I see too many Christians doing things just to be seen doing them. I see them building up their own name and bragging about their "spirituality"! I see them patting the "big name preachers" on the back and then snubbing their "poor" brothers. I see them using their church membership as a business card! I see them flaunting their authority and "lording over" their brothers and sisters!
The Bible tells us that there is coming a "spring cleaning" and that it will begin in the house of God! Let the cleaning begin! Let the Spirit of God begin to purge the Church of theses hideous and ungodly sins.
It's like a small child walking through a county fair. There are so many things that catch the child's attention. He's holding his father's hand, but all those flashing lights and clanging bells and those wonderful smells are so enticing! The child gets so caught up in all the goings on that he lets go of his fathers' hand and goes wandering into the crowds of people. All at once, he comes to himself and realizes that he's no longer holding his father's hand. Oh no! I'm lost! What have I done! But the child's father is nearby, never having lost sight of him. He lets the child wander, hoping that he will learn a lesson; Hoping that he will never wander off again. With his father he is safe. Without his father he is vulnerable. When the child goes running back to his father there are no questions, no condemnation, no glaring stares... just love and acceptance and forgiveness! Grace!
I have allowed the flashy things of this world to draw my attention away from my walk with my father more than I care to mention. But he has always stayed nearby. Although I have left his side, He has never left mine. And when I come to my senses and return, He has never condemned me or disowned me. He has always covered me with His marvelous grace and forgiven me.
He does the same for all His children! He loves us all the same and has made to us great and wonderful promises like, "I will never leave you nor forsake you". Even if you have left him, He hasn't left you! Go home... Father's waiting!
Treat yourself right
Treat others right
Live like you know you should.
This is life
Fight the good fight
Fight for what's right
Do what you know you should.
~ Newsboys This is Your Life
Rules, regulations, traditions.... Enough already! Jesus scolded the Pharisees for loading people up with rules and traditions. The Bible says "Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world.". The "golden rule" says that we should treat everyone else the way we want them to treat us. "This is what the LORD requires from you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to live humbly with your God." is pretty plain spoken instruction.
Treat people right, the way you want to be treated.
Treat yourself right; God has forgiven you, so forgive yourself and live!
You know how you're supposed to live, so just do it.
If it's right, good and true, stand up for it.
It's really that simple.
It's funny how we can be something and not even realize it. Other people may see it clearly, but we are oblivious to it. I see two spiritual truths in that quote from Mrs. Tubman.
First, I would borrow from her wisdom and say "If I could have convinced more sinners that they were sinners, I could have helped save thousands more." Until a person sees that he is a sinner, he's not likely to be looking for a savior! It's not well people who rush into the doctor's office, but sick people. The Bible says that people's eyes are blinded to the truth and they're walking around in the dark. The enemy of our souls knows that as long as people think they're doing alright all by themselves, they won't accept the Holy Spirit's invitation to come to Jesus. I actually had a young man tell me "I'm happy. My life is good and I'm having fun. Why do I need Jesus?".
Second, I would borrow from Mrs. Tubman and say "If I could have convinced more Christians that they were overcomers, I could have saved them thousands of tears.". I'm tired of hearing Christians talk about themselves as if they were the weakest, poorest, most pitiful creatures on Earth! I'm tired of the complaining and the sad faces and the horror stories. If we have not, we have not "because we ask not" or because we "ask amiss" or because we don't believe we are who God says we are! We are overcomers! We are winners! Read the back of the book and you'll see; We win!! I'm not preaching the "prosperity" message that says you can have anything youwant if you just ask and believe. Some of the things we want are not good for us and might even destroy us! But our Heavenly Father has made precious promises to us and he who promised is faithful! He will protect us, provide for us, heal us and live in us. What else could a person want?
People talk about getting to Heaven as if it were a city and we were all trying to pick the best route. Some of us take the interstate because we like to go fast, some of us take the country roads because we like to see nature and some of us fly because we don't like all that traffic. Different strokes for different folks and all roads lead to Heaven. Yes, Heaven is a destination, but it's not our choice as to which path we take to get there!
Have you ever gone to a popular restaurant on a weekend night? Whew, what a crowd! You may be the kind of person who doesn't like to stand in line, so maybe you could just sneak around back and get in through the rear entrance. But there's a sign there saying "Do Not Enter!". So maybe the side door is open and you can get in over there. But again, there's that sign - "Do Not Enter!". OK, maybe if we climb the fire escape and come in through the door on the roof. Nope, it's chained shut. I guess you have no choice but to go back and stand in line with everyone else. Here's the point; The guy who owns the restaurant decides how people can come into His place of business. You may not like His choice, but you will either come in that way or not come in at all! It's His place and He has that right!
God chooses how people get to Him! He has that right! You may not like His way, but it's His way or no way! God said "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." He also said "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus". Jesus said ""I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber." God has decided how we can get to Him and any other way will fail!
The reason the restaurant owner wants you to come through the front door is so that He can be sure He gets paid for His services. There's a price to pay for His food and entertainment. In the same way, there is a price to pay for entrance into God's presence, a price too high for any human to pay. Jesus sacrificed Himself and God accepted His sacrifice as payment in full for everyone's debt. Jesus paid everyone's admission, but if you insist on trying to pay your own way in, you'll be left outside!
News flash!... Oprah is mistaken! There is one way to God and that is through Jesus the Christ! It's not true because I believe it, I believe it because it's true.
"I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are believers. It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally, I hope I'm right in my belief. It's that I hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that." ~ Thomas Nagle
I ran across this quote on the internet somewhere the other day. It is more proof of what I have said time and time again; People don't want God because they don't want anyone they have to answer to! They don't want anyone to tell them what to do! They don't see God as a Father or guardian intent on helping, but as a harsh taskmaster who enjoys telling people what to do and then punishing them when they fail.
It's seems odd to me that people hope there is no God and fight tooth and nail to prove that He doesn't exist, but hope there is life on other planets and are eager to believe in aliens and spaceships! It also seems odd to me that anyone would expend so much energy (and often, anger!) fighting against the teachings of someone they claim doesn't even exists! If Jesus wasn't the Son of God and God doesn't exist, then it doesn't matter what we believers claim He said (or what He commands us to do or not to do for that matter!) so just let it slide; It won't amount to anything anyway! But the mere fact that they fight so hard against the idea of God tells me that somewhere deep inside they think He does exist! They are trying harder to convince themselves than us that He doesn't exist!
God exists and believing that He doesn't won't kill Him! Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord! Remember that old oil commercial where the mechanic is telling everyone that it's better to spend a few dollars changing your oil and filter than wait too late and have to pay for an engine overhaul? He says "It's up to you. You can pay me now or pay me later!" Well, it's up to you; You can call Him Lord now or call Him Lord later. The difference is, later will be too late!
"I have always said, and will always say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make us better citizens." ~ Thomas Jefferson
"The greatest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." ~ John Quincy Adams
"I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?" ~ Benjamin Franklin
Isn't it ironic that these great men who birthed and shaped this wonderful country wouldn't be welcome here today? Their faith in Jesus would be ridiculed, their confidence in God would be mocked and their call for holy living would be called "hate speech"! They would face greater danger from their progeny than from the British troops they fought to gain our independence.
Many would claim that we have "come a long way baby" and have outgrown those "superstitious beliefs" of our forefathers. I would say that indeed we have come a long way, but in the wrong direction. We should have built upon the foundation these great men laid for us, but instead we are steadily chipping away at it and I fear we will soon see the walls come tumbling down. What would Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Franklin think of what we have done to this great nation they birthed?
No one is promised tomorrow. If it comes, it's a blessing; if it doesn't, we can't say we weren't warned. Life is fragile and unpredictable and it's end is always sudden and shocking. But it's end is certain, that we can be sure of. The older I get, the more I realize just how short life is. When I was a kid I thought fifty year-old's were ancient. Fifty years seemed like an eternity to me then! Now that I am fifty, I wonder where all that time went. It seems like I was a teenager just a few years ago! Now even a hundred years of life doesn't seem like it will be enough! There are so many things to do and so many places to see and such a short time to get it all done.
That's all the more reason to look toward eternity! Just imagine, no time limits! No hurry, no hustle and bustle and no rat race! No clocks and no timetables! No deadlines and no overtime!
The Earth will be brand new, the heavens above will be brand new and we will be brand new! And we'll have all the time (time?... what's that?!) we desire to enjoy this Earth and each other's company and our Lord's presence! No caskets, no funerals and no graveyards ever again! No more weeping and mourning the loss of someone we love and cherish! No more losing anyone or anything!
Please, if you have not given your heart to Jesus, do it now, while there's still time. Don't put it off until another day, there may not be one. Accept Jesus' promise of eternal life and not just eternal life, but eternal joy! We may all end up in that little box, but we don't have to stay there!