Have you ever really counted the cost?

FollowMe

Have you ever counted the cost? Did you find your “faith” in one of the following ways?

  1. I grew up in the Church so I have known God and loved Jesus since I was a child.
  2. I gave my life to Christ in Junior High at a camp. It was very emotional and a wonderful “mountain top” experience.
  3. I prayed the “sinner’s prayer” with someone to have Jesus come into my heart.
  4. I was baptized as a child so I’m covered.
  5. I raised my hand at the end of a sermon when the pastor did a call to salvation.
  6. I walked the isle at a church when I was in college and gave my life to Christ.
  7. I had hands laid on me and was prayed over to receive salvation.

These are just a few ways people in the 21st century tend to “find” Jesus. Your salvation may, in fact, be true and you have lived a change life ever since. However if you fall into the category of “I gave my life to Christ but never really saw a change because I’ve always been a good person” you may want to do some digging or even just a simple look into how you live your life. Here is a list of what the cost is to follow Jesus as it states in the Bible. The gift of salvation is free, we do not have to pay a penalty or work to get salvation, however there is a worldly cost, or rather loss to us if we are true followers of Jesus.

  1. You must deny yourself. (Mark 8:34)
  2. You must be emphatically, overwhelmingly, and fully in love with Yahweh (God). (Matthew 22:37-38)
  3. You must love Jesus more than you do your kids. (Matthew 10:37)
  4. You must love Jesus more than you do yourself. (Luke 14:26-27)
  5. You must consider what you spend your money on. (Luke 9:56–62)
  6. You must consider your comfort compared to the comfort of others. (Luke 9:56–62)
  7. Do you look like everyone else on the planet? Could anyone look at your life who is not a Christian and say, “Now there is a follower of Jesus!”? (Romans 12:2) (James 4:4)
  8. Does anyone literally hate you because you are outspoken for Jesus? (John 15:18-21) (2 Timothy 3:12)
  9. When we sin as a child of Yahweh (God) we will get disciplined. (Revelation 3:19) (Hebrews 10:31)
  10. Do you suffer more now that you are a Christian than when you were not? THIS IS BIG FOR TODAY’S “CHRISTIANS” AND IS OFTEN WHY THE COST IS TOO HIGH. (1 Peter 1:6-9) (2 Corinthians 1:8-10) (James 1:2-4) (Romans 5:3-5)

Below are some great articles for further reading:

The Cost of Being a Disciple

The Cost of Following Jesus

Are you a “Politically Correct Christian”?

Yeshuah Jesus Yahweh is SalvationHow do you feel about Jesus? While this may seem obvious, let’s unpack the idea a bit more. OK, so you are a Christian. What does that mean, exactly?

  1. You love Jesus.
  2. You believe in Jesus.
  3. You have put your faith and trust in him.
  4. You have turned from your sinful ways and toward righteousness.
  5. You go to church.
  6. You volunteer.
  7. You pray.
  8. You read your Bible.

That is great! Welcome to eternal salvation. Well… hold on. We have been going over in our Friday discussions, week after week specific things that may or may not validate your salvation even if you do all the above mentioned “Christian” activities. So, this one is simple. How do you feel about Jesus? Your first thought might be, “I love Him.” Now put yourself against these scenarios:

  1. You are at work, you are on your break at your desk reading your Bible. How do you react when you hear someone coming?
  2. You are at a restaurant with friends. Do you pray before a meal or do you pass it up for lighter conversation?
  3. Do you ever pray for an extended period of time with another friend out in public?
  4. You are at work in the lunchroom. Do you pray before your meal in front of everyone or do you quietly pray in your mind without anyone being the wiser?
  5. You are at a social event and someone you have never met asks you what you do. Do you bring up your reason for living by bringing up Jesus or do you talk endlessly about what you do for a monetary living?
  6. You are at the park with a friend who is definitely not a believer (make it more real and imagine your Muslim, gay, lesbian, or outspoken atheist friend), and you casually tuck your cross necklace into your shirt before you see them.
  7. You are at your kids school picking them up and you get into a conversation with another mom. Does the name of Jesus ever come into your conversations day after day?
  8. Generally speaking how often does the name Jesus enter into your daily conversation with everyone around you? Never I bet if you are honest. A very few of you will answer “All the time.” Praise YHWH for you and your boldness!

We sing songs about “Jesus, only Jesus” but then are afraid to mention His name in mixed company for fear we will lose our jobs or lose that friend or lose respect. We think in our hearts I cannot wait to see the face of Jesus shining like the sun, but then can’t seem to say his name to others during our day.  Is this how someone treats someone they love? When you are in love you want to shout it from the mountain tops. When you find your spouse you cannot wait to introduce them to everyone and anyone. When you have your first, second, third, twelfth grandchild how quick are you to whip out those photos of them even to perfect strangers? But Jesus? No, that is not politically correct. It’s sad. More importantly it may mean eaternal damnation.

Ask yourself: “How do I really feel about Jesus?” The world sends thousands of signals to us like little darts all intended for us to dislike or even hate Jesus. We are in a literal battlefield. If only we could see what the angels can see. Take a look at what the Bible says about it.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5, ESV)

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33, ESV)

Based on personal experience, I thought I was a Christian but realized I was actually ashamed of Jesus. I was the politically correct “Christian.” I praise YHWH for showing me my folly. Pray about this one, my friend. Don’t be ashamed of Jesus! If this convicted you even a small bit, please read through the other Fruit Audit topics to the right.

Maranatha!

God’s Law is Written on my Heart

Shortly after my conversion I was astonished. God’s law was written on my heart. This is something I can only hope to explain as it is like telling a newly pregnant woman what it is like to go through child birth, or telling a child what it is like to be an adult, or like telling someone who is blind what the color green is like. The task is literally impossible because as the old saying goes “You have to experience it to understand it.” So, I will attempt to explain.

We all know, or should know, the ten commandments. Here they are if you cannot remember them all. The full text as it was written by Moses in Exodus 20 is below.

  1. God is the only God. (simple… or not if you think God is basically the same god for every religion.)
  2. You shall not worship idols (Like worshiping a TV show or celebrity, or food, or money, or your career, you get the idea.)
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (Like saying OMG or saying “my God” for no reason.)
  4. Take one day a week to rest. Fully. No work at all. (Does anyone really do this command anymore? It is not a joke and is not antiquated.)
  5. Honor your father and mother. (You may no longer be living with your parents and have kids of your own but think about it, do you honor your mom and dad or do you “know better” than they do and often put them “in their place.”)
  6. You shall not murder. (Not a murderer? Think again. Check out Matthew 5:21-22)
  7. You shall not commit adultery. (Even looking at someone with lust is considered adultry from Jesus’ standpoint. Check out Matthew 5:28)
  8. You shall not steal. (I don’t know of a single person who can honestly say they have never stolen anything.)
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (This, like the 10th commandment is not talking about the person who lives next to you. God means anyone you know or even somewhat know. Think in terms of the person you like the least. Stop hating on them and spreading rumors and gossip. Basically, stop lying!)
  10. You shall not covet anything that is your neighbors. (ie. his or her spouse, his or her job, his or her house, his or her car, his or her garden, his or her kids, his or her clothing, his or her hair, seriously the grass is not greener so stop coveting!)

So, God gives us a set of rules to live by. They seem easy but we all know that most, if not all of his rules we have gone against in some way. We are all lying, thieving, gossiping, covetous, disrespecting, adulterous people. So what do we do? We try harder. And then, once again, we fail. Then we vow to try harder. Then, fail again and again until we give up and come up with justifications for why a loving God understands us and would never hold it against us. That, my friend, is where you are wrong. Dead wrong. We cannot do anything perfect because we are imperfect and utterly flawed. Our humanity is so messed up that we are not able to do right. And we deserve justice. God cannot let it slide because he is the perfect impartial Judge. Only through Christ are we able to do what is holy. Through his blood and sacrifice are we able to get it right. Here is where it gets exciting.

As I mentioned above I wanted to try to explain it to you. If you are reading this and you are saved, you will know exactly what I am talking about. If you think you are saved but are clueless to this or have never experienced it, then you are the reason that I am writing this. I want you to get it. I want you to experience it. I want you to have assurance of your salvation and this is part of the litmus test to figure it out. You can find other areas to check your proof of salvation to the right on our Fruits Audit section.

Here it is in a nutshell: God’s law is now written on my heart. He has put his law within me. So, you may be wondering, “How does that work?” Honestly I do not know exactly, but the best way I can describe it is this: Every time I try to lie I can’t. If I do, even a small exaggeration, I feel awful and immediately feel a strong urge to recant. Every time I hear someone say “Oh my God” or “OMG” or just simple “God” as an exclamation for no reason my heart aches. Even when I hear “Jeez” since that is short for “Jesus” I almost feel like crying. I am not exaggerating.

I recently went to the movies and paid for 2 adults and 1 child. The cashier only charged me for 1 adult and 1 child. We even got in past the ticket guy. I did not realize that the cashier mis-charged me until we were in the popcorn line. I looked at the ticket receipt and laughed because my old self would have thought “Woo-hoo! We got a free ticket.” The moment I noticed the discrepancy I told my husband I would be right back and I went to pay for the 3rd ticket. I was instantly convicted and my heart wouldn’t let me steal the seat.

These are very palpable examples however the reality of God’s law being within me and written on my heart is as phenomenal as it is profound. Take a look at these scriptures. What a blessing and honor to be a one of God’s people!

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33, ESV)

Check it out the above verse as re-stated and explained in Hebrews. Here we get the full idea of what it means when God tells us the old covenant is obsolete.

But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

For he finds fault with them when he says:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:6-13, ESV)

I am not perfect and still sin, but the beauty of it is how quickly I come to repentance. Before, when I lived as a lukewarm “Christian” it sometimes took days, weeks, or even months to admit I had sinned. Sometimes it never even registered. While you may think, “Wow, what a buzz-kill it is to live like that!” I can tell you will absolute resolve, certainty, and excitement that I would rather have the Holy Spirit guiding me and convicting me with God’s laws written on my heart for the short blip that is my life and get the riches of eternity in heaven than to do whatever I want hear on earth and burn in hell for eternity. Now THAT would be the ultimate buzz-kill.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved 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. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:3-17, ESV)

In the Dog House with God

This may sound odd to you, but when you think about it, it actually makes sense. Before I was saved, I would sin and most of the time I would get away with it. What I mean is that no actual consequences were felt from many of my sins. To put it plainly I would lie to get a better interest rate on a new home or car purchase, I would not claim cash income, I would get mad and drop a bunch of f-bombs, I would steel an extra movie once in the theater, I would lie to get late payments removed, I would break the law by speeding or illegally parking, and on and on. I was entitled because everyone else was. I was also not a child of God. What I mean is that I was not adopted yet. I was not part of his family. Other people’s parents do not discipline you. If you have kids, you do not discipline other people’s children and you certainly hope other parents do not discipline your kids. Discussing right and wrong is one thing, but going so far as to enforce and inflict discipline is something left up to one’s parents and usually one’s dad when it is really bad.

So, here I sit, now an actual child of God, adopted into his family after believing I was saved but truly was not. For those who have not read my testimony, please check it out HERE. I know I am a child of God because he has been disciplining me. Yes, I have been forgiven for my sins, but I only grow in Messiah and am further sanctified through him through testing, trials, and sometimes discipline. I get it now. When I discipline Jacob, my 5 year old son, I do it because I love him. Here is an example: He stuck out his tongue the other day at me and we sat down for about 30 minutes discussing the ramifications of why sticking your tongue out at your mom could lead to you becoming homeless. Yes, I know, my parenting style is a bit odd, but my 5 year old is crazy logical so I must play to his logical nature. Here is the sequence.

Stick your tongue out at your mom + no disciplinary action = Jacob with a lack of respect for authority =  grown up Jacob as a man at job + disrespecting his boss because he has a lack of respect for authority = loss of job = lack of income = a homeless Jacob. Seriously… he gets it.

This is what I call logical discipline. Sometimes we need a logical reality check from God, a wake up call so to speak, while other times we need a slap on the wrist. God knows how we learn and what works best for each one of us. Just know this, if you are going along in your life and hardly ever seem to feel like you are being disciplined for your actions by God, you may want to consider if you are in fact saved. Take a look at our Fruits Audit Section to the right to test yourself against what God has to say about what it means to be truly a child of His.

Do Not Grow Weary (Hebrews 12:3-11, ESV)

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:3-11

Your Life vs. God’s Word

Take 10 minutes to read through First John. This is a great book to read to test yourself to see if you are in the faith as Paul tells us in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.” – 2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV

Reading the following will either give you great assurance or great conviction. If you are convicted, I encourage you to do some more digging into your salvation as this is the most important thing to be sure of. Take a look at our Fruits Audit Section to the right to gain greater insight into this very important issue.

1 JOHN 1

The Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Walking in the Light

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 JOHN 2

Christ Our Advocate

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

The New Commandment

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

Do Not Love the World

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Warning Concerning Antichrists

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Children of God

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

1 JOHN 3

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Love One Another

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

1 JOHN 4

Test the Spirits

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

1 JOHN 5

Overcoming the World

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Testimony Concerning the Son of God

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

That You May Know

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Fruit Audit ~ Do You Love God’s Word?

I was going through life as a “Christian” and the one thing that bothered me the most is that other Christians always said they loved reading God’s Word. Pastors would often preach that when you become a Christian you would thirst and hunger after the word of God like a newborn baby thirsts and hungers for his mother’s milk.

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. – 1 Peter 2:2-3, ESV

I don’t know about you, but I just was not getting it. Sure, I read my Bible a couple times a week. Every once in a while I would “commit” to reading the Bible every day. That always lasted about 5 days. I remember the longest I ever consecutively read my Bible was 34 days. You’ve heard it said that to create a habit you have to do something every day for 21 days. I remember vividly thinking “I’ve done it! I’ve created a habit of reading my Bible!” Only to fail on day 35, 36, 37, 38, 39….. Oh shoot, was I supposed to be reading my Bible? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME!!!! Oh the shame. But really, who else knows other than me, myself and God? On I went stumbling through reading (or not reading) my Bible.

So, there you have it. I was convinced that I was doomed to always be burdened with the chore of reading the Bible. I knew it was supposed to be enjoyable and I knew I was supposed to be refreshed by it, but honestly I just wasn’t. Here are a couple verses in the Bible that told me something was wrong.

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, – Romans 7:22, ESV

David said it perfectly in Psalm 19 as seen below and I still did not get it.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; – Psalm 19:7-8, ESV

David made it sound so simple and pure and revitalizing and joyful and enlightening… but for me it was sometimes just boring. I could hardly understand the stuff I read and the things I did understand seemed antiquated or impossible to put into practice. But still I tried. I even prayed as Tozer did for God to open my mind to understanding. It worked sometimes but I knew deep down I was missing something. Something no one could answer for me. Perhaps I was just dumb. My college educated brain was too stupid to understand the Word of God.

And lastly I got to John 8. :(

Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” – John 8:47, ESV

There was my answer. Hindsight is 20/20. I did not realize it at the time, nor could I have predicted the outcome. After 25 years, thinking I was saved and struggling terribly through the Word of God, practically beating myself up with my lack of love for God’s Word, I now understand fully that I was not actually converted. You may take issue with this controversial thought. I can tell you, however, with absolute certainty that the very thing I struggled with has become a complete and utter joy in my life. The Word of God, now that I am truly a “new creation” has been opened to me like I never could have imagined. I literally cannot get enough of it.

The best way I can illustrate this idea is from the perspective of being a mom. Before I had a child people would tell me all the time that my life would change in ways I could not even imagine. “Oh the wonder! Oh the joy!” or so they would say. I remember thinking, all these people are nuts! I love my life and no child is going to change it THAT drastically. Sure it would be different, but all these moms who keep blabbing on and on about motherhood were close to making me puke at times. Flash forward to the day I have my baby, then flash forward 5 years into motherhood and I get it. I drank the “juice” and know EXACTLY what they are talking about. If you don’t have kids yet, this won’t make much sense to you, but if you do, this is what it is like when you become a true converted soul, fully and wholly consecrated to the Almighty Father and LORD Jesus Christ. The Word of God is literally life. I cannot get enough of it now.

With all of that said, you may be wondering about your own salvation and may even want to find out on a deeper level if you are truly saved or have just been in love with Jesus, in love with what Christianity offers, in love with the community, but not fully and 100% devoted to Christ. It is OK to test yourself. Paul asks us to do it.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! – 2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV

Don’t get crazy and start freaking out just yet. This is not meant to scare you but it is meant to give you a reality check. I recommend checking out some of the series below as well as heading over to the Fruit Audit section on www.HolyJustLove.com. Be blessed and be confidently assured of your salvation. It is an amazing thing!

Am I Going To Heaven?

Can you prove you are going to Heaven?

When you were born your parents were very aware of your growth. They had 100% proof that you were growing and alive. If you were not, you would be taken immediately to the doctor. We constantly search for evidence and proof of life. Why do we never, or hardly ever, search for proof of growth and life in our spiritual life? To have assurance in your own salvation is a huge thing. Can you know for sure if you are going to Heaven? The word “hope” in biblical terms does not just mean you hope you will be going to Heaven. The word “hope” as it was meant in its original meaning in the Bible means “confident assurance.” I think you would love to have “confident assurance” in the fact that you are going to Heaven. Paul tells us in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” – 2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV
If you’d like to examine yourself, take a look at our Fruits Audit Section to gain greater insight into your own salvation. Become an ambassador for Christ and share this post with your friends and family. This could be the single most important thing you do all day!

Blessings!

Is it Possible to Love those we Hate?

Love. What does it really boil down to? Of course you love the people you want to love. But what about those that you would rather not be around or better yet, those that you just cannot stand to be around. How about those people? Love, the way Jesus meant it, is hard. I was eating dinner the other night with my family when my husband said something that hurt. The ones we love are the ones that are able to hurt us the most. I quietly left the room and almost started to cry on my way up to our bedroom. I prayed on that short journey up the stairs and when I reached the landing I reached my decision. I was going to love him even though he did not deserve it. I cleaned the bedroom and put away some of his things and sat and prayed for him with all the love I have for him. Guess what? I found freedom. There is a tremendous amount of freedom you experience when you love when it is hard, when you love when they don’t deserve it, when you love when the world says you have every right to hate. My husband is the love of my life so perhaps that is not the best example, however when I think about those that I don’t quite get along with, or those that don’t like me, when I love them the way Jesus tells me to love them, that is the perfect example of what it means to love. Think about the people in your life that have made your life hard. How can you show Jesus to them the next time they screw up your day?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

Friday Fruit Audit ~ Do You Share Jesus with People?

People really don’t want to hear about Jesus. I don’t want to offend anyone. I’m terrible at going up to people. I believe what I believe and I let others believe what they want to believe. Evangelizing is OK for pastors and people who seem just a little socially off, but I don’t feel called to do it and besides I’m no good at it anyway.

These are just a few of the excuses I hear people use, myself included. Do you realize that if Paul, Peter, James or any of the other disciples felt this way and acted on their feelings, NONE of us would be saved? Jesus did not just ask his first disciples to preach the gospel, he asked everyone who calls himself or herself a believer and follower of Christ. The Holy Spirit helps us but we must be willing to be his ambassador. We are privileged to help God in the calling of his people.

“But I honestly don’t know how to spread the gospel.” This is a valid response however if your child said, “but I don’t know how to read” I bet you would just stop and say, “You know what? I get it. It is just too hard and confusing for you. Don’t worry about it then. You will be fine…” Yeah, right. Like that would happen. Stop acting like a child and do what your Father has asked you to do. Here is a short list that will help you get started.

1. Practice.
You will never get good at anything unless you practice. Person by person. Start today with just one person.

2. Be prepared.
You need to know what you are sharing. Going around saying to people they need God because he will make their lives better and that he loves them is the worst thing you can do. If you understand the costs associated with following Christ, then you are more able to explain it to someone else. A great place to learn how to share the gospel is at www.sharetheumbrella.com.

3. Understand Your Roll
You should not go up to people and say “Do you want to hear about Jesus?” Think about the last time you bought something that was sold to you. Why did you buy it? You did not just wake up and decide “I’m going to buy a new Toyota today.” There would have been some great marketing done by Toyota along with your own forethought and research to back up your purchase. We do business with people we know like and trust. Don’t assume spreading the gospel is any different than selling anything else. I don’t want to cheapen the gospel by any means but I do want you to think about it the next time you try to shove your religion down anyone’s throat. It never works. There will be times when someone will flat out ask you to share, point by point, what the gospel is. However, more often than not, people will be drawn to your “light” because of your love and the way you live your life. Look for opportunities to share a little bit of Jesus in every conversation. Literally try to think, “How can I mention the name of Jesus in this conversation?” You will start getting good at inserting the Word of God in all your conversations.

4. Pray, Pray, and Pray

  • Ask God every morning for “divine appointments” meaning opportunities to share God’s Word.
  • Ask God every morning for “low hanging fruit” meaning people who want to talk about Jesus who may not know him fully yet.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to speak through you.
  • Any time you share the gospel or are building a relationship with someone, pray for them often.
  • When you share the gospel with others pray regularly for them. Pray that the Holy Spirit would do a great work in them and bring them to repentance.

 

Don’t ever forget, Jesus calls us as his ambassadors to “make disciples.”

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” – Matthew 28:19

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Eph. 6:24)
Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

Fruits Audit ~ What does it mean to “bear fruit”?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23a

Most people when they ask themselves the question, “Am I bearing good fruit?” think of the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They simply run through the list to make sure they are “bearing good fruit.” While this is a good place to start, it is by no means an exhaustive list of what what Jesus meant when he said we need to “bear good fruit.” Jesus said in Matthew 7:18-20, “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” There are over 40 verses in the New Testament that talk about fruit as it pertains to being a converted follower of Christ. Here is a more complete list of what it means to “bear good fruit” but again, it is not exhaustive.

1. Jesus calls us to “make disciples.”
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” – Matthew 28:19

2. Do you crave God more and more each day?
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” – Matthew 22:36-38

3. Do you walk by the Spirit (Fruit of the Spirit)
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” – Galatians 5:16-26

4. Do you have chronic sin?
“No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” – 1 John 3:6-10

5. Do you keep His Commandments?
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. [4] Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, [5] but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: [6] whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” – 1 John 2:3-6

6. Do you love others?
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” – 1 John 4:7-12

7. Do you love your enemy?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

8. Do you love the things of this world?
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world. [17] And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” – 1 John 2:15-17

9. Are you convicted by the Holy Spirit?
“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” – John 16:8-11

10. Do you grow in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word?
“Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” – John 8:47

Again, this list is not exhaustive but I encourage you to take a look at our Fruits Audit section and read a bit more on each topic.

Below are just a few verses regarding fruit.

“so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:10

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.” – Matthew 12:33

“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” – John 15:2

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” – John 15:16

“As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” – Matthew 13:23

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Eph. 6:24)
Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com