THE RIPPLE EFFECTS OF SMALL THINGS

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”

Oscar Wilde

It is so difficult on where to start this morning as this is not only much to say, but more importantly much to perceive, give great attention of thought to, and especially meditate on. I must apologize ahead of time for my rambling thoughts, and it is my prayer that God would straighten this in your minds as you read for His glory.

Many times we think that we come across things by chance or luck, yet do not think it to be providentially or in Sovereignty place by God. If that is the case, then I dare say we have much of God yet to be known and missing out on many opportunities to know Him.  But before we get any deeper, I challenge you to think about; have you ever given thought to your thinking or your thoughts? I say all of us don’t and here’s why.

Many scientists have tried to quantify how people think and there are sciences that are dedicated to thought and behavior sciences, but quantifying thoughts has always been elusive. With that said, these are not “facts” but scientific opinions to kind of help with where I am going. I am not trying to deceive you, but prove a point. Ready? For sake of argument I am going to use a nice even number, 60,000. That is the middle of the road that some scientists believe how many thoughts (between 50,000-70,000) the average person has per day. Now if we divide that by 24 (hours in a day) that is 2500 thoughts per hour, and divide that by 60 (minutes in an hour) that’s 41.67 a minute, divide that by 60 (seconds in a minute) is .6945 thoughts per second. One of the fastest response times recorded was that of a human sprinter. From the sound of the starting gun to reaction time was 150ms  WOW!

Okay, I know, to the point already!

So the point of all of this is since we do not give much purposeful thought, capture one tiny piece of it, and meditate on it, I dare say we think very little of our sins against a Holy God either, right? I mean, after all, why would we want to waste our time on something like this? Because we greatly sin every day and they have eternal consequences! This all started because I have been reading and studying Genesis chapter 3, the greatest sin, the greatest most heinous crime ever committed and continues to be committed each day, and begin to see even more how great the value of Christs’ blood is, how much grace and mercy God gives us every moment of every day! Here in Genesis many think only one sin was committed but the eating of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Oh dear reader, go, read Genesis 3:1-14 and ask God to give wisdom! Study other books like commentaries or listen to sermons on the subject for they are many! Like our federal headship of Adam and Eve, we give little no no thought to our many sins, not just a few, M-A-N-Y!!! sins Do you hear God calling us like He did them in the Garden of Eden?

Where are you? What have you done? Of course these questions are rhetorical to God, but should drive our wicked sinful hearts to our knees in repentance! There should be many tears that would flood our homes, and if sackcloth and ashes were still a thing in America we would be buried as Achan and his family were in Joshua chapter seven, where all of Israel stoned them and burned them with fire for not obeying God. We belong to each other, we need each other, and our actions affect one another (1 Corinthians 12:12). Achan’s sin had a profound impact on the whole community as our sin today affects the entire body of Christ! In our ignorance we follow man and not Christ as the Apostle Paul rebukes the church in 1 Corinthians chapters 1 and 3. Are we getting the point yet? And just because the word sins is plural, let us not be a prideful modern day pharisee in Luke 18:9-14  by saying something like “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, pedophiles , unjust in my social media posts, a user of pornography, or even like those around me, for I am far more superior. I fast twice a week from all worldly things and yet do not worship you all of the time; I give tithes of all that I get, although reluctantly and in a non-cheerful manner”

Friend, it would do us VERY well to humble ourselves quickly and take heed the admonishment that the Apostle Paul gives in 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” This is so important. so crucial to not only diminish our sinning, but more important how to wage war against our sin and strive for holiness in our living a God honoring life. The Apostle Paul eve repeats this again in Ephesians 6:12-18:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.

Reader, Christ is coming again soon! Much sooner than we think! This time he is no coming so graciously against sinners as He did in the Garden of Eden, this time it is for Judgment, the question is, which side of the battlefield are you on? If you are Christs’, do not fool yourself by letting your guard down or be so foolish as to say you are without sin, for we ALL are, and we are told to confess our sins that we might be cleansed from ALL unrighteousness, and if we say we have no sin, we make Him out to be a liar and the truth is not in us; 1 John 1:9-10.

My prayer is that we all take this way more seriously than we do, but strieve not in the flesh, for it is weak. Seek the Holy Spirit to give supernatural power against sin, for it is far greater a foe that we give credit to, and we too are weak like Adam and Eve without God.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

MENDING FENCES

Good fences make good neighbors.

Robert Frost

The quote above is most famously given credit to Robert Frost, but it actually comes from an old 17th century proverb. And what is the purpose of a proverb, to teach wisdom!

This weekend I watched my human daddy go it alone wrestling with my new kennel and trying to get it finished. The weekend before he got frustrated, angry, hurried and started pulling and tugging to unroll the chain link fence to my kennel and ended up damaging it and needed to repair it to keep it functioning it properly. Fences have many functions and purposes; some are low, and some are high, some are metal and some are wood, some are decorative and some keep things in or out. And when I think about fences in the Christian life, two things come to mind.

1) Those who are Christs’, He is their protection, their fence if you will, we are His sheep and He is our great shepherd. However, there is also a great enemy lurking about, looking to snatch away the weak sheep from the flock that they may be devoured, and unfortunately it happens from time to time. It is not because the shepherd did not protect the sheep, but the sheep did not eat or like to eat sheep food. Instead it settled for the things of the world which made the weak sheep lazy and lethargic, thereby making them easy pray.

2) These fences remind me of times when neighbors although separated for whatever reason, maybe like back in the days of the Old Testament, kept the property properly divided and the animals separate one flock from another, they served a purpose. Unfortunately, over time, these fences became too divisive, and the enemy has used them to make man greedy or even more secluded from his other neighbors, so again, they are easy pickings for the enemy. This is why fences need mending.

So why is this important, and how does it pertain to the Christians life? Well, first we need to define the word mend.

To mend something, means to be free from faults or defects, such as to improve in manners or morals, to be reformed. To be corrected or set right, to be put into good shape or working order, to improve or strengthened, to restore health, to be atoned for. Do these words not describe exactly the reason why Christ came to earth, to be an atonement for man, to make right and mend the broken relationship that sin caused between God the Father and Man. That Christ came to heal and cure the sickness and sin in those who repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in him.

This is the point of what James is trying to say in his epistle. Confess your sins one to another, pray for one another that you may be healed (mended). Like we discussed yesterday, when prayer is fervent, it is effectual, when prayer is meaningful, sincere, in love for God and for His truth, done in obedience and in the Holy Spirit, it avails much, and more than we know.

For to be truly healed, truly reconciled, man does not have the power to do so for himself and needs God.

We needed God to send His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to do His Father’s will, and that was to reconcile sinful man to His His Holiness and Righteousness. Christ blood shed atoned for the sinners sins, in that He was the propitiation, the perfect sacrifice acceptable by God for man to be not only reconciled, but Christs’ Righteousness imputed to us through being adopted into the Kingdom. Let us not also forget the Holy Spirit, the one who renewed us by removing the hardness and hatred towards God, the vile enmity the separated us. He who removed the heart of stone and gave us a heart of flesh, being renewed, invigorated, new eyes to see and ears to hear, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that call that tells all who are weary, to come, and He will give us rest. That reconciliation, that mending, is the best thing that could ever happen to a sinner, and that is why we too need to be fence menders. To show grace, mercy, and love to those who we have wronged and sinned against. To forgive and learn how to forgive, and in doing so, we will love our neighbors as ourselves.

So you have some fences that need mending? Do you harbor hate towards another, a grudge you have been holding on to for far too long. Is pride keeping you from being mended by God and mended to your neighbor? If so, confess these things, let them go, give them to God, for life is too short to continue heavily in these sins. Let us truly be reconciled one to another, for if we truly are is, we will be spending an eternity together in His glory, so we might was well get used to enjoying the blessing now.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

WHAT DOES CHRISTIAN LOVE LOOK LIKE

WHAT DOES CHRISTIAN LOVE LOOK LIKE

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The Apostle Paul

You know something… I cannot think like you do, but I can feel like you do and somewhat express things like you do. What do I mean by this? Well, like you, I know what it is to be hungry, experience pain and suffering, happiness and sorrow, and to a certain extent, love. I mean after all, I am only a dog. See, when God created creatures and man, he created us different. If left alone, I will live by instinct, but you live by reason (a story for another day perhaps).

Before we go on to love, I want to use an extremely absurd analogy to (hopefully) get my point across clearly.

Say you saw a quick glimpse of someone doing something extremely crazy silly, say smacking themselves in the head with a hammer, and you found it funny. The next day, you saw the same person doing the same thing, and still found it some what funny, but now it is starting to concern you. The next day you see the same thing, but you stop for a moment and realize that the person eventually starts to show signs of pain and bleeding. Would you think it to be funny anymore? I should hope not, but even more so, should be showing great cause for care and concern for this individual and why they would be doing such a thing. You see, you missed it the first few times because you were just passing by. Maybe you were in a hurry or concerned with just yourself.

Sadly this analogy is not far from the truth of real life and real people. Many times we see others hurting themselves in many ways that cause much pain. Many do not stop and show them love by being concerned not just with the physical being, things that are seen, but more importantly, their spiritual well-being, what is both seen and unseen. And just as sad, many of the times people don’t want to truly be loved, because they like their lifestyle of sin (which can hurt them spiritually and physically). Many have even been hurt by the church of all things and have lost faith and hope in Christians, how sad is that!

Look again at what Christian love should look like in the opening quote. Did you know that love is both a noun and a verb, in the sense of 1 Corinthians 13, it is a call to action. We are to be patient, kind, not envy or boast, be not arrogant or rude, selfish (our way), love bears others burdens. Does this describe you? If we are Christians it should, and if it does not reflect our character towards others in a Christlike manner, this should greatly concern us and grieve us. It should cause us to take as much time as needed to examine ourselves and our motives in the Christian faith. As the Apostle Paul says in the second half of verse 1 “but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Let me boil this down real quick for us. You cannot truly love God if you do not truly love people, and your cannot truly love people if you do not love God. Clear as mud?

We are called, commanded, exhorted, even disciplined all because of God’s love. The Bible even says we love because He first loved us – 1 John 4:19

If you profess to be a Christians, please take these words to heart, examine yourself in light of the scriptures, spend time with God daily in His Word and prayer, that He would grant you tenders and love towards others, and a heart to be like Christ in their lives. As the old hymn goes “They will know that we are Christians by our love!)

#ToGodBeTheGlory