Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. Maybe I am just a hack when it comes to preaching. And I probably am. After preaching for over 20 years, I’ve been out of the pulpit since 2016. My preaching gears are getting rusty. In part, that’s why I write this blog, just to have an outlet for those energies. I don’t have an axe to grind. It’s just that that street preacher really bugged me. It bugged me because he represented for most what Christianity is about, fire and judgment and the wrath of God. While true, it is a narrow interpretation of God’s nature. God is much more than this.
If he had delivered that message in a church, he would probably received a more sympathetic hearing, but as a trial sermon, I think it would have been a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” situation. I can’t fault the guy for trying, because it was more than I was doing sitting there minding my own business. But could I have done better, with that mildly hostile crowd? The guy was preaching the word of God, and reading directly from the text. But he might have started with this John 3:16 instead of Romans 1:19ff.
He could have started with John 3:1. He could have started in the gospels. He could have started in the Psalms. He could have started with love and then balanced with God’s wrath for sin, and that expended upon Christ at the cross. As Paul in 1 Cor 3, he could have come preaching “Christ and Him crucified.” He could have went a number of different places. But what do I know? I’m just a guy writing a blog.
It seems to me that guys that begin and end preaching against the sins of the world have come out of some pretty dark places themselves. This is preaching out of personal pain and shame. If someone has not felt the love of Christ, it’s very hard to preach about it. And I think that’s where these guys come from. They are spoon-fed the wrath of God and fear of God’s judgment if they live less than perfectly. And that’s where they start in their preaching. It is a sad reality that many are exposed to Christianity in its most negative light. It’s not fair to God to describe Him so one-sidedly.
God bless you today.
Need a miracle today? Consider that the church founded by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago still stands. Consider that despite the temptation and hardship you have experienced in your own life, you still cling to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Consider that God still loves, still protects, and still considers the Church His, especially after all the times we have abandoned Him and tried to make Christianity about us, tried to make a religion from our relationship, tried to pervert and undermine its very message of grace and love with rules and legalistic layers of ritual. Yep. That’s a miracle in my book.
Let us rejoice and be glad today that God has not abandoned us to our sins as we deserve. But He continues to watch over us, guide us, continues to lead us by His word and counsel. Blessed be the name of the the LORD.
God bless you today!
We’ve been used to monotheism for so long we have taken it for granted. How could anyone believe in more than one God? And yet, in the culture of 2 Samuel, belief in multiple God’s was common. Every nation had its own god. I believe it has something to do with the dispersion of Noah’s family. The first few generations were larger than life, and became rulers of their families and territories. As such legends about their origin sprang from their actual histories, and from these legends, myths. Soon, great-grandfather, who was still alive and ruling after hundreds of years took on divine qualities and when he did die, he was elevated by his progeny. Statues were erected and children were raised on stories of his exploits. These regional rulers became the pantheon, and by David’s day, they were the many gods that competed with the one true God of Israel. Only in Israel did ancestors keep from becoming gods. No one worshipped Noah or Abraham, it only because God demanded worship for Himself alone.
As we read Scripture we find this uniqueness of God. He is alone. No other god compares with Him in love, grace, and the capacity for self-sacrifice. No other god loves us with such intensity that He sacrifices His own Son to save us from sin. Sure, the other gods have no problem punishing for sin, but none other sacrifices so much to save us. Our God is unique, and He is the only God we need worship for this reason.
May God bless your walk today as you hold Him up in worship.
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.
Jesus’s answer to the question is our verse today. The rich young ruler has just been turned away. He seemed to have everything together. Not only had he kept the Law and was blameless, he was also blessed, bearing wealth and possessions. He was what they in those days (and today) a successful man. He was young, wealthy, and good. He was a catch. Jesus considered him, and told him that his path heaven to heaven was blocked by the very things he considered blessed. Jesus told the young man to sell his possessions and follow the Christ. Note that Jesus doesn’t tell every wealthy person this, but every wealthy person whose wealth is a problem could benefit from his counsel.
The disciples are shocked, because the young man has done everything right. They all wished they could be like him. So they are astonished. If such a man isn’t ready for heaven, how could anyone?
Jesus corrects their thinking. With man, salvation is impossible. You cannot earn by your own ability a ticket to heaven. But with God, even salvation is attainable. The key difference, is God involved in your salvation? Or are you trying to earn it on your own?
There’s no need to make this verse try to say more that what this context suggests. It galls me that verses like this are taken out of context and plastered on a Facebook or an Instagram without reference to its origin and a person will think it applies to anything they wish. Taken on its own, this statement is actually false, because not all things are possible with God. There are things like “can God make a rock so big that he can’t move it?” That is a logical fallacy. If God could make a rock, He would have the power to move it. God cannot make a square circle, or a married bachelor. Not all things are actually possible. But whatever is possible to do, God can do it.
But God is also limited in this: He can not commit evil. That is something we can do that God cannot do, because it violates His nature. He cannot lie. He cannot lust. He cannot technically murder (because He has the power to create life, and resurrect, He has the authority to take life, and only extends that authority to us in capital cases). God cannot sin. With God all things are possible, but only the things it is possible for God to do.
Thank you all for reading today. I hope this has been a blessing for you. God bless you and have a great day!
Just take a look around if you are looking for a reason to thank God. God has given to you in abundance. He has given you life and health enough to read this blog today. I thank God For my wife and children, that He raised me in a good family? And gave me the privilege to raise one of my own. I know the things of this life are fleeting, and that I could lose it all in a moment, but I am grateful I have been able to enjoy God’s blessings up to this point. God has been good. I have no reason not to trust Him.
Make today another day to praise and worship Him in thankfulness. Thank you God for all your marvelous works. Praise Your Holy and Righteous Name!
Who else could do the things our God can do? Who else can rightly be called “God” than the One who made the heavens and the earth by his mighty power and outstretched hand? There is no one else, and thus we have no One else to thank but Him. God is the proper object of our worship and praise today. We were made to praise Him and without Him as our object, our praise feels hollow and worthless. Praising men for their great deeds is good, but praising God is better. Praising a child is good, but praising God, Who gives us all from the liberality of His hands in abundance is far better.
Worship is a natural part of our being, whether we choose to acknowledge God. We will naturally praise someone or something. We will give our allegiance to sports teams, athletes, great thinkers and minds, family, friends, those whom we admire. And we will do it without even thinking about it, because it is an instinctual as breathing. Giving your time and attention to any object or person can be moved into the realm of worship.
We worship an invisible God, whose worship and praise must be intentional. He is made evident by the creation we see around us. We are witness to His majesty through His creative acts, and He draws us to Himself by the awe we feel in His works. Worship of God is deliberate. It is something we may fall into, but to worship a God we cannot see requires our intention and concentration. It is so much easier to worship things we can see. God forces us to engage both heart and mind in worshipping Him, our spirit and our will.
So let us engage the Lord with thankfulness for His marvelous works, His blessings innumerable, and the joys He has graced us with in this life. If you have family, be thankful for that. If you have a home, food on the table, children who say “I love you”, a wife who is still a woman worthy of the descriptor “beautiful”, a good job that pays for your needs, you already have numerous reasons to be thankful.
Celebrate and enjoy this holiday in thankfulness and worship. God bless you today.