Noah could have said “no” to God and not built the ark.
Abraham could have said “no” to God and stayed in Haran.
Lot could have “no” to God and perished in Sodom.
Moses could have said “no” to God and remained in exile.
David could have said “no” to God and continued tending his sheep.
Jesus could have said “no” to God and stayed in Nazareth.
Matthew could have said “no” to God and continued as a tax collector.
Paul could have said “no” to God and remained a Pharisee.
All of these men could have continued living as they were before God called them. They were righteous men; no reason to believe they wouldn’t have continued being righteous, even if they’d turned God down. But we wouldn’t have heard about them, and the great feats God accomplished through them would have been accomplished through someone else.
Think of all the men and women who were called by God and said “no”. Think of all the amazing feats that God could have accomplished on Earth if those people had instead said “yes”! I have no idea how many people have turned God down over the years, but I’m guessing the number if quite high. I’m guessing it might even be in the millions.
The reason I’m guessing it might be in the millions is because of the way most Christians react to the thought of really stepping out in faith. By “really stepping out in faith” I mean consciously choosing whatever it takes (such as being poor, homeless, despised, outcast, without possessions, without friends, without family, without a spouse, and without children) to do God’s will by preaching and teaching the Word night and day, like Jesus did, until your dying breath, like Jesus did.
Poverty, homelessness, and living and dying as an outlaw are all horrible thoughts to most Christians and they don’t want to dwell on these uncomfortable thoughts for too long. Yet this is how God calls ALL of us to live, if we are genuinely following Jesus. Jesus lived homeless and despised and under constant threat of arrest, and so did his disciples. So why do you, if you call yourself a follower of Jesus, have a place full of possessions, live with a spouse and/or children, take pride in keeping the worldly peace, enjoy three square meals a day, and sleep comfortably in your warm and cushy bed at night?
How many people do you think God has called who have said “no” to him?
Are you one of them?
Do you try to justify your decision to say “no” by saying that God calls everyone in different ways?
Do you know what the devil does?
He tempts people. He’s a tempter. He tempts and he lies. One of his chief temptations is to prevent people from saying “yes” to God when God calls them. The devil showers them with money and possessions and a spouse and children and all the CARES OF THIS WORLD that he can pile onto them so that when God calls them, they have a million and one excuses why they can’t heed the call, just like the people who were called to the king’s wedding feast had a million and one excuses: “Oh, sorry God, I just got married, and, well, you know…. Oh, sorry God, I just bought a house and I’m starting a new job next week. Maybe catch up with me again when my kids graduate?… Oh, sorry God, I love you and all that, but I love my family, too, and I owe them my loyalty and protection, so I’m going to have to say no. But thanks anyway for thinking of me!”
How many people do you think have said “no” to God when he called?
Are you one of them?
Do you know the eternal ramifications of saying “no” to God so that you can enjoy the comforts of this world? Jesus tells us what they are: He says that you have your reward already. The life you’re living now is all you get. This is it. Not a whit more. No Heaven. And by your choice.
But the good news is that it’s not too late to change your mind, like the prodigal son changed his mind. You can still say “yes” to God. You can still walk away from everything that is holding you back – ALL THE CARES OF THIS WORLD – and really step out in faith. That’s all God’s looking for – people to take that first step when he calls, and then he takes it from there. Noah, Abraham, Lot, Moses, David, Jesus, Matthew, Paul and thousands of others really stepped out in faith. Will God be adding your name to that list, or will you just continue to roll over in your comfy bed and put a sly smile on the devil’s face?
The choice is yours.
The right one is clear.
But the offer is time-limited and may be withdrawn at any moment, without notice
The choice is yours.
The right one is clear.
Make it now, before it’s too late.
Tell God you’re ready to really step out in faith.
Tell God you want your name on that list with Noah and Moses and Jesus and Paul.
Tell him; mean it; and when the call comes: Go.
During his ministry years, Jesus hated being around most Hebrews. You can’t really blame him for that, considering that many of them were out to kill him and in the end succeeded. Even those in his hometown of Nazareth tried to kill him when he publicly outed himself there as the Messiah. Never mind that he actually was the Messiah. That truth was lost on them. They just wanted him dead.
But their wanting to kill him wasn’t the only reason Jesus hated being around Hebrews – he also hated their hypocrisy. He warned them over and over again that it would lead to their condemnation and ultimately to their destruction, but they dismissed his warnings. I wonder if any of them thought about Jesus’ warnings when their entire nation was being destroyed a few years later.
Like Jesus, I hate being around people who say they believe but act as if they don’t; who say they’re Christians but are instead Churchians. They want to know what church you go to, how long you’ve been going there, and whether the pastor is “nice”. They want to know your denomination. They want you to join their denomination. If you’re not in their denomination, they talk to you the way people talk to someone with a learning disability.
Yes, the world is a mess and there are bigger fish to fry than interpersonal irritations among alleged followers of Jesus, but actually these irritations are the crux of the world’s problems. Imagine how much different things would be if all people who said they follow Jesus were on the same page. Imagine if there were no denominations. Imagine if there was just “the church” in different locations, like it was in the early years. Imagine if you could move from place to place and no matter where you went in the world, it was the same church with the same beliefs, only called by a different location name. Imagine if followers of Jesus met in person occasionally, not out of a sense of duty or obligation but of genuine desire to be with each other and worship God together. Imagine the force of God’s Spirit in those meetings! Imagine if people didn’t preach and teach God’s Word for a salary and benefits but because they had no choice; the compulsion in them was too strong to stay silent. Imagine the miracles that would flow from this type of church, the type of church that Jesus envisioned and launched but is now firmly in the hands of the devil.
I’ve frankly had it with Churchians. I was an atheist before I was born again, and I’d still rather spend time around atheists than Churchians. There is no love for Truth in Churchians, let alone love for God or their enemies. There is only a faint desire to be part of a social group that meets on Sundays and pats each other on the back (though the smug patting is getting more difficult with their willing compliance with the state’s social distancing dictates).
And this is another reason why Jesus hated being around his own people – their smug complacency and belief that they were “God’s chosen” and therefore had a guaranteed ticket to Heaven. This is the same smug complacency I see in Churchians who insist that Jesus did everything for them and all they have to do is “believe” to get their heavenly reward. This is the same type of lie from the pit of Hell that the Hebrews in Jesus’ day believed, but the irony is lost on the Churchians. They love their comfortable little lies rather than God’s Truth, so their reward will be the same as for the Hebrews in Jesus’ day – total annihilation.
All denominations are lies, every single one, and every pastor, priest or minister who preaches for a salary and benefits is unfit for the job. There is only one church as founded by Jesus Christ, and that is the church of born-again believers who are alive today on Earth. There is no other church. There are not billions of Christians, there are only a few tens of thousands, and those numbers are dwindling daily.
Genuine born-again believers – which is the true definition of Christian – are an endangered species, soon to be nearly extinct. Jesus asked: When the son of man returns, will he find faith on Earth? That was a rhetorical question, meaning that the answer was obvious and in this case was “no”. Jesus did not expect to find much faith on Earth when he returned.
If you are not a genuine Christian – that is, if you’re not a born-again believer who follows Jesus rather than the dictates of a denomination or the state – there is still time for you to get right with God, but not much time. Your heart could stop beating at any moment. The choice is yours, whether you want to be a Churchian or a genuine believer. The path to becoming a genuine follower of Jesus is the same as it always was – repent, and believe the gospel. Believing the gospel means living the gospel, and the only way to live the gospel is to live as Jesus lived, with all its deprivations and rewards. There is no other way.
You don’t get to Heaven by believing or insisting you’ll get to Heaven; you don’t get to Heaven by preaching that you’ll get to Heaven: you get to Heaven by following in Jesus’ footsteps and praying to God every day and in every way to be made worthy of Heaven. Ultimately, it’s God’s decision whether or not you’ll make it to Heaven. It’s not your decision or your pastor’s decision or even the devil’s decision: It’s God’s decision.
To sum up:
Avoid Churchians like the plague.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.
And pray to God night and day to be made worthy of his ultimate reward of Heaven.
God holds his children to a higher standard of behavior than the children of mammon. To compensate for this, God gives his children special gifts that the children of mammon rarely receive, the main one being the gift of revelation. What we do with that gift determines in large part whether we grow closer to God or fall away.(more…)
God’s justice is perfect. Everything about God is perfect. There is no imperfection in anything he is or does, so his justice must also be perfect.
God’s justice permeates Earth and everything and everyone on it. You cannot escape God’s justice; it is built into you and everyone around you. You may say that you don’t believe in God or don’t agree with his justice, but God’s justice will still prevail over your beliefs and opinions. It is inescapable and perfect.
I mention this because there is currently a pandemic of people in every nation complaining that the state of the world is unjust, and that the way to make the world just is to defund the police, tax the rich, replace politicians, topple statues, redistribute money and property, shorten the work week, and so on and so on. The gist is that the way things are is wrong and so it must be changed, and violently if necessary.
But this “the world is unjust” viewpoint clashes with the perfection of God’s justice. Those who are unhappy with the way things are are looking for scapegoats (history, politicians, police officers, pancake syrup, etc.), insisting that if these scapegoats were removed, erased or canceled, justice would reign and peace would finally be established (“no justice, no peace”). (more…)
The Bible is full of secrets. Some of the secrets are meant to be told and some are meant to remain hidden until another time. Scripture tells us that Jesus often kept things to himself, knowing peoples’ hearts and so knowing that some of his followers weren’t ready to hear God’s secrets. In John’s gospel, Jesus states openly that he has much to tell his followers, but they aren’t ready to hear it yet. He promises them that when the time is right and they’re ready, God’s Holy Spirit will tell them. (more…)
If you’re genuinely following Jesus, very few people want to hear what you say.
The first thing that all of Jesus’ disciples did was leave their jobs, their wives, their children, their homes, and their stuff. None of Jesus’ followers had property or spouses or children. THERE WERE NO CHILDREN LIVING AMONG THE FOLLOWERS. There were children who came to listen to Jesus as he taught (and he welcomed them with open arms and blessed them), but there were no children living among the followers, just as there were no people living with spouses. Jesus’ followers lived childless, celibate and without stuff, as Jesus did.
If you’re genuinely following Jesus, very few people want to hear what you say. (more…)
There’s a curious but pivotal scripture that “gentle Jesus, meek and mind” Christians tend to skip because it doesn’t fit their image of Jesus. You know the one I mean – where a hungry Jesus curses a fig tree to death and then goes on a hangry rampage in the temple, overturning tables and whipping the moneychangers for violating God’s law.
Ya gotta admit – when Jesus does hangry, he does it memorably. Most of us when we’re hangry just snap at people and then head to the corner store for a candy bar or a bag of Doritos, but Jesus let it all out. And when he did, he did it with such impact and such righteousness that we’re still talking about it today. (more…)
In his letters, Paul was very clear about one thing: No earthly suffering is too much if it leads to Heaven as the reward.
Heaven is our reward if God judges that we’ve earned it. Most Christians have lost sight of that. Instead of longing for Heaven, they do everything in their power to postpone death. They run to the doctor, they demand a cure, they beg for prayers so they won’t die. Why is that? (more…)
When Jesus was 12, he gave his parents the slip and snuck off to the temple in Jerusalem to talk scripture. The learned elders were amazed at his knowledge and perceived he was clearly a prodigy destined for great things. But his parents experienced this event somewhat differently. For three days and nights, they frantically searched for their son. When they eventually found him, instead of apologizing, Jesus simply stated that he needed to be about his Father’s business. His parents, however, discerned otherwise, and back under their wing Jesus went. We hear nothing further about him until his “coming out” miracle at the wedding at Cana 18 years later (prompted, tellingly, by his mother, who signaled to Jesus that yes, it is finally time to be about your Father’s business).
Like the precocious 12-year-old Jesus who reveled in his knowledge of scripture, fully-grown men and women today engage in the same type of display. But instead of using temples, they vie to one-up each other on blogs, online forums or YouTube videos. And in so doing, they completely miss the point of knowing scripture. (more…)