Choose the One True Pathway to God

You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Gal. 5:4

Many of us who call ourselves Christians are simply not living like it. That’s the only way to put it. We’re doing our best to live a so-called Christian life by saying the right things, doing the right things, going to church, and even serving others. 

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with any of these things. We’re called to live a life as holy as possible once we have invited Christ into our lives.

However, these things don’t make us Christians. We are completely unable to save ourselves through our actions. 

It is only through the blood of Jesus that we can claim salvation and freedom. When He died on the cross and then rose from the dead three days later, he laid the groundwork for our salvation. 

We must remember this when we’re going about our daily activities. We’re going to sin—that much is for sure. 

But we must also be certain that no amount of good deeds can ever help us get to Heaven. We’re not going to be closer to God the better we behave. 

In fact, if we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior, we’re as close to the Father as we can get. We’re brothers and sisters of Jesus and children of God.

Just because I donate money to a Christian organization or volunteer my time at a non-profit doesn’t mean that I’m earning brownie points with God.

Everything was already settled when I asked Jesus into my life. I can live confidently in that fact for the rest of my life. 

So, the next time I’m feeling good about something I’ve done—and maybe a little prideful about it—I need to stop and thank God for my salvation in Christ. 

I know it is only through His grace that I am saved and it isn’t as a result of any actions I’ve taken.

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.

Gal. 6:15

All the glory goes to Him and I am thankful that He loves me enough that He sent His son to die for my salvation.

This salvation is for you as well. If you have not accepted Christ as your Savior and received forgiveness for your sins, there’s no better time to do it than now.

Invite Him into your heart and become justified in the Father’s eyes through Christ. It will be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Simple Faith Will Change Your Destiny

And many believed in him there.

John 10:42

The above verse is so simple that we might tend to read right on past it. It contains a key truth, however.

In this passage we learn that a great number of people became followers of Jesus after He had crossed over the Jordan and remained there for a period of time. These people believed He was their Messiah because of the signs He performed and the words that He spoke.

We don’t have Jesus physically with us today like the people in biblical days did. How then can we get to the point where we also believe? 

The answer lies in the Holy Spirit. He convicts us of our sin nature and lays it on our heart that we need Jesus for our salvation. 

Without the work of the Spirit, we would never reach the point where we feel empty without Jesus. It is the Spirit’s interaction that allows us to see that we need Jesus. Those who have never felt the conviction of the Spirit do not fully understand that their lives are not complete without Jesus.

That’s why I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit’s work. He is the Teacher and Comforter who prepares our hearts to accept Jesus into our lives. He is who made it possible for all those people to believe in Jesus as described in John 10:42. 

Without a push, a slight nudge from the Spirit to let Jesus into our lives, we’ll never do it on our own.

If you’ve already believed in the Lordship of Jesus and accepted Him as your savior—congratulations! You’re part of the family of God and will live with Him for all eternity.

However, if you’ve never taken time to really think about Jesus and what He did for you by suffering and dying, then there’s no better time than now. 

The Father loves us so much that He sent Jesus to earth in human form so that He could ultimately pay the price of salvation for every man, woman, and child.

You have to accept Him, however. Just like the masses of people who allowed Jesus into their lives while He was physically walking the earth, we have to do the same. 

He’s still alive today. Right now, He is sitting at the right hand of the Father inviting you to let Him be Lord of your life. 

Doing so will put you right with God. It’s the only way. Works won’t set the record straight between you and the Father. Giving money away won’t do it either. 

The only path to eternal salvation is through Jesus. Won’t you invite Him into your life?

To Hair is Human, to Relive Divine

I love heavy metal from the 80’s.  It is my all-time favorite genre of music, and I like all kinds of music.  However, it is always what I go back to, time and time again.  For me, there will never be better music than this – good ol’ Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison, Scorpions, Cinderella, Guns ‘N Roses, Skid Row, and a slew of others.  Oh yes, I know this music is routinely derided, deemed devoid of any meaning or substance.  It is often referred to as  “hair metal” or “glam metal”,  but understand this:  we never referred to it like that.  It was simply “heavy metal” or just “metal”.  Sure, there was harder music like Metallica, Megadeth, or Black Sabbath.  That was metal also, just not what I generally liked.  I remember the term “New Wave of British Heavy Metal”, referring to Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, and other bands from across the pond.  I don’t know if the metal coming out of Los Angeles had a specific moniker at that time.  As far as the term “hair metal”, I can hardly stomach it.  It demotes the music I love to something only as important as what’s on top of the band members’ heads.  I was not even familiar with the term before the late 90’s, or even 2000, although I’m sure it had been around for a few years.

For teenage me in the 80’s,  heavy metal was all the world.  It was what I longed to be, but could not be.  Growing up in a small, rural, conservative area, to conservative parents with high standards for both morality and academics, it was very hard for me to rebel on any significant level.  When I was first introduced to this music by way of Def Leppard’s “Pyromania” in the spring of ‘83, I quickly became enamored with it.  I gobbled up any bit of news, photos, or anything related to the bands I loved.  Mostly, this came in the form of magazines such as “Circus” and “Hit Parader”.  From these magazines I carefully cut out pictures of my bands, taping them to my bedroom walls.  Within a year or so, my room was almost completely covered with images of long-haired, snarling, writhing musicians.  I’m sure my mother hated all this, and I can’t say that I would have blamed her.  I don’t remember her, or my dad ever saying much about it, however.

The reason I could hardly blame her is because deep down I know that it really is not the kind of music I should listen to.  When I accepted Christ at the age of 15 in 1985, I began a slow change.  Pretty soon I began to feel a disconnect from heavy metal.  The images on my bedroom walls didn’t hold as much value or place for me anymore.  Before long I realized they needed to come down – so they did.  I also got rid of the metal albums I had, mostly LP’s.  I remember leaning them up against the base of a tree in my backyard and blasting them into bits with a shotgun.

I wish I could say that was the end of the story, but it is far from the end.  Over the last 27 plus years, I have wavered in my faith, and consequently my passion and desire for metal has waxed and waned as well. I have never been able to divorce myself fully from the music that I love.  There have been, and are, times in my life when I really have no desire to listen to Motley Crue, or Poison, or Guns ‘N Roses.  But then, circumstances will change in my life, leaving me in a state where I want to reach out and reconnect with all that I loved as a teenager.  Perhaps my adult life has not been as fulfilling as I dreamed it would be when I was a kid, so I attempt to relive my youth in the music I dove into at that age.  Whatever the reason, it has been a long struggle to try to find a place of balance in my life between the music I love and the Christian principles I hold close to my heart.

Recently I have been watching a lot of old metal videos on YouTube.  It gives me a release and helps me relax and unwind.  The world just seems a lot better when I have some loud 80’s metal on my headphones, and I can watch the videos I used to wait for patiently when all we had was MTV.  The raw energy and feeling in those songs strikes a chord with me.  I can truly relate to the drama, the edginess, and all the emotion gushing forth from the metal from that era.  There is nothing better.  In fact, it is hard for me to keep writing this, because I want to go plug in my headphones and rock out to some Skid Row or Motley Crue right now.

That is the struggle I have dealt with all these years – trying to do what I know is right in my heart, trying to keep my thoughts positive, and live my life according to how God wants, while at the same time longing to emote along with the bands I love – maybe even rebelling against society along with them.

Maybe that’s why I’ve always loved this music.  I’ve never really felt like I fit in with society’s image of what I should be.  Even though I’m academically talented and try to maintain high morals, maybe I never wanted to be and do these things.  Perhaps in a different family, with different parents I would have lived a much different life.  Maybe I would have been more like Judd Nelson’s character in “The Breakfast Club”, rather than Anthony Michael Hall’s character who he picks on.

This loud, raucous music spoke to me perhaps in a way that pop music never did.  Eighties metal fit perfectly with me, solidly between the likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson on the one hand, and Metallica and Motorhead on the other.  It was over the top, but not so much so that the whole ship went down.  Being a Crue fan placed me squarely on the edgy side, but I was not so dark as a Megadeth fan.  I could be rebellious while also maintaining my self respect.