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Entries in Christ Jesus (9)

Sunday
Jan202013

What in the world?

 

What in the world is going on?  Sure seems like there is more and more evil in the world, doesn't it?  Have you ever seen the World Clock?  If not, you might want to check it out.  Click on the tab deaths and just watch for a few seconds.  Be sure to note the number of violent deaths and abortions.

The recent violent deaths of innocent children is appalling. I've listened to the interviews, news reports (speculations) and seen the social media chatter. The big question seems to be "Where is God"?  To that I want to shout - He lives in the hearts of His people who weep and mourn with you, are praying for you and we seek to comfort you in your suffering as the God of all comfort has comforted us.  I've listened as some say this horrible tragedy is a result of mental illness, because we've taken prayer and God out of our schools or because people are allowed to buy and carry guns. Or, it is simply because evil exists.  Did you know:

  • More than 5 children die every day as a result of child abuse. 1
  • 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. 2
  • The U.S. is one of the top 3 destination countries for human trafficking activity. 3
  • Vice units across the country can often identify hundreds of underage girls on the streets who are compelled to be victims of child-rape-for-profit 10-15 times or more every night.  Vice estimates that many times that number are likely being advertised for sale online. 4

What in the world is going on?  Is evil winning?  On a regular basis, I have to stop and remind myself that there is no Happily Ever After in this world. Why would I say or suggest such a thing?  Well, would you agree that life in this world is filled with death, sorrow, pain, and suffering?  That's because the ruler of this world is the evil one - satan or the devil himself.  It's a hard truth to accept until the next person dies, or the next wave of sorrow, pain or suffering comes. Or deception. Jesus says the ruler of this world is a "murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and  the father of lies."  As a result of his lies and deception children continue to be his target:

  • Over 1 million babies will be murdered this year as a result of abortion.
  • 55 million plus to date. 
  • Just since you have been reading this?  If you stopped to look at the World Clock earlier, you might want to revisit it and note the number of abortions that occurred during the few short minutes it took to read the above. 

You can't regulate evil.  No matter how many rules, regulations or laws we put into place, they will never stop evil.  But take courage, Jesus has come to save us from the power of the evil one in our lives AND from the penalty our our sins.  And His Word  dispels the lies of the enemy.WOW!

So, when the world wants to know where God is, and wonder what in the world is going on?  We can proclaim - He is alive.  He lives inside you and me.  He lives in the hearts of His people!  Those who show love. mercy, forgiveness, compassion, generosity because we have received these from God through His Son - Jesus Christ.  Those who not only know the Word of God but live it out. In this world, we will have troubles, but take heart - Jesus has overcome the world.  Read Jesus' last words and prayer in John 16:32-17:25 and the important role you play in making a difference in this world!

Saturday
Nov102012

What is truth?

When I think and say that America is in a moral mess am I being intolerant, judgmental or pushing my opinions? Good question! My answer might turn you off or bore you but... I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. That means I really believe that God through His Spirit moved in the hearts of men to record His Words. Yep, I really do believe this! I also believe that the inspired Word of God is the supreme and final authority for my faith and for my life.  Bear with me one more second because I also believe that Jesus Christ is God who left His throne in Heaven, took on flesh and died for me and for you so we could have forgiveness of our sins and a relationship with Him now and for all of eternity. Oh and something else - I believe that the moment I acknowledged these truths and in my heart and declared Jesus as my Lord and Savior that God put His Holy Spirit within me to enable me to live as Christ lived while on earth - righteous and holy.  Thank you for letting me share this.

So, what I believe does and should impact what I say, do and how I behave. Some might say, well that's fine for you but that's not what I believe and you shouldn't push your opinions on me. Okay - I understand it's just that I have to ask: What is truth?  Is there absolute truth or do we all just do our own things based on whatever sounds right?  I read a Barna report that observed "people's willingness to draw from a variety of conflicting sources" when determining truth. "This is perhaps most clearly evident through the finding that a plurality of adults (44%) contends that, 'the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths.' Just 38% of Americans reject that idea."

Very revealing! Here are some more stats:

  • By a 3-to-1 margin (64% vs. 22%) adults said truth is always relative to the person and their situation. (Barna.org)
  • By far the most common basis for moral decision-making was doing whatever feels right or comfortable in a situation. Nearly four out of ten teens (38%) and three out of ten adults (31%) described that as their primary consideration. (Barna.org)
  • 32% of those born again believe in moral absolutes, compared to just half as many (15%) among the non-born again. (Barna.org)
  • One third of born again adults (33%) say that abortion is a morally acceptable behavior, compared with 45% of all adults.
  • The United States has one of the highest abortion rates among developed countries ... At current rates, an estimated 43 percent of American women will have at least one abortion by the age of 45." (Carrie Gordon Earll)
  • Divorce is more common among "born-again" Christians than in the general American population. (Ronald J. Sider, "The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, Why don’t Christians live what they preach?"
  • 30% of all adults consider having a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex a morally acceptable behavior. (Barna.org)
  • 14% of Elders, 32% of Boomers, 41% of Busters and 40% of Mosaics consider having a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex a morally acceptable behavior. (Barna.org)
  • Though many believe pornography is a harmless pastime, it's estimated that more than 20 million Americans are addicted to it ..." (Bill Wilson, “Porn’s Effect Discussed in D.C.)
  • About half of all adults (49%) contend that homosexuality is due to non-genetic factors such as upbringing and environment, one-third say people are born gay (34%), and the remaining 17% are not sure. (Barna.org)
  • By a 2-to-1 margin (62% - 30%) adults disapprove of clergy marrying gay couples or blessing their marriage unions. (Barna.org)
  • Nearly half of the adult population felt that two other behaviors were morally acceptable: having an abortion (45%) and having a sexual relationship with someone of the opposite sex other than their spouse (42%). About one-third of the population gave the stamp of approval to pornography (38%), profanity (36%), drunkenness (35%) and homosexual sex (30%). The activity that garnered the least support was using non-prescription drugs (17%). (Barna.org)
  • More than half of all adults (54%) believe that if a person is generally good, or does enough good things for others during their life, they will earn a place in Heaven. (Barna.org)

What is truth?  Well, I can say with absolute certainty that God's Word is truth and God, in His Word, speaks clearly about each of the above stats, thinking and behaviors.

Did you know that God says in His Word that we suppress the truth. He goes on to say that He has made Himself evident - His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen and understood by all. Now, that's an out there truth. God talks like that in His Word. God puts the truth about Himself and us out there and we have to deal with it. We can choose to accept it as truth or we suppress what He says we know or go and live based on what we think is right. This is a true statement because I experience it every day of my life and certainly every time I come face to face with God through His Word. So I ask myself - if I really believe there is a God and the Bible is His book, then why would I choose to suppress the truth and do my own thing? Or, why would I stop proclaiming truth?

I don't believe what I believe because someone told me to believe it or that was how I was raised or because I just determined it in my own mind. No, I've personally experienced the power of God through His Word.  The truth has jumped off the page, gone straight to my heart and the Word of God together with the Spirit of God have changed my heart, my life, my attitudes, my thinking. I know by experience that God's Word is truth.

I say we all owe it to ourselves to makes absolute certain that what we believe is TRUTH. I say we owe it to ourselves to know if there really is absolute truth.
If you are reading this and don't believe the Word of God is truth or you've not yet come to know God through His Son Jesus Christ, then I beg you to ask yourself....what if I am right?  What if God's Word really is absolute truth? Would you consider taking an hour of your life to sit down, ask God if He really is real and if His book the Bible really is truth?  If you are willing,  please go find a quiet place and pull out your Bible and read through the book of John. Or, go to http://www.esvbible.org/search/John/. As you read, ask God to make Himself real and His Word alive.

I thank God for you.




Saturday
Apr072012

What is passion?

Webster's online dictionary says this about Passion:  The sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death  It goes on to define passion in some other ways like:  intense, driving or overmastering feeling or conviction; a strong liking or desire or or devotion to some activity, object or concept.But the first definition positively, absolutely gets me.

It was Christ's passion to suffer and die for mankind.  
Wow.  Can I just repeat that?  It was Christ's passion to suffer and die for mankind - for me.  For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son...  Okay, I'm seeing these truths - thinking these truths but I have to be honest and say, this kind of passion is beyond what my human brain can wrap itself around.

Watching the movie the passion of Christ is so, so sobering because it shows in very graphic detail just how much Christ suffered. And, according to Scripture and historical details about Roman scourging, it was even worse than what we see in the movie. Tears well up in my eyes....He did nothing to deserve this kind of punishment and suffering.  But, it was Christ's passion to experience this - to suffer and die for me. Oh my goodness...on my goodness. Such truths are too marvelous for me.  I sit here in startled silence for a minute and then the words of the apostle Paul come to mind....


"...Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:5-11

Now, that's passion.  Without this kind of passion - the passion of Christ - life is nothing.  Oh dear God - give me - give anyone reading this - passion like the passion of Christ. Put within us Christ's passion to proclaim His passion - the gospel.  Give to us Christ's passion so that we might passionately guard the gospel and passionately live lives for Christ even if it means suffering to the point of death.

Monday
Apr022012

Well, I do declare!

As I gather my thoughts, it's Palm Sunday, and I've been intentionally thinking on Jesus and what I believe.  So, what do I believe?

· The penalty of sin - which must be paid - is death
· I am a sinner worthy of death
· The penalty for sin was paid by Christ
· He died for my sins, was buried and raised on the third day
· Salvation is a free gift from God (saved by grace not works)
· I must believe in my heart and accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord
· Believing in my heart means my actions, my changed life lines up with my confession of faith or words
· I have eternal life, I am sealed in the Holy Spirit and all my sins forgiven

Just typing these truths causes my heart to start singing... "Jesus paid it all - all to Him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain, I'm washed as white as snow." My heart swells with gratitude and as I slow down long enough to savor these truths and remember...God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin on my behalf, so that I might become the righteousness of God in Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21). Wow.

Well, I do declare!  Jesus is Savior and Lord.  He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. What do you declare?

(John 1:123:16Romans 3:103:23-245:85:126:2310:8-131 Corinthians 15:1-8Ephesians 1:13-142:8-9Hebrews 9:22James 4:171 Peter 2:243:181 John 5:11-12


Sunday
Dec192010

Wishing you a wonder filled Christmas

This is one of my favorite Christmas scenes.  I love how the room is so charming and inviting.  In my mind, this represents a picture perfect Christmas atmosphere.  Look, it's even snowing outside!  The decorations are beautiful, the fire crackling, candles burning, decorated packages.  In my dreamer mind, I envision mother, father, children and spouses and grandchildren in the kitchen and dining room laughing and enjoying each other. 

Perfect lives, perfect house, perfect Christmas.  Even the dog is perfect! 

Soon they will be coming into this room where they will open the Bible, read the Christmas story, sing Silent Night, sip eggnog, open gifts and then play games.  Surely, the wonder of Christmas is found in such a scene of perfection!  Now, this is what Christmas should be like - right?

I long for...what - perfection?  Well, that would just be perfect - wouldn't it?  I've experienced some perfect moments in time. Priceless and treasured moments held dear in my heart.  But they were fleeting and while grateful, I still have this longing...for what?  Picture perfect?

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. Ecclesiastes 3:11-14
God has put eternity in our hearts.  Isn't that the most amazing truth?  I long for eternity!  Where God Himself will be with us and He will wipe away every tear and there will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain  (Revelation 21:3-4). Oh yes, there is a longing for eternity in my heart.  But, those perfect moments here - where we experience happiness or satisfaction - these are gifts from God!  And, we stand in awe and wonder!  Oh, the wonder of God of our gift giving God.  And His greatest gift to us? 
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23
Oh, the wonder of our gift giving God!  Wonder is such a great word.  It means...

· An intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking
· An illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure
· Revealing scene or moment

My prayer for us this Christmas is that God will grant us a simple yet striking grasp of the reality of who He is and what He has done.  That in the hearing or reading of His Word we will have an new and fresh illuminating discovery and realization of Jesus as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  I pray that in the gathering with friends and family, while waiting in line or in traffic, while dealing with cranky shoppers, friends or family or while experiencing perfect moments in time - that in ALL these moments we remember our gift giving God and are filled with awe and wonder.

Wishing you a wonder filled Christmas!