Death is a result of sin. We know this because in the beginning, people used to live for hundreds and over a thousand years. In Genesis 3: 17-19 it states: And to Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit I told you not to eat, I have placed a curse on the ground. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. All your life you will sweat to produce food, until your dying day. Then you will return to the ground from which you came. For you were made from dust, and to the dust you will return." Life is short. In Job 7: 6-7 we read how Job cries out to God. He acknowledges and says "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle flying back and forth." They end without hope. O God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again experience pleasure." So we know that it's important for us to fulfill our purpose here on earth before our time comes. To make our time on earth count. To do what is pleasing before the eyes of our God. Every person will face death. Psalm 89: 48 reads: No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave. We know that death is inevitable. So we know that while we have a chance, we must do all that we were meant to do by the Creator. The death of a Christian is precious. The Lord's loved ones are precious to Him; it grieves Him when they die. The good thing is that they go to meet their Creator. They are joining Him in His kingdom. That is what makes it so precious. Christians enter perfect peace at death. The righteous pass away; the godly often die before their time. And no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For the godly who die will rest in peace. They will be spared of the evil days ahead. God has power over death. In John 14: 19 Jesus said to His disciples "In just a little while the world will not see me again, but you will. For I will live again, and you will too." Death does not end the life of a Christian. Here we see how the power of God can bring back to life whoever He pleases, and whenever He pleases (for His own will and purpose). We see the promise that He makes so clear to His disciples, and His children of faith. The death of Christians brings fellowship with Jesus. Acts 7: 59 when Stephen addressed the Council it reads: And as they stoned him (Stephen), Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Right at that moment as he prayed, Stephen was in fellowship with Jesus, his Lord, Creator, and Savior. It is a good way to die-in fellowship with God. It is similar to the death of Jesus. Although He was being tortured, His fellowship with the father was constant. That is the peace of God in the midst of chaos. God provides eternal life. Romans 6: 23 says: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. We know that we will live and spend eternity with our Creator. Jesus will raise everyone who has died. 1 Corinthians 15: 20-23 reads: But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of great harvest of those who will be raised to life again. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, Adam, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man, Christ. Everyone dies because all of us are related to Adam, the first man. But all who are related to Christ, the other man, will be given new life. But there is order to this resurrection: Christ was raised first; then when Christ comes back, all his people will be raised. So we Christians know that our death will not be permanent. Living in heaven is better than living on earth. 2 Corinthians 5: 6-7: So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. That is why we live by believing, and not by seeing. We know that when we leave our bodies behind on earth, we will be leaving behind all the pain, suffering, sickness, sadness, evil things existing on earth, and we will be with the Lord resting in peace until our resurrection. This is not to say we rush to our death, however, we're confident in it, so when the time comes that our Lord decides our time is over on earth, we are not afraid. Death is not the end of a person. 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14 talks about the hope of the resurrection: And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died. So we know that death is not the end of a person. We need to prepare our spiritual life for death. Hebrews 9: 27-28 shows: And just as it is destined that each person dies only once, and after that comes judgement, so also Christ died only once as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again but not to deal with our sins again. This time He will bring salvation to all those who are eagerly waiting for Him. So, while we wait for him, we are preparing for this meeting. We prepare with prayer, fasting, and submission to the Holy Spirit; in fellowship with Him, our brethren and following His commands with all of our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. We don't know how long we will live. James 4: 13-14 says: Look here, you people who say, "Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit." How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog-it's here a little while, then it's gone. We need to be careful with this. God is clearly warning us not to be too self-confident. Our confidence should be in God first. We should put our trust in Him, when we make any life decisions. We should be saying "Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year, God-willing." "God-willing, we will do business there and make a profit." The reason, is because if God does not want it, or will it, it will not happen. Either our plans will not work, things will not go the way we thought, or we could die the next day. We should be mindful, and understand that we are not in control of our own days of our lives-God controls how long we will live. God will destroy death. Revelation 21: 4 reads: "He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying of pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever." So the results of sin will be removed when Jesus returns for His Church. And He will end all of our punishments, death, and curses for our sins. This is the promise He made to those who believe and remain faithful. Until next study; I wish you all a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year! May God be with you and yours-God bless you! Peace, health, and prosperity into the New Year!
God's word enlightens us. The word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. When we read scripture, we find the light that we need in the dark places of our lives; things become clear; God's will, plan, and purpose for our lives becomes clear. We receive guidance from the Holy Spirit. The way of the wicked people is darkness. They don't even know what is causing them to stumble in their path. Many times they find themselves wondering if God even exists; and most of the time they don't even believe in God. They don't understand why they are here on earth; or what their purpose is. Jesus brings light to darkened lives. God is light; and in him is no darkness at all. It's impossible for a Christian or a believer to be in darkness concerning life with God. Living without God is living in spiritual darkness. God saves lives from darkness; and once He prepares them (the souls He saves) He sends them to find others and bring them into the light. He does this to open their eyes, and to turn them from the darkness, and into the light. He brings them from the power of Satan unto God, so that they may receive forgiveness of their sins, and inheritance from God once they are sanctified by faith through Jesus. Christians do not live in spiritual darkness. Before we were saved, we lived in darkness. But now we are the light in the Lord; we must walk as children of light. God rescues us from eternal darkness. He has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son. We (believers) know that we will one day be in heaven with Jesus in His kingdom; this is His promise of salvation; and our inheritance. There is no darkness in Jesus. God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. There is no evil in Jesus. There is only truth, righteousness, love, goodness, faithfulness. God is good. He gives us His truth. If we accept and follow it, we will be saved. If we do not, we will be condemned. Sinners' eternal punishment will be in darkness. I say this because some godless people have wormed their way in among you, saying that God's forgiveness allows us to live immoral lives. The fate of such people was determined long ago, for they have turned against our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. I must remind you-and you know it well-that even though the Lord rescued the whole nation of Israel from Egypt, he later destroyed every one of those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the day of judgement. And don't forget the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with sexual immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and are a warning of the eternal fire that will punish all who are evil. Yet these false teachers, who claim authority from their dreams, live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at the power of the glorious ones. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse Satan of blasphemy, but simply said, "The Lord rebuke you." (this took place when Michael was arguing with Satan about Moses' body). But these people mock and curse the things they do not understand. Like animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and they bring about their own destruction. How terrible it will be for them! For they follow the evil example of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they will do anything for money. And like Korah, they will perish because of their rebellion. When these people join you in fellowship meals celebrating the love of the Lord, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are shameless in the way they care only about themselves. They are like clouds blowing over dry land without giving rain, promising much but producing nothing. They are like trees without fruit at harvest time. They are not only dead but doubly dead, for they have been pulled out by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the dirty foam of their shameful deeds. They are wandering stars, heading for everlasting gloom and darkness. This is God's message to those living in sin and darkness. For those not willing to repent of it, nor submit to God's dominion or rule. I hope this is helpful in understanding the meaning of spiritual darkness. Until next study; be well, and God bless you!
God hates the occult. He clearly tells us not to eat meat not drained of its blood, nor use enchantment, nor observe times. Fortune telling is not something that He wants us to take part in. Witchcraft is detestable to God. God also judges those who wrongly claim to speak for Him. Scripture says "But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die." If the prophet predicts something in the Lord's name and it does not happen, the Lord did not give the message. That prophet has spoken on his own and need not be feared. God hates cultic practices. Scripture tells us how people who practice cults caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger. God despises false prophets. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; "Because ye have spoken vanity and seen lies, therefore, behold I am against you," saith the Lord God. "And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord God." He is very clear in His anger towards these practices. False teachers will come. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Those are people who come to the Church pretending to be godly, but, are vessels of satan, and if we are not careful, they can tear us apart. We can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. You don't pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles. A healthy tree produces good fruit, and an unhealthy tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced. Believe me, they will not display love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faith, goodness, meekness, nor temperance. Only Jesus brings salvation. Jesus saith unto him, " I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." If we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved. If not, we will be condemned. Members of the occult will never enter God's kingdom. Galatians 5: 19 says Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Be careful in your spiritual life. We must test everything that is said, and hold on to what is good. Scripture tells us: "Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophesies." Whoever scoffs at God, or His people (the same as scoffing at Him) will not enter His kingdom. I hope this study clears up any questions on cult, witchcraft, fortune telling, or any other form of sorcery or practices against the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Until next study, be safe, be well, and God bless you.
Jesus was crucified. Scripture tells us how He was mocked, stripped, they put his raiment on him, then He was led away to be crucified. This was done to Him as punishment; they didn't believe He was the son of God. When Jesus was with the disciples; he called out to the crowd and told them: "Whosoever will come after me, let him (or her) deny himself (or herself), and take up his (or her) cross, and follow me." This shows us that the walk of faith is one of suffering; trials; tribulations. He said "Whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it." What this means is that if we go after our own lives/goals, or plans, and forget about God and why He came, we can end up losing both our earthly treasures, and our salvation. But, if we lose our lives for His sake (meaning we put God first), and for the gospel, we will be saving our lives, because we will have gained the gift of salvation which is eternal and cannot be taken from us, and any of our earthly plans or goals will be prosperous. We will be blessed. He said "What profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul?" "Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" He said "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. We cannot be ashamed of the gospel. What we need to be ashamed of is the adulterous and sinful way of man. We should repent of our sins and practice them no more. Jesus' death was powerful. The power behind Jesus' death is: salvation for all who believe in Him and accept Him as their personal savior. Once you believe and accept, you are saved. No one, or nothing can take that from you. That's power. Jesus' death unifies all Christians. When we accept Christ as our personal and only savior, we are reconciled to God and to the body of Christ (the Church) having slain (or destroyed) enmity thereby. Jesus's death was a sacrifice. Jesus made peace through the blood of His cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself, by him; whether they be things on earth or in heaven. Colossians 1: 21 shows how we were sometimes alienated or enemies to God in our minds by wicked works, but now, we are reconciled. In the body of his flesh through death, to present us holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight. Jesus' death defeated Satan. His death blotted out the handwriting of ordinances against us; took it out of the way; nailing it to the cross. Having spoiled the principalities and powers, exposed them, triumphing over them in it. Jesus' cross was an example for us. Looking to Jesus- the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross; despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. We can walk the walk of faith. We should lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets us, and run with patience the race that is set before us.
I hope this study was as powerful to you as it was to me- until next time, be well, be safe; and God bless you!
We have to be able to deal with and resolve any problems we have both spiritually and physically, before we can even begin to think we have the authority to point out anyone else's faults. Only when we live in a way that is pleasing to God do we have the ability to point out other Christian's faults, and even then we should be doing it in an effort to help them to correct any error they are in, and not to make ourselves feel or look better or above them in any way. We should take care of our own problems before criticizing others. Criticism is helpful for Christians so that they can deepen their relationship with God. If someone does something against me, I am to rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. And if this happens seven times a day, and seven times he repents, seven times I am to forgive him. In other words, we need attention to be brought to the error so that it is recognized; and then it can be corrected. And vice versa, when I am in error; I need to be corrected, repent, and should also be forgiven. This is how a Christian can deepen their relationship with God. Criticism should be given with a loving attitude. The only reason criticism should take place is to help the person in error; it should be done because you care for the person enough not to see them continue down the wrong path; or possibly lose their salvation. Beware of harsh criticism towards your brother or sister in Christ. If your criticism is too harsh; and done in a fashion that brings public humiliation or shame, you could destroy a believer and cause them to go astray even further; thus resulting in their loss of salvation or relapse of sin, drug abuse, etc..they can end up leaving the Church and going back to the world, lose their faith; and the end result; you can and will be held accountable for it.
This study is short, but very important. There are many occasions where these things happen and the results can be devastating. The worse part is that the error rather than being corrected, stays the same, and the person's condition can worsen. we should keep this in mind when we are helping others in the Church. The same with any other setting. Whatever we do, we should do it with love, and there should be no other intent in pointing it out. I hope this serves as a helpful reminder to you- until the next study; take care and be well; God bless you..
..taking back the souls..one member at a time..