What Does It Take To Be A True Christian??

What does it take to be a true Christian?  To answer this question we must first define exactly what a true Christian is or what a true Christain should strive for.  To find the definition for a true Christian, we must go to the only source for this information, the Bible.  However, a problem is encountered.  That problem is today, there are many translations of the Bible.  Also, many of these Bibles are wrongly translated with a theological, political, secular or gender perspective.  Because these Bibles have been “translated” without the intent for a truly accurate translation, they are incorrect in some of the important areas that are relevant to being a true Christian.  If you use a Bible that does not have God’s word as was originally penned, then you will never be able to correctly understand His word.  The Bible translations I personally use is a combination of the English Standard Version Bible and the American English Bible, which is found at:

http://www.2001translation.com online.

To be a true Christain we must look to Jesus, what Jesus taught and how Jesus lived His life.  He summed up in Matthew 22:37-40 what the two greatest commandments Christian’s should follow:

     “37 And he replied: You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart, soul, and mind. 38 This is the first and the greatest Commandment. 39 The second, like it, is: You must love your neighbor as yourself. 40 These two commandments are the basis of the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Now we know what we must do to be a true Christian according to Jesus. We must first love God with all our heart, soul, and mind.  But how do we do this?  By following what God has instructed us to do in all that we do every day of our lives.  First , we must seek the Kingdom of God.  This can only be accomplished through reading the Bible over and over and over.  Ideally, It would be best to read the Bible daily but unfortunately, that is not always posssible.  However, if you desire to become a true Christian you must place reading the Bible daily as a priority.  The best way to read the Bible daily is to set a specific time every day.  Also, we need to set an amount of time that we will spend reading the Bible.  Plus, this time must be commited to only reading & studying the Bible.  In addition, I personally believe that part of reading and studying the Bible is prayer.  Praying before reading for guidance and God’s enlightenment and then again after reading.  Praying to thanking God for all He has shown you.  In that prayer I recommend you ask God to help you apply what you have learned from your time in the Bible to your everyday life.  One prayer I often say is asking God whenever I read, see or hear anything concerning Him, Jesus, the Bible, Christianity, or applying my faith, that He will show me , whatever it maybe, if it is true or if it is false.  This is so I may not be or cause anyone to be misguided or lead astray by Satan.

Now, only reading the Bible is not seeking the Kingdom of God.  It is a part of that process.  You must take what you have learned from the Bible and apply it to your daily life.  If you do not apply what God and Jesus teaches us all in the Bible, it is the same as never reading the Bible.

The Bible teaches us we must accept what Jesus taught, especially that He was the Son of God.  He came to earth to teach what His Father told Him, to live a sinless life, to be falsely accused and put to death.  Then after being dead for three days, He was resurrected.  Plus, the reason for His death was for the sins of all of mankind and through His Death, we can be made righteous before God.  In addition, Jesus taught that we must be baptized, we must spend time in fellowship with other Christians and we must spread the word of God to others.

Now that we know what it takes, how do you know if you are a true Christain?  The way to answer this is by asking yourself these few simple questions.  First, how much of your day is devoted to God and His teachings?  If the majority of your time each day is not spent with God and practicing what He taught, you are not putting God first in your life.  Secondly, whenever you fall short and give into temptation and sin, do you feel remorseful?  Will tears actually form in your eyes when you confess your sins to God because your are heartbroken for having disobeyed God your Father?  The one who created you, loves you regardless of what you have done and only wants what is best for you?  Finally, do you have a personal relationship with God your Father and His Son? You can tell you have a personal relationship if They are as close and important to you as anybody you have a personal relationship with here on earth.

If you do not answer yes to these questions then maybe your commitment to God needs some work or you need to reevaluate how you are living your life and how your day is spent.  I know when I unfortunately and unintentionally hurt my wife somehow, that it breaks my heart, deeply.  When I sin against God, that also breaks my heart deeply.  Because I knew better but I was weak and gave into temptation.  I know how much God loves me and how my sins must hurt Him.  So when I confess my sins to God, and it is a very deep personal confession, I often have tears in my eyes.  The tears are because I am very ashamed of the sins I have committed.  Because I knew that it was wrong but still gave into temptation.  Also, I am wholly sorry and ask for His forgiveness.  I am not trying to sound pious or say that I am a better Christian than anybody else, because that would not be true.  I am far from being the Christian that I truly want to become as that is a daily challenge.  Plus, there are many, many more people who I believe are far better Christian than I could ever become.  I am just relating my personal feelings when I pray and part of my personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and God our Father. 

While the main goal of a true Christain is to lead a life identical to Jesus, it is not possible because as humans, we are flawed and imperfect.  However, we should always try to emulate Jesus’s life and seek the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness each day as we live our lives.

By: Larry Shawn Cagle

God’s Way

We are given a chance to live,
Always God’s grace gives,
Those who accept the gift,
Adding souls He lifts,
Honor & Glory from above,
True perfect love,
With Him you are free,
Hope we all see,
Praise, Honor and Glory to Him,
Saved from all sin,
Nothing left except His word,
His truth is heard,
Sadly some will not live,
Still He gives,
Eternal Joy for all to see,
Forever with Thee!!

By Larry Shawn Cagle
12/2016

Lost In Life

Down the road of life I travel each day,
Lost and confused not knowing my way.
Walking alone on this path & without care,
Dealing daily with people trying to be fair.
Burdens I carry weigh heavy on my mind,
A normal part of my life with more to find.

Each day goes by with no hope for respite,
I pray for help as I face each daily plight.
Who am I to ask for help from my grief,
A single soul among many hoping for relief.
With no choices ahead and still losing my way,
The only hope is to fall to my knees and pray.

Pray to the One who created all that there is & that will be,
He is the only One in life with a plan that can set me free.
Free from the pain I experience each day as it goes by,
Not knowing just what to do and always wondering way.
Now I can choose to have eternal hope or great despair,
I trust in God Almighty who truly loves me & always cares!!

By Larry Shawn Cagle
12/2014

Experiencing God’s Love

By: Larry Shawn Cagle
December 20, 2014

This is about an amazing experience I had that occurred quite suddenly and was completely unexpected. When this happened, I was not praying or meditating. I was not reading the Bible or other theological styled book.  I was not in some deep contemplation about God and the universe. I was not reasoning or pondering man’s existence.  I was simply considering the accuracy of a Cable program that my wife and I had just finished viewing.

My unbelievable experience happened in the Fall of 2004.  My wife and I had just finished watching a cable program on the original History Channel concerning people who “claim” to see Saints, Angles, Spirits or the Virgin Mary on a somewhat frequent basis.  Overall, the program was at best, fair to very poor in quality.  Plus, the individuals who were highlighted seemed to be somewhat out of touch with reality.  I do not think I could believe these people because they seemed to be scripted and somewhat shallow.  After the show ended, I decided to surf the internet for awhile.  I went to our spare bedroom, the one that we used as our computer room and sat down and powered on the system.  As it was slowly booting up, I started thinking about the program we had just watched and the topic that was covered. It occurred to me, how would these people or anybody really know if what they saw was real or just hallucinations or fabrications?  Also, I considered what the images they claimed to have seen could of actually been.  Were these images truly holy and from God or possibly Satanic. How would they know that they were not being deceived by Satan or his demons? The Bible states that demons can take on many forms including heavenly spirits (1 John 4:1, 2 Corinthians 11:14).  In addition, I wondered if they were only seeking their 15 minutes of fame.  How could anyone truly know and be sure that the images they experienced, like the one’s we just saw on the History Channel, were real, imagined, holy or demonic??

As I was sitting there reflecting on the questions I had just asked myself while waiting for the system to fully boot up, I suddenly and unexpectedly had an experience that is still hard for me to fully explain. This experience forever change my life and my perception of life, God and His love.  What I experienced, for that magnificent moment, was God’s presence and His love.

I will try to explain how powerful and suprising experiencing God’s presence was, but unfortunately, I know that will not be possible.  I know all my words will fall short of expressing the unimaginable magnitude of what happened.  However, I will do my best to explain what I felt and discovered by my Godly experience.

When I first felt God’s presence, I noticed that everything I was either stressed or distressed about, including all I was worrying and concerned about was gone, vanished, did not exist anymore.  All those negitive feelings I had from my entire life vanished from my conscience. It was as though they never existed or they were never experienced. I then noticed that beside all the negitive feelings, thoughts, memories, etc. in my life disappearing, everything that I cared about, all the positive things in my life, had also disappeared, vanished.  They were all gone to as through they never existed.  I realized I no longer had any feelings about both the good and the bad in my life.  All the things I loved in this world no longer mattered or meant anything to me. My family, my wife, our pets, everything and anything of this world that I loved or had ever loved or cared about, along with all the things hated, was no longer part of my existence.  All my experiences and anything that was part of me and my life, including everything that was not part of my life, was gone and had no meaning to me.  I was now completely seperated from this world and no longer part of the world.  Everything that was part of this world no longer had any meaning to me.  The good and the bad of life was no longer relevant and I was no longer connected in anyway, shape, or form to this world.  I was physically here but that was the extent of my connection to this world. I was no longer emotionally, mentally, or even spiritually connected to this world.  As I stated before, I was actually seperated from everything that existed in this world and it no longer meant anything because of God’s presence.  His presence had completely seperated me from this world and anything that related to this world.  I was totally and absolutely free from this world. Beyond any doubt, this was the most intense, strange and unbelievable surprise (gift or blessing) I had ever experienced in my life.  At least until what happened next.

What I then noticed or felt next was the most pure, the most precious, perfect and complete, intense and fulfilling love that could ever be imagined. This love literally penetrated every part of my body, every cell and every atom.  It penetrated the essence of my being. I felt God’s love down to my very soul.  It was so intense and fulfilling I realized that this love could and would give me absolutely and unequivocally everything I would ever need, want or desire.  I relealized I would not required food to live as this love could give me the all the nutrition I needed. I realized I would no longer require air to breathe as this love could supply the very air I needed to live. This love gave me absolutely everything I could ever need or want. Plus, I discovered there was nothing else outside of this warm, exquisite, wonderful, beautiful, magnificent, precious, perfect and Divine Godly love.  All my perceptions, all my senses, everything was consumed by this love. There are really no word I have or words I know of that can fully express God’s love. The Bible states that you can have anything you desire in Heaven. If Heaven gives you everything you need, want or desire, I know that God’s love is all I would ever want.  So for that brief period I think I was expecting a small part of Heaven.  Even after +12 years, I cannot image anything greater than that warm embrace of God’s love that I briefly had.

I do not know how long this experience lasted as time seemed to have stopped. Or at least, my perception of time. I think it only lasted for a few seconds to maybe a minute or two.  I am not sure because I was disconnected from this world briefly. I do not think anyone here on earth could handled a love that powerful and intense for any longer period of time. I believe if it lasted for any great length of time I would of quit existing as the person I was. If I had continued to experience God’s love, I would not had left that chair or room. I would of sat there until the end of time.  The love from God gave me everything I needed or would ever need and nothing else mattered to me.

One of the lasting effect of God’s love is related death and dying.  I had very little concern about death and dying once I became a Christian and understood God’s word.  Since I have experienced God’s love I know no longer have any fear or reservations concerning death and dying.  I can say with a doubt that I look forward to my death because I know what is waiting for me once I am in Heaven.

I apologize for the parts were I rambled attempting to explain how I felt and how God’s love felt.  No matter how many times I have attempted to tell my experience, my words always fall short of the actual experience I experienced.

I hope I was able to give you an inkling of the overwhelming magnitude and the sheer intensity of the pure, perfect and divine love from God that I experienced.  I still wonder why God allowed me to experience His presence and His love.  I do not know if it was an answer to what I was thinking or some other reason. Maybe there will be a time when it is fully clear to me why God touched my life is this way!!

Without You

Lord, we cannot make it in this world today without You,
You give us the strength we all need to make it through.
Only fools have hope for a better life by going at it alone,
You give us strength to have no fear facing the unknown.

Now each day closes with us nearer to the final end,
Soon we will hear Your Son calling on us all to ascend.
We will avoid the suffering coming to those who denied,
The truth that You raised Your Son 3 days after He died.

To many are foolish by refusing the power of Your Grace,
The only chance they have to accept Your saving embrace.
Is it pride or foolishness when they give Satan the power,
To decide how they will live and die in their remaing hours. 

It was God our Father who created us & all that does exists,
Who then offered his only Son for all our sins by the crucifix.
Never has there been a greater sacrifice by given by anyone,
His death paid all our debts so our salvation could be won!!

By Larry Shawn Cagle
02/18/2017

When It Comes

I often wonder what most people are going to say,
When they realize it’s time for their Judgement Day.
Will they tell their Judge that they really didn’t see,
The sins they committed had a cost and were not free.

That all the suffering they caused others in their life,
Was just part of surviving their own pain and strife.
That life was only bearable when they had some fun,
So they should not be judged to harshly by Your Son.

Each of us always has a choice in life before we finally die,
To accept salvation that is from the Son of the Most High.
Remember to stay in God’s light & on the path He planned,
So on that day we will all be together in the Promised Land!!

By Larry Shawn Cagle
10/16/2016

A Way Back

My life is out of control, Lord can you truly see,
I am no longer whole, please show me Your mercy.
Lost in the noise each day, I am seeking direction,
How did life become this way, I need Your protection.

What hope is there for me, all alone in living life,
I’m know I’m really not free, burden by all the strife.
How can I feel more empty, having no real purpose,
All around me there’s plenty, but it’s only on the surface.

I need to find some hope, but only through the truth,
Showing me the way to cope, discovery of the sooth.
I’m told there is a way, if you truly have an open mind,
I will not wait one more day, for the answers I must find.

They say God is waiting for me, every day and each night,
Only He can set us free, simply by walking in His light.
God has made plans for each, easy to find and to follow,
His salvation is within reach, giving freedom from all sorrow.

God please hear my plea, have mercy & answer my call,
I know now You are the key, for Your Grace is essential.
I accept I have been a sinner, I want to change my ways,
Make me one of Your winners, I am ready to start today.

Thank you for Your Son, plus the gift of Your saving grace,
I can see You truly are the One, with you I always had a place.
I know I will never be alone, including this life and the next one,
God has given me a home, together forever with Him & His Son.

If you are lost and alone, looking for answers to get through life,
God’s Grace is your way home, to ovecome all your pain & strife.
God’s gift of salvation is free to everyone, nothing to do but accept,
So please call on His Son, then you can truly be one of the elect!!

By Larry Shawn Cagle
04/14/2017