Wednesday, August 24, 2011


At our Wednesday night Bible study we've been going over the book of Samuel and looking at the lives of King Saul and King David.  Interesting to note that King Saul seemed to start out well, following God, making good decisions, but came to a point when he went his own way, making some decisions which he would of had to of known were not in keeping with God's plan.  The outcome was that God anointed another man for King, which was David.  It did not go well for Saul.  He was not able to retain his position, though he tried, using every resource he had, but God had already decided.  It was over. 

There are many things to be learned from all this, but the one word which immediately comes to mind is 'obedience.'  God watched King Saul become willing to brush aside the directives of authority and law and in that there could be no compromise.  God's word stands.

I think a lot of people today believe that God's word, as recorded in the Bible, does not hold weight.  If they don't say that outright, the way they live their lives certainly makes a statement.   It would be good to remember that Jesus said he did not come to do away with the law.  He came to take away the separation there was between the human race and God.  Sin was standing between us and God.  God is pure and holy and He knows everything that is inside of us. He wanted a way for us to come to Him.  When we come to God and ask forgiveness for the sin in our lives with the knowledge and faith in our hearts that Jesus was a sacrifice for us, we are washed, we are cleansed.  We stand before God pure. And God's Holy Spirit is there for us to help us, to guide us.  God then doesn't want us to walk back into the world and become immersed in it and become lax about the idea of staying pure.  He wants our love, our 'obedience' our commitment.  He expects it to be that way, because it is what He wants for us.  He knows what is right for us.  God loves a heart that is searching for Him, for His direction, at all times.  People are fond of saying that God doesn't favor one over another.  But in my opinion, though I know God loves us all with a love that is beyond expression in language, He clearly has favorites.  And I believe that is anyone who loves Him first, with all their heart.  It will mean a life of obedience to God's word, and He will bless that. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

For More Understanding

I know it's been a long known fact that teenagers can be moody and unpredictable because they go through so many changes through those years. It is hard to be a teenager and with the world as it is now, there are just massive amounts of things that can get in their way and barricade their view to an understanding of finding God's path which would provide them with finding their way to a peaceful existence.  And yet I think of what most teenagers would feel and say about the world:  "It's a mess."  "It doesn't make sense."  They are highly dissatisfied with the way things are, and rightly so.  What I would point out to them is that their understanding of that fact fits well with what Jesus said.  Come away from the world.  Don't be "of it."  When we walk in the light of God's truth we can actually live in the world and yet be separate from it.  God provides us with the way to do that. 

The world and Satan (it would be a mistake to leave him out of the equation) would have us believe there is some better way than God's way.  Or that you can literally come half way and be okay with that, and that God will be okay with that, accepting some part of Christianity, and yet going the way of the world.  Satan at this time has the freedom to do as he wishes to a point.  The thing he excels at is passing off lies as truth.  He's had success in that both in the world and in religion.  Do we really think that it was Adolph Hitler who came up with "the final solution" for extermination of the Jewish people?  The fact is it was Satan who put that twisted thinking into the mind of a person who had unfortunately allowed himself to be controlled by it.  Look at the situation:  Satan has gone after the Jewish people like no other.  He wants them gone.  He wants them out.  Why?  Because he knows that salvation comes to us through Jesus who was himself Jewish.  The point is that Satan is very good at this.  He caused terrible human suffering for people in this country by twisting the thinking of generations of people believing themselves often to be good Christians doing the work of the Klu Klux Klan. Does this remove the responsibility of those that committed atrocities?  No, not at all, but they did allow themselves to be controlled by Satan, whether they ever understood that or not. 

The thing is, for young people these days, so often they don't have a family that teaches them that God has a path for them to walk.  They perhaps don't understand the salvation message.  They may not understand that God's intention was that everyone would have the opportunity to accept this gift of salvation, Christ having paid the price for us.  They may not at all grasp their need for God's help.  They may not understand that Satan has the ability to bring something before them which looks good on the surface, but the underlying contains the deception.  I think of what Jesus said to Peter, "Satan would like to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you."  I know that Satan desires to destroy any life he can.  And there is no limit with him to how bad it can get.  I think that's quite obvious.

God wants us to have a place with Him.  We can come to Him from wherever we are and ask Him and He will hear us.  Isn't it amazing to think that God, the Creator, The Great I Am, that He thinks about our lives?  He knows us.  He understands what people go through.  The Bible tells us He has great compassion. And when you turn to Him with all your heart, you can feel that compassion.  It pours out on you.  In fact God pours into us His love.  He does that for our sake, but also in order that we can give love to others.  Yes, the world will try and pull us down, Satan will attack, he's not going to give up trying, but we just need to remember that Jesus said "Be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hold On

It is recorded in scripture that Jesus described the road to hell as wide.  He stated that many will go down that road.  He also stated that the road to life is narrow and that "few will find it."  If we really ponder those words we should be alarmed.  What road are we on?  Are we embracing the world or seeking God?  One might answer, "I am doing both, and what could be wrong with that?"  Well, you know, Jesus said many things about the world, and always seemed to come back to the same point:  Don't love this world.  Don't be "of it."  The world would have us accept many things which are contrary to what God wants for us. 

We need to walk away from things in life that spawn ideas which will pull us in the wrong direction.  It begins in a very subtle way, this strange pull.  For instance, you begin to see things on television, depictions perhaps of things clearly immoral and rather than look elsewhere for entertainment you begin to focus.  You get caught up in the plot and the storyline and point out that there is some merit based on some quality of a certain character or the end result outcome of things.  Before long you're tuning in quite often and though you might begin by separating out the things you realize aren't good to see, it isn't long before with enough exposure that line gets blurred and finally a time comes when you're beginning to say to yourself, "Maybe it's just overreaction to things.  The world obviously doesn't think it's wrong.  It's probably okay." 

Jesus explained the heartbreaking thing at work here.  He said someone begins by coming to God with great joy, "receiving the word with joy."  And yet the world can come in and "choke out" the understanding which was received.  I believe that God's spirit continues to try and draw this person back to the place of knowledge they once had but there can come a point at which the world has such a place in their life, the wall is back up, and they're not hearing God.  They're walking in another direction. 

Old testament scripture states that there is a way which seems right to a man, but it's not, and it leads to death.  God wants us to have life.  God wants us to have life much better and much fuller than anything this world can offer.  I'm not talking to people here who do not or have not known the saving power of Christ.  The people of the world will not understand this thinking.  They will not accept it.  To them it's utter nonsense, and that is how they can identify themselves as "of the world," and separate from us.  But listen, I am talking to people who do know, they have known.  God called them and the understanding did not go over their heads. Listen, my brother or my sister, hold on.  Don't allow this world, (which is passing away) to steal anything from you. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

One Way

I have a memory from childhood of being inside a church and I must have been in a separate room with other children and at some point I walked outside of the children's area and wound up in the main sanctuary.  I recall looking toward the front and seeing a man holding a pointer to a blackboard of some kind and indicating two options: Heaven or Hell.  He was loudly proclaiming his message.  Heaven or Hell!  The meaning at that time didn't resonate with me, but the memory has stayed so clear in my mind. 

I understand now that there is a choice to make.  Which path will you take?  Are there many roads to Heaven? or just one.  There are those who say that the Bible was written by men and therefore subject to all kinds of mistakes.  However I would point out the fact that Jesus himself taught from scripture.  Say what you will, but that validates Old Testament scripture for me.  As far as the New Testament scripture, several of these men were people who walked with Christ and I certainly trust their accounts.  Written by men?  Yes.  God's words for us to live by?  Absolutely. Everything Jesus ever said testifies to the truth of that.  Not to mention the fact that he proved his authority by his ability to heal, restore, remove disease, bring life back to a dead body, and cast demons out which were screaming and shaking with fear. Jesus life, his ministry, his death on the cross, followed by his resurrection.  What other possible conclusion could there be?  He is a King of a Kingdom not of this world, just as he stated. 

More than one way?  or just one.  Jesus referred he to himself as "the gate."  He said that no one comes to the Father but by him.  There is no other way:  He stated it clearly.  "I am the way..."  In my mind, in order to accept that there might be some other way, in order to believe that, you would have to say that you are in effect rejecting Christ.  That is not a good place to be in my opinion.

Heaven or Hell?  Life or death?  We can choose.  Am I saying, do I have the nerve to infer that someone might go to Hell?  I don't have to say it.  Jesus himself spoke of hell as a reality. 

If you doubt what you've read here, please do one thing.  Read scripture.  Read it with a prayer that God will open your understanding to what you need.  God's love is beyond what we can with a human mind and heart understand.  He is love.  He knows us.  He understands us, and that's good, because it means He knows how to help us.

I remember myself as that child wandering into a sanctuary and not at all able to comprehend the concept of Heaven or Hell.  I am so grateful that God in his merciful love revealed himself to me as Jesus being my only anchor to Him in this life and beyond.