Saturday, April 29, 2017

FAITH IN SOMETHING






By Jack Kinsella



Faith, the Bible says, is the substance of things hoped for and the expectation of that not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) It is indeed a divine description (pun intended) of something all of us have but few of us can describe.
In saying all of 'us' having faith, I mean the entire human race. There is no person, lost or saved on this planet that doesn't have faith in something.
Consider an atheist with a job and a credit card. He goes to work on Monday because he expects to be paid on payday. Midweek and out of cash, he uses his credit card to pay for lunch, spending on Wednesday.
He works in exchange for the expectation of that not seen, (paycheck), his faith so strong that he spends some of it (the substance of things hoped for) on Wednesday, although he doesn't see it until Friday.

When you get right down to it, that takes a lot of faith. But billions of us live that way, day after day, week after week, for our entire adult lives, and never really give it much thought.
One has faith in a spouse. By her presence, she is both the substance of things hoped for (a happy, lifelong marriage) and the expectation of things not yet seen.
I place my faith in the fact that Gayle wants the same thing and the two of us are working toward the same end to our mutual benefit. But the chief requirement for a happy marriage is mutual love, and that is where my faith is rooted. In her love. Without it, the rest would be impossible.

I am no different in that regard than anybody else, believer or unbeliever. It takes incredible faith and nobody gives it much thought.
Faith without trust is impossible. If I didn't trust that my employer would meet the payroll, I would be less inclined to stay on that job. Or even show up for work.
If I couldn't trust Gayle, there would be neither the substance of things hoped for nor the expectation of that not seen (a happy future together).
In the spiritual context, I believe in the promises of Scripture. The substance of things hoped for is my current relationship with Christ. It has substance because my faith has changed my life. I know what it was before Christ. I know what happened when I surrendered to Christ. I know how much different it is now.
There is evidence of things not seen.

But my relationship with Christ is not perfect. Not yet and not now. I remain a sinner, trapped in what Paul referred to as the 'body of this death.'
"But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7:25)
Paul speaks of the imperfect relationship with Christ thusly;
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1st Corinthians 13:12)
It is that second part of that verse that contains the substance that I hope for; when I see Him face to face.
For now, as Paul says, my relationship is like looking through a piece of smoked glass, I only know 'in part'. My sin nature keeps getting in the way, blocking my view, and obscuring the details.
It is that sin nature than caused Paul to echo my frustration and pain when he wrote:
"For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. . . For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. . . “(Romans 7:7-25)
It takes a lot of faith to overcome that kind of spiritual conflict. I am saved, I am going to heaven, I will see Jesus face to face, and I am a habitual sinner.
I do what I hate, I want to do good and fail, I hate evil before I do it . . . if I were God I wouldn't wait for me to stand before the Judgment Seat, I'd just dissolve me into a pink mist and start over.
That is where 'trust' makes its appearance. The guy who doesn't trust his boss will meet payroll will quit and start looking for another job.
A marriage where one cannot trust one's spouse will end in divorce, and both sides will go out looking for somebody else to put their trust in. 'Faith' and 'trust' are two sides of the same coin, but they are not the same thing.
I trust that Jesus will do what I cannot.
"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)
There are believers that believe in Jesus. They believe that He lived a sinless life. That He died for the sins of the world, and that He was Resurrected on the third day. They believe that He washed their sins away when they were saved.
But they don't trust Him. Having surrendered their lives to Him at salvation, they take back both control and responsibility the next day. They construct an artificial table of rules, and then despair when they still fall short.

There are some pretty famous atheists who proudly boast that they are former 'born again' Christians -- Ted Turner comes to mind, but there are others.
I often wondered how this could be. How someone could have expressed faith in Christ, only to divorce Him later? I have also heard of ex-preachers who lost their faith.
This also gave me pause. How could someone whose faith was so strong they became preachers of the Gospel just quit and start looking for another job?

Faith cannot exist without trust. As trust diminishes, so does faith. If I cannot trust that Jesus will sustain my relationship with Him, then how can I have faith that I will see Him face to face?
If I put my trust in my ability to meet His perfect standard, then my expectation of things hoped for is based on the substance of that which IS seen, i.e., my ability to conduct myself in a sinless manner. No wonder there are those who lose their faith! They put it in the wrong place.

James writes; "O vain man . . .faith without works is dead?" Those who have faith in God but trust in their own works to sustain their faith often point out James 2:20 as evidence that salvation is the product of faith AND works.
They miss the context of the next verse;
"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” (James 2:21)
In context, James is speaking of trusting God, not doing good works. Trust me, if you kill your son on an altar, you won't be doing a 'good work'. Instead, James explains,
"And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." (James 2:24)
Abraham 'believed God' -- he was willing to kill his son at God's command because he trusted God would not hold that sin to his charge. THAT is what God 'imputed unto him for righteousness'.
Trust. Not 'good works' as defined by a religious sect or church group. Trust. (Abraham was gonna cut his son's throat, for crying out loud.)
A young man asked Jesus what he lacked for salvation;
"Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions." (Matthew 19:21-22)
Jesus was making the opposite point to what many Christians come away with.
Jesus KNEW what the young man would say. He put an impossibly high standard on salvation to make a point His disciples immediately picked up on.
"When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?"
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:25-26)
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" . . . "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (Ephesians 2:8Romans 11:6)
"Now unto Him THAT IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM FALLING, and to present you FAULTLESS before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." (Jude 24-25)

WHERE IS YOUR FAITH PLACED?

IT'S TIME TO TAKE SHELTER





By Tim Cameron -


"A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3).

One stormy spring night at 2:30 a.m. in the Ozarks of Missouri, I was stirred awake by a loud crack of thunder. Looking out from the bedroom window; I could see the rain was moving sideways. I ran and turned on the TV to see that our area was under a tornado warning. My heart raced realizing that I had slept through any warnings that might have been given.

The next morning talking with other local friends we all asked the same question, "Did you hear the sirens?"



In the Ozarks, in tornado alley, we take tornado season seriously.
Six years ago this May, Joplin Missouri was hit with the deadliest tornado to hit the USA since 1947; 158 people died in the EF-5 Multiple Vortex Tornado.
On May 22, 2011, I stood outside getting ready to go to a friend's house for dinner and said, "I better call my parents and ask if it's okay for the kids to stay at their house, just in case."
The reason? My parents have a storm shelter and the clouds in the sky to the west of us looked very OMINOUS. It was 4:30 in the afternoon when  my wife and I dropped off our three kids and headed to a friend's house.
We were all eating and talking when I quickly glanced at the radar on my phone and my friend saw my countenance. "Is something wrong?"
"You should see the radar," I replied. "It looks TERRIBLE, and man, it's right on top of Joplin!"
My friends' wife hurried and turned on the TV in the other room, and all of our phones were buzzing with texts: "Home Depot in Joplin got hit, Walmart too!" It was very sobering and all of our "watching and praying" eyes were lifted-up. We all prayed and then my wife and I made a mad dash to my parent's house to be with our kids.
In the next few hours after having watched the storm lift and pass over our area we would learn that one of the deadliest storms in recent American history had just taken place. Many lives were lost and countless others would NEVER be the same.
Many stories came forth from those who heard the warnings and believed them, and ran for shelter. But at the same time we heard stories of those who turned a deaf ear, "Heard them all my life," they said and just kept grilling burgers. "I heard the sirens, but they go off a lot around here this time of year."
And of course we also heard the devastating stories of those who had heard the warnings but were not in a safe place to weather the storm, and lost their lives. Some were even snatched out of loved ones arms. It was gut wrenching and I pray as you continue to read, that this disaster can be used as a major wake-up call to those who have been blinded to something coming that is much more ominous.
You see, many people died, but some were prepared to die. They had taken shelter from  an eternal storm by placing their faith in Jesus Christ, and even though their physical bodies perished, they did NOT truly die. For in an instant, the moment their bodies were struck by that devastating F-5 tornado, because they belonged to God, their souls were transported into His very presence to their eternal home, which they would in no way would want to leave.
On the other hand, there are those who were not prepared for that tornado. More important, they were not prepared for that which would come after that storm. The Bible says it is appointed unto all people once to die and then later, at the Great White Throne judgment, they will stand before God as Judge.
During this horrendous tornado, a local doctor reported hearing people "wail and scream" inside the twister and how it haunted him. But what is even more daunting is that there are those who are even now wailing and screaming from a storm that will NEVER STOP because after being propelled through that tornado, out of a Home Depot or Walmart they arrived in hell.
After the 1000-year Millennium they will stand in God's courtroom, stand before Him because they refused to believe in Him and refused to take shelter in Him. They will hear a terrible decree, "Depart from Me I know You Not."
Those who died and had rejected the free gift of salvation offered through Jesus Christ are now in HELL with NO HOPE, no chance to escape. When they stand before the Lord at the Great White Throne judgment they will be sentenced to an eternity in the lake of fire.
But if you are reading this you still have hope.
Here is the deal: There is a storm brewing of biblical proportions and it's even at the door. You have to have eyes to see and ears to hear.
The radar is screaming for you to PLEASE TAKE SHELTER.
In God's Word He foretold of a time such as this, and said when you see certain things, to "take shelter!" What are those certain things? Here are just a few:
Israel is being pressured on every side to "divide her land."
When love waxes cold, when the love of pleasure (self gratification) is greater than love for God.
There will be wars and rumors of wars.
When global economies shake; when knowledge increases and people travel rapidly "to and fro."
Okay, everyone would surely concede that there has been a significant increase in "wars and rumors of wars," right? (North Korea, Syria, Russia, China, the USA, Iran in recent days and weeks are taking significant steps showing a war footing.)
Would everyone also agree, that Israel's existence and its claim upon a certain parcel of land as its capital (Jerusalem) is growing in prominence as a global talking point?
Would anyone disagree that debt is a global epidemic that continues to spiral out of control? The USA's debt alone is swiftly approaching 20 TRILLION DOLLARS.
Anyone over the age of 40 can argue that homosexuality was in the closet for most of your life. NOW it is in our faces demanding not only be accepted, but normalized, and that those who oppose it should be marginalized.
What about the prophesied increase of travel and knowledge by the prophet Daniel?
"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." (Daniel 12:4)
For thousands of years, mankind traveled by horse but in the last century we've seen travel go to where you can ship anything worldwide in three days (Federal Express). You can talk instantaneously to others anywhere via text, instant messenger, and email.
Just as Daniel forewarned: When you see these things, it's like an ominous storm warning shouting something very terrifying: "The Day of the Lord is at hand."
"Look! The Lord's anger bursts out like a storm, a whirlwind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked. The anger of the Lord will not diminish until it has finished all he has planned. In the days to come you will understand all this very clearly" (Jeremiah 23:19-20).
We are approaching a time of God's undeniable wrath being poured out upon this place we've called home. He, in His mercy is warning all who will listen.
Look with open eyes and pay attention. Governments are advocating the killing of babies that survive abortion, after they are ripped out of their mother's wombs. Now that is criminal enough in light of the fact that it pulls our heartstrings with, "That is a baby!" But also remember that those helpless little lives are God's intricate handiwork being destroyed-murdered. He authored those lives. To kill those babies is to point a self-righteous finger at God's saying, "Not your will God, but ours be done."
I suggest that everyone should read the book of Habakkuk and realize that God is no respecter of persons, and the very thing He allowed to happen to Israel is playing out right before our eyes-as evil and wicked people are reaping a perilous harvest. I tremble at what I'm seeing take place and how rapidly it's all happening.
Do you not pay attention to those who are planning YOUR VERY OWN DESTRUCTION?
The Jihadists-including the Muslim Brotherhood are screaming, "Americans MUST die." Even now these enemies are working around the clock to see that this is accomplished through their planning of tremendous violence, and demanding Sharia law (slavery).
We have entire nations to reference for what looks like the ravages of radical Islamists, demanding submission as they train little kids to strap bombs to themselves and walk into crowds and blow themselves up. Even now they are planning massive attacks on the place we have called home (USA). They do this believing they are under a "divine" mandate to usher in their "messiah" by way of horror and chaos.
These radicals have erected training facilities all over the United States and yet most people are sleeping right through it, "Eating, drinking and being merry..."
People are NOT paying attention to the fact that governments are enabling this terrorist ascension by providing billions of dollars, F16s and high-powered weapons. The U.S. government has been handing out visas and free entrance into this country via special exemptions, often with no background checks required.
In relation to a stormy night, your TV should be blaring with this warning:
BREAKING ALERT. As it was in the days of Noah and as it was in the days of Lot so shall it be.
And what about gay "Christians?"
The kicker of these so-called gay "Christians" is that they are the only group claiming to follow Christ and continue to hang onto, and love their sin. There is no other group or individual that claims so proudly to be sinful; not an adulterous Christian, a fornicating Christian, a lying Christian, a gambling Christian or a murdering Christian. They all would add the word "repentant." A "repentant" adulterer, a "repentant" fornicator, etc.
Every true born-again believer does wrestle with their carnal sin-nature having to take up his or her own cross dying daily and die to self, but would never subscribe to hanging onto sin-which caused Jesus to die on the cross.
If the Holy Spirit is living inside a person, that person will be at war with the sin nature. The Spirit of God would be pruning, rooting out and tearing down everything exalting itself against the knowledge of God. Christian means to be "Christ-like".
To say being gay is "Christ-like" is tragically trendy and becoming politically correct. BUT the Bible is the only true measure of truth and it says that it is an abomination (perversion) to the very purpose for which mankind was created. We were ALL born wrong the first time, we all have a sin nature and that is why Jesus said we must be "born-again."
Yet, godless lawlessness is screaming: "TURN OFF THE LIGHT!"
There is a STORM WARNING, but they are having a picnic anyway.
So many pastors stand at their pulpits presenting ear-tickling sermons, at a time when preachers should be in the deepest travail crying out for people to: "Make ready!"
To me, it would be like a group of people watching the news and hearing that an F5 Tornado, hurricane, volcano or earthquake is about to happen. Instead of crying out for safety these clueless people go into denial planning a picnic.
Seriously, get a picture of this: You are sitting in your house, the TV blares the sound of a siren with this banner running across the screen:
A SEVERE WEATHER REPORT WARNING
You would now know that a tornado has been spotted on the ground and it's headed right toward your town, but at the same time you're getting a call from a local pastor or church member talking about having a picnic as if all is well-when you know its not.
The prophet Jeremiah showed us that there is a dividing line drawn-that God becomes very angry with those who claim to speak for Him and yet aren't sharing the truth of what He would be saying:
"Thus says the Lord of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord. They continually say to those who despise Me, 'The Lord has said, "You shall have peace"; and to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, "No evil shall come upon you." (Jeremiah 23:16-17)
This type of chicanery is happening all over this planet. And it's being done "in Jesus' name." Pastors in pulpits are using the spotlight NOT to point to the only hope for such a stormy time, but rather they use Jesus' name to shine a spotlight upon themselves-to make money, build buildings,  grow "feel good" ministries (that are  all going to be consumed by fire).
I'm convinced there would be a tremendous harvest in churches if pastors would repent and start preaching the true gospel to their "seeker friendly" attendees who've been falsely led through a "repeat after me" mantra instead of being told they need to "repent or perish."
But sadly, they parrot words from the latest trendy "best seller" to fleece their way up the blasphemous chain of "churchianity," instead of getting on their faces before a Holy God and asking, "What do You want to say today?"
That should be a warning to us all, to be about our Father's business. Not to earn salvation but because of what Jesus already accomplished on our behalf to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. Hatred is boiling. True born-again Christians are becoming the scourge of the earth.
You can plan for your best life now if you want to, but based on God's Holy Word I've read that this planet is much more like the Titanic, and we are admonished to get people to life boats-not to build a better earthly world; but help rescue those who  are His.
We have heard this many times but I will say it again, "As it was in the days of Noah." Noah did NOT change his world. He didn't win his culture's favor and he didn't try to be culturally relevant. He just faithfully believed God and built an ark for the saving of souls.
Please hear the heart of this message.
It is not to condemn, but to stir an urgency to sound the alarm to your friends and family while there is still time.
I tell you, the storm clouds are ominous.
Are you prepared? Have you taken shelter with Jesus?
Hate has replaced love. The love of self has replaced God. "Whatever makes you feel good, just do it." Run up credit cards, who cares that the debtor is enslaved to the lender? Even now our nation in America is selling its individual citizens into debt slavery by destroying our national sovereignty through spending not billions-but trillions, and yet the masses of kool-aid drinkers are trusting that these blind "leaders" know where they are going.
We have a man named Pope Francis who has been lobbying Israel to give up land for peace, referring to the 1967 borders as the starting point of negotiations striving for a "Two-State Solution." The Pope is asking for all faiths to unite so we can all COEXIST. That is ominous I tell you!
PLEASE TAKE SHELTER.
In Joplin, the warnings went out and many heard and believed. They ran and hid in safe places. That is what I'm about to ask you to do.
You see, you can scoff at what I'm saying and say, "I've heard this all my life," and as one lady testified in Joplin, "I've heard tornado warnings all my life."
They mocked Noah in his day...
Thousands of people mocked Noah to the very end, and you can too. You can mock the warnings of this time. You can say, "Ah, the government will 'fix it' or 'we've seen this before.'"
OR you can take a serious and sober look at the many things that have taken place in recent days, months and years and say, "Maybe I need to wake-up to what is really happening and TAKE SHELTER."
Did you know the great damage a tsunami can do before the Asian Pacific Tsunami that struck ten years ago? Over 250,000 people died. That storm will pale in comparison to a time that the Bible warns, "Unless God shortens the days no flesh will survive."
What must you do to be safe from the wrath to come? What is the wrath to come? That is the time of the seven-year Tribulation when God pours out his judgment (wrath) upon an unbelieving world.
In a storm warning for that time, if we turned on our televisions there would  be a scrolling message telling us what to expect:
Strong winds in excess of 100 mph, golf ball sized hail, dangerous lightning.
Ninety to one-hundred pound hailstones (Revelation 16:16-20).
A great earthquake, leaving NO ISLANDS on earth, also taking down every mountain on earth.
One-third of the earth will be burned up, one-third of trees and all the grass (Revelation 8:7).
One-third of the sea will be turned into blood (Revelation 8:8-9).
The abyss (bottomless pit) will open and locust-like scorpion creatures will arise (Revelation  9:2-3).
Evil angels will be released to kill one-third of mankind (Revelation 9).
Painful sores will break out on people that have taken the mark of the beast (Revelation 16).
The sun will scorch people with fire (Revelation 16).
And even worse: Lost souls who die without Christ will be cast into hell, and later into the lake of fire for all eternity.
Stop and think. Please!
Knowing the terror of the Lord, I beg of you to hear this warning.
Right now if a tornado warning was sounding and you "believed it" you would run to find shelter. How can we do that in relation to the choices we must make in this life: We either repent or perish.
Repentance is simply a change of mind; it is to "stop and think" differently than you are now. In its simplest application...in order for one to be saved, he or she must BELIEVE upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
Get on your knees and humbly place your faith/trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Believe that He is your only hope, that He is your Lord and Savior and that He is your Storm Shelter and He will be your Refuge. If you do that, I have great news: You will NOT die but you will have everlasting life.



Will you hurry up and take shelter with the Lord. Don't you hear the warning?
Tim Cameron

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

GOD IS LOVE...BUT ...A CONSUMING FIRE



By Pastor Mike Taylor

7 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1st John 4:7-10)

Most people agree that for salvation a Christian needs more than just a theoretical knowledge of God. Over the course of our lives, we increase our knowledge of Him through life's varied experiences. We also come to greater understanding by studying God's Word. In both areas we can be snared by a major problem that traps many religious people in this world: emphasizing one of His attributes at the expense of others.
I have a Roman Catholic friend who lives in France, who is focused on this one attribute of God, that God is love, and since God is a loving God, all is good, and I fear that he believes that a loving God will not send anyone to a burning hell. He hasn't come right and said it that I can recall, but he definitely “hung up” on this one attribute and cannot see other attributes of the God we serve.
God is not one dimensional. Though we should study each of His attributes and think on them separately, we should not separate them from the complete personality that God is. Why? It distorts the model we are to imitate and grow into, and it can radically alter our expectations of what He will do. If He does not do what we expect, we are liable to become grieved because God "let us down."
For instance, the Bible emphasizes that God is merciful and full of grace. We are very thankful that God is a merciful and loving God, but God is much more than one or two dimension of His character. We should not make the mistake besides all of the many attributes that are what our God is, we should not overlook the fact the God is also just. If we do, His mercy can become a justification for failure to overcome besetting sins. Neither God's mercy nor justice can be separated from all that He is. Both are harmoniously applied to each situation and person He judges.
SOME OF THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
God is also a God of compassion. Some see God as so compassionate that He disregards the causes of some horrible problems and trials we endure in this life. If God acted in such a manner, flaws with painful results would go uncorrected.
Make no mistake about it, God will discipline those He loves.
5 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:5-8)


Some so erroneously believe that God created His creation and then just walked away. God is very much involved with the plan to redeem mankind and nothing escapes His gaze or His knowledge.
Still others construe God's sovereignty so that it is greatly diminished His goodness and portrays Him as rigid and inflexible. This kind of person lives with a guilt-ridden, fearful and discouraged life, thinking he will never please Him.
6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
But probably the most familiar of God's attributes is found in the scripture used to open this message in 1st John 4:8 “God is love”. John states a fact, not a definition of God's essential nature. If John had declared that love is what God is, we would be forced to conclude that God is what love is. Literally, if God is love, then literally, love is God and we are forced to worship love as the only True God. This would mean that God and love are identical. Fortunately for mankind, the Bible reveals that God is a multidimensional personality and not only just love. If we eliminate the idea of God's complex personality, denying all of His other attributes, save one, the remaining attribute becomes God, and is a very subtle form of idolatry. This is NOT what God the Father is, or our Lord Jesus Christ.


THE WHOLENESS OF GOD


The wholeness of God is a concept that we must come to understand, that God is more than one or two attributes. It's an important subject because some have becomed enslaved to words. We must give greater weight to meanings. The Bible speaks that God is love and light.
3 “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1st John 1:3-5)
The Bible also speaks of our Jesus as being the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

6  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)



We understand the words in the same sense as when we say of a man, "He is kindness itself." Of course, we do not suggest that kindness and the man are identical, and no one misunderstands our intention. Because any man is more than just kindness, even the best man. So it is even more so with a infinite God we serve.

The words "God is love" mean that love is an essential attribute of God. Love is something true of God, but it is not all of God. He has many other attributes. He is self-existent, eternal, merciful, full of grace, immutable, just, omnipotent, omniscient and many more things besides, but the greatest of all, is God is Holy.. Because God is Holy and immutable, He always acts as God, and because He is a whole and perfect personality, He never suspends one of His attributes to exercise another.


God is not man, with all of his imperfections. God is truth and never acts out of irritation, resentment, suddenly moody, or acts on a whim. He always acts in light of all the facts. King David declared in the Psalms:
7 “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:7-11)


David also proclaimed further in another chapter in the Psalms :
5 “Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
He is the Lord our God: his judgments are in all the earth.” (Psalm 105:5,7)


The beauty, harmony, balance and providence evident throughout the earth are witnesses of the wisdom, unity, harmony, and yes, the love in which He always acts.
Through the prophet Jeremiah, God proclaims:
23  “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)


HOW DO WE COME TO KNOW GOD AND HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:1-3)
So how important is it to know God? As mentioned here, eternal life is knowing God.
It implies an intimate relationship with God that matures over a lifetime. Each party knows each other well, as familiarly as marriage partners.
1 “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3)


So what of our God? Can we know Him. Yes, through His only begotten Son, can we come to know a loving, but fearfully powerful God.
6 “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:6-10)


God loved us so much, that He sent His only Son, to die in our place....


For God so loved the world that HE GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17, God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but the world through Him might be saved.
18, He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18) “caps my emphasis”
The question was, “how can we come to know God?” The Apostle John gave a quick and concise way we can know God and know Him intimately...through His Son..
 “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” (1st John 2:23)
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:1-9)


GOD IS JUST AND WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE
With all the attributes spoke briefly about an all power God, and our soon coming King, God is not some grandfatherly type living in the sky who is nothing but love, love, love. Although He embodies this attributes, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
8 “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:8-10)
One might wonder why fear is included. It is because fear represents the specific attitude required to make the best use of  God's law and bring the sinner to conviction through the Holy Spirit. Know this, reader. We don't come to God because we love God..we come to Him because we love ourselves. Love for Him comes later when we realize what He has done for us.
10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11, There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12, They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Roman 3:10-12)
There is an element of fear to realize that we are in rebellion against God because of our sinful nature. Fear brings Godly conviction and I've seen men shake with the power of God upon them, as they are under God's conviction of their sins. The choice of life or death, darkness or light, eternity in heaven or in hell, drives those under this conviction to a Godly realization of their vulnerability to a Holy God who will judge them, even though He loves them. Paul speaks of this along with the Apostle Peter:
5 “But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)
God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? (Roman 3:5-6)
And Peter wrote:
5 “Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1st Peter 4:5-6)
.
 In addition, remember that wisdom is right application of knowledge and understanding. If fear is not present, we will not even start to build towards  faith, hope, and love. Godly fear gets us jump-started, gets us going to do what is right.
GOD IS LONG SUFFERING, BUT....


Although God is a loving God, He is patient and not willing that any of His creation perish.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward,not willing that any should perish, but that all shouldcome to repentance.” (2nd Peter 3:9)


But even a long suffering King of the Universe, patience does eventually run out. We have many instances found in your Bible of a longsuffering God. Like when God gave the inhabitants in Canaan 400 years to change and repent, but sent Israel into the Promise Land and commanded them during their Exodus to destroy them:
These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the Lord God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth.
Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:
And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place” (Deuteronomy 12:2-3)
Just showing the fear of God and what God has done to bring His wrath on unrepentant mankind should give anyone pause and have reverence, and a Godly fear of an Almighty God who when He has finally run out of patience, will utterly destroy those who in rebellion against Him. I know this will upset my Catholic friend who I debate on a local forum, but God is not only a God of love, He is also a God of judgment in His righteous indignation. But let us speak of the coming wrath that God will unleash on mankind in the near future.
THE WRATH OF A LOVING GOD


23 “ To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29 For our God is a consuming fire.”


There are a huge amount of verses in your Bible that speaks of the attributes of a Holy God. Yes, God is love, but He is also greatly to be feared. God will pass judgment on the whole of mankind and destroy all rebellion on this earth what is called the coming Tribulation. The final book of your Bible speaks of the wrath of God. You know that God of love? Although He is not willing any should perish, God gives you a choice. It's called your own freewill. God does not coerce anyone into loving Him or obeying Him...He gives us a choice of heaven or hell. He doesn't send anybody to hell...you do.


John sees the ultimate fate of all who refuse the free offer of grace and mercy through our Lord Jesus Christ:
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)


GOD IS LOVE, YES, BUT HE IS SO MUCH MORE


We admire good qualities in others and wish we had them. But we realize that the same people who have these good qualities lack others. Our God, though, has every good quality to the ultimate degree, and every attribute works in perfect and faithful harmony.
Studying God in His wholeness should teach us humility, caution in speech and action and a deep reverence of Him. Too often God's superiority overwhelms us when we compare it to our own state. Though we are imperfect and limited in this life, we should not undervalue our current level of growth. Don't allow God's incomparable perfection to derail your progress. Growth in godly character and personality is our calling—we are to be like Him!
Human life is a beginning: God made us in His image and is transforming us into the image of His Son. This process requires our cooperation in striving to "put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him" (Colossians 3:10). This is His will. And in bringing us to His perfection, He reveals His whole nature so we can know it and allow Him to reproduce it in us.


To my friend, the Catholic online, God is love, that is true...BUT our God is a consuming FIRE. May we possess a Godly fear and reverence and not reject so great a salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying you know the REAL God in Spirit and in Truth. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at realteam1999@sbcglobal.net, ..God bless you all.



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