Posts Tagged ‘Religion and Spirituality’

25
Feb

Trusting In The Lord

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Christian Living

Rafaela Blank & Augusto Etges

Memory Verse: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

You are a member of God’s family. He doesn’t want you to be stressed out, and loaded down with problems. He wants you to bring your problems to him. Tell him about the things that are bothering you. Trust him to help you with them. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 56:22)

Worry is just another form of fear. It’s fear of the unknown and fear of the future. Fear is a destructive emotion that does not come from God. It is the opposite of faith, and it prevents God from blessing you. Don’t let fear take up residence in you. Fight it with the word of God. Fill yourself so full of the word of God that there’s no room for anything else.

GOD HAS PROMISED TO PROTECT YOU:
God has promised that to protect you and your family: “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is thy refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot upon a stone. . . .

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble: I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:9-12,14-16)

REST IN THE LORD:

Your soul consists of your mind, your emotions, and your will. Your mind and your emotions need a rest. Here’s how to obtain that rest. When you’re doing things God’s way, you know you’re doing everything right. “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.: (Jeremiah 6:36)

Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) When Jesus is in control of your life, he is responsible for the outcome, not you. You can say, “Jesus is the boss. He’s in charge. I just work for him.”  He is responsible for the final results, and he will cause all things to work together for your good.

Whenever you are worried or afraid, start talking to Jesus. “I sought the Lord and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:)

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” (Psalm 56:3-4)

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31
Jan

Renewing Your Mind

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Christian Living

Tree Beside the Saint John River
Image by Chris Campbell via Flickr

Memory Verse: And be not conformed to this world: But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  (Romans 12:2)

The Objective: To become more like Jesus by understanding God’s word and learning his ways.

How to Do it: Read and study the Bible daily. Meditate on what you’ve read and apply it to your life.

God has given you a heart full of love. But you’re responsible for renewing the mind that you have. God’s thoughts are not your thoughts, and his ways are not your ways. You have to learn new ways of thinking and new ways to be. God’s wisdom and knowledge are available to you through his word and through his Spirit.

The spiritually dead have to rely on their own brain power. It’s all they have. They can’t figure out the things of God, because they can’t be figured out. They are revealed to you by the Holy Spirit. The people of the world simply cannot understand that it benefits them to serve God.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

“The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” (Romans 8:7) NLT

You used to be like that yourself. Your mind was fully set on fulfilling the desires of your flesh. But now you’re learning how to please God instead.

The Holy Spirit is your mentor and your tutor. He is the greatest teacher of all time. He knows everything about the Bible because he wrote it. He knows everything about God because he is God. He knows everything about science because he is the Creator. He knows everything about history because he was there when it happened; and, he’s always available to you because he lives in you.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance. But, you can’t remember things that you never learned. That’s why you have to study the Bible for yourself. “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Reading and studying the Bible is a way of fellowshiping with God. He reveals his heart and mind through his book, and that’s how you get to know him. Jesus will eventually become so real, it will seem like he stepped right out of the pages of the Bible.

The Holy Spirit will explain what you don’t understand; And you will have a continuous dialogue with him concerning the Bible. You will become a reservoir of God’s wisdom, and then this scripture will apply to you:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth is fruit in due season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3)

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28
Dec

How To Become A Child of God

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Christian Living

The Painting entitled "Jesus Blessing the...
Image via Wikipedia

The blessing and favor of God are reserved for his children. But you can easily become a child of God right now, by making Jesus Lord of your life.

Memory Verse: If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)

When Adam gave control of his life to Satan, he sold us (his descendants) into slavery. We’re all born spiritually dead and separated from God, because we’re born into Satan’s domain. That is, everyone but Jesus. Jesus is the Second Adam.

Jesus is not descended from the first Adam. Because God is his Father, he’s not subject to the law of sin and death. Furthermore, he never sinned. His obedience to God has reversed the effect of Adam’s disobedience. That applies to everyone who belongs to him.

When Jesus is your Lord, you’re translated from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of God. Jesus is Your Redeemer and Your Savior. He has already paid the death penalty for Your sins. He died so that you can live.

Redemption and Salvation are only available by grace (the unmerited favor of God.) They can only be received through faith in Jesus Christ. (Faith is belief in action.) “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

If you’ve never made Jesus the Lord of your life, I urge you to do it now. This is the most important decision you will make in your life. Will you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or will you reject him? That’s what determines your eternal destiny, whether or not you belong to Jesus.

There are not several different paths to God, one for each religion. Our God, the Creator, is unique. All other “gods” are nothing but idols. Jesus is the only way to God. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) You cannot have the Father without the Son, because Jesus and the Father are inseparable.

There is one True and Living God. He created the earth and all living things. He is the God of the Bible. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He consists of three persons: The Father, who is God in Heaven—Jesus, who is God in human form—and the Holy Spirit, who is God in you.

The Holy Spirit is the same Spirit who raised up Jesus from the dead. He gives you spiritual life. He baptizes you into the Body of Believers. He seals you until the Day of Redemption. When he comes to live in you, he gives you a new heart—a heart full of love. He gives you joy, peace, and self-control. He gives you the desire to please God, and then he empowers you to fulfill that desire. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

To make Jesus Lord of your life, pray this prayer with all you heart: “Heavenly Father, I believe in my heart that Jesus is the Son of God, and that you raised him from the dead. I repent of all my sins, and I make Jesus Lord of my life right now. Please send your Holy Spirit to live in me forever. Thank you for saving me and for adopting me into your family. In Jesus name, Amen.”

If you prayed that prayer, and meant what you said, you are now a child of God. Your sins are forgiven and you have Eternal Life. You’re in right-standing with God. You’re a citizen of Heaven and a joint-heir with Jesus. You’re a new creation in Jesus Christ.

All of these blessings are yours because Jesus did you a favor (grace), and you received it through faith. Grace is God’s part of the deal and faith is yours. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed . . .” (Romans 4:16)

Now that you’re a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, you have a new heart. God’s Spirit is now living in you, and he will change you from the inside out. He will empower you to do things you never thought you could do, like overcoming old addictions. He’s the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. You are never alone, because he will never leave you nor forsake you. Now that you walk with God, you don’t have to be afraid of death or anything else.

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15
Oct

Here’s What I Was Doing Wrong

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Christian Living

Lake Delton, WI, June 23, 2008 - This house an...
Image via Wikipedia

I asked God, “Why are bad things happening to me? What am I doing wrong? And he answered me with the following scripture:

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-48)

That explains it! That’s what I was doing wrong! I was the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. My spiritual house collapsed because it had no foundation. It could not stand up against the storms of life. It had to fail. It couldn’t do anything else.

God didn’t cause those bad things to happen. I did. I set myself up for failure when I ignored God’s instructions. It was impossible for me to succeed. “Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper?” (2 Chronicles 24:20)

I was calling myself a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. But, I wasn’t following him; I was following me. I was calling Jesus my Lord; but I wasn’t doing a thing he told me to do. I had to give up the control of my life and turn it over to him; and that’s what I did.

I made up my mind, that, for the rest of my life, I would do everything that Jesus told me to do. I turned my back on sin forever, and that’s what the Bible calls “repentance.” Since that time I have made it my habit to follow the Lord’s commandments as recorded in the Bible.

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28
Aug

Making Jesus Lord of Your Life

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Christian Living

Jesus Collecting Disciples
Image by Travis S. via Flickr

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10

If you have never made Jesus Lord of your life, I urge you to do it today. It’s the most important thing you will ever do in your life. Because, it determines your eternal destiny—whether you will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell.

When Adam gave Satan control of his life, he sold us (his descendants) into slavery too; and, everyone is born spiritually dead, or separated from God. And all of us were born into Satan’s kingdom—except for Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus is not descended from Adam, because God is his father. He’s not subject to the law of sin and death, because he never sinned. He is the Second Adam. He made a way for us to escape from sin, death, and hell. His obedience to God has reversed the effect of Adam’s disobedience for everyone who belongs to him.

Redemption and Salvation are only available by grace (the unmerited favor of God.) And they can only be received through faith in Jesus Christ. (Faith is belief in action.) “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, lest any man should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

Jesus is your Redeemer. He made it possible for you to be born again into the Kingdom of God. Jesus is your Savior. He paid the penalty of death for your sins. He took your place and he died so that you can live. You are buried with him in baptism and raised to walk in newness of life.

When Jesus is your Lord, you belong to him. You have God as your spiritual Father, because “whoever has the Son has the Father also,” and the Holy Spirit comes to live in you forever. He is the same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead.

The Holy Spirit baptizes you into the body of believers. He seals you until the Day of Redemption. He regenerates your spirit, causing you to be born again. He gives you a new heart, a heart full of love for God and man. He gives you joy, peace, faith, and self-control. He empowers you to do the things that please God.

All of this is yours when you make Jesus Lord of your life; and, you do that by praying a simple heart-felt prayer, like this one: “Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I believe in my heart that Jesus is Lord, and that you raised him from the dead. I make him Lord of my life right now. Thank you for saving me. Please send your Holy Spirit to live in me forever. In Jesus Name, Amen.

If you prayed this prayer, you are now a child of God. You have Eternal Life. Your sins are forgiven. God has declared you to be righteous (in right-standing with him,)  and made you a part of his own family. Your citizenship is in Heaven and you are a joint-heir with Jesus.

All of these blessings are yours because Jesus did you a favor (grace). And you received it through faith, (believing that God’s word is true.)  “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed . . .” Romans 4:16

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29
Jul

The Value of The Golden Rule

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Christian Living

Golden Rules
Image by LoneGunMan via Flickr

When I was a kid in school, back in the Fifties, the Golden Rule was part of the ciriculum, just as it had always been. “Golden Rule? What is the Golden Rule,” I asked. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” they said. “Treat other people the way you want them to treat you.”

So, I had heard about the Golden Rule. I knew what it was, but that doesn’t mean that I put it into practice. This was something that I was supposed to do. But, why should I bother? What’s in it for me? What do I care about other people? Let them fend for themselves.

If I had only known the value of the Golden Rule, my life would have been a lot easier, and I would be a lot richer. Listen to what I’ve learned in the school of life, and you can learn from my mistake.

The Golden Rule is a concept that originated in the mind of God. It is the secret of success in every area of life. If you want your marriage and family to succeed, follow the Golden Rule. If you want your business to succeed, follow the Golden Rule. It’s the key to maintaining good relationships with other people. Everyone wants to be loved and respected, just like you do. Give them what they want. Love them, and they will love you back.

Jesus said that you could fulfill all of God’s commandments by loving God with all your heart, and loving your neighbor as yourself. Loving God= obeying him. God commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus didn’t do away with the Ten Commandments. He fulfilled them, and he consolidated them into a single commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself.

All the promises of God are contingent upon obeying God, by loving our neighbor as ourselves. Look at Romans 8:28, “For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. .  .”

We are not saved by keeping God’s commandments. But we are recipients of his favor when we please him by keeping his commandment from the heart.We’re showing God that we love him by obeying his word. And he is showing us his favor by granting us the things that we desire.

The Bible says in Galatians 6:7, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” What would happen if you were constantly sowing good things? Then, you would be constantly be reaping good things.

And the circumstances of your life will be affected by your obedience to God, just like God promised in Deuteronomy 5:33, “You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.”

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8
Jun

A Christian In Name Only

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Christian Living

Sunday Morning Service
Image via Wikipedia

When I was about twelve years old, I asked Jesus to be my personal Savior. I made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. I walked down the aisle of a church during the altar call, and shook the preachers hand. I was baptized in water, and became a member of the church.

I thought I had done everything that God required, that I was a Christian and I was on my way to heaven. I loved going to church, listening to the sermons, and singing the songs. There was only one problem. I wasn’t born-again. I wasn’t any different than I was before. I was still self-centered or self-absorbed. Everything revolved around me and my hopes and dreams.

God was good to me. He gave me a beautiful wife and three lovely little girls and I wanted to be a good husband and father.

That’s when I found out what I was doing wrong.  I had never been converted, or regenerated, by the Holy Spirit. I was a Christian in name only, because I had not experienced the new birth.

I did everything I knew to do. But I didn’t know that God requires us to repent of sin.

I was sitting in church when I decided to turn away from sin forever. I told the Lord that I was going to follow him for the rest of my life, no matter what. That I was going to do everything he wanted me to do. And that is what the Bible calls repentance.

I didn’t walk down the aisle of the church again. This was something between God and me. That decision I made thirty-six years ago changed my life forever. God gave me a new heart, and he put his Spirit in me just like the Bible said he would.

That’s how I went from being a Christian in name only to being a born-again believer. And if you’re a Christian in name only, “you’re not far from the Kingdom of God.” You’re close but you’re not there.

When you repent of sin and follow Jesus, he will change you from the inside out. He will equip you to do the things he requires of you. He will give you the faith, love, joy, peace, and self-control you need to live for him. You will see the promises of God fulfilled in your life, and God will show you his favor.

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7
May

Making the Committment

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Christian Living

Golgotha Crucifix, designed by Paul Nagel, Chu...
Image via Wikipedia

When I was twenty-seven years old, I made the decision, that, for the rest of my life, I was going to follow Jesus, no matter what. I had already received Jesus as my personal Saviour. This decision was to live my life according to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It marked the beginning of my friendship and fellowship with the Lord. That relationship has benefited me and my family immeasurably over the past thirty-six years, and I highly recommend it to everyone.

I had heard a very powerful sermon about Elijah and the prophets of  Baal, and I got it. I understood what God was saying. Here’s my version of that message:

You have to decide, once and for all, whose team you want to be on—the devil’s team or God’s team. If you want a choice, then you must choose. Pick a side and stay with it. If you believe that Jesus is God, then follow him. If you don’t believe in Jesus, it doesn’t matter what you do. Since you’re doomed anyway, you might as well do whatever you please.

If you will make the same decision and the same committment, it will change your life forever. It will show the Lord that you’re serious about him and that you love him. It’s like getting married to him, even if you’re a guy.

When you show the Lord that you love him, he will respond. He will fellowship with you, bless you, and show you favor. The benefits are enormous, spiritual, physical, and material.

Jesus would never say to you, “depart from me, ye that worketh iniquity.  I never knew you.” Because he will know you.

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12
Apr

Repent and Be Converted!

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Christian Living

A 6th century mosaic of Jesus at Church San Ap...
Image via Wikipedia

Back in the 1970′s, I was a young husband and father. I was taking my family to church every Sunday because I wanted us to be a Christian family. It was a wonderful church and we had an excellent pastor. This was  the church where I met my wife.

Our pastor was an old-time country preacher, and he preached the word of God, like Paul told Timothy, “Preach the Word.” His name was Brother Paul.

Brother Paul told us that God wanted us to repent and be converted. And that we really ought to do it. He explained that, in this context, “Repentance” meant changing your mind about sin and turning away from it. “Conversion” was changing the direction of your life. It was like you were walking in one direction, and then turned around and went the other way—walking with the Lord instead of walking away from him.

This is how to repent and be converted: Make up your mind once and for all that you are going to follow Jesus. Put yourself under his authority by doing what the Bible said.

I had already accepted Jesus as my Savior, to save me from hell. But I had not yielded control of my life to him. I had balked at doing that, because I knew that I could no longer do whatever I pleased. And I had this ridiculous fear that God would send me to China as a missionary.

But this was a very powerful and effective sermon. I did repent and I was converted. That turned out to be the most important decision I ever made.

I still remember the song that we sang that Sunday back in 1974. I’m still singing it today.

I have decided to follow Jesus

I have decided to follow Jesus

I have decided to follow Jesus

No turning back

No turning back

I encourage everyone who reads this to repent and be converted. If you haven’t already done so, become a follower of Jesus Christ. It is a richly rewarding way of life.

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26
Feb

They Were Astonished At His Doctine

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Christian Living

DUCCIO di Buoninsegna Calling of Apostles Pete...
Image by carulmare via Flickr

When James and John left their fishing business and followed Jesus, this is the first thing they noticed about him:

And they were astonished at his doctrine; for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.  Mark 1:22

What is the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and what is so astonishing about it? Look at what Jesus said about himself:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me that ye might have life.  John 5:39

I am the way the truth and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me.  John 14:6

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  John 14:1

There are millions of us who believe that these words are true, and that Jesus is the only way to heaven. And there are millions of people who simply will not believe it. They acknowledge the existence of  God. They acknowledge Jesus as an enlightened teacher or prophet. But they refuse to accept the fact that Jesus is the only way to heaven.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day which read, “God’s too big for just one religion.” And millions of people believe that this is true. This kind of thinking allows them to design their own religion. It makes sense to people who don’t know anything about the one true God. It seems right.

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.  Proverbs 14:12

God is a lot smarter than we are. His ways are different than ours. That’s why he is God and we’re not. The smartest thing you will ever do is to align yourself with the One True and Living God. Get into an alliance with him, a covenant relationship, that is only available through his Son Jesus Christ.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9

It all comes down to this. Do you believe what God says in the Bible about his Son Jesus, or not? It’s your call.

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.  1 Timothy 2:5-6

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