Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Stop Praying Part Two, Francis Chan


Most of us know that we are supposed to love and fear God; that we are supposed to read our Bibles and pray so that we can get to know Him better; that we are supposed to worship Him with our lives. But actually living it out is challenging.

It confuses us when loving God is hard. Shouldn’t it be easy to love a God so wonderful? When we love God because we feel we should love Him, instead of genuinely loving out of our true selves, we have forgotten who God really is. Our amnesia is flaring up again.

It may sound "un-Christian" to say that on some mornings I don’t feel like loving God, or I just forget to. But I do. In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him.

I recently attended my high school reunion. People kept coming up to me and saying, "She’s your wife?" They were amazed, I guess, that a woman so beautiful would marry someone like me. It happened enough times that I took a good look at a photograph of the two of us. I, too, was taken aback. It is astonishing that my wife chooses to be with me--and not just because she is beautiful. I was reminded of the fullness of what I have been given in my wife.

We need the same sort of reminders about God's goodness. We are programmed to focus on what we don't have, bombarded multiple times throughout the day with what we need to buy that will make us feel happier or sexier or more at peace. This dissatisfaction transfers over to our thinking about God. We forget that we already have everything we need in Him. Because we don't often think about the reality of who God is, we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshipped and loved. We are to fear Him.

A. W. Tozer writes,
"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like."
If the "gravest question" before us really is what God Himself is like, how do we learn to know Him?

We have seen how He is the Creator of both the magnitude of the galaxies and the complexity of caterpillars. But what is He like? What are His characteristics? What are His defining attributes? How are we to fear Him? To speak to Him? Don’t check out here. We need to be reminded of this stuff. It is both basic and crucial.

God is holy. A lot of people say that whatever you believe about God is fine, so long as you are sincere. But that is comparable to describing your friend in one instance as a three-hundred-pound sumo wrestler and in another as a five-foot-two, ninety-pound gymnast. No matter how sincere you are in your explanations, both descriptions of your friend simply cannot be true.

To say that God is holy is to say that He is set apart, distinct from us. And because of His set apart-ness, there is no way we can ever fathom all of who He is. To the Jews, saying something three times demonstrated its perfection, so to call God "Holy, Holy, Holy" is to say that He is perfectly set apart, with nothing and no one to compare Him to. That is what it means to be "holy."

God is eternal. Most of us would probably agree with that statement. But have you ever seriously meditated on what it means? Each of us had a beginning; everything in existence began on a particular day, at a specific time.

Everything, that is, but God. He always has been, since before there was an earth, a universe, or even angels. God exists outside of time, and since we are within time, there is no way we will ever totally grasp that concept.

Not being able to fully understand God is frustrating, but it is ridiculous for us to think we have the right to limit God to something we are capable of comprehending. What a stunted, insignificant god that would be! If my mind is the size of a soda can and God is the size of all the oceans, it would be stupid for me to say He is only the small amount of water I can scoop into my little can. God is so much bigger, so far beyond our time-encased, air/food/sleep-dependent lives.

God is all-knowing. Isn’t this an intimidating thought?

Each of us, to some degree, fools our friends and family about who we really are. But it’s impossible to do that with God. He knows each of us, deeply and specifically. He knows our thoughts before we think them, our actions before we commit them, whether we are lying down or sitting or walking around. He knows who we are and what we are about. We cannot escape Him, not even if we want to. When I grow weary of trying to be faithful to Him and want a break, it doesn’t come as a surprise to God.

Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account? It is sobering to realize that this is the same God who is holy and eternal, the Maker of the billions of galaxies and thousands of tree species in the rainforest. This is the God who takes the time to know all the little details about each of us. He does not have to know us so well, but He chooses to.

God is all-powerful. Colossians 1:16 tells us that everything was created for God: “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him?

Don’t we live instead as though God is created for us, to do our bidding, to bless us, and to take care of our loved ones?

Psalm 115:3 reveals, “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. Yet we keep on questioning Him: "Why did You make me with this body, instead of that one?" "Why are so many people dying of starvation?" "Why are there so many planets with nothing living on them?" "Why is my family so messed up?" “Why don’t You make Yourself more obvious to the people who need You?"

The answer to each of these questions is simply this: because He’s God. He has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving. As much as we want God to explain himself to us, His creation, we are in no place to demand that He give an account to us.

God is fair and just. One definition of justice is "reward and/or penalty as deserved." If what we truly deserved were up to us, we would end up with as many different answers as people who responded. But it isn’t up to us, mostly because none of us are good.

God is the only Being who is good, and the standards are set by Him. Because God hates sin, He has to punish those guilty of sin. Maybe that’s not an appealing standard. But to put it bluntly, when you get your own universe, you can make your own standards. When we disagree, let’s not assume it’s His reasoning that needs correction.

It takes a lot for us to comprehend God’s total hatred for sin. We make excuses like, “Yes, I am prideful at times, but everyone struggles with pride? However, God says in Proverbs 8:13, “I hate pride and arrogance." You and I are not allowed to tell Him how much He can hate it. He can hate and punish it as severely as His justice demands.

God never excuses sin. And He is always consistent with that ethic. Whenever we start to question whether God really hates sin, we have only to think of the cross, where His Son was tortured, mocked, and beaten because of sin. Our sin.

No question about it: God hates and must punish sin. And He is totally just and fair in doing so.

Perhaps you need to take a deep breath after thinking about the God who made galaxies and caterpillars, the One who sits enthroned and eternally praised by beings so fascinating that were they photographed, it would make primetime news for weeks. If you are not staggered, go to Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 and read the accounts aloud and slowly, doing your best to imagine what the authors describe.

The appropriate way to end this reflection is the same way we began it--by standing in awed silence before a mighty, fearsome God, whose tremendous worth becomes even more apparent as we see our own puny selves in comparison.

Francis Chan

Today's devotional is drawn from Francis Chan's Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God.Buy a copy at the Bible Gateway store!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fear God

God is Love. Fear Him?

Wait. Hold on a second...Does the Word NOT declare "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."? Yup. That would be John 3:16-17. Fear Him.

OK. Does the Word NOT declare "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."? Did Jesus not die, or rather lay down His life for us? No greater love? Yup. John 15:13. Fear Him.

If God is a God of Love, and the Word declares that Love is the greatest of all. "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." {1 Corinthians 13:13} Then why do you keep saying Fear Him? If God is Love and He did all these things, and He tells us we can become His Children, to quote one of your favorite Chapters,

Romans 8:
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Then we become His Children and He becomes our Daddy, WHY in the world do we need to Fear Him?

Good question. Let me ask you this. You have an Earthly Father? An Earthly Daddy? Ever fall asleep in your Father's arms? When you are growing up, you come to know, just flat out know, that your Daddy loves you and has your back. My Daddy loves me. He bought me a Bike for my Birthday. He takes me to the corner store and buys me Ice Cream. He teaches me cool stuff. When I find myself in front of something that may be trying to scare me, I have no fear, because Daddy is standing right there behind me. He has got my back.

So, one day, your Daddy says, "Don't do that again." Or "Don't ever do this." Well, we start thinking, {The Enemy whispers in our ear} But that was fun. This? This looks fun too. Maybe I can try it. Maybe, just maybe, one more time will not hurt anything. Besides, if I am careful, Daddy will never know. So you do it.

Then Daddy comes home. What happens? You start feeling guilty. You start to FEAR him finding out. Or what if someone sees you do it and says "I'm going to tell your Daddy?" You instantly start to fear. Why? Is this not the same Daddy that loves you? Is this not the same Daddy that bought you that Bike, or Ice Cream. Is it not the same Daddy that was standing behind you in your trial or tribulation? Of course it is. Does he love you? Of course he does. So why are you afraid?

You are afraid because of your disobedience. Not because of his condemnation. You are afraid because of what you did. Not because of his judgement. You do not fear him because he is all powerful and always there for you. You love him because of those things. But you are afraid because you will disappoint him. You will make him angry at you for what YOU did.

You see, fear is not always terror. The Word does not tell us that we should be terrified of God. It tells us we should fear Him.

Joshua 4:
15 And the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying,

16 Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.

17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.

18 And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.

20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?

22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.
Then in....

Proverbs 1:
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
Does your Mother and Father hate you? Do they wish harm on you? No. They love you. They tell you things you should not do out of love and for your own good. "Don't touch the hot stove." Don't play in the street." "Beware of strangers." "Do not do drugs." ETC. You Heavenly Father tells you things you should not do as well. "Have no other gods before Him. Do not commit Idolatry. Honor your Mother and Father. Do not Murder. Do not commit Adultery. Do not Steal. Do not bear false witness. Do not Covet."

Just like your Mother and Father tell you the things you should not do, your Heavenly Father tells you things you should not do, not to make your life more difficult, but for your own good. To protect you. To actually make your life more simple and more joyous. Do not fear getting caught Stealing, and the consequences of such? Don't Steal. Do not fear hurting your loved one, and possibly ending your Marriage? Don't cheat. Don't want to get burned? Don't touch the hot stove. ETC.

Proverbs 9:
1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

2 She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.

3 She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,

4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.

6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.
"The fear of the Lord, is the beginning of Wisdom." Fear, can also be used here as another word for Reverence or Worship. Wisdom begins when we recognize who God actually is. His power and His Majesty. It is not telling us that we should fear a scarey God, but rather fear disobedience. We should become humble and learn from Him the ways that are best for us instead of attempting to go our own way. Doing things the way we would chose to do them. The Wisdom of God is far superior than the wisdom of man.

Proverbs 14:
7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.

9 Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

10 The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.

11 The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.

12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Job puts it this way...

Job 28:
28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
In....

Ecclesiastes 12:
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Again, the Word is telling us that we should not look at God in ways of terror. Trembling in His presence. But rather fear our disobedience. That "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." In other words? Your Daddy knows what you have done. If you have be a faithful Child, or a disobedient one. Fear His Judgement on what YOU have done.

Jesus Himself told us these things.

Luke 12:
1 In the meantime, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
Again, is Jesus telling us that we should fear God because He is a scary God? No. He is telling us, to fear His Judgement on us, on what we have done. He loves us. We are precious to Him. Jesus went on to say this.
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:

9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
"But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows." Have you ever thought about that. Jesus never lies. He never exaggerates. He always stated the Truth and nothing but. "But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered" "Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." {Psalm 139:16} God knows you better than you know yourself. He created you. You are the way you are because God said so. It really is this simple. You have Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes, Brown Hair and Brown Eyes, you are Black, White, Tall, Short, ETC, because God wrote them in a Book and Fashioned you after what He wrote.

However, also remember this...

Hebrews 12:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
When the Word tells us, when Jesus tells us, to Fear God, they are telling us that we should fear disobedience. We should fear His Judgement. Not that God is a scary God. A Tyrant. Something we should tremble before. Rather that we fear disappointing Him. Fear His final Judgement. For His final Judgement depends on our choices and our actions. Do not want God to be angry? Be obedient. Do as He says. Want Salvation? Do what He says. Be the good Child, He will be your Daddy.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stop Praying, By Francis Chan

What if I said, "Stop praying" ? What if I told you to stop talking at God for a while, but instead to take a long, hard look at Him before you speak another word? Solomon warned us not to rush into God's presence with words. That's what fools do. And often, that's what we do.

We are a culture that relies on technology over community, a society in which spoken and written words are cheap, easy to come by, and excessive. Our culture says anything goes; fear of God is almost unheard of. We are slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry.

The wise man comes to God without saying a word and stands in awe of Him. It may seem a hopeless endeavor, to gaze at the invisible God. But Romans 1:20 tells us that through creation, we see His "invisible qualities" and "divine nature."

Let's begin this devotional series by gazing at God in silence. What I want you to do right now is to go online and look at the "Awe Factor" video from crazylovebook.com to get a taste of the awe factor of our God. Seriously--go do it.

Speechless? Amazed? Humbled?

When I first saw those images, I had to worship. I didn't want to speak to or share it with anyone. I just wanted to sit quietly and admire the Creator.

It's wild to think that most of these galaxies have been discovered only in the past few years, thanks to the Hubble telescope. They've been in the universe for thousands of years without humans even knowing about them.

Why would God create more than 350,000,000,000 galaxies (and this is a conservative estimate) that generations of people never saw or even knew existed? Do you think maybe it was to make us say, "Wow, God is unfathomably big"? Or perhaps God wanted us to see these pictures so that our response would be, "Who do I think I am?"

Switch gears with me for a minute and think about the detailed intricacy of the other side of creation.

Did you know that a caterpillar has 228 separate and distinct muscles in its head? That's quite a few, for a bug. The average elm tree has approximately 6 million leaves on it. And your own heart generates enough pressure as it pumps blood throughout your body that it could squirt blood up to 30 feet. (I've never tried this, and I don't recommend it.)

Have you ever thought about how diverse and creative God is? He didn't have to make hundreds of different kinds of bananas, but He did. He didn't have to put 3,000 different species of trees within one square mile in the Amazon jungle, but He did. God didn't have to create so many kinds of laughter. Think about the different sounds of your friends' laughs--wheezes, snorts, silent, loud, obnoxious.

How about the way plants defy gravity by drawing water upward from the ground into their stems and veins? Or did you know that spiders produce three kinds of silk? When they build their webs, they create sixty feet of silk in one hour, simultaneously producing special oil on their feet that prevents them from sticking to their own web. (Most of us hate spiders, but sixty feet an hour deserves some respect!) Coral plants are so sensitive that they can die if the water temperature varies by even one or two degrees.

Did you know that when you get goose bumps, the hair in your follicles is actually helping you stay warmer by trapping body heat? Or what about the simple fact that plants take in carbon dioxide (which is harmful to us) and produce oxygen (which we need to survive)? I'm sure you knew that, but have you ever marveled at it? And these same poison-swallowing, life-giving plants came from tiny seeds that were placed in the dirt. Some were watered, some weren't; but after a few days they poked through the soil and out into the warm sunlight.

Whatever God's reasons for such diversity, creativity, and sophistication in the universe, on earth, and in our own bodies, the point of it all is His glory. God's art speaks of Himself, reflecting who He is and what He is like.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. - Psalm 19:1-4
This is why we are called to worship Him. His art, His handiwork, and His creation all echo the truth that He is glorious. There is no other like Him. He is the King of Kings, the Beginning and the End, the One who was and is and is to come. I know you've heard this before, but I don't want you to miss it.

I sometimes struggle with how to properly respond to God's magnitude in a world bent on ignoring or merely tolerating Him. But know this: God will not be tolerated. He instructs us to worship and fear Him.

Francis Chan

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

God Be With Oklahoma

Godspeed to all those lost, including the 20 Children

The Oklahoma state medical examiner's office says that 20 children are among the at least 51 dead in the tornado that ripped through the Oklahoma City suburbs.

Peace, strength, and comfort, to all those in Oklahoma. May they all have peace. May the families of the lost loved ones, the First Responders, and Officials, have the strength they need  to do whatever it is they need to face. May they have the comfort they need in this very dark time. May God be with all of Oklahoma. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

When Your Ship Is In The Storm

Jesus is aboard.

You are born into a family. The Smiths, Jones, ETC. For the first few years of your life, you are merely a passenger of the Mother Ship. You go where it goes. If you have Righteous Parents, you are being taught the Ways of God. If not, you are being taught the ways of the World. The decisions that they make, lead you to various destinations and effect you and the entire crew aboard.

Then, there comes a time when you reach the age of accountability. A time when you become the Captain of your own Ship. A time you launch out on your own. From that point on, where you go, it totally up to you. We are all Captains of our own Ships. Our destinations depend solely on the choices we make.

In the Nautical World, if a Captain wants to go to America, he lays in a course. If he choses to go to Asia, he lays in a different course. The best Captains lay in proven courses. The safest courses. But even with the best Captains at the Helm, storms arise. They toss the Ship to and fro. They cause damage and destruction. Sometimes even death.

Now that you are the Captain, you need to set your course. Do you seek out the Kingdom of God, or do you seek out the pleasures of man. Do you chose to go where you will have Eternal Life in peace, love, and happiness? Or do you seek pleasures of this life, come what may. Your destination relies solely on the course you lay in. In the decisions you make.

In life, storms WILL come. They WILL toss your Ship to and fro. They WILL cause damage and destruction. Sometimes even death. It does not matter how good you are. It does not matter if you expect them or not. It does not matter what course you set. The Storms of life WILL come.

May I suggest to you, that you take with you, a passenger? One who can help you weather the Storms? One that created all things that may cause the Storms, and one of whom all things, are subject to Him? Look at the passage...

Luke 8:
22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.

23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.

24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.

25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
Let's look at this a bit more closely. First notice this...
22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
"On a certain day." An appointed time. A specific day that was appointed by God. Not them. They did not get up that morning and say let's go there. Did they even decide to go to the other side? No. Jesus told them to go to the other side. Then "And they launched forth." They heard God's plan. They received the instructions, they were obedient.

"There came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy." In the midst of doing what God told them to do, a Storm came upon them. It was bad. To the point their Ship was filling with water and they were "in jeopardy."

Then they feared. "Master, master, we perish." What did Jesus do? He saved them. However, He was a bit annoyed. "Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith?" Remember what Jesus tells us about Faith?

Mark 11:
23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Again?

Matthew 17:
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
"Nothing shall be impossible unto you." Think of these thing. Moses crossed dry land when a raging sea stood in his way. Daniel slept in a Lion's den. David slew a giant. Peter walked on water. {Until he was filled with doubt and fear} How and why? Because they all heard God, set course, and were obedient.

Psalm 107:
1 O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.

4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.

5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.

6 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.

7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.

8 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

10 Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;

11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:

12 Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.

13 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.

14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.

15 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

16 For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.

17 Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.

18 Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.

19 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.

20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

21 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;

24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.

25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end.

28 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.

29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

31 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

33 He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground;

34 A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.

35 He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.

36 And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation;

37 And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.

38 He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.

39 Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.

40 He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way.

41 Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.

42 The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.

43 Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.
Simply put, if you rely on yourself, and you do the things you chose, you may succeed for a time, but eventually, You will lose all things. Follow God, operate within God's Plan and Purpose, and HE will bless you, and create the ways for you to go. Jesus already calmed the storms. He already overcame all things. He even conquered death itself.

Hebrews 2:
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
We must learn to be content with the things we have. We must learn to be Faithful that God is with us. That HE is in charge of all things and nothing can overcome Him.

Hebrews 13:
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
When the Storm came upon them, did Jesus bail out? No. He took over. You are on your voyage. May I suggest that you take with you a Passenger. He IS with you. He is IN you. "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." {1 John 4:4} He is not some far off place. He is not standing on the shore watching you perish. He is right there with you. Always. Why fear?

The Storms of Life WILL come. If you find you do not have enough faith to overcome it, remember, He can. He is with you always. If you are following God's Will, Plan, and Purpose, for your life, NOTHING will hinder you for long. Nothing will stop you. Hear God. Receive the Plan. Be Obedient. Have Faith, that whatever God tells you, WILL come to pass.

Is Jesus your Passenger? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Age of Accountability

What IS the age of accountability?

We just talked about how and why Jesus said, Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." {Matthew 18:} This brought up the question,

"What IS the age of accountability. Is it Biblical? Is there a specific age mentioned? How do you know, that when a child dies, it goes to Heaven? Does the Bible not say "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 Does the Bible not say "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18? Are you saying that there is an age of accountability out of emotion, or Biblical fact?"

Well? Lets look at this. Yes, it is scriptural that we have all Sinned. That we are born into Sin. However, as a child, we have no knowledge of Sin. We cannot be held accountable for doing something when we have no knowledge that what we are doing is Sin.

In...

James 4:
17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
If you do not yet know the difference between good and evil, then how can you be held accountable? Let's look into the Word. God tells us that there is a distinct difference in the Knowledge of Sin and not. 

Deuteronomy 1:
39 And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it.
"Your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil," Then in...

Isaiah 7:
16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted.
"For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good," So we see that there is clearly a time in life that we are excused. That we are innocent. Without knowledge of good and evil, just like Adam and Eve.

Genesis 2:
15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
It wraps up with this...
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
So Adam and Eve had no knowledge of good and evil. They simply were. They loved God and each other. They loved God's creation. They had no cares, shame, nothing but peace, joy, love, happiness. They were innocent. Untouched by evil. Pure.

A child is the same way. They have no hate, fear, greed, or anything else. They have no knowledge of good and evil. Right and wrong. They simply are. Then in the next chapter, we see the fall of Adam.

Genesis 3:
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
So you see, Adam's Sin was the same of that of Satan himself. The desire to become God. It was this Sin, the original Sin, that caused Sin to enter into the World, and it was since then, and ever since, that all Mankind is born into Sin. But Children still have that original innocents. That purity that Adam and Eve had.

Now in Ezekiel, it clearly states that it is not, as some teach, the Sins of the Father being visited on the Sons, ETC. He who Sins, is guilty, and held accountable, those that do not, are held innocent. In..

Ezekiel 18:
18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.

19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.

20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.

23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?

26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.

27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
Read that again.. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." Again? "The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." You could have Hitler for your Earthly Father, if you follow in his footsteps, you will receive the same condemnation as he. YET? If you turn from his ways, and become saved, then you will not suffer the same condemnation, rather, you shall be blessed with eternal life.

So we see, there is a very distinct difference between knowledge of Sin and innocence. But is there a set age? Does God tell us that once a child becomes 12, 13, or 21, we are then held accountable? Well, there are a few different theories on this.

First, in the Jewish Tradition, we see that the age of 12, 13, is said to be the age of accountably. But there is no Biblical evidence to back that up. Islam? 15. Hinduism? Some 7, others 13. In fact, many cultures, Religious and not, have a certain age where the Child becomes an Adult and accountable for their actions. But is any of it Biblical?

Here is something to think about. There are a couple of passages, that you should look at. First...

Numbers 14:
29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me.
Then in...

Numbers 32:
10 And the Lord'S anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying,

11 Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:
"From twenty years old and upward." Could 20, be that magic age? Perhaps. But then you have the simple truth that not all people mature at the same rate. My Two year old just wrote his name on the wall with a crayon. Some kids are not ready to write their name when they get to School. Some can solve complicated mathematical equations, others, can't figure out 2+2=4.

Is there an age that can be mathematically calculated, scientifically solved, Biblically stated? I do not believe so. I believe God sees the age of accountability the same way He sees YOU. He knows your heart. He knows your mind. He knows when, how, and what, you understand. I do not believe there are ANY Children in hell. Nor do I believe that there are any who may be mentally challenged.

I believe it is just this simple. Your are born. You grow. You learn. At some point, you reach an age where you are able to "refuse the evil and choose the good." It is THEN and only THEN, where you have reached the point where you are accountable. THEN, be it 20, 15, 13, 12, 10, or even younger than that, "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." applies. THEN and only THEN, does "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." apply. How can it before you are able to understand who HE even is?

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Why Become As Children?

"Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Why would Jesus tell us this? What does this mean? How can one become as little Children? Why is it necessary? The answer is simple to explain, but may be hard for some to understand or accept.

How many of you are Parents? If you are, then you will understand this essential Biblical Truth, better than those who aren't. I have two Boys. Joshua who is 7, and Elijah who is two. They are your typical kids. They love to play, imagine, pretend, and learn things that are in the world they live. However, I, to them, are as God wants to be to you. This is what it means. There is nothing higher than I. There is nothing better than I. I am. I am their Father. I am their love. I am their teacher. I am their comforter. I am the final authority. Whatever I say, simply IS.

You see, they know I am Dad. They know that if I say no, it's no. If I say yes, no matter what anyone else says, thinks, or does, it IS yes. If I say we are going somewhere and are going to do something, they wait for it with great expectation. They know that what I said, WILL come to pass. No fear, doubt, or anything else. Daddy said, we are going, we are going.

I have been this way my whole life. I helped raise my Niece from a little girl. She is now an adult. To this very day, if you were to ask her, If Peter says something, is it true? She will answer, unequivocally , yes. Her whole life, she came to realize that if I say yes, no matter what it was, where we were going, no matter how I felt, what the "bank account" looked like, no matter if there was hail of fire and brimstone, we went. If I told her she could do something, she did it. If I tell my boys now, they have no doubt about it.

This is how God wants you to see Him. In.....

Matthew 18:
1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
In....

Matthew 19:
13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
Remember, we receive the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we can cry Abba Father, and by that Spirit, we are the children of God {Romans 8:15-16} God becomes our Daddy. Which means that we need to see Him as such. See Him as our Father. True, Loving, comforting, all knowing, and the final authority in all things. We must not have fear. We must not have doubt. Our Daddy has got this. He is in charge. He is bigger than anything you may ever face. He simply IS.

John 12:
35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
You see, your Children believe what you are telling them, without doubt or fear. Then we grow up. We enter into the real world and we see that people lie. We see things do not work out the way we wished they did. We see things happen, like bad things to good people. We start to wonder why. We fear. We doubt. We allow Sin to come in and corrupt. We do the things of our own Free Will, now have no longer any restraints of being under our Father's Roof. Or being at home with Mom. We are "free" to make whatever choice we chose to make, and live however we chose to live. The longer we live in the Flesh, the more we are likely to produce the works of the flesh. Remember what they are?

Galatians 5: 
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Some of these you will do. Some have even become accepted as the norm. No big deal. Sin is still Sin, and God is still God. The fruit of the Spirit are?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Which seems to you to be Childlike? Which seems to you to be Adult like? God wants you to become as children. To accept whatever God says as absolute. He does not want you to be working in your own lusts or limited by your own mind. He is you Daddy. He wants you to believe whatsoever He tells you. Think about this in another way for a second.

God tells you to build a giant boat, on a Sunny day. God tells you to go to the most powerful man on earth, the one that has the power of life and death in his hands, and tell him that he must let all his labour force leave. He must let all his slaves walk out. God tells you to stick out a staff into the Sea and the Waters will part and you will cross on dry land. God tells you to go ahead, walk on water. God tells you to walk around a city a few times and the walls will fall. God tells you that even though your child just died, you should not mourn or weep, they are not dead, but sleeping. Are you following me? Are you getting it?

We allow our human, worldly corrupted minds, dictate what we feel we can and can't do. We allow our worldly corrupted minds to determine what is and is not possible. I tell my boys, go unto the roof, spread your arms out, and I will say a magic word, and they will fly like the birds? They will do it, expecting to fly. Without fear, doubt, or anything else. Why? Daddy said so. God want's you to become as a child and accept whatever He tells you. He does not want you to form a committee. He does not want you to weigh the pros and cons. He does not want you to doubt or fear. He wants to say to you GO, and you go. DO, and you do.

Children are pure and unadulterated innocence. This is why I feel there is really no depiction of them being Baptized in the Bible. Only two places I have found that depicts entire Households being Baptized. Acts 16: 15, and 1 Corinthians 1:16. I, Peter, truly believe that this is because Children, until the age of accountability, have no need of Baptism, or Salvation itself. That until they reach an age, which differs from Child to Child, to understand and accept or not, the Truth, is covered by their pure innocents and even ignorance of Sin.

Remember, Adam and Eve were as Children. They knew nothing of Sin. They just were. They loved and wanted to be loved. They followed whatever God told them to. He WAS their Father. To them there was no other. It was not until they committed the same Sin as that of the Devil himself, that they fell under the laws of Sin and Death. Children are as Adam and Eve were before the fall. Therefore they have the innocence that we were created with. In

Psalm 139:
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
And in,,,,,

Jeremiah 1:
4 Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
Jesus quoted,,,,

Psalm 8:
2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
When He was responding to the Priest's objection to the people crying out "Hosanna to the son of David" said,,,,

Matthew 21:
16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
Peter said this,,,

1 Peter 2:
1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
This is what it means when Jesus said "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." That we must forget all the worldly stuff we have learned. We must forget about the possible and impossible. We must forget the things we have learned of man. We must become as Children in our minds, putting God, as our Daddy, first in all things. With all Trust and Reverence, all Faith and Hope. That we accept the things of God, as Children accept the things or their earthly Fathers and Mothers. That we become ignorant to Sin and live for God. Doing the things of God without doubt or fear.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Deity of Christ

The Deity of Christ by R.C. Sproul

Faith in the deity of Christ is necessary to being a Christian. It is an essential part of the New Testament gospel of Christ. Yet in every century the church has been forced to deal with people who claim to be Christians while denying or distorting the deity of Christ.

In church history there have been four centuries in which confession of the deity of Christ has been a crucial and stormy issue inside the church. Those centuries have been the fourth, fifth, nineteenth, and twentieth. Since we are living in one of the centuries where heresy assaults the church, it is urgent that we safeguard the church's confession of Christ's deity.

At the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, the church, in opposition to the Arian heresy, declared that Jesus is begotten, not made, and that His divine nature is of the same essence (homo ousios) with the Father. This affirmation declared that the Second Person of the Trinity is one in essence with God the Father. That is, the "being" of Christ is the being of God. He is not merely similar to Deity, but He is Deity.

The confession of the deity of Christ is drawn from the manifold witness of the New Testament. As the Logos Incarnate, Christ is revealed as being not only preexistent to creation, but eternal. He is said to be in the beginning with God and also that He is God (John 1:1-3). That He is with God demands a personal distinction within the Godhead. That He is God demands inclusion in the Godhead.

Elsewhere, the New Testament ascribes terms and titles to Jesus that are clearly titles of deity. God bestows the preeminent divine title of Lord upon Him (Philippians 2:9-11). As the Son of Man, Jesus claims to be Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28) and to have authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:1-12). He is called the "Lord of glory" (James 2:1) and willingly receives worship, as when Thomas confesses, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28).

Paul declares that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily (Colossians 1:19) and that Jesus is higher than angels, a theme reiterated in the book of Hebrews. To worship an angel or any other creature, no matter how exalted, is to violate the biblical prohibition against idolatry. The I ams of John's Gospel also bear witness to the identification of Christ with Deity.

In the fifth century, the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451) affirmed that Jesus was truly man and truly God. Jesus' two natures, human and divine, were said to be without mixture, confusion, separation, or division.

Essential Truths of the Christian Faith
by R.C. Sproul

Sunday, May 5, 2013

God Is Still God

He is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore.



Genesis 1:
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
John 1:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 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:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Genesis 1:
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" In the original language, the word "our" means three or more. We are created in the imagine of God. We have our Mind. Our knowledge and wisdom, Will and emotions. Fashioned after God the Father. Our Body. Fashioned after the flesh of God, Jesus. Our Spirit. Who we really are, the thing that lives on. Fashioned after the Holy Spirit. We are three, yet one.

We learned in the lesson of the Holy Spirit being a real person, is that not only is He a real Person, but He IS God in us. Some Highlights?

John 14:
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
You mean if I do not accept Jesus as my personal Savior, I will not get to Heaven. Let me just repeat what Jesus said. "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." So the answer according to Jesus Himself is, Yes. But it is not exclusive, it's inclusive. He made the way easy for all to obtain. The choice is yours.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Is He saying He is God? Yup. He is telling us that He is the Flesh of God. Offended?
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
So here He tells us that we will no longer be alone. That another will come. Not a force. Not a concept. Not a metaphor. A very real person. Another equal to Him.
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Again, Jesus is telling us that the Holy Spirit is a very real person. That He "dwelleth with you" and "shall be in you." So wait. Jesus says He dwells with them, present tense, then says He shall be in them, future tense. Then He said I shall come to you. He is already there? Of course. So what He is telling them, is that the Holy Spirit is Him, He is God. Three yet one. That when the Flesh dies, and He goes to be with the Father, the Spirit, who never dies, will come and dwell in us.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
Again, "I" in you. Not some spook. "I." Jesus. The Holy Spirit is equal to Jesus. He IS Jesus. Jesus IS God. Are you following?
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Here is something that is not taught often. Read that again. "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and WE will come unto him, and make our abode with him." What is He saying? Remember, OUR means three or more. Jesus said WE will make OUR abode with him. The very real person Jesus, the very real person the Holy Spirit, and even God Himself, will live IN us.

So the Creator of all there is. The Lord of Lord, and the King of Kings, The Holy Spirit, The Word of God, will come and live in us. We are "the temple of the Holy Ghost " {1 Corinthians 6:19} Remember Jesus said "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." {Luke 17:21} Then someone comes to you and says, "There is no God."

Oh no. Please do not be like "them." Seriously? There is no God. The Bible was written by a bunch of men who wanted to control people. It's full of contradictions and fantasies. Don't be like those people. Like those that go out a protest Soldier's Funerals because they claim God hates Gay People. Do not be like them. You only have one life to live. Live it. Try to be a good person and try not to hurt anyone. You'll be fine. There is nothing after death. When you die, you die. So live while you can. Enjoy life. Don't be involved with this silly Jesus stuff.

Some of you have friends that sound an awful lot like this. Why? No God = No Devil = No Hell = No Sin = No reason for a Saviour. Do as you will. Remember what The Word says? "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good." {Psalm 53:1} I know, you have tried to talk to them. However, they seem unable to grasp the Truth. Why? "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." {John 8}

You may even be trying really hard to share with them what they need. You may be speaking the Truth, Revelations, attempting to give them Hope and Faith. Yet, all they hear? Blah, blah, blah. Some think themselves Brilliant. They think they are the smartest people in whatever room they walk into. Sad truth is, they are so ignorant, that they do not even know how ignorant they are. Leave them alone. Let them think of themselves however they chose to. In the end, "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." Another sad truth is, for so very many, it will be too late.

Man may over time change Sin to call it good, and good to call it Sin, but the Word of God remains forever. "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." {Luke 21:33} What God wrote and gave to Moses is the same today as it was then. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever more. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever more. The Word of God is the same, yesterday, today, and forevermore.

God is not the God of Islam. He is not the God of Judaism. He is not the God of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Catholicism, or even Christianity. God IS God. Religion is man-made Traditions. The wisdom of the world is foolishness to God. Stop trying to learn what the creature says, and start learning from the Creator. All the answers you will ever have a right there infront of you. It's called the Word of God. The Bible. They are a Prayer away. They are inside you. Let mankind evolve into destruction if he so chooses You are saved. For you serve the Living God. You are His Child. He will always be there for you.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sin Is Still Sin

What was Sin, still is Sin, and will kill you quicker at that.

You know, I get so tired of people telling me that I need to "evolve." They tell me I need to "get with the times." "It's 2013 after all." "People just do not see it {Various things} as Sin anymore. Deal with it." "You do not accept the way things are because you are a Hateful, small minded, Prejudice person." "Who are you to tell others how to live." And so on.

They want you to believe that Morality is determined by the Majority. That if enough people say something is Right and Good, than it is. Or if enough people say something is Bad, it is. It may take generations, but this is how it works. A group of people believe that even though, the Majority says something is wrong now, they try to convince people that they are wrong. In time, if more and more people accept it, then they start twisting the Truth around, and even attack those that still disagree. In time, the Majority shifts it's opinion, and in essence, turns that Bad to Good. That Sin to Normalcy. To Righteousness even. They actually change the Truth of God, into a Lie..

Romans 1:
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
"Oh, you are against Homosexuality? You must hate people that are different than you. What's wrong with a long lasting loving relationship? How does two men and or two women getting Married affect you? It's 2013. Come on. Gay people are people too. Just accept it. You Homophobe."

"Oh, you are against a Woman's 'Right' to slaughter their Child? You must hate women." "It's OK to steal from the Rich, as long as you are giving to the Poor." "It's OK to silence those that you disagree with, they may stir things up and lead others to see things differently than you. But you have a Right to say whatever you want." "Morality? WHOSE MORALITY?" "You do not need to accept Jesus. God is whatever you see Him, or Her, as" And so it goes.

Exodus 20:
20 And God spake all these words, saying,

2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's.
Matthew 22:
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Jesus tells us that the way to lead a full and abundant Life is simple.

Matthew 6:
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
It doesn't matter what man says. All that matters is what God says. Jesus is telling us that we need to seek Him. His Will. His Way. His Truth. God is Love. God is Truth. Anything other than what God says, is a lie. It really is this simple. If you KNOW the Truth, you will not fall for the Lie. If you understand what God tells you, you will not care what Man says.

"Worship any god you chose, or no god at all." Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Astrology, Horoscopes, Witchcraft, Statues, Jewelry. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Cursing, denying, rejecting, attacking those that believe? Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 24-7 lifestyle? Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Gay Marriage? Family? Nursing Homes? ETC. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. First Commandment with promise.

Abortion? Thou shalt not kill. Marriage? Thou shalt not commit adultery. Redistribution of wealth. Eminent Domain? Thou shalt not steal. Lying, Gossip, Rumors, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Envy, Lust, "Keeping up with the Jones's"? Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's.

In today's America, and the World, many Sins have been totally changed and accepted. Some are even called Right and encouraged. As a Nation that was founded on Judeo / Christian beliefs, and where the Motto is "One Nation under God," and "In God we trust," we do not even know who God is anymore. We violate His Commandments on a daily bases. Worse than that, we have decided to "Do as we will" and forget the concept of Sin itself.

This is why there is a move to remove God from public life. No God, no devil, no Hell, no reason for a Saviour. Just do as you will. Live as you will. As long as you are not hurting anyone, then who cares? Problem with an "Anything Goes" mentality? Simply put, anything goes. It's OK to slaughter your unborn Child prior to 6 weeks. Uh, 20 weeks. No, 26 weeks. Wait, why 26? Why not be able to kill it at 9 months? Now? You get the point. Thou shalt not kill.

It's OK to flirt. It's normal. Healthy even.

Matthew 5:
27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
It's ok to mess around. As long as you do not have intercourse. It all depends on what "IS" is. But wait, if the Spouse don't mind, then go for it. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

You see, people hate the Law. Why? Because they feel it is restrictive and even oppressive. They want to be able to do whatever they chose to do. So they change it. Omit parts of it. Or just flat out ignore it. But that doesn't mean it actually changes or no longer applies. It IS what it is. Sin IS Sin. God warns us against Sinning, not to make our lives more difficult, but to make our lives simpler and to protect us from ourselves and the snares of the devil himself..

 Some examples?

Fornication. Premarital Sex. Adultery. First, if you do not wish to get pregnant, contract a sexually transmitted disease, DO NOT HAVE SEX.. You can't get drunk if you do not open the bottle. You can not crash your car if you do not get behind the wheel. Pretty simple to understand. Love your spouse? Don't want to hurt them or lose them? DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH SOMEONE ELSE. Pretty simple to understand. Yes, it IS your fault. You were flattered at the attractive person paying attention to you at the office. YOU chose to do what you did.

It really is easy to understand. The Speed limit here is 70. If I go 70, that law no longer applies to me. I could go past a hundred Police Cruisers. They will not even look at me twice. Now if I go 90, I will have an issue. The Law comes into play, I will get a ticket. It will cost me a lot. Is it the Policeman's fault I got pulled over and fined? Nope. It was mine. Don't want to get pulled over and be given a ticket? Drive the Speed Limit. It does not matter if you decide that the speed limit should be 90. It IS 70.

Murder is still Murder from when Cain Slew Abel.  Marriage is still between one man and one woman from Adam and Eve. Stealing is still Stealing and Sin from the time God said "Thou shalt not steal." Greed is still Greed since God said "Thou shalt not covet." God is still God. His Word is still His Word..

Matthew 24:
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
1 Peter 1:
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Jesus is still the same yesterday, today, and forever, and there is no other way. He IS the Way. Nothing has changed. Nothing has evolved. Nothing is different just because some have changed their minds. Nothing is old fashioned. God's Truth is the same as it has always been, and always will be. Regardless of what man wants you to believe. Get with the times? No. I say, get with the Truth.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

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