Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting for The Right Mate

People are posting all over the Internet and all over the media “advertising” and “posting” for the guy or girl of their dreams. There are dating sites to “find the right one” and says, “Find God’s match for you. “ Firstly, if that was a true Christian site, they would know that God wants to lead us to our “soul mate”. We aren’t to jump the gun. Patience is a virtue. I’m always hearing people say things like, “What am I doing wrong,” or, “I just want to be in a relationship right now because I feel lonely.” I’ve even heard people say things like, “But everyone else has a boyfriend or girlfriend.”

I once suffered from trying to rush to find that “perfect” guy. Now, the story is turned around from adults telling me to have patience to me helping people in these situations. Through talking with various people in many different situations about this, I have counseled people with this:

            First of all, God loves you and made you special. He wouldn’t want you to be with someone who isn’t as special as you are. God made a man to love a woman.

            The way I see it, God wants a man to love you as close to the way He does as possible. The relationship mirrors the relationship Christ has to His people, His Bride. The Bride is to love Christ wholeheartedly, trust Him, honor Him, serve Him selflessly and respect Him. Christ loves his Bride unconditionally and is selfless in His endeavors. He protects, strengthens and carries His Bride through the troubling times. Wouldn’t any girl LOVE to have a man like that?

            Granted, both guys and girls are all flawed because we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, so we will not be perfect (Romans 3:23). But we can strive to embody The Bride (for girls) or Christ (for guys) to show the world that Christ lives in you and show everyone that You LOVE Christ!

“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they
may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.”

-Matthew 5:16

“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners,
Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example
for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”

-1 Timothy 1:16

            God is like a GPS for your life (while you’re here on earth), Jesus is your passenger, The Holy Spirit is your helper and you are the driver.

            God has created the perfect mate for you. He can see where you are, Point A, and where this man or woman is who He has created for you, Point B. Jesus talks to you along the way, God shows you the next step you must take, and the Holy Spirit helps urge you along the way and lights up the road ahead. If you follow their direction and God’s will, you will surely be led to that special person God has for you. But you must be patient and you must guard your heart. Not everything will be perfect; most people don’t follow God’s every command that He has for them and sometimes they don’t hear Him. But in the end, things will work out to God’s plan.

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to
the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,…”

-Ephesians 1:11

            Just like with a GPS, you are shown or told the steps you must take, but it doesn’t tell you there’s a pothole one mile down the road, when your tire will go flat, or if you get backed up in traffic. There’s one other element: the gasoline for your care. That gas is faith in Him. Faith that He will get you through it. If you give up, then you will eventually just stop. You have to keep believing in Him.

If you feel alone, DON’T.

            Jesus is always with you, even when you don’t register it with your senses. He is. Don’t give up on Him, because He has never given up on you. You have the support of your friends and family, and even coworkers.

Happiness is a state of mind. Joy comes from above. Trust me, I know the difference; I’ve struggled with this. You can take a negative thing and turn it into a positive one.  

            If you tend to be a pessimistic person, find something to be happy about, even if your day is terrible. Everyone needs to be reminded that we are blessed. Did you slept on a mattress with a blanket? Do you have clothes to put on today? Did you have clean, running water this morning and food for the day? Maybe you skipped a meal but you didn’t have to suffer hunger for long. Did you wake up this morning? Did you breathe within the past minute? Do you have someone who loves you? Those are just examples of many things that you can be happy about. If you want true joy, ask God to grant it to you.

            But I know what you are thinking, “Why is my heart broken? Doesn’t God care?” Of course he cares! He holds every tear you ever cried. He hurts when you hurt. He loves you. If you feel that you cannot stand the pain, to the point where you don’t want to crawl out of bed, you just want to curl up in a ball and hide from the world, cling to Him! You may not see it at the moment, but this pain that you are feeling right now will make you stronger. Think of it as one of life’s “potholes.” When you are suffering, think of how God’s power and grace is strengthened through our weakness.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is  made perfect in weakness.”
-2 Corinthians 12:9

            I hear these young teenagers crying about how they don’t have a man and it’s the end of their life. I feel so sorry for these girls; they are so young and have a whole life ahead of them but they’re letting the thoughts of boyfriends consume them. I myself was once there.

NEVER compromise your values for anyone, it doesn’t matter how  “amazingly perfect” they seem.

            If they were so “perfect,” as you say, would he or she be putting you in a situation you were uncomfortable with? Sit yourself down and write down your morals. Sometimes just doing this can help you. Write out what you will do and refuse to do. Once you have “set the line” you refuse to cross, stick to it. If someone puts you a situation that may cause you to cross the line you have set, be sure to stop them and make it extremely clear where you draw the line. It may end up inevitably ending your relationship, but in the end, you did what you believed in. You have put God first and this makes him proud of you.

            This is coming from someone with experience: I left my ex-boyfriend because he wasn’t satisfied with waiting for our potential wedding day.

            I was hurting for a while because I thought he was different and I thought I loved him. He was my first kiss, my first boyfriend. I look back now and realize that I want nothing but blessings for my ex. I want him to come to experience Him like I have. I feel empowered now. I feel stronger! I never want to give in to the ways of this world. I realize now that I am a woman made by a loving God.

Finally, if you are doing everything you can think of to do correctly and you still can’t see where your “guy” is, then here comes the hard part: WAITING!

            I’ve been waiting myself. My first boyfriend came when I was 18; a much older age than many other young people. Patience is a virtue, a harder virtue to uphold for some people than others. Maybe it’s not you who’s being worked on at the moment, did you ever stop to think that God just may be working on your mate as well? God is the master potter and He is molding you and your mate and everyone else. You wouldn’t want the perfect person for you to be only half done, would you? I know I wouldn’t. The truth is, no one can understand everything that God is doing in their lives.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Marqui's Testimony

This testimony is not my own, but rather of a fellow sister in Christ. I was so overwhelmed by it when she emailed it to me and felt it heavy on my heart that I should share it, with her permission.


One of the main reasons I’m documenting my testimony of how I came to be an avid lover of Jesus Christ is because I (similar to an elderly dementia patient) can’t remember details for the life of me. So much of the most important things in my life have been forgotten. I remember only the things that are utterly mundane; go figure.

To begin, a little about my past. At a young age, I already began to realize I was smarter than the average bear. I learned how to read at around the same time (or slightly thereafter) as my brother, who is my elder by three years. I remember not going to kindergarten for an entire year after I could read, because my birthday was after the cutoff date. Throughout my early elementary years, I figured out pretty quickly I was smarter than most of the kids around me. I took tests a year or two ahead of my grade level, I had special privileges to check out chapter books when I was in the first grade, and I never had occasion to read those simple little ten page books with five words to a page. God was kind to me, but through that time, my pride and arrogance swelled.

Once I finished the first grade, my parents convinced me to go to a magnet academy. There I was forced to face the reality that there were actually some people who were as smart as me. It was a huge callous on my pride, because until then I’d thought I was the only “genius” out there. Not so.

Since I can remember, I’d always been one of those kids who kept secrets. I just never really shared anything with my parents. Secrets lead to more secrets, and I learned some pretty undesirable traits. At a young age, I became a practiced thief. If I couldn’t have what I wanted, I just took it. Specifically, my dad had a quarter collection that sat laid out on his desk in his office. Every morning, very early, I’d take one or two quarters (we were always adding to the collection) and spent it on a cookie or whatever. Eventually, I got caught of course. Still, it took my parents a good few months to figure it out. I was also a practiced liar, which explains the former. I blamed the thefts on the Vietnamese  boy who lived down the street, and my parents believed me. In part they believed me because I was their beautiful sweet child, but I was also just good at deceiving.

 The next year, I met Lexi, who to this day remains a dear friend. We hung out at each others houses every weekend, shared interests, and dozens of sweet memories. The only problem was, I moved shortly after beginning our close friendship. I moved to El Paso, Texas: the place of my birth. I was livid. I raged both quietly and verbally because my parents had deigned to move me from where I was happiest. Of course, at that time, I couldn’t see the pieces that were to fall into place over the next six years, so I was just filled with anger and bitterness. My father’s family has a history of holding onto bitterness. My dad tells how his father got his pants ripped by a dog when he was twelve, and was angry at the dog till the day he died. My father is just like his father, and I am just like mine. Needless to say, that makes it difficult to keep bitterness from taking up residence in my heart. That became one of the biggest struggles of my everyday life. Soon, at eleven years old, I ran away twice. Not successfully, but I tried. The first time I went in the middle of the night. I managed to get about two miles away before I decided I was lost and called a friend to come pick me up. The second time was in the midst of some legal chaos. My mother blamed me for the issue, and I used it as an excuse to run away. The cops found me a couple of hours later. Nevertheless, I’d displayed my defiance. I was a rebel. I liked it.

Shortly thereafter, I was forced against my will to go to a middle school that was not assigned to my area. I met brilliant individuals, and I ended up loving it after a year, but I still was bitter because my father had not asked my permission to send me to some random school. In that year that I hated my school, I got into some trouble. I began to learn all the worldly filth that fills public schools, and it began to take root in my mind. I was friends with a girl who was just as angry at the world as me, and we ended up getting in school suspension for deeply disrespecting a teacher. The funny thing is to the day I’m writing this, I still blame the teacher (artfully pointed out a couple of weeks ago by a friend when I was retelling the story) for being inadequate, therefore causing my disrespect. Regardless, this was just another act of defiance against my parents.

At this point I am going to interject to mention that I was raised in an extremely loving Christian home. I won’t say my parents were awesome at instilling a love of the Word and God in my heart, but they did and do the best they can. Unfortunately, for many years, their trust in God only pushed me farther from Him. It began when I was five. I was starting school, and we had lost the school supply shopping list. It was really important to find it, for some reason, and my mom told me to ask God to help us find the list. I asked and asked repeatedly. I looked everywhere I could, and I never found the list. Neither did my mother. From then on, I lost faith in God, simply because He didn’t give me a reason to trust Him. If he couldn’t even help me find a shopping list, how could He be trusted with anything else? This is where my bitterness began, so long ago. Things kept building on me. As they say, it’s all the little things that do you in. I never forgave anyone anything. I even remember the time when I was four or five and my dad stole my milkshake. My family and I were at Denny’s, and my mom let me order a strawberry milkshake. I was super excited, but when it came, my dad gave me the leftovers in the tin where they mix it, and drank the milkshake himself. I held that grudge for years. There was also this one time that my mother was cutting my hair, also when I was five. She had me sitting outside on a stool in my underwear, and she poured water over my head to facilitate the cutting process, as I have extremely curly hair. My brother came outside and started making fun of me, saying I had peed myself. Insulted, I looked to my mother, my hero, for support, and was shocked to realize she was going to join in the fun! They made so much fun of me for that; I was completely indignant, particularly because my mother KNEW she’d poured water over my head, and I couldn’t for the life of me understand how she could be making fun of me for peeing myself! Just more bitterness to add to the pot.

Aside from those anecdotes, I’m going to move on to the summer before the seventh grade. I was twelve, going on thirteen, when my family started attending The Rio Church. I didn’t really want to start at a new church, because I’d gone to a bunch of others and been sorely disappointed with the people and the general ambiance. Strangely enough, I quickly fell in love with the people there. My best friend and adopted sister Hope was the first person I met. She bravely greeted me and was super enthusiastic to meet me; it freaked me out. Nobody in El Paso was that nice! The next week, I was super weirded out when Silas, (Hope’s younger brother and current close friend), greeted me! I’d barely talked to him, and, he was a boy! Aghast, I made a huge deal out of it. I just didn’t know how to deal with people being real and loving.

Soon, however, my growing relationship with Hope was staunched when I got close to Faith, another girl there. Once we got started, we became fast friends, and I felt like I’d finally found my niche with her. Unfortunately, our hearts were not ready to follow the Lord. My deception began again in full swing. It’d never stopped, but it had mellowed out because I had nothing to lie about. Now I was stuck again in a world of secrecy and other things that I despised. Part of me was glad to find someone that wasn’t “perfect” like Hope. Another minuscule part was slowly growing very uncomfortable.

By this time I was in the eighth grade and had just turned fourteen. I felt cool, and was still arrogant as all get out, probably more at the time than at any other. I won’t describe the sin in which I partook because mostly it’s not my story to tell. In general, there was a lot of lying to parents and such, but what we did is not important. What is important is that there came a time when God was not only chasing after me, gently tugging at my heart, but was clawing at me, trying to hold on to me, while I was slipping away into the opposite direction. So many things had become status quo to me that shouldn’t have been and aren’t status quo. Drugs seemed pretty okay (never tried it, but I wasn’t exactly standing against it all that much either) and teenage pregnancy was not a huge deal to me. Things were so out of focus, so much that I felt physical discomfort in my heart constantly. I was always cold. I remember having a conversation with a non-Christian friend in which I explained that I felt apart from God, and I wanted to get back to Him, but I didn’t know how, and He felt cold to me. I had cut off my life support, and I didn’t know how to get back. I couldn’t ask my parents because I didn’t trust them with my personal life. They were adults; even worse, they were Christians. In all my life, I’d never questioned the existence of God, but I fully questioned His motives on a daily basis. I felt so empty inside. My life was completely unfulfilling; completely unsatisfying. I despised who I’d become. I wanted love from Christ so much, but I had no idea how to get it. I’d already accepted Christ a long time before, at five, give or take, but I didn’t love Him. I didn’t know what it meant to love Him; what it meant to follow Him. He was an abstract idea that I didn’t really want to learn how to deal with.

I can’t be sure, but I think my parents were completely oblivious to my distress. Hope was starting to get the picture. We weren’t close at all; I despised her for being so perfect. I hated that she watched Faith and me, knowing where we were going, and still didn’t join us. As much as I wanted to get away from where I was, I wanted nothing more than to stay there. My heart was so fickle; I was dying.

I’m not sure how it happened, if one day or over time, but I woke up. I revealed to Faith’s parents (they had caught us for stuff already) the full extent of our ungodly endeavors. From there began a few long months of deep pain for me. Faith and I were watched now; we were kept apart as much as possible. I hated being watched, particularly because my parents did not participate in the watching, and so I felt it was undeserved. I’m not sure why, but they still seemed to trust me. They were clearly hurt because I was not who I’d portrayed myself to be, but at the same time, I think they were protecting me from the wrath they felt because this had happened to me within the church. I also didn’t like feeling like I had been the instigator; the bad kid. I felt that I was being blamed for the sins of the collective, not just my own. It was insufferable.

Despite my continued anger and the bitterness that I STILL had, on my own I began to actively seek God. It was a bit difficult, because I was so overwhelmed with guilt for the whole situation, and it was hard for me to not entrench the present roots of bitterness ever deeper into my heart. I cried like a baby at the littlest things. In worship, we were singing “Jesus Paid It All,” and I cried because Jesus could heal the leper “and melt the heart of stone.” For so long, I’d felt like my heart was made of a block of ice. I rarely allowed myself vulnerability, even when I was alone. I don’t like showing emotion, and I am just not a captive of my feelings. I never trusted them, and I still don’t.

I also had a lot of guilt about a certain sin I’d committed. It still embarrasses me, so I’m not going to share it, but every sermon our pastor gave felt like God was slamming the Hammer of Conviction down on me, and I honestly could not feel His forgiveness. I apologized so many times to Him and to myself for my sin, but I did not feel forgiven. It was so, so hard to overcome the guilt. Eventually, I just came to realize that love covers a multitude of sins, and that I am washed clean by the blood of the Lamb, but it left a huge scar on my heart.

Sometime between my months of emotional hardship, Faith moved away. That was pretty hard for both of us, because it meant I had to find “new” friends. It was kind of awkward to try and build/repair relationships within the youth group, particularly because I still felt that Hope was too good, too perfect. I also had to deal with resentment against the “establishment.” None of the other churches I’d ever been to had been so real about their faith. There was too much that people didn’t want to give up. However, this church I’d formerly held in a regard that made it almost seem cultish. I resented the way Hope and her brothers and sisters were raised, because they had so many rules. I hated that they had to share EVERYTHING with their parents. I never did, so I didn’t see why anyone else should either. Now I fully appreciate the parenting of the Nelsons, but it took almost a year and a half before I saw the beauty of their family structure. So, because of this, I was loathe to begin a friendship with one of “those” people. I didn’t want to be judged by the “perfect” people, and I didn’t want to have to deal with their perfection, and, consequently, my own inadequacy. I still looked for the things that made people more like me, more public schooled, more accepting and susceptible to the world. In all honesty, it was barely a year ago that I truly began to appreciate my friendships and my friends for who they are, and truly start loving my brothers and sisters in Christ. Before, I’d thought them all to be too Christian, too willing to follow the rules and bow to the establishment. I eventually got over it, though, and in place of all that resentment, bitterness, and anger, Jesus showed me love through my friends. Of course, I had some beautiful mentors, like Liz and Misty, but my biggest growth has been over the last year or so, and that’s been with Hope. Her example, gentle correction (iron sharpens iron), and love for me has been pretty overwhelming. I’ve honestly never loved anyone outside my family so much as I love this one girl. God put her in my life to help me grow, and grow I have. Our morning prayer time, good conversation, sharing of verses, discussion, and overall fellowship is one of the ways I believe God shows me His love. It’s just another blessing.

God’s love is overwhelming. God’s love is the most amazing, dynamic, and impossible-to-understand thing in the universe. He created a universe that’s trillions of light years big, and He still cares for me. He even urges us to cast our cares on Him, because He cares for us. One of the most amazing verses Hope ever shared with me was Luke 7:13, “When the Lord saw her, His heart overflowed with compassion.” That compassion is about the woman at the well, and knowing His heart for her, and seeing the way He loved her, gave me hope while I was yet in the midst of my emotional trials the few months following the time when I turned my life over to God. Jesus Christ suffered and died for my sins. He took my punishment, for reasons I think I will never fully conceive of, and I am only alive because of Him. And yet, after all that, He has compassion on ME. Every time I hear a song on the radio about being alive, or that our God is “not dead,” I am reminded that neither am I. I am no longer bound to my flesh, and I am now alive in Christ, and I live to do His bidding. At one time, I would have shied away from this life of slavery to my God, but I now accept my role wholeheartedly, and am completely enamored with my Savior. All I can do in return is love Him and follow Him to the end of my days.

Every day the Spirit conforms my heart more and more to be like Christ. So many things about me have changed. For one, my pride is shot. And yet, I find myself put into situations where I have to lay down my pride at the foot of the cross, and give it up to Jesus, because it’s still there. I’ve been freed from most of the bitterness in my heart. The roots have been dying, slowly at first, but I believe the decay to be exponential. My policy has become to never lie to people, because if I did, they probably would never know. My relationship with my parents is incredibly different from what it was two years ago. I’ve shared with them things I’ve held back of myself that I never would have imagined myself sharing. God is good, and has helped me through every improvement I’ve made in my life.

I still have a long road to travel ahead of me, but as I told someone I love very much just yesterday, I was in that place once, and I never, ever want to go back. I see where those pieces fell into place. I have been struck multiple times by the utter sovereignty of God, and I can’t wait to see where He leads me for the rest of my life.

The Deceit of Mormonism

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

-Matthew 7:15

                I am not interested in attacking an individual, so please do not be defensive, but I do feel that it needs to be shown why Mormonism is not from God. Please seriously consider what I have to say; I feel the evidence is overwhelming; people just need to be made aware of it. But it will take more than just evidence to show you the truth. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit convicting people of the truth. I hope that He will partly use this evidence in doing so. The question is not what do the facts say, the question is, are you willing to accept them and turn to the true Jesus Christ under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary
to that which we have preached to you, let him be cursed.”

-Galatians 1:8

                The Mormon church teaches a different gospel than the Bible. The Mormon book is a direct contradiction to the Bible, but then they try to use the Bible to back up their beliefs. It is merely a vehicle to substantiate their ideas. In order to justify its aberrant theology, Mormonism has undermined the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible.

                Second John 9 tells us that "Anyone who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. Anyone who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son."

The Bible also tells us: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God"--1 John 4:1-2. The doctrine of the Mormon church goes ahead, leaving the true Jesus Christ behind - the Mormon teachings on Jesus squarely contradict what the Bible tells us about Him. Mormon teachings also contradict Biblical truth on many other issues.

                The Mormon Church teaches that Jesus Christ was not God in His very nature and essence from all eternity, but a preexistent spirit, as they say we all were, and that He was simply the firstborn of God's spirit Children. On the contrary, the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God-He is 100 percent God and 100 percent man.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

-John 1:1…14

                This clearly shows that the Word (Jesus) did not become God, but was God. The Word was God and Jesus was the Word, hence Jesus is God. Jesus, being God, was not created like we are created. In John 8:58, Jesus says that He was before Abraham. If Abraham was preexistent than how could Jesus be before Him? In addition, if Jesus is not Eternal, Almighty God, how could He say that He was still in existence before Abraham? The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is God, the Mormon Church does not; therefore, the Mormon Church leaves the doctrine of Christ behind.

                The Mormons believe in many gods (Journal of Discourses 6:5). The Bible states that there is only one God: "...we know that there is no such thing as idols in the world and that there is no God but one"-1 Corinthians 8:4. Hence, we see that there is one God who exists in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and eternal, the one God; three distinct persons in one essence. The Mormon Church denies this Trinity.

                The Mormon Church teaches that God himself was once a man: "As man is, God was." Mormon theology teaches that God is only one of countless gods, that he used to be a man on another planet, that he became a god by following the laws and ordinances of that god on that world, and that he brought one of his wives to this world with whom he produces spirit children who then inhabit human bodies at birth. The first spirit child to be born was Jesus. Second was Satan, and then we all followed. But the Bible teaches that God is immutable (He cannot change).

"Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the
Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow"

-James 1:17

                If God was once man, then He changed, but if He changed from man to God, He is not immutable. And since God is eternal (Genesis 21:33; Psalm 90:2), He is free from succession of time and cannot therefore "become" anything. He simply is, always has been, and always will be everything that He is: "I am who I am" He said to Moses in Exodus 3:14. This verse emphasizes God’s self-existence. To say that God was once man is to deny His self-existence, which by definition would have to be from all eternity. This is quite frankly a very low view of Almighty God -- He said, "I am who I am," not, "I am who you want me to be." Also, it says in Genesis 1 that God created man, therefore who could not have been a mere man himself.

                The Mormon Church teaches that, "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's" (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22). But Jesus said "God is spirit" -John 4:24. The belief that the Father has flesh and bones also contradicts 1 Kings 8:27 and Acts 17:24. Who created God's body? What about God's omnipresence? (Psalm 139:7-12) Nowhere is there any support in the Bible for this Mormon doctrine, only support against it.

                The Mormon Church also teaches that man can attain godhood: As God is, man may become. But God said in Exodus 20:3 that there will be no other gods but him. In Isaiah 43:10 it is said that before God there were none, and after Him, there is none. They also teach that polygamy is ok. While polygamy is taught as something that can happen eternally in doctrines and covenants, the Bible teaches that two make one flesh and that a man should not have more than his one wife. Although most all Mormons are monogamous they can still, by doctrinal teachings, be sealed to more than one person.

                Mormonism teaches that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross itself (and receiving it by faith) is not sufficient to bring forgiveness of sins. It teaches that the forgiveness of sins is obtained through a cooperative effort with God; that is, we must be good and follow the laws and ordinances of the Mormon Church in order to obtain forgiveness. The book of Romans and Galatians tells us that faith is more important than the law and Abraham was made righteous through his faith. Christians believe that works reap reward and that serving God is good, and that it happens naturally when you are born-again in spirit, but that salvation is purely earned through faith in Jesus and his sacrifice and purification (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5-7, Romans 4:1-5).

"Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image
in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures...for they exchanged
 the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forevermore.”

-Romans 1:22-23…25

                Salvation is a free gift from God, and cannot be accomplished on the basis of works, but can only be received Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” Because "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), everyone is separated from God and deserves death (eternal separation from God), and when someone tries to earn their salvation, because of their sin, all they are earning is death: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord"-Romans 6:23. All that we need to do to receive this gift of God is believe in Jesus Christ, trusting Him alone to save us: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life"-John 3:16. There is no other way to be saved. When the people asked Jesus, "What shall we do to be doing the works of God?" (John 6:28), Jesus replied, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” Good works are a testimony to the accomplished fact of one's salvation, purchased not by works, but by the blood of Jesus Christ.

                Christ died to pay the death penalty we deserve for our sins -- He died in our place. Good works or believing in Joseph Smith cannot save because they cannot get rid of the death penalty we are under for our sin; only Christ can do that. In order for Christ to pay the death penalty He had to be perfect and in order to pay the death penalty for more than one person He had to be infinite. Only God is perfect and infinite and, therefore, Christ had to be God in order to be qualified to pay the death penalty. Also Christ must be human to pay the death penalty for a human, but also God to satisfy the righteousness of God. Therefore Christ must be 100% man and 100 percent God, and He is! To deny that Christ is God is in effect denying what He did for us at the cross. In order to be saved by Christ we must acknowledge that He is who He is, the God-man - both perfect God and sinless man. If you think you have asked Christ into your life but do not believe in Him for who He really is, by definition you have not asked in the real Jesus and therefore do not have Him in your life. Romans 10:9 declares, "If you confess with your lips Jesus as Lord and believe in you heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." Lord, or Yahweh, is the Old Testament name for God; thus he who confesses that Jesus is Lord affirms His deity. He who does not believe in Christ’s deity has not confessed Him as Lord, and therefore is not saved.

                Those who die without Jesus are still in their sins: "For unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins" -John 8:24. I AM is the divine name for God (Exodus 3:14), so believing that Jesus is the I AM, as He says we must do, is believing that He is God. This verse makes it very clear that He who does not believe in the real Jesus does not have God. It is not a pretty subject, but there are serious consequences for never trusting the True Jesus Christ, and Him alone, for your salvation, because those who die in their sins are responsible to pay their own death penalty: "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him"-John 3:36. 1 John 5:12 says, "He who has the Son of God has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life."

                Mormons often refer to themselves as Christians, but a Christian person who has placed his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, for forgiveness for all of their sins and right standing before God. The Christian has recognized that Christ died to satisfy God's penalty for his sins and rose again, and has received Christ by faith. That faith is more than an intellectual assent to these truths, but rather an active trust in Christ alone and the rejection of all other hopes of salvation. He believes in the words of the Bible and the prophecies proclaimed in it by God and lives according to the Word.

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

-1 John 4:1