Sunday, October 21, 2018

Where Christ Is

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2)


What things are you seeking in your life today?

I continually have to examine my own life and much of the time, I find that I am seeking earthly things, not those things which are above.  

The key to today's passage is:  "Where Christ is."

That's really clear. It doesn't need to be reinterpreted to find some hidden meaning. God clarifies His meaning just in case we don't see it:  "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth."

Consider all the things on the earth that we humans strive so hard to pursue. Status. Beauty. Pleasure. Material things. Lands. Houses. Cars. Entertainment. Riches. Power. Position. Immoral and harmful things. 

Solomon, perhaps the wisest and richest man who ever lived, said this of his earthly pursuits:

“Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)

King Solomon is said to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines. He had wealth and riches we cannot comprehend. And near the end of his life he said it was all vanity and grasping at the wind. He lamented that all his earthly pursuit of pleasure, power and wealth was worthless and futile.

God has written all these truths and lessons in His Word for our learning. For our protection. For our good.

So why do we so often disregard them?

While spending some quiet time alone with God this morning, He led me to the Book of Ecclesiastes. I read all of it. Couldn't put the book down. It has been a long time since I read this book. God knew exactly what I needed to hear. And what I was to focus on in writing this blog entry.

When looking for deeper meaning and life application to Colossians 3:1-2, please read the wonderful book of Ecclesiastes. 

King Solomon, "The Preacher", carefully lays out the life experiences of a man who truly had it all, and who found that all his earthly pursuits are vanity and grasping at the wind. Vain, futile, and worthless pursuits. And he writes out the wisdom that God taught him.

Chapter after chapter, and passage after passage stood out to me. The book of Ecclesiastes really sums up this entire earthly life. 

The following verses declare the sovereignty, providence, and, at times, the mystery of God:

“What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past." (Ecclesiastes 3:9-15)

Another verse that stood out to me on the mysterious sovereignty of God is this:

“As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

In Isaiah chapter 55 God declares:

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)

We humans consider ourselves to be very intelligent. We think we have it all figured out. But God says otherwise.

God does everything according to His own will and wisdom, not according to what we think or want. And for that, I will be eternally grateful. And He has foreordained our steps and the direction of our life, that we should walk that path. Here are three verses that speak to this truth:

“A man’s steps are of the Lord; how then can a man understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24)

“The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.” (Psalm 37:23)

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

That last one really speaks to me today. I've always tried to plan my own direction for my life, but God already has it mapped out. It has been foreordained by Him. Sometimes I have tried so hard to change the situation I am in, such as my job. But the Lord would not let me leave. He has a purpose for putting me there and I need to submit to His leading.

As to Proverbs 20:24... "How can a man understand his own way?"  Stop trying so hard to figure out out why you are where you are, and start trusting God that He has you there for a reason. We spend so much energy and emotion on trying to change our position or situation when God has a purpose for us being there. Just because I may be suffering much in a present situation does not necessarily mean that God wants me to get out of it. Perhaps He wants to do great things by using me in that difficult situation? However, I'm certainly not saying that a person who is being physically abused should remain in that abusive environment.

But down through the ages, God's people have endured times of great suffering and persecution for His kingdom. Prayerfully ask God for His wisdom on whatever situation you may currently be suffering through. He will help you.

When seeking the things which are above, start by going to God in prayer. And in reading His Word. Ask Him for wisdom. He has promised to give it to us liberally.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

I wasn't sure what I was supposed to write today. The book of Ecclesiastes was not even on my radar at all. So I asked God for His wisdom on what to write, and what to say. And the book of Ecclesiastes was what He led me to. I'm still amazed. I have been so blessed by reading this book today. He's given me answers to some things I am going through personally. God is good!

Perhaps this blog is speaking personally to some of you today?  If so, praise God for it! He gets all the glory.

When I look to God in His Word and set my mind on Him, the things of earth loose their appeal. No one or nothing else can begin to satisfy my deepest needs.  

So what are you seeking today?

Set your mind on things abovewhere Christ is.



God is Love and Love Never Fails.



Sunday, August 26, 2018

New Kingdom Purpose

"Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6)


Please prayerfully consider from the Scriptures what I am going to write here.


Consider the crowd that had gathered and asked Jesus the question as we have seen in Acts 1:6:

"Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"


Their expectations in a nutshell, as Jews, was that their conquering Messiah would return and restore the Kingdom back to Israel. That He would put down Israel's enemies once and for all and that they would reign with Him, thus fulfilling a whole bunch of biblical prophecies concerning the future kingdom and Israel's triumphant place in that kingdom. 

But we know from Scripture that His first coming was not to restore the national kingdom of Israel. He was advancing the spiritual Kingdom of God. His first coming was as a Suffering Servant, come to earth to die on the Cross for the sins of man. His Second Coming will be altogether different. He came to earth the first time and rode humbly into Jerusalem on a donkey. His final return will be on a white horse, coming down out of Heaven in power and great glory with all of His angels, and all who dwell on earth will see Him coming on the clouds.

Here is Jesus' response to their question:

“It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)

We shall be His witnesses. That is our purpose.

This is what being a new kingdom person is all about.

From Scripture and from our own Born Again experience with Jesus, what are we witnesses to?

"That God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) 
"That Jesus came to preach the Gospel to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, and to set free those who are oppressed." (Luke 4:18) 
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) 
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13) 
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:15-16)

These are just a few of the amazing truths and promises from God to those who will turn and receive Him by faith through His grace. And we are to be Christ's witnesses to the world of His amazing love and grace. 

And we are to be witnesses of His Gospel, which is: 

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

I can testify to you today that my whole life was a train wreck, my marriage was shattered and hopeless, and I had no peace or joy in my life until I met Jesus Christ and He set me free from the downward death spiral I was in due to my own pride, arrogance, unbelief and my selfish, hard heart. He forgave me all my sin and is transforming my life, day by day, by His grace to be what He ultimately intends it to be. My marriage is wonderfully healed and is full of His love, joy and hope.

Getting back to our opening verse from Acts 1:6. 

Jesus said that He did not come to restore a (political/national) kingdom to Israel, even though this is exactly what they were hoping for.

And I would appeal to you from the Scriptures and ask, where in the New Testament does Jesus ever tell us that we as His witnesses are to pursue a place where we can freely worship according to the dictates of our own conscience?

Believe me, I am very thankful that I live in a free country today. I am thankful for our laws and the authorities that were established to protect us from unlawful evil doers. And I am thankful for living in a nation where I have many rights and freedoms. Amen.

But where does Jesus ever promise us this? Or command us to go forth and pursue that?

I cant find it in the New Testament bible.

I do see though where Jesus commands us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone, to go and make disciples and baptize them in His name.

And  I see where we are commanded to love all people, to pray for our enemies, and to bless those who curse us and spitefully use us.

I see where He commands us to give to others in need and not worry about our own needs.

I see where He commands us to not love the things of this world.

I see where He said He sends us out as sheep among wolves, as lambs to the slaughter.

 I see where He promises that all who desire to live godly in Jesus Christ will suffer persecution.

I see where we are commanded to submit to the government authorities.

I see where we are to forsake all that we have if we truly want to be His disciples.

 I see where He commands us first to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, and all of our soul, all of our mind and all of our strength. Then He commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

But I cant find where He commands us to fight to the death in defense of our rights.

What I do find is that He has translated us out of the kingdom of darkness into His Kingdom. Into His marvelous Light. Into His way of doing things. 

I do find where His Word says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 19-20)

When we breathe our last breath and step into eternity none of the earthly things we hold so tightly to today will even be remembered anymore.

So I will leave it at thatfor you to search the Scriptures for yourselfand see for yourself what it means biblically, to be a new kingdom person.

What it really means to be His disciple...

To be His witness.

Amen.



God is Love and Love Never Fails.








Sunday, August 5, 2018

New Kingdom People

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

I love the image above. 

A man set free who was previously in chains. His hands are raised proclaiming his new found freedom. And he stands atop a hill, the sun rising at his back. Glorious. Grateful. Free.

I can easily see myself in that photo.

Our Savior, Jesus, called us out of darkness, and into His marvelous light.

So why do so many of us live like we're still in chains? Bound by the things of this world?

An old preacher once said to me, "You can't live with one foot in God's kingdom, and the other foot in the world." That's sort of like straddling a barbed wire fence.

We have to be all-in. 

We are ineffective and of no use if we still have one foot in the world—the kingdom of darkness.

 Prayerfully contemplate the following passages of scripture:

“Then Jesus said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:33)

Those are just three of many extremely challenging passages from God's Word that require us to be all-in if we want to be disciples of Jesus Christ, and used by God.

We cannot serve two masters.

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” (Colossians 1:13)

We have been delivered from the power and kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

We're no longer old kingdom people—we're New Kingdom People now.

Think of all the things that rule, divide and consume the kingdom of this dark world: political bickering, the lust for power, material things, idolatry, covetousness, sex, drugs, alcohol, wicked entertainment, perversity, pornography, inappropriate relationships, pride, position, money, greed, dictates of the immoral culture, etc.

And yet, so many people who claim to be God's people—New Kingdom People—are ruled, divided and consumed by the exact same things as the kingdom of darkness.

We will never truly be free if we try to live with one foot in God's kingdom, and the other in the kingdom of darkness.

There are a lot of things that Christians today hotly defend or pursue. But I see no such things defended or pursued by Jesus or His disciples in the New Testament.

I believe God is sending the Church today a wake up call to each of us, to examine our own hearts, and repent of the things that are holding us back, keeping us bound, and preventing us from being all-in.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

We argue over, debate, defend and pursue so many worldly things that will be absolutely meaningless and forgotten once we leave this earth and stand before Jesus. Just let them go.

Be all-in.

We're New Kingdom People now.



—God is Love and Love Never Fails.




Sunday, July 29, 2018

A Letter From My Father

“All scripture is God-breathed.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Too many people treat the Bible like a college text book. 

And they seem to know a lot 'about' God. 

But I wonder if they really know God personally, intimately? Like a child knows his own father?

So I prefer instead to look at the BibleGod's Wordas a Letter from my Father.

Here's how a note from my Dad might have looked when I was younger:

"Mark, don't forget to take out the trash. And be kind to your Mom and your brothers and sister. Take care of the house while I'm away. I'll see you when I get home. Love, Dad."

That short note says a lot.  

First, I know that my Dad loves me. Nothing can ever change that. He's my Dad. I'm his son. The foundation of my childhood was my parents incredible love for me. I will never forget that.

Also, nothing in his note is merely a hypothetical suggestion. These are all my father's directives. They must be carried out. And even though my Dad loved me, if I ignore his directives, there will be consequences. He could be a very strict disciplinarian at times. And I had the utmost respect for his authority as my father. Taking out the trash was one of my chores. It was not negotiable. And though I did obey his directives knowing there would be consequences if I disobeyed him, more than that, I loved my Dad and wanted to please him. 

And more than anything else, if I was not especially kind and respectful to my Mom, but also to my siblings, there would be swift consequences. You simply were not disrespectful to my Mom. There was never any excuse for that. And retribution was very painful. Not that I wanted to be disrespectful to her. She was such a wonderful mother. She loved us so much. And she constantly gave of herself for our good. But I was an obstinate and rebellious little sinner. And when I mistreated my Dad's wife... oh boy, look out! Punishment was soon to follow. And you always got what was coming to you. "Just wait till your father gets home young man!" Those words instilled fear into us when we were disrespectful brats to my Mom. 

As the oldest son, Dad put a lot of responsibility on me to look after the house while he was away hunting, or camping with his friends. "Take care of your Mom while I'm gone" was something I heard from time to time as a young teenager. And I did my best to honor the trust and responsibility he placed upon me to do so. 

But within all of this, I always knew my Dad would come home as he said he would. And though he was not a perfect husband or father, I never once doubted my Dad's love for me, or for our family. He was a man with true integrity, and was always faithful to love us, protect us, and provide for us. I always felt safe with my dad. And that always instilled a peace and assurance in our hearts as a family that Dad was always there for us. There was never a doubt about that. My Dad was absolutely trustworthy.

So when I read the Bible as a Letter from my Father, I see in page after page, His incredible love for me. I see His absolute faithfulness and trustworthiness. I see His amazing grace, forgiveness and mercy towards me. I see His care, protection and promises to me. And I see that He will, just as He has promised to do, come back to take me Home, where I will be with Him forever, in the place He has prepared for me, and for all those who love Him and call Him; "Father."

Jesus said:

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” (John 14:1-4)

In the Letter from my Father, I see many commands and instructions. I see lots of teaching and correction. I see admonishment. And I see even more encouragement. I see many examples of how I am not to be. And I see many more of how He wants me to be. I see warnings. I see edification. I see His face and His heart in the pages of this eternal Letter to His children. I see the loving sacrifice He made for us all by dying on that cross. I see His power as God in rising from the dead and defeating death, hell and the grave. I see His glory as He ascended back to His rightful throne in Heaven. I see sin and the devil ultimately defeated and thrown into the lake of fire for all eternity. I see myself and billions of His other children in the new heaven and the new earth He will make one day. I see us all as His eternal family living in the New Jerusalem that comes down out of Heaven, adorned as a bride for her Husband. For her Divine Groom; Jesus.

And I see in His Love Letter to us, a bright shining place where His glory shines so bright that there is no need of the sun or the moon. I see a place where there is no more death, no more pain, no more sorrow, and no more sickness, forever. I see perfect peace, joy, happiness, and satisfied contentment, with Him, forever and ever.

You can't get that from a college text book.

But you can get that from Jesusthe Living Word. He is the way, the truth, and the life; and no one comes to my Father in Heaven except through Him.



—God is Love and Love Never Fails.



Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Ripple Effect

“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." 
(Mark 16:15)


The Ripple Effect:

“The continuing and spreading results of an event or action.”

It's been my observation over almost sixty years that people rarely consider fully, the consequences of their actions and choices.

A couple of years ago a high school kid from our community was busted for drug dealing on a scale never before seen in this area. He had several employees working for him in what turned out to be a multi-million dollar operation. He's now serving a well deserved ten year sentence in a federal prison. 

I've read a few comments by people who know him, including one person who said, "I am sorry that this has happened to him." 

Like he's the victim here?

What about the hundreds, possibly thousands of lives that have been destroyed by this incredibly selfish criminal? What about all those people who are now Oxycodone and/or heroin addicts, who have lost virtually everything; their jobs, their income, their homes, their families, some even their very lives? I don't hear anyone who knew this kid saying how sorry they feel for all his victimsfor an entire community that will be affected by this criminal for many years to come. The consequences of his crimes and selfishness are more far-reaching than he could have ever imagined. God can save and forgive even the most notorious drug dealer. But the long term damage to this community has been done.

The divorce epidemic is out of control today. People are throwing away their spouses like yesterday's garbage. Tearing their families apart. Some divorces are sadly unavoidable. But most are not. People simply do not want to forgive each other. Selfishness reigns in this self absorbed culture. And people have no idea how far-reaching the effects of divorce are on their children. They have no way of seeing twenty to thirty years into their child's future, and see how emotionally scarred their children will become from the toxic fallout of their parents divorce. I can speak from experience on this topic.

On the positive side I see the ripple effect of my late Mother's love for God and for people. She shared the love and Gospel of Jesus with me when I didn't think I needed it and didn't want to hear it. She prayed for me for many years until I surrendered my broken heart and life to Jesus. She risked my anger by loving me enough to point me to the only answer to my shattered marriage and broken soul. She loved me unconditionally when I wasn't being very lovable.

“The continuing and spreading results of an event or action.”

Two thousand years ago the humble Son of God named Jesus came to take away the sins of the world by allowing Himself to be brutally nailed to a Roman cross, taking the guilt and shame of all sin upon Himself. He paid for my sin crimes against God by giving His life that day for meand for that drug dealerand for you. 

Will you believe that? 

That "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Without the life-changing, soul saving, heart transforming love and grace of God, my marriage would never have been saved. I would still be a bitter, unhappy man. I would still be lost and dead in my sins. I would still be without hope. I would still be utterly broken and ashamed. 

But God reaches down and offers all men the free gift of salvation in Himself. Often times, when we least expect it. Or want it.

If you're reading this message, He is reaching down to you today, offering you eternal life in Himself. He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one can come to God the Father except through Him.

Will you let him?

Will you invite Him in?



God is Love and Love Never Fails.





Thursday, June 7, 2018

Can Your Gospel Get You Killed?

“For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 
(Romans 8:36)

Jesus' Gospel got Him killed. 

Same with most of His disciples, many even to this very day. 

However, most of today's so-called 'modern gospel' is anemic, sugar-coated, watered-down and seeks to be politically correct and non-offensive at all points.

But this won't save anyone's soul. 

So the $64,000 question is: 

Why?

Why did Jesus' Gospel get Him killed?

Jesus was the most loving, kind, grace-filled, good, merciful Person to ever walk this earth. He was after all, God in Human form. The Divine in the dirt.

He certainly wasn't arrogant, offensive, or a jerk about Himself. So why kill Him?

"Oh, He challenged and threatened the Jewish religious power structure of His day and they refused to let Him overthrow them" you may say. True, in part.

But you're missing the much Bigger Picture.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)

“There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10)

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Romans 3:19)

“And you shall call his name Jesus: for He shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

All have sinned. Men love darkness, our deeds are evil. Not one person is righteous. All the world is guilty before God. The entire human race needs a Savior to save us from our sins.

That Savior is Jesus Christ, and Him alone.

And that's why we humans killed Him.

Because we all are dead in our sins but we won't admit it and He told us so. We don't want this Man ruling over us. We're the captains of our own salvation. We think we're good people. We're arrogant, prideful, self-righteous hypocrites, but we'll be damned if we'll humble ourselves and confess that.

Exactly.

Jesus Christ the Lord of Glory didn't leave the splendor of Heaven and come down to save a world that doesn't need saving.

All will stand before a righteous and holy God on Judgment Day. We all need a Savior. Jesus Christ came in love to save us, to be judged in our place, paying the penalty for our sins against God. He took our sin debt upon Himself. He paid a debt He did not owe because we have a debt we can never pay. He died in our place on that Cross, was buried, and rose again on the third day. He ascended back to His place of Glory in Heaven. He will come again and judge a Christ-rejecting, sinful world. So, repent now, confess your sins, and believe on Jesus Christ as your Savior and your Lord, and you shall be saved.

That is the Gospel Jesus Christ was killed for. 

Much of the so-called "christian" message you hear today is: "We're just supposed to love people."

What they mean by "just" is: "Oh, never talk about sin and repentance, that will offend people. That's not politically correct!"

And in so doing, they will just love someone to Hell.

"Gospel" means Good News.  And good news is truly good news if you hear the really bad news first.

If a brain surgeon tells you, "Well Billy, I have some really bad news for you; you have terminal brain cancer and you have two months to live." You cry out to the physician, "But isn't there anything you can do to save me!"  Your physician says, "Yes Billy, there is hope for you today, because there is a miracle cure for this cancer, but you will need to follow my instructions exactly, if you want to be saved."  You exclaim, "Oh, yes, Doctor! Please tell me what it isI'll do anything to be saved!"

Terminal brain cancer is really bad news. But the good news of a miracle cure wouldn't mean much if the doctor didn't first give you the bad news that you actually have the terminal disease.

Sin is terminal soul cancer and we all have it. 

Jesus Christ is the Great Physician who is the cure. But you have to admit you have the terminal soul cancer and want Him to heal you.

It's really that simple.

But many people get so angry if you try to tell them they have the terminal soul cancer of sin, they may even kill you for it. Jesus Christ's disciples have been killed and martyred for the last two thousand years for simply showing people the cure for sin, and their need for the cure.

"Modern Christianity" doesn't want to be the bearer of bad news. So they just try be nice to people and may even say, "Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life!"

No one has ever been killed for just being nice.

Speaking to the intellectual 'post moderns' of his day, while in Athens the Apostle Paul preached:

“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man (Jesus Christ) whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

God commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness... i.e. Judgment Day.

Repent means to change your mind, turn from your sin and go a new direction. To turn to Jesus Christ and be saved from your sin. This is not the message that the unbelieving world wants to hear. But they need to hear it.

The question is, do you love people enough to tell them the whole Truth, even if it may potentially cost you your life? 

Can your gospel get you killed?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)



God is Love and Love Never Fails.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Violence in America

“Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15)

America has a spiritual problem. 

So this post is not political. This is not for, or against, the 2nd Amendment. This is not about gun laws or politics at all. So don't make it about that.

This post is about why kids are killing kids in schools across America.

And that's what is not really being talked about in this nation, especially by kids. Why are kids killing other kids? They want to make it all about guns. And find someone to blame. The administration. The president. The NRA. Whoever.

Almost all these school shootings are being committed by kids. Adults are not sneaking into schools and killing our children. Children are committing the murders.

Why is this happening?

This week's mass killing in a Texas school was committed by a kid who reportedly was interested in a girl and she rejected him. So he later came to school and killed her, a teacher, and several other classmates. 

I was rejected by a few girls when I was in school. I certainly didn't go home and get my dad's guns and come back and shoot my classmates. Neither did any other kids in all the schools I went to. 

Ever.

So what has changed?

When I was a kid, I was taught respectfor my parents, for my teachers and principals. For all adults. 

I was also taught respect for the laws and for the police. We were a family of hunters and as kids we were required to complete a local hunters safety course. Safety, awareness and respect for people were number one at all times.

We also didn't have video games back then. The movies and television shows we did watch were not ultra violent and graphic like they are today. We didn't have violent lyrics, scenes and images programmed into our impressionable little minds from earliest childhood like today's kids are subjected to. 

More importantly, my parents closely monitored the shows we did watch or the music we listened to. They taught us right from wrong. And we learned that there were tough consequences to breaking the rules. If we did wrong, there was real punishment attached to it. We learned many painful lessons. My dad had a belt that he spanked us with when we deserved it. The principal's office at school had a big wooden paddle hanging on the wall with holes drilled in it for higher velocity. We learned there were very real consequences for our actions at home, and at school. 

This kind of discipline is virtually non existent today.

Also different in my youth was there were very few people in my school that grew up in a broken home. I think I knew one kid whose parents were divorced. He lived with his mom and he could stay out late and basically do whatever the heck he wanted to. Back then we thought he was super cool. But now I feel sorry for him. He was always getting into fights and into trouble. He never mentioned even knowing his father.

My parents also spent plenty of quality time with us. They took an interest in us as young people, and as individuals. They paid attention to who we hung out with. When my grades suffered, my dad and mom helped me with my school work. Dad grounded me from the things I liked, like fishing, if I was blowing off my homework and getting bad grades. 

My dad and mom loved us. They didn't give us lots of stuff to occupy ourselves with just so we wouldn't distract them from their own interests. My parents love for us was sacrificial. They could tell when something was not right with me and they would talk to me about it and find out why I was sad, or angry. 

I can only recall one or two kids who were bullies in school. But they were typically dealt with severely by the assistant principal with his big wooden paddle. Their parents were called and they were usually suspended when they acted poorly. Again, there were consequences.

My mom was a Christian all of her life. My dad had no interest in Christianity until much later in his life. But my mom's godly influence and love for Jesus was the glue that held our family together. I never had any doubt of my parents love for me. And I think that is what's missing in many people's lives today. I meet so many single parents. Broken homes are the norm. The traditional 'family' is out of style. Spiritually, the culture in America is circling the drain. Christianity is a joke to many, especially young people. So many parents are spiritually lost, many addicted to drugs and other things, and their kids are only following their lead. Mental and spiritual illness is epidemic in America.

So back to the kid in Texas who killed the girl who rejected him... Although he was certainly spiritually ill, and probably mentally ill as well; at the heart of it all he simply wanted to be loved. To be wanted. To be accepted.

And isn't that what we all want?

Jesus Christ said:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)

To heal the broken hearted.

Much of the world today is dying from a broken heart.

And only Jesus Christ can heal our broken hearts. Our empty lives. Our aching souls. Our oppressed minds.

Jesus said:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

The loving Savior Jesus was the only hope for humanity 2,000 years ago. And He is still the only hope for humanity today. The only solution to violence in America. 

The only hope for our children.



—God is Love and Love Never Fails.