Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Who inspires you? A parent? Grandparent? Your pastor? A celebrity? We are influenced every day but usually, we filter out influences that aren't good for us. But sometimes, those influences can be sneaky. Have you ever been out with friends and followed what they were doing when normally, it's not something you would do? For example, if everyone in your group is drinking, do you drink with them? We all want to fit in and be part of the action, but it's not always good for us.
"Do not follow the crowd when it does what is wrong; and don’t allow the popular view to sway you into offering testimony for any cause if the effect will be to pervert justice (Exodus 23:2)."
Today's world is all about following the crowd and perverting justice. Our world is full of excess in every area, and if we read even one news article a day, we see just how devastating this attitude is. Black Friday is a perfect example. What used to be a way to get great savings is now a free for all to have everything.
Over indulgence marks society like a plague. The quest to have more; to have the best, biggest, brightest, most expensive things we can buy is a disease that has infected every level of society. From infants who have every toy imaginable to grade school kids with IPhones, to teens with SUVs, to parents who are in debt up to their eyeballs but continue to indulge. And it doesn't stop with monetary items. We are gluttons in every area of life, which explains why we are also the fattest country with high rates of obesity related health problems.
"They are headed for destruction! Their god is the belly; they are proud of what they ought to be ashamed of, since they are concerned about the things of the world (Philippines 3:19)."
That is not to say it is wrong to have nice things. God does not say we have to be destitute to be godly. It is excess in anything that draws us away from God and into the world. We are to seek the kingdom of Heaven first (Matthew 6:33) and then we can seek the things we want. However, if we seek God first, seeking that intimate relationship with Jesus, we find we our satisfied with what we have and don't need, or even desire the things of this world.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
In our world today, it seems like everyone just conforms to whatever is going on. No one stands their ground; no one stands on their own two feet; no one stands up for their beliefs; and no one has any convictions. Everyone just goes along with whatever is popular whether or not it's right. The world today is swayed by emotion rather than logic.
"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap (Galatians 6:7)."
In chapter one of the book of Daniel, he and his friends had been brought into the Babylonian king's service. Their names had been changed, their style of dress had been changed, and they were to be fed food offered to idols. They had gone along with everything the king ordered until it came to the food. As Jews, under the Torah, to eat the food of idols was a sin. Even under penalty of death, they refused to go against the Law. And, in chapter three, when the king ordered everyone to bow down and worship the golden idol, again they refused. The Law was clear, "You shall have no other God's before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God (Exodus 20:3-5)." They refused to bow before the king's idol under penalty of death, which the king carried out by tossing them into the furnace.
Standing up for what we know is right can be difficult. Especially when there's people laughing at you, calling you names, ridiculing you, or when the penalty can be imprisonment or even death. However, the end game is what matters. Everything we do here on Earth is taking us to the end game; and everything we do here on Earth will be judged by righteousness according to the word of God. We have to do the right thing in all circumstances. Even the little things that seem to go unnoticed by others is noticed by God. There is never a right time to do the wrong thing, and there is never ever a wrong time to do the right thing.
"Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. (John 14:23)."
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
~2 Timothy 3:2-5
Monday, October 23, 2017
'This is what the Lord says:
“What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves." (Jeremiah 2:5).'
Have you ever noticed how people tend to follow familial patterns? Alcoholic parents produce alcoholic children; drug addicted parents produce drug addicted children; criminals produce children who also commit crimes; and the list goes on. Conversely, we often see successful parents producing successful children. Sometimes the opposite is true and successful parents may have a child who becomes a drug addict or criminal; and criminals can produce children who become successful, but generally, children follow the path of their parents.
We see throughout the Bible how people who knew God rejected righteousness and turned to worshipping idols instead. Generation after generation, no matter how many times God intervened in their lives, the people were quick to forget God's goodness and turn to pagan practices.
Today's generations haven't changed much. Even with the abundance of God's word available to us through books, TV, computers, churches, radio, and the Bible produced in nearly every language known to man, we are still much like our Old Testament ancestors.
"Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, "Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets." However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord their God. (2 Kings 17:13-14)."
The consequences of following our own ways instead of God's leads not only to destruction in this life, but have dire eternal consequences as well. We see society running rampant, calling what is evil, good and what is good, evil. We have sacrificed our very souls to the gods of this world in the name of freedom. However, that type of freedom is actually slavery that wraps itself around our throats and chokes the life from us.
True freedom comes from a relationshipwith Jesus Christ. It is only through a right relationship with our Lord and Savior that we can know freedom from sin and death.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)."
Christ died so each of us can be absolutely free from the darkness of this world. When I think of the sacrifice He made on the Cross, I feel so blessed to live in a time where no matter what is going on around the world, I am free sin and death.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Don't Be A Fool
"The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior."
The land of Israel was sinful and no matter what God did for the people, they continually fell into sin. This went on generation after generation until finally, the time was right and this prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Yet Israel refused to accept that Christ was the Messiah they had been waiting for. And so it goes today.
For generations, the Bible has been available to everyone, yet there is only a remnant who believe it is the word of God and follow Jesus Christ because of it. The world today is no different than it was in the days of the Old Testament. Lawlessness, poverty, war, pain and sorrow continues to this day. Our technology has improved but our hearts are as sinful and destructive as they were in Jeremiah's day.
We bow before the gods of this world, we follow our own lusts and desires, we sacrifice our children through abortion, the foster care system, and abandon them to the streets. We ignore the poor and homeless, we do not tend the widows and orphans, the sick and the dying. We call good evil, and praise evil as good. We are a sinful, godless people.
"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:1-3)."
It is difficult for me to look at the world knowing the answer to all of our woes is at our fingertips. It is difficult for me to look at the world knowing what Christ went through on the Cross for each one of us. We certainly don't deserve His mercy and grace, yet He freely gives us both out of His unending, undying love for us.
"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19)."
It is not God's desire that we should live this way. He does not want us living in sorrow and shame but rather in fullness and joy through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9). In Christ is life, joy, peace, happiness and love (John 17:3, Colossians 3:4).
Don't let the devil rob you, know Jesus as your Savior and know what living life really is.
Monday, October 9, 2017
"If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned."
The 2016 presidential election was one of the most contentious that I can remember, and the outcome was one of the biggest upsets the Democratic party has ever seen. I believe the reason was prayer. The previous eight years had divided this country on many levels and set race relations back at least five decades. Many were preparing for civil war in the event of Hillary Clinton's victory. It turned into such a mess, I doubt I'll live to see it straightened out - if indeed it can be straightened out.
However, one bright spot emerged during the presidential campaign...more people than ever before were on their knees praying for God to take control. And more Christians than ever before got out and voted. Prayer changed the direction we were headed. Prayer moved the heart of God.
"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14)."
We cannot stop praying for America. We cannot stop seeking God on behalf of our nation or our leaders. No matter how anyone feels about the current administration, we must continue to pray. America has had a rough go since 9/11, and the past year has been fraught with disasters on every level - racial tension, riots, protests, police killings, mass murder, hurricanes, drought, fires...and the list goes on. But the answer to those problems, and to all our personal problems, remains the same - prayer.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)."
The promises of God are the same now as they were yesterday, last week, or a million years ago. God can be moved to change through our prayers. Often throughout the Bible we see countries in dire circumstances because the people turned from God to follow their own desires. After disasters befall them and they realize God has left them to fend for themselves, they returned to God. They prayed and God answered.
We are no different. America, founded on biblical principles has fallen far from the plans of our forefathers. We have turned our backs on God and He has left us to our own perverse desires. But it's not too late. There is still time to change our country and our lives through prayer.
"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19)."
"...The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16)."
"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you (Jeremiah 29:12)."