Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"God vs. Wickedness"

Sin is lawlessness! (I John 3:4) Lawlessness is nothing more than wanting to do things your way without any regard for what has been laid down as right. God is against lawlessness, as well as all wickedness. Then you hear people say, "If there is a good and all-powerful God, why doesn't He do something about all the evil in the universe?" People consistently want to know why evil is allowed to brutalize so many.
From the beginning of this earth, God has opposed man's wickedness and lawless acts. He has poured out His judgments time and time again, and at one time completely wiped out every living thing on this earth with the exception of eight people. One day, in Christ Jesus, there is coming another judgment in which every single act of wickedness by man will be called into account and punished. Adam and Eve sinned in the beginning and their acts of sin were lawless! They earned God's judgment and ever since, man has followed in their rebellion. I realize there are different levels of sin but all sin is lawless and holds people accountable before the righteous Judge. We are not "one sin" sinners! We have sinned over and over and some of our sins have been so often, we think little of them. We have sinned so much that we have helped our society breed more sin and the little babies born into this world will be influenced by our sin.
Jesus came as a ransom for our sinfulness. (I Tim. 2:6) He was deeply wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities and the chastening of our well being was upon Him. (Isa. 53:4-12) The One who knew no sin became our sin. (II Cor. 5:21) It was His blood that released us from our sins, showing us His love. (Rev. 1:5) When we were enemies of God, we were reconciled to God through His Son. (Rom. 5:10)
The only way our criminal record before God is removed is us identifying with Jesus. We put Him on in baptism being in union with Him so He would be our representative and substitute. Upon our faith in Him, God acquits us, the lawless and wicked. It's nothing we have done and everything He has done. The next time you want justice from God, remember, the only reason we are righteous and just is because of Him. Without Him, we too should be brought to justice and condemned. That should touch our hearts and make us thankful...WORSHIP GOD!

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Who Is Your God?"

If you were asked, "Who is your god?", what would you say? Most would probably say their God is Jehovah God of heaven and earth. We claim the God of our Savior as our God and many claim to love Him and serve. Some recite something they have learned about God but does that really mean He is their God?
Too many are good at talking. The God we speak about and the god we serve can be two completely different gods. A person's god is what he cares about the most! What one prizes the most in their life is their god! What one sacrifices for and spends their money on is their god! Whatever one thinks about and extends themselves for day in and day out is their god!
In the days of Rome, the Romans worshiped Mars, their god of war. Today, we would consider such as stupid and empty but is that really true? We have made our nation to be great because of all the high technology of our war machines and bombs. It brings us security in this false god. The Romans worshiped Bacchus, the god of wine, drunkenness and sexuality. What do many serve, care about and extend themselves for? People love to drink and even defend drinking with the misuse of God's word to protect their god. The Romans worshiped the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of sex. Look at how many are obsessed with sex and pornography. People enslaved on internet porn and movies. The Romans had Venus, the goddess of beauty. The money and effort spent in a youthful look, surgeries to enhance their physical appearance.
Let me ask again, "Who is your god?" It takes an open and honest heart to answer the question. Jesus said, "No one can serve two master; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Matt. 6:24) It is impossible to serve two masters. Paul taught that Christ is to have first place in everything (Col. 1:18). He is either first place in your life or we serve another god. Paul taught the pagan Athenians, "...for in Him we live and move and exist." (Acts 17:28)
We have many needs in our lives. We have even more wants. Our needs and wants were never intended to be our god. To expend our energies in the pursuit of recreation, literary achievements and education is not sinful when kept within their means. But when they become our dedication and pursuits first and foremost, we have usurped God of His rightful place in our lives. Moses let God's word ring into the ears of those listening, "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and holding fast to Him; for this is your life and length of days." (Deut. 30:19-20)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Four Dementional Love"

How much do you really know about the love of God in Christ Jesus? I must admit that I am not sure and that I do not know much. Most have the "canned" words and the little religious sayings about His love but the shallowness is there. God's word speaks "to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge." (Eph. 3:19) The love of Christ goes beyond our knowing and our sense of understanding. Just pause and think about that for a moment.
Paul's prayer for the Ephesian disciples asks God that they may be "rooted and grounded in love" so that together with all the saints they could grasp "the breadth and length and height and depth" of the love of Christ. We need to give real pause and thought into the love of Christ by allowing Christ to settle in our hearts through faith.
God's love is wide! It is so wide that He can embrace all of humanity, even the most vile and sinful. Think about that. He wants His creation that was made in His image to be saved, all of them. It is man's choice to respond to His love, but His love is wide. The breadth of God's love reached 3000 on the day of Pentecost when they had murdered His Son. The preaching still continued, trying to reach out and bring people into His love. We sometimes think we have done so much wrong and evil that we are unreachable. Maybe we are unreachable because we reject His love?
God's love is long! Is there any price God will not pay to save us? To what lengths has He reached out toward us? Listen, it's one thing to like and enjoy a person but it another thing to love. It's one thing to have shallow affection and respect for another but it is another thing to love. We as humans limit how far we will go with another, especially if someone has hurt us. That's not the love of Christ. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32)
God's love is high! The love of God continually calls us upward into Him. We are so pathetic in our lives at times. Our weaknesses and failures. We disappoint others and ourselves yet God's love reaches out bringing us into His righteousness and perfection, calling us to live for Him. We were blessed with the Spirit of God when we were united by baptism into His Son and God's love was poured out into our hearts. (Makes you wonder why some in Christ are so loveless?) To walk by the Spirit you will see fruit benefiting from the relationship (Gal. 5:22-23). To walk after our selfishness will bring dishonorable things into our lives and it is called walking after the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21). A holy love calls people upward! A holy love calls us to let go of us and embrace Him so the transformation will take place.
God's love is deep! He loves the unlovable! We feel close to certain ones while others around us get on our nerves. We offer our help when people are in need but if they take us up on our offer too often, it begins to wear on us. People take advantage of our kindness and we feel betrayed. People use us for their selfish purposes and it irritates us to no end. Someone walks all over our cherished opinions and we find ourselves so appalled that...well, we will not let them into our lives again! But God's not like that. Daily the evil and vile use His goods, benefit from His rain and sunshine and what does He do? He still loves! No person is so contaminated that God will not reach out a loving hand to rescue or bless.
If we could only be rooted and grounded in His love that loved us, it would change us! It would change us so much that we would be filled up to all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19). It would carry us deeper into His purposes and strength. His love is a transforming love. It is so wide, long, high and deep that Paul said, "For the love of Christ controls us..." (II Cor. 5:14) Are we missing something?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


It is hard for us to realize that suffering is a great strengthen tool. That's so difficult for many to understand especially when we see a child with leukemia that will live a short and painful life. When the little ones suffers, it tugs at our hearts as we realize they did nothing to deserve such agony. People question God and why He would allow this to happen. I know it breaks my heart to see a little child suffer and I know it would be intensified if it were my own. My heart goes out to parents that have children living such short lives or difficult health issues. But we need to move beyond this and look at things differently, from God's perspective.
Paul speaks of the whole world suffering and it suffers not of its own will but because of God who subjected it to suffering (Rom. 8:18-22). It all will be changed when the children of God will be revealed openly to all. But until that time, there will be suffering in this world as a reminder of the awful stain and horror of sin. These little children are born into such devastating diseases all because of man's wickedness. It was the curse that was brought on by man's rebellion against the God who only wanted to love. All creation suffers because of sin in the world.
What is this suffering for? To teach us compassion. It helps us see the pain in the lives of other families to reach out to them. It brands our self-serving lives to be more others serving! Let their hurts and cries turn our eyes away from our selfish little world to reaching out with the cause and gospel of Jesus Christ. It is through all this that we are reminded of the judgment which we all sit under and the debt we owe to God and the cost of His Son. Jesus our Lord suffered and gained from it (Heb. 5:7-8).
Suffering helps people share in the good things together. People grow in strength through suffering and learn how to be compassionate through it all. When pain comes forcing its way into our lives uninvited and we cannot do anything to resist it, it becomes a great tool to teach us if we will allow it. The suffering in life wants to be lord over us but God can make our suffering to be a servant! If God allows it to come into our lives then good can come from it (Rom. 8:28). So many go about life, just existing, never concerned for others or wants to be bothered with others until one day some type of suffering hits us personally. It may be through a child, a grandchild or a mate. It begins to change the way we think about ourselves and God. It takes us to prayer, which many may have taken little time to do. It takes to a new awareness about what life is all about. It helps us see our own vulnerabilities and weaknesses as we have paraded in life like we are going to live here forever. It all shows us the need for God and His Son. Suffering is difficult but that pain can make us serve the Lord in ways we never thought.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I am not certain how long Sarah and Abraham were married. I do know they were married when they left Ur (Gen. 11:29,31). We do know Abraham was ten years older than Sarah and when they left Haran, she was sixty five (Gen. 12:4). Upon her passing, she was 127 years of age (Gen. 23:1). We know between these times they were married at least sixty-two years. It looks like they were in Haran approximately 8 years from my little insight. That would have them married seventy years. That's a long time to be married to one person and it is very possible it could have been much longer. Whatever the time, Abraham missed her terribly when she passed (Gen. 23:1-2).
All of their married life they moved! They went through many things together from moving, to famines, to making a journey to Egypt having to deny she was his wife because of her beauty (Gen. 12:12-16), the trip back to Canaan, to jealousy because of Hagar, having a child in her old age and the list goes on and on. What a varied life experiences they went through together. All of her life on the move and a rebuke for her laughter at the promise of a child in her old age (Gen. 18:12-15). In all of this, she wandered in the land of Canaan for sixty-two years following her husband until one day she was laid in her grave. A loving, faithful wife for seventy long years! Then came her rest, no more wandering and the end of a sojourn.
Peter calls on her as a godly example for women to follow. Listen carefully, "For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear." (I Pet. 3:5-6) If her heart and attitude were not right toward the Lord, only being submissive "once in a while", she could have never been used as a role model. It was her attitude toward the Lord and her life pattern that brought her praise and recognition from the Lord God for women to live by.
Thank the Lord for long, sustaining marriages. There are difficulties and obstacles placed in the way, but in the end, the bond that is grown, the lives that were shared will be fulfilling, only to begin another journey called eternity in the presence of the Lord. Sarah followed all of her married life. She was placed before us as godly and submissive. In the end, Abraham followed her.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Dead To God"

It's time for a little rest! I will be absent for a few days in writing my blog as we are presently planning a camping trip to White River in Arkansas. All our children and grandchildren will meet us there, along with another couple who are like family to us. It will be a wonderful time to get away and I could use the rest. My next blog writing will be Tuesday, March 24.
Recently a mother spoke to me about her son, who is in his twenties and struggling with spiritual matters. She said her son needed a firm slap up side his head to wake him up. Parents are like that. We get frustrated with our children when they are not responding correctly. In this young man's case, he just doesn't have much desire to worship the Lord or be with God's family and she thinks as his mother (and the father too) that they can get him to turn around with some badgering or a "firm slap up side the head." The problem in this case, and in many others like him, is not getting their attention physically. They are sick in their spiritual heart. They have died spiritually. Jesus told the church at Sardis that they were holding to a name only that they were alive but were dead (Rev. 3:1-6). That's what happens to so many. They hold to the name "Christian" thinking of themselves as alive to the Lord but their heart is dull and insensitive as sin has taken hold and deceived them into thinking they are fine. Their lives and attitudes tell the story. How serious is it for someone, who claims Christ as theirs (and they may even read their bibles from time to time), yet has no interest in Christ's body? How can a part of Christ not be concerned about the other parts of Christ? To not want to be with His body, to rejoice with them in thanksgivings to God for what He has done for them and encourage each one to faithfully walk during the week, they have died. They have no connection. They have a lot of excuses but the reality is they have died. They have walked after their flesh so long, it has caused a deep separation between them and God (Rom. 8:13). Walking with the Lord will only cause people to be united, closer to one another, not independent. Jesus brings His children together and they care about one another.
There is another side to think about. What if when you are missing from the body and you aren't missed? I have heard many over the years who stopped their worship with the saints only take a bad attitude at Christ's body saying nobody cares about them because no one contacted them. Is that really the problem? Could it be that they have already been taken out and removed from the sight of the Lord and therefore no one feels the pain of their absence? The dead expect attention from those alive while the Lord calls those dead to wake up and respond (Eph. 5:14). When a live part of the body is missing, you will feel it but when a dead part is missing, there is little awareness of them. Maybe the real question is, are they dead to God?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Trust In The Lord"

We read from God's word, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding." (Prov. 3:5) Many of us quote this from time to time but do we really trust with all our heart? How many times do we find ourselves reasoning through this or that and draw a conclusion to act on our own? Many times we find ourselves wanting to control outcomes in our lives or the lives of others. I know I have been guilty of doing that. We say the words but live like the Lord can do little in situations or act like we know the situation and need better than He!
Jacob, who was blessed by God, got himself into more difficulties by taking matters into his own hand. As a result of his own doings, he had to flee from Esau and his home (Gen. 27:41-45). In the end, it cost Jacob twenty years of his life! Some of the years went quickly (Gen. 29:20) but nonetheless, it cost him and created many more obstacles. It cost him labor under Laban. In the end, the Lord revealed that all of Jacob's efforts gained him nothing but it was all through the grace of God. God revealed to Israel that all they were given was nothing by their hands but by His own power and grace (Deut. 6:10-12). Their own doing cost them 40 years of wandering the wilderness and God had to work things out to bring back the faithful.
What about us? How many times do we manipulate or pry into things that we should completely leave in the hands of God? We know that but the bottom line is we simply do not trust the Lord with all our heart. Circumstances spring up beyond our control and yet we try to control them. We say a word when we should be silent. We take a bad attitude toward a situation when the situation should be to make us rely and trust in the Lord, so we learn little. We express our thought freely thinking they will determine the outcome in our favor. In the end, it costs us dearly! Things the Lord could have handled in a much better way and knew the answer and desired outcome cost us years as well as destroying relationships! We push things back because of our lack of trust. When will we learn? How many movements are started by hate? How many programs are from our own selfish ideas while we think they are the best ever only to watch them fail? How many things have we attempted to do only to quit? WE TRY TO CONTROL TOO MUCH!!!
The Psalmist was right: "Cease striving and know that I am God; for I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth." We need to be serious about our trust in the Lord and put our heart into Him rather than our tongues, thoughts and actions! Let's be honest...

Monday, March 16, 2009


There is nothing more heart wrenching than listen to someone speak about their mate and how little interest they have in the Lord. A lovely sister in Christ came up to me recently and expressed how she tries so hard to live her life for the Lord and take His humble and loving qualities, using them in her home. Her husband responds with no interest and could care less. Then she said, "It made me so sad when my husband said my life revolving around the Lord was a waste for him and her!" The tears filled her eyes and no telling the depth of pain in her heart. As she continued speaking, she told of the abuses, both verbal and physical that she had endured from her husbands hands because of her walk with Christ. No one knew what her pain and difficulties were in her personal life. Her words rang in my ears, "Divorce is never an option in my heart!" Her love for the Lord and commitment to His cause had created an undying love to follow His will. Her marriage was not good but she was committed because of Christ.
I only wished others were that committed. We know little of commitment and sacrifice. As long we don't have to suffer much, we will endure but when things really get tough, we start looking for a way out. We have taken on the attitude of the world around us that we don't have to put up with the hurts from someone. There is little endurance, little perseverance and the result is little faith grown. Stephen, when facing hostilities against himself didn't try to wiggle out of the situation and quit! He trusted God to bring him through and God did. God speaks to wives who live with disobedient husbands, to live their lives in loving and respectful behavior because they have hope in God (I Pet. 3:1-6). We find ourselves in difficulties and we begin thinking how unfair or how badly we are hurting. We want to quit! Why are we so quick to come to that conclusion? Maybe we have such little commitment to God and our hope is not placed in Him.
What if Jesus was not committed? It was for the hope He had that He went all the way through, trusting in God (Heb. 12:1-2). Paul speaks of exalting in the hope of the glory of God, which meant he could exalt in tribulations, because they are what brought about perseverance. It is perseverance that brings proven character and proven character hope. Hope will never disappoint, no matter what we face in our lives (Rom. 5:1-5). If we have no hope, we have lost our faith (Heb. 11:1) If we have lost our faith, we are people most pitied!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"The Quick-Witted"

I meet a lot of quick-witted people. You know the type I am speaking about. Those who are good with words, who can think on a dime with a logical mind. They can let words flow so freely in any situation and they are very difficult to back into a corner. When they are confronted with some meanness, they are able to argue their way out of it, returning a greater meanness. Someone speaks a word that is a little slanted and they quickly overpower them with their little slanted words. The quick-witted tongues push the slower-tongued back and on the retreat. You see it, especially between brethren in the church. Those same people can hammer home the points in their favor while giving little thought to the one they just struck down with their tongue. Some of the most quick-witted can really thump someone with a great degree of calmness.
Why am I speaking this? Those quick with the tongue as I just described are very prone to be tempted easily. They do not realize it but it is true. It is so automatic for them to fire the arrows without thought of their targets because they are use to taking aim with ease! They have become so good over the years, giving themselves in situations of discussions to defending themselves, they can easily explain away their own sinfulness by turning their sins on to the one they are jabbing! What a shame! They are very difficult to reach with God and they have little desire to change because their tongue has taken them a long way! They are led into ruin and try to ruin others in their usage of their mouth. And they, many times, are my brother and sister in Christ.
People do not take into account the power behind the tongue. It's not God, but hell (Jam. 3:6). Until a person submits their tongue to the Lord, under His power, the tongue will be used to destroy others around while establishing our own self righteousness! But one thing we need to keep in mind: the day is coming when we will stand face to face with the eternal One, the Almighty and He alone will know every single time we used our tongues to the destruction of another. The Lord God knows the motives behind our words, what we meant by our words, how we walked away gloating because we put that brother or sister in their place and well concealed malice used in a slick worded exchange. The quick-witted think they can out-talk and out-quip anyone only to learn God knows the depth of their motives and will speak the last and final words in the chapter of their lives. Maybe we should rethink how we use our tongues?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


When people are disloyal to us, we feel all kinds of hurts deep within. Someone we love or trusted turns on us and the sting goes right to the heart. There aren't many things more painful than being betrayed by a loved one. Have you ever had someone tell you as a parent the shameful and public behavior of your child that you love? Or a devoted mate of their mate's betrayal of the sacredness of marriage? At that moment, you experienced sin striking the heart of love. It makes me think of God, looking at us and asking us if we understood a little of His pain! Treachery is so hard to take.
It started in the garden with Adam and Eve. Everything they needed to fulfill every need and the greatest of all, a loving fellowship with their Creator that is beyond words. They betrayed God and His love. David, a man after God's own heart, a man of integrity and valiant. He lusted, committed adultery and planned the murder of Uriah having it carried out. Treachery is so hard to take. The list is too great to mention all the times that man has rejected the love of God and betrayed Him. Haven't you done that?
Her husband was convicted of a crime he didn't commit but he was sentenced to 14 years in prison. The wife, who loved him deeply and knew he was innocent, was going to find a lawyer that would take the case but it would be costly. She had little money. She worked at washing dishes at one job during the day, taking a part time work at a convenience store in between. At night she cleaned offices, as many as her body would allow. It took her five years to save the money, but she made it! She hired a good lawyer, got his sentence over-turned and he was set free!! However, she had lost some of her beauty during this time because of all the hard labor and lack of rest. Her husband, whom she loved and labored for, left her for another woman six months after being released. She lay down, pale with a broken heart. Treachery is so hard to take.
Our Lord God created us for His fellowship and friendship. He has endured generation after generation and what did He get in return? Treachery! He sent His Son to help and reconcile and man rejected Him and had Him brutally murdered while insulting His Father. Treachery is so hard to take. Today, millions upon millions could care less while depending on Him for their very lives. They reject His offer of love and mercy not realizing the doom that awaits. And what does the Father get? TREACHERY! Treachery is so hard to take! And you can almost hear Him say, "Now you have a little insight to how I feel!"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"A Word To the Weak"

We live in a society that adores strength and worships success. People love power. People are drawn to those with physical strength. Where does all this lead? To running over the weak and counting those as weak as in the way! This attitude has made its way into the church of our Lord. Members of Christ's body view themselves as mature, wise and strong. They view others with a little attitude of contempt because they have not matured as themselves. Over the years I have watched men and women run over the top of those that are weak and quiet. People in Christ treating others as they are nothing.
Let me say this about the weak (because I am speaking about myself). No matter what you think or if you think your years of service have given you a special place, the weak are as saved as you if they are holding to Christ! It doesn't matter if they are new in Christ, if they struggle in their weakness but hold to the promises with all their heart, the weak are saved and are important to Jesus! Jesus is for the weak! God did not give the strong their place to look down or sneer at those with weakness. A person that looks down their nose at the weak is really weak themselves. They have not matured enough to realize the strong are to "bear the weakness of those without strength and not just please ourselves." (Rom. 15:1)
When we speak of those weak, that's me and you! We are what we are because of Christ. We aren't special and come into a knowledge of God without the help of God. It's not our doings. It's all His doings that we are in Christ (I Cor. 1:30). Some act like they have arrived and are so far ahead of others. We are saved, all of us, by the blood of Christ. That blood covers my sins, my weaknesses and failures. That blood is what brings us near and into the presence of God. No one is ahead of another. If you're in Christ, you are as saved as you will ever be! We need to mature and grow in Him, but that doesn't mean I am becoming more saved. One is saved or lost! There is no gradual growing into being saved. Do you remember the day you were baptized into Christ? Reflect on that just a moment. Recall it in your mind. What was that day about? Having all your sins washed away, becoming pure and clean in the sight of God. That day still holds as long as you hold to Jesus with all your heart. In the end, your strength will be Him, not your own. If you are one to look down on others less fortunate or feel superior because of your years of service, you might look closely and see that you indeed have wandered away from the strength of His might and are the weakest of the bunch! Now that's a thought worth contemplating!

Monday, March 9, 2009

"The Christ of the Cross"

Let me share with you just a few words to think about and put some serious thought into all this. Jesus did not die for nothing! His death was not forced on Him by the physical power of people. He laid down His life freely because He chose to (John 10:17-18). Just think, Jesus gave up His life of His own free voluntary will, knowing the horrors He would face, just because He wanted to save us from our sinfulness. He is our REDEEMER! When Jesus arrived by birth into our world, He was on a death mission and He knew it. How would you like to know ahead of time that you would suffer a dark, horrible fate that would send you into an eternal world of gloom and doom just to save someone else? The prostitute, the drug user, the rapist, the murderers, the liars, the adulterers and those who commit indecent and vile acts would be the beneficiaries of your dying. We run from such people, especially if they are into a depth of sin we have never touched. We remove ourselves thinking how much better off we are than they, yet in all this, Jesus voluntarily laid down His life as a ransom, to buy them (and us) back. Look how much different He is than us!
The cross of Christ dealt with our sin FIRST! After the dealing with our sin, then there is example. He came to "seek and save the lost." He came to save "the sinners." (I Tim. 1:15) He came "to destroy the works of the devil." (I John 3:8) In all this, there is one theme that needs to hit our hearts: WE ALL HAVE A SIN PROBLEM! Christ took our sin problem, went voluntarily to death to deal with it and that is a love that should reach to the depth of the human soul! Too many are trying to live by example without the cross. There is no newness of life, no sharing in God until we come to the Christ of the cross. When we see the relationship of Jesus and His cross to our unholiness, then we will begin to perceive the greatness of His love for us. Seeing His love, His death mission because we are unholy will bring you to your knees and place within you a desire to be like Him. "My sin - Oh, the bliss of the glorious tho't - My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more: Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, O my soul!"

Friday, March 6, 2009

"The Repulsiveness Of Sin" (pt.2)

Sin is repulsive to God. We have difficulty grasping that. God thundered against the sin of man! He made spectacles of individuals and nations because of their sinfulness. God did not create man to live in sin and rebellion to Him. He created us in His image, to gain and share in His glory. Our problem is we do not see the seriousness of sin and the love of God dealing with it. We just shrug our shoulders and walk on in life, no big deal. But it is a big deal to God. Sin, all sin, is an open rebellion to God and His holiness. Sin has such reaching affects it reached all the way to heaven and laid its hand on God Himself! Think about that. Sin kicks God out of His rule and right over our lives and makes us set ourselves up as our own boss and authority. How do we act? However we feel at the moment. If we feel like we need to lie to get us out of a situation, we lie! No big deal! It doesn't matter what God wants. All that matters is what we want at the moment. Sin is that kind of master over us. God tries to pull us back and we won't allow that. We loudly justify we had a right to do this or that! We shake our fist in the face of God because of our sins and speak, "Why do you always get in our way?"
We sit smugly in our assemblies and studies. Those people who delivered Jesus up, we speak how ungodly they were. They saw the miracles of Jesus and we would not have done that. REALLY? They held to the Scriptures! They professed their belief in God. They hated, just plain hated. (Sound like some of us claiming to love the Lord?) They were envious. (Sound like some of us who claim Jesus as our Savior?) They plotted and gathered others around them who thought like them. (Sound like some of us who fellowship in the Supper each first day?) They lied. (Sound like some who deceive their mates or brethren?) They felt no shame in the end. (Sound like some who assembly week after week, holding to grudges and unforgiving spirits and still think they are in fellowship with the Lord?) They were ordinary sinners, just like us and we pass judgment on them in their settings, never looking at the realities of our own sins. WE WERE THERE WITH THEM!
Christ, the Lord and heart of God, came! There was no truce between the Lord Jesus Christ and sin. Whatever is not like Christ in attitude, word or deed is utterly sinful. Every act of wrong we do is a result of my sinfulness. We speak a profane word. Did that come from Jesus? No, that was our sinfulness speaking. When it is in my power to help the weak, reach out to the lost, encourage someone who is faint hearted and I don't really want to be bothered, especially go out of my way for another, sin says, "Pursue your own selfishness and forget Christ!" Our sin robs us from being like Him.
The dying of Jesus in our place speaks: "I love you!" The death of Jesus speaks: "I wish My love were returned!" The crucified Christ says: "I cannot endure or tolerate sin as it is the one thing that separates us!" SIN MUST BE DEALT WITH AND IT WAS! What are we going to do?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"The Repulsiveness of Sin" (pt.1)

From the very beginning of creation, God has tried to show us His utter abhorrence of sin. We live among sin, sin ourselves and one can grow a little numb to the fact of sin. Look carefully at Adam and Eve. When they sinned, tried to play the blame game, God "drove" them from the garden and from His presence. God was not going to live in peaceful existence with sin! He refused to live and abide where sin was present. Along with sin and their expulsion came disunity, shame, guilt, disharmony and death! Sin entered and out went the beauty of fellowship. Sin came in and so did ugliness, lies and the blame of loved ones. Sin waltzed in and so did lust and man's wisdom.
Cain comes along and what do we find? God's intolerance of sin. Cain has a mark set on him and lives his life as vagrant and wanderer on the earth. Cain cries out in the misery of sin, "My punishment is too great to bear!" (Gen. 4:13) Sin cost him dearly. In the days of Noah, man's love for sin became so great that God completely wiped everything out (even the innocent land), save those on the ark. God will not co-exist with sin. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (and surrounding areas) were completely expelled from the face of the earth to show God's utter abhorrence. Even in Israel, His chosen people, they were not allowed into His presence because of their sins. There were veils and only one man, one time a year, the high priest, was allowed to enter into God's presence but not without bringing blood. But not just any blood. The blood of an innocent animal! Why was it so difficult to come into the presence of God? Because man has a sin problem and sin barred men from fellowship with God!
Then the final act to show how completely intolerable God is of sin. He came from heaven in His Son. He died a horrible death to show that God was not accepting or will ever accept any fellowship where sin is present. Why is God so intolerant of sin? Why does He make such a big deal about sin? People lie, cheat and murder. They gossip, steal and are ungrateful. Why doesn't God in His love just over-look it all and embrace us anyway? Because we were created in His image that we might share in His glory!!! His glory will not be shared with sin! Where sin exists, God does not. Maybe we need to re-think our attitude toward sin instead of shrugging things off by saying, "Everyone sins! We are only human you know!" God....OPEN OUR EYES!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Embracing Forgiveness"

It's one of the greatest words man could ever hear. The word means "to pardon, a cancellation of debt or obligation." It has been used in the release of the captive, as they are set free. It is called forgiveness. However you define it in whatever terms, the one pardoned, set free and the debt cancelled, they enjoy the benefits. One is either forgiven or they aren't. There is no "kind of" forgiveness or partial forgiveness. Partial forgiveness is like being somewhat pregnant or just ringing half a bell. Let me say it again: YOU'RE EITHER FORGIVEN 100% OR YOU'RE NOT FORGIVEN AT ALL!
Why do so many in Christ live in the torment of their sins? They seem to grope about, hoping somewhere they will hit the forgiveness they seek. They say it is available, but there is no assurance. How can people sing: "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!" without knowing they are forgiven 100%? Are we faking? Lying?
God offers forgiveness through His Son. That's the covenant, the agreement. "Come to Jesus the crucified in your place and I'll pardon you" God speaks. When are we going to grab hold of His forgiving love? As long as one lives in their guilt, they are still guilty! As long as one is still guilty, they cannot be serving the Lord (Heb. 9:14). They are serving their guilt! They try to do things to relieve the pain, to make up for what they have done. That's loveless legalism, refusing the love of Christ. It creates a loveless life. A life that works it's way to God, always feeling the pressure to perform and never sure when enough is enough. That's why many fall away from the Lord. They get worn out from trying to perform!!! We just do not repent! We will not turn our hearts over to the Lord, submitting to His love for us because we will not receive His love. That day when the apostles thundered the news to the Jewish community they had crucified the Messiah from God, 3000 received the message and they found the forgiveness offered in Christ. How do we know? They were praising God, devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship and continued with one mind. These are the natural results of forgiveness.
When Israel refused God's word, He sent them back into the wilderness because they would not trust. Go ahead, speak about your sinfulness and shame. Face God with your horrible failures but whatever you do, trust Him! The indictments against you are true and yes, we are utter failures at times, but listen carefully at His calling and plea. Cling to His promises and rest assured He will do exactly as He says He will do. Trust His word! Trust His promises! Trust His assurances! Give your life to Jesus and hold to Him tightly, believing what He tells you. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9) Do you still doubt His forgiveness?

Monday, March 2, 2009


It seems more and more are wanting proof (and some even demand proof) about God and His love for them. In most cases, the searching for God's love comes when difficulties hit us. We cry, hurt and question why doesn't God do something. It reveals more about us and less about God. God already proved something!
When children are suffering with a sickness, you never hear them demand from their parents to prove their love. In godly, loving marriages, the mates do not ask the other to prove their love. Good, close friends do not come asking the other to prove their commitment in the friendship. Anytime when one starts questioning or demanding from the other the proof of their love or commitment in a relationship, something has already been lost! If a husband has been such a 'clod' to make his wife question his love, there needs to be a sincere, honest move toward her to set her heart and mind at ease in his actions, not by his words. What are we learning? God has already demonstrated His love toward us! Just look at the cross! If that doesn't do it for you, then we need to go back and look at our faith because we simply do not believe or trust Him. When you suffer, God enters that suffering with you! Just look at Stephen in Acts 7. When he was being stoned because of his love and commitment to the Lord, the Lord didn't take away his suffering but gave him a power to rise above the suffering and he uttered the words, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" (Acts 7:60) Right there, in the midst of what seemed like gloom came a power into his life that led him to lean on Christ.
We stand at the graveside of a beloved brother, sister or godly mate. People grieve and feel the loss. But wait, what about God? Where is He is all the pain felt in the heart? Right in the middle sharing in the whole. God has intervened to take us to a higher level telling us that those who have "fallen asleep" are with Jesus! His word assures us to not grieve like those without hope. It all comes down to one thing: 'IF WE BELIEVE'! (I Thes. 4:13-18) You want proof? Look at the resurrected Lord. God says to those faithful believers that He will bring them back with Him. They aren't dead. Jesus defeated death and God proved it by raising Him from the dead. We aren't in this world by ourselves. We are in this world of suffering with a God who suffers with us, only to provide us the strength to endure, the power to rise above and the assurance that God is in control. And how does all this end? "Therefore comfort one another with these word."