GOD IS REAL

And He loves you more than you can imagine!

This is how much God loved the world:

He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

John 3:16

A

s you read this, perhaps you are thinking …  Oh, it’s that religious stuff again… I’m so fed up with it.

But I have something really important to tell you. And since we are all going to die one day, it might reward you handsomely to take the time to read this little article. Please give me at least 2 minutes to say why this is important for you. Two minutes isn’t much out of the 42 million minutes you are likely to live. And these 2 minutes might be your 2 most important minutes ever…

I completely agree with you.
I, too, hate religion!

“But you are a Christian, aren’t you?” you might ask….

Please let me explain – there is an important difference. Being a Christian means to be a person who follows Jesus Christ. Sadly, the term “Christian” has often been misused, and many people have no idea what it really means. Christianity has become like any other religion. But being a follower of Christ is very different from being religious. This article will explain what it means to follow Jesus Christ.

A religion tells you what you need to do to deserve to be saved (go to Heaven), in whatever way that particular religion defines being saved. In a religion, you need to work to earn your salvation, in the same way as you go to work to earn a wage. This is what all religions are about – YOU must earn your salvation… Being a real Christian, on the other hand, is all about grace, a word that means free, nothing to pay. It means that there is nothing you can do to deserve God’s salvation. When you receive the salvation that Jesus Christ obtained for you when he died on the cross, you are immediately forgiven, your guilt has been taken away. Jesus paid everything that you should have paid. The truth of the Gospel is a gift that you can receive free of charge, just by asking. 

Ok, that was 2 minutes – so do you realise that it might be important to invest another 10 – 15 minutes out of your 42 million minutes? Just so that you won’t be standing outside the gates of Heaven one day, saying “But no one told me,” and you are not let in…

The Bible is the compass for our lives

I will try to make the truth simple and easy to understand. 

You may have heard about the Bible. In the same way as just about everything we buy comes with instructions for how to use it, God has given us instructions for how to live our lives. Those instructions are found in the Bible.

Some people might ask: “How can the Bible be true, when there is so much about war and bad things in it?”

Here is a simple answer: The Bible is also a history book, and if it had covered up the bad aspects of history, it would not have been trustworthy. The Bible tells us about the lives of people who lived close to God, and people who lived far away from God. It also gives us a lot of good advice on how we can live a good life together with other people and together with God.

So what does it mean to be a Christian?

Jesus says in Matthew 7: 13 and 14

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Jesus also says in John 14: 6 and 7

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.

I’ll give you an example. If you are going to the North Pole, you have to follow that direction on the compass. You might think that the road heading 5° to the left or 5° to the right looks much nicer. However, it will not take you to the North Pole, but perhaps to Greenland or somewhere instead. It is the same with all religions that try to point to God: in the final analysis it is only one direction that takes you to God. The compass arrow which points to God, is Jesus Christ. 

God created us because he wanted to be with us, in true love. And to enable us to truly love him, he gave us a free will. We can choose him, or we can choose to live without him. Without a free will we would have been like programmed robots, and that is fortunately not what we are. Genesis, the first book in the Bible, tells us that when God created Adam and Eve, he placed them in a beautiful garden called Eden. Eden had many trees, and Adam and Eve were allowed to eat the fruit of all the trees except one. This was the tree which would give mankind knowledge of good and evil. That tree represented evil. But sadly, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. They made the wrong choice, and that had an impact on all of us.

I will make a long story short, to help you get the main point of the matter.    

Because Adam and Eve made the wrong choice, sin entered the world. We now live in a sinful world, where the devil is in charge. God created the world, but we humans gave the devil the right to rule over us. Consequently, we are born into sin.

God then gave people the Law of Moses – the Ten Commandments. If people had been able to keep them, they could have worked their way to eternal life. But God saw that people were unable to keep his commandments all the time.  That’s why he sent his son Jesus Christ to this earth, to take all our guilt and sin on himself. And because of that, we can be set free, just because of God’s grace. Our salvation comes free of charge – Jesus has paid for everything. And when we receive what Jesus has done for us, we become really free.   

“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    

And Jesus said:

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. John 14: 6

So how can we come to God the Father through Jesus?

God saw that people were unable to live a life that deserved his glory. We did not deserve the reward of Heaven. But when Jesus was here on earth, he took all our sin and guilt and carried it himself. He took it to the cross, where he died instead of us. He died our death, once and for all. Jesus died on the cross, and came alive again on the third day.

Sin is to miss the target, to not believe in God and his message.

Being guilty means that we will not go to Heaven, however good we have tried to be.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  

Ephesians 2: 4 – 10.

This is how you turn to God

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Rom. 10: 9 – 10.

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. Rom. 10: 13

To receive God’s salvation means to turn around, turn away from sin, and turn towards God. It means that you give God the right to control your life. It might sound much too radical to give up control of your own life. But God has created you, so maybe he knows better than you what you really need?

So, then. We have direct access to God through Jesus Christ. And you know that life with God is a real, pulsating life. It is not just a theory, it is life! God answers your prayers, he wants to come and live in your heart if you invite him in. But you must choose to invite him in.

It is entirely free, you don’t have to deserve it. None of us deserves it. You just have to believe in him, and invite him into the centre of your life.

Let me also explain death, that Jesus died for us…

Human beings consist of body, soul and spirit. Your body will die one day, but your spirit and soul will live for ever.

And when God made us, he created our soul with a longing to be with him. When you feel joy inside you, or a huge emptiness, then you are feeling the soul inside you. Your body needs your soul to live, but your soul will live on without your body. Your spirit is the connection point between you and God, or between you and the devil if you have not chosen God.

And before you ask: I do believe in good and evil spirits. The Bible has a lot to say about that.

Have a look around you, look at all the beautiful things God created – the countryside, people, animals… Isn’t it obvious that there must be a creator? The telephone you probably have in your pocket or handbag has been made by someone. In the same way, there MUST be a God who created everything, as the Bible tells us.

The texts of Bible stem from manuscripts written close to the time they describe, and many of them have been preserved until today. We can therefore see for ourselves that the meaning in our current Bible is the same as in the original text, even though the language has had to change with different translations. The life of Jesus has been documented in four different gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These authors, who either knew Jesus personally when he lived on earth or who spoke to those who did, wrote down their stories about Jesus. You might compare it with four different witnesses in a court case, each one shedding more light and confirming that Jesus really lived, what he did and what he said.

It isn’t always easy to find the way, the truth and the life, when even churches and Christians have made the gospel into politics, commandments and rules. The way isn’t always very clear, and on behalf of us Christians, I ask your for forgiveness for that.

Why is all this so important?

The Bible tells us that our time on this earth is only the start. When we die one day, we who have received God’s salvation will be allowed into Heaven and will be with God for ever.

But if God is good, why is there so much pain in this world?

As I explained before: God wants to live with us in true love, and true love cannot be programmed into us. When Adam and Eve were created, they were created with a free will. Then the devil came in the form of a snake, and asked: “Has God really said that you cannot eat from the fruit of this tree?” He then deceived the people, and they ended up giving him control over this earth. The god of this world is not the God in Heaven, who has created everything. That is why there is so much misery in this world.

Jesus said: The thief (that is the devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10: 10

To choose Jesus as Lord of your life is to turn away from the god of this world. You will continue to live in this world, but you will have a new destination at the end of your earthly life, and you will also experience the blessings of God’s Kingdom in this life.

But if God is good, why is there so much pain in this world?

As I explained before: God wants to live with us in true love, and true love cannot be programmed into us. When Adam and Eve were created, they were created with a free will. Then the devil came in the form of a snake, and asked: “Has God really said that you cannot eat from the fruit of this tree?” He then deceived the people, and they ended up giving him control over this earth. The god of this world is not the God in Heaven, who has created everything. That is why there is so much misery in this world.

Jesus said: The thief (that is the devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10: 10

To choose Jesus as Lord of your life is to turn away from the god of this world. You will continue to live in this world, but you will have a new destination at the end of your earthly life, and you will also experience the blessings of God’s Kingdom in this life.

What happens if we don’t choose God?

I don’t want to scare you into receiving God. But the Bible tells us that there are two exits from this life, eternal life in Heaven with God, or eternal damnation in hell. That last bit isn’t exactly pleasant.

But I can tell you honestly that God is revealing himself to me and millions of others, and there are innumerable proofs that the Bible’s stories and prophecies have been proven right so far. So what are you waiting for?

How can I become a Christian, and what do I have to do?

As I wrote earlier:

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Rom. 10: 9 – 10.

It is that simple. It is free, completely because of God’s grace. Grace means there is no charge .

But what will I have to do, once I have become a Christian?

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”

Matt. 22:37-39

 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Joh 13: 34

What does that mean in practice?

When you love someone, you don’t want to hurt them. There might be some people you don’t invite in for a coffee,  and maybe you don’t like what some other people are doing. But you can still love them because God has created them, just as he has created you and me. Perhaps they need to learn about God’s love? God’s love means that he gives and gives and gives, with no conditions. It is not a selfish love.

If you want to invite God into your life

Here is a short prayer to get you started:

God, Father in Heaven, I am coming to you now.
I believe in you.
I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose to life again after three days.
I believe that what Jesus Christ, your only son, did on the cross, he did for me also.
Please forgive my sin.

Lord, save me.
Thank you God that you forgive, and that I am now your child.
In the name of Jesus.

Amen!!!

If you have prayed this prayer and confessed Jesus as Lord in your life, then I just want to say: Congratulations!!!

So what now?

Tell someone you trust, that you have decided to follow Jesus Christ and that you are now a Christian.

And I recommend you to start reading the Bible. Preferably every day, because the Word of God is food for your soul and spirit, like meat and honey is food for your body. It might be a good idea to start reading about Jesus in one of the Gospels, for example the Gospel of John. Then you can read the rest of the New Testament and the Old Testament when you know Jesus well.

I also recommend you to find a church. There are many different churches with lots of different styles and expressions, everything from high-church mass to very modern churches with lots of music, sound and light. God has made us different, and we have different tastes. But be sure you find the living God in the church you choose. Make sure the people in that church really love God, and don’t just go there because it’s an old tradition. (Remember the compass? Make sure your new church has the right compass course.)

When you receive Jesus, you receive a new nature. You no longer live for yourself, but for him who created you, and he knows what you need. And remember: God loves you more than you can begin to imagine, and he is longing for you!!!! 

God bless YOU

Regards, Arvid

Some more Biblical truths that will be useful for you on your new way.

There is a spirit world with both good and evil forces.

The Bible describes God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, as well as a host of angels, as the good spirit world.

But the Bible also describes the devil and his angels and helpers as the evil spirit world. In occultism and most religions, it is the devil and his helpers who are worshipped (perhaps without people even being aware of it)

The devil was in fact one of the most beautiful angels in heaven and had a noble task. But he became proud and wanted to exalt himself, in fact to be like God. So God had no other choice than to throw the devil out of heaven, and in his fall, the devil took a third of heaven’s angels with him. The Bible describes the devil as, amongst other things, a fallen star and a deceitful serpent. One thing to remember is that in Heaven the devil was beautiful. And that beauty can still trap people today. The devil was thrown down to earth, and the Bible tells us, sadly, that he still rules over the earth today.

So when you take the decision to follow Jesus Christ, you change direction and turn away from sin and the god of this world, who is the devil. You choose to belong to God in heaven. What you have chosen is nothing less than to change your eternal destination. What could be more important than that!

 

The next step

The next step in your journey is baptism. This is a symbolic event where a new believer repents and is baptised with full immersion in water. It represents burying the old life and rising to new life in Christ. God has also said that he will baptise you in the Holy Spirit. The sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit is different gifts, amongst them the “gift of speaking in tongues”. You receive a heavenly language to use for prayer.

Filling your life with the Word of God and the fruit of the Spirit will change your life and the way you do things.

 

This is fruit of the Holy Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.Galatians 5: 22

 

The Love Chapter

1 Corinthians, chapter 13

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

 

PRAYER

To finish, I will say a little about the most important tool you have as a Christian. That is prayer.

Prayer is talking to God. In fact, God talks to you as well, but you need to listen carefully. Give God time and room to talk to you. God is gentle, so he doesn’t force himself on us. You have a free will, and he respects that. But that doesn’t mean he’s not longing to hear from you. He wants to know how you are, what your thoughts are, and of course that you love him. Listen carefully to that inner voice, and you will hear him say that he loves you, too.

Jesus himself gave us an example of how we can pray, if you don’t already know it …

Matt 6: 9 – 13

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

GOD LOVES YOU !!!

Please remember that!

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