Thursday, December 27, 2012

"What If They Met?"

  The man's life wasn't the best. He was known for his rebellion against any authority and was convicted of murder! He knew what awaited him. There would be an agony in being crucified but his defiant hatred of authority had so filled his heart, it didn't matter. If given the chance, he would murder again those in authority trying to over-turn the government rule that was hated.
  As he sat in his cell, chains on him, he heard the sound of soldiers walking. He knew what was coming. It makes you wonder if there ever was a time when a man in such position found his mind wander back to the days of his childhood? Would he think of the fun times with family and friends? Did he ever remember the time of innocence and being in the lap of his mother or holding the hand of his father? We don't know but now his life was about to end and he knew it!
  The cell door opened and the soldiers approached. They took hold of his chains pulling him from the guarded cell. This was it. His last walk. His last moments before being killed. His life was an 'eye-for-an-eye' life and now repayment would be met for one who hated this government. He was unshackled and thrown out of the prison. Standing outside, the soldiers walking away with his chains and shackles in hand, he was in a state of shock. "What's this?" he thought to himself. Calling out to one of the soldiers he asked, "What's going on?" The soldier turned and spoke, "We have signed authority from the governor to set you free. You're sentence has been commuted. You have received a full pardon!" The soldier walked away. Was this a dream? What was happening? He turned gazing ahead and took off. 
  In his hurry, he heard a crowd of noise and yelling. "I'm free! I have no reason to fear so I'll go check this out." he thought to himself. Looking over the crowd, watching and listening, people were yelling so loudly and every once in a while, he saw the top of a cross and knew someone was headed to die. "Who is that?" he asked someone. "Oh, that's a man named Jesus! He's the teacher from Nazareth." someone replied. "What crime did he commit?" Then came the words, "He's taking the place of another as required by law for the feast!" This hardened criminal had something shoot through his hard, insensitive heart and things began to clear up. This man knew himself was an avowed enemy of Rome. He was the worst and a convicted murderer and insurrectionist. Why are they crucifying this Nazarene in the place of another? Why would they kill this teacher? We know him as Barabbas! He is alone in his own thoughts. It makes one wonder, could this man Barabbas been one converted at the first preaching of the apostles at Pentecost 50 days later? I wonder if Barabbas ever met Jesus after this point? What if they met? What would Barabbas say? What would Jesus say? What will you say?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Our Friend Joseph"

  We sometimes struggle in our faith. The lessons that have come to us just doesn't seem to penetrate the heart because our minds and hearts are somewhere else. Instead of taking in the truths from God and His word, we readily agree with Him but the impact on our lives is something different. Suddenly a difficulty arises and we crumble into a world of self slowly withdrawing into ourselves with few answers and even less response to the Lord. We find ourselves hopelessly in the midst of something with no answers.
  Life can be mighty difficult without a genuine faith in the Lord. Life can be intimidating enough but without guidance from the word of the Lord, it leaves us frozen. Joseph knew this all too well. Here was a young man, with a wonderful home life and all his dreams before him. He didn't realize how much his brothers hated him and that hatred spilled over one day because Joseph was a dreamer and so beloved by his father! They wanted to kill him but they found it more profitable to sell him instead. A seventeen year old boy on a journey with foreigners. What a frightening experience only to be sold into the hands of an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh. What would lay ahead? Is this fair for such a young man who had done nothing wrong? But this wasn't the worse. He was lied about, accused of a terrible crime which he didn't commit. Joseph had done nothing but be loving and loyal. Now he found himself in prison, shackled in chains and an iron collar around his neck (Psa. 105:18). In all this, Joseph had dreams eleven years earlier and those dreams seemed to be in ruin. Years of pain and misery for this young man! Over eleven years of disappointment and heartache. But what do we find? A man of God! From his youth to the eleven years of being mistreated and abused there was a deep affection for his God. He could have been bitter! He could have built a world of complaining and feeling sorry for himself. But instead, his trust in God, his heart constantly living for and dwelling upon God brought something greater. It took years but the outcome was all destined by God and Joseph refused to crumble under the injustices dealt him. 
  What about us? Why do things take us down so easily? When we are faced with dire circumstances, our reaction to those circumstances reveal a mind and heart set. We forget the promises. We shrink back from the power source. We drown in our misery. Can't we see anything from the words of Joseph when speaking to his brothers face to face all those years later: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."?  

Monday, December 24, 2012


  We were riding together when a brother asked me, "What is the real secret of gaining insight to the Lord?" I  pondered for a moment and said: "Surrender!" As we drove along he said, "I'm not sure what that means!" I told him I didn't buy that. We know what surrender involves. We have read of wars and feuds when one side surrenders. The fighting ceases and you place yourself completely under the direction and power of the one to whom you surrender.
  It's really simple in principle but difficult because we have been programmed to do it ourselves, fend for ourselves, we are the one that makes things happen with positive thinking and the list goes on. I can't tell you how many times I have heard stated from those who claim Jesus as their Lord: "The Lord helps those who help themselves!" That's simply not true and stating things like this doesn't make it true. The Lord helps those who trustingly surrender to Him! Wasn't it Jesus telling the adults that unless they are converted and become like children, they would not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18)? Surrender! Unconditional, 100% giving of yourself over to the Lord and His power. Watch little children. Tell them this needs to be done, walk over here, stay away from that and so on and they respond! Surrender!
  Until there is surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ there will be little insight and progress made. Jesus summed it up this way: "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it." (Matt. 16:24-25) We must stop trying to do it all ourselves. We need to sit, be still and let the Lord open the doors that need to be opened, work on our hearts by listening and responding to His word by doing what He speaks to us from His word with all our heart. When is the last time you silently sat in God's presence, still and heart engaged asking where you need to walk? After sitting still, listening and something walks into your world either through a difficulty or another person and immediately we complain or miss it completely because our hearts aren't surrendered. Seek the Lord. Listen to the Lord and do not allow all the voices in this world to set our lives on course.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"The End Of the World?"

    I don't know if you saw it or not but in China on Tuesday, Dec. 18, the Chinese police detained more than 500 people from a group called "Almighty God" also called "Eastern Lighting" for spreading rumors about the world's impending doom and end. In this detaining, they seized leaflets, videos, books and other apocalyptic material. Here is the amazing part. This group holds to the Mayan calendar and teaches that Jesus has reappeared as a woman in central China! 
  On the news in America this week, there has been talk of the Mayan calendar of the prediction of the end of the world TODAY! People on the street, at work and in the media are speaking of this Mayan prediction. On the radio this morning, some were poking fun at the end of the world thought having a good time with it.
  What are we to do? Well, first we aren't to get caught up in all this hype and pay attention to it. We know as students of God's Scripture that it plainly states no one knows the time but it will come like a thief in the night (I Thes. 5). Secondly, when Jesus was speaking with His disciples about the impending destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24), He told His disciples that someone might say, "Behold, here is the Christ or there He is." Then came the words: "Do not believe him." (24:23) Why? "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance." (24:24-25)
  All of this shows us just how blind people are but at the same time, people want to believe in something greater than the evil around. People are looking for something they can latch hold of and follow to find strength and relief. The problem, people are looking in the wrong places. They aren't being honest with Scripture and find a piece here or there to fit their thoughts while developing a doctrine they can use for their own. In all this, it has caused some distress to think it could be the end of the world. Others make fun of the Lord's return with no serious thought, especially no faith. Do you know what? Jesus is coming and when He returns the only question we ask is, will you be ready? He's coming at an hour when no one knows!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"God's Word"

  We have placed right before us God's word. GOD'S WORD! Not man's word, man's ideas of what he thinks of God, not some man's writings. The God breathed word that came from a Father who created and died for us.
  God's word speaks to us to believe it by responding to it! It's not a novel or a love letter. It is powerful as we read in creation..."And God said...and it was so!" We need to obey God's word. Too many read God's word and readily run to man's thoughts to put with it. What happens as a result? The powerful word from God is mixed with weak and sinful man's thoughts and it makes God's word man's word.
  When Jesus was confronted by the devil, Jesus' heart came forward: "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4) Why can't we accept and believe that? Jesus spent His years on this earth with one mind-set, listening to His Father's word doing His will. Jesus didn't mix it with psychology or cute sayings someone came up with. Jesus didn't listen to man's thoughts and reasoning's throwing in a little of God's word to come to a conclusion. Jesus spoke plainly: "He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God." (John 8:47) These words Jesus spoke were to people who came to believe in Him (John 8:30). Their claim didn't make it a reality. Jesus called the devil their Father (John 8:44). Jesus was not persuaded by man, only the word of His Father.
  I want to encourage you, read and obey God's word. Don't try to understand everything. Take His word you read and apply it as you understand it today to your life. Treat your mate as God would have it! Love your children as God would have it! Love the brotherhood as God would have it! Worship God as God would have it! You have His word in your home. What's keeping you from listening and responding? No matter what anyone's philosophy in life may be, God still speaks His will through His word. He's speaking. Do you hear Him? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Jesus, Children and Us"

  Many are speaking today of the tragedy that happened with all the little children in Connecticut. People are left in shock and hurting. It affected me as I thought about the precious children that Jesus claimed was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:1-3).
  But that's just it, isn't it? The greatest! That's what children are. That's why it bewilders us when someone takes the life of child because of the innocence and way they are in this world filled with sin. They bring us the only purity in this world! They giggle and laugh, looking at things through such pure eyes and hearts. They know little of corruption. They only know trust and love. It was these Jesus said we as adults must be converted and become like children if we are going to enter the kingdom of heaven. The good news and most comforting is we can know that these children will never have to grow up dealing with corruption and evil. They didn't get to a point where they found themselves separated from the Lord because of their own sin. They simply went to Jesus, in the presence of God and are enjoying an eternity of bliss and comfort. I realize this is the human side of me, but it makes me think that all the little children and babies that have passed from this life are enjoying a laughing, giggly and skipping time in the presence of God. The joy they share in, I can't even imagine.
  In all of this, it is all possible because of Jesus! We too have a promise made for us. Jesus died so we would not have to perish eternally. All those who passed on before us in Christ Jesus, putting their trusting faith in Him are enjoying the same as these children are enjoying. Eternal bliss. That's what was at the heart of God for mankind. God never intended for man to perish and still doesn't. The provision of Jesus and eternity are what the Lord secured for us. In the end it will be nothing but Jesus...Jesus...Jesus, the sweetest name we know! God provided and if we don't make, that will completely our choice, not His.

Monday, December 17, 2012

"A Word On Baptism"

  Many people debate the idea of baptism. Many think that baptism is a sprinkling, pouring or something like that. That's sprinkling and pouring, not baptism. The New Testament term baptism means to dip, immerse, plunge or some other type of synonym. People do not study, just repeat what someone has said or something they have been taught. When Paul addressed the Roman brethren, he asked them: "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?" (Rom. 6:3) Paul wasn't debating baptism. He wasn't tying their baptism to the Holy Spirit as some claim. Baptism wasn't a symbol. He simply asked them if they knew from the standpoint of a fact that they were ignorant of when they were baptized into Christ Jesus.
  A fellow by the name of J. W. Shepherd wrote a little book called "Handbook on Baptism." In this book, he speaks of baptism citing 33 lexicographers, 21 encyclopedias, 26 church historians, 18 church "fathers" and 63 theologians. These sources are all recognized people from all walks of religion. EVERY SINGLE ONE said baptism was an immersion, a plunging beneath the waters. Shepherd went on calling on 124 commentators, church "fathers", theologians, and lexicographers stating that Romans 6 deals specifically  with immersion in water and nothing else! Too many seem to argue the fact because Paul connects baptism with "baptized into Christ", "baptized into His death" and "united with Him" (Rom. 6:5).
  Paul teaching through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit made it very clear that a person to enter into Christ happened at the time of them being trustingly immersed. It is at this time and point a person enters Jesus. It is this time and point that faith responds and the working of God completes (Col. 2:12). These same information sources cited above, also state that Col. 2:12 is dealing with water baptism! Baptism wasn't symbolic. It was a reality grasp by faith! A penitent believer is immersed into Christ. It is that time and point Jesus and the believer become one and that's the point Paul was making in Romans 6. There is too much arguing and not enough believing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"It's Called Faith"

  It's called faith! Too many have intellectual assent not faith. We have knowledge we have gained from study, reading and lessons we have heard. But knowledge isn't faith. One needs knowledge to create faith but it doesn't come from smarts!
  Faith is responding to the will and word of God when faced with difficulties or decisions. Faith is getting up and making a proper move according to voice (word) of God and not what you see or think. Paul spoke of Abraham that he believed God and God reckoned (counted) him as righteous because of his faith (Rom. 4). What did his faith do? Responded when he was called to respond. He didn't have intellectual assent just saying, "I believe in God!" God spoke, Abraham took what God spoke and moved the direction God wanted. Abraham believed God!!
  Too many use the power of positive thinking as their desired out come. Think positive about a situation and it will work out. That's not faith in God. That's faith in the power of positive thinking and there are no guarantees it will work out in your favor. Abraham was surrounded by every reason that he and Sarah could not have a child. They were old and Sarah's womb was dead. But with respect to God's word of promise, Abraham gave glory to God, listened to God and responded when God asked. That's faith! Human resources say this possible or this is not possible. God's resources says: "Trust Me and move with My word!" Faith responds! Faith doesn't understand how. Faith trusts!
  People face difficulties and they try to keep themselves busy to keep their minds occupied. Where is faith? I thought God promised that those who love Him and walk according to His purpose He promises all will be for their good (Rom. 8:28)? Faith trusts! Faith is what supports hope. Hope will not disappoint. Wives, you might lives with a rough and uncaring man. What does God speak? Submit and work on a gentle and quiet spirit (I Pet. 3:1-5). It takes faith to follow the Lord through. God attaches His promises to His word. Faith trusts! Faith responds to God's word. Faith doesn't try to figure things out. Faith, true saving faith will follow the word of the Lord no matter what is seen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Jesus and Him Crucified"

  Paul states to the Corinthians: "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." (I Cor. 2:2) Earlier he told them: "But we preach Christ crucified..." (I Cor. 1:23) I know there are several thoughts we could draw from this but here is one major we need to have awareness about. Paul didn't say say we preach the crucifixion!
  Too many are trying to dramatize the crucifixion. We have the gospel accounts of what Jesus went through but those accounts weren't given to be made into some dramatic play or scene. Here's what I mean. The crucifixion does not give meaning to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Lord Jesus Christ that gives meaning and glory to the crucifixion!! It's not about the deed, it's about the person and not just any person. It's about the Lord Jesus Christ accomplishing and embracing the work of the Father ending with the crucifixion. It isn't the bare act of dying that is proclaimed but the person, the Lord and Savior that is proclaimed because of His purpose and effect on mankind in that final offering of Himself on the cross.
  Paul could tell the Corinthian brethren: "For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord..." (II Cor. 4:5) Our lives were changed by a Lord and Savior, the person Jesus Christ. Too many proclaim themselves and the wonders of what He has done for them. It isn't our transformed lives that make the cross the moral and spiritual center. It's Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This isn't to make light of His crucifixion. It was necessary. It was powerful. But the power was from the heart of the heavenly Father, Jesus Christ His Son. No one forced Jesus. John 10:18 speaks that He did this on His own initiative. That's what makes Him so wonderful and lovely. The Lord Jesus followed the will of the Father and the result was He was seized and killed. "Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, 'Sacrifice and offering you have not desired but a body You have prepared for Me; in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure.' Then I said, 'Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do your will, O God." (Heb. 10:5-7)
  The death of Jesus wasn't a death of old age or "natural causes". The dying of the Lord had purpose and it was to hit directly at the heart and destruction of all of Satan's purpose among man. And this destruction and purpose is found in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And Paul proclaims: "But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."  (Gal. 6:14) This Savior, this Lord is what gave the cross it's glory and power. That's where we should be bragging and not in us! It's time we get to know Jesus and Him crucified!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Jesus the Sin Bearer"

  Isaiah spoke: "...My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities." (53:11) "Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressor." (53:12) What does it mean that He "bore our sin"? Peter speaks: "And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you are healed." (I Pet. 2:24) In what way did Jesus "bear our sins"?
  Simply put, Jesus put Himself in harm's way to deal with our sins! Over and over in the OT, the holy God Almighty spoke that a nation (or a person) would bear their own iniquity. Ezekiel 18 is a good illustration. In other words, the nation or individual took personal responsibility and would face the consequences. They would pay their price for their own disobedience. Jesus was made sin on our behalf and He made our sins His personal responsibility and faced the consequences of them along with us and on our behalf. Jesus identified with you (me), the sinful and took us personal.
  Jesus not only identified with us and faced our consequences for us, He carried our sins to the place of judgment before God in order to deal with our sins. His death in our place was a death of obedience and holy before the Father. Jesus was holy and His death was holy where God was appeased in a perfect and holy sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus in our place was a pure, holy and sinless sacrifice taking on the sinful to please God.
  Paul never stated in II Cor. 5:21 that Jesus was a sinner! He wasn't turned into sin. When we listen carefully it says: "He made Him who knew to sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." The idea of "to be sin" is the OT statement of "sin offering". Our sins weren't transferred to Jesus. Our sins were atoned by Jesus. If man's sins were transferred, that would imply the whole world is without sin! No, Jesus is our sin bearer in that one must come to Him, confessing, repenting and being united with Him in baptism because He alone is the only One that can bear the sins of many and the bear the many sins before a holy, righteous and just God! Praise be to God.

Monday, December 10, 2012

"Who Is Your God?"

  James spoke: "You believe that God is one, You do well; the demons also believe and shudder." (2:19) One God believed upon by man and demons. Maybe the question is, "who is your god that you believe?"
  A persons god is what he/she cares about the most! What a person prizes most highly! What a person serves and extends themselves on behalf of! What a person does costly things for! What a person has at the center of their thinking when they must make major decisions! That's a persons god.
  Looking in the historical past, the Romans worshiped Mars as their god of war. Today, we wouldn't find people falling down a the feet of this god but is he really dead? Look at the security of a nation that believes in its war machine to deliver us from any attacks. There was another god called Bacchus, the god of wine, drunkenness and sensuality. Is that god dead? How many give their lives for the party spirit, the drinking arena and pursuing all types of sensuality? What about the goddess Aphrodite? The goddess of sex? She was adored by the Romans and bowed down and worshipped. We quip at such silliness but then, is she dead today? Look at the ads on radio and television. Look at our programs that are constantly tainted with the ideas of sex and sexuality especially aimed at our young people. We find the goddess Venus, the god of beauty and youth. What do we find today? All the reconstruction of the body to enhance, to regain youth and it is a multi-billion dollar industry. Is she dead?
  God spoke to Israel that there will be no other gods before Me! Jesus spoke that one cannot serve two masters. Paul instructed the church at Philippi that there are false brethren who are enemies of the cross because their god is their own appetite and they glory in their shame because their mind is set on earthly things (Phil. 3:19). Maybe its more prevalent that what we want to admit. Maybe we need to sit down, examine our lives and as Joshua did in days of old make a stand that we must choose this day who we will serve (Joshua 24:15). Who is your god/God?

Thursday, December 6, 2012


  Jesus said the words: "Do not be worried about..." (Matt. 6:25). "Why are you worried about..." (Matt. 6:28). "Do not worry then..." (Matt. 6:31) The apostle Paul with all the difficulties in his personal life penned these words: "Be anxious for nothing..." (Phil. 4:6) The apostle Peter penned these words for the saint: "Casting all your anxiety on Him..." (I Pet. 5:7).
  Worries, frets, anxieties work on our lives, in our lives. People seem to have bouts with anxiety attacks and the worries seem to bury some. The world around us tells us this is normal and provides answers that do not come from the Lord. Jesus, facing a world of hatred and a cross to bear for all, said not to worry. Paul, treated as a common criminal, said to be anxious for nothing. Peter said we need to respond properly when we are anxious. In all this, are we being called to do something that is impossible? Is this just a cruel teaching that mocks us in times of distress?
  Where we go wrong is what we seek. The solution to worry and fears is always found in seeking Jesus first and foremost. Putting God in His proper place in our lives is what the Lord is looking for in our faith. When anxious times hit, we have a choice: seek the anxiety and fear that burdens us or seek the Lord and listen to Him to relieve. It's rather simple yet so difficult. Too many times we put the problem we face in first place and there seems to be no answer. It's time to start working on our faith, reaching to the Lord for His promises and answers when we are faced with adversities. What will we find? Peace that is beyond human understanding. That's the promise. Don't worry! Jesus said that, not me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Evil Intent"

  People plot with wicked intent. The depth of deceit and the height of something evil is sometimes rather amazing as it scares us to think that someone could be so cruel, so cold and so evil! I've watched over the many years when a marriage breaks up how calloused and wicked one or both parties become. Children are used in the evil schemes just to hurt the other. Something is wrong deep inside the soul of such people and they do not even realize it!
  I remember years back when I received a phone call in the early morning hours from a man that told me my children would end up missing. He was angry with me for studying with his wife and his hatred had stirred him to the depths of playing this kind of game. I remember hanging up the phone, sliding down the wall wondering why one would threaten with such. What do you do? Where do you turn? How do you eliminate the fear? "The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him, for He sees his day is coming. The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow to cast down the afflicted and the needy, to slay those who are upright in conduct. Their sword will enter their own heart and their bows will be broken." (Psa. 37:12-15)
  The Lord is still in control over all even when the wicked plot and scheme. The wicked can threaten, use a heart of hatred in ways that are unimaginable but the Lord stands close to His own. We must know that! We must believe that! The Lord will not allow His children to be without help in time of need. We must focus on Him as He is a God of righteousness and faithful to His righteousness. The danger becomes when we start fretting over a situation, we can be led into evildoing by reacting wrongly. "Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing." (Psa. 37:8) Draw near in time of struggles to the side of the Lord. He will indeed fight your battle if we only trust and do what is right.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Worship God"

  When God took Israel and led them from captivity, there was one central thing they needed to do: worship Him! The worship of God should be central in our lives. Why? Because God has an ego to entertain? Of course not! Worship brings us near and draws us upward into God. We see Him for who He really is and less of who we are.
  God buried Egypt! He told Moses to come worship. The worship of God among Israel stressed God's power, His holiness and majestic glory. When worship turned into man, following man's puny ideas, it created nothing more than seeing man as great. God needs to be honored.
  God had enough of Sodom and Gomorrah and their sins. He rescued Lot. When the destruction was complete and Lot found himself saved, how it must have crushed his heart that his wife died in the process but yet God was revered and the worship of God wasn't some side show or talent contest. It wasn't about "clowns for Jesus". It was a sincere reverence from a heart of thankfulness for his rescue.
  Israel's camp faced the tabernacle which was the focal point of worship. Everything about the tabernacle, the priesthood, the sacrifices proclaimed clearly the importance of worship to God and the importance of God being kept at the center. No entertainment, no special people but simply look to God and keep Him in His rightful place. Worship kept the people focused on God rather than themselves. Worship kept them from falling into the habit of thinking there's nothing more to life than what they could see, eat, drink or understand. Worship kept their eyes fixed on the Almighty rather than any thing that might call for their attention. Worship kept the covenant foremost in their heart from God.
  What about you? What is central in your worship? A play? A song? A clown? Who is this God we serve? Your worship indicates that answer.

Monday, December 3, 2012

"By This We Know"

  "By this we know" appears often in the book of I John. The letter is a letter of encouragement and confidence. One can rest assured of the eternal connection and safety because of "by this we know."
  "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments." (I John 2:3) The commandments of the Lord don't seem to effect as many as the ideas and thoughts of religion. Too many make things sound good and people quote and buy in but if it is a clear statement of direction from the Lord, it seems to be ignored.
  "By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked."  (I John 2:5) How did Jesus walk? Listening to everyone speak of God or did He listen solely to God, His Father?
  "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit."  (I John 4:13) What does the giving of the Spirit mean to those whom He abides in? "No one has been God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us."  (I John 4:12) The practice of love is found in those whom God dwells within. Love isn't picked just to those who we are close with in relationships. Love is practiced because of God.
  "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments." (I John 5:2) How important is observing the commandments of God to you? Do you find yourself seeking for and putting the things God desires from you first and foremost?
  In contrast to these thing, the conclusion is as follows: "And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." (I John 5:20) How about you? "By this we know" is what determines truth in our lives!