Thursday, October 29, 2009


Bear with me in this blog today. It might be a little lengthy. True God centered worship is about the holiness of God. It is a reverence and awe of His holiness and love. It's called "fear of the Lord." "Therefore, since we received a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire." (Heb. 12:28-29) Worship is about acceptable service, showing gratitude with reverence and awe. To many today are making worship something that stirs their personal likes or some feel good style. A sincere faith offers acceptable worship to God, what is pleasing to Him with reverence and awe.
When people take upon themselves to approach God as they want or what they think, God does not honor that worship. God's holiness decides what is acceptable and unacceptable. Too many are taking upon themselves as what they think is acceptable. Worship is promoted that "different styles" of worship are alright to pursue and many brethren are buying into it. Have you ever heard anyone who is pushing all the "new" worship ideas say, "Let's go to God and ask Him if this is acceptable?" But verses are used and misused for pursuing personal likings. Every time man has taken upon themselves to "improve" something God wants, we end up corrupting it because man tends to glory in man!!! God warned Israel about the altars they used in worship of His name: "And if you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield you tool on it, you will profane it." (Ex. 20:25) Worship is about God's holiness and it must come from a heart that's cleansed and made holy by the blood of Christ. It is a pure worship, with no attention on man, undefiled by thinking we add some "flavor" to it while realizing we are as one body standing in the presence of a holy God. The songs of praise are genuine words spoken from the heart. They are offered out of reverence and awe. God knows the difference of those lifeless pretenders and the sincere worshiper. The prayers are from a sincere faith that expresses our dependence on God. The Supper is a genuine reminder of the cost and love of the new covenant, not some drama skit from man's idea of "wielding their tools on it!" Thankful hearts bow in reverence to worship our loving Father and His holiness.
The Corinthian brethren were destroying themselves spiritually with their fleshly acting as mere men (I Cor. 3:3). They should have a higher standard than the world around but their own fleshliness had corrupted them. We don't seem to learn from this. What did it lead them to in their worship? They were using the assembly of the saints for self expression! Brethren with spiritual gifts were running over the top of those without spiritual gifts. Those with the spiritual gifts wanted to "perform" (I Cor. 12-14). Just read those chapters carefully. Their services were lively and a lot of commotion was taking place (I Cor. 14). There were those who felt like speaking so they spoke out with no regard for others. Who determined if they were acceptable or unacceptable? GOD! They thought they were doing right until God sent them a letter through the apostle Paul. It was God who placed each member where He wanted them (I Cor. 12:18). It is God who gives more honor to the one lacking and the weak were necessary (I Cor. 12:22-24). God gave spiritual gifts to build up the body according to His way and never used for self proclamation or promotion. Worship of God is not a stage show!!! Worship is always about "offering to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe!" Worship is never about us. When one worships, they reflect their knowledge of God (I Cor. 14:24-25). Paul ends by stating that God is not a God of confusion but of peace and there needs to be self control in worship (I Cor. 14:31-33).
The world is tainting our thinking. Real worship takes place in the heart of a worshiper. It's UN-ORCHESTRATED by external means. When worship is spoken of as dull or dead, we need to examine our hearts and see if the death of Jesus is the motivation in our lives. If He is our life, then we need to "show gratitude with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Growing Spiritually"

Do you really want to grow spiritually? I pray you do. Where does one start and how do you go about it? In order to grow spiritually, you must realize that the door is open for you to grow which means the only thing holding us back is us!
Look carefully at II Peter 1: 1-11. In verse 3 we find God's divine power has already granted to us everything that pertains to life and godliness. It is like being given a blank check that is signed by a millionaire telling you to fill in the amount needed. God has already granted everything we need to grow and be faithful. True spiritual growth is always based on His promises (v.4). God always keeps His word. Spiritual growth is gaining the nature of God and sharing in His nature!
If God has already granted us everything for life and godliness (and He has), what are we going to do with His promises? Let's look at verse 5: "Applying all diligence..." that's our part! If we have faith, we will be more diligent in our lives but it doesn't end there. " your faith supply moral excellence." Some versions use "virtue" or "goodness". We are talking about in your faith you must deal with your sins and become morally excellent. Many times we are faced with difficult situations of right and wrong. Moral excellence means you don't justify doing what is wrong. We have to do what is right because God is morally excellent! He always does the right thing and we have to apply that same diligence in our faith. One can't sweep sin under the rug and draw closer to God. It is impossible! This is the first step in spiritual growth.
"And in your moral excellence, knowledge..." Whenever we supply moral excellence to our faith, you begin to gain knowledge of who God is, what He is like. Your understanding begins to increase. The reason some have little knowledge is because they never deal with moral excellence. Each of the things listed in verses 5-7 are progressions working off of each other. Knowledge is only gained after moral excellence.
"And in your knowledge, self control..." Doing what is right, you gain knowledge of God and self control starts taking hold in your being. There are no "behavior modification" programs involved like the world offers. This is from God. Your life starts coming under control only when you gain knowledge of what God is like.
"And in your self control, perseverance..." Perseverance is the ability to endure difficult people and circumstances. One can't persevere until they have some self control and you can't gain self control until you have some knowledge of God. Knowledge of God can't be gained until we deal rightly with things in our lives.
"And in your perseverance, godliness..." Being more like God in your behavior and attitudes. A love for doing His will.
"And in your godliness, brotherly kindness..." Have you ever wondered why some have no love or little for the brethren? Here's your answer. One can't have some brotherly kindness until they have some godliness and it goes right back up the ladder.
"And in your brotherly kindness, love." This love is a sacrificial love, looking out for the best of others. It has nothing to do with how you feel and everything about seeing the need to help. Isn't that what the cross teaches us? Didn't Jesus put our needs above His own? That's love!
The opportunity to grow is before us. The only question left is do we really want to grow spiritually? Do we really have faith? Take a look at the list and find out where you are spiritually. It might surprise you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Death, Burial and Resurrection"

I've debated over writing this. I will go ahead and say it here, at this time for us to think about. This is in no way to put others down or create a controversy. People need to think with some spiritual insight instead of following everyone else. We are coming upon a time of year when the religious world will be calling attention to the birth of Jesus. His birth will be in song, in visible ornaments, pageants and plays, dramatized and worshiped. Many sincere and religious people will focus on the birth of Jesus.
The birth of Jesus was not what Jesus asked His disciples (followers) to remember about Him. As Jesus sat with His own apostles, He told them to remember His death (Luke 22:17-20). It is the death of Jesus we assemble together on the first day of each week to remember.
The Old Testament prophets prophesied over and over of His death. Yes, they mentioned His birth here and there but the emphasis was on His dying for the lost. God planned the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus from the beginning of time. It was no accident..." the right time Christ died for the ungodly." (Rom. 5:6) "This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Eph. 3:11) Peter preached to the Jews that "this Man, delivered up by that predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death." (Acts 2:23) All of creation was pointing to this one event as man's spiritual well being would depend on the death, burial and resurrected Christ.
When the apostles were sent into all the world, they were to preach the gospel (good news) that Jesus had died, was buried and arose on the third day. Not once do we find them speaking and glorifying the birth of Jesus. Paul reminded the Corinthian church about where their salvation came from: the death, burial and resurrection (I Cor. 15:1-4). It was the dying of Jesus for my transgressions and His resurrection for my justification (declared not guilty) (Rom. 4:25). Paul's life was lived daily around the resurrected Christ (Gal. 2:20), not His birth.
The churches of Galatia were being led back into following the Jewish customs of feasts and seasons as set by God under the Law. In Christ, here is God's response to that: "But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain." (Gal. 4:9-11)
God never intended our lives to be broken down into seasons. Our worship and adoration of the Lord is not seasonal because man makes it up. Jesus left us a life-giving proclamation to unite His people every first day of the week called the Lord's Supper. I realize Matthew and Luke record the birth of Jesus but there is very little that deals with His birth compared to the chapters describing His death, burial and resurrection. People aren't saved by His birth but His death, burial and resurrection.
To use seasons for family, friends and enjoyment, that is a privilege we have been given in Christ Jesus (Rom. 14). Enjoy the time. But our worship and adoration of our Lord is not to be seasonal but daily because He raised for our sins. "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Col. 2:8)

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Interesting Facts"

Do you believe God will take care of you and your every need? That's easy for all of us to say but worries hit our lives and show something different than what we say. I was recently reading an article that was very interesting that had some facts and figures. It should help us see the awesome power of God.
When God rescued His people from Egyptian bondage, it is estimated that there were between 3-3 1/2 million people to be led across that desert. How was Moses going to take care of that many people?
According to the Quarter-Master General in the Army, it is reported that Moses would have to provide 1500 tons of food each day. Do you realize to bring that much food each day would require two freight trains, each one being a mile long? Remember, they were in the desert.
What about their water requirements? The Quarter-Master General estimated it would take about 11,000,000 gallons each day. To deliver that much water daily would take a freight train with tank cars 1800 miles long!
They had to cross the Red Sea in one night (Ex. 14:20-24). If they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and require 35 days and nights to arrive safely. That means there had to be a space in the Red Sea 3 miles wide so they could walk 5000 abreast to get over in one night!
That leads to another problem. Every time they camped at the end of each day, a campground 2/3 the size of Rhode Island, or a total of 750 square miles, would be needed. This comprises an area of 25 miles wide and 130 miles long just for night camping.
Again, these are figures that were taken from the Quarter-Master General in the Army. Let me ask you, do you think Moses figured all this out before he led God's people into this wilderness? Yet God provided the necessary food, the water flowing from rocks and the ability to cross the sea while drowning the Egyptian army before their eyes. This Almighty, Eternal God is the very same God we have today! We think our problems are so great yet we lose sight of what God did and can do. We are on a journey and God is trying to bring us all safely to Him and He will take care of us if we will simply put Him first and seek Him with all our heart!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"The Church"

When you hear the term "church" what do you think about? What comes to your mind? Just ponder that for a moment. Many think of denominations or even 'nondenominational' which in reality has become a denomination. It seems every time we turn around, there is some 'new church' springing up and people flock to them. Why? Because people tire of religion as it is known and want something different, something new.
But what about God? What does the term "church" mean to God? Have you ever heard anyone ask that question? Many know what the church is as defined in God's word. It is the people, the body of Christ, the saved and redeemed. Yet why do so many wander off looking for something new, something different that will challenge them? We hear often people "leaving the church" because of someone hurt their feelings or they hear of a deacon or elder embezzling money. We hear of preachers having affairs with someone in the congregation or the church is supporting a work that someone doesn't approve of. When people leave, sometimes they get our approval! We "understand" them! Why would they stay when such bad things are going on or have occurred? They are spoken of as good people and they must move on to some other church (presumably until they discover something bad has happened there). Our sadness, gladness, anger or pleasure are all reasons to stay to help. The real truth behind such moving on without trying to help is sinister!
Which New Testament congregation would you like to have been part of? The Corinthians who were arguing over the best preacher, having law suits with one another, fighting and quarrels and misteachings? Or maybe perhaps the congregation at Thyatira where some lady was leading the bond-servants of Christ away from Him and others were following her lead? How about Sardis where they were alive by name only but not in heart? Maybe perhaps the Laodicean's that were lukewarm at best? What about the Galatian churches that were being pulled in directions with those teaching the Law of Moses along side of the gospel of Christ?
We don't need to leave the church to find the life of Christ! We need brethren dedicated to the cause of Christ trying to help rather than offended and find another place they can comfortably sit and offer up what little is in the heart. We need lovers of Christ, dedicated to His cause, His church trying to help people see the glory of God. Was it not Jesus who told each congregation in Revelation about those who were holding faithful to His name to hold on and help? Was it not the apostle John that who wrote and encouraged Gaius and Demetrius to imitate good because of fellow by the name of Diotrephes was kicking people out? They weren't instructed to leave!
Doesn't it just gut you when you hear people say, "I just love this church" and then sulk off when someone disappoints them?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Inward Nature"

Life is difficult at times. There are disappointments, heartaches and struggles that sometime can seem overwhelming. When we are faced with one of these times in our lives, it should remind us the cost of sin in this world. That should take us to reaching to our heavenly Father.
Our walk with the Lord isn't about just saying we believe in Him. It is an inward nature that knows and reaches. Let's listen carefully: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." (Jam. 1:2-3) We have read this but what we need is to look carefully at this because of life's disappointments and struggles. When we encounter various trials, there is something suppose to be happening in us, within our heart. What is it? An attitude of knowing what God is doing when you hurt by taking on a right attitude. "Consider it all joy" is an internal attitude of the heart. How can we take such attitudes? Because the difficulty is going to be to your spiritual benefit. It will help your faith and endurance. Those are the two things needed in order to make it to the end. If anyone is going to be saved, it will be because of our trust (faith) in the Lord and enduring the hardship with a proper attitude. It is easy to feel sorry for yourself when you hurt but that's not the right move. It's easy to withdraw into self pity and avoidance of people because we hurt but that's not the right move. The real, inward nature of Christianity is when we encounter difficult situations, there is something suppose to be going on in the heart that reaches to the presence of God and that's our trust and attitude.
I will never make light of someones struggles. What I will do is direct them to the source of real comfort and strength. Once we can see what God is doing, we have a choice to make within our being: Are we going to count things as all misery or all joy? It depends on what is happening on your spiritual side!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Peter was convinced that those brethren who read his God inspired letter were of sincere minds. As he wrote his second letter, he was reminding them of some things they could attach themselves to for their spiritual health. "This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder." (II Pet. 3:1)
A person with a "sincere mind" wants to know, grasp hold and do something with God's word they hear. A "sincere mind" desires purity and wanting to please the Lord in all aspects of their lives. Listen carefully: "To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed." (Titus 1:15-16) Those without a "sincere mind" are defiled and unbelieving. They can talk about God but they have their own mind set leading them downward.
A "sincere mind" produces a "sincere faith." A faith that is pure and unmixed. A faith that is genuine and real. It is a faith that looks honestly at the word of God and allows God to lead them forward. "Now examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil." (I Thes. 5:21-22) A person with a "sincere faith" examines things before they become involved and avoids anything that might deteriorate them spiritually. They are concerned about purity!
"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." (I Tim. 1:5) The goal of all preaching and teaching should be focused right here. Instead of looking for something to waste time, or make people laugh and entertain them, a "sincere mind" and a "sincere faith" from a preacher/teacher realizes what is at stake and what God is trying to produce in others through their teaching. "For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussions." (I Tim. 1:6) Fruitless discussions are the best way to destroy the sincerity in the hearers. To teach things that yield nothing, about nothing other than worldly topics will ruin the brethren! "For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God." (II Cor. 2:17) Paul saw himself as one not just peddling wares, taking up time and space but realized his teaching/preaching was in the presence of God and Christ which created a sincerity in him. A "sincere mind" and a "sincere faith" keeps true to God and His word at all cost!
Peter wrote to stir up the brethren's "sincere mind." Paul told the preacher Timothy to preach the things that created sincerity and purity. We need to be a people with a "sincere mind and faith." How sincere are you?

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Watered Down"

I just want to make a brief point today. The story was told of a young man who came to the door of a monastery with a large duck under his arms. His uncle, who happened to be one of the monks at the monastery, answered the door. "Here uncle, this is a gift for you and the others. Eat it in good health." The uncle was very grateful, and that night, with the duck dressed and stuffed, he and the others enjoyed a generous meal.
After a few days, another knock came on the monastery door. "I am friend of the nephew that brought you a duck. I have been down on my luck lately and wondered if I might impose on you for a bite to eat and a place to sleep for one night?" "Of course! You are most welcome." That night he joined the other monks for some warm duck soup.
A few days later, another knock on the door. "Hello! I am a friend of the friend of the nephew who brought the duck. Could I impose on you for a bit of hospitality?" He too was welcomed and ate more duck soup. A few more days went by and another knock. "Hi! I am a friend of the friend of the friend of the nephew who brought you the duck." That night at dinner he was presented with a steaming bowl of hot water. He tasted it, looked up and asked, "What's this?" The man replied, "This is the soup of the soup of the soup of the duck that my nephew brought!"
As I read this, it made me realize there is a tendency in the course of time for things to become watered down to the point they bear little resemblance to what was there originally. Do you suppose this is what is happening to so much of today's so-called Christianity? The church we see today has little resemblance to the robust faith and dedication to the apostles teachings of the New Testament church. It seems to be watered down more and more with all the entertainment groups, the drama groups and the list goes on and on. I am afraid things are becoming more watered down than ever. Little emphasis is given to the preaching and teaching of the word. The preacher Timothy was charged in the presence of God and Jesus Christ to preach the word (II Tim. 4:1-2)! Timothy was to take the things he had been taught from the apostle Paul and change faithful men in the preaching of those things (II Tim. 2:14-16). Timothy was told to instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines (I Tim. 1:3-5), avoid worldly and empty chatter and opposing arguments of false knowledge (I Tim. 6:20-21). When God's word is used, many times it is used to entertain or verses out of context. I recently had a brother in Christ tell me in his travels throughout the country with his job that it is scary what is happening in the many different congregations of our Lord and how unconcerned many of the elders and preachers are.
We need to be concerned with God's word. We don't want the dry, dreary legalistic approach to Christianity. We need to return to "the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints." (Jude 3).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"A Date With Eternity" (3)

Every thing under heaven in moving toward one day. Even creation is eagerly awaiting the revealing of God's sons and daughters on this day (Rom. 8:19). If we sincerely believe this, what is the most important thing about our lives? That our name is written in the book of life.
"And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Rev. 20:15) The only escape for anyone from the lake of fire is if their name is written in the book of life.
Jesus warned the church at Sardis that they were alive by name only (Rev.3:1-5). Just because someone views you as faithful or spiritual does not mean anything. Jesus' view of us is the ONLY thing that matters. If they did not wake up and take their walk with Him seriously, their name would be erased from the book of life.
In Exodus 32, Moses went up on the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments. Upon returning, God's people had built a golden calf and Moses calls Aaron into account. Moses proceeds to declare to the people their sinfulness and pleads with God for their forgiveness. God responds to Moses request, "The Lord said to Moses, 'Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.'" (Ex. 32:33) When we sin against someone or privately, we need to realize that all sin is against God and that must be dealt with in the presence of God.
Psalm 69 is a prophecy of Jesus written by David. He speaks of the persecution of Jesus and then speaks these words: "May they be blotted our of the book of life and may they not be recorded with the righteous." (Psa. 69:28)
Daniel 12 is speaking of a resurrection of the wicked and the righteous. When the judgment comes, everyone who is found written in the book is rescued (Dan. 12:1). The result: either everlasting life or everlasting contempt! (Dan. 12:2)
Malachi 3 the people of God had become so lazy in their service to the Lord that Malachi is the last prophet sent to God's people. To the few that esteemed the name of God and feared Him, there was a book of remembrance written before God (Mal. 3:16). Those in that book of remembrance are said to belong to God. (Mal. 3:17-18)
Philippians 4 there were two ladies that were known for helping in the cause of the gospel (Phil. 4:3). Now these two ladies were having issues with each other and were not willing to let it go and live in harmony. That puts God is a difficult position to which Paul responds that they lose sight of the book of life that others are recorded there (Phil. 4:3). Their names could be erased.
If our name is not found in the book of life that is written before God, we are thrown into the lake of fire and that is eternal. When people aren't concerned with righteousness, with bitter and angry hearts that is the exact road the devil walks! They will end up eternally holding hands with him!! If we know our names are in the book of life, shouldn't that stir us to do better, serving and committed? Should that not motivate us to move from sin and sinful attitudes? Remember, you have a date with eternity and it will not be avoided! The only thing that matters is if your name is recorded or not.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"A Date With Eternity" (2)

All events in life are moving toward one day. It will be a day that will come like a thief. You hear many predict times and dates. That should alarm us, not because of the predictions but because they are false in dealing with God's word. No one knows and cannot know. Paul told the Thessalonians that they have no need to be bothered with times and epochs (I Thes. 5:1-3). It's not about when but being prepared! That means we need to live each day being blameless in our lives. (That was yesterday's blog.)
Our time on this earth is to prepare for the great day. Each day we need to use to allow God to help us make our lives better because we believe He is coming. The difference between a believer and an unbeliever is this: a true believer prepares and concerns themselves with the Lord and His word. An unbeliever doesn't prepare and is concerned with their own ways each day.
"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day." (II Cor. 4:16) The believer in Christ understands the opportunity for renewal day by day. They have a living relationship with the Lord and it affects their daily life. Those in fellowship with God can renew their inner person. Those who aren't sincere, their inner is decaying day by day and their lives show it because they are no longer concerned with being blameless. Those in Christ do not lose heart!
"For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison." (II Cor. 4:17) Those living blameless and preparing can rise above life's problem reaching to something greater. The true believers have hope no matter what they are faced with which produces an eternal weight of glory because their focus is on God and His return. Their troubles draws them closer to God. They see a much better day coming.
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the thing which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (II Cor. 4:18) The true believer knows where to look. The one that professes a belief but constantly looks at the wrong things are taken down easily. We need to realize the great difference between the seen and unseen. When we are faced with difficulties, such as health issues or jobs, if we look at the problem, what do we gain? Fears, uncertainties and worries. If we know all things are headed to a great day, renew our inner from His word day by day, our focus is set on the eternal and one can find hope and strength as well as renewal during those difficulties.
Let's not squander our days by just walking along like the lost. Let the truth of God in and know that you and I both have a date with eternity!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"A Date With Eternity" (1)

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Thes. 5:23)
Read the verse carefully. Our time on this earth is very limited. We all have a date with eternity and whether one believes it or not doesn't change the fact. Every single thing on this earth is headed to one important date, the coming of Christ. That means there is a day of accountability and that man will live somewhere, even if they die. Everything in time is moving to this one, big event! You and I both have a date with eternity!!
What does this mean for us? It means if we are in Christ, we need to concern ourselves to be blameless. Too many are indifferent and playing around. In the church, we have those who see little need to live blameless lives. They are indifferent toward Jesus and not really concerned about what is coming. This day will over-take them when they least expect it.
When we speak of blameless, we aren't speaking of perfection but living a life with a diligent heart toward following Jesus in our attitudes, actions and desires. To live blameless began with Jesus' cleansing blood. His blood removed all defilement. Our part is to live with a heart moving closer and closer toward Him
To be blameless tells us that we can be defiled and unacceptable when we reach this date. People can come up short of the grace of God and be defiled through bitterness of heart (Heb. 12:15). Bitterness, resentments and unforgiving hearts defile us and we need to concern ourselves with these things if we truly believe He's coming. Not only does bitterness defile us, our defilement spreads to others like a disease because of an angry or bitter heart. The Hebrew writer tells us that bitterness starts like a root that begins in the heart and if left unattended, it will begin to grow and eventually bear fruit. It will cause one to forfeit God's grace (the very thing that saves us) and affect many others. We have heard (or maybe practiced it) when we are holding to some hateful attitude toward another and we tell another how horrible they treated us, have a bad attitude toward the one who hurt us and by our spreading our bitterness to another innocent party, we have begun to defile them. Many just don't see the destructive power of bitterness.
Let's talk about some more of this tomorrow, but remember, YOU HAVE A DATE WITH ETERNITY and there is no escaping it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Access To High Places"

It was told back in the days of the Civil War, a man was sitting on a park bench in Washington, D.C. He was crying. He had found out that his son had deserted his post in battle and was to be shot by a firing squad. This father went to Washington hoping to speak face to face with the President and tell his story, hoping the President would intervene. The man couldn't get past the front gate to the White House. Each attempt, he was denied access, so he sat crying with a broken heart knowing his son's impending death. People passed by with little concern.
Finally, a small boy took notice of the man's crying and went over to him. The little boy asked him if he was alright. The man was barely able to speak but told the little boy about his son and what was going to happen. The boy looked at the man and said, "Come on, follow me!" They walked up to the front gate and the boy said to the soldier, "It's okay. He's with me!" The gate opened and they marched right up to the front door of the White House, opened it and walked right in. The little boy knew exactly right where the President was. He knocked on a door, and was told that the President was meeting with his cabinet members and generals. The little boy was unphased and nudged his way through the room full of people finally reaching the President and jumped up in his lap. The room went silent. The boy said, "Daddy, I want you to meet a man. He really needs your help." The little boy motioned with his hand for the man to come in and the man related his story to the President. After hearing the man's plight, Abraham Lincoln took out his pen and signed a document, handing it to the man. Written in bold letters, it said: "Presidential pardon. Signed, Abraham Lincoln, President of the U.S." The man's son was pardoned! His tears turned from sadness to tears of great joy. As the man was leaving, he turned to the President and asked, "Why did you do this for me?" Mr. Lincoln replied, "I did it because my SON took an interest in your situation."
"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." (Rom. 5:6) "For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." (Heb. 9:24) "Therefore He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercessions for them." (Heb. 7:25)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"The Tongue"

I once had taught on this and I had someone disagree with me, which is fine but it is probably because they practiced the very thing what God's word addresses. I am speaking about our tongues. Man has a serious problem with their tongues. We use it to bless God and curse men made in God's likeness (Jam. 3:9). How can from the same source come blessings and cursing? Something is seriously wrong.
If we are in Christ Jesus, we are expected to live on His level. I am not speaking perfection but an attitude and desire for Him. That rules our filthy and silly talk or any coarse jesting (Eph. 5:3-4). Filthy talk is talk that is obscene and disgusting. Silly talk is frivolous and just silly. Coarse jesting is turning statements into off color meanings. Things like witty responses that ridicule modesty, twisting it into immodest meanings. There is no place for these in Christ.
There is another aspect we need to briefly address: word usage. Have you ever heard of a euphemism? A euphemism is a mild exclamation substituted for an offensive expression. Let me give you a couple of them: "Gosh" is a euphemism for God. Instead of using God's name, the term "Gosh" is substituted. You can find this in Webster's Dictionary. "Darn" is a euphemism for damn. It takes off the edge but the meaning is there. Many never think about what words they use.
When people are surprised by someone or something, the words easily flow "Oh my God!" We hear it all the time from the unregenerated world and it has found it's way into the language for many in Christ. I wonder what the Lord thinks about using His name in this fashion?
We are to no longer walk like the lost (Eph. 4:17-20). Our lives are to take on a better meaning and our Savior should have a greater impact on our hearts. Our tongues are the very thing that defiles us and unless it is given under the control of God, it will defile us (Jam. 3:6). How do you use your words?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Useful or Useless?"

Do you consider yourself as useful or useless in the eyes of God? That's something many probably have never thought about. I once had a fellow tell me, "Everyone is worth something, even if they are worth a bad example!" We need to recognize there are things that make one useless to God.
"Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work." (II Tim. 2:21) How can one be certain they are useful to the Master? You must keep yourself clean from things that are defiling. Avoiding worldly and empty chatter is about cleansing yourself (II Tim. 2:16). Watching that we don't have bad attitudes and talk (II Tim. 2:17-18). To be a vessel for the Lord, useful to His glory means we must walk where He wants us to walk. That speaks of "sanctified." Sanctified means to be set apart from what is common. When one concerns themselves with what is honorable and "set apart", they become useful to the Lord! They prepare themselves in their lives to be ready to be used by the Lord when the opportunity is there.
When people are involved in things that are unholy, in worldly and empty chatter, how useful are they to the Lord? How many times have we been in a situation where people sit around and talk about things that are not helpful and useful? Is that being sanctified? We need to realize there are things that destroys the work of God in us.
"Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands having this seal, 'The Lord knows those who are His', and 'Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.'" (II Tim. 2:19) God's firm foundation stands! Here is God's trademark, His brand and God's knows who belongs to Him. Those who belong to God abstain from wickedness and set themselves apart from ungodly attitudes and behavior. This is an immovable foundation and God has set His seal upon them. The result? They are useful to the Master!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Have you ever read the book of Ecclesiastes? It was written by Solomon, King of Israel. (I know some debate who wrote it but it doesn't take much to realize Solomon wrote it!) Solomon was given wisdom by God like no other man on earth was given (I Kings 3:10-13). There is no one noted for their wisdom like Solomon.
What is the book about? A vivid, realistic look at life! Solomon explored life according to the wisdom God gave him to find the meaning to life. With all the great wisdom he had, still he could not find life's meaning just by living life. One thing that seems to be an over-all theme is the "futility of life." Futile means meaningless. In other words, no real meaning can be discovered within the realm of man's reality. Solomon discovered life was not fair in many cases yet, in his search, he did find things beneficial. He realized some things were better than others even though, in themselves, they do not provide the ultimate meaning in life. He realized God gave us things to enjoy but there is not real fulfillment in life's pleasures. In some things man enjoys, there can be consequences to the choices he makes.
In the end, Solomon realizes there is something beyond the reality of our existence and this universe. This reality is greater and more important than man. While many go through life seeking for happiness and it's real meaning, Solomon, after following all the avenues of futility, came to this one conclusion: "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
Right there we find the meaning to our lives. Too many are running and listening to every medical information, every news cast and allows man's world to shape their thinking and values. If we are going to God, which we are, where should our attention and focus be? The fear of the Lord will have a good result in this life and the life beyond.

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Jesus Is Lord"

Truth is truth but not all truth changes the world. I got a speeding ticket years ago (and I mean years), but who really cares about that truth? At this time and point in my life, I don't even care. But then there is the truth about Jesus and His Lordship. He is Lord in both heaven and on earth. That's the truth that really matters. Jesus is Lord no matter if people believe Him or not. This Lord Jesus is called Savior because He died our death in a self-surrender that came from the heart of God's holy love. God raised Him from the death and declared Him Lord!
This Jesus who is Lord of all is God's Champion! For all of human race, He fought against all the spiritual forces of darkness and defeated them. The Lord Jesus bound demons, setting the people free from their spiritual prison and upon His resurrection, notice was served to Satan that he would not defeat God's holy Champion! This Lord Jesus was on a rescue mission and nothing in the unseen spiritual world could deny our God and His purpose in Jesus.
In the Lord Jesus Christ, God came looking for us. His purpose is not to harm us! That's why we read of the depth of the spiritual battles and harm done to Jesus. Jesus took the blows and battles head on, not us. The result was to help us. In all of this, how many continue on a path to harm themselves? They rebel against God by turning up their noses at the truth of His word. People seem set on being harmed by their stubborn and rebellious spirit yet in their own thinking, they believe God is out to harm them. It is so easy to exchange the truth of God for a lie and live a lie. Husbands and wives continue to destroy one another through hateful attitudes. God and His Lord wants to rescue us from that. That's the truth. Could it be that we have become so deeply involved in sin that this truth of God, to set us free is nothing more than a fairy tale in our lives? Remember...Jesus is Lord and that's a truth that will remain to eternity, whether we accept that or not in our personal lives. What a profound truth!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Grace Has Appeared"

In Paul's letter to Titus the preacher, Paul explains to him about grace, that it serves a two fold purpose. Many today speak of grace but have little understanding how the grace of God operates. God's grace brought salvation to all men (Tit. 2:11). If anyone is going to be saved, it will be completely by the grace of God because we all have sinned and defiled ourselves with sin. Through the death of Jesus, God brought salvation by His grace for the opportunity for all to be saved.
Now that salvation has come, what is the two-fold purpose of grace? First, the grace of God instructs us (Tit. 2:12). If we benefited from God's saving grace, it should mean something in our lives. It teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires. Worldly desires will take one away from the Lord because those desires come first in our lives. Ungodliness is what will lead one into worldly desires! Listen, ungodliness is not about being evil. There are good, decent people (according to our standard) that are ungodly. They just don't want God to run their lives or thinking! They may be nice and morally upright but ungodly. It's called U N G O D L Y...without God! Ungodly people are easily led into worldly desires because that is what they live for. The grace of God is to instruct us to deny ungodly and worldly desires.
Secondly, the grace of God gives us hope (Tit. 2:13-14). I was recently speaking with a lady in Christ. She was struggling with things in her life and was so discouraged. I asked her where her hope was. She didn't know what to say. I explained how she was placing all our efforts and thoughts on her struggles, rather than on Christ where our hope rests. How many of us are looking for the blessed hope and return of Jesus? And we wonder why things get us down so easily. Jesus is coming back for those who came under His saving grace. He gave Himself for us and redeemed us from every lawless deed. That's our hope! He is our substitute which should give us certainty. How many times have we just walked along in our lives, leaving God out of decisions and thinking? How many times have we done things our way? Jesus our Lord bought us back from every one of those times! He redeemed us from our ungodliness and the squandered opportunities. That should make us focus on Him and His coming for us and create within us a zeal to do good for His name sake.
The grace of God is powerful and when properly responded to by a surrendered heart, it will instruct you where to walk and where to fix your attention. Now that's good news!