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When I knew for sure

Lots of authentic Christ followers can tell you the time and place when they were saved. Or where they were on 9-11, or where they were when MLK was assassinated, or the last time the Dodgers won the World Series.

I can tell you the time and place I was when I learned my true identity in Christ. I was in Al Scardino’s bible study class with Marie at First Baptist Church Atlanta. It was August 13, 2000. We were studying Dan Stone and Greg Smith’s powerful book, The Rest of the Gospel.1 Page 90 to be specific.

It was one of those unforgettable revelation moments when the light flashes and all of a sudden you get it. You realize that you live in Christ and Christ lives in you. And that’s the only identity you need.

Satan hates it. Because at that moment in your life he realizes that he has absolutely no chance of EVER persuading you to reject God and follow him. It means he has lost that believer forever to victory in Jesus.

We exist and live in one of two realms. The eternal realm of the Spirit of Almighty God. IT’s where things simply are. Everything is completed, unseen, changeless and timeless. No fear. No pain. No loss. Just never-ending peace and love always in the presence of Almighty God living as his beloved children.

The other realm we call the natural or temporal realm. If you live in this realns. m you are dying every day. There is a beginning and end. There is good and evil. There is a past, present and a future. There is birth, life and death. Wealth. Poverty. Failure. Expectations. Limits and experiences. Consequences. Trauma. Fear. Hate. Rejection. But the worst part about living in the natural realm is you are separated from God.

Are you still living in the natural realm? If you are, how’s that working for you? Things are going to become progressively worse. Any happiness you may experience will eventually turn to disappointment, futility and loss. You will eventually have to admit that this life sucks. Nothing works out the way you thought it would. Failures mount. So does your emptiness and feelings of worthlessness.

Do you want to swap realms? Do you want a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe? Wouldn’t you love to have all your sins forgiven forever? Would you like to know your eternal home?

IF you’d like all this stuff you get by living in the realm of the Spirit, have all your sins forgiven and become a child of God and join his family forever just say this simple prayer and it will be a done deal.

“God, I confess to you that I have sinned and I am genuinely sorry. I confess that my life has fallen short of your glory because of the way I’ve been living.  I want to know you. I want a personal relationship with my Savior. I believe by faith in You that Christ died for my sins. I ask you now, Jesus, to forgive me of my sins and come live in my heart.  I trust you as my Savior and receive you as my Lord. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me. Amen.”

Congratulation. You have a new Father and a new life in Christ. Your old self is dead and your new life is alive in Christ forever.

1The Rest of the Gospel; One Press, Dallas, Texas, c 2000

2000; pg. 90

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Why God chose Mary, a virgin

God could have chosen from among hundreds of girls or young women to be the mother of God’s only Son on earth. Why did he choose a young teenager from a wide spot in the road village, Nazareth. They said “Nothing good ever comes from Nazareth.”

But now we watch The Creator of the universe, Almighty God, pick this nondescript teenager to be the mother of the Savior of the world. And a virgin to boot.

Jesus’s mother had to be a virgin. It could have happened no other way. Remember with the first bite of the apple in Genesis Adam and Eve died spiritually. So every man, woman and child born from Adam and Eve’s union were born into sin.

“we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” Ephesians 2:3

We all were at one time born into the world children of wrath and were deserving of death.

Jesus came into the world to give us His life. He had God’s love and eternal life to give anyone who would believe in Him and accept the free gift of eternal life Jesus was willing to give them.

“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.

So, if Jesus was born to anyone but a virgin, he wouldn’t have had God’s eternal life to give away. And we would all die without God.

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God bless atheists this Christmas

A New Jersey billboard, paid for by atheists, depicted three wise men approaching Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus in a manger. The billboard proclaimed, “You know it’s a myth! Celebrate reason.”  The atheist group reportedly paid $20 grand to display the message through the Christmas season.

A spokesman for the atheist group said the billboard was not to condemn Christians for celebrating Christmas; it was to encourage atheists to stop going through the motions of celebrating Christmas.

If you’ve ever debated Christ with an atheist or a non-believer you may discover their belief system sounds shallow. But many are adamant believers in their faith in a godless world. Isn’t that an oxymoron? If they have beliefs and faith, isn’t that, well . . . belief and faith in something?

But let’s not go there. I’m not seeking to belittle atheists or their beliefs and faith.

God still blesses atheists. Many of them are successful, well-educated, kind and considerate people. They go to college, raise families, contribute to their communities, volunteer their time and resources for the good of others. They prosper and add to our general welfare. Many are good people.

Like Christians, atheists live by the choices they make. From the beginning I believe God gave man freedom of choice in the Garden of Eden.  Atheists acquired their freedom to choose from the big bang, as they tell it, when their version of man’s ability to choose crawled out of the primal ooze, and, through osmosis, I suppose, seeped into his brain and enabled him to think.

As an authentic follower of Jesus I believe Adam and Eve’s garden experience instilled in every man and woman the ability to choose right from wrong and good from evil.

God, I believe, gave us the choice to believe in Him and Jesus as our Savior, or not to believe.

I believe when I take my last breath I will go to sleep (die physically) and wake up in the arms of Jesus. Atheists believe when they die their bodies will rot wake up in Jesus’ arms, but rather return to the earth as worm food. No afterlife, no heaven, no Jesus waiting to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” no treasures in heaven, no trumpets, no mansion, no streets of gold, no peace.

And they’re entitled to believe that. They don’t have to believe they are God’s children and that He loves atheists every bit as much as He loves true believers.

I also believe, however, that those who don’t believe (like the atheists) will spend eternity separated from God (as He says they will in the Bible) for eternity. Eternity is a long time to be wrong.

But God blesses atheists, and will continue to bless them with life and health and families and 401K’s and good jobs and food and clothing, just like he blesses us.  God will continue to love atheists until they draw their last breath.

Then atheists will discover, the moment after that last breath, whether they were right or wrong.

So will we.

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9