Posted in My Journey

God’s Perfect Purpose

Jesus saves. God’s glorious work lives in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for others, saving them from the penalty of their sins. Oh, what a wonderful, delightful and pleasing sacrifice that was to God the Father, creator of all things. He purposed his son’s destiny from the very beginning and gave to humanity the very desire to seek eternal life through him. Jesus is the only satisfying need we have that will render us complete.

The apostle Paul wrote about this to new believers who sought encouragement regarding their salvation:

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

Our faith as Christians in the one who is our savior, Jesus, is a testament to those who are seeking him but have not yet found him. For when we demonstrate our love for him, by keeping God’s word and testifying in his name, then truly we are preaching the gospel not only by works but also by faith. By believing that Jesus is the son of God will we rise to eternal life. The Book of Hebrews speaks about this faith this way, “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (Hebrews 10:39).

Therefore, whatever may be holding us back, whatever we may fear, let God’s purposed reason for our existence (Romans 8:28), proclaiming Jesus as his son, fill our hearts with joy and give us hope for the kingdom to come.

May God bless you all, and may peace dwell in your hearts and in your minds.

Audio transcript:

Posted in My Journey

Looking to God

Praise God in the mountains. Praise him in the hills. Give glory to him everywhere, for he is merciful, good and just.

I would not be saying these things today had God not impressed upon me the desire to preach his word to all nations, as it says in (Mark 16:15-16):

“And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”

And I am going to be candid for what I am about to say, because I am sure you are wondering why you are reading this article on LookingtoGod.org instead of JackFlacco.com.

When I started my blog in December 2012, I was writing about zombies and I was looking to find an audience who would enjoy reading posts about the undead and the science behind it. One such post had to do with the various phases of rigor the body goes through during its decomposition. Never did I think how influential my posts would be until one night I had over 1,200 hits in an hour from people who were searching for the answer to the question, “Why do zombies eat brains?” And never did I think my first zombie book would end up as a bestseller when it came out in October 2013.

As the years went on, my measure of success was by how many followers I had on Twitter, how many likes I had on Facebook, and how many readers I had on JackFlacco.com. Everything became a numbers game. If I could grab the audience’s attention, I will have earned their loyalty. Or so I thought. That is, until February 2016. For it was then that I realized God was working with me, shaping my heart, and moving me to forgive all those who I believed had done me wrong.

I read a lot about repentance. I read a lot about forgiveness. I was going through a transformation, leaving behind old grudges to live a new life filled with Jesus. I emerged two months later as the proverbial new man. No longer was the weight of hatred holding me down, but I had the Holy Spirit guiding my decisions, showing me things in the bible I had never seen before.

Two-and-a-half years later, after having written countless articles about salvation, and having published my first Christian book, I am announcing the birth of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to drawing people closer to God by encouraging them to love others as themselves and to love Jesus. We have yet to write a mission statement, or come up with branding; but those things are on our list of things to do. The exciting news is we have a homeless outreach program already up and running; and starting with When Forgiveness Is Enough, I will be signing over the rights, royalties and proceeds to all my books to the ministry as a means to support its programs.

So I am thrilled to begin on this new journey, sharing this experience with you all, and wondering what God has waiting for Looking to God Ministries in the next little while. I am sure that whatever he has planned, it will be a time of challenges, moments of excitement, and opportunities to draw closer to him.

Please join me in prayer that I may know what his will is.

Audio transcript:

Posted in My Journey

Salvation Is Ours Now

Jesus is the only answer to eternal life. For those wishing to live forever, he is the way, the truth and the light. God purposed Jesus to come to earth when he did to take away the sin of the world. What many do not realize, though, is that God had foretold Jesus’ coming way back in the Garden of Eden:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

God spoke these words to the serpent as a curse for the deception under which he had caused humanity to fall (Genesis 3:4); that by taking from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God had forbidden (Genesis 2:17), Adam and Eve would not surely die. The serpent implied they already had eternal life within them and did not need God to live forever.

The last part of that curse, however, is the true hope for humanity. It bears repeating, “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” In other words, Jesus will ultimately overcome Satan (Romans 16:20) by becoming the perfect sacrifice by which God will redeem us; a promise he fulfilled when he died on the cross for us (Ephesians 2:13).

Satan can bring charges against us to the high courts in heaven (Job 1:9-11). He can tempt us to commit sin (Matthew 4:5-6). He can attempt to corrupt us (Galatians 6:7-8). But what he cannot do is make us do anything against our will (James 1:14-15). And when our will aligns to God’s will, there is nothing he can do to render us useless (Luke 22:42).

God will provide the help we need to overcome Satan. As it says in the Gospel of John, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). Once we accept Jesus as our savior, through grace, God saves us.

What a wonderful and powerful message that Jesus brought to his very elect. No circumstance is too great, no power is too strong, and no force is too overwhelming that God could not overcome. His glorious message of salvation guarantees us eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. And if we do struggle with our days, let us take heart, for God is our strength, as it says in Psalms, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1).

Therefore, let us encourage one another, help one another and grow in the knowledge of Christ our Lord, for eternal life is ours now, and the days are short until his return.

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Everlasting Life Through Christ

Eternal life is God’s gift to those who believe Jesus is his son. Not many promises to God’s elect are as direct, as resilient, and as foremost, as that written by the apostle Paul in the letter to the saints in Rome. And few promises stand out as being the one promise for which every Christian ought to aim:

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Jesus said about the resurrection to everlasting life, “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mark 12:25).

Jesus is talking about us and about our destiny. We may think we know where we are going, perhaps assumed true, or even accepted what others have told us, but our Savior and King says it plainly that we will neither marry nor be married when resurrected. We will be as angels but not angels; for Paul says we will ultimately judge the angels, “Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life” (1 Corinthians 6:3).

Our lives are in preparation for a time far greater than the mortal life we are living today. Eternal life promises a life with God the Father and Jesus sitting at his right hand, glorified with them and judging the world, as Paul says in verse 2, “Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?”

The destiny we look to is beyond anything we can imagine this life can provide. The ultimate joy we will experience once we die will not compare with the lifetime of pain we may have had to endure by claiming Christ as our savior.

Yet God’s rich favor over our lives is worth more than mountains filled with gold and chests brimful and running over with jewels. Nothing comes close to what we will have after this life.

Let us count it all joy to know God loves us that much to have us live forever.

Posted in My Journey

Victory Over Sin

Believe that Jesus is the son of God and you will have salvation. He gave up his life for us while we were still sinners, so that his sacrifice would redeem us from the penalty of sin. But like a harlot, sin continually tempts us to love her in order that we may lose ourselves again to our fleshly desires.

King Solomon recognized sin’s wily ways. He wrote about them in the Book of Proverbs. In no greater context has he written about sin’s allure than that of adultery. This is what he says:

“For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol (a place of darkness).” (Proverbs 5:3-5)

Solomon is saying that sin looks beautiful on the outside. Her words are sweet to the ears and her reasoning behind doing what she does is smoother than the finest oil you can find. But Solomon is also saying that once you remove sin’s mask, underneath is an ugly bitterness that will corrupt the soul and will cut the spirit like a sharp, two-edged sword. The ultimate destiny for those who follow her steps will be the path that leads to death and darkness.

And if that stern warning was not convincing enough to keep away from her, Solomon gave sin, that whore, a voice:

“I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.” (Proverbs 7:16-19)

Sin’s deception is that she makes doing bad things look good. Even more so, if sin’s corruption can seduce the very elect, she will have accomplished what she had intended. This is why Jesus says in Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” He later describes the fate of the unrepentant:

“And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:23)

But the good news is that we have hope in Christ. We may fall and succumb to sin, but through Christ Jesus, our salvation is sure. The apostle Paul puts it this way in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

How wonderful to know that as Christians, we can look to Jesus as the source of our strength to overcome sin. What a delight it is to understand the fullness of God’s love through his mercy. And what a powerful destiny we have when finally sin and death will no longer exist.

All praise belongs to God Almighty in the highest, for he is good.

Posted in My Journey

Believe and Be Saved

Look to God and he will give you the answers you seek. Love him with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might, and he will provide you with everything you need. He will never forsake you. He will never surrender you. He will always love you.

Look what it says in the latter part of the New Testament:

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5)

God has a plan for you, and that plan involves him changing your life. He is looking to raise you from the dead and to give you his kingdom as an inheritance (Matthew 25:34). Salvation will be yours, if you believe Jesus is the son of God (John 20:31).

Oh, how wonderful God is! He is generous, kind, affectionate and loving. His tender mercies toward us never end, and he has never failed us. When we think we are alone, he is there. When we feel tossed, he is there. And when our hope seems shattered, he is always there. He looks out for us, he keeps us, and he protects us.

There is no other God than God. He is the beginning and the end. He is the one who made all things, and he is willing to give all things to those who believe (Revelation 21:6).

I believe.

Posted in My Journey

Repent and Believe

King David’s reign over Israel was unique in that he suffered much. For instance, Israel’s former king, Saul, chased him and wanted him dead; the Philistines continually attacked his kingdom and gave him no rest; he fell under the temptation of adultery with Bathsheba; he murdered her husband Uriah, who also happened to be one of his mighty warriors; and he fended against a bloody rebellion led by his son Absalom.

Yet God thought of David as a man after his own heart. How is that possible, considering all of David’s sins?

Look at what it says in the book of Acts:

“Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’” (Acts 13:21-22)

The thing about David is that once he repented, he moved forward and resolved never to commit the same sin twice. David could have in fact written Psalms 51 on his knees while he sobbed, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me” (Psalms 51:1-3).

As Christians, we may also feel deep sadness for the evil we once committed. God, though, sees our hearts and he will forgive us, as he did with David:

“Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.” (Acts 13:23)

We just have to repent of our sins and believe Jesus is his son (Mark 1:15). Once we do that, salvation is ours. But we have to take that vital first step and come before him in prayer.

If you have come here feeling alone and lost, God knows. He will forgive you. God is there for you and he will help you find your way. He will help you find your center.

May God bless you always.