Except Ye Repent

  When Jesus’ followers received word that some Jewish zealots had been put to death by the Roman governor of Judaea for insurrection against Rome, their conversation seemed to imply, “They got what was coming to them.”  Jesus asked the disciples if they thought these men were more deserving of harsh punishment than themselves.  He quickly answered His own question with, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3)  His point was that all men are sinners by nature, and are equally deserving of death.  The Apostle Paul said it like this to the Romans: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)” and “The wages of sin is death, (Romans 6:23)”  Paul obviously agreed with the Words of Jesus, as do all the writers of scripture, “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

  So, what does it mean to repent?  Repentance is a change of heart and mind toward God and sin that will manifest itself by a change in life and actions.  It is the result of seeing God as the Supreme Lord and seeing your sin as an offense to His very nature.  Repentance grasps the grave consequences of sin: destruction of the “abundant life” that God intended for us here on earth, and eternal separation from God (spiritual death) to be endured in the Lake of Fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels (i.e. demons).  If you don’t believe in such things now, you will.  Remember, what you and I believe does not change the facts as they are presented in the Word of God.

  Repentance describes the condition of a heart that is ready to embrace God’s offer of forgiveness, which He purchased at the great cost of His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Because He suffered the death that you deserve and was raised from the dead, He can offer you His righteousness in exchange for your unrighteousness, having borne its penalty on the cross.

  If you decide to wait and see, you will soon understand that Holy God who punished His Son to provide your salvation, will not now overlook your sinfulness after you have trampled underfoot the blood of His beloved Son.  “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27)”

Do You Believe?

  Do you believe in electricity?  Sure you do; every day is packed with evidences that those negatively charged particles called electrons, are on the move.  Though you can’t see them, they make themselves abundantly evident by the things they do (e.g. make a stove hot, light your computer screen, or produce a flash of lightning).    Though useful in many ways, electricity is a source of energy that can also be dangerous or even destructive if we don’t maintain a healthy respect for its potential.  If you stand too close as you observe what it does, it might teach you the last lesson you will ever learn.

  Do you believe in God?  While you may answer this question affirmatively, like electricity, you cannot see Him.  God’s existence is evidenced by what He has done or what He does.  One of the most obvious works of God is YOU, and the habitat that you call home (earth).  “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (Colossians 1:16)”  And He has not abandoned His creation but lovingly sustains it for your sake.  “For in him we live, and move, and have our being… (Acts 17:28)”  If He so much as loosens His grip, the order that we are so accustomed to in the universe would become disorder, and the elements would melt with fervent heat. (2Peter 3:10-12)

  But who talks about God these days?  He is always there, doing what He does… and we have learned to depend upon His common grace without acknowledging His presence or expressing gratitude for His bounty.  Because of His proven faithfulness we no longer fear Him.  We have forgotten, if we ever knew, that our God is also Holy and Just, and that He will apply His law to us and our deeds at the coming judgment.  “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27)”  “For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24)”  Perhaps these thoughts give you pause—it is time to think about God.  “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2Corinthians. 6:2)”

Who Cares?

  Do you sometimes feel that the pace of life is getting faster, that people don’t have time for one another any more?  While everything is going your way, the pace may not seem so threatening; but when you fall into one of those pitfalls of life, it is like sitting in the middle of a crowded highway in a stalled car with a dead cell phone battery, and passers by blowing their horns and shaking their fists with scowling faces.  No one seems willing to busy themselves with the rescue of the distressed.  A “Who cares?” attitude plagues our nation.

  God would like to remind you that He Cares! Though the world has drastically changed for the worse, “He is …the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17b).”   He sees you even in the most hopeless predicament of life, and comes to your rescue.  What predicament might that be?  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).”  “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10).”  You and I were born into sin, and we are sinners by choice.  The Bible tells us that our sinfulness has earned us eternal death and separation from our loving Heavenly Father.  “For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23a).”

 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).”  Yes, God loved His fallen creatures so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to purchase our forgiveness through His death on the cross. He rose from the dead and has ascended back to heaven to intercede for you and me as Savior and Lord.  How can you obtain this wonderful deliverance?  Turn from your sin and to the Savior!  The Bible tells us that we need: “…repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21b)”  It’s that simple, “Repent” and “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31).”

  No, this won’t supernaturally take all the bumps out of the road of life, but as a child of God you can always be assured that He is with you, that He has time to help, that HE CARES.

Getting Ready

  We have all seen reports of communities along the coast getting ready for hurricane force winds with strong tidal surges.  Stories abound of the Ukrainian people getting ready for the daily atrocities delivered by Russian troops under the command of evil personified.  Even school children understand the phrase, “get ready,” when a unit test is announced.

  Now, though I am not an economist, it seems inevitable to me that the lifestyles of most Americans are subject to change in the not so distant future.  Some say that there are sure to be shortages of food and other necessary commodities in the coming year.  According to officials who help manage the nation’s power grid, roving blackouts are to be expected in parts of our country this winter.   If what they say is true, maybe we should be thinking about how to get ready for these probable, imminent hardships.

  According to the Bible, “perilous times” will eventually emerge.  We are told that the hardships of those days will be unprecedented.  After the initial phases of decline, the situation will go quickly from bad to worse, when God supernaturally removes the influence of His Holy Spirit from the earth, and unrestrained evil runs its course until the end of the age.  God makes it clear that no one can know for certain when the end will come, but for the observant, rational thinker, it is not hard to detect our current devolution toward a hasty demise.  We had better get ready!

  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof… (2Timothy 3:1–5)”  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)  …behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (2Corinthians 6:2)”

Finish Strong

  Do you remember when right and wrong were agreed upon by most?  Do you remember learning as a youth, that there was a certain way things were to be done in developed countries, or among civilized people, or in functional families, or in reputable businesses, or in “good” churches?  Well, there is still  a right and wrong, and there is still a certain way that things should be done!  Truth has not diminished or changed, and it is high time we step out of the darkness of willful ignorance to take a fresh look at the paths of light.

 What a disappointment it has been over the years to watch my teachers, professors and mentors, drop the ball in their later years, and abandon the very precepts that once they strove to advance as foundational building blocks of society and successful living.  I suppose that they have grown tired, or as the scriptures say, they have become “weary in well doing.”  I could wish these weary warriors had simply found a place to retire, to be set out to pasture on some green hill far away before they destroyed their life’s work—trying to leave a legacy in spite of their final years of lunacy.

  There was a commercial that I remember from my youth; its slogan was, “I’d rather fight than switch,” but many heroes of yesteryear have proven that in their waning years, they would rather switch than fight.  Perhaps we should take the advice of Jeremiah the prophet and “…ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16)”

  It seems appropriate to pray that God, for the sake of our posterity, would grant us strength to finish strongly.  We who have been around for a while, need to be champions of the truth for those who follow on our heels—to finish strong.  “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:7–9)”