Ramadan is April 24 – May 23 this year

kid-1077793_640There are 1.8 billion Muslims in the world today. Every year these 1.8 billion people celebrate Ramadan, a holiday during which they seek, in a special way, the blessings of God.

Something else is happening during Ramadan, also. During this 30-day period of time there are millions of Christians praying that the 1.8 billion Muslims find exactly what they seek when they are seeking blessings from God. We pray that Muslims everywhere, of every sect and movement, men, women, and children would be tremendously blessed by God with the light of the Truth.

Tomorrow, April 24, starts the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World. God loves Muslims more than we can possibly understand and he desires his children to beseech him for the benefit and well-being of Muslims everywhere. Would you join us in praying that during Ramadan, as Muslims are praying for fresh revelation from God, that their prayers would be answered, that God would reveal who is truly is and that many Muslims would be saved, falling at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ?

There are 1.8 billion Muslims in the world. That’s 1.8 BILLION people made in the image of God and dearly loved by Him—and lost. Please pray for a mighty movement of our great Savior in hearts during Ramadan this year.

Waiting… — A Poem

Waiting…
—Debi Martin (April 19, 2020, written during the COVID-19 Quarantine)

Wondering, pondering, waiting
Not sure what will be
Will this soon be over?
Or last for eternity? 😊

Living in isolation
Missing friends at church
How can I make an impact
When I myself am in a lurch?

Grocery shopping’s a nightmare
No more convenience for me
Why can’t I find what I needed?
No veggies, no beef, no TP.

Waiting on God’s sovereign purpose
He never stops working you know
Though life has become complicated
My God’s power and glory will show

I hate waiting, not knowing what’s coming
Uncertainty a burden to bear
But God in His wisdom sustains us
His grace and mercy prove His care

I don’t what’ll happen tomorrow
But tomorrow belongs to the King
He rules in justice and power
Of His faithfulness I will sing

Will I trust God in the waiting?
His promise and Word are sure;
He gives me peace in the unknown
I know that His plan is secure.

God’s Word will endure forever
His timing is always right.
I may wait in the meantime
But I know that He is my light.

By the way… America is “Not a Christian Nation”

I subscribe to a free feed in my PrayerMate app called Living Out Your Faith. It’s a 14-day devotional published by Ligonier Ministries. This morning’s devotional served as a good perspective check for me as I ponder the state of the nation in which I live, the USA.

InGodWeTrustAs you read it, I hope you’ll be encouraged by it and not insulted or outraged. I imagine both reactions are possible depending on your view of this great nation. I, personally, agree with the assessment that’s given in the devotional. Our focus must be on the coming Kingdom, not on the here and now. America will go the way of every nation on earth: it will fall. We have no promise from God to the contrary. In the meantime, we must use the political freedoms we have to the Kingdom’s advantage; we must seek to follow Christ’s two-fold mandate to Worship God at all times and to Make Disciples of all nations.

Awaiting the City of God

Evangelical Christians love America. Some see in her the last hope of creating a Christian nation. But it is not a Christian nation. It is pagan to the core. It is in danger of becoming, if it is not already, the new “Evil Empire.” The Mayflower Compact is a museum piece, a relic of a forgotten era. “In God We Trust” is now a lie.

Yes, we must always work for social reform. Yes, we must be “profane” in Martin Luther’s sense of going out of the temple and into the world. We do not despise the country of our birth. But in what do we invest our hope? The state is not God. The nation is not the Promised Land. The president is not our King. The Congress is not our Savior. Our welfare can never be found in the city of man. The federal government is not sovereign. We live—in every age and in every generation—by the rivers of Babylon. We need to understand that clearly. We must learn how to sing the Lord’s song in a strange and foreign land.

America will fall. The United States will inevitably disintegrate. The Stars and Stripes will bleed. The White House will turn to rubble. That is certain. We stand like Augustine before the sea. We pray that God will spare our nation. If He chooses not to, we ask for the grace to accept its demise. In either case, we look to Him who is our King and to heaven, which is our home. We await the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, whose builder and maker is God.

Coram Deo: Living before the face of God

Are you looking to your King and to your eternal destiny, despite the circumstances around you? Keep your focus on the heavenly Jerusalem, whose builder and maker is God.

Passages for Further Study:

1 Corinthians 15:50
John 3:5
2 Peter 1:11

Copyright © Ligonier Ministries.

Source: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/awaiting-city-god/

True vs False Conversion to Christianity—Am I truly saved?

I want to talk for a moment about True vs False Conversion.

This is such a vital question—Am I truly saved?—that we must address it. It impacts your eternity, but it also impacts every aspect of your life here and now.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

You’ve heard the phrase, “Accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord,” right? Some will tell you (and you may have heard this) that you can accept Jesus as your Savior without having to give up your life and go through the trouble of accepting him as your Lord. That you can be saved from an eternity in Hell and not have to worry too much about the here and now. All you have to do is say this prayer, or sign this conversion card, or whatever, and God (who is total love, you know) will save you because he’s all about you! Forget about this “Lord” stuff—Lord meaning Master. Just get saved and go about your life.

So, if I accept Jesus as my Savior but not my Lord, then I’m saved from Hell, but I can get away with all the sex and greed and lying and cheating and anything else I want to do. Because, after all, I’m saved and Jesus paid for all those sins. Right?

So, the question I want us to ponder is: Is this possible? Can Jesus be my Savior but not be my Lord?

Scripture answers that question many times. Here are two:

Jn 14:21-24 [Jesus speaking]. “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.”“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.”

Jesus said in Lk 9:23: If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Scripture says that it is impossible for Jesus to be your Savior but not your Lord! To put it another way: If Jesus is not your Lord, he’s also not your Savior.

So, if I claim to be saved, am I truly saved or was my conversion a false one?

The book of 1 John talks a lot about determining True vs False Conversion.

1Jn 2:4. Whoever says “I know him” [or whoever says “I’m saved”] but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Please don’t get me wrong: There is nothing you can do to save yourself. You cannot be saved by keeping commandments or any other effort on your own part.

Eph 2:8-9. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

But Paul doesn’t stop there. He then says this in v10:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

You are not saved through works, but if you are truly saved, you will do the works of Christ. A.W. Tozer said, “If your Christian conversion did not reverse the direction of your life, if it did not transform it, then you are not converted at all.”

Four Words

Here are four words that describe True Conversion to Christianity (I got these from somewhere, don’t remember where).

Submission: By saying that Jesus is Lord, I’m saying I am in submission to him.

Mt 11:28 [Jesus speaking]. Take my yoke upon you. A yoke is what keeps oxen or other beasts of burden in line.

Jesus is in control! He is the owner, ruler, and master of my life.

Priority: Jesus is the #1 person in my life. Everything he says and demands of me I must do. Everything else and everyone else is a far distant 2nd place.

Mt 6:33. Seek first [i.e. as of 1st priority] the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

Mt 10:37-38 [Jesus speaking]. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Obedience: When my master speaks I must listen and obey.

Lk 6:46 [Jesus asks]. Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

Saving faith is inseparably bound with obedience.

Commitment: I am willing to go anywhere, do anything, pay any price, at any time he asks me to.

It means: You are all in, committed to the Lord.

And there’s great joy in this type of commitment! It has become much more fulfilling and joyful to follow Christ in this way than my old life ever gave me. True Purpose and True Meaning in life comes from this true conversion—this true surrender—to Christ.

Now, Scripture does say that God is love—and he most certainly is—but it also says that he’s a God of wrath, a consuming fire, a jealous God who will enact vengeance on his enemies while he protects his people. But which are you?

God will not be fooled. If your dedication is half-hearted, or if you’re just talking the talk or going through the motions, God will not accept that from you. You’re not fooling God. Your fooling yourself, maybe, but you’re not fooling God.

This biblical requirement of being a follower of Christ is nearly impossible to do. We will fail often. I fail to live up to this many times every day. But when we do fail, we confess that failure and get back in the battle.

If someone is not committed to Christ in this way, we have reason to doubt their claim to be a Christian.

A follower of Christ follows Christ. It’s that simple. Not easy, but simple.

By the way… Are you afraid of being made to look foolish in your walk for Jesus?

There is something deep within us, I believe, that strongly resists being made to look foolish. We will often strive tirelessly to avoid embarrassment. Many of us will spend way more money than we have, sacrifice many of the things we hold dear, and deny what we claim to believe in order to escape the horrors of being laughed at or being made to look foolish before others.

If this describes you to any degree, I urge you to watch this one-hour video. I believe it will be an encouragement to you in your understanding of how our great God can take all sorts of events that we may see as disastrous and turn them into his glory, which is what we should be striving for in our lives.