Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You shall have no other gods before Me

Jesus is knocking on the door
of your heart.
In Exodus 20 God gave the children of Israel Ten Commandments as a guide to live by.  Why did the people need a set of rules?  I think God loves people and He wants people to love Him in return.  God wanted the people to know that they need Him.  God gave them a set of rules to follow knowing they could not live up to all of these rules completely.  God's desire was for them to depend on Him because the rules were more than they could possibly follow without breaking one or more of the everyday.  I think God  needed the people to pray to Him everyday for help.

Take a moment to read Exodus 20 - Pay particular attention to the first commandment, "You shall have no other gods before me."  All the commandments are equally important, but I believe this commandment is first for a specific reason.  The reason is because He, our Heavenly Father, must be first place in our lives over everything else this life has to offer.

Did you know that there are Bible toting church going individuals who worship other gods or idols and do not even know it?  You cannot serve two masters - the Bible says you will worship one and hate the other - Luke 16:13 .  Unfortunately church goers have placed the worship of these idols as more important than worship of our Heavenly Father.  God is a very jealous God and will not tolerate worship of other gods.  He must be first place in our lives or we are not His at all.  Check out these scriptures regarding His jealousy - Jealous God

So how can one know if we are worshiping idols or false gods and not know it?  We can know whom we serve by checking to see if we have any idols (additions) that we have not been able to overcome.  There are some idols (sins) we enjoy so much we do not want to surrender them.  Jesus overcame the world and He expects us to also overcome sin and the world.  As believers we are tested often in life.  Why are we tested?  We are like precious metals in that we are tested with fire to see if we are truly His.  " . . . that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, . . . " 1 Peter 1:7 NKJV

The Parable of the Sower - Notice what happens to the unfruitful

Mark 4:18 NKJB "18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful."  The bad news is any tree that does not bear fruit will be cut down and burned.  

Matthew Chapter 7 NKJV - Notice the scriptures that are highlighted

Do Not Judge

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."

Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

The Narrow Way

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.  ( I believe only the True Believers will find it. )

You Will Know Them by Their Fruits

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Build on the Rock

24 Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.26 But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

To bear good fruit the true follower of Jesus does all that Jesus says to do.  Jesus said in Luke 9:23-26, - "23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels."

In a previous lessons I made the statement "Once Saved Always Saved", which caused a stir among believers that believe that a believer can lose their salvation based on some scriptures that seem to confirm that theory.  Let me clear this up by saying that the "True Believer" cannot lose their salvation because they do not willfully and deliberately "practice lawlessness" as mentioned in verse 23 above.  Now the church attender that falsely thinks they are saved is who Jesus was talking about in verses 21-23.  They can even be pastors, priests, deacons, ushers, and church members.  They appear to be holy by their words and their works, but they have deceived themselves.  The secretly practice lawlessness and you will know them by the fruit of their lips and what is most important in their lives:
  • They are proud and arrogant.
  • They are quick to anger and find it easy to ridicule those that are not like them.
  • They willing hold grudges and are full of unforgive-ness, bitterness and strife
  • They are greedy, selfish, and seek self pleasure
  • They love entertainment more than God - They enjoy being entertained in church with music and funny sermons.  They love movies, TV shows, and sports more than anything else.
  • They do not have time to spend with the Lord in prayer.
  • They do not have time to read the scriptures searching for what God has to say to them that day.
  • Their god is there stomach: Philippians 3:18-20 NKJV  - "18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, . . . "
  • They are overwhelmed by the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust for other things. (See the Parable of the sower above)
God will let you do what you want to do if that's what you want

28 "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, . . ." Romans 1:28-30 NKJV

There are many more scriptures that speak of the different kinds of behaviors and you would think the is speaking of non-churched people, but this includes the churched well.  How do I know this?  Is because many in the church have never had a major change in their life since their so-called conversion.  Many of whom accepted Christ at a young age, but never allowed the Holy Spirit to help them grow in Christ.  They actually rejected the growth in Christ as they chose the enjoy the pleasures of the world over taking up their cross and following Jesus daily.

What are the fruits of the True Believers?
  • The true Christian is obedient to God by being faithful by tithing 10% of their income before tax and on every payday.  Why is this important?  Because the money we earn is not ours,  God is the one that provided our job and all He asks for is 10% and the rest is ours.
  • The true Christian gives above their tithe, which is called offerings.  I don't think this giving is necessarily a certain percent, but rather what the Holy Spirit will guide you when and where to give offerings.
  • In Matthew 25 Jesus gives us some specific examples of how the believer bears fruit  that to me really explains it all.  I'm going to close this lesson with the following scripture from Matthew 25: 31-46 NKJV
The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Lord O Heavenly Father I pray that everyone that reads this article will come to know for sure whether they are Yours or not.  I pray they will desire to be with You forever into eternal life.  Lord I pray that if anyone reading this prayer does not know Jesus I pray that they have seen their need to know Him in a real and personal way.  I pray they will seek counsel with other believers and if they don't know any believers to talk with I pray that they will contact me as I desire to pray with any who desires to know Jesus.  In Jesus name, AMEN

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saved by Grace - Part 3

Jesus - The Overcomer
Well I must say this followup to "Saved by Grace" is a difficult one to write because there is a misunderstanding of what I was saying in Part 1.  There is a debate among believers because of the confusion of the difference between grace and works.  People try to mix works and grace in order to be saved and go to heaven.

We are saved by grace alone and not of works as we cannot work our way to heaven, or earn heaven by works.  However, the point that needs to be cleared up here is this; because we are saved by grace we do have some specific duties or obligations that Jesus requires.  These works or duties do not save us but they do benefit us in eternity because our faithfulness in performing what Jesus wants us to do in our lives and builds rewards for us in heaven.

In my study of just Matthew's Gospel I found some key phrases that are the keys to our success in life and treasures in heaven.  

Below are just a few examples of what Jesus said:

  1. rejoice - Matt. 5:12, 
  2. let your light shine - Matt 5:16, 
  3. agree - Matt 5:23, 
  4. love your enemies, 
  5. do good, and pray - Matt 5:44, 
  6. go into your prayer closet and pray - Matt 6:6, 
  7. seek first the kingdom of God - Matt 6:33
  8. remove the plank from your own eye - Matt 7:4
  9. ask - Matt 7:7
  10. seek - Matt 7:7
  11. knock - Matt 7:7
  12. “Therefore whoever hears these sayings ofMine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: - Matt 7:24

Mary (mother of Jesus) gives the key to everything when she said, "Do whatever He tells you to do."  There are many other words of Jesus that are the roadmap to our joy and our success on earth and rewards in heaven.  Your job is to study the scriptures for yourself and be obedient to Jesus' words.  Doing what Jesus tells you to do may seem like works to some, but these works are not done in order to earn salvation.  They are done because you are saved and you serve Jesus by being obedient to Him and what He tells us to do in His Word.  

To work is to do a job that one expects to be paid for.  Work for God does not obligate God to pay us.  We cannot earn salvation by doing, but by being.  This is the misconception that Jesus talked about in Matthew 7:22 NKJV  "Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?" This group of people is example of church members that thought they were saved by their works they did for God.  Work does not grant salvation.  God is not under any obligation to pay or reward you with heaven because of work.

Now, I need to clear something up about grace.  Being saved by grace (Jesus is grace) does not give one a free license to willfully practice sin, as some may believe.  If you are truly saved you resist sin and not make a practice of sin.  However, the believer is constantly under attack by demons and the closer we get to God in our relationship with Him the more we are attacked.  

The Bad News

The bad news is the believer does sometimes stumble and fall into sin.   I agree that we should repent and confess our sins daily because unconfessed sin does damage to our effectiveness for the kingdom of heaven.  It hinders our witness to the lost and worldly people around us, hinders answers to our prayers, and it opens the door for demons to attack us emotionally and physically therefore making us ineffective in our ministry.

Jesus said in John 5:14 " . . . Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”  I know this quote was taken out of context, but I think Jesus is giving us a key to success and failure in our walk with Him.  The key is the believer must not sin or a worse thing can happen to you.  What's the worst thing?  Some would say the believer is a sinner and will go to hell if he doesn't confess that sin.  As I stated earlier I do agree that the believer should repent and confess that sin, however Jesus' warning to the believer is that sin opens the door for Satan and his demons to wreak havoc in the life of the believer, but does not sentence one to hell - this would mean Jesus would have to go to the cross again in order for the believer to be saved again.

More Bad News

I hate to tell you that there is more bad news for the believer.  Unfortunately I have discovered that we as believers are committing sins daily that we do not realize are sins or what we do not understand as sin.  Hosea 4:6 says, "My people perish for lack of knowledge . . ."  This scripture is also taken out of context, but I use it to explain that we believers are committing sins that we do not think to repent of much less confess.  We do not know we are sinning at the time we commit them therefore our ministry can be ineffective because of these sins.   We do not know when we have sinned because we do realize that our actions are sins. What are these sins?  I will go into more detail in our next lesson because this will be a difficult lesson to teach. 

Now For The Good News

Now for the good news!   Jesus does not have to die on the cross again and again for our sins.  The debt was paid once and for all.  We as believers do have certain obligations, as I mentioned above.  The believer is given challenges in his/her life as test of our faith and only the true believers will pass the test or overcome the challenges we are faced with.  The good news is Jesus has already overcome the world and our job is be an overcomer in life through Him.  We cannot do it on our own, but when put our faith in Him He will help us overcome no matter what Satan comes against us with.

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NKJV

"You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." 1 John 4:4 NKJV

"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith." 1 John 5:4 NKJV  (If you are truly "Born Again" you will overcome the world)

"Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" 1 John 5:5

Mission Possible:  Your job, should you decided to accept it, is to be an overcomer of the flesh and this world we live through Jesus Christ.  This message will not disintegrate in 5-seconds as it is designed to be shared with others as a ministry tool for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you are a believer and are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ I would love to hear your story. I would love to share your story on this BLOG as Patrick did in the previous post.  I assure you will I not share your story without your permission.

If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior I would love hear from you.  Please me send me an e-mail.  I would love to talk to you about Jesus.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Saved by Grace - Part 2

(Right to left) Patrick, Chet, and Christine
taken at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando
I am so excited to share with you an e-mail I received from my nephew, Patrick Nowlen.  Patrick grew up of the Catholic faith and his parents, especially his mother, raised Patrick and his sister with a deep faith in our Lord Jesus. 

I invite you to also share your story.  Every time you share your story you are spreading the gospel to those need to hear your story.  Your story will touch someone's life in a way that is an answer to their prayer.  Your story may be just what someone needs to hear that will be a blessing in their life and could possibly save their life.

Here's a copy of the e-mails to and from Patrick:

On Feb 18, 2013, at 8:09 AM, Patrick Nowlen wrote:
Thank you Chet! I’ll check out the video as my work day permits. Being Catholic we also believe in somewhere called purgatory. Back when I was 30 years old, just a few weeks before I hurt my back I remember saying a prayer asking God the following: “Dear God, you know I love you with all of my heart, yet I have not always led a Christian life. I know I am a sinner and if your will is that I spend time in purgatory due to my sins, PLEASE let me spend the time I would have spent in purgatory here on Earth so that I’m not alone.” Low and behold just a few weeks later I hurt my back. The next 11 years I spent in such severe pain that it was almost unbearable. I’ve always remembered that prayer. I thought, “Oh great! I brought this on myself with that prayer!” hahaha. During that time, I had to endure 19 surgeries. Although I can’t say my faith was tested (because I feel I have always been very strong in my faith), but I was tested in the sense of seeing if I would continue the ways I felt would lead me to purgatory or even hell, or, if I would turn my back on those ways and truly walk with the Lord. I’m proud to say I walk a more straight line now in life and try to always focus on service for others.

Everything going on in the world today, I feel, are signs that we are living in the end times. Mind you the end times could be a hundred years long, so I’m not saying the end of the world will come this year, but according to the bible, people need to be awake. I hate seeing how the world has changed for the worse, especially since I have a 6 year old daughter. All I can do is stand with the Lord and try raise my daughter in the faith and keep my family on the path to Heaven. My goal in life is to help those around me to get to Heaven, even if it means sacrificing myself. I have to be honest that I’m scared with all that I see going on in our country. There is so much evil in the world today and I think our govt is hell bent on bringing our country down. There is so much Greed, Materialism and Selfishness in the world today. People are always focused are their own agenda and so few are willing to stop and help those in need. I personally feel that Satan has been working long and hard to destroy the American family. Gone are the days when a mother could stay home and raise her children and monitor the paths they were choosing in life. Gone are the days of a one income household. The Devil has worked long and hard to pull us away from our children and it shows in such a terrible way. Problems started off when 2 parents went to work so that they could obtain more and more material goods. But today, it’s a necessity that both parents work simply to make ends meet. The demand for longer hours has most parents limited to an hour or two of interaction with their children per day, and most of that time is spent taking care of things such as eating, bathing, homework. So we’re lucky if we as parents have 30min a day during the week to interact with our children and influence them in some way. We’ve got to fight back!

I pray that you and your entire family are shielded and protected from all evil. I pray that God assigns a legion of his Angels to surround and protect everyone you love. May he shine his light upon every step you take Chet. I have to say that I’m so very proud of you and the example you set for others. I hope that someday I can be as highly thought of, as you must be to all you know.

Love always!

Patrick Nowlen

My Reply February 19, 2013:

Hey Patrick,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the article.  I think there are other Catholic believers that would be blessed and inspired by your faith.  Do you mind if I share you reply on the BLOG?  People love to read other believers stories of overcoming victory inspite of adversity.  You testimony is your way of spreading the gospel for the Kingdom of God.

If you want to share your story, but in more detail, you are welcome to send me another.

If you allow me to share you story I will not share your full name, initials or first name only.

Please let me know you thoughts.

Patrick's Reply February 19, 2013:

Hey Chet, 
I’d be honored if you shared my story. Please know in advance anything I ever send you are more than welcome to share. When you do post, please do use my full name. I’d be happy to have my name stamped to it so that others know it’s a real person and not some pen name or someone making up something just to post. As well as the fact that I see it as a way to show that I’m not afraid to identify myself with Christ. 
Patrick Nowlen

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Saved by Grace

Do you believe that when you die and if you have not confessed all of your sins you will go to hell?  I have had conversations different individuals that believe this theory based on misinformation and misunderstanding of what it means to be saved by grace.

The bad thing about our memories is we cannot remember every sin we have ever committed therefore we cannot confess what we do not remember.  It is true that as a believer we are to confess our sins and Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, however our salvation is not based on confession of sins alone.  Our salvation is based on grace in which all our sins are forgiven past, present, and future.

This morning I found they best explanation and answer to the above question while watching a sermon titled "The Lamb" by Robert Morris from his series "My Best Friend: The Son"  - I wish I could explain it as well as he does so I'm not going to try.  Please take a few minutes to watch this video and let me know if this helps your understanding.  I think this understanding will help you to rest in the Lord instead of worrying that you may forgotten to confess a sin before you go to bed at night.

Speaking of "The Lamb" my favorite worship songs are "Revelation Song (Global Edition)" and "Revelation Song" by Kari Jobe.  Please see the YouTube link on the side bar of this blog to watch both videos. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lighthouse Everything Skit

The "Lighthouse Everything Skit" video is about 6-years old now, but last night I was awakened in the middle of the night thinking about this video.  When I woke up this morning I had this strong urge to search for the video.  Below you will find the original version from YouTube.

Some of my RSS readers have told me that are not able to open the video from the e-mails they receive.  If you are not able to see the video on your e-mail please click on the following link.

On September 1, 2007 I published an article titled "Are You Dancing with Jesus or Someone Else?" showing this same video.  Please feel free to comment your thoughts on this video.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Revelation Song (Global Edition)

Have you ever heard a song that you just cannot stop listing to?  I found one on YouTube that is one of the most inspiring worship songs I have ever heard. The following is the Global version:

Click Here if you are not able to start above Revelation Song (Global Edition)

I would also highly recommend that you also watch the Revelation Song: English Edition by Kari Jobe: http://youtu.be/8-Gxjtd6Wp4