Month: February 2020

Fixed On The Physical

  In Mark 6 Jesus multiplied five small loaves and two fish in order to feed over five thousand people at once.  The people were amazed and wanted to make Him their king.  John’s account of the story adds, “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. (John 6:15).”

  It seems apparent that Christ’s own disciples shared in the aspirations of the people, and would have participated in the untimely coronation.  Jesus therefore sent them to their boat, dismissed the crowd and departed alone to a mountain to pray.  He had come to die for the sins of the world.  There could be no kingdom before the cross.  The disciples, along with the people who had gathered that day, could not see the spiritual greatness of what God was doing because they were fixed on the physical.  We might just as easily miss the point of what God is doing in the big picture, because we are fixed on the immediate things of earth, to the exclusion of the eternal.

  Life is so short in comparison to eternity.  The Bible says that life …is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (James 4:14)”  Your near-sightedness may cause you to sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the immediate.  Surely you know that there is more to life than meets the eye, a world beyond that which we perceive with our five senses, a spiritual world in which God, Angels and the souls of men will live forever, —an eternal realm out of which this temporal was conceived.

  Or perhaps you are one of the teeming millions who has refused to examine the eternal because you are comfortable living within the perimeters of human understanding.  But the Spirit of God is at work to convict and convince you of the urgency of looking beyond the things of this earth in order to catch a glimpse of where you are headed.  The prophet of old encouraged his people, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6)” This is my prayer for you.

Found!

  Acts 10 tells the story of a Roman Centurion, named Cornelius.  It illustrates perfectly that men, even good men, need a Savior.  Notice that Cornelius was a powerful man.  He was “a centurion of the band called the Italian band, (Acts 10:1).”  As commander of one hundred soldiers, when he spoke, things had better happen.  And yet Cornelius knew that with all of his authority, still, Something was missing.

  We see that Cornelius was also a religious man.  “A devout man, and one that feared God… (Acts 10:2).”  He was pious and dutiful in fulfilling all religious obligations, but in spite of his effort, a great void remained.  Cornelius was obviously wealthy; “…he called two of his household servants (Acts 10:7).”  Such a large household required great wealth, and yet, he needed Something that his money could not afford.

  According to his servants, Cornelius was also a man of reputation.  They called him, “a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report (Acts 10:22).”  But his reputation would not suffice to get him through the pearly gates, and he knew it.  Soon the Apostle Peter arrived and found Cornelius to be a humble man. “And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet… (Acts 10:25).”  But humility before mere man could not satisfy his longing.

  Finally, we see that Cornelius was an obedient man.  The angel instructed him,… “Send therefore to Joppa” and he recounts, “Immediately therefore I sent. (Acts 10:31-33).”  But for all of his outward obedience, Cornelius’ still felt like a stranger before God.

  This would be a sad story if it ended here, but because this powerful, religious, rich, reputable, humble, obedient, BUT LOST man responded to the light he had received, he was introduced to Jesus who died, was buried, and rose from the dead to pay for his sins.  By faith in Christ he found forgiveness and acceptance with God!  His search was over, …is yours?

Heal Your Land

  In the tenth century BC, King Solomon, the third king of Israel,  built a temple in Jerusalem.  He hoped that God would manifest His presence there, in the midst of His people, Israel.  When the magnificent temple was completed, Solomon and all of Israel gathered for the great dedication.  The king offered sacrifices, and then uttered a prayer of dedication asking God to bless His people if, in troublous times, they would turn from their sins and pray toward this holy place.

  In response to his prayer of dedication, God said to Solomon, “…I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. (2Chronicles 2:12)”  Concerning his request for God to be attentive to the prayers of His repentant people, the Lord said, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2Chronicles 7:14)”

  Today, God’s grace is extended to all of the peoples of the world.  By faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, anyone can enjoy a relationship with God.  “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)”  It is probably safe to assume that the promises made to Solomon would be extended to God’s people today if they would humble themselves, and pray, and seek His face.   

  Here in America we have embarked upon another election year in which every candidate offers his or her own solution to our nation’s problems, but it would not be hard to demonstrate from scripture that what our nation really needs is not political or economic reform, but a spiritual revival.  Our problem is not that the atheists and agnostics live as if there is no God.  Our problem is that the people of God live as if there is no God.  We, who are called by His name, have become practical atheists in our faith.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;) (Hebrews 10:23)”

Separation of Church and State

  Did you know that the words Separation, Church, and State do not appear in the first amendment of our Constitution?  As the amendment relates to Church, the obvious intent of its authors was to prevent our Federal Government from exercising authority in matters of church and religion.

  Many Christians would defend the supposed provision of the first amendment, as it relates to religion, though perhaps few actually understand it.  Questions like: “Would you like to see prayer back in the classroom?” and, “What if the teacher were Muslim and the prayers were offered to Allah?”  have many Christians arguing from both sides of the issue.  Actually, the first amendment was not intended to answer these questions.

  To put things in perspective, it should be noted that we Christians, along with our founding fathers, believe that both Church and State are institutions ordained of God, and that both are necessary to fulfill His sovereign purpose.  The authority of State is ordained of God to, among other things, maintain law and order in a pluralistic society.  The Church exists as the institution through which Christians are to glorify God through evangelism, edification and worship.  God never intended for the two to become one.

  Believers have an obligation to their government as citizens, and to the Church, as citizens of Heaven.  When we are faced with the dilemma of conflicting allegiance, our resolve must be to obey God rather than man.  Our motivation to abstain from crime and sin, is based first on our allegiance to Christ, rather than fear of punishment from the State.

  As Christian citizens, we are obligated to be God’s representatives in our country and around the world, engaging in civil and social responsibilities.  Though Church and State are never to be one, Christians are commanded to be a vital part of both.  If believers refuse to be involved in government, all government would soon be ungodly, and the moral fabric of America would quickly start to unravel.  We will have only ourselves to blame