The Rock

Something to think about.

The Rock

“For who is God, besides the LORD? And who is a rock, besides our God? 2 Samuel, 22:32

He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’
Psalms 89:26

A rock, God is described as a rock. This is an interesting metaphor for what God is. In my mind, the rock which is God is an immense structure of unchangeable quality. Something you cannot move. You can’t change you can’t go through you can’t destroy. For me, my rock is indestructible, unmovable with a permanence that is everlasting.

My vision of the permanence of the rock which is Christ is like this.  After the battle of Armageddon after the smoke clears, after the noise abates after all the actions of war are ended. On the top of a hill in full view of all, there will be one and only one figured standing and it will be Christ. Everyone else, the dead and alive will be on their knees submitted before him. And he will stand as the salvation of all humanity. He will be the unmovable rock of our salvation.

He will be as he has always been the God who saves. He will be recognized as the rock which is referred to throughout the bible. The world will understand that he has been the secure, unmovable, permanent foundation of salvation. We will see with opened eyes that throughout all generations he is the one who had always been “the way the truth and the light.” This rock which is Christ is not only the rock that was and is, He is the same rock that always will be. He is the rock of indestructible permanence that has always been and always will be.

The rock is used as a metaphor in the bible to symbolize the continuity of God. But it does so much more than symbolize it helps us to understand the immutable existence of God himself. When everything we know see and don’t see ceases to exist there standing alone as in the beginning will be God. As he was in the beginning so shall he be at the end. The rock of our salvation.

This rock is not a new rock it is not a transformed rock. It is not a rock that came to be after the creation of the world. It is not a rock that is subject to the erosion of time or the forces of nature. This is the rock that existed before time began and will exist after time ends. This rock is our God. The God of all, for all, forever.

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Accept Your Call

Something to think about.

Accept Your Call

even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Jesus, the son of God, came to serve humanity, even unto his own death. For this is why he came. Of all the ways Christ could have served humanity, He accepted the assignment of his father and came as teacher and leader and sacrifice for us.

What has God called you to? And have you accepted the call? We want to do what we perceive as being important. As being noticeable. We want to be recognized for our good works. But if we follow the example of Jesus, we will find that our call may not bring us the attention we desire. It is easy and desirable to be a leader and teacher but are you ready to be the sacrifice. Are you willing to give it all for what Jesus has called you to do?

I am not suggesting that every call of God requires you to physically sacrifice yourself for another. I am asking, you are you willing to accept the call of God for your life regardless of what that is? Regardless of what it would cost you.

The truth is you begin down the path of submission to God expecting and believing that it will result in your ultimate benefit. What you don’t know is submission to God will lead you to a sacrifice of self. It will lead you to a place where you will accept the price that was paid for you and realize that price was not symbolic it was actual.  If you accept the sacrifice that Christ made for you and understand is not just a sacrifice but also a payment for you; you, in all honesty, will realize you are a slave of God.

The call of God on your life is all-consuming it will lead you too full acceptance of your position as a purchased slave of God. Better it is to be a slave of God than to be a free man of sin. The free man of sin will ultimately receive his just judgment. The slave of God will receive his adoption as a son of God. Our acceptance of the call of God will lead us into the freedom of our position as adopted children of the most high God.

The call of God is not one-dimensional. It is not simply a service to God it is the doorway to the full benefit of adoption. By accepting the call of God, we begin the necessary transformation into the kingdom of God. We begin to know God when we accept the sacrifice of his son and accept the call he has given us.  We will know God when we take on the full implication of the cross. The quilt, the payment, the sacrifice, and our position as slaves of God.

As slaves of God we are not idle we are not without purpose. We are called by our owner to do His will. God would not have sacrifice His son for our redemption and salvation for us to be idle. He has a call on your life, a call, and a claim.

Submission to God though difficult at times will lead us into His Kingdom as His adopted and transformed children.  Heaven will be populated by the transformed slaves of God.

Accept Your Call

Something to think about.

Accept Your Call

even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Jesus, the son of God, came to serve humanity, even unto his own death. For this is why he came. Of all the ways Christ could have served humanity, He accepted the assignment of his father and came as teacher and leader and sacrifice for us.

What has God called you to? And have you accepted the call? We want to do what we perceive as being important. As being noticeable. We want to be recognized for our good works. But if we follow the example of Jesus, we will find that our call may not bring us the attention we desire. It is easy and desirable to be a leader and teacher but are you ready to be the sacrifice. Are you willing to give it all for what Jesus has called you to do?

I am not suggesting that every call of God requires you to physically sacrifice yourself for another. I am asking, you are you willing to accept the call of God for your life regardless of what that is? Regardless of what it would cost you.

The truth is you begin down the path of submission to God expecting and believing that it will result in your ultimate benefit. What you don’t know is submission to God will lead you to a sacrifice of self. It will lead you to a place where you will accept the price that was paid for you and realize that price was not symbolic it was actual.  If you accept the sacrifice that Christ made for you and understand is not just a sacrifice but also a payment for you; you, in all honesty, will realize you are a slave of God.

The call of God on your life is all-consuming it will lead you too full acceptance of your position as a purchased slave of God. Better it is to be a slave of God than to be a free man of sin. The free man of sin will ultimately receive his just judgment. The slave of God will receive his adoption as a son of God. Our acceptance of the call of God will lead us into the freedom of our position as adopted children of the most high God.

The call of God is not one-dimensional. It is not simply a service to God it is the doorway to the full benefit of adoption. By accepting the call of God, we begin the necessary transformation into the kingdom of God. We begin to know God when we accept the sacrifice of his son and accept the call he has given us.  We will know God when we take on the full implication of the cross. The quilt, the payment, the sacrifice, and our position as slaves of God.

As slaves of God we are not idle we are not without purpose. We are called by our owner to do His will. God would not have sacrifice His son for our redemption and salvation for us to be idle. He has a call on your life, a call, and a claim.

Submission to God though difficult at times will lead us into His Kingdom as His adopted and transformed children.  Heaven will be populated by the transformed slaves of God.

Repayment

Something to think about.

 Repayment

“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face. Deuteronomy 7:9‭-‬10 NKJV

In these contrasting verses, we find two opposite sides of God. On one side we see a loving patient, long-suffering God. On the other, we see a terrifying short-tempered judgemental God. In our Christianity, we have embraced the first and ignored our disavowed the second.

We want so much to show our loving, compassionate God we ignore or at the very least downplay the permanent judgment of God. We want to say listen God loves you more than anything. Which is true, however, need to also preach about the beginning of this chapter.  God utterly destroys seven nations. He destroys them because they will introduce sin to the nation of Israel. The judgment is permanent. It is harsh and merciless.

If we believe God is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever we must acknowledge the God who will judge entirely. I am not saying we need to preach fire and brimstone continually but we need to preach the complete picture of God.

We need to let the world know the judgment of God will be fierce, painful and permanent. We need to let them know if they fall on the side of unrighteousness the judgment will be severe.

No one responds to God because he first loved us, we respond to God because of what he offers us. Whatever that may be. We return to God because he fulfills a need in our lives. That need is always selfish and self-centered.

We all have a need for self-preservation we want to protect our selves and those we love. This is the primary source of motivation for the secular world. Their fear of loss motivates them to do whatever they believe is best to fulfill that need. They fear loss, they fear being on the street, they fear not having food to eat, they fear death.

We as a Christian community have ignored this reality. We behave as if what man fears should not be addressed by Christians. We behave as if God should not be feared. I’ve been a Christian for over thirty years and I cannot reminder the last time I read or heard a sermon on the judgment of God. As if this is not part of the character of God.

I love to be uplifted and edified as much as anyone but we need to tell the complete truth. Why? Because those who live in fear will respond to the full reality of God and yes that means preaching the God who will judge. And whose judgments will be terrible and final. I believe a real fear of God is healthy to our eternal life because His judgment will be eternal for everyone. For those who will spend eternity with Him and those who will spend eternity without Him.

A Testimony

Something to think about.

A Testimony

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

This verse has been an expression of hope. It is uplifting, promising and edifying to His people. I am grateful that it provides hope for those who love him. I am thankful that He has turned my sinful life into something of value and joy.

But why did I entitle this “A Testimony?” As I look back at my life, I can clearly see where God has open and closed doors for my benefit. I can see where he has turned situations around for my good dispute my bad decisions.

I’ve seen His hand in large and small places of my life and find evidence of his resolution. I can see a young man who use to be me who for no more reason than the Grace of God did not end up a drug addict or a criminal. I can look back at the lives of people I grew up with and see them mired in the same sin for forty-fifty years. I see lives that have ended after decades of fruitless living. Who’s legacy is; why was I here?

I look back and can attest to the hand of God leading us away from poorly made decisions. I can see when I joined the Air Force God’s hand in my decisions. He used a clerical error on my part to bring us, my newlywed wife and I to a place of salvation. I can see how he brought us through one bad decision after another. I now see the footprints in the sand where he walked with me and when he carried me.

I can see how He turned a near catastrophic heart attack to my benefit and for His glory. I can see where he patiently and consistently taught me, healed me and saved me. I can not understand the depth of love he has shown me throughout my life.  I would have quit on me if I had been him. Yet through all of my sin, disobedience and wicked insistence, he has never abandoned me. He’s never reached the end of his rope with me.

That is not to say that he has exempted me from reaping the rewards of my sin, it means despite my self defeating actions he has found a way to redeem my life. He has been my savior throughout my life. I may not see it at the moment but as I look back the evidence of His work is undeniable. He has turned a poor, abandoned, confused, isolated, lost child into a member of his beloved family. I can now say and could have said over thirty years ago I am a child of the most high God. I now know the privileged of having a father who never abandoned me and never will.

I am a testimony of Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  

I am a testimony of my life being worked out for good by God for his purposes. He called me according to his purposes before I loved Him. This is not an isolated testimony it is a common one. It is the testimony of every one who is called a child of God. The sin and rebellion might be different but it is the same God working things out for your good. It is the same God who saves you from yourself daily.

Tribulations And Victory

Something to think.

Tribulations And Victory

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

We don’t want tribulations. We want our lives to be peaceful, joyful, and blissful. If you only listen to uplifting, edifying, empowering sermons and speakers, you may acquire the misconception that Christianity is a utopia.

You might begin to think you are somehow excluded from the blessings of God. Because you do have problems and tribulations in your life.   Sometimes we may give the impression that Christianity is beyond tribulations. If we stay in the empowering side of the gospel, we may lead people to think that Christians who do Christianity correctly will be without conflict. Christianity is not a utopia.

If you’ve been a Christian for a little while you’ve come to the realization Christianity is not a utopia. We face tribulations and spiritual battles some we will win some we will loose. If you’re going to live the Christian life, your life will be and adventure but it will not be without conflict. Some of the battles will come from growing pains. Some from the struggle to get rid of the sin in our lives. Some will be spiritual battles which are intended to destroy you. What I am saying is the Christian life is not the end of problems.

If you look at the lives of men and women of God in both the old and new testament you will find they faced tribulations. In real life past and present the exclusion of trials and tribulations does not exist. Conflicts exist in life.

What makes Christianity different is we win. It may sound simplistic and irrational but we win. The resurrection of Christ is the guarantee of the victory!!!!!! This is what Jesus meant when he said, “I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.” He is saying my victory is not in the moment it is in eternity. It is not just winning the petty battles of life it is in winning eternally. It means despite the tribulations of this life we win. However, we end up in this life, as a martyr for Christ or as His ambassador we will ultimately win.

We who believe in Christ will spend eternity with him. In a reality much different from this one. In a reality of peace, joy, bliss, purpose and love. In other words we will live the life we want now minus the tribulations.  Our hope is not in incremental improvements but in joyous complete victory. Victory embedded in the resurrection of Christ. Since he it’s the first to be resurrected we also will be resurrected in due time. Resurrected to a life with him. That is what “I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 means. Total and complete victory for all who choose Jesus. An eternal secure victory that can never be overturned.

Listen, we are not going to simply sit on a cloud with a harp for eternity. We are going to accomplish things which have yet to be thought of. We are going to work for God according to His will and propose. Can you imagine what awesome things the creator of the universe has for you to do? Can you imagine the things you will see the things you will do? Can you imagine what a life of love,  propose, joy and work will be like in a world where sin does not exist. What will be accomplished there? This is the victory of Christ and more. More than we can imagine, think or expect. Tribulations come to an end but the victory in Christ is eternal.

Blessings of The Lord

Something to think about.

Blessing of The Lord

“The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it.”
Proverbs 10:22 NKJV

When was the last time you received a blessing from the Lord? Was it costly? Did it require something from you? I receive blessings of God on a continual basis. Every day the Lord does something in my life for which I’m grateful. Never have I had to sacrifice anything to receive the blessing of the Lord. It has always been a gift.

Some of the blessings of God are conditional. Even salvation John 3:16 has the requirement of belief in Jesus.

The blessings of God are conditional and unconditional at the same time . The blessings of God are conditional in practice and unconditional in intent. The blessings of God come from the generosity of His heart. For example, redemption is a gift of God. It is something God does for us without condition. You might say that is not true you have to do XYZ to receive redemption. Which is true, however, God did not have to redeem us. There is nothing that required God to redeem us. Forgiveness is another of those unconditional blessings.  He did not have to forgive us. Salvation, restoration, grace, adoption and many other blessing are unconditional. They are unconditional because God is not required to bless us. God is complete and perfect without us. He choose to bless us He did not do it out of need.  A condition is usually in place to benefit the one who grants the benefit. If someone loans you money and the condition is that you pay interest, the interest benefits the one who made the loan. The conditions we must fulfill to receive the blessings of God do not benefit God. By fulfilling the condition in no way, do we add or benefit God.

All of the blessings of God provide us with riches. They may not be momentary but they are rich never the less. When God decided to restore me from my heart attack, it was a rich blessing. Not just because I lived but also because he allowed to serve him. That blessing has turned my life around in ways I didn’t know existed. That single blessing has eternal benefits for me my family and friends and even you a stranger.

Every blessing of God is rich because it is not singular in nature. It does not just bless you but everyone around you. It even extends to people you don’t know. All the blessings of God are positive in there outcome.

In Deuteronomy 28:1 1“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. 

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  

God’s blessings are intended to make your life rich spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, financially. Even though there are actual mechanisms for bringing these blessings to life they are from the heart of God. He offers them too us unconditionally because he wants too. He can’t be required to. He chooses to bless us out of his generosity.

Clearly Seen

Something to think about.

Clearly Seen

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 NIV

The evidence of God exists in everything around us. From the air we breathe to the earth we walk on. The invisible qualities of God are on display. Yet, this evidence is interpreted differently by the created.

It is fascinating how two people can look at the same thing and see totally different things. One person looks at our design and sees majesty and wonder, and another sees chance and meaninglessness. One sees unquestionable intelligence and is amazed at the complexity of our existence. Others look at our complexity as evidence of chance. They see the complex intricacies of our existence and claim it to be impossible for something to have designed us.

Yet the word of God clams the proof of his existence is not absent from His creation but through his creation. It says if you look around you will find proof of his existence. The proof lives in and around us now not years or eons ago,  but now, here.

If you look at all that is required for us to exist it is mind-boggling to me that it can be credited to chance. If you take a look at the role of the Bee in our existence, it will make you wonder. For most of my life, I just thought of it as an insignificant bug. Yes, I had been taught when I was in grade school of the significant part it plays in pollination.  However, I never gave any thought as to the impact it has on our food supply. Now because of the loss of bees in the world, I have been made aware of there importance to our existence. A little Bee can have devastating effects on humanity.  Bees are necessary for the pollination of our food. If they cease to exist, we will be in very serious trouble as a species.  It makes you ponder what came first the Bee or the flower. This is but one example of things in life that will make you think.

Chance or evolution says they appeared when they were necessary because they were necessary. There was no intelligence associated with the appearance of the Bee. It just arrived because it was needed for the evolutionary process.  Ok, I will buy that explanation. Once maybe twice, but when you start thinking about it, every evolutionary step came about just because. Then when you begin to contemplate on our complexity, you really have to have blind faith to believe that at every turn of the evolutionary ladder the correct occurrence came into being because it had to.

It is far more plausible for me to believe in an entity of indescribable intelligence brought order and existence into being rather than believe we simply self-created out of nothing. In Genesis 1:1 It says, In the beginning God…….  Not chance, not billions of years it says “In the beginning God……”

Just One

Something to think about.

Just One

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19 (ESV)

This is what is called the great commission. It is the goal of Christianity. As Christians, we read and accept it as our responsibility. But somewhere along the line, we assigned it to someone else. We somehow placed it on the shoulders of the professional Christian. The pastors and leaders of the church. After all, they have been charged with being the shepherd of the sheep.

We have become adept at passing it off to the more eloquent and charismatic among us.  To the captivating speakers and presenters of our times.  We have become very good at putting on a tremendous spiritual show. Personally I enjoy the show and what’s more, I am uplifted and edified by it.  I sincerely believe it is much needed in our lives and it serves a legitimate propose in our spiritual lives. After all, Jesus spoke to thousands of people at one time at least twice that we know of.

These large gatherings of people for the purpose of advancing the gospel are a great thing. They serve a much needed purpose or no one would come. However, it is not what Christ intended when He gave us the great commission. The great commission cannot be fulfilled in large evangelical gatherings. Or in conferences of specialized training. These events are needed and essential to the body of Christ but by themselves, they will never fulfill the great commission.

To successfully fulfill the great commission each Christian needs to tell one person. If every Christian would tell one person about Christ, we would in a short period of time cover the earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ. When Jesus presented the great commission, it was not intended to be the responsibly of the few. It was intended to be the responsibility of the one.

We are all expected to be involved in the great commission. In the simplest of ways share the gospel of Jesus with one person, just one. Jesus never intended for each of us to be a great orator. He expects us to reach one, just one. Not the masses, not the world, not your school, or your state, just one.

It may sound too simplistic and it is simple. But it will be the only way we will ultimately fulfill the great commission. I am not saying that we should do away with all the good work people are doing. Please continue but to see the great commission fulfilled we need, every one of us to tell one.

The battle cry of the great commission should be, tell one, reach one, bring one. If we all tell one, we will tell all.

Plans

Something to think about.

Plans

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Is it a secret? The plans He has for you are they a secret? This is an inspiring, invigorating, motivating verse. However, taken in context, it is not secretive. God promised His people He would restore them back to their homeland.

It is important that when we recite this verse, we keep it in context. We have to know what God’s plans are for our lives. It does you no good to recite this verse without knowing His plans for your life. In Jeremiah 29:10 God tells Israel His plans. In verse 11 God is expanding on what He has already promised. Verse 11 is not a mystery verse of hopeful expectations. It is an explanatory statement tied to verse 10. God is referring to the prophecy He gave to Jeremiah. He is reassuring Israel of His good intentions.

What are the dreams God has placed in your heart? In Jeremiah God is speaking to captives and telling them I have a dream for you. A dream of freedom and restoration. He even tells them the time frame for the fulfillment of the dream. So, when verse 11 is made it is not something new it is the confirmation of an intended result.

What dream do you have buried in your heart? What dreams have laid dormant in your life for years? Bring those dreams to the fore of your mind and then repeat express, recite and claim verse 11 of Jeremiah 29.

What if God has placed a dream in you too turn the world back to Him.  For years your dream has laid dormant in the furthest recesses of your mind. But now your God is saying to you “I know the plans I have for you.” He is saying to you this is the time, this is the place I will bring this about through you.

All of the promises of God require one thing your action. Even the free gift of salvation requires something. John 3:16 (KJV) 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. The condition of salvation is a belief in Jesus. 

The plans of God for you require the same thing your belief in Him.  Those dreams long regulated to the area of fantasy are they dreams God has placed in your heart? Dreams that require no more than belief in the God who put them there?  You must believe His plans for your life are for your benefit.