THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” (Jn 10:27-30)

One of the most important Bible doctrines is called ‘The assurance of salvation’. It says that as a believer it is possible to be sure that you are saved and that you are going to heaven. Many argue for or against this doctrine. But no matter what men say, it is true that you can have this assurance while you live in earth. It is God’s promise!

Once you give your life to Christ you become born again by the power of the Holy Spirit. That moment heaven becomes your eternal home. Jesus Christ gives you not just life, but eternal life. This eternal life is not just an unending life, but a special life, the life of God in you. Now you are a child of God. But you discover that you still struggle with doubts about your salvation. You need to receive the grace gift called ‘the assurance of your salvation’. The truth is that very few Christians have this assurance. Most of them live their lives tormented by doubts. They live in a space between earth and heaven, hanging there between fears and hope. They are like a boat on the waves, always up and down. When things are good, they have hope that they are saved. When trials come, they doubt it.

Most pastors do not emphasize this doctrine. The believers are ignorant of their blessings. For example, the Roman Catholic Church declares that it is possible to have the assurance of salvation. But they say that this gift is given only to some few special holy men called saints. But in Christ the promise of eternal life and the assurance of salvation is promised and given to all the born again believers who desire to have it. Even in the evangelical churches things are not much better. The preachers tell their congregation that you can lose your salvation on your way to heaven. The Christians are always in doubt if they can ‘make heaven’ or not. If you tell them that you are sure of your salvation they take it as arrogance and they reject the doctrine. The truth is that salvation is of God. We did not contribute anything to the salvation of our souls. Jesus died on the Cross and paid the price for our sin that we may have eternal life. Jesus said that no one can snatch a child of God from His hand and from His Father’s hand. He says that God the Father is ‘greater than all’ gods and demons. Do you believe that?

This assurance of salvation does not come automatically to the believer. It does not come thru external proofs. For example, a sick man can be healed miraculously by God. But even after the healing he still struggles with doubts about his identity as a Christian. The assurance of salvation comes only from faith in the Word of God. This is not a easy way. It comes thru the diligent study of the Word of God. It takes a long time to come to it. The assurance of salvation means to have the victory against the sin of doubt. Salvation is free for us because Jesus paid it all on the Cross. But to obtain the assurance of salvation, there is a price to pay. It takes years of diligent study of the Word of God, prayer and faithful obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit before God grants it to you. What a gift that is!!! You become free of doubts concerning your identity as a child of God. That is the mind of Christ. Prayer becomes easier than breathing. Worship becomes ‘natural’. You become bold in your faith like never before. From that time on that you begin to enjoy your Christianity.

If any has ears to hear, let him do so!

I SAW THE LORD

“Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right and on His left” (2Chr 18:18)
 
After a short time of vacation and visiting with our children we came back today. Each time we travel we have peace that the pastors left behind are able to lead the flock in our absence. We are very grateful to God for giving us strong, faithful, wise and spiritually mature children to bless this ministry. These are a gift money can never buy. Today we had our ‘regular’ Saturday prophetic prayer meeting. The presence of God was so strong in our midst. The Holy Spirit was free to move in us and between us. We entered the presence of God with praise and thanksgiving. We then proceeded to worship God. Softly and tenderly Jesus was calling us to come closer. We ended down on our faces, at the feet of Jesus before the throne. We tested His resurrection power this evening. God is faithful and God is good! Always!
 
There is no way I can describe to you how it feels to stand in the glory, to touch His feet and to just breath the breath of heaven. Mercifully, the heavens opened over us tonight. My desire is for more of these holy moments of true worship, unrehearsed but hungry for. I know that the footsteps of the Lord lead to revival in the land. Oh, for the willingness to follow without asking too many questions… We sang: “I see the Lord, I see the Lord…Exalted high above the worship of the people of the earth…For my eyes have seen the King, The Lamb upon the throne who lives forever…” Oh, the power of total surrender, complete submission and love freely given… Oh, the power of the Cross that became many crowns… Oh, how I love Jesus for He first loved me…

WISE WORDS

 
“There is no holiness without a warfare”
(J. C. Ryle 1816-1900)

if you want to be like Jesus, then you need to defeat the flesh and the prince of this world. You need to put on the whole armor of God, fight the devil and win before you can rest, take your flute and sing! You fight so that you can worship The Lord! You take your soldier’ boots before you put on the dancing shoes! Praise is a sacrifice!

If you want to be pure and strong like Jesus, then you have to defeat the powers of darkness, the unclean evil spirits who control this world of sin. If you desire to become like Jesus, you need to fight your way thru the crowd of unbelievers and come to touch His feet. The devil will do everything he knows to hinder your progress. But if you have faith in Jesus Christ and you want to be holy like Him you shall have the victory! You shall one day joyfully declare with Him: ‘I have overcome the world!’

THE WORD OF GOD FOR TODAY

“The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children. You are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth” (Ps 115:14, 15)

This is the promise of God: if you are born again, God will make sure that your children (natural and spiritual) shall multiply in numbers and that their present blessings shall increase! Their faith, peace, joy, strength, wisdom, love for God, hunger for righteousness, desire to please God, anointing for ministry and living in the hope of glory shall increase day by day! The curse of barrenness, poverty, loneliness and lack is destroyed!

In Christ I declare: What you know about my children’s past, what you may see today in their lives, is nothing to be compared with what God has in mind for them for their future! As a family, we the parents and our children, we are actively blessed by God Almighty, who is no one else than the Maker and the Sustainer of the the heaven and the earth. Do not just look at us, at our little words or feeble actions! Do not memorize our mistakes, for these shall be replaced by holy choices! Look at our God and then you shall understand our secret of success and the blessings that are added daily! For God is with us!

If you want to enjoy these promises, then give your life to Jesus Christ! That is the only door of eternal blessings for men, the only bridge between earth and heaven and there is no other!

Oh… I love the Word of God, my food and joy for my soul forever!

FOOL OR WISE?

 
“The anger of a fool becomes readily apparent, but the prudent person overlooks an insult” (PV 12:16)

We just arrived at Istanbul airport. There was a turkish family: a man, his wife and two little children. The man blocked the door of the airport bus with a lot of luggage. An old man and his wife ( they looked like foreigners, maybe Americans) wanted to enter. He kindly asked the younger man to make some space for him to enter in. That was all he said…

Suddenly, the young man became very angry and started shouting and abusing the old man with very rude and vulgar language. Everybody around witnessed the scene including us. It was very shameful to see this young man screaming insults on the old man. In any culture that is wrong. but to everybody’s surprise, the old man and his wife kept quiet and did not respond to the provocation. Finally, we arrived at the airport and all came down from the bus.

i was sorry for the wife of the hot tempered man. An angry man is always a fool. I was happy for the old couple to show so much restrain and godly wisdom in a situation that could have ended in violence.

Are you an angry fool? Or are you a wise calm peacemaker? The difference is clear!

THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT

‘I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ (Eph 4:1-3)

Paul wrote this letter from a cold dirty cell in the prison in Rome. He was isolated from other people. He longs for the fellowship of the brethren. He tells us about the power of the unity of the Spirit that make relationships to last forever. This advice applies to all friendships in general, and to marriages in particular.

We are on a short visit in the US. Many are confused about marriage. They want to be independent and married in the same time. This is more so here in America. They worship the idol of independence until they become isolated, lonely, confused and sad. To be independent it means to be free from the control, authority or influence of another. It means to be free from the help or resources of another person. This may sound good to some but this attitude is spiritual poison in marriage.

The wives fear submission thinking that they lose their ‘personalities’ as single independent and successful women. The husbands fear to love their wives ‘too much’. This fear keeps all of them on parallel lines never merging into one. Houston is a very busy city. I have seen how the husbands and the wives, each driving their own cars, they roll down the windows and greet in the traffic. They text one another or talk on the phone from the ‘privacy’ of their own cars. Each one laughs or weeps alone. The cars are very many and very beautiful. But there are so few human beings on the streets, talking face to face or hugging each other. This division and separation between people makes them vulnerable and foolish. The devil keeps them ‘independent’ and happy. But this happiness is not deep and does not last.

Marriage is a blessing because it is designed by God who created us. That alone must be the reason why marriage must be happy and fulfilled. It is my opinion that many men and women desire a happy marriage but are confused about the way to achieve that. They are not willing to pay the price for the joy of fulfillment as husbands and wives. Time does not improve matters. Older men and women accept the idea that mid life crisis means adultery and divorce. They say it is normal to abuse and cheat. This is a sad story I see…

This is our testimony… When my heart is overwhelmed with the cares of life and the anxiety of success, when the burden of men and women around me is too much for me to help, I abandon everything and I run… I hide in the everlasting arms of my God. This is the secret of my joy in this world. This is the key of my peace in my marriage. I submit to my husband not only when I feel like or when things are ‘sweet’. I submit to him even when he is tired or angry. Life is generally stressful but both of us have learned to keep the unity of the Spirit no matter the pressure from outside or the frustration from inside. We enter the tunnel of trial together and come out at the other side still one, even closer and stronger. The darkness tries to separate us but we have learned to stay together if we understand the attack or not.

The unity of the Spirit is the most important treasure we have in the marriage. If that is broken, we cannot be happy even if we have children, money or success. That is why we treasure this spiritual unity and are very jealous to protect it. We are directly responsible to God to keep it intact and fruitful. We have to answer to the One who put us together as husband and wife! We have learned to understand one another, to respect and protect each other. We have learned to be patient and gentle, strong and humble with each other. We eagerly and seriously try to keep and maintain this unity in the bond of peace! We do not want to be ‘independent’ and married. We want to be one! We want to be happily married and give glory to God in all we say or do! This is not just our wish for the future but our present living and holy testimony! To a God be all the glory! And that is all that matters!

LETTER TO MY CHILD

Dear child, Sometimes you are too hard on yourself. That gives the tone to others to attack you with more judgment. Accept yourself the way you are and pray to be better. It is not by your power that you change. Give God alone the credit and the glory for every change you see in your character and circumstances, big or small. For your heart belongs to God and not to yourself. Yes, relax and enjoy today. It is already a beautiful morning, designed by God.
As for me, I do not allow others, and not even myself to spoil my day. I rejoice always, as I am commanded by the Lover of my soul. I always want to please Him who died that I might live. I want to make my Jesus happy. That is why you see me giving God thanks always. It is not just a formula, but my life style.
A merry heart is like medicine (PV 17:22). Don’t forget to take your daily dose of merriment. Not just because today is more special than others. But because you serve a ‘Special’ God.
‘Arise and shine for your light has come and the glory of The Lord rises upon you’ (Is 60:1). It has reached your ankles. Soon it will be at your knees, then up to your chest, and finally, all over you. This is the Word of God for you this morning.
I love you in Christ alone,
Your mother.

I LOVE A GENTLE ANSWER

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (PV 15:1)

We just arrived at our hotel late in the evening. We were both tired at the end of a long flight. But we are always ready to serve God, prepared for any opportunity to give Him the glory. The lady at the reception told my husband to write the name of his wife on the form. This is unusual. But we felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit to say something at this point. We told her that we have been married for 42 years. She said ‘wow…this must be a serious commitment to stay together for better and for worse…I could have liked to tell others the same but I can’t… This is so great…what is your secret, guys?’ We told her that the open secret is God in the centre of our marriage. We said that when we promised to stay married to the end, we meant every word for God is a God of covenant, who keeps His promises. He is the faithful God who blesses His faithful children. We owe to God to have the testimony of a successful marriage. It will give Him the glory!

Marriage is not easy. In fact, it is a lot of work to make it successful. From the many lessons learned along the way, this is one: ‘be angry but sin not!’ (Eph 4:26, 27). There is a great difference between a gentle and a harsh word. The same conversation in the morning, can turn into peace or into war before midnight. The storm may quench or may become a hurricane before the close of the day. The boat of marriage may open the sails to enjoy the evening breeze or it may crash on the rocks of regret that same day.

The devil is real. He wants to ‘kill, steal and destroy’. When the devil attacks with anger, he will advise you to cooperate and increase it the more. He will provide free fuel to the arguments so that you alone will take the blame for the damage. Greedy and lazy people love free things and they end up being cheated. This is a very common strategy of the enemy. He starts the trouble and he will tell you how to continue it. Little disagreements turn to ugly battles where only the devil is a winner. This is a lesson you must learn and practice always if your desire is to keep your relationship and enjoy it to the end.

The first thing you see is that wrath and anger are common emotions with all men. To some, these emotions manifest higher than to others. But these are common to all. When you admire a so called wise and cool headed man or woman, just know that this is not the all story. In the privacy of home, anger, jealousy, bitterness and hurtful words are spoken and exchanged. No man is perfect except our Lord. He is the eternal fountain of wisdom and the teacher of them who are willing to be His disciples. It is not enough to say ‘I will never be angry, no matter what any man does to me…I will always avoid trouble… ‘ These words sound good but are not practical in ‘the marathon race’ of an intimate relationship like marriage.

Please observe that when the evil spirit of division enters uninvited thru the door of testing, when the passion of harsh words comes into your home, when quarrels seem useful, you should recognize it as an evil attack! The earlier you do that the better. Words spoken in anger are designed to hurt. Later, even after forgiveness, the wounds of bitter anger are difficult to heal. The best is to speak less and speak calmly. You can see that keeping a quiet grudge is not the solution! It is a ‘gentle answer’ that The Holy Spirit uses as a standard against the flood of evil high temper. You need to say something! Quietness is not always the best! What you say and how you say it determines the end of that crisis. This is spiritual warfare and you need to be prepared to give a gentle and humble answer of wisdom based on the Word of God. That is why you store the Word in your heart!

Both examples of negative and positive influence are found in the story of Abigail and her husband Nabal. The harsh words of Nabal (which means a fool) provoked anger in David who was now ready to kill him. But Abigail stopped that flood of evil and death thru her gentle answer of wisdom, humility and peace. Do not imitate hot headed fools! Do not attend their parties! Do not give the devil space thru anger, ignorance or foolishness! Be like Abigail! This is how you shall enjoy your marriage until Jesus comes! This is the secret of success in any relationship that God has blessed you with.

Pay the price for a godly enduring testimony, to the glory of God! You may have many regrets in life, but you shall never regret being wise and gentle under provocation, patient, loving, kind and humble. For these are the fruits of the Holy Spirit and against such, there is no law to condemn! Be like Jesus! Let your light shine in that darkness where God, in His sovereign will, has planted you! Be an ambassador for Christ thru gentle answers spoken in His name and for His glory! Take this challenge! The reward is greater than what you can imagine! In Jesus name, amen!

NO TURNING BACK

“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you… Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev2:10)

Unfortunately, adultery and divorce are very common sins, even among the Christians. The devil is not original. The same ‘basic’ sins are the reasons for the fall of many believes. But I want to encourage all believers that it is possible to remain faithful to The Lord, even to the end! Backsliding may seem fashionable! So many backsliders still go on with their ministries like nothing happened. Many see backsliding as just ‘a normal phase’ in the Christian race. They think that a backslider can come back to Jesus just by wishing it or by a little prayer of repentance. The truth is not so easy…

You may chose to sin any time you wish but you cannot come back to the fullness of Christ any time you wish. Crucifying Christ the second time is not a small sin. The process of restoration is under the direction and control of the Holy Spirit. The Cross must speak on your behalf! It is a hard and difficult road… It is possible to come back. The prodigal son came back. But much pain can be avoided if we remain faithful to Jesus, to the One who died that we may live for Him!

This is what the Bible teaches: salvation is eternal! A true born again child of God cannot lose his salvation!!! He cannot become a child of the devil even if he falls into sin. He cannot go to hell. There are many who argue this but the doctrine is true. Now this is the question: if a believer does not lose his salvation, what does he lose?

A backsliding believer loses fellowship with God, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost! He loses sense of direction making too many mistakes. He loses his good and fruitful testimony. In fact he now has a negative ‘testimony’. He loses his spiritual sight, becomes blind and bound like Samson. He loses his assurance of salvation. He loses his godly wisdom and becomes foolish. Even if he still goes to church, he becomes timid about his faith. He loses his spiritual balance and falls easily into sin. He loses his faith in miracles and his rewards in heaven. He grieves and quenches the Spirit of God.

The foundation of a believer is very important. Why do you say that you are saved? What are the motives that you still remain loyal to Christ? Why do you stay faithful to your Lord? What is the secret to a long time faithful and fruitful testimony as a servant of God? Some believers stay faithful only for as long as they ‘gain something’ from Jesus. Others stay faithful because they fear going to hell. But the truth is that visible gains and emotions change with time. If your faithfulness depends on things, gifts, blessings or feelings, when the devil strikes (and he will strike) you shall backslide. Some backsliders stop going to church. Some continue to attend services at some worldly church but internally they backslide; their heart and mind is the same as of any unbeliever. They habitually lust sexually, covet material things, lie, become over ambitious and proud.

What the is the solution? The secret is to start with Jesus, continue with Jesus and end up with Jesus! Come to Jesus, take up your cross daily and follow Jesus! Fight the good fight of faith! Be jealous over your testimony as a faithful child and servant of God! There is a crown at the end! Guard your heart because it is the spring of the water of life to many! Rejoice always that you are a child of God! Boast about it! Hate sin and ever appearance of sin! Stay pure! Stay holy! Stay hot! Pray! Let the fire of passion for Jesus consume any other idol in your heart! Be true to God, to the Word of God and to yourself! Hate deception and hypocrisy! Aggressively engage in spiritual warfare and do exploits for the King of kings! Be among the best ‘in the class’! Do not stay behind, in the shadow of the world! Worship The Lord! Be filled and stay filled with the Holy Spirit! You can do it! Let all men be liars, God is forever true! To God be all the glory!

‘I have decided to follow Jesus! I have decided to follow Jesus!
No turning back, no turning back!
The world behind me, the Cross before me
No turning back, no turning back!’