…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
Friday, November 12, 2010
In terms of its depravity, America is beginning to look like ancient Rome as it plunges into new depths of sexual immorality. Here are a few examples of how pervasive our perversions have become:
In the last 50 years, public opinion on fornication has changed dramatically. Educational institutions used to discourage premarital sex. Now they begin preparing children as early as grade-school for safe-sex courses in junior high school, warning them about STDs and handing out free condoms.
In the same amount of time, the nation has shifted from condemning homosexual behavior to accepting, condoning, encouraging, and protecting it legally. Homosexual “marriage” is on the rise, and those who criticize homosexuality are labeled bigots, guilty of “hate speech.”
Pornography is now a billion dollar industry. Like typical drug-dealers, pornographers offer your first taste free-of-charge. All it takes is the click of the mouse.
If the recent Amazon controversy is any indication, it would seem even pedophilia has a market these days. (I can’t believe I’m even writing about this!)
And let’s not forget the old, commonplace sin of adultery. Blushing over that sin is definitely a thing of the past. Truth be told, adultery is one of the most insidious of them all. It has decimated families and is the likely culprit that has given rise to much of the aforementioned perversion.
So, what does all that have to do with God’s will? Lots.
As Christians living in a sexually-saturated culture, the Bible commands us to live sanctified lives. That is God’s will, clearly revealed.
If that seems impossible to you, if the pervasiveness of depravity seems like an insurmountable problem, remember this: there’s nothing new under the sun. First-century Christians lived in a similar culture—in some ways it was even worse—and God still expected the pursuit of sexual purity (1 Thess. 4:3-8). It’s no different for you and me today.
This is the will of God—your sanctification.
No hypocrisy, no competition. Wouldn’t that be refreshing to live such a life? It all comes to those with a “renewed mind” . . . those who determine they are going to allow the Spirit of God to invade all those walls and towers, capturing the guards that have kept Him at arm’s length all these years.
I can’t recall the precise date when these truths began to fall into place, but I distinctly remember how I began to change deep within. My fierce tendency to compete with others started to diminish. My insecure need to win—always win—also started to fade. Less and less was I interested in comparing myself with other speakers and pastors. This growing, healthy independence freed me to be me, not a mixture of what I thought others expected me to be.
And now my heart really goes out to others when I see in them that misery-making “comparison syndrome” that held me in its grip for so many years. Not until you start thinking biblically will this independent identity begin to take shape.
It is when God is in control of the servant mind that we can realize as never before that life’s greatest joy is to give His love away to those poor souls who are still stuck in the rut of comparative living.
The more you give, the more you’ll get!
by Charles R. Swindoll
No other God has wounds. He cares. He comes.
In the Old Testament, God told Moses, ” I have seen the misery of my people, and I have come down to rescue them.”
The suffering servant is described in the Old Testament… God’s servant. Is He recognized when He comes? Is He acclaimed, applauded, or welcomed? No. Quite the contrary. He is tortured! He is hideously disfigured in order to bring God’s message to His people.
I was driving on the freeway the other day when I saw a car, in my side view mirror, racing up to get ahead of me and pass me before his lane ended. He could have just as easy pulled up behind me but for whatever reason he felt the need to pass me and get ahead of me. This was a very dangerous move and could have ended in tragic accident to himself and other drivers I’m sure.
I thought, why was this individual in such a hurry, that they would endanger themselves and others just to pass up a car on the freeway? It is the pace of our world today. So many people are running at a break neck speed to get where they need to go. We don’t know how to stop and smell the roses. We don’t know how to relax. I think this is at an epidemic stage right now in our world.
It has spilled over into our communication skills as well. What do you do when the communication melt down hits your home?
Listening and sharing feelings is at the heart of what communication is all about. We all see things from our own vantage point. This creates my very own opinions about things that are mine. I own these opinions. They may differ from yours, but it doesn’t mean they are wrong. They are just mine, and you have yours. When we come to differing points of view, these can actually become bridges that validate our views and opinions,help each other to get to know and understand who we really are. Validation simply means that you value the other person’s views and opinions. They are important to you to help you understand who they are and how they feel. It does not mean you have to agree with them.
If during a conflict, I decide to go the other route and force my views down on the other person, and get angry because they don’t agree with me or because they feel a different way than I do, all I am doing is bulling my views down their throats. There is no validation. There is no understanding. There is no communication. There is no relationship.
Please take the time to sit down with your spouse, your friend, your kids, your parents, and listen to how they see things. How do they feel about something and why? Just the fact that you took the time to sit down with them and validate their views and opinions is telling them how much you love and care about them. You will both walk away with a little more understanding and lot more love in your hearts toward one another. I guarantee that you will feel a twenty pound load lifted off yourself. It is a great feeling.
Stop racing your life through the freeway like that driver I spoke of at the beginning of this article. Take some time. Pull off the road for a awhile and take the time to really communicate with someone you love. Learn to listen with your heart . It will change your life forever.
Have you ever had to say that? I’m sorry. Please forgive me? I know that I have had to say that on a number of occasions.
When I was a kid, my younger brother and I were very competitive. We both loved sports and were very active in baseball, football, and hockey. That would always lead to disagreements, arguments, and fighting. Yes we had some physical skirmishes. My mother would always make us shake hands and say “I’m sorry”. It didn’t matter who was at fault. We both had to say we were sorry. We would go through the procedure, just to satisfy my mom, but we would walk away with our noses in the air. We didn’t mean one word of it.
That is not the kind of “sorry”, that I’m talking about here. I’m talking about when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are wrong and you need to apologize and ask for someone to forgive you.
I know that right now, you are setting back and thinking of a time when you had to that. Or you should have done that. Maybe you need to do that right now with someone? We’ve all been there.
I had to do it just the other day. I had written an article. I had a lot of people who loved the article. Right at the end of this article, I wrote something that some people took offense too. They brought it to my attention. I didn’t see it that way and I ignored the whole thing. My conscience started to work on me, and I started to think about what they had said, and I knew what I had to do. “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
There is something magical that happens when those words are spoken with truth and sincerity. When you really mean it. Not like when my brother and I did it, but when you truly are sorry and take the other person aside. Look them in the eye, and with all the sincerity you can muster, you tell them…..” I was wrong. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
The story goes of Simon Wiesenthal. He survived a German concentration camp, and spent the rest of his life hunting down war criminals. He was performing one of his duties in the camp, when he was called and rushed to the side of a dying German solider. The solider wanted to ask the forgiveness of a “Jew” before he died for all the killing that he had done. With bloody puss filled bandages all over this soldier’s body, he grabbed Wiesenthal and pulled him toward his face and asked for his forgiveness. Wiesenthal pulled the soldier’s clutching hands from off himself, and slowly walked away……. He could not forgive him.
Wiesenthal said that he had no right to forgive and grant that solder’s dying wish. In so doing, he would be forgiving him on the behalf of others, and he had no right to do that. Not forgiving creates a horrible chasm that builds up over time, never to be crossed again. It can make the heart grow cold, hard, and bitter, never to be penetrated with warmth, compassion or love ever again.
On a different note. Armando Galarraga, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, did something that only twenty other pitchers, in major league baseball history have ever done. He pitched a perfect game.
For those of you who are not baseball fans. A perfect game is when a pitcher throws to 26 batters, and gets everyone of them out. No walks, no runs. A perfectly pitched game.
Unfortunately, that is not how umpire, Jim Joyce saw it.
Picture this in your mind. Your in the ninth inning. You are one out away from going into the history books as only the 21st pitcher to ever throw a perfect game. The batter hits a routine ground ball. The throw is made. Everyone is standing on their feet. The cheers go up! He is out!……but wait a minute! Hold on! The first base umpire, Jim Joyce, has called the batter safe. The perfect game is gone. The once in a lifetime event is gone. It’s like blowing a perfect 300 game in bowling on the last pin. It’s all over. What a catastrophic loss. To be so close, and to know that you may never have this opportunity again.
But something even more crazy happens. After umpire Jim Joyce, watches the video replay of that specific last out of the game, he realizes that he made the wrong call. The batter was out. He than went over to the Tigers dugout. Went over to Armando Galarraga, and told him that he had made the wrong call. Umpire Jim Joyce told Galarraga that he was sorry. Galarraga held no anger or animosity toward Joyce, but praised Umpire Jim Joyce for what he had done, in saying he was sorry.
Fans everywhere wanted the league to fire Jim Joyce. The police escorted him back to his hotel. Everyone was anger and mad at the decision of Umpire Jim Joyce. Except one man. Armando Galarraga. He wasn’t mad.
These simple words can have a profound and healing effect. They can calm the storm and furry of an emotionally charged heart.
“I’m sorry. Please forgive me”. Do you need to say that to someone? They are magic words. Do something magical today. Bring healing into someone’s life……and yours.
The following quotes are from
the Bible. This isn’t a book to
tell you what you’ve done
wrong. It’s a book to tell you
that God wants to help you
through whatever your facing.
He loves you and wants to guide
you through your problems.
A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I
fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When
the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh,
they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart
shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
Yet the LORD will command his loving kindness in the daytime, and in the
night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will
say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, my enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is your God? Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 56:1-3 and 11
Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily
oppresses me. My enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that
fight against me, O thou most High. What time I am afraid, I will trust in you.
. . . Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art you disquieted within
me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put
away from you, with all malice: And be kind one to another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.
He was despised, and rejected by men; a man of suffering, and acquainted with disease. He was despised as one from whom men hide their face; and we didn’t respect him. Surely he has borne our sickness, and carried our suffering; yet we considered him plagued, struck by God, and afflicted.
For years the rock served as a doorstop on John Reed’s North Carolina farm. The old Hessian farmer’s son Conrad found the seventeen pound rock in the creek bed but no one thought much of it. It wasn’t until 1802 that a Fayetteville jeweler examined it and then offered $3.50 to the farmer for the stone. John sold it for that price but in the days that followed it was revealed that the yellowish rock was seventeen pounds of solid gold. Adjusted for inflation that means that $300,000.00 of gold in our day was sold for the equivalent in today’s dollars for a little over 50 bucks ($50.00). Like the old German farmer John Reed, many have come to think of eternal life –something with great value –to be something ordinary.
In a materialistic culture as we have in America, we can think of the gift of eternal life to be something ordinary and of little value here and now. We must learn that the prize of eternal life has great value while we are on earth. Eternal life itself isn’t just limited in impact to the future. An American minister named Reverend Ike preached a prosperity gospel. Ike used to speak mockingly of evangelical Christianity as offering only “pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye.” That isn’t true. The Scriptures reveal that eternal life isn’t simply about the future. I am going to tell you a secret that is more precious than gold and it can liberate you from spiritual bondage.
When we hear the expression “eternal life” we are inclined to think about existence after death. In addition, we are prone to think of eternal life as referring to time and duration – things that will last forever. However, according to John 17:3 this isn’t the main idea behind the concept of eternal life. You may have heard it before and you may have heard it many times but eternal life isn’t just about the future, it is about a relationship. Our relationship to God. Read Jesus’ words carefully, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3.) The word know is speaking of a personal or firsthand knowledge of God. The first time this word for “know” appears in the New Testament is in Matthew in reference to the physical union between Mary and Joseph. Matthew 2:25 tells us that Joseph, “…did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.” Although this is a different kind of relationship, it still helps us to recognize that the word “know” is used of a firsthand, personal knowledge of another individual.
Let me clarify my point. You must be clear in your thinking and distinguish between “knowing God” and “knowing about God.” We know God by seeking Him by studying the Bible, by meditating upon His Word, through times of prayer, through times of worship and by purposefully obeying His commands. A person needs to seek a supernatural understanding of God’s Word, and he cannot be content with an intellectual understanding of the Bible and God alone. Two of the greatest evangelical voices in the 20th century warned against failing to distinguish between knowing God and only knowing about God. The first voice is, J. I. Packer, who admonishes us about making knowing God just an intellectual endeavor when he writes:
“If the decisive factor was notional correctness, then obviously the most learned biblical scholars would know God better than anyone else. But it is not; you can have all the right notions in your head without ever tasting in your heart the realities to which they refer; and a simple Bible reader and sermon-hearer who is full of the Holy Ghost will develop a far deeper acquaintance with his God and saviour than more learned men who are content with being theologically correct. The reason is that the former will deal with God regarding the practical application of truth to his life, whereas the latter will not.” (J. I. Packer, Knowing God.)
It is possible to know about God without experiencing Him. It is possible to have only an intellectual understanding of who God is It is possible to fail to experience God as the Psalmist invites us: “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8.)
The second voice is A. W. Tozer, who gave a similar warning. In his book The Divine Conquest he spoke of those who seek God in books alone. He then contrasted the person who has only a second hand knowledge of God with one who knows Him firsthand. Tozer says the person who knows God on a personal level will consider an approach on an intellectual basis alone to be a perversion. He wrote that the man who knows God firsthand will be repulsed by such an idea and will say:
“‘I have heard Him and observed Him. What have I to do any more with idols?’ For he cannot love a God who is no more than a deduction from a text. He will crave to know God with a vital awareness that goes beyond words and to live in the intimacy of personal communion. “To seek our divinity merely in books and writings is to seek the living among the dead; we do but in vain many times seek God in these, where His truth too often is not so much enshrined as entombed.” (A. W. Tozer The Divine Conquest.)
This is the point of Jesus’ words in John. He is saying that eternal life is more than grasping the theological truths. It is about knowing God as a friend and companion. Eternal life is about knowing God personally, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3.) When we come to Christ He may merely be a stranger, but we must seek a closer relationship with Him if we are to be healthy spiritually.
Consider three key benefits of a deep and personal knowledge of God. First, some come to Christ and are born again and find instant release from sinful behaviors. Others come to Christ and over the years find themselves mired in some sinful habit. No matter how long you’ve walked with the Lord or no matter how deep the pit in which you find yourself, the gift of eternal life can still bring release from spiritual bondage. The gift and benefit of knowing God is powerful in setting us free. According 2 Peter 2:20 the writer indicates that we escape the pollution of the world through a knowledge of God, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….” Certainly this verse refers in part to the release that we have from sin’s penalty when we trust Christ but there is something more here. This verse speaks of the pollution that surrounds sin. It isn’t merely release from the penalty of sin that comes through a knowledge of God; but the knowledge of God overcomes sin’s polluting and corrupting influence . The more we press in and learn to walk more closely with the Lord the less the grip sin and any kind of spiritual pollution will have on our lives.
Second, according to Daniel 11:32 our energy level and interest in spiritual things is goverened by our knowledge of God. “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32) Daniel’s prophecy was speaking of the people of Israel and that their knowledge of God will cause them to be courageous. In our culture and our day we must be careful to not allow the things of this world to interfere and take God’s place in our lives. It should be obvious that the more distant our walk, the more fearful we will become. Like the apostle, many follow the Lord “afar off” and are then paralyzed by fear. (Mark 14:54.) A fearful Christian will find it comfortable to stick with what he knows even if it is robbing him. A Christian who has only a technical or second hand knowledge of God will be timid and find it difficult to tell others about Christ.
Finally, according to Ephesians 1:17-18 a person will increase in wisdom and understanding through a knowledge of God. In Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:17 the apostle prayed, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Knowledge of God will expand our understanding of our world and wisdom will illumine our way. Wisdom is: the ability to anticipate the results of one’s decisions and it is the predisposition to do what is right (follow the way of righteousness). On the one hand by walking close with the Lord, a believer’s ability to see pitfalls and hidden dangers will be heightened. While we have the promise for wisdom in James’ epistle, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5.) In keeping with this verse wisdom is found by spending time with the Lord. The quest for wisdom through prayer will bring us into God’s presence, and wisdom will be granted to us as we walk with Him.
On the other hand, knowing God as a friend and companion will impact our ability to see things more clearly. It gives the believer the capacity to better appreciate the resources and lavish inheritance that is our’s in Christ. Notice this is the message of the next verse, Ephesians 1:18. Our capacity to understand our inheritance in Christ is expanded through our knowledge of Him, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:18.) Our ability to see our eternal inheritance is overshadowed by the things of this world but knowing God breaks through the darkness. As a result, we need supernatural understanding to better grasp the blessings and benefits that have been poured out upon us.
Knowing God as a friend in your daily walk will help you face the struggle that you are having with sin. The more closely you know the Lord, the better your understanding of His devotion to you. The better you understand your destiny in Christ, the stronger you will be to face and reject paths that lead to self-destruction. The more confident you are about the Lord’s commitment to you, the easier it becomes to choose the path that will make you stronger.
There is a Rock by the doorway to your life and eternity and it is the Lord Himself. This Rock is more precious than gold, and there is no reason to be afraid since He can give you light for the darkness. This Rock is waiting for you to call. He loves you and He is listening.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.(Psalm 18:2-3.)
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Title :: THE LOST FORTUNE
Category :: Blog
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