CHRISTIANS ACTING OUT – PART 1

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? - Mathew 7:2-4

Jesus Christ

Oh my oh my!!! Which thread to being unraveling this morning! One of the most sorrowful things I have ever heard this side of heaven as a Christian is people will not come to church because it is full of hypocrites! OH HOW SAD AND TRUE THIS IS AND SHOULD NOT BE! I promise if you were to think about and examine ourselves daily as we are commanded to do, and were honest with ourselves, it would not take long to smell the stench of hyprocrisy on our pristine worldly “Christian” image. Oh how we love to me speck inspectors instead of log lookers! Do you think I am kidding? Look at the following and see if any of this describes you? Again, examine your life, your actions, your attitude, and especially think about how you show yourself to others. Sure, the world is going to accuse us and condemn us, but what about our Christian brothers and sisters, the ones we will be with for eternity? The world should not be our primary concern, for the world hates us (the Christian) and loves its own.

Romans 2:19-24 – And if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

As if this is not enough to start to make us feel ashamed (and I pray it does Christian, because many of us need to be broken and thrown down off our high horses!) This is from my study time this morning and oh what conviction it brings we we ask God to show and reveal our many sins to us. Ask and ye shall receive!

1 Peter 2:1 – So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

One simple yet so powerful, so convicting sentence that consists of only 15 words!

The beginning of the sentence we are commanded (actioned with a verb) to do something, we are to put away, but not only that, in other areas of scripture, we are to continually strive against and to crucify our flesh and sins, and the only way is by the power of the Holy Spirit, anything less will not do and is more than likely hypocrisy. Look at the Apostle Paul’s words asking a the question…you who…do you? I promise you Christian brother or Christian sister, we sadly DO DO THIS! How do I know, well, based upon statistically data alone, by people who willing participated in Christian survey’s and said how much time they spent in the Word of God or praying, or worshiping God, it is a pretty good indicator to make an assumptive guess. However, I have also seen it with my own eyes, because I have seen and I know me! I also know that I have been the speck inspector and not looking at my own log.

But but but…. Yeah, truth hurts, doesn’t it.

Hate looking at and loathing your own sins, don’t you? You hate not being able to maintain your own little perfect life that you “think” you have control over but don’t. You find it easier, maybe even take great joy in pointing out the faults in others all the time because you don’t want to deal with you! But God… He does!

Let me give you a small, but crucial piece of advice if I may. If this is you, REPENT and fully submit your life to Christ whom you profess now, and be NOT like the world, but whom God is trying to make you to be, and that is molded in HIS IMAGE!

In the verse in 1 Peter 2:1 the Holy Spirit makes God point VERY clear as He inspired the Apostle Peter to repeat the word all three times and then conjoining each point with the word and four times. However, even before this verse, back in Chapter 1 of 1 Peter verses 15:16 he says “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Holiness this side of heaven is NOT perfection and is not possible this world, but we still strive in the Spirit of God by submission to Him, to desire to be holy, to be obedient, and that the world will know that we are Christians not by our words or even by our actions, but how we carry ourselves in our conduct overall. So many Christians today miss these crucial points because we are too busy being like the world! We slander other Christians because we are the perfect Christian, but they are not. They are the ones that envy, we do not, and they are definitely the slanders, because such words would never leave our holy lips. HOGWASH!! And this is what the world sees when it comes into the church, people acting just like they already act, so therefore they automatically think they are a Christian because we are all the same!

Does this not concern you? Does it not make you sad or mad that you and I act this way at times? Dear Christian, I do not say these things lightly or to condemn, rather to encourage us to run to the cross, run to those whom we have offended and to confess our sins one to another, so that we might be healed and the body as a whole strengthened! That is my hope and prayer, that we would repent of our worldliness, we would correct one another in grace and love, that we would be accountable, that we would sharpen with the Word, that we would burn with a passionate fire of the Holy Spirit within and say no to sin and foolish decisions and that God would grant great revival in the church for His glory. That droves would go out into the world and preach the Gospel, and thousands would be saved by Him, and that the number of Gentiles that only He has Sovereignly appointed to be saved would be so that Christ would return for His bride! God’s will be done, but we in the mean time, we too are commanded in many things to be about the Father’s business.

Are you?

#ToGodBeTheGlory

DEBT AND INDEBTED

“A man in debt is so far a slave.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

To many people (myself included) live in debt because we are not happy with what we have or the way things are. We think by having the next greatest thing will make us happier. So we do whatever we can to obtain it, and are happy for a brief moment, then begin to feel the guilt and burden when that first bill comes due.

Even now or nation is going further and further in debt at an alarming rate trying to keep the economy afloat by borrowing money they cannot afford to borrow, and more than likely, create a debt so great, that it cannot be paid back and much, if not all will have to be forgiven. That scares me on how many generations these poor decisions all over debt our future generations will be heavily burdened by.

But even more importantly as we focus on our day to day world around us, I often wonder how often I and others think about the greatest debt of all, the debt of sin, and this debt is so bad, that it’s wages are death.

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death.

This morning it reminds me of that Christian song “He paid a debt He did not owe” and look at the first few verses.

He paid the debt he did not own, I own the debt I could not pay
I needed someone to wash my sins away
And now I sing a brand new song, “Amazing grace”
Christ Jesus paid the debt I could never pay.

But let us look at this great debt that we owed in the form of the parable from the Bible in Matthew 18:23-27 –
Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.

Now this parable speaks of a large volume of debt owed to a king, a debt so ridiculously large to drive home the point. But I also want to expand on it to modern day age, as like all debts, interests accrue. So back in the time when Jesus walked the earth he spoke of a man who owed 10,000 talents to the king, and back then it was a lot of money, but even more so today! That 10,000 talents today is an estimated $4,567,000,000! Yes, 4.5 BILLION dollars! And the debt in the parable is representing our sin, both individually, and collectively, and yet very few think of this, the greatest debt of all time and for all eternity!

This debt is so great that the second half of Romans 6:23 says this “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Now let us not be like the second half of the parable where after this person was forgiven much debt and was released, found one who owed him little in comparison and has harsh with that person. When we become saved, we become indebted servants, and older version of the Bible use the term slave, unto Christ. Many hate those words and terms, but that is what it was like living in those days, and they are still words we can relate to. But being in service to Christ is not to repay a debt for a gift, for then it would not be a gift, and not only that, remember how heavy the debt was and the burdens it had upon us. No, we are to do good works, and part of those good works is telling others about the debt of their sins against a Holy and Righteous God, which is evangelism.

God does not save us so we can just sit around and wait to die! No God saves us that we might live! Live for His glory, live for the sake of our call, live for loving our neighbors as ourselves, and so much more! I pray that those reading today would take some time to seriously think about how much we sin daily, then compound that by the weeks, the months, the years, and then how old you are, and see how close you come to that 4.5 Billion sin debt, how much you contributed to it, and then think, are you truly thankful of being forgiven for so much Then think about, how do you reflect that forgiveness towards others. Remember I said in one of my others posts recently, forgiveness is hard! And yet, God willingly gave His only begotten not made Son, the glory of heaven, to come to earth to redeem sinful man! He paid a debt He did not owe, I owe the debt I could not pay.

There is a day of judgment coming, where all the debts owed to God will be called to reconciliation, one way, or another, and that debt is paid in full. That debt is either paid by you apart from Christ and your works and efforts will be judged and not good enough, and will be told “depart from me you workers of inequity”, or by Christs’ work on the cross of Calvary and God sees His Son’s precious blood covering us and we hear “Well done good and faithful servant”, because of Christ. Apart from God, apart from Christ, apart from the Holy Spirit, we have nothing good to offer God, yet, because of God, because of Christ, because of the Holy Spirit, we have ALL things good!

That is the reason we should be living like we are worth the price HE paid! For He is worthy to be praised, honored, and glorified in all things! The good times, and the bad! For he is worthy!

#ToGodBeTheGlory

IT’S NOT JUST THAT EASY

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. - Matthew 7:13-14

The image above (minus my handy dandy “not” art work) was on a t-shirt by a famous Christian t-shirt company years ago, and sadly I used to own that shirt back when I was the “hip” Christian. Now I am all for using t-shirts or other means for the Gospel and get people to ask questions, but make sure it 100% focuses on making God the main thing, and not you. I also remember churches that put on their marquee signs “Christianity, so easy a caveman can do it (puke!)” These things greatly diminish who God is and makes His grace cheap. And if being saved is so easy, then why kill your only Son with such a horrible death!

Sadly this has been going on week in and week out for years in many of our churches!

Man (gender neutral) by nature, have the innate tendency to fully depend on and trust themselves once they get to a certain age. Out ability is to grow in self-confidence, self-reliance, self-sufficiency so that we can have self-worth. MAN, that sure is a lot of self pride!

One of the biggest, most silent, devious, diabolical, wicked, evil and very little contested things in the church as a whole today, is Easy Believism. Easy believism means up have the ability to decide to become saved, that God’s grace is made cheap by you bypassing His will and whom He has elected (chose) to reveal His will to, all because you heard about how bad hell is, or how great He will make your life more meaningful, or some other reason. Easy believism is also man manipulating man, to get him / her to do something in response. If you have been in church for some time or many years, you may have experienced the whole show of “With heads bowed and eyes closed, if there is any one here who does not know Christ, raise your hand. Walk the isle, say a prayer, sign a card.” You know the routine, right? Just because your name is on a card and some membership roll of a church DOES NOT make you a Christian in any way, shape, fashion, or form; Christianity is NOT that easy!

I have been listening to a wonderful series by my previous Pastor when I lived in TN, Pastor Jim McClarty of Grace Christian Assembly on the Christian life, and this message here, “Be the Christian” (nice shameless plug, huh 😉 which EVERY Christian needs to hear! One of the heavy hitting parts of the sermon is when Pastor Jim reminds the hearer that Jesus Himself says to His disciples in Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. He wants me to do what! Yup, give up your life! Get over yourself, your pride, your self-sufficiency, your self-glory, your self-righteous, and follow me (Christ). Can you even begin to imagine what this nation would be like if Christians actually…. well, lived like Christians.

There are many other heavy words in the Bible for the Christian to do, for example; strive, struggle, sacrifice, be salt, be light, be a witness and a testimony for Him, walk in the Spirit, take up your cross and follow Him. Those certainly are not words of easy! God wants up to give up the things of this world, and trust Him in all things and give our lives (His really) back to Him in adoration, love, prayer, trust, faith, communion, service, and relationship.

I am one of the blessed ones that God revealed Himself over time. For in my earlier formation years, I too went through churches that their main theology was man centered, grace cheapening, theology lacking, and the like. Even though I was a member, I do not know how many times I went to the “alter calls” to be prayed over, but was not discipled for many years (and honestly still really have not), but by His true grace, removed me from such false gospel teachings!

Christianity is anything but easy and is very very narrow minded to the world! Remember in the opening, Jesus Himself said that the gate is narrow and the way to life (that is eternal) is hard. We in the western culture have had it far too easy (well most of us) for far too long and have come to expect much gain with little to no effort, and that is the same we expect from God. And times right now are beginning to get more difficult and fearful, and could possibly get much worse, and worry is setting in for many. If we who are professing Christians would read our Bibles, we would know that life has never been easy, and that trusting God in faith is key to dying to self and believing Him. In doing so, we become less fearful of this world and look more to the promised eternity to come. But the question you need to ask yourself and be completely honest, as your eternity does depend on it!

Has God called you, rasied you up from the dead sinful flesh, crucified on the cross of Calvary, and given you a heart to follow, honor, and glorify Him in ALL things? Or are you doing it all on your own? Again…

Hebrews 9:27 – And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

WHODUNIT PART 2

If I cast up a confessed, repented, and forsaken sin against another, and allow my remembrance of that sin to colour my thinking and feed my suspicions, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Amy Carmichael

Last week in Whodunit Part 1 we spoke of the importance and the difficulty of confessing our sins, because it admits guilt to the greatest crimes of all, and that is sin against a Holy, Righteous, Judging God. I wish I could say it might get easier this week, and for some it is, because we have a right focus on the Cross of Calvary, and that of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In doing so, a lot of people miss out on the importance and the spiritual blessings of these verses!

When we think about and understand the purpose of confession, what are some of the things that come to mind. Well, we already determined in part one the admission of guilt, and depending on the sin, we might even feel dirty, or shameful, we may feel weak, worthless, unworthy, broken, and that’s okay, because that is where God works His best, a repentant heart!

Although the translation I used for the devotional is from the ESV, I prefer the latter have of verse 16 from the KJV, for it says this “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Breaking this down, the first word, effectual, means producing or able to produce a desired effect. Our prayers are fervent, which means exhibiting or marked by a great intensity or of feeling zealous. However, these prayers are from a righteous man avails much.

But here is where we run into a bit of a problem. For Romans 3:10-18 says this:

as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

There are none who are righteous, no on understands, and no one seeks for God. That is, unless he or she is born again, spiritually, filled with the Holy Spirit who cleanses the unclean spirit in the person. Who by the effectual working of the blood of Christ on the Cross of Calvary, is the sinner, the unrighteous, the unholy person forgiven. For even Christ says of His accusers and executioners, “Father, forgive them, for the know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

But here comes the best part, remember our main word from Part 1, confession, well, it is also used in a positive context, which helps make our verse even more powerful. Let’s look at Romans 10:8-10: But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

The Word, the spirit of God, that is in a man’s (gender neutral) mouth and heart, is able to confess Christ as His Lord and Savior, thereby who has the righteousness of God, who He (the sinner) is confessing his sins to, and by confessing Christ as Savior, he also has an Intercessor, and Great High Priest, who takes these prayers before the throne of God. How much more do we need to be convinced of these promises of scriptures? Either we believe and act as adopted children of God, or we don’t. The fastest way to kill prayers is pride, doubt, and lack of faith.

We also tend to pray for things of this world instead of the things above, and we should not be worried of things here, including our health. The healing can be referred to a physical, but more importantly, a spiritual healing, one that is in the trust and care of Jesus Christ. Matthew 6:32-34 –

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Hopefully we all now have a better understanding on the basic importance of confessing Christ as Lord and Savior and how it relates to Salvation as well as the importance of expanding on that and confessing our sins not only to Him, but to our neighbors as well. There is so much more that could be written, but I pray that has stirred the embers of the Holy Spirit in your heart to go and seek Him in confession and prayer and that He would humble us and lift us up in Christ and Christ alone.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

WHODUNIT PART 1

A man who confesses his sins in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person. As long as I am by myself in the confession of my sins, everything remains in the clear, but in the presence of a brother, the sin has to be brought into the light.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

My wife and I have started back to reading together before bed and I cannot tell you what a blessing it is before laying down and let the stress of the day fully release. We are currently reading the wonderful book by Jerry Bridges called The Pursuit of Holiness and I have included a link to it on Amazon should you be interested. I for one highly recommend it!

If you read yesterday’s blog post, we spoke about the wonderful gift of discernment that God gives His children insight beyond basic knowing right from wrong, but more importantly to see sin and He sees it, and the things He hates and finds as an abomination.  (what, you have not… well here’s the link – (Do You See What I see )

Today we are going to look at another great ability that we as Christians do such a great disservice to each other, and more importantly sin against God. But before we get into that, we must continually be understanding how Holy God is and how sinful we not only are, but are capable of being. Now I know that sin is not a very popular topic among the modern day church today, and many think that it is just not all that serious, can be swept under the rug or in the corner, or worse, ignore it and it will just go away (BIG mistake!).

When we look at today’s teaching from the book of James, we are going to be talking about (and hopefully learning AND applying this to our lives daily, starting today if we are not already) on confessing. This is probably one of the things that Christian do not like to do, and is also probably one of our greatest sins and do not even realize it! Secondly, this is also probably one of the biggest bonds of chains of slavery to that sin that Satan has bound us with! Why? Well 1 John 1:9-10 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Two things here. 1) No confession, no forgiveness, no cleansing from unrighteousness! 2) If we deny that we are NOT sinners, we make Christ to be a liar, and it shows others that the truth (the Word of God) is not in us.

So when we look at James 5:16 it starts with the word Therefore. My old Pastor in TN always pointed that out when reading texts and would tell the listeners that it was a BIG cue to make it obvious that it was marking the importance of what was about to be said, or as it he put it, why is the therefore there for (or something like that). Now if you do not already do this (and I highly suggest we all do), we need to study the Word of God, with intensity, diligence, prayer, and great care. Although it is written in our language, we should go back to the language it was written in to get the deeper meaning and context. I use the great free online resource at BibleHub

For example, when we look up the first word, Therefore, we get the following.

oún (a conjunction) – therefore, now then, accordingly so. 3767 (oún) occurs 526 times in the NT and is typically translated “therefore” which means, “By extension, here’s how the dots connect.”

Look! You may have also learned your first Greek word! So 526 times in the New Testament alone, God is trying to tell us “Therefore” and how to connect the dots!

Now here comes two words we normally avoid at all costs and cause us to sin (not confessing). What’s worse than confessing our sins to God, confessing them to one another! We don’t like to admit fault, we are too perfect to (yeah right!) We are flawless, self-righteous, too proud, haughty (remember that from yesterday and how much God hates it!) arrogant, slanderous, and the like. Wait a minute! You mean to tell me these things are sinful? I just thought things like adultery, murder, stealing, you know BIG sins (which of course I do not commit thank you very much) were the sins we were to confess, and since I do not do those things, I confess nothing to no one. Well, you may not commit those sins, but we all do commit many others that we probably do not even think about. Things like embellishing stories (lying), talking about the opposite sex in a lustful manner (Yup, Jesus says it is still adultery!), maybe something even as simple as not showing appreciation for a waiter or waitress for a job well job serving us and we have the means to bless them with a nice tip! Still have not even touched the tip of the sin iceberg. There is actually over 600 sins listed in the Bible, and just don’t have time to list them all here, the point is, WE ALL SIN!

So know that is out of the way, what are we going to do about it? Well, start by connecting the dots. We just learned what therefore means, but what does confessing truly mean and entail? Well, this is why it is very important to understand the meaning of words used in the Bible and the context therein. Confess can (and is) used in two different contexts in the Bible, we see here one in James 5:16, but what about Romans 10:9 “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Now the two ways are similar in that they mean “to acknowledge”, but in the Greek have two different words and meanings. To put it simply, the usage in Romans 10:9 is confessing, acknowledging Jesus in a covenant manner and believing who the Bible says He is and why He came as God in the flesh, leads to Salvation.

The confess in James means that we are admitting guilt, wrong doing, but let us see as God see, we S-I-N! Learn to say it, embrace your sinfulness, let it drive us as a hard taskmaster (at first, because we will go kicking and screaming) to the cross of Calvary. Learning to properly do this though brings many benefits! It helps to make us humble, to quit focusing on others sins and faults (NO ONE is more or less of a sinner in God’s eyes apart from being covered by the precious blood of Christ). We become more compassionate, kind, loving, caring, less cynical, and most of all, honor God in what He commands us to do!

It has been a little longer read than usual today, and I do hope you were encouraged and whetted your appetite, given you some new tools, and encouraged you to find ways to get into God’s Word more deeply and passionately. Thank you for reading, and hope you will come back for part two tomorrow as we finish this great lesson in the ability to confess.

Until then…

#ToGodBeTheGlory

DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE

DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands
As darkness pulls the strings

From the song Slow Fade by Casting Crowns

I am going to warn you ahead of time, there is going to be an attempt at A LOT of terminology this morning to hopefully giving us a greater insight as well as learning about one of the greatest gifts, yet least used gifts, giving to His children. Probably too early for this, and not enough coffee, but here we go!

Let us first define clearly some of the words we are going to use as their definition can at times be wide, but this time will be narrow and fine pointed.

Hate – To express or feel extreme enmity or active hostility; to hate someone with great intensity.

Sin – An offense against religious or moral law. An often serious shortcoming; transgression of the law of God; to commit an offense or fault.

Practical – Of, relating to, or manifested in practice or action : not theoretical or ideal; being such in practice or effect. Capable of being put to use or account.

Discern – To detect with the eyes; to detect with senses other than vision. To recognize or identify as separate and distinct. To come to know or recognize mentally. To see or understand the difference.

So why these words for our foundation? Well, today, we want to learn (or learn more deeply) to see things as God sees them, and we can begin to do so if we use the greatest gift outside of salvation in Christ, and yet so few Christians do or pray for, and that is the gift of discernment. Now all people, in general (unless there is some major mental capacity of not being able to understand) were created to know the basics of right from wrong, and more importantly (hopefully) reinforced those values. For example, studies have been done in villages and tribes who did not know God or His Word, yet knew it was wrong to kill or steal, and their laws were much more strict and immediately enforced compared to western culture!

So today, we want to not only see with our eyes, but feel within our Spirit, what sin is against a Holy and Righteous God, and why it should matter. This is also one of the proof positives of the true Christian, and the fruits that are shown to others that they are God’s (You shall know them by their fruit).

Now in the Book of Proverbs, chapter 6, my heading says in about the middle, “Practical Warnings”. Remember from our definitions above, practical, and warnings should be pretty self explanatory. What we are about to get into is some of the harshest language in all of the Bible, must of which is clear to understand to the eye, but we want to discern with a heart like God’s!

Proverbs 6:12-19 –

A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

The emphasis will be on verses 16-19, but I included 12-15 because it shows us who does such things and to stay away from them. You know ” Do not be deceived, Bad company corrupts good morals” 1 Corinthians 15:33

So it starts 6 things God hates, and all seven are an abomination to Him! Now if God hates, that cannot be good, and is a hatred that many of us cannot even begin to fathom because we do not have a proper view of His attributes of Holiness, Righteousness, Justice, and Judgment. Many think of God as love first, that He just sweeps sin away like some mystical maid cleaning up something like spilled milk. A true Christian could not possibly see sin in such an arrogant an dim manner! We should hate sin, our sin as He does! Yet, we hate others sins more than our own and pass judgment on them more than ourselves, and this should NOT be!

So what does this abomination mean? Something regarded with extreme disgust and hatred; loathing. Basically beyond just mere hatred.

So God inspires the writer of this proverb to go right for the jugular (metaphorically of course) to show us the reader one of the top things God hates; haughtiness – pride. The definition of haughty is – Blatantly and disdainfully proud : having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior. Yet the author uses eyes right behind haughty, telling us when we not only look down in disdain, pride, and arrogance, we are judging others. Don’t we Christians do a lot of that? People might not be as spiritually superior as us so we do not associate with them? 

The others are pretty self-explanatory, but still deeply think and meditate on them, praying that God will give us deeper discernment on these matters of our hearts, for they hinder us greatly from loving and ministering to others!

The last one says “One who sows discord among brothers”. What does discord mean?

Discord – A lack of agreement or harmony; active quarreling or conflict resulting from discord among persons or factions. Some synonyms include; disharmony, division, schism, strife, disunity.

Now this is where discernment (great wisdom from above) is greatly needed in the church. Why? Because people assume when others come into the church, that automatically qualifies them to be called brethren (a brother or sister in Christ). The Apostle Paul even gives warning in Galatians 5:14-15 – For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

May this give us ALL something to think about and pray about, that God would again give us wisdom from above, to use the discernment He wants His children to use, and let us honor Him by using this great gift in our lives to see ALL sins, not just these 7 (although they are very serious) to be honest with ourselves and ask for the Holy Spirits help to rid ourselves of anything that is impure and give them up for God’s glory. And in return, may He gives us a happier life in Him and less of this world!

#ToGodBeTheGlory

LIVING WITHOUT GOD

LIVING WITHOUT GOD

Wicked people will not seek after God, that is, will not call upon him. They live without prayer, and that is living without God. They have many thoughts, many objects and devices, but think not of the Lord in any of them; they have no submission to his will, nor aim for his glory.

Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on Psalm 10:1-10

Psalm 10:4 – In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.

Have you ever imagine what your life would not be like had you not ever known God, that there was such a person, creator, sustainer of all life? Well, many do daily without even realizing it, and not just people who do not believe their is a God, but so called Christians! Look at the opening quote by Matthew Henry and think of how many times it can be proven true that we live a life without God! We have thoughts, objects and devices that have none of the Lord in them! Does this truth hurt you? I am crushed and gives me much to reflect upon and cry out to be changed from my sinful ways!

But let’s go back to something simple for a moment. Let’s talk about true unbelievers in God. People who say He does not exist, or He did not create, or He does not sustain. Let’s think for a moment if God was not immutable (meaning He could change) and decided to say “You know, creation just isn’t worth it anymore. I am tired of trying, things aren’t working out they way I anticipated”, you know, negative stuff like we do all the time. So slowly God started to withdrawal His common grace. One day healthy people could no longer get out of bed, because God no longer sustained. Shortly after that, God turned out the sun, and all we had was our own fires burning to keep warm and give little light. Lastly, God turned off His air, that’s right, HIS! People would be dropping like flies in mere seconds! That’s just a small taste of what life would be like without God. Not only do we cheapen His saving grace, but we take for granted every day His common grace. We do not give thanks as we should that He does care about us, sustains, and especially loves us.

If you and I read 1 Timothy 6:8, can this be said of us? But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

What about Matthew 6:25 – Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Again, look back at the quote to show us again how more true these words are today than the day the were penned! “They have MANY thoughts, MANY objects and devices, but THINK NOT in the Lord in any of them; THEY HAVE NO SUBMISSION TO HIS WILL, NOR AIM FOR HIS GLORY!” 

Dear reader, if this does not speak to our flesh and show us even the minutest of our sins against God and prove we too are like the gentiles, the heathens, the God haters and deniers, are dare say one would be stone cold dead spiritually!

However, glory be to God! In that He IS IMMUTEABLE, He DOES NOT give up on His creation, He IS VERY gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and holds back the wrath we so deserve. Yet, there will come a day, and possibly sooner than we think or expect, and the God haters who lived like their was no God, they were their own gods, followed their own will, beat their own drum, and will no longer be anything more. Is that person you?

When you daily go our into the world, try perceiving in yourself what the world sees. Think before you speak or react, make sure you are being kind, patient, compassionate, loving, encouraging, or are you like one of the lights above in our picture? Unchanged, have not been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus, tired of doing things your way, juggling everything day to day, filled with fear, worry, doubt, etc. Then may I encourage you to go to Him in prayer, go confess your sins and shortcomings that your burdens may be lifted. Confess with your mouth that you have been on the wide road to destruction for far too long, been a prodigal, need to be cleaned up again. He already knows! Go back while their is still grace and mercy, and this time cling! Cling like there is nothing better this world has to offer. Cling as your life (your eternity does) depends on it. Ask God to teach you to love Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and how to love your neighbor as yourself. These things bring glory to God, and please Him when we are utterly and fully dependent on Him in ALL things.

If you are still having doubts that you have not sinned in this manner, let me leave you with this one more dire warning in the scriptures.

Walking in the light
1 John 1:5-10

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Do you live with God, for the glory of God alone? Or do you live without God and for your own glory? Better fully determine that now while His grace still shines upon thee!

#ToGodBeTheGlory

THE MIRROR OF PERFECTION

THE MIRROR OF PERFECTION

It's hard to see your own face without a mirror.

Phil McGraw

Have you ever wondered what life would be like without mirrors? Me either… That is until recently. Take a think for a few moments, with deep intention and reflection (pun intended) on where we would be without mirrors and the importance of them. I mean after all, we probably think of more important objects in our lives, ones that have deep value, significance, meaning, purpose, value. Things like a car, a house, our cell phones, even the clothes we wear. Are you starting to see the bigger picture yet (okay okay, I’ll try to stop with the puns, but I won’t pinky swear 😉 All of the objects I mentioned might give a glimpse to others a reflection of who you are, but many times they do not show who you truly are. And that is where the importance of a mirror comes in.

I once read (but I do not remember where) that the laver mentioned in Exodus 38:8 where the basin and stand that were made from the bronze from the mirrors of the women who were ministering in the entrance of the tent of the meeting. Now glass mirrors had not yet been discovered or invented, and so they used pieces of metal to make mirrors back in their day, and have been discovered as far back as the Egyptian period. Which would make sense, and the Egyptians back then wore lots of makeup and jewelry, and spent much time preparing themselves for the day, even more so than women of today!

Now these mirrors were flawed in many ways. 1) they were just pieces of metal, so there were scratches and other flaws in the metal. 2) there was no curvature to them to give a good perfect reflection so they would only get a glimpse as to how they looked.

But let us go back to my opening question, have you ever thought about what life would be without mirrors. Well, for one, many of the photographs we have come to love and cherish might not exist. For inside the modern day camera were perfectly aligned mirrors that would capture the image through the lens and shoot it on to the film. There would be much of the universe in space that we would know nothing about, because of no telescopes. It would be hard to drive a car. I am sure you can think of many more. I even remember once of a little pocket mirror that gave out at school pictures in grade school to make ourselves look nice.

Ah, look nice. That sounds nice doesn’t it. We want to look out best, perfect, see what flaws we can hide from others. Enter the vanity mirror! Yup, like many other things in life, mirrors can be of use for good things and for bad, but the greatest mirror of all, people hardly ever use, and the mirror is the mirror of perfection, the Bible, God’s Word. Two of the most well know verses in the Bible when it comes to mirrors are:

1 Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

James 1:23-24 – For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

The Bible says very little about mirrors, but these two verses speak volumes! Me personally, I did not like to read God’s Word because I did not want to see myself the way I was. I already knew how much of a sinner I was and did not want to see or hear over and over how wicked, depraved, wretched, and sinful I was. However, the more I embraced that reality, it also allowed me to see the reflection of God more clearly in His mirror of perfection. His mirror daily removes my vanity, His mirror daily reminds me that I am made in His image, and one day will be perfected in glory like Him, sinless, perfect, because of His righteousness and not my own. Being in His mirror of perfection daily reminds me that I have many flaws and live in a not so perfect world, but being a representation of Him, I can (and should!) reflect His glory. Being in in His mirror of perfection daily gives me hope as I see each day passing by, I don’t have to be perfect in this world, that my physical looks keep changing, and learn to embrace those imperfections so I can embrace them in others as well, allowing me to love them, show them grace and mercy, walk with them in their trials and tribulations. Which is what James is saying, if we hear the Word of God only, and not Doers of the Word.

Do yourself a big favor today. Set aside a good amount of time for prayer and for looking in God’s mirror of perfection. Ask Him to show your flaws and to see through them. Ask Him to show you your sins and embrace them so you can confess them and seek to be forgiven and cleansed from all your unrighteousness. Ask Him to reflect Himself in you, and that too would be the radiance of His glory to a darkening and dying world. And above all, ask Him to remind you daily of what you look like when you use the world as your mirror instead of His mirror of perfection, in that you would give up more of the world to spend more time with Him.

The words from the now famed hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus remind me much of the dark mirror of this world, and the light reflected therein by Christ.


O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the savior
And life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.

Helen Lemmel, the writer of this hymn, wrote over 500 hymns, taught music, and eventually succumbed to blindness, and yet, I have a great feeling she still praised the Savior all the day long. And so should we, for we have a God who is greater than all of our circumstances and problems, so look daily into the perfect mirror so you too can have this peace that surpasses all understanding!


#ToGodBeTheGlory

THE SWEETNESS OF THE WORD OF GOD

THE SWEETNESS OF THE WORD OF GOD

Meditates ~ hagah – to murmur or mumble “Meditation is to the soul what ‘digestion’ is to the body. It means understanding the Word, ‘chewing on it,’ and applying it to our lives, making it a part of the inner person.”

Have you ever heard the saying “Honesty is the best policy”? Probably been awhile since you have heard that, right? Take some time to research where that came from some time, some thing that we all need to work on. But you might be thinking, what does that have to do with today’s devotional. Well, that is a rabbit trail for another time perhaps, but for today’s lesson, we need to learn to be very honest with ourselves when it comes to taking care of us spiritually, and to do so, we are going to have to be honest with ourselves, REAL honest!

Like many of you reading, I do not do the best job of taking care of myself in the physical sense. I consume more sugar than I should, eat more bacon than I probably should, let’s not even talk about the coffee intake (oh yeah, be honest with ourselves, sorry), very little physical exercise, poor sleep, and the list goes on. Does that sound like someone you might know? Unfortunately, bad habits like these carry over into other areas of our lives as well, especially our spiritual ones, you know, the one that we are supposed to be spending time with God spiritual life. Strike a spiritual nerve, kind of like a cavity on a physical tooth? Yup, me too, and that is why we are going to talk about changing those spiritual habits today!

Let’s start by asking ourselves a simple honest question, again, truthful. By being truthful God will show us our sins and heal us as well as help be honest with others (okay, enough of that rabbit hole 😉

What was the main topic of the last sermon you heard? What were some of the sub-points of the main topic? Like many others, most of the time we do not remember or can recall, and if we do, it is not for a very long period of time. We might be more worried about where we are going to go eat after church, or rush home to catch up on the big game, or some other thing of the world that wants to distract us from God’s Word. This is why proper meditation is needed. You want me to do what? Bend into all sorts of crazy positions that will take a team of doctors to untie me from, no thanks! No silly, that is NOT Christian meditation, and sadly many Christian not only meditate in the wrong manner, but have brought the worldly type into the church!

Christian mediation is a verb, more specifically an action verb, and it means to contemplate, think deeply about, study, wrestle with, ponder. So why is this so important to our spiritual life? Well, if it is anything like our physical life, we are in deep trouble! You know when we eat a poor diet like lots of sugar or saturated fat, what do we feel like? Sluggish, sleepy, lethargic, lack of focus, etc. Yup, that is the same way we are going to feel when we take care of (or lack thereof) ourselves in the spiritual manner.

When we do not digest the Word of God, we might as well be eating dirt and gravel and try to get through sinful dark world! Look back in my life, I cannot tell you how many times I said things like “God why did you do this to me” or “why were you not there when I needed you” You know, blameshifted our problems on to God, just like our federal parents Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. In reality, it is all us (I know I know, honesty!), because we never give much thought, if any, to what we were spiritually fed.

Just as bad, we also have a problem on the other side of the same coin, and that may be we had a poor teacher. Oh sure, we have some preachers who have the latest tips on how to be a more hip, cooler Christian by getting fired up over the entertainment the service opened with, maybe a mention or two of God’s Word, and spoke with great passion and eloquence, but all it was was sugar. Like our physical selves, you are going to have a quick high, and then…. CRASH!

This is why it is important we have a solid diet of God’s Word, that we have some substance to chew on to get us through life, and those tough times, the trials we all go through, and God’s Word tells us about and how to get through them. When we have the solid Word of God in us, it stays there when we meditate on it, we we are praying it, when we are preserving in it. Sadly though, many churches do not give much meat of God’s Word, and worse, some barely give any milk, and what they give is not of much spiritual nutritional value and spoils quickly. But again, we can blameshift (which is a sin by the way) the situation to our church or someone else, or we can be accountable to God for the Word He Himself not only inspired to be written down, but allows this nation to be free to study and talk about Him, and we waste those opportunities too! Imagine how different this world would and could be if the over 200 million professing Christians in this nation were reading, meditating, praying over God’s Word!

Hopefully I have given you much to think (meditate) upon and that you will work on changing your spiritual diet! We ALL have room for improving upon and growing in maturity in the Word of God. He is not going to force us to do it, but we also need to take accountability for ourselves and what we eat, just like we do physically. The question is, will you?

#ToGodBeTheGlory

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.2 And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. - Habakkuk 2:1-3

The Prophet Habakkuk

I have written these past few days on Psalm 1, and spoken of both the blessed person and that who is wicked. This morning as I was reading some commentary on Psalm 1, I came across some interesting points to help drive these points home, and hopefully give you, the reader, some things to ponder for your own walk with God. We are going to look at two different viewpoints from two different prophets, Habakkuk mentioned in the opening quote, and from Elijah in 1 Kings. I will use Habakkuk to set the stage and Elijah and Psalm 1 to bring it all together.

Have you ever finished watching the evening news with all the violence and injustice in the world and in frustration asked, Why isn’t God doing something? Why do the wicked and the dishonest people prosper. Why do they get elected to the White House? Well, that is not a new feeling. A prophet named Habakkuk felt that way around 620 B.C. and wrote a book about it.

Habakkuk’s name means to “embrace” or “wrestle.” As is usually the case, his name has something to do with the message of the book. I think it relates to the fact that he was wrestling with a difficult issue. If God is good, then why is there evil in the world? And if there has to be evil, then why do the evil prosper? What is God doing in the world? We discussed a similar thought coming from the Israelites in Zephaniah 1:12. They said God did not do good or evil. They thought God was not involved and so continued in their sin. Habakkuk is one of the good guys. He fears God and does what is right, but it is getting him no where. (Taken from Bible.org – https://bible.org/seriespage/8-habakkuk)

Here is also an outline we can use as we read for ourselves the Book of Habakkuk.


Title (1:1)

Habakkuk’s First Complaint: Why does the evil in Judah go unpunished? (1:2-4)

God’s Answer: The Babylonians will punish Judah (1:5-11)

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint: How can a just God use wicked Babylonia to punish a people more righteous than themselves? (1:12;2:1)

God’s Answer: Babylonia will be punished, and faith will be rewarded (2:2-20)

Habakkuk’s Prayer: After asking for manifestations of God’s wrath and mercy (as he has seen in the past), he closes with a confession of trust and joy in God (ch. 3)
(https://www.biblestudytools.com/habakkuk/)

So how does all of this matter between the Book of Habakkuk, Elijah, and Psalm 1? Patience dear reader, patience!

So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. 43 And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” – 1 Kings 18:42-22

Two things I would like to point out in these verses in 1 Kings. The first being at the end of verse 42 “And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees.”

Not only did this prophet know what it took to be alone and away from the world and the problems therein, but Christ Himself, the GREAT Prophet, Priest, and King do likewise. Many times He would seek to get away to be with and commune with His Father (and ours who are truly saved), should we not be doing likewise if we are following Christ? The prophet Elijah also submits himself humbly. Not only did he bow his knees, but put his face between his knees. Could it be that he was so ashamed of his sins and that of his countrymen Israel? If so, when we seek God, should it not be the same for us, that we humbly submit and not hide our sins, rather our faces from He who is Holy?

The other part I want us to see and mediate upon is that at the end of verse 43 and the first part of verse 44 “And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”

It has been said that at times, the number 7 mentioned in the Bible is referenced as that God is communicating the idea of divine completeness, perfection, and wholeness by means of the number 7, and I do believe this one of those times that God used Elijah to teach his servant how to look for God, wait on God, and that things happen in God’s timing.

Okay, great! So how does all pertain to Psalm 1?

Well, as we saw the past couple of days the compare and contrast of the blessed man and the evil man, we can conclude the following. The blessed man knows God for that is from whom all blessings flow, and he desires to spend all his time with God, not because of worldly blessings, but spiritual, whereas the wicked man is not interested at all in the things of God, but the things of the world are his false god.

2) In both Habakkuk and 1 Kings, we see there are times of properly questioning God, seeking His will and wisdom in what is going on in His creation, and waiting on His timing in all things, especially when it comes to; reading, knowing, and understanding His Word.

Let us learn from these two prophets and see what it means to truly be blessed by God! Are there times of struggle, doubt, fear, anxiety, anger, disappointment, regret, etc. You bet!! But I dare say it is because we do not know God, trust God, spend much time with God, pray to God, etc. For it is these doings that bring peace by God, through God, and for our comfort. So the question still remains, are you spending time with God during these difficult times in the world today, or do we start out in frustration like Habakkuk did? Thankfully there is daily grace and mercy, that we can turn from our doubts and fears because of the world, and trust God, who is Sovereignly in control.

#ToGodBeTheGlory