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God Can Clean Up Your Mess

And the winner is...you!

And the winner is…you!

Being confident of this, that He [God himself] who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

“He will keep you firm to the very end, so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.” – 1 Corinthians 1:8

Both the Old and the New Testament teach that election and salvation is a sovereign work of God’s grace. God is the One who chooses us, God is the One who gives us faith to believe, God is the one who does the work of regeneration, and it is God who preserves us to the very end of our lives. True Christians patiently look forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and they will trust in His promises until they are fulfilled. Those that have this hope will be blameless in the day of Christ, made so by the rich and free grace of God.

Christians are distinguished from the profane and the atheists, that they have been chosen of God, and they have chosen to follow God.

Since God chose us from the foundations of the world, He didn’t wait for us to “clean up our act,” so to speak. He knew, in advance, what a mess we would make of our lives in many cases. Yet, God overlooked our sinful condition before coming to Christ foreknowing what a glorious transformation we would make one day. He also saw all sinful blunders we would commit – even after coming to Christ – as part of the process of transformation. Praise be to God that our Heavenly Father, continues to love us and patiently work with us despite ourselves, and the many, many times we fall short of perfection.

Why? Because He foreknew that we would eventually experience complete regeration and Christ-likeness. He keeps His eye on the big picture. He saw ahead of time, the beautiful masterpiece our lives would turn out to be.

Because He is the author of our book, He knows exactly how our story will end. He has already written the last chapter and it is thrilling! Surprisingly, it does have a happy ending. He has promised it will be a best seller among the saints and angels in heaven.

I can rest assured of my salvation.

“We love Him, because He first loved us..” – 1 John 4:19

I can rest in the assurance that God doesn’t make mistakes. Because our Heavenly Father chose us and loved us before we were able to love Him back, He saw the winner in us, not the loser.

I’m also glad that He gave me a free will. He gave me the ability to choose who I want to spend eternity with. I’m glad that my Heavenly Father didn’t make that choice for me; He wants us to choose Him of our own volition. He wants children that voluntarily love Him and want to be with Him in heaven. He does not want slaves who involuntarily give Him lip service. Everyone in heaven, and throughout eternity, will be present with God because they voluntarily chose to be there.

But right now, I have to admit, that sometimes my life is still a little messy. I’m not happy about it; I wish I could do better. I want to live in a manner that is pleasing to my Heavenly Father and make Him proud of me. But regardless of how messy it becomes at times, I’m not anxious about my eternal future. I am confident that despite the temporal setbacks, I am slowly being transformed into the image of Christ – holy and blameless. The inward man is being renewed day-by-day (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Beloved, we are the sons and daughters of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when Christ shall appear again, we shall be like Him. Praise be to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in heavenly places with all spiritual blessings.

Let us always remember that no matter how messy it’s been in the past, we have a glorious future ahead of us!

– Luis Josephus

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God Chooses Winners

winner

And the winner is… You!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to Sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will…” – Ephesians 1:3-6

Isn’t it reassuring to know that God personally chose us before He laid the foundations of this world – billions of years ago?

Most Christians will readily affirm that our salvation is by grace through faith in what Jesus the Messiah accomplished for us on the cross. They may even be able to quote Ephesians 2:8-9 from memory, and equally affirm that we are not saved by our own good works, lest anyone of us have opportunity to take credit for our own salvation. But what most believers fail to understand is the concept of God’s sovereignty in the matter of election. In theological terms it is called Predestination.

The fact is, none of us would be saved today if God Himself had not chosen us long ago to salvation. Jesus Himself validated this truth when He said, “For no one can come to me unless [God] the Father draws them to me…” (John 6:44). Both the Old and the New Testament teach that election and salvation is a sovereign work of God’s grace. God is the One who chooses us, God is the One who gives us faith to believe, God is the one who does the work of regeneration, and it is God who sustains us to the very end of our lives.

Because of my Armenian theological background, I used to have a problem with this.

I used to wrestle with the issue of salvation and man’s free will. I once believed that Free Will Theology and God’s election were incompatible. Then one day, I heard a well-known theologian explain it in a way I could understand and agree with. I realized that man could have a free will, and I could still believe in the sovereignty of God with regards to election and salvation. The answer lies in understanding God’s foreknowledge (1). The apostle Paul describes this concept in Romans 8:28-30:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Notice that Paul says that whom God foreknew He predestined and called to salvation. Since God is all knowing, He knew ahead of time who would choose to accept His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. In other words, He could see into the future – from the foundation of this world, who would make the decision, out of their own free will, to be saved. He knew beforehand who the winners were, and who the losers were, so to speak.

Take the Lottery, for example. I don’t gamble, but I know many Christians who have a weakness for this vice. If you could know ahead of time which numbers would win and which would lose, why would you bet on the losing numbers? That’s how God’s foreknowledge works. He knew in advance that you and I would choose Jesus Christ and become His winners. And because we are the winners – and not the losers, He chose us and predestined us to justification and glorification. Our eternal security is assured, because God doesn’t pick losers, but winners.

The God of this universe chose us from the foundation of this world to be adopted into His family and become His beloved sons and daughters. He has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus! How wonderful is that?

– Luis Josephus

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1. In his omniscience and foreknowledge, God knows what the future holds both for individuals and for nations. He knows and sees everything in advance and his will is carried out in accord with his plans and purposes. In the Old Testament God’s foreknowledge is usually represented by the verb yada is the normal verb for “know.” In the New Testament the main verbs are proginosko, “to know in advance, ” and proorao, “to see what is ahead.” Foreknowledge is closely connected to election and predestination and to God’s sovereign rule of his universe. – Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology


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When You Miss the Mark

Backup_of_Missing the Mark 1The Bible tells us that all we are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God. But, what does it mean to sin?

The word sin comes from the Greek, hamartánō, which means to “miss the mark.” Miss what mark? Missing the mark is symbolism that is derived from the practice of archery – of having shot an arrow and failing to strike the target. Therefore, sin is having failed to strike the bulls eye of God’s standard of perfect obedience, or perfect living. I can relate to that! I admit, I have missed the mark many times myself. How about you?

I think we can all agree that none of us are perfect, nor have lived an absolutely perfect life. Yet, God’s standard for us to make it into heaven is still perfection, because there is no sin in heaven. Since God is holy and perfect in everything He does, everything in heaven is perfect, as it should be.

So, in order for us to be saved and allowed to enter into heaven, our heavenly Father sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to be perfect for us, and pay the penalty for our sins. Through our faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross, His perfect obedience and righteousness is imputed unto us. Imputed means that our sin debt was placed upon Him on the cross, and His perfect righteousness is transferred unto us.

When did this occur? The day we believed.

It was a free gift of God’s grace through faith. We did not earn it, nor deserve it, but God gave it to us anyway. We are justified (cleared of all sin guilt) freely through the redemption that He provided for us in Jesus Christ.

Missing the Mark 2How far have you missed the mark?

Imagine participating in an archery competition: You shoot your arrow and get about three-quarters of the way to the target. Other people next to you shoot their arrows and only get about half the way. Still others may miss the mark by a mile while others by an inch. No matter how close anyone gets to the target, everyone is disqualified just the same. Our sin debt is like that.

Jesus Christ died to save every sinner.

It does not matter to God how close or how far you’ve gotten to the target, or how much you have sinned in the past, He is willing to forgive us all the same. Whether we’ve sinned a little or a lot, He does not judge us on this basis. Everyone is already condemned because no one was ever righteous enough to be saved by his or her own merits; everyone has missed the mark. There is none righteous, no not one.

However, when we come to faith in Christ, everyone is equally given a clean slate and allowed entrance into God’s kingdom on the same basis: By grace through faith alone.

Therefore, we conclude that since all of us have missed the mark and fallen short of God’s standard of perfection, we must enter into God’s kingdom by faith, trusting upon His grace and forgiveness. Because God is merciful, He provided a way for our sins to be punished on the cross of Christ, so that we would not have to suffer His judgment for our sins. God the Father has justified us and forgiven us completely, through our faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Afterward, through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, we are now capable of honoring and obeying God’s moral laws. We are no longer powerless to the desires of sin, but mighty in power to live victorious as conquerors in Christ. It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us, who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Let us, therefore, endeavor to keep from continually missing the mark and making sinful choices. Let us honor God with our hearts, minds, and bodies forevermore.

– Luis Josephus

 

 



Scripture References:

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him apart from keeping the requirements of the law…Even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference. For everyone has sinned, and we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” – Romans 3:21-23

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

“…overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” – Romans 8:37


Study Notes:

“The Glory of God” in Romans 3:23 refers to the praise or approbation of God. The Jews had sought to be justified, or approved, by God the keeping of the Law, which was impossible to perfectly do. They did not realize they had all failed. Their works of the Law had not secured God’s approbation, and Jesus said they were still under condemnation.

The Hebrew word for sin is chata, pronounced khaw-taw. It also means to miss the target, make a mistake, an error in judgment, commit a sin against God. Sometimes the idea of sinning against a fellow human being is also present.

 


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Ruth’s Vision of Jesus

Ruth Gottlieb

Ruth Gottlieb

Ruth Gottlieb is a Holocaust survivor who lost her parents in the Nazi Death Camps. In 1945, the Nazis evacuated Auschwitz and Ruth and 7,000 others were left behind. The Soviet army liberated them from the camp and Ruth eventually migrated to Israel. Her complete story was told to Jews For Jesus Ministry at: http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/v20-n04/auschwitz-mengele-and-the-god-who-was-with-me

Although she was raised in the Jewish religion, she relates how one day she received Jesus as her Savior, Lord and Messiah:

Jesus walks on water“In the 1980’s at one point I lived in a hotel in Tiberius, Israel.  I could see the Sea of Galilee from my room. One day, I had a vision in which I saw Yeshua (Jesus) walking on the lake. It wasn’t a dream; I just saw him! So I told my daughter and I got more and more interested in Jesus and read many books about him.

When we moved back to France, we were still seeking and reading. Then one day, I was walking on the beach in Nice, and I met a Christian woman named Rosemund. We spoke about Jesus for quite a while. When we began to read the Bible together, it suddenly became very clear to me that Jesus was our Jewish Messiah. I talked with my daughter, and over time she too came to believe in him.

Jesus was Jewish. He taught from the Hebrew Scriptures. In his day the New Testament didn’t exist. He died for our sins voluntarily – no one murdered him, neither Romans nor Jews. Some people claim the New Testament is anti-Semitic. What an idea! It’s not in the least bit anti-Semitic. All you have to do is to read it and you will find a book that is thoroughly Jewish.

I’ve always wondered why God took me out of the concentration camp and restored my health. There are millions that died. I was not saved thanks to my own wisdom. I recognize that God saved me, but why me?. I don’t know the answer.

Since I have come to know Yeshua, I have a whole different way of thinking. I don’t need to go to be entertained or a lot of material things to be happy. I am just more content. Most of all, I have peace in my heart knowing that my sins are forgiven and that one day I will be with my Messiah in heaven.”

Regardless of your culture or religious background, believe that there is one true God, and Jesus Christ (Messiah) His only begotten Son. He died on the cross to redeem all men from their sins. He rose from the dead after three days and three nights and now sits in heaven at the right hand of God the Father interceding for His people, and awaiting the day of His return to the earth. Won’t you receive Him today as your Savior, Messiah and Lord of your life?

Pray this prayer and mean it with all your heart:

Dear heavenly Father, I thank you that You sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins. I repent of my sinful life; please forgive me. I invite Jesus to be my Savior and Lord of my life today. Help me to be the man (or woman) of God You want me to be. Amen.

If you just prayed this prayer, you have now been forgiven of all your sins. Start attending a Bible-believing church regularly where you can continue to grow in your Christian faith. If you need a Bible or other Christian literature, write us and we’ll send it to you absolutely free.

– Luis Josephus

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SCRIPTURE READING:

Matthew 14:22-33

Jesus Walks on the Water

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

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Faith That Pleases God

faith that pleases GodIf we truly love God with all our hearts, minds and souls, as Jesus commanded us, we will endeavor to please our heavenly Father in every area of our lives – how we speak, how we live our lives, and how we treat others.

However, the greatest way, I believe, we can please God is to acknowledge Him in our hearts and enjoy intimate communion with Him. Wherever we go and whatever we do, we should acknowledge Him in all our ways. The writer of Hebrews tells us:

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must [first of all] believe that He exists, and that He will [always] reward those who earnestly seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6

Before we came to saving faith in Jesus Christ, we wandered this earth in uncertainty, restlessness, and sinful choices. We had no lasting peace or joy in our lives, because we didn’t really know the true source of all peace and joy. We were alienated from God, and thereby the most miserable people. Then, one day, we heard the gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time. Our hearts opened up to the good news that God loves us, has a perfect plan for us, and wishes for us to turn our lives back to Him. He would forgive us of our rebellious ways and accept us back into His family – if we would acknowledge our transgressions. Like the story of the Prodigal Son, our heavenly Father would throw a big celebration in heaven on our behalf, in order to rejoice in our return. And He did.

Afterwards, we began living a new life of faith, our sins were washed away. We had peace with God for the first time in our lives. All our doubts and insecurities were dispelled. We now earnestly seek God everyday and trust in His promises through faith. We no longer feel condemned, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live according to the leading of God’s Spirit.

Isn’t wonderful to be saved today? Let us praise and thank our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who made it all possible. Let us continue to walk in the kind of faith that produces a changed life, a hope for eternity with God, and manifests the kind of love in our hearts that will please God and help draw others to Christ.

– Luis Josephus

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Scripture References:

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” – Romans 5”1

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:26

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” – Romans 8:1


 


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Are you really saved?

By Luis Josephus

“Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me?” – John 14:9

Come Unto JesusIt is quite possible to think you are a “Christian” and not really know the Lord Jesus in a personal way. Many might find that hard to believe, but it happens a lot. I can truthfully say that I had considered myself a Christian for most of my early life. As a boy I went to church regularly, prayed, learned my catechism, confessed my sins to the priest, and took the Holy Communion. But I really wasn’t saved. nor really knew the true Jesus of the Bible. I was practicing a religion without having a genuine relationship with God.

Calling yourself a “Christian” doesn’t automatically make you a Christian. Today, the term “Christian” has become more of a cultural label than a true testimony that Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, dwells in you.

Until I was spiritually “born again” and personally invited Jesus the Messiah to become my Savior and Lord, I didn’t really become a true Christian. When I had this life-altering experience at the age of 29, I didn’t really know God. Jesus came to dwell in my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit and my life was transformed for the better. I realized what I had been missing all of my life was a personal encounter with the Living God. I finally understood the words of Jesus to Nicodemus, a religious Jew and leader in his church, that he needed to be born again.

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. ‘Rabbi,’ he said, ‘we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.’ Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” – John 3:1-3

Like Nicodemus, you may consider yourself religious, or even believe you are already a Christian, but if you’re not sure that you are really spiritually born again, you’re probably not really saved. If you’re not sure, pray this prayer of faith right now and invite Jesus to become your Savior and Lord of your life:

“Dear Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God who came to die on the cross for the penalty of my sins. I repent of my sins and ask you to forgive me. I invite you today to become my Savior and the Lord of my life. I submit myself in obedience to you and ask you to take full control of me; change me into your image, and help me to be the kind of person you created me to be. Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer, email us with your complete postal address and let us know so that we can rejoice with you and welcome you into our Christian family. We will also send you some helpful study materials to enrich your Christian growth.

The Next Step

Now that you have received Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of your life, below are some necessary and practical steps you need to take to grow in your development as a Christian.

1. Prayer – It is important for you to spend time talking to God every day through prayer. Thank Him for your salvation, share your thoughts and concerns, and pray for the needs of others.

2. Bible Study – Personal Bible study is the primary way that God speaks to us and instructs us on how to live. As you read the Bible, ask God to show you which passages apply to your life. A good place to start your study is by reading the Gospel of John in its entirety.

3. Join a Good Church – Attend regularly and get involved with other Christians. As you get plugged into a local church, you will receive the teaching, encouragement, support, and fellowship you need to become a mature Christian.

4. Tell Others About Jesus – Share your new faith with others who need to know God. Invite family and friends to go to church with you.

5. Live a Godly Life – Make every effort to live a new life in Christ by practicing holiness, goodness, self-control, perseverance, kindness, and love.

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