…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
“The word that most adequately describes this age is crisis. Political convulsions, national upheaval, racial unrest, rebellion against the existing order and outright revolution are becoming almost normal. We know that tomorrow’s headlines will probably bring some new crisis to our attention.
Many people are asking, “Where is history heading?” A careful student of the Bible will see that God controls the clock of destiny. Amid the world’s confusion, God’s omnipotent hand moves, working out His unchanging plan and purpose; and the kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25).
Jesus Christ is coming to earth again. It is Christ who is in control, and He will determine the outcome. If the Bible is clear on any point, it is this: “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time” (Hebrews 9:28).
What is to be the attitude of the Christian toward the fact of Christ’s coming? One man said to me, “Well, the Lord is coming soon; so what is there to do about anything?”
Such a fatalistic attitude is not the one taught by the Lord Jesus Christ. When He told His disciples of His return to earth, He said, “Do business till I come” (Luke 19:13), and “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing” (Matthew 24:46).
Dwight L. Moody once said, “I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel. Its ruin is getting nearer and nearer. God said to me, ‘Moody, here’s a lifeboat. Go out and rescue as many as you can before the ship sinks.’” If the end seemed about to come in Moody’s day (he died in 1899), how much closer must we be to the climax of history?
If there was ever a time when we should man the lifeboats and go out and rescue as many as we can, it is now. That is why we proclaim the Gospel in the strategic centers of the world wherever we can.
We believe this is a day of glorious opportunity to proclaim the saving grace and power of Christ, and to declare the Gospel against the opposition of every false ideology.
George Whitefield, the great English evangelist, said, “I am daily waiting for the coming of the Son of God.” But he did not sit down and do nothing. He burned out his life in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.
The prophet Daniel lived in a pagan nation and under the worst possible conditions. He knew that God’s judgment was about to come, but he did not fold his hands and wait for it to strike. He opened wide his windows toward Jerusalem and prayed. And he walked with God.
It would not seem that the reign of Ahab and Jezebel in Israel would have been a good setting for the ministry of a great prophet of God. But Elijah walked with God during that dark period, and he used the treachery of cowardly King Ahab and the clever strategy of the evil Queen Jezebel as a backdrop against which to reflect the glory and power of God.
Crisis times are times when Christ should be proclaimed. Although there has never been a worldwide revival, I believe we may be on the verge of one now. The Spirit of God is making His power felt throughout the world. From Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America, from the islands of the sea and from Australia, there are reports of the activity of the Spirit of God. This is a glorious time to be alive.
I have found that people everywhere, all over the world, will respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ if we present it simply, with Christian compassion.
There are some who are in deep despair. I receive many letters daily from people who are discouraged, depressed and ready to give up. They are yielding to the pessimism of our times, to the mood and spirit of our day. A man in England wrote, “It’s too late to do anything about the world.”
That isn’t true. All is not lost. We still have the Bible, and “the word of God is not chained” (2 Timothy 2:9). We still have the Holy Spirit. We still have the fellowship of believers. We still have the prayers of God’s people. We still have an open door to most of the world for proclaiming the Gospel.
There is much to be gained. Remember, Jesus said: “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes” (Luke 12:43).
I would like to give you three keys that will open doors of usefulness and power for you. The first is the key of humility—humility born of honest self-evaluation. It is essential for all people to realize their own weaknesses, sins and failures. The Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). The word for sin here is hamartia; it means “missing the mark, failing, falling short.”
To confess that we are sinners is the most difficult thing for us to do, because we are so proud. We want to feel that we can be good and honorable and decent without any help from God.
But God has declared, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), and since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), that means me.
The Bible tells me that I have sinned.
My conscience tells me that I have sinned.
My reason tells me that I have sinned.
Every part of my nature points an accusing finger and cries, “Guilty! Guilty! There is none righteous!”
John Bunyan said, “When I saw John Bunyan as God saw John Bunyan, I did not say I was a sinner; I said that I was sin from the top of my head to the soles of my feet.”
Great prophets were used of God because they were humble. They saw themselves as God saw them and realized the truth about themselves. When you confess with Isaiah, “I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5), you will stand on the threshold of a victorious life. When you face the fact of your own inadequacy, your own failure, your own sinfulness, you have taken the first step toward gaining a glorious and wonderful personal victory that will carry you through the days of crisis that lie ahead.
The second key is the recognition that God’s standard of a holy life is not attainable by human effort. God is first of all concerned with what you are. What you do is the result of what you are.
There is no way that we by ourselves can generate sanctification. Our sanctification is Christ. There is no way we can be holy. Our holiness is Christ. This caused Paul to write: “not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3:9).
The third key is reliance on the Holy Spirit. To paraphrase Galatians 5:16—“Walk by means of the Spirit.” In Romans 8:14 Paul writes: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
You cannot live the Christian life by yourself. The Holy Spirit must live in you and express Himself through you.
Paul said, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11).
Sin shall no longer rule or dominate you when you are allowing the Holy Spirit to live Christ’s life through you. It is living by faith, living by trust, living in dependence upon God.
If we look to our own resources, our own strength or our own ability, as Peter did when he walked on the water, we will fail. During these crisis days, we must remember that many stumble along the road of life. We must rescue as many as we can before catastrophe strikes.
God is at work in the midst of crisis. In the midst of the problems, pessimism and frustrations of our day, God is doing His own work. Let us realize that there are certain things we cannot do. Let us be faithful in the things He has called us to do.
Will you surrender totally to Christ? As you look forward to the day when Christ shall return, be up and about your Father’s business—give of your income, spend time in prayer, be faithful in worship, tell others about Jesus Christ—and you will discover the usefulness, the optimism, the confidence, that belong to God’s children.”
Billy Graham 1962
People have all kinds of ideas and notions on whom they are to marry, how they go about finding “the one” to marry, and the list of standards and ideals they have for the one they marry. Let’s clear up a few things, shall we?
The bible doesn’t say anything about waiting for your soul mate to get married. It also doesn’t say anything about God having that one special person just for you…although people will argue with me on that one! What it does say is that we are to get or find a spouse—that means you don’t sit and wait for God drop one into your lap.
The only other clear directive to believers is to make sure that the person you marry is also a believer. (See 1Corinthians 7:39 and 2 Corinthians 6:14.) Notice that scripture doesn’t tell us to marry a person who simply says he or she is a believer. There is a huge difference between the two, but in all honesty, most people don’t get that.
Far too often single people—especially women—will date anyone who claims to be a Christian regardless of whether or not they have any real evidence of action to back that report up. You are not a Christian just because you went to church as a child, or because you attend services on Christmas and Easter. Even sitting in church every Sunday doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in your garage makes you a car. There are signs that you need to look for when trying to evaluate a person’s commitment to their faith. And make no mistake, it is exactly what you should be doing during the dating process.
Does the person actually show the fruit of their proclamation of faith? Does he regularly attend worship? Is she actively involved in a local church body? How often does he read his bible, pray, or fast? Is she a generous giver who volunteers her time, money and also tithes? Or is this person someone who just stamps “Christian” on their life but is not living out the Christian disciplines? Are they impatient, inflexible, demanding and selfish? Do their behaviors reflect the heart of a true believer or do they act no differently than those pagans in the world around us?
You need to really look at the person you are interested in and honestly assess their commitment to self- restraint, denying their flesh, exercising sacrificial attitudes and a devotion to truly following Jesus Christ. Check the fruit. Are they the real deal, or just some facsimile or counterfeit of a genuine believer? Far too often single people will jump into a relationship and get all emotionally tangled with another person who claims to be a believer but in reality, is living like total hell.
They don’t read the bible, pray, give to or even attend a church regularly. Some of these men and women may attend church but are out there living just like the heathens when it comes to dating by freely giving oral sex or fornicating their little brains on the first few dates. Clearly there are those who say they are a Christian, and then there are those that truly live as one.
Singles out there in the dating pool must be more discerning and less duped and dense when it comes to choosing the person they will be yoked to in marriage. Don’t make the common mistake thinking all that matters is what a person says in regard to their faith. This is definitely a time that actions speak louder than words, and you need to see their faith in action.
Lots of people wish life had an easy button… like the commercial for the office supply store Staples, where you just push the big red button with the word “easy” on it and everything you want just magically happens. But the reality is, there are no easy buttons in life, and that is especially true in Christianity—even though people often think and act like God is the easy button for us.
Frequently, believers will treat God like the magic genie or giant vending machine in the sky. We ask Him to do things just so we don’t have to do it ourselves; then we don’t have to put any work or effort into a situation. Husbands and wives will pray for God to make their marriage better, yet they will continue to invest no time and attention into the relationship. People may be diagnosed with some illness or condition and beg God to heal them and take it away, but they won’t do anything to change their diet, exercise or lifestyle that would improve their health. Students will blow off studying for an exam, yet earnestly pray for God to help them do well on the test. There are people who pray and ask God to bring them a job or a spouse, but never go out and look for one! I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but that’s not the way it works.
God will help us. We can ask Him to give us the strength and courage to persevere and do the right things—like dealing with disease, a difficult relationship, or temptation—but He doesn’t just magically fix it or take it all away to make it easy. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with and controlling feelings. Here is one common example that I’ve heard numerous times from men: I’m so tempted to look at other women and pornography and I’ve prayed and prayed for God to take those feelings away. I’ve also heard people say that they are experiencing great temptation with attraction to another person other than their spouse and want God to just “take those feelings away”. Mind you, they don’t want to flee the temptation or stay away from this person or situation. They don’t want to learn to control their feelings—they want the easy button instead. And quite simply, there isn’t one.
Part of being a Christ follower is learning not to be led by feelings. We must learn that feelings don’t determine our behavior or else we will be doomed. Most people think that if they feel it, they just have to do it and that’s why they pray those prayers asking God to “take them away”. They reason that surely humans can’t help what they feel! Sadly, too many people end up being slaves to their feelings and think they cannot possibly manage, control or resist their urges, temptations and emotions. Therefore they believe that the only reasonable and certain solution is for God to just zap them away. Nonsense!
The bible is very clear that we are to fight temptation and that God will help us so we don’t have to succumb. I Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (NIV) That means you don’t have to give in, nothing is too much for you to take—despite what your feelings tell you. In the book of James scripture tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from you (4:7). But we don’t want to resist the devil; we want to pray and ask God to make him to go away. These are wrong thoughts and wrong prayers. God won’t do it. He won’t sprinkle you with pixie dust and make it all vanish. We are expected to live by His word and that means we have to do our part in this—never giving up and never giving in. James goes on to say we are blessed when we persevere (1:12 and 5:11)
Every human being is tempted—whether that means you are tempted by visual lusts, feelings of attraction or dissatisfaction, the tendency to be mean and nasty to people, complacency in your faith, food, alcohol, drugs, and the list goes on and on—but that doesn’t mean we are to be condemned for feeling certain things. We are to resist, not in our own will power, because as believers we have the Holy Spirit and the power of the risen Christ at work in us to enable us to stand up to any and every temptation or feeling. The problem is often people equate the want to with the have to, but just because you feel it, doesn’t mean that you listen to those wants or feelings or that you act upon them. And sometimes those “want tos” can be really strong, but they are never greater than the strength we have as Christians. Don’t tell me that your desire to look at porn is more powerful than Jesus!
It’s at times of temptation and struggle that we must rely on the power available to us. That is when it is vitally important to have the word of God in you so are able to quote the truths of scripture that will enable you to combat and fight those urges.** Only then will we be able to break free from being a slave to feelings and not allow emotions to dictate our choices. We must stop thinking we have to be “true and honest to our feelings”. They are the most unreliable and dishonest thing a person could possibly follow. As Christians we must learn to control our feelings and not allow them to control us.
Stop asking and expecting God to do all the heavy lifting, just so you can have it easy and not do the work that it requires.
Remember, Jesus said “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
A lot of dilemmas that people find themselves in stem from their own choices, actions and behaviors. Maybe they were sexually promiscuous for years, went down the path of sexual promiscuity since they were teenagers, neglected their marriage and treated their spouse horribly, committed adultery, got divorced, entered into a step-family situation…the list can go on. The source or cause of the current issues and problems can be interchangeable, but the same question comes forth. They want to know how they can fix it, undo it and “make it normal”.
Most people want some magic prayer or answer as to how they can make it like it never happened. In other words, how do I unscramble the eggs that I scrambled? They don’t like the consequences of the choices they made in the past and don’t want those consequences to impact the present or future. Here’s the hard truth: We reap what we sow. It’s in The Bible and apparently churches aren’t teaching this to their people outside of the financial context. Preachers will often use the concept in terms of money, yet fail to extrapolate it to the whole of life.
If you never pay attention to your spouse, if you have an affair, if you sleep with a dozen different people and get an STD, guess what? You reap the negative consequences. But, if you spend time with your spouse, stay faithful in your marriage, remain a virgin and live monogamously, you reap the positive consequences. Amazing how that works!
The world never talks about the ramifications of our choices. A point of fact, personal responsibility and understanding cause and effect is a rare thing in the culture of today. Hollywood makes it seem as if there are no consequences to amoral behavior and that as long as you are doing what feels good to you and makes you happy, everything will be fine. But that is a lie. What we do has a direct connection to what we get in life.
Just take a look at our financial condition in our country today.
Here is where many Christians get hung up. They may have done all sorts of things prior to coming to faith, or even as a practicing believer, and they understand the concept of sin and forgiveness. So they ask God to forgive them of their sins and then expect the consequences of those sins to be erased. They misunderstand what it means to be forgiven of sin.
Before God it is as if these things had never happened. He does forgive and remove the guilt of our transgressions and makes us pure in our standing before Him. But the consequences remain for us to deal with. Please hear what I’m saying…can God do anything? Yes! He can remove every memory you have, restore any relationship, heal your mind and body of disease, and every other thing under the sun that we can ask for or need.
And I certainly can give you my best advice on how to live in the situation, deal with your circumstances, cope with the outcomes, manage the consequences and still have a good life. What I can’t do is tell you how to take it all away and make the fallout of your choices disappear because the principle of sowing and reaping always applies.
Paul writes in Galatian 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived:God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction;whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
It’s an imperative teaching that churches must pass onto their people and parents must get into their children. Yet, even though Paul warns us, it seems many Christians are deceived.
They operate under the delusion that they can scramble the eggs and then God, or their pastor can unscramble them. People think they can sow poison and destruction in their lives and that somehow there is a magic prayer to say or a magic wand to wave so they reap blessings and goodness. They want to harvest what they did not plant and think that it’s not fair to get anything less than their greatest wishes and desires. Christians think this way because they fail to understand the biblical concept of sowing and reaping sin, and its consequences.
Just look at David, one of the greatest kings in Israel’s history, yet the consequences of his sin with Bathsheba, were with him for the rest of his life on earth.
It’s as if they are now sitting with a plate of scrambled eggs and saying, “But I don’t want my eggs scrambled. I want fried eggs. I prayed and asked God to change them into fried. Pastor Mark, make these fried for me, will you?” And here’s the deal. You can’t unscramble them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the plate of eggs. You may prefer, fried. You may long for fried. You may look at the other people sitting at the table enjoying their fried eggs and wish that you could have what they are having. You may think it’s not fair that you get stuck with the scramble eggs. But the bottom line is they are still good eggs. You can eat them, live with them and enjoy them just the same.
It’s important to learn and teach our kids that if you want fried eggs, it’s best not to scramble them in the first place.
Make good choices in your life, and teach your children to do the same. Then you will reap the blessings all through this life.
We all go through life hitting some bumps in the road. Sometimes we get a flat tire, sometimes the weather is stormy and dark, but Jesus told us, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
The italics are mine.
In Christ Jesus our Lord we will find peace and rest for our souls. The world and the devil will throw you around and try to get you off the path.
In the world we will have tribulation, but take heart, or be of good cheer, Jesus has already won. The victory is already ours. Satan my be pointing a gun at your head and threatening to pull the trigger, but the gun has no bullets. It’s empty just like Satan’s threats are empty. Ha can’t do anything to you.
We don’t operate toward the victory, we operate from the point of victory.
My friend, that makes all the difference in the world.
Live your life in the victory that Jesus Christ has already secured for you on the cross. You are a winner, and Jesus is now your new Master, and He wants to give you peace and rest.
Listen to this short video from Dr. Tony Evans. I pray it will comfort you, no matter what your situation is.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30
Are you weary and heavy with burdens?
Go to Jesus. Take some time away from everything and everyone, and spend some time alone with Him. He’s waiting for you. He wants to lift those burdens from off your shoulder, and He wants to give you His peace. he wants you to lean on Him and rest in His ever lasting arms.
May God help you to do that today.
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Believers often find themselves living in contradiction to the world, and we should. The runaway anxiety and constant fear that grips so much of the world does not have the same hold on us—or at least, it shouldn’t. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at anxiety from a biblical perspective, and examining God’s care and provision for His people, and how that should free us from worry.
Today we’re bringing our Attacking Anxiety series to a close with part three of our discussion on Paul’s prayer that we would know and rest in God’s lasting peace and grace. The apostle wrote, “May the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. . . . The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:16, 18).
A final characteristic of God’s peace is that it is not subject to circumstances. Paul’s prayer was that we might continually enjoy it “in every circumstance” (v. 16). This peace is not subject to anything that happens in the worldly realm. It is not built on any human relationship, and it’s not dependent on human feelings, decisions, or situations.
Rather, God’s peace is built on a divine plan and promise from an unfailing God who will secure you in Himself, and who will do everything for your good. This peace is a product of an unchanging divine relationship, and it is unbreakable, unassailable, and transcendent.
As we noted earlier, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). He was saying, “There’s nothing to fear or be anxious about because I’m giving you a divine, lasting peace that cannot be fractured or damaged by the world.” We demonstrate that Jesus keeps His promises when, in the midst of worldly upheavals that would normally tear us up and trouble our lives, we remain calm.
Paul’s great desire was that we enjoy that kind of well-being, which is why he prayed toward that end. His parting wish was this: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:18). He wanted every man and woman who would ever put his or her faith in Christ to experience the abiding presence of God’s grace.
Grace is God’s goodness or benevolence given to those who don’t deserve it. “Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). It was in the person of God’s Son that “the grace of God has appeared,” making salvation available to all (Titus 2:11). Once we embrace this saving grace through faith in Christ, we are blessed with God’s grace, enabling us to withstand any difficulty that would tend to make us anxious. Paul described this grace while confessing to a difficulty that brought him great anxiety:
There was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me. . . . Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians12:7-10)
As believers, we also are blessed with the grace that equips us for divine service. Paul expressed his appreciation for this grace in saying, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy . . . the grace of our Lord was more than abundant” (1 Timothy 1:12-14).
Grace is what enables us to grow spiritually in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). In the material realm, Paul appealed to God’s grace in encouraging the Corinthian church to be generous in giving to the Lord’s work: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
God’s grace saves us, helps us cope with our anxieties, equips us for service, and enables us to grow spiritually and to be rich in God. Like God’s peace, it is always available, and there is no limit to it. And again, like God’s peace, the conditions for receiving it are trusting God, forsaking sin, enduring the refining process, doing good, and living by the Word. As we are what we ought to be, God infuses us with His peace and grace. And that has a wonderful way of crowding out anxiety.
I want to close this series on a personal note. Just a few days after preaching a sermon on the peace and grace God bestows on His people, I had an unprecedented opportunity to apply it to my own life: I was notified that my wife and youngest daughter were in a serious auto accident, and that my wife, Patricia, would probably die. Everything seemed like a blur to me, the details frustratingly sketchy—I was afraid she was already dead. During my hour-long drive to the hospital, I had a lot of time to reflect on the severity of the situation. Yet I experienced a deep and steeled peace simply because I knew God had not failed me—His grace was in complete control.
I am happy to report that God spared both their lives, and that Patricia recovered beautifully. If you too rely on God’s grace, He will see you through the most difficult trials.
It’s only through God’s grace that believers can face every circumstance with calm, assured peace. Anxiety does not have to reign in our hearts—we can hold fast to God’s peace and provision through any of life’s storms.
We’ve been looking at the nature of the peace God grants to believers, as explained in Paul’s prayer from the church at Thessalonica in 2 Thessalonians 3:16, 18.
Not only is that peace divine in origin, but it is also a gift. When Paul prayed, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace,” the word translated “grant” is the verb meaning “to give.” It speaks of a gift. God’s peace is a sovereign, gracious gift bestowed on those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Psalm 85:8, a verse you may have never noticed before, the psalmist stated, “I will hear what God the Lord will say; for He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones.” God grants peace to those who belong to Him. Jesus said, “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). There’s no greater gift for the anxious than God’s peace.
Some, however, will seek relief for their anxieties through a false peace. God is generous to whom He grants His peace, but there is a limit. Isaiah wrote, “‘Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will heal him.’ But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked’” (Isaiah 57:19-21). He will grant peace to those who come to Him from near and far—those who grew up hearing much about Him and those who heard little to nothing—but those who don’t come to Him, the wicked, enjoy no real peace.
Thomas Watson explains further:
Peace flows from sanctification, but they being unregenerate, have nothing to do with peace. . . . They may have a truce, but no peace. God may forbear the wicked a while, and stop the roaring of His cannon; but though there be a truce, yet there is no peace. The wicked may have something which looks like peace, but it is not. They may be fearless and stupid; but there is a great difference between stupefied conscience, and a pacified conscience. . . . This is the devil’s peace; he rocks men in the cradle of security; he cries, Peace, peace, when men are on the precipice of hell. The seeming peace a sinner has, is not from the knowledge of his happiness, but the ignorance of his danger (A Body of Divinity [Carlisle, Pa.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1986 reprint], p.262).
The peace of the wicked is born out of delusion. True peace is the child of saving grace. In a prayer similar to the one that closes 2 Thessalonians, Paul said, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13). Peace is a gift to those who believe.
And God’s peace is the gift that keeps on giving. A less commercial way to express that truth is how Paul said it: “May the Lord of peace . . . continually grant you peace” (2 Thessalonians 3:16). By adding “continually,” Paul was emphasizing that it is constantly available. The implication is, however, that it can be interrupted.
It isn’t God who interrupts our spiritual peace, but us. We can suspend the flow of peace in our lives by succumbing to our flesh, which is still part of this world. Unless we “walk by the Spirit,” our means of controlling the flesh (Galatians 5:16), we are open season to all kinds of anxieties: the dread of the unknown, the fear of death, the loss of a loved one—and we all can list a string of others.
How does this unfortunate process begin? When we stop focusing on our permanent condition in Christ, who will certainly bring us to glory. And when we start basing our happiness on the fleeting things of the world. Those things by definition will change. Thus, if we get upset when they do, we will spend our lives in distress.
People who can ride through the toughest issues of life and remain calm are not indifferent; they’re just trusting God. What if our ride is a little bumpy? What if we’re feeling troubled, anxious, and fearful? How can we restore the peace? How can it remain uninterrupted?
The psalmist said to himself, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God” (Psalm 42:11). He reminded himself that God was there to help him. We can trust Him because He is trustworthy. He genuinely cares for us.
Long ago, God made it perfectly clear to Israel that peace comes from obeying His Word (Leviticus 26:1-6). The same truth applies today. Peace is restored through obedience. The first step is to turn from sin. Sometimes the sin is the doubt, fear, and anxiety itself, but also it can be an underlying sin that has produced those feelings. Probe your heart and isolate the cause of unrest. Forsake the sin that has been revealed to you and obey God by applying the opposite virtue. In the case of anxiety, that means having faith in God to help you manage life’s details.
Something else that will restore your peace is to accept whatever stresses or challenges God has seen fit to bring into your life. In the book of Job we read:
Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal. . . . In famine He will redeem you from death, And in war from the power of the sword. You will be hidden from the scourge of the tongue, and you will not be afraid of violence when it comes. You will laugh at violence and famine, and you will not be afraid of wild beasts. For you will be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field will be at peace with you. You will know that your tent is secure, for you will visit your abode and fear no loss (Job 5:17-18, 20-24).
If you understand that God is using all the difficulties you face to perfect you, you’ll be at peace. It is not all for nothing. You may not always know why you’re going through this or that, but be encouraged that there is a good reason. Turning to the New Testament, Paul said if you want peace, do good (Romans 2:10). All who do good will enjoy peace. To be more specific, “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable. . . . And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17-18). Living according to the Word—according to heavenly wisdom, to God’s revealed standard of righteousness—brings peace.
If you’ve lost God’s peace in your life, you can find it again. Retrace your steps by trusting God in everything, turning from sin and walking in obedience, enduring His refining work in your life, doing what is good, and living by His Word in a righteous way. As Paul said, God’s peace is continually available to you. Avail yourself of it.
Any anxious Christian would love to have this prayer offered on his behalf: “May the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. . . . The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
Those powerful, encouraging words come from the apostle Paul at the end of his second letter to the Thessalonian church (2 Thessalonians 3:16, 18). They serve as a potent reminder of where we can and should turn when anxiety threatens—to “the Lord of peace Himself.”
Peace is commonly defined as the sense of calm, tranquility, quietness, bliss, contentment, and well-being that we feel when everything is going the way we’d like it to go. That definition, however, is incomplete because those feelings can also be produced by a pill—or by alcohol, biofeedback, a nap, a generous inheritance, or even deliberate deception. The reassurance of a friend or someone you love can also produce that kind of temporary peace.
That’s not the kind of peace Paul had in mind. Godly peace has nothing to do with human beings or human circumstances. In fact, it cannot be produced on a human level at all. Any manufactured or manipulated peace is very fragile. It can be destroyed instantly by failure, doubt, fear, difficulty, guilt, shame, distress, regret, sorrow, the anxiety of making a wrong choice, the anticipation of being mistreated or victimized by someone, the uncertainty of the future, and any challenge to our position or possessions. And we experience those things daily.
The peace that God gives is not subject to fluctuations and uncertainties of life. It is spiritual peace; it’s an attitude of the heart and mind when we believe and therefore know deep down that all is well between ourselves and God. Along with it is the assurance that He is lovingly in control of everything. We as Christians should know for certain that our sins are forgiven, that God is concerned with our well-being, and that heaven is our destiny. God’s peace is our possession and privilege by divine right.
Paul defines this peace for us in several ways in 2 Thessalonians 3:16. To begin with, it is divine: “May the Lord of peace Himself . . . grant you peace” (emphasis added). The Lord of peace is the One who gives it. The pronoun Himself is emphatic in the Greek text and underscores God’s personal involvement. Christian peace, the peace unique to believers, comes personally from Him. It is the very essence of His nature.
To put it simply, peace is an attribute of God. If I asked you to list the attributes of God, these are ones that would probably come most readily to mind: His love, grace, mercy, justice, holiness, wisdom, truth, omnipotence, omniscience, immutability, and immortality. But do you ever think of God as being characterized by peace?
In fact, He is peace. Whatever it is that He gives us, He has and He is. There is no lack of perfect peace in His being. God is never stressed. He is never anxious. He never worries. He never doubts. He never fears. God is never at cross purposes with Himself. He never has problems making up His mind.
God lives in perfect calm and contentment. Why? Because He’s in charge of everything and can operate everything perfectly according to His own will. Since He is omniscient, He is never surprised. There are not threats to His omnipotence. There is no possible sin that can stain His holiness. Even His wrath is clear, controlled, and confident. There is no regret in His mind for He has never done, said, or thought anything that He would change in any way.
God enjoys perfect harmony within Himself. Our Bibles call Him “the Lord of peace,” but in the Greek text a definite article appears before the word translated “peace,” meaning He literally is “the Lord of the peace.” This is real peace—the divine kind, not the kind the world has. Paul’s prayer is that we might experience that kind of peace. Its source is God and God alone.
Coming soon, Part2
I just love Christmas and all the trimmings. The lights, smell of good food, and the presents under the tree. It’s the season of joy, family and friends gathering together and just enjoying each other. That’s what I love about this holiday season. It’s a time of the year that you see things happen, that only happen around Christmastime.
But it’s hard to think that there are a lot of people who don’t have this kind of Christmas. I know that there are thousands of great organizations out there that are all about helping and giving to people like these, but I think that we have a tendency to really not see nor feel what this really means. It’s one thing, to reach into my pocket, and throw in a couple of dollars into the kettle of the person, who’s standing outside the store ringing that bell, but it’s an entirely different thing when it means me having to get out of my comfort zone, and step into the world of one who is lacking or just all alone.
You see, that is really giving when I have to give of myself, and my time, for the sake of someone else’s needs. Putting myself, my wants, my needs, and my desires all aside, for the opportunity to help lighten the load that someone else is carrying.
It’s always easy to talk about doing this, but when it comes right down to really doing it, I mean getting down into someone else’s world and feeling what they feel, and experiencing what they are experiencing, getting dirty and doing whatever I can to help them with that heavy load that they’re carrying…well that’s not always an easy jump to make.
You see I don’t want to break out of my routine for the holidays. My family and I have always done things in a certain way each year, and I feel that I would be rocking the cart of our family tradition, if I invited them to our Christmas celebration. I mean they aren’t really the kind of people that we hang around with, and what would my family think if I invited them over to our Christmas dinner?
I know that they don’t have that much, and they are in a tough place financially right now, but it’s kind of their own fault. I mean he hasn’t always been good with his money and I think she might have some issues as well.
I am speaking fictitiously, but have you ever caught yourself thinking like that? I know that I have at times, and it’s always just been an excuse that I use when I feel God prompting me to help someone out, or to step outside of my comfort area, and take care of a need that I know I can help out in.
Isn’t that what Jesus did?
He stepped way out of His comfort area, and came down into this muck and dirty planet will call earth, and lived right here with us. He took on the kind of life that we live, except He was without sin.
1John 3:5 “You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.”
The dirt that we live in everyday had no effect on Him. At anytime He could have said, “I’m out of here, I don’t want to do this anymore,” but He didn’t. He stayed… as a matter of fact He stayed all the way to the end, and when it came time for the bill to be paid, He paid it. You and I couldn’t pay it, so He took the payment that we all had, and He paid it completely. He paid it with His own life, that’s how much He loves you and me.
John 15:13 “No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends”…
I was having breakfast with four business associates of mine, the other day, and when the bill came around, one of the guys took the bill and paid for everyone’s meal. That was a very nice think to do, and we all thanked him for that, but I could have paid for my own bill. I had the money, but in the case of my sins, I can’t pay the price for that because I don’t have what it takes. No one has the means to do that…the price is way to high.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God came into our world so that He could pay your way to come into His. That’s His gift to you and me, and to all of humankind. He’s just waiting for you to come and open the present that He has laid out for you today. Open it by asking Him to forgive you, and when you do that, he will not only have your free ticket to come and live with Him for all eternity, but He will also come and live inside of you right now, and start getting you ready to be with Him.
To learn more of God’s incredible gift to you and me, click on “My Christmas Gift From God”
Perhaps you might know someone or you just might happen to maybe see the same person everyday as you commute back and forth to work. They might be in a situation that is not very good, but if God is telling you to stop and talk to them, or maybe go beyond that point that is going to put you out of your comfort area, remember what God did for you. Listen to what God is asking you to do, and help someone out.
Did you know that there are certain chemicals that are released in our bodies whenever we give or do acts of kindness towards others? Try it out for yourself. Help someone out with anything, it doesn’t have to be something big, and see if you don’t feel better after you’re done. You have to have the right attitude, that you are doing this only because you can, and you are getting nothing in return…don’t even tell anyone else about what you’ve done, because that means you would be getting the accolades from everyone you tell. God sees and He knows what you did.
Maybe you can only help them carry that heavy burden for just a short while, and maybe you can’t really take it off of them or out-of-the-way, that’s OK. Do what you can. Jesus said…
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
You are never really a fully emotionally mature person, until you can give of yourself and of your time, and put yourself in the back burner of life, so that you can help someone else out, without ever asking or receiving anything in return…when you can do this, you have really done something.
Matthew 25:38-40 “When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.”
My prayer for you this Christmas is that you will open God’s gift to you, and then go out and help someone else open theirs.
I wish you and your families a very blessed and Merry Christmas.
May God bless you all.
We finished our last post with Romans 7:24; “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” That was Paul’s cry out from the frustration he was feeling. In his heart and in his mind he wanted to follow after God, but in his flesh he keep listening to beckoning and calling of the sin that was still present.
You’ve come to Jesus Christ and have asked Him to forgive you and cleanse you from the sin that so easily dominates your thinking and your living. You want to follow after Him with your whole heart, mind, and soul, but there is still that ugly old boss that thinks he can still order us around. You hate him and you don’t want to live under his domain any longer.
Chapter six of Romans talks about us being free from the penalty of our sin. We have been set free, not only from the penalty of our sin, but also over the dominance of sin. It has no more authority over us. We have been redeemed, we have been bought back from sin’s domain and we now belong to Christ. We have been adopted into His family by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We can now say yes to God and no to sin.
“So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11
Now for the first time in our lives we can say no to sin and yes to God! The door has been open and we can freely walk into a relationship with the God who created you and me and this entire universe…but sins influence is still there. The battle lines have been drawn. Who are we going to listen too and who are we going to obey?
That’s the battle that we see in Romans chapter seven. Read and re-read it. See if you don’t see the same battle and the same struggle, going on in your own heart and mind, that Paul is describing in chapter seven.
Then we come to the first verse of Romans chapter eight…“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
No condemnation means no judgement. You and I will never be judged for our sin, that penalty was paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He did it once for all of humanity, and if you have become a member of His family, by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, you are set free from the penalty and judgement of your sin. That’s been established and will never change.
But there is a war going on, and the old man still wants to boss you and I around.
Romans 6:4…”just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.”
How do we overcome this struggle and how do we live the victorious Christian life? By the power of the dynamite power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Take a look at the apostles. They lived with Jesus, they were taught by Jesus, and they even performed great works for God, while Jesus was still on earth, but that was not enough. Jesus told them that it was important that He go away, and that the Father will send them another comforter.
The Holy Spirit means, one sent alongside to help. Despite the teachings and the things that the apostles had learned, they were not going to be able to do anything until the Holy Spirit would come, and make His dwelling inside each and everyone of them.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” Acts 1:8
The word power used in this verse, is the same Greek word used in Romans 1:4. It’s the word dynamis, which we get our English word, dynamite. The dynamite power of the Holy Spirit, would come upon the apostles and enable them to spread the gospel, or good news of God, throughout all the world. In the book of Acts, Christ’s church was born and it still is alive and spreading the truth of God throughout all the world, by the same power that raised Jesus back to life again.
It’s by this same power of the Holy Spirit, in your life and mine, that we can live the new life that God wants us to live. You and I can’t live the Christian life, only God can live His life in and through you and me today.
“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
How to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit
1) INVITE: Make sure that you have personally invited Christ to be your Savior. “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).
2) CONFESS: Confess sin to God and ask for His cleansing.“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1John (1John 1:9).
3. YIELD: Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you (empower, control).“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, “be continuously filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18 – literal translation). “Holy Spirit, I invite you to take control of my life. I ask you
to be the dominating influence in me. Produce your fruit in me. I can’t do it on my own.” “Holy Spirit, I ask you to empower me to accomplish what is beyond me. Show yourself strong in my life, so that I may bear fruit for God.” “Holy Spirit, teach me how to pray right now. Intercede
through me, Spirit, for you alone know the mind and will of God in this matter.” “Holy Spirit, I need you to help me put to the death the deeds
of the body. I can’t overcome this on my own. Give me the victory today.” “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body” (1Corinthians 6:18).
Only a life lived by the influence, motivation, and power of the Holy Spirit, are we ever going to be walking the victorious Christian life. Which voice are you going to obey? You have a new master and He loves you with a love that no man can understand nor explain. His desire is to live in you and conform you into the image of His son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
1Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow by it.”
John 15:3 “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
“For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness. Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you. ”
“So then,brothers and sisters,we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh (for if you live according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear,but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:5-17
If you walk around and take a survey of how many people claim to be Christians in our society today, you will get the majority of people claiming that they are Christians. 76% of American adults claim to be Christians today. That is down from 87% who made that claim back in 1990. The decline of people who are involved in organized religions is increasing every year, not just Christianity, but in any kind of organized religion. Times are changing in the world, both economically and in our views about God. When you hit people in the pocket-book, that definitely will get their attention.
After all, the only reason we ever stay in anything is to attain a certain level of change, when or if, that change never happens, we are looking for the first exit we can find. Patience and long-suffering are not character traits that you see very often anymore today.
Many people get involved with God or a church for a specific reason. They are going through a tough time in their lives, a loved one has died, or they are just experiencing some type of loss that they want an answer for and relief from.
All of us view God, and who we think He is, from the influences we had as a kid. Our parents, economic situation, and total environment, all shaped what we think of God today.
I have talked with many atheists and people from other religious back grounds, and the one common thread that flows through them all is their desire for the truth. Nobody wants to be mislead or bamboozled…we want the truth. If that is you, then what I’m about to say is for you.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
This promise was given to those who believed in Jesus. Jesus said to these believers and followers, that if they abide, or continue with him, that would mean that they are truly His disciples. If they are truly the disciples of Christ and they continue on with Him, they will discover what truth is all about, and this discovery will set them free. You want to know truth, then you might want to check out who Jesus Christ is?
Further down Jesus said in John 8:32, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Freedom at last! But are you really free? Many of us find freedom from addictions, a nagging spouse, a job that is dragging us down, but real freedom comes when you know the truth.
For the Christian, Romans chapters, six, seven, and eight, are the hinges of the door that opens to what the gospel and salvation really mean.
Chapter six, we are free from the penalty of sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Romans chapter eight, we are free from the presence of sin. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
But in Romans chapter seven we find a battle going on inside of every single one of us. Paul expressed this battle that wages in us, “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Romans 7:22-24
Ever experience something like that in your Christian life? “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. ” Romans 7:15-20
Sound familiar? If you are a child of God, by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, then you definitely can relate to what Paul is talking about here. This is the battle of truth that goes on daily in our lives. It’s a constant power struggle over who we are going to believe and follow. Do we follow the sin that has so easily dominated most of our lives, or are we going to yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God, that lives inside us, and follow the new person He is creating in us?
What if you had a terrible boss, that no one liked. He was rude and critical and always was yelling at you and ordering you around like you were some incompetent child? He was your boss and you had to do what he said.
One day he gets fired. The office is totally relieved to know that never again will you have to take his orders or do anything that he ever has to say. He’s finished controlling you.
Say you and your spouse are out for a nice dinner. You are really enjoying this nice quiet evening, when in walks your old boss. Just seeing him again makes the hairs on your back stand up. You cower in hopes that he doesn’t see you, but here he comes and he’s walking right over to you.
He walks over to you and he tells you to go over and get him a cup of coffee, and automatically you get up and run to the coffee machine…but wait a minute…he’s not your boss anymore and you don’t have to do anything that he says, remember? He has no more authority or control over you. You can tell him…No! I’m not doing what you tell me to do!
That’s the way it is with sin in our lives. We are the battle ground and Satan and the Holy Spirit are vying for our allegiance. We play a part in all this. Who are you going to go after?
We have been set free, but there is an old master that is not going away. He wants to constantly influence you and me to continue to live life the way we always have, by obeying our sinful cravings and desires.
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24
That will be coming in the next article.
In our society today Halloween is one of the most celebrated holidays in America. We get dressed up in different costumes and walk around to houses and ask for, and receive candy from people.
There is a history to Halloween, that I won’t get into in this post but to say that, Halloween goes back to the eve of All Saints Day, observed with traditional games and customs. The word comes from medieval England’s All Hallows’ Eve. However, many of these customs predate Christianity, going back instead to Celtic practices associated with November 1st, the beginning of winter and the Celtic New Year. Witches and other evil spirits were believed to roam the earth on this evening, playing tricks on human beings to mark the season of diminishing sunlight. Bonfires were lit, offerings were made of foods and sweets, and people would disguise themselves as one of the roaming spirits, to avoid demonic persecution. Survivals of these early practices can be found in countries of Celtic influence today, such as the United States.
Now every Halloween we will see at least one person who will be dressed up as the devil. They will have the normal devil costume with the red suit, tail, horns, and pitch fork. I’ve often wondered, where we get that image from? How many of us really believe that the devil, the enemy of God and anything that is righteous, really looks like that? Do You? You would be surprised at the answers people will give you on this.
We just have to go to the truth, God’s Word, to see what and who the devil really is.
His first entrance onto the pages of scripture is in Genesis 3:1-5. Right from the beginning, and the book of Genesis is the book of beginnings, we see that Satan is questioning God and the truth of what He says. He puts doubt into the heart of Eve, that God can’t really be trusted, that He really doesn’t have your best interest in mind when He tells you something. He puts that doubt into Eve that God is holding back from you what is good and beneficial, and therefore He can’t be trusted. Listen and read this to yourself over a couple of times and see the subtlety that the devil uses and still uses on us today.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-5
“you will be like God,” is literally, “you will become a god or become a god unto yourself.
Also notice the word crafty, because that’s the word that God uses to describe the character of the devil, crafty. It means cunning in a very subtle way, deceitful in a very deceptive way, that is the devil…that is Satan. Do you really think that he would dress up like a guy in a red suit with horns and a pitch fork? Do you really think that he would want to stand out and be easily identified by you or me? No, he is full of cunning and deception, and his objective is to fill you with doubt and deception as to who God really is, and to pull you and me as far away from the truth of God and His word as he can.
Listen to how Jesus described the devil as He was having a discussion with the religious rulers of Israel. These were men who prided themselves on their study and knowledge of God from the old testament.
“They answered him, “Abraham is our father!” Jesus replied, “If you are Abraham’s children, you would be doing the deeds of Abraham. But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! You people are doing the deeds of your father.”
Then they said to Jesus, “We were not born as a result of immorality! We have only one Father, God himself.” Jesus replied, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come from God and am now here. I have not come on my own initiative, but he sent me. Why don’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot accept my teaching. You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I am telling you the truth, you do not believe me. Who among you can prove me guilty of any sin? If I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? The one who belongs to God listens and responds to God’s words. You don’t listen and respond, because you don’t belong to God.” John 8:39-47
Jesus was asking them, why don’t you believe me when I am telling you the truth, and the reason was because their real father was the devil himself and they would naturally do the things of their father, it’s who they are. Jesus told them that you are just portraying the character and nature of your father, the devil, and he has always been a liar, in fact he can’t ever tell the truth because the truth is not in him.
Listen to what Paul said; “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1Corinthians 2:14
It’s only natural that we will follow the character and nature of our parents. Look at your own kids, one will have your patience while the other will have your spouse’s eye for artistic beauty. They will just naturally follow the genes they received from their parents, and so will you and so will I. That’s why Jesus said to another religious leader, Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. That literally means born from above. A second birth must take place. read the rest of chapter three of the gospel of John
There are only two kinds of people in the world today, children of the devil and children of God. You are either on one side or the other. There is no in between, and Jesus defined this to the religious rulers.
A better costume to wear if you want to be dress up as the devil for Halloween this year is to dress as an angel. Yes, I said an angel…“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” 2Corinthians 11:13-15.
Dress as an angel of light, not just an angel, because that’s what Satan can look like. He’s not parading around as a guy in a red suit, he’s in your church, he’s in your schools, he’s in your government, and he may even be in your family as well. He is a liar and he is cunning and deceptive in everything he does. He wants to keep you from the truth and he wants to keep you from the knowledge of God, and he will do anything he can to accomplish this.
If you’ve never been born from above, if you’ve never asked God to forgive you and come into your life and make you a brand new person, all you have to do is ask Him, and He will do it. His word says so and that is the truth. Click here for the full story.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18.
Where do you go when things aren’t going your way? Is there a well worn path to your favorite watering hole, or maybe a friend that will allow you to use their shoulder to cry on? Whatever you do or wherever you go, does it bring long lasting comfort and strength to see you through life’s storms?
I’m speaking to those who our children of God, those who claim that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, and you’ve chosen to walk with Him through this life. If this is you then you need to listen to what I’m about to tell you.
Weather you’ve been in a storm or maybe you’re going through one right now, or maybe every thing is hunky dory for you and life is good, get ready my friend, because the storms will come. Jesus promised that when He said;
This world, and anything in it should never be a haven of rest for us, no matter if things are good or not going so good. Learn to run to your heavenly Father, and not to the things you used run to when you lived in the world.
“Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossions 3:3
Remember we are not a citizen of this world anymore, we belong to Christ and our citizenship is in heaven. We have a new address and we are just passing through this one.
“But our citizenship is in heaven – and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20
Living the Christian life, walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and living a life that is obedient and brings glory and honor to the name of Jesus Christ, is not an easy road.
Jesus gave us this warning, but He also gave us His promise to always be with us and will always give us what we need for this journey or the task at hand, and will never leave us nor forsake us. You and I are never alone.
Have you learned this in your walk with the Lord? Is it something that, through trial and error, you have experienced in your Christian life?
In Jesus earthly life, He learned this, just as we do. He was our example and He paved the way for you and I to walk in “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. Hebrews 5:8
Listen to what Paul said, “Toward this goal I also labor, struggling according to his power that powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:29
These words, labor and struggling, don’t sound like very pleasant and easy words. The work that God had called for Paul to do was anything but easy and comfortable.
But don’t forget the rest of that verse…”according to his power that powerfully works in me.” Paul was just the channel for God’s work to be accomplished, just like you and me are today. We are God’s hands and feet in this world. We carry the fragrance of Jesus Christ wherever we go, to a lost and dying world.
“Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” Matthew 11:29-30
Sometimes storms come because we have drifted away from God and He is lovingly and gently trying to bring us back, or it is God preparing us for something that is coming our way. Whatever it is, it’s always for our good and to bring God glory. That’s why we’re here, to bring God glory.
When I was a kid in school, my friend and I got into trouble and we were called down to the principle’s office. That only meant one thing. Back in those days you were allowed to get paddled by teachers and principles, and that’s exactly what happened to us, but I will always remember what my friend said to me when he came out of the office after getting his shot first. He told me, “when he starts, lean into him and it won’t hurt so much.”
My friend, when the storms come into your life, and they will, learn to lean into God, and it won’t hurt as much.
“Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons?
“My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline
or give up when he corrects you.
Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed.” Hebrews 12:3-13
Are you the type of person who is organized and has everything under control? No surprises going catch you off guard…right? You are in good shape and you are just cruising along and life is good. How does that usually work out for you?
I’m that type of person too, but the more I work at getting everything together and lining all my ducks in a row, something unexpected, that I failed to figure in, always comes along. Have you ever experienced anything like that?
I don’t want to talk about things going wrong, I want to talk about being in control and in charge.
As a child of God, Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior, and He is the one who has mastery over my life, my thoughts, and my actions…or does He?
Because I like to be in control and have my life all in order, and I don’t like it when those situations come along and throw everything out of sequence. That makes me upset, angry, and insecure. When that happens, instead of leaning on God and running to Him, I try to do it all on my own.
After all, God made me like this and he gave me this type of character, that’s what He wants me to do…right?
Anything that I put on the alter of my heart, anything that I place there instead of God, is an idol. An idol is worshiping anything other than God.
“So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5
“We think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case. The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes. Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life.” Timothy Keller – from his book – “Counterfeit Gods”
Click on the picture of the book and get your copy from Amazon. This is an incredible read and you will be totally surprised at what idols are and how many you worship. You are limited to only one purchase per visit as the printers are having a hard time keeping up with the demand.
Because of my personality, if I had all the money I needed and everything was all nice and neat and in order, I would think, “what an awesome person I am to be so organized, I certainly do such a great job”, and I wouldn’t need to rely on God as much, would I? I might even start worshiping either myself or my great organizational skills. I hope you get my point.
In 1Samuel, Eli the high priest, was judged by God because of the sins of his sons, which he did nothing about. Listen to what God said to him;
“You have honored your sons more than you have me by having made yourselves fat from the best parts of all the offerings of my people Israel”.’ 1Samuel 2:29
His was the job of tending to the offerings and sacrifices, but he honored his sons more then he did God. His sons became his idol.
Remember Jacob tricked Esau into selling him his birthright, but it didn’t mean anything to Esau, he put no value or importance on it, he had other things that he placed on the throne of his heart.
But Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” “Look,” said Esau, “I’m about to die! What use is the birthright to me?” But Jacob said, “Swear an oath to me now.” So Esau swore an oath to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Genesis 25:31
If your idol is power and success, humiliation is your greatest nightmare, you use people, and you probably have a problem with anger.
If your idol is the need to have the approval of everyone, your greatest nightmare is rejection, you smother people, and you have an emotional problem with cowardice.
If your idol is control and self-discipline, your greatest nightmare is uncertainty, you make people around you feel condemned, and you have an emotional problem with worry.
These are just a few, there are others, but the point is; idols can hide themselves in a myriad of ways in our lives and they are not always bad in and of themselves, it’s always the way we deal with them and use them.
God has wired and made us to worship, but that worship should be for Him and Him alone. If we put anything else on His throne, we are worshiping an idol.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen”. Romans 1:18-25
Imagine if we lived in a world where people didn’t lie to one another because the reasons for lying were all removed. Imagine no more manipulating the truth so that I could put myself in the best position to win. Imagine people actually stopping to help one another out, no matter what the situation, and never requiring a payment for their services. Imagine people looking for opportunities to do good and not to hurt or malign someone else. Imagine no more criticism or personal attacks.
Sounds like a dream or a fairy tale right, but this kind of world does exist and it will be coming to where you and I live some day soon in the future. I don’t care how much you buff and shine this world that we live in today, it is on its way out and God is preparing for a new one to take its place.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven of God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God: and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4
If you’re putting all your hope in this world and in this life, and what you think you will get out from it, even as a child of God, you hope is definitely misplaced.
“If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitied.” Corinthians 15:19
There is a hope that the child of God has that cannot be applied to anyone else. You and I have an eternal hope that rests on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. That has been confirmed and established forever by the resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; even Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 1:3-4
Don’t rest your hope in a job or a business, or circumstances, these are all things that are going to pass away, rest your hope in the eternal facts and evidences that God has given you. Our hope and faith isn’t a leap in the dark, as some would call it, it rests on the facts and evidences that God has given to us in His Word.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you.” 1Peter 1:3-4
Our hope is a living hope! It’s based on a the living Lord Jesus Christ. He is not dead, but alive and watching and orchestrating everything toward the end that He has planned, not what politicians or governments or terrorist organizations are planning.
“Now faith is the evidence of things hoped for, being sure of things we do not see” Hebrews 11:1
There is a new world coming that is going to be full of God’s grace and truth, and God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4) The door is open for anyone who wants to come in but it won’t be opened forever. Are you in? Where is your hope and what are you looking for?
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast, which reaches inside behind the curtain, where Jesus our forerunner entered on our behalf,” Hebrews 6:19
An anchor is only as strong as what it’s anchored too. Massive ships have extremely large anchors that hold these ships still, but it doesn’t matter how big the anchor is, it’s what it’s anchored too. If that anchor is hooked on a small rock and that rock moves and gives way, the whole ship will be adrift.
What are you anchored too? What is your hope in? Anchor your soul into Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of the faith. He is unmovable, steadfast and sure.
Only God can give grace and truth and He wants to pour it into your life now, and the one to come. He is preparing a place for you, so you and I will be with Him forever.
“Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be also.” John 14:2-3
This is where your hope should be, and this is where your anchor should be hooked too. We should be telling others of this great hope that we have, so that they too my enter into that blessed hope.
“Looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works. Titus 2:13-14
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35
We read so much today about physical healing and miracles that deal with the physical nature, and those are all well and good, but we will all eventually succumb to old age and the body will give out and the door of death is something that we will all have to walk through one day. To me, the greatest miracle of all is the miracle that lasts throughout eternity, the miracle of a changed Heart.
About four years ago my mother-in-law’s life was taken over by pancreatic cancer. It is a horrible cancer, as all cancers are. To just watch as a person’s life ebbs away and all you can do is try to make them as comfortable as possible.It’s a very emotional and trying time for everyone. I say this not for pity or sadness on my part, but for my wife Lori.
Lori and I met about eighteen years ago when life was throwing me a curve. Lori gave me hope and the spark that was so buried deep inside me. Oh, I tried to fight it and stay in my self-pity, but she did not give up. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. We got married and I will save the rest of that story for another blog, but what I really want to concentrate on is her current situation.
After Lori’s mom passed, her best friend was diagnosed with cancer also. She also passed from this world and went on to the next. To take two hits like that is hard enough for anyone, but there was more to come.
Lori also suffers from degenerative back decease. She walks around most of the time in pain, physical pain. There is also an emotional pain that she walks around with too. That pain is called her Father.
He made cancer seem like a walk in the park. No man that I have ever met can compare with the selfish, angry, hateful heart that this man possessed. This heart did not come from the emotional pain that he endured from the death of his wife. Her passing from this life to the next was an entrance, from the fifty five years of hell that this man, put her through, to a place of peace and rest, where there is no more crying…. She is finally free from all of that.
This all goes back to when he lost his sister, who was just seven years old at the time, to cancer also. Those pressures and emotional scares were deep and Bob carried them throughout his lifetime. It was the only way he knew how to live with his very hurting and troubled heart.
Now the incarceration of my wife begins. Bob was trying to do the same things to my wife, his daughter, that he did to his wife. The verbal abuse, the constant harassment of phone calls, and demands for her time were never ending.
The story went on, and Lori and I both continued to pray for Bob. We prayed that God would keep us strong. To help us see what is really going on inside him. What is making him act the way he does. He is hurting. He is so very angry. And God, what is our part in all this? Sometimes I wanted to wring his neck, and other times I felt sorry for him.
He was the one who was really in prison. He was the one that kept himself locked in, so afraid to come out, so afraid to face himself. But that is the only way he would ever be free. That is the only way any of us will ever be free. When we look in the mirror and see who we really are.
John 8:32;” And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Well that prison door was about to be opened. It all started when Bob joined our men’s bible study.
I want to talk now about the miracle God performed in Bob, my father-in-law’s life.
He joined the men’s bible study that I facilitated. He really loved getting out of the house and being one of the guys, ever since his wife died. We would talk about our sports teams and we always had something to say about our beloved, Detroit Lions. We would do our best to tell of how we would right the ship, if only we were the Head Coach of the Lions. Once we got all that out of our system, we really did open our bibles and get into a study of God’s word. We would drink our coffee, and eat our little munchies and share life with each other. It was a good time.
Bob would come over to my house and we would ride together to the church where the bible study was held. Sometimes he would get there two hours early. Since I only lived three minutes from the church, it left a lot of time for us to talk.
Sometimes we would go out to dinner or just sit in the kitchen and talk before it was time to go to the study. Bob was lonely, and all he wanted was someone to talk too. I know that I would complain sometimes, because he would come over so early, and I had things to do, but you know, I kind of didn’t mind. We would have some good talks, and looking back, God was letting me see inside into Bob’s heart, and I was seeing something start to happen. Bob was reading his bible every day. Even his next door neighbor said she saw him sitting on their back deck reading his bible.
God was doing something in Bob’s heart. He was changing this man from the inside. He didn’t seem so uptight about things like he used too. He was actually starting to be nice to people. People were starting to notice this as well as us.
The real proof came on Christmas. We had all of the family over our house for our yearly Christmas celebration. Food was out, and everyone was mingling and talking and just sharing the joy of the season. Normally Bob would sit at the table and not talk to anyone, unless he was spoken too. But this year was different. He was reaching out to the kids and talking to them, and saying hello to everyone. He even sat with his daughter-in-law and talked to her for about an hour. He gave her a hug and a kiss when she left to go home. Now this was something that everyone stood up and took notice of, because everyone knew that Bob did not like Debbie. In the past he would never have spoken with her, let alone give her a hug and a kiss good bye. Everyone saw this and took notice that this was not the Bob they all new.
When everyone left, Bob stayed. He stayed for about three hours. I could tell that he just wanted to talk to someone. So we sat down at the kitchen table… and we talked.
He told us about a time when his mother had come to live with them. This was way back when my wife was still living at home. He proceeded to tell us how his wife treated his mother,” like she was an angel,” he said. “She treated her like a queen”, he continued. But the most shocking thing came next. With watery eyes, and a difficult time getting the words out, he admittedly said,” but I treated her like a jerk. I was an idiot.”
It was a very emotional moment, but this man, maybe for the first time in his life, was admitting that he was wrong. He admitted that he was not the man that he portrayed himself to be, and he had definitely not lived the kind of life that God required of him. He told me; “I just want to get to heaven and be with my Vergie.” That was his nick name for his wife. She had died of pancreatic cancer about twenty months before all this. They had been together for fifty five years.
Through the prayers, love and friendship of so many people, and most of all, the intervening of God’s word in Bob’s life, this man was changing right before our eyes. You have heard of the miracles of people being cured of physical ailments. I think the greatest miracle of all is when God gives a person a new heart. One that can see and feel the world from the way God sees everything.
On January 12, 2009, Robert McMaster died of a massive heart attack. They said that he was dead before he hit the ground.
I believe with my whole heart, and not a doubt in my mind, that Bob has finally reached the place that he always wanted to be. He is in heaven, and he is with his Vergie.
If there was ever a person whom I thought was totally unreachable with the gospel of Jesus Christ, Bob would have been that person. I would have said that there was no way God could change Bob McMasters heart. I was so wrong.
God taught me that nothing is impossible with Him at the controls. Not only is Bob a great example of this, but my life as well.
The night that we went over to Bob’s house, after we got the call of his death, we found Bob’s bible opened to this verse.
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14: 2-3
Right now Bob and Vergie are in the place that God had been preparing for them. How about you? Have you examined your heart lately? Better yet, why not let God take a look at it. After all… He’s the one who wired it up. No one knows better how to fix it than He does. Just ask Him. He will do it.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55: 8-11
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
I was watching a very popular show the other day, that is on network television, in the morning. There are four doctors on the program and each one of them represent a different area of the medical field.
One doctor is female, one from the male side of medicine, one a children’s doctor, and one is a plastic surgeon, or cosmetic surgeon. I think the word plastic surgeon is more appropriate, because that’s what they do, they inject and insert plastic in bodies to make them look younger, hotter, and sexier.
I see this as a very big problem, especially with the women in our world today.
The world breeds discontentment with ourselves, and actually with the God who made us, because it’s good marketing for the products and services that they sell and it makes them a lot of money. To the tune of almost 40 billion dollars a year.
After a women goes through the process of having children, or just the normal process of aging, everyone’s body changes. The world holds that, don’t you want to stay young and sexy for as long as you can, carrot out in front of people, and they run after it as fast as they can.
The majority of people that fall prey to this marketing machine are women but there are also men that go this route as well.
The under-laying factor in all these people is discontentment with themselves and their marriages and other relationships. They are insecure people that don’t want to be out of the loop. They want to be with the in crowd and they want to be the center of the action. Truth and reality are things that they struggle with.
My wife worked for a real estate company and her boss was a millionaire. They had money, two beautiful children, a successful business, but she was not happy with herself and there were some cracks starting up in their marriage. She wanted breast implants.
This lady is a beautiful women and in my opinion, didn’t need these surgeries, but she went and not only had the breast implants, but also the lip injections. My big question is why is she doing this?
Now everyone will say, it’s for me, or I want to look good for my husband, but is it really? With discontentment, comes the allurement of other eyes and the attention from other sources, that these surgeries will bring. If you are not content with yourself or your marriage, you can be sure, the world will bring some new sources to your door.
I’m not saying that these are things that will happen, but there are natural tendencies that human nature will follow, and you need to be aware of them and how they work or you will fall prey to them and just become another statistic.
I am a Christian, I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and these are situations that every child of God should be aware of. If you are only getting fed from TV and what the world and magazines are saying about you, and how you should look and feel, and your mind and heart are being molded by what they all have to say, you are on the wrong road. You will fall victim to them, not if, but when it happens.
Start finding out what the One who made you has to say about you. Find out why He wired you the way He did. There is a reason why He put you together the way He did. He wants to use you for His purposes and bless you beyond anything that you can think or imagine.
The world says it can change you and make you happy, but God says He wants to give you real contentment and real joy in living. He will give you life and give it to you to the fullest measure. Run to Him, and not to the imaginary mirror that the world holds up for you to see yourself in.
Love is the greatest power in the universe, and it can also be the most powerful tool, when withheld from someone. Nothing can do more harm and cause more devastation then the power of love.
Loved? Loved. is my 2 word story. For those of you who don’t know what I mean by a 2 word story, I will explain.
On April 16, 2011, the EACH program was set into gear, with the Prayer Walk that was held in downtown Detroit Michigan. 25,000 people from about 500 churches, of all denominations, met in solidarity to pray for the city and pledge one million hours of community service to help those in need and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
EACH stands for Everyone a Chance to Hear. Hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, and part of this program is to come up with your story in just two words. You wear your two words on a t-shirt, button, or a hat, and pray as God will open the doors for people to ask you what those two words means on your shirt, and then you have the invitation to tell them your story of how you met Jesus Christ.
Loved? I was not, as a boy growing up. I was small and not very big, very shy and not assertive at all. I grew up in a home of verbal abuse. I was always told that I couldn’t do anything and that I would just grow up to be a garbage man. If I ever did want to try something, I was told I couldn’t do it because I was to small, or I would break it, or some other reason that my parents had in their arsenal of negative statements.
Words can kill, and I never was involved in any physical abuse, so I don’t know what that’s all about, but I do know that words can hurt and the scares can linger for a life time.
My view of God was some big guy in the heavens just waiting for me to slip up, and he couldn’t wait to bring the hammer down on top of my head. He loved punishment and judgment, and since I couldn’t do anything right, He was having a fun time with me.
Well, needless to say, these things all turned me into other avenues to find validation and love, and they were all the wrong ones. Drugs, alcohol, and women got me in a whole lot of trouble, and there were times, when I look back today, that I should have been dead. I used everyone and I hurt a lot of people.
When I was ten yeas old, I gave my life over to Jesus Christ, while watching a Billy Graham crusade on TV. My mother would always watch him and so we did as well. Something that he said just resonated with me and I got down on my knees before I went to bed, and asked God to come into my life and change me. I meant it with all my heart.
They sent me a copy of the gospel of John and I remember going through it but I don’t think I read it all the way . I never told anyone what I did, and because we were catholic, I never had anyone to talk to about it.
Years later after I was married and my wife was expecting our first son, something happened.
I was working the night shift at one of the big three, and one of my party buddies, was going to day shift. He was my best friend and after being on the day shift for one year, he got bumped back to nights. Well I couldn’t wait for me and him to get back to our party ways.
While he was gone , we used to go all the way up the stairs, to the top of the roof of the building, (a staircase that was only used by the skilled trade guys), to get high. But someone, we didn’t know who, had put a picture of Jesus up there, and we used to use that picture as our code word. When we wanted to get high, we would go up to a guy and say, ” Do you want to go and see the Lord at lunch time?” He would know exactly what we meant.
Well when I say my friend after a year, I took him up to see the Lord. I figured we would start our reunion in the right way. Well, he had other plans.
He told me that he had become a follower of Jesus Christ and that he had put the picture of Jesus up because that’s where him and his other Christians friends, from day shift, would go and have their bible study every day.
He told me all about Jesus dying on a cross to save me from my sins and that He really loved me, and would come into my life and change me.
I got down on my knees again and asked God to come into my life. My friend gave me a bible and I still have that bible sitting in my office.
I think God used my friend to complete what He used Billy Graham to start years before.
I learned that God wasn’t waiting for me to mess up so He could punish me. He punished His son so that I could live. He loved me that much to pay that kind of price, just so I could be free. Nobody has ever loved me like that, and nobody ever can. Only God can do that.
Loved? was the word that I carried around my neck for some twenty years of my life. Now I have replaced it with a new word. Loved. He really does love me and loves me like no one else ever can. Circumstances can change, people can change, and events can change, but His love for me and you will never change.
At His last meal with twelve of His closet friends, right before He went to the cross, He said this to them;
“No one has greater love than this — that one lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends” John 15: 13-14
What’s your 2 word story? Do you have a 2 word story?
Someone asked me, “what is faith?” I think a lot of people ask that question, and I know that I’ve had that question myself, off and on during my Christian life. What do we mean when we say, “we have faith?”
Well we all have faith, but in different things. We have faith when we get into an airplane, we have faith when we get behind the wheel of an automobile, and we have faith when we sit into a chair, that the chair will hold us up and it won’t collapse on us. (I’ve had that happen, by the way.) This is faith that all of us carry every single day of our lives.
We need faith to live, and we need faith to live eternally with God. It’s how our walk with God is initiated. “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
Is it just a leap in the dark, like so many say today? Is it just an, “I hope so”, or “I think this is the way”, statement? Not at all. God gave you a brain, use it. He doesn’t want you to check your brain at the door.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
Now there are not to many things in this world today, that you can be sure of and not to many things that you can be convinced of, but God says you can be of Him.
Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews is the faith chapter. It goes through all of these people in the bible and talks about the faith that they had in God and what He said. You see, this is not about the great faith these people had, but it’s about the faith they had in a great God. The subject is God, and faith is the vehicle that God uses to work in our lives.
Faith in God is simply believing God is who He said He is and believing what He said. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Heb 11:6
Now that is going to take some knowledge and study to get to know Him, because how can you believe and trust what someone says if you don’t know them. That would be a leap in the dark. Would you get married to someone you just met? No, although some people do, and end up in divorce court before the year is out.
If you have stepped into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and you believe He took the penalty for yours sins on the cross, and you know enough about Him to trust Him with your eternal destiny, than why don’t you move further along in this relationship and really get to know Him so deeply and personal, that His thoughts will be your thoughts and His concerns will be your concerns.
Now I’m not talking about a robot mentality, that’s not what it is at all. Take someone who has been married for fifty, sixty, or even seventy years, they just have to look at each other and they can tell what that person is feeling, simply by a touch or a look. Wouldn’t it be so nice to know God that well. You can!
Let’s just read one example of faith from Hebrews chapter 11. Abraham.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises, yet he was ready to offer up his only son. God had told him, “Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name,” and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead, and in a sense he received him back from there.” Hebrews 11: 17-19.
God tested Abraham’s faith in Him. (read Job 23:10, James 1:2-3, 1Peter 1:6-8). Abraham knew that God promised His seed would come through Isaac. Abraham had waited a very long time for the birth of Isaac, and now God is telling Abraham to offer Isaac on the alter. That went against everything that God said and everything that God was to Abraham, because Abraham knew God very well.
So when God asked Abraham to offer up Isaac, he didn’t flinch one single bit. It says, “he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead“. Notice that he reasoned. He didn’t leave his brain at the door. Abraham reasons to himself, “well God said Isaac is the one, I’ve been waiting a long time for him, he just wouldn’t take him away after He promised…I guess He will just raise Isaac back from the dead.”
For all intense and purposes, Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac on the alter, so God’s word says he basically did receive him back from the dead. You can read the whole story in Genesis chapter 22.
That’s faith my friend. Do you think Abraham could have expressed such a strong faith in someone that he really didn’t know that well? To many of the people who are in our churches today, have met Jesus Christ, but they don’t know Jesus Christ.
There were many others who didn’t receive the end reward of their faith, but it didn’t diminish it at all. They still went to some horrible deaths believing God all the way. “But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life.” Hebrews 11: 35 It goes on to say that the world is not worthy of them.
Where is your faith today? Do you know Him? I mean, do you really know Him? Are you looking forward to seeing Him when you exit this world as if you were going to be reunited with a very good friend that you haven’t seen in a very long time.
That’s how He wants you to know Him. You can by taking time every single day in His word. He wants to talk to you, and He wants to hear from you today.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.” 2Peter 3:18
Saturday, April 16, 2011, will be a day that the 25,000 people, who braved the rain and cold temperatures, pray will live on for years to come.
The first of its kind, prayer walk, was held at Comerica Park in Detroit Michigan. Thousands of Christians came together to pray for their city, it’s leaders, and also to pledge a million hours of service to their communities.
This all started about two years ago and grew into the E.A.C.H. program. E.A.C.H. stands for; Everyone A Chance to Hear. To hear what you might ask? To hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
500 churches, from all denominations, came together in this massive event. There were singers and lots of umbrellas, but most of all, there was the hope and the hearts of thousands of people calling for God to move His mighty hand on this ravaged city of Detroit.
The news media came from all over the country. CNN, MSNBC, and national reporters came from every where to cover this event.
There has not been any kind of event like this since the days of Billy Graham and his crusades that covered all the major cities of America with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The EACH program will be a bit different. Instead of using one man, the entire body of Jesus Christ, His church, is being called on to go out and share the gospel of Christ in word and more importantly, in deed. One million hours of service to communities all over southeastern Michigan. Showing the love of God in the things we do and say to people. Going out of our ways to help out those who are in need with the things that we have.
Easter will kick off a one year program of service by the church and followers of Jesus Christ.
There are billboards, all over the city highways, that have just have one word on them, and after Easter, they will be replaced with two words. The two word story is coming April 24, 2011.
Everyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ has a story. It’s His story and how it has changed people from the inside out. My two word story is; Loved? – Loved. Go to the 2 word story link on April 24, 2011, and read more.
There were extra police officers that were working that day because of the crowd, but all they were doing was shaken hands and having pictures taken with the prayer walkers, and walkers thanking them for all their hard work that they do in laying their lives down for the people of the city of Detroit. They were dumb founded and didn’t know what to say with all the accolades that were being heaped upon them.
As I watched all this and taking all of it in, I thought…what would it be like if our whole city was like this? What would it be like if our whole state of Michigan were filled with people like this? What would it be like if our whole nation was filled with people of this nature?
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, help get His story out in your town and in your city or state. That’s why we are here!
“Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20
Webster’s dictionary official definition of the word integrity is; “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”
I can almost see and feel the perspiration coming from inside myself and a whole lot of you as we read these words. Words like, moral and ethical principles, moral character, and…honesty? Doesn’t sound like the world we live in today does it? But that’s what the word integrity means in the dictionary, but it has taken on a whole different meaning in our world and even in the church.
What does it mean to have a moral character? What does it mean to have ethical principles? Where does one see honesty anymore?
The word moral means; “the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong.”
Do you know right from wrong? Do you have a principle or a set of rules that guide you through the maze or what’s right and what’s wrong in this world today?
There are a lot of people in Washington who will give you the principles and rules that they follow, and there are CEO’s and presidents of Banks and large Corporations who will be happy to tell how they divide what’s right and what’s wrong. As a matter of fact, there seems to be a bunch of people who have their own set of rules and principles that they follow according to what they believe is right and wrong, and each and everyone of them is different.
They have to be grounded and based on something. For example, most people will say that it’s wrong to cheat, but just about everyone does cheat at some point or another. One may think it’s OK to cheat on their taxes and another will find nothing wrong with cheating a cashier, when she accidentally gives them the wrong change. The difference, of when these two people think it’s OK to cheat, comes from their moral character. How is our moral character formed?
That’s the million dollar question. I believe it goes all the way back to when we were children. Our parents, and the environment that we were raised in, shapes our moral character, but then you have to look at how your parents were raised and how your grand-parents were raised, and it goes on and on and on.
God says in Numbers 14:18; “‘The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in loyal love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children until the third and fourth generations.” We live in a sinful world and we’re raised by sinful parents and we go about living our sinful lives in the direction and path that we choose, with no regard for no one else except our own selfish desires.
Honesty is the result of ethical principles and moral character.
Now it’s easy to see, how a world that does not acknowledge or even see God, would come to all these destinations, but what about those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ? Those of us who are Philippians 1:21 Christians; “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” What about us, where do we get our moral compass and who do we line it up with?
I was invited to a business networking event, which was being held at a bar-restaurant. I spotted a few people that I knew from church. If I didn’t know who these people were, you would be hard pressed to identify them from the crowd. Who were the Christians and who were not. They all looked, acted, and talked the same way.
Have you ever been at a traffic light and suddenly you had the weirdest sensation, that you were moving? You quickly pressed down harder on the brake peddle, just to make sure you weren’t rolling. If you were to look at something stationary, like the street light pole on the other side of the road, you would easily see that you were really not rolling.
You see, when we fix our energies and attention on something solid, unmovable, and not changing, we can easily get our bearings straight, and not rely on the forever changing feelings and emotions of the world and our own humanity. They are marred and unreliable.
There are people and churches that live their spiritual lives totally depended on miracles, healing’s, prosperity, and health. They are all based on feelings and emotions, and they are walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit. They have just made unto themselves another law that they have to follow.
“Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort?” Galatians 3:3
My friend, only the solid and unmovable Word of God, can be trusted to be your stationary post and compass, to guide and direct your thoughts and minds toward God and the path He has designed for your life.
Spend some time every day in it and and talk to God. He’s just waiting to hear from you, and you know what…it will change your life forever.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not empty, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11
What if you were visiting Niagara Falls, and you saw a canoe with three or four of your family members, and they were just floating down the river, having a great time. Unfortunately the river emptied into the huge drop of the Falls, and if they continued on this route, it would surely end in their deaths, and they had no clue where they were headed… what would you do?
That may not be happening literally, but it is happening spiritually all around us.
Everyday we encounter hundreds and maybe even thousands of lives, people we see at the store, our place of work, our neighborhoods, and our friends. Thousands of people who don’t know Jesus Christ. Thousands of people who our in the canoe of life, and heading for the falls, and don’t realize anything is wrong.
Do you care? Our you remotely interested that others are on their way to death and total separation from God for the rest of eternity?
If you are a child of God, you should care and you should be interested because that’s why Jesus Christ came to this world over two thousand years ago.
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
God is on a search and rescue mission. He has lost something and He wants it back, and He has chosen you and me as His ministers of this mission.
God was the first missionary Himself. Go back to the book of beginnings, the book of Genesis, after Satan, through his craftiness and lies, stole the bride of Christ away, and you find Him walking and looking for His bride.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the orchard.
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8-9
God was the first missionary, and He has been on a search and rescue mission ever since. He has been looking for His lost sheep and calling them back home. This is the theme all through the bible and if you don’t get this down, you will struggle understanding the rest of God’s word.
There is an incredible program going on in Detroit Michigan, called E.A.C.H. – everyone a chance to here. To here what? To here the good news of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and this program is growing rapidly. I would not be surprised if this spreads to our entire nation.
There are almost 500 hundred churches involved, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, and non-denominational churches, all with the same desire and effort…to get out God’s good news to mankind.
Ladies and gentleman, there is only One church, and that’s the church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of Jesus Christ, that God the Father made for His son. Satan stole her away, and God wants her back. He paid the price for her redemption…the door is open and God is calling an army of witnesses to get the word out. The only reason there are divisions in His Church, is because of you and me, not God.
“I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18
There is a time line that EACH is following and it starts with Easter. A prayer walk in downtown Detroit, and there is expected to be around 30,000 people there, maybe even more, and then the army of God is going to go out into the world and spread the good news by doing good.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.
My friend is a missionary to Africa, and most of the people in his area are Muslim. He is a carpenter by trade and is building a school in Ghana. One of the Muslim villagers is working with him, and my friend and him decided to fix all the fences in the village.
While they were doing that, one of the Muslim Imam’s was watching them. He watched as they fixed the fences without being asked and without asking for nothing in return.
The Muslim Imam approached him and asked him, “are you a Christian?” He replied, “yes I am.” The Imam declared, “you are different from the others.”
You see, they have seen other people who have called themselves Christians, and they lied and cheated and have brought the name of Christ down.
It’s not by what you say, but by what you do that others will know you belong to Christ. Demonstrating His love and compassion to the world, through the actions we take, will demonstrate who we really belong too, and it’s the best way to spread the good news.
“So then, you will recognize them by their fruit. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’24 will enter into the kingdom of heaven — only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
” Matthew 7:20-21
That’s what EACH is all about. Demonstrating with your life and then give an answer of the hope that is within you, when someone asks.
What are you doing? Who will be in heaven because of what they saw in you or what you demonstrated in your life, or by what you said.
This is God’s program and we are just His tools. What kind of tool are you.
Through the years since the life of Jesus Christ on this earth, the gospel, or good news of God, has changed and evolved into different guides and peramiters that we have put it in.
Simply believe on Jesus and His shed blood on the cross, and you’re saved. Nothing more. It’s nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all true, but A man’s professed faith may be nothing more than mental assent to a well-known fact. Such intellectual agreement involves no commitment of the person, and does not produce a transformed life. It is not enough to believe in the existence of God. True, this is essential, but it is not sufficient. Even the demons believe in the existence of God and they shudder at the thought of their eventual punishment by Him. (James 2:19)
The word believe carries with it much more than just an intellectual accent to this existence of God. I think our human nature is always willing to give just what I have to to get by and no more.
Look at all the failed marriages in America today. People that believed and vowed their alligence to one person, until death due they part, but when life starts to crash against us, and spill it’s waves inside our boats, we look for the first way out. Where is our love and commitment when these storms arise?
There was the rich young ruler who asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus told him to keep the commandments, and he replied that he wholeheartedly has kept all of them. He had kept the law, the rules and regulations that the law required, he had done just enough, but what was Jesus reply?
“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was extremely wealthy.” Luke 18:22-23
Jesus told him that he still lacked something, and that was a real commitment from the heart, and he couldn’t do that because his money was filling that empty spot in his heart. Jesus said get rid of that money and I will fill that empty place in your heart with Me.
Jesus knew what he was thinking and told him, ” don’t worry because you will have treasure in heaven.” Sadly the rich young ruler couldn’t make a real commitment. He turned and walked away.
I’ll bet that rich young ruler looked real good in church on Sunday. Probably was the head of a men’s bible study, maybe even an elder in his church, and even helped people out with his money, but where was his heart really?
There is the story of the lawyer in Luke 10:25-37, who asks the same question of Jesus and this time Jesus goes further with His answer with a story of His own, about the good Samaritan. It is more then just doing what you have to do to get by, if you aren’t willing to live it, then you haven’t made a real commitment.
Peter also made such a commitment to Jesus. After Jesus told them of His death and how they would all scatter and leave Him alone., Peter turned to Jesus and vowed that even if everyone else ran off, he would never leave, as a matter of fact, he would even give his life for Jesus.
Peter meant what he said and Jesus knew that, and Peter’s life proved it, but he had it all wrong, it was Jesus who would lay His life down for him. Peter’s heart was in the right place, but Jesus knew that he was still going to have to go through more training. Remember what Jesus told him;
Luke 22:31 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” Satan wanted to get at Peter because he was a leader and his heart was 100% sold out to Jesus.
Jesus never taught easy believism. Whether He was telling the rich young ruler to sell everything he had and follow Him or telling a crowd of people, who were only looking for the next miracle, that to do the work of God was to believe on Him, (John 6:28-29), He called for people to abandon their own agenda and trust Him radically. Radical trust calls for both believing and acting upon that belief.
Love is believing and committing, and always followed with action. Any other way is not real.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matt. 16:24-25
I don’t know how many of you are married but if you are married or you may be planning a wedding, you remember that there is a lot of preparation and planning that goes on to make sure this very special day goes on without a hitch.
God is planning a wedding and He is preparing for a marriage feast. Now when God puts things into motion, I guarantee that they will go on without a hitch. There won’t be any last minute complications that will throw His plans off.
The greatest romance novel is the Bible. If we go back to the beginning, the book of Genesis, the book of beginnings, we see God talking to someone when He said,
“Then God said, “Let us make
humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”
God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27
There is a very distinct difference that we bear from all the rest of God’s creation. We bear the image of God Himself. We are image bearers for God as we walk in this world.
You see, God made the world for us and He made us for Himself. We bear His image because we belong to Him. I’ve had so many people come up to me and say, “you look just like your father.” Well we can say that about all of us, because we bear His image. Now Satan comes along.
“Now the serpent was more shrewd
than any of the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard;
but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’ ” Genesis 3:1-5
Satan comes along and he challenges God’s love for Adam and Eve. He tells her that God is holding back on you. He’s not telling you the truth. How can He love you if He would do this to you? I won’t do this to you. I will give you everything. You can trust me. Come with me, and Adam and Eve ate from the tree and plunged all humanity into sin.
That tree was kind of like a wedding ring. We were betrothed to God and we ran off with another lover…Satan. Sin is a rupture in the love-relationship between God and us. The ability to love God well and love others well came undone.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the orchard.
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”Genesis 3:8-9
God was the first missionary looking for the lost. Did He know where Adam and Eve were? Yes He knew. He knows where you and I are today my friends. This is the whole theme of the Bible. If you don’t understand this, you won’t understand the rest of the Bible. God lost something and He wants it back!
“And I will put hostility between you and the woman
and between your offspring and her offspring;
her offspring will attack your head,
and you will attack her offspring’s heel.” Genesis 3:15
God became the first prophet and made the first promise that He would fight to win back our love.
“The LORD God made garments from skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
“The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
God becomes the first priest to offer a great sacrifice to remove the sin problem. God could as easily walked away and said, “you’ve run off with another lover, I will go make me a new one. I don’t need you. You’ve made your choice.” He didn’t do that. He told Satan, “You’ve stolen from Me what was mine and I will win her back.”
“You were bought with a price.” 1 Corinthians 7:23
“Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7
There is going to be a great wedding feast that God is preparing for His bride. You can read all about at the end of the book of Revelation. He has already paid the price, He has already bought us back from the Evil One, and now His offer goes out to everyone.
Are you getting yourself ready for the wedding day? Are you inviting your friends, family, and everyone you know to this great celebration?
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” Revelation 21:1-3