Monday, February 29, 2016

Risk versus Reward

"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
John 3: 18-19         

Throughout our lives we make choices. Many of these are daily decisions that are made
without a lot of thought. For more serious decisions, we may make a 'pro's and con's'
list, carefully measuring what the ramifications will be om either side of the choice. We
may ask the advice of others who may have some experience with the choice we are
about to make. Many of us pray on decisions, believing that God the Holy Spirit who
dwells withing us can aid us in making a wise choice. Occasionally, we may make the
wrong choice and, hopefully, learn from it in case a similar decision looms in the future.

There is one choice that is monumental for each and every soul that God created on
this earth. It is an eternal choice. Regardless of where you may stand on the idea
of predestination, election and free will, there is a bottom line. In the end, each of
us must choose to either accept the gift of grace provided by Jesus Christ on the
cross or reject His path to reconciliation with God, the only possible path to the
rift that exists between sinful man and a Holy God who cannot accommodate any sin.
This choice may come at any and all times in a person's life and God in His Magnificence,
may offer options that we do not know, but there will be a final choice and we, in the
end, will make it.

You don't need me to spell out the ramifications, here. We either leave this existence
into the arms of our precious savior, Jesus, to be an adopted member of God's family or
we leave destined to be separated from God into eternity. What that separation
exactly looks like may be debated, but the decision to reject Him means that we will
be judged on our own righteousness, and judged unacceptable, regardless of what
we may have dome or accomplished in our lifetimes. It will be a final choice.
There will be no second chances.

It is so very ironic that the God with whom we needed reconciliation Himself
has provided the means through the giving of His precious Son. That is love.
That is a God who cares. Much like a judge who issues a $200 ticket to a driver
and then walks down in front of the bench and hands the guilty party $200.

So make this choice carefully. There are really no items on the con side of
this decision. Choosing wrongly has such immense ramifications. I pray that
you will accept Jesus today and we will see His glory together in Heaven.

Praise our loving God!

Friday, February 19, 2016

All things Hold Together...through Christ Jesus

Colossians 1: 17
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

I listened, this morning, to a wonderful old sermon by Alistair Begg from March of
1984 about Colossians 1: 15- 20.  It is so funny to hear his voice and the changes that
have subtly taken place to now; yet, the message about this amazing set of verses is
both timeless and profound.

The very God that created all things, the very Son of God, the God-Man who
took on flesh and came into our world, the Savior of both man and creation, itself,
is He who holds all of it together. Science is full of statements about the tenuous
state of our planet; the amazing things which have to be true for it to exist as it does.
Science is full of statements about the amazing fact that our bodies must be
working on a myriad of levels, in conjunction with one another, for us to even
get out of bed in the morning. Science is full of theories about the size and nature
of a universe that cannot be defined and presents wondrous possibilities for
conjecture. Yet science is not willing, in most cases, to look at the obvious answer:
Jesus Christ holds all things together.

We need not speak of the world around us; we can just consider our own 'holding
together' in a world that is not what it was created to be. How do we hold ourselves
together, our families together, our relationships together? Try as we may to
fix things, order things, run things; the answer remains the same, Jesus is He who
holds all things together. A relationship where we are a part of Christ, filled with
the Holy Spirit of God and in the process of being changed into someone who
will not only see Christ but be like Him, is the foundation upon which we can
give all things to Him who holds things together.

He created and it was good. Sin, through man, came into that world and 
fouled His creation. Yet He will return in glory and commence the New Creation.
the new Heaven and the New Earth where we, who have been saved through
grace by faith, will be citizens. God will accomplish these things and Christ will
continue to Hold All Things Together!

Praise our God!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Prayer as Worship

Prayer is a most interesting topic! I would start out by suggesting that there is no such
thing as a bad prayer. Most of mine are bad, to this day. Bad in the sense that I could
certainly pray with more clarity, more conviction, more completeness and more 
strength. The Holy Spirit is the one who takes our efforts at prayer and transforms them
into prayers that God can understand. We're quite different from God, you know, so
this is a wonderful function provided by God With Us!

God, through scripture, has invited us to pray. God is a God of communication and He
delights in the fact that His creatures have a desire to speak to Him through prayer.
We are invited to bring our cares and hopes to Him and the promise is that He will
respond in His good time and in His perfectly just way. Prayer is an excellent way of
building the sense that He does hear you. As far as prayer style, the Lord's Prayer 
provided by Jesus is a wonderful structural model for what is best to include in a prayer
and also the order in which we include parts of that structure.

I have come to see prayer as a wonderful part of Worshiping God. Of all the
aspects of worship, it seems to me to be the most personal. I can sing
praises to Him, I can read His word, I can seek to share with others my love for
Him through fellowship, but somehow, down there on my knees in a quiet place
where the energy is focused, it just feels like Our time. Despite my 68 years,
I always try to pray from a kneeling position showing my servant-hood to the
very God of the Universe.

While it is important and scriptural to bring prayers of need, health for those
who are suffering, personal needs in our own lives and the lives of those we
love; it is crucial not to make God a genie in a bottle. Emphasizing His glory
and thanking Him for blessings should, in my opinion, be integral parts of
all prayers. Sometimes, it is simply a thank you and an update on our lives.
He doesn't, of course, need the update, but we are talking and sharing with
Him, something beneficial to our souls.

So pray often, from the heart and know that He is listening. Praise our God!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It's ALIVE!!!

I assume that you are expecting a commentary on a scene from Young Frankenstein, where amid bolts of lightening, a bolt-headed creature arises from the operating table of Dr.
Frankenstein much to the pleasure of Igor and the good doctor.

But no. This is about something else that is very much alive. It looks like any other
book, comes in many different styles and even different translations. It is the Holy Bible,
the word of God. I am sure that there is one or more in your possession and I pray
that you spend much time reading form it. But there are almost mystical qualities
to this book that are easy to miss but extremely important.

The Bible is interactive. As you read this book, it is reading you! It is aware of
your personality and your life and it seeks to bring its message to you in a way that
improves the possibility that you will come away from the words with the understanding
of the most important person to ever walk this earth, Jesus Christ.

The very Spirit of God is He who brings meaning and understanding to you as
you read the story of God's creation, the fall, the remedy provided by a God who
loves His creatures and the very creation He brought into being. There comes an
almost magical moment when you realize that these word are God's words, they
are true and inerrant and that the book ties together in a most amazing way. It
is the story of God tabernacling with His people for the express purpose of
providing a way to bridge the gap created by sin.

The book amazes me because with each reading, new things become clear and
precious stories and lessons on life jump out at you. But the core idea of this
book sent from God, Himself, is to provide a picture of the very Lord of the
Universe, God of creation and Shepherd for all of His precious sheep.

It IS ALIVE. It should be a daily goal to be in the book and to reap the
benefits of its message of hope and love!

Praise God! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Out of sight, out of mind, out of luck!

It is far too easy to live in this upside-down world on a day to day basis and completely
ignore the God of the universe. I should know, I did it for over sixty years! Had God
not sought me, wooed me, tapped me on the shoulder silently, I would be walking
that way, still.

God has built into each of us the knowledge that He exists; His presence is shouted
out by His creation. He has also placed within each of His creatures, a sense that He
exists through our conscience and out innate ability to discern right from wrong. I
would add that each of us has a spot within where God is meant to reside. That
residence is not automatic; that spot can be left empty.

So how can it possibly be that we could ignore His existence and live in this
world without Him? It is called sin. It is called pride. It is wanting to be in charge
of this life that we owe completely to the one who formed us in the womb. It
is called satan. It is the reality that each of us is the object of a cosmic battle, even
though it is clear that we have been pre-chosen to love and worship our God
from before time even began. Satan does not give up; he is a sore loser and nothing
could make him happier than our turning away from God.

Well, I ran my own ship for quite awhile. I made a royal hash of things, and yet
in the deepest moments of despair, there was always some energy or love that
pulled me up, pulled me back onto my own feet waiting for me to acknowledge
that I needed God in my life... in His life for me.

We see ourselves as self-sufficient; if we just work hard enough, we can fix
things. No we cannot. All  the temporal and temporary things that we stow
up in this life will disappear: money, family, prestige, health....  We
need to realize that what truly matters is our recognition that God is our
Father, loves us and wants us to be a part of His family.

The clock is ticking. We do not have forever to wake up, open our eyes
and hearts and call to Him from our knees. In the end, there are only
two conclusions. One is life with God and the other is a nightmare beyond
anything we can imagine.

He awaits. Call to Him. Love Him with all your heart and strength.. today.