Wednesday, January 3, 2018

In The Last Days

“Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?” 
(2 Peter 3:3-4)

The Last Days or Bible prophecy is not something that many churches seem to be talking much about currently.

And that's a shame.

Ask people about the Rapture or the End Times and they'll likely laugh at you, or tell you you're crazy. Some might say, "What is that?"

Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Peter described the pessimistic attitude of people in the Last Days, pertaining to the return of the Lord:

“Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4)

A couple of things immediately jump out at me in this passage:

1. The scoffers who come in the last days will be walking according to their own lusts. They will not be focused on, or interested in the coming of the Lord. So they will scoff at and ridicule those of us who are watching for the imminent return of Jesus with great anticipation. The scoffers will be walking according to their own lusts, focused on material gain and pleasure. Getting  more stuff. Trying to get ahead. Win the rat race. Gotta get that new Audi. Get that bigger house. Move up the corporate ladder. Get that hot new girlfriend.

2. The scoffers will also be trying to turn the attention of followers of Jesus away from His soon return by explaining it away by saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” They will try to tell you, "It could be another thousand years. So why even worry about it! What's your hurry? Eat, drink and be merry today. There are no signs of His coming!"  These people are too busy trying to fulfill the lusts of their flesh and don't want to be distracted by all this last days rapture talk. So they try to dissuade you from thinking and talking about it. Misery loves company.

Peter goes on to say about the last days scoffers:

“For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:5-7)

I believe the scoffers don't want the Lord to come back to judge the world any time soon because they know they are guilty before Him and will be judged accordingly. They're too busy enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season and they don't want that season to end. So they try to explain it all away. But they are only living in denial... Delaying the inevitable.

It is claimed that 27% of the Bible is prophecy. It's an integral part of God's Word. He wants us to know it. So why do so many churches and Christian people ignore it? 

It is my opinion that the average "Christian" does not really understand the times we are living in. Just where we are at prophetically in the history of the world. Tell them we are living smack dab in the Last Days and they will probably look at you with suspicion.

That is why it is so important for pastors and bible teachers to teach the entire bible, with all the prophetic books and passages, including the book of Revelation. "Oh, that's too difficult to understand." Or, "That book is too controversial" they may try to tell you. But the Body of Christ suffers when those entrusted to shepherd the sheep omit portions of the bible because they don't understand it, or feel it is too controversial. 

I am certainly no expert on bible prophecy.

But I have absolutely loved studying it for the last twenty years. And I have been blessed to listen to some gifted men teach it. A few years ago my wife and I were blessed to listen to a pastor teach through the entire book of Revelation over a one year period. Every Tuesday night we would sit together in front of the stereo and be glued to hear what had previously been a very difficult book for us to understand. At the end of this blog I will post a link to the web site where you can listen for free to a comprehensive study of the entire bible, including the prophecy books and the book of Revelation.

A lot of people today want to debate the timing of the Rapture, and many other biblical topics. But to me the Rapture is not a controversial doctrine to debate. It is a promise from Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Here is a precious verse of this promise to us from Him:

“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)

The debate centers largely around the interpretation of the word "from." Jesus promises us He will keep us from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world. Define the word from in the original Greek and it means He will keep us "completely out of a particular time and place." Some will argue that it means He will only preserve us in that time and place, not remove us from it altogether. And thus the debate rages on. I absolutely believe He will remove us completely out of the world during this time of tribulation on earth as He begins to judge the world. Many don't agree with this though. There are several interpretations out there. But I will not debate them here on this blog with you. That is not my purpose or desire.

Again, the study of bible prophecy is vastly important. God wants us to know. If you are a pastor or have been called to be a bible teacher, please do not cheat your people out of this important part of the Word of God. People need to understand the times we are living in. The promises found in bible prophecy give God's people great hope and encouragement in a world that grows darker and more hopeless every day. 

Here is a great free resource that we have personally found to be extremely helpful for studying bible prophecy, as well as the entire bible:

God's Word declares:

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

God is Love and Love Never Fails.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

God Loves Through Discipline

“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” 
(Hebrews 12:6)

Love through discipline.

That's a foreign or archaic concept to a lot of people today. Certainly politically incorrect.

When I was a kid my parents were pretty strict, especially my dad. But I can tell you that I never received any punishment from him that I didn't fully deserve. In fact, because I experienced the severe consequences of my actions the way that I did then, that is probably the reason that I'm not in jail today, or worse. So, thanks dad and mom for loving me enough to discipline me.

Today in many states, if you spank your children, child services can actually take your children away from you. You could possibly even be prosecuted. This almost happened to some friends of ours.Very scary stuff.

When I was a kid you never heard of any school shootings. But today they are reported on the evening news almost weekly. What has changed?

As our nation and world move farther and farther away from God, pushing Him out of every aspect of our society, the moral fiber of the culture disintegrates. And the world grows darker. The people rebel against all that is good and right and godly.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness…” (Isaiah 5:20)

Very few parents today discipline their children effectively. Liberally minded schools refuse to do so. Many employers won't hold their employees accountable and fail to correct bad behavior. Church leadership, afraid to offend anyone, fails to correct sin in the church body in a biblical way.

Some will argue that because we're "just supposed to love people" they want to "be nice so that everyone will win." Just give everyone a participation trophy no matter what.

But when you fail to discipline, all you accomplish is to enable people to continue in wrong behavior. And everyone loses.

And that's not love.

Certainly not the God kind of love.  His love is a corrective and redemptive lovenot a pampering love.

“He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” (Proverbs 13:24)

The Discipline of God:

“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
(Hebrews 12:3-11)

In light of the above passage from Hebrews chapter 12, examine the evidence of a lack of discipline in all aspects of our society. 

God loves through discipline.

God is Love and Love Never Fails.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Do You Love Jesus?

"If you love Me keep My commandments."
(John 14:15)

I struggled a bit trying to decide how to title this blog post. The themes that have been on my heart lately are obedience, consequences and accountability. And then it became crystal clear.

"Do you love Jesus?"

It always comes back to love.

I've heard many people over the years say how much they love Jesus. One young woman trying to justify the sexually immoral relationship she was in, said of her prodigal boyfriend, "Oh, but he loves Jesus!"

What is the proof that demonstrates that we truly love Jesus?

He gives us the answer in John 14:15...

"If you love Me, keep My commandments."

Look friends, it can't be any clearer than that. 

Keep His commandments.

"Which ones?" you may ask.

All of them.

"But we're under grace now" you might argue.  Absolutely. But Jesus came to bring the New Covenant of Grace to us and He still commands us to obey Him, and keep His commandments.

Don't think of the Bible as a list of rules, but rather, a "Do you love Jesus?" litmus test.

A guy I used to know, who has now gone off the New Age deep end, once said to me, "But Mark, all I'm commanded to do is love my fellow man."

No, that is not true.

What is the first and greatest commandment?

“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

Okay, so loving God with all we are is His first and greatest commandment. So how do you love God?

Keep His commandments. Jesus said so. 

Part of that is loving your fellow man. But that is the second commandment Jesus spoke of.

“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:39-40)

So what are some important commandments that God gave us? 

Here's one:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)

And in case you are looking for a loophole, that commandment is not just for men. It applies equally to women.

Adultery and divorce are an epidemic in this country today, and that's just as much in marriages where the couple claim to be "Christians" as it is for non-believers. How can that be? How can so many people who claim to be "Christians" be throwing their spouses away like yesterday's garbage, and hooking up with losers who don't love God either?  And before you accuse me of casting stones, I once committed this horrible sin of adultery myself, back in the early 1990's when I was a selfish, young, and quite foolish "Christian." And I paid the heavy price for this willful sin against God and against my wife and family. My wife forgave me, eventually, ten years later. But my sinful act took its toll on many people. How I wish I could take back what I did and undo the damage I caused. But I can't. 

And it's because of my own destructive sin bomb that I dropped on my family, and the fallout and consequences of my sin, that I preach this so boldly in love to you today.

Love Jesus by keeping His commandments. 

Don't commit adultery. Don't lust after any other people who are not your spouse. You unmarried people, don't commit fornication. Don't lust after things or people which will destroy your soul. 

Your willful acts of sin have far-reaching consequences on othersincluding your childrenthat you have no way of knowing today. Ten, twenty years later, the sin bomb that you drop on your children today, will emotionally and spiritually scar them much more deeply than you can possibly imagine. 

On accountability... here is your ultimate accountability:

“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.” (2 Corinthians 5:9-11)

If you think this all sounds harsh, hear Jesus' own startling words:

“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:22-23)

Many peoplenot just a fewwill be forever banished from Jesus' presence, because they didn't love Him by being obedient, but rather, chose an unrepentant lifestyle of lawlessness. These are the hyper religious folks. The people who thought they were super spiritual by claiming the name of Jesus and even doing wondrous works. But their hearts were far from Him. They didn't demonstrate a true love for Jesus by walking in obedience and keeping His commandments. And to them He will declare, "I never knew you; depart from Me."

And their fate is eternally sealed. Hopelessly lost forever.

It all comes back to love.

If you really do love Jesus, you will want to keep His commandments. Sure, none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. But those who truly love Jesus confess their sins and repent of those sins and turn back to Jesus and walk as He walked. It's all about the heart. 

I'm faithful to my wife, not because I'm 'commanded' to be. It's because I love her dearly and I want to be faithful to her. I see her as the wonderful gift from God that she is. As one of God's own daughters whom I have been given the amazing privilege of loving and serving as my wife.

Our relationship with Jesus should be like that. We should want to love Him and serve Him because He first loved usby laying down His life on the Cross, so we could be His family forever. He is the Bridegroom, the Church is the Bride. What a wonderful picture of sacrificial love. Of God's love.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

God is Love and Love Never Fails.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Faith in Deep Water

"Hope itself is like a star; not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, but only to be discovered in the night of adversity." (C.H. Spurgeon)

Are you going through a time of real trial and adversity in your life?

By "real" trial and adversity, I don't mean discontinuing your satellite dish service because the economy stinks. I'm  not talking about the 'sacrifice' of giving up the Range Rover, or your summer house on the lake, because times are tough.

No, I mean real adversity. Crushing trials.

Crushing adversity; such as, your spouse, your child, or your best friend just passed away after a long battle with cancer. Real adversity; such as your wife just dumped you like yesterday's garbage and ran off with another man, leaving you alone with your children. Real trials; such as losing both your parents in a horrific car crash. Real adversity; such as suffering through mental illness or a life-changing, painful medical condition, but no one can relate with what you're going through and you feel rejected and alone. Crushing trials; such as, enduring a bitter divorce and a family torn apart by sin, adultery and unfaithfulness. Crushing adversity; such as you saw your brothers in arms killed in war in the Middle East, and you yourself lost limbs, and now you're suffering through Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Crushing trials; such as your child or grandchild just committed suicide.

We can't even begin to understand what someone else is going through until we have walked in their shoes.

When you're young and strong, it's no problem to take that hill. When your marriage is rocking, you feel invincible. When your health is perfectcan't touch this. When you have a great job and plenty of money in the bank, you can kick back in the hammock with your iced tea and relax. 

Having faith is easy when life is easy.

But when you are really testedwhen your life, marriage, family, or health is in serious jeopardy, you really have to trust in God. When things get so bad that you can't possibly fix it by yourselfwhen all you have is your faith.

Hence the old saying:  "You'll never know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have."

Having faith means to trust in, believe in, to have reliance upon. As followers of Christ, it isn't about "our great faith"... since faith itself is a gift from God.  It's all about Who we place our trust in. My faith is not in my faith. My faith, trust, reliance uponis fully and only in Jesus.

Here's an account from Paul, a fellow brother in Christ, who was no stranger to trials and adversity:
“Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness.”  (2 Corinthians 11:25-27)

How did Paul endure these perilous times of intense trials and suffering? When he asked God three times that a painful "thorn in the flesh" might be removed from him, God's response to Paul was:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 
 Paul went on to say:
"Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) 
When we have no strength; when we can't fix it any longer; when Jesus is all we have; then we are strong: because Christ is strong in us.

"Take pleasure in my infirmities?! How can I possibly do that?! Can't you see how much I'm hurting?!"

Jesus said:  
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit—for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
The longer I livethe longer I walk the narrow and difficult path of following Christthe more I'm painfully aware of just how desperately I need Jesus; every minute, of every day. Truly, without HimI can do nothing good. 

For years, throughout my life-struggles, I sought comfort and solace in men's bible study groups. And there were some good moments and friendships in those groups. We are told in scripture to study the Word.
“Study to show yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

However, if we're not careful, we can get so caught up in the intellectual 'study' of the word of God, that we miss the God of the Word altogether. The bible is not a college text book. It is the living word of God. 

Jesus said:
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of MeBut you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40)

The whole purpose of Jesus coming to earth and dying on the Cross was to restore intimacy between God and man. He wants us to come to Him. It's personal. He wants a relationship with you, with me. He gave His life on the Cross for that intimacy of personal relationship with us.

Don't drive yourself crazy trying to understand why she left you. Stop trying to figure out why God would let him die. You won't understand it. It won't make sense now. It may later. It may never.

God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His ways, higher than our ways. Only God knows why He allows things to happen in our lives. He has a purpose for allowing them to happen. Just trust Him in it.

All you can do, should do, by far the best thing to do; is call out to Him. Come to Himthat you may have life.

As a friend once put it;
"Sometimes the best place to be is flat on your back, looking up, crying out to God"Help!"
Here is an old song that really speaks to me of God's love and faithfulness to us:

“I have journeyed through the long dark night,
Out on the open sea, by faith alone, sight unknown,
And yet His eyes were watching me.
The anchor holds, though the ship is battered,
The anchor holds, though the sails are torn.
I have fallen on my knees, as I faced the raging seas,
The anchor holds, in spite of the storm.
I've had visions, I've had dreams,
I've even held them in my hand,
But I never knew, they would slip right through,
Like they were only grains of sand.
I have been young, but I am older now,
And there has been beauty that these eyes have seen.
But it was in the night, through the storms of my life,
Oh, that's where God proved His love to me
The anchor holds, though the ship is battered,
The anchor holds, though the sails are torn.
I have fallen on my knees, as I faced the raging seas,
The anchor holds, in spite of the storm.”

Sometimes we can help each other. But while we may mean well, we are still imperfect human beings. The Word does tell us though, that part of the beauty of the Body of Christ is that we can comfort others who are going through the same kind of troubles that we've been through:,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

But only Jesus can truly fill the empty places in our hearts. Those dark places of pain, loneliness, rejection, sadness, grief, depression, and hopelessness.

God has always been with me through every trial I've faced. He doesn't always take away the pain and suffering. Sometimes He does. But not often. I used to really struggle to try and understand why.

One day I cried out to Him in my desperation and said, "Lord, You can do all things! You could change us in an instant, and we would no longer sin and struggle any more. Why do You leave us in this condition?!!"

He said:  "So you'll stay close to Me." 

I love the picture of Jesus sleeping in the ship while His disciples are freaking out thinking they are going to perish in the tempest. But Jesus is fast asleep. After they wake Him up He rebukes the wind and waves saying, "Peace, be still." But to His disciples...His friends, He said, "why did you doubt? Oh, you of little faith."

For me the take away from this story is that we tend to freak out and worry that we wont survive the current trial we are going through, but Jesus is at rest. He is not worried. He is not freaking out. He is fully in control of the ship, the wind, the waves, the storm. And we are with Him in the ship.

There's no place I'd rather be, than here is His love.

"Peace, be still."

—God is Love, and Love Never Fails.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Man in the Mirror

“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.” (James 12:23-24)

The Word of God is a mirror. 

When you look into it, who do you see in action? The old man? Or the new man? Which man does the evidence of your life reveal?

Who are these two charactersthe old man and the new man?

The Apostle Paul writes:

“Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

The old man is the flesh, or the sinful nature we had before being born again by the Spirit of God. The old man loved his sin. He didn't think he was a sinner. He would say "don't judge me! I'm a good person."

The new man is the born again person. Regenerated by the saving grace and power of Jesus Christ. When we are saved God promises to put a new heart and a new spirit in us. The new man desires to worship God and do His will.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them." (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

My friend Craig and I have been discussing the topic of how do you know that you're born again? Have I really changed? 

Paul makes a clear distinction between the old man and new man.

The old man grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.

The new man was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians about the differences between the works of the flesh, as opposed to the fruit of the Spirit:

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:19-26)

Both the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit are evident. We are known by our fruit.

Paul also writes:

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Self examination of our walk with Christ should be done daily, if not moment by moment. And what follows self examination, is self confrontation. As we see in Paul's exhortation to put off the old corrupt man, and then put on the new man. It's a choice we must make of our own will. And that choice requires action.

Let us each examine ourselves, as to whether we are in the faith.

When you look in the mirror today, which man do you see?

So how do we put on the new man? 

Immerse yourself in Christ. In prayer and worship to Him. In communion with Him. In His Word. Cling to His precious promises. He loves it when we come to Him and give Him our brokenness. God is for us. He will help us.

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

More times than I can count, God has helped and strengthened me in situations that I couldn't solve on my own. Times of deep water in my marriage where I was desperate. Times in my health where I didn't know what was to become of me. Times of financial hardship and unemployment with no light at the end of the tunnel. 

And most of those times He didn't immediately change the situation. But He strengthened me and gave me grace to go through difficult seasons. He has taught me to trust in Him, and draw near to Him.

He promised, "I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

Thank You Lord.

God is Love and Love Never Fails.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Husbands Love Your Wives

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her." (Ephesians 5:25)

Back in the early 1970's, I was an awkward seventh grader growing up in small town southern Oregon. What I loved most in life was fishing, camping and hunting. The outdoors. My Dad taught me to love it from my earliest memories.

One weekend while Dad was out on one of his regular fishing/camping outings, I was grounded from all fishing because I was basically flunking out of junior high. I understood that it was my fault, and not Dad's. But I was still deeply hurt by this.

Even though I was grounded from fishing, Dad never said anything about spending the night at a friend's house. So that Friday evening I asked my Mom if it would be okay if I went across the street to spend the night at my friend Tim's house. Her response totally upended me.

She started crying and said, "I'm about ready to leave you and that daddy of yours if you don't just stay home!"

This was a life changing, earth shattering moment for me.  My parents had never had a single argument on front of me all my life. Our home life seemed to me, to be perfect and ideal. Always very close and loving. We kids were definitely brats. But my parents marriage was solid. Never a question about that in my mind.

The rest of the weekend I pretty much stayed hunkered downstairs in my room. Shell-shocked. Not sure what to do or say. But I was as nice and helpful to my Mom as I could possibly be. When my Dad got home on Sunday afternoon, I pulled him aside and told him what happened. He was speechless, but he thanked me for letting him know.

My folks worked things out, and my Dad mended his ways and didn't go hunting or fishing every weekend after that. He realized that his life was way out of balance and he wasn't putting his wife first, above his own interests. The term "Deer Widows" is aptly named. Many wives feel abandoned once hunting season starts.

This is very common in marriages. 

Bottom lineselfishness is the #1 killer of relationships.

I've never forgotten the fear and heartache of that moment my Mom said she was about ready to leave me and my Dad if we didn't stay home more. It's a lesson I have tried to carry with me throughout my life as a husband. I haven't always succeeded. But I will never forget that moment.

What's your first love?

Obviously, for the follower of ChristHe should always be our first love.

But our wives better be a close second. 

Every guy has something that consumes his life as a passion; hunting, fishing, football, baseball, motorcycles, fast cars, golf, flying airplanes, making money, etc. For some it's other women or pornography. I can't begin to tell you just how destructive this is to your marriage, family, and even your own soul.

My passion for many years was fly fishing.  One year I think I went fishing 55 times. A friend told me "You fish too much!" And that summer my wife certainly let me know she felt pretty abandoned. I wounded her heart and spirit. I had forgotten the hard lesson I learned from my Dad's marital sins.

One of the most common wedding vows is "Forsaking all others..."

Guys, do you forsake all other people and interests and put your wife first in all ways? That is what we are commanded to do.  Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:25

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

What does that mean"and gave Himself for her?"

He died for her.

And that is what God commands us as husbands to do for our own wivesHis daughters by the way.

Die to self. 

Die to our selfishness and self-will. Die to putting ourselves first. Die to treating her like a sex object and our personal servant and maid. 

"Take up your cross and follow Me"is what Jesus commands us to do.

He carried that heavy, blood-stained cross up the long hill climb through the city of Jerusalem for one cause: To die for His loveHis Bridethe Church.

"There is no greater love than this, than a man would lay down his life for his friends."  Jesus

God is Love and Love Never Fails

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Will He Really Find Faith on the Earth?

"When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
(Luke 18:8)

Over the years I've asked myself, and others, this very pointed question:

"If you absolutely knew for certain that Jesus Christ was coming back to earth in exactly 30 days from today, what would you do differently starting right now, in how you lived your life?

However, most people are often hesitant to answer that question.

But here's a couple that I have heard:

"No, I'm not ready for Him to come back yet. I want to get married and have kids and raise a family first."


"I'd like to enjoy retirement first."

This will be a pretty short blog post. Much of what I wanted to say, I already said in my last post; "Are You Ready?" (August 31, 2017).

I don't know about you, but I feel my remaining days on this earth are few. 

Whether through natural death, or the Rapture, I have as the bible directs, "numbered my days." The time is short. And when Jesus, the Lord of Glory comes for His Church, I don't want to be out serving myself, spending my time on life's simple pleasures when there are people eternally perishing all around me. How can I?

How can I live for myself when Jesus paid the price for my sins on the Cross? How can I enjoy a selfish leisurely life when He suffered, bled and died for my iniquities? How can I focus on loving myself when He showed me by His example that there is no greater love than this, than a man would lay down his life for his friends?

All the stuff of this life; possessions, money, valuables, yard, houses, even the beautiful creation God has made, shall one day be burned up. It's all going to be firewood. (See 2 Peter 3:10-12)

So why hold onto it so tightly now?

The apostle wrote: "For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come." (Hebrews 13:14)

We as followers of Christ are called to be faithful to preach the gospel. The results are not up to us. We can't make people believe. We cant 'seal the deal.' All throughout the gospels and NT we see that some believed and some didn't, or wouldn't. It's no different today. We can't save the whole world or solve the whole world's problems. God has placed each of us in our personal sphere of influence. Bloom where He has planted you. Speak the truth in love. Help whoever you can help with the needful things. Love courageously and unselfishly. And leave the results to God.

So I'll leave it at this, what Jesus asked of us all:

"When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

God is Love and Love Never Fails.