He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, September 28, 2015

God's Laws

         Laws are given so we know how to govern ourselves in almost all situations, especially publicly for social order, for financial integrity, and even in our religious community.  There are laws given and signs displayed to govern road and driving behavior.  You can see rules or laws posted in public buildings and in educational facilities, as well as, be aware of unwritten laws and guidelines in families.

       The Bible has a set of rules, as Christians we are expected to live by:  The Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20.  The laws written on those stone tablets so many years ago are the very foundation on which we build our faith.  God knew we needed rules and guidelines with which to frame our lives, and that without them we could expect to live a life of chaos.

            Not all governing laws are as valid as those given in the Bible.  Take for instance the law in New Jersey where wearing a bullet-proof vest while committing a crime (specifically murder, robbery, sexual assault, etc.) makes the person guilty of another crime.  Or in Rhode Island where a person biting off another’s limb faces up to twenty years in prison if the assault was on purpose.  In Wyoming felony offenses are charged if someone cuts or otherwise mutilates more than one-half of a sheep’s ear. And in Alabama residents better think twice about committing bear exploitation for the purpose of bear wrestling!1  

            These incidents are just a few of the unlikely kinds of laws you will find in every state of the Union.  They often make little sense and were created years ago, likely for a specific situation and seemingly totally inappropriate for today!  Still they are the law and if desired, could be chargeable as an actual offense.

            God’s laws, written with His finger on stone tables, however, are as valid and legitimate today as they were the day they were given to Moses for the people   Yet many of His laws are completely ignored or are being considered “offensive” by non-believers and are being removed for political reasons.

            Without rules and laws our world goes completely off kilter.  When we have no guidelines, people do strange and often evil things.  Consider when a natural disaster strikes.  Often “Martial Law” is implemented to thwart those who would come to the area and leave with whatever is in sight!  People have killed each other in an attempt to run off with electronic equipment from a store during riots and other such situations.  People seem to lose all sense of right and wrong!

            God’s laws are higher than man’s laws.  Within the boundaries of God’s Law we are instructed how to live our lives in a moral, godly and sane way.  When we turn away from these laws our world becomes, like those in the days of Noah, a people who do only despicable and vile things.  Sadly, our world today is very near “like in the days of Noah” because we have turned our backs on what is good and right and allowed the satan to confuse and color our perception of right and wrong in an effort to be politically correct.

            I challenge you to reflect on your own life.  Do you uphold and live by God’s Laws or do you bend, twist or otherwise alter the Law?  Or do you choose to only live by those laws you find comfortable or to your liking?  All God's laws are valid and we will each be accountable to how we obeyed them.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Second Thoughts

        I remember when I was in college during my math and science classes while struggling to get the information in some sensible order, there were days when I had second thoughts about what possessed me to want the college experience at age fifty!  If I were honest I’m sure there were other times in my life when I also had second thoughts.

            There’s a cute Christmas movie about a woman who was engaged three times and each time on her wedding day, had second thoughts and ran away.  It isn’t unusual for couples to have second thoughts regarding marriage since it is a life altering commitment.  The same could be said of having children, changing jobs, buying a new house or moving to a new location.  All of these areas not only affect the person making the decision but every single person remotely involved. 

            Certainly in marriage it affects both husband and wife, and often extended family and later the children.  If the couple is not solidly grounded in their relationship, it can wreak havoc on relationships all around!  If someone is changing jobs, it affects the new boss and other employees, whether the new employee is happy about his position or if he is not!  Buying a new house affects the purchasers, the family, sales people and financial institution!  Moving to a new location is much the same:  the family, new neighbors, a new boss (assuming the move requires a new job), school for the children which ripples to teachers and other students. My point is most decisions we make don’t just affect us.  Our decisions have a ripple affect.

            When Jesus was choosing his disciples, certainly their decision to follow Him affected them and their families! Those called, walked away from their jobs and families without taking money or any material goods along with them. Even if their families were completely supportive of their decision, as the disciples learned about the life they would have to lead over the next years, do you wonder if they or their families ever had second thoughts.  Jesus taught them they would be hated but were to rejoice when they were persecuted.  They would face difficulties and hardships.  Some would be arrested, jailed, beaten and become martyrs. 

            There is much teaching among us that says God wants only good things for our lives.  Those teaching this doctrine rarely, if ever, mention as believers we are going to be persecuted for our faith. Life is not always “good” or friendly; and bad things do happen to good people.  As a believer we are in a war against satan and all the demonic forces which rule on this earth.  We are told in God’s Word, to be a follower of Jesus means we will be reviled, persecuted, hated, mocked and possibly even jailed or killed.  We are no different than the original disciples.

            To be a follower of Christ means to believe so strongly in the God He is, we do not have second thoughts about the road of life we have chosen regardless of those who disagree with us.  It means choosing Jesus over our families, jobs, and those who choose to persecute us. 

            So I challenge you to take a good look at your “discipleship.”  Would you consider yourself one who loves Jesus so much, you would leave your family, job, ideal location, friends, children or anything else of value to you, to follow Him.  Do you really surrender “all?”  Or….do you have second thoughts?


Monday, September 14, 2015

A House On A Rock

          The house we built in 1980 still stands strong, yet it’s easy to see time has taken its toll on the building.  When we built it, we knew there was a live spring under the basement, so we took precautions and built up the floor.  Still a few years later the water table rose so high from increased rains, the basement flooded, requiring added measures to keep out the water.  The house wasn’t abused, but natural “settling” caused shifting, and through the normal course of time, required knocking in nails that had popped and repairing seams where the dry wall tape curled, as well as needing a good repainting!

            The Bible speaks of building our house upon a rock rather than in sand.  Our physical house was built on a foundation, which is subject to changes from natural weather phenomenon. We have heat, cold, wind, and rain, storms, earthquakes and sometimes, even fires which affect our homes. 

Our lives are much the same.  Financial issues can rock our world causing horrific damage, as can physical illness, relationship problems, career changes, bad decisions by us or even our family members, an accident of some kind or any other imaginable attack by satan!  If we are not grounded on solid rock in Christ, these onslaughts of “natural phenomenon” have the ability to pull us down into a thick mire of mud.  We can easily get “stuck” and become unable to pull ourselves out.

As our world continues to spiral downward, it is absolutely necessary for survival to keep in the Word and on our knees in prayer to be able to keep steady from the buffeting winds as our social culture and political arena are turned upside down.  We’re not only going to feel “heavy winds” in the very near future, I suggest the winds will have tornado or hurricane strength! Satan is on the move and devouring those who aren’t solid in Christ, as well as, those who choose to turn their backs to the very idea there is a God.

As Christians we are going to face trials yet unheard of here in the United States. Oppression and aggressive acts of hatred are becoming as prevalent in this country as those in other countries around the world.  It seems unthinkable that Christians can be hated so.  But I’m not sure why we’re surprised.  Jesus told us it would happen and His Word has always been true.

It’s reassuring God isn’t like the weather phenomenon I mentioned earlier. Heat, cold, wind, rain, storms, and earthquakes are subject to His command!  He is the Solid Rock we need to build our lives on!   He never changes despite the time that passes.  It is we who change.  We allow ourselves to be altered by the battering weather because we aren’t standing solidly on The Rock.

Satan uses every available ploy and “weather condition” to wear us down, and like our house that was built on a good foundation, shifting still occurred and repairs needed to be made.  It is the same in our lives.  Even if we are solid Christians, the buffeting heavy winds and hail can tear a shingle, batter the window, or put holes in the vinyl.  We need repair, daily!  Find it in His Word and on your knees!

Monday, September 7, 2015

The End Is Near

          The news is filled with reports about Israel’s struggles and her people while countries bicker about who should support her and those who do not; the global financial meltdown; Christians being killed; terrorist activities across the world; increasing violence, and soaring sexual immorality.  While appalled at all these developments, I see it as a sign the world is nearing its end.

            The end of times are described in the Bible as "scoffers who will follow their own evil desires, false prophets, those who are greedy, teachers who lead you astray" and many more specifics about humans.  Other places describe wars, earthquakes and other "natural" occurrences.  While there are those who would scoff at these Bible prophecies, many other prophecies have already taken place! 

            Other descriptions such as those described in God's word, include violence and an increase in knowledge.  As murder rates rise sharply, the United States Supreme Court legalized Gay Marriages across the land and the amount of Natural disasters continue to climb across the world.  Statistics show there were 2,700 earthquakes happening a month as of June 2015.    Wars and famines are becoming so prevalent via news and commercials asking for support of those in famine ravished countries, it’s almost easy to become insensitive to the problem! 

            When you add the staggering abundance of technological developments to the equation, we can again see the prophecies being fulfilled.  Think of it, horses have been replaced by cars; cars by trains; trains by jet liners and even now scientists are working on ways to put men on Mars!  The medical profession has made great strides with DNA and cell discoveries.  Computers and satellites make it possible to communicate instantly with people across the world while we watch live activities on our televisions and even on wrist watches which hold amazing technical capabilities!

            False prophets and religions abound while there is a rise in satanic cults, and even mass animal deaths including large numbers of fish turning up dead, while birds are seemingly dropping out of the sky and bees and bats are also falling prey to this unusual phenomenon. 2

            When do we open our minds so we can hear and understand the scriptures?  Jesus told us repeatedly he's coming back.  When do we open our eyes so we can see and understand what is happening?  The descriptions are vividly drawn throughout the Old and New Testaments.  When do we open our hearts and feel God's love?  Jesus, God's only Son, died a shameful death on the cross at Calvary so we may have eternal life.

            So I challenge you to consider your lifestyle, preparedness for the final days, family unity, perspective on world news and decide if you are really ready for the end of the age.  It's coming, you know.  That's as certain as we are breathing today.  The end is near.  Jesus will come back.   Today is the day to open our hearts to God's love, our eyes that we might see Him all around us, and our ears that we may hear His message.  Are you ready for His return?