Why Did Jesus Fold the Napkin?

This is one I have only seen circulating once, so; if this touches you, you may want to forward it.

Place Setting with Folded Napkin

Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection?

I never noticed this before … In the Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes.

The Bible takes the entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and placed separate than the other grave clothes.

Early ‘on the first day of the week’, Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran back and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved (John).

She said, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him!’ John 20:2

Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple (John) outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen clothes lying there, but he didn’t go in.

Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side by itself.

Was that important?

Absolutely!

Is it really significant?

YES!

In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day:

The folded napkin had to do with the ‘Master and Servant’, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.

When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it.. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.

Now, if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table.

For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, ‘I’m done’.

But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because………..

The folded napkin meant, ‘I’m coming back!

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren,
concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not,
even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain unto the
coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up
together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:
and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

He is Coming Back!

©2014 Mark Davis

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Reliable Strength

Be Strong and of a Good Courage...  Deut. 31:6

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Deut. 31:6

 

An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse, named Buddy.  He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, “Pull, Nellie, pull!” Buddy didn’t move.

Then the farmer hollered, “Pull, Buster, pull!” Buddy didn’t respond.

Once more the farmer commanded, “Pull, Coco, pull!”

Nothing.

Then the farmer nonchalantly said, “Pull, Buddy, pull!” The horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch.

The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times.

The farmer said, “Oh, Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try.””

Maybe, you might be feeling like Buddy of the story above… You are in a situation (could be anything) and you feel like you are the only one that it is affecting or that you are alone in the situation.

Where are you searching for help?

From Whom are you searching for your help?

If you have put your trust in Christ Jesus as your personal Savior, you never are going through your situations alone again.  You constantly have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you; who never leaves you (Hebrews 13:5), never allows more to come across your path than you can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13), will supply everything that you need (Philippians 4:13). All we have to do is call upon Him – ask Him! (Matthew 7:7-11; Matthew 21:22; John 14:13-14; John 15:7; John 16:23-24)

As Christians, we are supposed to call on God’s name to help you with your situations.

Even though God wants the best things for His children – even the basic necessities that many of us take for granted – He wants us to look to Him for the source of our accomplishments, accommodations and finances.  And, even though God can just think something into existence without us ever recognising where it came from, He wants the credit, and sometimes, when we haven’t given Him the credit for a while, He might just have to wake us up by giving us challenges that we are not personally equipped to handle – but He is – and He just wants you to give Him the credit that He deserves and then to get back on track of looking to Him on a continual basis as He wants you to do.

Sometimes, those who are NOT Christians may be up against something that they are pulling their hair out over and maybe things are too much to handle… you have too much on your plate and can’t do anything about it. God can use those moments to make those who are unsaved to finally look to Jesus as the only thing that can help give him any relief, because everything that they do under their “own” power doesn’t seem to be working.

God is the ONLY strength – the ONLY power that we have, or need!

In our story above, Buddy was tricked to believe that he was pulling with other horses.  In our lives, Satan tricks us into believing that we are pulling by ourselves and that we have no other hope for help and that we have to handle our circumstances all by ourselves.  There couldn’t be anything further from the truth than this.

Jesus tells us to, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest“, in Matthew 11:28.  He actually wants us to let Him do the pulling for us.

God IS the ONLY strength – the ONLY power that we have, or need!

Let Him have control of the situation and give your troubles to Him, today!

©Mark Davis 2014

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The Trojan Horse Infiltrates the Church

Christians Are Us:

Please Click on above link to read complete article before reading further down!

The Gavel and The Bible

I have noticed a trend for quite some time now as I peruse the internet, various blogs, Facebook and other social media; the people or organizations that take a stand as you do here (and I on my blog) have a sparse following, while those who talk about “God’s Love” or anything “Jesus” (Jesus movement) and how the most important thing that we need to do is LOVE one another and NOT judge others and we must have a “relationship with Jesus”, but they never talk about true salvation or how we are supposed to know the scripture and to be able to discern teachings to know if they are right or wrong according to the Word of God.

It chaps my hide to hear all of this and I believe that the founding of these teachings is incorrect teachings from Bible versions that soften the Gospel of Christ.

If we were to go back to the first few centuries A.D., some of the most harsh competition to the true Church were the gnostics that would take a bit of the truth that everyone knew was true and twist it slightly to fit their agenda. The result of this teaching and twisting the Scriptures was that those that were weak in their faith would slide over to their more friendly church and soon they were following everything that they had to offer and shunning the truth that they had been taught in the first place. We have that problem today with the Pentecostals and Charismatics among other sects and cults. In fact some of them have some truly hardcore stances of some very true, straight-line teachings but then in other teachings they are totally off base.

It seems that if you want to spread something that is wrong, it is so readily accepted, where if you speak the truth, people call you harsh and unloving and push you away.

Thank you, Jim, for writing this post.

–Mark

©2014 Mark Davis

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Originally posted on The Vine Vigil:

I’m going to get into deep trouble here because I am going to name names of sacred cows. I believe it is Biblical to expose the truth. When it comes to the Word of God, we should stand tall and take no prisoners. I understand full well in many Fundamental circles this has and will make me an outcast.

Yes, America has changed but so has the Church. Less than 40 years ago if someone said the Bible was full of errors and  mistakes, they were called Infidels, Modernists and even Heretics.

Today the line has become purposely blurred. They often call themselves Christians, Believers and some even swear they are Fundamentalists. They will pull examples from history and proclaim everyone from the past agreed that the Bible was only inspired in the original manuscripts.

Mark it down, they are wolves in sheep clothing and can not be trusted.

They use all the…

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Can God Really Forget Your Sins?

In response to a question from a reader:

“This question is off topic…but what do you think this verse means?”

Hebrews 8:12
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness,
and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

“Do you think it’s bad to go as far to say that when God sees us, He doesn’t see any of our sin and only views us as perfect and righteous?”

This is a great question and one that many people mistranslate much of the time.

The reason I say this is that there are also other scriptures that back this up but also clarify it more, to the point that it changes what it looks like it says in this scripture.

(Hebrews 10:16-17; Psalms 25:7; Psalms 65:3; Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 44:22; Jeremiah 33:8; Jeremiah 50:20; Micah 7:19; Acts 13:38-39; Romans 11:27; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 John 1:7-9; 1 John 2:1-2; Revelation 1:5)

The actual thought behind this statement is this: God the Son – Jesus – came to earth, shed His blood as the perfect sacrifice to forgive our sins, once and for all, and we as Christians have chosen to accept that sacrifice as payment for our sins. That being the case, the fact becomes that Jesus’ blood has enveloped and covered our sins so that it appears that they never happened, in God’s sight.  Once we have been saved, we are saved for eternity – we can NEVER lose His salvation.

Think about this:
If we sin, God sees it. He sees us on the very inside of our souls and sees every sin that we have ever done or ever will do. Since God is omniscient, He knows everything.

Can God forget something to the point that He can’t see it ever again? Since He created man and we are fallible; even though we have asked Jesus to come into our heart and His blood has forgiven and cleansed us of all of our past sins.  At that point, in God’s redemptive eyes, we have never sinned and are therefore perfect in His sight making us, because of Jesus’ blood, worthy of entering Heaven (since there can be no sin in heaven).

Did those sins disappear? NO! We can still remember them. We remember what we did, what it was like when we did it, how we felt and we may even have a propensity of committing that sin again (or one like it).

Can God, now, not see any of that? Yes. Because He knows us better than a brother knows us or our best friend. Being fallible, we have the ability to root up that memory of that action (sin); He doesn’t wipe our memory clean. Even if God had forgotten all of our sins prior to our salvation, if we remember that sin after that, God would know of that sin again.

It is just impossible for God to forget our sins to the point that it appears to Him as though we never sinned. He knows that we are “blood-bought”, “born again”, fallible Christians.

He knows that we have sinned but He also sees Christ in our lives and says, “Since you know My Son, you can come into Heaven.” Jesus has become our door pass into the Party of the Universe!

Remember that I said that Jesus’ blood forgives all of our sins up to that point – the point of salvation?

What happens to the sins that we will inevitably commit after that?

Won’t that then make us dirty in God’s sight and unable to enter Heaven? Yes, and No. We will be dirty but since we still have Jesus in our lives, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us; we will still be allowed entrance to Heaven.

Does that then give us a free pass to commit any sin we want after we are “saved”? NO! The whole chapter of Romans 6 talks about that.

What happens to the sins that we commit after we are saved?

Wow, that is a whopper of a question. The sins that we committed prior to salvation had, and still have, their consequences.  Even so, sin also has its consequences after we are saved and, if it results (or resulted) in some other consequence, regardless if it is physical, emotional or even judgmental (earthly).

Some of our sins are not seen by other people, maybe they were just a thought, but God sees them and so you are sinning against Him.

Much like the earthly courts, we will also stand before Jesus and face accountability for our unrepentant sins and our actions, whether right or wrong (1 Corinthians 3:1-11). Because of the verses before indicating that God remembers them no more, I believe that the judgment that the believers will face will be two-fold: 1) Judgment for the sins left unconfessed before God prior to the judgment (in Heaven), and 2) Judgement for the acts of service that we did and DID NOT do for God while we had the opportunity here on earth. Yes, we will be charged for the things that we knew we were supposed to do to please God and yet still didn’t do them (James 4:17).

Just for the record, the judgment that we will face as Christians is NOT the same judgment that the unsaved will face. The believer’s judgment is called the “Judgement Seat of Christ” or the “Bema Seat Judgment” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Jeremiah 17:7-10; 1 Peter 1:17; Romans 14:11-12; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10; Matthew 25:23; Proverbs 24:12). The unbeliever’s judgment is called the “Great White Throne Judgment” that will ultimately penalize the unsaved to an eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire with the Devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15)

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was reminded one day of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before. But she acted as if she had never even heard of the incident. “Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked. “No,” came Barton’s reply, “I distinctly remember forgetting it.”

Luis Palau, Experiencing God’s Forgiveness, Multnomah Press, 1985.

That little story may be a bit humorous but I assure you that the difference between what God sees and what God doesn’t hold us accountable for, is not going to be too funny when we finally stand before God at the Judgment, whether it be the judgment for the believers or the judgment for the unbelievers.

Friend, if you fall under the heading of the unbeliever, I urge you to settle that between you and God.  Accept Christ’s sacrifice of His life on the cross as He shed His blood to be able to forgive your sins and mine, so that we may no longer have to stand accountable before Jesus and be thrown into everlasting fire (Hell) for never accepting that FREE gift of forgiveness and with it, eternal life in Heaven.

If you need any help in asking God for that forgiveness and don’t really know what to do, please contact me and I will be more than happy to guide you along.  You will never be sorry that you did.

If you have any further questions after studying through this article, please note them at the bottom of this page or you can go to our Contact Us Page to leave a more private comment that will come straight to me.  I will not try to embarrass you, but rather, I just want to make sure your questions are all cleared up.

God Bless You,

–Mark

©2013 Mark Davis

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What Has Happened?

ChurchPeople
Written by: Robert L. Davis
December 19, 2013

“If my people, which are called by my name,
shall humble themselves, and pray,
and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways;
then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land.”
– 2 Chronicles 7:14

This verse is clear and precise. It would be easy to think of how many people this passage of scripture would apply to… if they would only pay attention. In reality, this is exactly what is needed by everyone that names the name of Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

We can coast along in life thinking that all is well and what we have to do now is to go through some religious procedures and all will be wonderful. We might even try to deny that we have any responsibility to God or to the lost world around us.

One day (possibly very soon), the trumpet will sound, the voice of the archangel will echo throughout the world and the dead in Christ will be resurrected. Then, the living (in Christ) will be caught away to be with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18). We can think of what it will be like then and rejoice, and rightfully so.

But, what about the opportunities that we have and do not use wisely for the glory of God?

What went wrong?

Why is there so much corruption and sin in the world and even in many churches?

Is this just a normal thing or can something be done about it? Oh yes, we can sit back and observe and even criticize what is going on nationally, politically, socially and religiously. But, what are we willing to do about it?

In the Word of God, we are told that there will be wars and rumors of wars, famines, earth quakes, and pestilence in the time before the Lord Jesus Christ returns for the “blood-bought”, redeemed ones. And yet, even though we do not like to hear of these things or experience them, they are happening, and with increasing frequency.

Are we going to stick our head in the sand and pretend that these things are only figurative or even a myth or a mirage?

I am sure we will not be able to cause a tsunami to be calm or a tornado to not tear its way through cities or the countryside. Just possibly these things are being used by God to try to get our attention so we will cling close to Him and serve Him in these last days. We can be used of God to reach souls with the gospel message before it is eternally too late.

Not too many years ago, you could go into most churches and hear a good Bible message delivered by a godly pastor who loved his people and was interested in seeing that they were fed from the Word of God. You could expect to see souls won to the Lord and new Christians baptized on a regular basis. There was an alter call and people responding by either getting saved or, possibly, there was some pressing spiritual need in their lives.

But, the picture has changed considerably. In many of the churches that were once enthusiastic for the Gospel and serving God there is now a coldness and complacency. The preacher seems to be more interested in his retirement, golf score or going to some ecumenical function which would demand compromise of the doctrines of the Word of God.

The gospel message has been so watered down in most churches that you cannot find anything that faintly resembles salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

You might listen, without success, to find these facts:

  1. Man is a sinner, totally depraved and on his way to a Christ-less eternity in the Lake of Fire;
  2. Jesus (the perfect, sinless, virgin-born Son of God) was the only one qualified to take on Himself the sins of all mankind;
  3. He was buried and rose from the dead on the third day, then, after several days, ascended into heaven to be once again with the Father;
  4. We can have forgiveness of our sins through faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross at Calvary;
  5. Being born-again, we can now live victorious lives by God’s power.

What has happened to cause such a massive devastation of the foundational truths of the Word of God?

It has been a sly, steady denial of the Word. In many areas, it started with a new beat of music (or rather noise). Some thought that they needed to compromise the music standards to, hopefully, attract people to attend their services. They brought in the music of the ungodly world and incorporated it into the services. They had their combos and many of the 7–11 type songs (that is 7 words sung over and over again for about 11 times). They called them “praise songs”. They even had their special praise teams.

Then, some of those cold, dormant churches even sent some of their promising young people off to Bible college or seminary. Some of those schools have long since departed from the teaching of the Word of God. Instead, they teach evolution, nice sounding theories, and other non-Biblical doctrines and subjects.

Then, there are the Bible colleges and universities that teach many right things… but, the vast majority are failing miserably to train their young, potential preachers how to preach the Word, and how to win souls to Christ. They are turning out future missionaries and pastors who are not in tune with what the gospel is. They might preach well on things pertaining to the Christian life and give encouragement, but they are not preaching the gospel!!!

Earnestly contending for the faith (Jude 3) is unheard of… I personally had the occasion where I asked 6 people who were seasoned church members: “What is the gospel”? One by one they gave their idea as to what they thought the gospel is. Some said it was the Bible, another said it was the teachings of Jesus… whatever that meant, I am not really sure. Others gave a philosophy or idea. I never heard from them what the gospel is, as explained so plainly in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

I believe the leadership of our schools, Bible colleges and universities needs to train these students in what the gospel is and how to effectively present it in their teaching and preaching. Doesn’t the Bible proclaim that if the gospel is hid, it is hidden from the lost in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4?

Are there other things that have led us down the road of ineffectiveness? YES, there is more. We have only touched the “tip of the iceberg”.

Consider the vast confusion that has set into many churches about “which Bible should I use?” Some so-called scholars have thought it necessary to revise, re-translate, mutilate, and desecrate the Word of God. I believe Satan knows that his time is getting short and the catching away of the born-again ones is getting very close. He is bringing out his ”big guns”. He wants to create as much doubt and confusion as he can possibly muster up.

Do a search on the internet regarding how many English translations there are. I was amazed to learn that there are 250 (plus or minus a few). Some of these translations are done by people who have a certain pet “viewpoint”. Some translators are unbelievers and some dearly love the Lord and His Word. Some have an agenda they are trying to sell to the public.

Why can’t we stick with a good, standard translation that we can memorize, read, preach from, and win souls from??? I highly recommend the King James Version. It has what is needed today. It is very accurate and needs no apology.

There is also the ecumenical movement. This is an effort of some “religious” groups to bring all churches into line with a common goal, doctrine, and message. Their message is plainly a deviation from the faith that was once delivered to the saints. They have departed from the solid teachings of the Word of God.

They would rather give up the teachings of the scripture for the sake of “getting together”. This is compromise. Many of these people are blind leaders of the blind. They are teaching the Devil’s gospel. Sometimes this process starts small with a cooperation outreach of some kind, or ministerial alliance, or a council of churches. They all involve compromise and a forsaking of the teachings of the Word of God.

God has told us that He wants us to “Preach the Word”. Second Timothy 4:2 tells us: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” God doesn’t want His people to compromise the things of God with the tricks and devices of Satan. We must stay faithful to the Word.

Remember… The church is no stronger than its leaders. Weak leaders will result in weak undernourished people. God exhorts us in Ephesians 6:10“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”

We need revival.

We need to get back to the “BOOK”.

We need to make sure our schools are strong and stay strong.

We need to encourage godly pastors and missionaries to stay true to the Word of God.

We need to do our part as individuals who have trusted Christ as our Saviour, in staying in the Word, witnessing and winning souls to the Lord Jesus.

May the Lord Jesus find us faithful to His great cause until we are caught up to be with the Lord, to be with Him forever.

R.L.D.

©2013 Mark Davis

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Other articles written by Robert L. Davis:

Almost Isn’t Good Enough!

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Almost saved is altogether lost!
There are many in Hell who once were almost saved,
but who are now altogether damned.
Think of that, you who are not far from the Kingdom.
It is being in the Kingdom that saves the soul,
not being near the Kingdom.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon

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Joyce Meyer – Anointed Woman of God or Heretic? (Part 1)

Christians Are Us:

“I don’t like writing negative things about other people, especially those who claim to be brothers and sisters in Christ, however, I feel that the Lord has called me to be a watchman on the wall. It isn’t a job I asked for, but ever since I read the following passage in Ezekiel, many years ago, I have felt compelled to warn people from sinning against the Lord, and from following false doctrine and false teachers. ~ Ezekiel 3:16-21 ~” Cheryl Showers

 

Recently, there has been talkings around me about the credibility of Joyce Meyer.  In this article, Cheryl only touches on some of the things that make her a person that you really don’t want to learn from.  Many of her false teachings are woven into truth and it sounds really good and believable.  As Cheryl shows, Joyce is absolutely in the “False Teacher” category – for the books, she is in my books too.

 

Christians, please be careful of what and who you read.  The more truth you put into your brain, the easier it will be to keep the untruth out.  Saturate your life with God’s Word and Godly things to look at, hear, drool over :-) , and in doing all that, you have no choice but to be thinking about Godly things.  When you have “God” swarming in your head it is near impossible to let sin in; keeping you away from committing sin.  Abide in Christ (John 15:4-7)!

 

God bless you all.

–Mark

©2013 Mark Davis

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Originally posted on Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones:

Image Credit: Zachery Oliver

Image Credit:
Zachery Oliver

I love the Lord, and I love His word. In fact, I’m very passionate about Him, His word, and His people. His word is life, therefore, it is of utmost importance that we know His word and not twist it or alter it in any way. Otherwise, we run the risk of leading many people astray.

Teach me Your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end.

~ Psalm 119:33 — NLT ~

Image Credit: ubdavid.org

Image Credit:
ubdavid.org

This scripture is a promise to the Lord, that if He will teach me His decrees, I will keep them to the end. Now, it’s important that I share with you what keep means in this scripture, because it means much more than I ever realized until I studied it.

The Hebrew word for keep is natsar (pronouncednä-tsār’), which means:

I. to guard, watch, watch…

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Why Would YOU Want To Be A Christian?

Wow, what a question.  Have you ever considered why you or anyone else would want to be a Christian? If you were to ask that to 100 people, you would probably get 100 different answers.

I think that God, or Christianity of some sort, has a different appeal to everybody but ultimately, when the answers are sifted out, you come down to the basic reason of Good nature versus Bad nature.

On the Good Side, most people’s image of Christianity says:

  • If you are at the lowest that you think you can get, Christianity can make everything better for you.
  • If you are having problems, regardless what they are, God can make things all better.
  • If you have poor health, Jesus will heal you – just like He did in the Bible.
  • I want to be rich and Christians say that if you are walking closely with God then He will let you have anything you want.
  • I want to see my deceased loved ones.
  • And the list could go on for a long time.

When in actuality, God, in His Word, The Holy Bible, says:

Come unto me all you who are weary
and I will give you rest.

-Matthew 11:28-30

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen,
nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

-1 Corinthians 2:9

2In 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.

-John 14:2-3

4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow,
nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said,
Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me,
Write: for these words are true and faithful.”

-Revelation 21:4-5

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him
shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him
shall be in him a well of water springing up
into everlasting life.

-John 4:14

13But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren,
concerning them which are asleep,
that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain
unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds,
to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
-1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 

Christ transforms the Christians

Yet, on the Bad Side, people would say about Christianity:

  • “There really is no hell.”
  • “If God is real, He is very loving and would never send anyone to hell.”
  • “Christianity is nothing but a bunch of rules that if you break them you go to hell.  There is no way to keep them all so why try?”
  • “The God I know of from the Bible is not loving at all, in fact He is very angry and vengeful. Why would I want to spend eternity with a God that caused the whole earth to be flooded and He chose to make total nations be slaughtered by His people?”
  • “I’m having too much fun doing the things that the Bible says are wrong.”
  • “I believe that when we die we don’t go anywhere – there is no eternity – we just cease to exist.”
  • “I believe that hell is the bad stuff that we go through while we are on earth and when we die, God lets us all go to heaven.  If we are really good, we get really nice things when we get there.”
  • “I go to church every time the doors are open and I even give my 10% to the church. I try to be as good as I can and love everyone else.  That should mean that I will get into heaven if I’ve been good enough.”
  • “I was baptized when I was little and went through catechism so I should skip purgatory and go right into heaven when I die.”
  • “God has blessed me with plenty of money while I’ve been on the earth and I’ve even given a lot of it to the poor. Since I’ve done so well on earth, then God must love me enough to let me into heaven. I’ve never done anything really bad so I should have no problem getting into heaven.”
  • “I don’t think that anybody can really KNOW that they are going to heaven for certain.”
  • “And there are so many more that I can’t list them all, but most of them are similar to these.”

Instead of giving you a bunch of scriptures that refute what I just wrote above, let me ask you a question (or three or four).

What is it that you are relying on to get YOU to Heaven?

If you were to die in the next 10 minutes and you are standing face to face with God and He asks you, “Why should I let you into My Heaven?” — What would you say to Him?  

If what you were relying on to get you to Heaven was wrong, would you like to know? If you can say, “YES“, to this question, please read on.

If you can relate to any of these statements on the BAD side here, and your answer happens to be, “NO“, then you can close out of this page and find something else to read (I suggest reading “I’m Dead, Now What?“) because you won’t want to listen to anything that I have to say anyway.

Moving on…

According to the Bible only (I am not making any of this up) since we count the Bible as God’s own Words – He doesn’t just come out and talk to us person to person (yet).

First – Every man is a sinner (breaker of any/all of God’s 10 commandments as set forth in Exodus 20)

James 2:10 -
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law,
and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

Romans 3:10 -
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.”

Romans 3:23 -
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Second – The penalty of sin is eternal death!

Romans 6:23 -
“For the wages of sin is death;
but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Third – Eternal Life is offered to us ONLY through Jesus.

John 3:15-16 -
15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have eternal life.

16 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.

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

Romans 5:8 -
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Fourth – How do we receive this GIFT of God?

Romans 10:9 – 13 -
9 “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.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith,
Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek:
for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

It’s as easy as that!

If you are relying on anything more than what I’ve just described, then you are not putting ALL of your faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His redeeming blood that was shed to wash away all of our sins.

God doesn’t want us to add anything to this because if we do, it becomes a “works based” salvation. What do I mean by that?  I mean that if there was ANYTHING that we could personally add in order to get to heaven, we would be relying on ourselves to do something special to buy our salvation into heaven.  God won’t let that happen!

Why?  Because, if you or I were able to add anything to that very basic salvation then, whether on this side of heaven or even once we get into heaven (which won’t happen), we would be bragging to our friends or anyone we come in contact with about what WE did to get to heaven. Can you tell me what sin that would be called?

PRIDE!

Proverbs 16:18 -
“Pride goeth before destruction,
and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 -
8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Pride is one of the biggest sins that there is.  If you think about it, most of our sins that we commit on a daily basis are based on pride or at least are stemmed from it.  They can almost all be linked back to pride.  That being the case, and pride being a sin, and heaven can contain NO SIN, we would never be allowed into heaven based on anything that we are able to personally do.

All God wants us to do is to put our faith and trust in Him.  Believe in Him and His salvation-work at Mt. Calvary as all that is needed to get into God’s Heaven.

Doing some of those extra things that you do to get into heaven on your own might make you feel really good, but imagine how much better you could feel if you trust Christ first and then all of those good things that you would have done for your salvation, if there is still any virtue in their accomplishment, you can do them for God’s glory rather than your own.

You see, in Matthew 6:16, Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees of the day for doing works out in the open so that they can look more pious than others, but in verses 17 and 18 He goes on and tells them that they should do their “works” in private so that only God can see them.

Because, in verses 19 through 21 He goes on to say:

19 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,
where moth and rust doth corrupt,
and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt,
and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
- Matthew 6:19-21

What’s even better than this is in:

John 14:2-3 -
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.”

These verses give me great promise and comfort that when my time on earth is finished, I will have a place of extreme comfort to be able to finally rest.  Jesus ascended into Heaven after His resurrection from the dead so that He could prepare a place for me.  If you put all of the verses together, that tells me that after we are saved from our sin’s penalty in Hell, and I start doing things for Him (not for myself and my own glory), I start to lay up treasures in Heaven.

Those verses indicate that there are many mansions in Heaven and that Jesus is going to prepare a place for me and if I lay up treasures in Heaven, as the other verse says, then, when I get there, I should have, as I picture it, a larger mansion with many treasures in it.

Why would anyone in their own right mind want to, knowing this, please ourselves and others around us for our own vain glory when we have so much more waiting for us when we do things the way God wants us to do them?

I mean, seriously, WHY?

Yet, people do it all the time — WE do it all the time!

Yes, I’m guilty too!  It is the “old man”, the “sin nature”, that is in us that naturally wants to receive the pleasure from the gratitude that we get or the trophy (or equivalent) that we would get for doing something especially well and so that others around us can see how GOOD WE are.  We have to fight that sin nature to make sure that God gets the glory for our accomplishments instead of us – after all, He is the one that gave you the ability to do the thing that got you that glory.

I can speak from experience that if you continue to bring glory to yourself and God has other plans for you and you continue to do your own thing to please yourself rather than do the things that would bring God the glory… He can arrange it to where you are no longer able to do those things that bring you pleasure/glory, but make it so that you have no choice but to turn to Him.

Folks, He will continue to allow bad things to come your way so that little by little you are disabled of the things that bring you that pleasure.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  God has control over all!  He can and WILL do what is necessary to get your attention… until… some day, He may finally determine that you are a hopeless case and you will never turn to Him to do His will and He will bring you home.  That “home” may be Heaven, or it may be Hell, but if you don’t listen to Him and His callings, the outcome may not be the way you would really have liked it.

God wants your talents and your time and abilities – let Him have them.  <I’m pleading with you> Turn your life over to His will.  You will have more peace and joy in your life than you ever imagined.

Yes, you will still face adversity but the difference now is that when you do, you will have a friend with you that sticks closer than a brother, that will NEVER leave you or forsake you and will never steer you wrong by giving you bad advise.  He is the Comforter.

You see, all of those things that I listed at the beginning of this article can still be yours but only if you are serving God.  He will NOT grant those things to you because of your own selfish pleasures. He truly knows the best way to live your life – better than you do.  Let Him have control over your life so that He can show you what He has in store for you.  It may not be what you thought you would be doing, but I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Lord, I ask that you get into the heart of those reading this article right now and convince them of all of the great things that You have in store for them – at the very least, You can take away the heartache and hurt that they are feeling right now.  Give them comfort in knowing that You are now in control of the situations in their life.  Please, bring healing to their hearts and lives.  In Jesus’ Name and for His glory I ask these things, Amen.

If you have received the blessing from this article and or this prayer, please leave a comment (or go to my contact page if you wish to stay anonymous) and let me know that you have received a blessing from this.  I would really love to share your joy so that I can give God the glory as well.  As always, if there is anything you need from a spiritual point of view, please feel free to let me know.

God bless you, –Mark

©2013 Mark Davis

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Here’s The Problem With Our Churches Today

I’m reading a lot in different places about how everybody (that is talking) is a “Christian” and how there should not be division among the “Christians” and, in general, churches/ religions/ denominations.

They think that all they have to do is call themselves a “Christian”, when in actuality, there’s a lot more to being a “Christian” than just saying you’re a “Christian” and then doing a bunch of good things.

First, let us look at what it means to be a “Christian”.

The definition of “Christian”: Christ – like or Christ – follower

How do you become a Christian?

If you look at Romans 10:9-10, it says, “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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”.

And then Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”

First, to be a Christian, we have to confess with our mouths that we are going to follow Jesus AND we have to believe in our hearts that God actually did raise Jesus from the dead on the third day, and that’s all it says we have to do. Then it says that with the heart man believes unto righteousness (or salvation or becoming a “Christian” by more than just name). Not only do we have to say that we are going to follow Jesus, we have to believe it.

It’s not enough to just believe that we are going to follow Jesus, but we also have to confess that we have, and to open our mouths and tell people and then, and only then will we be saved. (Step by step guide through salvation)

You see, there’s nothing there that says that we have to do anything special other than this, there’s no good works, there is no baptism, there’s no “Hail Mary”s. That’s IT!

Ephesians 2:8-9 backs up that statement by saying that it’s only by God’s grace that we are saved and the reason for that is: it can’t be because of anything WE DO, “and that not of yourselves,” means that there’s nothing we can do that will get us into heaven. Salvation is a gift of God, requiring no works because God doesn’t want any man to be able to brag about what they did to get to heaven.

Joining a church, giving money to a church or any other charity, working in a soup kitchen to help the poor, just generally being a good person, WILL NOT GET YOU TO HEAVEN! Really good people such as: Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Pope John Paul, Buddha, or your next door neighbor can NOT get to heaven by their works!

At that point, and only after all of this is completed, can we call ourselves, “Christian”!

If you have not done that, then you cannot call yourself a “Christian”! If you are relying on other things besides confessing sin and claiming Jesus as your Savior for your salvation, then you MAY NOT BE a Christian.

This is not being judgmental! This is only repeating what God’s Word says. It is stated again many other times through Scripture. What more do we need?

Once this is completed, the hard part begins. Now we have to BE LIKE Jesus!

Matthew 16:24
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples,
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Many people figure being like Jesus is just loving people. When in actuality, Jesus tells us to keep His commandments. How many commandments are we supposed to keep? Is it only “love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor”? No, it’s not!

We have to remember that Jesus is God, no question about it. We also have to remember that God gave the 10 Commandments along with many other commandments after that in the Old Testament.

Then we have the much-debated-upon “doctrines”. These doctrines come out of the same Book that tells us about Jesus and explains to us what Jesus wants us to do. The whole Bible is filled with His commandments. If we are not doing EVERYTHING that is written within the pages of the Bible, then we are not doing what God wants us to do.

Now, you want to know why people argue? It’s because of the doctrines! Are these important? ABSOLUTELY!

Some of these doctrines are cut and dried; you don’t have to wonder what they’re telling us to do. Some of them are not so cut and dried. That is where religions and denominations come in. That is why people have to argue. That is why there is dissension in our churches. That is why we have church splits as well.

With all of the “education” that we have out there today, each individual teacher (or pastor/priest) is going to teach their own point of view. In other words, too many of them, what the Bible says at that time means absolutely nothing. The unfortunate thing is that we, as the little people, end up being taught the wrong things… And we believe them.

We are told Acts 17:13, that we are to be like those in Berea, and search the Scriptures daily to see if any of these things are true.

You don’t have to believe me about any of this. You can go on living the way you want to. You can call me all sorts of names. You can do anything, but if you don’t believe the Bible, you’re wrong. I challenge you to prove me wrong. The Bible does not contradict itself.

I may consider myself to be a particular denomination; that denomination does not make me a Christian, nor does it even make me better than anyone else. I’ve chosen the denomination that I belong to, because of what they believe, instead of a non-denominational church because they don’t want to tell you what they believe or they only tell you part of the story.

It’s up to you to figure it out by studying the Bible and to find out if they are right or wrong. If they are wrong and you stay there, you are wrong. In James 4:7, it says, “for to him that knows to do good and doeth it not, to him it is SIN”! [emphasis mine]

I’ll tell you what, the journey really begins after a person becomes a Christian. As a Christian, we are to be discerning of what is right and wrong, and then call it what it is – and then do something about it!

You never saw Jesus, when confronted with something that was wrong, just walk around it. He always confronted it head-on. Think about the temple and the money changers and how He overthrew their tables, and He cast them out of the temple. He actually got mad. And this was Jesus – He got mad! Sometimes we have to, too!

When somebody says something that goes against what you THINK you believe, instead of trying to fight with them, try trying to figure out if what that person said is actually true or not. How do we find out? By going to God’s Word. Because, you see, if it doesn’t go along with what the Bible says, it’s most likely WRONG!

In a perfect world there would not be any argument between different religions or denominations. In fact, there would be no religions or denominations, we would all believe the same things. That IS coming in the near future. It will either be after Jesus comes to take us to be with Him, or it will be when this world sets up a (false) one-world-religion and demands tolerance among all religions.

There is only one way to heaven. If your church does not teach that, it is wrong! And, if you stay there, knowing what I have just said, you will be wrong too and God will hold you accountable for it at the Judgment!

IT’S YOUR CHOICE…

©2013 Mark Davis

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The Christian Pumpkin

Christian Pumpkin


A 10-year-old little girl was asked by another classmate, “what is it like to be a Christian?”. The girl replied, “it’s like being a pumpkin, God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts open the top and scoops out all of the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc., and then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.”

2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.”

Just like the carved pumpkin in the illustration, once we become saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, we begin looking at life through His eyes. Those things in our lives that don’t belong there, the Holy Spirit convicts us of them and tells us that we need to change in those areas. We need to be aware of what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us and then DO what He tells us to do.

©2013 Mark Davis

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