How to Become a Christian

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The Bible has made it clear that we all have sinned; we are held accountable to God for our sin; God sent His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin that we cannot pay; that we must believe in our heart that Jesus is alive; and confess our sinfulness to God. When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and we confess, the next step is to pray to God and receive His gift of salvation. There is no other way to become a follower of Christ.

In Romans 10:13 the Bible says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Also, Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” When the Bible talks about the “Name of the Lord” it is referring to the person and character of Christ. Think about it like this, your name is more than the words or the spelling. Your name identifies who you are. When you sign your name on a document or call someone by name to get their attention, you are identifying the person whom the name represents. In the same way, when you call upon the Name of the Lord, it is an act of prayer where you believe He is real; you want to tell Him something; and you believe He will respond. One thing is sure–the day will come when everyone will admit that Jesus is Lord. You need to call on Him now to be your Savior instead of admitting it at judgment when it is too late. The Bible says in Philippians 2:10, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Why don’t you call on the Name of the Lord right now and ask the Lord to be your Savior. “Savior from what,” you may ask? He will save you from the judgment of hell, from sin and its hold on your life, and from hopelessness and fear. Pray and believe in this prayer as a guide to receiving Christ, “Father, I come before you in the name of Jesus. I confess that I am a sinner and ask you to forgive me and cleanse me from my sins. I receive Jesus as my Savior and ask Him to come into my heart. I confess that Jesus is Lord and that You raised Him from the dead. I ask You to please help me to live as You want me to live. I thank You for the gift of Your Son Jesus and Your free gift of salvation. In Jesus Name. Amen.”

The Bane of the Atheist’s Religion…

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“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14)

First, let me address the title.  Atheism, a belief system that asserts that there is no God, has been present in some form or other throughout history.  Proponents of atheism attempt to convert the masses by making claims that Jesus is historically fictitious, and the existence of God and events recorded in the Bible are made up stories that are believed by ignorant, feeble minded, scientifically uninformed, people.  At this time of year, Christmas, these unbelievers, whom Jesus came to earth from His God-head in heaven to seek and save, attempt to diminish not only the biblical evidence about Christ, but also “protect” the public from any toxic contact with the truth about Jesus.  I have often wondered why the atheist religion is so afraid of Christianity.  I mean, if we are the demented, uneducated, needy, pathetic people they say we are, they shouldn’t have to worry about us.  I will say this to the Christian reader of this article that the most dangerous thing in the world today is a believer or church who is not telling people our story, or testimony of facts, about our conversion experience.  Believing in God, the work of Jesus Christ, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within a believer makes us the most powerful people on earth.

When the heavenly hosts declared the truth in the focus verse above, the shepherd’s all saw and heard the same thing.  Like many atheist and other believers today, they were fearful at first, but that quickly changed and they made a mutual decision to leave their flock of sheep in the fold, or fence, and go see this for themselves.  Any person today who wants to find out if Jesus is real, should go to the source as the shepherds did.  Not to someone who professes that Jesus is not real, but to several people who are Christian’s and can tell you their experience of when they accepted Jesus as their Savior.  Each testimony will be different, but the experience will always be the same.  The greatest gift you can give to someone is the truth about Jesus from scripture and your testimony that factually demonstrates that Jesus was and is real, and He lives today.

The virgin birth of Jesus is not a mystery because the Bible gives us plenty of written evidence as the announcement of His birth is explained by the angel Gabriel to Mary, Joseph, the priest Zacharias, his wife Elizabeth, in Luke 1:5-25.  At the birth of Christ, God put a new star in the sky that would shine for years that pointed the way to Jesus.  It was seen by astrologist in Persia who must have been amazed at the sudden appearance of the star.  For two years they traveled toward the star until they found Jesus.  Somehow they knew that the anointed One was born, so they brought gifts.  I’m speculating here, but centuries before, Daniel was taken captive and eventually was put in charge over the magi in Persia (Daniel 4:8-9 and 5:11-12).  I can’t help but think that Daniel taught those astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers, who studied the planets, stars, and their movements, that one day a new star would appear and when it did appear, the Magi, scientist of the day, made the long two year trek to find a specific person, Jesus, the Savior.  They found Him.

I could keep writing about what the Bible says about the birth of Christ, but why don’t you take time today to go exploring in the early chapters of at least Matthew, Luke, and John.  It will be an adventure that will change your life.  As for the atheist’s religion, it is no threat at all to Christianity.  After all, they are misinformed, ignorant of the truth, angry, and totally ill equipped to erase God, the bible, and create doubt in the minds of Christians.

So, this Christmas, let’s get Jesus out from under the tree and let Him make us the Light that points people to Christ.

Is God Real?

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Is God Real“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Hebrews 11:3

Delusional, weak, ignorant, emotionally unstable, evil, deceived, and intolerant. What do these words have in common? I have run across these words from time-to-time as they describe a person who calls themselves a Christian. You can easily do a search on the internet and find websites dedicated to abolishing the Christian’s belief in God. It is amazing to me that people will spend so much time, money and energy trying to cast doubt in the minds of believers that God is real.

So, is God real or am I (and maybe you) a delusional, ignorant, sad person who needs be convinced that the God we worship is not a reality?   I want to share some of the reasons why a person needs to accept the fact that God is a reality. After all, all believers were once unbelievers were we not?

I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was about 17 years old. Prior to that time I did not read the Bible and had no knowledge about how I was “supposed to act” as a Christian. My friends at the church where I attended prayed for me and I remember realizing that if I died without accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior, I would be forever lost and separated from God. It was my choice to believe or not. The evidence at that time was overwhelming to me. I had never sensed that much guilt for wrong-doing in my life and I haven’t sensed it like that since because once you are “saved” you are always saved. I remember praying and asking God to forgive me for what I realized was sin (offenses against the will of God) in my life. When I made my choice, I experienced forgiveness and a relief of the guilt I had experience before. In that moment, I realized God is real and that’s when my adventure of a lifetime began.

The Meaning of Christmas

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“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

December is a busy month. Christmas is right around the corner and has a special meaning for all. For a Christian, it means remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus. The birth of a child always brings joy and a sense of wonder. A new life is brought into the world and in the midst of the joy, we also ponder what the child will become and what difference he or she will make in the world. The birth of Christ was like that. Angels announced and celebrated His birth to lowly shepherds and eventually to the whole world. His mother, Mary, pondered all the things she was told about her Son, especially about what He would become. The verse above is central to understanding why Jesus came. His message was one of repentance (turning away) from sin and deliverance from the penalty of sin.

Romans 5:6 says, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Ungodliness means a state of sinfulness. Sin is any act or thought that God deems to be an affront to His holiness and righteousness. Because we have sinned we are judged by God to be unrighteous with the penalty of eternity in hell—not by God’s desire, but ours. Something must be done to satisfy the judgment for sin. That “something” is trusting Christ to be our Savior. The message of repentance is that we can turn away from sin to Christ. True repentance means we will no longer desire to be in opposition or rebellion against God, but will choose to live righteously for Him.

Everybody wants to go to heaven and many believe they can get to heaven by some means other than by Christ. The bible and Jesus said they are wrong about that. The bible tells us, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) This Christmas remember the real reason we celebrate the birth of Christ.

Lottie Moon Tea Cakes

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“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” Colossians 3:23

From the Web site for Woman’s Missionary Union

As a way to earn the trust of the people and show her goodwill, Lottie Moon made tea cakes for the children in her village in China. Once the children ate the cookies, they would take Lottie to their homes where she would share the gospel with their mothers. The children began calling Lottie “the cookie lady” instead of “foreign devil.”

Plain Tea Cake (As made by Lottie Moon)

Three teacups of sugar
One teacup of butter
One teacup of sour milk
Four pints flour
Three eggs, well beaten
Half a teaspoon of soda
Flavor to taste, roll thin, bake in a quick oven.

Adapted recipe:
2 cups flour
½ cup butter
1 heaping cup of sugar
1 well-beaten egg
1 tablespoon cream

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour and cream. Dust a board with flour. Roll the dough very thin. Cut cookies with a round cookie cutter. Place on a buttered or nonstick cookie sheet. Bake at 475 degrees for about 5 minutes.

Learn more about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.

Thankfulness As a Way of Life

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“When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” (Daniel 6:10 HCSB)

What frame of mind must a person be in to express thankfulness? Thankfulness is an expression of gratitude. Usually, when we express gratitude it is because of receiving an unexpected act of kindness. When the acts of kindness continue, we find ourselves expressing gratitude as a way of life. The thing about expressing gratitude is that it eventually changes how we view our circumstances.

Daniel received the news that the King had made a decree that required everyone to worship him. Some of his leaders who hated Daniel and wanted him out of the way influenced the King into making the declaration. They knew that Daniel was faithful to God and worshipped Him only. These evil plotters counted on Daniel’s faithfulness to God, but they did not count on God to be faithful in His promises to Daniel. How did Daniel react to this news? He went to his room and prayed as he always had done. He gave thanks to God, but what was he thankful for? I think that in that moment as his faith was being tried, he remembered how gracious God had been and would continue to be towards him. God is the Giver of peace and Daniel knew that God had given him a calm, peaceful, hopeful heart that will endure any challenge. Daniel was thankful for God’s presence and he trusted that God would deliver him.

As you reflect on those things for which you are thankful, think back to the times when someone did acts of kindness for you. Do you remember people who helped you when you needed it most? Thank God for sustaining you, and even thank Him for the bad times. God uses difficult times as a means of strengthening us for challenges that lie ahead. Make a practice of thanking others, especially God, for expressions of gratitude extended toward you.

Daniel knelt, prayed, and thanked God as he had always done. Is this something you have always done?

Patience…Now!

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I don’t know about you, but there are times when I wish things or people would just hurry up.  We live in an exciting time in history where many things we want or need are at our finger tips.  Don’t you just hate it though, when your computer doesn’t load a page within a couple of seconds?  When we call someone, we want them to pick up right then.  And don’t get me started on this cell phone text-messaging thing.  I could go on and on about ways our society has conditioned us to be impatient.
Patience is a fruit of the Spirit for a reason.  God wants us to be able to put up with the inconveniences this world places on us and grow as a Christian during the process.  Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint”. Yes, having patience gives God, and us, an opportunity to have not just a relationship, but also an experience with Him and the abundant life.
Let me ask you a question, what one thing causes you to become impatient?  Many times it involves other people.  We don’t like to wait on anything, much less anyone.  That’s why we sometimes drive faster, talk faster, push, and prod people into submitting to our will, and why we don’t pray and think about some matters before we take action.  The Bible is filled with examples where God chose to be patient as a matter of extending His grace or to stimulate our Christian growth.  Some of the phrases and words in the Bible related to God’s patience are; longsuffering, fullness of time, wait upon the Lord, promise, and trust.  For some people patience is for someone else.  There are times when we must take action now, but there are other times when we need to delay an action or decision until the time is right.
There are practical things that you can do to develop patience that will crossover into your spiritual life.  Take up a hobby; take a course of study; help someone; build or grow something.  For me, learning to play a complicated song on my guitar helps me develop patience.  During the journey to completing the song, I learn that mistakes are made, but can be corrected; it’s hard to do, but I can do it; and with God’s help I can do something I had never done before.  And when I look back over all the practice, I realize that the lessons learned make the journey worth it.
This week, look for an opportunity to exercise the fruit of patience when you normally wouldn’t.  As you wait for the computer to load, that car in front of you to move a little faster, or the person with whom you are talking to get to the point, remember that God is always in the moment.
If you are not sure you can be patient about anything, keep in mind that you took the time to read this article all the way through.  You and God can do it.

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