Tag Archives: salvation

Are you a Cultural Christian?

Are you a Cultural Christian?
This entry is part 22 of 22 in the series Striving to be Christlike

What is a “Cultural Christian”?

A Cultural Christian is someone who may be born again, believes Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, may have been baptized by immersion, yet still accepts, lives in sin and/or condones what the current culture accepts as proper, OK, passable, not a sin — knowing that it’s against God’s will and law and does nothing about it.

It’s like you have one foot in God’s Kingdom and one foot in the world.

The problem with that is that once you become a born-again believer, you are a Citizen of Heaven and you cannot continue being a citizen of world.

I was a cultural Christian for many years. Of course, I knew my ticket to heaven was secure, but I thought I could continue to do some of the things that I did before and it was OK. It’s wasn’t. I was in a relationship with an unbeliever and after each “encounter” I had this guilty feeling. That was the Holy Spirit inside of me convicting me – telling me that what I was doing was disappointing God. It was against his rules for living a righteous, Christ-like life.

I was a liberal Democrat. I had the attitude of “to each his own” – but condoning and accepting bad behavior is also against God’s will. Now, I’m a Christian Conservative and what’s happening in our country and the world makes me angry. Actually, I’m incensed and disgusted! I don’t recognize America any more – I know our Founding Fathers wouldn’t either. 

A Cultural Christian thinks same-sex marriage is OK. In God’s eyes it is NOT so it shouldn’t be so in your eyes.

A Cultural Christian thinks abortion is OK. It is not in God’s eyes – it’s the murder of innocent lives. It doesn’t make sense that when a pregnant woman is murdered it’s two counts of murder, yet society condones the murder of innocent babies like they were trash.

Get the point?

As a Christian, you MUST read the Bible DAILY! 

With so many Bible apps & websites, there really isn’t any valid excuse not to. Check these out:

You must attend and get involved in a bible-based church.

“Bible-based” is the relevant keyword here. Make sure the church leaders and pastors don’t pick and choose what Bible verses to teach and ignore the ones that God needs believers to hear. Strive to seek the truth.

Live a WWJD? life.

Stop and think before reacting. Say to yourself, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” “How would Jesus handle this issue?” What would Jesus say in response?” “Would Jesus watch this show?” “Is God smiling or is He disappointed in me and my behavior?”

Connect with Christians on the social media sites.

Follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their blogs, like them on Facebook. You become like those you hang out with. Striving to be Christ-like is not easy. But it helps when you get together with other committed Christians and talk about the latest news, how you feel and how your friends feel about the issues.

This world is not all there is – Thanks to Jesus!

When I look around at this sin-sick world that I live in, I thank the Lord Jesus that this is not all there is. That I have a HOPE like no other in Christ of an eternal life in a Paradise called Heaven. I like reading Revelation 21.

Here are a few of my favorite passages from that chapter:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared…I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

Jesus at the Gate

The Narrow Gate into God’s Kingdom – Heaven

And the one sitting on the throne [Jesus] said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Rev. 21:1, 3-8

You can take the wide gate just to be popular and accepted into today’s society and culture or you can truly live the Christian life and enter Heaven through the narrow gate:

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it…”~Matthew 7:13-14

 It’s Your Choice.

Here’s a hint: Jesus wins in the end! Don’t you want to be on HIS Side? Click here to get to know Christ personally – it is about a personal relationship, not about religion.

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow @GiselleAguiar on Twitter
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Twitter: @wwjdrevival

Heaven Can Wait, Government Can Save Us

Heaven Can Wait, Government Can Save Us

God’s Story—Our Story: The Reign of Christ—Now and Forever

Sermon by Chuck Foreman, Teaching/Missions Pastor
First Christian Church—November 11, 2012

Scriptures: Revelation 1-5; 19-22; Romans 8; 1 Thessalonians 4-5;
I Peter 2:9-17; 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Heaven can wait, Government can save us…

SALVATION & POLITICS

We’ve bought into an idea about “salvation” that is more like fire insurance than Biblical teaching. “Just give me that ticket out of hell and into heaven, and we’re good.” That kind of thinking doesn’t cause us to do anything about the combustible material in our lives that will probably burn our house down.

We think we’re heaven bound, but that we’re still trapped in an ugly, fallen world, in which we have to scrape and claw to get what WE want. We think all we really need is a government that will make it all happen for us.
Unfortunately when we think like that, there’s nothing about us or our ideas that ever changes anything or makes a difference in this world.

Our idea of heaven is more like an Escape Route or a Safe House, not a place where Christ reigns and gives us hope for restoring God’s will & reign on earth. And we think that government ought to make things better, and we hope that it will, so we whine & moan when it doesn’t, instead of rolling up our own sleeves.

The symbol for King in Chinese

The symbol for “King” in Chinese

What if we’ve missed something? What if what God really wants to do is to accomplish something revolutionary in us, thru us, among us—here, now— as we establish His Kingdom here, while we wait for the return of our King?

Illustration: Chinese character—“King” 3 horizontal lines representing heaven, man and earth, connected by a vertical line representing the one vested w/ power between heaven and earth to rule uprightly over man.

God’s Story is Our Story: Let’s review what he’s been up to and where he’s taking us…

Creation (Genesis 1-2)

The Fall of Man (Genesis 3)

A New Nation—Israel—The People of God (Genesis 12:2-3)

Israel’s Failure—Matthew 23:37-38

The Messiah—Immanuel (“God with us”—Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)

The New Israel—The Church—The New People of God (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:42-48)

The transformation of the politics of Paul, James and Peter…
Galatians 3:28-29 (Revolutionary for Paul!)
Acts 15:16-18 (James quotes Amos 9:11-12)
Ephesians 2:10; 3:6-11, 14, 21 (God’s mystery made known thru the Church as we do the good works we were re-created to do!)
I Timothy 2:1-4 (Pray for kings so we can live peaceful, quiet, godly, holy lives—this is ultimately what will influence people to be saved.)
I Peter 2:9-17 (The New Order)

John’s Revelation…
Revelation 1-5: Message to the 7 Churches of Asia Minor—God is going to restore all things to the way they were. You’re in on it—it matters how you live! So get your act together!

Revelation 6-18: The Cosmic Battle between God and Satan over the Church

Revelation 19: Victory! The Defeat of the Beast/Babylon/The Prostitute (Rome), The Wedding of the Lamb

Revelation 20: Satan’s Doom & the Judgment of Mankind

Revelation 21-22: The Final Act—The Reign of Christ Fully, Finally Realized

Revelation 21:1-5 God with us—Out with the old, in with the new!
(This is where we place our hope, not in the White House, not in the Stock Market!)
Revelation 21:9-10 The New Jerusalem, The Church coming down from heaven

I Thessalonians 4:13-18 Let’s go meet our King!

Revelation 22:1-3a Eden Restored

Romans 8:18-25 The Redemption of Creation

Revelation 22:3b-5 We will reign with him forever!

Jesus is Coming—perhaps soon.

Listen to his final words: Revelation 22:7 Revelation 22:12

Jesus is coming someday. On that day, every knee will bow and tongue confess that he is Lord. Are you ready? You’ll either do it willingly or not, but you will bow. Are you ready?

The question is not, Is Jesus King?. He’s King alright. The question is, Is he king of your life?

You can make him King of your life today. There’s a lot of joyful work to do in His Kingdom, as we eagerly, patiently prepare for his will to ultimately be done and his kingdom to finally come “on earth—as it is in heaven.”

Right On!

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The Deadly Virus in our Churches Today

The Deadly Virus in our Churches Today
This entry is part 21 of 21 in the series Christianity

I met with my pastors, Jon Taylor, Lead Pastor of First Christian Church of Phoenix, and Chuck Foreman, the teaching/missions pastor, this week to talk about collaborating on a small-group study on WWJD?. They agreed to help write it as well as a companion sermon guide.

Chuck forwarded me a newsletter from the Disciple Nations Alliance. I loved the opening message and tried to find it in a blog online at their website so I could share it, but could not. It was written just for the newsletter recipients. Thus, I’m compelled to share it here since it highlights the need for a church-wide study on WWJD?.

Coram Deo: Before the Face of God

A deadly virus is running rampant through the Church around the world. Not a physical virus, but a mental one—and very subtle. Victims typically don’t realize they are infected.

What is this virus? It’s the idea that the Christian faith is primarily personal and private. It addresses personal salvation, and it focuses on developing a pious inner life, but it has little to do with how someone lives the rest of his or her life.

There are huge problems with this.

We spend the vast majority of our time working, eating, playing, and living in relationship with family, friends, and co-workers. If my faith isn’t informing how I live my life, something else surely is. And that something is the accepted norms, values, and practices of my surrounding culture.

The virus enables Christians to assume they are theologically orthodox because they affirm correct answers to the questions of God, man, the fall, and salvation. Yet it prevents them from making a connection between these personal/spiritual topics and how they think about work, life, leisure, and the broader culture. While holding to a form of Christianity, in practice, they are functional atheists, Gnostics, or animists, depending on the culture from which they come.

This explains how Enron’s indicted former CEO, Ken Lay, while serving as an elder in his local evangelical congregation, could drive his company off a cliff. In business, you play by the rules; and in today’s America, the rules are established by the secular, pragmatic, materialistic culture. It is OK to “cook the books” and deceive shareholders, so long as you don’t get caught.

This is just want Satan wants, for the virus strips the church of its saltiness. It is no longer able to influence and shape culture. God’s truth is shackled—prevented from penetrating and saturating all areas of life and society. As a result, the nations are not discipled. Rather, the church increasingly reflects the values and practices of the nations. This is the tragic consequence: The failure of the church to understand, much less carry out, the Great Commission. The nations—trapped in structures of poverty, corruption, and tyranny—are paying the price.

This is the problem we exist to address. This virus has to be attacked head-on, exposed for the lie that it is. When Jesus said “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” he really meant it. His truth applies to every area of public life. It is not merely a message of salvation; it is an all-encompassing way of understanding everything. We are called not just to save people out of the world, but to bring the truth to bear in all areas, thereby living God-honoring lives and creating God-honoring cultures, starting with our families, churches, arenas of work and, ultimately, nations. As this happens, the nations are blessed, just as God promised they would be (Genesis 12:1-3).

God loves His Bride, and we see increasing evidence that He is awakening her to this inward threat. We believe God has raised up the DNA to be part of the solution, and we are grateful for your partnership in the endeavor.

In Galatians 5:13, Paul tells us Christians:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Here, “the flesh” refers to the sinful nature of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit. You see, it’s not “natural” for us to be godly. We can thank Adam and Eve for that. But Jesus shows us how to live righteous lives and commands us to do so. (Romans 12:1-3)

WWJD? The Revival is not just another fad

Our mission is to help Christians strive to be Christ-like. It’s not easy. We are tempted by the world on a daily basis. That is why the small-group study that we’re preparing is so vital. When discussed in the small-group setting, the group members hold each-other accountable. That makes a big difference from just reading a daily devotional.

Please follow WWJD? The Revival on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. We will keep you updated on the progress of the study and when it will be available. In the meantime, look for devotionals, bible passages and encouragements.

God Bless,
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-winning Christian Author
@giselleaguiar 

Using Social Media to Evangelize

Using Social Media to Evangelize
This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Evangelism

Marketing for Jesus!

Jesus commanded us to do it!

“…Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”~Matthew 28: 19-20

Back then it wasn’t easy. The disciples had to do a lot of walking and letter writing.

Today, we have the Interent.

social media icons

Christians must embrace social media to further God’s Kingdom.

We have at our fingertips the most incredible medium for evangelizing, for spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, not just in our neighborhoods, but all over the world! The Televangelists had the right idea when they embraced the medium of television to help spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Now everyone that wants it has access to the Internet at home, at work, on their cell phones or iPads. The new phenomenon is Social Media and we as Christian need to embrace it and take advantage of it to further God’s Kingdom.

Right now, Satan has control of the world and is also using Social Media to tempt, attack, create doubt, and deceive. We need to fight back! And we can ride the coattails of the Social Media Revolution.

Watch this video:

Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh) from Erik Qualman on Vimeo.

Think of it as the parable of the sower…Matthew 13: 1-23

Understanding the last passage is crucial:

“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” ~Matthew 13:23

You never know when or if that seed will be planted and when or if later on, someone in their lives will help them come to Christ.

You must not discriminate.

I got into a discussion with @GodlessAtheist on Twitter not too long ago. He’ll post to the #TeamJesus hashtag just to get our goat. In our back and forth conversation, he was asking questions – and that’s what’s important. And I replied with scripture. Today he wrote something like “football is better than religion,” then I replied to him with a video from the 700 Club (CBN.org) featuring the players of the Super Bowl talking about how Christ is foremost in their lives.

We have the Armor of God and “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17) – which is the only offensive piece of the armor. We have Truth on our side and we must speak the Truth and spread the Truth, using the FREE tools called Social Media.

Social Media tools are free and easy to use and can be very power if you know how to use them properly.

“But I have no time!” 

I bet you said that when emails came out. What’s the first thing you do in the morning when you sit in front of your computer? Check email. And you probably do that a few times a day. Well, monitoring social media needs to be added to your schedule. Just 15-30 minutes a day and blogging once a week. There are some great tools to help you automate and schedule postings to save time.

I can show you how to easy it is to use Social Media to evangelize and it’s not just for pastors! Any Christian can do this!

Visit my Social Media Marketing Tips Blog

Have you got a Christian blog? Please post it in a comment and I’ll add it to a blogroll.

Check out these other great blogs:

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author, Inspirational Speaker
Social Media Coach
Follow Giselle on Twitter
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Are You Ready to Evangelize?

Are You Ready to Evangelize?
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Evangelism

PreacherAs a young Christian (and I have to admit, my Christian growth journey has been very long), I didn’t understand evangelism. My impressions of evangelists were:

1. TV evangelists yelling at me from a pulpit in front of a congregation of thousands of people.

2. The folks knocking door to door asking, “Do you know if you’re going to heaven?”

I didn’t know that as a Christian, Jesus asked each and every one of His believers, who were now disciples also, to:

The Great Commission

Jesus instructing His Apostles to make Disciples of all the nations Matthew 28:19-20

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:19-20

Ok, so we know what we have to do. How?

Scenario:

You get on a plane for 2-3 flight. You sit down and introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you. He sees the cross around your neck and immediately says, “I’m an atheist.”

Now, if you’re a pastor, you probably know how to handle this, but for the average Christian, our first thought would be to get on the defensive. Start defending God and Jesus and rattling about how we’ve been saved and the joy we have, etc.

Not the right strategy.

The Armor of GodRemember the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-30? We have:

  1. The belt of Truth
  2. The breastplate of Righteousness
  3. The shoes of the Gospel of Peace
  4. The shield of Faith
  5. The helmet of Salvation

and lastly, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Reading the Bible

Owning a Bible is no good if you don't read it!

Do you realize that the sword is the only offensive weapon? Everything else is defensive – to protect you. The sword is meant to thrust to attack.

The only way to arm yourself is to READ THE BIBLE. And not just cover to cover. But methodically.

If you want to be prepared to converse with an atheist whether it be on a plane or on Twitter, you must be armed with the undeniable Truth of God’s Word. Take some time each day to read it. The best time is in the morning when your mind is fresh. Hey, read it in the bathroom. God has no rules as where you have to be when you read it! If you need a guide, use one or more of the millions of devotionals out there. One of my favorites is Our Daily Bread. It’s online or you can probably pick it up at your church.

So how do you converse with the atheist on the plane when he proudly informes you that he doesn’t believe there is a God? Here’s your reply:

“Really, why’s that?”

Then shut up and listen to his story. (Remember, you’ve got a couple of hours.) Then and only then, you reply with, “Well, did you know that Jesus said,…’Truly I tell you….’”

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Enlightenment, Encouragement & Enrichment by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning Christian Author

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author

I you liked this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

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Do not Fear Death!

Do not Fear Death!
This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Don't Worry

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?” ~1 Corinthians 15:55

Take care of your life; and the Lord will take care of your death ~George Whitefield

Jesus Resurrection
Jesus conquered death so we wouldn’t have to fear it.

Jesus didn’t spend much time worry about His death. Even as the Gospel story progresses and Jesus knows that His hour is approaching, He continues His mission in life. For each of us, God has a day set aside for us to face death. Why then should we worry? Until that day, let’s just spend our time doing what He did.

 

 

 

 

 Excerpt from:

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Enlightenment, Encouragement & Enrichment by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning Christian Author

Deo Volente (God Willing) – covering writing, Christian church history and Christianity

Check out Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian
This entry is part 10 of 21 in the series Christianity

I love Joyce Meyer – she tells it like it is and she’s not ashamed to say it.

“Sitting in church each Sunday doesn’t make you a Christian just like sitting in your garage doesn’t make you a car.” ~ Joyce Meyer (paraphrased)

I couldn’t have said it any clearer. It’s belief in Christ that makes you a Christian and what you do with your life after you become a believer.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”~Acts 2:38-40

Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites because they claimed to be religious yet they didn’t show it in their daily lives. (Matthew 23:13-33)

Aren’t Christians seen as hypocrites today? Yes. And I’ve met some in my adult life. I knew a man who went to church regularly and volunteered to help and fix things, but he’d talk behind people’s back (gossip).

There was a devout lady who would openly judge other people. And then there are those who would walk by someone who needs help ignoring the person. Oh, we (and I include myself) do that every day.

You must step back and say to yourself, “Am I really a Christian?” If you have doubts, you need to pray this prayer wholeheartedly and sincerely and solidify your relationship with Jesus Christ:

Lord Jesus, I need You to guide my life. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Lord and Savior. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

Baptism
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God Bless,
Giselle Aguiar
Soli Deo Gloria
www.giselleaguiar.com
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The Holy Spirit – God’s Gift to Us – After the Resurrection – part 6

The Holy Spirit – God’s Gift to Us – After the Resurrection – part 6
This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series After the Resurrection

The Holy Spirit – God’s gifts to His believers.

Read Acts 2

The phrase “filled with the Holy Spirit” congers up pictures of folks rolling down the aisles of a church speaking gibberish. That’s not what it’s about.

The Holy Spirit is a gift from God when someone becomes a believer in Jesus Christ. You can only receive the Holy Spirit by receiving Jesus Christ into your heart and being baptized.

The Holy Spirit gives believers the power to overcome temptations from the devil. The Holy Spirit also brings us special “fruits”:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.~Galatians 5:22-25.

But you don’t automatically get the fruits. The devil doesn’t like that you’re a believer and he’s going to tempt you and mess up your life every chance he can get. That’s when you call on the Holy Spirit to help you. The Holy Spirit will deliver those fruits and all you need to do is ask.

What you need to remember is that the Holy Spirit is there, inside of you 24/7. It’s how Jesus lives in you when you become a believer.

How do you become a believer? It’s easy. To have eternal life with Jesus, just pray this prayer wholeheartedly and sincerely:

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

Being a Christian is a journey of faith with the goal to be closer to God and live like Christ and sometimes it is a struggle for some Christians to live like Christ. It also doesn’t guarantee that life will be trouble free. God sends trials to test our faith. So we must read the Bible to grow stronger in faith.

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Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

After the Resurrection – part 4 – Gospel of John – Doubting Thomas

After the Resurrection – part 4 – Gospel of John – Doubting Thomas
This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series After the Resurrection

Read John 20:19-31

I’ll believe it when I see it. That’s something you say when you’re told something rather outrageous, unbelievable or from someone who’s not exactly trustworthy.

Like when you hear about an overweight friend who’s been notoriously lazy say they’re joining a gym and planning to lose 40 pounds before Christmas. You reply, “Yeah, right – I’ll believe it when I see it.”
When Christmas rolls around and the person lost the 40 lbs. and more, you’re reaction is different, “Wow! You look great! You did it!”

If you had not seen the person, you would not have believed that they lost the weight. Or would you have taken someone else’s word for it?

Or when a politician promises something. That’s easy.

Why do you think Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”? (John 20:29)

He knew that the disciples’ upcoming challenge was getting people who did not witness His death and resurrection to believe in Him and that it really happened. We still have that problem today.
How can you believe in something you can’t see?

We do it all the time. Take gravity for instance. We can’t see it, but we know what would happen if we didn’t have it. It’s a law – no doubt about it.

I could name some other things like time, air, etc. But that’s not the point.

The Rapture is coming.
Jesus will come back for His believers and then there will 7 years of tribulation. If you say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” sorry, Charlie, but it will be too late.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) That is the law of the New Testament. There’s no getting around it. And unfortunately, we also know what will happen if we didn’t have Jesus – we’d die and burn in Hell forever.

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. ~John 20:31

That’s what Faith is all about.

To have eternal life with Jesus, just pray this prayer wholeheartedly and sincerely:

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

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Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
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After the Resurrection – part 3 – according to Luke

After the Resurrection – part 3 – according to Luke
This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series After the Resurrection

Read Luke 24:13-53

It’s hot news. It’s the talk of the town. Everybody’s buzzing about it. Wow! Jesus was dead and his body was gone!

So, this “stranger” comes up to you and your friend and asks you what all the excitement about? You wonder, “Where’s this person been? Under a rock? How can he not know what happened?”

The two were more concerned about the spectacular nature of the event than what it truly meant.

The “stranger” then starts giving them an Old Testament lesson.

They invited him to lunch and then they recognized that it was Jesus.

They ran back to Jerusalem and told the other disciples that it was true – Jesus was really alive. Then Jesus appeared before the whole group.

A ghost? Again, initially, they didn’t believe.

They touched Him and with “joy an amazement” they ate with Him and He reminded them that “The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead” and then He promised them that a “gift” will come from God.

Then, in front of them, He rose to Heaven.

And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. ~1 Corinthians 15:14

“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” ~Romans 10:9

It’s that simple.
So, what’s stopping you?
Do you think you are unworthy? That doesn’t matter. God loves you anyway and that’s why Jesus died for you – to wipe away ALL your sins – no matter how bad they are. Wiped clean. Purified. Redeemed.

Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” ~John 14:3-4

That’s where He is right now. In Heaven preparing your room in God’s wonderful house where there will be no more pain, we will have perfect bodies, we’ll live in constant joy – no more tears, problems or heartaches. Doesn’t that sound nice?

Jesus is coming back and it really seems like it will be soon. Don’t you want to have that one-way ticket to Heaven?

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ~Acts 2:38

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God Bless,
Giselle
Soil Deo Gloria
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After the Resurrection – part 2 – according to Mark

After the Resurrection – part 2 – according to Mark
This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series After the Resurrection

Read Mark 16:1-20 

As in Matthew, the women are comforted with the words, “Don’t be alarmed.” But, Mark tells of the women seeing a “young man dressed in a white robe.” We assume the man is an angel of God because he says clearly that Jesus “has risen! He is not here.”

Then the angel tells them to go tell the disciples and Peter. Peter is singled out specifically because Peter denied that he knew Jesus 3 times.

The next section was written later and it highlights the disbelief as word spread among the disciples that Jesus was alive.

Think about it. If someone tells you that a person who you saw die was alive your first reaction would be – yeah, right, shake your head and walk away thinking they were insane.

First the women tell the men and they don’t believe. Then Jesus appears to two of the disciples who were walking in the country. The two believe, but when they tell the others, they get the same reaction – disbelief.

Then when all the eleven are together at a meal, Jesus appears to them and He scolds them for not believing.

Jesus gives them the same instructions – “go into the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Do not discriminate. Everybody is to know the good news of God’s love, of salvation and that Jesus is the only way to heaven.

Jesus tells them, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” That’s a promise.

Then they saw Jesus ascend into heaven. He sits at the right hand of God.

Jesus said, “I am going there [Heaven] to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:3-4)

To be sure that you have a reservation in heaven, click here. 
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Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
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After the Resurrection – part 1 – according to Matthew

After the Resurrection – part 1 – according to Matthew
This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series After the Resurrection

In this series, I’ll review the days right after Jesus’ Resurrection as told in each of the four Gospels and the Book of Acts (The Acts of the Apostles).

Read: Matthew 28:8-20

Remember the women were the last ones at the cross…
and the first ones at the tomb.

In Matthew, the women are running after discovering the empty tomb to tell the male members of Jesus’ followers and suddenly Jesus appears in front of them. He allows them to touch Him to prove to them that He is alive. They fall to their knees and worship Him. They are the first to see the Living Christ.

He first comforts them by saying, “Do not be afraid.” Then He tells them to tell the brothers to go to Galilee that He would see them there.

Now, the Jews knew of the prophecy that supposedly the Messiah was to be raised from the dead so to make sure that Jesus’ followers didn’t steal His body during the night and then claim that He rose, Roman guards were stationed outside the tomb.

But when Jesus really did rise from the dead, the chief Jewish priests didn’t want a riot to start or admit that Jesus was the Messiah, consequently, they bribed the guards to say that the disciples stole the body. Hence, the rumor that Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead spread through the area.

The faithful disciples went to Galilee as directed, but did they really believe the women? All they could do is trust them and do what they said. I can imagine even Peter accusing the women of making up the story. But what choice did they have? If they stayed in Jerusalem, they feared that they may prosecuted as well.

When they got to Galilee, they saw Him and still some doubted that He was really alive. Yet, they worshiped Him. At this point is when Jesus tells them to go to all nations to make disciples of them.

ALL NATIONS – Jews and Gentiles alike – everyone.

Teach them to obey everything that He has commanded. (Love one another, etc.) He tells them (us) what to do – to go to non-believers – convince them to believe, baptize them and then they become a disciple – a follower of Jesus.

Then Jesus assures them that He would be with them (us – yeah you, too) always, until the end of the the age.

It’s a promise. Believe in Jesus and He will be with you forever.

Click here to get to know God. 

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Check out these other great blogs:

Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
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Resurrection Sunday – Jesus Lives! A walk through Holy Week part 11

Resurrection Sunday – Jesus Lives! A walk through Holy Week part 11
This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series A Walk Through Holy Week

The is the greatest day! What happened on that Sunday morning is cornerstone of Christian belief. If it weren’t for Christ’s Resurrection, nothing He said would have meant anything. He would have been just like any other human being, any other prophet, any other teacher.

He was dead – crucified then put in tomb. Since the Sabbath was approaching, His followers didn’t have enough time to properly prepare the body (anointing) for burial. So early on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene took herbs to the tomb.

All four Gospels tell the story though they differ slightly. My favorite is John’s version.

In Matthew, Mary and two other ladies wonder how they’re going to move the large stone that covered the opening to the tomb, but to their surprise, it was open!

At first, they thought someone took Jesus’ body. Mary runs to tell Peter and the disciples and they come running to see that the tomb is indeed empty. Just the strips of burial cloth lay where they put the body 2 nights before.

Matthew also tells of an earthquake that moved the stone and that scared the Roman guards. The guards swore that no one came to take the body.

Mary was crying when a man asks her why. Thinking it’s the gardener, she asks him where has he taken her Lord.

Then Jesus says her name and she recognizes Him. He tells her to go to the brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’
Note something – the women were the last at the cross and the first at the tomb. And in those days, women were never witnesses at a trial. Women were thought inferior, yet it was to a woman that Jesus spoke to first and instructed to spread the word that He was alive.

I like the questions asked – different in each Gospel, but they are still meaningful to us today.

Who is it that you are looking for? (John 20:15)

Why do you look for the living among the dead? (Luke 24:5)

The answer is that Jesus has risen from the dead! He conquered death so that we could live – so that we could have eternity.

No other person did that for you.

Easter is not about cute bunnies and colorful eggs, it’s about Jesus being raised from the dead and what that means for us – for YOU!

My next series will cover the days after the Resurrection. Subscribe so you don’t miss out.

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Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
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The Stations of the Cross – A walk through Holy Week part 10

The Stations of the Cross – A walk through Holy Week part 10
This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series A Walk Through Holy Week

The Via Dolorosa (the painful way) or La Via Cruces (the Way of the Cross). Growing up Catholic, one of the yearly rituals was going to church and visiting each “Station of the Cross” – plaques depicting Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion.

Via Dolorosa, the stations of the CrossThe traditional Stations are:

  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus is given his cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time
  4. Jesus meets His Mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls the second time
  8. Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls the third time
  10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
  11. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
  12. Jesus dies on the cross
  13. Jesus’ body is removed from the cross
  14. Jesus is laid in the tomb and covered in incense.

Via Dolorosa, the stations of the Cross, Jesus carrying the crossAgain, all four Gospels recount the story:

The highlights are known as the “Seven Last Words of Christ”:

  1. Father forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). This is the ultimate forgiveness. Jesus is forgiving the people who betrayed Him, who called Him a liar, who mocked Him, who were killing Him.Jesus' Crucifiction
  2. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43). Here He is telling the two thieves who were being crucified with Him that their sins are forgiven and that they would be with Him in Heaven.
  3. Woman, behold your son: behold your mother (John 19:26-27). He tells the disciple He trusted the most to take care of His mother, Mary.
  4. Eli Eli lama sabachthani? (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34) Jesus was human, in pain and here in a moment of extreme suffering, He pleads to His Father.
  5. I thirst (John 19:28). This again shows that He is human.
  6. It is finished (John 19:30). The prophecy is fulfilled, His job is done. Legalism is finished.
  7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46). According to Luke, Jesus said this rather than “It is finished.”

Jesus is taken down from the cross and laid in the tombIf Jesus can forgive those who turned against Him, then you, too, can forgive anyone that hurt or betrayed you.

If Jesus can guarantee that two thieves would be in Heaven with Him, then you, too, can have the same guarantee no matter how bad your sins are.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ~ John 3:16-17

It’s true. It happened. All you have to do is believe and you have a ticket to Heaven.

Click here to get to know God.

An hour of quiet meditation, scripture, and prayer will focus our hearts on the cross, its meaning, and the price that was paid by Jesus.

Last of this series: The Greatest Day – Resurrection Sunday!

And the story doesn’t stop there. My next series will be After the Resurrection – a walk through the days after Jesus’ Resurrection to Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Subscribe so you don’t miss one.

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Check out these other great blogs:

Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
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The Last Supper – A walk through Holy Week part 8

The Last Supper – A walk through Holy Week part 8
This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series A Walk Through Holy Week

“Do this in remembrance of me.” Matthew 26:17-46

Every time a believer takes communion, they honor Jesus and the sacrifice He made for humankind. 

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.” ~Mark 14:22-25

Jesus is the bread of life!

Jesus is the bread of life!

Jesus became the Sacrificial Lamb. In stead of having to ask for forgiveness by sacrificing a lamb each time, Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. 

But the disciples still didn’t understand and Jesus told them that they would all “fall away.”

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” ~Matthew 26:33-34

What? Another betrayal? First Judas, then Peter? Peter, to whom Jesus said that he’d build the church upon his “rock.” Not Peter.

After dinner, Jesus went with the disciples to the Mount of Olives and at the Garden of Gethsemane where He told his disciples to wait for Him while He went to pray by himself. 

Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him. He also knew that it was His destiny and it was going to be painful.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me,” Jesus prayed.

But then He said, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus said this twice.

God’s will be done. Not my will, but God’s will. That is what every God-fearing, God-respecting believer needs to understand. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

How can you know what God’s will is for your life? Pray. Talk to God. Then Listen for His answer.

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Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
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