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Something to think about.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. Matthew 24:9
In some Bibles, this part of Scriptures is under the heading of “End Times.” This is Jesus speaking, and He is referring to events that will occur before His return. The question is, is this our destiny? For many in the Middle East, this is their reality today. The Christian population in many of Middle Eastern Countries have been annihilated. There is a genocide being committed in the Middle East, but of course, our press has ignored it. ( see https://adfinternational.org/detailspages/press-release-details/never-again-un-side-event-on-genocide-in-the-middle-east )
Here in the USA the former bastion of Christianity we are under constant attacks from many sides. We are being attacked either openly or subversively. Our freedoms religious and civil are under constant assault. The writing is on the wall to the suppression if not eradication of Christianity. People are openly pushing for the censorship of our views. If you’re against homosexuality, you are ostracized, humiliated and labeled ignorant or intolerant. If you support Biblically based marriage, you are closed and simple minded. If you are against the continued murder of the unborn otherwise known as abortion you are a misogynist. If you hold any traditional religious views, you are regarded as a simpleton not worthy of serious consideration. If you expose the impossibility of evolution, you are called a crack pot. All of these things do not constitute what Jesus was referring to when He spoke the words contained in this verse. What He was referring to is what is happening in the Middle East. What we are now seeing in this country is the precursor is what is taking place in the Middle East.
I don’t know if it is too late to turn from this path of self-destruction. Granted I do not see any hope in returning to where we came from. But I pray and hope that we can turn to the path that has been the only hope for the world and that is the path to Christ. If we can not turn the tide of anti-Christian persecution we will fulfill his end time prophecy. We will be “handed over to be persecuted and put to death.”
Something to think about.
Good and Faithful Servant.
Matthew 25:21 (NKJV)
21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
If there was ever a goal to strive for it is this, to hear the Lord proclaim over your life “well done good and faithful servant.” A few years ago after my heart attack, my prayer was that God would allow me to serve Him. My reasoning for the prayer was this; God had saved my life. He restored me after a massive heart attack with life threatening complications. I felt and thought if he would allow me to become a lowly servant, I could show some appreciation for what he had done. I didn’t feel qualified to be any more than a servant. I prayed that prayer for a couple of years. Then I saw an opportunity and started to serve Him in a small group in my church. Shortly after that, I got involved with another group. Then another to the point now that I am now very involved in the church. As time passed and my involvement increased. I came to understand that the prayer I prayed though simple was not what I thought it was. I thought I was asking permission to assume a position of lowest rank. A position equal to my worthiness.
“The Lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.” Notice it does not say, ‘Well done, good and faithful priest, doctor, lawyer, king. It does not say teacher, preacher, singer, poet, professor, apostle. It does not say, deacon, general or any other title or position. It says, servant. What I have come to realize is that I was asking for was/is the highest calling of God. I do not remember anywhere else in the Bible where Gods commend man for his actions. When he does acknowledge mans actions, he calls him a servant. I believe our highest value is not what we are recognized for or what we have earned. It is determined by our level of servant hood. To those who are faithful in the little things it says “I will make you ruler over many things.” God will make the servant a ruler over many things.
When I prayed to become a servant, I hoped that I could show God appreciation and gratefulness for what He had done. Now I know what I was praying for has opened the door to seeing, living and participating in the fulfillment of God’s will. When you become His servant your highest call. Your life will be changed, you will be fulfilled, you will experience God in ways you can’t imagine.
Something to think about.
6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:6
“For he is risen” the four most important words ever spoken. The world has been shaken to its core at these four words. An actual change in the history of man occurred on account of these words. A new hope and reality came into existence when they were uttered. A whole new way of living was validated because of these words.
The crucifixion of Jesus was not the single most important event in history. His resurrection was. Jesus was dead, Christ was resurrected. This man died. He was resurrected as King and Savior. His resurrection was by the God of the universe. Have we lost sight of this event?
We are so busy with our lives. With doing for God. We try to flourish and excel in our gifts, jobs, lives, have we lost sight of why we do what we do. Have we turned the resurrection into a commonplace event? Has it become a historical event that we lump together with all others? Has it become something that is not life altering. Something commonplace? Something that we have become so accustomed to we don’t give it the importance it requires?
“He is risen.” Have you ever seen the dead come back to life? I’m not talking about CPR or any rapid resuscitation protocol. I mean someone who has been dead for an extended period of time being brought back to life. No other such event has been recorded or claimed by anyone in History. Do you realize this event was witnessed by hundreds of people? It was reported by his followers. These twelve men went on to change the world. Not based on a conspiracy or on Jesus’s religious philosophy but on His resurrection. His inner circle never recanted their claims. Even when threatened with death. Even as they were killed
The most important aspect of this event is this. Jesus the Christ is alive. He was not resurrected to die again. He was not resurrected to be lost or hidden from humanity. That reality should be paramount in your mind every day through every situation. God or bad. He was the first to be resurrected. His resurrection gives us hope for the future. It validates all of His claims. It solidifies His claims of eternity. It turns an interesting philosophy into an undeniable reality. Every Christian belief hinges on this one event. His resurrection validates all of the claims about Him. From His virgin birth to being the sacrificial lamb for the world. Without the resurrection, we diminished Christ to an interesting person in human history. He becomes as so many others without eternal consequence. He is then an enigma without substance or value.
Christ is everything. There is before His resurrection and after. Before is hopelessness and futility. After is eternity and victory. He is resurrecting every day the lives of those who believe. “He is risen.”
Something to think about.
48 but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” Luke 22:48
We Christians want, even portray Christianity as being a wonderful harmonic belief system. We do everything we can to make it as attractive as possible. We try to accentuate the great things about Christianity.
The reality is Christ was betrayed by one in His inner circle. His disciples were persecuted and killed. His believers were hunted, tortured and killed. His followers to this day are being abused, persecuted and murdered. His teaching are under attack. There is infighting among us.
Why am I writing this? If we deal with the reality, we might not lose so many to the deception that is our enemy. If we better prepare ourselves for these conflicts and realities, we will be in a better place to help the lost.
Christianity is a mess. It is a mess because we are dealing with flawed humans and we are flawed humans. There is no fault with the bible and its teaching. The fault is with us who have turned the word of God into a mirage of a painlessness utopia.
We should be telling everyone the truth. Christianity is hard. You will be disappointed you will be hurt. The biggest blows will come from those you learn to love. You will fail you will hurt someone either out of ignorance or with intent. We need to tell each other and everyone we are not perfect, we don’t have all the answers. Please forgive us when we fall short. Do not judge Christ by what we do judge Christ by what he has done. Forgive us for our misrepresentation of the gospel. Let it be known we will make mistakes. Christ has made a way despite our errors to redeem the lost and restore the broken-hearted. Let us tell the world we will mess up but there is still a Christ that can fix it, but only He can fix it. Let us stop trying to portray a clean conflict free Christianity. Let us display a true Christianity with all of its faults and short comings. Let us allow the God we proclaim to be glorified by His restorative power and grace. Let’s point others to the one that is perfect and true.
It is in our weakness that He is strong. It is in our faults that He shines. It is when we fall that He can pick us up. It is in our battles that He can bring peace it is. It is in our hurt that He can bring healing. It is in our defeat that He can bring victory. It is in all the things we hide that He is visible. Christianity is indeed a mess, But Jesus Christ died to clean the mess. To bring order to confusion peace to those at war and life to those that are dying. Jesus is in the business of cleaning up our mess. If we hide it, deny it, cover it or ignore it, Christ cannot be glorified by it. Remember Christ came for those that need a savior, not for those who are saved.
Mark 2:17 (NKJV) When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Something to think about.
“as it is written,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”” Romans 9:33
Jesus is a stumbling block for people of all races. He is a conundrum for those who don’t believe in Him. They don’t know what to do with Him. Today Jesus is offensive to more and more people. Why would someone who did not kill anyone nor advocate violence become a stumbling block or an offense to anyone? Jesus did not come as a revolutionary. He did not oppose or prefer any political system. He did not have financial power. The influence He did have was confined to the spiritual lives of the Jewish people.
Jesus is the son of God. Is this why He is a stumbling block an offense? Because He claimed to be the son of God, the salvation of the world. The answer to man’s problems. The first and the last the creator of all things. Deity, equal with God. He claimed to be the only way to the Father. Was it because He healed the sick raised the dead? Was it because of His resurrection? Is it because He is the sacrificial lamb for humanity? Was it because He called man to repentance and restoration with God? Is it because He challenged the ordained order of religious tradition? Is it because he is the Truth?
It is because He is the standard of truth. He is without blemish, He is the Holy One of God. He is a stumbling block because He is our salvation. He is the doorway to heaven. He is the only way to heaven. He is a stumbling block, an offense to man because he is the exact representation of righteousness. It is because we are sinful and He is not. It is because we love sin and hate righteousness. It is because we want to stay in our sin and be in the light. We want to be in both worlds simultaneously, and we can’t. It is because He is the eternal answer to the eternal question. Why are we here? We are here to be loved by Him. That is the only reason for our existence. And we can’t understand that. He is a stumbling block, and an offense to us because He wants to love us.
Something to think about.
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Romans 1:21-23
Modern man will not worship an image of an animal, or creeping thing. We are to educate and wise to indulge in this archaic practice. We are the most educated society in the history of the world. We no longer hold to the superstitions of the past. If we are to worship anyone or anything it is ourselves. For the first time in human history, we have the ability to choose our own path. We can accomplish anything we desire. Isn’t that the mantra of our society? Reach for as much education as you can and it will open the doors to the highest levels of personal achievement. Education is the panacea of man. It will resolve all of man’s problems. For this reason, we no longer need or desire to pursue any God.
The most educated and technically advanced civilization of all time has been impotent in decreasing the evil of man. Never in the annals of history have more babies been murdered than we have in this age of enlightenment. Wars litter our planet with corpses of the innocent. Every attempt at a solution to the world’s problems fail. It is not the uneducated that have lead us down this path. It is the educated that have dominated the leadership the world.
We have exchanged the immortal God for the flawed God of self-reliance. The evidence of past and present leadership has fulfilled this verse. It is not that these educated leaders don’t know of God. It’s that they deny Him. We have discarded the wisdom of God for the fallacy of man and called it wisdom. How much longer will we pursue the ineptitude of humanity to provide salvation for itself?
No single person or government will ever be able to comprehend the complexities of the human condition. This inability condemns us to the repeated failure of leadership. It is not a lack of education, vision or passion that fails us. Only the God of creation has the capacity to see it all and provide for us all. Unless we return to the God of creation. We will never see peace.
Something to think about.
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”
Romans 1:25 NIV
In Genesis 1:1 it says “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth.” This is a truth man once accepted. Now we have unsubstantiated ideologies usurping the truth. Once we had permanent standards of morality. Redefined morality now allows us to kill the unborn. Once we believed in living in eternity with a loving God. Now we are taught there is neither a God or an eternity. The epitome of life is money, power and prestige.
We worry more about the condition of the world than we do about the condition of man. The promise of a loving God has been replaced with the promise of emptiness. Many are convinced this is all there is and hence live life with the consequences of that ideology. We have become people of no hope, no future, no possible victory. We have replaced the one true a God with the empty abyss of hopelessness. Or with powerless religions be it academia, intellectualism, or self-empowerment. We have become self-fulfilling, self-empowering, our own deity. We proclaim to be the ultimate intelligence in existence. Thus we have become the ultimate God. The most intelligent, educated, gifted, and powerful among us have failed to resolve a single human conflict. And still, we deny God. Humanity with all its technical advances is still a species trying to exert control over it self. After all of the paths, we have traveled we are no closer to making this a better world. We have not changed we still need the God of Genesis 1:1.
Something to think about.
Freedom of Choice
5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.Romans 2:5-8
We, citizens of the United States of America cherish our independence. We scream out to anyone who will listen, we have the right to make our own decisions. To decide for ourselves what to do with our lives. We aren’t so ecstatic about accepting responsibility for our actions. We behave as if we live in a vacuüm where our decisions and behaviors only affect ourselves. God, through the writer of the book of Romans, agrees with at least part of that assertion. We do indeed have the right to pursue any course of action we wish. We have the freedom do to do evil or do good. We have the freedom to persist in any action we choose. The only point of disagreement is that God will indeed hold you responsible for your actions. There will be a day of judgment, and you will be paid for what you have earned. Some to eternal life with God some to eternal judgment by God. We have the right to choose but with that freedom comes an inescapable consequence. Choose wisely whom you will serve.
Something to think about.
The Corridors of Death
“They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:29-32 NIV
Every generation has claimed this verse as their own. Every generation comes up with more vile and despicable ways to sin. We have chosen to ignore the word of God and have created our own righteousness. We have traded the righteousness of God for the sinful nature of Man. We ignore the promises of God. What promises? One day you will stand before God and answer to Him. It is an inescapable reality. If you are identified in this verse and are unrepentant and you claim independence from God, God you will grant your claim. You will have to defend yourself against the righteousness God of. You will not have another advocate. You will have to defend yourself through your independence. It will be your word against God. Your unrighteousness against the righteousness of God. There is no way that your rebellion against God will bring you the blessings of God. There is no way that your evil, sinful expression can bring you victory or peace. There is no way the sinful heart will see deliverance. It is illogical, impossible for you to expect good to come from evil. Evil begets evil, and the sum of that life is death apart from God. The end of your life will not arrive at the peace of non-existence. Your end will be the permanent justice of God. Repent, remove yourself from the corridors of death.