2021 Archives

Taken For Granted

  This common idiom describes our tendency to believe that the things we enjoy will always be available to us.  In spite of our wishful thinking, those of us who have the benefit of years, are getting used to the fact that, like it or not, things change.  As a matter of fact, it may be safe to say, “Nothing stays the same.”  For example, on an individual basis: hair styles change as the number of hairs on our heads decrease, the color of our hair changes gradually over the course of a couple of years, that is unless your’s comes in a box.  Ladies’ permanents have, for years now, proven to be quite temporary, and…  well, you get the point.

  On a national level it can be in vogue one day to fly the flag and stand at attention when the national anthem fills the air, and the next day to burn the flag and hold the patriot in contempt.  Things we love, vanish away and are often replaced with things that we despise or disdain.

  This saying, may be akin to another, “You really don’t know how to appreciate a thing until it is gone.”  It has become a favorite pastime among many my age to play Remember When…?  Examples abound:  Remember when pictures were taken of other people?  Remember when neighbor and friend were synonyms?  Remember when church parking lots were full on the Lord’s day, and restaurants and grocery stores were empty? Etc.

  Truly, the things of this earth are changing quickly, and some of our most treasured freedoms, commodities, and activities will soon be game pieces to the next generation who learns to play Remember When…?

  It seems quite sad, but take heart, there is a realm in which things do not change—the realm of God, the Bible, and the eternal.  God assures us that His ways, His plans, and His Love for His own will never change. “For I am the LORD, I change not… (Malachi 3:6)  “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)”  “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)”

Did You Ever Wonder…?

  • Why do we ship by truck and send cargo by ship?
  • Why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways?
  • Why do we recite at a play and play at a recital?

  These “oddities” of the English language put a smile on our faces.  They are taken in stride by those of us who speak the language as our native tongue, but someone trying to learn the English language might find them confusing.

  If you have spent any time with the Word of God, you have probably discovered statements that seem odd to the casual reader.  They are actually paradoxes (i.e. Seemingly self-contradictory statements that when investigated or explained …prove to be well founded and true).  Paradoxes have caused many searching souls to close the Bible and look elsewhere for answers to the most perplexing questions in life.  But God tells us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8).”  When you find a Bible paradox, don’t get discouraged, look more closely and think more deeply.  In time, and with prayer, you will be amazed and enlightened, as you start to understand the mind of God.

  A couple of examples are in order:  #1 The Bible teaches that the way to victory is through surrender.  One such verse is, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:6–7).”  God created us to be dependent.  When we realize how much He loves us, and surrender to His will, we will soon discover the abundant life that He affords His children. 

  #2 The scriptures tell us that in order to live, we must die.  This truth is found in many verses, but one will suffice, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 16:25)”  Life for a Christian is lived in two realms: physical and spiritual.  The more we concentrate on the one, the less significant the other becomes.  When we “put to death” the deeds of our sinful flesh (i.e. die to sin and self), we begin to soar as on eagle’s wings in the spiritual realm.

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).”