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

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!!

A Dream About My Father

This is a true experience I had several months after my father passed away in 2010. I thought I should share it with others as it has had a profound affect on my faith.

Since my father passed away on August 20, 2010, I had been concerned about how he had truly believed because he had stopped going to church.  Also,  after several conversation I had with him about religion and faith, it left me worried about his “faith” and his relationship with the Lord. In addition, I felt I had missed opportunities to talk with him about faith. God resolved this conflict by giving me a chance to find out for myself in a dream!!

My “dream” started like this:
I had been on the road traveling so I stopped at a gas station.  The look of this gas station was old, well used and possibly built in the late 1950s.  Strangely I noticed it was a “Texaco” gas station.  I went inside looking for the restrooms.  I saw there was a women’s restroom on the right and a men’s restroom directly in front of me.  As I was moving towards the men’s restroom, the sign on the men’s restroom door suddenly changed from “Men’s” and read, “Ivan Cagle”, my father’s name.  Then, just as suddenly as the sign changed, I felt a presence behind me.  I turned around cautiously and there, right behind me, was my father.  I also noticed right behind him there was a bright white light that slowly faded away.  My father did not look like he did recently before he had passed, but rather when he was younger, around fourty. I even noticed that he had a mustache once again.  I ran to him and gave him a big hug.  Then, as I was standing in front of him and before I could utter a word he said to me, “God said I could come and tell you that I am alright and everything is OK!”.  Again, before I could get a word out my father said to me “God says I have to go now”.  He then slowly stepped back a few feet and stopped.  The bright white light that had faded and disappeared behind him previously reappeared and completely enveloped him and just as suddenly as he appeared, he and the light were gone. I suddenly awoke clearly remembering everything that had happened. I was somewhat shocked, confused and amazed. However, there was an unbelievable peace that I was now feeling. It took me well over 2 hours to fall back asleep.

Ever since I had that dream, I have had no more thoughts or concerns about my father and where he is residing thanks to God. I am secure in knowing without a doubt that my father is with God in Heaven!!

Larry Shawn Cagle
11/2010

How To Be Saved

I have to admit, one of the most difficult subjects that many individuals deal with when considering faith and Christianity, is what it takes to be “Saved”. “Saved” means to have the Holy Spirit (from God) come into your heart and be part of your life so after death you can enter Heaven and spend an eternity with God and Jesus because all of your sins have been forgiven. Too many Christians and others usualy argue and disagree exactly what is required for a person to be saved. There is a simple solution to answer what it takes that is often ignored for personal, secular, ideological or other reasons. If you want the truth, all you must do is read God’s word. There you can find all the answers to Life, Living and being Christian.

The Bible states:
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
Romans 10:9‭-‬10 ESV

Now you know what it takes to become Saved. Please remember that becoming Saved is just the first step to becoming a True Christian. Now you must walk the path that God has planned just for you and stay in His guiding light as He will never leave you or forsake you!!

Written by: Larry Shawn Cagle
05/11/2017

Original Sin Is The First Sin & Not An Inherited Sin

By Larry Shawn Cagle

Recently, I had a discussing with my wife who, just as me, had grown up being taught that the sin of Adam & Eve that forced their departure from the Garden of Eden, was passed down to everyone who was born after they left the Garden. That this sin is called Original sin and we are all born with this sin and therefore stained, held responsible, for their sin. The problem, as I explained to my wife, is that concept is not accurate. What the Bible says is Adam & Eve will suffer because of their sin and instead of being cared for by God, they are on our own and will have to work to survive. I discovered the true meaning of Original sin and what it is to us after first reading then extensivly researching the Bible.

The correct meaning of Original Sin is that it was the “first” sin of mankind. However, there are many churchs, denominations, preachers, ministers, priests and other individuals who believe and teach that Original Sin is a sin passed down from Adam & Eve to everyone. That everyone is born with original sin and we have to either confess or we have to be baptisted to have this sin forgiven and removed. The problem with that belief is that concept of original sin is not Biblical accurate and therefore not true. If it was true we had a sin as soon as we saw life, that would mean we were held accountable and could suffer for actions of another that resulted in sin. There is not a single verse in the entire Bible that states we are responsible for another’s sin. In addition, there is not a single verse that says since Adam and Eve sinned, all future generations have that same sin and they can be held accoutable. However, the Bible has multiple verses stating we can only be held accoutable for our own actions and not the actions of others. Also, these verses clearly state that God will hold no one responsible for the sins committed by another and suffer the second death. By searching the Bible you can find multiple instances where God states only the person sinning is held accoutable.

So if anyone tells you that you are born with Original sin or the sin of Adam & Eve, you will now know these statements are not Biblically sound and simply false. Below you will find a few of the verses that support this position.

“To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.”
Genesis 3:16‭-‬19‭, ‬23 ESV

Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
Ezekiel 18:19‭-‬20 ESV

“Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.”
Deuteranomy 24:16 ESV

“But he did not put their children to death, according to what is written in the Law, in the Book of Moses, where the Lord commanded, “Fathers shall not die because of their children, nor children die because of their fathers, but each one shall die for his own sin.”
2 Chronicles 25:4 ESV

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God . Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin.”
Ezekiel 18:30 ESV

2016

Jesus Died For All The Sins of All Mankind

When Jesus states that no one comes to the Father except through Him, it has a dual meaning. First, is if you know of God, Jesus and God’s word but refuse to accept them as the truth, then you are not saved.  Second, it is only by Jesus’s death & resurrection that makes all of mankind available to be justified before God.  Therefore, no one comes to God the Father except through Jesus Christ!!

Romans 4:16‭-‬17‭, ‬24‭-‬25 ESV
“That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”


Romans 5:1‭-‬2 ESV

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”


John 14:6 ESV

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”


Written By Larry Shawn Cagle 

Why We Suffer

Have you ever wondered why you suffer so much as a Christian?  I had wondered why, for some time, until I had completely read the Bible.  I originally thought that becoming a Christian meant that there would be less pain and suffering for the rest of my life.  I thought that way because of false teachings of various minister I had listened to previously.  These ministers were preaching what is known as a “prosperity” gospel.  This “gospel” states that when you give yourself to Christ, everything will be better until you go to heaven. You will have less suffering and every thing in your life will be better. The problem with that statement is it is not biblical.  The Bible never states while living on earth and following Jesus Christ means you will have less trouble.  However, the Bible does actually state that you will have more suffering as a Christian and it is not until you reach Heaven, will there be no more pain and suffering.  However, God’s word does say how you should handle any pain or suffering while here on earth and that is what is important.  In truth, how you react to anything is the only thing you can control, that is with God’s help. You can either let pain and suffering overtake you and control you or you can give it to God and rely on Him to handle your suffering.  It is only then, with God handling your suffering, you will experience less suffering.  That is why Paul states in the Bible why we suffer. It is so we can rely on God and the power of God.

One thing you must remember is that Satan is always going to work his hardest on Christians, especially new Christians, to try to shake their faith.  So instead of letting Satan win, you should give it to God. I will admit one of the hardest aspects I have with being a Christian is rejoicing in my pain and suffering.  This is because I always looked at pain and suffering as something bad or negative.  I never considered pain and suffering as an opportunity to rely on God and God’s power. To be able to experience God’s power through pain and suffering. So when you suffer, you should be glad, because the power of God is in you and He will handle your suffering. Remember that with God and Jesus Christ, all things are possible!!

2 Corinthians 1:8‭-‬9 ESV
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”

2 Corinthians 12:9‭-‬10 ESV
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Romans 5:3‭-‬5 ESV
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

1 Peter 3:14‭, ‬17 ESV
“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”

Written By: Larry Shawn Cagle