Wednesday, December 28, 2016

"The Law of Arrogance"

  There are laws God has placed within this world that no man or woman will violate. One such law is reaping and sowing. You will reap what you sow. Many know this but few seem to take it to heart.
  There is another law God has placed in this world without exception: "God is opposed to the proud, but give grace to the humble." (I Pet. 5:5/Jam. 4:6) God does not give any grace to those whose hearts are arrogant and prideful. Why? Because they will not listen or accept correction. But those humble, both in mind and heart, God gives to them His grace, His undeserving favor. For the humble, God freely gives the things that are needed in your life. Sometimes things can change quickly in life but if we can know the law of grace and God will give me what I need to help in life's situations, humility guarantees that.
  One of the greatest insights to this law placed within this world is Daniel 4. King Nebuchadnezzar was the world ruler in Babylon. God allowed Babylon to bring down arrogant Israel. God sent men preaching/teaching His word but Israel would not listen so the people were warned if they didn't humble themselves they would suffer severe consequences. God is opposed to the proud and the pride of His people saw their nation taken down by an ungodly nation. Daniel and Ezekiel are both in captivity in Babylon.
  King Nebuchadnezzar had a vision and no one could explain it until God brought Daniel forward. As Daniel began to explain God's intentions, the word of God rang out: "...until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes."  (Dan. 4:25) The world ruler on earth is not above or greater than God! God ultimately decides what takes place and man must recognize. If we could only believe this in the church today!
  After the warning King Nebuchadnezzar did not heed. His heart was too proud and God allowed him twelve more months to get his attitude and heart corrected. Nothing changed within the kings heart and God removed his sovereignty and the king was driven from mankind. What a collapse in huge magnitude! God rules and will always rule and His law of opposing the proud will always stand even if you are the world's greatest!!
  Sometimes people have great success in their life through jobs and many live comfortable. They might have a personality that draws others to them and things seem to come easy. Arrogance begins to settle in heart and upon ignoring God they fail to realize God is greater.
  Honoring God and being humble to listen and take in His instruction will guard you from a lot of difficulties. Humility is what gives people the ability to hear and heed. God's gives His grace to them freely. But those who think they are above or refuse to take instruction, they are on a course at some point directly in God's opposition. Our lives cannot be consumed with us!! Our lives are to reach beyond us and reach out to regarding others as more important than ourselves (Phil. 2:3). How many know that? How many practice that? God's grace is only for the humble. The humble of heart do not have to earn His favor. God will be there guaranteed! 
  Pride will destroy you sooner or later. God's law will see to that. If we believe in this law, it becomes much easier to humble ourselves knowing the outcome no matter what we face. "Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly, he will not be unpunished." (Prov. 16:5)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"Why Are Many Enraged?"

  I am so glad this election is over and I'll be even more glad when the swearing in of our new President is done just to get past all the drama and hate spewed. I have never in my lifetime heard as much anger, fighting and resentment in one election than the one we came through. What is more troubling is those claiming to be children of God were caught up in the roller coaster! I have heard from brethren that they have been over-come by anger and anxiety in many of these cases and are still fighting it! Brethren throwing around words we shouldn't be lending ourselves to. 
  The Greek word Scripture uses for anxiety or worry is the word merimnao. It comes from the verb merizo (to divide) and nous (mind). It literally means "to divide the mind" or "to draw in different directions"  Anxieties and worries draws our minds in different directions creating division. That division in our minds creates fears within and it is those fears that are raged against one another and the anger spews forth. That sounds like our election and our post-election doesn't it? I just spoke with someone yesterday still fuming about the whole election and the more they spoke the more angry they became. They were in the complete room of anxiety not even knowing where their divided mind was taking them!!
  Why don't we just take full advantage of our worries? Let's allow the anxiety of this world to become our anxiety. Let's take full advantage of the news media and allow them to fuel our minds to divide our thinking while it creates a rage within us. And brethren turn on one another! Anxiety, worry kicks God out. There is little trust and no "peace of God which surpasses all comprehension." (Phil. 4:7) All these media outlets are robbing God's children of His joy, His peace while we attack others who do not agree with us. All this worrying is making us better, isn't it? Worry creates panic and fear and fear is contagious! Many have gone on the attack spewing their anger at others who will listen. No one seems to hear God. Let's face it, treat yourself to a good dose of fretting and watch your concerns just drift away! We know that doesn't work. Anxiety, worries and fretting creates a new set of problems. Isaiah said, "But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud. There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked." (Isa. 57:20-21) 
  Let's be truthful. Anxiety and worries serves no purpose. It creates no advantages! In our rage we find an outlet for our minds drawn in different directions but it's only temporary. It's not long and back at the same anxiety but in another form. There will be a whole new fueling of anxieties when the swearing in comes and many will fall in line. We claim God is in control but live in such divided mind-sets we can't settle down. This worrying and fretting divides our minds, splits our thoughts from moment to moment and causes division among people. "For that man ought not expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (Jam. 1:7-8)
  Jesus is Lord in heaven and on earth. God installs kings and brings down kingdoms. God rules no matter what and we must put our trust in Him. We need to allow the peace of Christ to rule our hearts (Col. 3:15) and not this world or else you will find yourself fighting against the Lord Himself while destroying His purpose among His church. Just read Psa. 2!! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"God Knows My Heart!"

  Over the many years I have heard people say, "God knows my heart!" When they speak such it generally is because of some sin practiced in their life and this is how they deal with it. It sounds as if the one is saying: "I know I am doing wrong but I'm a good person in heart and the Lord knows it!" Playing games with sin and believing one is a good person in heart is a self-deceived person! God never speaks to approve sin and never calls one who justifies their sin as a good-hearted person.
  Jesus spoke that a good heart are the ones who hear His word, they hold it fast and it bears fruit in their life (Luke 8:15). Jesus taught that "out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness." (Mark 8:21-22) Ever spoken evil of another behind their back or deceived someone? Would you be bold enough to justify yourself, "God knows my heart!"? That's the very thing Jesus said was in the heart! If you were committing adultery or flirting with someone other than your spouse (sensuality) and claimed your self-righteousness by speaking, "God knows my heart!" as an excuse for your practice, maybe the real question is do you know your own heart? God spoke to Jeremiah: "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9) All this evil is what is stored in your heart and what's in your heart is what defiles you before the Lord!
  Let's make this very clear: one doesn't sin because they have a good heart. One sins (as a practice) because there is something sinful in the heart. We all sin as I John 2:1 tells us but a good heart doesn't sin and excuse it with "God knows my heart!" A good heart when it sins is sensitive and goes to the Lord for forgiveness and cleansing (I John 1:9). Your heart is hidden from man but is open and bare to God (Heb. 4:13). You can hide your motives from man but God understands and sees. You can appear as godly and righteous to others even if you are corrupt in heart but God knows the truth. Jesus condemned the religious men of His day by calling them evil and self-indulgent while they looked good outwardly (Matt. 23:25). 
  Let's get this straight. No matter how many bad things you have thought or done, your heart is worse! Our heart is not better than our life but worse as we can pretend in our exterior life. God knows the little secrets, our greed and lusts, our selfishness and pride and even our bitterness and resentful attitudes. What are we to do?
  The death of Jesus along with His resurrection is where you will find your justification and sanctification. When one speaks, "God knows my heart" that should drive me to my knees and bring about a repentance before the Lord. The fact that God does know our heart should alert me that what I did came from a heart not pure and clean. The blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse should bring us joy and hope as we look away from our heart and to Him alone for cleansing. Our ONLY hope is Jesus. There is no other way around it. Be humble, be honest and look to the cleansing power of Jesus to create within us a clean and useful heart. Then the sin can be removed from my life!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Are You A Sinner?"

  In his preaching he made a statement that we are all sinners. People nodded in agreement while some said "amen." It made me think! Are you a sinner? What does the term "sinner" mean? The Scripture speaks: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) 
  Paul spoke of Jesus: "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." (I Tim. 1:15) Paul knew that he was among the world's worst sinners and he was the "chief" of sinners. But backing up and looking at the context, Paul spoke of his sinful condition as "formerly." "Even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor..." (I Tim. 1:13) Paul speaks of himself as a sinner but only in the sense that he had sinned and was undeserving of God's mercy and grace.
  Paul did not see himself in Christ as a sinner but a saint and an apostle! Paul addressed all those in Christ Jesus as saints, not sinners (I Cor. 1:1-2). Forgiveness brings a new creation. "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (II Cor. 5:17) Forgiveness brings us under God's work. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Eph. 2:10) Forgiveness brings us into the likeness of God. "And put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth." (Eph. 4:24) 
  When Christ died for us, before we came to Him, we were sinners but now, those in Christ Jesus are no longer sinners! "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." (Rom. 5:8-9) We are children of God, the saved wearing His name. To say we are sinners is not giving Christ Jesus His rightful place.
  Does that mean we no longer sin? Of course not! "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (I John 2:1) While we struggle against sin we no long walk in sin and are no longer slaves to sin (Rom. 6:1-7). Our sins are not held against us (Rom. 4:8/Heb. 8:12). We will always have our struggles against sin in our life but we are joined to Christ, called by God as His child and saints and we are no longer "sinners." We are new and made new. We are no longer part of the world of darkness but are in the world of the kingdom of His beloved Son where forgiveness is found (Col. 1:13-14).
  If you're still practicing sin you're a "sinner." If you have been joined to Christ Jesus, you are His brother. We need to give thought to who we are and where we stand.