Do You Believe?, and the Most Important Question

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(Note – Do You Believe? is rated PG-13. It contains some violence, and addresses a number of more grown up topics. For a thorough review and breakdown of the movie and its content, visit http://www.pluggedin.)

Featuring Newsboys’ hit song “We Believe,” the movie Do You Believe? brings us face to face with a very important question – “Do you believe in the cross of Christ,” and if so, “what are you going to do about it?”

Do You Believe? tells the story of 12 different people from various walks of life, each dealing with their own set of circumstances, who share one thing in common – they must each answer in their own way the question given above. For the pastor and his wife, as well as a couple that has lost their daughter, it means taking in struggling people the Lord places in their paths. For others, it means taking the step to either commit or more fully commit their lives to Him. Some must take a risk to stand up for and live out their faith. At the end of the day, however, they all discover that God is ready and willing to meet them right where they’re at.

The question the movie asks – do you believe in the cross – is the most important question we’ll ever answer. This one choice – to place our trust in Jesus, and accept Him as our Savior – both settles where we will spend eternity, and also has a life-changing impact on us here and now. If you believe in Him, then you are a child of God, with the right to have a close, intimate relationship with Him that will extend on into eternity. Refusal to receive Christ is THE ONE AND ONLY thing we do that prevents us from someday living with Him forever.

Once we have accepted Christ, God wants to use us to impact others for Him. As the movie shows, He can do so in a variety of ways in each of our lives. What’s important is that we are willing to listen to His voice, and allow Him to lead and guide us.

How will you answer the question the movie presents – the most important one you’ll ever be asked? “Do YOU believe in the cross of Christ,” and if so “what are YOU going to do about it?”

Definitions of Words Christians Use

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Maybe you’ve heard these words used over and over by other believers, and used them often enough yourself, but have you ever wondered what they really mean? If asked to explain them, what would you say? Check out these definitions of some of the words Christians often use!

Salvation – Salvation is Jesus saving us from our sins, and the punishment that goes with them. It is a free gift from God that allows us to have a relationship with Him. Because salvation is a free gift, there’s nothing we can do to earn it. All we need to do is receive it!

Redemption – We have been redeemed. In other words, God paid a price for us so that we could be His. That price was the life of His Son, whom He sent to save us.

Righteousness – Jesus took our place of sin so that we could take His place of right standing with God. Jesus lived the perfect life for us that we could never live. If we accept Him as our Savior, God sees us as if we were as perfect as He is. Jesus took care of the things we have done wrong, so that there is no longer anything standing between us and God!

Justification –  Jesus took our place, and gave His life for us, receiving the punishment that should have been ours. Because of this, God, the ultimate Judge, declares that we are blameless!

Grace – Grace means that instead of giving us the punishment we do deserve, God gives us what we don’t deserve – a relationship with Him, and all of His blessings (such as life, health, provision, peace, and joy)!

What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?

Christian Q

Have you ever wondered what it really means to be a Christian? Have you ever had someone ask you that question, and found it difficult to explain to them clearly what being a Christian is all about?

Simply put, a Christian is someone who has received God’s gift of salvation. A Christian understands that . . .

  • They have done things that are wrong, and the wrong things they have done separated from God. (Ephesians 2:12)
  • No matter how hard they try, they can’t save themselves. We can never be good enough to earn a relationship with God, because He is perfect, and no matter how hard we try, we just can’t be perfect. (Romans 3:10)
  • Jesus took their place. The payment for doing things that are wrong is death. Jesus took our place, and died for us. Because He did that, we can have eternal life – a relationship with God that begins now, and will last forever! (Romans 6:23,
    John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • God offers us salvation as a free gift. When someone gives you a gift, you reach out and take it! God offers the gift of salvation to each of us. We simply need to receive it! (Ephesians 2:8-9)

If you’ve already accepted Jesus as your Savior, this is what that decision meant. If you haven’t received God’s gift of salvation yet, accept it today!

Aren’t sure where to begin? Simply tell God that you know you’re an sinner, and can’t save yourself. Tell Him you want Jesus to be your Savior, and that you receive His gift of forgiveness and salvation. It’s as simple as that!

Check out this video from my other site, Generation Arise!

Jesus Came To Save Sinners

Jesus Came To Save SinnersWeek 36 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is nearly over. This week’s reading was 2 Thessalonians 3, and 1 Timothy 1-4. These chapters finish one of Paul’s letters to the church at Thessalonica, and begin a letter to Timothy, one of his partners in spreading the gospel.

Why did Jesus come? 1 Timothy 1:15 states the reason very clearly – He came into this world to save sinners. That is the reason He came to this earth. We couldn’t save ourselves, so Jesus accomplished what we couldn’t. He gave His life for us, and offers us salvation, if we will accept it.

It was sinners Jesus came to save. Some of us want to try to be good enough on our own, and earn right standing with God. We can only truly be made right with God, however, when we admit that we aren’t perfect, and accept Jesus as our Savior, rather than trying to save ourselves.

If you know that you have made mistakes, and wonder how God could ever love or care for you, know that Jesus came to save sinners, not those who were perfect by themselves. Receive the salvation He offers you. Accept His grace and forgiveness today!

Today Is The Day Of Salvation

Today Is The Day Of Salvation A while back, I was reading a book filled with stories of some of the most
well-known evangelists and missionaries in Christian history, when I came across a story that really gripped me. It was about an incident that took place during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Once when he was preaching, Dwight L. Moody concluded his sermon by telling the people to consider the question of what they would do with Jesus over the next week. In doing so, he refrained from issuing an immediate invitation to accept Jesus as Savior.

That very night, the Chicago fire started. The destruction was widespread. Over a hundred died, and thousands were left homeless. Dwight L. Moody deeply regretted putting off a call to receive salvation for an extra week. For the many who died as a result of the fire, time had suddenly run out.

This story clearly illustrates the importance of sharing the gospel with those God has placed within our reach, while we have the chance. 2 Corinthians 6:2 emphatically states that TODAY is the day of salvation. We can’t let hesitation over finding the exact right time and place, or fear of failure or of offending others, keep us from offering the hope that is found only in Christ to those who are desperately in need of Him.

In our modern culture of political correctness, few will step up to the plate and share the good news that many are perishing for lack of. What about you? Will you be one of those who, knowing what Christ has done in their own life, are unafraid and unashamed to share Him with those whose lives they are given an opportunity to touch?
Linking this post up with Thriving Thursdays at servingjoyfully.com.

Saved and Forgiven Because of What Christ Has Done

Saved and Forgiven Because of What Christ Has DoneWeek 18 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is nearing its end. This week’s reading was Acts 11-15. These chapters speak mainly of Peter explaining his actions in preaching to the Gentiles to those who criticized him, the beginning of the Apostle Paul’s ministry, Peter being freed from prison by an angel, the council at Jerusalem regarding the Gentiles and the keeping of the law, the letter that was then sent to the Gentile believers by the council, and the further spreading of the gospel.

In Acts 15:5-11, some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees said that the Gentile believers should required to be circumcised, and keep the law. Peter asked those believers why they would test God by putting upon the Gentiles a yoke they neither they nor their ancestors had been able to bear. He then reaffirmed that is is through the grace of the Lord Jesus that we are saved. In Acts 13:38-39, while preaching in a synagogue, Paul stated that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed, and that those who believe are freed from every sin – a justification not available under the law.

These verses make it clear that we are saved by grace, not by keeping the law, and that it is through Christ that we are forgiven, with a forgiveness that wasn’t available under the domain of the law. The law, though it sets forth a standard of perfection, doesn’t help mankind to reach that standard. Rather, it is through the law that we come to recognize that we aren’t perfect, and never can be on our own, and that we need a Savior. It is in Christ alone, and through faith in Him, that we are made righteous, and enabled to enter into relationship with God. Always remember that it is because of what Christ has done for you that you are offered salvation, and the forgiveness of all of your sins!

Call Out To Jesus

Call Out To JesusWeek 11 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is nearing its end. This week’s reading was Luke 20-24. These chapters speak mainly of some of Jesus’ encounters with the religious leaders, His words to His disciples regarding the end times, the last supper, all that He suffered on our behalf, His death, and His resurrection.

Luke 23:23 & 39-43 informs us that two criminals were crucified with Jesus, one of whom mocked and insulted Him. The other criminal rebuked the one who was making fun of Jesus, saying that while they deserved their punishment, Jesus had done nothing wrong. Then he asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. Jesus’ response was to tell the criminal that he would be with Him in paradise.

How could Jesus respond to him in such a way? The criminal couldn’t make any amends for the crime for which he was being crucified. He had no time left to change his way of living, and begin living a better lifestyle. He was hanging on a cross, nearing the end of his life. All he could do was depend on Jesus, trusting that He would remember him, in accordance with his request.

That was all he needed to do. That is all any of us can do – place our trust completely in Christ, relying on Him, and Him alone, for our salvation. We can’t do anything to save ourselves. No amount of good deeds can purchase for us a relationship with God, for it is by grace, and through faith, that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8).

When the criminal asked Jesus to remember him, did Jesus turn him away? By no means! Instead, He assured the criminal that he would be with Him in paradise that very day. Though the criminal could do nothing for himself but call out to Jesus, our Savior met him where he was at. The same is true of us today, for Romans 5:6 says it was while we were still helpless that Christ died for us.

Jesus promised in John 6:37 that He will never drive away those who come to Him. No matter what point you may be at in life, call out to Jesus. Come to Him today, assured of His love and acceptance.

Be sure to join us next week as we wrap up the Names of Jesus series!

Names of Jesus – The Way

Names of Jesus - The Way

The Way – John 14:6

In John 14:6, Jesus calls Himself the way, the truth, and the life, declaring that no one comes to the Father except through Him.

Our Savior is The Way – the only way to God. Our Heavenly Father loved us so much that He wanted us to be His children, so He sent Jesus to make a way for us to come to Him. It is by His blood that we have been justified (Romans 5:9). In Him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7). Through faith in Him, we are made right with God (Romans 3:22). Christ is the gate, and those who enter through Him are saved (John 10:9)!

Salvation is found in Christ alone. There is no other name by which mankind is saved (Acts 4:12). Nowhere and to no one else can we go to find a relationship with the one true God. It is found only in His Son, who gave His life for us at the cross.

Jesus, our Savior, is The Way. He made a way for us to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). It is through Him, and only through Him, that we are saved!

“One way, Jesus, You’re the only one that I could live for!”

Names of Jesus – The Good Shepherd

Names of Jesus - The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd (John 10:11)

Psalm 100:3 says that we are the Lord’s people – the sheep of His pasture. John 10:11 tells us that Jesus is the good shepherd, who lays down His life for the sheep.

Though each one of us, like sheep, have gone astray, upon Jesus was laid all of our iniquity (Isaiah 53:6). He gave His life for us freely – of His own accord (John 10:18) – at the cross, that we might be saved. He took our sin upon Himself, and suffered the punishment that should have been ours, that we might receive His place of right standing before God. What a wonderful shepherd He is!

In John 10:28 says that our Good Shepherd gives His sheep eternal life.  He promises that they will never perish, for no one can pluck them from His hand. He says that no one can snatch them from the Father’s hand, either, for He and the Father are one (John 10:29-30). Knowing this, we can rest assured that our salvation is secure. We don’t have to waver back and forth wondering whether or not we are truly saved. Rather, we can have faith that by receiving Him – by believing in His name – we ARE God’s children (John 1:12)!

Just like in the story of the lost sheep, our Good Shepherd pursues us individually, rejoicing over us when He finds us, and carrying us home upon His shoulders. He delights in saving us, and wants us to trust in Him as our one and only Savior. Like the sheep in the story, let’s rest on His strong shoulders, relying fully upon Him for our salvation, rather than our good works.

Jesus is our Good Shepherd, who gave His life for us, His sheep. Our salvation is completely secure in Him. Let’s allow our selves to be loved and cared for by Him, trusting in what He has done for us, rather than anything we have done (Luke 15:4-6), for our salvation!

“You are the shepherd, giving what I could not afford. Leaving the many, You sought to find me, Lord.”

Linked up with Three Word WednesdaysThriving Thursdays, Essential Fridays and Monday’s Musings