Monday, November 30, 2015

the ramifications of sin

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1: 9

For those forgiven of sin, there are some things missing: guilt, lack of assurance, innate
rebellion. One thing that isn't missing is sin; it continues in an all-out battle between
worldliness and righteousness, a battle that goes on at many levels and one that will
continue until the return of He who will set all things straight.

In the meantime, the question becomes, do those who have been saved face any
ramifications of continued sin against God? I believe that sin always brings implications
and ramifications to all created by God.

Though Jesus was not 'created' by God, he, nevertheless, walked this earth challenged
by temptations just like the ones that we face; the difference was that He, fully man
and fully God, did not sin. Can you imagine the ramifications had He sinned? All
would remain lost. He was the second Adam, the One sent by the Father to secure
salvation for all.

What about our sins? Alistair Begg, in a sermon given on Psalm 2 entitled, 'Deliverance,'
from April 28, 1991, relates a wonderful story he had heard as a boy. Let me try to
paraphrase it:

The boy has reached the age where he begins to act out against his father. In an effort
to show the boy that there are implications to his behavior, the father begins pounding a 
nail into the woodshed door each time the boy misbehaves. This goes on and the
nails accumulate until the boy comes to his father and asks to be forgiven. His father
agrees to forgive him and to remove the many nails from the door of the woodshed.
The next morning, the father finds his son sitting by the door, now free of nails,
crying. When he asks the boy why he is crying, the boy answers that though the
nails are gone, the holes remain.

I would never doubt the scripture above because it is God's Holy word. I do,
however, believe in my heart, that we continue to be affected by our sins. Take
a moment and remember the risen Christ, entering the upper room and showing
Thomas His hands. The holes remained! In a very real sense, whether or not
you believe that all sins, past, present and future were loaded onto Jesus at the
cross, there is a great motivation, I believe, to not add additional sins. It
is, in the end, a matter of the heart. Our heart and His heart. Ramification.
Implication. One who died with our sins imputed so that we could be His

Praise our God.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

In everything give thanks.... 1 Thess. 5: 18

Thanksgiving is once again upon us. I was told this morning by someone who enjoys
history trivia that Thanksgiving became a national holiday celebration during the term of Franklin Roosevelt. So, I guess the original pilgrims did not invent the holiday, which is
the answer that I probably would have given, if asked.

For those of us who have been touched by a gracious God and called to His family, every
single day ought to be a day of giving thanks. Like everything else, when we are busy with
worldly things, and yes, we do get busy in living here on this earth, we can allow
ourselves to postpone, if you will, giving thanks for those things that God has provided.
We may not be of this world, but we sure as sure can be are in it temporarily.

So here goes, and I am sure I will leave many things out:

Dear Gracious Magnanimous God...

Thank You for your sustaining grace. That which allows us to breathe, our hearts to
beat and these bodies to function in such a way that we can face the day ...

Thank You for your church! Thank you for the freedom, in this country, to worship
and love you within a church framework without fear of persecution, as faced by
many, many brace souls in this world ...

Thank You for family, friends, those we love; You invented relationships and have
blessed me with parents who cared, siblings I love, friends I cherish and a daughter
and granddaughter I would die for ...

Thank you for Your creation; it may be spoiled by sin, but it remains breathtakingly
beautiful and originally, creatively magnificent ...

Thank you for Jesus!!!!! His sacrifice, His ministry, His Resurrection, His
teachings, His intercession, His heart and His courage. Without Him, we are
lost ...

Thank you for Your Kingship! Somebody is in charge! Somebody knows us from
before time began! Somebody is with us each moment! Somebody loves us
enough to provide a Gospel of deliverance, unearned yet offered! ...

Thank You for the future! We have something to look forward to beyond this
temporal existence, we can look forward to being your adopted!

Goodness gracious, Praise our God!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Put away those Sunday worship shoes!

If one spends some time in Revelation 4 or 5, it becomes evident that there is a whole
lot of worshiping going on! One can argue about what the creatures  represent, or
who the twenty-four elders are, but there is no doubt that the primary activity therein
is Worship.

I have become a whole lot better at worshiping God on Sunday, and I say that because
I wasn't always anything more than lukewarm about the whole experience. From
not really understanding or caring, I have become someone who looks forward all
week to Sunday so that I can sing, be in the Word and be taught by the Spirit through
the good work of the pastor. 

The title isn't to suggest that I pull out some expensive shoes and clothes to attend,
it is more a confession that I am not doing so very well on the other six days of the
week. One might say that I am in danger of un-Godliness during the rest of the week
because there are big swaths of time when God just doesn't enter my thoughts or my

Obviously worship has multiple elements: prayer, reading the Holy Book, fellowship,
singing and just finding ways to support God's church. It is just that in light of what
this gracious, living God has done for me and continues to do each day of my life, I
think I should find ways to worship Him more frequently and more completely.  I
probably shouldn't need some sort of reminder on the refrigerator or on a note-pad
on some electronic device to get my worship going. 

To me, not worshiping God is More Difficult if one is aware of what God means in
life. Without God, We don't get out of bed, we don't eat, we don't pay our bills, have a family to enjoy, a roof over our heads.... I could certainly go on. His grace lies around every
corner and bend in our walk; how then, can we not worship continuously?

Well I'm working on it because I know that I must. I would like to invite you
to join me. Does it matter to God? I think so! Does it somehow augment our lives?
I really believe so; plus, it looks like we're going to be doing a whole lot of worshiping
when we get to Heaven! No time like the present to get going!

Praise out God!

Friday, November 20, 2015

He was born to die, so that....

We could be re-born to life!

He, of course meaning Jesus, left immortality to become mortal in the hopes
that we, mortals who are born dead to sin, might have the chance to live with God
everlastingly. It's a crazy thought, no matter how one says it. Yet, at Christmas time,
I believe that it is so very important to grasp what has been done in our behalf,
especially when one looks at the price that was paid by God, Himself.

We all come into this world, believers or not, dead to sin. We are sinners in the
womb because mankind fell short and rebelled, sending everything into darkness
and turning upside down the very creation spoken into existence by God. It's
still a broken world and will be so until the Day of the Lord, when judgement comes
upon this world through the powerful Lord Jesus. This won't be the precious child
in the manger, suffering servant who willingly walked to Jerusalem to die on
our behalf. No, this will be a powerful Lord and King who will come at the
correct time to separate and to harvest.

In an instant, this world will be transformed, a new heaven and a new earth, with
a King who will rule forever having been given full authority by the Father over all
creation. It was the plan from before the beginning, a covenant formed by the 
Trinity to reinstate fallen man to a position of family members with their
Creator. Regardless of the way each of us looks at the end times, they will come
to an end; there will be a very end time, and Jesus will come upon this world
in a way that causes all to see Him and know that He has arrived to rule. It is
inevitable, it is triumphant and it is imminent. 

God could have just decided to walk away from His creation when rebellion
came, but God is true, and His plan, from before time as we know it began, will
not be changed. He values His Created, he wants to be in relationship with
those creatures he brought into life, and his plan will offer to all that accept
His son, a life far greater than anything anyone can experience here on earth,
as we know it.

Head His call, won't you? Do not delay if there is any thought that you might
want to know Jesus. There will be a 'too late!' You don't want to go there!

Praise our God!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Come, Jesus...just not on Black Friday!

I'm not a big fan of the so called Black Friday! I've never gotten up rediculously
early to shop for presents, and I don't see it happening in the future. I
understand that it is an economic 'color,' black standing for positive retail
sales, as opposed to being in the 'red.' 

The whole idea of 'Christmas' showing up in stores before Halloween has
even arrived is nauseating to me.  Now I should share that I DO NOT find the
wonderment of Christmas to be a negative in any way. My childhood memories
of family, dinner, ornaments and tree, etc. are very positive; it is a great
time to be a child. My daughter's eyes when she came down the stairs to see
the tree and trappings were wide with joy, and that was wonderful for me.

However, Christ is the reason, and he has been, in many situations, removed
from the very holiday that is supposed to be about his glorious arrival on this
planet. Getting 'Christmas' cards from folks that do not ever mention Him
bothers me greatly and makes me worry about their future! The cards are
placed quickly in the circular file.

Now, horror of horrors, what if our Lord Jesus Christ arrived back, again, on
Black Friday. Maybe He would descend out of the East from the clouds at the
sound of the trumpet into a Walmart parking lot. Realistically, He would be
here on very important business, and I am quite sure that He would, in no way,
care... but I certainly would. He knows the hearts of people; He is aware
that what remains important about His return would not be changed by the
traffic jams, pushing and shoving of those who were battling in the Black
Friday rush.

Here's the bottom line: Jesus needs to be Christmas. His glorious life and
the blessing that he brought to mankind at a terrible cost to Himself need
to be the center of this holiday. Just as the world has gotten turned upside-
down, the birth of our Savior and King has been pushed aside by the need to
get bargains off of the shelves before others do. Upon His arrival, that, and many
other things, will change, forever.

Yes, come Jesus...but if it's possible, wait until Saturday.

Praise God!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Regarding all those deaths.....

...but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die." Genesis 2: 17

Death. Nor a topic that most folks want to talk about, think about or do, for that matter, but
the statistics do not lie in this case. Each of us has a 100% probability of dying. Well, we
could pull an Elijah, but that is a stretch.

Woody Allen said that 'He isn't afraid to die...he just doesn't want to be there when it happens.'
That's because we weren't created to die; it is an experience that our bodies were never meant
to have. We fear it, even if we have complete confidence in what will follow, because it is
alien to how we were meant to be.

We ,all of us, are born into this fallen world spiritually dead. Now this isn't a first death,
literally but it follows that we must be 'reborn' to become spiritually alive. At that
moment, we actually die with Jesus... we die to sin. So that would be our first taste of
death. It is a necessity, according to Jesus, as He explained to Nicodemus.

Our lives, saved or not, are a one-way ticket from birth to an end. We age, unless we
die early in terms of years, toward a time when our bodies no longer function and our
souls depart. I have seen cases where the picture painted by some Christians proves to
be a bit ridiculous. Christians do not often die with a smile on their lips and a
countenance of joy as they take that final breath. In fact, I have seen folks battle
ferociously right up to that final moment or two, folks who I truly believe were
destined to be with the Lord moments later.

Our bodies have a built-in survival goal. In the processes of dying, the body shuts
down "unneeded" organs and condenses toward its center to try and remain alive.
Again, we were never created to die.

So the second death, which is inevitable, is there for us all. With Christ a part of
your life, you have every reason to believe that He will be there to walk with you
across the divide.

It's the 'next' death that you will be unable to avoid, should you not be the righteousness
of Christ. It's the Lake of Fire death which will  come to those who have rejected
Him. It's a death that no one wants to experience; unfortunately. many, many will do
so. Please do everything to avoid this third death. Reach out, call out to Jesus.
He is waiting and will answer your heart's desire to be a part of His Kingdom

Praise our God!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

From where we were.. to where we are...

Psalm 19: 1

The Heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of His hands!

Many years ago, with a very close friend, I traveled from Columbus, Ohio were to
Portland, Oregon to visit his sister and family. Having never been west of
Dayton, Ohio, it was an eye-opening experience!

We stopped in South Dakota and camped in the Black Hills area. In the late
hours of the night, I happened to climb out of the tent and happened to look up.
What I saw, for the only time in my life, was are vast array of stars visible when
there is no ambient light. To this day, I  can recall my thoughts as I stood there
gazing upward.

I feel so small!
I am insignificant!

That was it. Even though I was looking at what may be the most awesome display
of God's creative work, He did not even cross my mind. If someone had asked me
about Jesus, I would have had no answers. Who is Jesus? My answers would have
been like those who do not know Him. What has He done for you? What do you
owe this Jesus? I wouldn't have known how to respond.

Now, if I could take a road trip and find the same area, if I could once again look
upward at the heavens and stars, my reaction would be different.

I feel so small!
I am significant.

Jesus is my Lord, my King and my everything. I owe this Jesus everything!
In my life, Jesus has done everything!

Our God is glorious and through the Holy Spirit changes us from within!
Praise God!