They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” - 2 Thessalonians 2:11,12
Do you love the truth? When you think about the truth vs. a lie do you instantly think about words or speech? We think of someone “telling” a lie or “speaking” the truth, right? And indeed, we should be truthful in our words. But there is a deeper truth that God wants to instill in us. There is a state of being, established and rooted in truth that God wants to bring us into. Listen to what John 1:6 says “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” We see time and time again, preachers and public figures who lead double lives. Outwardly they speak the truth, but in private they are “walking in darkness.” And I do not say this as a condemnation of those who have fallen, but as a warning to us all. Because we all have the exact same tendency. We want to look good on the outside. We want others to see what we wish to be. But God says we lie and do not “live out the truth.” In 3 John 1:4 we are exhorted “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” If we are to “walk in the truth” we must love the truth. And Jesus said “I am the truth.” Before his crucifixion, as Jesus was standing before Pilot, he said “the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.” And in John 8:18 he says “I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me."
There are two reasons I am faithful to my wife. One is that I fear God and the other is that I love my wife. In our Christian walk, our faithfulness should be based on the same principal – our fear of God and our love for Jesus. And there is so much to love! And we love him because he first loved us. Jesus not only always told the truth (which he certainly did), but he always IS true. Every word, every expression, every action and every moment of every day… He was true. He never pretended to be one way and then acted another. He never put on a false demeanor to elicit a desired response. Everything about him was always true.
So, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I humbly offer this admonishment with all sincerity and with full knowledge that I too am in need of the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit… we need to love the truth. If we do not, we will most certainly fall. We are living in an age when a spirit of deception is beginning to sweep the globe. It has only just begun. I know this deep in my being to be true and I see it clearly. There is a “powerful delusion” clouding the minds of the unregenerate. It is taking over those who are not “walking in the truth.” It is happening right now. There is a falling away of many – and they don’t even know it is happening… because they do not love the truth. I beg and plead with you – do not be one of these tragic numbers. If you speak the truth in this age, you will be called a liar. If you live righteously and stand for righteousness, you will be hated. But stand fast. Love the truth. Be true. For those who endure to the end… Well, listen to what Jesus said:
“You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 10:22
And like the Apostle Paul we will be able to say:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” - 2 Timothy 4:7
May it even be so, in Jesus’ name.
As an American, I have a deep sense of the basic “unalienable rights” with which I am endowed by my Creator. Our Declaration of Independence states that this knowledge is “self-evident.” And tells us that these rights include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But what does the Bible say on this subject? What are our “rights” as Christians? First, it is important to note that God cares deeply about justice. He himself is always just and he commands us to deal justly. Isaiah 61:8 says “For I the Lord love justice.” Proverbs 21:3 tells us “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” And Micah 6:8 instructs us “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Justice is defined in Merriam Webster’s dictionary as “the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity.” Of course, this definition presumes a “law” based on God’s moral law as defined by Scripture. A rejection of that moral law by default leads to injustice. And that is where we are as a nation. God’s law says “you shall not commit murder” yet we are living under a government that says it’s your “right” to commit murder – to murder a baby in the womb. And we are clearly called to speak out against such injustice. Isaiah 1:17 commands us “Learn to do good; seek justice, and correct oppression.” This is the spirit in which Dr. Martin Luther King acted when he stood up against racial oppression. And it is the same spirit in which his niece Dr. Alveda King operates in her fight against abortion. She is standing up for the most basic right – the right to life. We are clearly called to speak out for the rights of the defenseless, the weak, the poor, and the oppressed. But what of our own rights? I propose, much to my chagrin, that we must tread lightly in this area. There is something in my flesh that wants to fight. But the Holy Spirit within me pulls on the reigns and says “not so fast.”
Jesus said “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” - Matthew 5:38-39 And in Luke 14:33 he says “any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” A dear friend of mine who has gone on to glory, Jim Davis, used to say “God has called us to the doormat ministry, brother.” It used to get under my skin when he’d say that. “Surely God doesn’t want people to just wipe their feet on me” I’d think. But as the years have passed, I have realized he was absolutely right. Jesus suffered and died at the hands of not one, but two unjust systems. The apostles suffered and died, being persecuted for righteousness sake. And in so doing, they were pronouncing justice by themselves being the victims of injustice. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for everything... a time to be silent and a time to speak… a time for war and a time for peace… a time to tear down and a time to build. We need to know our timing. And that timing is dictated by the Holy Spirit for those who have been redeemed. We should be meek, but never timid. We should be brave, but never self-seeking. Should we fight for our rights? I humbly submit to you the answer is yes and no. Our rights as children of God are completely in His hands - for to be a Christian means surrendering everything, including our rights, to Him. There are times where he will call upon us to lay down those rights. And there are times when He will require that we take a stand. Either way, it will cost us. And either way, it will be worth it.
Finally, I will leave you with this perspective: Matthew 6:33 instructs us “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Let us, as Christians, keep this cause always before us. John the Baptist prepared the way for the Messiah preaching “repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” And Jesus' first message was “repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Our Lord taught us to pray “Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This kingdom we live in… the United States of America… is not God’s kingdom. It is an earthly kingdom. And like all earthly kingdoms, it will pass away. But we are of another kingdom and and our mission is to proclaim that kingdom. Our hope and our confidence is in that kingdom and that King. So, be of good cheer. The Kingdom of God is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17
And so we pray… and I encourage you to read this aloud with me… “Jesus, Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
May it be so in Jesus’ mighty name!
He that believes on the Son has everlasting life; and he that believes not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. – John 3:36
What a terrible thing… THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDES ON HIM! The Greek word for ABIDE is μένω (menō) which means “to be present with / to wait for with expectancy.” The wrath of God is already present with those who are perishing… waiting for the moment of delivery. Make no mistake, God’s wrath is coming, and it will be terrible indeed. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned.” And Romans 6:23 tells us that the “wages of sin is death.” 100% of people die. Every single one of us will sooner or later take our last breath. And for those who have not “believed” in Jesus, they will face the wrath of God. This isn’t some fairy tale or exaggeration – IT IS A FACT. So, the important question is what does it mean to “believe” in the Son (Jesus)? The word believe is πιστεύω (pisteuō) which means “to entrust to one, i.e. his fidelity.” It is the same language used for the commitment of fidelity between a husband and wife. The word “on” is εἰς (eis) which means “throughout – of one mind.” Colossians 1:27-28 describes this as the “riches of the glory of this mystery” – “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Make sure you are abiding in Christ today. We are told to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling before God.” He’s not looking for people who will follow a list of rules. He’s looking for people who will “abide in Him.” Don’t let the cares of this life distract you from abiding in Him today. Don’t let your failures or sins keep you from coming to Him. God loves to show mercy. And he says He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins if we come to Him humbly. Draw near to God today… so much so that you abide in Him. What a place of safety and joy and peace!
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:1-5
Jesus doesn’t pull any punches here. He makes it abundantly clear that we must bear fruit or we will be “cut off” and “thrown into the fire.” Have you responded to an alter call? Have you said a “sinner’s prayer?” Do you call yourself a Christian? Maybe you’ve even been baptized… But are you bearing fruit? What fruit is Jesus speaking of? Galatians 5:22-23 tells us “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” But notice, he’s not telling us to try harder, get our act together, or buck up and make it happen… He doesn’t tell us to “produce” this fruit… but rather to “bear” this fruit. And how do we bear this fruit? We simply remain in him.
So how do we remain in him? Romans 7:4 tells us “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” The term “joined to” here is the same language used when a husband and wife are “joined together” in marriage. The Lord has blessed me with a beautiful, godly wife. I crave intimacy with her. I look forward with great anticipation to our time alone. But that doesn’t just happen by chance. We have been married nearly thirty years and have made choices in that time that have drawn us closer together. We have made our marriage a priority. Because of those choices, we have a bond of trust. We have made a point over those years of setting aside time to spend alone (which isn’t always easy with seven children). Throughout the day, a gentle touch as she passes by… stopping for just a moment to give her a kiss… a kind word of encouragement… these moments and the special times set aside make all the difference in our relationship. Could it be that to remain “in Christ” requires the same kind of commitment and fidelity? Could it be that we can increase our intimacy with Him by our choices? A few moments in the car worshiping Him rather than listening to the news… a prayer of thanks… and of course, the “set aside” times to be alone with Him… can make all the difference. The Lord has blessed my intimacy with my wife with the fruit of seven children. And rest assured, if you are spending time with the Lord, he will produce pleasing fruit in your life. He does the producing, we do the bearing. I encourage you to make Him your number one priority. Remain in Him... He is the source of life, the source of peace, the source of LOVE. He craves intimacy with you... do you crave intimacy with Him?
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. – James 4:8
Whoever does not LOVE does not know God, because God is love – 1 John 4:8
I see these signs all over my neighborhood. But it begs the question... What is love? How do you define it? The word love in the verse above is (agapaō) which means to be well pleased with, contented with, and fond of. And to “know” in this context is (ginōskō) which means to feel, understand, perceive, have intimate knowledge of. Do you LOVE your neighbor? What if they have different political ideals? What if they are of a different social class, or race, or ideology? Honestly, are you well pleased with them? Are you contented with them? Are you fond of them? The truth is, this kind of love cannot be somehow worked up by our own effort. It must flow out of our intimacy with God – we must KNOW Him. This knowledge and experience of love must be received before it can be given and it can only come from God. Notice, he doesn’t say “love is God.” He says “God is love.” We live in a culture that increasingly defines “love” as something very un-godly. When you remove God from “love” it is no longer love. Note, these signs say “love is love” – literally taking God out of the equation. They are insisting on their own definition of love. But it is not love. It is quite the opposite. And out of that intolerance for the supremacy of God, who defines love – who IS love, they have built a movement of hate… calling it love. The underlying anger in our culture… the underlying tension that continues to build… is not based in love. It is based on a lie. It claims tolerance while insisting on conformity. It claims peace and unity while breeding division. It claims love while being fueled by hate. Our only hope as individuals is to know God through His Son. Our only hope as a nation is to turn to Him. In the last days, Scripture teaches us that Jesus’ disciples will be known by our LOVE for one another. But the very love of God working in and through us, will be portrayed as hate by those given over to the evil one. Speaking the truth about sin… out of love… is being defined as hate. Proclaiming the good news of the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ… out of love… is defined as intolerant. Standing up for the lives of the innocent… speaking out for the unborn… out of love… is defined as hurting women. Nevertheless, because we know the love of God, we will be a light in the darkness. We will proclaim God’s love… a love that paid a great price to set us free from sin - not allow us to wallow in it. This is a message of love... For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. Do you believe in Jesus? Have you entered into a covenant relationship proclaiming him as Lord of your life? Whoever confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead… shall be saved. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life… no one comes to the Father except through me.” God's love was made known to us all through the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of His Son. We come to know His love for ourselves through His Son. And we show the world His love by the gospel of the good news of His Son.
If you want to know this love, join me in this prayer… Lord, I proclaim Jesus as Lord of my life. I surrender all to Him. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness by the blood of Your Son. And fill me with your Holy Spirit. I want to know you. I want to know your love in all its fullness. Help me this day to keep always before me the power, majesty and beauty of your love. It is so easy to be consumed by the cares of life which are, in the end, so utterly unfulfilling and empty. The only thing that ever has or ever will satisfy is your love. Burn away everything that hinders the flow of your love in and through my life. Grant me the grace to be a reflection of the love you have shown me. Empower me and enable me to love as you love.
May it be so in Jesus’ name
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16
For God SO loved the world… What does this mean? The word SO in the Greek text is οὕτω(ς) – pronounced “hoytō” which means “after this manner.” God loved the world… in this manner… this is how he loved… That he gave his only begotten Son… that whosoever BELIEVES… There is a promise - and a condition. The promise is that we should not perish, but have everlasting life. The condition is that we must believe. So, what does it mean to “believe” in Him? Believe in the Greek text is πιστεύω – pronounced “pisteuō” which means “to entrust to one with complete fidelity.” It is so much more than just believing to be true… it is a commitment to fidelity. Jesus requires that we be faithful to Him. It is a love relationship of the deepest kind.
In Ephesians 3:17-19 we see where Paul writes “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” To be filled to the full measure of all the fullness of God… what a statement! The primary attributes of God are His love… and His holiness. The two are interweaved and cannot be separated. As followers of Christ, these two attributes should be evident in our lives… Love and holiness. Any idea of love that does not include holiness is not love. As parents, we cannot love our children without disciplining them. As husbands and wives, we cannot love each other without fidelity. As brothers and sisters in the Lord, we cannot love one another without holding one another accountable. And as Christians, we cannot love our neighbor without standing for righteousness. In this manner, God loved us… that He gave his son… as a sacrifice – one who received our punishment… so that we could be cleansed of our sin… so we could be holy. In 1 Peter 1:16 the Lord commands us “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” John 4:16 tells us “God is love.” It does not say “love is God.” Love is defined by the very nature of God, not the reverse. This world tries to put its own definition on love and then attribute that idea to God. It is an attitude of permissiveness towards sin. But love, as defined by God, requires holiness… and He has made a way, through His Son, to make us holy.
May you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ this day. May you experience the reality of His love. And may you become a conduit of that love to others. For God is love… as He has defined it.
As followers of Christ, we are instructed in Matthew 16: 24“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
When we surrender our lives to Jesus (for that is what it means to be a Christian) He will put his finger on certain things in our life and say “this I require of you.” For the rich young ruler who came to him asking “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus didn’t answer “bow your head and say this sinner’s prayer with me. Rather he said “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Jesus was testing Him, for he knew what was in his heart. If he had come to Jesus asking “What can YOU do that I might have eternal life?” he would have been asking the correct question. But the young man had asked “what can I do?” He knew he was missing something… there was more… “What do I still lack?” he asked. Now, Jesus could get to the heart of the matter. What was it that He would put his finger on in this man’s life? What was it that was keeping him from full surrender? “Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” The call of Christ is the same to us all… full surrender. Whatever you want to hold on to, be sure he will require that you let it go.
Now, my story gets very personal: When my beautiful wife and I wed, we had plans for our future. She was just starting college and was on her way to becoming and educator and I had visions of becoming a great entrepreneur. Children were something we figured we might want one day, but not for quite some time. But we had a clear and unmistakable conviction… God was putting his finger on THIS area of our lives. We were to “let go and let God” regarding children. And so, we chose not to use birth control… as an act of obedience to God. And to our surprise, my wife was able to finish college and get a year of teaching in before our first child came along. Then, just a few years later, our second came along. We had two beautiful, healthy daughters. And so, my testimony was “look at how faithful God has been.” His timing had been perfect. Our plans aligned with His and all was bright and sunny. But then a cloud came into our lives. A miscarriage. A painful, late term miscarriage. “But God, we were obedient” I cried out. “How could You allow this?” How could it possibly be in his plan for this life to grow in my wife’s womb only to parish before seeing the light of day? What was the point? And for years I thought “well, maybe God just wanted to bring us through this experience so we could understand the pain of others who go through this particular trial.” And it certainly did give me more empathy for others in that regard. And so, as the clock of our lives kept ticking on, the Lord gave us more children – seven now. But… we have had other miscarriages too. And so, in the back of my mind has always been the question of why. And God, being the good Father, revealed something from His heart to me. Scripture tells us very clearly that God is the author of life. God’s word tells us “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” – Jeremiah 1:5. And “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139:13 And so, God asked me “how do I make people?” The answer blew me away. In His divine wisdom, He uses us. The life of every human being begins in the womb of a mother. Even Jesus, the Son of God, began his earthly journey as a tiny embryo – in the holy womb of His mother. And it is only recently that I have come to a broader and fuller understanding of God’s plan in our lives. When God creates the human soul, he does so through the womb of a woman. The miracle of life, the spark of the flame of each of our existence, begins in the womb. And God has a plan and a purpose for every life. Your life, my life, and the lives of each of our children. I pray over all seven of my precious children. I claim God’s plan for their lives and reject the enemy’s efforts to steel, kill, and destroy. But what of the other souls that God brought into existence through my wife’s womb? What is their purpose? The fact is, we are finite beings with limited understanding of things eternal. But God doesn’t look at things the way we do. This life is but a vapor. We are here for just a moment. God chose to bring into existence these children – human beings wonderfully and fearfully created in His image – and He most certainly DOES have a plan for them. He has an eternal plan for them to spend eternity with him. Their voices will join in the chorus of one hundred million angels who sing day and night “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord.” He wanted these children to spend eternity with Him. But His plan for them happened to bypass the cares of this life. He has a plan for each of us, for our time here on earth. But this is just a tiny portion of His plan for us. His plan for us is eternal. I exhort you to “set your mind on things above, not on the things of this world.” For the children of God, He promises a bright future… “They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” – Psalm 36:8
And so, whatever God puts his finger on in your life today, give it to him with open hands and an open heart. God chose to make you, to form you in your mother’s womb. He has a plan, not only for your life here on earth, but for an eternity with Him. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” – Romans 11:33
Sand is great for a lot of things. It can be used to filter water, it is used in mortar, and of course we love our beautiful sand beaches. But you DO NOT want to build a house on it. The sand will erode away, and your house will be destroyed. Likewise, if you build your faith on a person, however wonderful they may be, it will erode away. If your faith is going to stand the test of time and if it is to stand life’s trials, victories, and hardships alike; it must be built upon your relationship with God. In Genesis 3:8 we see an intimate picture of God, the Creator and sustainer of the universe, walking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. When they sinned, separating themselves from that intimate relationship, He already had a plan of restoration. That plan was fulfilled in the salvific work at the cross, when Jesus paid the price for our sin. He took the full force and brunt of all of our shame. He experienced the excruciating moment of separation from the Father so that we could have eternity with Him. He sacrificed everything for the “pearl of great price." You are the pearl of great price. Did you think He was referring to himself as the pearl? No, my dear friend, you are the pearl. He is the one who paid the price, not us. He is the one who pursued us… while we were yet sinners. No one in this world can ever love you so completely or so perfectly as Jesus. You cannot build your faith on your pastor, priest, husband or wife. You cannot build your faith on anyone, however important they may be. They must not be the foundation of your faith. But where does faith come from? Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by “hearing the word of God.” And Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the “substance” of what we hope for. When God speaks, he creates “substance.” When he said “let there be light” – brother, there was light. When he said “let there be dry land” – there was dry land. That’s the kind of substance your faith must be built on – or it is not faith... it is just empty hope. Build your faith on YOUR relationship with God. Allow Him to speak into your life (yes, He may do so at times through others), but listen for HIS voice. The spiritual life of the disciple of Christ is so much more than consistency to conscience or convictions; the faith of the Christian… the foundation, is fidelity to Jesus Christ. If you have never heard His voice, ask for ears to hear. And then listen. He says “my sheep know my voice.” He wants to speak into your life today. He wants to reveal the beauty of His heart to you. He wants to impart His righteousness to you. He wants to give you abundant life. Call upon His name today… pray “Jesus, make yourself known to me. Give me ears to hear your voice. Give me a heart to receive your wisdom. And use my life to glorify you.” May it be so in Jesus' name. "All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away." - John 6:37
As I was driving to a job site yesterday, I noticed this broken-down house on the side of the road. It caught my attention to the point that I actually took the time to pull over and take a photograph of it. I knew the Holy Spirit had a lesson for me. You see, my Heavenly Father is a good and benevolent Father who takes the time to teach me along the way, wherever I am going. I hope you experience the same thing. If you don’t, you can. He desires to have an intimate relationship with you. Anyway, I was on my way to a job site where they just broke ground on a new shopping center. Several years of planning, making deals with tenant anchors, and all the financing and everything has been done. And now I come on the scene to mark where we will be putting the road signs. Its new growth. Its hard work, and investment, and hopes for profit. It’s all good stuff. But it is all temporary - I was struck by this fact as a took a moment to look at this wreck of a house. It was once the pride of a new home owner. Who knows how many memories were made there, children raised, meals shared, and lives lived? I think of my own home, built 120 years ago. No one alive today who first lived here – all dead and gone. There are natural forces at work that have to be constantly addressed… walls to be painted, grass to be cut, trees to be trimmed, floors to be cleaned and maintained. It is a constant march towards rot and decay. Left alone, it would fall down like this old wreck I’m looking at in a matter of years. I think of nations that have risen and fallen throughout the ages – our own nation, falling apart. I think of all of the great plans of proud men and how quickly they come to nothing. It is all so very temporary. Our very life on this earth is fleeting. As I am writing this, the clock is ticking every moment, closer to my last breath. This world is incredibly transient. Every day, people die and people are born. I think of my own children and how they will remember me. I think of their children – will I live long enough to imprint on their memory? And by the third generation, will anyone remember me? Will they even remember that I existed? Man, if my focus is on the things of this world, my life is pointless. If I am caught up in how nice my house looks, how good my hair or clothes are, or how I am perceived by others… I am nothing more than a vapor that will soon dissipate into nothingness. But I am not. I am fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s own image. I am destined for eternity with Him. And, my dear brothers and sisters… you too can have this blessed hope… this eternal outlook. Colossians 3: 2 tells us “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” And 2 Corinthians 4:18 says “we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” God has a plan and a purpose for your life far beyond these temporal things… things of eternal value…. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” - Ephesians 2:10
I encourage you today, as you go about your daily routine, to focus on the eternal. I encourage you to offer yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. Your home, your car, your clothes, and even your body… they are all on a path to decay. So, give your all to God. Let him lead you this very day in His perfect will… to do good works He has prepared for you, and you will store up treasures in heaven.
May it be so in Jesus’ name
Today we celebrate one of our most beloved of American heroes. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of conviction, courage, and most importantly… a man of great love. I have spent many hours listening to his sermons and find in them a resounding truth – a truth that has been lost in the chaos, confusion, and destructiveness of the current culture. His message of love overcoming hate, defending the right of every man and women to be treated with dignity and equity, and racial reconciliation inspired me as a young boy and has continued to be a touchstone for me throughout my life. Below are a few quotes worth your consideration, particularly in our current political and sociological climate:
“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.” – This is such a fundamental statement that applies to all of our endeavors and inter-personal relations. Matthew 16:5 tells us clearly that if we do not forgive others, we will not be forgiven. Bitterness is like a cancer – it has taken root in our culture and must be removed through repentance and revival.
“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” – John 4:20 tells us “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.” – This is such an important statement and it applies to the ongoing fight to end abortion in our nation. To say it is someone’s choice to kill a baby inside the womb is to say that life does not have a right to protection under the law… because we do not value that life. Slavery and segregation laws were unjust in that they did not value every human life… Abortion laws do exactly the same thing. Dr. Alveda King (niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) recently differentiated between the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church — where her grandfather, father, and famous uncle served as pastors — and Horizon’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Warnock (recently elected to the Senate) was pastor. Dr. Alveda King said “Historic Ebenezer was an altar that was raised to God in the Bible. Now, the Horizon’s Ebenezer is an altar to Baal.” We must be a voice for the voiceless until these innocent babies are afforded equal protection under the law.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – The current trend from ungodly organizations such as BLM are a direct affront to this dream. Critical race theory, ravaging our nation, represents the exact opposite of what Dr. King taught and died for. We cannot continue the current trend of racial division or we will tear ourselves apart. For the Christian, Scripture clearly teaches that for those who are in Christ, our identity is in Him alone – male, female, black, white, Jew, Gentile, etc. We are all of one mind and one purpose in Christ and will be known by our love for one another.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – This is where the rubber hits the road. Will you stand for righteousness in a culture that calls good evil and evil good? We live in a culture that says the family unit as God created it is bad. We live in a culture that says men aren’t really men and women aren’t really women. We live in a culture that says the life in the person in the womb doesn’t matter and that a mother has a “right” to the pre-meditated murder of the very child God says she should love and cherish. But who will stand for righteousness? Who will stand against the tide in times of challenge and controversy – who will stand for truth?
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Love truly sets us free. When we decide to love our enemies and forgive those who have wronged us, we are set free from the bondage of hate. We are empowered to do good and change the world.
“He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.” – Again, we see the principal of the power of forgiveness. If you cannot forgive someone, you cannot claim to love them. If you cannot love them, you cannot claim to love God. If you do not love God, you have violated the first and greatest commandment and are in danger of hell fire.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – This is my favorite of all Dr. King quotes. We are living in a world of darkness and lies. The light of love and truth must overcome the darkness and hate. We must forgive. We must love one another. And we must reject lies and embrace the truth.
May we all remember the words of Dr. King. May we take them to heart and stand for truth, righteousness, and love.