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!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"The Goal: A Living Relationship"

It is amazing that many know the truth as revealed through Scripture. But what are we to do with that truth? It was Jesus who said that just because one calls Him Lord does not mean anything but only those who do the will of the Father (Matt. 7:21). What does that tell us? The truth of God's word is worth little if it doesn't lead us into a living relationship to Him. It is not knowledge of the mind but a real, genuine relationship that walks with Him.
There seems to be too much teaching on being forgiven as if that is all there is. I realize that's the central thrust of God's work but there is something deeper that the Lord is trying to get us to grab hold of. God is trying to make us into the life and image of His Son. That means our hearts need to change us into who He is rather than walking in our own stubborn and selfish will. Our heart is the center of our being, our workshop where all our being works from. The Lord is trying to get our heart to beat with His heart and only until we surrender our heart to His love will His work begin within us. That's what forgiveness brings us to. Forgiveness softens our hearts and allows it to be willing to listen and change. Forgiveness is not the end to itself. It is our heart the Lord is after because if He gets our heart, He gets our whole being and that's the central thrust of being forgiven! Even David understood that in Psa. 51:10-13. That speaks to us that we aren't aligned with the Lord in some legal way but in a living relationship that expresses His life in our heart to which is expressed in the character and life we live before Him.

Monday, October 4, 2010

"The Purpose of Scriptures"

Too many are using God's word for things it was not intended. Some have the idea that dotting every "i" and crossing every "t" is what it is all about. It is extremely important to follow God's word but we must have an understanding of the central purpose and everything else works from that. What do you think is the central, main purpose of God's word? To prove your stance or beliefs? To wear as a badge of honor as to why you are right?
Jesus had an encounter with the Pharisees about the purpose of God's word in John 5. They completely missed the purpose. "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life..." Notice their thinking of Scripture? They sought out the Scripture to prove they are followers of God and that possession gave them eternal life. Here is Jesus' reply: " is these that testify about Me." (John 5:39) The Scriptures are not a badge or guaranteeing of eternal life. They are testimony about Jesus. They are given to show us the Christ and how we relate to Him.
Paul reminded Timothy that the Scriptures are what gives a wisdom that leads one to salvation through Jesus Christ (II Tim. 3:15). John says his book was written so people could come to believe that Jesus is the Christ bringing us to life in His name (John 20:30-31). Paul reminded the Corinthians the things that were of first importance (I Cor. 15:1-4). Jesus rebuked those under the Law saying they neglected the most important matters while focusing on the lessor (Matt. 23). They missed Jesus! There are things that are more important to the Lord than others. The word of God is to explain God's purpose through Jesus and everything relates to Him.
To miss the purpose of God's word is to misunderstand it! We need to listen to God's voice telling us about His purpose through Jesus. God's word is bread to be eaten, not analyzed! God's holy Scripture is get us to come to terms with Jesus!
Begin your study in the New Testament and the liberating work of Jesus and how God wants us to respond to it! How we stand in relation to Jesus Christ is the issue that must be settled before any other question can be dealt with properly. It's hard to love without understanding the Christ that loves. It's difficult to forgive without understanding our relationship to Jesus and His forgiveness. The church is missing something as it seems to's JESUS because we miss the central thrust of God's word.