People Will Not Agree with You…And That’s OK

2Ch 15:12-14  And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.

Today we find ourselves at a time of rejoicing by the people of God.  Having experienced a time away from God and suffering the result of such a choice they have now returned to Him.  As happens on the heels of most times of tragedy there was a dramatic swing in the opposite direction.  We are creatures of extremes.

Consider the Apostles.  At one point they were so enamored with the power they had on earth that they forgot their purpose was to glorify God in heaven.

Luk 10:17  And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

Luk 10:20  Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Not long after they were at the most sobering moment in the earthly ministry of the Lord only to occupy the time arguing about heaven.

Luk 22:24  And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

One moment they were so earthly minded they were of no heavenly good and the next they were so heavenly minded they were of no earthly good.

In our text the Jews suffered the same affliction.  Having been delivered by God from the bondage of backsliding they now rejoiced in the liberty given by God.  So, what do they do?  They turn and take away the liberty of others.  

As you go about your day today remember from whence you came and surrender the need for everyone to be like you.  Exercise your liberty of choice and extend that same privilege to those you meet.  It is simply not important that everyone agrees with you.

The Devil Will Get What He Has Coming!

Rev 13:15  And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

Rev 14:10  The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God…;and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…:

Rev 14:11  And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever:…

Lord Acton famously stated, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Of course we must assume Lord Acton was referencing the human realm without consideration of the Omnipotent God.

Satan’s entire purpose was to capture power in its absolute.  He wanted God’s power and was willing to strive against the Omnipotent God in order to gain it.  One-third of the angels were able to be persuaded by his deceitful rhetoric, beautiful presence, and mesmerizing music.  The result was the result of all who seek to play God.  God will not hold them guiltless who have designs on corrupting His power. 

Satan, motivated by pride, will do whatever is necessary to turn the heart of mankind away from God.  He attacked Job’s children, his health, his business, and his marriage only to come out the loser at length.  Job ended up with double of what he had before his trek through the valley of the shadow of death.

Believer in Christ, allow me to remind you that you have an enemy now that you belong to God.  Before you were born again you possessed no enemy.  Jesus loved you before you would come to love Him and satan was satisfied with your dead spiritual condition and rested comfortable in abusing you through your own lusts of whatever type they might be.  However, once you were regenerated by the power in the blood of Christ then satan became your enemy.  He has tortured your heart and placed one stumbling block after another in your path to prevent you from glorifying the Omnipotent God.

My encouragement for you today is that I have read the end of the book and satan is going to get what is coming to him.  He will not escape the judgment that Omnipotence will reign down on him.  John the Beloved said that satan knows that he has but a short time.  That is good news for us because before too long we will have front row seats to watch the one that has been abusing us for so long get what he’s got coming to him.

Your Words Are Having an Impact

Rev 11:10  And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

Of course we all have heard and learned the little rhyme taught us by our parents or friends when, as a child, someone said something that hurt our feelings. 

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”

It made us sad or even brought tears to our eyes.  They may have made a joke of our glasses, our appearance, or even our pets.  What they said was not as important as the impact those words had on our heart. 

Words have an effect because words have meaning.  While those that cared for us tried to salve our hurts with that little rhyme the truth of the matter was, those words did indeed hurt.

In our text we are introduced to the 2 witnesses sent by God to preach repentance to a lost and satan-led world.  The majority of the world has sided with satan in opposition to God.  One would think the words of salvation spoken by the prophets bore little threat to the tyranny practiced by the anti-christ and yet, at length, we discover they were having a great effect.

These two witnesses were not seeing crowds of people saved and may have thought their witness was pointless.  Perhaps in their estimation it was pointless but their words certainly were not powerless.  Having performed miracles before the entire world it is telling that it wasn’t for the miracles they performed but for the words they witnessed that their lives were taken.

As you enter into the world today you will be met with people who have chosen to live life in safe zones.  They do not want to be confronted with their sinfulness whether that sin is gender identity, sodomy, atheism, intersectionality or socialism.  As you allow Christ to live His life through you be certain that your words are having and impact.  Stand for Christ so the lost have access to eternal hope.  Your words spoken in loved are having an impact.  Do not let this present evil world silence your witness!

In Your Father’s Eyes!

Ephesians 1:3-14

There is not a child born sans a desire to please his father.  

I can remember clearly a young man neglected and rejected by his biological father who was a repeat offender and imprisoned during much of the boy’s early life.  And yet, in the face of such rejection the boy continued to seek his father’s approval.

Grown men have harbored deep sadness as their life passes without their father’s affirmation.  It is innate in a child’s heart to own an intense desire for the approval of their father.  We need to know how our Father views us.

In our text Paul begins his letter to the church at Ephesus with a series of blessings that are the joy of believers as a result of Christ’s finished work on the Cross of Calvary. Here is that list:

1. Blessed with all spiritual blessings

2. Chosen to be holy and without blame

3. Adopted as His children

4. Accepted in the Beloved

5. Forgiveness of sin

6. Access to the grace of wisdom and prudence

7. Knowledge of the mystery of God’s will

8. A secured future with the saints of all ages

9. A spiritual inheritance

10. Ability to glorify God

11. Sealed with the Holy Spirit

12. Confident awaiting for the completed redemption

What stands out when reviewing these verses is the repeated mention of Christ.  12xs in 11 verses Christ is priority.   What we learn is that except for Christ we would have none of these blessings. Though we should be rejected, yet in God’s eyes, because of Christ, we could’t be better. 

Though, today, you are far from what you ought to be take time to rejoice in how you look in the Father’s Eyes!  You need not busy yourself seeking your Father’s approval for you already have it because of Christ.  Rejoice in how you look in your Father’s Eyes!

Speak Up!

Isa 58:12  And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

It was the early 1600’s and a group of Christians were being oppressed to the point of losing their freedom to worship God according to their own dictates.  As the pressure grew and the wickedness of their government bloomed more black roses they determined it was time to launch out.  They would hazard their lives for the purpose of living for Christ.  Under the guidance of William Bradford they would cross the Atlantic to a New World for the purpose of promoting the soul saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The impact of the gospel on the New World laid the foundation for what would become the United States of America.  You see, this small group of people called Pilgrims lived the faith that the Bible had produced in them.  When they witnessed of Christ and the glories of the Bible their actions produced an undeniable affirmation as to the truth of their claims

Friend, our nation is at a critical crossroads.  The future or failure of our nation depends upon the actions of the believers across our country.  Will you move on the faith God has instilled in your heart?  Today will you stand up and be counted for Christ and not only voice your faith but put it into action by confronting the decay of our culture?  Insert yourself in our political institutions and ensure your representatives know your name.  Speak the truth in love but SPEAK THE TRUTH.  And then ensure you are living that very same truth.

Today, “Lip it (the gospel) and live it!”

The Pen & The Voice

1Co 12:15-16  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

Today, when you go about the business of life, give consideration to the wonders that comprise the talents of others.  In no one person do all the necessities of life abide and that is why it is so essential that we are socially involved in life.

While reading the biography “John Adams” it ended with this statement describing the revived friendship of Adams with Thomas Jefferson at the end of their respective lives.  Jefferson died early the afternoon of July 4th while Adams died later that same evening.  The author noted that in one providential day both ‘the pen’ and ‘the voice’ of the Declaration of Independence passed away.

If men as great as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson needed assistance then surely you and I do also.  Cherish the relationships God brings into your life today and carefully search them out for the golden nuggets of blessings God has placed in them for you.

Blessed is the Nation Whose God is the Lord

Psalm 33:12  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

This is the week that we celebrate and commemorate the founding of our nation.  Let it be a great reminder to us that not only is the nation blessed whose God is the Lord, but perhaps more blessed is the nation that doesn’t forget such a vital truth.  

It has been said the definition of insanity is to repeat the same process and expect different results.  In 2021 America we might find ourselves moved to turn that observation inside out and call it insanity to attempt to reproduce the great blessings of America by doing something entirely different.

I recently read a statement that posited the best evidence of a successful idea is experience.  If we were to take time this week and revisit the miraculous hand of the Divine in the history of our nation we would come away knowing that the American Experiment was a GREAT idea according to the wonderful blessings it has brought to the world.

“Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin.  Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion.  They journeyed by its light and labored in its hope.  They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence though all their institutions, civic, political, or literary.  Let us cherish these sentiments and extend this influence still more widely; in the full conviction, that that is the happiest society which partakes in the highest degree of the mild and peaceful spirit of Christianity.”

Today, determine to render to God that which is God’s.  Of course the blessings of America are rooted in God Himself.  Therefore, give Him the glory and in doing so we, as a nation, will be able to verify the truth found in today’s verse…”Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD!”

Image: Grunge Vectors by Vecteezy

Unity Will Win the Day!

Mat 19:6  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Of course, this passage is speaking of the marriage union which produces a marriage bond (responsibility).  However, as I read this passage today in light of the coming celebration of our National Liberty I see another application.

Our nation was birthed for no other reason than the sovereignty of God allowed it to be so.  On July 1, 1776 the concept of national freedom was far from a settled position.  Many looked at the present condition of our nation and saw it as hopeless.  When laid alongside the World Power that was England it was easy to see they possessed everything necessary for waging war while this fledgling group of colonies possessed none.  America had no standing army, no Navy, and no money.  It was a wreck of disjointed citizens.  It did not even have a common currency through which to conduct commerce.

What it did have, though, was the hand of God and a citizenry that feared the Lord.  God had brought people to this new world and used difficulties to unite them into a group with the metal to challenge the world’s lone Super-power.  What brought the victory and secured the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity?  Unity!

When God created the family it was to be a permanent relationship.  He told us we had no authority to dissolve it.  It would end only with the life of a spouse.  Man replaced the final authority from God to man’s intellect and desires. Welcome the ‘Writing of Divorce.”

Why is our country fractured and facing a dissolution?  Because we have turned from our God-ordained foundation.  God joined us together and formed our nation via a series of miraculous events but now, at last, we have once again sought to depose God as Sovereign and to satisfy our intellect and desires.  We removed Him from school and our homes.  We replaced church attendance with various forms of entertainment and distraction.  This can serve only to divorce us  from the blessings and protection of Almighty God.  What is the solution?  Unity.

At 91yrs old John Adams was asked for a challenge to the nation during the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  He offered but 2 words, “Freedom Forever.”  

All that is needed to save our homes, churches, and our nation is to unify around the authority of God once again.  Return to your first love you enjoyed with your spouse and a reunification will result.  Return to the first enthusiasm you knew when Church was fresh and you will find yourself occupying a seat there once again.  Finally, return to the handiwork of God in the founding of our nation and America will once again by the City on a Hill.

God Has a Plan for You

Gen 12:2  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: Gen 12:3  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Let this thought encourage your heart, “God Has a Plan for You!”  

In this passage we find the foundation for understanding the end times.  It is here that God presents His covenant with Abraham.  Abraham would learn that God had a plan for him.  God was going to bless him personally.  God was going to bless Abraham’s seed.  And God was going to bless the nations of the world because of Abraham.  This blessing, once instituted, would be unconditional.  

But before it could become unconditional there was a condition placed upon Abraham.  He had to come out from his family and homeland.  Once he did that (after his father, Terah, died) God revealed His plan for Abraham, his seed, and the nations of the earth.

In Genesis 15 we find God entering into that covenant by way of causing Abraham to go into a deep sleep and then passing through the divided animals Himself.  Tradition was that both parties that entered into a covenant would pass through the parted animals.  However, in this instance God passed through alone.  Why?  To ensure Abraham understood that God’s promises were not based on Abraham’s conduct but on God’s veracity. Abraham would go on to display his devotion to God in unimaginable ways (i.e., offering his only son of promise atop Mt Moriah).

That same type of relationship is presented to NT believers today.  God has made an offer to all mankind.  He promises us a home in heaven, a mansion in the New Jerusalem, and the prospect of ruling with Him for eternity.  As we consider God’s offer and evaluate our present life and eternal prospects a new found faith is created in our heart.  Our new faith is in the finished work of God through Christ and as a result we turn from our old life and turn to God, this is called repentance.  Just as soon as we obey God in this matter of repentance (a change of mind that changes our direction) God institutes an unconditional covenant with us that is based solely on God’s faithfulness and not our conduct.  The reason for this?  God has a plan for you  and the only way it will come to be is for you to be Born Again.  The Salvation of your Soul is God’s plan for you, but that is just the beginning.  God also has a plan of service for you.  Come to God today through the finished work of Christ and you will discover God’s plan for your life.

They Feared God, but Served Idols

2Ki 17:33  They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.

Recently I preached a message from this text, the premise of which I have not been able to let go. Here we have a group of people that have been taught “how” to fear the Lord by not “why” to do so.

2Ki 17:28  Then one of the priests … taught them HOW they should fear the LORD.

These people were not servants of the most high God but were immigrants brought in to populate the cities of the Southern Kingdom.  Shortly after resettling to Judah they began suffering horrid attacks by lions.  They determined this to be judgment by the ‘God of the land’ and sought help in learning how to please this God whom they did not know.  A priest was sent to them… 

2Ki 17:27  Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests …and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land.

But here is the rub, the preacher taught them only the “how” of godly worship and not the “why” of godly worship!  To properly serve God requires a new heart.  In other words, their problem was on the inside, so no matter how much ‘good’ they would do they could not please God.  You see, only God can please God.  Paul taught us this very truth…

Php 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

You will only ‘work out’ what God Himself ‘works in’ to your heart.  

This fatal mistake would lead them with religion but not relationship.  The result of ‘fearing’ God in form and not in substance is revealed in our text verse.

2Ki 17:33  They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.

This certainly appears to be solid evidence of the source of our nation’s ills at this time.  We have raised a nation that served God in form but not in heart.  They put a ’21 Corvette body over a rusted, blown motor from a ’74 Pacer!  Outside it was beautiful but inside it was full of dead men’s bones.

Today, as you step out to serve our God and King, ensure your heart is right with Him.  Do that which is right in the sight of God WITH a perfect heart (2 Chron. 19:9; 25:2).  Then, and only then, will it be said of you that you both “feared the Lord and served Him as your God.”  You are loved and appreciated!  Go get’em today!