Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Another Journey"

  Here I find myself heading out to speak for the Lord! The brethren here in Jefferson City are so gracious to me in allowing me to do this. There is much work in my home city as well as other places. Preaching/teaching are in such high need as the truth needs to ring loudly with all the religious tones that are being presented. Lines have become blurred and in places, the church is losing ground because God's people are led into a false sense by listening to everyone while the word of the Lord is basically set to the side. Instead of the word of the Lord being the guide, many use man as the guide and the word of the Lord has become a reference to back up man's thoughts. This is so backward.
  As I journey this next week to spend with the lovely brethren in Kennebunk, Maine, please pray for them. Pray for me. I will be back writing on Oct. 7. Read God's word. Trust Him at His word. Put your faith in what you read and draw some convictions. Gain some discernment as you put into practice what you read. May the Lord give you understanding as you follow Him. God's blessings to all!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"The Little Word 'For'"

  It should touch us deeply in our hearts: "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." (Rom. 5:6) The ungodly. The ungodly. The ungodly! That is you and me. To be ungodly is to lack reverence and respect for God. It's not about some that are irreligious that want nothing to do with God. It's about all of us! To be ungodly we are speaking of ways and thoughts that oppose God's attitudes and desires. Maybe we aren't truly convinced that we were so hateful to God? "For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures spending our time in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another." (Tit. 3:3) This is a good description of ungodly living. Those things listed are normal, everyday lives lived!
  No matter what we think, the verdict of God stands: "For the wages of sin is death..." This is a spiritual death that finds us on our own, separated from God. In this state of death, if one enters eternity separated from God, that death (separation) continues to which we find: "Where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:44) Those are the very words of Jesus. That's the plight of the wages earned from our sins, our ungodly behavior. Nothing in common with God, no help from God and all alone to face consequences of our ungodly behavior.
  Christ died for the ungodly! But within ungodliness we find helplessness. Nothing that is within us, nothing that we can do on our own will change our condition and the outcome of our ungodly ways. Goodness that we try to show does not change our condition. Our attempts at goodness do not cancel the bad we have done. The very best we have done is still death! That's being helpless.
  Sounds bleak doesn't it? It should and we need to get back to listening and heeding the words of the Lord. Too many think their acts of goodness, their being at church every time the doors are open is what brings us into a relationship with the Lord. That's deception! We need Someone greater than ourselves to help in order to find life and fellowship with God. Let's look at one word found in the introductory verse: "For".  This little three letter word placed between "died" and "the ungodly" means "in the place of" or "on behalf of." Christ died "in the place of", "on behalf of" the ungodly. That's help for the helpless. He paid your wages, your debt! We only earn wages. With Jesus our wages are paid to remove the burden of shame and guilt! Our guilt was sent into death! Our life came to us from God's love.
  Don't be afraid of God's love for the ungodly. Don't hesitate to take hold and flee to the side of Jesus. People play too many games trying to free themselves from the shame and guilt in their lives. They use artificial means to try to prop up their ungodly lives. Christ died for the ungodly!! Why are so many in the Lord's church living miserable and strained lives? What are we doing with Jesus?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"The Soul"

  It is amazing the millions and millions of Bibles that exist in our country yet so many are ignorant of God. Bibles floating all around, easily available and people are wondering how this world came into existence. Many turn to Science for proof of things. God speaks to man through His word and says that world came into existence from Him (Heb. 11:3). There is little faith in God.
  We come to man. We are a three part being according to I Thes. 5:23. We have a body, a soul and spirit. I've had some in the church tell me you cannot distinguish between the soul and spirit. God's word says they are not the same (Heb. 4:12). Jesus came to man from God to help man see the depths and insight to the truth of God. That means we must trust God at His word!
  God created man in His image. We know that. God took dust and formed man's body. From that God breathed into man His breath and what happened? Man became a living 'soul' (Gen. 2:7). Some versions say "being" but the Hebrew word for "being" is soul. The soul is the living, eternal part of man. The breath of God united within the dust created this living soul within us. Our soul is that part of us that thinks, feels and is aware of the deep things of us. Job found his soul miserable and bitter (Job 3:20-21). His soul was longing. The soul is what people feel tormented when things are bad. The soul responds to the things around you.
  God has a soul (Lev. 26:11)! God's soul can reject man if they don't follow His word. Man can reject the commandments of God and that rejection is within the soul (Lev. 26:15-16). If God abhors one because they refuse to listen, He will utterly destroy (Lev. 26:30).
  Jesus, being made in the likeness of man, speaks of His soul being deeply grieved as He faced the cross (Matt. 26:37-38). He feels what man feels and is aware in His soul. What does all this mean? We put too much emphasis on the physical dust called the body. We don't realize that our soul can be lacking and hurting. As Jesus pointed out that we need to make certain that we don't fear those who can only kill the body but the One who can destroy both body and soul (Matt. 10:28). Jesus' life and death were to point us to take care of our souls because as sin wears on us, the wearing is on the soul, that life within that is eternal. Taking hold of Jesus will give rest to the soul (Matt. 11:28-29). Jesus came to save the soul of man! The body will return to the dust. The spirit of man (where we get the animation for our bodies) will return back to God as His breath (Eccl. 12:7) but the soul, the eternal person of you that will exist forever will continue to live after death and that's the part Jesus came to save! Take care of your soul. Feed your soul, not your body!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

"All Wrongs Will Be Righted"

  We seem to live in a time where sin is not taken seriously, even in the church of our Lord. The love of God is spoken about (and we should). The mercy of God is explained (and we should). The grace of God is revealed. But then we come to another point and that's the holiness and righteousness of God.
  Moses pleads with God on behalf of the His people in Exodus 34 after the golden calf. Moses calls upon the name of the Lord and God speaks: "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin..." If we stop right here, we all know this about God. We shake our heads knowing His compassion and forgiveness. But God doesn't stop there! "...yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generation." (34:6-7) God speaks similar words in keeping with the second commandment in Exodus 20:5-6.
  Quickly we embrace the forgiveness side and love of God extended to us the sinner and we should. As God revealed Himself and even more so in Jesus Christ, mercy and grace are extended and yet there is a justice of punishment for the impenitent transgressor. If there is anything that our world needs to hear us teach, embrace and live out it is this: ALL WRONGS WILL BE RIGHTED! That's the righteousness of God revealed. We look at the murders, the drugs users and alcoholic abuse, the child molesters and the list goes on and we don't want a God who just 'yawns' and winks at man and speaks, "There, there now, I know you didn't mean to do any of that!" We need to take God seriously and see who He really is. He is full of compassion, mercy and grace to those who are hit in the heart that their sins will be held accountable!
  Justice matters to God! Look at the beginning in the garden. Touch the tree and you will die! We see God's righteousness in the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, in Korah, Dathan and Abiram's rebellion, the captivities of God's people by the Assyrian's and Babylonian's and the destruction of Jerusalem three times. These speak of God's holiness and justice. Then we come to the cross of Jesus Christ, His Son and God makes things real clear that sin is taken seriously and ALL WRONGS WILL BE RIGHTED! And this message should hit the heart of His own people!
  God has spoken His nature. He is love! He is merciful! But He is just and righteous and sin will be dealt with. It's wonderful to sing about the grace and compassion of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (and let's praise God it is true) but we need to remember that it is spoken from God that "He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all..."
  And why did He do that? To show man that ALL WRONGS WILL BE RIGHTED whether it is in Jesus or we bear our own punishment. And this is seen over and over as uncommitted people, who once seem to care no longer care and stopped believing the very words of God!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Ask Anything and Believe" pt. 2

  Today is my last post until Sept. 23, 2013. I am taking some time away before my busy fall schedule gets into full swing.
  God's promises to us are not something we are to fit into our own agendas or use to our own personal belief system. God's promises are to be accepted and read to fit His agenda. We must be so careful that we don't take something from His word and twist it to our selfishness or excitement. God's promises through His word are to be looked upon seeing what He means by what He speaks!
"Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you." (Mark 11:24)"And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."  (Matt. 21:22)
"Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 18:19)
"If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it." (John 14:14)

  As I stated in my previous article, these verses are not blank checks for us. We must understand the words of Jesus within the parameters of His teachings. Jesus was teaching the kingdom of God and His purposes with such. The Lord means to bring the saved of all the ages to a glorious, never ending, joy-filled life of righteousness and holiness topped off by the assurance that Jesus has triumphed over sin and death bringing us to God.
  God was bringing in a new covenant signed, sealed and delivered by the blood of His Christ! Under this covenant would be His people, the church which is His body to be a people with a redeeming purpose and saving message. It is within this framework that God's holy people is assured that it will have whatever is needed for God's purpose! Heb. 13:20-21 speak to the same issues as the above verses in light of all of this.
  When we speak to that struggling brother or sister and say, "If you need anything or if there is anything I can do for you, please call on me!" What do we mean by "anything"? If they need $100,000? A bigger house or new vehicle? No! In the setting of the statement "anything" doesn't mean everything! There are parameters and we know it and they know it!
  Your boss calls you in for a new and very important project. You tell him you might need a few things to get it done properly. He replies, "Anything you need, you get it!" In light of the context of communication, "anything" has limits and doesn't mean beyond that.
  In all this we must remember that God doesn't tell us "ask anything" putting us on His throne. God does not and will not surrender His holiness, power and sovereignty to man's requests. We know well as parents that we cannot allow our children to have "anything" they want. We will not surrender our position as a parent as the things we have learned into the hands of a child. The same with God! We need to be much better students in reading and accepting God's word within the bookends He intends and not put our two cents worth into His teachings. It's called surrender!!