Month: August 2020

Cooling Off

  Finally a break in the weather!  Wasn’t it great to see the rains come and relieve the drought like conditions that plagued us during this unusually hot summer?  Isn’t it nice to have some less than 90º days to work in the yard or just enjoy the great outdoors?  Finally, it’s cooling off!  We know that seasons come and go on this terrestrial ball, and though everyone looks forward to his “favorite time of year,” most folks seem to enjoy the diversity of seasons as a satisfying spice of life.

  But there is another cooling off that seems pretty obvious to those of us who watch a different kind of thermometer.  After His resurrection, Jesus was on Earth for forty days.  During that period of time, He was seen by a number of people, each of which could give a clear testimony of the resurrection.  After He met with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, one of them remarked to the other, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (Luke 24:32).”  They had what might be called “the fire of God” in their hearts.  This is another realm in which a change of season seems to be ushered in at present, but, would to God the temperatures would only rise.

  If you are a child of God, may I ask how that fire fares that God has kindled in your heart?  If you take a good look at those embers within, would you have to say that there is a cooling off taking place in that realm too?  Are the things of God, the ways of God and the Word of God becoming less important to you, as the things of the world, the ways of the world and the wisdom of the world vie for first place?

  Perhaps we should give serious consideration to how this spiritual cooling is affecting our nation, “One Nation Under God.”  Perhaps we should notice what effect our frigid hearts are having on the Church, the “Body of Christ.”  And most importantly, let’s consider the personal, spiritual detriment that comes from allowing God’s embers to be smothered with the waters of worldliness.  Perhaps it is time to fan the flames!!!

It’s A Gift

  Someone once said, “The best things in life are free.”  The longer I live, the more I am inclined to believe it.  Consider the worth of a child’s smile and affectionate greeting, “Daddy!”  Just think of the simple pleasures afforded you by the senses of taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing—all of which come as standard equipment with your “fearfully and wonderfully made” body.  These priceless treasures, and more, are gifts from our wonderful Creator God.  “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. (James 1:17).”

  Though these temporal treasures are quite captivating, one would do well  to consider the eternal, spiritual realm as well.  God says that you are an eternal being who, at the end of your earthly existence, will not cease to be. There is life beyond your physical death in an eternal, spiritual realm.  There is however a choice to be made.  Because of your sin, you are condemned to an eternal existence separated from God, but, at His own expense, God has provided another option.  Jesus died, was buried and rose from the dead to fulfill God’s plan of redemption and provide forgiveness to those who would accept Christ’s death as payment for their sin.  It’s a Gift!

 If you choose to accept God’s gift, I am happy to report that the best things in life are still free.  For example, God offers the priceless treasure of life in His presence, glorified bodies that will never grow old, eternal heavenly citizenship where there is no sickness, death, crime, sorrow or crying.

 All that God offers is contained in the person of Jesus Christ.  Receive Him now and you can start to enjoy eternal treasures today; He is waiting for you!

  “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)  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)”

Perspective

  It is amazing how much one’s perspective is determined by his passions.  For example, there are those whose lives revolve around politics, and everything they read is interpreted as if it were some political posturing of the author.   Others are all about sports; if it has no bearing on their sport, it is boring and unimportant.  It is true; one’s passion become the glasses through which he views the world and interprets the events of life.

  So, Which passion produces the right perspective?  Should we become more politically minded because, in reality, life revolves around American politics?  Should we focus on finances as if life were measured by how much money we have?  Should we emphasize the importance of popularity or social acceptance because, obviously, we cannot go it alone?  Should we strive to excel in academics and intellectual pursuits as if the good life were available only to the intellectually elite?  Which perspective would provide the optimal vantage point from which to view life, understand its meaning, and live it to the fullest?  Answer:  None of the above.

  The right perspective is not determined by the passions of finite beings.  Man’s perspective is comparable to studying the stars from the dark recesses of an abandoned coal mine.  He just doesn’t have access to the vantage point from which everything is clearly visible.  Pooling our resources doesn’t help either; a collection of passionate opinions from biased bigots does not constitute a clear picture of reality.  We need some outside help from someone who has the advantage of seeing things as they really are.

  Only God is in a position to define the right perspective.  Not only is He the Creator, but He has His omnipotent hands on His creation, sustaining life and maintaining the laws by which it is preserved.  God made this very point to Job when He said, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? …Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. (Job 38:2–4)”

Change In The Wind

  For those of us who have been around for a while, it becomes increasingly obvious that the only thing that never changes is the fact that nothing stays the same.  Some changes may be beneficial, but the change that is in the wind today is destroying our Republic and the freedoms that it affords us.  Our forefathers were agreed: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. (Benjamin Franklin, 1787)”  “Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical (hoped for, but impossible to achieve) idea. (James Madison, 1788)”

  Anyone who is paying attention can clearly see that what was once considered virtuous in America is now despised by those whose morals and ethics, like a weathervane, change with every wind of doctrine.  As a result of our depleted virtue, we are on the threshold of a new norm, a new paradigm for social, economic and political life in America.  The words of the prophet Isaiah help us to put it in a biblical perspective, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)”

  So what can we who love freedom and virtue do?  We can pray; “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)” We can renew our sense of virtue by returning to the Word of God. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:1–2).

  If things continue as they are, we will need special grace to endure the painful change that is in the wind.  But not to worry; ours is a God of Grace!

Good Enough?

  How would you like to take a trip to Heaven? …to see what God really looks like?  Maybe you have Him pictured as a grand old man in a rocking chair?  Would the two of you sit down at a table like old friends?

  Isaiah was a prophet (BC 740-680), before Israel was taken captive by Assyria.  A major thrust of his prophecy has to do with the two comings of the Lord Jesus, first as Savior and later as King.  Chapter 6 recalls Isaiah’s  calling and commissioning by God to be a prophet of Israel.  The event was spectacular; it was as if he took that trip to heaven, in a vision.

  He recounts what he saw: “…I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, (Isaiah 6:1b)”  God is described here as a Ruler, governing His creation.  Isaiah continues, “and his train filled the temple,” so that there was no place to stand apart from Him. (i.e. Train probably refers to His glory, the light of Him that filled the temple.)

  Verse 2 tells us that above the throne stood seraphim (angels),  “…And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.”  Holy means: Sinless, Separated One, True Light, Spotless Purity, The Perfect One.  The earth is a showcase for His attributes and perfections.    Godly Isaiah felt unworthy to be in His presence and cried, “…Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. (v.5)”  The next verses speak of his cleansing; “…thy sins are purged. v.7”

  Friend, the truth is that before our Holy God, all flesh is undone or unworthy.  Because of sin, we cannot even participate in true worship,  but God wants to forgive our sins and make us worthy to stand in His presence. For this, He has given us Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Life!  He alone can make you good enough to live in God’s presence.