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i see you looking

I See You Looking

As you look, I see you searching for that one thing that can fulfill you.

You look at clothes and try to find the perfect item.

You find it; it looks great. You buy it.

Two months from now, it’s just another shirt or pair of shoes in your closet.

I see you looking, climbing that corporate ladder because when you reach vice president you think you will fulfill your dream.

After 10 years of hard work and sacrifice you finally made it.

Then one year later, you feel unfulfilled and want to be president of your own company.

I see you looking, thinking that winning the lottery will fulfill you.

But the $10,000 you just spent left you wanting more.

I see you looking thinking that a great steak or Chicago-style pizza, or backyard barbecue will satisfy, but hours after you’re full, you’re hungry again.

It’s like the Rolling Stones said: I can’t get no satisfaction.

I see you looking as you walk by our stand. In your head, you are saying I don’t need that. It’s just like I once thought, “That’s for the weak, the stupid, the gullible, because there is no God.”

I see you looking!

Now you are here looking to drink, eat, chill or find that perfect somebody.

Can’t you see these things don’t satisfy forever?

God put eternity in your heart. The hole you’re trying to fill cannot be filled with things or people. You have been on the treadmill of life chasing a carrot just out of reach, thinking—if you got it—you would be satisfied.

It’s a lie.

It is what you are rejecting is the only thing that can fulfill your soul. Nothing is eternal but God. Only He can fill us. It is God who must become a part of your life.

I hope you see now or you will keep searching and, when you die, you will be without Him.

You are like a son or daughter who was adopted at birth and felt things were not right. Then the knowledge comes that you were adopted and your birth parents were out there, so now you are searching.

But God didn’t abandon you.

He made you and loves you and desires that you come home to Him. It was our sin that separated us from God. You were born into it and by choice of your sin you were kept from our loving Father God. So the Father sent His son, Jesus, to bring us back together. He sent Him to take away the barrier between us and Him; our sin.

Since we all have lied, that makes us a liar.

Since we have stolen, regardless of size, that makes us a thief.

Since we have had sex or looked with lust outside of marriage, we are adulterers of heart and body.

Even if we have done just one thing wrong that separates you from God.

Jesus came to live a perfect life; a life without sin. Then Jesus died for all the sins that we committed. He was placed on a cross to be crucified and after three days He rose from the grave.

So for you and I to be complete, we must believe He died for us. Be willing to turn from sin. Believe that He rose from the grave. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and receive Him as your Lord and Savior. You will be forgiven. You will receive eternal life and be restored into an eternal relationship with GOD, your Father.

It all starts with a prayer like this from your heart:

“Jesus, I am a sinner. I cannot save myself. I turn from my sin and believe that you died for me on the cross to take away my sins. I believe that, after three days, you rose from the dead. I believe you are my Savior and my Lord. I now follow you and give you the rest of my days. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

If you have prayed that from your heart and have confessed Jesus as your Lord, your sins are forgiven and you have been adopted into the family of God. You are complete in Christ and have been made a new person.

You are now a son or daughter of God.

Now to understand what God has done for you and the relationship He has with you, please read your Bible and pray to Him. Go to a Bible-believing church to fellowship with other believers. Go out and tell others about Him, as we have you.

Your looking is over. You have found eternal life in Jesus.

S.B.

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the annunciation by tanner

8 Fulfilled Prophesies Foretelling the Birth of Jesus Christ

PROPHESY: Descendant of Abraham

“And through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 22:18)

Prophesied: Around 1500-1300 BC
Fulfilled: Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38

The genealogy of Jesus laid out in the book of Matthew and Luke details Jesus lineage through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

PROPHESY: Descendant of Jacob

“A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.” (Numbers: 24:17)

Prophesied: Between 1446-1260 BC
Fulfilled: Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38

The genealogy of Jesus laid out in the book of Matthew and Luke details Jesus lineage through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

PROPHESY: Virgin Birth, Immanuel

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

Prophesied: 740 BC
Fulfilled: Matthew 1:20-25, Luke 1:26-35

“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”

PROPHESY: A Child Will Be Born

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Prophesied: 740 BC
Fulfilled: Luke 1:32-33; 3:23-38, Matthew 1:1, 6-7

“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

PROPHESY: The Time of Messiah’s Arrival

“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”

“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” (Daniel 9:25-26)

Prophesied: 605 BC
Fulfilled: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

“(1) This passage tells us when Messiah will appear on the scene. (2) It tells us that after His appearance, Messiah will be rejected by His people, and (3) that Messiah will be cut off temporarily, an obvious reference to the cross.”

“The seven weeks with the sixty-two weeks combine to make 69 weeks of years (483 years) until the coming of Messiah. The starting point for the 483 years was the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. This is a reference to the decree given in the time of Nehemiah in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes in 445 B.C. (Neh. 2:1-8). After this, Messiah would appear on the scene.”

“The words ‘until Messiah the Prince’ refer to a time when Messiah would be manifested as the prince of Israel. This would be around A.D. 30-33, so the time of His birth as the Immanuel of God would have to be around A.D. 0-4.” (Keathley.)

PROPHESY: Born in Bethlehem

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)

Prophesied: 742 BC
Fulfilled: Luke 2:1-7; Matthew 2:1-6, John 7:42

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) […] And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”

PROPHESY: Destruction of the Children

“A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15)

Prophesied: 597 BC
Fulfilled: Mathew 2:16-18

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”

PROPHESY: Return from Egypt

“Out of Egypt I called My Son.” (Hosea 11:1)

Prophesied: 755 BC
Fulfilled: Matthew 2:13-15

“And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.”

Download the two-page handout for your next discussion »

 


References

Lorenz, J. November 2, 2014. Prophecies About Jesus: 6 Birth Prophecies Fulfilled by Christ. Newsmax. Retrieved from https://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/prophecies-about-jesus-birth/2014/11/02/id/604203/

Keathley, III, J. Prophecies of the Birth of Christ. Bible.org. Retrieved from https://bible.org/article/prophecies-birth-christ

Chaffey, T. December 24, 2012. Fulfilled Prophecies at the Birth of Christ. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved from https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/birth/fulfilled-prophecies-at-the-birth-of-christ/

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Diving Into Baptism

Praise God! We have a date scheduled for my baptism!

As an infant, I was baptized into the Catholic Church. Since coming back around to a deeper walk in my Christian faith, it has been on my heart to consciously accept baptism as a new man in Christ. Numerous attempts to be baptized through my non-denominational church have stalled, not through any lack of readiness on my part, but through a lack of administration on theirs. Since losing their baptismal pastor last year, they have been pushing the baptismal responsibility back and forth between departments. They even cancelled their Easter baptism this year with a commitment to conduct baptisms “sometime late spring, early summer.”

What?

When I asked my Baptist pastor about this and he said it was because they don’t view baptism as membership into their church. My brother in contemplative prayer understands this and confirms that baptism is not to be church-specific. He says the old man dies upon immersion and is born new in Jesus Christ into the Body of Christ upon emerging; not into a specific church family. Then he made a joke about taking me down to the river and taking care of it.

So, after more consideration, I’m taking him up on that offer. It seems fairly appropriate, actually, when I think about our biblical example. If Christ is our example to follow, I will follow Him in this too.

Pastor Doug of Fellowship of the Martyrs Church of Liberty, Missouri, points out the connection between water baptism and Passover. This inspired me to look into the dates for Passover to possibly align with that. Well, in the year 2016, Passover takes begins Friday evening, April 22, and runs until the evening of Saturday, April 30.

So, April 30th it will be!

More soon!

matt signature

P.S. Enjoy the following article which more clearly states the connection between baptism and Passover.


Baptism & Passover: Two Pictures of Our Need for Christ

by Jerry Laws, December 2001

From time to time my thoughts keep coming back to the process of salvation. The more I think about it, the broader and deeper it gets. In this ever-expanding process I’m being made more keenly aware that there is “nothing but Christ!” What I mean by this is that in the Father’s purity, He only views His beloved Son.

And by the Father’s grace (ability) we believers have been placed or positioned “in Christ” (1Cor 1:30) whether we are actively aware of it or not.

Salvation is a process of delivering us from the world, Satan, and self. It’s a process of the old man’s death, and the new creature in Christ growing into a mature thinking and acting individual, just as our Messiah was and is (Eph 4:13). The apostle Paul’s determined goal for all those whom he ministered to, was given for our reference in Galatians 4:19, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.” This central theme of the reformation process is summarized in 2Cor 3:18, and is specifically emphasized in 2Cor 4:11; “For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

Now the principle of life out of death is pictured both in our public baptism and the Christian Passover service.

Let us first briefly review the need for a Savior to deliver us from ourselves and the evil that exists in this world. Adam and Eve’s wrong choice resulted in mankind’s separation from God, pictured by removing them from the Garden and thereby barring them from the Tree of Life. In order for reconciliation to come about, God the Father had to first propose deliverance—salvation. Secondly, the beloved Son had to purchase it. And finally, God’s Holy Spirit has to apply it. The first two steps have been accomplished, and the third is in active process.

There is no amount of good works we can do to earn salvation. Our part is not production, but reception of our life “in Christ Jesus”, who is our salvation. However, our efforts are involved here as this entails Bible based fact-finding, and explicit faith in Him and His purpose for us “in Christ”. It also involves our patient trust as He takes us through the necessary purification process involved (Tit 2:11–14).

As God’s calling continues to go out, the people have a choice to make, not unlike Adam and Eve’s choice. Many factors can affect the response: love of the world and the things that are in it; strong self-will; rebellious natures; procrastination, etc. (I remember a friend telling me that it took him 18 years from his calling to make a firm commitment before being baptized. Praise God, he did make it.)

Even after we have made the correct choice of Life, I don’t think most have a very deep understanding of the life-out-of-death process that we have entered into with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This usually comes later on with our child-training.

Submitting to water baptism is to be a testimony, or giving evidence that we have accepted the facts of Scripture, and acknowledge our need for a Savior in order to be reconciled back to God. We therefore reckon, or count ourselves to have been placed in union with Jesus Christ, by the Spirit (Rom 6:1–11). Baptism need be done only one time in one’s life—at an age when one is old enough for a life-long adult commitment. It also testifies to our position; we have died to—out of the power of—the old life and are alive in the newness of life.

Our “position” is not a place, but is a person with a personality. Sometimes we have difficulty grasping this concept. Making a comparison with our human birth might help here. When we were born into this world, we automatically inherited the characteristics of our forefathers clear back to the beginning of time. We inherited a deep self-centered nature that is prone to sin. We didn’t have any choice in the matter. We were therefore “positioned” with Adam’s nature—our flesh—which is simply not compatible with God’s nature (Rom 3:23; 7:18; 8:7).

When we are immersed into the water, our old man is as a dead man, crucified and its power over us is broken. As we come out of the water, we have entered into the newness of life. This is our new position, “in Christ” and the old man has no power over the new man in Christ. Remember when Jesus was nailed up to the stake, and He was up there crucified for a period of time before He finally died. This is where our old man has been placed—up on the stake with Jesus, crucified, power broken, but not yet annihilated.

There is an allegory which has been given to me by another, and it might help clarify this situation: there is a ship on a voyage and the captain has been tried and found guilty of a capital offense, and as such has been put below deck in the ship’s jail. The new captain of our ship gives good guidance and steers a true course along safe harbors. Meanwhile the old captain continues to loudly claim he is the rightful leader of the ship, and the crew are so used to listening to him that they still sometimes do—which causes a lot of problems for the ship. Explanation: We are the ship on our voyage of life. Our old man is the old captain who has been put in chains, and his power over us is broken at our baptism. He will be permanently removed from our ship when the ship reaches the final port, but he still causes a lot of problems in the meantime. The new captain of our ship is, of course, Jesus Christ.

This brings us to the Christian Passover/Lord’s Supper connection and the reason why we need to partake of it as an annual memorial, rather than a one-time experience such as with our baptism.

When we come up out of the water we have entered into a brand new life, separate from the old. It is the life of Christ—He is our life (Col 3:4). We have been positioned in Him by the Father. However, we come into Jesus’ life as newborn spiritual babes, with God’s goal set before us to grow in grace and knowledge until we reach the full maturity, just as the beloved Son of God is mature (2 Pet 3:18; Eph 4:13). This ultimately leads to intimacy and oneness with our God.

The Passover service sets forth our experience in our voyage of life. It is our continual condition, of growing to full maturity. It is not the old man improving, or getting better—for he has been crucified—but our human condition is in the process of purification. We, individually, are being transformed (conformed) to His death in order that His life may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

Even though the ultimate goal of Jesus’ death was to bring us into Life (Rom 5:10), we can never bypass the importance of His beaten body and shed blood. We need to remember—proclaim—His death annually, on a continual basis to help us focus on our need for Him. We acknowledge that our condition in this journey of life is a needy one, because it is all too easy to take our eyes off the new Captain of our vessel and let the old man take control of the helm once again. Remember what the beloved Son of God experienced on our behalf. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1Cor 11:26).

Maybe this will help illuminate what Paul said in Galatians 2:20; “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”

Permission is granted to reproduce any article in its entirety.

(Laws, J. Servants’ News. December 2001. Retrieved from http://www.servantsnews.com/sn0111/baptism.htm.)


Biblical Quotes Regarding Baptism (KJV)

Acts 2:38 – Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

John 3:5 – Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Acts 22:16 – And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Mark 16:16 – He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

1 Peter 3:21 – The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Matthew 28:19 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Colossians 2:12-13 – Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Ephesians 4:5 – One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Acts 2:41 – Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.

Romans 6:3-4 – Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Galatians 3:27 – For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Matthew 3:16 – And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Matthew 3:11 – I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire:

Acts 8:36-38 – And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

Colossians 2:12 – Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

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born again in Jesus

What Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior Means to Me

From my YouTube channel, TheMetalHero94 writes:

Hi, really interesting topic. I’d like to know something. Many Christians talk about salvation saying that the only way to be saved is by proclaiming Christ as lord and savior. However, I do not really understand how that works. I’ll explain, most of the believers I know have said that to me, you know, that you must accept Jesus as your savior. However, this same people are always spreading hate, judging others, complaining about everything, etc. It surprises me they say something like that and do not even practice what Jesus Christ teaches, how can you be saved by accepting Jesus and not even working on your own behavior? When it comes to accepting Christ, I’ve always thought it was about applying his teachings to your life, and man, I’ve got really interesting experiences, a feeling of relief, love and happiness that cannot be found in the material world.

Would you mind telling what “Accepting Christ as lord and savior” means to you? 🙂 Cheers.


Sure thing, MetalHero!

Before I answer, let me get grounded on a couple things.

We Are All Lost

First, let me say we ALL need saving. We all fall grossly short of the glory of God. We all have sin. Per Paul’s letter to the Romans 3:9-18:

“For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:

“‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.'”

Keep in mind, as Paul quotes from Psalms 14 and other Old Testament verses here, he was including himself in this description of our fallen state.

Our best deeds are as filthy rags before our Lord’s holiness (Isaiah 64:6). As we continue to grow in our relationship with God, we begin to more clearly comprehend his magnitude, power and love for us. As we begin to get a glimpse of this, we also begin getting a sense for our smallness, dullness and pollutedness. The more you know God, the more humble you become, ultimately.

It is from this spirit of humility that true Christians should be operating from–not from a spirit of haughty self-righteousness sometimes seen in unregenerate Christians (Matthew 7:5). Now, I’m not saying Christians who are experiencing regeneration in meaningful ways can’t falter or backslide; they certainly do. Cling to Romans 12:2:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

You’re likely already experiencing this, as can be seen by your statement, “I’ve got really interesting experiences, a feeling of relief, love and happiness that cannot be found in the material world.” If materialistic concerns are beginning to lose their grip on you, this is evidence you are moving away from the physical and beginning to answer the spiritual call of the Father. This is fantastic! You may be interested in reading St. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle for a good map of the soul’s evolution toward God.

I believe this renewal Paul speaks of is where many folks stumble. If you go through a regenerative experience and allow yourself to be pulled back into degenerative living, your fall will be even greater than if you hadn’t been saved at all. This is why it is so important we dig into Scripture and seek baptism upon being “born again” in Christ.

Be careful to avoid the trap of discarding the truth of Jesus Christ because you see self-professed “Christians” behaving badly. That is to fall prey to what’s called an ad hominem fallacy. “Ad hominem” is a Latin term that means “against the man” and an ad hominem fallacy is where we discount a message based on the character or circumstances surrounding the person delivering the message. Again, I’ll bring you back to the verses I opened this message with, Romans 3:9-18. Not one of us is worthy. “No, not one.”

Why Do We Need A Savior?

Secondly, sometimes, folks ask why we even need a savior. Surely God wouldn’t have made mankind so completely broken and faulty if he was a perfect God, right? Well, as we see in Adam’s fall, things were made perfect, however once Adam and Eve chose against God, sin entered the world. God gives his created beings free will. The choirs of angels have struggled with this. Humanity has struggled with this. Certainly there is a purification that happens through this struggle, but there is also a sifting between those who cleave to God and those who reject him. According to Romans 1:18-25, all know him in their hearts:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”

Why Doesn’t God Just Make Us in a Saved Condition?

So, let’s answer the question why would a perfect God make imperfect wretches like us? Instead of his perfection being passed onto us, could it not be implied our imperfection is a reflection of God’s short-comings? Essentially, the notion is, “If the design is flawed, the Designer is flawed.” This is a funny one I’ve seen atheists use. The argument is a reversal. It subjects the perfect and holy Father to our own reptilian wisdom and sense of justice.

Isaiah 55:6-9

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Meditate on that for a second. “As the heavens are higher than the earth.” How big is the universe? Those heavens. Soak in that for a moment.

Back to Adam and Eve. They walked with God himself. They were pure creations in a “saved” condition. If angels (also created beings with free will) can err, apparently so can mankind. And so we did. And so we do.

What Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior Means to Me

So the foundation has been set. We are all sinners. We all need saving. We cannot save ourselves.

For many years, I maintained a relationship with God but I went around Jesus to do it. I thought Jesus was a great teacher and a great example for us to follow. I knew God wanted a personal relationship with me but I still wasn’t clear on the Trinity, so I simplified things and just focused on God the Father. Then one Sunday morning, my pastor’s sermon slapped me awake with:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

That sermon brought out in me a hunger to know Jesus–to study his example. As I reacquainted myself with Scripture, it became painfully obvious there was a huge gap in the account of Christ’s life in the Bible. Only now do I realize this is by design. (Matthew 24:35 is proof of this.) If we could follow Christ’s path step-by-step, we would continue to chase him under our own power instead of allowing ourselves to be shaped by God through faith. This is why so many other methods or false religions for reaching God lead to destruction.

In John 14, Jesus is very clear:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

In my three-day salvation prayer experience, I had to understand this and renounce my previous errant attempts. Certainly there was more renouncing than understanding when I first moved through this, but the more I get into God’s Word, the more I understand this. Even writing this response to you has helped me soak in this truth more. So, thank you for asking!

Thoughts?

Matt

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salvation experience

My Salvation Experience

Like I said in my last video, God’s been working in my life something fierce.

So, following our first meeting, Scott and I have a couple more conversations. We made a commitment to keep the energy going, and so we started talking on the phone every Monday. I call him, we talk for an hour or more, and even those conversations were just awesome.

This man knows Scripture really well. Scott’s been a Christian for 25 years, and he’s been really active in his faith for the past 8 years. He’s had supernatural experiences in spirit. (Not that that’s any kind of benchmark, but… it is. In the Bible, it even says to seek the gifts. He’s actually experienced the gifts unlike most folks I know.)

We’re having these conversations and I eventually set up a time to go out and meet with him at his place. Again, it’s about 25-minute drive from me, so I head out there after the kids are in bed, and I arrive at his place about 9:00 p.m. Initially, we only thought I was going to be out there for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half.

I get to his place at 9:00 on the spot, and I don’t end up leaving there until 1:00 a.m. We just sat in his living room and talked the entire time. Really, it was him telling me more about his story and me telling him more about my journey. I had brought four books along just so I could show him all that I had been uncovering. I brought a Kriya yoga book, one of the books he had recommended to me (Jeanne Guyon,) a Saint Teresa of Avila book (Interior Castle,) and then a daily devotional that came to me as a Christmas gift through my wife. I presented my stuff, he presented his stuff, and it was just this awesome feast of sharing our spiritual journeys together.

One of the things that came out near the end of that conversation was this big question mark over me, however. He had told of his spiritual awakening, where somebody had witnessed to him during a party phase of his life, where he was killing lots of time splashing around the gutter. I had also had a splashing-around-the-gutter time in my life; pretty much my entire 20’s. That entire decade was just… yeah, a lot of going crazy. Having a good time, but going crazy and making a lot of dumb mistakes and bad choices. More on that later.

So, Scott was also in that low place in his life when he had somebody at work witness to him, and the witnessing… did something to him. He had said, “Oh, yeah, yeah. I’ll say the Salvation Prayer. Yeah, no problem. I’ll do it,” and then he hung up on the guy. Just being a turkey.

Over that next week, though, something began eating at him. And eating at him. And eating at him. Until finally—about a week or two later—he just melted down, went through the Salvation Prayer, renounced his sin-filled ways and he ended up committing his life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Right as soon as he finished with that prayer, Scott felt this massive unburdening; this big, uplifting, full of tears and elation, with these waves of love and light and…POW!

That’s when Scott turns to me and asks if I had ever experienced anything like that, and my answer was, “Well, not quite.” I’ve had a couple Christ experiences (which I haven’t shared with you yet,) but I hadn’t had that kind of dramatic awakening.

So, I left there with this big question mark like, “Shouldn’t I have this? Shouldn’t this be part of my journey? I would love to have a supernatural awakening.”

I’ve had some supernatural experiences in my past, but I never really… it wasn’t around salvation. I definitely hadn’t experienced what he had. I didn’t have the big “woosh.”

I went home and did a quick Google search on “salvation prayer”. Scott had already given me the recipe on the way out the door, but I wanted to see the recipe in print, compare notes and get a better sense for it. That night, I ended up going through the Salvation Prayer. I guess I was hoping there would be some sort of supernatural affirmation I had done it right.

One of the things that was different for me on the Salvation Prayer was the notion of turning my life over to Christ. Now, I had done pretty much everything BUT that, even with the Kriya yoga work. I had sought out Kriya yoga because I thought Christ meditated, and absolutely, I still believe he meditated, but the Kriya yoga path doesn’t involve Christ really. You can do the whole thing without Christ. Christ says, “The path is wide, but the way to the Father is through me. It’s a narrow gate.” (Actually, he said:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Matthew 7: 13-14

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6)

My experience of Kriya yoga said you can climb the wall to God without going through the gate, but the Bible teaches you’re not going to reach God without going through the narrow gate of Jesus Christ. I realized this was exactly what I had been doing. Through my meditative practice, I was trying to climb the wall to God, and I certainly wasn’t attempting that crossing through Jesus Christ.

So, why wasn’t I trying to cross through Jesus Christ?

I was born and raised Catholic. You’d think I would have this wonderful spiritual foundation. I did have a personal love for God; that’s true. Growing up, I was the only child I knew who would occasionally skip recess to go sit in the still silence of our empty cathedral and pray. But before I even graduated, I had a Jehovah’s Witness friend at work blow me out with some very good questions. She asked questions like, “If God is unconditional love, how could he let any of his children burn in eternal damnation? Why are their no women priests? Did you know the Catholic Church supports the pill? Why is it you have to go through the church to have a relationship with God?”

I was ill-prepared. I couldn’t answer. I wasn’t equipped to answer that barrage even after 12 years of Catholic schooling. Problem.

So, after that I pretty much went agnostic. I knew there was a God and I still talked with him, but Jesus eventually was reduced to a “good teacher” and that’s the way he stayed for over 20 years. To me, he became one of the master teachers the planet had seen. Yes, I believed in his resurrection. I believed in his miracles. I believed he was raised from the dead, but in my mind, we can do this too if we were to ever attain that spiritual height.

I don’t know how I had it all figured out my mind, but Jesus was not Lord.

I went through the Salvation Prayer. Where the Salvation Prayer says, “Jesus is Lord,” you take Jesus as your savior. You renounce all other paths, all other ways, and you zero in on Christ as that narrow gate through which you go.

It took a day or two for that to really sink in. I said the words the first night—and I meant it—but it was alien to me; the acceptance of Jesus Christ as God. I grew up around the Trinity, and I grew up around Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but somehow I hadn’t quite 100% agreed to it internally.

So I did the Salvation Prayer that night. Didn’t get the whoosh. There was no dramatic, “POW! You just entered some spiritual doorway.”

No woosh.

Yet there are experiences on YouTube where folks are talking about it, so I was feeling like, “Well, my guy had it. People on YouTube are having it. I didn’t get it. Hmm.”

Now, as it would just so happen, God had also placed another witness by me at my office. He’s a pastor, by trade. I went and talked with Tony. I said, “Tony, hey, have you ever had this salvation experience?” Tony said, “Yes.” (Everybody’s had this experience but me, apparently!)

Tony had a similar kind of story. Only instead of walking around with a really big grin on his face for a week and being filled with Christ’s love and affirmation, Tony was stricken by his sinful nature. He experienced that love, but a lot of his experience was anguish through the new awareness of his own sinful past. For the week after he answered an alter-call, he was wrecked emotionally. Sobbing every day, as he said.

So here I had two examples over the course of two days, and I still wasn’t getting the whoosh—the big emotional release. There was no spiritual release for me, so I did what you’re not supposed to do.

Now, I didn’t know this until it came to me later, but once you do the Salvation Prayer, you really should only do it once because—to do it two or three times like I did—it means you’re not having faith that God’s taken things over. You’ve renounced your past ways, you’ve confessed your sins, and you’ve given things over to Jesus, and now, you should be able to relax and rest for just a moment and let the Holy Spirit do his work. I wasn’t relaxing. Yeah, that’s not me, really, and I didn’t know that this was what I should’ve been doing.

Day two, I didn’t get my whoosh, but had received more validation that others have gotten the whoosh, and so I end up doing the Salvation Prayer again. I’m confessing more sins this time, and trying to give more of my heart, which that in and of itself is interesting. Through the past year’s meditation, I’ve been trying to remove myself, but bringing love—bringing myself up into a state of love for God—I was very weak at.

So day two comes and goes. No big whoosh. I’m a little crestfallen. I’m getting a little disappointed at this point. I’m like, “Lord, am I doing it right?”

The next day, Scott says, “Man, you should be… I’ve not really ran into a case where they haven’t had a big whoosh.” He said, “Well, maybe you need to witness to somebody else.” I said, “Alright, yeah, I’ll do that.” So I witnessed to a couple more people that day.

By the end of day three, I’m getting more resolve. I say, “Lord, I’m going to do this Salvation Prayer every day until you confirm that I’ve crossed over the door (that I’ve been accepted into the club essentially.)”

Right about then was when the message came to me (Did I read it? Or maybe Scott said something?) that you only say the Salvation Prayer once. The point is that you really need to have faith on the first pass and start diving into God’s Word, so I did more of that. I started diving into the Bible, which I had already started doing naturally.

Over the next couple weeks, I began to be consumed with a renewed starvation for God’s Word. I just needed to dig into the Bible more. I learned later the word is “regeneration.”

(By the way, by the third day I had renounced yoga. I had even renounced my Catholicism. I had renounced every other means possible where I had tried to climb the wall to God instead of going through the narrow gate of Jesus Christ.)

I didn’t get the whoosh, but it certainly was helping me get around to accepting the deity of Jesus Christ because that’s one place where I was super weak. I hadn’t done that yet. It was still a big question in my mind. I had spent so many years wondering if truly that was the case or if Jesus was human just like us and just had grown and evolved to the heights that he achieved. As I got deeper into God’s Word, I began accepting Jesus as the narrow gate, as the Lord and Savior, as the Triune God—not a created being, but as God.

Since then, things have been taking off, spiritually. I won’t go into everything here, but man, I’m on a track, kids. I’m on a track, and I’m looking forward to it. 2016 is going to be amazing. I’m already making plans to go out and start doing some street-side witnessing. That’s new to me. I’ve never done that before. I’ve never witnessed to anybody before, and now, I’m starting to do it on a weekly basis, and it’s really just me telling my story and sounding off where I’m at spiritually.

Yeah. This has been a big time for me, guys. I’ve got plenty more to talk about. I’m re-shifting my entire web practice to serve only Christian churches and faith-based organizations who point others towards God. If you don’t face others towards God, I’m not helping you with your web work anymore unless you are an existing client.

I can’t repay him enough. There’s nothing I can do. My best deeds are as filthy rags before of his holiness. There’s nothing I can do to repay him enough for the sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ. There’s nothing I can do.

Hope this is helping somebody out there. Let me know. Sound off in the comments. More soon.

matt signature

P.S. A couple weeks later I was sitting in church when I would have my question about my salvation experience answered. The pastor said that sometimes our salvation experiences are dramatic, yes, but oftentimes the experience is tender. Regardless of how God brings you in, you will know if you have genuinely converted if you enter a period of regeneration following your confession and commitment.

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