– Saint or Sinner? Take upon you the name of Christ and become a Saint!

heartThere is a major misunderstanding that is held by many who profess to be Christians. I have heard people say that they are sinners and there is no way to get away from their fallen nature. They say that they had accepted Christ once, and are now OK to just keep on sinning. Many seem to go out of their way to seek out sins to commit. This is so opposite to how the plan of God works. The truth is, that when you become converted to Christ, you take upon yourself the name of Christ and become a Saint. You have your heart changed. If you work at it, and keep on that path, you should have no more disposition to do evil, but become “perfect” (mature). Christ gave us that exact charge (see Matthew 5:48).

In John chapter one, you see the explanation of becoming born again. Born again meaning that your previous stony heart is changed and you have a new heart. It is a miraculous event and can only be attributed to God to bring about this change.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12,13

God sent His son to redeem us! He bought us with the price of his blood. What happens though when we accept Christ? Do we keep going on living as the old person we were?

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Here in is the true doctrine. We are changed!

One of the interesting messages from the old testament, found in the book of Deuteronomy, is that the Children of Israel had hearts of stone. The law of Moses given to them showed them how rebellious they were. God said that He just wanted the hearts of the people. But, they rebelled and went after other Gods. They were not obedient. Here is a very important verse that Jews know very well.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. a Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.” Deuteronomy 6:4-6

As a sinner, we do fall into sin over and over. And can seek out repentance. But if you keep on that path,  you are not really a fully converted Christian. Humble yourself and let the Mighty God change you and become a Saint and experience this change in your heart.

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” Mosiah 3:19 in the Book of Mormon

Jesus also said “If ye love me, keep my commandments”. It is time to truly take upon ourselves the name of Christ and be obedient to God. Change and repent and become a Saint and have the Holy Spirit seal you His.

“And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” Deuteronomy 30:6

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– You are what you eat

foodIn the 1940’s a book was published that had as its title “You Are What You Eat: how to win and keep health with diet”. Your body reacts to the food you consume to absorb it. You obviously need liquid to keep alive and you also need foods that contain various nutrients to function. As food is digested, the chemical reactions that take place break down food into simpler molecules that are used in your body. Some molecules such as glucose end up in your blood stream and are carried throughout your body to be used as fuel for your cells.

It is obvious that what we eat affects our bodies and our quality of life. Unfortunately, our society has created foods that are classified as “fast-food” and “junk-food”. These can be enticing to our taste buds and very enjoyable at the moment. They were obviously designed that and marketed to trap us. Place a bowl of kale, garden carrots and broccoli next to a bag of potato chips, ice-cream, doughnuts and a coke and you know what most people will chose. The consequences of our eating habits build up and our bodies get use to those and crave those same foods that are actually killing us. Here are a few of the leading causes of death in the US – Heart disease, Stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Diabetes, Kidney disease. All of these are directly affected by the foods you take into your body. You can lower your chances of dying from these by altering your diet.

The phrase “You are what you eat” applies even more importantly to what you consume as media and entertainment in your life. You have a spiritual side to your being. You are actually a manifestation of the spirit that inhabits your body of flesh, blood and bone. Your spirit is affected by what you feed it as a diet. Feed it junk and you will see the consequences of that. You could become addicted and enslaved by evil because of what you consume. You will be surrounded by good of evil depending on what you are exposing yourself to. Look carefully at your consumption of music, TV, internet, movies, gaming and social media. Work can even be something you are consumed with, and for the wrong reasons.

The food and the media that we consume can be used for good and evil. Just as improper food choices can damage us, there are eternal consequences to having a poor diet of rotting “foods” that can damage our spirits. Not only can it be a waste of your time here on earth, but it can pollute you in ways you cannot see, but are just as real. Flee evil, and turn your heart and devotion to God to worship Him. Spend time in wholesome entertainment. If you make yourself sensitive to the Holy Spirit, you will know what will drive it away and what will keep it with you. That is your meter to gauge what you should be consuming.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” – 2 Corinthians 6:17

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” – Matt 6:22

– The power of fasting

desertChristians did something from the very beginning that is not generally practiced in Christianity any more. It is the practice of fasting. You can read about how Christ went into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days. During that time, Jesus was tempted by the devil, and he overcame each encounter.

There are even plenty of early Christian writings that mention that church members were fasting. What about us today? The question then is – Should Christians be fasting often? When, Why and How should we go about fasting?

I will not go into the medical details, but there are recent studies that show how beneficial it can be to your health. One study showed that your entire immune system can be rebooted with a three-day fast. My purpose here, is to speak about the spiritual benefits of fasting, not necessarily the physical.

Let’s go back to Christ and his 40 day fast. Christ did this just before beginning his three year ministry. That ministry would culminate with his death on the cross, and then his resurrection and ascension. Obviously, the fast was a way for Jesus to prepare for his ministry. He was doing it in a disciplined way to gain the strength necessary to accomplish his mission on earth. I am not talking about merely giving up a food you really like, such as Oreo cookies for a day. The kind of fast I am talking about is an abstinence from food, and water.

Most people can certainly go without food and water for 24 hours. You eat a simple meal, say Saturday at 5 PM, and then eat your next meal Sunday at 5 PM. If you are older or have other health issues, you may not be able to do this, so don’t put yourself in danger. You might be capable of going without food, but not water, so judge this for yourself. For example, if you don’t drink water for 24 hours, you may have a severe case of constipation that could be a very critical medical issue for you.

As long as I am at it, let me also suggest that a fast for spiritual reasons includes giving up all bodily appetites, so you should also consider abstaining from sex in your marriage (see Exodus 19:15) and other bodily appetites you might identify.

So what then are the spiritual benefits? I already mentioned that Jesus Christ was fasting to be prepared to begin his ministry. We likewise will fast for strength. This can be to overcome an addiction, or just as a kind of “tune-up” in our lives to stay strong against temptations and apostasy. We know there are powers out to destroy us.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12 NIV

Don’t forget to include plenty of time on your knees and to humble yourself and remove the pride that prevents God from blessing you. Offer up prayers of thanks and worship God. This is also a time to pray for strength, to pray to ask for what you should pray for and to plead with God for the righteous desires of your heart. The combination of fasting and prayer is the “nuclear option” that can act like nothing else you will ever experience in your life to call upon the powers of heaven.

In the New Testament, the apostles were told to go out and perform miracles and heal people. They were actually successful at doing that. But then, they came across a case where they could not heal a man that had been possessed of the devil. They came and asked Christ why. He explained it to them as follows:

“But this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.” – Matthew 17:21

There you have it! If you really want to combine your faith and prayers into a potent mixture in your life, you combine these with fasting.

Note: I am not a medical doctor, so please consult a doctor if you really want to know what is safe and healthy for you.

– Be single-minded to God

Saul and David, by RembrandtYou can look back at the stories of the Old Testament and use them as examples for what to do and also for what not to do in life. The story of Saul is mostly about how NOT to act on our spiritual journey. We can do better as we honor and follow God.

Saul was definitely a double minded man. In his heart, he was always holding back from turning his life over to God. God called him on it and caused the Kingdom to be taken from him. I am not going to analyze his psychological problems, but it was clear that Saul had several issues. The Bible even states that he was troubled by evil spirits. It was only the harp playing of David that seemed to be able to calm his troubled soul.

One thing that Saul did was to illegally act in the role of a priest and offer animal sacrifices. He also did not obey the word of God when he was commanded to destroy a city. You remember the famous line from that “To obey is better than sacrifice”.

If you are a Christian or working towards becoming one, know that God wants your heart. He wants all of it, not just a half-hearted attempt where you still cling on to the evils and influences of the world. Jesus asked his disciples – “Whom say ye that I am?” What he was asking was for a recognition from their heart that they knew who he was and that they would be dedicated to being a Christian. It does not matter what others think. It matters what you think. Have you made up your mind yet?

It is written in the book of James that “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” How can you become single-minded instead? To start with, don’t get caught up in power or riches in this world. The book of Matthew states – “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” and also “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Give yourself as a sacrifice to God, meaning as stated in Psalm 34:18 that “the Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”

What person wants a spouse that is always turning their head after another person or thing in life. They want loyalty. Christ is the Bridegroom and the church is the Bride. Be a faithful “bride” and get oil in your lamp and be dedicated to being ready for his return.

– The power of positive thinking

good1Faith and belief overcome fear and doubt. That is a statement that is easier said than done. The problem is that life is sometimes not what we had planned and we have challenges to overcome. Nevertheless, in the long run, faith and belief will win out and good will come to those that obey God’s word and trust in Him.

 

What is stand in the way of you living a full and happy life. Just as there is truth in the saying – “you are what you eat”, the saying “you are what you think” is also true. Do you ever find yourself saying the following? “I knew that would not work.” You will be living a self-fulfilling prophesy one way or the other.

Positive thinking attracts goodness to your life and brings a power to bring positive events into your life. A study once showed that basketball players could actually achieve higher shooting percentages by thinking positively and envisioning themselves making baskets than by actual physical practice. It is scientifically proven that stress kills you in a variety of ways and that positive thinking people are healthier.

There is more going on around you than you realize. When you act in a positive way to accomplish good in this world, there is real power that will accompany you. This is not just some superstitious new age metaphysical thinking either. There are good and evil powers being manifested in this world.

Universal rules of outcome:

“As a person thinks so are they” – Proverbs 23:7

“O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” – Psalm 30

“…whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” – Galatians 6:7

“…If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” – Matthew 21:21,22

Self-affirmations to repeat to yourself each day:

Pick one or all of the following to repeat to yourself:

  1. I believe in myself and my abilities.
  2. Good things happen to me.
  3. I have a bright future that I am excited about.
  4. I have talents and skills that are recognized as I use them.
  5. Today is a great day to live, I am going to make the most of it to find and spread love, joy, peace, success and prosperity in abundance.
  6. I acknowledge God as the source of all good in my life.

Your attitude and thoughts emanate as positive or negative energy and affect what happens to you throughout the day. Positive reinforcement has the affect of bring in more light which is contagious to those around you.

If you desire others around you to be friendly, then you must project that in your attitude towards others in all sincerity. Your thoughts and feelings are more forceful than you realize. Be the master of your thoughts and establish healthy patterns and you will see positive outcomes all around you.

  1. What can you internalize a positive attitude about?
  2. Be 100% positive for a complete week and write down what happened.
  3. What will you visualize yourself doing?
  4. For every difficulty you encounter, try and see it as a positive event and how good can come of it.
  5. Stay away from alcohol and drugs that are depressants and affect your thinking.
  6. Live a life of purpose and deep meaning as a faithful Christian.

 

– Overcoming trials through faith in Christ

egg-eggshell-broken-yolk.jpgWe all have trials in life. The quote from the princess bride movie says it all – “Life is pain, anyone that says differently is selling something.” Or more correctly from the Bible– “In the world ye shall have tribulation…” – John 16

So how do we handle difficulties in life? Do we put on a bright smile and pretend everything is OK when it really isn’t? Perhaps we crumble and get discouraged and crawl under a rock? We can legitimately go forward and feel the powers of heaven upon us as we walk in faith. The great thing is that Christ told us to “be of good cheer” because he had overcome the world.

For me, my trials have been have been frightening, discouraging and difficult. They many times come upon me without any warning, like an earthquake. You can never be prepared for many of life’s challenges. There is only one hope you have to save you in your moments of deepest despair. It is the hope that comes through exercising faith in God and belief in Christ. Faith is a word of action. You must act on your faith. Let me illustrate what the faith is that is necessary to persevere you though a trial. I will do this by showing some characteristics of Christ that we can emulate. He is our example in all things.

Jesus served others, being self-centered will make you feel worse. You have to stop thinking about your own miseries and focus some love on someone else. Christ was always reaching out and ministering. Become a person that ministers to others.

Jesus lived a perfect life and sought direction from God. The combination of being righteous, humble and supplicating God in prayer is very powerful. The scriptures record that Christ would often withdraw himself and pray. For us also, we can pray and work at listening to the spiritual promptings that can guide us through our trials. Get on your knees and pray until you feel the heavens open. Don’t forget to give thanks more than just complaining to God.

Jesus confronted evil. Christ confronted the money changers in the temple, and he denounced the scribes and pharisees. Jesus confronted the devil with verses of scripture while in the desert fasting for 40 days. Evil influences must be confronted and cast out of our lives.

Jesus was ministered to by angels. “Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him” – Matt 4. Seek to let the healing in your life by thinking about God and thinking positively about your situation. Negativity breed trouble, positive thinking brings light.

Jesus look at the bigger picture and knew what was most important in life. Laugh at yourself sometimes. Smile and realize how great your life really is as you look for the positive. Look with the right perspective at how you have grown. Jesus said “O ye of little faith? Seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Luke 12:31.

Jesus submitted to the will of the Father while on the cross – “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” – Luke 22. We need to be spiritually minded and look at life’s adventures as learning experiences to help us and others grow and show us who we are. You really only need to keep one thing in mind. Or at least this is what works for me – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” – Romans 8

– Are you in need of answers?

240px-Le_Mans_-_Cathedrale_St_Julien_CV_01One question everyone is asking today is – Why? Why are senseless killings happening in our schools? Why is there hate, crime, oppression, bullying, abuse and killing? We all want to know how to stop it. One murder is too many. One abuse is too many. Can’t everyone simply be loving, helpful, encouraging, supportive, and charitable?

Unfortunately, things went wrong right from the beginning when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit and we ended up in this fallen state. The Bible also tells of how Cain killed his brother Abel. Others found ways to make secret plans to get gain.

The reason bad things are happening is because of the fallen world we live in and the Satanic influence that is pervasive. Mankind became prideful and rebelled against God. Even the people being lead through the wilderness, that had the presence of God going before them, had stony hearts that Moses said would some day need to be turned into a new heart of flesh that would have the word of God written on it.

It would certainly be great if everyone could grow up in a loving home and then make their own loving home, generation after generation. It would be easy if we each had all the opportunities in the world, all the food and shelter we needed and did not have to compete for it. But we don’t have a perfect world to live in. There is competition, oppression, greed and evil of the ugliest kind. Something actually went wrong right from the very beginning, even before Adam and Eve existed. What went wrong was that an angel of light rebelled against God and was cast down to earth. That is all part of the plan, but it means that we have opposition in our lives with good and evil forces opposing each other.

The Answer

One day, people came to Christ with some troubling news. Bad things had happened and they perhaps wanted him to make it all go away, or perhaps organize some resistance to the Roman occupation. He did not. Nor did he even try and comfort the people in this case. Let’s read what happened.

“There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” – Luke 13

Bad things are going to happen, evil will abound and bring destruction. What did Jesus say about our day?

“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” – Matt 24:10

Never before in the history of the world have people been more divided than at this time. Our technology has enabled this. It has enabled massive amounts of information to flow in and out of our minds. People can express their opinions and in an instant be heard by people around the world. Some feel empowered to belittle others, and many rise up in their pride to try and usurp power from God. Pride and rebellion are what caused Satan to be cast down from heaven to be among us. Satan wanted to take God’s place.

There is only one answer for how to get out of this predicament. God gave that answer right at the very moment He kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden. He told them that life would be hard and that the serpent (Satan) would have power in this world. Then he gave the answer for how Satan would be overcome. He said that Christ would come from the seed of the woman and that Christ would one day put an end to Satan’s rule and crush him. Speaking to Satan, God said.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” – Genesis 3 NIV

Christ is the “he” and Satan was able to strike at “his heal”, but then gets crushed by Jesus. It is time to kick Satan out of our hearts and out of this world. Unfortunately that can’t happen on a world-wide basis until we all work at it together and that won’t happen until we are all unified and working together when Christ comes and establishes a thousand years of peace. Christ is the only way. For now it means you will have to accept him on your own and wait it out. The world, as a whole, is only going to become more wicked as the division grows ever wider between the Godly and the Godless.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Here are the steps to following him and gaining peace in your heart.

1. Sanctify yourselves and cast Satan out

To begin with, you must deal with the sin question. The question you need to ask yourself is – “What sin do I now have that is unresolved, blocking me, or that I feel tempted to fall into over and over?”. Call out to God and He will forgive.

God will not hear you if you are burdened by sin, but will instead withdraw His spirit if you are unclean in any way. Yes, God is love, but He is also judgment.

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” – Isaiah 59:1,2

It is Satan who puts it into your heart to think you can’t repent. God is merciful to forgive. Christ charged the woman taken in adultery to – “go and sin no more.” You cannot believe in Christ and keep on sinning. Once you are clean, Satan cannot dwell in your heart and he will be cast from your life and you will then be surrounded by light.

2. Seek the Spirit

Oil in the Old Testament represents the Holy Spirit and you see reference to the lamps that were constantly fed oil to give light. Christ said that the wise virgins had oil in their lamps. The had lived lives that were sanctified and were thus blessed with the spirit. This is what will lead you and comfort you in these days of trouble.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” – John 16

3. Ponder the Scriptures

You should read the marvelous words found in the holy scriptures. This becomes as an iron rod to hold on to as you walk the path of discipleship. It is the safety line that you grab hold of that leads you to Eternal Life.

“study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life” – John 5:39 NIV

4. Worship God

There are many ways to worship Gid – through prayer, music, singing, meetings and many other means. He is holy and has all power in the Universe, all knowledge and loves his children. So much so, that He sent His son to die and prepare the way to overcome death and Hell.

“Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” – Luke 4