Obedience Begins In The Heart

I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:8)

Obedience Begins In The Heart

David was a remarkable man whose heart was fully trusting in God. He showed great courage in facing Goliath, exercised restraint in harming King Saul when he had more than one opportunity to kill him, and as a king showed himself to be a wise and beneficent ruler. His sin with Bathsheba marred his character and the stain of its shame would remain for the rest of his life. David faced many enemies finding himself often the object of scorn, ridicule, and even treason by his sons. The occasion of writing the fortieth psalm is uncertain but whatever it was it had put him in a pit of despair. He was thankful for the kind mercy of God to rescue him from his mire of despondency noting the blessing of God’s word guided his heart to seek the Lord. There were so many blessings David could enumerate but he was unable to recount them all. He was a man filled with the word of God.

Obedience comes from the knowledge of knowing what to do and how to do what God requires. None of the commandments of the Lord are burdensome. The Lord has never asked a man to do anything he was unable to do. Doing the will of God has always been the hallmark of the faithful character, godly spirit with a devoted and true heart. The key to obedience is not just in the doing but where the direction of the heart instills submission. David took joy in doing the will of the Lord because the word of God was written in his heart. Obedience cannot come from an empty heart. Seeking the will of the Lord requires the knowledge to know what is right and what is wrong. Without the word, there can be no obedience. The result of those who seek to obey God without a knowledge of His word will find themselves measured by the standards of human wisdom rather than divine will.

David understood that obedience begins in the heart. Jesus would later say that all things that make up a man’s character begin in the heart: good or bad. The things that corrupt a man come from a corrupt heart. Righteousness is the blossom of the divine flower of truth that spreads its aromatic fragrance of God’s character throughout the soul of the man possessed of the law of the Lord. Truth begins in the word and when the word is planted deep in the heart, the result is a man who delights to know the will of the Lord. Faith comes from hearing the word of God as it is implanted in the soul of man. That is where true delight comes when the heart is filled with the word of God.

Obedience follows from the seed of God’s word planted in the heart. This process cannot be done by osmosis or transference of minds or boring a hole in the head and pouring it all in. Knowledge comes from much study and while much study can be a weariness of the soul, the spirit of the soul will grow stronger. What is implanted in the heart guides the mind of a man to do the will of the Father. Recognizing the opposite is to see the reason that many Christians struggle in their faith because they seldom (if ever) spend time in the Word. A man cannot teach what he does not know. Faith cannot be resident in the heart of the Christian if the Christian has no interest in knowing the Bible. God has given to all men a complete guide to know His will: the Bible. Reading the book and finding ways to mold a character according to the divine pattern will bring about eternal consequences. It must begin with the word in the heart.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

God Is My Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)

God Is My Shepherd

There is nothing unfamiliar about the 23rd Psalm. It is one of the most recognizable poems in literature, secular and divine. David is known as the “psalmist of Israel” and nothing embodies the character of the shepherd as David’s prose on the relationship of a man and his sheep. When God created the sheep He defined the character of humanity. Sheep are defenseless, unable to care for themselves, and require protection, care, and nurturing by a shepherd. The many aspects of the needs of a sheep are given in David’s description of tending a flock. They are brought to green grass by the knowledge of the one who tends them. Still waters are sought after as sheep are frightened of turbulent rivers. Many dangers are lurking about like lions and bears that will kill and destroy a flock. Sheep are easily distracted and can become lost requiring the love and skills of a devoted shepherd to find them. When injury or disease happens, the soothing oil of relief comes from the gentle hand of a shepherd. There is a close bond between the sheep and the shepherd that cannot be lost as the sheep endear themselves to the protective care of their master.

Examining the psalm closely there are many lessons shown from the needs of the sheep and the care of the shepherd. What can be lost in the reading of the psalm is the most important part of the story: God is the shepherd and there is no other. David begins by establishing there is one shepherd and He is the Lord alone. There will not be more than one shepherd to confuse the sheep. His voice alone will guide the flock to green pastures and still waters. The keen eyes of the diligent shepherd will watch for danger over His flock. Only in the arms of the shepherd will the sheep find protection. David understands the necessity of putting God the Father first in his life and fully gives himself to the will of the Father. There is no other that he will trust.

Sheep for the most part are docile creatures. On occasion, a sheep will be rebellious and stubborn. The story is told that when a sheep becomes unruly the shepherd will break a leg of the sheep and then carry the creature in his arms until he is healed and able to walk on his own. From that time forth the sheep will never wander far from the shepherd. This is a hard thing to consider but the sheep must learn there is only one voice that is commanding and obedience is required. David explains there is one shepherd and as the Father, God has all authority. The man after God’s own heart learned this lesson first-hand when he sinned with Bathsheba. God disciplined David and carried him in His arms while he healed. David never lost his love for the Father.

The 23rd Psalm is known by almost everyone in the world but few know the Shepherd of the psalm. It is easy to quote the words of the psalm. The challenge is to accept the first line that God is the shepherd, the only shepherd, and His word must be obeyed. Obedience is not found in singing a beautiful psalm or memorizing a stanza of Hebrew poetry. Salvation is determined by submitting to the Shepherd of the psalm and His will. Through the grace of God, the divine shepherd of David sent His only begotten Son to die for all men. Like a lamb, Jesus was led to the slaughter for the sins of humanity. Jesus would become the Good Shepherd because He gave His life for the sheep. The words of Jesus are the words of the Father and when one obeys the words of Jesus, they submit to the will of the great Shepherd. The Lord is my shepherd. As a sheep, I must listen to the voice of God alone.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Christian And Global Warming

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; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ (Acts 17:26-28)

The Christian And Global Warming

There are a lot of worried people who fret about the condition of the world leading to an apocalyptic end of life on earth. Global warming is the hot topic of political debate, community concern, and deep fears in the hearts of many scared individuals. This phenomenon is defined as “a gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and other pollutants.” All of this comes from the human impact on the planet through the waste of industry, technology, and pollution. There is a belief among many that in time man will destroy the earth and all life will die. Because of the lifestyle of humanity, the pollutants will slowly erode the protective coating surrounding the earth and the Sun will become so hot the Earth’s oceans will boil. At this point, life on earth will be rendered impossible and the end of all life will come. The good news is (as suggested by some) this may not happen for another billion years or so. On the other hand, some worry that by 2035 or 2050 (or some future date) man will have depleted enough of the global footprint that all life will be endangered with rising oceans, famines, limited freshwater, and economic disaster.

One of the joys of being a Christian is having a source to find answers to everything that involves the story of man. The Bible does talk about the two main questions of global warming: what is the impact and can man destroy the world? To answer the first question we have to be reminded of what Paul told the Athenians two thousand years ago. God is the one that determines the habitations and boundaries of all men. The root of error in human wisdom is to assume humanity as the power to change the course of the stars and to impact the earth in such a manner to (in a figure) knock the world off its axis. Man is not in charge of the world. By the authority of God, he has been given dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. He can subdue the earth but he cannot destroy it.

The limitation of man to destroy the world is found in the only time every living being on earth was destroyed (except for eight people) it was brought about by the Creator. God looked at the heart of men and saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord prepared Noah and his family to be saved from the destruction but then through the power of God alone, all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air were destroyed from the earth. God did that – not man. After the flood, Noah and his family left the ark where Noah built an altar to the Lord. Smelling the sacrifice, God promised to never destroy the earth as He had done. And then He made a promise: while the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night SHALL NOT CEASE. The diligent student of the Bible knows that when God makes a promise that promise will be kept without exception.

Since God promised the world will continue with seasons and day and night, why should anyone believe that global warming is going to change that? The scientists who put forth the destructive theories of global warming will not believe the world was created by God. They accept the false notion that man came from slim in some primordial world of chaos. The word of God means nothing to them. Global warming can happen as much as global cooling. The earth goes through cycles throughout history. There are ways that man can impact his environment and he must be a responsible caretaker of the world, but man can’t destroy the world and bring life on earth to an end. There is no nuclear bomb or strain of a virus that will destroy all life. Can man kill millions with a bomb? Yes. Is it possible for evil tyrants to develop a virus that kills millions of innocent souls? Yes. Can man destroy all life on earth? No. First, God will not allow it and second, the Lord has left that task to Himself.

The earth will come to an end one day. It will not be through global warming, world wars, and man-made plagues. Jesus, the Son of God, described the end of the world when He returns with His holy angels as a time of total destruction. Every scripture in the Bible that speaks about the end of the world describes the destruction is by the hand of God. The world is held together by the word of God and the world will be destroyed by the same word. This world is reserved for fire until the day of judgment when ungodly people will be destroyed. Every man must be a good steward of his planet and should take every care to nurture the world gifted to him by the Almighty. At the end of the day, the power of God will destroy the world – not man. There is no way man will have the ability and/or the power to effect such a change on the earth to destroy it. That is in the mind of God. And that is the joy of being a Christian. The answers are found in His word.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Am Not Alone

Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. (John 16:31-32)

I AM Not Alone

As the dark shadow of the cross surrounded the heart of Jesus, the Son of God began to feel to emptiness and void of bearing the sins of all humanity and the incredible pain attending His sacrifice. Within hours, He would be betrayed by Judas, arrested, and maliciously tried before handed over to the Romans for execution. There can be no darker picture than the image of the only begotten Son of God facing a sentence of death, desertion by His disciples, and the will to live but submitting to the will of the Father. Jesus had come to earth to die and the time was nigh. From the eternal realm of His Father’s glory to the dark recesses of humanity’s sinful nature, Jesus was to face the horror of crucifixion alone. There was only one place for sacrifice. Two criminals would be crucified with Him but Jesus died alone as sin paid the full ransom in the blood of God’s Son.

Following the feast of the Passover, Jesus taught His disciples about servitude in washing their feet. He instituted a memorial feast that would commemorate and honor His coming death. Judas would be identified as a betrayer and leave to bring about his deceit. Jesus would spend His final hours with the eleven promising a Helper who would come and guide them and bring them peace. Love and joy would be perfected in the love Jesus had for the world and the disciples would find that love and joy among themselves when they cared for one another. The world was about to kill the Son of God and those who would follow Jesus would be hated also. God had a plan to bring His will to all men through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was not dissuaded in His work and knew that He would return to His Father. He spoke plainly now to His disciples and they understood.

The eleven understood that Jesus knew everything and they were not going to question Him because they believed with all their hearts that Jesus came from God. They showed great courage in the face of a future they knew nothing about. Jesus knew what was about to happen by the eleven could not imagine how their lives would change in the next few days. Reassuring His disciples, Jesus tells them the time is coming when they will be scattered and Jesus will be left alone. Judas will bring the Roman soldiers and Jewish leaders to Gethsemane where Jesus will be arrested and dragged off to spend the night before the Jewish council and Roman Governor. The eleven would run away in fear and hide. Jesus would be left alone to face His accusers. Even Peter would follow at a distance but deny he knew the man Jesus. It seemed the Son of God was left all alone. But Jesus knew that while the disciples would leave Him, His Father would never desert Him.

Facing the cross took the eternal courage of Jesus to be assured that His Father would not leave Him alone. “I AM not alone” was the voice of the Son of God facing a terrible death for the sins of the world and to suffer alone at the hands of those He created. The world came to Golgotha to destroy Him who created the world and all humanity. Man killed God. No one came to defend Jesus. The legions of angels were stayed by the hand of God from interfering. All the heavenly hosts assembled around the cross outside Jerusalem and watched as the Son of God was beaten, tortured, and nailed to a tree. God the Father watched as His Son cried out to Him and begged for mercy yet never changed His will. Jesus died alone but He was never alone. He knew that He must suffer and He faced His death with the assurance that it was the Father’s will and because of love, the Father allowed man to kill His only begotten Son. The peace Jesus had in the Garden of Gethsemane and facing the trial and execution of the cross was the knowledge that it was all for a moment and that He had never been deserted by His Father. He knew when it was finished; He would see the Father again.

The life of a Christian can be filled with many trials and sorrows but a child of God is not alone. There is never a time when a child of God does not have His Father to comfort him. Jesus overcame the world so that His disciples could overcome the fear of being alone. As long as God rules, no Christian will ever be alone. If the Father did not abandon His Son at the most climatic time in human history then God will never leave or forsake His children. I AM not alone is the knowledge that Jesus is the I AM of security and hope. There is nothing that can and will separate the love of God which is in Christ Jesus from those who serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Take heart. We are never alone when we have God. Jesus overcame the world. I can overcome the world. God is with me. I am not alone.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Child Of Promise

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. (Galatians 4:28)

A Child Of Promise

To the people living around Abraham and Sarah, it was an incredible and almost unbelievable sight to behold. While still a woman of great beauty in her 70’s and 80’s, no one would have believed Sarah at the age of 90 would be pregnant. But there little Sarah was walking around with a baby bump and talking about all the joys of pregnancy. More remarkable was that Sarah went full term with her baby and delivered a healthy boy full of life. They called him Isaac. Sarah survived the pregnancy at the age of 90 and would live for 37 more years watching her little boy grow into a strapping young man who would be the joy of any parent. The imagination fills the mind as Sarah caressed her newborn that came from her body and with each birthday watched Isaac grow from an infant to a toddler learning to walk and then a young boy the apple of his father’s eye. No mother could be more proud of her son. Who else in the world enjoyed a newborn child at the age of ninety?

There was a fateful day that came in the life of Abraham regarding his son Isaac. God came to Abraham and told him to take Isaac to a place He would show him and offer the son he loved as a burnt offering. The man of God did not hesitate and delivered his son as an offering for the Lord. Stayed by the hand of an angel, Isaac was spared death but the faith of Abraham was secured in the mind of God and Abraham took his son back home. The Lord had promised Abraham and Sarah a son in their old age. They waited twenty-five years for the promise to come and through the power and might of a kind and merciful God, a child of promise was born. Isaac was not just a son but a son of promise. He was special because he came into the world by God’s grace. The womb of Sarah was dead and Abraham was not able to bear children at the age of 100. Yet the man of God was not weak in faith and he did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief. He was fully convinced God would bring about the promise made for a son and God made that promise come true. The birth of Isaac was the power of God. There was great joy in the birth of their son and they never took their eyes off of Isaac without thinking of how special a son he was to them. What was impossible was possible and Isaac was the evidence of God’s great love.

Every Jew knew the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac. The promises of God to Israel were established through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Nothing was more fundamental and necessary for understanding the will of God than the story of Sarah giving birth to a son at the age of 90. Isaac was the son of promise. Only through the power of God were Abraham and Sarah able to conceive a child and deliver Isaac to full birth. He became the son of promise through the eternal word of the Lord to bring about the impossible. The apostle Paul uses the story of Ishmael and Isaac to show the joy of being a Christian. When Sarah had doubts about the will of God, she encouraged Abraham to have a child with her handmaid, Hagar. This was not the son of promise because he was to be born of Sarah. The Lord worked the mistaken plan of Sarah into His divine will but the son of promise would come through Isaac, not Ishmael. Hagar was a slave wife and Sarah was a freeborn wife. Ishmael was born through the wisdom of man but Isaac was born through the fulfillment of God’s promise. Paul uses the story to show how the Law of Moses (Hagar) and the law of Christ (Sarah) are the two covenants. Ishmael was not the son of promise but Isaac was. Those born under the law of Christ are children of promise because they are brought forth through the will of the Father.

There was nothing man could do to destroy sin. It was impossible for humanity to live a perfect life whether under the law like the Jews or law to themselves like the Gentiles. The sin debt was paid for by the Son of Promise realized in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Unlike Isaac who was offered up as a sacrifice and spared at the last minute, Jesus was offered up as a sacrifice and died for the sins of all mankind. Through the grace of God, all those who are in Christ through obedience to the gospel message of immersion become children of promise. Every Christian should view themselves as children of promise through the love of God who brought about the miracle of redemption through Jesus the Firstborn of all creation. There can be little doubt Isaac was amazed at the story of his birth and how special he felt to be a son of promise. How can any Christian look into the mind of God and not stand in amazement at the hope of eternal life as a child of promise? I am a Christian – I am a child of promise.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Demanding Equality

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:27-29)

Demanding Equality

What is equality? It is the state of being equal sharing the same rights, treatment, and valued equally to all others in a specific group. Under the law, they share full equality regardless of any differences in gender, race, beliefs and moral persuasions, or preferences. Demanding equality is an age-old question answered by wars, riots, demonstrations, and protests. The United States was founded on the principle of rejecting the rule of an English king for a republic of self-governing citizens demanding their rights under their own laws. Throughout the long history of civil liberty, the cry for equality continues under the banner that all men are created equal. The problem with the language of equality in the arena of human wisdom is that equality is a relative thing. Women were not allowed to vote until 1920 when the 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution granted a woman the right to vote. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1776 that “all men are created equal” but it would take 144 years for women to vote. Human equality is a strange beast.

Trying to find equality in the laws of men is a minefield of prejudice, hatred, bigotry, pride, and failed wisdom. Every nation believes they have laws of equality as long as the majority rules the minorities. A tyrant rules with an iron fist forcing his equality on others. Even democracies struggle to find fairness for all of its citizens. In the framework of human wisdom, there will never be true equality. The reason for the disparity is simple: man-made equality is subjective. Many of the equal rights marches and protests seeking equality destroy the rights of others who may see the force of the movement as negative to their beliefs. One group seeks equality but the result is that others are made unequal. There is no common ground as one movement seeks justification for what matters to them and all the while trampling the beliefs of others. No matter how hard man tries, he will never find true equality in human wisdom.

Jesus Christ came to show all men the nature of true equality. As part of the creation, Jesus formed all men from one man and one woman. Every human being on the face of the planet finds their origins to the same man and the same woman. Adam called the Woman Eve because she was the mother of all living. It does not matter what color skin a person has, his nationality, gender, and moral persuasion, all men are created equal under the creative power of God’s hand. The real tragedy of human conflict is the nature of brother fighting against brother. Sin destroyed the early world and after the flood men again tried to unite against God. The tower of Babel is not just a story of where languages begin but the establishment of nations that would show the world that no one group of people would rule over the earth. God divided the world among the nations and Jesus Christ came to bring all men together under the same language of grace, love, and mercy. What was lost in the garden is found again in Christ. All that was taken away in Babel was united again in the death of Jesus.

Seeking equality can only be found in the word of God. The message of the gospel is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes without deference to Jew or Gentile, slave and free, and without regard to male and female. In Christ, all are one. Sworn enemies can be united in love with one another when they accept the love of God. The nature of the kingdom of God is equality without reservation. This equality is according to the word of God in obedience to the will of the Father. Prejudice is sinful because it destroys the unity of the one body. Sexual immorality is condemned as the law of God declares the bed is undefiled and fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Equality should never be confused with the desires of men overlooking the commandments of the Lord. There is only one equality: God’s word.

Jesus Christ is the head of the church and no man can take that rule. Within the work of the church, there are differing talents, abilities, and works for all to do but all are equal in the eyes of God. In the church of God, there is equality on an eternal scale. The judgment of God will bring all men, great and small, before Him and all men will be judged in the same exact and divine manner. When a man and woman obey the gospel of Christ, they are in Christ and they become part of the seed of Abraham. All of God’s creation is one in Jesus Christ and heirs according to the promise. If you are seeking equality, come to Jesus Christ. That is the only true equality you will find.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

God’s Word Is Pure

Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)

God’s Word Is Pure

The nature of the word of God has always been the nature of the One who gave it. In the beginning, the light was created on the first day before the sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day. The sun became the expression of what had already been created. Each day the sun rises over the eastern horizon, it spreads its natural light over the world. Light would exist without the sun but the sun is the manifestation of that light. Like the sun, the word of God is the manifestation of the word that existed before the world was created. Every word of God is pure because God is the quintessential expression of holiness, righteousness, and purity. Of necessity, the word of God is what it must be. What flows from the Bible is the same nature of the author who penned the words for all men to see His character.

Over the many centuries of God’s revelation, men wrote down the message of the Divine for all to read and understand the mysteries of the Father. The Lord chose to open His word over time showing through a chronology of historical reference the immutable counsel of His wisdom. Moses penned the first five books establishing the relevance of the word to the needs of all men. Subsequent writings declared the glory of God and the failings of humanity until the Son of God could be revealed in the flesh as the living Word. Through Christ, the world came to know the power of the word and the exemplification of purity. Over the last two thousand years, the confirmed word has declared the wisdom of the Father to send His only begotten Son to die for the sins of all men. The Old Testament introduces the coming Christ and the New Testament reveals His earthly journey and eternal teachings. From the beginning of the Bible until John’s final words in the Revelation, God’s word is pure.

The nature of God’s word being pure is that it is a complete record of everything a man needs to know to see the Father. Critics of scripture seek to find contradictions and stories contrary to one another. Like an anvil of days gone by, the hammers of dissent have broken into pieces over the centuries but the purity of God’s word remains untouched. Nothing will ever challenge the word of God to be in disagreement. Purity suggests an unmixed and undefiled character. The word of God has always been without a mixture of human wisdom. Men have added to and taken away from the word but this has not changed the word – it remains the same. Seeking to change the word makes God a liar. His truth remains. Believing the world is flat does not make the world flat. It only makes the believer mistaken. The purity of God’s word endures through the centuries unmoved, unchanged, and constant.

Considering the powerful nature of the word God, a man must look into the word and trust it with all confidence. It will become a shield to those who trust in the word because it has been given by the Father to guide His people, protect His children and bless the hearts of those who accept His word without reservation. The commandments of God are never burdensome and always designed for the happiness and eternal promise of those who trust in His word. Allowing the Bible to mold and guide the heart will bring contentment, joy, and peace. At the end of life when the dark shadows of death appear, there will be no fear because the word is pure and a shield for those who trust in the word. With the word of God in the heart, a man will find fulfillment. Without the word of God in the heart, a man will find nothing but misery. Let the word of God dwell in your heart. Your life will never be the same.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Gospel Of Reconciliation

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

The Gospel Of Reconciliation

Eating fruit does not seem like a high-value crime or a depraved immoral act, but when Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, it created a division between Creator and creation. This enmity was severe, harsh, and real. God cast the man and woman from the garden never to return. It was not long before the heart of man became so wicked the Lord sent a flood to destroy all humanity with the exception of Noah and his family. Wrath and grace are found in the story of the flood but the answer to sin had not been found. After the flood, pride lifted the heart of men, and sin continued. God promised through Abraham a great nation would arise to possess the land of promise. Included in the three-fold promise was a son. Abraham and Sarah realized the final promise in the birth of Isaac when they were beyond childbearing age. Sin continued unabated and there seemed little hope.

Israel became a great nation as the people of God. Through them the world would see the love and mercy of the Lord. It was not long before the hearts of the nation turned to the nations around them following their idolatrous practices. Sin once again destroyed the creation of God and the wrath of the Lord came heavily upon the apple of His eye. A remnant returned from bondage as sin still ruled the affairs of humanity. There was no hope and no answer.

Following a four hundred year famine of revelation, a man from Nazareth appeared among the people of God preaching a gospel of repentance. His message was clear, demonstrative, and powerful. The multitudes were drawn to His teaching and through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus of Nazareth showed Himself to be the Son of God. It was unclear the purpose of the Lord as Jesus told of His death, burial, and resurrection. The disciples could only see a physical kingdom and struggled with the spiritual patterns of God’s will. To their dismay and despair, Jesus was killed on a cross and buried. There was no hope and the world seemed so dark. And then Sunday came.

On the first day of the week, the Son of God rose from the dead changing the course of humanity forever. The eternal plan of redemption would not become clear immediately but as the church became established and disciples were multiplied, the gospel of reconciliation blossomed in the minds and hearts of the people of God. Everything man had tried had failed to bring him happiness and joy. Now in Christ, there was true meaning to life. The wrath of God was removed completely. There was no longer a fear of destruction. For the child of God, joy was the daily expression of reconciliation in Christ. There had taken place a change from enmity to friendship. God had exercised His grace towards sinful man on the ground of the death of Jesus Christ.

W. E. Vine says, “By reason of this men in their sinful condition and alienation from God are invited to be reconciled to Him; that is to say, to change their attitude, and accept the provision God has made, whereby their sins can be remitted and they themselves be justified in His sign in Christ.” The gospel of reconciliation means that God has removed His wrath. Through Jesus Christ, the Father has invited sinful man to dwell in His presence through the cleansing blood of His Son. If a man will come to the Father with a contrite heart, the Lord God will not impute sin upon them. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, there is forgiveness. God will no longer count people’s sins against them. That is the wonderful message of reconciliation found in Jesus Christ. Thank you, God.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Power Of A Humble Heart

Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. (2 Chronicles 33:1-2)

The Power Of A Humble Heart

Manasseh ruled longer than any other king of Israel or Judah. His reign of fifty-five years was marked with worship to Baal and all the host of heaven. He put altars to the gods and a carved image of Baal in the house of the Lord where Jehovah’s name was to be holy. Manasseh sacrificed his sons as burnt offerings, practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft and he consulted with mediums and psychics. There is little Manasseh did not do to incur the wrath of God for his acts of immorality, wickedness, and depravity. His leadership seduced the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do even more evil than the pagan nations around them. Judah was filled with unbridled lust, immoral carnage, and unchained putridity. The heart of Manasseh was fully corrupt.

The prophets warned Manasseh of God’s wrath but he would not listen.  So the Lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. This would be a fitting judgment against the king of Judah for his evil ways and immoral acts. The final curtain on the life of Manasseh would see him die in Babylon a disgraced and condemned man. What happens next is the remarkable and wonderful message of God’s love and grace. The chastening of the Lord changed the heart of Manasseh. In his affliction and distress, he sought the forgiveness of God. With a sincere heart, the king humbled himself before the mighty hand of the Lord and opened up his heart in prayer for mercy. How could God forgive a man guilty of all the heinous acts which characterized his rule? The Lord God Merciful heard the sincere plea of Manasseh and was moved by his humility. Through the grace of a kind Father, Manasseh was brought back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. He realized the Lord was God and there was none other.

Repentance is godly sorrow for sin. Forgiveness happens in the mind of God for those who reverently and humbly seek the favor of the Almighty. Men like Manasseh would seem to be least likely candidates for mercy but God forgave him because of his humble heart. His repentance was followed by acts of a contrite heart. Manasseh took away the foreign gods and the carved image from the Temple. He tore down all the altars he had built on the hill where the Temple stood and all the altars that were in Jerusalem, and he dumped them outside the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He also encouraged the people of Judah to worship the Lord, the God of Israel.

What happened with Manasseh can happen with any man who has a humble, contrite, and broken spirit seeking the mercy of God. There is no sin so small or so great the Lord will not forgive if a man comes in godly sorrow seeking the love of a compassionate Father. Jesus told the story of a young man who ruined his reputation, his family’s character, and his life in prodigal living but when he came to himself, repented, and returned to his father; he was forgiven. The power of a humble heart is the cleansing of pride and arrogance to receive from the throne of God mercy, grace, love, and above all things: forgiveness. It may not change the consequences of sin. Manasseh’s son Amon would be king after his father’s death but would be murdered two years later by his servants. Lessons learned from his father molded the life of Amon. Manasseh leaves a stark example of great evil and great mercy. As wicked a man as the king was he learned that God was the God of forgiveness. A contrite and humble heart changed the life of the king. Jesus’ blood will take away your sin – all of them!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I Am The Light

When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:10-12)

I AM The Light

Before the creation of the world, the earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. There were no stars, sun, or moon and the frameless ball of the earth was an empty void without light. No creatures could live in such a world. There was nothing good in the expanse of darkness. A power that was greater than darkness came and spoke four words changing the formless void. From the mouth of God came a force so immense and incredible it shook the foundation of the deep. The Creator called for light and immediately the darkness divided into Day and Night. Darkness would never rule over light. The brilliance of light filled the shapeless void and remains to this day in the pattern of light and darkness.

In the city of Jerusalem in the early morning hours, Jesus came teaching the people the message of His Father. Darkness was coming as a group of men brought an unfortunate woman caught in the act of adultery before the people and demanded justice according to the law. They asked Jesus what should be done to the woman but they were only testing the Lord to find some reason to accuse Him. Jesus knew their hearts. He answered not a word but stooped down and began writing on the ground. The men continue to barrage Jesus with demands for the adjudication of the adulterous woman but He ignored them. Finally, the Lord stood up and asked which one among them was without sin and if they were willing to cast the first stone in accordance with the law. Jesus stooped down again and began writing in the dust. Convicted by their conscience, they went out one by one from the oldest to the youngest until no one was left but Jesus and the woman. Raising Himself from the ground, Jesus asked the woman where her accusers were. They had all left. The Lord tells the woman that He will not condemn her and for her to go home and change her life.

Sin is the darkness of the world. It festers in the formless hearts of men void of goodness, righteousness, and truth. The scribes and the Pharisees were agents of darkness seeking to trap the Son of God in a moment of legal wrangling so they may have cause to accuse Him. Their failure was because darkness cannot and will never overtake the light. Jesus tells the people after the woman leaves that He is the light of the world. As in creation, the earth was formless and void in darkness. Sin is the darkness of the heart that cannot sustain life. The woman had been caught in the act of adultery but where was the man who was with her and for what purpose did the religious leaders seek to have her condemned? It was the darkness of sin. Jesus turned the tables on the scribes and Pharisees who brought a woman overtaken in sin but were convicted by Jesus of the hypocrisy of their own sin.

Jesus explained He was the light of the world to bring the glory of God to people like the woman caught in adultery. The Lord did not condone what she had done and would not approve of her actions. What He shared with this poor woman was the light of God’s grace to see in her heart a soul worthy of salvation. Her accusers had greater sin than her in their hatred of Jesus and unashamed hypocrisy. They became convicted by their own sins. Jesus is the light of the world because He came to dispel the darkness of sin no matter how dark the void. A small light flickering in the darkness can be seen for long distances because the light is more powerful than darkness. Sin is a terrible void but the light of God’s grace will always (without exception) rule over sin. Jesus wants men to follow Him to have the light of God. Wherever Jesus is, there is light. Without Christ, there is only darkness.

The I AM of Jesus is found in the image of light in a world filled with the darkness of sin. Darkness cannot create light. The wisdom of man cannot save himself because the sin of darkness rules his heart. Only by the grace of God and His mercy can the light of Jesus Christ come into the formless heart filled with the void of sin and say, “Let there be light.” Following the word of Jesus to go and sin no more will bring the eternal light of God’s love in the darkened world of sinners. Then the light will fill the corners of the mind to know the joy of redemption. Jesus is the light who came from the Father to give all men what they were created to be: people of the day. When a man puts on Jesus Christ, he casts off the works of darkness and wears the armor of light. Jesus is the light. You are the light of Jesus.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Worshiping A Totem Or A Cross

They do not know nor understand; for He has shut their eyes so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. And no one considers in his heart, nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire, yes, I have also baked bread on its coals; I have roasted meat and eaten it; and shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside; and he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:18-20)

Worshiping A Totem Or A Cross

The indigenous people of the Americas were filled with superstition, idolatry, and pagan worship of the gods of the world. Totems were characteristic of the Pacific Northwest as monumental carvings with symbols, figures, and often animals depicting a cultural emphasis. These wood carvings often portrayed spiritual worship to the gods of their peculiar mythology. Revered for their beauty and artwork, the totems represented family heritages, stories of old and significant events in the lives of the community. The Haida people of British Columbia, Canada, are thought to have originated the custom of totems and the practice spread throughout the Pacific Northwest. What is found in the totems is the language of the idol worship prevalent throughout the history of mankind.

A man goes into the forest and cuts down a tree to fashion into the image of a god. He uses great skill to measure a block of wood and draws a pattern on it. With chisel and plane, the totem is carved into a human figure. He gives it beauty and falls and prays to his god to deliver him. It makes no sense to see how the man cuts the tree down, uses part for a fire to bake his bread and warm himself; and taking the remaining portion to create a god to guide him, teach him and protect him. Why would a man fall down and worship a block of wood? His heart is deceived into believing the god he has created is greater than himself and able to exercise great power over his life. But who created who? Isaiah declares, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

There are many totems in the lives of God’s children that deceive the heart. It does not have to be something evil to distract us. If a totem becomes planted in our mind then many things in the world will draw our hearts away from God. Covetousness is a huge totem. Pleasure and entertainment become gods of their own driving so many parts of our lives. Wealth fogs the eyes to look for happiness in coin and riches. Worship can become a totem when we design a system of faith that eases our conscience to serve God but not to become too overly concerned about the details. This is known as the social gospel and purpose-driven church that pleases the masses.

Like everything, totems have a short life span. In the Pacific Northwest, the natives would use western red cedar and other rot-resistant trunks to create their totems. However, time would diminish the totems to the point of decay and disrepair. In the beginning, the totems were beautiful with vibrant colors and incredible carvings. Over time, weathering removed the colors and destroyed the wood. The totems of life are like that. Riches fade, desire ceases, and pleasures end. Trusting in the totems of life will not bring everlasting happiness. Instead of seeking after a man-made creation to worship self, the happy heart will seek the two-thousand-year-old wooden cross of Jesus Christ. It is still as fresh and powerful as the day the blood of Jesus stained its fibers. Through that cross, eternal salvation is found that will never fade away. This cross was ordained by the Father as the means that all men could come to Him and enjoy blessings eternal. Which wood do you serve: your totem or the cross of Jesus Christ?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

God’s Word On Who Is Saved And Lost

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)

God’s Word On Who Is Saved And Lost

Passing judgment on others is a delicate exercise in speaking where the word of God speaks and refraining from conclusions when the word of God does not speak. The matter of judging is a controversial discussion when one man suggests an eternal question about another man. Jesus forbade unrighteous judgment on others based on human wisdom but the Lord did not forbid the righteous judgment of others from the word of God. Before ascending to the Father, the Lord commissioned the eleven to go into all the world and share the gospel of salvation. That message was very simple, very plain, and very direct. When a person believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ and is baptized for the remission of their sins, they will be saved. However, there will be many who do not believe in the gospel of God refusing to have their sins washed away in the waters of baptism. These individuals will be lost. There is no hope in eternity and their souls are condemned to the lake of fire and brimstone.

It is difficult for the human brain to wrap around the idea that a righteous God can and will punish those who refuse to obey His word. There may some sense of justice of eternal damnation for evil men but not for good people who never obey the gospel. In fact, the place of torment is reserved for the wicked and vile men of earth along with many good and kind people who never obey the gospel. There is no distinction because neither man – wicked and good – have done what the Lord requires for salvation. Is it possible to make a judgment of a person who has not been baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins? According to what Jesus says there are two kinds of people: those who are baptized and those who are not. For those who are baptized into Christ salvation awaits. The man who refuses to follow the word of God will be lost regardless of how good a person he is, religious, devout, and kind to others he may be. If a man dies outside of Christ there is no hope.

The word of God has always been clear. In Eden, the instructions to Adam and Eve said that eating the forbidden fruit would bring judgment. They denied the word of God and the wrath of the Lord came upon them. Throughout the history of humanity, the will of the Lord has remained unchanged. There is a path to righteousness that leads to eternal life and when a man refuses to follow that path they will be condemned. Adultery may be acceptable in society but God has always condemned it. Homosexuality has become a societal norm but this has never changed the will of the Father. Lying is a way of life for many people but all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. Good, kind, and religious people are wonderful people who live quality lives of service to others but if they do not follow the word of God, they will hear the Lord say to them, “Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity.” Why? Because they have not done the will of God.

God’s word is the basis of determining righteousness and unrighteousness. There are many people caught up in churches that are created through the wisdom of men. The world is filled with good people who never serve the Lord God. Religions fill the earth that does not accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God. The list can go on but the reality is that if a man devotes himself to a man-made church that does not model itself after the New Testament, they will be lost. Being a good person cannot and will not save a soul. Eternal life is not based on goodness but godliness. Accepting all the religions of the world does not bring salvation. Jesus is the only way to the Father and without accepting that He is the Son of God, there is no hope. God’s word is the judge and when men speak the word of God they only declare the righteous judgment of the Lord.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where I AM You May Be Also

Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times. Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 13:38-14:4)

Where I AM You May Be Also

The Bible was first divided into chapters by Stephen Langton around the year 1228. Verse division would come much later. While the chapter and verse divisions are a helpful tool in studying scripture, at times there is an unhappy break in thought or conversation that can lose the impact of the text. Jesus observed the Passover feast with the twelve and supper being ended, the Lord washed the feet of His disciples. Judas will be identified as a betrayer of the Lord and leave to carry out his treason. Unknown to the remaining eleven, Jesus will be arrested that night and the next day die on the cross. The Lord speaks of His glorification and His departing but where He is going the eleven cannot come.

Puzzled by what the Lord was saying, Peter, asks Jesus where He is going. Jesus tells the impetuous fisherman that where the Lord is going, he will not be permitted to go at this time but at a later date, Peter will understand. Still confused, Peter asserts that wherever Jesus goes, he will go and no matter what happens, Peter declares he will die for the Lord. It is then Jesus tells Peter that his faith will be tested shortly and that before the dawning of a new day, the courageous Peter will deny Jesus three times. This would startle Peter and it seems the other ten are concerned with what has been said. Jesus reassures Peter and the other apostles not to be troubled but to believe in God; believe in Jesus and everything will be okay.

The apostles did not know Jesus would be dead in less than 24 hours. Jesus had repeatedly told them He must go to Jerusalem, suffer many things, and be killed but He would rise on the third day. The purpose of the glorification of Jesus was to die for all men so that through the resurrection of the Son of God from the dead all men would have an avenue of grace to approach the throne of God. Jesus was not going to build a mansion for each person in Heaven. It has been assumed through popular songs that every child of God has a mansion their own. This is not what Jesus is teaching Peter and the apostles. Jesus is going away so that He could prepare a way of salvation for all men to join Him to worship around the throne of the Father. The proper understanding of the text is in the dwelling place of God ample space is provided for all who will be saved to abide, dwell, and inhabit eternal life.

Jesus was going to prepare a place so that all men could come and be with Him. He tells Peter that he will not be able to go where the Lord is going at this time but through the sacrifice of Jesus, Peter and all humanity would be able to come and dwell with Jesus and the divine of eternity. The Lord wants to dwell in fellowship with His people. Through the death of Jesus Heaven is opened for the blood of Christ to cleanse all men from their sins ushering them into the presence of the Father. The ‘I AM’ of Jesus is to let all men know what is provided by His death. Jesus says, “WHERE I AM” pointing the way, the truth, and the life to all who would come. There is no other way because Jesus is the only one who died for all men. Jesus is the only truth because His death fulfilled the work of the Father. No other life will give man eternal glory but the life found in the I AM of the Son of God.

Jesus died so that you could dwell with Him. He suffered immense pain beyond the scope of human understanding allowing you to approach the throne of God. There is only one place that eternal life is found and it is where Jesus is. He left heaven so that we could enter heaven. Jesus gave His life so that we could live in Christ. The Son of God went to prepare a place for us so that we could be where He is. He stands at the door and knocks. Will you let Him in?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Answer

Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals. They pant after the dust of the earth which is on the head of the poor and pervert the way of the humble. A man and his father go in to the same girl, to defile My holy name. They lie down by every altar on clothes taken in pledge and drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god. (Amos 2:6-8)

The Answer

The Garden of Eden was a paradise where everyone on earth lived together in perfect harmony, love, and devotion to God. There was no crime, no social injustices committed, and the family was united in love. It was a perfect world – literally. The population of the world was two. God walked among the trees of the garden in fellowship with His creation. Everything was as God designed. And then the serpent whispered in the ear of the woman who took of the forbidden fruit and paradise was lost. Sin became the problem of humanity and crested in the days of Noah with the total annihilation of all life except for Noah and his family. God restored the world but the flood did not take away sin. Soon after, humanity returned to its course of carnal pleasures, hatred, prejudice, and injustice to the downtrodden. God would raise up a special nation to be His holy people but sin began to eat away at the heart of their love for Him as the sought after the gods of the world. The united kingdom of Israel would only last 120 years before the civil war divided the country north and south. God sent His prophets among His people to decry the sin that so fully invaded their lives.

Amos was a prophet with little patience for the flagrant lifestyle of the rich and famous. The obscurity of a shepherd to one of the fiery messengers of the Lord shows the dire condition of Israel as they had plunged deep into social chaos and spiritual ruin. The threat of Assyrian domination filled the minds of the world. Yet in the face of such tragedy Israel had filled its coffers with those who lived in the luxury of summer-houses, homes of ivory and hewn-stone, silken cushions, and voluptuous women to whom Amos called the “fat cows of Bashan.” The political world of Israel was corrupted by oppression violence and robbery. In the religious circles, the emphasis of calf worship and Baal worship lead the people deeper into disparity.

As a result of the political, religious, and carnal depravity of the Jewish leaders in Israel, the moral degradation of social injustice was heaped upon the poor and disenfranchised of the land. The innocent were being sold under the heavy burden of corrupt leaders who abused the poor which were protected under the Law of Moses. If a Hebrew came to a state of poverty, he was allowed under the Law could sell himself to a fellow Israelite but would not be considered a slave. The Law clearly stated he would be treated as a hired servant. Judges were being bribed and officials corrupted to oppress the poor. It was so bad that Amos suggests sarcastically the greed of the rich was to take even the dust from the heads of the poor. Another part of the law that was being abused concerned garments taken in pledge. According to the Law of Moses, these were to be returned before night so the poor man could use them for a blanket. Instead, the poor were beset with the greed and immorality of the rich. Social injustice was reigning in the kingdom of God. The message of Amos was to bring the wrath of God upon a wicked nation. Social injustice in Israel was clearly defined and known by the Lord as His prophets warned the people against such things.

Amos reminded the people their actions would not go unpunished. The message of the prophet was not only to condemn but to show how to resolve the problem. Like in the Garden of Eden, when men walk away from God, there is injustice. Humanity cannot and will not be able to answer how to deal with their fellow man until they come to terms with the word of God. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He did not come to take away sin but to give man an answer for their relationship with God and with one another. In the parabolic picture of the vertical relationship of man-to-God with the horizontal relationship of man-to-man, humanity cannot serve the needs of one another until they first resolve their relationship with God. The answer to social injustice (and every other part of sin) is Jesus Christ. Every generation that takes God out of the picture will find the darkness of injustice enclosing them. When men try to find answers to the problems of the world apart from God, they seek for something they will never find. God created man for His glory. Man must glorify God by obeying His word. These two ideals are necessary for harmony, peace, and love. Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship and they threw it all away. The only answer now is Jesus Christ.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rebelling Against Civil Authority

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:1-2)

Rebelling Against Civil Authority

The Roman Empire was described by the Lord as a nation of iron in the vision of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. It was fitting to portray the fourth kingdom of the image as one of the most destructive war machines ever to rule. For more than five hundred years, the brutal force of the Roman Empire wielded control over much of the world. Its leaders were despots who ruled with ferocious zeal to suppress and oppress all who stood in their way. To this world, Jesus was born and the church was established. The letters of the early disciples shed light on the view of the first Christians concerning the Roman government. Paul’s letter to Rome came near the end of his third missionary journey as he was returning to Jerusalem with the offering from the Gentile churches. There was no hesitation of the apostle to admonish the saints living in Rome to submit to the civil authorities and policies of the Roman government.

Examining the state of affairs of the Roman authority would shock and dismay the modern American patriots who live in a world of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and many other accepted freedoms. The Holy Spirit directs Paul to remind the Christians they are obligated to keep the law of the land and respect civil authority as a sign of faithfulness to God. Everyone had the divine command to submit to all governing authorities because that rule came from God. To disobey the law of the land was to disobey the law of God. If a citizen refused to submit to the Roman government they would be punished by the wrath of God.

It is hard to imagine living under the harsh hand of the Roman government and be submissive but the Lord did not make distinctions of whether the country was a democracy, monarchy, republic, or dictatorship. If a man is a child of God he has no choice. All of this is tempered by the understanding that as long as the government does not require a man anything that would transgress the law of God, he must obey. The twelve apostles boldly declared to their persecutors they had to obey God rather than men but this did not give them a license to choose which civil law to disobey. When the church in Rome received the letter from Paul, they clearly understood their roles in submitting to civil authority.

America is a land far removed from the tyrannical rule of the Roman Empire. The song of freedom has long been the mantra of Americans seeking life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. While the empires have changed in the last two thousand years, the word of God has not. What Paul wrote to the church in Rome has as much power today as it did then; however, in a much less despotic nation. Christians living in the United States of America are bound by the laws of the land whether they agree with them or not. Unless (and only until) the law of the land countermands the word of God, the Christian has no right to rebel against civil authority. The Lord does not follow the red, white, and blue doctrine of freedom for everything. There are things the child of God should not engage in as people of character, citizens of the kingdom of Christ, and priests in the spiritual nation of Israel. Saints of God are set aside for a holy calling, not civil unrest. If anything, those professing allegiance to Jesus Christ should be models of restraint, reserve, and resolution to be examples of godliness, righteousness, and honesty. Let Christ shine in your civic duties. Allow those in the world to see the power of the church of Christ to be leaders in the civil communities of this great land. Obey the laws of the land and those in authority.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Am He

I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)

I Am He

Nothing is known about the church in Thyatira, Asia Minor except John’s reference in the Revelation. Among the seven letters written by the Lord to the churches, the letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira is one of the most exacting condemnations of the sin that filled the church. The Son of God begins by describing Himself with eyes like flames of fire and feet like polished bronze. Homer Hailey writes, “The Son of God’s eyes flash with indignation as they penetrate with piercing insight into the corruptness of the prophetess’ false teaching; His feet are ready to trample and burn to ashes all who yield to her seductions.” There is a great judgment coming against the church and the Lord reminds the saints that nothing is hidden from the mind of God and all things will be laid bare in judgment. All the churches will know that He is the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. There is nothing that can be hidden from the eyes of the Creator. As a result, the Lord will give to each person whatever they deserve. 

The word “minds” is also the word “reins” and literally means the kidneys. This would seem to be an odd use of the word for Jesus to use this in describing the omniscience of the Divine. Albert Barnes explains, “In the Scriptures, it is used to denote the inmost mind, the secrets of the soul; probably because the parts referred to by the word are as hidden as any other part of the frame, and would seem to be the repository of the more secret affections of the mind.” All the emotions of man, his affections, the will of man along with everything he thinks and believes are open for investigation under the microscope of God’s will. Men are limited in the knowledge of others but the Lord has full knowledge of everything. The Lord searches the mind and the heart and from this view will render judgment.

Jesus is the I AM of knowledge. As the discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart, the Lord has a clear view of every aspect of life. His message to Thyatira is to know whatever is done is known by God. Adam and Eve tried to hide from God but to no avail. God knew the hearts of men were evil in the day of Noah and destroyed the wicked. The Lord reminded Samuel the prophet and judge of Israel that when it comes to choosing a king, the Lord looks at the heart of the man; not the outward. During His ministry, Jesus knew the heart of men. As the Son of God, Jesus is the I AM to know all that transpires in the life of every human being that has ever lived, living now, and will live before He comes.

The paradox of the Day of Judgment will be that all men will be gathered together before the Lord but all men will be judged alone. Every person will stand before God and accept personal responsibility for every work including every secret thing, whether good or evil. The great I AM of knowledge will open the book of life and examine the character of each person and judge accordingly. There will no longer be a need to search the reins and hearts of men as all things will be completed, the story ended. Judgment – good or bad – will come from the knowledge of what is known from the ‘kidneys’ of man.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

They Have Rejected me

But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day — with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods — so they are doing to you also. Now, therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:6-9)

They Have Rejected Me

The Garden of Eden provided everything Adam and Eve needed or required. Food was abundant, the animals were in a common peace with man, there was nothing to be ashamed of and God walked in the garden in the cool of the day to commune with His creation. Moses noted at the end of the description of Eden that Adam and Eve were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. There was nothing to mar the paradise of God’s presence. The Lord created man and woman to dwell with Him and as their Maker would give them everything they would want or need. But Adam and Eve were not satisfied. Hearkening to the voice of the tempter, they threw away the protection and communion of God for a taste of the fruit.

It would seem unworthy that everything given by the abundant hand of God would be traded to taste the forbidden fruit. What did Adam and Eve gain? They felt a rush of independence for a brief moment and that was replaced with fear. The taste of the fruit was an incredible delight in that split second of time but then it bore its bitter aftermath. Now, hearing the sound of God walking in the garden, they did something they had never done before: they hid from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. They were naked and afraid before the glory of God. Their decision to reject the word of God brought consequences. Cast from the garden, Adam and Eve would find how much they needed the presence of the Lord.

When Israel came to Samuel demanding a king, it was the same cycle of what happened in the Garden of Eden. As a nation of God’s people, they were given land by the will of the Lord. The Promised Land was a land promised and delivered through the power of God. Jericho was defeated by the hand of the Lord. Canaan was conquered through the leadership of Joshua and the providential influence of God. It was a land flowing with milk and honey because God prepared the land for His people. Like in Eden, everything Israel needed was provided by the hand of the Lord. They were protected by His might, blessed with crops, flocks, and an abundance of children through the promises of God established in the Law of Moses. Israel lacked nothing. But they turned their back on their Provider and sought for a man to lead them.

Samuel was heartbroken over the desire of the people to want a king to lead them. God understood the pattern that was taking place once again as the heart of the people longed for the tempting fruit of freedom. He granted them their request and they gained their freedom but for a short time. The first king Saul quickly became a despot and was rejected by God. David and Solomon brought the nation to great glory but soon after the death of Solomon the nation fell into civil war, apostasy and idolatry. Three hundred and fifty years after the death of Solomon, the Babylonian army destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. What price did Israel pay for rejecting God for a king to walk among them? It destroyed them.

Every nation that turns away from God turns its path to destruction. It is an age-old proverb that man will never learn from history. When men seek a bite of the fruit for a moment’s reckless folly, they never find what they want. Turning away from God is the greatest mistake any man will make. The only source of protection, care, blessing, and happiness is found in the fellowship with the Lord God. Any other attempt will fail. Israel thought they would be happy with Saul as their king. History bears out how wrong they were. God has given His only begotten Son to bring every spiritual blessing to the world. The decision of which king you choose will determine your happiness here and more importantly, your happiness in eternity. NO God in this world is NO God in the next world. Living WITH God in this world will allow you to live WITH God in the next world. You decide. Who is your king?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jesus Is The Way, The Truth, And The Life

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:5-7)

Jesus Is The Way, The Truth, And The Life

Thomas was one of the most focused disciples in the company of the twelve. His discernment of the teaching of Jesus was clearly evident as he listened to the Lord talk about being glorified and going way somewhere. Judas had left the Passover feast to make plans for the arrest of Jesus. The Lord tells the eleven that He will be them but for a short time and where He is going, they are not able to come. Peter was indignant at this at challenged Jesus to go away claiming that he would die for the Lord. It is then Jesus tells Peter of his own betrayal that would take place in just a few short hours. The disciples may have been troubled by this and the Lord assures them that He must go away to prepare a place, an abiding place, so they could come to be with Him. It is then Thomas inquires to the place Jesus is going.

For nearly three years Jesus had taught the disciples showing His divinity by His miracles. When He gathered the twelve around Him, the Lord spoke often of His life and work mirroring the will of the Father. If the disciples would look closely at the life of Jesus they would see the Father. When He was about to leave them, the Lord outlined His mission for the salvation of all men as the means to reach the Father. No one could come to God except through Jesus. The eleven did not realize that in a few hours their Lord would be arrested and the following day crucified. They would understand in time the significance of the death of Jesus as the only way to come to the Father, the only truth that will save mankind and the only hope of life either in this world or the world to come. Three basic needs of humanity are embodied in the life of Jesus Christ. His death and His resurrection would open the doors of salvation through these three ideals. Eternal life would come to only those who accept Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus is the way because there is no other way. Men have tried from time beginning to establish their legacy with human wisdom and have always failed. No matter the arrogance of men, they have never found a way in life that gives them happiness, hope, and fulfillment. If anything, the carnal nature of man has followed the wrong way with disastrous results. Jesus tells the eleven the only way to the Father is the divine way of the Son of God. The belief system that comes from the teaching of Christ is the Christian doctrine of the Bible. There is no other system of faith whereby man can save himself. God created the world and gave man everything he needed. When sin-darkened the world with its power, the Son of God came and opened the way back to the Father.

Truth is older than error and sin is the antithesis of truth. In creation, truth is found in the laws established by the Creator. The law of gravity is truth because whether a man believes it or not, the results are the same and truth remains unchanged. Jesus taught the will of the Father as truth and many rejected His teachings but it did not change the will of God. Miracles proved Jesus was the Son of God and yet men denied the power. They never denied the miracle but they would not accept the miracle. The miracle still happened. Jesus is the personification of truth because there is only one way of truth. No man can come to the Father unless they follow the only truth given to humanity. Again, the wisdom of mankind has failed repeatedly because, without the foundation of divine truth, there can be hope. Many religions fill the earth with their brand of truth but none are based upon a lasting truth. Jesus is the only way with the only truth as He teaches the word of God as truth. The Bible is the only book available for men today to understand the truth. Without the Bible, there is no hope.

Finally, Jesus is the only life man will know about this life and the life to come. Human wisdom brings little happiness and fulfillment of life. Following the carnal desires of the flesh, amassing the riches of the world, and seeking for all the fame of historical significance will never bring the soul lasting joy. It becomes an empty life. God so loved the world that He sent His Son to give life to all men. This life is joy now as the word of God guides the soul to live godly and to seek life after death. When men refuse to accept Jesus, they deny there is such a thing as life after death but in death, everyone discovers what they denied. Lives are spent wasting away on things that never amount to any happiness. A life fully lived is not measured by what is gained in this world but what is promised in the world to come. Life is in Jesus. There is only one life. Following the way and the truth will bring greater life.

Jesus is the way. Jesus is the truth. Jesus is the life. When a man desires to come to the Father seeking blessings of eternal life, the Father will examine whether the soul has followed the only way, listened to the only truth, and sought the only life. Without Jesus, there is no hope. With Jesus, there is a way, the truth, and life.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Am He

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (John 4:25-26)

I Am He

The identity of the Christ was always a great topic of dispute in the days of Jesus. In part because the Jews had been looking for the promised Messiah for more than 400 years and no definitive evidence of His coming had been established. Many were supposed to be the Messiah but were found to be false. To claim that one was the Christ suggested divinity. John the Baptist sent messengers to Jesus asking if He was truly the Coming One. The problem with Jesus was the people knew his (supposed) father was Joseph and His mother was Mary. Jesus was from Nazareth in Galilee. He had brothers and sisters and was a common man as much as any other man. For thirty years, Jesus had not appeared on the radar of interest to the Jews and certainly not the Romans. Everyone knew that when the Christ came He would come from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was from. Jesus seemed to not fit that mold.

On a certain day, Jesus was traveling with His disciples near the city of Sychar where Jacob’s well had been for more than a thousand years. As the disciples went into the city to buy food, a woman came to the well where Jesus rested. He asked her for a drink of water. She was startled that a man would openly speak to a woman; much less than a Jew spoke to a Samaritan. Always the teacher, Jesus knew the woman’s heart and began to implore her with a story of everlasting water. This intrigued the woman and she inquired how she might obtain such. Examining the life of the Samaritan woman, Jesus revealed her past by asking her to bring her husband. In fact, she was not married at the time but lived with a man. The woman had been married five times previously. Astonished, the woman perceived Jesus was not an ordinary man but a prophet.

The Samaritan woman defends herself by asking Jesus why the Samaritans worship in one place and the Jews in another. The Lord shows her that God seeks those who worship in spirit and truth. This impacts the woman as she acknowledges the Samaritans also look for the coming Messiah (who is called Christ). She tells Jesus that when the Christ comes, He will explain everything to them. It is then Jesus tells the woman that He is the Messiah, the Christ. To claim one is the Christ is very serious and while Jesus has performed no miracle, His knowledge of her past life strikes a responsive chord in her heart as she leaves her water pot and returns to the city. The Samaritan woman implores the men to come and see a man who told her all things she had ever done. She openly asks if Jesus could be the promised Messiah. At her pleading, the men come to the well to see Jesus. Many of the Samaritans who came to see Jesus believed in Him through the word of the woman who proclaimed that Jesus knew all about her life.

Miracles were often used to testify to the divinity of Jesus as Christ. This was not the case with the Samaritan woman. The divine nature of Jesus was impressed upon the heart of the woman through the word. Jesus knew of her past which she freely acknowledged was true. Viewed by society as an outcast, the woman’s heart was open to the word of the true Christ. Jesus came to bring the disenfranchised, despised, and dejected souls to the Father. The coming of the Messiah would be more than to fulfill prophecy. Christ came to change the world. Through His gospel prejudice would be removed, darkness took away, and hope restored to a lost world. He was the Messiah to bring joy to the heart of humanity again. Only through His sacrifice as the Lamb of God would the true nature of the Messiah, the Christ be realized in Jesus. The Samaritan woman came to know the Messiah because she had a heart ripe for the good news of Jesus the Christ. It was then she experienced the fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. Messiah water. Pure. Holy. Divine. The water of Christ.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Doctrine Of An Orderly Life In Christ

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)

The Doctrine Of An Orderly Life In Christ

There were some great churches in the New Testament times and the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ was one of them. Paul had first visited the city of Thessalonica on his second missionary journey. Luke notes in his history of the church the people of Berea were more noble than those of Thessalonica as an uproar had caused Paul and Silas to leave the city. A change had taken place in the work of Thessalonica as a faithful body of saints formed in the Macedonian city which is evident in the two letters preserved in scripture. The church had experienced a work of faith and labor of love with commendations from Paul. They had suffered much in devoting themselves to the gospel of Christ. These kinds of things would draw people close to one another. It would seem clear the troubles they shared drew them closer together. Paul acknowledges their brotherly love but exhorts them to increase more and more. There is always room for more brotherly love.

Doctrine is not always the examination of law and emphasis on the legal aspects of the commandments of God. The relationship of one to another is a vital part of the doctrine of the church with respect to one another and concerning those in the world. This is found in Paul’s letter to Thessalonica where he exhorts the brethren to find ways to increase in their love for one another. The relationship of brethren to brethren is a key ingredient to the peaceful and productive church. It is easy to assume the love one has for another. There is a need to always look for more opportunities to increase that love. Spending time with one another more, talking with others in the congregation that may not be as well known, helping those in need, and doing things to encourage every member are ways to grow in love and to abound more and more.

The example of the Christian to those in the world is another important part of doctrine. The principles that guide the life of a child of God will have a great impact on those who are outside the faith of Christ. In many ways, the example of faith will become a greater testimony than the emphasis upon the doctrinal matters of the law. If a person does not show Christ in their lives it will be difficult for those in the world to accept the teachings of the gospel. Three things show the doctrine of an orderly life in Christ. First, the Christian must learn to live a quiet life without the distractions of the world. The ambition of the child of God is not to be an example of worldly desire. Living under the calm virtues of the grace of God will show the character of Jesus Christ. The second part of the orderly life in Christ is to be concerned with one’s own affairs and not be a busybody in other people’s lives. Minding the business of self is a full-time job. It is easy to be caught up in the gossip and slander of an evil world. Children of God refrain from showing themselves as haughty and prideful.

A final exhortation from Paul is for the saints to work with their own hands showing the integrity of honest labor. Christians should shine brighter in the workforce because of their faith in Jesus Christ. One of the most important fields of evangelism is where most people spend the majority of their lives – on the job. When a Christian works hard giving honest labor with kindness, grace, and love for others, the gospel of Christ will be seen by the world. The world must see a true character of virtue. These principles must come from the example of children of God. Walking properly will allow the world to see the gospel in action. The people who are not believers will respect the manner of life of godly men and women. This is the doctrine of Christ living in the lives of His people. The light shines brightest in a dark world.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Perfect, Proven, And Protective

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (2 Samuel 22:31)

Perfect, Proven And Protective

The Bible is an incredible compilation of sixty-six books spanning 1500 years that has been preserved for the past two thousand years as a message that is perfect, proven, and protective. David did not have the fully contained word of God as revealed today but he had a clear understanding of the limited amount of scripture available in his day. He was not lacking to know the will of the Lord. Much of the present Bible may not have been written in the time of David but the king understood everything he had to know about eternal life. Whether in the patriarchal days of Abraham to the days of the written Law of Moses to the early writings of the New Testament, the word of the Lord has been perfect, His promises true and for all who looked to God for protection, they found it in His word.

David’s song of deliverance is a beautiful poem of eternal gratitude for the infinite blessings of God seen in David’s life. He experienced firsthand the sure promises of God as a young boy fighting for his sheep or standing in the Valley of Elah to defeat the giant Goliath. For many years, King Saul chased David like a flea in the wilderness and the Lord delivered both Saul and David. After the death of Saul, David took the mantle of leadership over the people and sought the divine will of God to be his guide. Through his own life, David could see the perfect will of God working in the divine plan. Providence is best seen from hindsight and for David, he could look back and see the way of the Lord was right. The word of God was present in the heart of the king. Through the knowledge of God’s divine will, David’s life was measured with strength and courage.

History proves whether a word is true or not. David could see in his own life how the will of the Lord had been proven time and again. When the son of Jesse trusted in God and followed His word, blessings would come. David’s life was a testimony to the promise of God. He had confidence in the word of God that when he called upon the Lord, He would answer. When David was in peril, God lifted him up and put him on a broad place for protection. The Lord was the rock of David and his fortress and deliverer. Having confidence in the word of God gives surety to the soul to know whatever the Lord says, it will come to pass. The Lord rewarded David according to his righteousness and clean hands. He kept the way of the Lord by keeping the word of God.

The word of God serves as a shield to all who trust in Him. Looking to the Father for protection is a vital part of the child’s life. Spending time in the word of God is finding the source of strength to bear up under the trials of life, the constant temptations that allure the soul, and the despair often found in the perverse world. David spent much time devoted to an understanding of the word of God and he has so much less than what is found today. How can we do less than David with so much more given by the grace of God? This never limited the faith of David. He thrived on the word of God and trusted its message as his strength, shield, defender, and protector. David loved the word of God. Paul would later remind the early Christians that David as a man after God’s own heart. This character came from spending time in the Book. Get to know the word of God. It is perfect, it is proven and it will be a shield.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How To Return To God

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!” (Ezekiel 18:30-32)

How To Return To God

The mercy and grace of the Lord have always come from His benevolent spirit of seeking penitent hearts from sorrowful men. Even as the Jews languished in captivity, the Lord begged His people to return to Him with a full heart. They had tried to blame their fathers for their plight with a parable suggesting the fathers had eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth were set on edge. God rejected this excuse reminding the people they were responsible for their sins and no blame could be given to others. Salvation came from a heart of repentance. If an evil man turned from his way to keep the will of the Lord, he would be saved. The soul who sins dies. Sons do not bear the sins of their fathers and fathers do not bear the sins of their sons.

Seeking the Lord through forgiveness requires a willing heart to acknowledge wrong. Repentance is not an excuse to accept sin as common but a God-directed remorse and broken spirit that sees the putridity of how sin separates man from God. The first word of the gospel has always been to repent. Ezekiel implores the people to change their hearts and turn back to the Lord. This requires full repentance of turning away from all of their sins. God will not accept a half-hearted attempt to repent. He demands a full and demonstrable action of a contrite heart and broken spirit worthy of His love and grace. Ezekiel tells the people to turn from all of their transgressions so their sins will not destroy them. Until the day comes that a full release is given, sin remains and the temptation remains.

Repentance is found in casting away and putting the spirit of rebellion away from the heart. Sin is rebellion. It exalts itself against God demanding the appeasement of selfish desires apart from the will of the Father. Sin must be cast away. No man can carry a cross of Jesus Christ and carry the baggage of a sinful life. The two are never compatible. Putting rebellion behind is to take every effort to eliminate the sources of temptation and sin. This shows the heart is diligent in removing the stains of a sinful life so that one can approach the Lord with righteousness. When sin is removed then a new heart and a new spirit are created. David had prayed for a new heart when he begged the Lord to forgive him for his sin with Bathsheba. Jesus taught His disciples the Father is seeking those who have desired the mercy of God. Sacrifices were a part of worship but it was the heart turned away from sin that was desired by the Lord.

Finding a new heart and a new spirit requires taking sin away and turning to God. The Lord has no desire that anyone perishes, suffer eternally, or face His wrath. There is a reality of the wrath of God that will fall upon most men but this is not the purpose God created humanity. Ezekiel cries out to the people to know that God is sorrowful over their rebellion and had no desire to send the Babylonians against them but because of their sin and rebellion the Lord had no choice. God takes no pleasure in the death of one who dies. His eternal desire is for all men to repent. It is incredible to see the grace of God extended to rebellious men who if they repent and turn from all their transgressions, He is willing and able to forgive them. All prodigals have a home to come back to and a Father who loves them still if they would but return. Amazing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Life Of Truth

So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me? Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” They answered and said, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent. (Luke 20:20-26)

A Life Of Truth

The chief priests and scribes were threatened by the teachings of Jesus. They questioned the authority of Jesus as He taught the people in the temple because they feared the influence the Lord had upon the people. No one could deny the miracles that were done. The Jewish leaders wanted to lay hands on Jesus but were worried about how the crowds would react. Spies were sent among the multitudes seeking a way to catch Jesus in what He said so He could be arrested and taken before the governor. The ploy was to send men who pretended to be honest and trap Jesus in something He said. What was remarkable about their ruse was the men who pretended to be righteous told the truth about the Lord. They said He spoke the truth and what He taught was right. It was clear Jesus was not swayed by the opinions of men. The claim was made by these false pretenders of truth that Jesus taught the way of God truthfully. What they claimed about Jesus came from a pretense of truth but what they said about Jesus was true.

Everything Jesus said and taught was true. He spoke the words of the Father. Comparing what Jesus taught with scripture proved that everything He taught was in accordance with the word of God. The scribes were the lawyers of the Law of Moses and would have known if Jesus misquoted or misrepresented the Law. He never did. The charge against Jesus was that He spoke the truth. They accused Him of teaching what was right. If Jesus was guilty of anything, He was convicted of being completely truthful about all things. The character of Jesus was not swayed by the opinions or wisdom of men. There was no personal favoritism in his teaching. What He said was often harsh and offended His audiences but He spoke the word of God in truth without reservation. All of the teachings of Jesus came from the word of God.

If Jesus lived in the age of modern media that prides itself on finding sound bites and videos of what was said in the past, the Lord would be under the intense microscope of examination in everything He said. There would no variation of what He taught when he was twelve years old or thirty years old. The life of Jesus is an open book of open dialogue of the word of God. He spent nearly three years of intense ministry of teaching the message of His Father and the brightest of the Jewish inquisitors could never find one thing that Jesus taught in error. Not only was Jesus perfect from the bondage of sin but His words were never challenged as false. He taught one message and that was what He heard from the Father. The chief priests and scribes could not catch Jesus in His words.

There is a great lesson for the followers of Jesus Christ to take away from the teaching of Jesus. Teaching the word of God requires a disciple to teach the word of God alone. The world needs to see in the lives of God’s people they say and teach rightly. There can be no personal favoritism in the teachings of the Bible. One of the greatest tools in the arsenal of the Christian is a life of truth. Pretenders of righteousness will attempt to entrap a man in his teaching but if he teaches the word of God in truth and sincerity, there is nothing to fear. Truth never suffers from examination. A life of truth is a wonderful testimony to the word of the Father living in the heart of His children. Jesus let the truth of His Father stand on its own merits without reservation. The Christian cannot be ashamed of what the Bible teaches. His word is truth. Let the word of truth live in your heart and share that truth with the world.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First Century New Gospel

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

First Century New Gospel

Truth is older than error but from the deception of Eve, the devil has always presented an alternative path of truth. The first words of Satan are, “Has God indeed said.” Noah’s world was destroyed because men followed a different path than the word of God. Israel was shattered from following after the gods of the nations around them with only a remnant returning from long captivity. Jesus came to establish the kingdom of His Father and the early church had great success in saving souls. It would not be long before the wiles of Satan would enter the church with lying, prejudice, abuse, and false doctrine. The church at Corinth faced many problems as an example of how easy it was for the church to be corrupted with carnality, immorality, division, disrespect, and a host of problems. It is suggested Paul wrote his letter to the churches of Galatia during his third preaching trip as they were dealing with a false gospel permeating the people of God. He begins his letter with the problem of the Christians following after a different gospel than what he had preached to them. It seemed to happen quickly.

Accepting a new gospel is to turn away from the grace of God. Paul and others had preached a single gospel with a unity of purpose, design, and content. What one man preached in Judea would be the same gospel preached in Asia Minor or Greece or Rome. The gospel had not changed but men corrupted the message to fit their needs and carnal desires. Failing to preach the original gospel perverted the cause of Jesus Christ to a doctrine that was not divine. It shocked Paul how easily the brethren were persuaded to follow in a different way. Preaching a different and new gospel is troubling as men deliberately twist the truth concerning Jesus Christ. This was done to please men and to persuade men with the carnal nature of human wisdom. Audiences would be more receptive to preaching that tickled their ears and fancied their minds with more appealing messages. A new gospel had begun early in the infant church.

There is one body of truth and that doctrine is the narrow truth of God’s word. Paul never accepted the teachings of men as acceptable because it would bring in more crowds or have less cause to offend others. The preaching of the apostle was plain, truthful, and according to the word of the Lord. It would cause many to become angry and in one city bring about a mob taking Paul out and stoning him almost to death. Eventually, Paul would be executed for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. It should come as no surprise of the stinging rebuke given by the Holy Spirit of those who would teach a new gospel. Twice in his beginning exhortation to the churches of Galatia, Paul says that if any man or angel from heaven preaches any new gospel or different message than what was preached; they are to be accursed. The Greek word is ANATHEMA and is the strongest use of the word to emphasize the serious nature of preaching another gospel. To do so would nullify the death of Jesus Christ.

A new gospel is not a new gospel but a corrupted perversion of the only way, the only truth, and the only life. The new gospel of modern religion has veiled the eyes of disciples who believe in a gospel that cannot be found in the word of God. To blindly follow the teachings of men who have changed the glory of God to please themselves is a curse. The Bible has been given to all people to read and understand and know the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. No man can stand before the Lord in judgment and claim ignorance but only a spirit of defiance to reject the one gospel. This gospel of Jesus Christ is two thousand years old and has remained unchanged. Do not let anyone turn your heart away to a gospel that you cannot find in the word of God. Many want to trouble you and pervert the gospel of Christ. You be the student and you follow the truth. Give me the old paths of first-century gospel truth.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Like A Wineskin In Smoke

My soul faints for Your salvation, but I hope in Your word. My eyes fail from searching Your word, saying, “When will You comfort me?” For I have become like a wineskin in smoke, yet I do not forget Your statutes. How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me? The proud have dug pits for me, which is not according to Your law. All Your commandments are faithful; they persecute me wrongfully; help me! They almost made an end of me on earth, but I did not forsake Your precepts. Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth. (Psalm 119:81-88)

Like A Wineskin In Smoke

Life is filled with troubles and distress. There are times when the clouds of despondency overshadow everything in life and the heart is filled with despair. The spirit can often be worn to the point of collapse as persecutions surround the soul with the burdens of life that will bear hard upon the mind. A need for escape from dark days is paramount. The psalmist describes his life as a wineskin commonly found among the furnishings of a Bedouin tent.  Animal skins were used to carry water or wine and often found hanging inside the tents. As the smoke swirled around the interior the wineskins would become dark and stained with the soot of the fires. The skins would be dried out becoming wrinkled and worn. The psalmist depicts his life as a wineskin that has turned dark and dingy with distress and overwhelmed with the burdens of life. He felt empty and useless. The trials of life can have a remarkable impact on the faith of the people of God.

The salvation of the psalmist comes from the word of God. He felt worn out from the slanderous treatment of others but his hope was placed firmly in the word of God. Through the knowledge of the word, the promises of God were clearly defined and illustrated the Lord would never fail in keeping His word. It was clear that obedience to the will of the Father would not only deliver him from the wrath of God but also deliver him from the persecution of others. Those who sought to destroy the psalmist did not trust in the word. They hated the instructions of the Lord and tried to destroy the people of God. Faced with such distress, the psalmist trusted in the word of God relying upon His grace to deliver him. Through the knowledge of the word, salvation came to secure the soul of the faithful. What was key to the joy of the psalmist was his understanding of the law of God and how it would revive his spirit that had become like a dried-up wineskin.

Christians are not immune from trials, troubles, and dark days. It is a part of life and everyone who desires to live a godly life will suffer in one form or another persecution and despair. It is during these times the word of God becomes so important in the life of the child of God. A glaring difference between the hope of the psalmist and the hope of the Christian is there is so much more revealed in the word of God now than when the psalmist was seeking the word of God. For the child of God, Jesus Christ is the hope of redemption, restoration, and the rekindling of the spirit to overcome the trials of life. Faith comes from knowing the word of God. The more one spends in the word of God the more resolved they become in fighting off the sorrows of life. There will be times that a man will feel like a dried-out wineskin in smoke but God will revive the spirit through His word. Jesus said knowing the word of the Father and believing in the Christ will be like rivers of living water flowing out of the heart. Life will no longer be dried out but nourished in the word.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Why Did God Rest?

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Genesis 2:1-3)

Why Did God Rest?

Moses was the first man to have a front-row seat to the power of the creation. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the great prophet unfolded the scenes of creation day by day as the dark world unformed and turbulent took on the form of the eternal power of God’s creation. In six days, the world was filled with mountains, rivers, and seas filling with vegetation and animals. The heavens appeared with stars and planets in the expanse of the universe. On the final day of creation, God formed man from the dust and with a rib from Adam created Eve. It was an incredible world made in perfection and created for a perfect fellowship. Moses writes when God finished His creation that He rested on the seventh day and sanctified it. For what purpose would the Creator need to rest on the seventh day?

Isaiah declared that God never wearies. Without a proper view of why God rested on the seventh day the focus of God setting aside the Sabbath under the Law of Moses would be missed. The prohibitions against working on the seventh day did not come into being until the giving of the Law by God to Israel at Mt. Sinai. When the seventh day of creation came, there was no need for the Lord to rest because He was worn out from creating the world. In other words, it should not be assumed (mistakenly) that God rested because He was tired or exhausted from all the ‘work’ of creation. Jesus reminded the Jewish leaders the Sabbath was made for man, not the Lord. The purpose of God resting on the seventh day was a time of fellowship desired by God with man. He chose that day to commune with man and to enjoy a time of fellowship with man. It was a time when man would learn a hard lesson about trusting God.

When Moses gave the law to Israel forbidding work on the Sabbath, it was not the intent of the Lord to allow man a day off from work (as if he needed a day off). Under the law of the Sabbath, every seven years the land was to be laid fallow for one year before planting crops. The underlying purpose of the Sabbath was to teach man to trust in God. Not working on the Sabbath would take preparation and believing the Lord would care for them on that day. Allowing a piece of land to lie fallow for a year would take incredible courage and diligent faith that God would take care of them for that year. God rested on the seventh day to show man that fellowship with Him was the purpose of their existence. Man needed to learn to trust in his Creator and to worship the One who made him and formed him. The rejection of God has always been when men refused to accept the invitation of rest from the Father to join Him in a spiritual fellowship. Heaven is a place of rest – not from weariness or heavy toil – but a place of eternal joy to be in the presence of the Lord God. What was lost in the Garden of Eden is regained in the Revelation garden as a man walks before the Lord in full communion in the city of eternal redemption.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Am A King

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:36-37)

I Am A King

The first men who came seeking Jesus were wise men from the east asking for the King of the Jews. They had traveled a great distance to worship the new king and to offer gifts. Arriving at a house in Bethlehem, the wise men found a young child with Mary his mother and fell down and worshiped Him. This was a fitting tribute to a newborn king although the occasion of the king’s birth was not like any other royalty. The king worshipped by the wise men had been born of poor people from an unimportant village of Nazareth. Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem to take part in the Roman census and Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger. Shepherds from a field outside Bethlehem were the first ones to see the new king. Nearly two years later, the wise men arrived acknowledging the young child as a king.

Nathanael was one of the first disciples of Jesus to recognize the Lord as the Son of God, the king of the Jews. After the feeding of the five thousand, the people wanted to take Jesus and force Him to be their king. All they wanted from Jesus was a ruler to feed them and supply their carnal needs. The first disciples struggled with understanding the nature of the kingship of Jesus as they looked for a physical monarchy like Israel of old. Pilate asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews and the Lord said it was as Pilate said. When Jesus was crucified, the inscription of His accusation was written, “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.” This offended the Jews when they read the title but Pilate refused to change it.

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter and the other apostles were gathered in Jerusalem to receive the power from on high. The Holy Spirit came upon the twelve and they began to preach to the multitudes gathered from every nation under heaven. Peter’s sermon was based on one eternal truth: God had made Jesus both Lord and Christ. The Jews had killed the Son of God but through the power of God’s divine will, Jesus of Nazareth would be the ruler who came out of Judah to reign over the kingdom of the Lord forever. When Jesus ascended to the Father, He took His place at the right hand with all authority in heaven and on earth. The Son of God is King Jesus and His rule is that of a Prince and Savior. As King, Jesus makes intercession for His people. All spiritual blessings are in Jesus because He sits at the right hand of the Father. The heart of a Christian is directed toward the throne of King Jesus. Everything in the life of the Christian is looking to the kingship of Jesus to guide them, protect them, and give them all the blessings of the Father. Obedience is demanded from the King of Kings as soldiers of the army of Christ.

The kingship of Jesus is based on truth. It is not a kingdom of the world where nations will rise against one another. The spiritual nature of the kingdom of Christ is for the salvation of souls. Disciples of Jesus become warriors in the fight against the forces of Satan. They fight at the will of the one and only King of King and Lord of Lords with complete devotion and love. Jesus died for all men to open the door of salvation to all who would serve Him. There is one law and that law comes from the King. His authority is the only authority. Contained in the law of King Jesus and His authority are the eternal blessings of heaven promised by the Father. Through the blood of King Jesus, all men can find redemption and hope. In the Revelation, John sees King Jesus riding upon a white horse and He is called Faithful and True and in righteousness, He judges and makes war. No power can stand against King Jesus. The victory over death, Hades, and Satan is made sure because of King Jesus. Let all the hearts of men know assuredly that God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ: King of Kings.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment