Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Seeking the Truth"

  God wants one thing from His creation of mankind: seek the truth! It's always been that way from the beginning. Adam and Eve were given freedom of everything except one tree. Keep walking in and seeking the truth and all would be fine but we know it didn't happen that way. One act, one little twist of deceit and their world, our world changed and it has been corrupting itself ever since!
  God allowed the Egyptians to put His people under bondage but in that bondage the call rang out to seek the truth. Plagues hit the Egyptian's hard but the truth wasn't part of their thinking. The Egyptians worshiped and adored their gods. The god of the river Nile, the god of the earth to bring crops, the god of the moon and sun and the list goes on. In all this, as God hit them with plagues from what they thought was their gods they were exposed and their hearts weren't tender and accepting. Still seeking their own way in their own thinking, it had to come down to the death of their first born. The truth God sent among His captive people was "when I see the blood." Listening and seeking the very presence and teaching of God was the difference between life and death. Once they were set free the heart of His people were revealed as they wanted to go back under this Egyptian bondage rather than walk with God and seek His teachings. What God wanted so much for them ended up being a great loss because they simply believed as they wanted to believe.
  We come to today. There are teachings flying everywhere from all discourses of life. Teachings of philosophies, psychology, power of positive thinking, worship like this, accepting of anything believing in little and on and on it goes. The seven "Ones" presented in Eph. 4:4-6 seem to be tossed aside. Leave out ANY of these ones and you will not be walking in a worthy manner or sustaining the truth. Paul warned the church of Thessalonians about deception and the power of the activity of Satan coming to the perishing "because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved." (II Thes. 2:10) The love of the truth must be sought and received. It's not a free for all to anyone who says they believe in the Lord. But the seeking and loving of the truth has this warning tied to it: "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)
  When we speak of "the truth"and the promises tied to truth tells us there is a standard of truth that was taught it must be held to and received or the delusion will begin. God's not so unjust to teach us this without giving us insight to what is true and right. And those who fall under the delusion of falsehood would never accept what they believe is wicked which exposes the depth of delusion. In all, we must be an humble people, bowing under the teachings of God and listening what He deems as the truth and what needs to be rejected. May we have hearts humble and seeking while our eyes are looking for the truth of God's word. Seek the truth no matter what!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"The Clutches of Guilt"

  Many, including myself, have been held in the clutch of guilt. People go through many things in life and the result of their choices has led them into guilt. People become despondent so they turn to alcohol only to ruin themselves and those they love. Others get involved in immoral behavior, seduced by another or the internet and it destroys much of them only to feel the guilt and shame. That  is why they hide! Some fail as a parent and it grieves them to watch what their children have become and the agony of guilt sets a hold on the heart. Still others get caught in the drug world which leads to all types of wrong behavior of lying, stealing or angry outbursts and the guilt buries them. This guilt that haunts so many is what produces the anxieties in the life of an individual. Unresolved regret makes emotional wrecks out of people. 
  You don't have to look to hard to see that from the beginning of man creation (Gen. 3). From talking and enjoying the presence of God to hiding, accusing and wanting nothing to do with Him was caused by the guilt of a sinful choice. Fears came into their life. Shame pounded on them. The awareness of their naked condition was discovered simply by sin. And reading carefully the account from Gen. 3 we find the sequence: (1) A choice to sin (2) Guilt (3) Anxiety (4) Fear (5) Shame (6) Hiding and (7) Blame. When our guilt isn't dealt with, our lives become such a struggle. Guilt completely robs people of life! I heard a preacher once proclaim, "You need to fake it until you make it!" That's right, let it keep pounding you and fake because in reality, faking is the hiding of our guilt which results in our anxieties and weariness.
  As guilt destroys us, the grace of God restores us! Jesus confronted man in their guilt and hate only for one purpose: to redeem us from the clutches of the sin that created our guilt. Jesus fought the battle and God made a covenant: "Your sin and lawless deeds I will remember no more!" (Heb. 8:12) How could He do that? Because Jesus Christ paid my debt! Grace given but do we receive it? Jesus paid my price and paid for all those horrible choices I made. Our choice is Him! If you are living in guilt you need to understand why you have so many anxieties and burdens in your life. People blame others, circumstances rather than admit their guilt in the presence of a Father who gave up His Son in your place. Jesus paid that price! I can't undo what I have done but I can have it blotted off the pages of God by the blood of Christ. Never any more remembrance! What graciousness. But there was a price paid by the Lord. It wasn't cheap as it cost the Lord everything. Remember that next time you pray, worship or read. Your right to speak to God is because of Christ. When are you going to come to the Lord confessing, being buried with Him in baptism to raise to newness of life (Rom. 6:3-7)? You already have done that? Why won't you repent and lay yourself, your messed up self at the foot of the cross and commit you life to Him turning away from all those practices that take you down? Cleansing will be there and a newness will come about but that takes a sincere and honest faith! The Lord is waiting.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

"Is Your Back Against the Wall?"

  Are you going through some difficulties? Rejoice! Have you found your back against the wall? Rejoice! That's hard for us to do much less accept. Yet that is precisely what the Lord calls us to do. It just doesn't make sense to rejoice when things are difficult and might even look hopeless.
  When things are going well for us and it seems all the pieces fall in place, our dependency upon the Lord diminishes as we subtly take on a self-maintained attitude. The desire for the Lord, listening to Him through His word and our prayer life might somewhat dwindle. Our wanting to worship and express our thanks doesn't seem to be what it was. Some people view their relationship with the Lord based on how well things are going for them! What a shame. It's when our backs are against the wall that we get to view who is really running the show...GOD!
  When we are in deep need looking for direction and answers, somewhere we must put all our faith in the God who called us to Himself through Jesus. God knows what we need. We might even say that but do we believe it? Right then and there faith either reaches to God on God's terms or we just sit and fret hoping for the best while never making any gain during the difficulty. It is the difficulties that give us the opportunity to gain real strength! It's the difficulties that bring us back to our senses that we dare not try to maneuver through this life without His guiding hand and insight that He is using this difficulty to get us to trust and obey. When our backs are against the wall that's when true gain spiritually is available. You don't have to look far in Scripture to see this over and over. 
  If you're presently experiencing difficulties and it has you down ask yourself, "Why?" Where are you looking? Why are we called to "consider it all joy when you encounter various trials?" (Jam. 1:2) Because at our bleakest time our faith is being brought to strength if we take the right attitude. God is trying to work. When things are well it's easy to take the right attitude. When our backs are against the wall we are given opportunities to walk by faith and grow in our weaknesses. Jesus told His disciples that "every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit."  (John 15:2) How's the pruning going in your life? It depends on your attitude when your back is against the wall!!