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Depending upon;  how much of yourself;  you have given; you will;  feel the pain to that degree!

I tthought;  nothing could be compared to the hurt a spouse could inflict upon you;  I stand corrected.

The pain; that a child; can inflict;:is much worse.

Or maybe;  because I have now experienced it.

My worst fear; would be to lose a child.

Maybe;  until we experience something;  we do not really realize to the intensene of the pain.

I think; just me; if you can survive the loss of a child;  you have made an accomplish!

Realizing,  we cannot accomplish; anything without the Lord.


Philippians 4:13 states  I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.

This is what is on my heart this morning.

Which brings to my mind; how much; we hurt Jesus;  when we are disobedient or act contrary; to what He has taught us.

I am one of those people;  that believe; there is a lesson to be learned in everything;  God allows to happen in my life.

And until;  I learn the lesson; He wants me to learn; I will continue on that path.

It may not be the lesson that other people want me to learn.

It is what God wants to teach me.

When;  I look; at Jesus, He had compassion.

Could that be the precious element that we are missing;  when we deal with one another.

I have learned;  that God and I can deal with anything together.

It is difficult;  for Barbara to deal with harshness;

Yet, we are told in the scriptures;

2 Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure harshness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

It is only by the Grace and  Mercy of God;  that any of us can continue.

Remember;  Quitting is not an option! Most of us learn:

1, By what we have seen.

2. By what we have been taught.

3. By what we have experienced.

Maybe;  that is just me♡

At any rate;  none of us can go back and change the past; no matter how much we may want to; or no matter how many regets we may have.

We must choose;  to move on.

We must forgive.

I do not believe; that means to stay in a place;  where you are being neglected.

I realize;  their are people in abusive relationships.

I am not addressing that at the moment.

When I think of how Christ; suffed; bled and died for me! And then for me to sin it is a horrible thought.

Have I done that at times?

Yes; I am ashamed of myself.

Yet, He forgave me.

I am convinced;  God looks into our future and prepares us!

I forgive everyone;  that I feel has hurt me.


Nothing and Nobody is worth me giving up spending eternity with Christ.

I want to be forgiven;  so I forgive

Note: What I had gone through;  with the loss of my husband;  has helped prepare me for this:

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Question: “Did Jesus go to hell between His death and resurrection?”

Answer:There is a great deal of confusion in regards to this question. This concept comes primarily from the Apostles’ Creed, which states, “He descended into hell.” There are also a few Scriptures which, depending on how they are translated, describe Jesus going to “hell.” In studying this issue, it is important to first understand what the Bible teaches about the realm of the dead.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word used to describe the realm of the dead issheol. It simply means the “place of the dead” or the “place of departed souls/spirits.” The New Testament Greek equivalent ofsheolishadeswhich also refers to “the place of the dead.” Other Scriptures in the New Testament indicate that sheol/hades is a temporary place, where souls are kept as they await the final resurrection and judgment.Revelation 20:11-15gives a clear distinction between the two. Hell (the lake of fire) is the permanent and final place of judgment for the lost. Hades is a temporary place. So, no, Jesus did not go to hell because hell is a future realm, only put into effect after the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).

Sheol/hades is a realm with two divisions (Matthew 11:23,16:18;Luke 10:15,16:23;Acts 2:27-31), the abodes of the saved and the lost. The abode of the saved was called “paradise” and “Abraham’s bosom.” The abodes of the saved and the lost are separated by a “great chasm” (Luke 16:26). When Jesus ascended to heaven, He took the occupants of paradise (believers) with Him (Ephesians 4:8-10). The lost side of sheol/hades has remained unchanged. All unbelieving dead go there awaiting their final judgment in the future. Did Jesus go to sheol/hades? Yes, according toEphesians 4:8-10and1 Peter 3:18-20.

Some of the confusion has arisen from such passages asPsalm 16:10-11as translated in the King James Version, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption….Thou wilt show me the path of life.” “Hell” is not a correct translation of this verse. A correct reading would be “the grave” or “sheol.” Jesus said to the thief beside Him, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Jesus’ body was in the tomb; His soul/spirit went to the “paradise” side of sheol/hades. He then removed all the righteous dead from paradise and took them with Him to heaven. Unfortunately, in many translations of the Bible, translators are not consistent, or correct, in how they translate the Hebrew and Greek words for “sheol,” “hades,” and “hell.”

Some have the viewpoint that Jesus went to “hell” or the suffering side of sheol/hades in order to further be punished for our sins. This idea is completely unbiblical. It was the death of Jesus on the cross and His suffering in our place that sufficiently provided for our redemption. It was His shed blood that effected our own cleansing from sin (1 John 1:7-9). As He hung there on the cross, He took the sin burden of the whole human race upon Himself. He became sin for us: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This imputation of sin helps us understand Christ’s struggle in the garden of Gethsemane with the cup of sin which would be poured out upon Him on the cross.

When Jesus cried upon the cross, “Oh, Father, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), it was then that He was separated from the Father because of the sin poured out upon Him. As He gave up His spirit, He said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). His suffering in our place was completed. His soul/spirit went to the paradise side of hades. Jesus did not go to hell. Jesus’ suffering ended the moment He died. The payment for sin was paid. He then awaited the resurrection of His body and His return to glory in His ascension. Did Jesus go to hell? No. Did Jesus go to sheol/hades? Yes.

Recommended Resources:Jesus: The Greatest Life of All by Charles SwindollandLogos Bible Software.

While he is not the author of every article on, for citation purposes, you may reference our CEO, S. Michael Houdmann.

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1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed frHomeSuggestions: Ways to be A BlessingAbout MeReturn to Your First Love!Our ChildrenFirst Things First; Let’s Establish Who Jesus Is:Update: Love MamaJust Some Thoughts 05/10/14It is apparent; to meEasterDo you want to be Blessed? Update 08/18/13Contact Me; UPDATEAs it is in Heaven!THANK YOU!Christ is Our Example:What if you were called into judgment today; what would be the outcome?I Really and Truly; can’t make it; without the LORD!Count Your Blessings; Name them one by oneLove does hurt; It is a process.Subscribe to feed‹ Stay Connected!  •  Restoration ›


Have You been Dipped? UPDATE


June 5, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments (edit)1 Corinthians 6:11: And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.I have been washed! Revelation 19:13: And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.  All I could do after being Baptised this morning was to cry. Literally, My God, My God, My God. I am thankful for those that were trying to comfort me. You just don’t understand. For me; it was a very, very special Baptism. Those were tears of Joy.When I think of the fact that God could have destroyed me!!!! I never would have had the opportunity to experience the experiences that I am having with God right now!I did this because God told me to! I want to be obedient to God!I was not preaching from the pulpit. The Word of God does not change for any of us; we are not exempt from life! It’s about making the right choices and standing on the Word of God!  The fact that I was wearing the Name of Christ and yet sinned. At least that Fornication! I was WRONG. God told me to tell my Testimony again and then be Baptized. I’ve completed doing what God told me to do in that situation. You see, If I didn’t get baptized; it would have been partial obedience, which is still disobedience! IT FEELS GOOD TO OBEY!God has given me countless number of chances. No more playing. I will remain celibate until God sees fit to change my status! I’m in a state of mind right now; no one can touch I or God. When I surrendered, I souled out. I am much wiser now,  I have much more patience. I am not only reading the Word more. I’m living it! I have no room to criticize; I can tell you how to get out of that mess you are in!Jesus is the answer for what ails us! I’m not talking about attending church. I am talking about a relationship with Christ. Please, don’t do as I did; I am asking you to do what the Word says. Try Jesus.Thank you Bishop for Blessing God’s people; may God richly return to you a Hundred-Fold Blessing; in Jesus Name I pray! I understand that we are God’s people. He has chosen you to be our Pastor. Jeremiah 3:15: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. I Thank God for you. No flattery intended! Be Blessed!Note: I must be in the right place. I tried to do this before; like I said the people just patted me on the back. Please, never, never uphold someone in their sin. We don’t have to condemn anyone. Just remind someone what the Word says! None of us have room to judge! I definitely didn’t feel condemned. This is why we do things when God’s timing! Be Sociable, Share!inShareTags: Attending Church, Countless Number, Jesus Is The Answer, Jesus Name, Lord Jesus


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Inspired Word of God-The Bible

Interesting to me; when; I placed all the scriptures in Red.

So as; to point them out to you more easily!

And for you to see; it was not something; that I had made up myself.

When; the Lord corrected me.

It caused; me to look at the scriptures; differently.

How; you may ask?

1. The Holy Bible; has many pages.

2. The Words were inspired by God Himself.

3. Jesus actually; walked on the earth.

He actually; has spoken few words; Himself.

How powerful; those words are.

They were spoken centuries ago.

Yet; they are relevant; in 2012.

When; I actually look at what Jesus actually said; it does place an emphasis on what He said!

The Word declares:

John 21:25: And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

Can you; imagine how powerful He is?

Jesus’ Ministry did not end; when He was crucified!

As the songwriter says;

“That’s not how the story ends”

Thank God; that He got up!

There; is always a purpose; for what God allows in our lives.

As I have said!

When; the Lord instructs you;

Or the Holy Spirit; leads you to do something;

Just be Obedient!!!

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“What is a prayer closet?”/

Answer: After a short discourse on the follies of trying to appear religious in front of people, Jesus talks about prayer. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:5-8). The Greek used here for “room” is tameion which means an inner storage chamber or a secret room. The point being, a public prayer, announced on a street corner, gives the pray-er all the attention he can expect to receive. A quiet prayer, directed at God and not passers-by, will reap spiritual blessings.

Some have taken the admonition literally. They set aside a room or a quiet corner in their homes, furnish it with a comfortable chair, table, Bible, and maybe a notebook, and use that corner for a regular prayer time. That’s certainly appropriate, but the fact that the room Jesus referred to most likely meant a pantry gives us a little more flexibility. A “prayer closet” might be a daily commute, a bench in the back yard, or the kitchen table. John Wesley’s mother is said to have sat in a chair and thrown her apron over her head as a sign to her kids to leave her alone. Jesus usually went to a secluded hillside. The point is that the “closet” is free from interruption, distraction, and listening ears.

Although there are good reasons to have a dedicated space for regular prayer—such as training the family to respect the quiet, and keeping prayer-related materials in one place—that was not what Jesus was referring to. The passage in Matthew 6 talks about performing religious acts for the purpose of allowing others to see. Any act, be it praying, giving, or serving, should not be done for the purpose of gaining approval from others. Praying, giving, and serving should be responses to our relationship with God and the mercies He has given us. If a specific, dedicated location encourages prayer, it should by all means be used. If the cab of a pickup or a quiet stretch of beach suffices, that’s perfectly acceptable.

Recommended Resource: Prayer, The Great Adventure by David Jeremiah.


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Per Barbara: Everyone should have one!

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A follower

As a follower of Jesus Christ; I must follow the examples that He has left for me.

I realize; that there were initially twelve; the Word of Jesus has expanded beyond Jerusalem:

Mark 16:15: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Malachi 3:6: For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Malachi 3:7: Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.  Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.  But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

Malachi 3:8: Will a man rob God?  Yet ye have robbed me.  But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?  In tithes and offerings.

Malachi 3:9: Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

Malachi 3:10: Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3:11: And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 3:12: And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 3:13: Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD.  Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?

Malachi 3:14: Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?

Malachi 3:15: And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

Malachi 3:16: Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

Malachi 3:17: And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

Malachi 3:18: Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

Malachi 4:3: And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.

Whatever; you take a stand for or against. I suggest that you pray about it and get a clear understanding first.

I serve a prayer answering God.

Do you?

When; God commands; I obey.

I realize; that anything we do not want to do, we will make excuses for it and will twist the scriptures to support our views.

That is very dangerous.

Revelation 22:18: For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

Revelation 22:19: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Revelation 22:20: He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Revelation 22:21: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

The only way; in which; I want to point anyone; is toward Jesus.

There is only one way.

John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 10:8: All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

Jesus’ sheep hear His voice.

I will not argue with someone about the scriptures.

I know; what Jesus has spoken to me.

We are free to believe; what we choose to believe.

Anybody; including satan; can only make suggestions.

It is up to you/I; as to whether we yield or not!

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Question: “Could Jesus have sinned? If He was not capable of sinning, how could He truly be able to ‘sympathize with our weaknesses’ (Hebrews 4:15)? If He could not sin, what was the point of the temptation?”

Answer: There are two sides to this interesting question. It is important to remember that this is not a question of whether Jesus sinned. Both sides agree, as the Bible clearly says, that Jesus did not sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22). The question is whether Jesus could have sinned. Those who hold to “impeccability” believe that Jesus could not have sinned. Those who hold to “peccability” believe that Jesus could have sinned, but did not. Which view is correct? The clear teaching of Scripture is that Jesus was impeccable—Jesus could not have sinned. If He could have sinned, He would still be able to sin today because He retains the same essence He did while living on earth. He is the God-Man and will forever remain so, having full deity and full humanity so united in one person as to be indivisible. To believe that Jesus could sin is to believe that God could sin. “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him” (Colossians 1:19). Colossians 2:9 adds, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”

Although Jesus is fully human, He was not born with the same sinful nature that we are born with. He certainly was tempted in the same way we are, in that temptations were put before Him by Satan, yet He remained sinless because God is incapable of sinning. It is against His very nature (Matthew 4:1; Hebrews 2:18, 4:15; James 1:13). Sin is by definition a trespass of the Law. God created the Law, and the Law is by nature what God would or would not do; therefore, sin is anything that God would not do by His very nature.

To be tempted is not, in and of itself, sinful. A person could tempt you with something you have no desire to do, such as committing murder or participating in sexual perversions. You probably have no desire whatsoever to take part in these actions, but you were still tempted because someone placed the possibility before you. There are at least two definitions for the word “tempted”:

1) To have a sinful proposition suggested to you by someone or something outside yourself or by your own sin nature.

2) To consider actually participating in a sinful act and the possible pleasures and consequences of such an act to the degree that the act is already taking place in your mind.

The first definition does not describe a sinful act/thought; the second does. When you dwell upon a sinful act and consider how you might be able to bring it to pass, you have crossed the line of sin. Jesus was tempted in the fashion of definition one except that He was never tempted by a sin nature because it did not exist within Him. Satan proposed certain sinful acts to Jesus, but He had no inner desire to participate in the sin. Therefore, He was tempted like we are but remained sinless.

Those who hold to peccability believe that, if Jesus could not have sinned, He could not have truly experienced temptation, and therefore could not truly empathize with our struggles and temptations against sin. We have to remember that one does not have to experience something in order to understand it. God knows everything about everything. While God has never had the desire to sin, and has most definitely never sinned, God knows and understands what sin is. God knows and understands what it is like to be tempted. Jesus can empathize with our temptations because He knows, not because He has “experienced” all the same things we have.

Jesus knows what it is like to be tempted, but He does not know what it is like to sin. This does not prevent Him from assisting us. We are tempted with sins that are common to man (1 Corinthians 10:13). These sins generally can be boiled down to three different types: “the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16 NKJV). Examine the temptation and sin of Eve, as well as the temptation of Jesus, and you will find that the temptations for each came from these three categories. Jesus was tempted in every way and in every area that we are, but remained perfectly holy. Although our corrupt natures will have the inner desire to participate in some sins, we have the ability, through Christ, to overcome sin because we are no longer slaves to sin but rather slaves of God (Romans 6, especially verses 2 and 16-22).

Recommended Resource: Jesus: The Greatest Life of All by Charles Swindoll.

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“How were people saved before Jesus died for our sins?”

Answer: Since the fall of man, the basis of salvation has always been the death of Christ. No one, either prior to the cross or since the cross, would ever be saved without that one pivotal event in the history of the world. Christ’s death paid the penalty for past sins of Old Testament saints and future sins of New Testament saints.

The requirement for salvation has always been faith. The object of one’s faith for salvation has always been God. The psalmist wrote, “Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12). Genesis 15:6 tells us that Abraham believed God and that was enough for God to credit it to him for righteousness (see also Romans 4:3-8). The Old Testament sacrificial system did not take away sin, as Hebrews 10:1-10 clearly teaches. It did, however, point to the day when the Son of God would shed His blood for the sinful human race.

What has changed through the ages is the content of a believer’s faith. God’s requirement of what must be believed is based on the amount of revelation He has given mankind up to that time. This is called progressive revelation. Adam believed the promise God gave in Genesis 3:15 that the Seed of the woman would conquer Satan. Adam believed Him, demonstrated by the name he gave Eve (v. 20) and the Lord indicated His acceptance immediately by covering them with coats of skin (v. 21). At that point that is all Adam knew, but he believed it.

Abraham believed God according to the promises and new revelation God gave him in Genesis 12 and 15. Prior to Moses, no Scripture was written, but mankind was responsible for what God had revealed. Throughout the Old Testament, believers came to salvation because they believed that God would someday take care of their sin problem. Today, we look back, believing that He has already taken care of our sins on the cross (John 3:16; Hebrews 9:28).

What about believers in Christ’s day, prior to the cross and resurrection? What did they believe? Did they understand the full picture of Christ dying on a cross for their sins? Late in His ministry, “Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matthew 16:21-22). What was the reaction of His disciples to this message? “Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’” Peter and the other disciples did not know the full truth, yet they were saved because they believed that God would take care of their sin problem. They didn’t exactly know how He would accomplish that, any more than Adam, Abraham, Moses, or David knew how, but they believed God.

Today, we have more revelation than the people living before the resurrection of Christ; we know the full picture. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:1-2). Our salvation is still based on the death of Christ, our faith is still the requirement for salvation, and the object of our faith is still God. Today, for us, the content of our faith is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Recommended Resource: Salvation: God’s Marvelous Work of Grace by Lewis Sperry Chafer.

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“Why is being a good person not enough to get you into heaven?”/

Answer: This is the proverbial million dollar question because if you ask anyone on the street what you have to do to get into heaven (assuming they believe in heaven or an after-life), the overwhelming response will be some form of “being a good person.” Most, if not all, religions and worldly philosophies are ethically based. Whether it’s Islam, Judaism, or secular humanism, most believe getting to heaven is a matter of being a good person—following the Ten Commandments, or the precepts found in the Quran, or the Golden Rule. But is this what Christianity teaches? Is Christianity just one of many world religions that teach that being a good person will get us into heaven? Let’s examine one of Jesus’ encounters found in the Gospels to help us get some answers. The story is found in Matthew 19:16-26; it is the story of the rich, young ruler:

The first thing we note in this story is that the rich, young ruler is asking the right question: “What good deed must I do to have eternal life?” In asking the question, he is acknowledging the fact that despite all his efforts thus far, there is something lacking and he wants to know what else must be done to obtain eternal life. However, even though he is asking the right question, he is asking it from the wrong worldview—that of merit (“What good deed must I do…”); he has failed to grasp the true meaning of the Law, as Jesus will point out to him, which was to serve as a tutor until the time of Christ (Galatians 3:24).

The second thing to note is Jesus’ response to his question. Jesus turns the tables by asking him why he is inquiring into what is good. In other words, Jesus is trying to get to the heart of the matter, namely, that no one is good and no one does good except God. As noted earlier, the man is operating under a false premise, that man is able to do that which is good and earn his way into heaven. To prove his point, Jesus says to him that if he wants eternal life, he should keep the commandments. In saying this, Jesus is not advocating for a works righteousness program. Rather, Jesus is challenging his suppositions by showing the man’s shallow understanding of the law and human ability.

The young man’s response is very telling. When told to keep the commandments, he asks Jesus “which ones?” If you or I were in Jesus’ shoes, we might be tempted to say “Um, all of them! What a silly question.” But Jesus continues to gently show the man the error of his ways by giving him the second table of the law, i.e., the commandments that deal with our relationships to other human beings. You can almost sense the frustration in the young man’s response to Jesus when he tells him that he as kept all of these since his youth. Two things to point out here: First, the irony in the young man’s response. In saying he has kept all those commandments since his youth, he has broken the commandment regarding false witness. If he were truly being honest with himself, he would have said that as hard as he has tried to keep the commandments, he fails on a daily basis. He has a shallow understanding of the law and human ability. Second, he still knows deep in his heart of hearts that he is not good enough; even his shallow law-keeping isn’t satisfying his soul. He asks Jesus, “What do I still lack?”

Jesus now delivers the ‘killing’ blow to this man’s self-righteousness. He tells him that if wishes to be perfect (i.e., complete), he must sell all that he has and come follow Him. Jesus has perfectly diagnosed the man’s ‘lack’—his great wealth. The man’s wealth has become an idol in his life, and if truly knew the commandments, he would have known that the very first commandment says that we are to have no other gods before the one, true and living God! This man’s ‘god’ was his wealth. Furthermore, Jesus’ exhortation for the man to follow Him was a command to follow the very Son of God, who himself is God. This young man was a slave to his great wealth. When told to give his wealth away and follow Jesus, he goes away saddened.

Jesus now turns to His disciples to teach them the moral of the story. “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” This was shocking to the disciples, who understood the commonly held idea that riches were a sign of God’s blessing on someone with whom He was well pleased. But Jesus is saying that is impossible for a rich man (or any man) to enter the kingdom of God. His disciples understood this because they ask essentially the same question the rich, young ruler asked, but they ask it from the right perspective: “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answers by saying, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Who can be saved? If left up to man alone, no one! Why is being a good person not enough to get you into heaven? Because no one is a ‘good’ person; there is only one who is good, and that is God himself. The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The Bible also says that the wages of our sin is death (Romans 6:23a). We learn that while we were in our sinful state, Christ died for the unrighteous (Romans 5:8).

Finally, if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved (Romans 10:9). This salvation in Christ is a precious gift and it is nothing that we can earn through our good works (Romans 6:23b; Ephesians 2:8-9). The message of the gospel is that we can never be good enough to get to heaven. We must recognize the fact that we are sinners who daily fall short of God’s glory, and we must obey the command to repent of our sins and place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, who alone was good enough to earn heaven, and who gives that merit to those who believe in His name.

Recommended Resource: Jesus Among Other gods by Ravi Zacharias.

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“How should a Christian respond to persecution?”

Answer: There’s no doubt that persecution is a stark reality of living the Christian life. The apostle Paul warned us that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus told us to expect persecution from the world because if they persecuted Him, they will persecute His followers also. Jesus has made it very clear to us that those of the world will hate us because they hate Him. If Christians were like the world—vain, earthly, sensual, and given to pleasure, wealth, and ambition—the world would not oppose us. But Christians do not belong to the world which is why they hate and persecute us (John 15:18-19). Christians are, or should be, influenced by different principles from those of the world. We are motivated by the love of God and holiness, while the world is driven by the love of sin. It is our very separation from the world that arouses the world’s animosity toward us. The world would prefer that we were like them; since we are not, they hate us (1 Peter 4:3-4).

As faithful Christians, we must learn to recognize the value of persecution and even to rejoice in it, not in an ostentatious way, but quietly and humbly because persecution has great spiritual value. First, persecution allows us to share in a unique fellowship with our Lord. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul outlined a number of things he surrendered for the cause of Christ. Such losses, however, he viewed as “rubbish” (Philippians 3:8), or “dung” (KJV), that he might share in the “fellowship of [Christ’s] sufferings” (Philippians 3:10). The noble apostle even counted his chains as a grace (favor) which God had bestowed upon him (Philippians 1:7).

Second, in all truth, persecution is good for us. James argues that trials test our faith, work or develop (endurance) in our lives, and help develop maturity (James 1:2-4). For as steel is tempered in the flames of the forge, trials and persecution serve to hone down those rough edges that tarnish our character. Yielding graciously to persecution allows one to demonstrate that he is of a superior quality than his adversaries. It’s easy to be hateful, but an ugly disposition throws a light upon our human weakness. It is much more Christ-like to remain calm and to respond in kindness in the face of evil opposition. Without question this is a tremendous challenge, but we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us and the wonderful example of the Lord to encourage us. Peter says of Jesus, “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

Third, persecution enables us to value the support of true friends. Conflict sometimes brings faithful children of God together in an encouraging and supportive way they might not have known otherwise. Hardship can stimulate the Lord’s people toward a greater resolve to love and comfort one another and lift one another to the throne of grace in prayer. There’s nothing like an unpleasant incident to help the more mature rise toward a greater level of brotherly love.

So, when we think about it seriously, we can move ourselves forward, even in the face of antagonism, whether from the world or within the church, and press on. We can thank God for His grace and for His patience with us. We can express gratitude for those whom we love in the Lord and who stand with us in times of distress. And we can pray for those who would accuse, misuse, or abuse us (2 Corinthians 11:24; Romans 10:1).

Recommended Resource: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe.

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