Sunday, December 23, 2012

What is the true meaning of Christmas?

Question of the week from GotQuestion.org

Question: "What is the true meaning of Christmas?"

Answer: 
The true meaning of Christmas is love. John 3:16-17 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this incredible act of love.

The real Christmas story is the story of God's becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. Why did God do such a thing? Because He loves us! Why was Christmas necessary? Because we needed a Savior! Why does God love us so much? Because He is love itself (1 John 4:8). Why do we celebrate Christmas each year? Out of gratitude for what God did for us, we remember His birth by giving each other gifts, worshipping Him, and being especially conscious of the poor and less fortunate.

The true meaning of Christmas is love. God loved His own and provided a way—the only Way—for us to spend eternity with Him. He gave His only Son to take our punishment for our sins. He paid the price in full, and we are free from condemnation when we accept that free gift of love. "But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

Got Questions about Christmas?

Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

What is the true meaning of Christmas?

How should Christians respond to the War on Christmas?

Do some Christmas traditions have pagan origins?

Should we have a Christmas tree?

Does giving gifts take away from the true meaning of Christmas?

Why is the virgin birth so important?

Was Jesus born on December 25th?

What does the Bible say about the three wise men?

What should parents tell their children about Santa Claus?

What is an advent calendar? How does an advent calendar relate to Christmas?

Should a Christian celebrate Hanukkah (Christmaskah)?

What is Epiphany / Three Kings’ Day and should Christians celebrate it?

What was the star of Bethlehem?

Does Luke's claim that Jesus was born in Bethlehem at the time of Quirinius' census match the historical record?

Why did the Magi bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus?

Is it wrong to say “Xmas” instead of “Christmas”?

What year was Jesus Christ born?

Recommended Resource: The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel.


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Here's a reply via e-mail from CG:

"This is awesome! I'm printing this out to keep my special Christmas Box to read every year to share this many people who will listen!"

Jesus Was Born to Save You - Sermon #290

by Joseph Prince
You've often heard it said that Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season, but have you ever wondered what this really means? Jesus was the only baby born to die so that you might live—He was born to save you! Join Joseph Prince as he mines nuggets in God’s Word and shows you how every detail of Jesus’ birth points to His purpose and ability to save you. Be encouraged and strengthened to live life with confidence, peace and joy as you see why Jesus is the best when it comes to saving you from whatever you need saving from!

The Gift

by Chet

Whenever I'm driving my vehicle I'm in my secret place whereas I am alone with God and I talk to Him just like I would as if my earthly Dad were riding with me.  You see when I'm talking to God I'm actually talking to The Holy Spirit that lives in me and is always with me.  

The Holy Spirit is my best friend and He goes with me everywhere I go.  You may think I'm weird, but I talk to Him just as I would talk to my Dad in that I don't just pray to Him alone.  There are times when I pray, praise, and give thanks, but most of the time I talk to him as I would my best friend.

A week or so ago I was driving home and talking to Him about how I wanted to build a wooden bench for each of my three children so that every time they look at that bench and remember me thinking, "My Dad built that for me."  The Holy Spirit spoke in my spirit and said, "That's exactly why I created the heavens and the earth and the fullness thereof so that all my children with look at what I have done and remember me."  I remember saying, "I had never thought about how You did all this for us to enjoy, but more importantly for us to remember You, and to praise and worship You for all You have done for us."

The more I thought about this the more I realize how this world was created as a gift for us from The Father.  The gift of Jesus is the greatest gift, but He also gives us many other gifts that we take for granted.   I am ashamed to say I have not always realized that so many of the blessing I've received in life came from Him.  As I thought about how much He loves us I began to cry, not tears of sadness but tears of joy and worship because of His great love for us.

The Father has given us many gifts, but the greatest gift He ever gave us was Himself.  He sent a part of Himself, His Son, to save and redeem the world from death by taking our place and dying in our place, so that when we accept His Son as our Lord and Savior we are made in right standing (righteous) with The Father.

I pray that if you have not received God's free gift as yet then please take a few minutes to talk to Him.  You do not have to know any fancy prayers.  Just talk to Him and acknowledge that you are a sinner and worthy of hell, and that you believe that Jesus died for your sins so that you will not be doomed to hell.  Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to change your heart because you cannot change your heart.  Once you become a believer in Jesus your spirit man has been reborn, but the heart, the mind will and emotions, have to be trained and only the Holy Spirit can change you.  He changes you by the daily renewing of your mind through the study of what God has said in the scriptures.

I pray that you and your family will have a wonderful Christmas and if you don't know Jesus yet then I pray that you will accept the free gift that He gave for you.  I you have accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus today I would love to hear from you.  If you have a personal testimony that you want to share please feel free to send me an e-mail.  If you would like for me to share your story on this BLOG I would be glad to that for you.  If you want to share your story with me, but do not want it posted on the BLOG just let me know that you do not wanted posted.

Any testimonies that posted on this BLOG will not have your name mentioned, just your initials only.
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Here's an e-mail reply from subscriber CG:

"Thank you so much Chet for sharing  your beautiful gift of writing. I really needed this message.  I'm taking every word of your beautiful message to heart. God bless you!"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"What is the year 2012 Mayan prophecy?"

The following question of the week was reprinted from e-mail sent by GotQuestions.org:


Question: "What is the year 2012 Mayan prophecy?"

Answer: The ancient Mayans, in their “Long Count” calendar, had December 21, 2012, as the end of the calendar. This “end” of the Mayan calendar leads to many different interpretations. Some see it as nothing more than a reset, the beginning of a new cycle. Others see it as the date for the end of the world (or at least some type of universal catastrophe). So, what is the Mayan Long Count calendar, and does it have any relation to the end of the world?

The Mayans developed their own calendar (The Long Count) ca. 355 B.C. They were able to use their observations and mathematical prowess to calculate the future movements of stars across the sky. The result was that the Mayans discovered the effect of the earth’s wobbling as it spins on its axis. This wobbling rotation causes the stars’ movements to drift gradually in the sky (an effect called “precession”) in a 5,125-year cycle. The Mayans also discovered that once every cycle the dark band at the center of the Milky Way (called the “Galactic Equator”) intersects the Elliptical (the plane of the sun’s movement across the sky).

During the year of the intersection, the sun reaches its solstice (a brief moment when the sun’s position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer) on December 21 for the Northern Hemisphere and June 21 for the Southern Hemisphere. At that time, the solstice occurs at the same moment of the conjunction of the Galactic Equator with the Milky Way. The year this occurs (in relation to our Gregorian calendar) is A.D. 2012, and happened last on August 11, 3114 B.C. With Mayan mythology teaching that the sun is a god and the Milky Way is the gateway to life and death, the Mayans concluded that this intersection in the past must have been the moment of creation. Mayan hieroglyphs seem to indicate that they believed the next intersection (in 2012) would be some sort of end and a new beginning of a cycle.

All the so-called “Mayan prophecies of 2012” are nothing more than wildly speculative extrapolations, based on the yet-uncertain interpretations by scholars of Mayan hieroglyphs. The truth is that, apart from the astrological convergence, there is little indication that the Mayans prophesied anything specific regarding the events in their distant future. The Mayans were not prophets; they were not even able to predict their own cultural extinction. They were great mathematicians and accomplished sky watchers, but they were also a brutally violent tribal people with a primitive understanding of natural phenomena, subscribing to archaic beliefs and the barbaric practices of blood-letting and human sacrifice. They believed, for example, that the blood of human sacrifices powered the sun and gave it life.

There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that would present December 21, 2012, as the end of the world. The Bible nowhere presents the astronomical phenomena the Mayans pointed to as a sign of the end times. It would seem inconsistent of God to allow the Mayans to discover such an amazing truth while keeping the many Old Testament prophets ignorant of the timing of the events. In summary, there is absolutely no biblical evidence that the 2012 Mayan prophecy should be considered a reliable prediction of doomsday.

Also included in the ancient Mayan prediction that December 21, 2012, would be the end of the world are the following theories: our sun is a god; the sun is powered by the blood of human sacrifice; the creation moment occurred at 3114 B.C. (despite all evidence that it happened much earlier); and the visual alignment of stars has some significance for everyday human life. Like every other false religion, the Mayan religion sought to elevate the creation instead of the Creator Himself. The Bible tells us about such false worshipers: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25), and “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). To accept the Mayan 2012 prophecy is also to deny the clear biblical teaching about the end of the world. Jesus told us, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32).




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Monday, December 10, 2012

#288 - Can You Lose Your Salvation - Part 1

As a continuation of the phrase "Once Saved Always Saved" I found a podcast by Joseph Prince that helps to further explain that believers are people that are "Once Saved and Will Always Be Saved" and there also there other people that are spoken of in the Bible that are not saved, or shall I say they have never been saved.

"Is it possible for a Christian to lose his or her salvation? Those who say that it’s certainly possible point readily to the warning in Hebrews 6 as Bible proof. But what is Hebrews 6 really all about? Who are the people being warned here? Joseph Prince tackles these questions head on in this exciting message and sheds light on this controversial topic. This must-hear message will help you determine whether you live life with your eternal security hanging in the balance, or with your heart fully assured that heaven is your home.

Click here to watch the video: #288 - Can You Lose Your Salvation? Part 1

Welcome Home Series

My goal is to watch every sermon that Pastor Robert Morris has posted on his Gateway Church Sermon Center website at
http://gatewaypeople.com/sermons .  I started with the oldest series going forward using the Gateway APP on my iPad 2, starting July 1, 2006.

At present I'm up to the "Welcome Home" series dated October 20, 2007.  This is an eight week series based on Luke 15:11-32 the Prodigal Son.

This is one of the deepest teachings that you will ever hear.  One lesson in particular I want to you watch is so deep you may have to watch it more than once for it all to soak in.  Why is this lesson so important?  You may remember I touched on the phrase "Once Saved Always Saved"a few months ago.  There are some pastors that teach that a believers can lose their salvation based some scriptures that seem to infer this teaching.  The truth is this type of teaching is a manipulation form of preaching, a scare tactic, because some pastors are afraid that believers will go hog wild and sin all the want to if they knew they cannot lose their salvation.  The sad truth is that these pastors cause their sheep to live in a state of doubt and fear, which opens the door for demons to oppress the believer.  This type of pastor actually helps demons keep the believer from doing that what God has called them to do.

Now there are also people that claim to be a Christian, or at least thought they were saved, but actually weren't saved in the first place.  These are the people that go to church and do all the right things, but never allowed Jesus to make a real change in their hearts.  These are the people that are religious and may have done wonders in the church like casting out demons and prophesying in Jesus Name, but they were never saved.  These are the people that Jesus spoke of about when He said, "I never knew you."

I trust you will watch each one of the "Welcome Home" videos because Pastor Robert does a wonderful job of explaining the relationship of the true believer with Christ.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

REAL and REAL Stores

I just finished watching two series by Pastor Robert Morris that I highly recommend that you watch.  The first series is titled "REAL" and Pastor Robert's way of explaining the Bible brings the scriptures to life with an understanding that I've never had before.  To find this sermon series go to the Gateway Church website at http://gatewaypeople.com/sermons/ , click on sermons, and then scroll down until you find REAL.  The first sermon in the series is titled "Relevant Fishers" and that can be found at http://gatewaypeople.com/sermons/65417

After you complete the above series you will then want to watch the next series titled "REAL Stories" because this series is personal testimonies by Pastor Robert, Jimmy Evan, James Robinson, and Clark Whitten.  I loved each one of the testimonies, but when James Robinson told his story I could not help but cry like a baby.

I pray that you will take the time to watch these two series and also subscribe to Pastor Robert podcast on iTunes.  I would love to hear from you - please share your thoughts after watching one or more of these two series.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Satan Has Asked For You

By Chet Nowlen

I'm sure most all of my readers have heard that Jesus predicted Peter would deny knowing Jesus before His arrest and it happened just as Jesus said it would.  I've read the scripture below many times before, but I missed one very important statement Jesus said to Peter.  Notice Jesus said, " . . . Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat."  I remembered the phrase "sift you as wheat" but I missed the fact that Satan had asked for permission to attack Peter.  

Who had Satan asked for permission from, Jesus?  The Bible doesn't specifically say who he asked permission from.  It could have been Jesus or it could have been God.  We do know that Jesus knew about it and Jesus stated that He has prayed for Peter that his faith should not fail.  Did Peter's faith fail?  I think the way Jesus worded His prayer for Peter, Peter's faith did not completely fail.  Even though fear over powered Peter's faith three times and he denied Jesus three times Peter never rejected Jesus because he knew who Jesus was and his faith in Jesus was not shaken.

Jesus knew Peter would not depart from the faith and He knew Peter would come back to his senses and regain his courage again because that is what Jesus prayed to happen.  Why did Jesus pray for this to happen.  Jesus knew Peter would return to the faith and He prayed for Peter to strengthen the other disciples.  It happened just as Jesus had prayed.

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

31 "And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”

We have a natural tendency to look down on Peter's time of weakness and think to ourselves we would never deny Jesus.  The sad truth is we have all been guilty of denying Jesus when we fail to share Jesus with those we come in contact with, therefore we are just as guilty as Peter.  The good news is Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter, our counselor, our strength and our power.  Like Jesus' praying for Peter the Holy Spirit prays for us, to Jesus and to our Heavenly Father, to strengthen us in order that we may boldly testify to others that we know Jesus.

Lord, I pray for the opportunity to share my story of why I follow you to those you send my way.  I pray that your Holy Spirit will give me the words to speak as I share my faith.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Greatest Hindrance of Worship

Robert Morris is one of the best preacher/bible teachers that I have every watched as he explains what the Bible means in easy to understand words that anyone can follow.

I am currently watching his series title "Beyond" and I have just finished "The Greatest Hindrance of Worship".  I highly recommend that you view the entire series because Pastor Robert teaches things about worship that I have never understood before.

I am certain that you too will be blessed and encouraged as you watch each one of these valuable lessons on worship.  I would love to hear from you if this sermon or series has opened your eyes to what it truly means to worship.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Did Jesus Have A Job?

By Chet Nowlen

In my last article I talked about a "Career Opportunity" and who we, as believers in Jesus Christ, work for.  Today we will take a few minutes to talk about who Jesus worked for and what His job was.  Obviously Jesus worked for His Father in family business of creating the earth and heavenly realm around us.  God created man is His own image, for His good pleasure, and the purpose of managing His creation as a servant or slave to Him.

As you know something terrible happened which caused the management title to be transferred from man to Satan.  Everyone knows this story so we will not go into that detail at this time.  What I do want to talk about is Jesus to become another man servant to replace the one that failed.  He volunteered to become a servant to mankind and to sacrifice His human life in order to redeem us from the curse of death brought on the failure of the first servant.  One cannot take His sacrifice for granted because if we do we will perish in hell for eternity.

Jesus' early career was as a carpenter's son helping his step-father build various items the people of the time needed.  It could have been houses, furniture, and even tools, but not much detail is given about this.  Around the age of thirty Jesus changed His career from carpenter to full-time ministry as a servant for The Kingdom of God.  Luke's Gospel chapter 4 records that after Jesus was tempted by Satan for 40-days Satan departed from Him for a season.  After that Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus announced what His new career was when He went to the synagogues to teach.  Jesus' job was a preacher and I think more importantly His job was to teach.

In Luke 4:18, 19 Jesus quoted a prophecy that was written about Himself which explains what His job or commission was all about:

Luke 4:18-19

New King James Version (NKJV)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,[a]
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
As we learned in our previous lesson we have a commission or job to do as well.  Our job, as followers of Chris,t is to die to ourselves and our selfish desires and take up our cross and follow Him by ministering to the needs of others just as He did.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Career Opportunity

by Chet Nowlen

Are you looking for a career opportunity that will fulfill your destiny?  I am ashamed to admit that I had never been satisfied with my employment and was always looking for a better opportunity.  I always felt that I was better than my current employment which caused me to feel unsatisfied all the time.


One day I felt The Lord speaking to my heart.  He asked, "What is your current job?"  I said, "I am in commissioned sales."  He asked,  "Where did you get that job?"  I replied to Him that I was unemployed and applied for the job online and was hired.  He asked again, "Where did you get that job?"  I was rather confused as to why He would ask the same question again and then I realized He is trying to let me know that He provided the job.


The shameful fact is God had provided all of my jobs and I had been dissatisfied with every one of them because I could find so much fault in each one.  I had no idea that He was my provider in every area of my life.  When I realized this I was very ashamed because He had placed me where He wanted me to be for a specific reason.  My current career is a difficult one and sometimes causes me to feel beaten up and abused, but the good news is that when I realized that even though I work for an employer I am actually working for God.  I am His servant and I work in an area where He has placed me for His purpose and not mine.


My whole attitude about work has changed and I give God thanks everyday for the job He has given me.  I am no longer looking for a new "Career Opportunity" as I am right where He wants me to be.  Why did He provide this job for me?  He revealed to me that my job, that He provided, is His way of providing for my daily needs.


Jesus explained it this way; “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? ..."  Matthew 6:25-34 NKJV

This scripture had always left me a bit confused because I couldn't figure out how I was not supposed to worry or care about my life.  After I realized that it was God who provided and not me was I able to understand what Jesus is saying.  My career is as a servant of God to do His will (not mine), and since I work for Him its His job to provide for my daily needs of food, drink, clothing, and for the health of my body by trusting in Him to provide.

Career Opportunity

Have you been looking for a new career opportunity?  Jesus offers us a career opportunity and it is a commissioned only opportunity as follows;

"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.  NKJV

Should you decide to accept this commissioned job (The Great Commission) that Jesus is offering you then you will resign from your current position as master over your life and give Him your life to manage and control.  As an employee of your new master you have been called to work for an employer for the income to meet your daily needs.  While working as a servant for Jesus, at your place of employment, you have been called to make disciples where ever you go.  Your commission is to be a witness by the life you live as a servant of Jesus and to make more disciples through the fruit of your lips.  Most people are afraid of this scripture because we are afraid of preaching to other people because we are afraid of rejection.  The good news is as a disciple we are not all called to be preach.  Some are, but most of us are called to be a disciple, that is to make more disciples through sharing of our testimony and by the life we live in front of others.  

We often think of "The Great Commission" as evangelism and that is a part of the calling, however, Jesus did not call all of us to be evangelist or pastors.  He did call us to be a witness.  As a evangelist or a pastor you often see the results of your preaching.  As a witness you may or may not see the results of you words (fruit of your lips) first hand.  Sometimes you may feel like you are not really making a difference.  The good news is you do not have to worry about whether you are making a difference as you see that's not your job.  Your job is to be a witness by planting seeds where ever you go.  It's His job to deal with the hearts of those we witness to and those that we pray for.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Words - The Power of the Tongue

My wife and I record Pastor Robert Morris' sermons on TBN every week and this week he's teaching on the power that words have in our lives.  This week's sermon is "The Value of Words" and is the first in an eight week study.  I would like for you to watch this first sermon as he talks about seven of the most important words we can say to one another which is, "I was wrong, can you forgive me?"  These words are so important because when we have hurt one another though words a wall has been created between the parties involved.  When we confess to one another "I was wrong, can you forgive me?", tears down the wall - that is if we truly forgive.  

This principle is especially necessary in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  If we feel we have strayed away because of sin is the perfect time to confess our sins and tell Him, "I was wrong, can you forgive me?"  Well we know that The Father always forgives, but we have to ask Him first.  After we ask Him then by faith we are made righteous again through Jesus.

This principle is also important in our relationship with our spouse, our children, and each other.  We must forgive one another as we would have God forgive us.  In the Lord's Prayer notice the words, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us." This means that we are asking God to forgive us in the same manor as we have forgiven others.  Wow!  This changes our perspective because if God were to have forgiven us in the same manner we have forgiven others we would be in trouble.  Thank God for the way He forgives.  We tend to half heartedly forgive whereas God completely forgives.  This is something I would like for you to mediate on today.

Here is the link to watch this sermon online The Value of Words - we also download Robert's podcast sermons on iTunes to watch on our iPhones and iPads.  I watch his sermons everyday and I would like for you too have a daily dose of Robert's teachings.  It will open your eyes to truths of the scriptures that will give you such a blessing you will crave for more.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Money, Debt, and The Bible


by Chet Nowlen

Most people are not aware that Jesus talked more about man's relationship with money and salvation  than He talked heaven and hell.  There is a very important correlation between our relationship with Him and how we manage the money He provides us with and what we do with it to help others.

I have found an outstanding podcast regarding this subject on iTunes which I highly recommend that you give a listen to.  It's called "Money, Debt, and The Bible" by Pastor Tim Lucas.  I think you will love this teaching as it is an eye opening wake up call for all believers.

Description:  Pastor Tim Lucas of LiquidChurch.com tackles dollars, debt, and consumerism in the poplar message series "Why the Devil Takes MasterCard: Money, Debt, and your Stuff."  Discover what's in your wallet and learn to manage money God's way.

There are six different podcast lessons and each one is approximately one hour long.  I guarantee that you will be blessed and challenged to rethink your attitude about money.

Please send me an e-mail to let me know when you have listened to the first lesson "Affluenza".  I would love to hear your thoughts on this teaching mywelldone@me.com

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Author of Confusion?


By Chet Nowlen

There are scriptures that leave many believers confused because they seem to contradict what they have been taught in their particular denominational churches.  I'm not saying these certain scriptures are contradictions, but I am saying that the way certain scriptures are lumped together seem to explain a particular theology or belief that some are teaching. This is one of the main reasons that there are so many different Christian denominations and doctrines which causes so much confusion.  I think this is the reason some pastors have steered away from certain subjects in their sermons because these gray areas of interpretation cause serious debate within the church.

If you were to go to any denominational church and ask ten different people most any biblical question you would get ten different answers.  The same thing is true if you were to go to ten different denominational churches and ask one person the same biblical question at each church you would again get ten different answers.  Most all of the denominations agree for the most part, but there are some differences of opinion of interpretation of particular scriptures that cause the multiple denominations and division among the total church body.

Is there one denomination that is more right than another?  Should be go to non-denominational churches instead?  How do we know who is right and who is wrong?  Who is the author of all this confusion?

To find the answer to these questions I went to AskQuestions.org


Question: "Why is there so much confusion regarding the teachings of the Bible?"

Answer:
God gave us the Bible to teach us about Him and His ways, and since God is not a God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), any and all confusion must come from the destructive forces of the world, the flesh, and the devil. The “world” refers to ungodly world system and its people who do not understand or care about the Word of God; the “flesh” is the lingering sinful nature Christians possess that corrupts their godly walk; and the devil refers to Satan and his demons who twist God’s Word, often while masquerading as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Each of these forces can act individually or in unison in an attempt to confuse people about the Word of God. But, most confusion results from our own laziness and/or false teaching. Ultimately, and most tragically, confusion about the Bible can lead to a false hope of salvation. And that is Satan’s ultimate goal. When Satan tempted Jesus, he used misinterpretations of the Word of God for his attacks. Satan does the same thing today, taking a truth of Scripture and misapplying it. Satan is skilled at twisting the Word of God just enough so that it produces disastrous consequences, while still sounding like the Word of God.

Sometimes confusion over what the Bible teaches originates from poor Bible translations, or even intentionally distorted by translations. More often, though, confusion results from a lack of serious study among believers and the false preachers, teachers, and writers (2 Corinthians 11:12-13) who are found on radio, television and the Internet. These false prophets take even proper translations and, through both ignorance and design, twist and distort the Word of God to promote their own agenda or appeal to the thinking of the world. Instead of lazy Bible study and relying on others to teach us the Word of God, we should study God’s Word diligently and rely on the Holy Spirit. He will open the heart to God’s truth concerning Himself and His creation, prayer, worship, Christian love, our battle with Satan, personal conduct, church conduct, and achieving a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Most deadly, confusion is rampant regarding the truth of the gospel. While Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth and the only life (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), today many who call themselves evangelical Christians believe that heaven can be gained by other ways and other religions. But in spite of apparent confusion, the sheep will still hear the voice of the Shepherd and will follow only Him (John 10:27). Those who do not belong to the Shepherd “will not endure sound doctrine, but they will heap up teachers to themselves according to their own lusts, tickling the ear” (2 Timothy 4:3). God has given us His Spirit and the command to preach biblical truth with humility and patience, in and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2), and to study to show ourselves approved, workers who correctly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) until the Lord Jesus returns and puts an end to all confusion.

So who is the author of confusion?  Is God the author of our confusion?  No, God is not the author of confusion as stated in 1 Corinthians 14:33 "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." NKJV  If God is not the author of confusion then Satan is the author.  Confusion causes fear and doubt.  What did God give us to combat the confusion?  "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

There is a spiritual warfare going on around us that we cannot see with the naked eye, but we can see and feel the effects of it.  Our task is to fight the enemy's attacks by finding that relationship with Jesus that brings us power to overcome in this worldly system, love for one another, and a sound mind that is able to discern the attacks of the enemy.

Sin Unto Death


by Chet Nowlen

What constitutes sin unto to death?  Is it blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?  Is it the rejection of Jesus, or is it both?  Can a Christian commit a sin unto death?  Can a Christian that commits a sin unto death be saved again?


For tough questions like this one I recommend the following question and answer found at GotQuestions.org:

Question: "What is the sin unto death?"

Answer:
First John 5:16 is one of the most difficult verses in the New Testament to interpret. “If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that.” Of all the interpretations out there, none seems to answer all the questions concerning this verse. The best interpretation may be found by comparing this verse to what happened to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-10 (see also 1 Corinthians 11:30). The “sin unto death” is deliberate, willful, continuous, unrepentant sin. God, in His grace, allows His children to sin without immediately punishing them. However, there comes a point when God will no longer allow a believer to continue in unrepentant sin. When this point is reached, God sometimes decides to punish a Christian, even to the point of taking his or her life.

That is what He did in Acts 5:1-10 and 1 Corinthians 11:28-32. This is perhaps what Paul described to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. We are to pray for Christians who are sinning. However, there may come a time when God will no longer hear prayers for a sinning believer for whom He has determined that judgment is due. It is difficult to realize there are times when it is just too late to pray for a person. God is good and just, and we will just have to let Him decide when it is too late.

Unpardonable Sin


As a follow up to the previous article regarding unforgive-ness I think every believer should read and mediate on and understand the scriptures below.  The following is from Got Questions.org

Question: "What is the unpardonable sin / unforgivable sin?"

Answer:
The case of the “unpardonable sin/unforgivable sin” or “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” is mentioned in Mark 3:22-30 and Matthew 12:22-32. The term “blasphemy” may be generally defined as “defiant irreverence.” We would apply the term to such sins as cursing God or willfully degrading things relating to Him. It is also attributing some evil to God, or denying Him some good that we should attribute to Him. This case of blasphemy, however, is a specific one called “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” in Matthew 12:31. In this passage, the Pharisees, having witnessed irrefutable proof that Jesus was working miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit, claimed instead that He was possessed by the demon Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24). In Mark 3:30, Jesus is very specific about what exactly they did to commit “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”

This blasphemy then has to do with accusing Jesus Christ (in person, on earth) of being demon-possessed. There are other ways to blaspheme the Holy Spirit (such as lying to Him, as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-10), but the accusation against Jesus was the blasphemy that was unpardonable. This specific unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be duplicated today.

The only unpardonable sin today is that of continued unbelief. There is no pardon for a person who dies in unbelief. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The only condition in which someone would have no forgiveness is if he/she is not among the “whoever” that believes in Him. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). To reject the only means of salvation is to condemn oneself to an eternity in hell because to reject the only pardon is, obviously, unpardonable.

Many people fear they have committed some sin that God cannot or will not forgive, and they feel there is no hope for them, no matter what they do. Satan would like nothing better than to keep us laboring under this misconception. The truth is that if a person has this fear, he/she needs only to come before God, confess that sin, repent of it, and accept God’s promise of forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This verse assures us that God is ready to forgive any sin—no matter how heinous—if we come to Him in repentance. If you are suffering under a load of guilt today, God is waiting with His arms open in love and compassion for you to come to Him. He will never disappoint or fail to pardon those who do.

Unforgiveness

By Chet Nowlen

Do you know of any Christians that feel unsaved because of their past? It's a good thing our salvation is not based on feelings because our feelings are like the waves of the sea as they are tossed around and change frequently. I think the problem is the enemy comes against the believer with thoughts of doubt. The enemy whispers these evil thoughts to our mind which is the center of our will and our emotions. When we receive the thought and meditate on it then fear, doubt and unbelief creep in causing one to believe a lie from the enemy. When this happens we have crossed over from faith to the opposite of faith, which is fear.

Several times Jesus said to, "Take no thought". He is saying to reject the thoughts fear, doubt, unbelief, and worry from the enemy, to not receive them in your mind and to not meditate on his lies. Unfortunately some believers find themselves in torment because they cannot forgive themselves, therefore they do not believe God has forgiven them either.

The scriptures speak clearly about the importance of forgiving others in regards as ones salvation. I think that the forgiveness of one's self is just as important as forgiving others. You see unforgiveness of one's self is unbelief in the that Jesus shed His blood and died for sins.

Here's a better explanation found at Got Questions.org

Question: "What does the Bible say about forgiving yourself?"


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Are You Good Enough?

"Are You Good Enough?" is the third lesson in Pastor Robert Morris' teaching "The Game Changer" series.

The reason I wanted to share "The Game Changer" series with my readers is because Pastor Robert's teaching helps to explain and eliminate some of the debate and confusion as to whether one is saved or not saved.

Here is a portion of the discussion guide from this weeks lesson to better explain why this lesson is so important for every believe and not yet believer to understand:

"The game-changing  question  for  this  week  is:  “Are  you  good  enough?”  Many   people think if the overall good we do in our lives outweighs the bad, then when we die, we’ll go to heaven.

We learn from the story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17–27 that being a good person is not enough to get us into heaven. The rich young ruler had been a  good  person  and  followed  many  of  God’s  commandments  since  childhood.   Yet Jesus said he was still lacking what God required of him. Only God is good. No human has ever been good enough (Romans 3:12).

Jesus asked the rich young ruler to sell everything and give his possessions to the poor. He  required  this  because  the  man’s  wealth  was  what  kept  him  from  a total commitment to God. God requires the same from each of us: to take up our cross, deny ourselves and follow Jesus. We have to ask ourselves if there is anything keeping us from totally committing everything to God, such as our wealth, a relationship, sin, pride or a habit.

The good news is that Jesus loved the rich young ruler, even as he struggled with his total commitment to God. Jesus loved the man enough to show him that he  couldn’t  save  himself.  He  loved  him enough to show him the truth about what was in his heart—that he loved his wealth more than he loved God. Jesus loves us the same way. He calls us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him because it’s impossible for us to save ourselves. "

Sermon Notes

Discussion Guide

Have You Been Born Again?

"Have You Been Born Again?" is Pastor Robert Morris' second teaching in series "The Game Changer".  This lesson is any eye opener as it reveals that there are those that think they have been saved but have not been saved as yet.

Sermon notes
Discussion Guide

Who's in Charge



Pastor Robert Morris has started a new series titled The Game Changer and Who's in Charge is the first of the series.  I highly recommend that you watch this first sermon for a better understanding of:  





Who's In Charge

Throughout this week, ask the Lord to show you any area of your heart or life where you need to “take your shoes off.” Repent of pride, fear, unbelief, disobedience, etc. Surrender everything to Him.

Prayer from the sermon notes: Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You gave Your life in exchange for ours. We praise You, because You are the Most High God, worthy of all that we have to give. We choose Your side today, and we yield our lives to You. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Eternal Security

By Chet Nowlen

Today we are continuing our study of "Once Saved Always Saved" and how we know for sure that we have what is known as "Eternal Security".  The reason I am continuing on this subject is because I have met so many believers that are just not sure whether they are saved or not because of sermons that remind them that they are still sinners therefore they do not feel worthy of salvation.  Our salvation is not based on whether we feel saved or not.  It is by faith in Christ and the price He paid for us.  

The focus scriptures for today are from the 1st Chapter in the Letter to the Ephesians, especially Ephesians 1:13,14.  These two verses tells us that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise who is our guarantee. The believer need not be confused about their salvation because we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and this seal is a guarantee of who we are in Christ Jesus.  Is the believer still a sinner?  At the believer's new birth his spirit man was changed into a new creature a new man.  The old man is dead, but the old sinful nature still resides in the flesh and in constant battle with the new man is Christ Jesus.

The fleshly part of the old nature still has its carnal lusts and this is where the spirit man needs help.  Because of fleshly lusts we find ourselves doing things we don't want to do and saying things we don't want to say. (Romans 7:15:25)  Only the Holy Spirit can help us overcome the flesh because with our spirit and our mind (will and emotions) we serve the law of God, but the flesh still fights to serve the law of sin which is death.  Romans 8:11 "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." NKJV  Notice neither God or Jesus raised Jesus from death.  It was the Holy Spirit who had the power to raise Him from the dead.  If we have the Holy Spirit living in us He also has the power to help us overcome the cravings of the carnal nature.

I mentioned Ephesians 1:13,14 and I kind of hate to take scriptures out of context so please read all of Ephesian Chapter 1 as follows:


Greeting
1 "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Redemption in Christ
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[b] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[c] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." NKJV

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lost Again

By Chet Nowlen

In continuation on our study of the phrase "Once Saved Always Saved" I have discovered that the pulpit has not done a very good job of educating its flock the truth of their salvation experience.  The pulpit has been a source of confusion for many church members as they are uncertain if they are truly saved or not saved.  They have doubts in their minds because the enemy is constantly whispering words in their hearts ears, i.e., "Look at what you have done, you are a sinner and you are not really saved. 'You are just playing church."

Here's an example of a young person's prayer in which he is asking God to send Jesus back to save him again:

"Dear God, I am a sinner...a Christian sinner. I have strayed from your path. I am no longer going by your word. And because of it, I am LOST again. I am using you to convince myself and others that I belong to you, when I'm not. I am sorry. I repent. And I want to come back to you, and walk with you for the rest of eternity. Help me find the way back to you. Send Jesus to save me. I want him living in my heart and running my life. Whatever I lose from following you is just garbage anyway. Amen."

The above prayer is quite common among believers today because the pulpit has failed the congregation by not teaching the scriptures.  Believers have express to me the same uncertainty as the person in the prayer above.  This person felt lost again - was he lost again or did he just feel lost and separated?  "Once Saved Always Saved" says that if he's lost he never was saved in the first place.  I believe that he is a Christian and like most all of us we have, as he said, "Strayed from the path."  The feelings of lost is a feeling of separation from our Heavenly Father.  The Father didn't leave the person praying did.  What he's feeling is the tugging of the Holy Spirit drawing him back into a relationship with The Father.

He mistakenly thinks he's lost again because of the lies the enemy is whispering in his heart. The enemy is telling him he's lost and unworthy of God love.  There is no need for Jesus to come back to earth to save the man as Jesus paid the price once and forever.  He does not need to die again and again just because we stray or we sin.  When the believer sins, which we all do from time to time, our salvation is not canceled.  Jesus was perfect and never sinned.  When Jesus went to the cross He exchanged His perfect sinless nature for our sinful nature.  He took on our sins past, present, and future once for all.  He took on our sin and gave us His sinless nature.  He changed us from unrighteous in God's eye to righteous in God's eyes. 

As long as we are in the fleshly body we live in we are still subject to the cravings and desires of the flesh.  We are not perfect, but Jesus is.  We are perfect in Him no matter if we stay.  When we stray and we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin.

Chapter 2 of the Letter to the Ephesians does great job of explaining of what we were before we knew Jesus and what we are now in Christ Jesus:

"And you [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins
In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God].
Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind.
But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us,
Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved ([a]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).
And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us [b]joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved ([c]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]
10 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), [d]recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
11 Therefore, remember that at one time you were Gentiles (heathens) in the flesh, called Uncircumcision by those who called themselves Circumcision, [itself a [e]mere mark] in the flesh made by human hands.
12 [Remember] that you were at that time separated (living apart) from Christ [excluded from all part in Him], utterly estranged and outlawed from the rights of Israel as a nation, and strangers with no share in the sacred compacts of the [Messianic] promise [with no knowledge of or right in God’s agreements, His covenants]. And you had no hope (no promise); you were in the world without God.
13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were [so] far away, through (by, in) the blood of Christ have been brought near.
14 For He is [Himself] our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both [Jew and Gentile] one [body], and has broken down (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us,
15 By abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled]; that He from the two might create in Himself one new man [one new quality of humanity out of the two], so making peace.
16 And [He designed] to reconcile to God both [Jew and Gentile, united] in a single body by means of His cross, thereby killing the mutual enmity and bringing the feud to an end.
17 And He came and preached the glad tidings of peace to you who were afar off and [peace] to those who were near.
18 For it is through Him that we both [whether far off or near] now have an introduction (access) by one [Holy] Spirit to the Father [so that we are able to approach Him].
19 Therefore you are no longer outsiders (exiles, migrants, and aliens, excluded from the rights of citizens), but you now share citizenship with the saints (God’s own people, consecrated and set apart for Himself); and you belong to God’s [own] household.
20 You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself the chief Cornerstone.
21 In Him the whole structure is joined (bound, welded) together harmoniously, and it continues to rise (grow, increase) into a holy temple in the Lord [a sanctuary dedicated, consecrated, and sacred to the presence of the Lord].
22 In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you yourselves also are being built up [into this structure] with the rest, to form a fixed abode (dwelling place) of God in (by, through) the Spirit." Amplified Version