Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

The Glory of God- A devotional study of Psalm 19

In Psalm 19 the glory of God is revealed

1. in His creation in verses 1-6, 

2. in His holy Scriptures in verses  7-11

3. and in our lives as Christians, as taught in verses 12-14.

 

GOD’S GLORY IS REVEALED IN HIS CREATION

 

Would you read Psalm 19:1-6  and then Romans 1:18-21?  Those verses tell us that God’s footprints are seen throughout nature,  from the invisible atoms of which all substance consists, to the immensity of our universe.  As foot prints in the sand revealed to Robinson Crusoe that there must be other humans on his island to which he had been cast in a storm, so God’s foot prints are seen in every detail of His creation as evidence of an omnipotent, all-wise, loving Creator. 

 

Scrutinize under the microscope anything God has made and you will be amazed and awed by its beauty and perfection in structure.  Scrutinize under the microscope anything man has made and you will be struck by its flaws and imperfection.

 

Any honest, rational, thinking person who studies the greatness and the order of our universe is bound to come to the conclusion that it all came to pass and is held together by an almighty, wise and loving God.  To  think otherwise, is to expose himself to be a fool.  It is easier to believe that  monkeys wrote Handel’s Messiah or the Holy Bible, than to believe that this immense universe just happened by chance.   It takes far more faith to be an atheistic evolutionist and believe that this universe all happened by chance, than it takes to simply believe Almighty God created and holds this universe together by His power.

 

I’m no scientist, but I read that our bodies are made of  trillions of cells and each cell is made up of trillions of atoms.  Each atom is made up of a nucleus and an electron that orbits the nucleus.  If the nucleus were enlarged to the size of a marble and placed on the center line of a foot ball field,  proportionately, the electron would be at the edge of the field. So most of an atom is made up of space.  

 

Not only are our bodies made up of atoms, but everything on the earth, including every drop of water in the oceans is made up of atoms.   All the animals, birds, reptiles, insects and micro-organisms are made up of atoms, as is every blade of grass and every plant, all held together by the power of God.

 

Not only are we made up of trillions of cells, but by the wisdom of God, each of these cells know exactly what they are to do in the human body.  By God’s wisdom, some become skin, some become hair, some bones,  some sinews, some organs of the body, some brain matter, some blood and other bodily fluids.

 

Colossians 1:16-17 tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Godhead, is the one by whom all of this is held together.  If Christ stopped holding this universe together,  it would implode into nothingness.  The heavens, including the sun, moon and stars are like a flag flying, showing that God is as home in His universe.  The fact there is a God is known by every thinking, reasonable  human being on the face of the earth; even those who have never seen a Bible nor a missionary.  It is our responsibility to take the Gospel to the whole world.  The Gospel is that God our Creator became a man in the person of Jesus, to live among men and die to take the punishment for our sins.  Those who reject Christ’s sacrifice for them, must bear their own punishment in hell for eternity.

 

GOD’S GLORY IS  REVEALED IN SCRIPTURE

 

In Psalm 19:7-11  the Scriptures are described as the Law of God, His testimonies, His statues, His commandments and His judgments.

 

The purpose of Scripture is to convert the soul, make wise the simple and rejoice the hearts of those who love Him and His Word.  Those who despise His Word, despise God.  How we respond to the Bible reveals much about us.

 

MAY OUR LIVES GLORIFY GOD ALSO

 

That’s the challenge of Psalm 19:12-14. Who of us is fully aware of our depravity?  Who knows the depths of his sins?   God’s Law shows us our sins.  It exposes our secret sins.  It exposes our presumptuous sins.  God’s Word also has the ability to cleanse us as we are made aware of our sins and go to Christ for cleansing.  Those who confess or agree with God that they are sinners and ask for cleansing, are saved and cleansed by the shed blood of Christ.  So God’s Word has a cleansing affect on us.

 

The Psalmist closes asking God to deliver him from the dominion of sin.   In Romans 6:14 we are taught how through Christ we are delivered from the dominion of sin. He closes his prayer asking His Redeemer to strengthen Him and guard Him from sinning against God through his thoughts, words or actions.  May that prayer of Psalm 19:14  be ours.

July 24, 2008 Posted by | God | Comments Off on The Glory of God- A devotional study of Psalm 19

Why Pray?

Certainly we ought not pray, as the Pharisees,  to be seen of men and to try to impress them with our supposed spirituality.   Rather, prayer is perhaps our most precious privilege as a child of God, to pour out our hearts to our loving Heavenly Father concerning anything and everything that concerns us.

 

Prayer should not be used as a cover for sharing our needs with others, hoping they will hear and help us. God alone is our source of supply.  David in Psalm 62:6 said about prayer, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.”   The writer of Hebrews in 11:6  said about faith and prayer, “without faith, it is impossible to please God; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

 

Prayer is trusting God alone with all our burdens, needs and desires. I Peter 5:7 encourages us to “cast all our burdens on Him, for He cares for us.”

 

Prayer does not necessarily need to be with words.  God, who reads our minds and our desires, can hear and answer those prayers.   Two hundred years ago,  James Montgomery wrote the hymn “Prayer is the Soul’s Sincere Desire”  As you read this wonderful old hymn of the church, ponder the words and be blessed.

 

“Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, unuttered or expressed,

The motion of a hidden fire that trembles in the breast.

 

Prayer is the burden of a sigh, the falling of a tear,

The upward glancing of the eye when none but God is near.

 

Prayer is the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try,

Prayer the sublimest strains that reach the Majesty on high.

 

Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice returning from his ways;

While angels in their songs rejoice and cry “Behold he prays.”

 

Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath, the Christian’s native air,

His watchword at the gates of death. He enters Heaven with prayer.

 

The saints in prayer appear as one in word and deed and mind;

While with the Father and the Son sweet fellowship they find.

 

Nor prayer is made by man alone; the Holy Spirit pleads.

And Jesus on th’ eternal throne for sinners intercedes.

 

O Thou by whom we come to God, the Life, the Truth the Way,

The path of prayer Thyself hast trod. Lord, teach us how to pray,”

 

As Jesus spent hours with the Father alone, so we need times of intimacy with God alone.

We who are married need to spend times of intimate prayer together with our spouse.

 

Parents need to spend time praying with their children, using a vocabulary and praying about things that concern them. Share specific requests with your children and rejoice together when the answers come.

We also need to take advantage of the blessings of praying with fellow Christians in our church prayer meetings. What a blessing it is to join our hearts together in prayer for common concerns and to praise Him together when He answers.

 

Why Pray?

 

God commands us to pray always, day or night. 

See that command in Luke 18:1, 7  and  I Thessalonians 5:17.    

Colossians 4:1 encourages us to pray and watch for and expect answers. 

I Timothy 2:1-4 commands us to pray for all men, especially for those in public office that we may live quiet, peaceful lives in freedom.

I Samuel  12:23  reminds us that when we fail to pray for one another, we sin.

Don’t be too anxious  to go into debt for your needs, when God may be working in your life to provide that need debt free. Learn to wait on the Lord.

James 1:5  and 4:2 teach us that we receive from God by simply asking.  If you don’t receive it; perhaps you didn’t really need it.

God sometimes uses unusual instruments to meet out needs.  He used ravens and  a destitute widow to meet Elijah’s need and to bless the widow.  Read I King 17 to read the interesting stories about this.

Read in Philippians 4:19 of the blank check on the Bank of Heaven that God gives you  as a  Christian.  Read in John 16:24 of the joy that comes from receiving directly from God in answer to prayer. Proverbs 10:22 tells of an added bonus we receive with answered prayer. When we grasp for things, pain and sorrow are sometimes attached to them. When God gives, He adds no sorrow to it, Proverbs 10:22 promises.

Prayer is the key to victory over sin Ephesians 6:16 promises. In II Chronicles 7:14,  God promises revival to any one who will earnestly seek Him. Churches can claim that promise also.

 

The Unjust Judge

 

Now read Jesus’ story in Luke 18:1-9 and learn what Jesus promises in answer to prayer.  He tells the story of a widow who had an adversary.  To add insult to injury, this poor widow had to deal not only with her adversary, but also with an unjust judge who finally gave in to her importunate pleading; though he didn’t want to bother with her.  God of course is contrasted with the unjust judge. Unlike the unjust judge,   He is glad to hear our requests and solve our problems.

Of course, we can apply this story to ourselves, remembering that Satan, according to Ephesians 6:10-20 is our sworn adversary.  I Corinthians 6:19 warns us that with the open doors of service to us as Christians, come many adversaries.  That has been proven to me repeatedly through over fifty years of pastoral service; but those adversaries only encourage me by proving I am right where God wants me, doing what He has called me to do.   Praise God, that in Heaven we will no longer face our adversary, the devil.  He will be cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity.

We all have our feelings hurt from time to time and need a sympathetic friend; but some immature Christians spend a lifetime nursing grudges and lose out on enjoying a lifetime of blessings from God, because they are so focused on their grudges and hurt feelings.

 

Why do Christians faint?

 

 

 Some, like Esau in Genesis 25:29-34, faint  because they have no desire for spiritual blessings, so focused they are on seeking material blessings.  They lack stamina to keep on keeping on doing right.  Someone has said, “When the going gets tough, the tough keep going.”  Basically, these faint-hearted  lack faith in God.

 

 How can I have the necessary faith to not faint?

 

The answer is simple. As Luke 18:1 says, Keep on doing what you ought to do, PRAY! When we pray, we are strengthened not to faint.

Read God’s Word.  Take every opportunity you can to be in church. Those who  feed on the Word become strong Christians, unshaken by adversary.   From the Word we gain strength to do what we ought to do.  .

As we wait for the return of Christ when He will settle scores,  II Peter 3:11 challenges us that we ought to live holy lives. As we faithfully serve the Lord, waiting on Him in prayer, He gives us the strength we need to persevere.  Isaiah 40:28-31

 Galatians 6:9 promises that we will reap if we faint not.

 Luke 18:8 reminds us to make sure Christ finds us strong in our faith in Him when He returns.

 Remember this little saying.  Memorize it, putting the emphasis on the words in bold print.  

 

 I’m ONLY ONE.

But I AM one.

I can’t do EVERYTHING,

But I can do SOMETHING

And what I CAN do I OUGHT to do.

And by the grace of God
I’ll  DO IT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 12, 2008 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Why Pray?

Tony Snow’s thoughts on death

This is an outstanding testimony from Tony Snow, President Bush’s Press Secretary, and his fight with cancer. Commentator and broadcaster Tony Snow announced that he had colon cancer in 2005. Following surgery and chemo-therapy, Snow joined the Bush Administration in April 2006 as press secretary. Unfortunately, on March 23, 2007, Snow, 51, a husband and father of three, announced the cancer had recurred, with tumors found in his abdomen,- leading to surgery in April, followed by more chemotherapy. Snow went back to work in the White House Briefing Room on May 30, but has resigned since, “for economic reasons,” and to pursue ” other interests.” 

It needs little introduction; it speaks for itself: 

  

************

  

“Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, – in my case, cancer. Those of us with potentially fatal diseases – and there are millions in America today – find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God’s will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence “What It All Means,” Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations

  

The first is that we shouldn’t spend too much time trying to answer the “why” questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can’t someone else get sick? We can’t answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.

  

I don’t know why I have cancer, and I don’t much care. It is what it is, a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.

  

But despite this, – or because of it, – God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don’t know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.

  

Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.

  

To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life,- and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many non believing hearts – an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live fully, richly, exuberantly – no matter how their days may be numbered.

  

Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease,- smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see, – but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance; and comprehension – and yet don’t. By His love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.

  

‘You Have Been Called’. Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet, a loved one holds your hand at the side. “It’s cancer,” the healer announces.

  

The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa. “Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler.” But another voice whispers: “You have been called.” Your quandary has drawn you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter,- and has dragged into insignificance the banal concerns that occupy our “normal time.”

  

There’s another kind of response, although usually short-lived an inexplicable shudder of excitement, as if a clarifying moment of calamity has swept away everything trivial and tiny, and placed before us the challenge of important questions.

  

The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of Paul, traipsing through the known world and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes ( Spain ), shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.

  

There’s nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue, – for it is through selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do.

  

Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with the prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried for Jerusalem before entering the holy city. From the Cross, he took on the cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for forgiveness on our behalf.

  

We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us, that we acquire purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God’s love for others. Sickness gets us part way there. It reminds us of our limitations and dependence. But it also gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A minister friend of mine observes that people suffering grave afflictions often acquire the faith of two people, while loved ones accept the burden of two peoples’ worries and fears.

 .

‘Learning How to Live’. Most of us have watched friends as they drifted toward God’s arms, not with resignation, but with peace and hope. In so doing, they have taught us not how to die, but how to live. They have emulated Christ by transmitting the power and authority of love.

  

I sat by my best friend’s bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took him away. He kept at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old friends, and at least one priest. Here was an humble and very good guy, someone who apologized when he winced with pain because he thought it made his guest uncomfortable. He retained his equanimity and good humor literally until his last conscious moment. “I’m going to try to beat [this cancer],” he told me several months before he died. “But if I don’t, I’ll see you on the other side.”

  

His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn’t promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity, – filled with life and love we cannot comprehend, – and that one can in the throes of sickness point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms.

  

Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don’t matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?

  

When our faith flags, he throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it. It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up, – to speak of us!

  

This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.

  

What is man that Thou art mindful of him? We don’t know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us who believe, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place, in the hollow of God’s hand.”

 T. Snow 

July 11, 2008 Posted by | Death | Comments Off on Tony Snow’s thoughts on death

It doesn’t matter

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
~Dr. Seuss

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on It doesn’t matter

The True Gentleman by John W. Wayland

The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds
from good will and an acute sense of propriety
and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies;
who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty,
the obscure man of his obscurity,
or any man of his inferiority or deformity;
who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another;
who does not flatter wealth,
cringe before power,
or boast of his own possessions or achievements;
who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy;
whose deed follows his word;
who thinks of the rights and feelings of others rather than his own;
and who appears well in any company;
a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.

1899

 

July 8, 2008 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on The True Gentleman by John W. Wayland

Responsibility and Freedom

In the early 70’s, faced with the pathetic lack of education our children were receiving in the public schools; after exploring a couple of Christian Schools and after a year of home school, using the Calvert Course; we eventually heard of a new program ACE  (Accelerated Christian Education) and  started an ACE school in our church to educate our children. 

 

Dr. Donald Howard was the founder and president of ACE. In order to have this school in our church, I as pastor, had to take a week of pastor’s training in the pilot school in DallasTexas in order to gain  their philosophy and methods of education. It was there that I learned the philosophy that I share with you in this article. In this article we deal with character, liberty and responsibility.

 

 

AMERICA‘S BIRTH

 

America was born in 1776 in an explosion of freedom of which our firework displays are a symbol. In one of the most exciting, notable periods in all of human history, our Founding Fathers paid a great price for the freedoms and blessings we enjoy today. After their Declaration of Independence from England, they fought and won the Revolutionary War and then set about to write our Constitution, which next to the Bible is one of the greatest documents of human history.

 

It established our nation’s form of government as a republic; with its three branches of government: the executive, the legislative and the judicial   with all its checks and balances to prevent any individual or any branch of  government from gaining too much power.

 

Our bill of rights protects us from the intrusion of too much government into our lives.

 

Our system of justice enables anyone charged  with a crime to have a fair hearing through several levels of court review.

 

 We have free elections which give us as citizens the final say as to who governs us.

 

Of course, we as Christians, recognize that all blessings come from God and that He is sovereign in the affairs of men and it was He who guided  and inspired the writers of our Constitution.

 

 

WHY ARE WE LOSING OUR FREEDOMS?

 

Let’s review our history over the past four centuries.

 

In the 17th  century the Colonists came with their Bibles, seeking religious freedom.

 

The 18th century was  the century of our  freedom from England and our  founding as a nation. This was the time of our childhood zeal and excitement.

 

The 19th century was the century of our adolescent idealism. This was also the century we almost tore ourselves asunder through the Civil War.  In His grace and sovereignty, God brought us through this crucial struggle, stronger than ever.

 

The 20th century brought our nation  to the comfortableness & affluence of middle age.

 

Now in  this 21st century the fatal disease of humanism has infected us as a nation. Man is his own god. He rejects the  Bible.  Unless God intervenes, we will crumble and fall just  like every other ancient nation of the past.

 

WHAT IS HUMANISM?  

 

Humanism is deifying man. In attempting to deify himelf, he dehumanizes himself as he rejects God’s Laws; resulting in: broken homes, academic decline, increased crime, and strife.

 

The degeneracy of our nation is seen in every area of our national life, including the schools, courts, media and internet, as ever increasing taxes and the ever-increasing government  bureaucracy restricts our freedoms and stilfles economic progress.  Academic decline and chaos has followed as our public schools have banned prayer and the Bible from the schools.

 

Political confusion has resulted as people have ignored character issues and have turned our elections into beauty and popularity  contests.

       

We are losing our liberties to increased taxation and government control because we have failed to understand the relationship of responsibility with liberty.

 

It’s at times like this that I wish I had the ability to use my computer to draw diagrams, but I have not yet achieved that skill, so let me walk you through drawing your own diagram.

 

Picture if you can an upside down  triangle with the point on the bottom. The bottom point pictures our birth.  The top line pictures adulthood. Picture the diagagonal  lines joining each side of the triangle  from the bottom to the top.  Now write the word responsibilities up the left line  and write the word liberties up the right line of the triangle.

 

The diagonal lines picture our responsibilities and privileges which normally increase as we grow from infancy to adulthood.  As we learn to handle responsibilities we are given more liberties.   A baby has absolutely no responsibilities nor liberties, except to wave his hands and kick his feet, coo or cry and eat and wet and dirty his diaper.  As he grows and develops he is given responsibilities little by little and with the responsibilities come liberties little by little as he can handle them.

 

Those adults who cannot handle responsibilities end up in prison or in mental wards where they have absolutely no responsibilities and few liberties.

 

What is required to bring about self control so we can  assume greater  responsibilities and enjoy greater  freedom?  The answer is character.

 

 

Now picture two stick men: a smiley one on the left and  a sad one on the right.  Put the letter C standing for character on the chest of each man.

 

The smiley man on the left has character. Draw two arrows from his character  coming out from him and turning and pointing back to him. This shows that the character from within can control his thinking and his actions so that he makes wise decisions.  He needs little or no external control.  He can assume and carry out responsibilities. That is called character. Because of his character, he has earned the right to enjoy liberty to do anything that God has not forbidden and does not infringe on the rights of others.

 

Now look at the sad man on the right. Put an X over that point on his chest representing character.  The X shows that he has no character. Instead of arrows coming out from his character, draw arrows from outside of him pointing to his chest.  This represents outside controls that he needs because he lacks character.  

 

As this is true of men and women, so it becomes true of nations.  Some nations have character and with it freedom and prosperity.  Other nations lack character and so are enslaved by others and by their own passions.

 

In Bible time, Israel often lacked character, disobeyed God and found themselves enslaved by nations such as Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. When Israel obeyed and trusted God they had character and were able to defeat their enemies.

 

CHARACTER WILL AFFECT EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU

 

Ow

CHAcharacter 1. Your quality of life.

2. Your personality

3. Your attitudes, convictions, life style

4. The way you dress.

5. The way you treat others.

6. The way you keep your word and fulfill your responsibilities.

7. It takes character to stay pure on a date when tempted to do wrong.

8. To keep standing for what you know is right even when others mock you.

9. To be honest when tempted to cheat.

10. Character influences the way you pay your bills and use your credit. If you have bills due, you pay  them on time, even if you have to cut your other expenses such as entertainment, clothing and even food. You ALWAYS pay your bills on time.You control your credit. Your don’t allow it to get out of hand. You use it wisely.

11. Students do homework without being told.

12. Children do their chores without being told. As a result, parents learn to trust their children  and increase their freedoms.

13. Character enables you to clean your house, instead of watching TV all day.

14. It affects your work habits and your success.You don’t need a boss standing over you all the time. It enables you to work faithfully, even when others are wasting time.

15. All of us have certain things to do that we don’t enjoy doing, but if we have character, we get them done.

16.It keeps a married couple together, fulfilling their vows, even when their love cools off at times.

17. It enables parents to discipline consistently, not just when they feel like it. If parents fail to exercise discipline consistently and lovingly, their  children will grow up lacking character.

 

Character comes from within. We are controlled by principles. Certainly a Christian controlled by the Holy Spirit should display character. Yet the sad fact is that many Christians  lack character, for one  reasons or another. Primarily it’s a lack of  training as a child and a refusal to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

 

A characterless Christian brings shame to Christ. Interestingly, some unsaved because of good training as children, exhibit true character and have success in life. 

 

Character, with good works do not save. Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5-6 clearly teach us that  only faith in Christ saves.

 

But true faith in Christ enables us to grow in character. How sad to see charactered people who have rejected Christ  lost on the way to hell.

 

Young people, make sure you find a spouse who is a Christian and evidences  character now, or you will find yourself in a difficult marriage that may not last.

 

Consider Israel. When they lacked character to do right, they were weak and fled from their enemies. When they were strong, their enemies fled from them.

 

That’s how it is as a nation today. When we have character as a nation, we are strong before our enemies. When we lack character, we are defenseless  and broken down and we are weak before the world.

 

 

WHAT WAS IT THAT GAVE THE PIONEERS AND OUR FOUNDING FATHER’S CHARACTER?

 

The Pilgrims came over in 1600. They brought their Bibles and built this nation on a Biblical foundation. They were godly people who believed and lived by the Bible. Because they had character, they could face the hardships of life. Can you imagine modern Americans putting up with their hardships?

 

Have you noted the difference in response to the floods in Iowa and the response of many in Louisiana at the time of Katrina?  As you watched the flooding in the Midwest, did you notice there were no farmers running around with stolen plasma TVs or holding  stolen liquor over their heads;


There was no looting or yelling “Where’s FEMA?, Where’s my check?”, or “Why isn’t the government out here saving me and my farm?” What was the difference?  Character vs lack of character.


The 18th  century brought a flood of immigrants from all over the world. Many of these people did not have a Biblical foundation for life. They did not know God. They came only for freedom  and opportunity to be successful.

 

In time we had a diversified  population with no unifying element. Church and State became increasingly separated.

 

In the early 18th century revival was spreading through the American colonies as preachers such as Wesley, Whitefield and Edwards warned of sin and judgment and preached the Gospel.

 

Christian colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Rutgers and Dartmouth were founded and taught the Bible. Jonathan Edwards, the preacher who preached the famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, was the third president of PrincetonUniversity

 

One had to be born again to be a student. He learned the Bible and was taught Christian character. Within one generation the seeds of Christian   character had been sown in the hearts of men  who would become the leaders of our new nation, America. and would provide the leadership for the independence movement from England. See the results of character in their lives by reading the article on our Declaration of Independence. Read of the heart-wrenching sacrifices they made for freedom. You’ll find the article under the category, AMERICA.

 

Where are such men of honor and principle to be found today? For the reason for our decline,  go to the category KINGDOM and read God’s Kingdom in America. No wonder America became a great nation and has been blessed beyond measure by Almighty God!

Can America endure much longer when the God who gave us our freedom is being mocked in the class room  and His Word is being driven out of our national life and the Christianity upon which we were founded is being replaced by the false religions of “liberalism”, “multiculturalism” and “political correctness”? 

 

WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN AMERICA TO BRING IT TO THE MORAL LOW IN WHICH WE FIND OURSELVES TODAY?

 

We see crime, immorality, the depths of depravity paraded on television in our homes. We see poverty all over our land. We see rampant debt. Why?  Because we are bankrupt of character. What happened?  America turned from the Bible, to liberalism and the social gospel.

 

Humanism invaded our schools, fathered by Horace Mann and John Dewey. In the 60’s Bible and prayer were legislated out of the public schools and out of our national life. As a result, our nation lost her character and  sense of responsibility and our dependence on God. We turned to the Government for our security from the cradle to the grave.

 

Folks, we can’t have it both ways. We can’t choose security by the government and enjoy freedom under God at the same time. We must choose one or the other. Either government is your god or God is your God.

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO PEOPLE WHO CEASE TO BE CHARACTERED?

 

They begin to see themselves as helpless victims of society and look for the government to meet all their needs and solve all their problems. That’s been going on for over seventy years now.  People have lost character. They can’t solve their own problems and when things go wrong, they blame the government.

 

Will we ever learn?  WE are the government. We’re the people who vote in the people who lead us. God sees to it that people get the government they need,  as much government as our weak character requires.

 

A character decline in people is always paralleled by a growth in the power of  totalitarian government.  It always results in political  and economic slavery.

 

Dependence on government for security becomes the major election issue  for those devoid of character as they vote for the leaders who promise them the most money. The result of character decline brings about  the growth of totalitarian government leading to dictatorship.

 

The contrast in the results of the French Revolution and the American Revolution would make a very interesting study. Basically the French Revolution was total anarchy ending in the dictatorship of Napoleon.

 

The American Revolution was led by charactered leadership  willing and ready to assume  responsibilities of leadership. The Colonists fought and won the War of  Independence and established our Republic,  securing liberty for unborn generations through a limited,  Constitutional government.

 

Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. That was America  right after the Revolutionary  War. That verse continues “but when the wicked bear  rule, the people mourn.”   Does not that reflect the recent trend in America? The character of government merely reflects the character of the people who elected their leaders.

 

One of the major results of characterless government is that prices rise. Why?  It’s not because things are becoming more valuable. Rather, our currency is losing value. As government prints more money with no gold behind it, it continues to decrease in value.

 

Music, art, literature and television fare becomes trashy as people are given the trash they crave.

 

People develop an anything goes mentality. They cease to be truthful and trustworthy. Bankruptcies rise. We become a lawless society as everyone does that which is right in his own eyes. For a shocking picture of the direction America is headed, read the last 5 chapters of Judges in the Old Testament.

 

We older Americans often speak in despair of this modern generation.  It’s not that old fashioned is better than being modern; but we despair as we see character in America  slipping away.

 

OUR ONLY HOPE IS FOUND IN II CHRONICLES. 7:14

 

“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 sins and heal their land.” Christian friend, I encourage you to go to http://www.presidentialprayerteam.org and get involved in praying for America in this crucial hour.  If you’re not an American citizen, we still need your prayers.

 

 

July 2, 2008 Posted by | Character | Comments Off on Responsibility and Freedom

Abominations – Things God Hates

Sin is an abomination to God.  That means it is abhorrent to Him.  “The soul that sins must die.” Ezekiel 18:4   Because man in his sinful, fallen state has a tendency to call evil good and good evil; he must be confronted with his sins and with God’s moral standards. After all, what we think is right and wrong doesn’t really matter. What matters ultimately is what God declares as sinful. God pronounces woe upon those who attempt to confuse evil and good.  Isaiah 5:20  Proverbs 17:15  For example, some say that cutting down trees can be evil but aborting babies can be good.  God’s Word identifies  sin. His Word is final.

 

Consider those sins that God names as abominations to Him. All sin is abhorrent to God, but He chooses to name some sins as abominations.  As Christians, we should also learn to hate sin  as God hates it. Psalm 139:19-22    Even as we hate sin, we should reach out in love to sinners with the Gospel and seek to rescue them from going to Hell by warning them and giving them the Gospel.  Ezekiel 3:18-19;  Jude 21-23

 

We as Christians are not to tolerate blatant,  unconfessed sin in our churches.  The Apostle Paul warns in I Corinthians 5  that we are to remove from our fellowship those who claim Christ as Saviour and Lord, but reject God’s Word and continue in their sins.  Paul also teaches in II Corinthians 2 that we are to forgive and restore those who have repented and turned from their sins..  Those who lead churches as pastors, elders and deacons are called to a higher standard of conduct that they  might be examples to the flock.  I Timothy 3.

 

In Proverbs 6:16-19  God chooses to name seven sins as an abomination to Him.

 

THE BIG SEVEN ARE:

1. A proud look   

2. A lying tongue  

3. Hands that shed innocent blood  

4. A heart that devises wicked ideas 

5. Feet that are swift in running to mischief  

6. A false witness that speaks lies.  

7. Those who sow discord among brethren.

God hates them and calls them abominations.

 

There are other sins that God describes as abominations to Him.  Leviticus 18 lists some unspeakably vile sins, including homosexuality and bestiality. These may be life styles of choice as far as some are concerned; but they are abominations, as far as God is concerned.

 

Cross-dressing, as well as the unisex look in dress or hair style is an abomination to God. Deuteronomy 22:5 Men are to dress as men and women are to dress as women.  It is not wrong to be stylish; but it is wrong to be immodest. Jesus taught men should not lust after women; but the woman who dresses provocatively in public to provoke that lust is just as guilty as the man who lusts after her.  Matthew 5:27-28

 

God hates idol worship and warns us against having idols in our homes.  Deuteronomy 7:25-26  Fortune-telling, witchcraft, séances are all an abomination to God. Deuteronomy 18:10-12   Crooked business practices are an abomination to God.  Proverbs 11:1  and  20:23.

 

The sacrifices and prayers of wicked people are an abomination to God.  Proverbs 15:8  Those who attempt to worship God and pray to Him; but reject His Word, are particularly offensive to Him.  Proverbs 28:9  Isaiah 1:10-15  Of course, God welcomes the prayers of a repentant sinner.  Proverbs 28:13

 

In Revelation 20:11-15 we have the terrifying truth of the final judgment of all sinners who have rejected Christ and are not found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  In Revelation 21:8 we are warned that “the fearful and unbelieving and the abominable, and murderers and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

 

Preachers who deal plainly with sin are not usually popular.  King Ahab said of the Prophet Micaiah, “I hate him for he never prophesied good unto me.”  When God called Jeremiah and Ezekiel to preach He warned  that many of the people would not accept their messages.  Jeremiah 1:4-9  Ezekiel 3:4-11  John the Baptist was beheaded for daring to confront Herod with his immorality.  Matthew 14:1-12  Stephen was stoned for confronting people with their sins and declaring their need for Christ. Paul was eventually executed, no doubt,  beheaded in Rome for preaching the Gospel. Before Paul died he warned Pastor Timothy that many would reject the preaching of God’s Word to listen to false teachers  who give the people what they want to hear.  II Timothy 4:1-4   Nevertheless, God’s servants are charged to speak boldly, expose sin and preach the Gospel.  Isaiah 56:10-12;  58:1;  II Timothy 3:16-  4:5

 

Good news for the abominable!

 

Paul writes to the Christians in the Church of Corinth.  Follow along as we read from  I Corinthians 6:9-11. NASB  First, the bad news.  “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived;  neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers,  will inherit the Kingdom of God. Here’s the good news!  “Such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified,  but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

 

Did you get that?  The Church in the City of Corinth was made of up of abominable sinners, just like churches today throughout the world. They had become convicted by the Holy Spirit of their sins and they had cast themselves on the mercy of God and received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour.  God immediately  justified them. That is, He declared them absolutely righteous and fit for Heaven, by transferring their guilt and punishment to Jesus who died on the cross for their sins. At the same time He imputed ( put to the sinner’s account ) the very righteousness of Jesus. Romans 4-5. In addition to justifying them, He sanctified them. That is,  God’s Spirit cleansed their hearts, giving them a hatred of their sins and a new desire and power to turn from their abominable lives.  Romans 6-8

 

Dear friend, whether you are a swindler or a fornicator or a drunkard or a homosexual, or whether you are a proud, self righteous missionary’s kid like me; if you come to God,  admitting your sins and desiring  to turn from your sins, God will save you and cleanse you instantly as you trust in the blood of Christ that was shed to pay the penalty for our sins.

 

He will not only save you from eternal damnation in Hell,  but He will miraculously make the vilest sinner  a cleansed and  beautiful saint.

 

Are you sick of your sins? Do you desire to be cleansed and holy?  Trust Jesus right now. He will perform a miracle in your heart this instant.  He did it for a thief who died on the cross beside Him.

 

Read the story in Luke 23:39-43. In the moments before his death, he admitted his guilt and that he deserved to die, and he called out to Christ to save him.  Jesus saved him instantly and assured him, ” Today you will be with Me in Paradise!”   To understand the wonderful truth of salvation, go to SALVATION and read and study those messages.

 

Perhaps, you’re thinking!  Great!  I like that story of the thief on the cross who was saved by calling on Jesus to save him in his final moments.  I’m going to go on in my sins because I love them and then in the final moments before I die, I too will call on Jesus to save me.   DON’T BE SO SURE!   You have no control over your future. You know not what a day will bring forth.

 

One can only be saved as the Father draws him, we are warned in John 6:44.  Read I Timothy 4:1-2. There we are warned that you can say NO to God one too many times and as a result the conscience is seared or cauterized as with a hot iron. When one reaches this state,  he no longer has any feelings about sin and salvation.  He couldn’t care less.  When one reaches this state, it’s too late.  This can only happen to those who once knew the truth and in defiance to God, rejected it and went merrily on their own way.

 

Dear friend,  if you are troubled with a guilty conscience, thank God!  It’s not too late for you.   Run to Jesus. Admit your lost, helpless guilty state.  Cry to Him for mercy. Trust the blood of Jesus that was shed to cleanse  you of all your sins.  He will save you this moment and will give you a hatred for the sin you once loved.   He will give you a hunger for righteousness.  Feed on His Word. 

 

Take your Bible and use it as you get into these HIDDEN TREASURES of God’s Word.  Then find a church where the preacher exposes sin and preaches salvation through faith in the shed blood of Jesus.  Begin your journey of walking with Jesus right now.

 

“We then as workers together with God, beseech you that you receive not the grace of God in vain… behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is day of salvation”   II Corinthians 6:1-2

July 1, 2008 Posted by | Abominations | Comments Off on Abominations – Things God Hates