark world. But where is the church in America today? One could argue that it is in decline, confused, compromised even complicit in the spiritual battle raging in America. The church is not a political entity. We are not called to be ambassadors of any party or organization. However, we are called to be ambassadors for Christ. That calls for involvement in our communities, schools and families. In his book, "Letter to the American Church", Eric Mataxas exhorts the church to not follow the failure of Germany's churches. The threats to our freedom today in our First Amendment are grievous. We are given the God given right to free speech and freedom of religion. That means the ability to call sin sin! If we are not doing that, the church has no message. Toleration does...

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Hatred is Murder

God does not hate anybody. God loves the entire world according to John 3:16. He not only loves the world, He died for all the sins of the world, every single one of them. Murder is a sin and Jesus died for all murderers. If we truly grasped the enormity of what the definition of hatred is from God's point of view, we are all likely guilty. Look at the verses below under the title of Murder (Matthew 5:21-26). We are all so easily susceptible to murder if we see it the way Jesus sees it. Notice the seriousness of murder since the threat of hell is possible for anyone who is so angry that he or she wishes murder upon anyone else. God says "Vengeance is Mine". We are not in a position to hate people. That is contrary to God's nature.What is the distinction? We should hate bad behavior but not hate people. We are to hate the sin and love the sinner. We are to love everyone, even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). God demonstrates His love for us in this that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Christians are called by God to die to sin...

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A Valentine from God

We cannot comprehend the love of God. It far exceeds our understanding. One reason for that is the fact that we never deserved it and never will. We tend to think that love must be based on something - beauty, being good, religious observance. We reason that there must be a reason for love. But God's love is unreasonable! We cannot tie His love to a worthy cause in us. God's love is a pure 100% GIFT that He has chosen to give apart from any merit on our part. So what connects the love of God to mankind? The answer is FAITH. We must choose to believe that God loves us because it is UNCONDITIONAL and undeserved. Every single day, we fall short of meeting God's perfection. But, that does not change the character of God. We cannot control God, We cannot obligate God. We can only believe God to be so gracious that His love is perfect toward us apart from our behavior. On our best behavior, we cannot increase the love of God toward us and on our worst behavior, we cannot decrease His love. If we could do that it would be conditional.We must believe in the perfect love of God...

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What Does God Require?

Jesus taught us to pray "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". What is the will of God? Do you know God's will for your life? For many, the answer is "I don't know" or "I hope God is ok with me" or "I'm doing my best and that's all I can do". Others are placing their confidence in being good enough for God through religion. "I do this to try to be good enough for God". "Good enough" may be a religious lifestyle that includes good behavior that is hoped to outweigh bad behavior. Will God be measuring our acceptance by weighing good works vs bad works and we just hope the good is good enough to satisfy God's requirements?We should be greatly relieved to know that no matter how much good we do, it will never meet God's requirements. We cannot possibly satisfy God through human effort. God requires perfection and none of us can claim to be perfect except God Himself revealed to us in the Person of Jesus Christ. Our problem as a human race is SIN. God cannot allow any sin whatsoever. Since we all sin and since we all are far from perfect, how can...

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The End of the World

In Matthew 24 (51 verses), Jesus Christ provided specific prophecy on the end of this world using the word "WILL" 47 times. He did not say "maybe" or "possibly". He stated emphatically that the signs WILL happen at the end of time.   First and foremost, we must acknowledge that this world (which Jesus created - Colossians 1:16) has an expiration date. While we are here, we are charged to be good stewards of God's creation but we must also recognize that God will terminate this world and create a new heaven and a new earth. Our current world is temporary, our future world is eternal. Given this spiritual fact, how should we live in our current world? Jesus exhorts us to be faithful and fulfill our responsibilities. He speaks quite soberly about how those will be treated who fail to care for others.   We don't know the timing of the end of the world. We do know that it will end.   Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35   We cannot say that we were not warned by God about what the future will hold and how we should conduct ourselves. Don't be alarmed. This is already known by God. Don't...

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The Reality of Hell

There are many explanations for the reality of hell including complete denial (one out of three are in this category). A Pew Research study in 2021 found that 62% of Americans believed in hell. The discussion on hell, of course, must begin with God and the character of God. Atheists probably make up most of the 32% who do not believe it exists. But, what about the rest of us? We all do not want to go there. God did create hell and He will sustain hell for eternity. How does that reflect on His character? Is God at fault in any way over its existence. Much of what is preached and taught in the Word of God concerns salvation. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Does that mean the whole world will be saved from hell? That cannot possibly be true if the Bible is true. Jesus saves us from hell. If it did not exist, we would not need salvation. The biblical fact is that the entire world will fall into two categories - saved and unsaved. Saved are those who have received forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ while those who do not remain in sin that is...

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Partiality

Partiality is the unfair bias in favor of one thing or person compared with another. Partiality requires judgment where a decision is made based on that particular bias. Partiality becomes unfair when those decisions discriminate in favor of one group to the detriment of all other groups. We are told by God that He is not partial. He does not show favoritism and neither should we. What does this look like in practical terms of life in 2023? Very simply, God is love. He does not love one person or group of persons more or less than another. He loves everyone perfectly and unconditionally. God created every single person and we are made in His image and likeness. That fact alone explains why we have "sanctity of life". Every person has a soul and God placed that soul in every human being. He loves everyone so much that He sent Jesus Christ into this world to save souls for eternal life. For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son into the world so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Question: Does God want every single person to be saved? Of course He does...

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Heaven Rules

Who is really in charge of this world? The Bible gives us the answer repeatedly. God is in control and all that happens is already known by Him and allowed by Him. He is sovereign which means that He rules supremely and reigns over His creation. We may think that we are in control. We often have the attitude that I can do whatever I please and can control my life better than anybody else including God. When we deny God's control or resist doing what He wants, we actually believe that we know better than God. But, God created us and we need to ask the question - Why? Very simply, we were made by God to love God and we were made by God to be loved by God. We were made for a beautiful, personal relationship with God.1. God tells us that if we love Him, we will obey Him. John 14:21. To the degree that we know the will of God and submit to His leading, we are the objects of His blessing.Consider how we drive our cars. We need brakes to keep us safe. We need rules to keep us from crashing into one another. We need limits on...

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Christmas 2.0

What will the year 2023 bring? Anything is possible so we need to be ready for anything. There will be good, there will be bad. Life is bittersweet. We live in an imperfect world that according to God is a transition to a perfect world - heaven. In the meantime, God exhorts us to think about heaven as we live in this temporary holding pattern. That requires faith which is belief in what we cannot see. Romans 1 tells us that the righteous will live by faith from first to last. The question is where is our faith? In this world or in the Word of God?We cannot possibly find perfection in anything in this world. Everything is wasting away. We can try to delay the law of entropy but we cannot stop it. A sober view of life recognizes that nothing lasts forever instead everything, sooner or later, will pass away.The definition of entropy: Entropy is simply a measure of disorder and affects all aspects of our daily lives. In fact, you can think of it as nature's tax. Left unchecked disorder increases over time. Energy disperses, and systems dissolve into chaos. The more disordered something is, the more entropic we...

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Word of Men or Word of God?

Here we are between Christmas and New Years Day. Most of us have time to reflect and think about the future new year. What are we seeking to accomplish? What is our purpose and how can we make that a reality next year?If we listen to men they will tell us to live life on our own terms. As the famous Frank Sinatra song goes "I Did It My Way." Is that our ambition? Do we think that we are here to please ourselves first and then others? What a contrast that is to God's Way. He tells us to die to self and live to please Him. He considers others more important than Himself. He lays down His life so that we might have life more abundantly and commands us to do the same in humility.Who are we listening to as our guideline for the future? If we are listening to men, it will be what the vast majority are doing. If it is listening to God, it will be through Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit. Both lead us into the Truth of the Bible. Christians very simply follow Christ above all men.Make God's Word the rule of authority...

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Christmas – A Divine Invitation with 4 Responses

Looking at Christmas as a "feel good event" rather than a "divine invitation" could be hazardous to your spiritual health. Christ came to earth, that is a certainty not a fable. He came as part of a plan that was formed by God before time began. He came as a Gift to be received by faith into the hearts of everyone who would believe in Him. Think of Christmas like a Seed that comes in the smallest, most seemingly insignificant form, an Infant. The Seed falls into the world as an invitation to come into the very depths of our being - it is truly an invasion of the human heart. The pregnancy depends on our response.There will be four responses according to Jesus. Rejection - like a seed that bounces off hard infertile soil/heart, there is no response and Christmas has no effect. Unbelief. Infertility. Tolerated but Unlasting - like a seed that does take root at first, there is no root formation and the plant dies. This is the shallow soil/heart. Miscarriage. Choked - like a seed that does take root but is overcome by other concerns that overwhelm the plant. The materialistic Christmas heart could fall into this category....

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Christmas – It’s Supernatural

In order to believe in the true meaning of Christmas, we must by faith believe in miracles. If we could count the number of times that Christmas was predicted in the Old Testament, it would be staggering. Christmas was the arrival of the long-awaited Messiah to the Jewish people. The first 39 books of the Bible are really all about the coming of God to earth. Of course, the arrival was so humble, so unusual, so opposite anything anybody would dare to dream. In several verses, God predicted that He would be rejected upon His arrival. Here's just one:Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.Christmas was so underwhelming to the natural, logical thinking person that it became easily missed. This newsletter is intended to encourage...

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Christmas – Divine Intervention

It is a staggering thought that God would come in human flesh to dwell among us. Immanuel means "God with us". He left heaven to enter earth so that we could leave earth and enter heaven. We dare not miss this mind boggling Truth. God became man - it is the Incarnation, Divine Intervention. Theologians call the entrance of the divine into the human as the "hypostatic union".Hypostatic union is a technical term in Christian theology employed in mainstream Christology to describe the union of Christ's humanity and divinity in one hypostasis, or individual existence. The most basic explanation for the hypostatic union is Jesus Christ being both fully God and fully man. WikipediaWhat does this mean? God who is perfect became a man in order to live a sinless life in order to sacrifice Himself as the payment for our sins as the Lamb of God. He was born to die. He was the only person who ever lived who was perfect. He laid down His life starting with Christmas and ending with Good Friday/Easter/Resurrection/Ascension. To miss Christmas is to miss all this!Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ more clearly to you as you read these verses from Philippians 2:1-11. Consider forwarding this...

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Christmas: Fact or Fiction?

The first four Sundays before Christmas are called Advent meaning "the coming of Christ". Churches around the world begin preparing hearts for Christmas to prepare for Christ to come into our hearts personally. Where are you with Christ this Christmas? Have you accepted him as your Savior? Do you see Him as the long-awaited Messiah? Christ is the true story of God coming to earth to make a way for humanity to come to heaven. Within the actual Christmas event nearly 2000 years ago, there was no room for God's birth anywhere presentable, there was "no room in the inn" (Luke 2:7). Instead, Christ's birth took place in the most humble dwelling imaginable - a manger - a long open box for horses and cattle to eat from. It's a "riches to rags" story if ever there was one! Heaven is the place of perfection, certainly better than any place on earth. But, God, out of His love for us, came into this world to save us from our sins and make us fit for heaven."For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal...

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How to Be Thankful Always

It is the will of God that we be a thankful people always. Always? Yes, Always. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 But, we may simply respond that such a mindset is impossible so let's just be thankful only for the good things in life. What could possibly be good when the bad stuff happens? Certainly if we decide to think that way, our gratitude will be determined by our circumstances. We would be held hostage by what happens to us. It is an outside-in approach. If all is well on the outside, all is well on the inside, kind of like a thermometer. We can simply reflect the temperature of the day. Looking at what is going on in the world, that thermometer is pretty hot or cold! But God is not controlled by externals. He is in control and unmoved by His environment. We cannot control God, it is the other way around. He wants to control us. And, if we give Him control, we will be a lot more thankful! God tells us that "as a man thinks in his heart so is he"...

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Thanksgiving for Freedom from Sin

When you think of freedom, how do you see that word applying to your life? Are you free to do whatever you please? Or, do you see yourself free to do whatever God pleases? We looked at the pilgrim story last week and saw that their gratitude was tied to spiritual blessings first and foremost. Material blessings came as a result of their spiritual lives. The fruit followed their faith. If you are in control of your life apart from God, you may find yourself free to choose to do things your way but that freedom may be deceptive. If we are not following God, we are prone to sin and sin is the enemy of spiritual freedom. Sin actually enslaves. Sin separates us from God and weighs us down. Sin is a burden that we were never created to bear. God wants to bear our sin for us. God wants to set us free by His grace and mercy. God loves us and desires us to be truly free through His forgiveness of our sins. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am...

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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away and we should rightfully give thanks for the blessings of life. What should we be thankful for? If we followed the Pilgrim's example, it would be for spiritual blessings much more than material. After all, they had sacrificed to the extreme not for worldly reasons but for the freedom to live their lives with freedom to control their own lives. No longer did they need to worry about persecution or pressure to conform to a religious system they rejected. Now, free of the past, they had the future to make or break by the grace of God. Here is one answer given for why the Pilgrims came to America: The pilgrims came to America in search of religious freedom. At the time, England required its citizens to belong to the Church of England. People wanted to practice their religious beliefs freely, and so many fled to the Netherlands, where laws were more flexible. Of course, many left the Netherlands to board the Mayflower which required dramatic sacrifices to be made for freedom to come to America. Now, take a moment to think this through please. We are all pilgrims here on earth according to God's Word and He has...

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Halloween and Death

Most people don't want to talk about death. However, on Halloween, that is actually the subject matter as death is brought to mind through many reminders of what must eventually come to every single person who has ever lived. However, we must make one huge exception and that is Jesus Christ. He conquered death and made it possible for all who would believe in Him to overcome the termination of life. Since sin entered the world, death has been the consequence that has overtaken the human race. What bigger problem do we have? We need to see the death problem resolved and God has graciously made a Way for that to happen.John 3:16 is that faithful Promise inviting all who believe to cross over from death to life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Will we perish? Shall we see death as the end? Do we try to somehow face death with fantasies like Halloween? No, we have a choice. We will either overcome death by faith in Christ or suffer death without Him. Christ's own words tell us that in John...

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Halloween Masks

This is the perfect time to share the Halloween video as we are only 5 days from the big day. Halloween would seem to be the furthest topic from God and salvation but that is not true. God loves every single person who will be in the season as well as all who are not! God wants all to be saved. Romans 2 says that God's patience is for repentance.He is giving us time to decide to come to Him or reject Him. It is a real mystery why God would love the unlovable and we can all consider ourselves in that category. In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus says that if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? The real question is do you love those who may not love you? Do you love those who have values opposite you? Another resource for Halloween is our digital tract which you can feel free to print out. https://sharethegift.online/wp-content/uploads/a-halloween-invitation-christian-tract-download.png You could also simply hand out a reproduced personal custom note with the Share the Gift website address included so they can watch the video when they get home. https://sharethegift.online/ Ever since Adam and Eve covered themselves with fear and shame in Genesis 3,...

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Halloween – What Are You Wearing?

Our life on earth is a blip compared to eternity. The moment we die in this finite world, we will enter the infinite. What we wear or don't wear will determine our eternal destiny. In the parable of the 10 virgins, Jesus revealed that 5 were wise and 5 were foolish. The wise had oil in their lamps, the foolish had nothing. When we stand before God, which one will we be? It seems obvious that if we show up empty handed, it will be catastrophic. Notice in the verses below, that there was knocking on the door and there was an expectation of God opening the door. Does that have a resemblance to what happens at Halloween? Of course, nothing could be more serious about this warning. We need to be dressed properly to receive God's acceptance. What kind of clothes do we need? What is the oil that we need?Isaiah 61:10 is a very good answer. We must be wearing a robe of righteousness and be properly dressed for Christ's return. When God looks at us then, we do not want to trust in our own righteousness rather we want to be trusting in Christ's righteousness to completely cover our sins. Where is your...

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Halloween – Life After Death

No doubt about it, lots of graphic images reflecting death abound during Halloween. For that reason, many are either participating in or withdrawing from the event. Either way, this article is intended to think past the topic of death and give value to life which is beyond Halloween. In other words, death is not the end of the story. Rather, death is a door to life. We do not cease to exist after death. We were made by God to transition from death to life. Let's not miss this very real spiritual fact.Christ came to conquer death. He is our Savior from death. He sets us free from the fear of death. Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God,...

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Kids in Halloween Costumes

Why Halloween?

Probably the most controversial holiday of the year within Christianity is Halloween. Much can be said on both sides for what to do with this annual event. One thing is for sure, Halloween will happen and a very large number of children and parents will be involved. We also know that God loves each and every person. That is the wonderful Truth behind the Share the Gift Halloween Video. No one knows us better than God even if we try to deny Him or hide from Him. Jesus said in John 3:17 that He did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save it.Later He states that He is calling sinners out of darkness to come into His Light and be saved. Thanks to a gracious God who gives all of us free will, we can choose to respond to Jesus and be saved from whatever the sin that needs to be broken. Jesus means Savior. That is true 365 days of the year including Halloween! As we approach October 31, consider it an opportunity to Share the Gift. You can feel free to do that anytime as the season approaches.One final thought. If you would like to invite others to...

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woman raising her arms to the sky at the beach

Are You Redeemed?

If you were to stand before God today, what would your defense be for all of your sins? Most people have no idea what they would say. Many would hope somehow that their good works in life would outweigh their sins and God would judge in their favor for being good enough. But, what if God said that you fall way short of His standard of perfection and judged your life to be unqualified for entrance into heaven? You can know this before it is too late: all of us have sinned and all of us fall short of the glory or the perfection of God. The entire human race is FALLEN. That was true of our first parents, Adam and Eve and it is true of every single person who lived after them. One description of the Fall is Original Sin. Mankind has lost innocence and needs to get back through the forgiveness of that sin and all the sins that followed. Redemption means to "restore to original condition"   How can you and I be restored to the position that we had with God before we sinned and fell? The answer lies in Jesus Christ. He lived a sinless life and...

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Sun shining through the Trees

Pleasing God

What is your goal in life? What are you seeking to accomplish? What do you dream about? The answers to those questions will drive many of your life choices. Most would make their goals centered around self. Maslow's Need Hierarchy would say that we have five leading up to Self Actualization. Are we somewhere in those 5 needs as the driver of our goals? Certainly, Maslow's needs are important, no doubt about that but what is #1, that is the question.Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5 that our #1 goal in life should be to please God. Rather than living to please self, God calls us to choose to die to self and live for Him. Wow! Talk about a reversal. We are called to walk by faith in Christ, to live to please Him, and allow Him to run our lives. That is an amazing declaration. God wants to control us. God wants to be God. Our response to all of this is to consider first of all if there is a God and second do I want a relationship with Him? There is only one way according to the Bible. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. We must believe...

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blue sky with clouds

Critical Human Race Theory

What is Critical Race Theory? That was a question many of us asked in recent months and years. It came across as a new insight into humanity, a new body of knowledge added to our children's curriculum. CRT is a new way of looking at life for sure but it has a major problem. It is built on unforgiveness and it is unbiblical. Other than that, why should we be upset about it? That was a bad joke because it is downright dangerous and needs to be treated for the lies therein. CRT is a perfect vehicle for the devil to divide and conquer us. He is the accuser of the brethren and he loves sin.God on the other hand has paid for all our sins and is inviting us into perfect forgiveness! In Matthew 18 we see that God forgave an enormous debt to a sinner pleading for forgiveness. God granted the pardon and let him off scot free. Wow! How merciful is our God truly! What if all of us did what God did? What if we held no sin against anyone and forgave all sin even our own sin. Instead of feeling hurt over past offenses even...

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candelight

Happy New Year!

2022 is a year that may be very happy or very unhappy, we don't know the circumstances beforehand do we? But, it is safe to say that God wants us to have an inner joy and peace that is not subject to the ups and downs of life. Joy and happiness are two different things. Joy is an internal condition of our spirit and soul. Happiness is an external condition often dependent on other people or other things - much of it out of our control. Actually, Jesus said that in this world, we would have tribulation so we should not be shocked if things are far from perfect.We can have a perfect internal peace according to Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. We are commanded by God to be thankful in every circumstance (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and to rejoice in the Lord always (5:16) and to pray without ceasing (5:17). Our hearts and minds need to be on things above not on earthly things. We walk by faith not by sight. Our future is secure in Christ and He will take us through whatever the future may hold. All of this requires faith....

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Woman is praying and believing

God’s Chosen People – the Jews

God has chosen the Jewish people to be not only the channel but also the object of His salvation. God wrote 39 books in the Old Testament of the Bible to point to the 27 books of the New Testament. Jesus was a Jew, most of the New Testament was written by Jews. The number of Old Testament verses quoted in the New Testament are so high that they make the Bible what it is, one book written by one God for all men for all time. But, when it comes to being a Jew, there is a profound history that makes the future come alive in dramatic fashion. If you listen to this one hour message (see below) from Jack Hibbs, you will see the beautiful overlap between Old and New. If you are Jewish, open your heart to the love of God specifically revealed to you in this message. If you are not a Jew, consider Jack's invitation to share this message with the Jewish people. All Christians whether Jew or non-Jew (Gentile) are one family. We are brothers and sisters in Christ by one Spirit to the Father. In the verse below, the Gentiles are the uncircumcised and the...

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The True Message of Christmas

Take the time (only 14 minutes) to listen to the true message of Christmas as we prepare our hearts for this most sacred holy day. Jesus Christ is the King of kings, Omniscient, Omnipotent and the Messiah sent to save us all for all eternity into Perfect Peace! God so loved the world that He sent His Son that any who would believe would not perish but have eternal life. Is Christ your King? He has come (The Incarnation). Will you bend your knee and acknowledge Him as your Gift from heaven this Christmas?

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Someone holding a cross

Killing Guilt

It may seem quite bold to say that you are not guilty of anything but that is the will of God for your life. We need to understand that the only way to get to Not Guilty is to start with Guilty. We must take responsibility for our sins first to have them forgiven. To have an empty hand, we must let go of whatever is in our hands. Think about a rather unpleasant subject - taking out the garbage. How much garbage do you think you should keep on garbage night? All of it must go. Otherwise, we are holding onto a very unhealthy contamination. God is so humble in this way. He is like the garbage man, desiring to take away all of our offenses. But, He will not take away anything that we don't put on the sidewalk. We must first confess and place our offenses out in the open before He can take them away. When was the last time that the garbage man knocked on your front door to ask you if you forgot anything to put in the trash? It is our responsibility to put it all out. Once the trash is gone, we take the empty can...

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Woman Standing on Beach at Sunset

Living in Joy

The greatest part of any healthy relationship is knowing that you are loved unconditionally. That's how God wants us to relate to Him. He is Love. He so loved the world that He sent Christ to die for our sins so that we could be set free from all the consequences of our own bad choices. Knowing God correctly is the most important pursuit you can make in life. Most people do not know Him. In fact, Jesus will say to many people "I don't know you!" That is very scary to think about! Some people have spent their entire life thinking that they had God's approval and they don't! Religion is a big problem and always has been. Why? Because religion is based on conditional love and those who trust in their own good behavior for salvation will find that it will fall short and that will be quite a shock. Salvation is based on a GIFT from God not a reward for good behavior. Good works are not a means to salvation, they are the result of salvation. We really need to get this straight in our hearts. But, let's go one step further. What about after we become a Christian,...

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Socialism and the Gospel

As you listen to Pastor Mark discuss socialism and Christianity, keep in mind that both are systems that seek to control behavior. They are powerful motivators that lead in opposite directions. There is no compatibility with opposites. The two systems are on a collision course and largely explain the division in America today. The first video is short only 4:18 in length, the second is 1:13:03 a lot more in depth. Consider what is at stake in our world today and take whatever time you need to understand what you believe. A reading resource that is extremely thorough is Socialism: The Real History from Plato to the Present by William Federer

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thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, our thoughts naturally turn to the good things in our life. What are you most thankful for? Money or a home? A successful career? Perhaps a loved one or maybe good health. These are all good things, and we should give thanks for them. But are they enough? Is there more? Solomon was the king of Israel with riches beyond measure. He denied his heart nothing. He had all the wine, women, and songs he wanted. He had wisdom beyond what the world had ever seen. As king of a thriving nation, he had vast power and reputation. Yet it was not enough. Solomon's conclusion: Nothing in this world can satisfy. Yes, we should be thankful for what we have, but it will fall short of our deepest longings. Everything in this world is passing away. All will end. So what Is the answer? What is the secret to a fulfilled life? The answer lies in Jesus Christ. Life is always changing. When we are at the top and all is going well, we know it won’t last forever. We must come down. When the valleys of life are the lowest, we need to remind ourselves that things will...

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Woman standing with open arms toward the sunlight | Share The Gift The Justice of God The Message

The Justice of God

Much has been said on behalf of the word JUSTICE. We should seek to understand that word from God's perspective. Justice speaks to fairness and to getting what is deserved. For the moment, think only about you and God. Think about you standing before God after you die. When you do, you will face His judgment.It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.Do you want to ask God to give you what you deserve at that time? Do you want justice? That would not be wise for all of us deserve to be judged for our sins. That judgment would mean eternal separation from God. A just God cannot allow any trace of sin into heaven. That reality makes justice an extremely scary proposition. We need God's justice for sure but the question is how can we get it without depending on ourselves to get it? How can we possibly be found not guilty of the punishment for which our sins deserve? The answer is found in the cross of Jesus Christ. He took our judgment upon Himself as a Perfect Sacrifice for our sins. God cannot be just and overlook sin so He decided to pay for our sins through the death...

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Praying hands over a bible | Share the Gift The Message God's Gift to Us

God’s Gift to Us

Imagine that millions of dollars were placed in an account in your name to be released on the death of someone who loved you. Christ has made a far greater deposit on your behalf: treasures such as forgiveness, joy, love, acceptance, peace, and freedom from all fear, anxiety, guilt, rejection, and insecurity. His death released all the riches of heaven to you. You can enjoy the deposit of that Gift now by placing your faith in Him. Why did God send His only son, Jesus, to die for us? Because He loves us. He wants us to spend eternity with Him. Jesus said this . . .  “However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them...

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America Flag Flying: The Future of America | Share the Gift: The Message

The Future of America

Tiff Shuttlesworth delivers a powerful message on what the future of America will be. See below. He provides four scenarios. You may or may not agree with him. You may have a fifth scenario. But we know for a fact God's scenario. He is planning to destroy the entire world and replace it with a new heaven and a new earth. This world is coming to an end. The big question is where will you and I be when it happens. Will you be in Christ or living apart from God? Today, you have time to do something about that if you choose to do so. When the world ends, Jesus said He would come like a thief in the night. His coming will be sudden and surprising. God is patient with us to give us time to repent and turn to Him and be saved from the coming wrath. The ball is in our court no matter whether we live in America or not."Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since...

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Raised Hands: Salvation from Judgement | Share the Gift: The Message

Salvation from Judgment

There will be a Day of Reckoning for every single person who has ever lived and died. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for every activity, a time to live and a time to die. Verse 17 says this:"God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed."Now we have time as a gift from God to choose Christ as our righteousness. We cannot place any confidence in self-righteousness, we all fall short of perfection. However, that opens the door for the question, how can I become righteous? We are told in Romans 1:17 that the righteous will live by faith from first to last. Where is your faith today? If you were to die tonight and stand before God, what would you say? If you are in Christ, God will see no condemnation according to Romans 8:1 because Christ took away all of our guilt when we trusted in Him for forgiveness. For those not in Christ, there is no possibility of righteousness since we have unconfessed and unforgiven sin that requires separation from God. Absolutely, positively no sin can be allowed in heaven. Without...

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Growing Seeds: The Perfect Sacrifice | Share the Gift: The Message

The Perfect Sacrifice

Is there anything that you or I can do to add to perfection? Perfection by definition cannot be improved. We are helpless to maintain a relationship with God by our human efforts. That’s not bad news, it is very Good News because Christ provided perfectly what we could never provide for ourselves. He died once and for all to save all who would believe in Him. He came to perfect that which was imperfect. Before Christ came, animal sacrifices were made in the temple over and over again because they were not sufficient to provide forgiveness for all sins for all time. But Christ’s sacrifice was perfect so that every single sin ever committed past, present, and future was forgiven at the cross. From the cross, Christ uttered these three words: “It is finished”. Finished means that Christ has paid our sin debt in full, there is no longer any sacrifice left on your part or my part and there is no need any longer for animal sacrifices. All of our sins and the guilt, shame and condemnation that goes with them are gone, now that is truly Good News! If that were not enough, there is still much, much more....

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Cloudy Sky: God Wants All Men to be Saved | Share the Gift: The Message

God Wants All Men to be Saved

Does God favor one group of people over another? Does God’s love end for some people? Has God predetermined who will be saved and who will not be saved? These are some of the questions that influence our relationship with God and with other people. Certainly, God is beyond our understanding and is not obligated to us in any way (Romans 11:33-36). But God has revealed himself to us so that we can know Him. God’s Word is light, and we live in understanding as we enter that light and obey that light. God does want all men to be saved. Let there be no doubt about any race, religion, gender, or age. God loves the world and that is inclusive of all men who have been created in his image and likeness. Christ died for all sins so there is no sinner who has crossed the line and cannot be forgiven. God’s mercy is desperately needed by every person. We have no moral high ground over one another. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All will die in their sin unless they are saved."For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that...

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Cross against a Blue Cloud Sky: Gods Love Can Be Rejected | Share the Gift: The Message

God’s Love Can Be Rejected

God's love is universal. No one is not loved by God. God loves sinners and hates sin. We need to understand this distinction so that when we approach the lost, we can help them understand that they are loved by God in spite of whatever they may have done. Jesus Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world (John 3:17). If God had wanted to condemn us, He could have since we all deserve condemnation. No, Christ came into the world to die for our sins so that the Holy Spirit could convict us of our sins. Christ made the payment and the Holy Spirit reveals the truth of Christ's sacrifice so that we can escape condemnation. God is not a respecter of persons. He doesn't love Jews more than Gentiles, men more than women, Christians more than non-Christians. God revealed himself through the Jews and through the Law, but He used the Jews as an instrument of love to bring salvation to all of us. In the beginning of Acts, we see the apostles focused on the Jews alone as God's Chosen People. But later we see that Christ has opened heaven to all people. You can...

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The Truth is Spiritual Food | Share the Gift

The Truth is Spiritual Food

Jesus shared the truth whenever He spoke and it shocked at times, many were often offended. When He stated that He was God, the Truth cost Him His life. He said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" John 14:6 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him. Mark 14:60-65 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would be fighting so...

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Our Jewish Roots - Mysteries of the Messiah: Unveiling Divine Connections from Genesis to Today" by Rabbi Jason Sobel | Share the Gift

Our Jewish Roots

The world is so indebted to the Jewish people. Through them came the Messiah in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. While it is true that the Old Testament is now ended through the fulfillment of the New Testament, the first 39 books of the Bible which are Jewish history are our Christian history. Page after page of the accounts of the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants are so rich in meaning. Viewed through the filter of the Old, the New is so much brighter. Jesus and the writers of the New Testament made countless references back to people like Jonah and David and Solomon. We are told that when we became Christians, we entered into the family of God which happens to be Jewish, actually we are grafted in as adopted sons and daughters according to Romans 11. The Old Testament is a beautiful black and white picture that finds the colorful completion in Christ. That is what I discovered reading "Mysteries of the Messiah: Unveiling Divine Connections from Genesis to Today" by Rabbi Jason Sobel. The following commentary is so true: Most people—even people of faith—do not understand how the Bible fits together. Too many Christians accept half an...

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CRT Christ's Radical Teaching | Share the Gift

CRT Christ’s Radical Teaching

CRT is in all the news today but what about another CRT? What would the world look like if everyone decided to follow Jesus Christ (God's CRT)? We will find out when we get to heaven. There will be no more sin, no more sorrow, no more pain. We won't be able to disobey God. It will be perfect. However, in this world, until then, the decision to obey or disobey is voluntary. God has very graciously given every single human being free will. We see much trouble in this world simply because God's Word has been forsaken and many refuse to love. It is a sin to refuse to love. When we do that, we have the freedom to ask God for forgiveness. If we don't we will suffer for it. Every person has the power to accept or reject Christ. However, we do not have the power to control the consequences of our choices. Our eternal destiny will be decided by our own choices. We prove our allegiance to Christ by how we live. Obeying Him produces good fruit according to John 15. God wants to bless us but we must cooperate with Him to receive those blessings. Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness,...

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Gentleman reading a bible | Mind Control from Share The Gift's weekly newsletter The Message

Mind Control

For most of us, the concept of mind control is a little scary. Rightfully so, we don't like the idea of giving up control of our life to someone else. But our minds are constantly subject to influence by outside forces every day. It is very important to protect our minds and avoid anything that might harm us. That's quite a challenge in our world today because most of us spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about massive amounts of information. Add up the time spent on all communications during the course of any day, and it is sizable. The Bible says that "as a man thinks in his heart so is he". What you think about will determine your behavior. What you place in your mind could be compared to food. We all know how important our diet is, the quantity and the quality determine the health of the body. We would never poison ourselves. We are usually careful not to swallow anything that is not fresh, but our choices about food are a constant responsibility that requires wisdom. Let's consider for a moment that we are also responsible for feeding our souls. Jesus said that He was the Bread of Life and that unless we eat His...

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Woman head down in prayer | All Are Guilty from Share The Gift's weekly newsletter The Message

All Are Guilty

Join the club! All have fallen short of the perfection that God desires. All have sinned, all are worthy of death. "All" means the entire human race, no special classes of people are exempt. Rich, poor - guilty. Male, female - guilty. Black, white - guilty. Young, old - guilty. There is no category of human beings in the world today or in past history who have not broken God's commandments. If we try to deny that reality, God tells us that we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. That's a nice way to say that we are guilty of lying if we think we are not guilty! Christianity is seen by some as intolerant or judgmental or unloving because God exposes sin as a reality that cannot be explained away or legislated away. But, the fact is that mankind has always been at odds with God starting with Adam and Eve and all their descendants which includes us. God's Word is perfect and therefore never changes. Many have decided to challenge many of the sins listed in the Bible. That's another way of saying that the Bible is not perfect, that it is subject to improvement. It also opens the door...

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Human and dog relaxing in a field | Spirtual Penicillin - A Dog Story from Share The Gift's weekly newsletter The Message

Spiritual Penicillin – A Dog Story

Four nights in a row with no sleep. Our dog had a problem that caused barking every 30 minutes or so all night long. As often happens, the problem developed over the weekend and our vet could not see us until Monday morning. By the time I arrived with our sick pet, I think I felt just as sick. Thankfully a correct diagnosis was made, clearly Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), and a shot of penicillin gave us our sleep back that night. So many things we take for granted in life, but after this latest experience, I am beyond grateful for good ol' penicillin! Penicillin has a very interesting history. Discovered by accident in 1928, it has become the most widely used antibiotic in the world. The cure came from a careless lab technician returning from vacation. Quite a story! I was so grateful for our vet when I brought our suffering canine home. The key to success was the ability to identify the problem. Revelation of UTI led to the solution that any good vet would know to do. Prescribe an antibiotic. Problem solved. The greatest problem that faces the human race is sin. God has over and over again told us through...

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Person atop a mountain | Victory Over Sin from Share The Gift's weekly newsletter The Message

Victory Over Sin

"Where sin increased, grace increased all the more."What a wonderful promise from God! All of us have sinned, all of us have failed by omission or commission to measure up to God's perfect standards. If entrance to heaven required our perfection, who could possibly hope to go to heaven? We would all be doomed to an eternity separated from God if our salvation was dependent upon us. How do you see yourself in your relationship to God? Are you trying to be good enough? trying to earn his acceptance? When you do sin, how do you handle that? Sin = imperfection and sin cannot be permitted into heaven so it stands to reason that we must have ALL sin removed. God is not going to look at your life and open the gates of heaven based on your performance because your performance includes sin! Instead of our performance, God has opened up a new way into heaven and it is through Christ's performance. Jesus Christ is the only Person who ever lived a perfect life without sin. So it is imperative that we give our sin to Christ through asking for forgiveness and find ourselves "righteous" (just as if we never sinned - also known...

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