Introduction

Chapter 1 Chapter 4 Chapter 7
Chapter 2 Chapter 5 Chapter 8
Chapter 3 Chapter 6 BACK to Ragland Ministries

 

 

 

Choose Life and Live

by

Joe and Nan Ragland

 

Our Creator God is the Giver of all good and perfect gifts, being no respecter of persons. He is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works -including you!

God is not the author of evil or defeat. Likewise, He has none to bestow. Evil and disaster in life come not from our loving Creator, but from mankind's enemies - Satan and his demon spirits. God sent Jesus to destroy the work of our adversary and to provide abundant life.

The thief [Satan] cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I [Jesus] am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:8).

God has provided a way for you to be free from Satan's power and sin, which always result in death. He has designed a master plan which, when followed, ensures victory and abundant life - both now and in the ages to come. We believe that by reading this message, you will understand God's wonderful offer and will - choose life and live!

I have set before you life and death ... therefore choose life that you may live (Deuteronomy 30:19).

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life (I John 5:12).

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Chapter 1

You Will Live Forever

 

The Word of God teaches that you are a three-part being:

[May] your whole (1) spirit and (2) soul and (3) body be preserved blameless ... (I Thessalonians 5:23).

To further explain:

Many give much time and attention to their bodies and minds, never considering the great worth of their eternal spirits, out of which flow the issues of life.

Your spirit man, the inward man, is your true person - the part of you that will never cease to exist. When the physical body dies, your spirit will live on eternally, because spirits can never die.

The issue, however, is whether you will choose to live eternally with God, or be forever cast from His presence.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life ... (Romans 6:23).

Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

[Many] shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (Matthew 25:46).

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Chapter 2

Righteousness Results Only

Through Re-Birth of Your Spirit

 

Righteousness simply denotes that a person has right standing before God. God views, and responds to, you as though you had never sinned!

Regardless of good works and out-standing morals, all have sinned, falling short of God's glory.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (I John 1:8).

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

You can become righteous and receive God's gift of eternal life only by accepting Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Faith in the Name of Jesus Christ is the only way to obtain salvation and right standing with God.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us ... (Titus 3:5).

There is none other name [than Jesus Christ] ... given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

I [Jesus] am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).

After the first man, Adam, committed sin and forfeited his relationship with God, it became necessary that the spirit of every person be reborn (made new) in order to approach a holy God and enjoy eternal life with Him. Not even church membership, apart from the New Birth, can provide right standing and fellowship with God.

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).

It is obvious that we cannot re-enter the womb and be birthed a second time, so to what was Jesus referring? The New Birth is recreation of the human spirit by the divine power of God's Holy Spirit. At the instant of one's New Birth, God's very life is imparted within, perfecting the inner man who will live eternally.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh [natural]; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit [divine] (John 3:6).

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Chapter 3

New Birth Occurs Only

Through Jesus Christ

 

God sent His Son, the Word made flesh, into the world. Jesus, born of a virgin, was both God and man.

In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

Behold, a virgin shall be with child ... and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).

God was manifest in the flesh ... believed on in the world, received up into glory (I Timothy 3:16).

Jesus lived a blameless life - something no other could do! He then willingly became a sacrifice, shedding His life's blood on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Having died and been buried, Jesus was literally resurrected from the dead on the third day by His Father God.

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses (Acts 2:32).

We [eyewitnesses] have testified of God that He raised up Christ ... (I Corinthians 15:15).

[Jesus was] declared to be the Son of God ... by [His] resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4).

Following His resurrection, Jesus was seen by more than five hundred witnesses during a forty-day period, after which He ascended into heaven and is now at the right hand of Father God.

Christ died for our sins... was buried and rose again the third day. ... After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once ... (I Corinthians 15:3-6).

[Jesus] showed himself alive [from the dead] ... by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days ... (Acts 1:3).

While they beheld, he [Jesus] was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight (Acts 1:9).

[Jesus] was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God (Mark 16:19).

When Jesus was raised to life, He conquered Satan, providing mankind the only means of escaping domination of sin and receiving right standing with God.

At this very moment, Jesus is alive in heaven with His Father, making available New Birth and everlasting life to all, including you, who will choose to receive Him as Lord and Master of their lives.

God raised him [Jesus] from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places ... (Ephesians 1:20).

[Jesus] is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession [as an advocate] for them (Hebrews 7:25).

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Chapter 4

Be Born Again Now

 

 

Now is the day of your salvation! You must not delay!

Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (II Corinthians 6:2).

Today if you hear his voice [Word], do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 4:7).

You must be born again (John 3:7).

The New Birth is a gift from God to you. It cannot be earned; it simply must be received by believing and acting on God's Word, knowing that God cannot lie. He will do exactly as His Word declares.

For by grace are ye saved through faith [believing]; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

No sin can keep you separated from God, other than rejection of His Son, Jesus, as your Savior and Lord.

God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Him that cometh to me [Jesus] I will in no wise [not for anything he has done] cast him out (John 6:37).

Being born again is a simple act of the heart and mouth:

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9).

Believing in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God and that God raised Him from the dead, your New Birth will instantly occur as you confess Jesus as Savior and Lord of your life.

The Holy Spirit will join with your human spirit, imparting the very life and nature of God Himself to your inner man. At that moment, your spirit will be made new and holy, giving you right standing with God and life eternally.

Many are deceived, believing that they possess eternal life simply because they have their name on a church roll, do good works, or have followed some religious tradition. However, apart from scriptural New Birth, there is no entrance into the family of God and, therefore, no eternal life in the kingdom of God!

Thus, if you have never received Jesus as your Savior and Lord, or if in doubt that you have ever been born again, you must settle this issue now, once and for all, before your Creator. This moment, choose to enter into relationship with God, and begin to live abundantly both now and forever!

Pray, confessing the following, so that you can hear yourself speaking. Believe every word with all your heart, and you will be born again instantaneously:

Dear God in Heaven,

I come to You in the Name of Jesus.

I believe with my heart that Jesus Christ is Your

Son and that You raised him from the dead.

I renounce sin.

I renounce the past.

I repent and turn from evil.

I choose life!

I now receive Jesus Christ into my life

as my Savior from sin, hell,

and the power of Satan.

I confess You, Jesus, as my Lord.

From this moment forward, I belong to You.

I will follow You, Jesus, for the rest of my life.

You are my Leader and my Guide.

I will not be ashamed of You, Lord Jesus.

I will confess You before men.

I believe right now that I am a Christian!

The Holy Spirit has joined with my human spirit, and I am born again.

Jesus is my Savior and Lord!

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for giving me abundant, eternal life!

In Jesus' Name, Amen!

 

Signature _____________________________

 

Date _____________ Time ______________

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Chapter 5

Welcome to the Family of God

 

 

Congratulations! We rejoice in welcoming you into the family of God. Acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord is the most important decision you will ever make. You have chosen life. Now God is eternally your Father, and you are His child! Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you.

Your spirit is now recreated, cleansed, and forever perfect. You have a new life, with a new beginning!

If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (II Corinthians 5:17).

And you hath he quickened [made alive and new], who were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).

For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (II Corinthians 6:16).

The New Birth is not based on feelings but on the fact that you have acted on God's Word. You are now "new" in Christ Jesus, never to be separated from the love of your Father God. Should Satan interject doubts regarding the validity of your New Birth, remember that you have your Father's unchanging Word for eternal life!

It is impossible for God to lie ... (Hebrews 6:18).

[Everyone] who believeth in him [Jesus Christ] shall receive remission [forgiveness] of sins (Acts 10:43).

He that believeth on the Son [Jesus Christ] hath everlasting life ... (John 3:36).

To illustrate your New Birth, consider a baby born of a mother who does not want the child. Now imagine the best family possible: A family who loves God and people; a family who lives to give! This family loves the rejected baby, eventually adopting it as their own. They give it their name and care for it as though it were their natural-born child.

What actually occurred in this scenario? It was as though the baby were reborn, receiving a new set of parents with a new inheritance! Why? Not because of anything that the baby did to deserve such status, but rather, because the parents simply loved the child and granted it favor. The baby's responsibility is not to re-pay those parents, but to respond to its new birth by receiving gratefully all that the new family offers.

Such is the case with your New Birth. Having been born again, simply purpose to receive all that has been provided you. Begin acting like part of God's family, sharing the privileges and responsibilities of your new inheritance!

Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Romans 8:15).

The Spirit [Himself] beareth witness with our [born-again] spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ ... (Romans 8:16,17).

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God ... (1 John 3:1).

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Chapter 6

Give Attention to God's Word

 

Now that you are born again, your spirit is new, although your physical body and soul have not changed. How-ever, as you daily believe and confess God's Word, your mind will be progres-sively renewed, developing agreement between your soul and born-again spirit.

This alliance of soul and spirit through the Word of God is powerful. It will strengthen you to dominate your body and, thereby, to obey the will of your Heavenly Father.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof (Romans 6:12).

[You] present your bodies a living sacrifice ... And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed [How?] ... By the renewing of your mind ... (Romans 12:1,2).

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, [as well as] in your spirit ... (I Corinthians 6:20).

God's written Word, the Bible, is now your handbook for life, being applicable to every situation. When acted upon in love, God's Word will always cause you to triumph.

Obeying God's Word activates His supernatural assistance in your behalf, and if God be for you, nothing can prevail against you!

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15).

All scripture is given by inspiration of God ... that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (II Timothy 3:16,17).

The Word of God is a legal document, sealed by the blood of Jesus. The blessings contained therein are for your benefit. God desires you, His child, to experience fullness of joy in this lifetime, as well as in the ages to come.

When you find a scripture that defines who you are, and what you have, in Christ, believe it and confess it with your mouth. Refuse to speak contrary to what God's Word declares about you! Consistently affirming these promises and truths, they will then become a reality in your life.

Whosoever ... shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith (Mark 11:23).

Allow us to assist in the renewing of your mind, and maturing in the Lord, by asking you to frequently confess the following:

 

I confess with my mouth that Jesus Christ is my Lord and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead; therefore, I am saved (Romans 10:9).

 

I am God's child, born again of the incorruptible seed of God's Word (1 Peter 1:23).

 

My name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life (Revelation 21:27).

I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

 

I am delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13).

 

My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit: there-

fore, I glorify God in my body and in my

spirit, which belong to God (I Corinthians

6:19,20).

 

I am being transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2).

 

God has not given me the spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7).

 

I am prosperous and in health, even as my soul prospers (III John 2).

 

I cast all my care upon the Lord, because He cares for me (I Peter 5:7).

 

He will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).

 

I walk by faith, not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7).

 

I forget those things which are behind and reach forth unto those things which are before me (Philippians 3:13).

 

The fruit of my born-again spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23).

 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

 

I love God because He first loved me (I John 4:19).

 

I am increasing and abounding in love (I Thessalonians 3:12).

 

I am a doer of the Word and not a hearer only (James 1:22).

 

Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world (I John 4:4).

 

I submit myself to God; I resist the devil in Jesus' Name and by the Word of God, and he flees from me (James 4:7).

 

I put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof (Romans 13:14).

I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not to my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him, and He directs my paths (Proverbs 3:5,6).

 

I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10).

 

My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

 

I am an ambassador for Jesus Christ and boldly share the truth of His Kingdom with others (II Corinthians 5:20).

 

I overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of my testimony (Revelation 12:11).

 

If God be for me, who can be against me (Romans 8:31)?  

He who has begun a good work in me will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1:6).

 

I rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4).

 

I am seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things are added unto me (Matthew 6:33).

 

When Christ, who is my life, shall appear, then shall I also appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4).

 

Begin spending time in God's Word daily, discovering your rights, privileges, and responsibilities as a new Christian. Establish yourself firmly in God's promises, viewing yourself as victorious, rather than defeated. As natural food sustains your physical body, the Word of God strengthens your spirit and soul.

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2).

By diligently attending to God's Word, faith in God will develop and ability to receive from God will increase.

Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

Without faith it is impossible to please Him [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).

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Chapter 7

Walk in the Light of Life

 

Having been born again, you must daily walk in the light by obeying the portions of God's Word that you know. By faithfully acting on every truth as it is revealed, you will increase in wisdom and abound in blessings!

Then said Jesus to those ... which believed on him, If ye continue in my Word ... ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31,32).

He that followeth me [Jesus Christ] shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only ... (James 1:22).

God desires not only relationship with His children, but fellowship as well. This heart-cry of our Heavenly Father is satis-fied through communion with His children in prayer.

Furthermore, calling upon the Father through faith in the Name of Jesus provides Him direct access to meet your needs. Fellowship with the Father is essential to experience the blessings of heaven while on earth.

Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my [Jesus'] name, he will give it you (John 16:23).

In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6).

As an obedient child of God, you can be victorious in all circumstances. How-ever, you must advance toward maturity by consistently following Jesus.

It is essential, therefore, that you immediately affiliate and commit to regular attendance with a local church where Jesus is glorified and the Word of God is proclaimed with authority and power.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together ... (Hebrews 10:25).

Also, you should be baptized in water according to the command of Jesus, signifying resignation of your old life and embracing of the new.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

We are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

Living in the light is walking in God's love. Having been born again, your very nature is the love of your Heavenly Father. You now have the ability to live unselfishly, bringing great blessing to others and success to you! Love will make you what your heart has craved. Following the law of love, you cannot fail!

The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts [born-again spirits] by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us (Romans 5:5).

He that loveth ... abideth in the light ... (I John 2:10).

Love never fails ... (I Corinthians 13:8).

The Lord is aware that, even as Chris-tians, we are not immune to making mis-takes. Just as one is not born physically mature, likewise, spiritual maturity does not manifest instantly.

Especially in your early, formative years of walking with the Lord, you may fall short of the standard portrayed in God's Word. However, do not become discouraged! You are still God's child, and He has lovingly made provision for restoration of communion and fellowship with Him which disobedience hinders.

Should you fail, immediately ask forgiveness from your Heavenly Father, knowing that He is faithful according to His Word to cleanse you and erase from His remembrance all of your wrongdoing. Always forgive yourself, go on your way rejoicing, and know that you are growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!

If we confess our sins, he [Father God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

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Chapter 8

Pass the Light

 

Your task in the earth today is to spread God's wonderful offer of abundant life. Choose to be a blessing!

Pass the light of God's Word in this book to others who may not be born again, or to those doubting their relationship with the Heavenly Father. As an ambassador of Christ, you will influence eternal destinies, delivering people from darkness into everlasting light!

Freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8).

Whosoever therefore shall confess me [Jesus Christ] before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 10:32).

Having chosen the life of Christ - go and really live!

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