Category Archives: Personal Study
“¡Viva el Papa! ¡Viva el Papa! ¡Viva el Papa! ¡Viva el Papa!”
I tuned in yesterday afternoon in time to hear multitudes of Catholics from all over the world chanting in expectation of their new leader. Flags were waving all over the Vatican. The cry of the crowd was a cry of enthusiasm, expectation and energy as the new pope was to be revealed.
Then, as the curtains were pulled back, it was announced that the pope was none other than Argentine Jorge Bergoglio, who chose the name Pope Francis. Indeed, this man is the first Latin American to ever be chosen as Catholicism’s Papal leader.
He is a simple man, choosing to be as much among the people as possible, live a simple life, help the poor and deny many of life’s dainties for the “greater good.”
He led the people in reciting the Lord’s Prayer, then a prayer to Mary.
You could see expressions of hope on the faces of all who listened.
…But is there hope in the pope?
I need to be careful here, because my intention is not to carelessly offend those that hold to the catholic teachings. But could I be so bold as to say, Catholicism, at its core teaching, is leading over a billion people to hell.
Why is that?
Don’t Catholics believe in God? Don’t they believe in the Bible? Don’t they believe that Jesus died on the cross?
Yes, they believe all of these truths.
But what is different between biblical Christianity and catholic teaching? Simply put, it’s a matter of do vs. done.
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Christian initiation is accomplished by means of the sacraments which establish the foundations of Christian life. The faithful born anew by Baptism are strengthened by Confirmation and are then nourished by the Eucharist.”
Their teachings go on to express that there are 7 sacraments of the church, and in keeping these sacraments you will have favor with God and earn salvation.
But ask any catholic if they know where they will spend eternity and they always reply, “I don’t know” or “you can’t know” or “I won’t know until after I die.”
Why is that? Because salvation is depending on what they do. They are initiated into the church as a baby when they are baptized, they go through confirmation as a child or young adult, and they take the communion. They confess their sins to the priest, pray to Mary, pray to the saints and other idols, and help the poor, but it comes down to one question: What is their salvation depending on? DO or DONE!?
Friend, there is no hope in the pope. He is just a man. He may be a nice man, but he is a man who is leading people down a religious road straight to an eternity that is separated from God.
Salvation is only by grace through faith. It is either grace or it is works. It cannot be both. Jesus already bought our salvation, and offers it as a gift to all who will believe on him. Why are you trying so hard to earn it?
If you have never been biblically saved, if you are still trying to work your way to God, if you don’t know for sure if you’re eternity will be Heaven or Hell, I challenge you to do one thing. Repent.
Repent of your sin and your faith in works or religion. Then believe on Jesus. Run to Jesus. Throw out any other hope that you have and cling to the cross where Jesus paid for your sins. He says he will forgive you. He will accept you. He will make you his child and an heir to all promises. He promises to give you life. Don’t wait any longer.
The Bible says in John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
You have God’s word on it. He never breaks his promises. Don’t wait any longer. Believe on Jesus.
Christian, maybe you agree with all that I’ve written here. Would you pray with me for the billions around the world that are deceived by religion? Would you pray with me that God would raise up more laborers to take the GOOD NEWS to them, that Jesus paid it all? Would you pray that God would open their eyes, that they would know the truth, and this truth would make them free?
Recently a good friend and one of my mentors, Austin Gardner, began a podcast on leadership. It has quickly become one of the things I look forward to most each week! I encourage you, if you are in any type of Christian leadership role or desire to be some day, check it out! It will be a great investment of your time. Each week for 10-20 minutes you will hear loads of practical & biblical advice. This is one of those things that will be invaluable in ministry.
You can check the website above for updates each week or subscribe for free in iTunes by clicking here.
The Spanish podcast, which is also helpful and sometimes deals with different issues, can be found here.
Celebration of Independence
Yesterday, July 20th, Colombia celebrated 202 years of independence from Spain. Colombians all around the country demonstrated their patriotic loyalty much like we do for our 4th of July celebrations in the USA. They enjoyed a day off from work, parades, time with family, massive feasts, and giving thanks for their freedom.
The story of their independence is a rather interesting one, revolving around a Venezuelan-born man named Simon Bolivar (who spent most of his time in Colombia and liberated 6 countries from Spain), and more interestingly, a conflict about a flower vase. Yes, a flower vase! You can read about that story here.
The battle for freedom in Colombia wages on.
I’m not talking about simply freedom from oppression from rebel groups, violence and political uprisings. Yes, that is what many focus on, but I’m talking about the freedom that Jesus speaks of in the Bible.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
You see, Colombia, just like the rest of the world, has a root need for eternal freedom. If you look at the entire passage there in John 8, Jesus was speaking to the Jews who were religious. They had the right family heritage, being sons of Abraham. They had the law. They had the right customs and practices and they didn’t see their need for being made free.
But Jesus saw that they were indeed servants and slaves to sin, and of their father the Devil.
Pretty harsh words, aren’t they?
Set Free or Made Free?
No matter how hard we try, in our own effort, the best we can do is to be “set free” from sin. There’s a difference between that and what Jesus actually said. He said he would make us free!
Here’s a good way to picture it… If you were in prison paying for a crime that you committed and I came by with a bomb and blew the wall off to let you out, I would have set you free. The problem with that is, eventually they are going to come looking for you (and me) again to throw us both back behind bars. It would be a temporary fix.
But, what if I go and pay your penalty for you. I can then walk in the front doors with the warden, who reaches for his keys and lets you out, now a free person. You’ve been made free. There is a great difference! Because, now, there is no more condemnation (See Romans 8:1).
How are we made free? By Jesus Christ! He paid our penalty 100%. As long as we try to work our way to God, the best we can do is break free for a little bit. We can’t get completely free from sin, and we can’t get completely free from eternal condemnation.
But, thanks be to Jesus, he has already paid the price and offers to MAKE us free! The Bible calls that Justification. My record is cleaned. God’s books show that I am free. There is no more punishment for my sin. No condemnation.
Do you see the difference? That’s what Colombia (and the rest of the world) need to hear.
What about you?
Have you let Jesus make you free or are you still struggling along, trying to make it on your own. If you were to die today, would you spend eternity with God, or would you be found guilty. It all goes back to what you’re depending on. Are you depending on your works? Your religion? Your effort? Your family?
Jesus Christ died on the cross to buy your freedom. Why don’t you believe in that today? Don’t just believe that it happened, but put all your faith in what He has done and repent of your own effort. He said he’d make you free.
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36
If you need help or if you have questions about salvation and being made free, I and my family would love to help you and answer your questions. Leave a comment, send me a message or give me a call. I promise to respond because Jesus loves you, and I do too.
I was doing some studying today for a message and came across this amazing quote tucked away in a reference book on my shelf. This brought a tear to my eye and an awe in my outlook of who our great Savior is! Enjoy…
Christ In Every Book
“Christ is the theme of the entire Revelation of God. He is promised in Genesis, revealed in the Law, prefigured in its history, praised in poetry, proclaimed in its prophecy, provided in its Gospels, proved in its Acts, preeminent in its Epistles and prevailing in Revelation.
He is seen in every book of the Bible. Take a journey through the Halls of Holy Writ and in every one of them you will see Christ.
GENESIS He is the Seed of the woman;
EXODUS the Lamb for sinners slain;
LEVITICUS, our High Priest;
NUMBERS the Star of Jacob and the Brazen Serpent;
DEUTERONOMY the Prophet like unto Moses and the Great Rock;
JOSHUA the Captain of the Lord’s Hosts;
JUDGES the Messenger of Jehovah;
RUTH our Kinsman-Redeemer and the Faithful Bridegroom;
1 SAMUEL He is seen as the Great Judge;
2 SAMUEL as the Princely King;
I KINGS David’s Choice;
2 KINGS as the Holiest of All;
1 CHRONICLES as King by birth;
2 CHRONICLES as King by Judgment;
EZRA He is seen as Lord of heaven and earth;
NEHEMIAH as the builder;
ESTHER our Mordecai;
JOB our Daysman and our Risen, returning Redeemer;
PSALMS the Son of God and the Good Shepherd;
PROVERBS our Wisdom;
ECCLESIASTIES the One above the sun;
SONG OF SOLOMON the great Church lover, the one Altogether Lovely and Chiefest among ten thousand;
ISAIAH He is the suffering and glorified Servant;
JEREMIAH the Lord our Righteousness;
LAMENTATIONS the Man of Sorrows;
EZEKIEL the glorious God;
DANIEL the Smiting Stone and the Messiah;
HOSEA reveals Him as the risen Son of God;
JOEL the outpourer of the Spirit;
AMOS the Eternal Christ;
OBADIAH, the Forgiving Christ;
JONAH as the Risen Prophet;
MICAH the Bethlehemite;
NAHUM He is the Bringer of Good Tidings;
HABAKKUK the Lord in His Holy Temple;
ZEPHANIAH the Merciful Christ;
HAGGAI, the Desire of all nations;
ZECHARIAH, the Branch;
and MALACHI, the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings.
MATTHEW shows Him as King of the Jews;
MARK the Servant;
LUKE the Perfect Son of Man;
JOHN the Son of God;
ACTS the Ascended Lord;
ROMANS the Lord our Righteousness;
I CORINTHIANS our Resurrection;
2 CORINTHIANS our Comforter;
GALATIANS the end of the Law;
EPHESIANS the head of the Church;
PHILIPPIANS the Supplier of every need;
COLOSSIANS the Fullness of the Godhead;
I THESSALONIANS He comes for His Church;
2 THESSALONIANS He comes with His Church;
I TIMOTHY He is the Mediator;
2 TIMOTHY the Bestower of Crowns;
TITUS Our Great God and Savior;
PHILEMON the Payer of our Debt;
HEBREWS the rest of the Faith and the Fulfiller of Types;
JAMES, the Lord drawing nigh;
1 PETER the Vicarious Sufferer;
2 PETER the Lord of Glory;
I JOHN the Way;
2 JOHN the Truth;
3 JOHN the Life;
JUDE, He is Our Security;
• the Lion of the Tribe of Judah,
• the Lamb of God,
• the Bright and Morning Star,
• the King of kings and Lord of lords.”
(Robert J. Wells, Prophetic Messages
for Modern Times; Dallas; Texas Printing House, Inc., 1944; pp. 205, 206)
What Is Our Purpose?
Now I’m not eloquent, nor do I say or write correctly, but I need to decrease and Christ needs to increase in my life, so I’m writing…
The Christian life can be boggled with all of the ‘To do’s’ of life. If I want to be a ‘good person’ or ‘good Christian’ I will try to be nice to others, go to church here and there, try not to curse that much, try to quite smoking, try to do good things.
Did you know life is not about that? It’s not really about ‘us’ at all. Though we are to live rightly -
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5: 16
This is not the 1st commandment. The 1st is found here:
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Matthew 22:36-38
God wants us to love Him, just like we want others to love us. Well maybe not exactly like we want others to love us because our minds are not holy like His. You can imagine though how you want to be loved. I can speak for myself when I say that I want my husband to love me.
- I want to be noticed.
- I want attention.
- I want to feel his warmth.
- I want to laugh with him.
- I want to see him and him to see me.
- I want his companionship.
- I want him to speak to me and I want him to hear me.
- I want his intimacy.
- I long for him when he is not around.
- I try to think of ways to show him my love.
- I try to cook things that are edible for him.
- I tell others about his greatness.
- I only want to build him up.
Though I am not perfect at doing all these things, I desire to love my husband in every good way. Imagine a relationship where you are able to love God in these ways.
Wake up in the morning and notice God!
Tell Him good morning. He’s real. It’s not goofy, it’s nice. Thank Him for being with you, for your blessings (bed, friends, kids, pets, breath, life, family, freedom, love, money, no money lol), thank Him for your safety, and the safety of your loved ones.
Give him your first attention!
Read His Word before Facebook, email, and breakfast. Talk to Him. Ask Him to help you see what He wants you to see and learn. It doesn’t have to be long, but its interesting and meaningful.
Feel His warmth and let Him feel yours!
If you have never ‘felt’ God, I would dare to think you might not be saved. If God is living in you and you never feel Him, he must be further from you than you realize. Find a quite spot and ask God to be with you, beg Him to touch you, to hold you, feel Him. I’ve got two parrots eating through the shoulders of my shirt right now, there is noise knocking against the wall of children playing, the mail man just threw a package against my door, and I’m still able to ‘feel God’. lol. Sometimes the place doesn’t have to be perfectly quiet as long as you’re able to recognize and focus. Those two words, recognize and focus, might not be the best words to use. Maybe I can describe how He feels.
Its like this wonderful urge to cry. You are so thankful that God would ever want to spend time with you. You usually get goosebumps right away, inexplicably. You feel comforted, the most you can ever feel. You don’t always have to beg Him for you to feel Him. Just pay attention because He is always with you. Times I feel Him the most are when I am overwhelmed with something, a loss, a fear, an incapacity of mine. He’s our strength in our weakness
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Now, I could go through the rest of the ways I like to be loved and turn it around on loving God, but maybe its time for you to make a list and try to think of ways to love God in your life. This is not exactly a challenge but more of a blessing, an opportunity to grow closer to our mighty creator.