Amazed

I am always deeply moved by the lyrics of the song "Amazed". The lyrics say in essence, "Lord, I'm amazed by You, how You love me." What is so amazing about Jesus loving me, is that He loves me just the way I am!

No one knows me better than Jesus. However, no one else knows me better than me! Yes, He knows everything in my heart...some of which I don't even know yet. But I know more than anyone else about what is in my heart (outside of Jesus). I know what He delivered me from and where He brought me from. In addition, I know where I am. I know what I struggle with. I know the things in my heart that break His heart. I know the things the please Him, and I know the things that displease Him. I know I have been brought a long, long way. But....I know I have quite a ways to go!

Some of the things I know about myself are not pleasing to me...let alone the God who knows ALL. But what amazes me most about my God is that He loves me! He loves me just as I am, but His plans are not to leave me as I am. He loves me with an everlasting love; a love that empowers me to live for Him. His grace is amazing. But it is because of His amazing love that His grace is amazing!!

Yes, I stand amazed at the love of my Jesus.....the love He has for me! I discovered this amazing love 34 years ago this month. His love still amazes me. Hardly a day goes by without my being amazed that the Creator of all the universe loves me with an incredible love that will never run dry. It just keeps on and on and on! Lord, I truly am amazed by you...how you love me!

Nothing or Everything?

Many folks have been taught that salvation is all about your final destination. You know...ending up in heaven instead of hell. But ending up in heaven (and not hell) is only a part of salvation. The truth is, salvation is all about your soul. 

Listen to Matthew 16:26, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Key word: SOUL. If you take a closer look you will see these two questions posed by Jesus have exactly opposite answers. "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" The answer is NOTHING. The next question asks, "Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" The answer is EVERYTHING! To gain the whole world and lose one's soul profits a person absolutely nothing! This is because his soul is eternally lost. In order to save your soul one must give Jesus ALL......EVERYTHING! 

Ministers, churches, and whole denominations have taught for ages that a quick walk to the alter, a shaking of your hand by members of the congregation, and a water baptism are all that is needed to insure you a place in glory after leaving this life. At this point you are a Christian and will go to heaven - no matter how you live out the rest of your life. This produces a mindset that believes it is all about your final destination...and not your soul. The truth is, salvation is about your soul, and to save your soul you must give Jesus everything!

This is why being saved is more than praying a quick "sinner's prayer". Being saved is about total surrender to Jesus - as not only Savior, but Lord as well. Yes, Jesus saves. But Jesus also rules. He rules only those who completely surrender their lives to him.

Understand that when we are born into this life, our souls have already been forfeited. This is a result of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. (See Genesis Chapter 3.) Our souls were forfeited, and you and I didn't even have a choice. However, now through Jesus Christ we do have a choice. We won't be forced. But if we decide to choose Jesus, He requires giving ALL to Him. Only then can He live in and through you and me.

Finally, many folks don't want to choose Jesus because they know they will have to surrender all to Him. They want to be in total control of their own lives. We have the freedom to do this. We can choose not to give EVERYTHING to Jesus. But the result will be according to Matthew 16:26, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? (NOTHING) Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (EVERYTHING)
                                                                                                                

I am available for speaking engagements in services, conferences, workshops, and revival meetings. You can contact me at harvcel@gmail.com. Thanks!

What Is Truth?

Many folks today are looking for the truth. But what is the truth? One person says this, while another person says that - and the two contradict one another. In these days of elections many promises are made in order to win votes. The sad part is that most politicians never intend to keep their promises. They are made strictly to swing the vote of the people. Candidates exalt themselves by tearing down their opponent with mud and lies. The truth is twisted and even concealed.

Jesus had to appear before Pilate after He was arrested. While there, Pilate questioned Jesus as to who He really was and His purpose in coming. Jesus answered, "I have come into this world to testify of the truth. And everyone who is of the truth hears everything I say." Pilate sarcastically responded, "What is truth?" and walked away.

It is amazing to me that standing before him was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Yet Pilate could not hear the voice of Truth, because he did not believe in Him. And even finding no guilt in Him, he walked away still searching.

Jesus said, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8: 31 - 32) Notice Jesus spoke the preceding words to some Jewish folks who had just come to believe in Him. The key to knowing the truth is knowing Him and His Word. To know His Word is to hear and know what He says. Jesus speaks nothing but truth (because He is truth). Jesus said to the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders, "You don't understand what I say because you don't hear what I say." In other words, if they would believe in Him, then they would hear Him and understand the things He spoke - which is the truth.

Now...what is truth? I think this is a good question. I also think Jesus is eager to answer it for anyone who truly hungers and seeks the truth. From John 8: 31 - 32 the word in original Greek is Aletheia. Aletheia means: truth, as the unveiled reality lying at the basis of and agreeing with an appearance. This word also means: the reality pertaining to an appearance. Let me say it in plain English: The truth is the way things really are!  It's that simple. The way things really are.

The Words that Jesus speaks are the way things really are. This is truth. To abide in the Words of Jesus is to abide in the truth. One who abides in truth is not deceived by empty promises and lies from the enemy. One who abides in truth is free from the deception of the enemy. The key as Jesus said is to believe in and follow Him.

There was a time when much of what we did in this country was in some way anchored to the truth of God's Word. This was the standard of our conduct, the standard of how we raised our children, the standard of how we did business, and even the standard of how we served people in government. Now people are led to believe truth is relative. Relative? Relative to what? Whatever turns your crank! With no concrete "Godly" standard anything goes. The problem with this is there is more deception ruling people's lives than ever before.

If you're looking for something concrete. If you're looking for a solid standard that stands throughout all of time...look to Jesus. He said if you'll simply trust in and diligently follow after Him, you WILL know the truth...and the truth will set you free!

Failing Does Not Make You A Failure

Everyone of us has failed at something. And all of us have failed many times! But does that make us a failure? Of course not. Failing does not make you a failure. Failing is a part of life. 

In the Bible, Peter is considered to be a successful pillar of the church. He literally followed Christ for 3 and a half years (while Christ was on the earth). He was used mightily, along with Jesus' disciples to proclaim God's kingdom in the earth. God gave Peter a supernatural revelation of just who Jesus really is (the Christ, the Son of the living God). Peter, along with James and John briefly saw Jesus in His glorified form. Peter was used incredibly by the Holy Spirit to bring Jesus outside the Jewish realm to the rest of the world. I could write paragraph after paragraph about how God worked through Peter. He was truly a great man of God.

But Peter failed Jesus miserably. The night Jesus was arrested Peter said he would never deny Jesus...that he would even die with Him if necessary. That same night Peter not only denied being a follower of Jesus 3 times, but he denied even knowing Jesus. Jesus said this would happen and when it did, Peter went out and wept and wailed loudly and violently. Peter had denied the very One he loved the most. Not only that, he denied the One who loved Him. Did this make Peter a failure? Absolutely not. Why? Because Jesus never stopped loving Him!

This is key. Jesus never stops loving you and me...no matter what we have done. Many people feel unworthy of knowing or serving Jesus because of their failures. Again, failing does not make you a failure. God and God's Son Jesus love you with an unfailing love...no matter what.

Luke Chapter 15 tells us about a young man who failed his own father miserably. He asked for his inheritance early and went away and blew it all. After spending all his money and having no where to stay he went to work feeding pigs. In no time he went from living "high off the hog" to desiring to eat the food of the hog. In his lowest moment he came to his senses. Now considering himself to be a failure, he returned to his own father believing he was no longer worthy to be considered his son. Instead, perhaps his father would make him a hired hand. At least then he would get decent food and shelter. When he returned his father was waiting for him. His father ran to meet him and greeted him with hugs and kisses! The father ordered his servants to bring out a new robe to place on him, new sandals, and a new ring to place on his son's finger. They were ordered to prepare to celebrate a feast! This young man failed his father and acted very irresponsibly, but because of his father's love he was welcomed home and restored!

You could never be a failure. Know why? Because God loves you with an everlasting love. No matter what you have done His love will never fail you. No matter what you may do His love will never fail you. Yes, I know you have failed and so have I. Just come to Jesus. He loves you with an unfailing love that will never give up and never run out!