Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Understanding Love"

Too many miss what it means to love. Many speak of an "unconditional" love which I agree with but to take it to the idea that someone will love you no matter what kind of person you are can be spiritually destructive.
To love someone with a godly love means that you want them better, to be better, to live better and involves discipline when needed. If loving someone doesn't bring this intended result the love shown is missing a vital ingredient. Reaching out to your children and doing everything for them or pandering to them while they live a life that is irresponsible or ungodly is not godly love at all. That is keeping them and encouraging them to continue in their sinful ways and in the end they will lose their soul! I have known parents in dealing with their grown children speak without saying a word: "I don't care about your goodness or right behavior I just want..."
If we are really concerned about loving someone as God loves (which is where the cross calls us) it should lead us into a love that is about character and godliness. When someone tells me that they love me, I hope they mean that they will correct me when I am off track, guide me when my attitude isn't godly and withhold things because I am demanding or selfish! They are looking out for my soul which shows me their love. Too many are loving with little warm fuzzies!!! Too many bail out others thinking they are showing love when in reality they are just encouraging the ungodly behavior to continue. Read the prodigal son Jesus spoke about in Luke 15 and see the Father didn't bail him out but let him go! It was the only way for him to come to his senses. It was love being shown!
God's love expects something from us. Our love for our children and the brethren should expect a right character and behavior. When we read from the Lord that "Love does not act unbecomingly" (I Cor. 13:5) why do we support those who act unbecomingly? Many call that an unconditional love but God doesn't call it that. When someone acts in ways that are demeaning, lazy and without commitment they don't need to be coddled but loved with the love and God. What does God's love call for? "For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives." (Heb. 12:6) That is God's real "unconditional" love and we need to practice it! True love calls us upward into God.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Beware: Don't Void the Cross"

Paul had a great concern that he did not void the cross of Christ (I Cor. 1:17). He took great care in his teaching that he wasn't entertaining or cute with the gospel. Today too many are trying to be entertaining and fun in their teachings and as a result, the church suffers and shows itself in practice!
Not only being clever in speech can void the cross but there are other things Paul taught that are spiritually destructive. One can have a "form" of godliness but deny the power (II Tim. 3:5). The power comes from knowing Jesus and Him crucified. There is a major difference between possessing the power and just having a form. Just take a vase of flowers. They can have the form of reality but still be artificial! We see paintings all the time that are copies but not the real thing. What creates difficulties in the church is too many have a form and not the power. The cross of Christ has been made void in their lives. What takes hold in their life reveals much.
Read down through II Tim. 3:1-5 and look at the list. These things to be sure are in the world but Paul is speaking of in the church. Let's pick out a few of them. "Lovers of self." People in Christ who have no real concern for others but they have the form. "Lovers of money." Money becomes the focus and the drive while the Hebrew writer expresses what God is really looking for from His people (Heb. 13:5). "Disobedient to parents." How many parents in the church just shrug the actions and attitudes of their children as part of being a young person? Not to God!! "Ungrateful." There seems to be very little thanks and a lot of complaining! "Irreconcilable." Brethren who refuse to enter a treaty and unwilling to forgive another. You see this especially in martial difficulties. "Malicious gossips." It is beyond gossip. It is one who is a spreader of criticisms and accuses others. "Treacherous." One that betrays or turns on you. We have seen it where people act like they care but turn on you. "Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God." Pleasure seeking over God seeking. To them, that's what weekends are made for and you see little love for the brethren (we're back at lovers of self)!
Paul taught that he made certain he did not void the cross. People can look religious, act religious and say religious words and have no reality. They void the power by playing the game. You void the cross and you void your relationship!

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Unforgiving - Unbelief"

Over the years I have known people, professed Christian's that refuse to forgive another. One time there was a Christian lady who had built up so much animosity toward me in her heart that she waited until I was out of town on a Sunday, came forward asking for the forgiveness of the congregation for her actions and then told the congregation (in a note) she would not be back here. It was a shot at me! She held so much against me that she went through all this to show her disdain for me. The brethren did not understand what was happening. To this day she still believes she and the Lord are in a good relationship!
The reason a person cannot forgive another is one simple word: UNBELIEF! When people have suffered what they think is an injustice to them, they want it to be corrected. A word I hear thrown around is: accountability! They have no faith in the Lord that the Lord will do what is right and just so they become the justice bearer! They will make the offender accountable. It's a simple matter of unbelief. Hurts are held to because the fear that the guilty party will not suffer.
God is righteous and just...always! Some professed Christian's don't believe He is, it is that simple. Paul taught in Rom. 12:17 that it is never right to pay back evil for evil. NEVER! If these are the words from God and His teaching and we don't believe in them, then pay back!! In Rom. 12:19 God teaches us that it is NEVER right to take your own revenge. Vengeance is the role of God. People say they won't take revenge but they sure take a bad, hateful attitude toward the one that hurt them. That is revenge. You want them to feel the pain that was caused and will withdraw or speak critical or whatever it takes because they want the offender to know they are upset. In reality they don't believe God! If you don't believe God's word, then take your revenge and make that your role!
Jesus taught His disciples to love their enemies! Jesus loved His enemies. Just listen to words from His heart while on the cross: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Listen to Stephen's words as he followed His Savior to death while a vicious crowd stoned him: "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." (Acts 7:60) Listen to some professed Christians not willing to budge or forgive because of the hurt and bitterness in their heart. "But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgessions." (Matt. 6:15) How do those words from Jesus grip your heart?

Thursday, December 23, 2010


It was at a Lectureship that I had attended. The final, main speaker of the evening was an older gentleman. He spoke softly but I heard his message. It was insightful and confronted us with God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Afterward, listening to the younger adults speak about the events of the day, the majority attacked this older gentleman with words like, boring, uninteresting, monotone and mundane. The talk turned to the enthusiastic and those who had some great emotion in the pulpit. It struck me how people had missed something of great value.
The gospel is voice of God spoken to the lost like me! The gospel is where people find freedom and help. The gospel is about the Person not another person or friend. The gospel is the truth that sets people free! Too many are getting caught up in a preacher, a teacher, a movement and the enthusiasm people give off. The power of God and the fullness of God is placed in Jesus (Col. 1:19). The gospel of Jesus Christ is about God coming to us sinful and vile people redeeming us from the power of sin and death.
That leads us to this: Is it the gospel that "fires us up" or the enthusiastic preacher? Is it the Person of Jesus Christ that motivates us or some exciting program or teaching? Is the podium the stage that motivates us or the stage of the resurrected Christ? Will our lives end with a world of barren, enthusiastic facts and no life with God?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Ignoring the Word"

I have received numerous personal emails after yesterdays post. I appreciate all the thoughts. I do need to address the importance of paying attention of listening to God's word and letting God lead us upward into Him. As a teacher and minister of God's word, I must try to help.
We must be a people that is focused completely at listening to the Lord and following His will otherwise we will not make it to the Lord (Matt. 7:21). Just because someone believes in the Lord does not mean they are of God. Jesus showed this plainly in John 8 when many of the Jews believed Him (8:31). Those who believed Him Jesus called them sons of the devil (8:44). Why? Because they would not listen to His word (8:43)! They believed what they wanted while ignoring other parts. Their minds were set on what they wanted and couldn't hear the words of Jesus. Those who are of God, Jesus said, hears the words of God (8:47). I would encourage you to read this chapter.
I want to follow the Lord and not some tradition of the world. We need to listen to Jesus, what He wanted His church to follow in His instructions. Before His death, Jesus proclaimed His Supper saying it was to be done in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19). Jesus gave them bread to represent His body and the cup was a reminder of His new covenant in His blood (Luke 22:20). That's what He asked them (and us) to remember. The apostle Paul saw this so important that he taught extensively the church at Corinth how they were corrupting the "rememberance of the Lord." (I Cor. 10:15-22/11:17-34)
Prior to the Lord's ascension back to the Father, Jesus called those apostles together and told them to go into all the world with a gospel message and they were to proclaim that message (Mark 16:15-16). What is the gospel message? His death, burial and resurrection (I Cor. 15:1-4)! That is what they were to proclaim. It was His death, burial and resurrection that was the "good news" (that's what the term 'gospel' means). It was the Lord's death, burial and resurrection that the Lord's church was born out of. The power of God to save anyone is placed in the gospel and nowhere else (Rom. 1:16-17). The gospel is what gives hope to a lost world and reveals His grace (Col. 1:5-6). This gospel was not to be ignored or tainted in any form without severe consequences (Gal. 1:6-9). People will build faith and find salvation ONLY through the gospel or Jesus lied to those apostles and us!
Upon revealing this, we cannot just gloss over the warnings given by Christ's apostles about being taken captive by traditions of men (Col. 2:8). The teachings of the apostles are to mean something to Christ's church, His people. The apostle John warned that those from the world listens to the world while those from God listen to the apostles (I John 4:5-6). We need to be careful that we aren't formulating our beliefs off what the world tells to believe. When there are verses that teach us what to watch for, we can't just ignore them like the don't exist. We have to deal with them in an honest heart.
I pray those who read realize I am not trying to attack anyone. I am trying to help us think, putting the word of God in front of us to deal honestly with it in our heart and not ignore the teachings like they don't mean anything. Our world has set up things the Lord Jesus never set up and to jump on board and say its good to follow the world and their ideas of God that directly contradict the Scripture is to ignore the Lord and His word. Where does that put us?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Re-visit Christmas"

Do you ever feel like that you're the only one in a situation that is disturbed about things while others around you seem untouched about what is going on? It makes you think and reflect if you are the one off base. It happens to me from time to time. This is one of those times.
I have a great difficulty understanding how people, sincere God fearing people, have allowed the Christmas story about the birth of Jesus to become the central issue this time of year. Please, please, don't take this as an attack. People are taken captive by it! I guess you cannot write something like this without getting someone upset and since this is my blog, well, I'm not trying to upset anyone but we need to seriously think about what is surrounding our lives and heart in relation to the Lord.
Christmas isn't from God. It never was. It is a man-made tradition that was tied to the birth of Jesus to make it acceptable. Just do a little research. There is nothing wrong with having a man-made holiday or tradition. But to tie something to Jesus that was never a part of Jesus, making it seem 'religious' is just not right. Paul warned the church at Colossae to "see to it" that they weren't taken CAPTIVE according to the traditions of men. It must be according to Christ (Col 2:8). That's what the holy Scriptures speak! You say something like I am writing and people get upset. Does that speak they have been taken captive? What are we trying to protect?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with gift exchanges, lights and the like but why tie it to the birth of Jesus and worship? Those gospel accounts of Jesus entering our world in His birth were to show the fulfillment of prophecy from the early years. It demonstrates the wisdom of God and the anticipation of the Messiah for the Jewish nation. That is all it was for. After those few verses penned for us, not one mention of the birth yet man surrounds a month in worship and adoring His birth. The birth of Jesus never saved one soul. The birth of Jesus doesn't confront us with our sins and seriousness of the consequences of our sins. I know there are those who take issue with me but it is not "according to Christ!" It is all man-made and it makes people "feel" religious. Listen carefully to what the apostle Paul said about things like this: "These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence." (Col. 2:23) The issue with the Lord is our fleshly indulgences. This is a self-made religion we are speaking about here and it cannot help us over-come our fleshly desires, the very thing that will cost people their souls.
Let's do things according to Christ! Let's follow with all our heart the teaching of the word. Let's worship and adore that which God asks us to worship and adore knowing it was the death, burial and resurrection that the apostles were commanded to go into all the world and preach! The risen Christ is where we will find the power to over-come our fleshly desires. The Supper we take is about the risen Lord. Our justification is the result of His raising from the dead (Rom. 4:25). It was Paul who said his boasting would be in the cross of our Lord to which he was crucified to the world (Gal. 6:14). Nothing, nothing except the tradition of men focuses on His birth and that's not according to Christ yet has take so many captive!

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Are We Mary and Martha?"

John 11 tells us that Jesus had a very special relationship with Lazarus and his two sisters. Upon hearing of Lazarus being sick, Jesus intentionally chose to stay away two more days (11:6). That might not stand to reason for a friend because when we hear of a friend being sick, we would do what we could to contact them and not stay away! The sisters must have been talking because they both couldn't understand the decision of Jesus to stay away either (11:21,32). What is more interesting is Jesus saying He was glad He wasn't there (11:15)! Why? Because Jesus knew the outcome of the whole from the beginning (11:4,15).
Upon careful looking at this real life incident, Lazarus wasn't the only dead one that day when Jesus arrived! Jesus pointed that Lazarus would live and then tells them He is the resurrection and the life (11:25). Why would He speak that? What was Jesus trying to get them to see? All of them, from the Jew's who came to console to the two sisters were all dead that day! Jesus not only made a powerful claim about Himself but asked the only question that needed to be asked: "Do you believe this?" (11:26) That's what Jesus is asking us! Do we really believe He is the resurrection and the life?
Jesus had gone over things, stated things and had gotten little response from any of them. He looks around, sees Martha weeping, Mary weeping, the Jews weeping it moved Him but it moved Him to being troubled (11:33)! Jesus wept! He wasn't moved by their tears and the situation. He was moved by their not hearing one word He said and believing Him! Jesus hurts when people refuse to listen and respond. That's one message that comes out of all this. We can see His outreach to all those that day when Martha outright tells Jesus that it might not be best to remove the stone over the tomb (11:38-39). The heartache of Jesus speaks: "Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" (11:40)
That day Lazarus was not the only one in the graveyard. It makes me reflect and think, 'What about me? Am I Mary and Martha?'

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Context, Context, Context"

Sometimes I just don't understand. It's probably my fault. Does it concern you how those who study the Bible, read the Bible and make applications to something seem to not keep things in context in which they were spoken? I cannot over-stress the importance of context: the one who is speaking, who is being spoken to and what is being spoken about. It is crucial in proper application of Scriptures.
Have you ever had someone say something that you said but took it out of the context about what you were speaking? I know I have! You said what they said you said but you weren't talking about what they used your statement for. It can come out destructive! We see it in our news media all the time. That should alone get our attention about the importance of context!
Recently I had someone sharing something they believed in God's word but in explaining their present standing and belief, they pulled verses out of context. They were making them say what they didn't say and used the verses to support their own personal thought process. That is what has lead to so much confusion today and varied teachings. Paul charged the preacher Timothy to make certain the truth of Scripture was handled accurately (II Tim. 2:15). One can't handle it accurately if they are concerned about presenting themselves before God with some diligence.
Please, let me encourage you, make certain before you come to a conclusion about something you see in Scripture to keep the context pure. After that, make certain there aren't verses speaking opposite of your conclusion because that too shows you have misapplied. I pray I never come across as a 'know it all' because that's not my hearts intention. I just want to teach the importance of handling God's word in the manner the Lord wants us to.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"God's Discipline"

We have become so insensitive to sin because we lived as its slave (before entering Christ) and it is all around in the lives of others. God takes sin more infinitely serious than we do but that's because of His holiness with no hint of darkness around Him. God wants to share His life with us and in order for Him to do that, sin must be dealt with. Those who put a trusting faith in Him will see the utter disgust for sin, move away from it, desiring to share this life with a holy and righteous Father.
When we become too comfortable about sin, there must be things our heavenly Father must do to help us see that our ease of sin, our attitude that can easily embrace sinful ways has to be dealt with. That's what Heb. 12 is all about. The Hebrew speaking for God admonishing the readers they haven't resisted sin to the point of shedding blood and forgotten what the Father exhorts us as sons (Heb. 12:4-5). We are children of God and that means we share in His life. He disciplines those of us who take sin lightly and it is for our own good! Sin has never affected the church for good and never will!
God wants us to live! Some just don't believe that. God wants us to share in His life! Some think that quoting some verses and attacking every misstatement is how they share in His life. That can really be arrogance and sin! We need a better vision of what God is trying to do for us and in us. God must bring pain to us when we wander off into sin and are unrepentant. That's because He cares for us as His children. I did it to my children, didn't you? Discipline is in store for those who wander into the world God redeemed us from. Sometimes discipline can be a gentle reminder and other times, there must be a consequence to help us see that our attitude or actions were improper. Why does God do all this? Because He loves us? Yes...but that's not the whole of the matter. Listen carefully: "...but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness." (Heb. 12:10) God wants us to live and share His holiness. One thing will hinder that...sinful practices and attitudes. Think about share in the holiness of God! What a desire on the part of God. What a lack of desire sometimes on my part but thank God for discipline.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Help With I Cor. 13:8"

I have had two emails asking about what I Cor. 13:8 means. "Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away." Let me try to help today.
Let's look carefully at each of the verbs: "will be done away" and "will cease." The prophecy and knowledge Paul says "will be done away." They are indicative, future passive verbs. That means God will end or cut off these two miraculous gifts that were given to the first century church. They will come to a abrupt halt! In saying "will cease" speaking about tongues, it is an indicative, future middle voice verb. That means they will just fade away as time goes by. Tongues would lapse into complete silence and would go away completely over a period of time. I know what some teach today about tongue speaking but that's not Biblical tongues. Tongues were languages known. They were meant for unbelievers and not believers (I Cor. 14:22). How else were brethren and the apostles going to reach all the nations with the gospel without God giving the gift of tongues so they could hear in their language? What's more amazing is the gospel was preached to all creation by 62 AD! Yes sir, the apostles were commissioned to go into all the world to preach the gospel and Paul said in Col. 1:23 all creation had heard it! God gave them the gifts of tongues to reach those with other languages. Today, what many are calling tongues are nothing more than babbling slurs! Tongues, all miracles and signs were to confirm the truth of the word that was preached (Heb. 2:1-4).
In contrast, love will never end. It will continue and time will have no bearing on love. It was the love that the Corinthian brethren were missing. They thought the spiritual gifts were what made them special and spiritual but Paul said not so! It's rather amazing that Paul didn't teach the Ephesian brethren about the miraculous gifts. In fact, Paul showed them how they were to come to a full understanding of the mystery of Christ. "By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ." (Eph. 3:4) Paul instructed them to read! Nothing more or miraculous. Just read!

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Once Saved Always Saved"

Do you ever wonder how people come up with some of the doctrine taught today? One doctrine that has always been dumbfounding is the doctrine of "Once saved, always saved!" Years ago there was a couple I was studying with. The lady believed in this doctrine. When she was converted to Christ she revealed it was always a great doctrine to believe in and follow because she could do as she pleased (and she did) and couldn't ever be lost! There was no fear of God before her eyes. There was no trembling at His word. Just a life of fun and frolicking in sin and in the end you're saved. Today that lady is so grateful to the saving grace of Jesus because of her unbelief in ignorance.
Too many believe that one cannot fall from grace. I have some books written by scholarly minds but believe in the doctrine that one cannot fall from grace. No one takes into account that the majority of the nation of Israel was lost because of sin. I know that's Old Testament but it shows that just because one belongs at one time doesn't mean they are a shoe-in! What about Judas? A hand-picked apostle of Jesus Christ yet the best he offered was 30 silver coins rattling in his pocket and later in the temple and suicide! And what of Demas? Paul said he loved the present world too much and deserted him (II Tim. 4:10). When you read the book of Hebrews it is completely devoted to warning against leaving Jesus. Those Hebrew Christian's weren't "once saved always saved." What all this means is one can't be protected from themselves in spite of themselves! One can come but they can also go. Christianity is a life, not a one time happening.
Walking in the Light is just that...a life lived in the Light. To say one has fellowship with the Lord and walk in sin, they lie and do not practice the truth (I John 1:6-7). The Galatian congregations were warned that those who turn back to the law for their justification are severed from Christ, fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4). People don't fall from works or law. They fall from GRACE!
Fear the Lord! Hold fast to the name of Jesus! Humbly walk with the Lord with a whole heart trusting in His grace. And His grace will lead us home!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"House Rules"

I was playing ping-pong at a friends house. During the final point, my friend returned the ball and it hit the ceiling, bounced off the light fixture and landed on my side of the table. "Game!" he stated loudly. "House rules are in order here!" In other words because we are playing in his house it is his rules and he won.
That made me think how more and more people today are using "house rules" in their approach to God. Many have an idea about how they want to approach God, worship God and run with it. Because they are sincere in their heart, they believe it is completely acceptable. Recently I had an elder at a congregation tell me that "our ideas of worship are out-dated" and we need a new, fresh approach so they brought in things that were, well, appealing to people and the community. "House rules!" I hear more and more talk of what moves us and what makes us feel closer to the Lord. I hear little talk about what is acceptable to the Lord. "There's nothing in the Bible that says it's wrong!" is the argument of many. I guess that means "House rules"!
It was Jesus who said that not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter God's kingdom but only those who do His will (Matt. 7:21) Heaven and fellowship with God is God's place! Being in fellowship with God is what He allows because of His mercy and grace. That means His "house rules" and He sets the standards, not man. We seem less and less concerned about His will and more and more involved in our will. If we are going to be pleasing, have an edifying worship, who determines what that is and acceptable? Remember Cain offered his ideas of what was acceptable to God and God rejected him. God determines what is acceptable. When are we going to learn?
Paul understood it is God's "house rules" that matters. He understood that to cause a brother or sister stumble was a terrible offense in the eyes of God. Paul went as far as saying if it is food that causes my brother or sister to stumble he would never eat meat again (I Cor. 8:13). How many have that kind of heart for the will of God today? How many times do we see that depth of love practiced? To sin against brethren when they are weak, you sin against Christ (I Cor. 8:12). Paul knew something about reverence for the Lord and awe to his God. That's what many are missing today. What we are seeing in the church is dividing up into two separate congregations while one group worships their way allowing the other to worship another. How close is that to the will of God? Does it promote unity and oneness in the Lord or create division? What does the voice of the Lord want? What we are speaking of in each of these cases, "House rules!" and it's not about God's house from heaven we are addressing.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Sin Creates Death"

We are way too careless with our attitudes toward sin and in our lives at times. The love of God is spoken so often (which is right) but we seem to miss the seriousness of sin in God's love. I had an elder in the congregation where he served tell me that we "accept anyone who comes to us. We just love, love, love! What more is there?" It shook me a little so I had to inquire further to which I found out what I thought he was saying. They were looking for numbers and no matter what in the life of an individual, they were made to feel warm and accepted. The real question is does God accept them? Yes, but based on Him and His righteousness and not us.
How many times have we heard or quoted, "The wages of sin is death!" (Rom. 6:23)? Death...death...DEATH! Sin is a horror to God. Simply stated, you sin, you die spiritually. You don't just continue to live in a loving relationship with the Lord in unrepented sin. You don't just 'slide' in and have fellowship with God. Because people accept you, pat you on the back, embrace you and tell you how much they love you doesn't take away the reality that the blow of sin has dealt in your life. Sin separates one from God! Let me repeat: sin separates one from God! Not kinda...not just a little mistake but death encompasses the soul and the heart senses are dulled because sin has an eternal impact on the human. If we would only look seriously at the cross there we would see the impact of sin. The horrific scene that sin was out to destroy everything of God. The agony, the immense struggle, the pain staking in the heart of God because sin kills humans and Jesus death shows that.
You sin, you die! That's the fact. To just embrace everyone without their heart turning to the Lord and embracing Him leaves one in death. To tell people we love them without their whole heart turning to the Lord because their heart was touched by the price paid for their personal death keeps them in death. They may act alive and say they believe but death is theirs to the fullest and only by coming to Christ can one have life (I John 5:12). If we continue just embracing people without their heart turning to the Lord, we end up with a congregation of...DEATH! (And those very ones that are 'loved' without their heart turning use the brethren to the fullest! That's another outreach of death.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Grace At Work"

Our service to the Lord must be from our love because of God's grace, not duty. Too many cheapen God's grace because they want to perform a favor so as to repay. You have heard the people, "You owe me one!" when they did you a favor. That's repay not love.
It was Jesus who was trying to open the eyes of the people (and ours) when He taught that when you give to help the needy, don't sound it out there so others will know (Matt. 6:2). People want to know who is giving what and some just want credit for what they do! That's not love because of grace, that is seeking merit!
But it goes further than that. Jesus said in Luke 6, "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you." (v.27) "Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (v.28) "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back." (v.30) "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (v.36) "But is you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount." (v.32-34)
Please think love the Lord is not about our goodness to Him. Remember Jesus died for us when we were His enemies (Rom. 6:8). Any effort we put forth to compensate God for His gift to us will cheapen His grace toward us. Our service to the Lord should be completely 100% love and gratitude while being devoted to Him because of His grace to us. Our works, our offerings to God are the result of being born anew, from an enemy to an adopted child, not the cause of it! Too many feel acceptable because of what they do for the name of the Lord. It is out of their sense of "good works" that make them feel acceptable. That eliminates the love and grace aspect. Paul said we are created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10). Who created us to be new? Was it because you were good and showing your goodness or by His grace 100%? No wonder so many are miserable with little zeal. No wonder many in the church want to "do" something and demand something be done because the Lord commands us. They simply feel the need to work. But work done in love is a completely different element. It is not to show or feel like something needs to be accomplished but a love that reaches to the heart and follows without anyone demanding or knowing. They simply love the Lord because His grace is sufficient and it is seen in their humble service!

Monday, December 6, 2010

"I Am Barabbas"

Could he have heard the cries of the crowd? In the deepest of dungeons he sat waiting his time. It wouldn't be long before the Roman soldiers would come for him. His family surely couldn't figure out what went so wrong in his life to deviate so far from the right path. It was one of the most horrible deaths ever devised. It was lingering pain, sometimes lasting a full day. There was no mercy and little by little the life's blood would drip from the body. The Roman Crucifixion was reserved for the worst of criminals. It was death by suffering!
The noise of soldiers walking down a hallway preparing to open the cell door. His chains stopped rattling for a moment as he paused and waited. His life had made a journey to which he was about to face the consequences. The door opens and the men approached. The commander reaches out and says, "We have come to set you free!" It stunned him for a moment. Maybe they were toying with him? Just another dig in him to advance what was about to take place. "The governor has signed the authorization to set you free. Your sentence has been commuted!" Was this a dream? What was going on? The confusion set in. Here he was an insurrectionist, having tried to over-throw the government and he had committed murder in the process. How he must have hated the established authority yet they were setting him free.
In the background, the raising of voices, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" His thoughts were trying to figure all this out. We know nothing about what happened to his man or where he went but he was set free and someone had taken on his death sentence. I don't know if he ever met Jesus or heard anything about Him but one thing I know, Jesus was substituted in his place to die his death and the multitude of people witnessed this horrible death. This crowd crying out had just let an insurrectionist and murderer go free. They loved a murderer more than Jesus! Maybe the next time we bow in prayer, or sing a song of praise or worship with the others, we need to introduce ourselves to the Father and Savior of us all, "I AM BARABBAS!" The just for the unjust. And we can't see the Father's love?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Just Thank God"

Life is filled with disappointments and can break our hearts at times. Many times it seems such a great struggle just to move forward. Every time you look for an opportunity, the door is shut. Sometimes our spouses are hypercritical or maybe our children are so ungrateful for all that is done for them. Whose kids are these that are so disrespectful? We face illnesses and life threatening situations and they seem to suck us dry.
Along comes this inspired writer James and he pens for the saints, "Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials." (Jam. 1:2) Right there, from the throne of heaven we are told to thank God for our disappoints and struggles. The loss of a loved one or the gut wrenching heartache over your child and heaven speaks, "Just thank God!" It makes no sense in our weak and wandering hearts. But we seem to miss God at times. We don't know our heavenly Father very well and at times do a poor job at trusting Him. Our attitudes wain and our demeanor turns sour and we still hear, "Just thank God!"
But then if we would look more closely, it is through that great struggle, that heartache that God calls, "I'll use the horror, the dread and hurt for your betterment!" God doesn't cause the problem but does something in us because of the battle at hand. Maybe our lives get a little too comfortable or we get a little too independent and God uses these times to speak to us to draw near, come back! People can use things to harm us but God uses them to help us. Each and every thing we face will make us and mold us into something we lacked if we would "Just thank God."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The last two verses in II Peter 3 encourages to be careful we aren't carried away by the error of others. How can we make certain we aren't carried away? By growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." (II Pet. 3:18)
Pay close attention to what Peter tells us. Grow in grace and knowledge. Grace, the unmerited favor of God. Grace saves and instructs! "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age." (Titus 2:11-12) Grace is a teacher! Grace is not careless and carefree! Grace leads us to avoid wrong and enforces that which is right. Grace gives us the ability to say "no" instead of following the desires of others. Grace changes lives!
Many have a lot of Bible knowledge but not true knowledge. Many can define grace but not understand its power or purpose. We are to grow in grace along with knowledge. Let me see if this helps: first, tell people what God has done before anything else. Point people to God's grace in Christ Jesus. Let them see grace, this unmerited favor extended through the dying Lord and Savior. Secondly, tell them the response God is looking for because of His grace extended. Too many seem to tell the response without the grace and you end up with a lot of fleshly, dead lives that never learned or grasped salvation. To these, salvation is spoken because that's the religious thing but the reality is not found.
Grace cost heaven everything that heaven had! Grace costs us all we have! Grace is free but not cheap. Cheap grace is grace without commitment. God's grace calls us to Himself, to deny ourselves and live a life of dedication and commitment because of the freedom that was extended to us in Christ. Your failures were died for! Your silent, heavy sins paid! The guilt you live with, exchanged in the blood of Christ! Reach out and take hold of grace. Let it teach you, instruct you and move you toward God and away from you. Grace over what we sweet the sound!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Retain The Standard"

A dear friend of mine who preachers was sharing with me a while back that an individual got upset at him and left because he was too closed minded and did too much preaching against embracing other religious ideas. What a shame. I am hearing it more and more that members of Christ's body are wanting more lenience toward other teachings. "Let's not be so strict!" or "We need to be more accepting and stop being so closed minded!" seems to be the battle cry from many today. Pay real close attention to statements like the above and see if you can hear it...listen carefully and honestly. You can almost hear the whisper of the devil!
Paul commanded Timothy to "retain the standard of sound words which you have heard in me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus." (II Tim. 1:13) "The standard of sound words" are what the apostle Paul urged Timothy toward. "The standard" not "a standard" as in one among many. There is the standard of sound words that must be retained! Sound words are words that give solid, spiritual health.
The elders that are selected in the church are men that "holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching..." (Titus 1:9) "The faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching" speaks loudly that there is a true standard of faithfulness to God and His word, lining up with the teaching.
Jude writes to the "kept for Jesus Christ" (is that you/us?) they were "to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints." (Jude 3) The true beloved saints of Jesus Christ have a standard that they were to contend (strive/reach out) for. The rest of the book of Jude is how there are ungodly people (who think of themselves as godly) among God's people who turn the teachings and the faith into things never intended. People follow their personal desires and wants which makes the true things of God fall into the background. They revile against sound doctrine, grumble and are fault finders (Jude 16).
Over the years I have learned one thing: the majority that get upset or complain about holding to the faithful word or retaining the standard of sound words or contending for the faith are generally those who have little conviction in their own lives. If they admit to such, it condemns their personal behavior and they would have to change which they are unwilling to do. To them, the teachings of God are whatever they want to pick and choose. If you listen really carefully to their words and reasons, who is really talking?

Monday, November 22, 2010


This will be my last blog until after the Thanksgiving holiday.
It was early morning as the darkness still held a grip on the day. I was sitting in my tree stand waiting for a little light and then a deer. As the darkness was pushed away by the breaking of light it was simply amazing. I had done this before but I guess it really never caught my attention. The floor of the forest was covered with brown oak leaves. But something unusual was beginning to happen. It began to glow. It was like a multi-colored light show. I couldn't believe the glow from brown leaves. The dew was sparkling on top of the leaves to add to the whole.
Suddenly a group of small birds were jumping on the leaves turning them over. They were busy with their chirps and work. There were probably 10 in the group. As they jumped from leaf to leaf turning them over, I noticed a gray squirrel come out of a tree. It was very still, no wind as the creation of God awoke from its night rest. The sound of birds, squirrels and beauty made my mind head to Scriptures. "For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." (Rom. 8:19-21)
There I sat, waiting in amazement and listening to creation and it was speaking..."Can't wait for the revealing of God's sons." I heard every word!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"It's About Jesus"

The central issue in the life of a saint is Jesus! The central issue in the life of the church is Jesus! Our lives aren't about us, our wants and desires and getting attention for the church. The issue is Jesus.
Paul in writing to an unspiritual congregation at Corinth pointed to them to Jesus. Their sanctification (holiness) came from Jesus (I Cor. 1:1). The grace of God was given to them in Christ Jesus (I Cor. 1:4). They were enriched in Jesus (I Cor. 1:5). It would be Jesus alone who will confirm and make them blameless in the end (I Cor. 1:9). The preaching of the death of Jesus was the glorifying of Jesus and to some, the cross seemed foolishness (I Cor. 1:18). It was God who chose the Lord Jesus as the central point to shame the wise (I Cor. 1:20-25). Paul had one determination and one only: "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus and Him crucified." (I Cor. 2:2)
Paul wrote to a small congregation in Colossae. Jesus was central! The word of the cross, the gospel was bearing fruit in them (Col. 1:6). It was Jesus that we were transferred into and in Jesus is the ONLY place for redemption and forgiveness (Col. 1:14). Jesus is above all, before all and all things were created for Him (Col 1:16). The church is His creation as a result of His death and He is the head of the church (Col. 1:18). It is Jesus who holds everything together and all the fullness of God dwells in Jesus (Col. 1:18-19). What was Paul's conclusion? "We proclaim Him!" (Col. 1:28). Paul taught and admonished every Christian in Christ! Great care must be taken that we aren't captivated by the ideas and thinking of others around. We need to be taken captive according to Christ and Him alone (Col. 2:8).
The conclusion to the matter: GLORIFY CHRIST! Not us, not our works, not our name, not the church, not our outreaches: GLORIFY CHRIST! We are to be to the praise of the glory of His grace (Eph. 1:6). Anything less is not of God!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Prayer Is Surrender"

Does it trouble you by some of the prayer requests that are made? I had an individual ask me to pray for them they might get this new home they were looking at. People ask for others to pray for them often but one thing we need to be aware of in our prayers: MOTIVES DETERMINE EVERYTHING FROM THE LORD'S VIEW! To pray for selfish things for our own personal wants or pleasures will not even be entertained by God. "You ask and do not received, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend in on your personal pleasures." (Jam. 4:3)
Prayer is surrender. All one has to do is look at Jesus. Jesus was in agony, even to the point of death before He faces His trial (Luke 22:44). We face troubles in our lives but have never faced what Jesus faced. It troubled Jesus to His soul (John 12:27). When He met with His Father in prayer, He fell on His face (Matt. 26:39). Luke said He knelt down (Luke 22:41). People take this to speak of our posture in prayer but it wasn't the posture of Jesus that was being discussed. Posture is not prayer. Christ humbled Himself, surrendering Himself in prayer. How many times have you heard people pray for humility? Humility is an attitude of our heart. We humble ourselves before the Lord. The Lord doesn't give us humility! Prayer is self-emptying, abandonment of us and a complete relinquishment. That's what we see in Jesus. Don't we hear that from Jesus in Luke 18 about the Pharisee and tax collector? The self righteous Pharisee thanked God that he was not like other men. The tax collector was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven. Jesus went on the teach that the humble will be exalted before God.
Prayer is surrender. Conversion is surrender. Our relationship to God is about a heart that humbles itself before God and completely surrenders itself in the presence of God. Prayer is all about placing ourselves under God and petition Him because we trust.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"In The Name Of Jesus"

Let me say something about prayer. I was recently asked about this. Our prayers are ended "in the name of Jesus." This is proper as all our prayers are prayed in Jesus as He is our access to God. But to say "in the name of Jesus" is not just a cliche but a reality in the heart of the one praying. In fact, all that we do are to be done "in the name of Jesus" (Col. 3:17).
What does "in the name of Jesus" really mean? It means a complete reliance upon Jesus and a renunciation of self! Prayer is not a self request but of denial of self dependant completely on God. Praying in the name of Jesus is to be free from our selfish desires and ways and belonging to Jesus and Him alone.
What does "in the name of Jesus" really mean? A 100% acceptance of Jesus as our representative. In other words, we cannot enter into the presences of a holy and righteous God without Him. We are clothed with Him (Gal. 3:27) therefore it is Jesus God views in our stead. It is Jesus who gives us access to the very heart of God through His blood (Heb. 4:14-16). Jesus has literally given us His name!
What does "in the name of Jesus" really mean? Too many quote John 14:14 to show that "if you ask anything in My name, I will do it." Sounds incredible doesn't it? But many make that a self request which is what prayer is not! Let's back up one verse and see what it means to ask "in the name of Jesus." "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (John 14:13) Prayer is concerned about glorifying God and what we ask "in the name of Jesus" is to glorify the Father.
What does "in the name of Jesus" really mean? It means a complete surrender to the will of God. The will of God is the greatest haven of safety and rest. Jesus prayed to the Father, "Thy will be done." To pray "in the name of Jesus" means to pray with the heart of Jesus in doing the will of God.
What do you mean when you pray "in the name of Jesus"?

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Eternal Life"

Rom. 6:23 speaks to us that we earn death. You sin, you die! That's straight forward. But the second part of the verse speaks that eternal life is a gift you can't earn. Eternal life is not just an endless life. Too many are making eternal life something in the future. Eternal life is for us NOW! It is the quality of life that one has in Christ Jesus. Those who come into Christ share in His life now which will take us to eternity.
One of the greatest mistakes we make is to reduce eternal life to forgiveness of sins. Hear me out please. To boil our relationship to Christ on forgiveness alone will rob us of His riches and glory and power! When we entered into Christ, our sins were all forgiven but what happens after that? Our lives are to take on His nature, His power and stand on His strength. That's what Paul was describing for the Ephesian brethren in Eph. 3:14-19! Gaining the glory of Christ and His power is what eternal life is. Our lives should be committed wholly to Jesus because we share in His eternal life.
John really helps us see the eternal life that was with the Father and was manifested to him and the apostles (I John 1:1-4). Read it carefully. John is not talking specifically about Jesus but the eternal life Jesus possessed! It was a spectacle to behold. The eternal life that was with the Father was brought to man in Jesus and they witnessed what eternal life does, thinks and acts. They had fellowship with the Father and His Son and John writes so the reader can be assured they too have the eternal life of God in them presently! The one who has the Son has the life and the one who does not have the Son does not have the life (I John 5:11-12). Maybe we need to re-think what is eternal life.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Salvation Is Not A Word For Everyone"

Salvation is not a word for everyone! Sin is a way of life for the majority. Cheating, lying, stealing, deceiving, profanity, drinking, abusing your mate, adultery, fornication (couples that live together included), hate, dishonesty, arrogance, unloving attitudes, jealousy, strife, sensuality, disputes, homosexuals, covetors, swindlers...should I continue? Salvation is not a word for everyone! Sin is a way of life for the majority. Satan is the father of sin and the world steps in line with his lead (Eph. 2:1-3). People in sin will not admit to such. They admit they make mistakes but not sin. If they admit to sin, they admit there is a standard of right and wrong. This exposes the reality of their lives and brings condemnation from God upon themselves (Rom. 1:28-32).
Salvation is not a word for everyone, even in the church! People are baptized into Christ without leaving their old sinful selves behind. They try to live in Christ under this old dominated sinful person and it doesn't work. You see it often, people are united with Christ in baptism and after some time return to their former way of living or standard of belief. They didn't embrace Christ and His salvation. Some leave Jesus too easily! No commitment, no involvement and no real desire to move forward. Some are baptized into Christ for the fear that they cannot enter heaven without baptism. No commitment, no involvement but fear because they aren't baptized. Salvation is not a word for them.
Salvation is for the honest, penitent beliver who confesses they are a lost sinner! They come to Christ realizing their separation from the Lord, the price of sin and the accountability they stand under. Salvation becomes their because of the grace of God. The grace of God moves them from the consequences of sin into His salvation. God promised that salvation is found only in Jesus. Until the heart is convicted of sin, the known sinner confesses and repents of their sinfulness and baptized into union with Jesus, salvation is not a word for them!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"What Is Fleshliness?"

What does it mean to be 'fleshly'? We hear that term often and yet no one seems to know what it really is. It is very difficult to get fleshly people to recognize they are fleshly. Why? That's the power of fleshliness! Too many in Christ believe they are spiritual but they act fleshly. They base their idea of spiritual on their activity as a Christian or knowledge of God's word. People can be very active for the Lord and be fleshly. Fleshly brethren are those who follow their thinking or react to situations on their personal desires. In the moment, they have little regard for the will of God. When someone feels like saying something, they say it without any submission to what God needs. A spiritual person would consider God and what is needed for the moment. I knew of a man who once wanted to teach a Bible class because he had personally gone through some difficulties and those difficulties was where he based his decision on being able to help others. He was allowed to teach and it was all rooted in self! This thought, this feeling, this idea that others were doing and every once in a while throw in a verse to make it look spiritual. He had become so steeped in fleshliness he could not discern the difference. What was worse is some of those in the class thought it was great they had someone to identify with which revealed their standing in fleshliness.
The Corinthians were "still" fleshly after the years Paul had spent with them teaching them (I Cor. 3:1-4) How did Paul know they were fleshly? There was jealousy and strife among them! Those are two elements of fleshliness. We have seen it. Someone is jealous of anothers good fortune and they want to put that person down! There are people who constantly battle one another, have a bad attitude toward another which is strife. It doesn't lead anyone into anything good. Outbursts of anger, resentments, loose tongues are all part of fleshliness. Using the philosophy of the world as a standard to live by, that's fleshliness. Trying to control another or get people to do what you want, that's fleshly. What do we see in common with all this? SELF! It's all rooted in self feelings and desires.
How do you overcome fleshliness? Surrender to the Lord with all your heart. You have to give up yourself! That's what Jesus said about following Him. The first thing that must go is the denial of self and self interests (Matt. 16:24). You must allow the word of God to mold your thinking so we can become transformed and be led away from us. We need to become more spiritual minded and less thinking like us and the world around us.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"End Of Time"

Today I will be straight forward and brief! I recently received an invitation to come hear a man speak on the prophecy of the Bible and the end of time. It comes to us from all sides but there are some times that are greater than others in the talk of the end of time. What is more amazing is how many people are taken in and held captive by such talk. Some person weaves together verses from the Old Testament, jump to some New Testament verses and end in Revelation and have all the ingredients for the end of time prophecy! Oh, we might throw in there any conflicts in Israel to help add to the fray. People are being led into a false teaching. What's worse is they know so little Bible or understand the purpose of why things are written. Things are believed and accepted because someone has a bunch of letters before or after their name. Surely people like that must know what they are talking about???
Let me help and I'll use the letters IN my name...NEWTON. I know how little my name means as I am an uneducated nobody! First, when Jesus walked this earth and His disciples asked about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple buildings (Matt. 24:1-3), He told them that in that destruction the angels in heaven nor Himself knew the day or hour (Matt. 24:36). It was all fixed by the Father. Secondly, when Jesus returns it will be like a thief in the night and come upon people suddenly (I Thes. 5:1-3). When everyone is running around giving their predictions of dates and times, that's when you can bet it isn't going to happen!!! Why can't people accept that? Jesus didn't know! The angels didn't know! His return will be like a thief so man will not know! If no one knows, shouldn't we be prepared each day (II Pet. 3:11-12)? What makes people so bold and arrogant that they think they know?

Monday, November 8, 2010


She was upset and angry with the preacher. She felt he had abandoned her and sided with her husband and his ungodly ways. As time passed, the more angry she grew and the more she felt people were siding with the preacher. Here she was, attending each assembly, working hard to make ends meet while her husband, soon to be ex, was being treated like a king by many of the Christians. At least that was her view! The lady continually spoke to others about how wrong things were with the preacher and others who supported her husband. What she never realized is the preacher and others were not siding with her husband but working to save his soul. She wasn't interested in that, just wanting her husband to pay for what he had done and anyone who tried to help she was against. Each passing day she was fading into a world of hate and an unforgiving heart.
Maybe you know of someone like this or you have practiced the very thing. What fails to touch the heart is how hate contaminates the heart and blinds the mind from seeing the true light of things. Everything decided and looked at is done through sinful eyes and hearts and not through the eyes of Jesus. Life continues on a downward spiral and it completely escapes notice that without a forgiving heart, there is no forgiveness offered. I know things hurt and we sometimes feel slighted but how we are hurt and slighted is not the issue. The issue is Jesus! The issue is always Jesus! It was Jesus who said unless we having a forgiving heart, there is no forgiveness from Him to us! Many times people just don't believe that. They leave a congregation upset, holding to bitterness's and resentments thinking they are completely in the right to feel the way they feel. They feel justified and spiritually superior because of the way they were treated and they think they know better. All the while Jesus fades into the background while faith is slowly lost. It is a sad scene yet it happens more often than one thinks. It seems some are trying to find a justified reason for bad things in their lives while all the while they journey toward a complete separation from Jesus. And that's not His choice for them but their choice for themselves. The face of non-forgiveness continues to spread their disgust for certain others, not willing to budge in their attitude, harboring hatred and cherishing grudges which means there is NO forgiveness from Jesus unless repentance takes place first. Heaven will be filled with the forgiven and the forgiven forgive! We have the Lord's word on that.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"The Supremacy of Jesus"

I want to encourage you, take some time and read the book of Colossians. A wonderful insight to Jesus and He is all we need. He is supreme over anyone and all creation! Just listen to these descriptions of Him:
"He is the image of the invisible God." (1:15) - The word "image"means the expressed image. He is not a photo copy of God but exactly like the invisible God.
"The firstborn of all creation." - He was God's first born in all creation and holds the privileges and rights!
"For by Him all things were created..." (1:16) - It doesn't matter if they were thrones, visible things and invisible things, everything created owes their existence to Jesus! He has complete ownership and say.
"He is before all things" (1:17) - He simply is!
"In Him all things hold together." - This universe, our bodies and every detail around us He keeps it running its course. Jesus holds the supreme, powerful position in this universe!
"He is also the head of the body." (1:18) - Why would this statement have to be placed here if all the above is true? Because the people of God recognize His position in this world and in His body, the church. Here is why...
"He is the beginning." - The word "beginning" in its verb form means a ruler who created that which he rules. Jesus is the creator of the church and rules it, not man!
"The firstborn from the dead." - It was His resurrection that brought the church into existence. Without Jesus raising from the dead, there is no church!
"So that He might have first place in everything." - Where should true believers place Jesus? FIRST PLACE IN EVERYTHING! He already rules the world and they don't put Him in first place but that doesn't stop His rule and say-so. The true Christian recognizes Him and owes their existence to Him, our place of standing in Him (1:12-14) and that should make Him have meaning to us.
JESUS IS ALL SUFFICIENT! Why do we turn to man for our help, strength and comfort?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Missing God?"

There seems to be so little insight to God. Too many are working hard at taking the spiritual matters of God into realms never intended. We need to know our Father! We need to know Jesus!
God doesn't just sit in heaven looking for the next one to destroy. God made His intentions clear to Moses about Himself: "The Lord, the Lord God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished..." (Ex. 34:7-6) God is willingly and wanting a relationship with us but at the same time He is serious about sin and truth. God is willing to do whatever it takes to get us to Him, whatever the cost but will not compromise the truth and sin must be dealt with.
When you look at Jesus, you see God. Jesus is the exact representation of God's nature (Heb. 1:3) and the perfect, striking image of God (Col. 1:15). As Jesus walked our earth, we see God working among the sinful. Truth was taught and held to and sin denounced. When we look at the suffering in this world, we need to realize it was sinful man that brought this about and God's righteousness that condemned sin. When man is distressed in their lives because of diseases, hurts and pains, God doesn't just dismiss it as nothing. He hurt because they hurt (Isa. 63:9). Here came Jesus into our world helping, healing because "He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases." (Matt. 8:17). Jesus didn't heal everyone and that was not His intention. The intention of God through Jesus was to bring man back to Himself by sacrificing His Son to accomplish that. Maybe the reason we have such difficulty at understanding our Father is because we truly don't see the nature of sin in light of the holy love of God. Once we grasp that, we begin to see why all creation suffers from the beginning to now and God's redemption that is found in Christ Jesus. Just maybe we are missing our God!

Monday, November 1, 2010

"What Would You Say?"

If you were asked to speak about why you believe the way you believe, what would you say? Think about that for a moment. What would you tell someone the reason you believe the way you do? Where does your conviction come from that you hold your course on what you believe?
Maybe a better way to ask this is, what is your gospel belief?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"The Music Man"

I really like the movie "The Music Man." What a classic. Resa and I were watching it the other night and it struck me how this man, a deceiver and cunning in heart, took in a town and a librarian. At first, the librarian was standing at a distance, ready to expose the Music Man's ploys but then something strange started happening. She continued slowly listening and paying attention to his message until she was finally hooked! It no longer mattered he was deceitful but she had fallen in love with him and embraced him to the point of trying to protect his ugliness. In the end, this swindler gave up his lifestyle and faced his sins. He found compassion!
In thinking about this, that is us. We are sometimes like the librarian who are taken in because of our affections and find ourselves protecting the very sin that needs to be moved away from. You never help anyone by protecting them in sin! Sin is costly and the longer one stays in their sins, the more blind and hardened toward sin they become. On the other hand, when we move away from our sins with an honest, humble heart we find compassion and mercy from the Lord. The Lord wants to embrace us but He will not until we are honest and come clean by repenting of our sins.
Micah reminds us that the Lord who pardons our iniquities delights in His unchanging love (Micah 7:18-19). Our God and Savior delights in being able to forgive. What a thought! What a wonderful lesson to grab hold of and rejoice in. It thrills God to no end to forgive. Move away from sin! Remove yourself from sinful things! Bring your sins to the cross and let God have His delight in forgiving you. Go ahead, don't be afraid! Embrace Jesus and let go of your sin.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Is It Well With Your Soul?"

"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?" (Matt. 16:26) These words that came from the mouth of Jesus should make us pause and think about our lifestyle. They are very serious words to contemplate and believe.
What if you gain everything you want, did everything you wanted to do and go anywhere you wanted to go? What if you won the lottery worth millions? What are you putting your efforts, thoughts and money toward at this time in your life? To feed our souls on the physical and little on the spiritual, what are you exchanging for your soul?
You make choices each and every day and each choice to make, each ounce of effort put forth has drastic affect on your soul. The soul, the living eternal part of us, is what Jesus came to redeem. One day our soul will be required of us by God and what you have lived for in this life will save or forfeit your soul because of what you value and where you have placed value. Too many ignore the feeding of their souls and caring for it. To attain to the heights of life and lose our souls, what is that worth? People sacrifice for pleasures, ballgames and things that we enjoy but when it comes to the spiritual nature, enthusiasm dwindles and diligence is not put forth. What does that say about us? Do we really place the value on the soul that God does? If your soul is required by God today, would it be a time of rejoicing or fear? Can you say it is well with my soul, come Lord Jesus?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Who Is Your God?"

If you were asked, "Who is your god?", how would you answer that? Would you say Jehovah God of heaven and earth? Many claim the God of our Savior Jesus Christ. Many can recite something they have learned about the eternal Father from Scriptures but who really is your god?
The God we speak about and the god we serve can be two different gods. Just look when the super bowl comes around. The cancelling of services or changing our times to accommodate the football game. We see it in many other things like this. A persons god is what he cares about the most! Whatever you prize and rally around is your god. What you serve on a daily basis and place your money and efforts into is your god.
In the days of Rome, the Romans worshiped Mars, the god war. Today we would consider such as nonsense 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 a false security. It is God of heaven of earth that allows a nation to stand or fall! The Romans worshiped Bacchus, the god of wine, drunkenness and sexuality. What do many serve today? Look at what we watch, our children watch and what we do in our lives. Drinking has become a norm in our society. The goddess of Aphrodite was the goddess of sex. Look how many are obsessed with sex and pornography. The Internet has become a warehouse of enslavement and is affecting many a marriage. There was Venus, the goddess of beauty. Look at our obsession with youth and looks. Body enhancements and work done to retain a youthful look.
It was Jesus who taught that no man can serve two masters. It is impossible! (Matt. 6:24) The apostle Paul instructed the church that Jesus must have first place in everything (Col 1:18). If Jesus doesn't, we serve another god. Paul's life was wrapped up in Jesus and the life he lived, he lived for Jesus (Gal. 2:20).
We have many needs in our lives. We have even more desires but our needs and desires were never intended to be our gods. To expend energy in the pursuit of education, recreation, literary achievements is not sinful when kept within their means but for many all their efforts are expended toward these things and takes first place in many lives. To build our lives around anyone or anything else but the Lord God is an empty, failing pursuit. The God who died for us calls us to choose Him, to follow Him with our whole heart. He forbids us to follow any other god whether it be a desire, need, person or object. He calls us to make Him the center of our thoughts, actions and desires. Why? Because He is our sustainer in this life and the life to come!

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Just As A Reminder..."

This is not for controversy. I know when one starts with that statement, eyebrows raise because something is coming. We need spiritual thinking and maturity. We are coming upon a time when the religious world will be calling attention to the birth of Jesus. His birth will be in song, in visible ornaments, in pageants and plays, dramatized and worshiped. Many sincere religious people will focus on the birth of Jesus.
The birth of Jesus is not what Jesus asked His followers to remember about His life. In teaching His own apostles, He said to remember His death (Luke 22:17-20). The most important fact of His life is His death, burial and resurrection.
God planned the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus from the beginning of time! It was not an accident. God also planned the arrival birth of Jesus too! However, His birth was not God's focus nor the focus of the gospel which saves mankind. "At 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) From the beginning of this world and all creation, God spoke to the devil that, "He shall crush you on your head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel." (Gen. 3:15) Peter taught the Jews that Jesus, "delivered up by the 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 creation was being directed to this one event as the eternal destiny of man depended on it.
The apostles were sent into all the world with "good news" of the fact that Jesus had died, was buried and arose on the third day. Not one word of His birth. God expected people, if they were to be saved, to heed the teaching of this gospel of they would be condemned (Mark 16:15-16).
The Corinthian church was brought back to the very foundation of their salvation was completely dependant on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15:1-4). Paul reminded the Roman brethren that He died for the transgressions of man and was raised for our justification (Rom. 4:25). Paul's life was centered on the resurrected Christ (Gal. 2:20).
The churches of Galatia were being led into following the Jewish customs and feasts and season. Paul had to inform them that in Christ, those things were weak and worthless that will enslave them (Gal. 4:9-11).
God never intended our lives to be broken down into seasons! Our worship and adoration of our Lord is not seasonal. Jesus left us a life-giving proclamation to unite His people every first day of the week to remember the body and covenant of Christ (I Cor. 11:24-25). His death, burial and resurrection are the motivation to come together as the church to honor and glorify His work on our behalf.
Matthew and Luke record the birth of Jesus in order to show the fulfillment of the prophets. Few verses are spent on the birth of Jesus while Matthew, Mark, Luke and John give chapters describing His death, burial and resurrection.
To use seasons to enjoy family and friends, that is a freedom we have in Christ Jesus (Rom. 14). Our worship and adoration of our Lord is not seasonal or broken into seasons but daily because of the resurrected Christ. The danger is too many are being led into captivity by something the world calls attention to while our heavenly Father never promoted or proclaimed in the truth of the teachings. "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)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Not A Salesman"

I heard it again yesterday. It amazes me how some people who claim Christ use man-made wisdom to show our work and response to Christ. I was told that I was exactly like the salesman trying to make a sale in regard to teaching someone the gospel. People will either buy it or reject it because of salesmanship.
Salvation is atonement not an attainment! Salvation is something believed not achieved! We aren't offering others a business transaction. It is God reaching to lost man, offering us reconciliation through the death of Jesus. If we reduce our efforts, our teachings along the lines of a business transaction, then our salvation is bought not received!! We aren't peddling wares. Paul made sure the Corinthians understood that: "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)
Let us understand and grasp that without complete acceptance of God's offering through Jesus on His terms, man is going to be eternally doomed. What God offers is one thing: do you want a relationship with Me? It comes not by salesmanship but faith in the offering of God through Jesus and no amount of salesmanship can produce faith! Faith comes by accepting and embracing the word of God.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Accepting Grace"

We seem to have a great difficulty at grasping hold of grace. The free gift of God that is not earned, that is not worked, that saves us and that only flows from the blood of His Son Jesus the Lord! We can define grace as God's unmerited favor but what does that really mean? We need some serious thought and study on that level.
Too many think that their salvation depends on codes, rules, regulations, laws and 'pat answers to all situations.' Is that not trying to earn? What if we miss something or don't understand a teaching correctly? The Pharisees are great illustrations as to how they "worked" their relationship and right standing with the Lord. They were keepers of God's law but the problem is law keeping demands perfection. They still thought they were saved by possessing Scripture and keeping all the laws therein (John 5:39).
The grace of God reaches us and asks us to humble ourselves, to be honest with God and ourselves and allow Him to change us into the image of His Son. We are very poor at changing ourselves or thinking that because we follow some commands that the Lord will accept us eternally. Just look closely at Abraham and Sarah. They planned their idea of how they would have a son and what happened? Ishmael was born! If we try to keep codes and rules thinking that is what makes us right, all we will produce is a lot of "Ismael's". Eternal salvation is not for those who think the are good and right but for those who have failed, faltered and created such heartache in their sinfulness that only by the grace of God will they find release and forgiveness. The grace of God did not come cheaply! Our salvation through the grace of God came in the form of a cross in which righteousness dwelt! Look at Jesus. We aren't 'paroled' in Jesus, we are completely pardoned by His blood and that's God's grace reaching each of us. God was not just 'winking' sin away. He was paying our price by striking down the perfect, sinless sacrifice on our behalf. Jesus paid it all and all to Him I owe! Do we believe that?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"God Is For the Weak"

How many are missing the true God and Lord of heaven! People are constantly being bombarded with the notion that "Christian's are winners!" I realize what many are saying in this statement but it sends out a false idea, a psychology on which many base their lives in regard to God. I recently heard someone say that "true Christian's are achievers!" Do we not know what this creates within us? It creates an arrogance, a self-reliance and can even go to a mind set of superiority over others. All of this hits our pride and makes us accepting the grace of God very difficult. We want to be strong, not weak!
The Lord is for the weak!!! When will we learn that? In fact, did not Paul say that in the church, God bestows more abundant honor on the one that lacks (I Cor. 12:24)? Jesus came preaching/teaching that it was sinners, the failed miserable, sin-filled life weak sinner that needed help and calls to Himself (Matt. 9:13). It was Jesus who cried out that those who are wearied and heavy laden in their lives to come to Him for rest (Matt. 11:28). Paul apparently had the nature to glory because of the revelation that was given to him from Jesus. The Lord sent a "thorn in his flesh, a messenger of keep me from exalting myself!" Right there...pure and simple pride could have ruined him. He asked God to take away the thorn and God replied, "My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness." (II Cor. 12:9) Grace is what Paul needed, not a "winner" mind set or attitude. It was to help him see that he was weak, not great and focus on the greatness and grace of God. Grace is for the weak, the ignorant, the unwanted, the struggling and despised people! "Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:16) Too many are turning their relationship into God into things that was never intended. The Lord is not for the elite, powerful, successful, rich or because we are special! I know that might offend some but let's stop robbing God of His power and glory. Let's stop exalting us and our accomplishments.
Maybe the best thing we could do is pray God to forgive our self-righteousness! Grace reaches down in our weakest of times and failures and asks us to grab hold of God's strength. May God be glorified and Jesus be lifted up and never our lives or accomplishments!

Monday, October 18, 2010

"God Has Not Changed"

Do we realize that God was not "converted" between Testaments? Some have a tendency to think that the way God was in the Old Testament and in the New Testament are completely different. If God is subject to change, then He is not a rock, a refuge and our source of strength because He cannot be trusted.
From the beginning to today, God wants people saved and He will save them by His grace! It has always been that way. Take David, a man who committed adultery, lied, deceived, murdered and many more sinful things, who served God under the Law. What did He find? The Law said David was to die for his actions but instead he appealed to the grace and mercy of God and found it. (Read Psa. 32 and 51.) Over and over God called Israel to Himself by sending prophet after prophet, asking for a heart of repentance from the people. They were warned of what was coming if they did not return to Him with all their heart. What did the people do? They shunned God, went after their own desires and paid the penalty of their own ways. It was never God's choice. God was wanting to show mercy on them. They refused God and His teachings which took them further away and the consequences resulted.
God calls us to Himself through Jesus. He wants a relationship with us and desires to share Himself with us but it must come at the realization of His holiness and trustworthy character. God is not subject to change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I think I heard that somewhere before! The question is do we believe it? It might do us good to become more acquainted with Him through the Old Testament Scriptures. God has not changed!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


We sing a song at times, "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine!" Great words. Easy to speak. Much more difficult to believe. A friend of mine sent me a little survey he took while teaching at a men's retreat for another congregation. There were some 40 men present. He asked about their assurance of salvation and their spiritual condition. Here were his results: 10% believed they were saved; 35% believe they were lost; 55% were not sure! It struck me, "This is us!" You want to know why the church is dying? You want to know why we are using all sorts of 'fleshly' means to motivate people to come and try to keep 'us'? How can we offer something to the lost we simply do not have? What do we have to offer? Moving songs? Social activities? Friendship? It's not salvation!
It makes me wonder if we die with our fingers crossed? Listen to the assembly prayers offered, "And Lord, if you find us faithful in the end..." Is that "Blessed Assurance"? One cannot assure who is not assured. Let's think about this, can God use someone who is not sure about their salvation?
Let's step back for a moment. Do you believe, as a penitent baptized sinner is saved by the blood of Christ after your baptism? If we were saved at that time and point, what about 10 yrs. later? Many are trying to capture a feeling rather than walk by faith. Does that mean we were looking at us when we entered Christ or Him? After baptism, is it all downhill? Just for a pondering thought, why didn't we just drown the penitent believer at that time and point? Have we turned the "Good News" (gospel) into "Bad News"?
Jesus died to forgive and save us. Oh, it's not once saved always saved. One can fall from grace (Gal. 5:4). But it's not once saved barely saved either. The blood of Jesus cleanses us or it doesn't! He stands good for us or He doesn't! Why would Paul tell the brethren at Ephesus to "put on the helmet of salvation."? (Eph. 6:17) That's before we use the sword of the Spirit, the word. Jesus is our guarantee. Look closely at Him. Listen to Him. Watch Him and rest assured when He speaks your sins forgiven, He means it with every drop of blood that was shed on your behalf. "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8:1) It makes me wonder why so many who profess Christ are so joyless? Believe your Lord! Let's try this again, sing "Blessed assurance Jesus is mine!" Go ahead...look Jesus square in the eyes and sing it right now!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Upward Call of God"

Too many are calling God to be like us! Just listen to sermons you hear or people who speak about God. They are always calling down to be like us. "I don't think God is against us when we..." and we finish the rest. "Surely God doesn't mind when we worship..." and the reasoning continues. Yes, too many are trying to speak for God, think for God and bring God down to our level. It is a very destructive mind set.
Looking closely at the cross and you will see God is calling us to Himself in a sacrifice and not just any sacrifice. It took the death of His Son, His resurrection from the dead to prove God's acceptance of the sacrifice of His Son to show man God is calling us upward into Him, not downward! Too many are speaking for God where God does not speak. Just because God doesn't say something specifically about our worship doesn't mean we are free to call Him into our assemblies and tell Him what we want to offer Him and He accept it! Because we have been taken upward into God by the sacrifice of His Son, we have received something from the Lord God that calls us upward to Him to offer Him a service, a worship with reverence and awe (Heb. 12:28)! We are called to live a life that is holy because "He is holy." (I Pet. 1:15-16) God is calling us upward into Himself.
There are too many liberties that people are taking about God. There are too many liberties in our approach to God that are nothing more than our fleshliness. It's time we start coming to God on His terms and not bring God to our terms. Paul was right, "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:14)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Difficulties and Suffering"

Difficulties that cause suffering is something we want to avoid. We live in a society that does everything it can to avoid suffering and pain. But we also live in a society that goes over-board on recreation and pleasure.
How would you like to have been one of the members at the church at Smyrna? Here were these brethren that Jesus identifies with knowing what they are doing and their lot in life. "I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan." (Rev. 2:9) Jesus knows. Why can't we believe that? When we are troubled by someone or our finances are so limited and we panic! The people of God panic! What does that say about us? Well, we are human, that's for sure! But what about our God? Who is our Lord? What we say and what we believe many times are different. Jesus knows where these people are and what they are going through! You can almost hear them rejoice that Jesus knows their every turn in life. But then comes the next words, "Do not fear what you are about to suffer!" What is coming Lord? Would you want to hear more difficulties are on their way? Would it cause you to panic or go into depression? These were God's people for whom Jesus gave His life and they were headed into more difficulties that might even cost some of them their lives (Rev. 2:10)!
What are we missing today? Are we really believing in the relationship between our heavenly Father and we His children? Are those just words we are suppose to say because we believe in God? How could they face what they were to face without panic and fear? "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life...He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death." (Rev. 2:11) Maybe we don't see the reality of eternity! Faithfulness is what the Lord is looking for in each of us. Faithfulness through difficulties, through poverty, through illnesses, through bleak times because our lives are put into contrast with eternity! We are going to die once, unless the Lord returns, but it's that second death we need to concern ourselves with (Rev. 20:14). The second death will do us great harm forever and ever.
Look at eternity. Put everything in your life in view of eternity. The crown of life, which the second death will not touch, is the ultimate goal to be given to the faithful by Jesus Himself. LIFE! Life worn as a crown. Maybe we do so poorly with difficulties and suffering is because we don't see our lives redeemed by a Savior in bringing us to eternity. We simply see our lives existing on this earth piling up all we can, avoiding all uncomfortable situations we can while sin continues to ravage and destroy the heart and soul of individuals around us. I don't know about you but I don't want to stay here!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Why can't we trust God's word? We live in an age of information. We have computers, cell phones, television, radios, books and more printed material than at any time in world history. I do like to read and I know others do also, but it has become that many are so unhappy where things are spiritually with them, they reach for anything that can give them that "new" insight or special idea to stir their lives again. Others do not trust God's word when they don't understand something so they immediately run to someones commentary for their thinking and direction. I am not trying to put down writings but what I am trying to get us to realize is why are we afraid when we don't understand something from God we don't trust Him for His understanding? Why do we run to the lastest information writings out there instead of God?
The way our lives need to run is trust God and His word. We need to live in the truth as God has revealed. People argue, quibble and want more to their spirituality and they believe the truth of God's word is not enough so they turn to man's teachings or thoughts. God has made His truth rather plain. We have made His truth say things that the Lord never said. We read into His word what's not in His word. No, we aren't short on information from God. We are short on believing the information given. Many are trying to convince us that God didn't give us everything we need for "life and godliness" (II Pet. 1:3). It was Jesus crying out, "Why won't you accept My words?" The struggle for Jesus and His apostles was getting people to listen and accept the word of the Lord. It seem much more difficult today as everyone is bolting for new and exciting things to stir us while the Lord sits in the background waiting for someone to listen and heed His words alone. Maybe I am alone in this or maybe my thinking is too simple, I don't know but I seem to be behind others in my understanding. I believe we have ALL the instruction we need from God, His truth is in place for us to respond to and there doesn't need to be anything else sought. I firmly believe Rom. 12:1-2 that we need to present ourselves back to Him because of His mercies, renew our minds on HIS WORD alone so He can begin within us a transformation that takes us into the image of His Son. If we would do that, all this "new worship", "new phases", "new ideas" and the emptiness that is in so many would be replaced by the true and powerful things of God. It's not we are lacking information. It's a lack for His information!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"The Spirit"

If I were to ask you about the Holy Spirit, what would you say about Him? Would you call Him an "it"? How do understand and perceived the Spirit? Many are afraid to speak of Him because we have been made to feel ashamed or afraid that we are going off into some 'holiness' or charismatic movement. Some are so lacking insight to the Spirit and His work that they seem to get along well without Him...but they can't! Others speak of the Spirit but if you listen closely to when they talk about the Spirit leading them or helping them, they are really talking about themselves. That too is a tragedy.
Many years back, when I first began to preach, I knew there was something very significant about the Holy Spirit because of Gal. 5:16. I knew something was being missed on my part and many others. We need to learn to trust the Spirit of God more. There are many things we may not understand about Him but we can see His work in us with the things He helps us see and move into. Just read Gal. 5:22-23 and you will see this plainly.
Whatever it is you believe or don't believe, remember this, the Spirit, the Holy Spirit is one and the same as God the Father and Jesus! Just read carefully Rom. 8:9 and you will see Paul speak of the Spirit, the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ in this one verse. How can that be? How do we begin to understand Him? It shouldn't surprise us at all. We too have three parts to us. We have a body, soul and spirit (I Thes. 5:23). The three make us who we are but the three parts do not function in the same way! Our bodies do not operate in the same way as my soul and my soul does not operate in the same way as my spirit but they are all who I am. Here's another way to looking at it. I am a father, a son and a husband. Three different functions but they are all part of me!
The Spirit of God is the key to growing! We must have the Spirit of God or we do not belong to the Lord (Rom. 8:9). I want to encourage you, spend time in study and look at the Spirit. Don't be afraid. Learn to see the difference between the Spirit "coming upon/falling on" and dwelling within. The first is for miraculous, the second is for all the saints. You might be surprised what you learn. One final thought, remember the Spirit of God is the "down payment" of our inheritance (Eph. 1:13-14).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Trust Jesus"

It's too easy to say we trust in Jesus and turn to fretting, worrying and anxiety. I received a phone call early this morning from a dear brother in Christ and he was expressing that for some reason, he was very sad. He is going through a difficult time in his marriage. As he spoke, he revealed that he was uncertain and fearful about his future. Right there, that was what was causing his journey down the road to his fretting.
Trust Jesus! Trust and obey! Just because we feel anxious or down-trodden does not change one promise He makes. Trust Jesus! Just because our emotions sometimes takes a journey does not change one bit the relationship and faith building the Lord is trying to work in us. Does God not cause all to work for good if we love Him and walk with Him? Trust Jesus! When Jesus walked this earth, He was committed to the work of His Father. He has been through every element we will ever encounter and knows the strength it takes to arrive at the Father. Jesus will make absolutely certain we too make it to the Father (Heb. 4:16).
Trust Jesus! When Jesus spoke to disciples that if they have seen Him, they have seen the Father (John 14:9). Those weren't just empty words but an assurance for His disciples and for us. Trust Jesus! If we were to ask someone to teach us every aspect of music, who would you select to be your teacher? Bach? Beethoven? If you wanted to know every aspect of a job, who would you want to train you and give you the real insight? Someone on the top that knew all the ropes? If we want to learn about God, our heavenly Father, where are you going to learn about Him? You can hear Jesus speak, "I'll teach you everything about the Father because He and I are one." Trust Jesus!