Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

One of the most nagging questions in Christianity is whether or not baptism is necessary for salvation. The answer is a simple, "No, water baptism is not necessary for salvation." But you might ask, "If the answer is no, then why are there verses that say things like '...baptism that now saves you...' (1 Pet. 3:21) and '...Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins...' (Acts 2:38)?" These are good questions and they deserve a good answer, so we will look at these verses later. But for now, the reason baptism is not necessary for salvation is because we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8), not by faith and a ceremony (Rom. 4:1-11). You see, a religious ceremony is a set of activities or forms peformed by someone. In the Bible circumcision was a ceremony where one person performed a religious rite on another person. Likewise, baptism is also a ceremony where one person performs a religious rite on another person. But, we are saved by faith alone and anything else we do, including ceremonies, will not help. (Click here for complete Bible study by Matt Slick - CARM)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ungodly Hollywood Celbrities

In the past few months I have noticed more and more Hollywood celebrities going public with their own personal ideas of God and our Lord Jesus. The really sad part of the whole matter is that most of them are totally ignorant of God's Word and they seem to have no moral responsibility to the millions of young souls they are causing to reject Jesus for some false religion or cult.
Jesus said,Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10-32-33)

Jesus said, "But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God." (Luke 12:9)

Other Holy Scriptures that deal with the denial of our Lord Jesus Christ are:
Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:22-23)
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)
Father God, it just saddens my heart to listen to these ungodly Hollywood celebrities that broadcast lies and distorts the truth of You and Your Son Jesus to millions of lost souls all around this world. It is my prayer that all believers stand up and let these ungodly Hollywood celebrities know that they are all going down the path of destruction and that they need to repent and turn back to the only true God by accepting Your Son Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Lord, save me!"

Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:25-31)
It's hard to comprehend the love that God has for us. Even when we go astray and refuse to give Him all of the glory and praise that He deserve, He will always be there waiting for us.

Notice that even in the fourth watch (3am – 6am) our Lord knew exactly were His disciples were located, even though they were several miles off shore and they were in the middle of a storm. The same is true with us? No matter what time of day or night it is or where we might be, the Lord always knows where we are. If we are in the middle of a storm in life or high on a mountain top celebrating, the Lord is always there.

Notice how fearful the disciples were when they first spotted our Lord walking towards them on the water. They all cried out in fear, “It is a ghost!”. But our Lord immediately calmed them by saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I, do not be afraid.” Our Lord is always there to remove any fear that we have by putting his arms around us and telling us not to be afraid because He is with us.

When we have a personal relationship with the Lord, we want to get even closer to Him. Notice what Peter's response was, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to you on the water.” Peter's love for Jesus was so great that he wanted to get even closer to Him.

This passage is so profound and even though Peter and the rest of the disciples where in the mist of a storm, with waves kicking up over the bow of their boat, the presence of the Lord was so great that they all began to loose sight of what was happening around them. All our Lord had to say was "Come", and Peter stepped out of the boat as if he were stepping onto dry land. Oh, what strong faith Peter had in that moment of history when our Lord beckoned him to come to Him.

But what happened to Peter after he stepped out of the boat and started to walk to Jesus? At first, Peter's faith in the Lord was allowing him to walk on water. This was impossible for man, but all things are possible when God is involved. Peter took his eyes off of the Lord and his faith began to fade because the devil began to cause Peter to doubt Jesus' power over nature and the law of gravity. Peter began to let his surroundings, the dangers of the stormy sea, affect him and he began to sink into the water.

Like Peter, we sometimes allow our surroundings to overwhelm us to a point were we take our focus off of our Lord. Peter began to focus on the reality of drowning in the murky waters. This is also true with us. We begin to allow ourselves to drown in life's stormy seas. The Apostle Paul warns us about how important faith is. Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

Everyone of us has had this "sinking feeling" sometime in our life. Whether it was from the loss of a loved one, a job, or any other thing in this world that would overwhelm us to a point where we feel that there is no hope. But like Peter, we too can cry out, "Lord, save me!", and our faithful Lord will immediately take us in His loving arms and comfort us. And our Lord said to Peter and me, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Father God, it is my prayer that when I go through the storms of life that I will remain focused on You. Lord I know that there are times in my life that the devil will put doubt in my mind, but Lord, I love you and I am so blessed to have a loving and caring Father that whatever the circumstances may be, You will always take me back and be there for me.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Should Christian's Tithe?

"Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3: 8-10)

Yesterday, while setting in church with my wife, listening to the pastor preach on "Stewardship", I had this strong urge to find me a private room and pray. Every year, about this time our church congregation sets through a "guilt-trip" sermon on how we are "Robbing God", when we don't fork over 10% of our income to the church (Storehouse).

Well, after a few minutes, I did get up quietly and walked out. I went into a private room and started to read out of my Bible all of the scriptures that were being used in the pastor's sermon. While reading each OT and NT scriptures, I prayed to our Lord to give me the insight that I must be missing to understand why I must believe in the OT Tithe.

The more I studied God's Word, the more I became convinced that NT giving was all that was required of me. I even checked the internet and read hundreds of different writings regarding "Tithing". Here is a "website" that I feel gave the most complete study of the OT and NT Scriptures that apply to Tithing and Christian giving.

Now my wife and I do not oppose giving generously to our church and other ministries that we are lead by the Lord to give too, but we place our faith 100% in Jesus Christ and God's Word (Bible), and feel that teaching OT tithing to Christians is not Biblical.

I have studied OT and NT scriptures for years, praying over them and asking God to give me the wisdom to understand what He is wanting me to do. Please help me Lord and have mercy on my soul because I can not understand how the Christian Churches of this day and age can justify teaching OT Tithe requirements that were given to the Israelites to support the Levites and the Temple.

Thank you Heavenly Father for my free gift of Salvation and the Holy Spirit that You gave me the moment that I put my trust and faith in Your Son Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Foolishness in the Cross!

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

When we look around us and see all of the suffering and pain that is going on in this world it sometimes makes us feel that there is no hope left. But of course this thought is only foolishness for a believer in our Lord. There is no hope for the perishing who have decided to turn their backs on God.

For us who believe that Jesus is who He says He is, the only Son of God, and believe that He died on the cross for the sins of all the human race so they could live, and on the third day He rose again, this is the "blessed hope" that keeps us all going in this fallen and sinful world.

Father God, it is my prayer that all of those who have not accepted Your free gift of Salvation will do so today.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Does the Pain Ever End?

Does the pain ever go away after having someone you love commit suicide? Apparently not! I thought I was doing pretty good this week, even though the 10th marks the anniversary of my youngest son's death. But all of a sudden, while driving over to visit with one of my hospice patients, a song came on the radio that Jim really liked. It just sort of hit me like a ton of bricks... I relived the way I felt six years ago when the police walked up to my door to let me know that they had located my son dead inside his car.

The grief was so overwhelming that I had to pull over to the side of the road. I felt like someone had just reached inside me and pulled my heart out of my chest. I sat there and began talking with the Lord. I said, "Help me Lord! I'm hurting so much inside and the guilt just seems to make it worse." I'm sure if anyone drove by and saw me they would be thinking I was a crazy person talking out loud to himself.

All of a sudden I felt a warm comfort coming over me as if someone was holding me in their arms. Then I heard a voice say, "Come to Me and I will give your rest." Now I wasn't hearing "voices" it was like an inner voice within me. This had never happened to me before and my only reaction was to reply, "Lord, have mercy on my soul!". After about five minutes or so I was able to regain my composure and continued on my way.

After I got home I sat down and opened my Bible to Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus said,

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Thank you Lord Jesus for making my burden's in life easier to handle.

I don't really think that the pain of loosing a child ever leaves us, but when we share our pain, sorrows, burdens, and joys with our Lord, then we will experience the peace and joy that only God can give.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

In Memory of our son Jim (1976 -- 2004)

THIS IS MY TESTIMONY -- My name is Jim Cannaday. I’m from Roseburg, Oregon. I’m a welder by trade. I‘m here to tell people about the peace and the love that I have in my life and how they can have that also.

Before I was a follower of Jesus I had no hope for my life. Day by day for 13 years all I thought about was ways that I could kill myself, and that I had no purpose or meaning in my life. Sometimes those thoughts would go away during the day when I was distracted by other things, but every night when I was in bed they came back. Depression was aching pain, never ceasing unless I was sleeping or under the influence of something, and that only postponed it for a short while. Then came the end of the day when all was quiet and the thoughts would return.

My life, now that I have Jesus in it, is completely different. The hope, peace, forgiveness, and love that I have for people and life now is so abundant that my depression no longer has any ground to stand on. New meaning has been given to my life. I have a purpose and discipline, where before I had hopelessness and guilt. I have the knowledge of what is going to happen to me when I die and I’m not afraid any more. I know that I’m going to Heaven and I feel that I have to tell everyone how he or she can know this for themselves.

My parents became Christens about three and a half years before I did. I was always watching what they did and how they acted differently and how they talked. There were obvious signs of change. After Sept. 11th, I started thinking about my life and how none of those people knew that they were going to die that day. I was afraid of going to hell if I died.

One day in a restaurant, I was having lunch with my dad, and we were talking about being a Christian and what that meant. What I heard was that I didn’t have to be perfect and that I could be a Christian if I wanted to. He then asked me if I wanted to ask Jesus into my life and I said YES.

I didn’t stop doing the things that I did right away. Slowly I started feeling guilt about cursing and other things. I noticed that I was asking God to forgive me for things that normally I wouldn’t think twice about. Then one night I was on my way somewhere with a friend and I was telling him how great it felt being a Christian. He told me that he was sick of hearing about it because I was doing the same stuff that I was doing before, getting drunk and high.

The next night, Jan.21st 2002, I got on the Internet and was looking for the sermon that Billy Graham gave to the world after Sept.11th. I didn’t find it, but what I found was his web sight and a section called “My answer”. I started reading and it was like I asked the questions myself. The answers were there and all I had to do was listen. That was the first night of the rest of my Christian life.

All it takes for anyone to become a Christian, and know beyond any doubt that you’ll go to Heaven when you die, is to confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that he died on the cross for your sins and that He was buried and that God raised Him from the dead on the third day. If you pray that, and mean it, and ask Jesus to forgive you, a sinner, for your sins and to come into your life, you will be saved FOREVER!!!

I thank you for listening and allowing me to share my testimony with you. I pray that if you don’t have Jesus in your life, that you will ask Him to come in and take over your heart and life. Thank you.

A Mother's Thoughts (Celebration of Jim's Life)

I want to thank everyone for coming today. I thank all those who have supported us through this loss and especially all your prayers. I can feel your prayers and that is what helps keep me going. I know that with the help of God my family and I will get through this tragedy in our life.

Jim had a lot of friends and family that loved him. I don't think we will ever really know why he felt he had to end his life. I do know that depression can cause people to do things without thinking them through.

Those people that have known us for a while know that this was not the first time Jim tried to end his life. Back in December of 1998 we spent time in the hospital watching him die. That`s where I met Pastor Robbins. He was the Chaplain for the Sheriff's office and he came to give us support. He spent time praying with us and comforting us. God chose to answer those prayers by bringing Jim back to us.

Well, as you know, since that time Jim came to love the Lord and accept the free gift of salvation by accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He knew he had the assurance that he was forgiven and would have eternal life in heaven. As long as he was in fellowship with the Lord and read the bible he seemed happy. He gave up drugs, alcohol and smoking. He witnessed to friends, family and even strangers about the Lord. He wanted all his friends and family to know how they could have the free gift he had. He wanted them to be saved.

So what happened to Jim? When Jim got out of fellowship with God and stopped fellowshipping with other Christians some of the old habits came back. The depression came back. I didn't realize how bad it was because he didn't stay around us much the last few months.

Instead of looking to God for the answers he looked at how drugs made him feel. They helped him forget. Satan took advantage of this situation and without the armor of God Jim couldn't fight the depression. Does that mean that Jim didn't have faith in God? No. What he did was against God's laws but Jim knew God was a forgiving God. Jim knew from his faith that once you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior you were saved for eternity. We will see Jim again when we get to heaven because he was a Christian.

Those of you that don't know the peace that comes from knowing the Lord are missing out on the most wonderful free gift of a lifetime. Those who are Christians and are out of fellowship with the Lord need to come back to Him. He is always there waiting for us to ask for His help.

I will truly miss my son. He gave the most wonderful bear hugs a mother could ask for. I loved to see his face light up when he was happy. He loved his family and friends very much. In God's timing I will see him again.