Repent and Believe

  In Matthew 13, Jesus told the parable of a sower who sowed his seed in four types of soil.  As in all of the parables, the story is intended to illustrate some spiritual truth.  In this story, the “soils” represent the conditions of men’s hearts before they receive the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is represented in the parable by the “seed.”  The first soil is described as “wayside soil” which represents a heart that has not been prepared to receive God’s gospel seed.  In this context, “prepared” has to do with one’s making himself mentally ready to respond to the the gospel, similar to the way a farmer gets his soil ready before planting, so that the earth will respond properly to the seed being tucked under its soil.

  Preparation of your heart involves three things:  First you must recognize that you have offended a Holy God by breaking His moral laws.  Secondly, you must understand that you have no capacity for reparation; there is nothing that you can do to save yourself from the condemnation your sin deserves.  Thirdly, you must long to be restored to God, and recognize Him as God in your life; you must desire His forgiveness, and His provision for victory over the penalty, power and presence of sin in your life.  This is called Repentance.  So many have bypassed repentance and now look to some experience (e.g. baptism, communion, church attendance or a sinner’s prayer) that they believe has secured God’s favor—but salvation is not produced by these.

  Only the repentant heart is ready to receive and respond to the seed—God’s “Good News,” the gospel!  i.e. God offers you forgiveness, but only through the Lord Jesus Christ, who died in your place, to purchase your pardon.  He rose from the dead as victor over your sin, and lives to give you eternal life when, after preparation of heart, you come to Him by faith.  But remember, “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3)

  Many believe that time may be short, and while no man knows the day or hour that our window of opportunity will close, certainly you must agree, “…now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2Corinthians 6:2)”

Missed By A Mile

  As a boy, growing up on a farm, I had access to lots of open space.  Occasionally my siblings and I, and perhaps a few friends, would do some target practicing.  It may have been with slingshots, BB guns, bow and arrows, a potato launcher, or some other mechanized projectile flinger.  From some of my early remembrances as a marksman, the term, “You missed it by a mile,” still rings in my ears.  I never was very proficient in arms, but we had a blast—and, I always figured, “by a mile,” was a little exaggerated.

  Though it has nothing to do with target practice, the old saying “You missed it by a mile,” is back in my thoughts again these days.  In the Greek lexicon (dictionary), one of the nuances of the word “sin” is, “to miss the mark.”  In terms of right and wrong, the mark is drawn by God, according to His moral law.  In this relation, the center of the bull’s eye represents the right thing, or doing things right, and everything outside the center represents wrong, or disobedience—sin.  While I am not proud of it, try as I may, I still find myself missing the mark on occasion, but I am thankful that God has promised, “If I confess my sins, he is faithful and just to forgive me my sins, and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. (1John 1:9).”  You see, Jesus died, was buried, and rose from the dead, to afford me divine forgiveness when I miss the mark.  Our God is in the forgiving business—compliments of Jesus Christ.

  Forgiveness is for nations as well.  We Americans have allowed our country to consistently miss the mark; many of our leaders are malicious and self-serving, and have set our nation on a path to destruction, but you and I can make a difference.  The chronicler of Israel once wrote:  “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)”

  If you and I would be sure to hit the mark (do right), as defined by God, and require it of our elected leaders, perhaps others will join us, and we would become blessable again, as a nation.

Defining Wisdom

  The Bible clearly states that there are two contrary perceptions of Wisdom.  The Book of James draws the distinctions:  First, there is wisdom as defined by God—godly wisdom.  “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.  . . . the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. (James 3:13, 17-18)”

  So, godly wisdom might be described as wisdom that is evidenced by good works performed in a meek spirit, purity (free from carnality); it is peaceable (facilitates peace), gentle (equitable, fair, mild), easy to be intreated (approachable), full of mercy and good works, without partiality (the same all the time and to all), without hypocrisy (sincere and undisguised).  The presence of biblical, godly wisdom will be confirmed by a harvest of righteousness in a climate of peace.  …Sound like anybody you know?

  The other kind of wisdom is defined by the world—worldly wisdom.  James tells us, “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.  This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.  For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (Jas 3:14-16)”

  Worldly wisdom is really just earthly cleverness, or proud selfish intellectualism.  It produces: bitter envy (resentful attitudes), strife (self-promotion, electioneering).  It is earthly (based upon temporal knowledge, rather than knowledge of the eternal), sensual (inseparably linked to the appetites of the flesh), and devilish (endorsed and taught by Satan and the forces of evil)  Wherever wisdom is defined by the world, there will be: confusion (disharmony, disorder, and instability), and every evil work (every evil imaginable).  Sound like anybody you know?

  “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)”

Your Adversary

  Are you discerning enough to know there is more to life than meets the eye or the ear?  Have you yet been able to perceive that the mechanisms of the earth, and its home, the stellar expanses of the universe, necessarily require an unbound Intelligence at the helm?  Do you believe in God and the spiritual realm, or are you convinced that there is nothing apart from matter and its innate capacity to stimulate our sensory perceptions?  How you answer these questions will determine the tactics of your unseen adversary.

  Perhaps you should know some basic truths about the enemy of your soul:  Jesus informed His unbelieving critics, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)”  The devil, as he is called here, is a murderer and a liar.  His lies are intended to keep you from truth that can open your eyes to the other realm—the spiritual realm in which your soul will live forever.

  The Apostle Paul spoke of the spiritually lost, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2Corinthians 4:4)”  He speaks, of course, of the devil (Satan) who blinds the minds of unbelievers so that they will choose to reject the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If you cannot detect any value in the Bible, you are most certainly a victim of this spiritual blindness.

  The Apostle Peter warns, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1Peter 5:8)”  Here we see that Satan is not passive in his work to deceive, but aggressive, and determined to destroy your life and damn your soul to eternal hell.  Perhaps you are one of those who stand, totally unaware, in the midst of the battlefield in which a war rages between good and evil, between God and the devil, and you are the prize.  Wake up and smell the sulfur!  Now is the time of salvation!


  It is not my intention to offend, but like the elephant in the room, perhaps it is time for someone to talk about our ignorance as a society.  Ignorance pervades in this day of technological and scientific discovery and advancement.  In our ignorance we have more problems than in the past, more people are confused and discouraged and worried, than ever before.  For the first time in our lives, many are starting to question the stability of America as a nation.  e.g. We are 32 Trillion dollars in debt.  How much is a trillion?  Well, if you could count the large numbers at the same rate as the smaller ones (1 second), it would take 31,709 years to count to One Trillion—and we are 32 Trillion in debt.  See what I mean by a nation of ignorance?

  The problem started many years ago when people in America began to feel like they didn’t need God.  Since then, there has been an ever increasing rate of descent into the moral, social, physical, spiritual, and yes, even fiscal abyss.  Point is, we were not created to do it on our own—WE NEED GOD.  The scriptures tell us:  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: (Psalms 111:10)” and then there is, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)” and finally, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)”

  Those who fear the Lord are generally the ones who know Him through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ; they make every effort to please Him.  When they please Him, He blesses them and when they displease Him (sin), He chastens them.  Since most of our nation does not even pretend to know God, is there any wonder that we no longer have His blessing?

  I know there are many who think there is no God, or that hate the thought of God.  You need to know that you are not a part of the solution, but part of the problem.  God says, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. (Psalms 14:1)”