Tag Archives: Religion

“What must I do to be Saved?”

    But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.  And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 

Act 16:25-32 NKJV

Happy Sunday friends. Today I wanted to take a break from the current series on sin and get back to some basics. It can be so easy to become involved with deeper spiritual matters that the very basic truths can be overlooked. Even Jude writes that he intended to write about the common salvation, yet, he in fact addressed a deeper matter of wolves that entered into the church to led people astray. Jude 1:3 So, then as now, there can be many distractions and devisions surrounding doctrine and beliefs from the word of God. Thankfully the basic truth is simple, unchanging and immutable.

What must I do to be saved?

   The question causes some to ask another question. Saved from what? Why do we need a Savior? Why do we need to be saved? What will we be saved from?

I knew a man who, whenever his children asked him a question about the world or human behavior and the obvious inhumanity man inflicts on others, he would answer their questions by going back to the beginning – “Well, children, God planted a garden……” He would start every explanation with this point of reference. Over the years it became a fond memory of their Dad but he made a point. I hope to make the same point here.

God planted a garden. In the garden He made man and from man He made woman. He gave them dominion (all power and authority) over all His creation within the garden. He asked only one thing of the couple. Even warned them of the consequences of disobedience.

“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Gen. 2:16-17

   One could ask why God placed the tree in the Garden if He didn’t want them to eat the fruit of it. If He hadn’t placed the tree in the Garden He would never know if the couple would obey Him or not. They had free will to obey or disobey. They were not robots. The absence of temptation does not breed righteousness only ignorants. If you don’t have a choice of right or wrong then doing right is the only option. God gave Adam and Eve free will and over time they freely chose to give into temptation. In their disobedience they brought upon themselves the consequences for their actions – separation from God. Gen. 3:24

Ok, ok, ok but what has that to do with me? The sin of disobedience that Adam and Eve brought upon themselves is passed down from generation to generation right down to you and I. Add to that the sins we committed ourselves (yes, you have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard) and we are sinners indeed. But God is a just God. He made the Garden. He created the rules. He also made a way back. That Way is Jesus.

   For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16 NIV

   “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas answered the man – “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved”. The apostle John tells us that God loves us all so much that He sent Jesus so that all who believe in Him will not perish but instead have everlasting life.

So, to be saved from eternal operation from God and have everlasting life all you need to do is believe. It’s the most basic, simple, unchanging and indisputable fact of the New Testament.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved

Jesus said I am the Way the truth and the Life,

no man (or woman) comes to the Father except through Me!

In a time when there can be conflicts of doctrines regarding the christian life and what that should look like. This one simple truth resounds threw the millenniums. The next truth is just as important and simple too – Jesus said Go! so if you aren’t saved ask yourself why not? If you are saved then go. Go now. Go quickly. Go tell the world what Jesus Christ has done for you.

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Mark 16:15 NIV

Don and Wendy Francisco telling the story of Jesus and Jairus – Mark 5:21-43 NIV

Be Blessed A&B

 

Importunity

Importunity – Im por What?

Im-por-tun-ity

Persistence, especially to the point of annoyance. Boldness.

And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his IMPORTUNITY he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. ( Luke 11:7-8 )

In this example we see that it’s late and people are sleeping. The neighbor has a visitor. He goes next door and asks for food to serve the visitor. He doesn’t just ask. He asks with persistence and boldness with a full sense of expectation. No doubts no hesitation. The Bible is riddled with examples of importunity. Moses at the Red Sea comes to mind. He trusted that beyond the insurmountable odds God would make a way. No doubt no hesitation. Likewise Abraham haggled with God over the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah like a friend would with a friend, an equal. No doubt no hesitation.  Peter dared against the obvious dangers of the tempest surrounding him and bid Jesus call him out onto the water. He stepped out and walked on the water towards Jesus. No doubt no hesitation. (Yes, he sank like a rock when he took his eyes off  Jesus but that’s another post

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. (Luke 18:1-5 )

In this example of persistence (importunity) Jesus uses an unjust Judge to show a comparison. The widows persistence wore down the judge and she received her justice. Yet, Jesus goes on to teach us that if this unjust judge gave in to the persistent widow won’t God (Who is just) answer those that cry out to Him? (Luke 18:6-8)

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matthew 7:7)

Ask, Seek, Knock

Even the acronym for these three words spells ASK!

The Word of God tells us to come boldly into the throne of grace. We need nobody to speak for us (even though Jesus Himself is our Advocate, again lets save that for another post). The veil that separated the Holy of Holies in the Temple from the rest of God’s people was torn when Jesus died. There’s nothing and nobody stopping us from entering into the very presence of The Almighty. The boldness, that importunity, is the key. No doubt no hesitation.

Importunity

Im-por-What?

Impor-powermeant!! That’s what.

Religious-minded people may have told you that meekness and a poverty mentality is what God expects and rewards yet here are several examples of the obvious. Certainly God expects and deserves reverence. We are to Fear the Lord. That fear means reverence and respect in awe of His power. We are not expected to cower or tremble when we pray. Neither are we to pray a prayer of wishful thinking not being sure of the outcome because “God works in mysterious ways”! He does not work in mysterious ways. Jesus shared His plans, hopes and mission with His disciples.

There is one thing that this importunity indicates.

Relationship!

The neighbors knew each other. Probably very well considering the closeness of community back then. Likewise, I’m sure that the widow knew that judge and his reputation which is why she was unrelenting. When Jesus instructs us to be persistent by asking, seeking and knocking He is looking for a relationship. I heard a great sermon where the example of ask seek knock was likened to walking across a grassy place such as a short cut. The repetition of walking across that grassy path wears away the grass and leaves the bare earth that’s been beaten down lower that the surrounding turf.

Jesus clearly taught that if we abide(Live, dwell, accept or act in accordance with) in Him and His words abide in us (see the causative relationship?) then we can ask what we will and it shall be done. (John 15:7)

Beat a path to God

Practice IMPURTUNITY

He will hear you!

 

Be blessed, A&B 

 

 

How Time Flies….

How time flies!

As we approach October of 2019 I am shocked to be celebrating our 6th anniversary here at TSP Blog. What first started out as a photography sales website (a colossal mistake on my part but lesson learned) morphed into this blog where we had hoped to encourage the body of Christ and engage in dialogs about The Bible, Jesus, The Faith Walk and more.

As time has gone by there have been lapses of silence here but no lack of inspiration.

So, here we go! Autumn of 2019. Summer is over. Kids are back in school. The leaves are turning and pies are baking! I am committed to put down on paper (figuratively obviously) all these thoughts that bounce around in my head. Some of which have come from wonderful sermons I have heard and books that I have read or revelations that have come to me. As always I have not and will not attempt to act as an authority on these subjects. The Word of God thoroughly and seriously read is the ultimate authority. I simply seek to set the stage for discussion, shine a light on a subject or at the very least cause some self examination and reflection.

Subjects will include

  • Knowing God by His Names
  • Jesus Revealed by His Names
  • What must I do to be saved
  • Salvation? Who, How and Why?
  • Being a Christian – Christ’s example of how we ought to live
  • What is Faith?
  • God’s Will for you
  • Hell! It can’t be real!?
  • Getting Back to Basics – A Fundamentalist’s approach.

Just to name a few

This blog is intended to Encourage, Inspire and Challenge the body of Christ

All content published here represents our interpretation and beliefs. We take The Word of God at face value. We believe it to be the unadulterated and infallible voice of Almighty God to the World. Unchanging and able to cut into the heart of the reader, It is God’s sword.

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ or you do not believe in or read The Bible, you will probably not enjoy the content found here but please understand that we do not wish to offend or attack the beliefs/ideals of others.

I would like to say that’s to those that followed our posts and would hope that others will stop by, read and speak up.

Be Blessed, A&B

 

Spiritual but not religious

Panorama Z

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” 1 Tim. 4:1 NKV

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day (The Day of The Lord) will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the. Son of perdition.” 2 Thess. 2:3 NKJV

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” 1 John 4 NKJV

I came across an article recently which discussed the findings of a survey done by the Public Religion Research Institute. The survey of some 2000 Americans performed in early 2017 found that 18 percent identified as “spiritual but not religious” and that their beliefs “transcends stereotypical religious identity.” The article sited several participants whose ideas about their traditional religious upbringings led them to find their own way of being in connection or feeling one with some “higher power.” Threw the use of yoga, arts, filling their apartment with plants, meditation and finding ways to have lifestyle choices accepted by “more progressive denominations” these “new faith” believers make peace with themselves in a world of traditional religious establishments.

Now, before I come across as some narrow minded self righteous fool let me give you some background. I was raised Catholic and went threw the sacraments. I was obedient to follow the traditions and rituals of the church as taught to me and in doing so felt empty and uninspired. I have also sinned. I have fallen away and done things “that I wouldn’t want printed on the front page of The New York Times” (as my Grandmother would say). I have denounced traditional religious sects and their empty rituals. At my worst I have raised a clinched fist skyward and declared in my folly that there is no God. I’m not proud of any of that but facts are facts and the Lord saw me threw it all. I ask that you keep all of this in mind as I discuss the article please.

If we look at this survey and the beliefs of its participants who are finding their own new way in the light of scripture we see that they are being deceived. It’s not their fault. Some organized religious groups fail to inspire it’s people. Some will compromise the basic principles of the Word of God in order to fill the seats or be politically correct.

Jesus was never politically correct or a supporter of the empty religious groups in His day. Even though the rituals and religious leaders were established by God Himself over the many years they leaders became proud and the reasons for the rituals blurred into history until they were just going threw the motions. Jesus called them out on their hypocrisy even when they tried to trap him. When the religious men brought the adulterous woman before Jesus they said that she was caught in the very act. Really?! So, these guys busted in on a man and woman (presumably one or both of them married) in the act of making love. In an attempt to test Jesus they dragged the woman before Him but the Law clearly states that BOTH the man and the woman are to be stoned to death for the sin of adultery. As we know Jesus didn’t fall for their trap and He did not condemn the woman. He showed mercy to the woman and simple told her to “go and sin no more.” See John 8:3-12 and Lev 20:10

Jesus turned over the tables at the Temple and criticized the establishment. He ate and kept company with the outcasts, sinners and tax collectors. Jesus did not look like, talk like or behave like the leaders of His time and that got Him both admired and despised. What He did do was affect people. In His short ministry He taught, healed, fed, and raised the dead. He fulfilled the scriptures concerning His birth, life, death and resurrection. He fulfilled the Law and in doing so made a way for all the world to be free from sin and hell. He will meet each and every one of us right where we are and share His love and bring new life. What He will NOT do is barge in on anyone to take them captives or seduce them with goosebumps and warm feelings.

The devil does that. The devil tempts and teases. He sees our pain and our longings and plays on our weaknesses. Jesus called him the Father of lies. The Deceiver. The Lion who seeks to devour.

It’s been said that the greatest accomplishment of the Devil is convincing people that he doesn’t exist. Even as I write this I know that many good churchgoing people will roll their eyes at the mention of the devil. After all isn’t he an imaginary foe created to be blamed for what is simply the behavior of bad people? Isn’t the dark side of our own human nature the real devil?

The answer is a firm “No!” Jesus was tempted by the devil. He spoke clearly of the devil. The Holy Spirit through the Apostles spoke of the devil many times.

Before I stray much farther from my point I will stop. Whether or not you believe in the Devil isn’t the point. The point is that there are deceiving spirits in the world. Always have been but the devil knows his time is short. The participants of the survey taken are looking for answers and fulfillment that they didn’t find within the walls of ritualistic stereotypical religion. They crave, everyone craves, the very real relationship with Jesus. They crave it because there’s a cross-shaped hole in everyone’s heart that only He can fill. It’s and old saying but true.

Lastly, the biggest take away from this post and that survey is that we don’t have time to be judgmental or self righteous. People need the Lord. People need to hear the good news. People need the Lord. Not religion. Not rituals. Not spirituality. People need a relationship with the Lord of all Creation and the Good News is Jesus stands at the door and knocks.

All of us who truly believe have an obligation to share the compassion and love of Christ with all the world. The rest is up to Him.

Be Blessed A&B

This is the link to the article I mentioned https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/11/10/16630178/study-spiritual-but-not-religious

Well, I just don’t know….

   Well, I just don’t know………

……if the Bible says that.

…….if it’s God’s will.

…….what I should do.

…….what Jesus would do?

    In this age of information technology why is there still so much uncertainty?

   When I first got saved I went to buy a Bible and the gentleman behind the counter suggested a Thompson Chain Reference Bible. It was a King James Version of course but what got my attention was how you could look up a topic – like marriage and see every instance where “marriage” was mentioned from Gen to Rev. No commentary or discussion or opinion just every single scripture related to that topic. Wow! What I also realized as I looked threw the topics was that God has an answer to every question or topic imaginable. Anything you could think of related to the Word of God and how it can apply to you is easy to find. There doesn’t have to be any ambiguity or confusion if you are a believer. Just look into God’s Word and you’ll find the answer.

Well, I just don’t know….

….because the Bible is so confusing!

…..which Bible version is trustworthy?

…..if the Bible is relevant for today.

…..because you can make the Bible say what you want.

   I have heard people say that the Bible is confusing because of its old world language. Today we have so many translations that speak in plain, easy to understand language. I like the King James Version, also called The Authoritative Version, but really it is a translation also. Yes! That’s true. The Bible in any English version is a translation. Jesus spoke Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic – not English. Having said that you might wonder how we can know that our English Bible is correct? The answer is a Concordance. A concordance takes every word in the Bible and shows us what the Greek (for the New Testament) and Hebrew (for the Old Testament) words were and what they mean so we can see how it was translated and learn. Granted, some translation can be more elaborate than others but I believe in God and His power to protect His Word. After all the Word was withheld from the common man for centuries but God’s spirit prevailed.

   Regarding the ability to manipulate the Word of God. This can be done if you take scripture out of context and pick and choose what you want to site. But in context and supported by other scripture on the same topic the Word of God is true. God’s Word is not full of contradictions if you take the time to study it. But so many people want to be fed tiny Sunday bites of the Word of God rather than feast on it by personal study time.

  Lastly, if Jesus is the same yesterday today and tomorrow why isn’t His Word relevant for us today? Did God not know that we would be here in 2017? Are the circumstance’s and challenges we face a surprise to Him? Are things today really that different then 2000 years ago? I don’t think so. Sin is sin regardless of the civilization, technology or calendar.

   Thankfully God is still on His throne and we can know the truth and it is that truth that will make us free.

   Remember that Jesus told us that even though heaven and earth shall pass away His word will not pass away. Matthew 24:35

Trust in God. Read His Word. Be Blessed Al

As always please do not take my word for anything written here but be challenged and look into God’s Word for the answers – you will find them. al

Build the Wall

There’s lots of talk about building a wall that will separate America from Mexico. Who will pay for it? Is it feasible? Is it the right thing to do?

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said “Hey! We’re all immigrants!!” I suppose that could be said in a broad loose way about everyone that isn’t  of Native American heritage. That is a shot at those who are opposed to the illegal immigration epidemic that has been a part of our country’s past. I don’t think that this new administration is anti-immigrant per-say when they talk of securing our borders. Just anti-illegal immigration.

Can we step back from the politically correct rhetoric long enough to acknowledge the phrase – Illegal Immigrant?

My heritage is Irish American. My paternal Grandmother came from Ireland as a teen at the turn of the last century. She went threw the process to get here. She became a citizen. She learned the language. She assimilated! She came here legally to become part of this great nation. Likewise, my in laws came here from  Ireland legally. Every year people from all over the world swear an oath as they become American citizens.

There’s a right way to do something and a wrong way. While we hear people say that “Jesus loves everyone” and “Jesus ate with/hung out with/associated with sinners” we have to look at the whole picture. Jesus loves everyone for sure. He died so we all might live. He also ministered and befriended sinners because He wanted to save them. Jesus often said to a sinner “go and sin no more”. So don’t start saying that Jesus endorses a lifestyle of sin because He loves the sinner. His heart will break over every single soul lost to eternal damnation because they did not repent.

Over and over the Word of God tells us to do what is right. Obey the laws over us. Pray for those in authority over us. Jesus doesn’t endorse breaking the laws of God or man.

We here in America have in place an Immigration and Naturalization Department expressly established for the introduction of foreigners into our country. Those who seek to (or have already) circumnavigated this process are criminals and as such are subject to the penalties laid out for such acts. They are not victims. They are not citizens. They are not innocent. They are criminals.

Build the wall. Make it high and strong. Make it so that those who wish to join our nation do so through the door that has been provided for so many other law abiding people.

The government has a right and a responsibility to protect its people from all threats foreign and domestic.

 

I suppose this will not be “Liked” by many but it’s what I believe to be true. Be blessed, Al

The 45th President of The United States

As I sit watching the inauguration of the 45th President of the United Sates with it’s procession of dignitaries, past Presidents, and all it’s pomp and circumstance with one thought in mind.

Is Donald J. Trump God’s man for the job?

Is he? Does God even concern Himself with who sits in the Oval Office? The Word of God would lead us to believe that God isn’t a nationalist. He is not a respecter of persons and wishes that all men (and women) come to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. We know that He loves the children of Israel. The people, not the nation.

The Word of God tells us that we are not of this world. We are, in fact, strangers in a strange land. This is not our home. At the same time we are instructed to pray for those in leadership positions over us. Pray for the Peace of Israel. To follow after peace and treat each other as we would want to be treated.

But all this doesn’t answer the question – Is our 45th President ordained by God?

In my humble opinion – Yes! God ordained Donald Trump to be President at such a time as this. Not, because he will be the savior of the USA or the hero of our nation. Not because he is a deeply religious man. Not because he is an accomplished statesman. No. The now, President Donald J. Trump, is ordained by God to lead our nation because God is in control. From His Throne on High, God orchestrates the course of history to accomplish His goals. He  allows nations to rise and fall, leaders to come and go, in order to fulfill is mandate – save souls! God desires that no man perish! He know the number of the hairs on our head, He collects our tears in a bottle, He loves us with an everlasting love and sent His own Son to die for our sins.

It is this Father God in Heaven Who loves us enough to care about who is our leader. Weather that leader is great or small. Fallible or infamous. Religious or secular. No matter if you love our new President or hate him if you call Jesus Lord and God your Father you must pray for him and trust that God is in control.

Presidents will come and go but Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow!

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,   for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus                               1 Timothy 2:1-5 NKJV as read at the inauguration by the Rev. Franklin Graham

May God Bless President Donald J Trump and May God Bless America!