Tag Archives: kingdom of heaven

Truth or Lie? Once Saved, Always Saved

Image Credit: http://truth459.blogspot.com/2011/04/ once-saved-always-saved-101blog.html
Image Credit:
http://truth459.blogspot.com/2011/04/
once-saved-always-saved-101blog.html

Have you ever heard the expression, “Once Saved, Always Saved”? The first time I heard this expression, a pastor’s wife was confiding her sinful lifestyle to me. I was appalled by her confession, and I remember saying, “I thought you were a Christian.” I didn’t say this accusingly — I was just very confused.

The woman just laughed at my statement and replied, “Of course, I’m a Christian. God knows my heart, and He knows why I do these things. Don’t you know that once you accept Jesus as your Savior, you’re always saved? There is nothing you could ever do to lose your salvation.” At the dumb expression on my face, she in turn, looked at me, equally shocked, “Don’t you believe that? Don’t you know about the doctrine of ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’?” Continue reading Truth or Lie? Once Saved, Always Saved

From a Humble Perspective

This post is in response to the Weekly Lite Prompts by Tilda Swift at her blog, Swift Expression. If any of my readers derives inspiration from this post and would like to do something similar on their own blog, please provide full credit to Weekly Lite Prompts by Tilda Swift (as stated above) to abide by copyright laws.

Praise the Lord! Sis Caddo Veil wrote several nonets, which were so moving, that I just had to try also. For those who don’t know, a nonet is 9 syllables on the first line, going down to 8 the next, 7 next, and so on, all the way down to 1 syllable on the last line. I tried doing one of these earlier today, and it was such fun, that I decided to have a go at it again, with this second writing prompt… 

Tilda, I know you said to choose one of the following prompts, but I couldn’t make up my mind because I liked them all, so I decided to use them all! Many blessings!
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I Am A Moth

English: moth on a surface
English: moth on a surface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a lowly moth seemingly
Fragile and frail with gossamer
Wings, but look again, and see
My frailty’s but a ruse
A disguise to hide
Destruction I
Bring to
You

 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal.” ~ Matthew 6:19 NLT ~

English: A crown of thorns in the stores of Be...
English: A crown of thorns in the stores of Bedford Museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I Am A Thorn

I am a thorn, sharp, pointed, painful
Be careful or I will pierce you
My wounds can be quite deadly
I pierced the Savior’s brow
Blood ran down His face
Beware – I have
No mercy
I’ll trap
You

“But I will fence her in with thornbushes. I will block the road to make her lose her way.” ~ Hosea 2:6 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.angelfire.com/jazz/karen_trust /PrayerLog/Nov2007.html

I Am A Small Gray Feather

I am a small gray feather, soft, light
Though gentle and warm, there is strength
Come, My beloved and hide
In My shadow and wings
I will cradle you
Defend, protect
Rest safely
In Me
Come

He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. ~ Psalm 91:4 NKJV ~

Dandelion

I Am A Little Weed

I am a little weed, a nuisance
Try to get rid of me, kill me
But I will return, stronger
Meaner, more determined
I will destroy you
Suffocate you
Temptations
Better
Run!

Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as everyone slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. The farmer’s servants came and told him, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds!’

“‘An enemy has done it!’ the farmer exclaimed.”

‘Shall we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.

“He replied, ‘No, you’ll hurt the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds and burn them and to put the wheat in the barn.'” ~ Matthew 13:24-30 NLT ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – “Not Everyone Who Says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ Shall Enter The Kingdom of Heaven…” Part 2

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 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?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ 

(Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV)

How well do you know God? I’m not talking about how much you know about Him. There are many people who know a whole lot of Scriptures, but they don’t know God.

Image Credit: http://www.thebiblechristian.com/?p=7874

Just because you read a book about someone doesn’t mean that you know him/her. Because you read something written by an author does not mean that you actually know him/her. Many of you who read my posts do not know me, even though what I’ve written has come straight from my heart and reveals much about me; while others who read my posts have come to know me very well. How is it that you all read the same words that I have written, and perhaps even follow my blog, and yet, only a few know me?

Image Credit: http://thepastorssnack.blogspot.com/2010/09/intimacy-with-god-part-4.html

The answer has to do with relationship and intimacy. Some, who have read my words, respond to me, the author of those words. They talk to me, via their comments, and I respond to them. As we begin responding to one another, we come to know and love one another. We become intimate. As we become intimate with one another, both listening and hearing what the other is saying, we begin to see one another’s heart, and as we open up to one another, we come to love one another.

We also learn to see the flaws that each of us have, because we are still human after all, but those flaws do not change our love for one another. If anything, when we see the sin in our brothers and sisters, we hurt and we ache for our brothers and sisters, crying out for their release from the sin, which like a cancer, can destroy them. The knowledge of the sin in our brothers’ or sisters’ lives does not cause us to love them any less; rather it causes us to love them all the more, while we hate that sin which is destroying them, and wage war against it…

In this same way, many who read and study the Word of God do not know Him, because they fail to respond to Him, the Author of those words. Now some may admire and respect His Word, and may know more about His words than others, but they have missed the most important thing. You see, although they admire those words, they have failed to respond to the Author of those words. Rather than taking the time to respond to Him, and listen to His response to them, they just admire Him from afar.

Some people believe the words that He has written, and they apply them to their lives, just as some have admired Socrates and live by his words…

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

Socrates

Others admire Ghandi and live by his words…

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ghandi

Still others admire Plato and live by his words…

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

Plato

While people may admire these philosophers and live by what they say, the people do not actually know them. In the same way, while many people know Jesus and admire Him, many even try to live according to the Ten Commandments, this does not mean that they actually know Him personally, and intimacy is the very foundation of Christianity. This is why Jesus said:

“Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to Me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey My Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell Me, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.’

(Matthew 7:21-23 NLT)

Image Credit: http://myjesuslovesme.wordpress.com/page/4/

So, what does Jesus mean when He says we must obey His Father in heaven? How do we know if we really do know Jesus? He makes it plain for us in His word:

 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

(John 15:10-14 NKJV)

Do you see that? If we obey Jesus’ commandments, we will abide in His love… By this we will know that we are saved… So what does He command us to do?

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

(John 15:12 NKJV)

What is the greatest command that God gave us… the one that all of the Law and the prophets is based on?

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

(Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV)

Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ, my friends? Do you love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength? Do you love your neighbor as yourself?

I didn’t ask you if you love church, or the bible, or TBN or the God Channel. I asked if you love Jesus… Do you love Him first and best? Remember, the greatest command is to Love God.

Image Credit: http://friarphillip.blogspot.com/2011/08/august-19-hinge.html

How about your neighbor? You know who I mean… Do you love your lazy co-worker who leaves you to pick up after him? Do you love your nosy neighbor who all the time sticks her nose into your business? Do you love your neighbor who says he loves you to your face, then stabs you in the back when you’re not looking? Do you love your neighbor, who is also your enemy? Remember… Jesus tells us to love one another as He loved us…

Do you know how wide and how long, how high and how deep His love for you really is? Let me remind you… While you and I were still sinners, doing the things that pleased ourselves, without a thought of Christ, He loved us. When you and I turned our backs on Him and rejected Him, Jesus still loved us. When you and I stumble and fall, Jesus still loves us. When we denied Him, He loved us still… In all of the sins we committed against Him, He not only kept on loving us, He forgave us! Not only did He forgive us… He picked us up and cleaned up our mess…

Now, I’ll ask you again, do you love God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost? Do you love your neighbor the same way Jesus loves us?

If your answer to either of those questions is no, then you, my friend truly don’t know Christ, and if you don’t know Him, you don’t know the Father… And if you don’t know them, then when Jesus returns, it doesn’t matter how many good deeds you’ve done, He will say to you, I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.” (Matthew 7:23b NLT)

It’s up to you, my beloved readers and followers… Do you want to know the Author of these 66 books we call the bible? Respond to Him. Develop a relationship with Him by talking to Him and listening to Him, as He speaks to you through His Word. My prayer for each one who reads these words of mine is that when Jesus returns, He will look at you and say, “Come here, My beloved. I’m so glad we’ve come to know one another, and that you did everything I authorized you to do!”

Imagine the Angels…

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a Baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

    “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (Luke 2:9-14 NLT)

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/motions/16159/Angel-And-Shepherds-Loop
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/motions/16159/Angel-And-Shepherds-Loop

Do you ever think about how the angels must have felt on that first Christmas evening, so long ago? I do. Think about it with me and dream about what it must have been like to be an angel on that wonderful evening so many years ago…

Imagine living in heaven with Elohim, Almighty God, Maker of the heavens and the earth, God the Father, in all of the splendor of heaven. Every day of your life, since the time you were created, long before the earth and all that is in it was created, you stand in the presence of Almighty God. You not only call heaven your home, you have the honor and the privilege of standing in the presence of God. Can you see it?

Just imagine, You have seen and bear witness to Holy Spirit, as He hovered over the deep. You were there, as His breath was breathed into mankind, a curious being, created in the very image of God. You have beheld His glory, when He would fall upon the prophets of old, equipping them with power to speak the Word of the Lord in the midst of trials, tribulation and circumstances of great joy. You were there to observe Holy Spirit as He descended from heaven like a dove and lit upon Jesus. Do you see the image in your mind?

http://kidsworldag.blogspot.com/2011/12/christmas-characters-shepherds.html
http://kidsworldag.blogspot.com/2011/12/christmas-characters-shepherds.html

As Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, King of glory, was with His Father, while Holy Spirit hovered over the deep, you were there to see Him, the Word of the Lord, there in the beginning, going forth and creating. You watch as He even now, holds all of creation together.

Since the instant you were created, who knows how long ago, you have witnessed Almighty God, in all of His glory and magnificence. You are blessed to hear His voice as it thunders across the sky. You are honored to hear as He speaks in His still, small voice. You were present at the rebellious outrage of Lucifer and 1/3 of your fellow angels. You saw with your own eyes, how the Almighty God cast them out of heaven and threw them to the earth below, causing mass destruction.

You watched in consternation as God has allowed Satan to prowl about the earth, like a roaring lion, seeking to destroy all of mankind and the earth as well. You watched in alarm, as Adam and Eve sinned against the Almighty, and you witnessed the Lord’s response to them. Were you surprised that He showed such mercy to them?

And, when the Lord chose Gabriel from among you, to deliver two separate messages, to two different people about the appearance of the Son of God, were you bewildered, or were you not informed of this mission until later? When Holy Spirit came upon Mary, overshadowing her in His presence, did you watch in wonder, as this meager peasant girl was granted an honor that no one else in all of eternity would ever experience before or again?

When Jesus stripped Himself of His heavenly garments, and clothed Himself in the frail flesh of humanity, were you confused? As you watched Him lay aside all of His heavenly privileges as the Holy One, the Son of God, and allow Himself to be carried in the womb of that peasant girl, were you curious to know what was going on? As you watched the girl’s perilous journey to Bethlehem with her betrothed, did you stand ready to leap to their defense for the sake of the One who was carried in her womb?

http://www.radical.net/blog/category/christmasadvent/
http://www.radical.net/blog/category/christmasadvent/

As the King of kings made His entrance into the world on that first Christmas, borne into the squalor of a filthy stable, were you amazed? And when the Lord commanded you to go forth and deliver the good news to the lowly shepherds who were in the field that night, were you perhaps just as awe-struck as they were? Did your heart pound with joy and wonder as you too, beheld the newborn King who was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid to rest in a manger of straw?

Do you try to puzzle in your mind what the Lord’s plan is as you see the Ancient of Days, crying helplessly, as the girl gently lifts Him, kissing His holy face before nuzzling Him against her breast, feeding and sustaining the very One who gave her life and sustains her? Is it possible that you have not been informed about what God’s majestic plan is? Could it be that you don’t yet know of the suffering in store for this infant King?

Do you understand that this, not the presents, the commercialism, Santa Claus and all the other hype, is what Christmas is about? As people bustle about giving glory to themselves, their families, the merchants and the things that they receive on Christmas, do you give glory to the One whose birth is to be celebrated on this day?

While still others try to deify the angels who were merely witnesses to this miraculous event, rather than the Holy One who gave His One and Only Son as the perfect Christmas gift, do you honor Him? Are you aware that this glorious gift of salvation from God is so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen. (1 Peter 1:12 NLT)

This Christmas, let’s give glory to God with the angels, as we rejoice in the gift of Jesus Christ, Messiah, Son of the Living God, the Word of God, the Light of the World, King of kings and Lord of lords, Lamb of God, Lord and Savior!

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NKJV)  Hallelujah! I love the words of Jesus! Have you ever noticed that He doesn’t think like the rest of the world? 🙂 I guess that would be because He is God. I can just hear Him “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts. The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with My word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:8-12 NLT).

Do you see? He doesn’t think like we do, so if we’re to grow in our relationship with Him, we have to change our way of thinking. Being poor in spirit doesn’t come naturally to people, and I think it surely doesn’t come naturally to Americans. We’re taught from birth that we can be and do anything if we work hard enough at it, and if we want it bad enough… We’re taught from childhood that we must strive for the American dream, that in order to be a success in life, you have to work hard, make and save lots of money, have a nice home and leave an inheritance for our children.

We’re taught to rely on ourselves and walk with our heads held high. We’re taught to be proud of our achievements… and then along comes this Word from Jesus… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

Wow! What does that mean anyway? I know what a poor person is – someone who lacks. So if I’m poor in spirit, that means I lack something… And if I’m lacking something, I can’t be proud, can I? So what am I lacking? The truth is that I lack a whole lot. You see, apart from Christ, I lack love. Oh, I used to think that I loved, but it wasn’t until I came to Jesus that I really learned what love is. You see, God is love, and His love is not what the world calls “love.”

Most people will “love” you as long as you don’t disappoint them, but there’s a limit to everyone’s “love” apart from Christ. God, on the other hand loved me while I went my own way, thumbing my nose at Him. He loved me even though I rejected Jesus. Man, He even loved Adolph Hitler! His ways are not our ways.

And one final thought about love… His word tells those of us that love Him, that the only reason we love Him is because He loved us first!!! So, one of the things I lack without God is love, and without love, my spirit is very impoverished.

Another thing I lack is the ability to obey His commands. Apart from God the Father, Jesus the Son, and Holy Spirit, it is impossible for me to obey God’s commands. Now, I could say that I obey some of the commands, but scripture says… the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws (James 2:10 NLT).

Do you see? Apart from Christ, our spirits are empty. But there’s more to this than that… How many times have we read or heard about celebrities living in lavish mansions, wearing expensive designer clothes and jewels, with numerous luxury cars and partying all the time, only to learn later that they were bankrupt. You see, they thought they had it all, and we thought they had it all, but they were living a lie. The same is true of everyone who lives without Christ in their lives. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “Well, that’s nice if Jesus works for you, but it’s not for me.” Isn’t that so sad? They are just as destitute as I am, but they think and live as though they have it all. They miss their blessing because they refuse to see themselves as lacking… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

And then there are those who have it all… family and friends, money, wealth, careers and they place such great value in those things that they fail to see how poverty-stricken their spirit is. I think of the poor rich man in Matthew 19 who asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life, and he said that he had obeyed all of the commands, but when Jesus told him to sell everything and follow Him, the man just couldn’t give those things up. Those things were just too important to him, more important than the One who could give him eternal life. He had filled his spirit up with other things and he couldn’t see that he wasn’t as wealthy as he thought. His spirit was barren.

Finally, let’s look at Jesus. His life amazes me. The King of glory… the King of kings and Lord of lords… the Alpha and the Omega… The Ancient of Days left His throne in heaven to come to earth as a Man. He didn’t come as a rich man or a king – He came as a poor peasant. He didn’t come filled with pride. He didn’t come to be served. He came to serve.

He came in perfect obedience to His Father. He was humble and meek. He knew that we weren’t smart enough to recognize how completely drained our spirits are, so He showed us by the life He lived. And in case we still weren’t smart enough to recognize it, He explained to us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

How awesome is that? Talk about turning things upside down! Many of the scribes and Pharisees and Saducees, the priests and the high priest, who thought they had it all and made life so hard on the people would not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Rather, those who recognized that they couldn’t do anything apart from the Lord, who cried out for Him to help them and save them, would inherit the kingdom. Ha! Praise God! Even those of us who are Gentiles get to inherit the kingdom of heaven when we recognize that we are poor in spirit.

Hallelujah! His ways are definitely not our ways! “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” That’s me and I pray in Jesus’ name that it’s you too!

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17 NKJV)

After being tempted by the devil, then ministered to by angels, Jesus went to Capernaum to stay, and from that time, He began to preach this message, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

The Greek word for Repent is metanoeopronounced met-an-o-eh-o, which means to think differently or afterwards, i.e. – reconsider (feel compunction). So when Jesus is telling us to repent, He’s commanding us to change our mind… That’s why Paul wrote: Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-2 NASB).

The Lord is telling us that we must have a new mindset. We need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Instead of relying on my own thoughts and opinions, I must be open to the knowledge of God, because, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35 NASB).

You see, the kingdom of heaven is near, so we must become kingdom people rather than conforming to the ways of the world. Jesus commands us to change our ways. You see, my old way of thinking and behaving was okay when I belonged to the world, but when I came to the kingdom of God, I had to alter my thoughts and my behavior to a better way.

This is a crude illustration of this concept… When I am at home, I can walk around in my ratty old tee-shirt and sweat pants. Because I am in my own “world,” I can walk around without bathing or brushing my teeth if I don’t feel like it. I can even belch and fart out loud if I choose to do so – and who cares if I never clean my house?

However, if I receive an invitation from the President to come and live in the White House, I’m going to have to change my ways. I’m going to have to wear the garments fitting for a member of that household. No longer will I be allowed to live in filth, because as a member of that elite household, I must keep myself and my surroundings clean and pure – above reproach, so as not to shame the President or myself. And when I come into the presence of the President, I will need to make sure I’m clean and well-dressed. I will also change my behavior, because the things that I once thought were acceptable (like belching and farting out loud) are unacceptable in the presence of the President. You see, I will change because I’ve come into the presence of the President and his domain.

This is why Jesus commanded, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is  at hand” (Matthew 4:17 NKJV). You see, in the same way I needed to repent to come into the President’s presence and his domain, I need to repent and turn away from my former thoughts and ways, because I’ve come close to the King of kings and now I’ve entered into His kingdom. Won’t you join me and repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close to us? 

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers