A Beggar Went To Heaven

A Beggar Went To Heaven

Luke 16:19-23 KJV “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: [20] And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, [21] And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. [22] And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; [23] And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”

Lazarus THE BEGGAR WENT TO HEAVEN! So what’s more important, how much money we have in this life or how much love for God we have? Lazarus didn’t die broke. He died rich! This man and other extremely poor folks like him lives in heaven with God in eternal glory; eternal riches, forever!

I’ve heard many preachers say if you’re struggling financially, or if you’re poor, God isn’t with you, he’s not blessing you. And you must be living in sin. So why did Lazarus the beggar (the poorest of the poor) go to heaven? Because these preachers are liars, and God’s gift of eternal life is not dependant on one’s social status. In fact the Bible says that most of God’s chosen ones are among the poor.

James 2:5 NET “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters! Did not God choose the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?”

Ahh, did you catch that? It’s the poor that God has chosen. They are the heirs of the kingdom. A kingdom He has, “PROMISED TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM!” That’s who goes to heaven: THOSE WHO LOVE GOD! Money or lack of it has nothing to do with it. Yeah, there were and are a few rich people throughout history who have been lovers of God. But the scriptures say it’s primarily the poor and downtrodden that God has chosen:

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 HCSB “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

God tells us to consider our calling: not many of us were wise, powerful, of noble birth, or rich when God called us. But God chose what is lowly and weak in the eyes of the world to put the lofty and strong things of the world to shame. God’s choosing has nothing to do with money. This is why even a beggar like Lazarus can go to heaven. If you are struggling with this truth pray to God for understanding. Don’t be infected by the world’s thinking that money is everything. There are people who think without money they and others are nothing. And some even feel that money can buy them heaven! This is crazy. LAZARUS THE BEGGAR going to heaven disproves these Satanic lies. Remember, the rich man went to hell.

CHOSEN BEFORE WE WERE BORN

Jeremiah 1:5 KJV “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Galatians 1:15-16 KJV “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, [16] To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.”

Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. [5] God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”

Ephesians 2:10 KJV “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Don’t you see from the scriptures before we were born, before the world was even made, God chose us? None of us owned a dime when God chose us. We weren’t even here yet. Our calling has nothing to do with money or lack of it. So stop listening to these false preachers that make you feel bad for not being a big shot in this world. And those who make you feel like you’re better than others because you have more money. LAZARUS THE POOR POOR BEGGAR WENT TO HEAVEN!!! He didn’t have no money! That’s right, “NO MONEY!” And God saved him. Why? Because Lazarus was rich with love for God. And you can go to heaven too regardless of your social status. Faith and love for God is all you need.

John 3:16 KJV “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM [anyone] should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

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Conform?

Romans 12:2 KJV “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Romans 8:29 NIV “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

“All you gotta do is conform and your life will be easy.” These are the words the serpent whispers in our ears. He wants us to conform to this world. Are we listening to him? Truth be told no one’s life is easy. Everything about this wicked world is a show. Yeah, they look good in their fine clothes, material possessions, big houses, etcetera. But it’s only one big show!

God says the wicked are on slippery ground. Their footing is not stable as it seems. (Psalm 73:18-20) They fall into many pains and horrors the righteous are spared from. What good is it to have everything you desire but want to kill yourself? What good is it to be so popular but be controlled by drugs, alcohol, other people, and evil spirits? The richest people of the world are among the most miserable people in the world. On the outside their show looks good, but on the inside; behind the scenes, these actors know their true misery. Some have shared their horror stories. And others we hear about them after it’s too late (they’re deceased).

There’s a price to pay for rejecting God and worshipping success instead. You will literally go crazy. After achieving everything you thought would make you happy you find out it only brings more pain. You can’t make enough money to avoid pain, no one can. Satan’s world is filled with suffering. No matter how hard you try you can’t permanently turn off your emotions. No amount of money can do that. And despite what we poor folks wonna believe about those with money, some rich people have admitted the more money they make the more problems they have.

1 Timothy 6:9-10 “Those who long to be rich, however, stumble into temptation and a trap and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains.”

If you want to be a big shot in this world you’re up against a lot of heartache and pain God says. Some say they’re willing to pay that price. And many who have already paid the price have gotten into traps they wish they could now get out of. The Bible says they have, “STABBED THEMSELVES WITH MANY PAINS.” Yes, self-mutilation is exactly what people who worship money do to themselves. “But look at how neat their clothes are,” some say. “Look at how nice she looks.” “Look at his big house.” But God says, “LOOK AT THEIR PAIN!!!” God Himself says they have a lot of pain and are plunged into ruin and destruction. They have been caught in traps! Don’t be fooled by their outward appearances.

The thing about a trap is you often don’t know you’re in one until the trap is sprung. All seems well in the beginning until BOOM; you find out you’ve gotten into something you can’t quite get out of. Now is the pain. All because of the love of money. All because you thought that reaching for money instead of reaching for God would make you happy, would make your life easier. You’ve fallen for Satan’s trap.

IS THERE A WAY OUT?

The truth is we can get out of any trap if we exercise faith in God through Jesus Christ. Satan really plays a mind game on his underlings. For example, he’ll give some of them fame and fortune but they must sell their souls to him usually in some sick ritual. In addition to this he uses fear tactics to frighten them from ever leaving his service. At the same time he teaches these people to hate Jesus Christ. Why such an aversion for Jesus Christ? Because Satan knows that Jesus is the one person who can deliver these people from his grip. So he’ll do everything in his power to paint Jesus as wack while intimidating and manipulating his victims. People who serve Satan have a whole lot of fear.

John 14:6 KJV “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

John 8:32 NLT “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Jesus is the way to God, and the truth. He’s the one and only way to the one and only person who can protect people from Satan the Devil: that’s God! There is no other way. The truth God reveals through His son Jesus Christ sets people free. There is no other freedom. The Devil knows this. If Jesus Christ is just another ficticious person like Santa Claus or Humpty Dumpty why is there so much hatred generated towards Him? Think about it! Because He is not another fable. He is the Devil’s arch enemy that sets people free. And Satan does not want people to go free. He wants to keep them in spiritual prison. Hence the hateful propaganda against Jesus.

I invite you to do your own investigation of Jesus Christ. And here’s a suggestion that will make this easy for you: pick up the Bible and start reading the book of Matthew. If your interest is still peaked read the next book of Mark, then Luke, then John. These books are four records of Jesus’ life on earth, what he taught, what he stood for, etcetera. If you’re not impressed with him at least you can say you investigated Jesus for yourself. But what if after investigating Jesus you find out that He really is the Christ; the Messiah, the son of the living God? Can you afford not to research this person for yourself? What do you have to lose? Don’t listen to what anyone says, use your own mind, go ahead and make your own search.

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Now You Are Clean

John 15:3 KJV “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

“NOW YOU ARE CLEAN THROUGH THE WORD,” is what Jesus told his disciples and tells us today. Disciples of Christ follow Him. It is trust in His words; unshakable faith in everything He says that makes us clean. Jesus’ words clean us just as His blood cleanses us.

Before coming to Christ we were slaves to all kinds of wicked passions. There are many evil things we stopped doing that displeased God and that’s a good thing. But some think that because they’ve stopped doing this or stopped doing that they’re now clean. But when we examine Jesus’ words at John 15:3 Jesus was talking to imperfect disciples just like us when he said, “NOW ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (KJV) One of these disciples for fear of what would happen to him for being associated with Jesus denied ever knowing Jesus 3 times. And that same night when Jesus was arrested all of the disciples deserted Him. These same disciples were also caught pridefully bickering about which of them was the greatest. They also had sectarian views. They saw someone healing in the name of Jesus and tried to force him to stop because he didn’t belong to their group. Jesus told them they were wrong for this. And on another occasion when a crowd didn’t want to listen to Jesus’ words two of His disciples asked Him, “Lord do you want us to call down fire from heaven and burn them up?” Jesus rebuked them for that as well. (Luke 9:46-56) Are you getting the point? These disciples were human beings just like us who thought they knew what they were doing and had much to learn. Yet Jesus said they were already clean because of THE WORD he had spoken to them? This proves that GOD’S WORD CLEANSES US! And it disproves that never messing up, never sinning, and never making mistakes is what makes us clean.

This should give us much encouragement. How often do we see ourselves in the true light of God’s word? How often do we see this perfect Holy God in the face of Jesus Christ? How often do we see we fall way short of His glory? THANK GOD salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ and not by our own works!!!

Romans 3:23-24 NIV “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.”

WHAT A GIFT FROM GOD!!! You and I can’t do enough good to earn salvation. That doesn’t mean we should throw off all restraint and live for evil. It’s just a fact that God wants us to know so that we do not become deceived and puffed up with pride because of how good we think we are. We’re saved by God’s graciousness FIRST. It all starts with Him. Then through faith; when we believe Him, that’s how we participate. God even gives us the faith in order to believe in Him. So this is all about Him not us! And this is why no one can boast.

You are NOW CLEAN because God makes you clean through the washing of His word and the blood of Jesus Christ, plain and simple. If you and I put faith in His words we are cleansed by them. I’m so glad this process doesn’t start or end with us. Being clean then would be impossible. This is encouragement for us to keep on seeking God regardless of our faults and shortcomings. Though we live to please our heavenly Father we can rest assured that when we fall short He’s always there to forgive us. All we have to do is confess our sins to Him and repent. WE ARE CLEAN BY GOD’S WORD AND THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST!!! YAY!!! NOT BY OUR SO-CALLED PERFECT GOOD BEHAVIOR. Bathe in God’s words by studying them daily. And always seek to apply them.

Pleasing God is our goal
But our good works don’t save our soul

1 John 1:7-9 NLT “But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. [8] If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. [9] But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

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Fine China

Fine China

Romans 9:21 KJV “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”

One day some dishes were lying around; bowls, pots, pans, spoons, plates, etcetera. Nothing was special about these dishes they were for ordinary everyday use. Then someone set another dish in their midst, a piece of fine China. The other dishes became angry and afraid. Why? The piece of fine China didn’t bother them? He didn’t ridicule them saying things like, “You’re worthless and ordinary, but I’m used for special occasions. Look at me. I’m a piece of fine China.” The fine China didn’t do anything like this. Yet these dishes hated him, and in their rage made up stories (lies) about the fine China to degrade his value. The piece of fine China didn’t let any of this trouble him. He just kept on being himself: fine China.

Why do you think the other dishes hated the fine China so much? Because next to him it was obvious for all to see that they were ordinary. Also the fine China’s brilliance reflected like a mirror so that when the other dishes looked at him they could see themselves; who they really were, not who they pretended to be. All of their flaws from everyday use was apparent, and they knew others could see it too. They felt like the fine china was stealing their shine. But in reality they had no shine to them at all. It was not the fine China’s intention to remind them they were ordinary. But somehow this always occurred. So these set of dishes came up with a plot. They decided to do everything in their power to break the fine China, and shatter him to pieces!

ARE PEOPLE LIKE DISHES?

This is what happens when people are filled with pride: when someone comes around who noticeably stands out they become angry, and afraid. Why? Their shortcomings are shown up. And their insecurities come to light. These people often ACT like they’ve got it goin on! But if they really were special why would they become so angry at someone elses shine? In the same way whenever good is placed right next to evil this happens. Good makes it obvious for all to see just how ugly evil really is! This makes evil very uncomfortable; angry, and afraid, because evil hates being exposed. Evil loves to hide in the dark and pretend to be good, pretend that is has or possesses light.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 KJV “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 2CO11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 2CO11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

Satan and his minions pretend to be light all the time. It is nothing wonderful. But when set right next to what is truly good (or fine China) or the real light, the shine refleting from the fine China exposes the evil dishes as worthless and ordinary. This makes morally corrupt people very angry.

JOHN 3:19‭-‬21 AMP “This is the judgment [that is, the cause for indictment, the test by which people are judged, the basis for the sentence]: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned. But whoever practices truth [and does what is right–morally, ethically, spiritually] comes to the Light, so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are–accomplished in God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence on Him].”

Those who do what is right prove that God is good and real! And this shows that our works are done through Him. Your godly conduct disproves and confounds the world’s lies about God, His son Jesus Christ, and you. Your opponents may never admit this to you. But your good deeds scream volumes to them! This is why they are always trying so hard to corrupt you. You, true brothers and sisters are the fine China. Keep letting your light shine regardless of how much the world hates you.

John 15:18 KJV “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”

Philippians 1:28 NLT “Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself.”

Psalm 37:12-13 ISV “The wicked person plots against the righteous, and grinds his teeth at him. But the Lord laughs at him because he sees that his day is coming!”

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Walking In The Light

Walking In The Light

1 John 1:7‭-‬10 KJV “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

We may not think of confessing our sins as part of walking in the light but it is. I’ve learned over the years not to trust anyone who is never wrong; someone who claims to never sin.

I once had the privilege of studying the Bible with a young man. We’ll call his name Billy. Billy and I studied the Bible for years together. I was a new believer myself. We were very close. Billy started showing signs (or I had just started noticing them) that he was not who he said he was; a Christian. There were bizarre things going on with Billy. But I kept giving him the benefit of the doubt. One day the idea came to me to ask Billy a question. I know now this thought came from the Holy Spirit. While Billy and I were alone the question went like this: “Billy, in all your life, do you ever remember apologizing to anyone? Have you ever told someone, ‘I’m sorry?’ ” Billy looked perplexed for a while. He looked up in the air like he was trying to remember. This went on for about 5 minutes literally! Something inside me said, “Keep quiet, don’t say anything.” Then finally Billy said, “No.”

Can you imagine that? You’re in your late twenties, and not once in your lifetime have you told someone, “I’m sorry,” about anything? Wouldn’t that mean you never thought you were wrong? That was Billy’s problem. Billy was self-righteous. Billy was one of those folks who felt his way was the right way to do everything. He thought he had life figured out at such a young age. Confessing; admitting sins, was not Billy’s thing.

The question I asked him was designed to help Billy see his fault in the hopes of helping him repent. According to the scriptures unless we can confess our sins we are not walking in the light. To believe we have not sinned (and there are many who think this way) proves that God’s word is not really in us. I didn’t know this yet about my friend Billy but that truth would reveal itself later.

I loved Billy like a brother. To make a long story short the Holy Spirit started convicting me strongly about one of my own sins; smoking marijuana, and I decided to quit. I told Billy this. You see Billy and I had come out of the world together (so it seemed). At about the same time we became believers. First I became one then BIlly. We were friends in the world before we became believers. While we were in the world we were heavy weed smokers. After becoming believers we were still heavy weed smokers. You see I tricked myself into believing as long as we did it in moderation God was cool with it. But we never did it in moderation though. So I have to admit guys I smoked pot for years and called myself a Christian. I think I can relate to many Christians who do the same thing today.

I gave myself every excuse in the book to smoke weed. My favorite one was, “God created it. And all of God’s creation is good.” But the spirit one day whispered in my ear, “I also created what you call poison mushrooms, I don’t see you smoking any of those?” The Spirit started convicting me hard regarding this. Scriptures like where God says, ‘that all things are lawful but not all things are beneficial would jump out at me. Romans chapter 13 where it talks about obeying the authorities (government) whipped me. The other passage where it says we must be sober minded troubled me. And the scriptures in proverbs that talk about laziness chastised me because smoking weed started making me lazy and sleep more often. (1 Corinthians 6:12 1 Peter 4:7 5:8 Proverbs 6:6-11 10:4 19:15) Passages like these and many others made it hard for me to keep smoking. Yet I still didn’t stop immediately.

One day very tired of this struggle and scared that if I don’t quit this soon I’m gonna lose my faith and lose my soul I fell down crying like a baby, runny nose and all, sobbing before the Lord. I remember praying to God telling Him, “I’ve tried to quit and I can’t!” (Romans 7:14-25) I begged him to help me crying my eyes out. I now know that moment, that prayer, was a turning point in my life. After that prayer amazingly I got the power to stop! It didn’t all happen in one day though. But the desire for weed just wasn’t there anymore like it was before. I went from smoking everyday to falling short every few years or so. Yep, years would go by without me smoking marijuana. I felt so terrible afterwards and would repent. And years later I fell short again. This has happened a few times years apart. And I can honestly tell you it’s been more than a few years since I’ve last smoked weed, thank God! I hope to never do it again, especially after learning that smoking weed is associated with witchcraft, sorcery, etcetera! WOE! Yes! Don’t believe me? Do your own research. I can honestly say I didn’t know this in the past but I can’t use that excuse now. (Revelation 21:8 22:15) The good news is it’s really true that when we confess our sins and come to God with them he does forgive us, and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Back to my friend Billy. As I mentioned earlier when I knew I’d had enough smoking weed I told Billy I was quitting. Billy became angry with me about this. I mentioned to Billy AS MY BROTHER IN CHRIST, “Why would you be mad at me instead of supporting me as a brother?” Billy quickly said, “I never said I was your brother!” WOE! Stop the press! That statement blew me away. I couldn’t believe my ears. Me and this guy had studied the Bible for years together, prayed together, did everything together, talked about God all the time, and now because I decided to stop smoking weed, ‘I’m not your brother anymore, and never was?’

Have you figured it out guys? For once in his life Billy was telling the truth: that he was not my brother in Christ, and never was. Billy was planted by Satan all along to weaken me and cause me to lose my faith. The only thing Billy and I had in common was smoking weed, nothing else. It wasn’t until I got more serious about serving God that Billy’s charade was revealed. Needless to say Billy and I separated. But before our separation the Holy Spirit had also revealed to me that Billy had plans to harm others in our small church including a child. Billy was confronted with this knowledge and had to admit that, “Yes,” he did have plans to hurt the child. At that moment Billy really made me sick! And only the Lord Jesus Himself kept me from harming Billy. You see, the child that Billy had plans to harm was my son.

Billy reminds me of Balaam the male witch that tried to put spells/curses on the Israelites but could not. Yet he succeeded in enticing Israel to sin which caused God Himself to punish them. (2 Peter 2:15 Jude 1:11 Revelation 2:14) Is there a Billy in your life? Hmmmm.

Family of believers be wary of folks who say they are Christians but have never truly repented yet. These people are arrogant and are never wrong. They can not confess their sins. They are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. God’s word says to stay away from them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) They are not walking in the light and God’s word is not in them 1 John 1:10 says.

1 John 1:10 NET “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.”

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