Desperate People

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

God’s good news is powerful to save men’s souls from destruction. I recently ran across this very short story of hungry souls desperate for truth. The author was speaking with acquaintances in Spain about how they came to Christ. The following is their story:

“One man heard the gospel in a cemetery, where they went on holy days to pray to the saints and their ancestors. Knowing this pagan custom, a small group of despised evangelicals had come there to give out literature. Another young man learned the gospel from a tract which a friend had torn up in anger and thrown to the ground. So starved was this religious person for truth that he laboriously pieced the tract back together, read it, and was saved.”

This man was so desperate for Truth, that he took the time to gather up the pieces of torn paper and, like a puzzle, fit them all together. Just so he could see what the tract said. Maybe he saw something in the “despised evangelicals” who gave out the tract, that made him believe they knew God in a different way than he knew Him. The result was he did find the biblical Jesus and he was born again by God’s grace through faith. Jesus welcomed him and began to quench his thirst for Truth.

Every day, though we don’t recognize it, we interact with desperate people that need to meet the true, biblical Jesus. As we have shared, there are many different Jesus’s in the world. Many people are deceived and are hungry for the Truth which satisfies.

You personally know the Truth (John 14:6), if you are biblically born again. Take the time to share a Christian tract with them or share a short testimony of what God has done in your life. You never know when you will save a soul from eternal destruction or sow a seed that will grow into eternal life.

May the Holy Spirit fill you with His boldness to be a daily witness!

Carl

An Atheist Finds God in A Stove

“…you shall be My witnesses…”     Jesus   Book of Acts 1:8

I recently read Grace and Then Freedom by a World War II Russian paratrooper officer named Nikolai Alexandrenko. It is his story of being born and raised in communist Russia and as a young man fighting the Nazis in WWII.  After being wounded and captured by the German army in southern Russia, he spent four years in post-war Germany as a displaced person.  One day while trying to start a fire in a wood burning stove, he, an atheist, found two pieces of a gospel tract in Russian that someone had torn up and thrown in the stove.

Following is his testimony of what happened to him when he read these two scraps of the gospel tract.  It shows the power of the gospel when it falls into the hands of one whom the Holy Spirit has prepared to receive the good news of Jesus Christ.  He starts by sharing what he found:

 “So these two little leaflets in my native language caught my eye, and I began to read.

One was Revelation 3:20, in which Jesus Christ says “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and him with me.”

Then there was Matthew 11:28, in which Jesus says, ” Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Following these two verses there was an explanation about the verses that were quoted from the Bible. And I remember particularly this question, saying, “Jesus Christ, the son of God, is standing now at your heart and is knocking. Did you knock to God in your sorrows?”

Those words from the scripture and that question struck me like a sledgehammer. I just stopped and forgot about everything else in the world, and I said to myself, “God—does God exist?”

“After that question an answer came —-yes, there is God. And then a second question —-then why am I so miserable in my life? And a second answer —because I never knocked to God in my sorrow.

Though I was alone in that big cold room I suddenly felt that someone, though invisible, was standing before me and knocking on my heart.  He was talking to me personally.  And I felt an urge to say something to that invisible somebody. So for the first time in  my life, not really being a Christian, I offered my first prayer. I said “God, for 27 years of my life I have been in darkness.” I said “God, if you really are, if you really exist, lift me out of this condition, and explain all things about yourself. If you really are, do you want me to spend the rest of my life in the darkness?”

When I said those words in my prayer, I felt the tears begin to roll down my cheeks and words of repentance about my sins began to come out of my mouth.”

He goes on to explain that, through all the hurt in his life, he had never cried, even when his mother died as a boy. God would later open a door for him to come to the U.S. and eventually was a professor at a Christian college in my hometown.  I met Dr. Nik in 1980 while working in the yard one Saturday and he was visiting the neighborhood to invite people to the church he was attending.  Later he would interpret some letters for me that we had received from Russians we had met while planting churches in Russia after the Iron Curtain came down. He was a very interesting brother in the Lord.

I encourage you to be a witness in your daily life. Tracts are cheap and easy to hand out to people you encounter in your daily business.  Don’t let the devil put the fear of being rejected on you.  If they reject you, they are really rejecting the One who sent you. And remember, there are more Dr. Nik’s out there who the Holy Spirit has prepared to receive the seed of His Word.

Be a witness.

Carl

 

 

 

The Narrow Way

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“Enter by the NARROW gate; for the gate is WIDE, and the way is BROAD that leads to destruction and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is SMALL and the way is NARROW that leads to life and few are those who find it.” Jesus Matthew 8: 13-14. (Emphasis added)

Notice that Jesus said a narrow gate.  Jesus further described this narrow gate when He said to the disciples:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”

The biblical Jesus is the narrow gate, the small gate. And I stress it is the “biblical” Jesus. He is the only way to God.  This is why everyone needs to read the Bible. Salvation is not through a denomination or a specific church.  It is only through Jesus Christ who died for our sins.

There are other Jesus’s in the world. Paul warned about them:

“But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your mind should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches ANOTHER JESUS whom we have not preached, or you receive a DIFFERENT SPIRIT which you have not received, or a DIFFERENT GOSPEL which you have not accepted….”. Apostle Paul II Corinthians 11: 3-4 (emphasis added)

The Mormons have their Jesus, who they declare is Satan’s brother. Islam has a Jesus which is just a great prophet and not the Son of God. New Agers have a Jesus that is their spirit guide and just one of many gods. Occultists have a Jesus that approves of their occultic practices and is not the Jesus of the Bible who condemned their practices.  There is the Jesus of Roman Catholicism that is mean and unapproachable therefore you need to go to his mother Mary and ask her to intercede for you. There is the Jesus of the immoral who, despite their lifestyle of fornication, adultery, homosexuality or lesbianism, they erroneously believe He is pleased with them.   Jehovah Witnesses have a Jesus who they believe was God’s first creation instead of the eternal existing Son of God. And their are many more.

I tell you there is only one Jesus and He is revealed in the Bible and all others are deceptions of the evil one who has deceived the whole world. Much deception is cloaked in religion, intellectualism, rituals and things that are highly prized by mankind.

Make sure you are entering by the narrow gate and not the wide gate that leads to destruction. For

“Many will say to Me on that day. ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ ” JESUS Matthew 8: 22-23.

Carl

Soul -Making

“This is a necessary step in soul-making. Temptation is sent to unveil the evils that lie deep within us, to reveal them to us and confront us with the truth of Nathan’s terrible words to [King] David: “You are the man!” (I Samuel 12:7 italics added). Yet this revelation is just the beginning of all the good God intends to do for us, for before we can be greatly used by God, we must see the monstrous evil in our own souls.”

“Jesus put it this way: “From within, out of man’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly…” (Mark 7:21-22) All the wickedness in the world lurks in us, undiscovered or disregarded, out of sight and out of mind.”

“God allows temptation and sin to show us who we are; they are the means by which He makes us aware of all the unholy tendencies, motives, and appetites that reside within us. To know and despair of ourselves is to know our need for God, the necessary prerequisite for handing ourselves over to Him for His healing.”

The Upside of Sin in The God Who Walks Beside Us – David Roper

Today, if you are struggling with some sin, temptation or are in a trial, I pray this word will encourage you. All that you are going through is not in vain. God is working in His children to do of His good pleasure. Go to Him in prayer because

“… we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are yet with sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in the time of need.”

Carl

Payday for the Proud

“GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”    James 4:6

I don’t know about you, but I definitely need the grace of God daily.  I don’t need Him to oppose me or resist me because of pride in my life. I need Him to enable me to walk in the Spirit and be a blessing to others, not a stumbling block to others.

Here is scripture I found in Isaiah that speaks of a day of reckoning. It is a good reminder of what happens to the proud and those who reject God’s Word. May it be food for your spirit man.

“For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty, and against everyone who is lifted up, that he may be abased.”

“And the pride of man will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be abased, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

“But the idols will completely vanish. And men will go into caves of the rocks, and into holes of the ground BEFORE THE TERROR OF THE LORD, AND BEFORE THE SPLENDOR OF HIS MAJESTY, WHEN HE ARISES TO MAKE THE EARTH TREMBLE.”

“In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, in order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs, BEFORE THE TERROR OF THE LORD AND THE SPLENDOR OF HIS MAJESTY, WHEN HE ARISES TO MAKE THE EARTH TREMBLE.”

Isaiah 2: 12, 17-21 NASB (emphasis added)

In Isaiah, God is about to bring judgement on the “house of Jacob” who has forsaken Him, for idols. Terrible judgement is coming on them. The proud will be humbled.

In Revelation 6: 14-17 we see the same futile “hiding” by the proud in the future. They still have their idols and have rejected the gospel of the Lord.

“And the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;

and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “FALL ON US AND HIDE US FROM THE PRESENCE OF HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE, AND FROM THE WRATH OF THE LAMB;

FOR THE GREAT DAY OF THEIR WRATH HAS COME; AND WHO IS ABLE TO STAND?”

(emphasis added)

He describes these people and their idolatry in Revelation 9:20:

“And the rest of mankind, who where not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of sliver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.”

Thanks be to God, our Father, because He sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins. We will not be on the receiving end of “the wrath of the Lamb”.  Let us walk humbly before our God and greatly rejoice in His love, grace and mercy.

May His peace be upon you! Keep yourself from idols!

Carl

Confessing, Instead of Hiding

“When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.

I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.”

“Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found; Surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him.”

David – Psalm 32: 3-6

“We find many ways to get around admitting our sin. We rationalize our sins away. We try to drown out the guilt with all types of distractions that keep us bustling from one activity to another. Over time, our sins deplete our will to even approach God in prayer. David was intimately familiar with all the ways one can try to hide sin.  He had exhausted himself covering up his own sins. But every thing changed when David finally refused to keep running away from his sin: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you.””

“Like David, we can find our prayer life renewed when we freely confess our sins to God. Does your prayer life seem lifeless and ineffective? Examine your heart and confess your sin.  And let God restore your prayer life to what it can and should be.”

(NASB app daily devotional.)

I hope you enjoyed this.  I did. Confession of our sins renews fellowship with our Holy Father in Heaven.  A place of life, joy and strength.

God bless you. May we tell Him all that we need to tell Him.  He loves us and beckons us to His throne of grace daily.

Carl

God Wants Us To Meet Pressing Needs

If you go to the state of Idaho today, the U. S. Forest Service has identified and marked some of the trails Lewis and Clark traveled in 1803 – 1804. The trails were created thousands of years before Lewis and Clark, by the Native Americans traveling to the buffalo hunting grounds and back. It was in these mountains that Lewis and his men were close to starvation. Lewis sent a small advance party ahead of the main group on foot, hoping to find an Indian tribe that had food. As the advance party emerged from the mountains onto the prairie, they surprised a Nez Perce foraging party, consisting of mainly women, children and older men. They were digging camas roots for food.

The Indians were startled by the strangers. Though they had heard of the white man from other tribes, they had never seen one and these strangers did not look white. The Americans were very dark due to sunburns, had full straggly beards. They were dirty, stinky men dressed in strange clothing with things on their heads (hats), and spoke words they did not understand. They later stated that initially they thought the Americans were a form of wild dog.

After the initial meeting was over and the tribe had fed the party camas roots and dried fish, Lewis’ men made their camp for the night outside the village. The unusual food made all the men sick. The Indians meanwhile convened a tribal meeting to decide what to do with the strangers. It was agreed that they would kill Lewis and all of his men.

Nez Perce tradition says the reason they decided to kill the men was because the tribe had recently sent a peace delegation to the Shoshones to establish friendly relations, but the peace overtures were rejected and the entire delegation was killed. When Lewis and his group showed up, they had with them a female Shoshone guide, Sacajawea. The Nez Perce were afraid this group was a Shoshone Trojan horse to destroy their village.

An Indian woman named, Watkuweis, whose name means “Returns from a Far Land”, objected. She had been kidnapped by the Minitarries tribe and taken north, eventually ending up in the Great Lakes area where she saw white people. After being the slave of a white man, she escaped and was given supplies and a horse by kind white people, which allowed her to eventually reach her Idaho tribe.

She told the group that it would be wrong to kill these strangers, because they were good people like the ones who had helped her to escape.

Due to the kindness shown this poor woman, by white strangers who had nothing to gain by helping her, the Nez Perce spared the lives of Lewis, Clark and the twenty members of the Corp.

We do not know if these white people where Christians or not but, at a minimum, I believe they had been influenced by Christian teaching or culture. The wilderness was a tough place to live and a wicked person would definitely not have a problem with making someone his slave to share some of the tasks.

The point is, they helped save the life of this poor, abused, lonely woman and later, their kind, unselfish, deed was multiplied at least 22 times by saving the lives of the expedition members. These people never knew their kindness saved Lewis and his men.

As born again people, our Heavenly Father, has given us instructions through Paul about good deeds:

“Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.” Titus 3:14 NASB

Paul says again to Titus:

“This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” Titus 3:8 NASB

Therefore, let this true story encourage us to “engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs”. We may never know what fruit is borne in other’s lives because of our compassion. But, there is coming a day when all shall be revealed and we will know the whole story.

Before you and I were saved, God had already prepared good deeds for us to engage in.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 NASB

And Lord Jesus said;

“By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:8

May your, “walking in good works”, bring joy to you and to the Lord. At the same time, we will be glorifying our Father in heaven! Blessings upon you.

Thank you for your time,

Carl