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.

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

God’s Love for Us

God saves those who believe Jesus is his son. Through him, people will have salvation from the penalty of sin, which is death. And by no other name can anyone find salvation.

As deceitful as the human heart is (Jeremiah 17:9), God gives life to those who sincerely repent of their sins. He calls those who are willing to change their lives, those who are broken and sorrowful, and those who are remorseful for what they have done (Matthew 22:14). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we Christians can overcome. Of ourselves, we have no power to do anything, but with God’s spirit, all things are possible (Luke 18:27).

The joy we have comes from knowing Jesus is living inside us—now, at this moment. He is living inside us, making us aware of the battle that rages deep within our hearts. As much as we want to obey him, keep his commandments, and love others as ourselves, the old self does not want to stay dead in that watery grave of baptism. Our flesh fights against the spirit and we end up doing what we do not want to do, as the apostle Paul said:

“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:19)

How awful we are that we would ignore the things we ought to do to want to sin. Yet, Jesus living inside us makes us aware of just how ugly sin is. And we pray about it; and we ask God to forgive us; and we ask him to wash away our sins with Jesus’ blood (Acts 22:16). And because we are sinners, and God hears a penitent heart (Psalms 51:17), he forgives us, not because he has to, but because he wants to. Could God have loved us any more than for him to give his only son as a sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16)?

Oh, how wonderful God is! We may sin, but his love for us is greater, taller, stronger, deeper and wider than anything we could ever imagine.

For this reason, nothing can come between God’s love and us.

Posted in My Journey

God Does Not Abandon His Children

God is wonderful, amazing and patient with us. He knows what we need, when we need it and how. He surely keeps his promises to those who believe Christ is his son, but even more so, he will bless those who need it the most in their time of need.

I had something happen to me this week that I will tell you because I think it is important that everyone knows that when God acts, he acts swiftly, with purpose and with compassion. He definitely does not abandon his children, and this is one of those occasions I felt closer to God. I knew he was there, and he was looking out for me, taking away any insecurity I had during those moments I was feeling alone.

I had attended an event last week with a group of friends that I was looking forward to all year. We had the opportunity to share in food, fun and festivities. The event featured a potluck meal and a flexible seating arrangement, which I thought was great. It certainly promoted mingling. When we arrived, we dispersed, found the food, plated everything and proceeded to find a table. Only, when we did find an empty table, it could fit six and no more. There were seven of us. I was the last man standing, so to speak. So there I was, plate in hand filled with food without a seat. That sudden feeling of abandonment gripped my tummy, and for a while, it would not let go.

I decided to look for another place to sit, even though all the other tables seemed full. As I walked through the crowd, praying to God for restoration, I eventually did find a seat along the sidelines. Individual chairs were available and I took one. And once I had settled in, one of my friends who had taken a seat with the others, left the group, came and sat with me. God knew what I needed.

Now, I am relating this story to tell you that God does not abandon his people. At times we may feel alone and seemingly without support, but God knows above all else, how to resolve our situation in order to make it work for good. I am remembering the Apostle Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost when he said:

“He foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.” (Acts 2:31)

If God could raise his son Jesus from the dead, imagine what more he could do when we face something infinitely smaller in scale and we call on his name.

God has proven time and again his mercy for us Christians will never fail (Psalms 28:6). His love for us abounds (Romans 8:38-39) and his grace upon our lives goes beyond this lifetime and into the next (Ephesians 2:8). We have his spirit to encourage us (John 14:16), we have his joy to carry us through trials (James 1:2-3), and we have peace to settle us when weariness hits our bones (Psalms 4:8). He is the great redeemer (Psalms 78:35) and counselor (Isaiah 9:6). He will always be there for us.

God will never abandon us.

Posted in My Journey

God Is My King

God is great. I have learned that. When I pray to him, I am talking to him and when I am reading his word, he is talking to me. That tender and intimate relationship will always be there. I have learned he will never leave me nor forsake me. I may fall in utter despair but he will be there to catch me. His love for me will never fail. I let him into my heart knowing he would change me, and as I see him changing me, I am falling more and more in love with him. He is my savior. He is my king.

My prayers have changed, too. No longer do I come near enough to his throne room with expectations. I now come into his throne room sometimes not having anything to say but to be in his presence. His peace overwhelms me. His glory lifts me from my trials and gives me hope. He is not a million miles away. He is here always ready to hold me in his bosom, to remove anything that might come between him and me. He is my fortress. He is my king.

I have learned to forgive. I have learned to let go. When I realized he would be willing to fight my battles for me, I surrendered to him. Hatred soon disappeared and love appeared. If he could give his son Jesus as a sacrifice for my sins (John 3:16), I can forgive others what they have done to me. My sins are worse. His righteousness clothes me and is my comfort. He leads me beside still waters. He is my shepherd. He is my king.

God listens. If you need help, try approaching God’s throne with no expectation other than to be in his presence. He is there always, waiting. He wants a relationship with you, even if you feel he is a million miles away.