The Blood of Jesus

Romans 5:9 – Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 

Happy Good Friday everyone! Today is the day we celebrate the sacrifice that Jesus made for us nearly 2,000 years ago. In lieu of this holiday, I thought we could spend a little time studying the importance of the blood of Jesus.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Even those who have never stepped inside a church know the story of Adam and Eve. They ate the forbidden fruit (thereby sinning against God), were banned from the Garden of Eden, and brought death into the world. The analysis behind the story is what most miss. Why did eating the fruit bring death into the world? It wasn’t because the fruit was poisonous or some other worldly explanation.

Adam eating the fruit was disobedience, and disobedience is sin. In fact, anything that isn’t of faith is sin (Romans 14:23), and the penalty of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Now the meaning of the word death here is two-fold. Death means separation. We are separated from those we love when they pass away. Adam and Eve died twice: once when they ate the fruit and once more, many years later.

Some of you may be scratching your heads because Adam and Eve did not physically die twice, but what I said is still true. Their first death was spiritual. They were separated (death) from God. They could no longer dwell in God’s presence in the garden (he banished them) because they were now tainted by sin. God can have nothing to do with sin because he is holy. Holy by definition means exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness (Merriam-Webster).

So now that we are up-to-speed on how sin entered the world, let’s explore the payment for that sin.

All of Adam’s offspring – you, me, everyone you know, and everyone who has ever existed, save Jesus – were born with a sin nature. The Bible teaches us that sin passes to us from the father, this is why Jesus had to be born of a virgin (no man involved).

Now because we were all born with sin, we could never pay the price for sin. In the Old Testament, God allowed believers to sacrifice spotless animals to atone for their sin but these animals merely covered their sins, they didn’t cleanse them.

Now I’m sure someone is thinking, “How did an animal atone for sin?”

Let me clarify: the animal did not actually atone for the person’s sins. The animal was a symbol of what Jesus was going to do on the cross; therefore, the believer was putting their faith in the savior to come by completing the sacrifice. God did not glory in the killing of animals for all you animal-rights people. He wanted people to understand the awfulness (couldn’t think of a better word) of what His son was going to go through for them. The animal’s death was a picture of Christ’s coming death.

Old Testament saints were saved on credit. They believed the savior was going to come and pay the debt for their sins. New Testament saints are saved on debit. We believe Jesus paid the price for our sins and because the funds are there, we use them.

Jesus (the second member of the Godhead; the son of God; God Incarnate) was 100% God and 100% Human. He added humanity to himself, and while on this Earth, functioned only by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. He lived a perfect life – sinless, and because of his sinlessness, He was uniquely qualified to pay the penalty of sin.

Just as the lamb sacrificed in Old Testament times had to be spotless – Jesus was and is as well. He died nearly two millennia ago to pay the penalty for our sin debt in full. By one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and by one man (Jesus) it was atoned for to provide everlasting life (Romans 5:15; John 3:16).

Now today is the day we remember Christ’s death, and Easter is the day we remember His resurrection (He was raised from the dead because God accepted His perfect sacrifice and the grave could not hold Him – remember, death is the penalty of sin, and He was sinless). Jesus now sits at the righthand of the Father, and if we accept His sacrifice for our sins, we can one day join Him in Heaven.

If you haven’t accepted the Lord yet, consider it this Easter, and if you have a lost loved one, share this article with them.

God bless, and happy Easter everyone!

Did Jesus Preach Tolerance?

Matthew 21:12-13 – And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

With Ohio’s primary election in the rearview mirror, I think it’s time to focus a little more on the Church part of this ‘Church and State’ blog.

I’ve seen several memes going around Facebook condemning judging by Christians because ‘Jesus preached tolerance.’ I also saw one that listed a litany of sins followed by ‘but Jesus still loves me as much as he loves you.’

Let’s analyze these two points: 1) Jesus preached tolerance and 2) Jesus loves us despite our sin.

  1. Jesus Preached Tolerance

Pull out your Bible app and do a quick search for the word “tolerance.” Liberals and quasi-Christians will be shell-shocked when they find the word is not there. Jesus didn’t preach tolerance. Still don’t believe me? Let’s take a scripture for our example.

In the Gospel of John, the pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. He speaks the famous line, “He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” As we all know the only one there without sin was Jesus, so the pharisees went away displeased that Jesus had one-upped them again. It is the next line, however, that is often forgotten. Jesus turns to the woman and tells her that he doesn’t condemn her and to “go and sin no more.” That’s not tolerance. If Jesus had been tolerant of her lifestyle he would have simply said “go.” But praise the Lord, that’s not my Jesus! He doesn’t want to leave you in the mire of sin: He wants to pull you out of it!

Tolerance and kindness are not one and the same. We can be kind to those whom we disagree without condoning their actions. For example, if my daughter does something against the rules as she gets older, I can be kind in explaining to her why what she did was wrong, but that doesn’t mean I let her off the hook.

In all honesty, the greatest love we can show people who are truly trapped in sin is to tell them how to get out of it and escape the pits of Hell. And the only way is Jesus Christ. Asking Him to save our souls, change our hearts, and transform our minds. I’ve seen him do it in my life and in countless others. If we truly love people, we will share the gospel with them to save them from Hell – not leave them in their sin so we appear tolerant.

Moving on…

2. Jesus Loves Us Despite Our Sin

This statement is 100% true, but it so often gets misinterpreted. Jesus loves everyone, period, end of story. That is precisely the reason he died on the cross for our sins, but that love does not excuse or condone sin. Jesus died to free us from sin (He came to seek and save that which was lost – Luke 19:10). But again, just because I love my daughter no matter what, does not mean I will always love what she does. Loving you and accepting wrongdoing are not synonymous. If you are living a life of sin (fornication aka sex before marriage, drug/alcohol abuse, lying, stealing, etc.) then Jesus loves you and wants to deliver you from that life. It is not the actions that will send you to Hell. It is rejecting Jesus as your savior that sends you there. And if your next argument (like mine was for years) is you believe in God and you pray but your life is still full of sin then let me give you some scripture:

Romans 6:1-2 – What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Just because grace is greater than sin and Jesus paid the price for our sin doesn’t give us license to sin, and if you are sinning continually without any conviction in your heart, my guess is you haven’t truly given your heart to Jesus because when you do, and you fail Him, the Holy Spirit will convict you until you repent.

Side Note: Repenting is not just saying sorry (I also believed this for a long time). Repenting is turning around and going the other direction – leaving the sin behind.

We all fail God, probably daily, but if the Holy Spirit isn’t telling you when you’ve done it, then seriously consider your soul today. What’s more important: partying for a few more years or your eternal life? Hell won’t seem worth the party if you end up there, and I can assure you, giving up your sins for Jesus may not be easy at first, but it always pays off in the long run.

Since giving my heart to Jesus at 19, I’ve received everything I ever wanted for my life: a loving husband and to be a mom. Even more important than both of these though is that I have peace that I can’t express in words and a joy that only comes with Jesus.

If you want that peace and joy in your life then say this prayer (it won’t save you and it doesn’t matter if you say it word for word, but believing it with all your heart is what matters):

Dear Lord,

I come before you in the name of Jesus – lost and undone, needing a saving hand. I believe that you sent your son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins, and that His death payed the penalty in full. I believe that I’m a sinner, and I ask that you would forgive me of my sins and help me to walk in newness of life by the power of your Holy Spirit. Please break the chains of sin that surround me and liberate me from any bondages. I believe that your son was raised from the dead and as He lives with you, I will one day too. I thank you for saving me and redeeming me! Praise your holy name!

….

If you said that prayer, Congratulations! You just entered the family of God. If you are already saved, then pray with me for a revival in the church and to see our nation turn once again to God. If you have never accepted Jesus and chose not to today, I challenge you to give Him a chance. What do you have to lose?

What Else Is on the Ballot?

2 Timothy 2:15 – Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 

With all the hype about the presidential nominating contest, most people have likely forgotten that there are other races on the ballot this coming Tuesday.

While the presidential nomination is the most important race in our country, if we don’t take due diligence to study up on the other races and nominate the right people within our respective parties, then we are failing ourselves. Who we put in the Congress/State Legislature has just as big of an impact upon us as does who becomes president.

As promised in prior blogs, I did the work for you – well, some of you. I’m voting in the Republican primary because as you likely know, I support Ted Cruz. As a result, I am going to cover the Republican ballot and the general issues for the following counties: Ross, Pike, Scioto, and Adams. If you’re a Democrat, I apologize, but you’ll have to do your own vetting of your candidates.

So to begin, let’s start with the second biggest race on the ballot, U.S. Senate. Currently Rob Portman, a Republican, is our senator. The problem with Portman is he’s a RINO (Republican in name only). This man is not a true conservative. How can I make such a bold statement? His record proves my point.

There is a wonderful organization called Conservative Review. They provide each U.S. Senator and Congressman/woman with a letter grade based on their voting record. If the person votes for the conservative stance on a piece of legislation they receive a point. If they do not vote conservative or abstain from the vote, they receive no points. They base the score on their voting record over a rolling six year time-frame (for members who have been there long enough), and then publish the grades online. To illustrate with names you know, Ted Cruz received an A along with three other senators: Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ben Sasse. Marco Rubio received a high C.

Back to Portman, he received a 50%, F! An F! This man is not a conservative. If this was the general election and it was him vs. Ted Strickland, who is pro-abortion, etc., I would urge you to vote for him, but this is the primary so we have other choices. Sadly, Portman doesn’t have many challengers. A tea-party conservative named Strzala was running, but I believe she must have missed the filing deadline because her name was not listed on the ballot. Another man named Don Eckhart is running as well. He is a state employee and wants to go to the Senate to defend Religious Liberty.

My job is not to tell you how to vote, and the fact that Eckhart has no experience scares me, but what’s worse, a man who lies about being conservative or a man with no experience? I’ll leave it for you to decide.

Now to the next biggest race: our congressional seat. Currently, the Congressman for our area is Brad Wenstrup. I’ve contacted his office over issues before and he seems like a nice man, but again, he is not a true conservative. Conservative Review gives Mr. Wenstrup a 67%, D. Better than Portman, but still not conservative.

Wenstrup has more than one challenger, but I find one especially intriguing: Jim Lewis. Mr. Lewis is a graduate of West Point, an Army veteran, a retired post office worker, and a current school board member of West Clermont. He identifies himself as a Tea Party Conservative. This man is more than qualified to serve our District in Congress, and I will be voting for him.

Again, I’m not here to tell you how to vote, but to present you with the options and my opinions. I don’t think we should send incumbents back to Washington just because they are incumbents. That is what got us into this mess in the first place. If there is a qualified challenger, let’s give them a shot, the worst thing that can happen is they are awful in office and we throw them out the next election cycle, which is only two years for a Congressional seat.

Now onto state legislature races. Joe Uecker is running unopposed for the 14th District State Senate seat (Adams and Scioto). The 17th District seat (Pike and Ross) is not up for election this year. In terms of the Ohio House, all three representatives: Terry Johnson (90th – Scioto and Adams), Cliff Rosenberger (91st – Pike), and Gary Scherer (92nd – Ross) are running unopposed.

Moving to judges, the chief justice for Ohio’s Supreme Court is running unopposed, while one state supreme court nomination on the Republican side has a contest (O’Toole vs. Fischer). Look them up and decide who best represents your values. Judges are largely forgotten in elections, but they often have more sway in the direction of our nation than elected officials. We are in the 4th District for the Ohio Court of Appeals. The Republican nominee, McFarland, is running unopposed.

Lastly, the issues by county. This is just a list so you can make your own opinion on how you want to vote, but at least you’ll be familiar with the items before you go to the polls. Also, there will be county races for offices, such as Commissioner and Sheriff. I did not have the time to go through each of those for each county, so do your homework on those races before you head to the polls!

Adams County Issues:

  • Levies in Manchester – Cemetery maintenance (replacement) and street construction (additional)
  • Levies in Winchester – Current Expenses (renewal)
  • Electrical Aggregation in Winchester
  • Liquor in Sprigg Township

Pike County Issues:

  • Levy for Health Programs (additional)

Ross County Issues:

  • Adena Schools Levy (Additional) – Expenses and Facility Improvements
  • Levy for RC Board of Developmental Disabilities (Renewal) – Operating Expenses
  • Concord TWP Levy for Cemeteries (additional)
  • Franklin TWP – Fire and EMS (additional)
  • Green TWP – Fire and EMS (Renewal)
  • Franklin South TWP – Liquor

Scioto County Issues:

  • Scioto County Senior Citizens – Maintain and support senior citizen services and facilities (renewal)
  • Green TWP – Police Protection (renewal)
  • Washington TWP – Roads (renewal)
  • Green TWP – Electric Aggregation
  • Portsmouth City – Three charter amendments (no info available)
  • Porter TWP – Liquor
  • Washington TWP – Liquor

I hope this list and information helps you this coming Tuesday! If you’re a registered voter, get out and vote! It is your civic duty, but don’t do it uninformed. Uninformed voting is one of the problems in this country and one of the reasons why we are in the mess we are. Study up, and remember, please don’t vote Trump!

I’m Not Done with Trump…

James 1:8 – A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.

The pundits will tell you it’s over, and the Trump supporters are telling you to get in line. So here’s my response: NO!

This primary isn’t over. In fact, there may be a good hope yet for Ted Cruz. I haven’t seen a single, news media outlet report this key tidbit of information, save the WSJ Opinion Page, but Ted Cruz has won all but one of the closed primary races. The primaries ahead this Saturday are ALL closed primaries. This could bode well for Cruz and bad for Trump, who seems to struggle courting conservatives with his liberal stances (maybe that’s why Fox News is conveniently focusing on March 15th primaries when there are many primaries between now and then). Democrats and Independents won’t be able to help Trump this Saturday, nor here in Ohio (unless those voters are willing to become Republicans – like I’m willing to do to help Cruz).

Trump doesn’t have 1,237 delegates. He barely has a fourth of what he needs to be the nominee (with Cruz right on his heels). We need to stand strong and vote for a better candidate to win this nomination. I won’t tell you who to vote for, but I will urge you – not Trump.

On that line of thinking, I need to share with you what the Lord shared with me in prayer this week. I’ve been seeking the Lord for a Josiah (one of the few good kings of Judah, who led a national reformation back to the law) to be our next president, and as I was doing so, He informed me that Trump is Jehu. Who is Jehu, you ask? Let me explain.

In 1 Kings 19:16, the Lord instructs Elijah to anoint a man named Jehu to be the king of Israel (the Northern Kingdom after Israel split in two). When Elijah anointed him, he prophesied over Jehu saying he would avenge the Lord’s servants by taking down the House of Ahab (a wicked king). Jehu went on to fulfill this prophecy, which was a good thing – but that isn’t the end of the story.

While he did take down Ahab and destroy the Baal worship in Israel, he didn’t follow God’s law and he allowed the worship of the golden calf to continue. He did God’s bidding, but then he went too far down the wrong path.

Trump, like Jehu, claims he will undo the wickedness of Washington. I think he will, but like Jehu, Trump will likely go too far. He already has shown his disregard for the Constitution on issues, such as Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press.

Trump supporters want him to burn it all down (figuratively), but the danger with fire is it can get out of hand. What’s going to stop the fire from burning us in the process? Or if the controlled-burn goes successfully, is Trump a constitutionalist that we can trust to raise the right government from the ashes? I think not.

So if you’re a registered voter in Ohio, I encourage you, pick a candidate and support them – not just in word, but in deed – it is too critical to sit down and let others decide the fate of our nation. All I’ve heard this week is ‘will you vote for Trump in a general election? If not, you’re wasting your vote or you’re voting for Hillary.’ I pray we don’t get to that point. Forget what letter is behind your name, that doesn’t matter – saving our country does! So registered voters, let’s get out there and do our civic duty, but please, for me, don’t vote Trump.