Monday, November 30, 2009

"The Term Hell"

It has become a sad commentary in our society. Recently reading someones comments who claimed Christianity, they used a term that is rather disturbing but they apparently give no thought to the seriousness of it. By their usage of this word, it was probably fairly common in their language. What are we speaking about? The term 'hell'. This term is used to describe many things in our society and has found its way into the communication of many of those claiming Christ.
People use the word 'hell' to describe a hot day outside to a good meal. Others use it as an exclamation of surprise or wonder. People do not realize that this final, tragic abode of those unreconciled to God is a place to torment and horror. The term 'hell' is thrown around and used to describe common, ordinary events in life. Have you ever heard anyone speak of their golf game as 'going to prison' or 'this is an aids of a traffic jam!'? Do we hear anyone say, 'what the cancer is going on'? Those terms supplied speak of tragic things that we don't like to think about and take seriously. Yet the most tragic eternal thing we could think of called 'hell' is used in such an empty and shallow way.
Satan knows that if he can cause 'hell' to appear as casual or less serious, we will not take serious eternity in our own lives. From the beginning the devil set out to minimize the teachings of God. He told Eve that God didn't mean what He said and things would not happen the way God said they would happen (Gen. 3:1-5). He lied and deceived them and is doing the same to many today.
'Hell' is the ultimate tragedy where Jesus describes it as a place "where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:44). Jesus revealed to John that is was the second death, the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15). 'Hell' is the final resting place of all those who are not one with Jesus and it is an eternal place of horror and punishment. It is such a horrid place that Jesus willingly gave His life to rescue us from this eternal punishment.
Let's not be a part of Satan's deception to minimize 'hell' by slinging the word in a causal, common, every day term. We need to be sober minded and realize that careless words thrown around, there will be accountability (Matt. 12:36). It might be time to listen to our language and take our word usage seriously!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thank You

I had someone suggest to me to put a 'followers link' on my blog. I am always thankful to those who help me improve. I sure need it! Just click on the 'followers link' and you will be added automatically. See everyone on Monday...until then, may God bless!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I am going to take a few days break from writing. This will be my last post until next Monday, Nov. 30, 2009. I want to thank those who read and the e-mails and comments of encouragement. Sometimes when one writes so often, you wonder if it is really reaching anyone or doing any good. It takes time and effort but I only try to write things to encourage us and help us see things a little more clearly. If you get a chance, let me hear from you...I want you to make it to heaven!
Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy your time. Each day we are one day closer to being in eternity with God. Make the most of your opportunities and time!

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Do Not Fret"

One of the greatest insights from God's word we have on fretting or worry is found in Psa. 37:8: "Do not fret; it leads only to evil doing." The Hebrew term "fret" literally means "to eat away, to gnaw, to worry, to agitate, to wear out." It is easy to tell someone not to "fret" but then our world gets turned upside down and we are forced to live in agony like many others go through. "Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him." (Psa. 37:7) It is easy to tell someone to "rest in the Lord" when things are going well for us, but it is completely different when we are in the difficulty.
Is it really possible to "rest in the Lord" and not "fret?" "Rest in the Lord" is not dependent on your external circumstances but on your relationship with God Himself. God is faithful and will always be faithful. He doesn't know how to be unfaithful. That's impossible for Him. If we can see His faithfulness, we should trust Him at His word because it is absolutely impossible for Him to lie or be untrustworthy.
The reason many can never "rest in the Lord" is because they are always trying to work out situations they face. They try to help here and there and it only leads into more fretting because things don't work out according to our working! Simply put, we just don't trust God. We think we have to help. Worry, fretting ALWAYS results in sin. Fretting rises out of our determination to have things work our way and our plans! Compared to when Jesus walked on this earth as us, His purpose was never to accomplish His own plans but to fulfill the plans of God. The will of God was at His heart so in the difficulties He faced, He rested in His Father. He knew God was righteous and could never do anything other than who He is.
Have we been propping up our foolishness with the idea that our circumstances are too much for God to handle? Do we really believe we can work things out better and for the righteous purpose of God by doing things ourselves? All our fretting is caused by planning and acting without God! "Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, the will inherit the land." (Psa. 37:8-9)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"A Preacher or Comedian?"

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a comedian and a preacher? I must say sometimes there is little. Comedians and comic actors are there to make us laugh, enjoy the time. Sometimes they have a great insight on life and can open our eyes to our flaws in society using humor to get the job done. I am not speaking about the immoral or obscene that many comedians speak but those who really can make us us! When comedians use obscenities to show us our faults, my mind comes to God: "Fools mock at sin..." (Prov. 14:9) It is bad enough to engage in it but it's even worse to think it is funny!
But that's not my point. When we go to God's word and read God's expectations of preachers, preachers are not to be comedians! A preacher is to be sincere and sober minded in his teaching/preaching. Paul exhorted Timothy to "be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." (II Tim. 4:5) The preacher is to be an example in their conduct and speech for other believers (I Tim. 4:12). A preacher is to take pains in their preaching so the brethren will see your progress, while paying close attention to yourself and your teaching so we will ensure salvation for us and those who hear (I Tim. 4:15-16). Too many preachers seem to work hard at entertaining! They want the people to like them and use their wit to get every one's attention. I am not saying that sometimes something funny comes up to make a point, but it seems too many are focused on the comedian entertainment and God is secondary.
When one reads of the OT prophets that preached, they weren't comedians! They rejoiced when rejoicing was in order but their preaching wasn't in patterns of a comedian. Sin is far too serious and people can be easily led down a path of insincerity and lack of conviction just from being funny. Those prophets had a message from God and they had to express that message to keep God's people on track or get them to turn their lives around. It wasn't "The Temple Comedic Hour!"
Listen, thirty minutes of rolling-in-the isle material and some biblical passage sprinkled in with a few serious stories of morals is not preaching the word of God!! It will not take much and the listeners become shallow, hollow shells and opens their lives to listening to anything because it is more than they are presently getting. There is too much "cotton candy" and not enough seriousness of God. People need God and need to be confronted with God. Comedians cannot provide that. Paul warned Timothy, "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires." (II Tim. 4:2-3)
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a preacher and a sour, belligerent, tedious quoter of Bible with little application? (You figure that one out!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"The Secret"

Recently I was reading an article someone wrote based on Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." The writer was using this verse as a 'pep-rally' verse. The constant repeating it was being used as a positive thinking verse and if "we would claim it as ours" (his words), it would be as if something magical would happen. Now I will tell you, I don't like 'sour' tones but I don't like fluff either because God's character is not fluffy and puffy!
Let's think carefully about the context of the above verse. In Phil. 4:10-12, Paul is speaking of how he moved from weakness to strength. There is a sustaining power. The congregation had sent help to him to help with his preaching, but that was not the issue. It has been a while since they helped and now they were helping again and Paul "rejoiced in the Lord greatly." But there was something deeper. Paul learned something that many never see or learn. He learned in every circumstance contentment. He learned how to deal with life that it doesn't matter if you have or if you are lacking, that's not the issue. He learned to be faithful and focus on God. That's the secret!
The secret is what unlocks the power in ones life and Paul had found it. Too many people are driven by their desires, their feelings and even restlessness. They want something but are not sure what it is. In many, there is this great desire just to do something! There is a driving force of wanting. These desires and feelings are propped up with the repeated words "doing all things through Him who strengthens me." It is like a battle cry but that's not the proper understanding of what is meant. Jesus does not work like that.
Paul found his strength day by day. He learned how to lean on the Lord and that helps one settle down under His control. That is when you find your wants, your feelings and longings to dwindle. People seem to do very little Bible reading and they never come into a deeper understanding of the Lord which leads to all these abuses in God's word. It didn't matter about circumstances with Paul. It mattered of walking and being faithful to Jesus. That's the secret to unlock the power in our lives.
There is why Paul (and us if we would allow) could find in all things, strength through Jesus. With Jesus, even the worst situation there is help, hope and strength. We need to learn to focus on the Lord and depend on His strength when we are without. In good times and bad times, learning how to let Him help brings strength. That's the secret many miss!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Thoughts on the Cross"

She was an humble and kind lady. People that know her realize how devoted and dedicated she is to the Lord. As she spoke with me, her heart poured forth troubles. It was evident in her struggle that she loved her Lord but her failures over-whelmed her at times. She was struggling with sin in her life. Have you ever been there? She spoke to a close friend of hers about it and they didn't help much. They just shrugged it off saying we all struggle at times. It will be alright. It was not alright to her as her sincere faith wanted to over-come sin in her life. People might look good outwardly but inwardly they can be a mess!
We need to take sin seriously. God sure does! It seems more and more of those claiming Christ take sin so lightly. I hear little comments here and there. It is right to denounce sin and it is even more right to oppose it in our lives. We don't need to be running and rubbing shoulders with the world but we do need to let them see that we aren't opposed to them. God is trying to save the lost and sometimes, the lost is us! "For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." (John 3:17) God is not waiting around to destroy someone, sending them to the pits of hell. Here is God at His height: our sin provoked our Holy Father to mount a great rescue operation through His Son.
God is opposed to sin, all sin! His opposition to sin is pitiless and ceaseless! But let's not forgot this: God has a relentless love for us, the sinful! Here are a few things to think about as you struggle in your life in battles against sin:
(1) The cross of Jesus did not bribe God to adopt a forgiving mood! The cross of His Son was the expression of His eternal love for us.
(2) The cross of Jesus did not buy grace from God! The cross of Jesus was the unveiling of an eternally gracious God.
(3) The cross of Jesus did not persuade an unwilling heavenly Father to come to our rescue! The cross of Christ was the ultimate demonstration that God had already, from the beginning, moved that way.
Put some thought into these things and as you find difficulties in your walk, realize what the cross is speaking loudly. Our God is not wishing any to perish!

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Listen to the Atheist"

Newsweek wrote an article about the well known atheist Sam Harris. In this piece, Harris warns the world against Christian type voters and would like to produce a "religionless" world and government. It would make for a much better place to live according to his philosophy and thinking.
Maybe he is right!? If we could just transform these Christian types into atheists, then our world would be much better off. If we would remove God and His Son completely out, our government leaders would further the best medical research, follow peace giving solutions and would shape our society into far better living conditions and honesty! Yep...there's no doubt about it that the God given word and faith in Him is and has always been humanity's enemy!!
Maybe Sam is right if we would just get rid of all the so called Christian voters! Our government leaders along with the atheistic teachings in due time would make this world a lovely paradise! Why not look at those religious men like Stalin or Pol Pot or Mao Tse Tung and Adolf Hitler and see how right Sam is. I think he may be on to something. Oh, let's talk about what happened when God's principles were followed in the Gulag of Russia. You might want to look that up and see how these prison camps worked. What about the godly medical research done by the God-loving Josef Mengele and all those wonderful God-fearing colleagues at Auschwitz. We can rest assured that if all these men in history had been active atheists, we would have a different and more wonderful world right now, wouldn't you say?
Wait...maybe I am missing something here!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Pray and Trust"

Let's see if I can make a little sense of prayer. People sometimes seem to get into great theological discussions about it which really does not help except talk in ways and words that confuse. There is something simple about prayer yet there is nothing simple about prayer. Did I just confuse us????
Jesus knows every aspect of prayer, the difficult questions we want to ask and all He urged people to do is prayer and not quit (Luke 18:1). There may be many thoughts and questions surrounding the passage but one thing is clear, persistent prayer. Paul encouraged the young Thessalonians to "pray without ceasing." (I Thes. 5:17) God hears the prayers of His children and responds (I Pet. 3:12) and His children pray.
Where should we begin to our understanding of prayer? One simple thing: Trust in the Father to whom we pray! Do not trust your understanding or trying to figure something out. Just trust the Father. God's ways are greater than ours and many speak of God's mysterious ways as if He is allusive from us. All talk like that just discourages prayer. God made Himself known in Jesus Christ. Just read your Bible and see that looking at Jesus, that gives us ground to trust God! I realize God is too grand to be fully grasp but when you look at Jesus, you see God. Trust Him even when you don't understand. Didn't we do that with our parents growing up? The same with God. It was Jesus who said we should be converted and become like children (Matt. 18:1-4).
Many times we don't know how to pray, what to ask for. Here is the greatness of God. He still knows what you need. That's what Romans 8:26-27 teach us. The Spirit of God who dwells in us intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. When we hurt, our souls are disturbed and feel the world caving in, if you're in Christ and trusting in the Father, there is intercessions going up on your behalf when you don't know what to ask for. That should create a deeper sense of trust in the Father. We aren't left alone just to fend for ourselves. Trust the Father to whom you pray!
Prayer is the only one expression of the rich and complex relationship we have with God. Prayer is vital to our spiritual well being. Do not allow anxieties and fears dominate your life to hinder your relationship. Cast your anxieties on Him because God cares deeply for you (I Pet. 5:7). He knows your need and the answer to your life. Pray! Trust! God already knows the end and it is impossible for Him to be unrighteous! Trust the Father!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"The Man"

I know a man who some thirty-five years ago watched a young lady walk into his life. He was struck with a sense of wonderment! It took some time to win her but this man knew it was going to be worth it all. That man worked hard to get such a lady's attention. He had never worked so hard for someone in his life before then. Someway, somehow she responded to his attention. It was something that this man couldn't grasp as to why. This man was very flawed and immature but she gave him a chance. This man took too many things for granted early on and was even afraid of life at times but just by being with her, it made things a little easier. In this man's selfishness and self consuming attitude, a little at a time the Lord was chipping away, showing that through her he could become something much better and wiser. She was showing him God.
Thirty-five years have passed and this man realized he was never worthy of such a lady but is so thankful for the opportunity. Lessons learned, life lived on different levels, failures that cannot be counted, weaknesses exposed and despite all this, the Lord sought to redeem this man and open his eyes to one of life's wonderful blessings. People know and see the man in glimpses but they can never see what this wonderful, beautiful lady had to live with and pray intently for strength to endure. The years have passed and age is starting to set in as God intended but the resolve and heart of this man is continually moving forward with her. Yes, I know the man and I also know the lady! I thank the Lord for the many years we have had and I pray more to come...she is worth every moment!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


"What the wicked fears will come upon him, and the desire of the righteous will be granted. When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation." (Prov. 10:24-25)
There is a definite difference between the righteous and the wicked in the eyes of God. They both anticipate something: (1) the wicked anticipate the worst (2) the righteous anticipates the best possible. The wicked have lots of fears because they have no foundation or assurances. The righteous has an everlasting foundation and assurances which eliminates their fears.
How does God define a wicked person? It is difficult for us to accept we might be wicked because we categorize wickedness with horrible, disgusting acts. But that's not how God views all wickedness. We know there is none righteous, not even one (Rom. 3:10). Let's see if we can define the wicked in God's view. We will use the book of Proverbs for this.
"Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; and you neglected my counsel, and did not want my reproof." (Prov. 1:24-25) These verses are speaking about the wisdom of God trying to call us into listening and heeding. When God's wisdom and teachings are given and people refuse or pay little attention, it leaves one in a position with God that is not blessed. "I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm, and your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come on you." (Prov. 1:26-27) A wicked person is one that will not heed the wisdom of God and when difficulties come into their lives, they have only one thing: FEAR! Their fears will hold them in anguish and their fears will increase.
"He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself. And he who reproves a wicked man gets dishonor for himself. And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself." (Prov. 9:7) A wicked person will not take correction. When they are corrected, they insult and attack the one who corrects them. Their fears will bring them into dishonor. Compared to the righteous: "No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble." (Prov. 12:21) The wicked have troubles in abundance. This does not mean the righteous will never see trouble but they have a comfort and assurance because the righteous sees their security in the Lord. "What the wicked fears will come upon him."
Listen to how the righteous are described: "But he who listens to me shall live securely, and shall be at ease from the dread of evil." (Prov. 1:33) Wisdom is being personified again in these verses. The righteous have their eyes and ears attentive to God as His wisdom calls. "Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will will increase his learning." (Prov. 9:8-9) The righteous wants correction when needed and wants to gain greater insight for their life. The righteous become more and more secure and stable.
"The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous." (Prov. 15:29) The righteous rest assured their prayers are heard and heeded. The righteous are in God's favor and their humble, willing attitude to listen and heed prove it.
"What the wicked fears will come upon him." This one little statement is the reason the power of positive thinking seems to work. It is often preached/taught that if you think positive thoughts, good things will happen. All positive thinking does for the wicked is slow down the fear aspect but it does not solve the greater problem one has. Stability and assurance comes from a right and loving relationship with God by following His word and heeding His wisdom. God knows the difference between the wicked and the righteous and the wicked lives in many fears.

Monday, November 9, 2009

"What Are We Missing?"

The worship of the Almighty God is a grace-given privilege. Many do not see that or even know that. To some, worship is a duty expected. I had this statement made to me recently while speaking at one of my engagements: "Do you think I would be here if I didn't have to?" The problem with this statement was the fellow was sincere. He felt obligated to be there. What was worse, he was one of the spiritual leaders in the congregation. It made me wonder what the spiritual pulse of the congregation was?
What is worship? It literally means "to kiss toward, to do reverence to." Worship is always a response of reverence. Failure to revere God will lead one down a path of condemnation and self deception. You can see it in the beginning with Cain (Gen. 4). His offering, an outpouring of his worship, was not regarded by God and it made Cain angry. Nadab and Abihu thought the fire they brought into the presence of the Lord as they led in worship was good enough. Fire is fire in their mind and without any regard or reverence toward God, it cost them their lives (Lev. 10). Jehovah God sounded forth His word: "By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored." (Lev. 10:3) King Saul thought he would take upon himself to offer his own worship, his personal choice and it cost him everything (I Sam. 13). The Pharisees worshiped God on a regular basis and Jesus condemned them. They had no heart and it was nothing more than man-made meaningless words and teachings (Matt. 15).
I have heard people say they are bored with worship, it is mundane or they get nothing from it. Why are people so empty and bored? What are we missing? Worship is not about us, the worshipers! Worship is about God!! Worship is not about what "moves" us or motivates us. True worship of the heart is God centered, God directed and God revered! Worship is our expression of love, devotion and glorification of God. It expresses how we feel about God and our worship shows our insight and knowledge of God. Worship IS NOT to arouse in us experiences like a ballgame or entertain us like some theatrical production. Worship is God directed to please Him and Him alone! Worship is an awe and reverence shown toward His name and power. When true reverence, heart desired worship takes place, it will move your heart to love Him more and honor His name. Worship of God is never orchestrated by man's ideas or music! I realize there will be some who will not like me saying that but we need to do some serious study from God's word what is true worship. Worship is an honoring the greatness and majesty of God's love despite our sinfulness.
Worship is not about receiving! It is about giving. "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of the lips that give thanks to His name. (Heb. 13:15) Notice worship is spoken as a sacrifice. When people are bored or gain little, it reveals their sacrifice! They have nothing to offer from the heart and their sacrifice is rejected.
Worship is completely God centered. He is the audience, not us! God examines our hearts and looking at the sacrifice we offer. Bottom line for us: what does the death of Jesus really mean? Our worship is the indicator! What are we missing?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"What Is Love?"

How many times have we heard something about God's love? The countless lessons on I Cor. 13 or John's writings in I John 4:7-8? With all the teaching/classes and articles written, still one of the most lacking aspect in those claiming Christ as theirs is love. Over the last few years, I have come to realize how few really know how to love, especially among preachers! I'm still working on it!
As long as everything moves along smoothly, no one rocks the boat, there is little distress in peoples lives. The moment someone says something that is slightly off the way we think, suspicions arise and the emotions become stirred. We feel threatened and think we have to correct such thinking in the lives of others. Some believe it is their duty to correct people and have a strong desire to do so. (That's not always the wisest move.) Some never think of trying to help the other person but they take an attitude of avoidance! From this point, what controls you? Love or your feelings?
Sometimes brethren aren't the kindest in the approach of things. Some are blunt (which they call being straight forward) and rude. Their words can be sharp, cutting and hurtful but they believe they are helping. (I've been here and had to repent of this!) Let me ask you, those in Christ, shouldn't we expect them to act like Christ? That would be ideal but that's not reality. Some of the most vicious people on earth are those claiming to belong to Jesus! What does one do? Listen to Paul: "Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save for their parents, but parents for their children." (II Cor. 12:14) Notice carefully Paul's attitude toward them. What is he seeking? What's best for them! He will not burden them or expect from them. That's love! But it doesn't end here. "And I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. If I love you the more, am I to be loved the less?" (II Cor. 12:15) What was Paul looking at? Their souls! The soul is what is most important to God and Christ. The love of God allows you to look at the soul, which will over-ride the emotion. Too many work off their emotions and never come into true love. If Paul loved them that much, shouldn't he expect to be loved back in the same manner? We would think so. What if they don't expend themselves back for Paul and love him back? What would he do? "But be that as it may..." (II Cor. 12:16) It did not matter one bit to Paul whether or not they loved him back. It won't stop him from being expended and doing what is best for their soul. This is what godly love is all about!
God's feeling about our ungodliness didn't stop Him from seeking our highest good. He gave His all for our eternal well being. Christ was the offering for us and did God get our love in return? No! He received from us rebellion, stubbornness and hate. Did that stop God from trying to reach us? No! Jesus knew that. "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) There's the depth of love! How many of us love like that?
To love one another is not an emotion or prompted from an emotion. Emotional love, which too many work off of, limits how far you will reach and react emotionally! God's love is different and much deeper. People hurt us and we want to avoid them. Love looks at the soul and does what it can to help the situation. People say things that aren't exactly right and we give no allowance for growth but jump them for their statements. They never look at the soul to see what really needs to be done. People do things to us unintentionally yet we hold to that deed done to us and it stays with us. That's not love because true love would let it go so it would never become a hindrance.
Without love, when you get hurt, you will pout and not consider the best for the other. You see it in marriages all the time between mates. Here's the danger: as you close the door to your hurt, you will slowly but surely drown in bitterness and hate! "By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35) Disciples of Christ love and will always do what is best for the others soul. There are no barriers in that.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Who Is Your God?"

If someone was to ask you, "Who is your God?", what would you say? Most would probably no doubt say Jehovah God, who created us. People claim the God of our Savior, Jesus Christ and the Father of mercies. Many recite something they have learned about God or have some deep conviction about the God they serve.
Have you ever thought that the God we say we have a relationship with and the god we actually serve can be two different gods? A person's god is what he cares about and who they serve on a daily basis. A person's god is where we place our money, sacrifice for and give our thoughts daily to.
In the days of Rome, the Romans worshiped Mars, their god of war. Today, we would consider such as ignorant and empty but is that really true? Let's think about this. We hold our nation to be great because of the high technology of our war machines and bombs. We boast of military superiority. In this, many take their security in this false god. "The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men...The king is not saved by a mighty army; a warrior is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength." (Psa. 33:13,16-17)
The Romans worshiped Bacchus, the god of wine, drunkenness and sexuality. What do many serve and think about today? The goddess Aphrodite was the goddess of sex. Look how many are obsessed with sex, pornography and the things tied to this. There was Venus, the goddess of beauty. Look how many are obsessed with physical beauty, surgeries to enhance their physical appearance.
With the above things, maybe we need to ask ourselves again, "Who is your God?" What drives you or what do you sacrifice for in your life? What do you talk about the most and controls your thoughts? It takes an honest heart to look at this.
Paul knew his God and he served His Savior and Lord with all his heart. Jesus taught that no man can serve two masters. It is impossible! (Matt. 6:24) God has first place in our lives or we serve a different god (Col. 1:18). Paul taught the pagan Athenians, "...for in Him we live and move and exist." (Acts 17:28) Paul taught Timothy the young preacher, "...for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day."(II Tim. 1:12)
We have needs in our lives but it seems many have more wants than needs. Our desires can easily become our god. To expend our energies in pursuit of education, recreation, literary achievements is not sinful when kept within their means. To some, these things make them who they are! They become their love and pride. I recently had a preacher telling me of the years he put in for his high educated degree and he said he deserved respect for it! It had become his god and he didn't even realize it. The God who died for us, calls us to choose Him, to follow Him with a whole heart, forbids us to follow any other god whether it be a drive, need, person or object. He calls us to make Him the center of our thoughts, actions and desires. We need to please Him in all respects because He is worthy and capable of filling our each and every need. Who is your god?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"What Are You Selling Your Soul For?"

Jesus asked point blank: "For what will a man be profited if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Have you ever applied these words to your lifestyle?
What if you gained everything you wanted, did everything you wanted to do and go anywhere you wanted to go? What if you won the lottery? These ideas excite many! People would love to have money at their disposal and be able to go freely as they please. People strive for "things" and "externals" while the soul is left unfed and uncared for. Just listen to how we talk about doing this or that and how busy we have become "playing" for us and our children. It might scare you if you took an inventory of your life and see what you have wrapped your living around. How much do we really value our souls?
Jesus pointed out that our life is not about our possessions (Luke 12:15). In fact, our lives are not about our children or jobs. These may be what we live for but your life consists of one thing: YOUR SOUL! Today, if you were to pass away, tell me what would be the most important part of you? Jesus describes what is most important in Luke 12:16-21. God will require the soul! He will call the soul to an eternal destination. Too many are selling their soul for things in this life and little importance is place on the spiritual well being of the soul.
You are not in control of your stay on the earth. God's word tells us that the days that were ordained for us to live were recorded before they even existed (Psa. 139: 16). Have our days been recorded to end today? Tomorrow? Next week?
Jesus came to save the soul of man. He saw the soul as the most important part of man. When He became man, He followed God with all His heart and soul, knowing His soul would be required of Him. Nothing detoured Him from the will of God. For us, when we allow things of this life to get in the way of our soul feeding on God, those things will erode the soul spiritually and it will crave the physical but finding no rest.
What are you selling your soul for? Pleasures? Work? Are you busy in life with things, running here and there, sacrificing for things while we sacrifice little for our souls? What if you won millions, retired, travelled the world and enjoyed life to the fullest and in the end, you lost your soul eternally? What is the profit of that? Eternity is where our souls will exist. We all face the question Jesus asked and the answer we give will determine everything about us for eternity.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Intake Determines Output"

I grew up in West Texas where cotton is the major crop. While recently visiting my hometown, I heard much of the same talk I heard growing up: the cotton crop! I listened to one farmer friend of mine talk of how he got all stalk and little cotton. Not once did the farmer blame the stalk for the lack of cotton!!
As my mind went toward the word of God, I thought about the stalk how it can never produce the cotton. God produces the cotton on the stalk. Let me explain. A stalk will only produce in direct proportion to what it brings in as far as nutrient. The intake always determines the output! That's the nature of growing anything. The more the nutrients, the more fruit. I have never heard of one farmer blame the stalk during the time of drought! The stalk is at the mercy of the intake. The intake always determines the output!
In Eph. 3:14-21, Paul prayers for those in Christ to take in the proper nutrients. Notice the strength that comes from the Spirit to our inner man (v.16). Christ is to dwell in our hearts through faith (v.17). We are to be rooted and grounded in His love. It's all about intake. Intake will determine the output! Something from God is feeding us as we respond in our faith. We are told to " filled with the Spirit." (Eph. 5:18) "To be filled" is not some miraculous happening or feeling that comes over you. The word "filled" means "to be influenced or controlled by." By following God with all your heart, yielding to His will and not yours, it allows Him to control your attitudes and actions. As we grow to know more of the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (v.19) the result: "That you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." You can have all of Christ you want to take in. The ability to overcome, to grow is ours for the taking. Our intake always determines the output!
A true relationship with Christ is not a "self-help" program or some "self-improvement" course. It's not the pursuit of man's ideas or anything people (especially preachers) try to coerce us into following. When we are pointed away from Christ and being rooted in Him and Him alone, the output will be fleshly...all us! After a while, you will quit because it wears you out. Why do so many get worn to a frazzle? Why do so many find themselves stressed? Why is walking with the Lord such a burden and people quit? There is no power because...intake always determines the output!