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You Don't Only Live Once, You Live Twice!

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Have you ever heard of the saying/acronym “YOLO’? Which stands for “You Only Live Once”, as to say  live your life on your own terms. How you want, when you want, being unapologetic and just going after  any and everything you want out of life.  

Well, it all “sounds good” but can be a quite dangerous way to live one’s life. Throwing caution to the  wind and not having any regard for the potential consequences of living one’s life this way is, careless to  say the least. This is the worldly way of living. Thinking and acting this way appeals to the flesh, which is  contrary to God’s Word. We see this in 1 John 2:16 “For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the  lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- comes not from the Father but from the world.” NIV 

As a believer, we seek guidance, direction, leading and teaching for our daily living from the scriptures in  the Holy Bible. Here’s another acronym you may or may not be familiar with “BIBLE”; which stands for  Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. All that we need is right there in the bible. God gave us the  standards and the guidelines of how we should be here on earth. For those who may still be a bit  confused as to what God’s will is for us, here’s one example in Rom 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern  of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and  approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV 

It is so easy for us to be distracted and pulled in to what this world has to “offer”. This world says you’re  not good enough, smart enough, tall enough, pretty/handsome enough, blah, blah, blah… All of these  things are lies from the enemy. Is it really offering us anything of true substance or is it all just  temporary and short lived satisfaction? The world has the glitz of glamour that appears to be able to fill  the void that we all have experienced one way or another. We all have insecurities that we try to hide,  avoid, deny overcompensate for. But, what most will find (if not all) is that no matter what one tries to  do to combat those lies fed to us by the enemy, we will still remain unfulfilled. The reason this is is  because the only one who can truly complete us and offer the love we all so desire is, Jesus Christ. 

I started this blog by saying we don’t only live once, but twice. The first life we live will be here on Earth.  But the second will be determined by what we do here and how we choose to live our lives. The life we  live here is finite. The one we will live after, is eternal. Our destination after we leave this life will either  be in eternity with God our Father, The One and ONLY God, and with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or  to be absent from God and be in Hell for eternity. 

One of the most well-known verses in the bible whether you’re a believer or not is, John 3:16. “For God  so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but  have eternal life.” See, we all have the opportunity to live eternally with God. All we need to do is just  Believe in Jesus. We don’t have to work for it, we don’t have to earn it, we don’t have to be the most  perfect person in the world. We just need to believe in Jesus, who He is and what He came to do for us  all. Refer to Romans 10 9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your  hear that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with you heart that you believe and  are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” 

Our eternal salvation is a gift that all we need to do is accept it. My prayer for you is that you know that  you are loved. You were created in the very image of God. He knows you better than anyone else ever  will. He knew you before you were even in your mother’s womb. He has a great purpose and plan for your life. So don’t believe the lies and doubt that the enemy tries to plant in your mind. Remember to  whom you belong, an AMAZING God who loved you SO much that He sent His Only Son, Jesus Christ, to  die for your sins so that if you would only believe in His Son, Accept Him as your personal Lord and  Savior, that he rose again that when we leave this world, we will live again with in Him in eternity.

A Day in Wittenburg

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     Amidst all the interest in hurricanes, perceived rampant police brutality, and political strife, a seminal event in history will soon be commemorated. October 31st will be approximately 500 years since Martin Luther, the German theologian and protestant reformer, posted his 95 thesis on the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany.  The importance of this event cannot be overstated, as it changed the landscape of Christianity as we know it.   As October 31st approaches, we must ask ourselves, does today’s body of believers really understand what the Reformation represents? According to recent polls done by the Pew Research Center, the answer is a resounding, “no”.

 Numbers Don’t Lie

     A poll conducted by Pew in May of 2017 among U.S. Protestants and Catholics showed that 41% of U.S. Protestants believed that their religion was different than that of U.S. Catholics. 57% of U.S. Protestants though, believed that their religion was similar to that of U.S. Catholics. What do these results tell us about the beliefs of today’s typical churchgoer? Could It be possible that 57% of the church body believe that they have similar beliefs to Catholics, and if so why? Before attempting to answer that question, what was the Protestant Reformation and why was it significant?

      The Protestant Reformation took place in 16th century Europe. It literally pulled believers from a system in which salvation was purchased from the Catholic Priesthood through, “indulgences,” into a faith-based salvation. Salvation was no longer a concept based on works and the good deeds of man.  The Reformation was focused more on the scripture as authority, rejecting concepts like justification through deeds, and purgatory. Obviously, the reformation and its initiators were not well received by the Catholic Church at that time. The conflict between the two led to the origins of The Thirty Year’s War, which was the most deadly European religious war of all time. Clearly the differences between the two stances on faith were worlds apart. They were so different that blood was shed. So why have those differences softened over the years?

 The Blame Game

     The initial tendency would be to blame the culture that surrounds us. The real blame though should likely be placed somewhere else, the pulpit. Scripture says the following…

 “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; - with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

  • 2 Timothy 4:2-5

      Paul makes it very clear to Timothy that there should be an emphasis placed on preaching the word.   He warns that a time will come when people will seek out those who will preach a gospel that pleases their ears. From the looks of the current landscape, that time is now. With televangelists, prosperity preachers, and recent movements that have been designed to attract youth, false doctrine is running rampant. The danger is that a gospel that pleases the ears is not the gospel at all. Paul places that onus of responsibility on the preachers to preach the word in all seasons. It’s easy to understand that people who are subject to poor theology would think that their beliefs are similar to that of Catholics. Sermons that are solely designed to put smiles on faces would not bother with concepts like sovereignty, human depravity, and salvation through faith alone.

 Where Do we Go From Here?

     As Christians in today’s church, what is our response? One of the most beautiful things about that day in Wittenburg was that it represented the believer’s ability to read the scripture and cross-reference what they heard from the pulpit for themselves. As we come closer to October 31st, let us recognize that theology is important. It’s not something that should be left to those in seminary. It is literally the responsibility of every professing believer. A deeper understanding of God will ultimately lead to a deeper walk with Him.  

Posted by Shawn Thomas