Crime Doesn’t Pay And Neither Does Sin

CRIME doesn’t pay and neither does SIN

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. He also did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For because of the anger of the Lord this happened in Jerusalem and Judah, till He finally cast them out from His presence. Then Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around. So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. By the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the famine had become so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then the city wall was broken through, and all the men of war fled and went out of the city at night by way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden, even though the Chaldeans were near the city all around. And they went by way of the plain. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and they overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. All his army was scattered from him. So they took the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he pronounced judgment on him. Then the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. And he killed all the princes of Judah in Riblah. He also put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in bronze fetters, took him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death. (Jeremiah 52:1-11)

Crime Doesn’t Pay And Neither Does Sin

There is an old saying that “Crime doesn’t pay” as popularized by a radio show in the 1930s called, “The Shadow.” While the phrase is of recent coinage, the idea has been eternal in regard to evil. Before time began, God had a plan to punish the devil and his angels which was fulfilled through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Eve found the deception of the serpent did not bring the happiness she thought would come with eating the forbidden fruit. The early world was destroyed by a world-wide flood because the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Noah and his family were the only ones saved from the wrath of God. If there was a lesson clearly defined by the Lord from the early days of the existence of humankind is that sin does not bring happiness. The story of King Zedekiah is one of the millions where men believe they can live ungodly lives before the Creator and find joy and happiness. He was the uncle of King Jehoiachin and was put on the throne by the king of Babylon (who changed his name from Mattaniah to Zedekiah). Becoming king at the age of twenty-one would have been an incredible accomplishment for a man so young. If he would have looked around at the previous kings and their demise it might have sounded a warning to him to change his way but it did not. His reign would only last for eleven years and would end in the most tragic manner. Zedekiah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Jehoiakim had done. The king decided to rebel against the Babylonians resulting in the king of Babylon bringing his army against Jerusalem in a seize that lasted for a year and six months. In desperation and with famine setting in, the king and his army tried to flee the Chaldeans but to no avail. Zedekiah was caught in the plains of Jericho with his army scattered throughout the land. They took the king from the king of Babylon who pronounced judgment against Zedekiah. He murdered the sons of Zedekiah in front of his eyes. The king of Babylon then killed all the princes of Judah at a border town called Ribnah. Nebuchadnezzar was exacting the wrath of God against Israel because of the evil that covered the land.

When the Chaldeans captured Zedekiah, did he regret the decisions he had made in following evil? The history of Israel in recent years was filled with wars, chaos, and men serving the carnal pleasures of the flesh. Many prophets like Jeremiah warned the people to repent but to no avail. The testimony of the Lord was clear against those who followed the path of ungodliness. History is replete with the failure of men to find lasting joy in refusing to follow the moral code of godliness as given by God. Each generation believes that it can improve the world by following an amoral system of values and that happiness is found in the pursuit of evil. Zedekiah was brought before Nebuchadnezzar and forced to watch as his sons were killed before him. How did his evil life pay off to watch an invading army slaughter his own flesh? Did he have remorse for his life and plead for the mercy of the Lord too late? The king of Babylon brought all the princes of Judah before Zedekiah and had them killed. Sin did not bring any joy to Zedekiah and certainly brought a tragic end to his sons and the princes of Judah. He did not humble himself to the word of Jeremiah and refused to honor God. The tragic end of his life came when the king of Babylon put out his eyes and made him a prisoner till the day of his death. Evil is fun for the moment but the lasting impact has eternal consequences. Zedekiah learned that lesson in a vivid manner.

Crime doesn’t pay and sin never brings happiness. Criminals may be able to get away with their misdeeds in this life. They will not find fulfillment in the life to come because the wrath of God is against all ungodliness. Justice can be forgotten by men but the Lord remembers all the deeds of what a man has done. Zedekiah learned the lesson too late that all the pleasures he enjoyed had no value when he watched his sons die and the princes of Judah slaughtered. In some ways the sons and princes were more fortunate than Zedekiah because they were dead without suffering the terrible fate of having your eyes blinded by the most horrendous method and then shackled with bronze fetters for the rest of his life in prison. The sad reality is the sons of Zedekiah and the princes may not have been ready to meet the God of Israel no more than the king and found the same lesson about evil in death: sin did not bring the promised joy of the tempter. Millions die with the joys of fleshly pleasures filling their lives only to find in death there is no hope of joy in the eternal. Satan dangles the lures of sin before the eyes of men deceiving them into believing that all fleshly fulfillment will bring lasting joy knowing his lie will secure their souls in eternal damnation. God has warned against the ways of evil and the consequences of rejecting His word. Happiness is not what men find on earth but what they see in the promises of eternal life through the grace of God. Do not live a life of regret where there is no hope and no joy. Evil has never brought happiness and it never will. The price is far too high for anyone to pay. Jesus paid the ultimate price by giving His life to show man the path of righteousness and lasting joy. Come to Jesus and see the gift of life He has offered to those who seek eternal happiness.

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Kingdom Citizens

KINGDOM CITIZENS

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. (Titus 3:1-2)

Kingdom Citizens

The Bible is an amazing library of knowledge that finds its application in every society, generation, culture, and innovation of man. When Paul wrote to Titus encouraging him to be faithful in the work of the kingdom and to exhort the saints of God to live before all men with righteousness, he had no idea of what social media would become in the modern world. Social media has always been around but the technologies have evolved over the centuries changing the means of communications. There has never been a time in history where information is disseminated with such rapidity as the modern form of social media. It has given license to millions of voices who can at the touch of a click send their message around the globe with instantaneous results. For many disciplines, this can be a great blessing. However, it has also been the platform for voices of dissension, hatred, prejudice, and disrespect. To this point it must be added these are not the voices of the unlearned or uninformed but children of God. With the political year of 2020 coming up, the platitudes of political posturing have begun in earnest with many of the holy nation of God pushing themselves in the middle of such trite expression of failed loyalties. The Kingdom of Jesus Christ is made up of citizens of the kingdom of God who are to be loyal to one king and one king alone: Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. As citizens of the heavenly kingdom there are guidelines that faithful souls must adhere themselves as representatives of the Divine. Paul addresses these attributes in his letter to Titus that is vital for modern men to take heed and listen.

Regardless of party affiliation, the Christian is a person of integrity who is subject to the rulers and authorities without regard to who sits in the seat of governmental authority. Remember that when the early church began, men like Herod and Nero were in power and their rule was anything but democratic. Yet, in the face of such rulers, the apostles admonished the early Christians to honor the king, submit to the rule of all those in authority and to deny that rule would be denying God. Rulers and those in authority are to be obeyed by the command of the Lord with the only exception if the law prescribed violates the clear Biblical law of God. Paying exorbitant taxes on English tea does not qualify for rebellion. Using platforms like Facebook to spew anger and disrespect to rulers and those in authority is not the example of a faithful child of God. Instead the voice of the Christian should be one that seeks every good work. Paul exhorts the child of God not to slander anyone, and avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. These rules have served well for two thousand years whether social media was animal skin or electronic media. The character of the Christian does not allow their heart to be filled with the trappings of an immoral, corrupt and angry world. As the salt of the earth and lights of Jesus Christ, the reflections of a humble spirit must be heard in the voices of those who put God first in everything. Subjection to rulers and authorities is one of the most important examples others can see.

Democracy is a wonderful form of rule for men who love freedom. It gives the citizen the privilege of expressing their views, forming opinions that can be used in making changes and affords the freedom of religious belief. While all of the tenets of democracy are appealing to the carnal side of man, the stark reality for the citizen of the kingdom of God is the only freedom found is that which is found in Christ. He is the King that must be obeyed and His will is the only voice. There is no freedom of speech in Christ or the right to live by any standard of rule. Jesus is the only way, He is the only truth, and He is the only life and everything in the life of the Christian is measured by His guidance and wisdom. There is only one way to the Father and that way is Jesus Christ. As citizens of the kingdom of God, the Christian is a slave and nothing more; at best – an unprofitable servant. By God’s grace, He affords salvation to those who will submit their will to His word. Submission to rulers and those in authority is because the Lord demands it. This is not measured whether we like the person in rule or not. Obedience is expressly demanded by the Lord to all those in places of rule. It may be a freedom of the American judicial system to speak evil of those in rule but there is no such rule in the kingdom of God. He forbids it and will judge with righteousness those who disregard His command. The finest examples of American citizens are the citizens of the kingdom who are ready for every good work, live peaceable lives, showing gentleness toward all men and are humble before all.

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October 13, 2019

October 13, 2019

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:26-27)

October 13, 2019

It is one of the most innocuous things that everyone does on a daily basis without thought, without planning and without realizing the incredible lesson learned over a course of a lifetime. Writing a date is a harmless and yet vital part of life. It contains a divided portion of a year called months with a specific number day in a specific time of history. Today is the tenth division of the year 2019 on the thirteenth day. The Gregorian calendar is the most widely accepted calendar in use by the world today but regardless of which calendar is in use by society the keeping of days, weeks, months and years are as ancient as the world. God created the world in six days and established the rotation of the sun, moon, and stars as signs and seasons, and for days and years. After the flood that destroyed all life on earth save eight souls the Lord told Noah that as long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer, and winter, day and night. October 13, 2019 proves the word of the Lord spoken at the beginning of man’s history. Writing down the date of the day confirms the covenant God has with the earth and the six billion souls that dwell upon it. It could be said there are no atheists because each time a man writes the date he affirms there is a Creator and there can be no one that believes in evolution as fact because the date confirms the beginning of time in accordance with the word of God. Today’s date accomplishes a remarkable thing unseen by most people.

When the apostle Paul was in the city of Athens, a city given over to idol worship, the preacher of Jesus boldly proclaimed in the midst of a heathen world that God had determined the habitation of all men and that creation itself proclaimed the evidence of the divine being. All men are of the same DNA as created by the hand of God. The Lord has determined the habitation of man in a framework of the earth that cannot change. Man is an earth dweller that is limited in time and space by the hand of the One that formed him from the dust of the ground. The fanciful ideas that men have to live and dwell in the universe like a mythical Captain Kirk defy the reality that when a date is inscribed on paper the affirmation of man is the prison of his humanity. Man was not created to dwell in the ocean or in the vast reaches of space. A man can explore the depths of the oceans but only on a temporary purpose. Exploring space is a marvel of man’s achievements but the reality of his nature is that he can only spend a limited amount of time there. October 13, 2019 proves that man is shackled to the earth as a reminder that he is made a little lower than the angels. There is wonder in heaven by the eternal beings that look down upon men who believe themselves gods. Nothing man will do can change that he is an eternal being formed by the power of God and that he will always be on this earth a creature lower than the angels. Man is bound by days, weeks, months and years. There have always been seven days in a week and the clocks of men may call the days and months by different names but time remains the same for all.

A final word about the date October 13, 2019 is the reality that time is fleeting. It was just yesterday the calendar read the year 2000 or the birth of a child or the day of marriage or fond memories of childhood on a street far away in time. Nine and one-half months have passed in the 19th year of this millennia with only seventy-nine days left; eleven weeks and two days; less than 1800 hours. Many people who began the year 2019 with great expectations are no longer living. Some estimates suggest 56 million people die every year and it is certain they did not know the day of their birth would be added to the day of their death so soon. Time marches on and death comes to everyone. Tomorrow (if the Lord wills) millions will write the date of October 14, 2019, but will they see God? He has made all men from one blood and placed them on the earth to see the glory of the heavenly. He has determined the preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings. What the Lord desires for man to do is to seek the blessings of the Creator and the hope of eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ. A day will come when the calendar will cease because the world is no more. There will be no days, weeks, months or years. Eternity will span before the vision of all men without end. God is not far from man. He is as close as writing the date. Today is the day of salvation because today is all God has promised. October 13, 2019.

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Fidelity To The Marriage Vow

marriage vows

Furthermore, it has been said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.” But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.” But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No.” For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. (Matthew 5:31-37)

Fidelity To The Marriage Vow

The sermon on the mountain is one of the most challenging and impactful sermons to be read and put into practice. Jesus was teaching a great multitude of people a message they had never heard from their own teachers as the Son of God established the foundation of His ministry with a direct statement of absolute truth. The constitution of the sermon on the mount is the description of the life of Jesus as He lived every word with sinless perfection. His message would resonate throughout Israel as the man behind the message. He challenged the corrupted view of the Jewish teachers about the Law of Moses. In the six hundred years since the fall of Jerusalem, Israel had become a hybrid nation of pseudo-religion judged more by the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Jewish leaders than the truth of Moses’ law. Jesus would contrast the meaning of the Law and the prophets with the true teaching of His Father was He came to fulfill the law and establish true righteousness in the hearts of the faithful. A man did not have to take the life of another to commit murder but merely have hatred in his heart to be guilty. Adultery was not only the carnal engagement of infidelity but the thought of such a deed that would bring condemnation. Marriage was sacred from the time when God created Adam and Eve and yet the religious leaders had manipulated the definition of divorce to be for any reason. Jesus restores the principle of the law of God from the beginning that marriage was a lifelong commitment. Divorce for reasons other than sexual immorality would bring the wrath of God. Jesus fortifies His position on divorce when He reminds the people that God takes very serious the keeping of vows.

It had become common for people to use oaths often in their speech. The Law of Moses prohibited swearing by the name of the Lord falsely and profaning the name of God would bring His wrath. When a vow was made from their lips they were obligated to keep that vow. However the common practice had long been held to interject oaths in the common language by swearing by the temple, the head, and heaven itself. This created a dulling effect on the value of oaths and that failing to keep those oaths irreligiously given would be no better than failing to keep the vows of marriage. A domino effect is created when the importance of vows is degraded to be a frivolous bunch of words with no serious effort to keep the oath. The forbidding of oaths by Jesus was to highlight how the hearts of the people had taken spiritual commitment to the place of noncommittal agreement that can be changed if the position dictates. In other words, as fallout from the same practice, making a vow of marriage is viewed as a contract to be broken rather than a covenant to be honored. God hates divorce because a man and woman made a vow standing before Him to honor one another and to honor the Lord. Breaking that vow is breaking a covenant created by God as He joined a man and woman together. Jesus told the Pharisees that what His Father had joined together no man had a right to break asunder. God takes very seriously the vows of men who declare their faithfulness and then break their vows. It would have been better to not make the vow than to have taken the vow with no promise of keeping it.

While there are two distinct problems Jesus addresses in the sermon about divorce and the frivolous giving of oaths, the two are intertwined as a result of one another. Marriage will be sacred because man views the bond of matrimony as a holy communion with God. If the heart of a man looks at oaths as vanity, keeping a vow of marriage will be easily broken. Marriage is characterized by problems but the child of God knows the most important part of their union is the covenant they have made with their spouse as a vow to God. They will not take the words of the marriage vow as a trifling matter but declare their yes and no in faithfulness to the Lord God who formed the union. It will require second-mile allegiance and love beyond the bounds of human understanding but the will of the Lord will be the guiding force in their marriage. Jesus did not suggest the vows were wrong but the attitudes of men can make the promise of an oath to be a trivial matter. This does not characterize the heart of the child of God and this is especially found in the marriages of God’s people. Vows are sacred because words are sacred to God. In whatever station of life a person finds himself, their speech is seasoned with the salt of grace and the foundation of truth in keeping the promises made as true and holy.

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Faith Like A Leper

faith faith

Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. (Mark 1:40-42)

Faith Like A Leper

Leprosy was one of the most dreaded diseases of Bible times. It was a death sentence that came with a horribly slow death. The disease rendered men untouchable and in many societies lepers were cast out of society and shunned. There were strict regulations under the Law of Moses for the treatment of the disease and conditions for those who found themselves suffering from leprosy. During the ministry of Jesus there were many lepers that came to the Lord to be healed and the apostles were commissioned to heal men of leprosy. On one occasion a leper came to Jesus begging for compassion and to be healed of his malady. The leper who came to Jesus is a remarkable individual unlike many in the stories of lepers. In the Old Testament a Syrian named Naaman was told about a prophet in Israel that could heal him and he became clean when he obeyed the word of the prophet. Jesus entered a certain village when ten lepers asked for mercy from the Lord and He healed them. What makes the story of the leper that came to Jesus so remarkable was the faith he had in Jesus to do the impossible. Leprosy was a death sentence without pardon. There were no cures for the disease. The man who came to Jesus was full of leprosy. This was not a case of mistaken identity or a slight case of psoriasis that would clear up in time. What the leper had was a full case of certain death and no one could cure him. Faith moved the man to do something marvelous as an example of incredible trust in the power and love of Jesus.

The leper knew he had to be cleansed. Leprosy was a debilitating disease that rendered the body a horrible figure of decaying flesh. There was no doubt in his mind about his condition and he could clearly see the power of leprosy to kill him. No one had to convince the man he was in dire straits. His circumstance was defined by the place he found himself and nothing any man could do had changed that and nothing any man would do brought relief. The disease this man had was a death sentence and the only way he could find relief was to be cleansed. Leprosy was a filthy disease with death written all over it. The leper believed in the impossible. When a man contracted leprosy there was no cure yet this man believed in the unheard of and unlikely possibility that a cure was possible. There were many doctors who through a study of the sciences helped many find relief from various diseases. This was not the case with leprosy. There was no cure. Relief would not come from the hand of man. A certain death sentence hung over the head of a man with leprosy. Coming to Jesus shows the man believed in the impossible. He came to Jesus and said that if the Lord was willing to do the impossible then the impossible could be done. His faith in the power of God led him to believe that leprosy could be healed. Finally the leper believed Jesus could cleanse him. He had not sought help from any other man because he knew no man could heal him but he did believe the miracle worker Jesus could take away a disease that had a certain death to it. Jesus was the man who could do the impossible. He told Jesus that if the Lord was willing, He (Jesus) could do the impossible and take away his leprosy. Moved with compassion, Jesus touched the leper and healed him. The man was correct on three accounts: he knew the vile nature of leprosy, he believed in the impossible and he believed Jesus could heal him.

There is a greater disease than leprosy that afflicts every soul on earth – all six billion souls that have the breath of life. It is not a disease of the flesh but the eternal disease of sin that will destroy most souls in the darkness of perdition. There is no cure for sin that men have found in their own wisdom. Generations have multiplied where men have tried to answer the plight of sin but to no avail. Even the Law of Moses failed to justify the sinful nature of man. Salvation from sin can only come from Jesus Christ and like the leper that came to Jesus; there are some conditions that must be met. Until a man comes to know what sin is, he will never see the need to change. The leper knew he was a leper. A sinner must see himself for what he really is – a sinful creature in need of healing. Without this knowledge of man’s condition, there can be no cleansing. When a man comes to know his sinful nature, he has to believe in the impossible. There is no cure for sin in the annals of man’s wisdom. Nothing he has ever done could answer the question of sin. The reality of sin is that nothing man can do will change the nature of sin making it an impossible condition to remedy. Like the leper, all men must see themselves for what they are (sinners) and believe in the impossible that through the blood of Jesus Christ they can be cleansed of their sins. Without believing in the word of Christ and the authority given to Him by the Father, salvation cannot come to the sinful heart. Obedience to the will of the Father is where sins are washed away in the waters of baptism doing what men could not do and accomplishing the impossible. If the leper did not see his condition for what it was, believe in the impossible and come to Jesus; he would have died a leper. When a man fails to see his sinful condition, refuses to believe in the power of God to cleanse him and denies the word of Jesus Christ, he will die in his sin. There were many lepers in the days of Naaman but only one was cleansed because he believed. How many souls die today because they do not accept the word of God and like the leper, come to Jesus?

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They Just Kept On Sinning

grace of God mt

In spite of this they still sinned and did not believe in His wondrous works. Therefore their days He consumed in futility, and their years in fear. (Psalm 78:32-33)

They Just Kept On Sinning

The children of Israel are immortalized on the pages of holy writ as the example of how a man struggles with sin and how Israel struggled with their faithfulness. Of all people on earth, the Hebrews saw more of God’s wonders and powers than any other nation. They witnessed the terrible plagues brought upon Egypt noting especially how the Lord segregated the impact away from His people. When the people walked across the Red Sea on dry land, they saw with their own eyes the waters piled up on either side held back by the will of the Creator. When the Egyptian army tried to follow they were wiped out when the waters of the Red Sea returned and drowned all of the soldiers. Walking through the deserts of Sinai and the wilderness of Sin, the Hebrews saw the power of God in providing water, manna every day, quail in the thousands, clothes that did not wear out, victory over enemies and the presence of God on Sinai would have shaken anyone to their souls with fear. Israel did not keep the covenant of God and refused to walk in His law. They forgot His works and His wonders that He had shown them. He led them with a cloud during the day and light of fire at night but they refused to follow in His commands. In spite of all of this and more, they still sinned and did not believe His wondrous works. In a vicious cycle of obedience and rebellion, Israel became the hallmark of the plague of sin and the inability of men to remain faithful to the Lord. Only through the grace of God and His compassion for the people of Abraham did the Lord spare the nation. He forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them. Often He would turn His anger away from Israel not allowing His wrath to stir up to utter destruction. The Lord remembered they were but flesh and breath that passes away and does not come again. And in spite of this, they still sinned and did not believe in His wondrous works.

There are many reasons why Israel is preserved in the Bible but one significant lesson is how they struggled with obedience as a lesson for the people of God to understand the nature of sin and the grace of God. Reading the history of Israel helps the Christian see that Satan is never silent in attacking God’s elect with temptation. The devil continues to march against the faithful with the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and pride of life. There will be great victories over sin and then crushing defeats. Miracles have ceased and the manifest power of God will not be visualized as it was with the children of Israel marching through the Red Sea but the Bible is the greatest manifestation of God’s power known to man. It is hard to believe how a man walking through the Red Sea and seeing the power of God would not devote the rest of his life to serving the Lord but they soon forgot what they saw. The Bible is readily available for all men to read and understand the mysteries of God revealing all of the power of the Divine but so often the word is overshadowed with the sinful nature of man. Like Israel, in spite of all the power of God spoken through the word, men sin and do not believe in His wondrous works and words.

Asaph’s psalm of the kindness of God to a rebellious people resounds with the dirge of sin and its impact on the chosen nation of the Lord but there is hope in the message of God’s grace. As disobedient as the Hebrew was the Lord continued to forgive those who repented. Sin is a plague that brings misery, pain, and sorrow yet through the love of God it can be removed and forgotten. God loved His people. He blessed them and continued to care for them even after forty years of wilderness wandering. His power brought the remnant to the land promised to Abraham and by His might, the nation of Israel became the greatest nation on earth. Sadly, sin once again overwhelmed the hearts of the people and after a few hundred years the Assyrians and Babylonians would take God’s people away. In the darkest hour of sins victory the light of hope rose in the resurrection of God’s Son who would redeem His own special people to be a holy nation guided by the word of the Lord. The church was born and fills the earth with the wonderful news of God’s love, His grace and mercy and the undying hope of eternal life through the blood of Jesus Christ. In spite of this, we still sin and do not believe in the wondrous works of God found in the word of God. But He, being full of compassion, forgives our iniquity and does not destroy us when we repent and seek forgiveness. Many a time He has turned His anger away and does not stir up His wrath and we are eternally thankful for that measure of grace. The Lord remembers that we are but flesh and like a breath that passes away and does not come again. How often we provoke Him to wrath and grieve Him but He continues to remove our sins as far as the east is from the west because of the blood of His only begotten Son. Through faith we continue to march on and living under the grace of God find comfort in knowing our frail frame is but a wisp of life measured by an eternal love of the Father for His children. Thank you, Father, for your kind compassion and loving care. Forgive we pray our unworthiness, cleanse and purify our hearts to greater service.

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Respecting Your Manner Of Life

1thess 412

But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12)

Respecting Your Manner Of Life

Jesus Christ died to bring all men to the Father. No greater message is found in the annals of man’s long history that will address the need of humanity to know what the Divine has done to save them. Faith comes from understanding the word of God and this is accomplished through the avenue of teaching honest hearts the unsearchable riches of a risen Savior. The early church spent many hours teaching the good news of Jesus converting multitudes to the grace of God. It is still imperative that teaching is done in the world today to shine the light of truth in a dark world. One of the most important elements of letting others see the glory of God is accomplished through the lives of devoted people living for Christ in their daily activities of life. Often overlooked the manifestation of God is more defined in the actions of a person’s life than their words. Truth comes from the word of God but truth must be seen in the words of the individual, their attitudes toward others, the conversation of life at the workplace and impressions left on the community to the character of the person. Paul exhorts the saints at Thessalonica to abound in their love for one another because this will have a positive impact on those who are not Christians to see God living in their lives. How much harm will be done when a person claims to love the Lord and yet does not show love toward his or her own brother or sister in Christ? The world sees the life of a Christian either in the light of true devotion or clear hypocrisy. Paul enumerates a number of things that should be manifest in the life of a Christian to let their light shine in the community. It begins with love abounding toward one another as people of God. Without this kind of love there can be no love for others that is genuine. The church of Christ is a family of saints following the will of the Father behaving as children of the Most High God. Those in the world will see whether the love of God lives in the heart of the individual when they hear of their love for the brethren.

Paul exhorts the saints to aspire to lead a quiet life. The demeanor of the Christian walk is filled with humility, kindness, and forgiveness. One of the characteristics of the carnal world is loud, vocal and unkind individuals who like the world to know what they think and how they think. It does not matter what rolls off the tongue or the attitude expressed about others. Albert Barnes observed, “The duty to which he would exhort them was that of being subordinate to the laws; of avoiding all tumult and disorder; of calmly pursuing their regular avocations, and of keeping themselves from all the assemblages of the idle, the restless, and the dissatisfied. No Christian should be engaged in a mob; none should be identified with the popular excitements which lead to disorder and to the disregard of the laws.” It seems Barnes knew about Facebook before it was invented. What kind of example is left by children of God failing to lead a quiet life on social media? Paul follows up his admonition by saying the Christian should mind his own business or to attend to the concerns of the individual as they would exemplify the character of Jesus Christ. The life of a devoted child of God will refrain from becoming immersed in the political smearing dialogue of a corrupt world, vulgar references to those in authority and unkind references to those with whom there is disagreement. Jesus taught His disciples to love their enemies and to bless them – not bless them out. Aspiring to lead a quiet life and minding affairs of self are worthy goals of those who wish to be like the Father. This will allow more time to work with diligence as examples of industry rather than indolence.

The key to Paul’s admonition is to live in such a way that one walks properly toward those who are outside. Being an example in a crooked and perverse generation can radiate the light of hope in the lives of those who are seeking more than the carnal world offers. Non-believers may not agree with the belief of the Christian but at least they will respect the manner of their lives because the example shows love for God. A proper example can lead to a diligent Bible study where the lost soul can come to know Jesus Christ. The Christian must ask their heart if they had the ability and opportunity to teach someone what to do to be saved, would their life reflect a positive influence or negative? It is possible that some could never help another see the gospel because they know their life is in conflict with what they are trying to teach. When the life of a Christian is not in proper regard to the will of the Lord, it will be very difficult to show others the way of truth. Yet one of the greatest opportunities for the child of God is to let others see Christ living in their life and thereby open doors to talk with them about becoming a child of God. At the end of the day, what is the most important thing we can give our neighbor or friend? A proper life can lead prayerfully to an opportunity to share with them the message of salvation that will give them eternal life. When all is said and done, what can be more important than that? And it all began by walking properly toward those who are outside the body of Christ.

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