Month:

SON Rise

 This morning I got up about 6:15 and decided to look out my window to see what kind of a day was being born.  I immediately noticed the gray clouds in the sky and assumed that it might be a day of precipitation.  I also noticed that the clouds, though threatening overhead, did not extend all the way to the eastern horizon.  I was made aware of this fact by a ray of sun that caught my eye just as it peeked around the curvature of the earth and began to illuminate the sky.  I decided to watch for a few minutes.  Its color, as it shone through the earth’s atmosphere, was a brilliant orange red—a magnificent sight.

  I looked away for a minute or two, as I engaged in the morning routine of waking up, but decided to take one last glimpse at the masterpiece that was being created on God’s great canvas just outside my window.

   In my brief absence, the exposure of the sun had melted away the gloom that had seemed to hold the morning in its grasp.  The sky was brighter now, the clouds seemed much less threatening than before, and the sun, now a yellow blaze, had obviously taken its rightful place as king of the sky.

  As I pondered the handiwork of God, I was reminded of another SON.  Years before, my life had seemed threatened by the ominous clouds of doubt and uncertainty that lurked overhead while I struggled to identify the proper path to tread.  But just like this morning, a ray of SON caught my eye, and almost as quickly, His brightness eliminated the haze and illuminated the path that I have trod.

  Are you still struggling with uncertainty and doubt?  Let me introduce you to the SON, whose brightness can put you on the path that leads to God and eternal life.  His name is Jesus Christ; He is the SON of God who loves you and gave Himself on the cross of Calvary to pay the penalty for your sins.  He is risen from the dead and waiting to shine into your heart—just open the door.

  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Fight The Good Fight

 Chapter six of Ephesians compares the life of a Christian to that of a soldier.  If you are serious about serving the Lord, you are already aware of the spiritual battle between light and darkness that rages all around.  Ours is a diabolical enemy who methodically deceives in an effort to thwart the work of God, and discourage His people.  If you are a believer and are not cognizant of the conflict, you will likely be numbered with the casualties.

  Without armor, we are vulnerable to the devices of our most powerful Adversary.  God describes the needed armor in Ephesians.  First, He commands us to gird ourselves with objective biblical truth.  When Satan fires one of his lies in our direction, if we know the truth, we recognize the lie immediately, and its power to deceive is lost.    Secondly, we should have a rock solid resolve to do right.  Though this practical righteousness could never restore a lost man to God, the believer who reckons himself dead to sin will not be easy prey for the Enemy.

  Thirdly, a soldier must be confident that he has made peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ.  Only then can he possess the peace of God that passes all understanding.  Without this peace, the enemy will play on his insecurity and cause him to retreat for fear of standing alone.  Our fourth piece of armor is the shield of faith.  Our faith in what God has said must prove more enduring than any temptation or trial leveraged by the Evil One.

  Fifth, as he awaits the final deliverance, the soldier of the cross must keep in the forefront of his mind, that victory is sure, as promised by our Great Commander.   The last piece of armor, the Sword of the Spirit, is our only offensive weapon.  When temptation and trials come, the Sword, which is the Word of God, can be utilized to wage an offensive against the Devil.

  When we, as Christian soldiers, have armed ourselves with these tools of spiritual warfare, we are ready for the next attack.  Meanwhile, we must not sit back in lethargy or complacency, but maintain alertness, and pray without ceasing.  Only then can we “Fight the good fight of faith!” (1Timothy 6:12a).

Too Busy For God?

  Those who make a sincere effort to read and understand the Bible, soon find abundant evidence that it is the very Word of God.  Within the pages of holy writ, they also discover the wonderful story of God’s love for the human race, the crown of His creation.  If they continue to read, they will learn of His provision to deal with the sinful nature of man that has robbed them of a relationship with their Creator God.  His provision involves the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, which is the central theme of the Bible.  Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39).”

  This is truly good news to the individual who has come to realize the destructiveness of sin and the eternal hopelessness of life without God.  Faith in Jesus provides a way to know God now, and enjoy eternal life in His presence when our body, the earthly habitation for our eternal soul, expires.  Sincere seekers will not be disappointed in their journey through the pages of God’s inspired message to man, but the fact remains, most will never discover the treasures of the Book; they are too busy to consider it.  They will live and die without being introduced to God, who offers them eternal, abundant life in exchange for their faith.  Jesus said, “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)”

  If not “too busy,” those who insist on neglect of their souls know a plethora of well worn excuses that will suffice: too tired, too wired, too young, too old, too sleepy, too confused, too satisfied, too independent, too afraid, too proud, too simple minded, too educated, etc.  Maybe I missed your excuse, but if you do not yet know God personally, you certainly have one.  The problem with excuses is that they only satisfy those who would dare to use them.  God is not moved by your reckless disregard of your need and His costly provision—and you are running out of time.  “…It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27).”

Gradualism

  Did you ever watch a sunrise?  Perhaps you have been amused by the first rays of light as they beamed over the horizon to introduce a new day.  Did you ever think to yourself, “I’ll concentrate for a few minutes to see if I can detect the movement of the sun”?  In a matter of minutes, you probably realized that the sun was peeping more boldly around the curvature of the earth now, but you had not yet observed even its slightest advancement.  You had experienced the phenomenon that we call gradualism.  The change came about so gradually that it was imperceptible.

  In my younger days, I remember wading into a rough surf on a fishing trip, shuffling my feet on occasion to keep my balance or adjust my gear.  After several minutes, when I turned back to the beach, it appeared that none of my stuff was where I had left it.  After frantically working my way back to shore and getting my bearings, I realized that the currents had gradually carried me away from my original site without my slightest perception that I was being relocated.  I was the victim of gradual change—gradualism.

  Gradualism happens in the moral, social and spiritual realms as well.  We as a nation have succumbed to the gradual decay of moral absolutes, wholesome philosophies, and time honored principles that long served as the underpinnings of institutions that once defined us as a Christian nation.  Without the slightest detection of immediate change we find ourselves separated from our moorings, drifting away from every ancient resolve.  We are not the same nation that we were, and yet, on a day to day basis, there has been no perceptible change.  Gradualism has altered the hearts and souls of those who have ever lived only in the light of our blood bought freedom.

  Let it suffice to say that our only hope is to return to the moral absolutes, wholesome philosophies, and time honored principles of the past.  They work because they are God’s, and He promises to bless “the nation whose God is the Lord! (Psalm 33:12)”  Only you can be responsible for you!

Redeeming The Times

  So often I am reminded of the brevity of life, even more now, in these later seasons of my earthly pilgrimage.  Just yesterday, or so it seems, I stood in the delivery room with unbidden tears streaming down my face.  A joy I had never known came welling up from a part of me that I did not know existed; God had given me a son!   Now, after these few fleeting days, my eldest son is married with five children of his own.  I have lived long enough to experience what my father and grandfather tried to help me grasp in my youth, “As you get older, time seems to pass more quickly.”

  Perhaps God intended for all fathers to impress this truth upon their children, for even He, the Heavenly Father, has included this thought in His immortal Word.  “For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again… (2Samuel 14:14a).”  “…What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (James 4:14b).” 

  On several occasions, I have heard preachers remind young congregants that in a few years, they would look back on these days and marvel at the passage of time.  They didn’t get it—yet, …but I was there, and time had made a believer out of me.  Now, I am a grandfather, trying to impress upon my grandchildren that, “Time waits for no one.”

  In this season of life, I am more serious about the old question, “What ought we to be in light of the brevity of life?  I am happy to report, I have found the answer!  Here, I will share it with you; “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be?… Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God,… be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. (2Peter 3:11-14).”

  C. T. Studd (1860–1931), an English Missionary to China, India, and Africa wrote a poem with this reprise:  “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”   I whole heartedly agree!