Weary of Doing Good

www.bible.com/72/gal.6.9.hcsb

I think I am beginning to understand the author a little better this morning. It seems when you are doing something really good, the enemy always finds s way to bring you down. Had a great Bible Study last night, was feeling good and refreshed. Came home and had an argument with my wife about the kids. My fault. Ugh! I am getting tired of being shot down after these spiritual blessings.

Then this verse pops up on the feed this morning. I won’t say I’m ready to give up, but I am tired. I’m tired of having fantastic days of ministry, and coming home to a clogged toilet, or dishes overflowing from the sink, or chores that need to be done when I want to celebrate.

So I needed this verse this morning. God implies that it will all be worth it when all of this is over and our time on earth is done. And I will be the richer for it if I don’t give up the work. You will be too.

God bless you all!

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No Limits

www.bible.com/72/isa.40.28.hcsb

Unfathomable. It is impossible to plumb the depths of God. Our minds are used to limits, boundaries, and borders. We have a keen knowledge, but we discover that the more we know, the more we don’t know. Investigation in any single area offers new frontiers to explore. We thought we had it figured out when we discovered the Cell as the basic unit of our construction. Then we looked inside the cell, and discovered a more complex world. We thought we had it figured out when we discovered the atom, then along came subatomic particles. Every time we think we have it figured out, it gets deeper and more complex. As Felix said to Paul, “Your much learning has driven you mad!” When contemplate the work of an infinite God, we will come to a point that we have to stop.

When we see God, it will not be as God is. God will present to us a version of Himself that we can look upon and not die. For if we were ever to look upon God as He is, our minds would blow up. We can’t handle it. That’s why He came to us as a man, to give us a way to relate to Him (among other very important reasons).

Our verse today hints at these truths in a way that gets the conversation going. I encourage you to put your faith in a God so big you can’t understand Him. But a God so loving that He made you.

God bless you today.

No Law Against Such Things

www.bible.com/72/gal.5.22-23.hcsb

“There ought to be a law against that!” I can’t count how many times I’ve heard that statement. Oftentimes, the speaker is frustrated with a life circumstance, or situation out of his control. Insurance didn’t approve a treatment on a technicality. Trooper stopped you but not the other fifty people that whizzed by. Politicians are making money hand over fist while you scrape by paycheck to paycheck.

I think we have plenty of laws, ridiculous laws, inane laws, but plenty of them. We’ve become a society dependent on law to solve our problems. And we thus determine morality by whether or not it is “against the law.” If it’s not “illegal” then it must be morally permitted, right? This is the trap of abortion and homosexuality. Those used to be against the law. Now they are not. Slavery used to be legal, now it isn’t. Which is right and which is wrong? How do we know?

The text in question today is the fruit of the spirit, the natural produce of a saved heart. A person who is indwelled by the Holy Spirit has these qualities in common: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, etc. the text specifically says that it is the “fruit” not the “fruits” as if to say that the singular fruit of the life possessed of God is a multi-faceted fruit which reflects all of these qualities. You don’t have one or two, but all of them at once.

For a person to display such fruit, the text says there is no law against it. No law has yet been written that violates love, joy, peace, patience, etc. and you know if such a law were to be written, it would be wrong. But let me be clear in this. I don’t get to define these words to suit myself. Culture doesn’t get to define them either. We cannot define these words away from their biblical context and meaning and make them what we want to hear. I cannot define love as anything by the kind of love shown in the scriptures, i.e., the sacrificial love exemplified in Jesus Christ. I cannot say that this love is illustrated by a same-sex relationship, or an adult-child romance. That would be taking “love” out of context and violate the very principles of love taught in Scripture. And so that same with the others.

We hold our laws to a higher standard. We do not bow to the whims of men who think sins are fashionable and so make them legal. We worship and honor a Holy God who has said what is right. “He has told you O man what it good” Micah 6:8

Study, pray, learn. Worship. Make today count. God bless you today.

This isn’t my Father’s World

www.bible.com/72/1jn.2.15-16.hcsb

In the classic hymn, This Is My Father’s World, we sing of the wonder of the created world, rocks and trees and skies and seas. We are reminded of the awe of beholding a world created by our loving Father for us. That’s not what John is talking about. This world he speaks of was created by man.

This is the world where demons reign, and the Enemy is the Prince of the power of the air. This is a world ruled by sin and in rebellion against God. This is the world we are warned off of here. In Scripture, God made the earth and everything in it. Man and his rebellion against God made the world as we know it.

What the world offers is contrary to the will of God. And should we follow the world, we will be lost too. The world is the old earth that will be destroyed and replaced by the new earth, where God’s will reigns supreme. The old world is characterized by lust and pride: lust of the eyes and the flesh, and pride in one’s lifestyle. All three of them speak to the “wisdom” of man over the word of God.

So how do we stay clear of the wisdom of the world? Good question. You’ve got to know what God wants, which means spending time with Him, in His work and in His Presence through prayer. Spending time with God’s people and His work, until you find that your desires align with His.

I’ve found that the world appeals to your need to be satisfied in the moment, without regard to consequences. The world says that you deserve self-love, and need to satisfy your own desires first. Everyone needs rest and ought to enjoy their time on earth, and in this is the half-truth. But were we put on this earth for our own pleasure? Are others here to satisfy us, or do we put others’ needs above our own? When you fall for the lie that it is all about you, you’ve discovered the world. Don’t fall for the world.

God bless you all today, and may I give s special shout-out to all my followers. Thank you all for listening and for your encouragement.

Merited Favor

www.bible.com/72/jer.17.10.hcsb

Huh? I thought the Lord doesn’t give us what we deserve? Isn’t that what grace is all about? Seems God didn’t get that memo. But then, you might recognize that this is Jeremiah, before Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. And you might recall that later Judaism of Jesus’s time focused on external obedience to the law, straining out gnats and counting tithes of and dill. This idea that God looks at the heart may have been too much for them.

God is trying to impress upon His hearers that He is just as concerned about the heart as He is the hands. While many of the prohibitions of the Ten Commandments deal with what we do, some, like the tenth, deal with what we think. Our thought life is important to God, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”

God pays attention to your thoughts, and if your thoughts condemn you. He knows if you are thinking bad or good. He knows if your thoughts are pure or corrupt. (Note to self: thinking impure thoughts about a woman other than my wife will get me into trouble).

Don’t pretend that just because you can’t see God, He can’t see you. Adam tried that already. Rather, consider the presence of the Lord is constantly with you, because He is.

Something to ponder this afternoon. God bless.

Sounds Like Work

www.bible.com/72/heb.11.6.hcsb

In Christian circles, a “work” is defined as something a person does to earn his salvation. Since Christians cannot warm their salvation through “works” but through grace (bought by the blood of Christ), “works” are seen as something Christians don’t need to worry about. We are saved by grace, right?

So what is this verse saying? Without Faith it is impossible to please God. Ow let me clarify. This verse is speaking to Christians, those who have already been saved through Christ. But the point being made is one of principle. It is part of the “hall of Faith” passage of Hebrews 11. It is stated as an absolute, something which is always true, no matter the circumstances. So what is meant here by faith? You might note that in this context, Faith is always accompanied by some evidence of that faith. By faith, Abel offered a better sacrifice. By faith, Noah built a boat and so on. For each individual, their faith (which pleased God) was accompanied by a work that proved that faith. So might we go back and say that without faith (and thee evidence to back it up, i.e., works) it is impossible to please God. All of these men (and women) lived before Christ, so that their faith had to be established by an accompanying work in order for them to receive salvation from sin. Hmmm.

Now we are told that all we have to do is believe. Just believe, and we will be saved. That must mean that all demons are saved too, since James tells us that the demons believe in God. No? Maybe something else is required. We need to apply the blood of Christ to the heart to cleanse it from sin. How do we do that? Does that occur at the moment of faith? Is a quiet assent enough to qualify as saving faith? At least Baptists call for the Sinner’s Prayer (which cannot be found in the Bible). They say this needs to be done to “invite Jesus into your heart”. Well somebody get Noah in the phone. If Noah has merely prayed the sinner’s prayer, he would have been just fine, right? Oh, but Noah was given specific instructions as to how to be saved. He had to hold an ark. His faith in God motivated Him to build it. No, the direct message and instruction from God motivated him to build it. His faith motivated Him to carry it through.

Does the Bible carry a clear word of God for salvation? Yes, in fact it does. It says, if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16), you will be saved. It also says that repentance from sin leads to salvation. (1 Cor 7) It also says that if you confess the Lord’s name you will be saved (Rom 10) And it says that you are cleansed via baptism, your heart is purified to a clear conscience toward God (1Pet 3) , and you will rise from the waters of baptism in newness if life (Rom 6), from the waters of regeneration. If you are immersed in water (provided you have also believed) you will be saved. The Bible has a clear word for all of these. None of these, not even baptism, is a work to earn salvation, but a work to testify of faith. Faith which pleases God for salvation includes not only belief in God, but repentance from sin, confession of Christ’s Lordship over your life (and confession of faith in Christ) and immersion in water as cleansing for the spirit.

There is much more to say about this, but this will do for today. I want to encourage you, if you have not made a public confession of Jesus, nor repented of sin (putting your sinful past behind you) or been immersed in water, then you ought to look into these things.

God bless you today.

Committed

www.bible.com/72/psa.37.5.hcsb

That word can take on a couple meanings, depending on whether it is voluntary. For example, someone who has been committed without their consent is usually on their way to a mental hospital. Someone who is committed may be in a mental hospital, or just submitted to the will and direction of something greater than himself. Being committed includes submission, includes repeated willingness to a task or project. It may be a condition of relationship. But it requires submission.

If you would submit your way to the Lord, what would that look like? Sound complicated? It isn’t. If you ever take a car, you submit your way to the rules and whims of the government, where they have decided to put roads, at what slopes and grades, how many lanes and stop signs, etc. even though a car is capable of driving in any direction, we submit our way to the road already laid out before us.

It is the same with life. God has already put out guardrails for your life, shown you what is good. Though we are capable of choosing evil (Thanks father Adam!) We find that we are much more successful in life if we choose the good. Like choosing the right road, we get to our destination.

The second part, to trust in the Lord and He will act, seems more broad, but it is simply to trust in your ruler, your benefactor. He will protect you. David lived in a world where kings ruled, and the peasantry were protected by their kings and nobles from national enemies. In God we can trust even more, since He never sleeps, always watches, and is all-powerful. We know He will bring justice.

Commit and Trust. Sounds like an old message that still applies today. Make today a good day in the Lord.

God bless you.