Friday, 30 June 2017

A Miserable Hell

Proverbs 7:9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night.

      I heard a news anchor person saying that a particular politician had created a miserable hell for himself and there was no hope for his situation. Is there any other kind of hell but a miserable one? Why do we end up in such positions of destruction while we live on this green earth? Wars continue on a worldwide scale, while hunger kills millions every year. The fear factor in the world is now on a color scale to alert us to the imminent danger of a terrorist attack. The world lives on the edge of misery and destruction continually and seems hell-bent on collapsing completely.
      The Lord tells us not to be troubled by what we see going on around the world. Matt.
 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Jesus says to go on living in the peace He has secured through the sacrifice of the cross for each one of us who love and accept Him as Lord. Jesus says His peace can overcome the fear of world events and we can live in His peace. John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.
      When the news anchor used the adjective miserable to describe hell, I thought of the words in the bible that described it. Black, torment, darkness, consuming fire and on it goes to explain what it is like to be separated from our God forever and ever. Jude 1:13b To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. 
      The Apostle Peter describes people who wander from God and reject Him as ending up driven by the storms of life and suffering eternally for it. 2 Pet. 2:17 These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. Why would anyone want to end up this way for eternity? Separated and tormented in the gloom of complete darkness with no light or relief to come. Mark 9:48 In hell worms that eat the body never die, and the fire is never put out. 
      Many say, "How could a loving God do this to his created beings?" True, He is pure love but He is also the eternal judge. Rev. 20:12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.
      The good news is that Jesus gave His own life for us all so we would never have to go to a miserable hell or be conquered by eternal death. What a victory Jesus has secured for us who have accepted His sacrifice. Talk about the gracious hand of God being upon our lives. 2 Cor. 5:21 God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 
      Jesus went to hell on our behalf because of His amazing love for us and conquered death and hell so we would never have to face that eternal darkness. Rev. 1:18 I am He that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. The peace of knowing there is no misery of hell in our eternal future is a peace that surpasses understanding. 
      The amazing grace that has been poured out on us is beyond that which we could have thought of or asked for. Eph. 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
       There is no torment or misery in Christ. Where we spend eternity is our choice. Jesus says to come to Him and He will give us rest. What more can He do? Matt. 11:28 Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Less Than Honest

Proverbs 20:10 False weights and unequal measures—the LORD detests double standards of every kind.

      I heard the statement "Less than honest" being used to describe a person's character. I thought we are either honest or dishonest, but not less than honest. Here we go again minimizing the affects of sin and the fallen nature of man. We use a double standard of spiritual measurement when it comes to wanting to simplify sin in our lives.
      He is not a thief, he just has sticky fingers. She is not a prostitute, she is just a lady of the night. We are not liars, we simply embellish our position or we miss-peak. He is not dishonest, he is just less than honest. I think God would call this fig-leaf-religion. Gen. 3:7b
 And they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. We use aprons to cover our sins and to cover our momentary faux pas. See, I'm doing it, turning a sin into a small miss step; a simple faux pas.
      Where does this less than honest approach to the human condition come from? Why are we so devious? In the book of Jeremiah, a profound statement is made about the heart of man. Jer. 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? That is the problem. Our soul's default setting is duplicity at best and subterfuge at worst. 
      We just cannot fix this heart condition on our own. That is why we need a savior. Thank God for Jesus and the work He did for us on the cross. Our hearts have been made clean through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus our Lord. Nah. 1:7 The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knows them that trust in him. Outside of God's help to create a new heart within us, there is no help. Man's heart is deceptive and needs an absolute reconstruction made by God.
      Jesus understood this about human nature. Christ is at work continually on man's heart. Through His teaching of parables and lessons, the Lord reveals our motives in life. Jesus' nature and example for living was pure and God-centered. He did not need man's approval for His mission on earth. 
      Jesus made sure He did not fall into the trap that popularity brings but kept his purpose God-minded. John 2:23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. Dare I say it, Jesus knew that mankind was less than honest.
      Growing into and reaching for a mature heart that is God-centered is the will of God for each one of us. No half measures can be used to find the heart and will of our heavenly Father. Jer. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. I suppose seeking God with a halfhearted approach would be less than spiritually honest on our part since God tells us to do it with all our hearts. Perhaps living an insipid milky-toast Christianity is also less than forthright when it comes to being ready to give an account of the real hope that we live in because of what Christ did for us. 1 Pet.3:15 Instead, exalt the Messiah" as Lord in your lives. Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you to explain the hope you have. 
      We have been saved from a Christless eternity. Wow, there is a reason to seek God with a full, exuberant, and hopeful heart. Maybe giving it all we have for the Lord will keep us all truly honest and become people of character in Christ. May we all be an honest blessing to man and God.

Friday, 16 June 2017

For Us

Proverbs 8:4 I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people.

      The universe, galaxies and world were made for us. Everything is for us. Right from the beginning of creation, we are God's intended purpose for all we see throughout the entire universe. In Genesis chapter one, verses one to thirty-one, we read about everything known to us being created for us. God saw what He had done for us and declared that it was all good. Gen. 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. All we see and comprehend is for us. 
      King David was in awe that everything God created had been made for man's life and joy. Psalm 8:6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet. God had put all things under the authority of man. It was all done for us. What an incredible gift and good God we have. 
      The Lord is always at work trying to get us to understand His love and joy in us. We have a hard time taking this into our understanding because this kind of love is incorruptible and incomprehensible to our natural suspicious minds and hearts. "There must be a catch," we say. No one is that loving and generous. How can this be just for us?
      How do we get our minds wrapped around this incredible fact that we are the apple of God's eye? God keeps pursuing us with everything He has made. Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. When Jesus went to the cross, it was for us. When Jesus resurrected from the dead, it was for us. Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Why then do we turn around and accuse God of abandoning us? We are so quick to believe that God does not have our best interest at heart. 
      The enemy of our soul continually reminds us of things we perceive to be unfair or do not have to satisfy our whims. That is what Satan did with Eve. He got her to mistrust the integrity of God by stating God was holding back on her. Gen. 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. God was not keeping anything back from us. He was offering something so much better. He was offering life evermore through relationship with our God almighty.
      It has always been for us and will always be for us. Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Everything belongs to God and yet He chooses to share it with us and give it to us, the heirs of His salvation. Gal. 4:7 Now you are no longer a slave but God's own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. When I think about God I can only say, "Thank you, Lord" for the humongous unexplainable love you have for me and for everything you have done for us all. Amen.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Giving Away An Inheritance

Proverbs 14:18 The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

      Confucius said, "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."
      A hundred year plan in this "I want it now" generation might be hard to plan for. It is not necessarily this generation's fault. They are bombarded with "you can have it now with no money down" advertisements on a twenty-four-seven timeline and live-streaming on all of their communication devices. 
      This next generation needs to be able to make it through their lives and get through it with the right choices. By saying this I might sound like an old guy with the normal anxiousness about the up and coming generation, but I am trying to help educate the next generation toward righteousness. I am attempting to leave them an inheritance of Godly value. 
      Keeping our minds steadfast and contemporary at the same time can be difficult because of the fast acceleration of change going on all around us. However, the principles of God's word do not change. The word of God can be counted on to meet the needs of any generation, right now and going forward into the long and distant future. Heb. 13:8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
       As I get older I have reflected on what it was that gave me hope for the future I am now living in. Rightly so I did not have the massive amounts of choices and diversions available to young people today, but I still had to allow God entry into my soul. What I did have was the word of God helping me make prudent choices as I progressed through life. Did I get everything right? Absolutely not! There were some very big mistakes made along the way, but God's grace was there to help me through it all. I did learn a few things that are important to God and now to myself. 
      Leaving an inheritance of blessing to the next generation can be difficult if they do not want what we have. If I cannot get the next generation interested in a one year plan of victorious righteous living, then how can I ever get a ten or one hundred year plan going? If we are trying to convey the importance of righteous choices, then we had better have some fruit in our own lives that show what we are saying is truth and worth having. Talk is cheap, but victory is powerful. Prov. 8:21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures. 
      It is said that children suffer the consequences of their parents' actions. If this is true in a family setting, how much more in a state, province or national setting? We have got to offer the next generation something of substance and worth that builds character of heart, rather than just more of the everyday fluff. We must show them the value of seeking God first in their lives. Matt. 6:20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
      Is who you have become in Christ worth sharing with the next generation? Do you have real joy in the Lord or is what you have an irksome existence? Are we translating the love of God and the fact that God is worth our whole world? Unless the next generation clearly sees the fullness of God working in our lives, why then would they want what we stand for? We need to complete each other and not compete with each other. 
      We have a great and wonderful inheritance in Christ that was given to us all by grace. Eph. 3:7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. Surely we can hand this gift over to the next generation with the same grace. If we live our lives in honest covenant with the Lord our Savior, then the fruit of that relationship will be coveted by others who are looking for something real. Leave a real inheritance for the next generation that they can count on to give them life. Blessings.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Set Your Sails

Proverbs 16:21 A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.

       When does spiritual maturity become a reality in our everyday lives? When does spiritual things stop being a Sunday event only?  It normally happens when we become serious about our spiritual growth and we finally set our sails to the direction Jesus is leading us in. Spiritual immaturity keeps us reckless and tossed here and there with no real direction or reliable compass to follow. 
      When we are in the permanent state of spiritual childishness it is easy to believe whatever comes along, no matter how ridiculous the proclamation. Eph. 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming. 
      When we set our sails to what the word of God says, we begin to mature. The reason we start to grow up in earnest is that we are no longer deceiving ourselves by just talking about religious things, but rather, we begging to live out the conviction the Holy Spirit has placed in our hearts. James 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
      Andy Stanley says, "Bible knowledge alone can make us haughty but the word of God applied can make us holy." There is nothing more freeing than asking God, through prayer, for the answer on a particular problem and God guiding us with His word for the solution. When our soul knows and sees the solution prayed for, there is joy in setting our sails to what has been directed into our heart. The feeling is like moving forward and cutting through the waves of trouble. 
      Our sails are set and we grow from the blessed wind of hope moving us along in the will of God. When we become fully persuaded that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, then the joy of the Lord will be our strength. Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I received help. My heart rejoices, and I give thanks to him with my song.
      The Apostle Paul says to put away childish things and to grow up into the man or woman of God we have been called to be. 1 Cor. 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. The only place Paul asks us to be as infants is when it comes to evil. Stay away from it and reject it profusely. 1 Cor. 14:20 Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. Paul was dealing with childish issues in the Corinthian church. He was having to point out that getting drunk, being immoral, having arrogant pride then bragging about it was not the fruit of mature Christians. 
      On the contrary, it was proof that immaturity and childishness were still prevalent in their walk with Christ. Paul had to remind the Corinthian Christians that they were no longer heathens but had given themselves over to God for His purpose and calling. 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
      We have to set our sails to the reality we live in. There are many hard questions in the world today and it will take some Godly insight to answer and help the people who are searching for real answers through the misty fog of modern day humanism. There is a smorgasbord of thoughts and beliefs blindsiding people to the point of confusion. 
      There comes a time to grow up and be in relationship with God the way we were created to be. This cannot be done by remaining immature and always in need of being rescued from our own stupidity. Be tactful and purposeful in growing in the Holiness of God. Set your sails heavenward and be the blessing God indented you to be.