Tuesday, April 30, 2013


  It seems many times I say the same things over and over in my preaching/teaching. I find myself questioning myself at times wondering why I say the same things so often. How many times do you keep repeating things? It's a simple, clear answer: as often as needed!
  Over the years I cannot tell you how many lessons I have taught on forgiveness, love, mercy, fleshly deeds and yet there are those who sit and listen only to do the opposite. We know about unity yet there are those who are bent on destroying that. We know we will lose our souls for not loving the brethren but there are those who refuse to love while all the time they hear time and time again messages from God's word that it is wrong to not love. In fact, loving your brother is one of the tests to determine if you're a child of God or a child of the devil (I John 3:10).
  We must keep speaking over and over the same things until people get it into the heart to bring about change in their thinking and behavior. It takes no more than looking at Peter, an apostle of Jesus who seemed to always speak and react before listening. After Jesus had ascended back to the Father, Peter was shown that accepting of the Gentiles into the fold of God was part of the plan. Peter was given a vision of a large sheet containing all kinds of animals. He was told to "kill and eat"! (Acts 10:10-12) As Peter announced to the Lord that he would never eat anything unclean or unholy, the Lord responded by telling him what God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy. The Lord was speaking of the Gentiles that Peter was about to be introduced to by the name of Cornelius. Peter accepted him.
  It wasn't just a few short years, Peter, a pillar and man of high reputation in the church, found himself in spiritual trouble at Antioch. Peter began to draw away from the Gentile (Gal. 2:12). In fact, by Peter's actions he took in Barnabas to do the same. (There is a lesson on the danger how people can lead others into sin by not following the Lord with a whole heart just because you are fond of them!) Paul had to rebuke Peter in front of them all (Gal. 2:14).
  What has changed? Not much. Walking with Jesus is not simply academic. Walking with Jesus is a constant teaching until Christ is formed in us. Why not use the words penned by Peter who wrote the inspired Scripture: "Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you." (II Pet. 1:12) Keep on preaching and teaching the word, even if you repeat yourself because souls need to hear it again and again!!! I know I need to hear it often.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

"The Troubled"

  Life can be very difficult at times. We can't deny that but because we face obstacles, does that mean God has forsaken us? We would say, "Well, no!" But do we really believe that? It seems we are looking for something when troubles arise and hoping, just hoping the Lord will do something. That's it...if He would only do something to help.
  Let's get down to things quickly today. People that are troubled and distressed need more than someone being sympathetic! They need reality. But you can't make them accept reality. That must come from the faith of the one in the distress. We can help carry those burdens whenever possible (Gal. 6:2) but still the Lord calls us to carry our own loads (Gal. 6:5).
  Here comes Peter with his letter. Peter writes to Jewish Christian's in trouble, distressed and rejected by society. He writes to brethren who are undergoing suffering and will face even more in the days ahead. What does Peter tell them (and us)? Carefully read where his letter starts. He tells them who they are!!! In the first nine verses Peter expresses to these suffering saints they are God's chosen. They are the people that are made different by the Holy Spirit. They are the covenant people of God by the blood of Jesus Christ risen from the dead.
  Peter moves from this to expressing they once were not the people of God but now are and God views them as precious. They are holy to God no matter how scorned and mistreated they find themselves (I Pet. 2). Peter doesn't deny their troubles. He reminds them who they are. Just imagine for a moment that these suffering saints are sitting in their assembly and just receives this letter from Peter. One stands and reads. The real question is can they believe these incredible claims from the Lord? This is who they are! This is who we are!!
  Next time you hear of a troubled brother or sister, what do you say to them? What direction should we send them? Should we not, before we speak a word about their troubles, tell them who they are? Take them to God and show them this is how they are before the Holy Father. From there the solution becomes much easier!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Sincere or Truth?"

  People today believe that sincerity in what is believed makes things alright when it comes to the Lord. Sincerity never makes something true! We have to look no further than Saul of Tarsus in Scripture. He was sincere in his service to the Lord but lost and had to come to a knowledge of the truth.
  Truth is truth and one cannot change something that is wrong into something that is right just because they are sincere in their belief. Today we live is such an age of political correctness that the absoluteness of truth is ignored.
  Let's take math as an example. We know there are mathematical laws in place. Two plus two equal four! That is the truth all around this world!! That is the truth from history! If someone comes along and says they feel two plus two is five and believe it to be so with a sincere heart, it is still wrong. Try to get hired by a school believing in false mathematical equations. It won't happen.
  Truth is not something that I want it to be. The truth is what the Lord speaks and teaches. Too many today are living in a sincere faith in what they believe but when you show them Scripture about the truth of what they believe, they ignore it or get upset. If one is sincere, why get upset when shown the truth from Scripture? Sincerity will not get you to God! It was Jesus who spoke: "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31-32) The very ones Jesus spoke this to were Jew's who believed Him, yet Jesus calls them sons of their father, the devil (John 8:43-44) We have from Jesus the availability of truth, the necessity of truth, the blessings of truth and the reality of truth. The relationship between the word of the Lord and truth of His word is what makes one a disciple. Not someone who simply claims sincerity in what they believe. We must put our faith to the test by continuing in His word. That's the secret. When we find something in Scripture that strikes down something we believe as true, we find ourselves at a cross road having to determine if we will continue in His word or reject it.
  Here's the bottom line: you must love the truth. To love the truth means you abide in God's word, you continue to heed His word and seek the truth making corrections in your faith as the word exposes the truth to you. You must love the truth above all else!! I can't stress that enough. Why? Because without an honest heart seeking the truth, you will fall prey to deception believing a lie. The scariest thing to me from God's word is this: "For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." (II Thes. 2:11-12) God will help people find falsehood if all they want is sincerity in what they believe. God too will help you to the truth if the truth is what you seek along with a willing heart to change when confronted from Scripture what is true!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Sabbath Rest"

  Do you ever consider sitting quietly in the presence of God, giving Him a day that is just for Him? We don't think like this often, do we? Under the Law, God gave His people a Sabbath rest. One of the Ten Commandments dealt with that day and it's holiness. It came from God's creation that for six days, God created harmony and life before He rested in complete satisfaction that all He had created was "very good."
  Israel was told that on the seventh day, there would be no work, no gathering of things but a day that all proclaimed Him as sole Creator and Provider for themselves and the whole world!
  This nation of Israel that was treading through a barren wilderness because of rebellion and sin found themselves grumbling, complaining against their Creator and Sustainer to which He provided them manna they didn't know how it got to them. However, for six days they gathered and ate this manna and on that sixth day, they gathered twice as much because on the Sabbath (Saturday) it was to be observed as holy and belongs to the Lord (Ex. 16:22-30). The Lord controlled the supply of food as on the Sabbath, there would be no bread. What was His point? It is God who controls, who provides and allows the direction and needs of man. It is not up to man!
  Fast forward to today. We are finding ourselves moving more and more into self-dependence! The day for the Lord, the first day of the week, that day when our Savior and Lord was given life from the Father and He arose. It was God's doings! It was God giving life! It was God providing salvation. It's a worship and remembrance of Him! What do we do with it? Sometimes little! We use our skills and mastery's to orchestrate a beautiful worship that makes us (from our singing to preaching) the center. We have little sense of our need and even less sense of the magnitude of the task before us because we have shrunk the things of the Lord God into manageable proportions so we are successful!! We approach worship and our lives as if we have every thing under our control! So we come to God for our hour of worship, all nicely laid out, every thing controlled and leave with that same sense of control. It's finished! See you next week. It makes me wonder about myself, do I really see that I need God's creating power, His redeeming blood and my life is very inadequate? Six days of provisions from the Lord and we can't give Him one day to express our helpless? Are we too self-sufficient? Just look at how we approach life and God and therein we will find our answer.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Repentance and Forgiveness"

  Does it bother you how we come to some of our conclusions about another? Someone falls into sin, offends and they end up doing something else or maybe even the same thing again. We protest that they only say they are sorry because they were caught. While that could be true how do we really know such about a person? Could they be really weak, falling into the same sin time after time? I know they need to get stronger and resist but sometimes to those who sit on the outside we just don't know the depth of their struggle.
  Here is Jesus speaking to His disciples that if a brother sins, rebuke him! If he repents, forgive him (Luke 17:4). That's straight forward from our Lord. But then there is that next heart response the Lord expects from His own: "And If he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him." (Luke 17:4) Wait! Seven times? If they were truly repentant why would they sin against me seven times in one day? Those repeated sins against me means he cannot be repentant! We come with protests against the heart of the offender. People look at others and speak that it's not you they have offended, it's me!! It wears on us.
  When we look closely at such, Jesus our Lord made it clear He wasn't speaking about some glib dismissal of wrongs here! What did He mean? The transgressor is to be rebuked and pursued!!! What do most do? They express their anger and it could be even hatred toward such a one with little to no pursuing. The not speaking, cold shoulder. Let's just push them off into the pits of hell with not even an ounce of wanting them saved. We seem to miss things when we don't see the value in the eyes of the Lord that over one repentant one, heaven breaks out in joy. Jesus died for them! We don't see the offender as worth bothering with much less one that needs to be forgiven. We are stuck on us and how we have been offended by the actions of the lowly person.
  Let's take one more step in this. How often do you sin against your heavenly Father? Do you find yourself time and time again asking God to forgive your transgressions? And often times for the same transgression? Maybe with your anger or tongue? Is your asking, repentance genuine? What if God chooses to push you away and send you into the arms of the devil and eternal ruin because you stumbled...AGAIN!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


  It is an amazing thing that God would call a man, a human with flaws and weaknesses a friend. That's what the Scriptures tells us about Abraham (Isa. 41:7/Jam. 2:23). It amazes me to learn that God can feel that warm about the created. While only one is ever called the friend of God, it still speaks that God can be so close to man. To be called God's friend by God Himself would be a cherished honor!
  Yet here is Jesus speaking with His disciples speaking that there is no greater love than one to lay down his life for his friends. Then came the words: "You are My friends if you do what I command you." (John 15:14) The Savior and Lord of heaven and earth speaking, telling us about friendship with Him.
  There is this thing called sin. We define it as missing the mark or breaking a law of God. We know we all sin and fall short of God's glory (Rom. 3:23). But sin is more than that. Sin violates friendship! It is a disloyalty and a treachery against a loved one. It is deep driven pain in the heart of the One who holds me dear, who cherishes me and the relationship and wants to bless me in the relationship. While it is true that sin is a violation of God's standard of holiness, we need to view it in a broader sense knowing it destroys friendships! God is more than a lawgiver and a judge!! We need to learn that.
  Let's say you get a speeding ticket. The law of the land says you pay a fine. There is no personality behind that law. It is a faceless law. There is little anguish felt from the speeder. It might be from the pocket book or maybe a little embarrassment but there is still no person behind it to produce a godly sorrow. The person was absent.
  Let's say you sin against your mate, child or neighbor...FRIENDS! Why do tears well up? Why does guilt rear its head while pain fills the heart? Yes, I violated a law but I also broke a heart! The friendship was tainted and hurt. We feel the hurt. Why don't we do this with our sins? When we do wrong, we commit crimes against our FRIEND, the heavenly Father who loves us so. If we could see that, it would help us sense the harm done, the sorrow in the heart rather than some formal, moral legality. The grace of God would come into more focus.
  Walking with God and keeping the things Jesus spoke makes us friends! Friends cherish their relationship and we would want to give what is honorable in this friendship. To be friends of the world is to organize our attitudes and life with theirs (Jam. 4:4). The hostilities shown toward our Lord, wanting to destroy Him is what many have "friended". What about you? 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"The Unchanging God"

  Things around us are always changing. We see it in our children, to our jobs and in nature. There are earthquakes and volcanoes that change things very dramatically while other changes around us are almost unnoticed until one day we notice that new tree we planted a few years back has really grown. People change as they age.
  However, God never changes. That is good news!! Why? Because that means the consistency of God will always be there no matter what we go through or encounter. God is not affected by time and dimension. He is eternal. God is Spirit! One generation of man comes along changing only to find that God and His word is unchanged. Doesn't it amaze you that when you read from this book we call the Bible how relevant it is to us? It seems as if God is addressing us today, even though it was written so long ago. That's the eternal God speaking and working. James says it best when he describes God as the giver of perfect gifts "with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." (Jam. 1:17)
  Today in dealing with our eternal God, a righteous and holy God, people seem bent on dividing His people to change. Some people, even though God is one, even though the unity of the Spirit must be preserved (Eph. 4:3) and Jesus prayed for unity (John 17), break up and break off! Like the blowing winds of a hurricane, they destroy God's stability to pursue their own agenda. They pull people away with them and offer no apology, no repentance but instead state they did it in all in the name of the Lord. It's not over false teaching. It's mainly over disagreements on how things are done or personalities. 
  Some seem to ignore the word of the Lord. They want to redefine Christ and His church and how it is to work. Human influences begin to replace the teachings of God. These people who do such are self-appointed changers of God and His word and wreak havoc on God's people. Jude says it this way: "These are the ones who cause division, worldly minded, devoid of the Spirit." (Jude 19) Paul told the church to keep your eye on those who causes changes that bring dissensions and hindrances and turn away from them (Rom. 16:17). In other words, they aren't from the Lord. They leave destruction in their wake. The good news is this, once they have done their work and left, the people of God find peace and contentment once again by continuing to hold to the unchanging, eternal God knowing He will see us through.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

"Don't Worry"

  It was Jesus who spoke to His disciples, "Do not be worried about your life..." ( Matt. 6:25) "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?" (Matt. 6:27) "And why are you worried about clothing?" (Matt. 6:28) "Do not worry then..." (Matt. 6:31)
  David penned, "Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing." (Psa. 37:8) Paul wrote, "Be anxious for nothing..." (Phil. 4:6)
  What are you doing with these inspired words from God? What kept Jesus from worry? That's the power He invites us to share in with Him. If He spoke and taught, "Don't worry", then don't worry. But you can't help it you say? What are you seeking first when worry comes? His righteousness or something else? Are you seeking Him first or your worry first? Answer these questions, look to Jesus and listen to His word seeking His path and you will find how to overcome your worry. Otherwise, you will worry!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"A God-Given Role"

  James speaks that the possibility exists that one can stray from the truth (Jam. 5:19-20). When one strays from the truth their soul is in jeopardy and they find themselves separated from God (soul in death). When we speak of the truth, what does it mean? Does it mean a set of rules and regulations that govern? A barrage of lessons on why everyone else is wrong? Or is it much more than that? My blog today is for each that read to hold their preachers and leaders to what the Lord expects in their work. Help them fulfill that!
  Paul left a young Timothy at Ephesus to "instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrine" or to "pay attention to myths and endless genealogies." (I Tim. 1:3-4). Things that deviate from what the apostles taught and things that cause speculations are helping people down the road to stray from the truth. Apparently there were some doing it at Ephesus!
  God wants His household policies (administration) furthered! How are we to manage God's house? BY FAITH! Faith only comes from hearing the word of God. To further God's goals and for us to grow it must come from His doctrine, not what stirs us. Questionings, speculations, strange doctrines and ideas will not create faith in God's household. It is the very thing that causes people to stray from the truth. To teach against other religions, putting them down is not building faith. It can make us arrogant (which God opposes the proud) and it is unfruitful. To bring people to the knowledge of the truth of God is the only thing that will soften their heart, creating a saving faith within. The goal of all our preaching and teaching should be this: "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." (I Tim. 1:5) That's the noble goal every preacher, every elder and every member should strive for in teaching! Anything less opens the door to straying from the truth.
  There is another aspect of this also. When we stray from God's goal, it will end up with a lot of discussion but it will be fruitless (I Tim. 1:6)! FRUITLESS! There will be nothing produced within the people from God. Too many times there are a lot of discussions but little that deals with the truth of overcoming sin, walking in the Light and we wonder why people in the Lord's body are taken down so easily or have little interest. We need to further God's administration by faith and a preacher/teacher/elders/members need to understand their God given roles!! "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you." (I Tim. 4:16)
  One more thing and I will hush. Paul told Timothy to be constantly nourished on the words of faith and sound doctrine (I Tim. 4:6). Nourishment! That means something taken in for growth. If we aren't bringing in nourishment, we are dying. Eventually it will catch up with you because of malnourishment and the door opens to all sorts of strange idea and doctrines as well as you lose sight of God's goal! I guess today, I needed to hear this!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Listen To God"

  There seems to be too much man and not enough God. There is too much emphasis on what is around us, what others say and information flows to us from many different aspects of the world. Someone comes up with some religious or catchy phrase and before long, it has made it's way into our thinking and outreach.
  There seems to be too many ignoring the word of God! This isn't something new. It's happened all throughout the life of mankind. We have God's word telling us over and over the failings of His people in regard to listening to His word alone. Take Jeremiah as an example. Over 2600 years ago he spoke and taught the people the word of the Lord. What did they do? Ignored him in favor of others. God speaks that the people had healed the brokenness of His people superficially!! (Jer. 6:14) There was little listening to God and a lot of listening to others. Jeremiah stands and speaks: "Thus says the Lord, 'Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls,' but they said, 'We will not walk in it!' (Jer. 6:16) The result, no blessings from God. Life became more confusing and difficult until the Babylonians came and carried many of them into exile.
  We learn that the tragic mistake always made is by ignoring God's word. Too many today are very good writers and good with words. Some seem brilliant in their ability to think of things and put them on paper. While it may look good on the surface, we need to compare the statements and saying with God's word to see if it is really true. We need to be asking for ancient paths and not the modern way. We need to hear God's word in it's truth and not trust in faddish religion. We need to conform our lives to God's will and not allow popular culture define our beliefs. God has spoken in His Son and God's entire plan from life to religion has been recorded for us in His word. God shows us that at every crossroad we come to, He will lead us in the proper direction if we would just listen to His word. That's the problem, people don't seem to want to listen to His word in our media driven society. God hasn't changed, man has!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Eternal LIfe"

  When Jesus speaks of eternal life, what do you think He is talking about? His apostle John penned inspired words for us from heaven: "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know you have eternal life." (I John 5:13) What did John mean when He speaks of eternal life? Paul spoke: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 6:23)
  Eternal life isn't simply "endless" life. Eternal life is a quality of life that comes through Jesus to us being made a new creation in Him. It's not just an "endless" existence. It is a life that takes on the nature of the gift giver! Those who come into Jesus and share His life, one day will fully experience it all but it will be life, His life! Eternal life is a life that is lived in joy and fellowship with Him NOW!!
  How does one know they have eternal life? It bothers some to speak like this. When one possesses eternal life, they will show that life in their present lives. They will practice the righteousness of God (I John 2:28-29) on a daily basis. That's eternal life at work in us. They will love the truth of God and hold to that truth (I John 2:25-27). They will love their brother (I John 3:10). In those three things, we find the eternal life of God at work in us and can know that's the way our Father lives and His Son. In Christ Jesus we are a new creation and the old things have passed away. In Christ Jesus we are to put off the old self and put on the new self which is created in the righteousness and holiness of the truth like God (Eph. 4:22-24).
  At the heart of God isn't the talk of sin. At the heart of God isn't just about His children being nice and good, learning to get along with others. There are a lot of those who live like that in this world. The heart of God is about life, His life and that life is to be in us as part of His adopted children that we would share in His eternal life right now. His life quality becomes ours and we can see it manifest itself in our daily living!

Monday, April 8, 2013

"Have We Missed It?"

  When God had Israel erect the tabernacle, God was teaching His people that the first and foremost in this relationship to Him was His will! Each item that was placed in the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place carried a message from God! This message was to remind the people of the truths by which they existed and how these truths were to shape their lives.
  One of the most significant items in this Holy of Holies was the ark of the covenant. It was here that God's glory dwelt and it contained the covenant given by God to His people. The covenant contained God's will for His people! On the top of this ark, there wasn't a lid! There was a distinct piece called the "mercy seat". There was the cherubim that overshadowed it, the avengers of His honor and the protectors of His holiness. No one unholy and no one that dishonored God was allowed in His presence. It was a reminder that the relationship that existed between man and God was to be cherished and honored as holy.
  We fast forward to us today. It seems many seem to dismiss or know so little about that ark of the covenant that it is dismissed as too much external and in the process, the holiness of God is missed. All the physical elements these people went through from the High Priest to the individuals approaching the altar are looked at as if it is nothing. The application is made to us that we don't have to approach God like that and today, the real house of God is the people! The church, the people are proclaimed. In the process, we overlook holiness and the sacredness of God's dwelling. If we truly understood the covenant that Jesus mediates and understood His covenant in light of this OT covenant, it would create a serious and holy fellowship and worship. Too many are treating God's present tabernacle, that's us His body, as an entertainment center where people are catered to and entertained! It makes me wonder if we have missed the true meaning of God's temple and it's holiness? After all, it was the apostle Paul who warned that anyone that desecrates the holiness of God temple, God would destroy him (I Cor. 3:16-17). Maybe we need to go back and see what God was teaching back in Leviticus and Numbers so we could grasp what Jesus is teaching us today? Maybe we are using God's holiness as something other than what God is...holy!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"If You Only Knew What I Know"

  Recently while listening to one get caught up in the thinking and "special insight" about our nation and the direction it is headed, the person was ranting and raving about calling to arms and preparing for a "civil war like we have not seen or experienced!" (Those were their words.) Each time I brought up something about Scripture, it was easily pushed aside to continue to give me this "special insight" so I too could prepare. Then came the words: "If you only knew what I knew, you would be preparing!"
  "If you only knew what I knew..." seems to be a statement of secretive knowledge. No one else understands but that individual. That is self-deception. Here's the charge from heaven: "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction." (II Tim. 4:2) God doesn't withhold knowledge from us or make us think we are special above others. Jesus shared God's insight for life with us and expects that insight to be preached. Insight doesn't come from the world, from those who are running around stirring others up to some level of fear or by intimidation. True insight comes from the Lord Himself and is expressed in His word.
  When people begin to push aside the word and follow something else, they are headed down a road that will not end well. They will start finding "teachers" that will teach what they desire to hear (II Tim. 4:3)! The result is they will turn their ears away from the truth as given from God (II Tim. 4:4).
  I can hear Jesus, standing on the brow of the mountain before Jerusalem saying, "If you only knew what I knew..." and yet He spoke that (Matt. 23: 37-39). But it wasn't some man's idea or radical statements but it was spoken in light of the word that was already spoken, made known to them and they rejected it. The only result was ruin for the people. How Jesus wants to gather people together, not to fight but to bring them close so that when the proper time arrived, He would bring them home. Never put the word of man over the word of the Lord. Man scatters! Man doesn't know the future. God unites and has only one goal for us: to bring us home as He alone knows the future.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"A Starving People"

  I do a lot of thinking. Sometimes I'm not certain about what I am thinking about, but I think and reflect about a lot things. Maybe today is one of those days when I am thinking too much. You see, we seem to have set a pattern in the church of our Lord in our preaching/teaching that we continue to rehash the same old stuff with the same old mind-set with the same old material. I'm not saying that we aren't to use Scriptures about things but there is this settling state many times where we hear the same things over and over that have been taught...well, from childhood. There doesn't seem to be a lot that challenges us to reflect on our faith and deepen our commitment to the Lord. A while back visiting with a family, they told me they knew exactly what sermon would be preached on this particular day because they had heard the same for years. How sad! Points are made as to why we do what we do, believe why we believe over and over and there is little true development of faith. I'm not trying to bash anyone or not trying to sound pompous. I realize to some I will but that's not my heart intent. The church is in dire need of hearing Scriptures that confront us with God and ask us to look at our faith in light of Him. We need to move away from the same old rhetoric we call defending the faith, from the same old sources we always get it from and spend some time with God and His word to help the church move forward in faith!
  It carries to all avenues of our preaching, worship and prayers. How can someone say 'amen' to a calculated prayer of rehearsal? How can some walk away with a conviction of the unseen (Heb. 11:1) when all we do is repeat the same stuff? What are we preparing for others as preachers/teachers when all we do is pull out old sermon outlines that have been preached over and over? If we aren't growing personally, you sure can't help others grow toward the Lord!
  When the assembly is led in prayer we should see to it that the assembly hears from the heart. When we preach/teach we need to make certain the assembly sees God clearly and reach for a nugget of faith. That means the preacher/teacher needs to recognize the limitations and needs of those to whom he is speaking as Jesus did in John 16:12. We need to pay a price to help the church hear so they can believe something from the Lord! One thing that I have noticed over the years is the church is in a spiritual drought and starving for something from God than this shallow, over-repeated, lack of study lessons like we are teaching some subject at a public school. Maybe we are helping people pay attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons because we are starving the church and harming their faith? That's enough thinking for today!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"To Him It Is Sin"

  We know when we do wrong. No one has to tell us. Sometimes it's the little things that are getting us into trouble. We seem to categorize sin. There are those really big sins like drunkenness, immorality, lying, stealing, homosexuality and things along this line. Throw in drug use and pornography along with abuse and we are looking at some really sinful things. But there is more than meets the eye. James speaks about people who make plans in their lives without keeping God in the midst is evil (Jam. 4:15-16). Then there is this one statement that should make us take notice: "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."  (Jam. 4:17) To know what is right and not do it...SIN!
  How many times have I spoken with husbands/wives dealing with difficulties in their marriage. This statement seems to prevail at times: "I know that wasn't the right thing to do but..." They know! They admit they know and seek to justify their actions to soothe their conscience. If one knows what is right and they don't do what is right, it's sin! No wonder we aren't growing spiritually. Have we fallen into a state of self-deception thinking our walk with the Lord is just fine when in reality, we know we aren't doing things right. "I know I should be doing..."
  A man or woman who is looked upon as godly yet in their heart they hold to some bitterness or resentment toward another because of a past action. Is that the right thing? Someone has an out-burst of anger toward another and let them know how they feel. That's the right thing? People spread slander about another, is that the right thing? The Lord holds us accountable for our choices and we must make choices in light of what is right.
  Just as the above things mentioned are horrible sins so also knowing what is right and not doing it is just as sinful! Our walk with Jesus should be always reflecting His life and love. It's not being perfect but being humble and sincere in faith. Striving to be like Jesus. That's the goal. Jesus in every case did what was right. There's our pattern and He's our example. What about you?

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Back In the Saddle"

  We went away this last week taking 4 of our grandchildren on a camping trip during the spring break. What an adventure. Anytime you take 3 girls and one boy from 3-9 years of age out for a week, you are in for some fun times and a lot of energy spent! 
  It is so interesting to listen to their thoughts as they speak. Where they come up with their ideas, I don't know but one thing I know for sure, the Lord knew that unless we as adults are converted and become like children, we can't enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:1-3). Children rely completely on us! They trust when you tell them to do something. They trust when you fix their food. They jump off of rocks or logs trustingly knowing you will catch them. They climb on ledges with confidence as they hold to your hand. It doesn't take much to look at them closely and see how we need to be. We do not seem to do the same with the Lord. We don't rely completely on the Lord at times. We have to work everything out or at least have some sense that we control a situation somewhat. When we have been hurt, we don't trust the Lord when He asks us to let go of the offense knowing it will lead us into His life. We find ourselves stressed in situations and seem to question God if He will work it all out for righteousness sake and fears grip our heart.
  Yes, it doesn't take much to be around little ones and see why Jesus says they are the greatest in the kingdom of God! We know it. Maybe we just don't trust Him!!!