The Lord, Jesus Christ

  Though it has been several years, I still remember well, a court battle in North Carolina in which the American Civil Liberties Union had taken on the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners for the mention of Jesus’ name at periodic meetings.  A federal magistrate ruled against the county, insisting that their prayers mentioned Jesus “too many times.”  The court acknowledged that the county included a wide variety of speakers at invocations, and from various faiths, and yet for Christians to mention the name of Jesus in prayer, “too many times” represented some violation of their understanding of the law.  It should come as no surprise, since Jesus has said,  “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. (John 15:18)”  The darker the world gets (spiritually), the more it will despise Jesus, “the Light of the world,” and us, His followers.

  The Apostle John put it like this, “… men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)”  People reject God outright, because they know that if they admit that there is a God who can be known by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, they will have to answer to Him—And they answer to no one!  But how can a Christian not mention the name of Christ?Our feelings toward Him are expressed in our music, “Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all; He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall.”  This is America; we can talk about Jesus here, right?   Actually,  the scriptures are clear—those of us who have committed our lives to serving God and our fellow man, in the footsteps of Jesus, His Son, will be despised for the simple mention of His name.

  Dear brother or sister, “Are you a soldier of the cross?  A follower of the Lamb?  And will you fear to own His cause or blush to speak His name?”  Please recall, “…there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12).”  I know that I can speak only for myself, but here I stand; “My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine; For Thee all the follies of sin I resign; My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou; If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”

Please, Tell Me The Truth

  We have all heard the story of the terminally ill patient whose family and doctors spared him the truth concerning his condition, so that he would not be obsessed with the thought of dying.  While some may prefer not knowing, there are others of us who, sensing the secrecy, would plead with our doctors, “Please, tell me the truth, whatever it is; I can take it, and, if I am dying, I want to use the time I have left, to prepare.”

  How important is truth to you?  If there is a truth that affects you, maybe in a negative way, do you want to hear it, or would you prefer to live in the bliss of ignorance until it overtakes you?  There are two realms in which this scenario  is quite common.  The first, the physical realm, often involves the health of an individual, as described above.  In the second, or, spiritual realm, the decision is no less a matter of life or death, though it is spiritual.  While knowing the truth in the physical scenario will affect the remaining days, months or years of our lives, in the spiritual realm, knowing the truth will most certainly affect our eternity.  When God created man, the Bible says that, “He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).”  …and the scriptures are abundantly clear that living souls will go on living forever somewhere, even after the body grows weary and retires.

  God, the giver and sustainer of life in both realms, wants you to know the truth, so that you can be prepared for your future.  When Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17, He made this interesting comment, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17).” God has Himself provided the truth that will be necessary for you to prepare for your future; it is written in His book, the Bible.  If you will simply peruse its pages, “…ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)”

  Here it is—the truth: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)”  “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)”  “Jesus saith, …I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)”

Remembering Sodom

  Remember when gay rights, civil unions, and gay marriage were the news.    The cause of those who promoted such things won the day, and they have now advanced to the next items on their agenda:  Men now want to “identify” as women and vice-versa.  Parents want to choose from a plethora of newly discovered “genders,” and impose one of them on their unsuspecting prepubescent children.  Those who disagree with them philosophically, are often accused of violating “hate crime” laws.  

  But those of us who have a personal relationship with our Creator God, through Jesus Christ, have grown to love and appreciate His inspired Word, the Bible.  We recognize it as the very Word of God, and take its principles and precepts to be the final authority for life.  As such, we are not at liberty to view the Bible as a smorgasbord from which we take what we want and leave the rest—God determines what is right and wrong in every issue of life.

  In Genesis 18-19, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of their unnatural attraction to the same sex.  In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul declares the whole world (human race) guilty before God.  Homosexuals are specifically included in the roll call of the condemned “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (Romans 1:27).”  And then, according to God, there are only two genders, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:27)” …the gender choice was His.

  Before you get riled, let me say, the point of these, and all Scriptures where sin is named, is to establish the fact that All Men Are Sinners, separated from God and in need of a Savior—whatever the sin.  From one sinner to another, won’t you hear the good news?  GOD LOVES US SINNERS!  “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).”

It’s Not About You

  Several years ago I overheard a man talking to his very young daughter about going to a birthday party.  She had enjoyed having friends over to her own party and especially liked being showered with gifts.  When she had the mistaken idea that she would receive gifts at the friend’s birthday party as well, her father had to gently explain, “Honey, this party is not about you.”

  Seems quite simple doesn’t it? …and yet we adults sometimes need to be reminded of this same elementary truth.  It is a basic character trait of humanity to think, “Me First.”  But our Heavenly Father gently reminds His children,  “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)”  “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; (Romans 12:10)” In other words my brother or sister, “It’s not about you.”  God intends for those of us who know Him, to put the feelings and needs of others ahead of our own.

  The world certainly does not see it God’s way.  It is filled with deceitful, “Me First” minded people who would have you believe that they live and breathe to make you happy, healthy, wealthy, and wise.  For example, a close examination suggests that many politicians today desire only to exercise power over the people, while using them to insure a perpetual tenure.  They cleverly convince their constituents that they live only to defend and support the “American people,” while refusing to be held accountable to them.

  Many manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers are among the “Me First” crowd as well.  They continually, and greedily, fleece their unwary customers, convincing them, “Our products were established only to meet your needs.”

  Jesus, the Son of God, in whom there is no guile, selflessly lived His life among men and then died and rose again to pay for their sins.  It was the selfless Savior who taught us, “Let all things be done unto edifying. (1Corinthians 14:26)”  It’s not about you!