Caught Off Guard

  Have you discovered the pleasure of knowing God here and now?  Are you sure that you will be with Him in eternity?  Some continually dismiss these thoughts, believing that, if there is any truth to this God story, they will get around to it later, but some never do.  People die unexpectedly every day. “Ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (James 4:14).” 

  In light of the unpredictable ups and downs of life, and what might be an untimely end, maybe you would do well to consider your relationship with God now.  If you hope to spend eternity in heaven, how do you expect to get there?  Some plan to go to heaven as a result of what they have done (i.e. baptism, church attendance, good deeds, etc.).  Others plan to go to heaven as a result of what has been done for them.  Most of the world’s population, and all but one of the world’s religions are in the first category; they believe and teach that if one does enough good, God will accept him.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

  Only biblical Christianity teaches that salvation is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy… (Titus 3:5a).” It is “Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:9).” The Bible teaches that salvation is a gift from God, and like any gift, when you try to earn it, it ceases to be a gift. 

  Jesus, the Son of God, left heaven to die on a cross and pay the penalty for your sins.  He was buried, but rose again on the third day, and is alive to offer you His blood bought forgiveness as a gift from God.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).”  Salvation can be yours through dependence upon what Christ has done for you!  He is the only Way!


Today, it is quite common to read an article about Thanksgiving that makes no mention of God. Some promote the expression of gratitude one to another, while others ignore altogether the giving thanks part of Thanksgiving. Secular authors tend to deal with Thanksgiving simply as a commemoration of the harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621.
Our celebration today takes on many forms. For some it affords another occasion for getting drunk or gorging on the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. For others, Thanksgiving is all about family, a time to see aunts, uncles and cousins, and catch up on the news that has effected their lives in the intervening months. Of course, not all of these traditions are bad; there is something to be gained by taking time to be with family and enjoying a table filled with that bounty that we have come to expect. But it seems obvious to me that the real meaning of Thanksgiving is being overlooked, and the Object of our gratitude forgotten.
James 1:17 put it into perspective. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth he asked, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (1Corinthians 4:7).”
Please don’t think that I am opposed to expressing gratitude to others, but I believe that we, as believers, should be the first to return this holiday to its “holy-day” status, at least in our homes. If we truly believed that all we are and have comes to us from the hand of God, it would change our perspective of Thanksgiving. As with love, the first recipient of our praise and thanksgiving should be our Creator God, by whom all things consist. “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. (1Chronicles 16:34).”

Learning From History

  Most attribute the following observations to Alexander Tytler, an 18th century Scottish born lawyer/historian, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess (generous gifts) out of the public treasury.  After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship.  The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years…Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.”

  Tytler’s observations read as a historical synopsis of our Republic.  If there is any truth to these quotes, America is moving quickly through the apathy stage and a majority of her people have, or will soon, succumb to lives of dependence.

  Is there any hope for our beloved nation?  YES, but it is not in a political system or party.  America is only as good as her people, who choose their representatives based upon their own spiritual moorings; if you doubt it, look at the record, if you can find an unaltered copy.   For generations, we were a nation who trusted in God.  Our motto was formally adopted in 1957 and printed on our currency for the world to see, In God We Trust.  It was God, His moral absolutes and the guiding principles of His Word that our founding fathers utilized in forming The United States Of America.

  If we are going to trust in God again, we must first know Him.  His divine Son, Jesus Christ, died, was buried, and rose from the dead, to make that possible.  “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12).”


  During a recent storm, leaves and limbs from every tree were strewn across the yards in our neighborhood.  It is amazing to behold the devastation delivered in minutes by the winds and waves of a common storm.

  The Bible speaks of individuals who were moved to fear by the awesome power of a storm.  In Acts 27 there was the storm called “Euroclydon” that disrupted Paul’s voyage across the Mediterranean Sea as a prisoner in route to Rome.  In the midst of the tempest, the soldiers on board would have killed all of their prisoners lest one escape and they be held responsible, but, as God would have it, they were prevented by their commander.

  In Mark 4, there was a storm on the Sea of Galilee in which the disciples of Christ, who were seasoned fishermen, feared for their lives while their Jesus rested in perfect peace at the stern of the ship.  The Bible says that the waves beat against their vessel and it was full of water.  In terror, they awakened the Master, who simply stood and spoke to the storm, “‘Peace, be still.’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39)

  So often I find myself, like the disciples, at the end of my resources, in waves of trouble that would conquer my soul.  My vessel is filled with the circumstances of life that steal away my confidence and threaten to drown my faith.  But I too know the Master, the Lord of the troubled seas, and what’s more, He knows me!  I have often heard His words, “Peace, be still.”

  Jesus, the Master of the Seas, wants to know you too; only sin has kept you apart.  But praise God, who “commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)  He was buried, rose again, and has ascended to the right hand of God, the Father.  And now, “as many as receive him, to them he gives power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. (John 1:12)”  O how I would love to introduce you to the Master of the Seas!