Being Reborn


        “You do the deeds of your father.”  Then they said to him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of myself, but He sent me.  Why do you not understand my speech?  Because you are unable to listen to my word.  You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it […] he who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (John 8: 41 – 47.) 


        Many of the religious leaders were claiming to be children of God, yet they in no way resembled Him.  Instead they were lovers of money, who selfishly desired the praises of men.  They also sought to kill Jesus because he truly was the Son of God.  Without exception, every human being has one of two spiritual Fathers.  Either they love and serve God in purity and truth, or they follow Satan and serve their own fleshly desires.  Those seeking to become children of God must be reborn.  Jesus said, “unless one is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

        The process of being reborn is comprised of two very unique and distinct steps.  First, the individual must forget everything they have learned that is not congruent with the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Secondly they must embrace and live according to the commandments of God.  Before I was reborn I willingly served Satan.  My life was full of selfishness and promiscuity.  I had learned from movies and popular culture that fornication (sexual activity prior to marriage) was permissible and profitable.  After my rebirth I abandoned my worldly education and embraced the biblical commands to avoid fornication.  After many years of sexual purity, I met my wife.  We courted for nearly a year; during this time we did not cohabit-ate (live together); we also refrained from sexual contact of any kind.  In accordance with God’s desires, our first intimate moments were shared on the night of our wedding.

        Those who yearn to call God Father, must also be reborn; they must abandon what they have learned from popular culture and embrace the commandments of the Lord.  Every obedient soul will come to resemble Jesus Christ.  Their hearts will be filled with compassion, truth, mercy, and love.  In turn, many will see God and be drawn toward Him.

        “Lord God, may we call You our Father today.  May we be reborn and know that the old things have passed away and You have made all things new.  Guide us, teach us, and transform our hearts that we might continue to grow in Your likeness and Your image.  When others see us may they see You.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

The Simple are Wise


           At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.  Even so, Father, because it seemed good in Your sight.  All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father.  Nor does anyone know the Father except the son, and the one to whom the son wills to reveal him” (Mathew 11: 25-27.)


           In the Jewish culture, youth was often associated with weakness and stupidity.  So much so, that when a group of Jewish men gathered together, they frequently spoke in order of age; the oldest spoke first and the youngest spoke last.  They believed that with age came wisdom.  Jesus however, corrected this commonly held belief.  Wisdom concerning the messiah and God’s plan of salvation could not be attained through years of careful study; instead, the truth could only be received as a gift from God.  Those who thought themselves intelligent were blinded by pride and self-reliance; the simple and the ignorant however could more clearly see the value of God’s grace and the blessing of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

           Sigmund Freud pioneered what we might consider the modern field of psychology.  In fact, today he is remembered by some as one of the most intelligent men who has ever lived.  Yet most people don’t know that at one point in his career, he promoted the use of cocaine; believing it to be a cure for many of life’s common ailments.  He even encouraged his close acquaintances and compatriots to indulge in its use.  When one of his dear friends became horribly addicted to the drug, he saw the dangers of cocaine and anxiously recalled his previous promotions; he carried the guilt of his friend’s continual drug dependence for the rest of his life.  Some of the most well educated and intelligent people are often the most horribly deceived.

           The truth is a gift from The Lord (it is not something that can be earned.)  Intelligence, although beneficial and extremely useful, can sometimes blind those who trust in it more than God (the intellect frequently remains in opposition to simple faith and practical wisdom.)  God yearns for His children to trust in Him completely.  Those who are simple, unlearned, and unwise, are often the first to see the true value of God’s mercy and grace.  Won’t you receive the gospel today as a little child?  Won’t you believe with your whole heart?  Won’t you allow God to take control of your life?  If you place your faith in Jesus Christ you will come to know the truth; and you will be smarter than the most well-educated man, and wiser than the greatest king. 

           “Lord Heavenly Father, may we be as little children.  May we remain simple, and may we completely trust in, and rely upon You.  We pray for those who are intelligent and wise in their own thinking; those who have faith only in the achievements of men.  Reveal the truth to them, that they may come to humbly receive Your mercy and grace.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

The Vine


                “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away; every branch that bears fruit he prunes, that it might bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them in to the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples” (John 15: 1-8.)


                In the first century, grapes were a highly prized commodity grown in Israel.  Most were familiar with how grapes were cultivated.  Many sizable fruit producing vineyards consisted of individual sections; each section possessed a main vine that sprouted from the ground and stretched at great length; this vine delivered valuable nutrients, such as water and minerals to the smaller fruit yielding branches.  In this parable, Jesus likens himself to the vine; his disciples, in turn, represent the branches.  God the Father is the vinedresser, or caretaker, who nurtures and cares for the fruitful stems; and like any good farmer, he prunes them; cutting away the twigs that are unproductive.  These unfruitful stalks represent those who claim to be Christians but consistently practice worldly ways. God also sanctifies his children by removing evil habits, thoughts, and actions from the hearts and minds of those who believe; making them more pure; more holy; and more righteous.  Jesus revealed that every true follower must allow his words to abide in their hearts and minds.  Therefore, daily bible reading is an essential part of achieving and maintaining a Godly life.

                On the night that I gave my life to Jesus Christ, I was given a cheap paperback copy of the New Testament.  I threw it in the back of my car, and rode around with it for days, not giving it a second thought.  Still, something began to stir in my heart; I suddenly felt the urge to read it.  I chose to utilize my lunch breaks at work to dive in to the scriptures.  As I read, my faith commenced to grow; my life began to change in new and wonderful ways; my spirit became strong and I began to do, say, and act more like Jesus Christ.  A peace came over me; my hatred and resentments were swallowed up by the grace and mercy of a loving God.  Today, I still read the bible; I have made scripture, and the words of Jesus Christ my foundation for living.  I keep them close; in my heart and in my mind; and they have produced much fruit in my life and the lives of those around me.

                Today there are many who willfully pass by the scriptures and pay them no mind; most are unaware of the transforming power of God’s word.  Such people, cut off from the true source of spiritual nourishment, go on to wither and die.  Still, there are those who do comprehend the value of daily bible reading; these individuals grow strong and produce much fruit.  Their hearts and minds find rest; their actions exemplify the love of God; and their lives become instruments of righteousness and peace.  So then the important question is, when was the last time you made daily bible reading a part of your life?

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You today and we ask that Your words would abide in us.  Give us a hunger to read the scriptures daily; that we might grow strong and be Your disciples.  May we discover Your truths and may we bear much fruit for You.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

The Body of Christ


         “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my Father.  And whatever you ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14: 12-14.)


         Jesus begins this scripture with a declarative statement, saying “most assuredly.”   Perhaps a more modern translation is, ‘without a doubt;’ whatever the translation, the underlying meaning is ‘what I am about to say to you is unquestionably true.’  This declaration however hinges upon the next statement He makes; “he who believes in me.”  The focus of miraculous works does not come from human ability, but from a belief in Jesus Christ.  He states that the faithful believers will not only do the works he had been doing, but that their works would exceed those he performed while on the earth.  Although Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, his body remains upon the earth to this day.  All power, all direction, and all good works come from the Father, and Jesus Christ, the head of our body who is seated in heaven at the right hand of God.

         Trees are one of God’s most beautiful creations.  A tree is primarily made up of two parts.  The visible portion, consisting of the trunk and the crown (with its tender leaves), and the roots which dig deep down into the soil.  Only half of a tree is visible to the human eye.  Still, trees are not securely anchored in place by their branches, leaves, or trunks; no matter how splendid they may appear.  They remain upright because of what exists beneath the earth.  All trees absorb life sustaining water and nutrients through their roots, deep down, in places that are hidden from sight.  Like the tree, today the body of Christ is also made up of two parts.  I cannot see Jesus Christ as he sits at the right hand of God, much like I don’t see the roots of a tree as they anchor it and bring it life; but no tree can spread its branches and thrive unless what is unseen exists.  Today, every person who has faith in the unseen, risen Lord, becomes a part of the visible, and very real body of Jesus Christ that went missing from the tomb.  The Son of God is the head of the body; directing us, speaking to us, moving us in the direction He wants us to go, so that He can continue doing His miracles in this place.

         If we currently have Faith in Jesus Christ we are a part of his body.  And as a part of his body, all the good works that we do, He does through us.  Jesus Christ, and God the Father get the credit for the miracles and the healings; every orphanage built, every hospital constructed in His name, every life that is transformed, represents the continuing work of Jesus Christ upon this earth.  One way that we can draw from his power is to pray without ceasing; to lift up our requests to him, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem.  The God of the universe has made us a promise; if we ask then we shall receive.  So ask in expectation of receiving, and be mindful to ask according to His will, and you’ll find this scripture fulfilled in your life.  Miracles will occur in you, and in the lives of those around you, as He uses you to accomplish His works.

         “Lord heavenly Father, we ask that You would give us more of Your Holy Spirit.  Increase our faith and bring us closer to You and to Your Son.  We want to see Your Glory; we want to believe as little children, and we want to be productive members of Your Body, here in this place.  Guide us and direct us; and use us for Your Glory.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

Don’t Be Lukewarm


          “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish that you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth […] as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3: 14 – 16, 19.)


          After being seized by the Romans, the Apostle John was marched in to a crowded coliseum and plunged in to a vat of boiling oil.  But when he remained unharmed, masses of people within the coliseum began to convert to Christianity.  The Romans, fearing his influence, placed him in prison on a deserted Island off the cost of Turkey (known as Patmos.)  Church tradition teaches us that on this island, in about the year 95 A.D., an aging John (the last living Apostle) received a revelation from Jesus Christ.  In this revelation Jesus addressed the seven churches located in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.  The Laodicean church had become lukewarm in their faith; they were once bold, zealous, and uncompromising.  Yet, over time they succumb to personal comforts, complacency, and routine.  Jesus sternly rebuked them; his command: be zealous again; reach out; be bold; spread the gospel; be eager to do good and to serve; and work hard to save souls.  God’s message to the Laodiceans is timeless; it pertains to the church today.  There is no half-way; a moderate faith is a dead faith.  For the believer there are no vacations, no breaks, and no retirement.  Those who stop serving God fully, are in danger of becoming lukewarm, cold, and dead.

          Interestingly enough, a recent study revealed that early retirement can lead to an increased risk of death.  In 2005, three groups of people were studied; those who retired at 55; those who retired at 60; and those who retired at 65.  “In this research, death was almost twice as likely in the first 10 years after retirement at age 55 compared with those who continued working.”  The tendency to take it easy and relax can have disastrous results.  To lose enthusiasm for God’s message is to fail to fulfill the highest calling of God.  We must fervently work for the Lord until he returns to gather us together.

          Are you eager to serve God and others; or have you been serving yourself?  Are you on fire for the Lord, or have you become cold?  Are you readily spreading the gospel, or have you fallen silent?  Have you faded in to the background, or do you speak the truth in boldness?  Be brave and reach out for Christ.  May your heart be ignited by the consuming fire of the Holy Spirit.  May the words of God flow from your mouth, and may your good works never cease; may God use you to transform the lives of others; and may you represent the church of God with conviction and zeal.

          “Lord Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit and cause our hearts to burn for You.  Grant us boldness and faithfulness.  May we shine brightly in the lives of all those we meet.  Give us the words to speak, and the strength to continue.  May we never grow weary or become lukewarm; may we never cease from serving others, knowing that one day we will have our rest in You.  Lord, we love You, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you.

Professing Faith


          “I also say to you, whoever confesses me before men, him the Son of Man will also confess before the angels of God.  But he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12: 8 – 9.)


          Pride plays a major role in what we communicate to others; most intuitively hide what is unimportant or shameful, while openly expressing the attributes they hold most dear.  In American culture, individuals utilize social media to post quotes, publish photos, and transmit thoughts.  Many also use billboards, bumper stickers, t-shirts, and jewelry to convey their beliefs.  Yet in a nation supposedly comprised of a Christian majority, Jesus Christ rarely occupies the top position.   He is often displaced by seemingly more important things; like a career, a family, a political candidate, a sports team, a noteworthy cause, or even a unique lifestyle.

          Throughout history Christians have been persecuted for their outward professions of faith.  In many countries today, those who openly convert from Islam to Christianity face execution and imprisonment.  Only some are afforded the right to a trial; during these mock proceedings, evidence of a true conversion is presented against the accused.  To test the genuineness of our faith, we must ask ourselves a hypothetical question; “If we were to go on trial for our lives, what evidence would our accusers have to convict us of being true Christians?”  Would we be blamed for spreading the gospel?  Would we be found guilty of outwardly displaying our beliefs without shame or remorse?  Would others willingly testify that we followed the teachings of Jesus Christ?  Would we be condemned by love, and convicted for the faith?

          Those who are proud to be disciples are truly committed to the Lord.  As believers we must actively seek to express our beliefs in obvious and practical ways; through words, deeds, and nonverbal communication.  Whether it’s the bumper sticker that reads, “Jesus is Lord,” or the cross that hangs from our neck; outward displays of devotion strengthen our relationship with God.  Each time we openly express our love for Christ, we grow closer to our Heavenly Father; who in turn, showers down upon us all of His spiritual blessings.

          “Lord Heavenly Father, give us the strength and the desire to share our faith with others.  May we never be ashamed to be called Your Sons and Daughters.  Continue to be our number one love; may nothing ever come before You.  In Your wisdom, give us opportunities to communicate Your message to those who are devoid of understanding; that they too would come to know You as we have.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you.

Follow Me


       “As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Mathew sitting at the tax office.  And he said to him, “Follow Me.”  So he arose and followed Him” (Mark 9: 9.)


       The calling of Mathew is among the shortest conversion stories recorded in the bible.  As a tax collector, he was hated and despised by his own people.  Still Jesus saw something in him worth saving.  As the Lord passed by He uttered two simple words that would forever transform Mathew’s life; “Follow Me.”  His response was concise, immediate, and unwavering.  Mathew arose, abandoned his position, and began following Jesus Christ.  

       During the 1880’s, a famous baseball player named Billy Sunday had a similar experience.  One day, he and his teammates entered a saloon and began drinking.  Upon exiting, Billy spotted a group of Christians singing hymns and preaching about God’s salvation and forgiveness.  As tears rolled down his face, he turned to his teammates and said, “Boys, I’m through!  Going to turn to Jesus Christ.  We’ve reached the parting of the ways.”  Some mocked him, while others encouraged him.  He then entered the Pacific Garden Mission and gave his life to the Lord.  Later he said, “I called upon God’s mercy.  I staggered out of my sins into the outstretched arms of the Savior.  I became instantly a new creation in Him.  The next morning at practice, my manager, Mike Kelly, greeted me and said, ‘Billy, I read in the paper what occurred yesterday.  Religion isn’t my long suit, but I won’t knock you, and I’ll knock the daylights out of anyone who does.”  Billy Sunday went on to become one of the greatest evangelists of the early 20th century.

       Like Mathew, and like Billy, God is still calling many to follow Him today.  Jesus Christ desires that all would come to know Him and submit to His discipleship.  Some respond to His call; still others do not.  How can you respond to God’s call and receive salvation?  First, go to a quiet place, and ask God to enter your heart.  Turn away from sin, and profess a faith in Jesus Christ.  Get involved at a local church and be baptized.  Request an easy to read version of the bible (read it every day; beginning with the gospels.)  As you grow in the knowledge of God and submit to His commandments, you will experience a transformation.  You will feel the old things pass away; for behold, God will make “all things new.”

       “Lord Heavenly Father we thank You for calling us to be Your disciples.  May You always dwell within our hearts and minds.  Give us the strength to turn away from sin and death, that we might embrace the new life we have in You.  Teach us, guide us, be our Father and we will be Your children.  Give us Your Holy Spirit that we may lovingly serve You and our fellows.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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