The Battle

Many new Christ-followers think that by becoming a disciple of Christ all their problems will be solved and life will be blissful. But they do not realize that they now have an enemy who is committed to their destruction, Satan. John 10:10 Life here on earth is warfare. I was surprised when I read Exodus 15:3 “The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.” We  have stressed that God is love and is plenty in mercy to the exclusion that Jehovah is mighty and ready to fight His enemies!

Life is not a game; it is deadly serious. 2 Cor. 10:4 The church used to sing songs that reminded us of the struggle: “Am I a Soldier of the cross?” “Onward Christian Soldier”  “A Mighty Fortress is our God” to name a few. Today’s church does not want to admit life is conflict. But the fact is we intuitively know that conflict rages around us. 

I find it amazing that if a boy finds a stick to play with; it becomes a rifle or sword. A pine cone becomes a hand-grenade. They did not learn that response; they were born with it. God’s Word instructs us to “fight the good fight.”  Satan will do his best to destroy you. Are you ready for battle?

  

Advertisements

What Are You So Angry About?

Every day I see the evidence that mankind is becoming “less human.” I am not saying as a whole that the majority of people are unkind or even viscous but a quick look at the daily news make me wonder where is our society going and where will it end? It seems that we are killing each other over the simplest things:

Unfortunately, the list continues.  I remember years ago, Charles Colson said something that startled me. He said that “we are raising a generation of children with no conscience. A twelve-year old gang member can kill a complete stranger as part of his initiation to a gang and go home a sleep like a baby without a twinge of guilt.”  Has life become so cheap? Is abortion a contributing factor that life isn’t precious? When a convicted criminal is sentenced to death and waits decades to be executed, does that encourage violent crime? ( When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong.) Ecclesiastes 8:11 

I am sure there are a hundred different contributing factors but my personal opinion is we have pushed God and His principles totally from our society. Romans 3:10-18 There was a time in our country when people reverenced God, His Word, and the Church even if they did not make a profession of faith. But now no one believes in hell or the Judgment of God. Since they will not be held accountable for their actions (they think), then they can do whatever they like without any retribution. 

The only hope for America is a returning to the principles of God’s Word.

Are Your Roots Showing?

Several years ago there was a highly successful tv miniseries called Roots. It was a story of a treeroots
young  boy who was captured in Africa, sold into slavery, and sent to America. This miniseries helped African American people to understand their “roots”, their background and their culture.

Roots are important. They are the foundation for every family and Church. When parents talk to their children about their roots,  they are referring to their heritage. Roots give stability. If you have ever seen a huge oak, even though we cannot see the root system, you know it is extensive. The evidence of the root system is the tree’s long, outstretched branches.

The “root”  of the individual believer and the corporate Church is Jesus Christ. The evidence that we are Christ-followers is a Christ-like life style. Jesus told us that He was the vine and we are the branches. It is only when we are connected to Him we have stability and life.

Welcome To Our World

If aliens from another planter were to visit planet Earth [no I don’t believe in extraterrestrial beings] what conclusions would they have? If they listened to our news broadcasts or watched how humans interact with each other; they would have to say we are an angry, violent planet. In 1951 there was a movie produced called, The Day the earth stood still. The movie was about an alien who belonged to an organization for the mutual protection of all planets and for the complete elimination of aggression.

Here is a quote from the movie (remember this is 1951) “… I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.”

Though this is of course fiction, the fact remains we have the choice to live in peace or we will destroy ourselves. The Bible tells us that there will never be ultimate peace until Jesus Christ returns to earth and sets up His Kingdom.BUT we can have peace within ourselves now because Jesus promised us peace even in the midst of these terrible times. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Help me understand something. We all know that it is illegal in most states to have an open container of alcohol in your car while driving. My question is why do convenience stores refrigerate their beer before they sell it? This only encourages drinking and driving!

If you were to ask the average person on the street “How many ways are there to God you would get a variety of answers. And most people think that their approach is the right approach. It is sad but most people truly believe they are right when in actuality they are wrong. You must understand that there are only TWO approaches to God. One is right the other is wrong. Jesus showed the right approach in Luke 18.

 The two main characters, the Pharisee and a tax collector, represent the man’s two approaches to God.  The Pharisee’s approach was all based on self: self-centered, self-righteous and self-effort. We could call it “Personal Performance.” The tax collector’s approach was  humble and repentant. His was based on “Personal Pardon.” 

In people’s thinking, their actions are like a set of balance scales. On one side is all the things they do that are “good.” On the other side is all the “bad” things they do. If they do more good than bad, if the scale tips down on the good side; God will grant the entrance into heaven. That sounds good because we have been taught all of lives that good people go to heaven  and bad people go to hell. But that is Scriptually wrong. Good people do not go to heaven. Forgiven people go to heaven.

“You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn’t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about.” {Ephesians 2:8-9}

It is impossible to do enough good things to earn your way to heaven. [Personal Performance]  It is only through faith in Jesus Christ that we can enter heaven. [Personal Pardon].

 

 

 

God does care!

As a retired minister of 30+ years of ministry, I have developed a love for people; especially those you are hurting. As I read the news online today, my heart was overwhelmed with the tragic events people are going through:

  • Four children die in a house fire
  • Two young teachers drown over July 4th (separate incidents)
  • Children/adults  abducted or missing
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Five people killed because a drunken driver went the wrong way on the Interstate.

I could not help but think of all the families that are hurting because of these tragedies. But there is one grieving Person we often forget – God. Many people do not think God has no emotions. They see Him as a distance Deity, One who created the world, then left us to fend for ourselves! Not so! The Bible tells us of a hosts of emotions God feels:

  1. God commands us not to “grieve” the Holy Spirit Ephesians 4:30
  2. God is ” moved by pity”  Judges 3:18 
  3. God loves us John 3:16

As you try to console those who are suffering, remember there is One who loves, cares, and understands more than any of us. He is hurting right along with His creation.