When God Is Telling You Something…

When you feel God telling you something, you BETTER listen.

A couple of weeks ago I was on my way home from a wedding anniversary downtown.  There were two lanes to the onramp of the freeway, and about 4 cars in front of me.  In the other lane was another couple of cars along with a motorcycle.

Light turns green and we all start to go.  Well I noticed one of the cars in my lane starts to go into the right lane to pass somebody… but, it’s kind of hard to pass when someone is in that right lane.  But not for this motorist.  This motorist decided to push the motorcycle (and his passenger) off the road.

The rider and passenger go flying while the motorist speeds away.

I stop and call 911 and see how I can help.  Luckily, both the rider and passenger got up and took their helmets off (helmets…).  They were shaken up a bit, can’t blame them, and seemed to be ok with a couple of cuts on their legs.  Well, while waiting there the passenger got her helmet and noticed the rider’s helmet… his helmet was all scratched and in pretty bad shape.

The rider said he wasn’t planning on wearing his helmet that night, but decided to.

Good thing… because that would have been his head all mashed up.

Now I bring up this story because in the end the rider decided to wear his helmet.  That was an urging from God!  If he would have not listened and did as he was originally going to (not wear the helmet), he would either be dead or in very bad shape.

So when you hear God speak, you better listen.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it!

The Only Key That Will Unlock The Gates Of Heaven

So this past Saturday I was at a Bible Study, and one of the things that kept coming up from someone was that they believe you have to be a good person to get to Heaven.  They feel you need to do good works to get in.

But that’s not so.

You do not get to Heaven by your good works, but it is by the grace of God that you get into Heaven, through Jesus Christ.


“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” -Ephesians 2:8-9


As I was sitting there listening, God put this analogy into my head…

Heaven is like a huge gated community.  While outside the gates you’re doing your good deeds (re: works).  For every good deed you do you get a key to put on your key ring.  Now you do these good deeds throughout your life, and one you come to the end of the road you may have many keys or a few keys.  It all depends on the works you did throughout your life.

Now some will say they did many good deeds and are sure to get into Heaven, their key ring is bursting with keys so they know that one of their keys will unlock the gates to Heaven.  Some of them even look down on the ones who have few keys, boasting about their many keys.

Anywho, the one with many keys starts sticking them in the gate one by one.  None of them seem to be working, but no worries… he has many more keys to go right?  Surely one of these keys will fit?

So he keeps trying one after another and none of them are working.

Now the man is starting to get a little nervous, sweating even.  It’s been hours and hours trying all these different keys and he’s down to his last few.

Meanwhile, the man with a few keys never once tries to open the gates of Heaven with his few keys.  Instead, he starts talking to the guards and then points to a man he knows.  This man, named Jesus, tells the guards to let him through because that is his friend.  So the guards let him through and Jesus welcomes him with open arms into Heaven!

Now back to the man with many keys, he tries his last key and nothing, nada, zip.  It’s the end of the road.  None of his keys could unlock the gates of Heaven.

But wait… he’s able to see through the gates.  What’s that he sees?  It’s the man with few keys.  But how?!

Surely this man had more keys, so his chances were 1,000 times better right?

Hey… wait a second.  The man with many keys sees the man with few keys taking out his little key ring and he starts unlocking things… it looks to be treasures!  TREASURES!!! All of the keys are working.

The man with many keys can’t make any sense of it.  Here he is outside of the gates of Heaven looking in… and the man with few keys is using all his keys to unlock the treasures on the inside.


So what went wrong with the man with many keys?  Did he not do enough good deeds and collect enough keys?

Of course not!  No matter how much he worked he would have never be able to work enough to get a key that opens up the gates of Heaven.

You see, the man with few keys knew something… He knew no matter how many key she had that none of them would open up the gates to Heaven.  He knew the secret… and the secret is Jesus.

Jesus says:  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20).

You see, Jesus is the ONLY way to open up the gates of Heaven.

Jesus IS the KEY

But the works you do here on Earth will be rewarding in Heaven.

But without Jesus you’ll never know what treasures are in store for you… You’ll have a bunch of keys, but no locks to put them in to.

Just remember, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” -Ephesians 2:8-9

One Little Flame Can Light The Whole World

I’ve been reading in the Bible a lot lately about being a Light in the world, and my thoughts have sifted to 9 years ago.

Nine years ago I went to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky (I highly recommend going if you’ve never been there).  It’s this huge cave system which you can explore (of course, there’s a path and stairs you need to stay on so you don’t get lost) with a group.

Just for giggles… me at Mammoth Cave in 2008

Well, one of the places in the cave was this huge room that had seats (large boulders) that about 50 of us were on.  The ranger asked everyone to put lights and phones away.  Once everyone had done that, the ranger turned out the lights and the cave was pitch black.  You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.

Just then, the ranger lit one little lighter and you know what happened?  That one little flame light up this whole room, and I’m not talking about some little bedroom or living room in a house, but a huge cave!  Just one little flame!!

And you know what, that’s all we need to be a light in this world.

Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

You are a light of the world!  You really can change the world with one little flame.  All you have to do is light it…

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” -Jesus (John 12:46)

 

Jesus Realized Different Levels Of Spiritual Commitment

So I’ve been reading Rick Warren’s book, Purpose Driven Church:  Every Church Is Big in God’s Eyes, and two things Rick said really stood out to me.

It’s about talking to people about Jesus.

Here’s what Rick first said:

“Jesus began at the level of commitment of each person he met.  Often he would simply capture their interest and create a desire to know more.”

You don’t need to use big fancy words, or even be a know-it-all when it comes to sharing the Gospel.  What you need to do is capture people’s interest and then create a desire for them to want to know more.

This reminds me of what Paul says about planting the seeds and Apollos watering the seeds, and then God makes it grow.  It’s our job to capture people’s interest and create the desire, while God makes it grow in their hearts!

Here’s the second thing Rick said:

“Jesus took into account that people have different cultural backgrounds, understanding, and levels of spiritual commitment.  He knew that it doesn’t work to use the same approach with all people.”

I love this.  What works on one person may not work on another person.  You’re not going to talk to a believer the same way you’re going to talk to an atheist.  Likewise, you’re not going to talk to an atheist the same way you’re going to talk to a seeker.  Right?

So remember… capture someone’s attention, create desire for them to want to know more, and don’t use the same approach on everyone!

Now let that soak into your noggin’!

Forgive Or Your Heavenly Father Will Not Forgive You

I’ve noticed a reoccurring theme that comes up whenever I talk with my family about “forgiveness.”

The ones I’ve talked to about forgiveness always say they could never forgive someone if they harmed someone they love.  They say they would HATE that person.  Some said they would even like to kill that person.

Yikes.

Two passages come to my mind every time I hear someone say they couldn’t forgive someone who does something horrible…


“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” -Matthew 6:14-15

and

“Anyone who does not love remains in death.  Anyone who hates his brother is a murdered, and you know that no murdered has eternal life in him.” -1 John 3:14b-15


Jesus is very clear.  If you don’t forgive someone who sins against you, then our heavenly Father will not forgive you.  Jesus isn’t saying you’ll like it.  He’s not saying you have to be best friends with the person, but you do have to forgive.

Even John says, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murdered, and you know that no murdered has eternal life in him.”

Wowzers!  Sounds pretty clear to me, no?

Well, on Friday, my uncle and I were talking about Jesus and the Bible and we started talking about forgiveness.  And guess what he said?!  He said if something happened to me or anyone in the family, or his friends, he would never be able to forgive that person.

I referred him to scripture, but he said he knows he needs to forgive, but he wouldn’t be to do it.

So the rest of that night and Saturday it really got me thinking.  And this verse popped in my head, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18

How could you give thanks in all circumstances, especially some horrible act done against someone you love?

The only thing I could think and what I can start telling people is… If someone did something horrible to me and it ended in my death, forgive them and give thanks to our Father in Heaven that it happened to me and not someone who isn’t saved.

Really… What else could be said?

Now go out and be a Light in the World!

It’s All About Taking Action

So for about the past month I could feel God urging me to read the Book of Nehemiah.

It was like I was seeing it mentioned all over the place.  But I just never “got around to reading it.”  Then the other day I felt down and kept saying I need to do something extraordinary with my life.  You know, something to help change the world.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks… the urge to read Nehemiah.  Wow, just wow.

Here’s a short background on the Book of Nehemiah:  Mehemiah was feeling grief over the ruins of the walls of Jerusalem, so he decided to take action and left his home and job to do an “impossible mission” which was to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

So here’s this common, ordinary man who felt grief over where his fathers were buried, constantly reached out to God, and TOOK ACTION.

That’s the key right there… he TOOK ACTION and constantly reached out to God from beginning to end.  God doesn’t want us waiting around for him, he wants us to pray to him and then go take action!

So go read God’s Word, Pray, and put his Word into Action AND be a Light in the World!

Love is…

If someone was to ask you, “How would you define love?” how would you respond?
 
Dictionary.com defines love as:
  1. A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
  2. A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.

It’s how we all usually define love, no?

But, what does scripture have to say about love?  How does scripture define love?

Take it away, Paul!

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-8

What wise words form a wise man.

Now I want you to replace LOVE with your name.  So for me it would be:

David is patient.
David is kind.
David does not envy.
David does not boast.
David is not proud.
David is not rude.
David is not self-seeking.
David is not easily angered.
David keeps no record of wrongs.
David does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
David always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Wow!  How powerful is that just by replacing one word with your name!

Now I must admit, I’m not all of those.  Heck, I can see me being all of these at times, which means I have a lot of work to do.  It also gives me a lot to think about…

How about you?  What do you need to work on when it comes to love?

“And now these three remain:  faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.” -1 Corinthians 13:13

Love never fails!

Would God Forgive Satan If He Asked For Forgiveness?

I heard a questions recently, which I’ve never heard before… “Would God forgive Satan if he asked for forgiveness?”

Hmm… very interesting question.  One that got me thinking.  Hmm… thinking to myself, would God forgive Satan if he asked for forgiveness?

Looking to the Bible, we all know the fate of Satan.  So, he’ll never be in Heaven, but the question about would God forgive him if he asked for forgiveness… I’d have to say I think so, and here’s why.

If we look at Luke 16:19-31, Jesus talks about a rich man dressed in purpled and fine linen while living in luxury while there was a beggar named Lazarus at the rich man’s gate.

Eventually Lazarus dies and the angels carry him to Abraham’s side.  Then the rich man dies and he’s in hell, where he’s in torment.

The rich man looks up and see’s Lazarus by Abraham’s side and says, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” (24)

Abraham then goes on to tell the rich man how he received good things in life and Lazarus received the bad.  Now Lazarus is comforted and the rich man is in agony.(25-26)

The rich man then begs Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house and warn his five brothers so that they will not also come to the place of torment. (27)

Abraham tells the rich man, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.” (29)

“No, father Abraham,” the rich man said, “but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” (30)

Abraham said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (31)

There’s quite a bit between the rich man, Lazarus, and Abraham.

But there is one thing that really strikes me… How come the rich man never asked for forgiveness?  How come he never told Lazarus he was sorry for not helping him?

Instead, the rich man asks for some water to cool his tongue and to warn his brothers so they don’t end up in agony with him.

This all gets me thinking… the rich man never wanted to be forgiven.  It’s almost as if he feels he didn’t do anything wrong.

It’s like if you don’t want to be with Jesus now, why would you want to spend eternity with him?  I can’t imagine anyone going to Hell and then asking for forgiveness.  But………… if they did ask forgives, would God forgive them?

In verse 26, Abraham does say, “besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.”

So, whether you go to Heaven or Hell when you die, it’s where you’re going to spend eternity.

I think if Satan was to ask God for forgiveness he would forgive him, but Satan will never ask for it.  Nor, do I think anyone who goes to Hell will ask for forgiveness either.  Kind of like being set in there ways.

Curious to know your thoughts.  Do you think if Satan was to ask God for forgiveness that He would forgive him?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Now keep spreading the word!

Shall I Not Drink The Cup The Father Has Given Me?

As I was doing my morning reading (John 18), I was reading about Jesus being arrested.  As he was being arrested, Peter drew his sword and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away!  Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:11)

Take a look at what Jesus said… “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

What’s Jesus talking about?

What came to my mind is Jesus was talking about what was going to happen to him.

The cup represents Jesus’ life, and the Father had it all planned out.  That’s why he said, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”  He was telling Peter to put away his sword and let God’s plan unfold.

How about you?  Are you drinking the cup the Father has given you?

I know at times I feel like I throw the cup down and try to do my own things, but I know that I have to trust God that his plan, his perfect plan, will work out.

Remember, keep your eye on Jesus and drink the cup the Father has given you.  Don’t try to resist.  Just TRUST.

Why Should I Let You Into My Heaven?

If you were to die right now and stand before God and he asked you, “Why should I let you into my Heaven?”  What would you say???

Tough questions, right?  You might say something like, “Well, I was a good person.  I helped people.  I was nice.”

In fact… I bet that’s what most Christians would say (I’ve asked that questions plenty of times and seems the “Because I’m a good person” is the favorite).


“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” -Romans 4:25


But, are any of those answers the REAL answer?

I’m going to have to say no.

Well, the above question was a question that was asked on my Baptism form.  And, I just loved that question.

Now, there was about a third of a page left blank to fill out your answer.  You sure could get a lot of “I’m a good person… I did this, I did that…” in there.

But, you know what I said?  It was short and sweet… and the only answer any of us can give.  I said:

Because Jesus died for my sins.

Seriously… what else are you going to be able to say that gets you into Heaven?


“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” -Ephesians 2:8-9


As Paul mentions above, you certainly can’t work your way in to Heaven.  It’s all a gift from God.

So I want you to think about it, if you were to die right now and stand before God and he asked you, “Why should I let you into my Heaven?”  What would you say?

Leave your thoughts/answers in the comment section below.  I’d love to hear them!


“I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” -John 14:6