Advertisement

    Law & Mercy

    Wednesday, July 1, 2015, 9:01 AM [General]

    God gave the Law on stone tablets to Moses, who was to give them to the Jewish nation, who in turn was to demonstrate them and share them with mankind.  This part on the stone tablets is referred to as the Ten Commandments.  There was much more given that were recorded in the Torah, known to the Christians as the Pentateuch or first five books of the Bible.  Part of that law was to demonstrate how men were to approach God.  Another part was given as dietary safeguards to protect the health and well-being of those who chose to worship God.  The rest dealt with ways that men were to deal with each other and settle disputes.

    Only God’s Own Son fully lived to the satisfaction of God’s intended will through the given law.  As to the rest of mankind it is said that, “… all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags …” (Isaiah 64: 6)  The most righteous on earth are in need of bowing down to God’s righteousness and seeking his love, mercy, and forgiveness.  This means that no human has any right to boast or hold his head up in pride or arrogance.

    Today we can see a world that has plenty of drunks, prostitutes, drug addicts, and crimes of stealing, wounding, and murder.  I do not believe anyone can demonstrate from Biblical studies that Satan was known for his drunkenness, sexual proclivities, or being strung out on drugs.  Satan’s downfall was that he stood in his own pride and arrogance before his Creator.  I have heard people speak of the Pharisees that they were wrong to carry God’s law to extremes that weren’t expressly written out in the law that God gave.  The sins of the Pharisees were not that they tried to keep more law than what was given.  It’s okay to obey more laws than what’s expected.  Their sins were in the facts that they 1) did not fully and perfectly obey the law they were given; 2) exercised too much pride in their own righteousness, even though that righteousness was woefully lacking; 3) expected others to live to higher standards than they themselves were capable of and unjustly judged others by those standards; and 3) they failed to recognize the signs that were in their Scriptures regarding the Messiah Who was to come and in fact, was already making Himself manifest.

    God knew that man was not going to live up to His standards.  That is why Jesus is spoken of as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13: 8).  God knew what the world would become from its very foundation; and from that foundation made arrangements for man’s deliverance.  Jesus said that He had not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. (Matthew 5: 17).  Paul explained this by pointing out that what the law could not accomplish, was accomplished through Christ’s Passion (His death to offer sacrifice for man’s shortcomings).  God does not delight in death, but because man violated God’s law, and was therefore not eligible for God’s eternal life (the wages of sin is death- Romans 6: 23), God Himself, through His Son, paid the wages of death, so that the gift of eternal life could be offered to those who accepted (Romans 6:23, et. al.).

    Paul expressed that those who knew their Savior were free from the law, but that did not mean that they were lawless.  Those who know their Savior recognize the LOVE that their Savior had for them, and that LOVE is shared with them in their hearts.  This LOVE in their hearts is a new law that has higher standards.  Mankind still falls short of the law, but because of the love, mercy, and forgiveness offered through their Savior, they are expected to strive to live in that LOVE and be patient and forgiving of those who fail in that LOVE, recognizing that they themselves also often fail in that law of LOVE.

    The Pharisees in their pride and arrogance failed to recognize their own need for that love, mercy, and forgiveness.  Then they sought to judge their fellow citizens by the law that they could not perfectly live up to.  When Jesus said that the law one lived by would be the law one would be judged by, He meant that those who judge by the law on the tablets of stone would be judged by that law, and since no one has ever lived up to that law’s standards, no one could survive that law’s judgment.  However, the ones who judged by God’s law of LOVE, mercy, and forgiveness would be shown the LOVE, mercy, and forgiveness in their own judgment.  No one could truly possess the Master’s LOVE, mercy, and forgiveness unless our Creator through His Son’s sacrifice had given them it.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Do You Still Have Doubts?

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015, 9:58 AM [General]

    John 20:29, 31— Jesus saith unto him, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."  ...But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.

    2nd Timothy 1:7, 12— For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  … I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.

    Most of us are familiar with the story of Doubting Thomas.  After Jesus rose from the grave, this disciple was slow to believe until he saw Jesus with his own eyes.  Jesus said that the ones who believed without even having seen Him would be blessed.  This story is recorded near the end of John's gospel and John added that the things he had written were written "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name."  Satan wants us to doubt so that in our doubts our fears are increased and our effectiveness decreased.  Satan knows that as long as Christians go around unsure of their own salvation, then non-Christians will certainly not be inspired to listen to them about seeking the Lord and His salvation for them.  Indeed Christians who are unsure of their own salvation are not so likely to be inspired to speak to non-Christians about the need for salvation.

    Since none of us is really deserving of our salvation, it is easy to think, "Lord, why me?"  Search the Scriptures and see the number of people called by God who made excuses.  To this day people make excuses.  "Lord, my speech is not eloquent."  "Lord, I am a man of unclean lips."  "Lord, I am not good enough."  "Lord, people will laugh at me, take advantage of me, or use me."  "Lord, those people you want me to talk to are a wicked people."

    Many times Christians become troubled about their salvation experience.  It is usually not difficult to distinguish when one is counseling a non-Christian or a Christian.  (I said "usually", but of course this is not always the case.)  Non-Christians do not usually see themselves as sinners in need of salvation.  Those who do see, often do not see God as their Savior.  More often than not, when Christians are counseled because they are troubled about their salvation experience, they do not question God's power, goodness, love, or grace; rather they question themselves alone.  Troubled Christians are seldom doubters of God or Christ, but often are self-doubters.

    This is when it is important to concentrate on the repeated Biblical teaching that God is faithful to His people, even when His people are not faithful to Him.  This does not mean that all people who call themselves God's people really are God's people.  But even those people who know their own short-comings, and believe that God is faithful and willing to forgive are still subject to being extremely troubled by Satan with very serious self-doubts.  "Lord, I know I am not good enough.  I can only thank You that it is not my goodness, but Your grace that saves me."

    Jesus told His disciples in John 14:1-3, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

    Let us remember with Paul that God hath not given us a spirit of fear.  If we experience a spirit of fear, then Satan is fighting us.  If we were children of Satan, then why would he fight against us?  But Satan wishes to attack the children of God with that spirit of fear and self doubts.  But before we take this too lightly, we need to examine ourselves.  Is there something in our lives that is contrary to what God wants?  We may not reach perfection in this fleshly body, but we do need to examine our deeds and motives.  Let us put aside this spirit of fear and say with Paul, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."

    How wonderful our God, to love me as unlovable as I am, to lift me up as much as I fall, and to prepare a place for me as undeserving as I am.  And since He prepares a place for me, I can know that He will come again and receive me unto Himself.

    Revelation 22:17— And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come."  And let him that heareth say, "Come."  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.

    I know whom I have believed; and you can too.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Doubts?

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015, 9:57 AM [General]

    John 20:29, 31— Jesus saith unto him, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."  ...But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.

    2nd Timothy 1:7, 12— For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  … I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.

    Most of us are familiar with the story of Doubting Thomas.  After Jesus rose from the grave, this disciple was slow to believe until he saw Jesus with his own eyes.  Jesus said that the ones who believed without even having seen Him would be blessed.  This story is recorded near the end of John's gospel and John added that the things he had written were written "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name."  Satan wants us to doubt so that in our doubts our fears are increased and our effectiveness decreased.  Satan knows that as long as Christians go around unsure of their own salvation, then non-Christians will certainly not be inspired to listen to them about seeking the Lord and His salvation for them.  Indeed Christians who are unsure of their own salvation are not so likely to be inspired to speak to non-Christians about the need for salvation.

    Since none of us is really deserving of our salvation, it is easy to think, "Lord, why me?"  Search the Scriptures and see the number of people called by God who made excuses.  To this day people make excuses.  "Lord, my speech is not eloquent."  "Lord, I am a man of unclean lips."  "Lord, I am not good enough."  "Lord, people will laugh at me, take advantage of me, or use me."  "Lord, those people you want me to talk to are a wicked people."

    Many times Christians become troubled about their salvation experience.  It is usually not difficult to distinguish when one is counseling a non-Christian or a Christian.  (I said "usually", but of course this is not always the case.)  Non-Christians do not usually see themselves as sinners in need of salvation.  Those who do see, often do not see God as their Savior.  More often than not, when Christians are counseled because they are troubled about their salvation experience, they do not question God's power, goodness, love, or grace; rather they question themselves alone.  Troubled Christians are seldom doubters of God or Christ, but often are self-doubters.

    This is when it is important to concentrate on the repeated Biblical teaching that God is faithful to His people, even when His people are not faithful to Him.  This does not mean that all people who call themselves God's people really are God's people.  But even those people who know their own short-comings, and believe that God is faithful and willing to forgive are still subject to being extremely troubled by Satan with very serious self-doubts.  "Lord, I know I am not good enough.  I can only thank You that it is not my goodness, but Your grace that saves me."

    Jesus told His disciples in John 14:1-3, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

    Let us remember with Paul that God hath not given us a spirit of fear.  If we experience a spirit of fear, then Satan is fighting us.  If we were children of Satan, then why would he fight against us?  But Satan wishes to attack the children of God with that spirit of fear and self doubts.  But before we take this too lightly, we need to examine ourselves.  Is there something in our lives that is contrary to what God wants?  We may not reach perfection in this fleshly body, but we do need to examine our deeds and motives.  Let us put aside this spirit of fear and say with Paul, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."

    How wonderful our God, to love me as unlovable as I am, to lift me up as much as I fall, and to prepare a place for me as undeserving as I am.  And since He prepares a place for me, I can know that He will come again and receive me unto Himself.

    Revelation 22:17— And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come."  And let him that heareth say, "Come."  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.

    I know whom I have believed; and you can too.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    What Separates Us from God?

    Monday, June 29, 2015, 6:23 PM [General]

    I do not believe that suddenly a ball of atoms erupted into what became the universe.  I do not believe that life sparked and then evolved into what we know today.  God created the universe.  God is LOVE and His law is based on LOVE.  But with all humans (myself included), our love is primarily selfish and greedy.  We all pretty much want what we want.

    God created us to take care of the earth, to LOVE one another, and be His companions.  But to be true companions, we could not be robots.  So He gave us free will to make free choices.  Our choices are primarily selfish.  That is why "man's righteousness is like filthy rags before the Lord."  God LOVE's us in spite of our filthy rags.  That is why He sent His Son, Who is His Word, Who is God, to redeem us.

    There is man's love in companionship.  What is the motivation?  If I'm lonely, I need a companion; so that love is selfish.  Practically everything human can be traced to selfishness.  God wants us to be selfless with the faith and confidence that He will provide (even if not in this life, the next is the one that lasts for eternity).  He provides in this life in that this earth He provided for us.  It is we ourselves that have ruined this world that God provided and we have turned it over to Satan, "the Prince of the power of the air and ruler of this world."

    Even the most righteous of people are still as filthy rags when measured against God's.  That is why, when we recognize our own shortcomings, we should be more understanding and forgiving of other's shortcomings.  But since many people do not accept God's mercy, then the best those who know Him can do, is to continue to strive to live in the selfless LOVE that He offers, as opposed to the selfish love that man continues with.  But even with that recognition of His selfless LOVE, man still contends with his own selfishness, the motivations that normally drives his love, and must continually hold to the faith in God's mercy and forgiveness.

    So in the end, the people of this world, those who have not recognized and accepted God's love, do not understand those who strive to follow God's law of LOVE and they are generally thought of as gullible saps.  Jesus said that if the world had loved Him, they would have loved His followers, but we see how the world treated Jesus, so we certainly couldn't expect much better in this world.  That is why those who love this world (not the people, but the world system) are in jeopardy of losing the eternal joy that God offers; and those who hate this world (system) may experience that eternal joy.  But we must remember our own unworthiness, so that we could never hold our heads up in pride before those who have not accepted the redemption so freely and selflessly offered.

    Remember this, those who are not saved are not too likely to worry about their salvation, because they do not believe.  If we worry about our salvation, then likely as not, it is Satan attempting to destroy our peace and effectiveness.  After the Jews, God's people, fell, first to the Assyrians, then to the Babylonians, one of the most (if not the most) mournful dirges of literature ever was recorded in Lamentations.  Yet in this there is also hope (with expectation).

    Lamentations 3:19-26-- Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall, my soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.  This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.  It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.  The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.  The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him.  It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

    Even though the faith of God's people may grow weak, and His people fall into sin, His wrath is designed to turn them from their sin.  When we are not faithful, still He remains faithful.  Even when the suffering of His wrath abound in this life, we can still wait with expectation for the salvation of the Lord.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    A Little from Deuteronomy

    Monday, June 29, 2015, 1:03 PM [General]

    There is much to learn from the Old Testament.  Much of what applies to the Jewish nation does not necessarily apply to Christians, which is part of the New Testament teaching that the Gentiles are not held to the same regulations as the nation of Israel when they come to salvation through Jesus Christ.  Even so, very much of it does, and even when it does not directly apply, there is still much to be learned from it.

    Deuteronomy 9:26 And I prayed to the LORD, 'O Lord GOD, do not destroy your people and your heritage, whom you have redeemed through your greatness, whom you have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.  27 Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness or their sin, 28 lest the land from which you brought us say, "Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to put them to death in the wilderness."  29 For they are your people and your heritage, whom you brought out by your great power and by your outstretched arm.'

    Now there are rewards (good for good and bad for bad) that may be applied in this earthly life, and those that may be applied to our eternal existence, whether that be life in Heaven or eternal existence in torments away from the Lord.  The generation in the wilderness did not make it to the ‘promised land’ of Canaan, but the next generation did.  This did not mean that none of the generation that did not make it to the ‘promised land’ of Canaan did not make it to the ‘Promised Land’ of Heaven.  I will not presume to say who did and who did not, but Moses, Aaron, and Miriam did not make it to the ‘promised land’ of Canaan, but I’m reasonably certain they made it to the ‘Promised Land’ of Heaven.  Of the rest, I cannot begin to guess who may have made it to Heaven or not, only that the fact that they did not make it to Canaan does not necessarily mean they did not make it to Heaven.

    Now, the next, and my main thought in beginning this post, is the concept that we do not make it to Heaven because of our goodness, but because He promised that those who came to Him would not be turned away.  Following this is the statement made by Moses that God would act on the basis that ‘the nations would say that the Lord had carried the children of Israel that far, but then the Lord was not able to take them the rest of the way into that ‘promised land’ of Canaan.’  Jesus said that He went to prepare a place for us (those who came to Him by faith).  Now, God would not allow Satan to say that God had ‘saved these people, then promised them a place, but He (God/Yahweh) was not able to carry them home.’  This is what would happen for many who believe that salvation could be lost.  If a person lost his salvation, then Satan would say, “Why did You save them and You weren’t able to take them Home to that Promised Land?”  The Lord acts to reveal His Own power and glory and to demonstrate His faithfulness, even knowing that we are an unfaithful people.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Page 1 of 255  •  1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 255 Next