Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Problem of Living for Me

The thin figure caught my eye as the team and I gathered back together from evangelizing on the pier in El Salvador. I didn't know if it was a he or she, but this person walked in a rather strange way. He wore tights and a green trench coat. His hair went to his shoulders, and he wore a hat that seemed to fit his look. In his hand he held a blonde doll. 

The people I was with also noticed him, and we all watched as he walked by. Suddenly, he turned and saw us watching. "Don't make eye contact," someone warned us. He took a few steps toward us. In his eyes, evil danced, a grin spread across his face that seemed to say, "I see you watching..." His face, his body language, everything about him, seemed to by trying to beckon us to come. Come experience this evil with him.

How strange he seemed. One of our team members tried to give him a tract, and as soon as she did so, he darted away, as if opposing magnetic forces had come in contact. He was gone. His face forever etched in my mind -the evil dancing in his eyes... There was no life there; only death. 

I realized while watching that the evil I saw was not really him, but it was the powers of darkness to whom he'd surrendered control. He was a voodoo doctor, someone informed us, and he was obviously ready to do his work whenever someone bid him to.

The Evil that God Sees
Is this what God is watching every day? He sees the evil going on and is repulsed by it. Why? Because they are surrendering control to the evil one, His sworn enemy!

Fellow Christian, compassion should be what drives us, as it did Christ. That man I saw was helplessly under the control of demonic forces... I realized it was not him I was disgusted at, but the enemy who had him under his control. Sure, this man had to have chosen the life he is living, but doesn't most everyone? 

Some of you are thinking, "well, actually, no, Sandie... Most people don't have a choice as to what circumstances they are in." 

While it is true that we did not choose our parents and siblings, our nationality, our looks, our time in history, our gender, etc., it is also true that we have a choice as to how we deal with our circumstances. 

Our response is entirely up to us. Nobody forced Eve to eat that apple in the garden. Nobody is forcing you to live for yourself either. 

We do have a choice
Joshua implored the people of Israel, "Choose you this day whom you will serve..." (Josh 24:15) It was no circumstantial happening -Oops! Today I'm accidentally serving myself!- no, indeed, it was a choice. One you and I must take seriously. 

Choose to live for you, and you never know what path Satan and his demons will trick you into walking on. Choose to live for Jesus, and you have a Guide, a Protector, a Savior at your side all the time, guiding you away from the devil's traps and onto a path of blessing and abundant life. 

I don't believe a Christian can be demon possessed, because he is already owned by Jesus Christ, who will never disown him. But I do believe a Christian can be tricked by demons into following paths of self destruction. 

The Problem of Living for Me
So much is going on in this present day and age among believers that is turning off the power of the Spirit in their lives... Christians are doing the same things that non Christians are doing. They participate in "...sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties and other sins like these..." (Galatians 5: 19-21) That is what happens when you follow your own desires -when you choose to live for you instead of Christ.

That, my dear fellow believer, is Satan's goal for your life! Are you walking in the power of the Spirit every day? If not, perhaps you've chosen to live for yourself instead of the One who died for you! 

Shall I be so bold? I think I should! 

I just came from a country where Christians are putting their lives on the line for the sake of the gospel. Are you doing that? We visited a widow of a man who was killed for his faith in El Salvador. She is still in love with Jesus even now, although it was for His sake her husband died.

Some of you have broken families, some of you are friendless, some of you have experienced abuse and other horrible things I cannot imagine... but these situations are not an excuse to leave God! Do you realize what He's done for you? Have you so easily forgotten this gracious Savior of ours who took the blame for your sin? Have you left Him thinking He's just the way to heaven and nothing more? 

Shame on us if this is so! 
"For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom He paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God." (1 Peter 1:18-19)
How high was the price that God paid for your soul... Let the weight of this truth sink in deep. Your sin -that empty life you'd inherited from your ancestors- was keeping you separated from God, so He paid the price to get it removed from you! The price was the blood of His very own Son, Jesus Christ! He let His Son die in your place.

Then He raised Him up from the dead so that you could be given new life. Not the same one you had before; not a life of emptiness and sin and being far away from God! No, no, NO!

Oh, Christian, He died and rose again so that you could be freed and far away from that life of emptiness and so that you could know God!

The Voodoo Doctor
As his face kept coming back to my mind, evil dancing in his eyes, God reminded me of a prayer I pray often: "God, I want to decrease so much that all people see in me is Jesus and not Sandie!"

You see, when I looked at that voodoo doctor, I saw another power greater than him. This power was dark, and had control of his whole being. He was utterly helpless to the control of it. He was completely obedient to it.

Let me ask you a question, dear Christian.... Are you that obedient to God? Are you so surrendered to Him that when people look at you, they don't see you, but they see a power so much greater -the power of the Kingdom of Light? Do they see in your eyes that love has reached down into the depths of your soul and changed you? Are you following Christ and Christ alone?

If the voodoo doctor were only halfway in the service of demons I might've noticed some of the man's own personality, but he wasn't. (Not that halfway service is any safer to the soul.) All I could see was evil, bondage, and death.

Should we not be even more radically one hundred percent in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ who gives us freedom and life?

Radical Thinking
Oh, I know, Christian, this is too radical and extreme for you to think about. But just think about it anyway. Let it stretch your thinking beyond its limits. Read in the bible and you will see that Jesus is looking for people that would leave all and follow Him. Are you doing that? Are you living with your hands off the temporal and on the eternal?

Great blessing comes when we are in the service of God under His power, by His grace simply through our faith in His Son Jesus.

Don't count your life so dear, your possessions so special, your friends so close, your work so needed, that you would never risk them for the sake of Christ! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"Are you sure?"

The day had been a long one. I had taught all morning, then rushed to a cleaning job, then ran an errand for a ministry at our church.

I was so tired that on the way back from the errand, I missed my turn and found that out of habit, I was headed towards the store closest to our house.

Oops! I thought to myself, I missed my turn... Oh well... I decided that I would go ahead and go all the way there and do some shopping for my upcoming trip.

I walked in to the store, realizing just how messy I must've looked... 

I wore a very old pink T shirt that said A Passion for Jesus on the front in bold print. It had been worn for painting a few times, so it had some paint splattered onto it. My hair was falling out of a ponytail I had put it in that morning.

I was on a mission. When I get focused on a mission, nobody can distract me. (My sisters know this well.) I found everything I was looking for and went to check out.

The middle aged man behind the counter eyed me as I waited for him to ring up my items. "How are you?" I asked, trying to be friendly.

He mumbled an answer and continued checking out my items. He spoke with a thick, African accent.

Finally, after the transaction was done, a curious smile crept across his face. He asked a question that made me stop.

"Do you have 'a passion for Jesus'?" He asked.

I was caught surprised, not ready for this. "Yes! Yes I do." I answered quickly.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I am!" Again, the answer came back quickly. Why had he asked if I was sure?

He turned and began to ring up the next customer, and the conversation was over. The walk back to the car was a rainy one. I sat in the car and thunder clashed loudly in the sky, rain pelted against the window of the car.

Are you sure?

The whole drive home, something else was on my mind. What had just happened? His question echoed in my mind. Are you sure?

Pictures flashed through my mind of Christians all over the world boldly proclaiming their faith, standing up for Jesus, unashamedly losing their life for the sake of Christ. The lost have no doubt that something is different about them. They don't have to ask, "Are you sure you love Jesus?"

They can see it.

I parked the car in the driveway and leaned against the steering wheel. "Oh, God... forgive me!" Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized that my mission in the store was not the one God has given me... His mission is souls. We aren't to go out into public places to seek something more than we seek out the lost!

What a convicting thought!

Do we love Christ enough that others can tell without us having to say it?

"Oh God, make my love for Jesus so obvious that the lost don't have to ask, 'do you have a passion for Jesus?' but rather, "Why do you have a passion for Jesus?'!" I prayed, grieved over my own mistake.

Let us not be so wrapped up in life that we miss God's mission for our lives! Let's be so wrapped up in the love of Christ, grateful that He's died for us, that the mission of our life is to win the lost!

Paul said this: "I am not ashamed of this good news about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16)

Let us not be ashamed, dear Christian, of the Christ who died for us!

Take a good long look at the cross, the extreme measure that Christ went through to win you, and you are sure to realize that there is no price you could pay that would outweigh what He went through for you. Let His love greatly impact you and win your love in return!

The passionate love of Christ more than anything else is what wins the lost! Let us love Him without shame!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Every Person Has a Past

Every person has a past...

Some not as pleasant as others, but all with torn up dreams; sudden and unwanted twists to their stories that have an effect on them they never wanted.

In the short life I've lived so far, much has taken place already that I didn't see coming. And when it did, confusion clouded the pathway, and my dreams became a blur. Wounds that went so deep, I never thought I'd be whole again.

Broken trust with those trusted most, broken relationships, hopes dashed, opportunities galore for bitterness and anger to creep in.

As I mentioned in a previous post, When Life Hurts, I recently went through a very painful experience. One that made me wonder if there could be any hope... A loss I could not have imagined to hurt so much.

My first reaction was denial... This could not be happening! I blissfully resisted the truth that what I'd had was gone forever. But soon, the truth began to sink in, and I was hurt. My life felt like it had been torn apart. I became angry. I was angry at God and at those who'd hurt me, angry that this happened to me.

How could God let this happen to me? I questioned... How could God even love me when He lets this happen to me?

Often I would find myself on my knees weeping before God, angry at my circumstances, angry at Him, knowing somehow, though, because of the truth I have been taught, that I had no grounds for my anger towards Him...
"Then I went into your sanctuary, O God.... I realized that my heart was bitter and I was all torn up inside."                                               -Psalm 73:17, 21
I knew my heart was becoming bitter, and through many tears I made that difficult choice to forgive my offenders and to let go of the lies I believed about God.

Let me tell you right now, that is never an easy choice... God's grace is sufficient, but apart from His grace, it is impossible.

The choice of forgiveness is a step you and I take, leaning heavily into the arms of Jesus Christ, who has experienced all pain before you when He walked this earth. He will guide your feet onto the path that is hard to follow apart from Him.

Through the hurts He proves best that He is indeed kind. He is strong enough to carry us when we cannot walk. He is light when the darkness is so thick that we cannot see the path in front of us. He is comfort when we ache so much that there seems to be no remedy for the pain. He is the Great Physician and we must go to Him with every wound.

Every person has a past, but Christ calls us to let go of that past and hang on tight to His nail pierced hands.

He was called to this earth to give us a taste of the glory to come by ridding us of the power of sin and death. He was called to heal us, to give us hope in the darkness, to bind up our wounds and set us free. Jesus read His calling in the synagogue before those who did not believe Him to be the Messiah from Isaiah 61;
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; ...to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..." 
No longer are we to let our wounds fester, our broken heart remain crushed, our life be bound up in bitterness, our mourning become hopelessness; no longer are we to remain captive to the curse of death in this world, to hang onto our ashes, to let a spirit of heaviness weigh us down...

No, Jesus has traded His life for ours! He wants us to be free!

As with physical wounds, the deeper they are, the more often we need to return to the doctor; So it is with our heart.

The deeper the hurt is, the longer the healing process, the more often we must go to that Great Physician and let Him bind up the wound again. Don't ignore your past, bring it to the One who can heal you of its effects on your life! I have found that He is in fact capable of doing just that!

Go, and keep going to this God who cares... He is great and mighty, but He also cares about every detail of your life. He is not distant, but close by.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed." (Psalm 34:18)
My friend, do not believe the lie that God has abandoned you... In whatever you are going through, He longs to show Himself to you, He longs to rescue and restore you. He stands ready to help you.

The moment you cry to Him, He is ready to answer and to heal you. You must stay close to His side, for as a shepherd carries a lamb, so He will carry you close to His heart.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We are free!


That's all it was. But soon that nothingness was radically changed, simply by a command. 

"Let there be light," and there was light. Within six days, nothing became something. Something incredible. Sky, earth, stars, sea, animals, fish, insects, plants... and best of all, humans. Made in the image and likeness of their Maker. He looked over His creation, pleased. "It is good."

He walked in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. He had what He wanted most with His creation -a relationship, a friendship that went deep. They knew their Creator and He knew them. 

Their Creator could do anything, He was so powerful that His voice could command anything to happen and it would. But there was only one thing He could not do. He could not sin, nor could He have anything to do with it, for He was perfect.

Evil had been cast out of heaven when Lucifer rose up against his Creator, saying, "I will be as the Most High..." His pride had gotten the better of him, and he'd instantly become the enemy of God, for he sought with everything in his power to dethrone the King of kings. Legions of angels were cast out of heaven with him, for they had chosen to follow Lucifer in his evil, and evil and God could never coexist. 

On the earth that God had made, evil had not yet begun to thrive, for what He made was good and only good. But one day, Lucifer in his evil schemes overtook a serpent and used it to deceive the very ones created in God's image and likeness, Adam and Eve, and tricked them into eating fruit from the very tree their God had commanded them not to eat of. 

Evil entered the world through one man, Adam, and began to thrive and cause the very thing God had warned them would happen; death. Death and decay began to take over every being that God had created. Sin became the greatest influence upon the world. Every being born into the world had one horrible destiny, that being to die. 

Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden, for there they had known sweet fellowship with God, they'd known His very heart... And now that sin entered into their heart, they had to leave, for God could not coexist with sin.

Grieved, He watched them walk away from His design. He knew what He would now have to do. He would provide a way out of the darkness and death that was overtaking the world. 

He told the people He had made to get a lamb and sacrifice it for their sin. They would have to do this every time they sinned. But it was only a shadow of what was to come, for one day He would send the Lamb. And this Lamb would die for the sins of the whole world. This Lamb would be God in the flesh.

Centuries passed. People continued to live in the dark world. Some despaired that the Lamb would ever come. Some continued to believe and to rest in hope that soon their Maker would send the spotless Lamb whose blood would wash away their sins forever. 

On a night when it was least expected He came, not in the form of a prince, in high kingly robes, not with a shout, nor with great parade. No, He came in the form of a baby, born in a lowly stable of a humble virgin. His name was Jesus, the carpenter's Son from Nazareth. 

Many did not believe He could be that Lamb they'd waited centuries for. He lived in the weakness of human flesh, yet He never did sin. He did not live in a palace, nor did He demand to be worshiped. He did not cling to His deity as something that should be acknowledged by all. He simply lived among the weakest, the lost, the dying, the sinners of the world. 

Only those who truly knew they needed the Lamb recognized Him. His name was Jesus.

And then that fateful day came. They took Him, mocked Him, beat Him, whipped Him, placed a crown of thorns upon His head, nailed Him to a cross and put Him to death. He was betrayed. He was forsaken. He who was perfect and sinless was made to be sin, and punished for it. 

The greatest injustice in all of history took place at the cross, when He who deserved worship and praise instead received mockery, He who deserved to be the Judge was instead judged for our sins, He who had been there from eternity past was now treated like the lowest of human beings. 

Three days later, this Lamb rose from the dead, proving that death had no power over Him. The grave and its master was defeated! He rose to prove that He was indeed the Son of God, the promised Lamb. He showed Himself to His disciples, the wounds still in His hands and side to prove that indeed He was the same Jesus that had been put to death three days earlier. Forty days later, He ascended up into the heavens and they received the promise that one day He would return.

He did this for you and for me... He did this because He loves you. The justice and holiness of our Maker demands punishment, so He took it for you. He took it so that the just requirement of the law could be met with no harm to you, the guilty one.

My friend, all He asks of you is that you receive Him by faith! He promises that you will be His friend. Once you are His, you will never be taken away from Him, not even by your own choice. He made a way -the Only Way- to have His deepest desire fulfilled, to have sweet fellowship with you!

This precious Lamb of God made it possible for you to enter into the Holy One's presence without anything holding you back. Our sin problem is removed, and we are free!
"Herein is love; not the we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." -1 John 4: 10

Monday, May 19, 2014

Since God is Love...

"And now abides faith, hope, love; these three; but the greatest of these is love."                   -1 Corinthians 13: 13
A question gnawed at my mind as I considered the sentence above. Why would love be more important than faith and hope?

The world is filled with unfair circumstances. Life seems to always be getting messed up. You'd think maybe hope would be most needed. And what about faith? Isn't that the key to pleasing God? Wouldn't faith be most important, because faith pleases God? Didn't He create us for His glory? (Hebrews 11:6)

But, no... the verse clearly said, "...the greatest of these is love."

It is amazing how when you go to the bible with a need for one thing, if you truly are searching, God will show you something better than what you were looking for. I had been searching for hope. I was getting to a place where I wondered if there was any. As I searched for verses on hope, I realized that God is the God of hope, He gives it due to the resurrection. But then I came across this verse.

"God, why is love more important than faith and hope?" I wasn't expecting an answer right away, but there it came, clear as day. 1 John 4:8 flashed through my mind:

"...God is love."

Wait a second. It doesn't say, "God loves everyone," although that is true, and there are verses that say that. But it clearly says God is Love.

Without love, there would be no Person to put our faith in, and no Reason to hope. Jesus coming to earth do die in our place, to shed His blood for the remission of sin, is the result of LOVE! 

Nowhere does it say, "God is faith" or "God is hope." It also doesn't say, "God is justice." ...Hmmm... interesting.

Since God is love, then several things are true:

1. Love produces in us faith, hope, justice, grace, righteousness, and all other aspects of God's character that He wishes us to live out. Since He is love, then love is believing, just, gracious, righteous, humble, hopeful, etc. (Just take a look at 1 Cor. 13!)

2. Love is the whole reason Christ died on the cross! It is because God loves us that we have hope of eternal life with no fear! (1 John 4:18)

3. That explains, then, why God created man (love seeks objects to give to), why He says that His greatest command to man is that we love God, and then to love each other.

4. Love is an expression of God's character, and by it, we show the world who God is! (1 John 4:12)

...Then where should our focus be, dear Christian? 

I've been in many churches throughout the past few years of ministry in several different parts of the world. Some of them preach only godly lifestyle. The focus there becomes, how "right" can I live? It becomes outward-action focused more than heart change. In doing so, they make God appear to be a harsh perfectionist who has no patience for backsliders or the unrighteous. But that is not God at all! Godly lifestyle without godly, unconditional love is worthless in God's sight! (1 Cor. 13)

I've also been to the churches that are so caught up in the need to "love" each other, that they compromise very important truths in God's word. They compromise the justice, the righteousness, the holiness of God. They are so afraid of offending others by godliness that they choose not to have standards of living at all, and in doing so, they make God appear to be a "softy" with no backbone. In so doing, they are not showing God's love, but a man made love that makes them look good.

Perhaps I should ask, do you really know God? The balance is found in Him! 

...God, who is love, practices justice, kindness and holiness. He freely gives hope and faith. In His love, He rebukes and chastens. In His love, He draws all men to Himself. In His love, He hates sin with a passion and wishes we stay away from it, because it keeps us from Him. In His love, He wants us to look different than the world, yet somehow, He wants us to live in it, showing His unconditional love to all, with no favorites. It is that kind of life that makes a difference!
"And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world." -1 John 4:17
God's greatest goal for your life, dear Christian, is that you live like Jesus here in this world! How it is done is by living in God, who perfects our love, and uses it to show the world who His Son is!

If you read through the gospels, you will find a Savior who is gentle, but honest, compassionate, yet bold enough to rebuke those who needed it, a Friend of sinners, but holy in His lifestyle. We are to be like Him!

Let us seek to know our God, who is love.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

When Life Hurts...

Recently, I went through a very painful experience. The death of a dream I had thought was coming true. The loss of something I thought I had gained permanently. Never had I experienced something so difficult before. Never had I guessed that this was going to happen to me.

...But it did. And it hurt.

I praise God for His healing power at work in me... As I write, I write not only to you, but to myself as one who is learning on this journey too. 

This morning, as I was reading in the Psalms, I came across a Psalm that hadn't stood out to me in this way before. As I read, I realized that I was looking at me in the mirror of God's word. The same story that was taking place in this chapter had been happening to me... All of this is found in Psalm 77.  
"I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for His help...I am too distressed even to pray." (Vs. 1-4)
...It is normal to get to a place where prayer doesn't seem to work, where it feels like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling, and like God can't hear you... And sometimes, it feels there is no comfort for the hurt we have inside. But, take heart! Just because it feels true, that doesn't mean it is
"I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul to ponder the difference now." (V. 5)
It is natural to wonder what made the change, to ask questions... to ask why. But the mistake this psalmist began to make was to look within to find out what had changed. Was it really him? As soon as he looked within, look what happened next:
"Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will He never again be kind to me? Is His unfailing love gone forever? Have His promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He slammed the door on His compassion? I said, 'this is my fate; the Most High has turned His hand against me.'" (Vs.7-10)
 Doubts filled his mind, and he began to wonder, as all of us do at one point or another if the things he believed about his God were still true. The answer to all of the questions he asked is NO! God has NOT rejected you! No, God is always kind to you! No! He always loves you! His promises have NOT failed, and they never will. He will always be gracious and compassionate! He won't ever turn on you!

...But he was being honest about where he was, he was asking the questions that all of us ask. When doubts flood your mind, don't let yourself drown in them, grab a hold of hope and hang on tight! Look what happens next:
"But then I recall all You have done, O Lord; I remember Your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about Your mighty works." (V 11)
  His thoughts turned upward towards God, the only Source of all Hope... Away from himself, away from the painful circumstances, and upward towards Someone who is perfect, Someone who never fails.
"O God, Your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as You? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate Your awesome power among the nations. By Your strong arm, You redeemed Your people..." (Vs. 13-15)
The writer goes on to tell of how God parted the waters by His mighty presence alone so the people could go through the Red Sea on dry land. He explains that God's presence made the waters tremble and flee and it caused the skies to pour down rain. And then it says the most precious thing ever...
"You led Your people along that road like a flock of sheep..." (V 20)
It doesn't matter how deep the water, or how great the darkness, how awful the pain, or how impossible the situation, because God not only creates a pathway through it, but He is right there to lead us along that pathway. And in all of it, He wants us to simply cling to Him. He is the God of all Hope.

No, hope will not be found when you or I look to change our circumstances to more favorable ones, and it won't be found when we try to escape them altogether. It's only found in the God of Hope. In Him is the promise that ALL things will work together for good, not some things... all of them.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Defining Salvation: Faith and Surrender

Does surrender save you?

I realize that question might have startled you, because it's rather upfront and to the point. Recently I had the privilege of spending time with someone who was struggling with this question. 

She had prayed to receive Christ rather recently. In the time since she'd done that, she had heard the phrase, "surrender your life to Christ" in reference to salvation. 

"I don't know if I'm going to heaven," she said to me with a look of fear on her face, "because I don't know that I've given Jesus everything." 

My heart went out to her... Was it possible that she wasn't saved? I went over the plan of salvation with her based on what the bible says:

The Gospel:
1. Every person on earth is born a sinner (Romans 3:23)
2. Our sin is separating us from God forever, and the punishment is death in hell. (Romans 6:23)
3. There is nothing that we can do to earn salvation. (Is. 64:6; Rom. 4:5)
4. Jesus Christ died in our place when He died on the cross and rose from the dead to give us new life and to prove He is victorious over death (Romans 5:8)
5. All God wants us to do to be saved is to realize that our sin is separating us from God and repent(change your mind), stop believing in other things/methods and just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, resting in His finished work, and call upon His name to save us! We are simply to accept what Christ did on the cross to be enough to reconcile us to God! (Jn 3:15,16; 1 John 5:10-12)

After I went through that with her, I asked, "Have you accepted Christ as your personal Savior? Are you trusting only Him and not your works to save you?" 

"Yes," she answered. 

"Well then you're going to heaven!" I showed her 1 John 5:12: "Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God's Son does not have life." 

It is simple! Not complicated! Surrender doesn't save you. It is Jesus! If you have Jesus, then you have eternal life! "In Him was life..." (John 1:4)

What does believing on Christ mean?

In the Greek the word "Believe" means to "entrust". It has the idea of placing all of your hope in Christ and in nothing else, because you are hopeless apart from Him. It is realizing that there is no other way but Jesus, no other truth but Jesus, no other life, but that which is found in JESUS.

When you place your faith in Christ, it goes a step farther than just saying, "Oh yeah, that's true," it is believing it to be true and putting all your dependence upon it with no backup plan, no "plan B." It isn't Christ PLUS good works. JUST Christ alone, that saves you. 

Are Christians perfect?

If Christians are supposed to live perfect lives, then there isn't one single Christian on the face of this earth. Find the most godly person you know and go home with them and live with them every moment of every day, and pretty soon you will find flaws you didn't think that person had!

The Christian life is meant to be a life of progress, not perfection! We are to continually seek to be transformed! (Romans 12:2)

Are Christians always fully surrendered?

Many days in my life have I woke up in the morning wanting to live the day for me, and many days have I carried out that desire, to my shame. (That is the opposite of surrender.) If you've lived every single day, and every single moment for Christ since the day you were saved, I'd like to get with you and find out your secret! I haven't found a perfect Christian yet who's never lived out one single moment for something other than Christ! 

Or what about things like your money, your possessions, and your friends? Do you always check with God before using "His" money? Or do you even think about your possessions as "His" all the time? What about your friends? Do you treat your time with them as "God's" time?


If this is what is required of us in order to go to heaven, then we aren't going! I haven't found one single Christian who is able to live their life every moment and every day fully surrendered to Christ. 

Those who have been saved ought to practice surrender...

Jesus said, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me." (Mark 8:34)

"I beseech you, therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind..." (Romans 12:1-2) 

"Then He said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23)

It's a plea from Christ to those who have accepted Him and are His. Denying oneself and taking up one's cross is not a one time thing. It's a daily thing. If these verses were in reference to salvation, you and I would be constantly losing and regaining our salvation! 

Can you lose your salvation?

Jesus said, "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand." (John 10:28-29) 

If you can't be snatched from the Father's hand, then you can't be lost once found. Simple. Salvation is a gift that, once given, is never taken away.

If you've never trusted in Christ as your Savior, simply call upon His name, placing your trust in Him alone. He is the only hope of salvation, and His blood is the only thing that can wash away the stain of our sin!