…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
Whenever we are traveling in an area were we’ve never been before, we usually have a map that we follow. I remember back in the day, taking that long road journey called the family vacation, and my wife following the map that we had and telling me the next road I would have to turn on. We had planned ever road and stop with a marker, so there was no way we were ever going to get lost.
Now I have a terrible sense of direction. All you have to do is turn me around in a circle and I would get lost, and I am no different than any other man when it comes to asking for directions. I don’t know why, but it’s a part a the male species to never want to admit that we are lost and we need directions. I guess it just hits at our pride; you know, the man, the head of the family, the one who protects and provides…..is lost! Just a hard thing for us guys to swallow. Thank God for GPS.
We joke about this, but when it comes to following your life map, the life map that God has laid out for you, we all have a hard time admitting that we might need some direction, and sometimes we just get lost and need some very definite help. When it comes to this, all of us, male and female fall very short on admitting these things.
When the bible talks about the offense of the gospel, why would the gospel be offensive to anyone? The gospel is the good news of God. The way is now open for anyone who wants to, can now come to God and receive forgiveness for all their sins, everything that they have done to offend God. That’s what our sins are, an offensive front against God. He will wipe the slate clean, and give you a brand new life map, that He has laid out specifically just for you. He has promised to be your guide and help you to through your life map.
Why would this be offensive to us? Because I don’t like asking for directions. It makes me feel like I’m not in control. It makes me feel inferior, less of a person, like I don’t know what I’m doing. It means that I have to swallow my pride and admit that I’m lost and I don’t know the right way to go. That’s never been an easy thing for me to do, and maybe that’s never been an easy thing for you to do also, but that’s what is needed to do.
Just like my wife is telling me, as we drive endless hours looking for that road we can’t find, “why don’t you stop and ask for directions?” God is saying the same thing to you and me; “When are you going to admit that you’ve lost your way, and come to Me for directions. I’ve got the life map that I made just for you and you won’t be alone, because I’ll walk you through it.” That’s a promise from God to you and me. Listen to what He says;
“Now, this is what the LORD says,
the one who created you,
and formed you:
“Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you.
I call you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I am with you;
when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not harm you.” Isaiah 43: 1-2
I want to close with something King David said to his son Solomon before he passed the throne of kingship to him;
“When David’s time to die approached, he charged his son Solomon, saying. “I’m about to go the way of all the earth, but you – be strong; show what you’re made of! Do what God tells you. Walk in the paths He shows you: Follow the life map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts, His course for life set out in the revelation to Moses; then you’ll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go.” 1 Kings 2: 1-3 from “The Message”
It’s never to late to ask for directions, and it’s OK to do so, because all of us get lost. God has a life map for you, and He will walk with you through it and even show you where all the signposts are. All you have to do is stop whatever you’re doing and ask Him for directions. He just waiting to hear from you.
“God came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
With the permission of Mrs. West, I would like to show you a portion of an article that she wrote for a school paper. She is the editor, and a teacher, at this school, and she is also signed up and receiving a “Love Note From God” everyday. Listen to what she has to say.
“Earlier this year I shared with you
an email that I receive almost every
day. It is entitled “My Love Notes
from God,” and the notes are actually
taken from scripture and sent
out in “note” form, signed from God.
I enjoy reading these short notes
each day and have been amazed at
how often they come with a message
that I particularly need at that time.
In reality, the entire Bible is our
“Love Note from God,” inspired by
His Divine thoughts and therefore
worthy of reading, understanding’
and discussing. What a privilege we
have as mere humans to be able to
touch the very heart of God through
the study of His Word. And what a
privilege we have here at Fairview to
not only study the literature of man
but to study God’s Holy Word. Let us
never forget this awesome opportunity
that our children have here at
Celebrating God’s Word,
It brings such a joy to our hearts to know how God continues to bless His Word as He sends it out to many hearts and lives. He still is on the throne and He still is in the business of changing hearts and changing lives. How about yours? Maybe you know someone who could use a Love Note From God everyday.
Go to the website and sign up. It’s free. “My Love Notes From God”
God bless you all.
As I look around at the state of the union, our country and the world, I’m not encouraged about the future. Many people feel the same way today. There are not a lot of happy smiling faces around anymore.
Watch the news, and all you see is story after story of the disintegration of our culture. Violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and corporate scandals fill the headlines everyday. Lawlessness and immorality are running rampant right in front of our eyes every where you look.
Want to see the direction we are headed, just take a look at the entertainment industry. That’s always a good meter to read if you want to see where we are going. Vulgarity, nudity, unwholesome innuendos, are what our movies, music, and television are consumed with. It’s almost a race to see who can out do the others for higher ratings. There is no public embarrassment or outrage as they continue to push the boundaries of normal decency further and further out. People have become numb as we spiral further and further down this deadly road.
We have a president and an administration, that’s more liberal then any other in our history. They were dealt a severe blow in the last elections, but the long road we are on is by no means any closer to the end. Many are wondering what new laws are coming that will harm our security, our freedoms, and the sanctity of life and marriage. Especially Christians, who have a growing concern of vocal government hostility, that my hamper the way we worship and our ability to teach and preach the truth of the scriptures publicly.
Mix all these things together and add the “Christian Church” that is trying so desperately to be like the world, and it isn’t hard to see the many unanswered questions that we face today.
One question I hear a lot is, “where is God in all that is happening today?” Is His plans for our country, and for His people, being defused or sidetracked somehow?
That’s a question everyone has had in his heart and mind, weather you want to admit it or not. It’s easy to wonder that, with all this wickedness and immoral conduct taking place all around us, where God is? We are all concerned about the future for our children, and grand children, and what’s it going to be like for them?
You will never find the answer, or any source of truth, in the media or the many talk shows that are on the air. The answer is from God in His Word.
First, God is on the throne. Not a single molecule escapes His notice or operates outside of His immediate control. Despite the way things are going, He remains unchanging, immovable, and supremely in control. This is not some wishful thinking, or some pious platitude – it’s an anchor of truth we can’t rehearse enough.
Quit standing on the premises and start standing on the promises. God’s promises for His people have not changed and they will never change.
Our relationship with Him is irrevocable. This is true for us and every generation of believers that follow us.
Finally, God’s Word is not silent about what He is doing among sinful nations. The Bible offers clear, detailed insight into how He actively accomplishes His sovereign will through the worst expressions of natural depravity. Despite all this, scripture leaves no question about who is in control and what the ultimate outcome will be. God is always moving and working everything toward His ends and to achieve His means.
This should give every child of God, amazing security and comfort in grasping this truth. I pray it does for you.
If you would like to become a child of God, and you’re not really sure what that is and how it happens, click the picture below. We’re all prying for you.
“The Love of God” is an old hymn sung by “Mercy Me” Enjoy and be blessed.
This is an old hymn, that you don’t hear very much anymore in church. I just had to print it out here for you. Read the verses and take in the message of the song. There is a little side note at the end, about the song, that I didn’t know.
As you read the lyrics, think about the extreme love that God lavishly pours out on you and me every moment of every day of our lives. This incredible love can never really be understood be the unregenerate heart and mind. We can only begin to come to the very fringe of understanding God’s great love for us, as He comes into our lives and starts to change us to be more like Him. It is this great love of God, that even starts to take this tremendous task of changing your heart and mine, as His gracious gift to you and me.
Verse 3 was penciled on the wall of a narrow room in an insame asylum by a man said to have been demented. The profound lines were discovered when they laid him in his coffin.
Here is a link to the song with the words right in front of your eyes to read along. Be blessed
As I was getting ready for an appointment that I had this morning, I thought I would help my wife out as she was getting ready for work. I had some extra time, so I made her lunch and then went back to getting myself ready. I saw she was in a little rush so I told her that I would start her car for her and get it warmed up before she had to leave. The temperature was twenty degrees that morning, as we live in Michigan, and the winters can get cold.
As I was finishing brushing my teeth, I saw her getting her keys and running out into the cold to start her car. I yelled out, “honey, I will do that for you”, she said back to me as she ran by, “I need it done now”.
I was hurt. I thought to myself, she doesn’t believe me when I said that I would start her car and it would be all warmed up for her, before she had to leave. She didn’t trust me to handle that one simple little task. Have I ever let her down before? Well, yes, I guess I have at times, but not with something as simple as this was. I had already made her lunch and got the coffee ready this morning.
Then it hit. God was tapping me on the shoulder and He said to me, “Brian, that is an all to familiar scene with Me. How many times has you done that exact thing to Me.” I thought, ” you’re exactly right God, as You always are.”
How many times have I read in God’s Word, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Do I believe Him? Do I really trust what He says to be true? Has He ever let me down before? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it will show up in the way I live and respond to the circumstances in life.
When I respond to God as my wife responded to me, that really shows that I don’t trust Him. By my actions, I’m calling Him a liar. I’m saying that He can’t be trusted completely, and that’s what Satan did to Eve. He called into light the validity and truthfulness of God’s Word.
“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’?” Genesis 3:1
When God says He’s got your back, that should take that burden away. I shouldn’t worry about that anymore. That’s the whole purpose of trusting someone. When I told my wife, I was going to start her car and have it all warmed up and ready to go, she should have said, thank you. That is something that I don’t have to worry about anymore. You have lifted that burden off of me and have taken it upon yourself. I can now move forward with one less task to carry, but she didn’t do that. Like I do with God, she continued to worry and carry that burden herself.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 You see, love is an action word. God just doesn’t say He loves us, He showed His love for all humanity, by dying on a cross for your sins and mine.
“but He made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:7-8
There is every reason my wife doesn’t totally trust me. I have let her down and have not always come through like I promised I would, but thank God, He is not like us. God is the One who is faithful, not you and me. He always comes through and He will never let us down. We need to quit standing on the premises and start standing on the promises.
“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” Numbers 23:19
“casting all your anxiety onto Him,” because it matters to Him concerning you.” 1Peter 5:7
“Faithful is the One calling you, who also will perform it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 5:35
He is faithful and true, and yes, we can trust Him completely for everything in this life and the next.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” Revelation 19:11
There once lived a farmer who became jaded about Christmas and all things “Christian.”
Late one raw winter night, he sat alone in the house, reading. In the quiet he heard an irregular thumping against the back porch door. He flipped on the light. To his surprise, the birds that had made their nests in a nearby tree were flying against the glass, almost as if knocking to come inside. The limb on which they had built their nest had fallen under the weight of the ice. His heart went out to them.
He pulled on his snow boots and overcoat and pushed open the storm door. Immediately the birds fluttered away. Against knee-deep snow, he made his way out to the barn. He slid open the barn door and wondered how he could get the frightened birds into its warmth and safety.
He built a massive nest out of hay, but they wouldn’t come near. He sprinkled some crackers in a path from their tree toward the barn. But they didn’t follow. He tried to shoo them in, but they only scattered. He even lit a couple of candles inside the barn, hoping the added warmth would draw them. But to the birds, he was only something to be afraid of. He knew nothing of their language and nothing of their world.
He thought, If there were just some way that I could become a bird. If only for a few moments I could communicate to them how much I care, I could get them into the barn and they would be safe and warm.
At that moment, as only God would plan it, church bells began to ring in the distance. The farmer suddenly remembered, as he looked at his watch and checked the date, that it was Christmas morning.
At that moment, he grasped the true meaning of Christmas. A man becoming a bird is nothing to be compared to God’s becoming a man. This was what the Savior did—He came to rescue the farmer himself and all humanity from the cold of sin. There in the deep snow on the back porch he fell to his knees, softened his heart, and returned to the Lord his God.
See Philippians 2:6-11.
Ah, the Christmas season. I love this time of year. My favorite time of year. I don’t know what it is but have you noticed that this time of year always invokes different modes and feelings in people. It always seems to bring out the best in people, even if it’s only one time of the year. They’re more charitable, giving and helpful. More people are willing to open up the pocketbook and help out in things that they normally wouldn’t do any other time of the year. I guess that’s one reason why I love Christmas so much.
But why are people so bright cheerful, and giving at this time of year? Why right now? Our economy is not doing well. and people are struggling to make ends meet. It’s just a tough time to be in the giving mood.
I saw a Christmas special the other night, and it was a special rebroadcast of “The Walton’s”. Remember that program? They had all the cast members, much older of course, and they were talking about making and doing the scenes from that special.
The time was during World War ll, and the Walton’s had kind of adopted these two young British kids, who had been separated from their parents during the bombing by the Germans. They were staying with them for awhile, and it showed all the adjusting and making do with what they had, while they were there. The one thing that really grabbed me, was how they didn’t hardly have anything, but they always had something to give to someone else, who had none. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Giving and sharing with those that don’t have anything?
I don’t know if your grand-parents or aunts and uncles, who lived during the great depression, are still around, but you might find it very interesting to ask them to recall some of those times. Maybe share some of their stories with you at this Christmas time.
Those people really struggled financially. Many of them had to move in with other family members and everybody did their part. My wife and I had one of our children and their kids, move in with us for awhile. It was not easy and their big adjustments that had to be taken by all, but we did it to help each other out. Many people are having to do that today.
You see, when times get tough, the tough get going. Something magical happens. You can either go one of two ways. You either sink or swim, but everybody has to be on the same page. Coming together is the only way anyone will make it, and it is a time when you will learn a lot about yourself. All the talk won’t be worth a hill of beans, it’s the actions that will show what your really made of.
It wasn’t just about meeting the physical needs of everyone, there were also feelings and emotions that were riding very high. Imagine having ten to twelve people living in a three bedroom house. Tight quarters and no place to go where you could be by yourself. Everyone had to carry around a lot more patience, understanding, and compassion. You had to learn that your needs were not always going to be first. Could we learn some of that today, and you know, we maybe heading for that again.
It’s easy to be benevolent when I just have to do it for three or four weeks out of the year, but lets see how I do for the next three or four years. We just may be heading for that, and some people are already there now.
Maybe we can learn something more this Christmas then just having a little bit more Christmas cheer. I mean do I really need five TV’s in my house? Is it really all that important for me to get the new IPad, when I already have two computers? There are people living on the street that don’t know where their next meal will come from. Their children are cold and hungry. These are not drunks or drug addicts, they are people with college educations, that had very good jobs and made a very good living. It’s all gone now. Can I give up something so I can help them?
There is a reason that Christmas is spelled with a capital C. It stands for Christ. His name is part of the word Christmas. He gave the ultimate sacrifice for you and for me. He had nothing. No job, no home, no gold and silver, no IPad’s that He could sell and give, all He had was a perfect sinless life to offer for your ransom and mine.
You see, the reason you and I will taste death, is because of our sin. The penalty for that sin, is death. All of humanity was plunged into Satan’s prison, because of the disobedience of our parents, Adam and Eve, that’s why only a perfect unblemished life could be offered as a payment for our ransom.
One thing that Satan never thought would happen, is that God Himself, would come down to this murky sin filled planet, and pay that ransom, and win our freedom back from Satan.
God came down to this earth in the form of a man, and that man’s name was Jesus Christ, who’s birth we celebrate on Christmas. Maybe that’s why people do good around Christmas because God initiated it by the giving of Himself for you and me.
I don’t care what religion you are, how or even if you celebrate Christmas, weather you say, “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”, it doesn’t change the facts of the real story of Christmas. It’s not about a little baby in a manger, but a risen savior, who opened the way to God for you and me. All we have to do…is walk in it.
That’s why Christmas is spelled with a capital C.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son, that whosoever should believe in Him, would not perish, but have ever-lasting life.” John 3:16
“He has book sense, but he doesn’t have common sense.” How many of you have heard that said before? I’ve had people say that about me before, and to my shame, sometimes that has been true. This refers to people whose expertise may appear to be vast and impressive, but it’s not really useful. They are well informed in theory, but they are fools in practice.
There are many people in our churches today who are book smart when it comes to the Bible, but no application when it comes to practice. They know the truth of God’s word but their is no root or transformation in their lives. They can give you all the right answers but that truth has never penetrated their hearts or brought about real faith and repentance.
That does not mean that the truth of God’s word is ineffective . It doesn’t mean that the truth of God’s Word always will secure a sanctifying and positive result. When Moses was leading the people of Israel out of Egypt back in the book of Exodus, Pharaoh was continually confronted with the truth of God and he continually hardened his heart toward that truth. The same sun that melts the wax also hardens the clay.
In James chapters one and two talk about “faith without works is dead.” You don’t have to reject the truth to be become hardened to it. To those who hear God’s Word and don’t do it, actually become desensitized and hardened by hearing it rather than renewed and edified.
Many people have met Jesus Christ, but not many know Jesus Christ. No amount of theology or study of God’s Word can take the place of real repentance and living faith. These are the vital marks of a right relationship with God.
Many of the worlds Bible scholars see the Bible as only as an ancient piece of literature. They have a tremendous knowledge of the Bible but their hearts remain cold and unmoved by the truth.
Every Sunday churches are filled with people who have this same view. Many of them grew up in the church. They are very familiar with the truth and the Bible stories. they may not be completely cold to biblical truth, but they haven’t fully obeyed it yet either.
Many of them lead bible studies and write about it, but to them, the Bible is no more than a hobby, and they never really submit to it’s authority. Others only think about the bible on Sundays. Most of the time it sits on the corner or on a shelf, and the only time it is ever opened is in a special time of need, and then put back to collect more dust.
Knowing about God is simply not enough. Taking in all the facts apart from a true faith and repentance is no better than what James 2:19 describes about the demons. They believe and know that God exists, but they’re not going to heaven or have any kind of relationship with God at all.
To know about God is still a very important part of knowing Him. There are those who through their upbringing or bits and pieces of the bible, have put together a god of their own making. Their concept of God is just a figment of their own imagination. Many of these people are very active members of our churches today.
Some will chose a more favorable attribute of God and camp on it to the exclusion of everything else He has revealed about Himself in His Word. For example, “God is love”. If your theology starts and stops right there, you are worshiping a false god. There is so much more that you need to know about who God is; His nature and character. You just can’t cherry pick the truth.
Bottom line is, what you know about God and what you do with that knowledge touches every facet of your life.
“So Jesus said to those who believed in him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
David understood one of the essential qualities of a leader, as we see in 2 Samuel 23:3. Anyone who wants to lead well must fear the Lord. When we talk about fearing God, we are not talking about a wrong kind of fear. We are talking about the reverential fear that causes us to bow in His presence and even to prostrate ourselves before Him and say, “My God, there is none like You; Whom shall I fear? If You are for me, what can man do to me?’
The apostle Paul wrote something in Galatians 1:10, He said, “Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah).”
We know Satan firsthand uses rejection to prevent us from going forward with the call of God on our our lives. Have you ever been attacked with rejection? The devil uses this very effective tool to keep us from making progress.
How many of you have gone to the bank to get a loan for your business and were turned down? Wanted more money to expand? Wanted to hire a few more people? How many people were skeptical when you told them you were starting a business, or joining a partnership with someone, or told you all of the reasons why they failed in business and why you would too? It’s very difficult to go on when you are being rejected by someone you love and care about or others who have the power and ability to help but do not buy into your vision. I know what that feels like when you take the leap of faith and do what you believe you have been called to do. I shudder to think what I might have sacrificed had I bowed down to the pressure and the weight of rejection. Everywhere I went for help they told me no, or I didn’t qualify, but thank God I didn’t give up.
Have you ever been in a situation when the devil leveled an attack against you at the same time when God was trying to promote you into the next level of what he has for your life?
Anyone who is going to do the will of God must have more fear of God than of man. We all want acceptance and for others to support our dreams. It takes courage to live your dreams. And you have to be willing to lose everything to do it. What does that mean? The trials and storms of life will come. They must. Do you stay and fight for the dream and the desire that you believe God has placed on the inside of you, or do you turn in defeat because it’s just too hard?
Anyone who is going to do God’s will must remember what Jesus told His disciples: “A servant is not greater than his master…If they persecuted Me, they will also persecut you” (John 15:20). He was saying, “If they reject you, in effect they are rejecting Me.” I believe the Lord takes it personally when people reject you because you are trying to do the right thing. He knows how you feel about being rejected, because He felt the same thing. He is your Vindicator; your reward comes from Him, and you must reverentially fear and honor Him more than anything or anyone else.
As you have made the decision, for God I live, and for God I die, know that God is equally commited to the promise as well. Romans 8:31,32 “What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?] [Ps. 118:6]
32 He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?
God approved of you before anybody else ever got a chance to disapprove. Do not spend your time playing it safe in the illusion of a down economy (because millionaries are being made everyday, banks are still giving corporate execs million dollar bonuses) don’t buy into the hype! Safety is very comfortable, but it may keep you from God’s perfect plan for your life. If we want to continue to succeed in this environment, our focus must be customer focus coupled with outstanding customer service. Not because it will keep your customer and repeat business, but if you never see them again, the honor and privilege is in being in a position to serve.
Trust His Word and keep your heart willing and ready to obey. Be willing to try new things, especially if it is something you have never done before. You will find throughout your life that God regularly calls us out of our comfort zones and into new places of faith and growth in Him.
On the way to your destination, enjoy the journey.
When driving to, from, and through Frankenmuth, Michigan, I’m always intrigued with the many small simple crosses in the front yards of the homes we pass by.
Those crosses are a statement of support for Frankenmuth’s Christian foundation. Two years ago an atheist living there complained about two crosses on a bridge in town.
He requested that they be removed and the town removed them. He then decided that, since he was so successful with that, the city shield should also be changed since it had one it, along with other symbols, a heart with a cross inside signifying the city’s Lutheran beginnings At that point, the residents decided they had had enough. Hundreds of residents made their opinions known by placing small crosses in their front yards. Seeing this quiet but powerful statement from the community, the man removed his complaint. Those simple crosses remain in those front yards today.
After passing those crosses for two years, it finally hit me that a small cross in millions of front yards across our country could provide a powerful and inspiring message for all Americans passing them every day.
I think it might be time to take this idea across America. We have an administration that says “we are not a Christian nation” and everywhere you look the ACLU and others are trying to remove from our history and current lives any reference to God, prayer, or the fact that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Our administration can’t bring themselves to talk about “radical Muslims or Islamic terrorists” for fear of offending them, but they can talk about Americans “clinging to their guns and their religion”, or insinuate that our own military troops coming home from service overseas might turn into terrorists. The majority of Americans are Christians, why are we letting this happen to us?
It would be a beautiful thing to see crosses all across America.
God Bless America!
Bay City, MI
To read about the cross controversy in Frankenmuth:
For years the rock served as a doorstop on John Reed’s North Carolina farm. The old Hessian farmer’s son Conrad found the seventeen pound rock in the creek bed but no one thought much of it. It wasn’t until 1802 that a Fayetteville jeweler examined it and then offered $3.50 to the farmer for the stone. John sold it for that price but in the days that followed it was revealed that the yellowish rock was seventeen pounds of solid gold. Adjusted for inflation that means that $300,000.00 of gold in our day was sold for the equivalent in today’s dollars for a little over 50 bucks ($50.00). Like the old German farmer John Reed, many have come to think of eternal life –something with great value –to be something ordinary.
In a materialistic culture as we have in America, we can think of the gift of eternal life to be something ordinary and of little value here and now. We must learn that the prize of eternal life has great value while we are on earth. Eternal life itself isn’t just limited in impact to the future. An American minister named Reverend Ike preached a prosperity gospel. Ike used to speak mockingly of evangelical Christianity as offering only “pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye.” That isn’t true. The Scriptures reveal that eternal life isn’t simply about the future. I am going to tell you a secret that is more precious than gold and it can liberate you from spiritual bondage.
When we hear the expression “eternal life” we are inclined to think about existence after death. In addition, we are prone to think of eternal life as referring to time and duration – things that will last forever. However, according to John 17:3 this isn’t the main idea behind the concept of eternal life. You may have heard it before and you may have heard it many times but eternal life isn’t just about the future, it is about a relationship. Our relationship to God. Read Jesus’ words carefully, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3.) The word know is speaking of a personal or firsthand knowledge of God. The first time this word for “know” appears in the New Testament is in Matthew in reference to the physical union between Mary and Joseph. Matthew 2:25 tells us that Joseph, “…did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.” Although this is a different kind of relationship, it still helps us to recognize that the word “know” is used of a firsthand, personal knowledge of another individual.
Let me clarify my point. You must be clear in your thinking and distinguish between “knowing God” and “knowing about God.” We know God by seeking Him by studying the Bible, by meditating upon His Word, through times of prayer, through times of worship and by purposefully obeying His commands. A person needs to seek a supernatural understanding of God’s Word, and he cannot be content with an intellectual understanding of the Bible and God alone. Two of the greatest evangelical voices in the 20th century warned against failing to distinguish between knowing God and only knowing about God. The first voice is, J. I. Packer, who admonishes us about making knowing God just an intellectual endeavor when he writes:
“If the decisive factor was notional correctness, then obviously the most learned biblical scholars would know God better than anyone else. But it is not; you can have all the right notions in your head without ever tasting in your heart the realities to which they refer; and a simple Bible reader and sermon-hearer who is full of the Holy Ghost will develop a far deeper acquaintance with his God and saviour than more learned men who are content with being theologically correct. The reason is that the former will deal with God regarding the practical application of truth to his life, whereas the latter will not.” (J. I. Packer, Knowing God.)
It is possible to know about God without experiencing Him. It is possible to have only an intellectual understanding of who God is It is possible to fail to experience God as the Psalmist invites us: “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8.)
The second voice is A. W. Tozer, who gave a similar warning. In his book The Divine Conquest he spoke of those who seek God in books alone. He then contrasted the person who has only a second hand knowledge of God with one who knows Him firsthand. Tozer says the person who knows God on a personal level will consider an approach on an intellectual basis alone to be a perversion. He wrote that the man who knows God firsthand will be repulsed by such an idea and will say:
“‘I have heard Him and observed Him. What have I to do any more with idols?’ For he cannot love a God who is no more than a deduction from a text. He will crave to know God with a vital awareness that goes beyond words and to live in the intimacy of personal communion. “To seek our divinity merely in books and writings is to seek the living among the dead; we do but in vain many times seek God in these, where His truth too often is not so much enshrined as entombed.” (A. W. Tozer The Divine Conquest.)
This is the point of Jesus’ words in John. He is saying that eternal life is more than grasping the theological truths. It is about knowing God as a friend and companion. Eternal life is about knowing God personally, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3.) When we come to Christ He may merely be a stranger, but we must seek a closer relationship with Him if we are to be healthy spiritually.
Consider three key benefits of a deep and personal knowledge of God. First, some come to Christ and are born again and find instant release from sinful behaviors. Others come to Christ and over the years find themselves mired in some sinful habit. No matter how long you’ve walked with the Lord or no matter how deep the pit in which you find yourself, the gift of eternal life can still bring release from spiritual bondage. The gift and benefit of knowing God is powerful in setting us free. According 2 Peter 2:20 the writer indicates that we escape the pollution of the world through a knowledge of God, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….” Certainly this verse refers in part to the release that we have from sin’s penalty when we trust Christ but there is something more here. This verse speaks of the pollution that surrounds sin. It isn’t merely release from the penalty of sin that comes through a knowledge of God; but the knowledge of God overcomes sin’s polluting and corrupting influence . The more we press in and learn to walk more closely with the Lord the less the grip sin and any kind of spiritual pollution will have on our lives.
Second, according to Daniel 11:32 our energy level and interest in spiritual things is goverened by our knowledge of God. “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32) Daniel’s prophecy was speaking of the people of Israel and that their knowledge of God will cause them to be courageous. In our culture and our day we must be careful to not allow the things of this world to interfere and take God’s place in our lives. It should be obvious that the more distant our walk, the more fearful we will become. Like the apostle, many follow the Lord “afar off” and are then paralyzed by fear. (Mark 14:54.) A fearful Christian will find it comfortable to stick with what he knows even if it is robbing him. A Christian who has only a technical or second hand knowledge of God will be timid and find it difficult to tell others about Christ.
Finally, according to Ephesians 1:17-18 a person will increase in wisdom and understanding through a knowledge of God. In Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:17 the apostle prayed, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Knowledge of God will expand our understanding of our world and wisdom will illumine our way. Wisdom is: the ability to anticipate the results of one’s decisions and it is the predisposition to do what is right (follow the way of righteousness). On the one hand by walking close with the Lord, a believer’s ability to see pitfalls and hidden dangers will be heightened. While we have the promise for wisdom in James’ epistle, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5.) In keeping with this verse wisdom is found by spending time with the Lord. The quest for wisdom through prayer will bring us into God’s presence, and wisdom will be granted to us as we walk with Him.
On the other hand, knowing God as a friend and companion will impact our ability to see things more clearly. It gives the believer the capacity to better appreciate the resources and lavish inheritance that is our’s in Christ. Notice this is the message of the next verse, Ephesians 1:18. Our capacity to understand our inheritance in Christ is expanded through our knowledge of Him, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:18.) Our ability to see our eternal inheritance is overshadowed by the things of this world but knowing God breaks through the darkness. As a result, we need supernatural understanding to better grasp the blessings and benefits that have been poured out upon us.
Knowing God as a friend in your daily walk will help you face the struggle that you are having with sin. The more closely you know the Lord, the better your understanding of His devotion to you. The better you understand your destiny in Christ, the stronger you will be to face and reject paths that lead to self-destruction. The more confident you are about the Lord’s commitment to you, the easier it becomes to choose the path that will make you stronger.
There is a Rock by the doorway to your life and eternity and it is the Lord Himself. This Rock is more precious than gold, and there is no reason to be afraid since He can give you light for the darkness. This Rock is waiting for you to call. He loves you and He is listening.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.(Psalm 18:2-3.)
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(Permission is granted to use the material as long as the URL and source information are given. Copyright, Keith Churilla, 2010.)
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Registered :: Fri Apr 30 07:34:28 UTC 2010
Title :: THE LOST FORTUNE
Category :: Blog
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