Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Urgent Prayer Request!

Because I am a firm believer in the power of prayer to our Holy God, I am humbly asking all of you Prayer Warriors to liftup my cousin Bonnie Lemke to the Lord.

We received an update on Bonnie last night. Her surgery took longer than expected. She had shunts put in her urethra and then they removed her colon, rectum and part of her intestines. They removed a large tumor that was wrapped around her rectum. She is in a lot of pain and had to have a blood transfusion due to a drop in her blood pressure. Please continue to keep her in prayer for God's will to be done. She has been fighting ovarian cancer for seven years now.

If you would like to visit Bonnie's website just click on the title. Thank you and God's blessings, Lloyd and Margaret

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Preach The Gospel!

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16: 15-16)

Yesterday my wife and a few others from our church went out in the neighborhood, going door-to-door, handing out invitations to a free Easter breakfast on Easter Sunday followed by Easter Service. Out of the over 400 doors we knocked on, there were several not home, or not answering, but there were those who graciously accepted our invitation.

In the above scriptures, our Lord Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world, telling everyone that He had paid the penalty for sin and that those who believe in Him can be forgiven and live eternally with God.

But what did Jesus mean when He told His disciples, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved;” So was Jesus telling us that we must also be baptized to be saved? No!, Jesus did not combined being saved and baptism together, because the next passage said, "but he who does not believe will be condemned." Notice that Jesus left out baptism because He did not required it for salvation.

If we continue to read other scriptures that deal with salvation and baptism it clearly states that it is not the water of baptism that saves, but God’s grace accepted through faith in Christ.

Because of Jesus’ response to the criminal on the cross who died with Him, we know it is possible to be saved without being baptized (Luke 23:43). Baptism alone, without faith, does not automatically bring a person to heaven.

We also know that when the Apostle Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) There is no mention of baptism, only by grace we have been saved through faith.

And when the Apostle Paul also said, “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13) There is no mention of baptism, only by grace we have been saved through faith.

When Jesus said, "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." (John 10:9) There is no mention of baptism, only by grace we have been saved through faith.

Now when Jesus said to the woman that washed His feet with her tears, "Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace." (Luke 7:48-50) There is no mention of baptism, only by grace we have been saved through faith.

And again when the Apostle Paul said, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” (Ephesians 2:4-5) There is no mention of baptism, only by grace we have been saved through faith.

These are just a few scriptures that make it clear about what God requires for us to be "Saved". Then when we witness to someone and that person wants to know what it takes to be "Saved", we can explain to them what God's Word has to say about it.

Father God, thank you for my free gift of salvation and for giving me my marching orders to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cardboard Testimonies

This video has such a profound message of what God has done in the lives of people who have come to know the Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

God's Free Gift

But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10: 8-10)

Has anyone every walked up to you and asked “How do I become a Christian?” These verses give you the beautiful answer. There are a lot of people that think it must be a complicated process, but it is not. Salvation is as close as your own mouth and heart.
The Word of God is very plain and simple and we must take what He says literally in these verses. If you confess with your mouth the Lord is Jesus and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Halleluiah… We don’t have to earn our Salvation or keep on feeling guilty because we feel we are not doing enough to please God. The Apostle Paul even clarifies this biblical truth even more in verse 13, when he said, “For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Jesus did it all folks, “It is Finished!”. What a relief to know that if I were an unbeliever, out in the desert dying of thirst, and there was no hope of rescue, I can reach out to the Lord Jesus and say, “Jesus save me!” and He will welcome me home.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bible Interpretation

While reading over several Christian blogs yesterday, I noticed that there were many that seemed uncertain about how to interpret God’s Word. 1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us, “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”. So why do we as Believer’s seem to be so confused when we witness to the world about what God is trying to tell us in His Holy Scriptures?

How can a verse in our Bible have so many meanings and interpretations? The Apostle Paul, in 2 Timothy 3:16, said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”. So how can we continue to witness to the world when we can not agree upon what the Word of God really means. There is only one TRUTH that comes from the Word of God and there are no contradictions!

When interpreting scripture from the Bible we must have a common method of doing so. The word “method” comes for the Greek word methods, which literally means “a way or path of transit. Methodology in Bible study is therefore concerned with “the proper path to be taken in order to arrive at Scriptural truth.” There should be only one interpretation of any given verse in the Bible. Just think of how the world would view Christianity if we could all agree upon what the Word of God is saying to us.

I would prayerfully suggest that you read the article “Rightly Interpreting the Bible” that was written by Ron Rhodes. It is very enlightening and well written.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Divine Appointment!

Sometimes I am just amazed at how awesome out God really is. Lord I trust You with all my heart, mind and soul. You are my Fortress, my Hightower, and my Rock. Only in you Lord I put my trust. It just blows me away sometimes on how the Lord uses His sheep. Today I humbled myself before my God and thanked Him for allowing me to be His Servant.

I received a telephone call from one of my Hospice clients' wife asking me if I had the time to come over and set with her husband while she took off shopping for a few hours. Now this particular client of mine is not expected to live much more than a few more months.

What was unique about this phone call was that I had not heard from this client for about two months because he had decided he really didn't need a hospice volunteer watching him. Anyways, I told this lady that I would be there to set with her husband while she ran errands and did her shopping.

When I arrived, John (not his real name) was setting in his recliner chair. John was too weak to come to the door so I let myself in. I said, "John, so good to see you." John told me that he was really happy that I could make it over to set with him. John began to talk about his health deteriating and that being he was a Christian that He wasn't afraid to die. Now it is the policy of hospice that volunteers cannot express their own personal religious beliefs unless the clients brings up the subject.

I thought to myself, Lord thank you for working through John that he trusted me well enough to talk about his faith and his pending death. Even though John had been a Christian for years and had accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he told me that he was a little worried because he didn't know for sure if he was good enough to make it to Heaven.

My heart just went out to John at that moment. I asked John if he wanted me to explain to him how he could be 100% sure, that if he died today, he would be in the loving arms of Jesus. John asked me how I could possibly know this for sure.

At that time, John and I had about a two hour Bible study, meditating and praying on God's word. At the end, John fully understood that when our Lord Jesus died on the cross, he died for our past, present, and future sins, and when our Lord said, "It is finished", He meant that He had paid the price for all mankind to be able to come before a Holy God.

Thank you Lord for this divine appointment.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

There is Hope For America!

Who is Your Neighbor?(Luke 10: 25-37)

"The Unchurched Next Door"
(by Thom Ranier)

--There are 160 million unchurched people in America.

--Most unchurched persons believe in the existence of both heaven and hell.

--Most unchurched would rather talk to a lay-person than a pastor about religious matters.

--Easter is still a key time to invite the unchurched to church.

--Over 17 million people will accept Christ if the gospel is presented to them; another 43 million are close.

--The bottom line: If you invite them many will come.

A Suggested Strategy for Action:

--Begin praying God would show you someone who is "unchurched" to invite to Easter Sunday activities.

--Pray for them daily, and for the Lord to open their hearts to Him.

--Plan a follow up strategy to minister and befriend this person/family.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Do this in remembrance of Me"

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22: 17-20)

Today in church we had communion with the Lord, also known as the Lord’s Supper. As I was listening to the pastor read from scripture, I began to pray to God and asked Him to forgive me of my sins (I was specific, but that’s between me and God.). I asked the Lord to search my heart, and thanked Him for dying on the Cross for me. I then took of the bread and drank of the fruit of the vine.

What does this sacred church ordinance mean to a believer? I took the following from the Nelson Study Bible:
The Lord’s Supper was designed:
1. To commemorate the death of Christ: “This do in remembrance of me.”

2. To signify, seal, and apply to believers all the benefits of the new covenant. In this ordinance Christ ratifies his promises to his people, and they on their part solemnly consecrate themselves to him and to his entire service.

3. To be a badge of the Christian profession.

4. To indicate and to promote the communion of believers with Christ.

5. To represent the mutual communion of believers with each other. The elements used to represent Christ’s body and blood are bread and wine.

Let us see what the Word of God reveals to us regarding this verse:

When Jesus said, “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Our Lord is talking about His second coming and the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Rev. 19:9) Oh, what a glorious occasion that will be when our Lord comes and we will be His forever and ever and He will be our Lord of Lords, King of Kings. Lord Jesus Come!

Then our Lord took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, gave it to His disciples and said, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” The bread of the Lord’s Supper represents His body which He offered on behalf of His disciples. (1 Cor 10:4).

When our Lord Jesus said, "...do this in remembrance..." Jesus instituted a new meal which is not only a memorial of His death, but also a fellowship meal of unity. It is a proclamation and a symbol of the believers’ anticipation of Jesus’ return, when all God’s promises will be fulfilled (1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 11:23–26).

Then when our Lord Jesus said, "This cup is the new covenant...", He was telling us that the wine, of the Lord’s Supper, depicts the giving of life, a sacrifice of blood, which inaugurates the new covenant for those who respond to His offer of salvation (Heb. 8:8, 13; 9:11–28). This is the strongest substitutionary image in the Gospel of Luke: Jesus died on the Cross in our place and for our sins (Acts 20:28).

Now when our Lord Jesus said, "...in My blood, which is shed for you.", there are some Christians who interpret "My blood" metaphorically, meaning that the contents of this cup represented Jesus’ blood that would be shed for our sins. However, there are others who give this statement a more literal interpretation. I personally believe that our Lord Jesus was speaking metaphorically. Our Lord Jesus shed his blood when He died on the cross in the place of many sinners from every nation. He paid the price for all of their sins. Now the good news is that all of those who believe in Him will receive eternal life.

Father God, I will always remember, when I take of the bread and drink of the fruit of the vine, the sacrifice that Your Son, Jesus Christ, made for me. Thank you Lord Jesus for taking the wrath of God which was meant for me and dying on the Cross for my sins.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is Attending Church Important?

In my witnessing to people about our Lord Jesus Christ, it sometimes comes up in conversations, that they believe in the Son of God, and say that they have accepted Him as their Savior and Lord, but feel that gathering with other believers (Church) really isn’t that important. Well, is it important for a Christian to attend church?

Now when I use the reference to “Church”, I am talking about a body of people that are “born again” and are believers in Jesus Christ. It does not make any difference what denomination or "name" that the church may go by, as long as it is a New Testament Church.

Some people mistakenly think that there is an earthly organization that is the one true church. However, the true church is not an organization, not a series of buildings, but the body of true believers. The true church consists of those who are regenerate; that is, it consists of those who are the true Christians. The true church is the cross-section of believers in all churches that adhere to the essential doctrines of Christianity.

Now you might ask yourself, what are the essential doctrines of Christianity? I have reproduced part of the information found on the CARM website that lays out the essential and non-essential Christian doctrines:

Primary Essential Doctrines: Cannot be denied and still be Christian since the scriptures openly declare that to deny them is to bring judgment.

1) Jesus is both God and man (John 1:1,14; 8:24; Col. 2:9; 1 John 4:1-4).
2) Jesus rose from the dead physically (John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 15:14).
3) Salvation is by grace through faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 3:1-2; 5:1-4).
4) The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:8-9).
5) There is only one God (Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8).

Secondary Essential Doctrines: Not explicitly stated in Scripture as essential but they are derivatively necessary.

1) God exists as a Trinity of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
2) Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary (nature of incarnation).

Non-Essential Doctrines: Can be believed or not and it does not affect whether or not one is Christian.

1) Predestination, election, limited atonement, and free will
2) Communion every week, monthly, or quarterly, etc.
3) Saturday or Sunday Worship
4) Pre, mid, post tribulation rapture.
5) Premill, Amill, post millenialism, preterism.
6) Continuation or cessation of the charismatic gifts.
7) Baptism for adults or infants.

Therefore, we can see that if a church or denomination would deny that Jesus is God in the flesh, or physically risen from the dead, then it would not be Christian. Furthermore, we could have two different churches that disagree on the non-essentials, but are still Christian since they affirm the essentials.

Now, let us look in the Bible at some scriptures that mention “Church” and see what the Word of God has to say about it:

"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My CHURCH, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Mt 16:18)

The church is important to Jesus because He is explaining to Peter that the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church as long as it is built upon the Rock (Jesus). The church was important to Jesus.

"Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the CHURCH of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Ac 20:28)

In these scriptures, the Apostle Paul is encouraging overseers to shepherd (take care of) the church which Jesus purchased with His own blood. The church was important to Jesus.

To the CHURCH of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. (1 Cor 1:2)

The Apostle Paul addresses the Church in Corinth who are believers and called to be saints. The church was important to Jesus.

For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every CHURCH. (1 Cor 4:17)

The Apostle Paul sends Timothy to the Church in Corinth to remind the believers the ways in Christ. Jesus wanted believers to fellowship and study God’s Word together. The church was important to Jesus.

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the Churches of the saints. (1 Cor 14:33)

The Apostle Paul lets the believers in Corinth know that God is not the author of confusion but of peace. Jesus wanted believers to fellowship and study God’s Word together. The church was important to Jesus.

For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the CHURCH; and He is the Savior of the body. (Eph 5:23)

The apostle Paul lets the church know that Jesus Christ is the head of the church. The church was important to Jesus.

"I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the Churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star." (Re 22:16)

Jesus loved His church so much that He has sent His angel to testify. And one of these days, our Lord will return and there will be an awesome celebration taking place during the marriage of the Church and Lamb of God.

After studying and meditating on God’s Word, I can only speak for myself, but if my Lord Jesus felt the church was important to His followers, then the church is also important to me!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Let This Cup Pass!

Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.(Matthew 26:38-39)

When our Lord Jesus finished the traditional Passover meal He took His disciples out to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. Now Jesus and His disciples had been to the Garden of Gethsemane many times before to pray and meditate on God’s word. But this time was different, because our Lord was preparing Himself to finish God’s plan of Salvation for all of mankind.

As the eleven disciples of our Lord followed Him into the garden, they could tell that our Lord was troubled. Jesus turned to His disciples and said to them, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” (Matthew 26:36). Jesus then took Peter, James and John and walked a little further into the garden. This was the third time that Jesus singled out Peter, James, and John to accompany Him for a specific purpose (see the Transfiguration in Matthew 17:1–13 and the raising of Jairus’s daughter in Luke 8:49–56).

Jesus then releases the anguish that was building up inside of Him as He told the three, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” Jesus was in great anguish over his approaching physical pain, separation from the Father, and death for the sins of the world. His agony was worse than death because He paid for all sin by being separated from God. The sinless Son of God took our sins upon Himself to save us from suffering and separation. Because of the anguish Jesus experienced, He can relate to our suffering. Jesus’ strength to obey came from His relationship with God the Father, who is also the source of our strength. Our Lord was asking Peter, James and John to stay awake and pray for Him and to give Him comfort in His time of need.

Jesus then walked a little farther (About a stone’s throw.) and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” When Jesus said, “let this cup pass from Me”, it was not the impending physical suffering, as terrible as it would be, that caused Jesus to pray this way; it was the reality of the sinless Son of God bearing the sins of the world and facing separation from His Father (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 12:2; 1 Pet. 2:24). The word "cup" is a figure of speech for wrath in the Old Testament (Ps. 75:8; Isa. 51:17). Jesus became a curse for us and took the brunt of God’s righteous wrath against all the sin of mankind (Gal. 3:13).

In the Book of Matthew (22:43) our Lord Jesus is comforted and given strength by an angel from heaven. Our God is so loving and full of mercy that He sent an angel to comfort and strengthen Jesus so He could accomplish the Father’s will.

Jesus prays for about an hour, then He walks back to where he had left Peter, James and John who were suppose to be praying for Him. Jesus tells Peter and the other two disciples, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." All three disciples, who swore that they would die for our Lord, were asleep. Jesus woke Peter and the other two up, then went back and prayed the same prayer two more times. Each time Jesus walked back and found Peter, James and John sleeping. Peter, James and John all swore that they would die for our Lord and drink the cup that our Lord drank, but they could not even stay awake for one hour when our Lord needed them the most.

All of mankind is guilty of sin and stands condemned before the tribunal of God; into every man’s hand the deadly cup is put, and he is required to drink of the poison—Jesus enters, takes every man’s cup out of his hand, and drinks of the poison, and thus tastes and suffers the death which every man otherwise deserved.

Lord Jesus, thank you for taking my cup and dying for me on the cross.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday, and days before that too.
I think of you in silence, I often speak your name.
All I have are memories and a picture in a frame.
Your memory is a keepsake, with which I'll never part.
God has you in his keeping, I have you in my heart.
Love Always, Mom & Dad