Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"If We Live To 70"

  Let me make a brief observation about our time and see what we really do in our lifetime. We all have been given an equal portion of time. No one has less or more than another. We have 24 hours in the day and 365 days a year (except leap year which adds one)!
  Let's use 70 years of age as the average life span. In those 70 years we will sleep 23 years of our lives based on sleeping 8 hours each night. Over that same 70 year span you will spend approximately 14 years working, 6 years eating and 5 years traveling. Let's take it a little further. Let's add watching television since it has become such a great central part in the lives of many. It is said from a recent poll (and I'm not too trusting of polls but we will use it as a base) that the average American watches 6 hours of television each day. I will adjust that to 4 hours per day since 6 seemed a little high to me. That amounts to 28 hours per week, 1460 hours per year and in a 50 year period that would 72,000 hours of television watching. In just 50 years that is more than 8 years of televsion viewing!
  Let's compare the above with our spiritual lives. If we were to begin at birth (I am reaching for the highest impact to make a point) spending five minutes each morning and evening in prayer (which is more than most) and three hours per week in worship/Bible study (which is more than some), by the age of 70 we would have invested a total of just over 20 months of our lives! Let's add an additional three hours per week in reading our Bibles at home. That would make our total amount of spiritual food and gain a total of 3.6 years by the age of 70! That's the amount of time we would devote ourselves to knowing the Lord and growing. That's rather eye opening.
  Our children are being raised on a daily diet of self with an increased time spent on pleasure. How careful are we being with our lives and our children's lives? How serious are we about the spiritual matters of God? Do we really desire to grow spiritually? The days are evil and time is fleeting. Understanding the will of the Lord is the greatest blessing we could grasp (Eph. 5:15-17).

Monday, January 30, 2012


  What is it like to not have your sins "imputed" against you? What does it mean to not "impute" sin? David speaks of  his sins before God as being "imputed" in Psa. 32 and Paul repeats David's statement in Rom. 4:7-8. Depending on the version you use, some will use the term "count". Some will use the term "reckon". Others will use the term "not guilty". Is there such a person living today to whom the Lord does not "impute", never count, not reckon, not consider guilty of their sins? Yes, those who are in the covenant relationship with the Lord. "For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." (Heb. 8:12) That's the covenant we are under when we came to being immersed into Jesus.
  In the book of Philemon, there was a runaway slave named Onesimus. Onesimus had some way (by the help of God) found Paul and Paul led him to Jesus. Paul said that Onesimus was useless and because of Christ, he was now useful. Paul sent Onesimus back to his master Philemon. That's what the law required. Apparently Onesimus had stolen from Philemon when he ran away. Here is Paul's statement to Philemon: "If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me. But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account." (Philemon 17-18)
  How could Paul say such? Where did Paul learn that kind of heart? He got it from the Lord! We have debts we could not pay because of our sins. Our debts were tremendous and we were doomed. When we came to Jesus, God gives to us in the place of our debts Jesus Himself! Jesus was treated like we should have been treated. Jesus took our pains, our scourging and our punishment. Why? So God could treat us like He should have treated Jesus!! Here is Jesus who says to the Father, "Accept Brent (put your name here) as you would accept Me, and if Brent has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to My account." SINS IMPUTED!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"The Journey Back To Babel"

  We read about it in Gen. 11. The peak of man's insolence came at the tower of Babel. When you read it carefully you see man's arrogance and pride making a go of things without God! They wanted a name for themselves, to be somebody's in this world. This tower that will reach upward to heaven will be our rallying point and the center of man's life that will show our self-sufficiency. This marvelous, grand tower would stand above the earth that we can boast in our doings and in all this, it can be done without God!
  With all this, man's ignorance and foolishness gets exposed. It began in a garden where God blessed man, which man gave back to God their treachery by being led into believing we could be as wise as God, not needing God. Eventually the flood dealt with man's sinfulness showing this world that man cannot live without God and man quickly went back to their conceit and pride being daring and self-willed worship on the plains of Shinar. Here they were on this plain where mankind came together united against God. God once again showed that it took one moment of one word spoken from Him to confuse man's language and it stopped man in their tracks! No more center for man, no common cause and now without a home or name. Man scattered! The loss of home and community came through sinful and prideful independence. 
  At the right time in the history of man, God built His center in a man called Jesus Christ. Being lifted up on a cross God was showing that if there was going to be any unity, it would rally around Jesus. Jesus was to unite the fragmented world of the arrogant Jew and rebellious Gentile. On Pentecost, the Lordship of Jesus was made visible (Acts 2) which undid everything that happened at Babel! 
  It didn't take long and this one community of believers that came into existence called the church (there was only one and no such thing as denominations), that rallied around the Lordship of Jesus Christ as the center of their lives and His truth brought them as one, began to fragment. People leading others under this name of Jesus into different beliefs and independence. The grand structures built with man's name on it, glory in man, the apostles and anyone tied to religion. Positive thinking, psychology and ideas of man have become a staple all under the disguise of the name of the Lord. But really the name of man is behind it. We are just smarter about it today...or are we? Slowly but surely, over the last two thousand years as hundreds of hundreds of groups have fragmented with different teachings making man's thoughts their center and traditions made up as their religion. It makes us wonder if once again we have begun the journey back to Babel? I wonder what God is getting ready to do? 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


  It's sometimes taught as the "gospel of success"! We live in a day and time where the media, social outlets and even preaching and teaching worship the god of "success." What America claims are role models are looked at as "successful." Professional athletes with multi-million dollar salaries are "successful." Corporate heads who command vast commercial empires are "successful." Autobiographies are written about those self-made "successful" people and become big sellers. Musicians, actors, entertainers with huge fan clubs and bulging bank accounts are envied by many and viewed as a great "success" in life.
  Where does that leave the rest of us? The many multitudes? Are we (they) "unsuccessful?" The ordinary person who works hard, planning out things, clawing, scratching, scraping and doing what is right just to get along in life. What about those of us who follow Jesus? Is it possible the world's mad-dog rush and mob-like clamor for "success" has invaded the church from the podiums, classrooms and outreach? In all this talk about "success" and being a winner, is it making it more and more difficult for us to hear the voice of the Son of God? Was it not Jesus who spoke these words: "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matt. 16:26)? The Lord of heaven and earth hasn't changed His mind, has He? When is the last time we thought about His words: "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."? (Luke 12:15) Is our life really about physical "success?"
  Let's be honest here. Where do we find where Jesus taught His disciples to "succeed" in their physical well being? Where did God inspire His holy apostles to teach the church to be "successful" using worldly criteria? What is happening in the church when disciples want positions of greatness and dominance over others? Maybe we need to go back and read about Brother Noah working on an ark because it was a matter of life and death in listening to God. He led his children to listening to God's voice to save them too. It meant they had to reject the lifestyle of those around. Look at Jeremiah as he weeps in prison over Judah's unfaithfulness, suffering with those who have acted ungodly. Read about Paul, sitting in a prison cell, awaiting to hear if he would be executed or set free because of His Lord's message. And what about Jesus as they drove nails in His hands and feet?
  "Success" has become a goal of many. I'm not advocating to not try your best or be lazy. I am wondering if we have forgotten that the gospel is still God's power to save and it is the only means to do just that. We will live in eternity with the Lord only by and through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who spoke that those who humbly submit to Him, walking in His love and serving where we can while preaching Jesus and Him crucified to our friends and neighbors. The only "successfulones in the end will be those who serve their Master allowing Him to save their souls. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


  "Beautiful is the marriage of Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice.
They are both servants of the same Master. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or spirit.
They are two in one flesh, and where there is one flesh there is also one spirit.
They pray together, they worship together, instructing one another, strengthening one another.
Side by side they visit God's church; side by side they face difficulties and persecutions, share their consolation. They have no secrets from one another; they never bring sorrow to each other's hearts.
Unembarrassed they visit the sick and assist the needy. They give alms without anxiety.
Psalms and hymns they sing. Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace.
Where there are two together, there also He is present; and where He is, evil is not!"

Tertullian of Carthage
c. 160-230 AD 

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Going To An Early Grave"

  Some of the brethren at Corinth went to an early grave! Not physically but spiritually. What killed them spiritually a couple of thousand years ago has not been eradicated. It is presently a raging epidemic and we need to be made aware because of the danger invovled. Those who have already died probably don't care while others are on the verge of death.
  When things can affect our health, we become hightened to what is causing our problems. We take precaustions by eating the right foods, getting sufficient rest, take vacations, take our vitamins and exercise when we can. When we sense something is wrong with our health, we get to the doctor as quickly as possible. All of this is done for a body that will last some 70-80 years.
  The soul is another story. We openly admit our souls are important. Do we not realize our soul has no expiration date stamped on it? Our soul was designed by God to live forever. That should give each of us more concern about the condition of our souls than our bodies!
  One's soul does not have to die! What was going on in the congregation at Corinth had Paul greatly concerned. Paul knew exactly why "many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep." (I Cor. 11:30) Their spiritual well being was heading to an early grave and some were already there!
  It all had to do with their attitudes toward the brethren and their fellowshiping the Lord in the His Supper! Paul reminded them Jesus asked to "do this in remembrance of Me." How do we remember Jesus? With bad attitudes? With sin-filled lives? Hate in the heart toward another brother or sister? Simply not caring? Why do you partake of His Supper? A failure to partake of His feast in any way that is less than Him in relationship to each one will lead to weakness, illness and the death of the soul!
  It is for your soul's sake to take His Supper, fellowship with Him and His body and examining ourselves to make certain we do it with a remembrance of Him. Otherwise, we are going to an early grave!

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Off and Running"

  This week I will be out of pocket at a lectureship in Texas. I will resume my writings on Jan. 23, 2012. Until then, let's believe the truth about God. Just listen to these words:
  "There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapid to evil, a false witness who utters lies and the one who spreads strife among brothers." (Prov. 6:16-19)
  This should always make us pause, realizing the fear of the Lord knowing we serve an awesome God. The righteous and wise fear the Lord and tremble at His word. God's blessings to each. Be prayerful, be strong in His word and let the Lord have entrance in your heart. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Come Worship and Sin!"

  Amos came preaching God and cried out to God's people: "Enter Bethel..." I'll stop there. Bethel was an ancient place of worship and Amos was calling for the people to come to Bethel. Let's finish the verse: "Enter Bethel and transgress." (Amos 4:4) What? How jarring it must have been for a prophet and preacher to say in effect: "Come worship and let's sin!"
  That was the message from this preacher of God to God's people. Here's the whole of it: "Enter Bethel and transgress; In Gilgal multiply transgressions! Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days. Offer a thank offering also from that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill offerings, make them known. For so you love to do so, you sons of Israel," 'Declares the Lord God.' (Amos 4:4-5)
  These strong and straight forward words of this preacher was urging God's people to attend services and be fully participating in all their religious activities in order that they might increase their rebellion against the Lord! What brought all this on? The Lord calls their hand because of the motivation of these worshipers. Their real concern was to enhance their own reputations by being present and displaying their personal generosity!!
  This leads me to wonder. Do I (or you) attend worship to be drawn into a closer relationship and fellowship with the Lord? Or is there a different agenda? Are we really there gathered around the feet of the Lord or are there other motives involved? Is worshiping God something you do just for your personal satisfaction? "...because you come together not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it." (I Cor. 11:17-18) We too can come together and transgress! Just look at how people treat one another and we don't think the Lord is aware? If our motives and oneness does not prevail in our worship, it becomes a worship of sin and rebellion. Where does it leave such? "For this reason many among you are weak and sick and a number sleep." (I Cor. 11:30) Our attitudes in worship can really be killing us. "Come worship and sin!"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Fear of the Lord"

  One of the strangest phenomena of our day and time is people wanting to drop "fear of the Lord" in preaching and teaching while in the human world the interest in fear is great. Look around. Everyone is speaking and teaching fear except the church!
  We are being taught that if certain ones are voted into office, it will hurt those aged, the end of medicare or social security. It is almost daily we hear something about this. AIDS is spoken of as a fear. Radon is a problem. There are those telling us there is a hole in the ozone and our weather is changing which will ultimately destroy our world. The rain forest is being cut down which will have drastic effects on our world. Many see these fears as a good thing. They are worthwhile and productive for all of us. Let's just face it: we are sold on fear in this world!
  But when it comes to God, something changes. Many want to say "no" to preaching the fear of the Lord. You hear it from some that we aren't to talk about the fear of the Lord but only about His love for us. Please don't mention the wrath of God. Let's not preach on hell. Let's not warn the disobedient or call those who are sinning wrong, let's just talk about loving them. Elders are railed against with no fear of the Lord behind them. Call sin sin and you get put on the chopping block. Simply put, the fear of the Lord is missing in many places and we see it in the lives of people. Have we become like those mentioned in Rom. 1:21, "they did not honor Him as God or give thanks."? Or Rom. 3:18, "There is no fear of God before their eyes."?
  When are we going to listen carefully to the words Jesus spoke: "But I will warn you whom to fear; fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!" (Luke 12:5)? 
  The apostle Peter taught that in our addressing the Father, the One who impartially judges each one, "conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth." We are missing something in our faith because their is little fear of the Lord. The lack of fear leads to the lack of respect. That's why much of the preaching has moved away from the word of the Lord to just a reference book and more focused on man's books and stories! Many don't want to hear anything but fluff and made to feel good about themselves. You don't have to change or respect anyone. Jesus didn't teach like that!
  Isaiah speaking for the Lord sums it up like this:  "But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word."(Isa. 66:2) Makes one wonder if God is looking to us?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"The Gospel"

  John was standing, watching and waiting. There was a book in the right hand of the One sitting on the throne (Rev. 5). No one in heaven or on earth could approach the throne much less open the book. John wept. The existence of man was depending on the opening of that book and no one was worthy. Not Abraham, not Moses, not Peter or Paul or any of the apostles. Why? Because the best of men and women come up short of God's holiness! Only Christ and Him alone can bring one near to God. Jesus approached the throne and took the book opening it. Heaven broke out in praise and adoration. Jesus is the answer to man's problems. Everything we lack, He is. All our faults and weaknesses He is our perfection. Everything we desire to be, He is!
  Many times what is happening in the world happens in the church. Different gospels are being proclaimed. Some preach a "Psychological Gospel." Let's make people feel good and don't speak too harsh against sin. Some preach a "Social Gospel." Those who need a friend and where you can have a good time with others that are so nice. There is a "Political Gospel" where changing our society and fighting "against" campaigns are in order. We have an "Emotional Gospel" where feel good stories and emotional happenings send goose bumps up and down the back. Personal testimonies take center stage along with "mood music" to help the moment along. Still others preach a "Theological Gospel" where people glory in being right on every issue. Why we are right and everyone else is wrong becomes the theme. Scripture is used but many are taken out of context. What is the common theme in all these "gospels"? MAN is the center! No wonder people are so weak and helpless.
  It was Jesus who sent His apostles out into a world with His gospel (Mark 16:15). It was Paul who proclaimed that gospel was God's power for salvation (Rom. 1:16). It was Jesus and Him crucified that Paul wanted to know (I Cor. 2:2). It was being careful not to get cute with the gospel, changing it in any way because it would be made void in the lives of people (I Cor. 1:17). Jesus knows and the apostles knew that you cannot grow spiritually without Jesus and Him crucified! Only in Christ can sins be forgiven. Only in Christ can one find power to overcome! Only in Christ can one be made complete! Only in Christ can one be made holy and righteous to live in the presence of a holy and righteous Father! Only Christ can change a person into His image!
  That day before John in Revelation 5, only One could open that book. Only One could approach the holiness of God. When Jesus took the book and opened it, every living thing in heaven fell down and cried out, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." (Rev. 5:12) Heaven knows the Savior. Heaven sang a new song. Heaven knows the gospel of salvation and who that gospel is tied to. What about us?

Monday, January 9, 2012

"God Is Faithful"

  The three greatest words we hear from heaven is: "God is faithful!" (I Cor. 1:9/10:13) What a statement of truth. We have read about the faithfulness of God over and over yet have we ever really thought about it? "If we are faithless, he remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself." (II Tim. 2:13) The absolute nature of God is "faithfulness." He is always trustworthy in His words, action and nature. Many don't believe that. They look at the hurt and evil in the world and question the faithfulness of God. "If God really cared, why did He allow this to happen?" is a common question by many. No matter what is going on, the fact still remains true: "God is faithful."
  The word "faithful" means "to be reliable, trustworthy and loyal." We use the word "faithful" in a wrong sense many times which causes us to have a distorted view of God and His faithfulness. We call one "faithful" who attends the assemblies. If brethren show up when the doors are open, we say, "They are a faithful member!" If one comes to the assemblies somewhat regular, we whisper, "They are somewhat faithful." When one doesn't come hardly at all, we state, "They are unfaithful." I am not denying the need for assembling with the saints. It is a love shown and a want to express a heart of thanksgiving in worship. It is vital for our up-building and growth. But let's think about this, sitting in a building with other Christian's will no more make you a "faithful Christian" than wallowing in the pig pen will make you a pig! The "religion of attendance" is not something new. Jesus experienced it while He walked among the Jews. The Pharisees strutted about with their chests out because they attended everything expected! Jesus condemned them (Matt. 23).
  "God is faithful" and we were called into His faithfulness through Jesus. Some are "babies" in Christ but they long after their Savior, to follow in His steps while not knowing much except His promises. They stumble and are repentant but they are "faithful". Some are mature and have practiced the word of righteousness in order to discern good and evil (Heb. 5:14). Their goal is to please their Lord. They are "faithful." Some are weak, struggling and seem less important. To Jesus they are most important (I Cor. 12:23-24). We think the most visible work is the best but that's not what God thinks. Those weak members, who are hanging on to their Savior's words, turn with a whole heart when they fail and want to grow. They are "faithful".
  Abraham believed God! David trusted his God! Peter leaned on his Lord! They all failed but they didn't trust in themselves, they relied on the "faithfulness" of God. To be a "faithful" follower means, when I fail, I look to Jesus' blood for my cleansing and get up. When I stumble badly, I look away from myself and to Him who is "faithful" and not drown in myself. When I sin, I confess to Him with an humble heart knowing "He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9) My "faithfulness" is not mine. It is a response from my faith to trust in Him to do as He promised and I carry out His will. Years ago I heard this, and I can't remember where, but it went like this: the legalist trusts in what he does. The liberal trusts in what he doesn't do. The saved trust in God.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Self Denial"

  Jesus drove home a point in Luke 9:23: "And He was saying to them all, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.'" He didn't mince words! Jesus states if this is not done, one can't be My disciple.
  One of the most difficult things to do is deny self! To deny yourself literally means to "disregard one's own interest." This is a demand on the soul, your soul! Self denial  is never easy because there is a cross involved but one can never walk with Jesus until this happens. Too many want to promote their wants, their personal desires and work off the way they feel. Whenever one has strong feelings about a situation it is difficult to say no to yourself. What we need to realize is that we need Jesus enthroned on our hearts and not our personal feelings and wants. When we live according to our desires, the best it will get you is separated from God because God can't use you in that heart setting. Jesus said this is what a disciple of Mine does; they deny themselves!
  "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26) This explains a little more in depth what it means to deny self. I thought we are to love our parents, mates and children? What does Jesus mean? Simply put, those closest to us are not to interfere in our walk with the Lord! They are not to be the Lord of our lives. There is no relationship, no matter how cherished the people are, to come between you and your serving the Lord. To refuse Christ and His Lordship for the love of a parent, mate or child will cost you your soul. Wasn't it Jesus that taught we are to love God will all our heart, soul and mind? We love our families but we aren't to allow them to be loved over the Lord.
 Have you ever spoken with someone about their soul and the gospel to save them and they couldn't respond because of their concern for what their family would think? They refuse to deny self. The love of family was greater than the love of God.
  Sometimes we want certain things our way and when that desire is strong, it gets very difficult to deny self. A disciple of Jesus must deny self. That inner surrender of ourselves to Christ become the principle upon which our behavioral patterns are built. Look how many times the church has split over the lack of self denial. People pursue their feelings, their desires while talking about the Lord and HIs word and will destroy the very things of God in the process of their pursuits. We need to go the extra mile and that takes self denial. You can love, even when you have been taken advantage of or hurt because of self denial. Didn't Jesus?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Ignorance vs. Ignorance"

  I heard of a fellow, he was a brother in Christ, that was opposed to education. He often called those with high education people without any sense! He wasn't bashful about making it known. One day he prayed in public: "Lord, I thank Thee that I am ignorant, and I pray that Thou will make me ignoranter." Another brother sitting close by whispered quietly to the Lord, "Lord, I don't think you can do that!!"
  Ignorance, under the Law of Moses, was still sin. Sins done in ignorance (Lev. 5:17-19) or unknowingly had to have sacrifices made for them and they would be forgiven. They were different from sins done in high handed rebellion (Numbers 15:30-36). Those who did things knowing they were against the Lord were rebelling and despised the word of the Lord. It cost them their lives!
  Paul speaks that he had received mercy for his blaspheming and persecuting and being a violent aggressor because "I acted ignorantly in unbelief." (I Tim. 1:13-14).
  While speaking at a lectureship, I had a lady share with me that she realizes the more you know from Scripture the more accountable one becomes so she concluded the less she knew, the better off she was! That's not ignorance but down right insane.
  But there is another side to ignorance that Scripture deals with and that's with the moral rather than a purely intellectual connotation. This type of ignorance is linked with hardness of heart. "Being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart." (Eph. 4:18) This is not a knowledge or intellectual deficient, but a willful refusal to know God and honor Him as God (Rom. 1:21).
  Sometimes ignorance even goes beyond hardness of heart and becomes arrogant and self-assertive. Not only is the heart hardened to the point the Lord can't touch but they are going to assert themselves upon others to accept things their way no matter what anyone says or thinks. People like this are unreasonable and are certainly standing as an obstacle that the Lord will have to remove. This type of ignorance does not even realize the depth of trouble they are in and what is headed their way. The bottom line, there is more than one kind of ignorance but every form is a root of misfortune!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"The Grand or the Humble?"

Our society is geared to the strong, the grand, the outstanding winners! It has become a worship of such. How many advertisements have you seen about the "ordinary" or "Mr./Mrs. Average"? Beauty, youth and being number one are what our world drives for and is built around. Many want to rub shoulders with the record breakers and be known themselves as someone great. And this mind-set and desires have walked right into the church of our Lord! Let's be somebody's, let's be recognized, let's be a "mega-church" seem to drive so many. But let's turn for a moment and look at Jesus. Jesus didn't teach, "What we need is BIG faith to do BIG things for the Lord!" Listen to His words: "If you have faith as a mustard seed..." (Matt. 17:20) in speaking to His disciples. "...but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant." (Mark 10:43) What does our desire for greatness and being number one lead to? Finding the super motivating evangelist, the smile crazed youth ministers with talent out of this world and people who has charisma and charm.
  I suppose people who go after and reach for all this hype would probably have rebuked Jesus in the garden. Listen, God has never looked and is not impressed by our greatness!! Just look at all the instances that got the attention of Jesus. It was those small and insignificant people in the eyes of man. People who served in quiet, humble ways while others never knew. Those who kneel in prayer when their heart is breaking because of a loved one having gone astray from the Lord. Those who find encouragement in the assembly because of fellowshipping with the Lord in His Supper because of the battles they face during the week.
  God used a lowly Hebrew named Moses to bring down the powerful Pharaoh. The Lord God used an ordinary, simple servant girl to get the great Naaman to Elisha, who in turn sent him to the dirty Jordan Rivers for cleansing. God raised up a common shepherd boy to destroy the great and might giant warrior of the Philistines. Jehovah God sent a breeder of sheep (Amos), a herdsman who lived in the desert, to go to His people to get them to repent.  God brought John from the desert, a man lacking royalty, eating locusts to pave the way for the Savior of the world. When our Lord entered this world, the King of kings and Lord of lords didn't come in greatness, pomp and majesty being born in a high class family. He was an ordinary Jew and looked like an ordinary Jew. When Jesus tried to teach about God, people took offense because of His humble, ordinary background (Matt. 13:54-58). God used fishermen and those of lowly positions in life to get a gospel message to the lost world. God reminded the Corinthians that the great and mighty was not God's way (I Cor. 1:26-31). No, it isn't about the great and strong winners that society drools over. God is for the humble, the weak and hurting. He's concerned for the down-trodden and those who fail trying.
  The next time the zealous lacking knowledge, fireball Christian, with all his arms waving and schemes pouring out of his mouth asks you, "What great things are you doing for the Lord?", just humbly ask: "Does praying for the lost count? What about trying to lead my family to heaven while raising my children in the Lord's way count? Does it count that I am trying to lead a godly life quietly and humbly in the presence of ungodly co-workers? Does being honest count?"  

Monday, January 2, 2012


We need to be a godly people. A people who seek God's approval and walk in godly attitudes. Godliness is one of the qualities listed  in II Peter 1:5-7 that needs to be added to our faith. In fact, in the seven qualities listed, each of the qualities are built on one another. In other words, if one doesn't start dealing with "moral excellence" (NASB version) they will never arrive at knowledge of God! Virtue, moral excellence is a standard of living of right and wrong. One must look to God and hear what He speaks as is right and wrong. But down deep in the list of seven qualities to add in our lives, is this thing called 'godliness'. 
Godliness is best explained when we see how ungodliness described. "And about these also Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied,  saying, 'Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way,and of all the harsh things which the ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." (Jude 14-15) Jude speaks of Enoch prophesying about a judgment of the Lord upon the ungodly. Using this prophesy, Jude explains who the ungodly are when speaking of the church..."These are the grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage." (Jude 16)
Those that are ungodly are grumblers! The godly don't grumble! Paul reminds the brethren at Corinth that grumbling cost Israel their lives (I Cor. 10). The ungodly are fault finders! The godly bears with faults because that's what love does (I Cor. 13:7). How easy is it to find fault in another? The ungodly follow their lusts, desires! Things must go their way, how they feel and think and if it doesn't, they will express their views in ways that are less than godly. The godly seek the best for others and not themselves. But here is where it gets difficult. The ungodly speak to flatter people trying to gain an advantage. They want people to think they are spiritual while trying to gain advantage over the rest. It's ungodliness at it's height! The godly simple trust and obey.
If we are going to pursue godliness, we must move away from ungodly behavior and attitudes! Godliness must be pursued and practiced before one can get to brotherly kindness and love (II Pet. 1:7) That takes spiritual maturity to get to this depth of growing in our faith. Some never arrive. Years in the Lord does not always equate into spiritual godliness. It takes a diligence in faith to attain and starts with moral excellence! Until that is put into practice, there is no moving forward into the other qualities which is why some never reach to the depth of walking with Jesus in godliness.