Why indeed?

January 25th, 2011

A friend asked some good questions in a wall post recently:

Why do we sleep through church? But stay awake for a 3 hour movie? Why is it hard to pray? But so easy to cuss? Why is it so hard to re-post a Godly bulletin but easy to re-post the mean ones?? Why can people worship a celebrity but not God? Gonna ignore this? Afraid to get laughed at? I bet 80% of you won’t re-post this. Jesus said If you deny me in front of your friends I will deny you in front of my Father

A lot of good questions with a lot of answers. Or is it really? I believe it is a matter of who we choose to spend our time with, who we really care about. It is mainly a question of choices we are willing to make.

How much time do you really spend with God? Is it 3 songs and a 40 minute sermon that you expect to last until next Sunday? Do you spend the rest of the week  with friends that have a shallow or no relationship with the creator and sustainer of the universe? Do you die to yourself and live to Jesus, or watch TV and play video games?

Faith is not a matter of believing in something you cannot see. Rather, faith is making choices that are not convenient, but you know they are what you need to do. Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of God.  Rom 10:17

Seriously, how much time do you spend listening to the word of God? It could be good music that has scriptural lyrics. It could be listening to the spoken word or good bible studies that go verse by verse through the bible. All three at different times would be a good balance. Load up your mp3 player with all 3 and plug your ears with God. Listen in the car, while you do chores, when you go to sleep. I used to cuss like a sailor until I started flooding my ears with God’s word. Now, much less so.

Why on earth would I choose to do something like that? Because I am not a citizen of earth. Because the creator and sustainer of the earth is coming back soon to take over and is looking for people devoted to him to rule the kingdom. Because nothing here now is more important than the kingdom from heaven that is coming soon. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom 12:2

I am not there yet. I still have ego problems like everyone. I still sin like everyone. I try to stay confessed up. 1 John 1:9 The thing is that this world is relentless in trying to drag us down. Constantly reminding us that evolution is the “scientific truth” on every TV show, in every book and movie. Selling us sex or violence in everything we look at. Taxing us to death only to take the money and spend it on killing babies and destroying everything good and decent.

That is why we, the church, the called out ones, have to take extreme measures to follow Jesus. He gave everything to pay for our sin so we could have a relationship with God. He sent the Holy Spirit to live in our spirit to give us the ability to make God centered choices. What he did not do is take away our sovereign will. We are still involved in choosing what to do. We can make faith choices or self centered choices. That part is up to us. Maybe if we don’t stay up for the 11 o’clock showing of a 3 hour movie on Saturday night we will not be sleep deprived the next morning for church.

Surrender All

November 14th, 2010

Everything is not Relative!

October 31st, 2010

A couple of acquaintances have recently said to me, in different conversations, “Everything is relative.”

My response was to ask them , “Is that a relative statement?”

It is quite obvious, all is not relative!

Matthew 22:34 –40 “But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Like the Old Testament Jewish leaders, you may have read these verses and missed GRACE. You complain about all the “bad” things God does, yet you have no absolute reference for good things, other than the revelation innate in all humans. Part of that revelation is that all murder of innocents is wrong. Science has absolutely no accounting for that. It provides no viable, rational, reasonable or even logical explanation for morality.

Those who balk at the so-called atrocities contained in the bible have probably never read, nor less understood THOSE two commandments that Jesus gave in Matthew 22:37-40. The first is to love God with all your heart… the second to love your neighbor.

I could say I do not know about you, but I do. You are human like me, and I know I have not, nor currently cannot, nor have any hope of keeping these two commandments. I will probably even break them as I write this to you!

If you want to pick verses here and there and then be angry at God, you are absolutely free to do so. Mind you, that would be a violation of the two commandments Jesus gave above.

As much as you might love science, there are things that science can never, ever account for… especially good things. There is no scientific reason for good things. But we know good, conversely we also know bad.

Although you may opine that you do not believe that all of us suffer the consequences of Adam’s sin. I want to tell you we do. As humans, AND descendants of Adam, we all die a physical death! We are all cursed by that sin.

Psalm 139… (read all of it please)http://biblia.com/bible/esv/Ps139.1 tells us that the God  we want to know is a personal God. He knows all of our thoughts, I know you may not believe that, but bear with me.

God knows everything about me, he knew it before I was born. He knew the exact day, yeah, the exact moment, I would sin against Him. Yet, lovingly, He still formed me, breathed life into me, and cared for me as He does today.

Let me show you a couple of other passages– to start a foundation. In Job 31-17, Job is in some serious despair.– Job said in Job 3:3-4, “Let the day perish on which I was to be born and the night which said a boy is conceived! May that day be darkness.”

Job laments his birth, this is what he says in Job 3:16-17 “Why was I not hidden like a stillborn child, like infants who never saw light?”

Why didn’t I die in my mother’s womb? “There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest.” What’s he saying? He’s saying, “I’d be better off if I wouldn’t have to face a troubling life–that I would enter immediately into, REST” (emphasis mine.)

In Ecclesiastes 6:3-5 Solomon laments “What’s the point of living two thousand years if you don’t ever enjoy true goodness? You’d be better off a stillborn child.”

But, the Bible tells us sinfulness is not a condition that comes upon people when they are old enough to choose to do evil (I Kings 8:46, Psalm 51:5, Psalm 58:3, Psalm 143:2, Proverbs 20:9, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:18, Romans 3:10-11.) It is the condition of the entire human race since Adam and Eve. Everyone born has been born in a fallen, sinful state. That becomes evident as soon as any behavioral choice is made.

Ephesians 2:3 says we are the children of wrath. The bible is clear we are born with this proclivity that will eventually result in our death.

How could we then believe in a God who would seem to prescribe this?

As I see it, it is the human condition! We all must die… but then we all also have a choice!

Consider this…. condemnation is not from God. God has said this, in 2 Peter 3:9 it says that God is not willing that any should perish. Further more, in 1 Timothy 2:4 Paul writes that God’s will is that all should be saved! This says that you are born into existence, destined to die a physical death, YET the will of God is for you to inherit eternal life!

YES, Inherit ETERNAL LIFE!

But, there is another problem…

Revelation 20:11-13 “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.”

This tells US that we all must give account for WHAT WE DO! So we die as a result of the original (Adam’s) sin, but we must be judged by what we do, as recorded in books in heaven.

Let’s read a little further…

Revelation 20:14-15 “Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Did you catch what the real problem is in verse 15?

It says, whoever’s name was NOT found in the book of life, he was thrown into the second death. It is called a second death, because it is not a physical death, but a ETERNAL, spiritual death. All of our deeds are recorded in those books. There is judgment for the works that we have done as they have been recorded in those books. But… regardless of what is the outcome of the judgment, it all comes down to that final book! That book is called the book of life! Why does it depend on whether any of our names are recorded there, or not?

Most people believe it is what we DO that counts FOR US… but the bible is clear… WHAT WE DO CONDEMNS US already (John 3:18!)

So, God knows that we are born into sin, that is to say… born to die, He still chooses for us to go to heaven. But sometime after we are born (and it is a different time for everybody) we CHOOSE to knowingly and WILLFULLY disobey God! Just as Adam did! This is the PERSONAL SIN we become responsible for, that immediately condemns us, and leads to spiritual death, for which we must answer to God.

So, how are we saved from this destiny?

By GRACE!

It may be said, if God takes all the babies that have died to heaven, that would be His grace, because we are destined for that place… BY HIS GRACE ALONE! Right?

But, I ask, how are you saved? Is it by keeping the law and doing good things?

Would it be better… law for babies and grace for you?

Of course not!

You have no more to do with your salvation than a helpless infant! Perhaps this is what Jesus had in mind when He said in Matthew 18:3, “You who go to heaven, go to heaven as little children.” Is there a better illustration of a salvation by grace than the salvation of a helpless infant?

Any true understanding of Scripture yields the reality that all salvation is by sovereign choice by God – through grace, based on nothing that the sinner merits!

So you can choose to focus on the deplorable condition of all mankind, and the evil that is so vividly described in the bible. This evil is a direct result of sin, and sin alone.

The penalty for doing evil, is death. That is what God told Adam in Genesis 2:16-17, and that penalty HAS NEVER changed! He has not changed His mind on SIN, from the beginning of the book until the very end.

Ezekiel 18:20 says, “The soul that sins, it shall die.” Not the soul that is born into sin, it is person who commits sin. That person owes a debt, in fact… We all owe THE SAME debt to God!

Yet… it is by GRACE, AND GRACE alone, provided by HIM ALONE, that we get to ever stand in His presence. That is why it is written in Acts 3:19-20 “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus.”

Do understand what this verse is now saying… that if we REPENT… our SINS MAY BE BLOTTED OUT! Colossians 2:14 says that Jesus “cancelled” this debt that stood against us with its compulsory legal demands, and He nailed to the cross!

So, no… all things are NOT relative.

You will die, as a result of Adam’s sin!

And you will die a second spiritual death for what you have done!

But there is an out… Ephesians 2:8-9 says that it is by grace alone we are saved. It also says through faith… What faith?

Ask! (John 4:10!) I tell you this, not to scare you, but simply in hope that your eyes may be opened to the truth.

Justified by the Precious Blood

August 30th, 2010

 

Oh, the precious blood
that flowed from Mercy’s side,
Washed away my sin,
When Christ my Savior died.

Oh the precious blood
of Christ the crucified,
speaks for me before your throne
where I stand justified.

It is interesting how we spend much time justifying sin. We like to think the little white lies we tell are okay because they are justifiable. We also may believe it okay to steal food when we are starving.

We know that lying and stealing are wrong. However, we want to be justified. If then we long for this justification, how is it obtained?

Do we bring out a scale and weigh the perceived good and bad, and then make a decision?

If so, and we proceed with “justified” sin, is it still not sin?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we all have to work for justification. However, we know that we need it. Romans 3:20 tells us that if we try to be good enough to always do the right thing, it will not be good enough!

As the lyric in the song above… if we have put our faith in Jesus, we ALREADY are justified! It is by Jesus’ blood alone. It testifies to God the Father as we stand before His throne.

Hey, don’t believe me! Read it here in Romans 5:9.

We cannot justify ourselves, yet it is there readily available for all! Abundant enough that all can, in Christ, stand before the throne of a holy God! (Romans 4:5)

Oh, it is precious blood indeed!

92 Year Old Preacher

July 10th, 2010

an email I wanted to share…

While watching a little TV on Sunday instead of going to church, I watched a church in Atlanta honoring one of its senior pastors who had been retired many years. He was 92 at that time and I wondered why the church even bothered to ask the old gentleman to preach at that age.

After a warm welcome, introduction of this speaker, and as the applause quieted down, he rose from his high back chair and walked slowly, with great effort and a sliding gait to the podium. Without a note or written paper of any kind he placed both hands on the pulpit to steady himself and then quietly and slowly he began to speak……

“When I was asked to come here today and talk to you, your pastor asked me to tell you what was the greatest lesson ever learned in my 50-odd years of preaching. I thought about it for a few days and boiled it down to just one thing that made the most difference in my life and sustained me through all my trials.. The one thing that I could always rely on when tears and heartbreak and pain and fear and sorrow paralyzed me… The only thing that would comfort was this verse…….. …….

“Jesus loves me this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
We are weak but He is strong…….
Yes, Jesus loves me….
The Bible tells me so.”

When he finished, the church was quiet. You actually could hear his foot steps as he shuffled back to his chair. I don’t believe I will ever forget it.

A pastor once stated, “I always noticed that it was the adults who chose the children’s hymn ‘Jesus Loves Me’ (for the children of course) during a hymn sing, and it was the adults who sang the loudest because I could see they knew it the best.”

“Senior version of Jesus Loves Me”

Here is a new version just for us who have white hair or no hair at all.. For us over middle age (or even those almost there) and all you others, check out this newest version of Jesus Loves Me.

JESUS LOVES ME
Jesus loves me, this I know,
Though my hair is white as snow
Though my sight is growing dim,
Still He bids me trust in Him…
(CHORUS)
YES, JESUS LOVES ME.. YES, JESUS LOVES ME..
YES, JESUS LOVES ME, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO.

Though my steps are oh, so slow,
With my hand in His I’ll go
On through life, let come what may,
He’ll be there to lead the way.
(CHORUS)

When the nights are dark and long,
In my heart He puts a song..
Telling me in words so clear,
“Have no fear, for I am near.”
(CHORUS)

When my work on earth is done,
And life’s victories have been won.
He will take me home above,
Then I’ll understand His love…
(CHORUS)

I love Jesus, does He know?
Have I ever told Him so?
Jesus loves to hear me say,
That I love Him every day.
(CHORUS)

If you think this is neat, please pass it on to your friends. If you do not pass it on, nothing bad will happen, but you will have missed an opportunity to “reach out and touch” a friend or a loved one.

Powerlessness

June 24th, 2010

Are You Awake?

June 8th, 2010

Luke 12:37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.

You know what is happening in the world today. You see the signs all around. Now, Christian, is the time to be sober and vigilant. We know the sign posts that foretold these things.

Watch, be vigilant. Pray for your family and neighbors… it is only when those appointed to be the bride of Christ are fulfilled that the Groom comes to claim His bride. It could happen at any moment, there is no set day.

How will the Master find you?