I am compelled to speak

November 2, 2020

I am compelled to speak.  Time is short for many reasons, so the time is now.  Because you are reading this, you likely know me, to some degree or other.  The better you know me, the more you know of my shortcomings, faults and sins.  I do not claim to know all truth.  However, solely by God’s grace, I do know the Person who is Truth, Jesus Christ.  It is Jesus who has commanded all of us who know Him, to witness what we know about Him.  He gave us His word, the bible, so that we may know the truth.  It is on my understanding of the bible, a personal relationship with God through Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit that I base my beliefs.

This letter is addressed to two broad groups.  One group is those who do not believe they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  The second group is those who profess to be Christians.  Your personal belief about the truth of the bible and the one true God, determines everything about you, your actions, your decisions, your peace and your eternal destiny.

For those who do not believe they have a personal relationship with God, our heavenly Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ:

If you do not know Jesus Christ, it is my honor to introduce you to the Him.  As represented in the bible, God is manifested in three persons, God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit.  God created all that you know and see, the entire universe.  All that exists was created through Jesus, for His purposes and for His glory.  You and I are the most precious part of His creation.  You and I are no random act of evolution.  Nor are you an accident.

Uniquely, God created mankind in His image, so that He can have a personal relationship with you and me.  He imparted to us many of His attributes.  Some of these are an eternal spirit, the ability to love, creativity, a conscience to know right from wrong, and an inner longing to know Him and worship Him.

God established His creation in ways more magnificent than we can comprehend.  In creating mankind, He gave us a free will, for us to choose to love Him for whom and as He is, or to reject Him.  If we love Him, we acknowledge He is God, Lord of all, and is worthy of our love, obedience and affection.

By giving us our free will, He knew we would not be obedient and would rebel and sin against Him.  However, it was the only way for Him to have a loving, intimate relationship with those that freely chose to love Him back.  Do you think you could have a truly close and loving relationship with someone you could “make” love you?  That would not be love. 

When the first man and woman He created rebelled against Him, they sinned.  Their sin was passed on to all of us, without exception.  God established that the punishment for sin, is death.  This would have resulted in all of mankind being separated from God for eternity.  That is not His desire for us and does not serve His purposes.

In an incomprehensible display of God’s love for you and me, He arranged to pay for our sin by dying in your place and in mine, so that we could have eternal life and fellowship with Him.  This new life is free from all sin, death, and suffering.  God sent His Son, Jesus to the earth, in human form.  Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, something you and I cannot do.  Because He lived a sinless, holy life, the people of this world hated Him and murdered Him.  That is what we sinners do.  We rebel against God.  It is in our nature.  We cannot avoid it on our own, no matter what we do or how sincerely we try. 

The good news is, that out of God’s love for you and me, it pleased Him to put all of our sin on the shoulders of Jesus.  When Jesus died, He paid the price of death for all who, by the faith He gives us, choose to believe in Him as our personal Lord and Savior.  This belief in Him, is not the same as knowing about Him or believing things about Him.  Believing in Him, means to believe you are a sinner, lost and separated from God.  It means having a heart-felt and true desire to turn from that sin, to believe Jesus is the Son of God, that His death paid for your sins and that His resurrection gives you a new spiritual life.  Being spiritually reborn in Jesus allows us to have a reconciled relationship with God the Father.

The bible makes it clear, and Jesus said in His own words, that this belief in Jesus for salvation is the only way to have an eternal relationship with God and to avoid spiritual death.  Any and all other attempts are rebellion against the God who created us, loves us and provided salvation for us.  Any and all other attempts for justification or salvation will result in spiritual death and eternal separation from God.  He wants us to know this truth and share it with others so that everyone may be saved and live.

God is holy, perfect, pure, flawless.  He can have no fellowship with, nor be in the presence of sin.  If I were to show up in heaven without being born again into this new spiritual life Jesus offers each of us, I would destroy heaven as my sin spread.  We could no longer be in God’s presence.  We would not be separated from the pain, destruction and death that sin brings.  It would be the same as being back in this world.  Thus, to be in God’s presence, to be in heaven, we must have our sins paid for, forgiven, and be born new spiritually without sin.

Words of caution.  Because we were born in sin and in a state of fighting against God, it is a natural tendency for us to try to make God into the image we want Him to be, misrepresent who Jesus is, and to distort the meaning of the bible.  Either the bible is God’s word and is true, or it is meaningless.  Who is righteous enough to discern what in the bible is of error and what is true?  If the bible is left to each person to decide what is and is not true, then by definition, it is not truth.  It is only personal opinion and of little value.  Only one who would elevate himself to the position of God can claim that a portion of the bible is not true.  Because God loves us, He cautions us against this pathway to death and destruction.  Placing our faith in Jesus as Savior, also means we have a desire to make Him our Lord.  That means submitting our will to His will and giving up the ways of this world for the ways of His kingdom.  It does not mean we will not sin while in these bodies in this world.  Instead of enjoying our sin, our new spirit will grieve our body’s sin and we will long to be in our new bodies so we can be fully healed and with our perfect, loving heavenly Father.  Nor does being born again in Jesus mean we will no longer suffer in this world.  It does mean He will be with us, will strengthen and comfort us and that we will have an eternal life of unending peace in fellowship with Him after life here in this world is over.  These cautions are explained further in the below section.

For those who profess to be Christians:

As the bible tells us, we can all be easily deceived unless we are very guarded, seeking wisdom from the Holy Spirit and reminded of the truth found in God’s word, the bible.  The bible makes it clear, not all who say Lord, Lord are truly saved believers and followers of Christ.  It also makes it clear that this world is coming to an end. 

Because the one true God created you uniquely in His image, He loves you and longs to have close fellowship with you now, and for eternity.  The bible makes it clear that the only way to have this fellowship with God, is to, by faith, have a genuine and fruitful desire to turn from your sins, believe that Jesus is the perfect son of God, that He died for you sins, rose from the dead and is your Lord and Savior.  If you believe anything else, the bible makes it clear, you are not a true Christ follower and therefore, God’s wrath remains on you.  You may not like it, you may wish it were otherwise, but it is non-the-less what the bible says. 

The bible makes it clear, many who call themselves believers, Christians and church members will deny elements of the bible and there doing, reject the whole of the truth it represents.  This has always been the case and sadly, we are seeing it at devastating levels in American and in the world.

If you are one who is a follower of the God and Jesus of the bible, I praise God for your faith and salvation.  Please join me in personal repentance, asking God to reveal our own individual blindness.  Let us die daily to the things of this world that distract and separate us from God.  Let us be more dedicated to serving His kingdom, at all times.  May He give us grace to love Him and each other.

One cannot believe the bible is true, without believing it is all true.  One cannot spiritually discern truth from lies if one continues to rebel against the truth of God’s word. 

The bible is clear in foretelling the end of this world.  Although He chose not to reveal the time, He revealed its certainty and the means.  Until our individual death or when He takes us home at His destruction of the world, we are to be workers and warriors in His kingdom.

The bible makes it clear that there is a permanent and ever-growing cultural divide throughout the world and that it is spiritual at its core.  The bible makes it clear we are not in a battle between people with different views.  There is a raging spiritual battle between God’s kingdom and the temporary rule of Satan and his fallen angels here on earth.     

The bible makes it clear that Satan is a deceiver and the father of lies.  He is exceptional at counterfeiting evil in the place of good.

The bible is clear that God is holy, holy, holy.  He will not indefinitely tolerate sin and will ultimately judge it. 

The bible is clear that God hates the shedding of innocent blood, sexual perversion of any kind, pride and rebellion against Him.

It is our pride and our rebellion against God that makes us blind against God’s truth and causes us to believe Satan’s lies.  The path of rebellion and deception leads us farther from God and truth and results in more blindness to the truth and ultimately to unspeakable rebellion.  The bible describes this as a broad road.

Historically, this broad road of rebellion led to cultures that worshiped God’s creation instead of Him, to sexual perversion and to burning children alive as sacrifices in what the culture chose for counterfeit worship.  It led to leaders of the Jewish religion being blinded to the presence of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah and ultimately to their hatred of Him and their murder of Him.

Today is no different.  These same rebellious activities continue.  With the decline of Godliness in American, we see it at staggering degrees, but it is not new.  The fact that there is even discussion or debate about murdering babies is astounding and quite revealing of how far down that broadening road we have traveled.  We used to knowingly lie and say we were not murdering babies; we were disposing of tissue.  Now, God has made it clear and we all know these are babies being murdered.

One justifies murdering babies because the child is supposedly imperfect according to his or her definition.  One justifies murdering babies to keep the baby from having to live in bad circumstances.  Others justify murdering babies because it is a hardship or because the conception was from a violent or abusive act.  Some justify it because it is better for the baby to die than the mother.  Others simply do not want the inconvenience or disruption.

Does any of this match the character of God, in whose image we were created?  No, it does not!  Does it match the life of Jesus who called us to take up our cross and follow Him as living sacrifices, laying down our lives for others?  No it does not!

Today’s culture thinks it is enlightened by condoning and celebrating sexual perversion.  The bible makes it clear, any sexual activity outside of the marriage of a man and woman is sexual perversion and destructive to the individuals and to society.  This includes pornography, sex with animals, sex with children, sex before or outside of the biblical marriage of one man and one woman and sodomy with the same sex.  If we find some of these examples offensive or concerning but not all, we have become blinded and desensitized and we have moved down the broadening road of rebellion against the word of God and God’s natural laws.  Do we think we are wiser, more progressive, more advanced and enlightened than our creator?  We do if we think it is ok for us to violate any part of His law and natural order.

Now, we even hear leaders of “social movements” claim it is the right of certain groups to loot stores because they deserve it.  Again, rationalizing and normalizing theft that the bible clearly reveals as destructive and rebellious against the nature of God.

Our culture is repeating the rebellion of worshiping God’s creation instead of Him.  We say animals and the rest of creation are as important or more important than humankind.  While we are called to be stewards of God’s creation, we have perverted that and have chosen to worship the planet.  Meanwhile, our insecurities and confusion make us constantly fearful while our pride makes us bully others into submission as we delude ourselves into believing we can somehow control the planet.

In our sinful, fallen state, even after being reborn in new life as followers of Jesus, we are constantly at war between our fleshly bodies and our new spirits.  Any time any of us attempt to justify our actions or beliefs that are contrary to God’s truth as revealed in the bible, we know better.  We just want to satisfy our own lusts and desires.  The bible clearly says that God gave each of us a conscience and the knowledge of the truth, and we are therefore without excuse.  We follow this broadening road to destruction because our nature, as opposed to God’s nature, is to love ourselves more than we love God.  It also reveals that we love ourselves and want to be liked by others more than we actually love and want the best for others.  If we truly loved others as we love ourselves, we would not encourage and celebrate their rebellious and self-destructive behavior that leads them on the broadening road away from God. 

We ask why we see so many suicides, especially among youth.  We ask why students massacre other students, why we see such lack of conscience in society, why we see rioting and increased violence and why we see such physical and sexual abuse of children.  When you bring children onto the open and broadening road of rebellion against God, you will always see increased depression, hopelessness, perversion, self-gratification, violence and death.  Without God’s order and natural laws clearly explained in the bible, there is no purpose, no reason for respecting life, only selfishness.

Not all who call Jesus Lord, Lord, are true followers. 

If you have a sincere desire to be a faithful follower of Christ, join me in repentance.  Let’s leave behind the lies, deception and self-justification.  Wherever we find ourselves on the broadening road to destruction, let us turn around and run to Jesus.  Let us immerse ourselves in His word of truth, the bible.  Let us honestly, and prayerfully evaluate the teaching of the church we attend.  If they are trying to justify sin by distorting the bible and are not diligently pursuing the truth of God’s word, let us seek God’s guidance in attempting to change them or flee from them.  Let us leave tradition and sentiment behind and follow Jesus.  Let our loyalty and honor go to Jesus, not a church that makes us comfortable.

No matter where we have been, what we have done or who we have become, God wants us back in His kingdom.  Jesus died to take that away and give us His grace for a new life.  When we turn to Him with a heart that sincerely wants to pursue repentance, He will be faithful to bring us back to Him. 

However, also remember, God did not create us or save us to be happy.  He saved us so we will love Him and show Him our love through worship of His holiness, obedience and service as warriors in His kingdom, even unto death.  In the fellowship of His sacrificial suffering, we find fellowship of His love, joy and peace.  He has commissioned us to spread the good news of biblical truth, that our sovereign God offers us eternal life and joy by following His son, instead of pursuing our selfish, deadly ways.

No one will find joy and peace in the temporary and often deceiving feelings we reach for by emotionally supporting someone’s social cause.  No one living in sin and rebellion against God will ever find acceptance, joy and peace, not even if all of society celebrates their sin.  Neither will anyone ever find lasting peace and purpose by supporting such sinful behavior. 

Unchecked rebellion provokes more rebellion.  It always has.  It is the broadening road to death and destruction.  If we continue on in rebellion, the bible promises the certainty of our destruction.  Again, I plead with you to join me in crying out to God for changed and repentant hearts.  Time is short.

With my love and prayers,

Kelly Karns

Kelly’s Testimony

Testimony of Kelly Karns, that eternal life and peace as a child of the living God are accomplished only through believing in the Truth, Jesus Christ:

I rightly believed that God loved me. My pride led me to wrongly believe that because He loved me, I could, on my own, have a direct, eternal relationship with Him in heaven.

For as long as I can remember, I have known about God and Jesus. I believed Jesus is the Son of God, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, died on the cross and rose again and ascended to heaven.  Despite persistent sin, I generally wanted to do what was right.  I thought I would go to heaven with God because I knew these things “about” Jesus and had prayed I wanted Jesus to save me.  Here is my story on how God patiently pursued me and revealed the truth of Jesus’ invitation, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

I was blessed to have been raised by wonderful parents in a loving home where we faithfully went to church. My dad prayed before every meal, and I knew that God was important to mom and dad. We were taught to do right, be moral and help others.  It allowed me to grow up knowing about God.  In Sunday school and church, I learned about Bible stories, learned some important scripture and heard teaching about God.

Every Sunday morning, the pastor would ask if anyone wanted to join the church. Looking back, to me it was not so much a call to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior as it was about committing oneself to God, joining the church, and serving there.

When I was in the first grade, I felt led to go to the front of the church and say I wanted to be a member. That was all I understood at the time, but I do believe God called me to go forward.  Soon afterward, I formally joined the church on a Sunday morning where the pastor asked me a few questions about serving faithfully.  I do not recall any discussion of my sin nature and the need for a savior.  He may have asked me if I accepted Jesus as my savior but if he did, it made no specific impact on me.

Being in church did prove to be very beneficial. I continued to learn in Sunday school, church camps, choir music, etc.  By junior high, I noticed others in my broader circle had a peace and joy that somehow looked, sounded and felt different than what I had.  At the age of 15, I attended an area church camp.  I really enjoyed the singing, prayers and messages.  I do not remember going to an alter call (maybe did, maybe not,) but I do remember coming back excited about knowing Jesus more personally.  Something was definitely different.  It wasn’t just emotional.

As a junior in high school, I attended a Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s weekend conference. We were challenged by an OU athlete to read the Bible daily for 5 minutes for two weeks.  I took the challenge and it became a lifelong habit.  It has been a special blessing from God and has allowed me to read through the Bible several times.  It gave me some grounding and spiritual support for moral battles in high school, college and beyond.  The Holy Spirit faithfully continued to draw me closer to Jesus, often working through my wife, Mary.

Many years later, after some of our children were born, it started coming together for me. I had walked out my life thinking I could have a relationship with God on my own terms:  me, directly relating to God.  God is the “main Man,” and I could simply talk to and relate to Him as I pleased because, in my view, He loved me, and I was his child.  By God’s grace, He revealed to me that I could not go directly to Him in my state of sin.  He is holy, and my sin separates me from Him.  Yes, He loves me, more than I can comprehend.  That is why He was calling me, to make me aware He sent His Son to die for my sin and was offering me a new spiritual life.  This was the true purpose of all the teaching about the one and only Savior, Jesus.  It wasn’t just “about” Jesus.  He wasn’t a side note or merely an example.  I needed to be forgiven, washed of my sin, reborn spiritually, and brought back to life from death.  This allowed me to come to God, the Father, as a new, reborn soul, seen in Christ and without my sin.  What a difference this truth makes.  All praise be to Jesus, the Sacrificial Lamb, who paid for my sin so that I may be found new and acceptable to God our Father and truly experience His love and affection.

As I get older, I see that we are more humbled through life’s experiences, including aging and ultimately death. After my third job termination, I was more willing and/or able to hear the Holy Spirit and to seek Christ in an even deeper way. The fellowship I have with Him has been much better.  God has lovingly and graciously allowed me to see enough of my sin to know how hopeless it is for me to attempt to be good or to do good on my own.  A few good acts here and there do not give me a clean heart, mind and soul.  That only comes with being reborn through Jesus Christ.

More recently, God has been showing me how selfish I have been my whole life – while growing up, in college and as a husband, father and employee. I have been asking Him to take away my narcissistic nature.  I remain a work in progress and a long way from the image of Jesus.  The Bible explains this as me being “sanctified.”  Sometimes, I refer to it as being “a recovering jerk.”  More than ever, I realize life here, in this world and body, is short.  I want to be doing God’s work and only His work.  I still have limited comprehension of what that is and how to achieve it, but I am trusting in Him to finish His work in me as He has promised.

If I could change the past, I would have accepted His invitation to know the truth of Jesus and had a closer relationship with Him earlier. That would have given me a stronger willingness to be obedient and faithful to Him.  Secondly, I would have been a more loving and dedicated husband as well as a more loving, gracious and fun dad.  I would also have been more focused on others, kinder to all and a more patient employee.  All these would have come if I had less pride and more faith in God, therein being less fearful and not foolishly trying to be in control.  But there is great joy and peace knowing that as a new creature in Christ, God has accepted me, will not let me go and that the day is coming when my old, sinful body will also be replaced, allowing me to be in the fullness of His presence for eternity.

How about you? Are you confused, thinking you are in an eternal relationship with God, as His child, because you believe God is love or know “about” Jesus and try to follow His example by doing good?  If so, I urge you to repent, break from your pride, and yield to Jesus as your Lord and only source of salvation.  Receive the truth about Jesus, the perfect Son of God, who alone paid for our sins and can give us eternal life as a child of God.  Accept what God has said, that we must acknowledge our inability to be in His presence on our own terms and that we must have a relationship with Jesus, as Savior and Lord, to have a relationship with God the Father.  There is no other way to be a child of God and receive the wonderful and true peace found in the fullness of His love.

John 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 1: 12: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
Philippians 2: 10-11: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Desire to know God as and who He is.

Desire to personally know God as He truly is.   If you genuinely want to know the one true living God, do not try to make Him into who you want Him to be so that you can justify yourself and live your life as you decide.  Also, do not allow your experiences in this fallen world to give you a false impression of Him.

MORE:
To know Him, we must ultimately come to Him through Jesus.  In the bible, John 14:6 says, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'”  Jesus is truth and is the only source of truth. To believe or follow anything else is idolatry and rebellion against God because we decided our “truth” is better and that we can make ourselves worthy on our own.

If we think God is selfish or mean, it is only because we do not yet know Him. We may know something about Him but that may be distorted from personal experiences in this fallen world and from our own sin.

We also may not actually want to know Him as He is, so that we can continue pretending we are our own gods. When we sincerely want to know Him more than we want to maintain control of our lives, we will find Jesus ready to forgive us of our sins and grant us access to the Father and to truth. Then we will begin to know Him as He really is, perfect, loving, forgiving and fully able to care for us.

We learn the truth about Him by studying His word, the bible.  We know Him by obeying Him, not perfectly in our actions, but with a genuine desire to love, submit to and fellowship with Him.

We cannot change the Truth, but the Truth will change us.

Continue reading “Desire to know God as and who He is.”