Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Sometimes we struggle to overcome certain sins but they don't seem to budge.

The reason might just be a "ROOT SIN!"

What is a root sin? It is - an underlying attitude that is a sin in itself - but also leads to other sins.

Sometimes we only see sins at the surface. They are like weeds. We can pull them out - but they keep coming back. If we don't get at the root sin the surface sins will be hard to contain - let alone eliminate!

There may be several root sins but I want to mention one that has caused many problems in my own life - UNBELIEF!

Our lack of trust in God causes us to do many things that we would not normally do! 

We often say that we trust God, that He is in control and He knows best. But if your'e like me, when something comes into my life that tests those beliefs, I find them much harder to believe!

It is easy to believe that God will supply all our needs when we have a steady income. At that point, our faith is more academic, conceptual or idealistic. Since we have our needs provided, we rally don't have to struggle much to believe that God will provide.

The great men and women of faith in the Bible believed God without any tangible evidence to support their beliefs!

For example, Mary believed the angel Gabriel when he told her that a child would be born to her. Can you imagine being a woman and believing you would have a child completely apart from the involvement of a man?

In the time of the Exodus, the children of Israel had just witnessed the ten plagues which God sent to judge Egypt to set them free from slavery. These plagues graphically displayed God's power over animals, nature and even death and the false gods of Egypt! Yet when they were being chased by Pharaoh and came to the Red Sea, they said, "God brought us here to kill us!" Have you ever felt like that? 

After God parted the Red Sea, they still refused to believe Him when Moses was delayed on the mountain. The important aspect of all this is to look at the result. Their unbelief caused them to create a false god (idolatry) and commit acts of sexual immorality!

Can you see how the sins of idolatry and sexual immorality were actually rooted in UNBELIEF?


If we truly believe that God will meet our needs in tis life and bring us into His presence for all eternity, it it will cause us to act a certain way. If we believe He will forsake us and heaven is a myth, we will act a different way!

The Apostle Paul said it well:

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
1 Corinthians 15:19

If God is not real, the Christian life is a mere fantasy! 

Thankfully, Paul does not stop there:

But now Christ is risen from the dead...
1 Corinthians 15:20a

Belief in God and all He has promised has caused men to act in ways that baffled the world. Moses gave us the riches of Egypt to suffer the shame of Christ. The disciples left all to follow Jesus. David said he "would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than to dwell at ease in the tents of wickedness."

Other have been tortured and killed for the sake of the kingdom of God! Why? Because they believed that nothing in this life could compare with the blessings of the life to come!

Conversely, UNBELIEF also influences how we act!

If we do not believe in our hearts that God is not only real but will be faithful to keep every one of His promises, our actions will be quite different!

Why sacrifice for a future that does not exist? Why not live to please ourselves if we will simply pass away when we die? Why follow God's commandments or the leading of His Spirit if we will not have to give an to account Him on day?

  • Unbelief will keep us from leaving our comfort zones even when God is calling us!
  • Unbelief will move us to find another way to meet our needs when we feel that God is not doing His job right - or fast enough!
  • Unbelief will convince us toss what we "say" we believe, overboard, when times get tough!

If we "FEEL" that God hates us, has abandoned us, is out to get us or will send us to hell, we will act according to those feelings! Weak faith causes those "surface sins" to erupt!

In the same chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul concedes that if Christ is not risen (i.e. if God is not faithful or powerless), it is only reasonable to live for ourselves:

If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

1 Corinthians 15:32

If we are struggling with some sin in our life, we would do well to check first to see if the sin of UNBELIEF is the root cause!

So often, when we strengthen our beliefs, we find it much easier to deal with the surface sins of the flesh!

Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.
(Psalms 119:11 NKJV)



Saturday, October 17, 2015


We often advise each other to "forget the past" and "live in the moment." We do have a way of distorting the past so that it somehow seems euphoric. But it was not! We have problems now - but we had problems then as well! Many conclude that "These are the good old days" and we should simply choose to enjoy the moment.

There is much wisdom in that line of thinking - but is it always true? What if we commit a sin such as adultery? Is looking back with deep regret on what we had before we sinned and where we are now always a bad thing?

God gave us the ability to remember for His good purposes!

It seems, as is the case with many things that God gives us, we can choose whether we use it for good or harmful purposes! We can bring up distorted memories of the past which result in missing the opportunities of the present. But memory also helps us to master skills or learn from our mistakes!

Moses told the children of Israel to remember:

Remember! Do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day that you departed from the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord."
Deuteronomy 9:7

Remembering our sins can be harmful!

If we dwell on them, they can make us feel worthless and feel hopeless to change. The gospel gives us great ho[e to change because God Spirit lives in the hearts of the redeemed to effect that change as we yield to Him!

On the other hand, remembering our sins can be helpful!

We are not to constantly focus on our past sins because we cannot change them. Yet it is spiritually unhealthy to completely block them, pretending that they never happened!

We used to have a definition of insanity that went something like this:

INSANITY: Doing the same things over and over but expecting a different result!

We also called that being "stuck on stupid!"

Living in the past can keep us from enjoying, or living in, the moment! This is true whether the memories are good or bad ones. Bad memories may cause us to fear and shrink from the present and future! Good memories may keep us in a comfort zone that we never want to grow out of!

But pretending the past never existed is a form of denial - and will stunt our growth! We can and should examine our past as objectively and unemotionally as possible. More importantly, we should present the past to God for His perfect examination - allowing Him to make corrections as He sees fit!

"The unexamined life is not with living." Socrates

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart.
     Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me;
     And lead me in the way everlasting

     King David (Psalms 139:23-24)



Saturday, October 3, 2015


As His divine power HAS GIVEN TO US ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN TO LIFE AND GODLINESS, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.
2 Peter 1:3 9 (caps added for emphasis)

God HAS GIVEN (past tense) to us...

There are many things that are stated by the Bible as being accomplished before they actually happen. One  example is that, although salvation has been given to all men - yet not all men are actually or practically saved! Why? Is God being dishonest?

First, we must establish that God never lies! He does not deceive us; nor does He insert "fine print" into his contracts (covenants) with us - that He can later cite to deny us what He promised. It is more a matter of the clearly stated terms of the contract!

For example, I may give my son my car. I tell him he may have it, use it and keep it. He may argue that he cannot accept such a gift and wants to make his own way in life. I may sign the car over to my son, leave the keys on his table, and leave the car in his garage.

Taking Possession!
From my perspective, I fully gave him that car. From his point of view, he must "take possession" by licensing the car and actually driving it. It may sit in his garage indefinitely. He may never "take possession" of that car even though it is legally his! I have not lied by saying I "gave" him that car!

In the same way, God sets spiritual gifts like salvation in motion by doing His part. He makes them available to us and often goes much farther by placing them on our path. Yet we do not automatically take possession of them until we exercise our faith to "take" them!

Jesus is "Passing By!"
One day, Jesus was coming near Jericho with a great number of people. A blind man was sitting by the side of the road begging. He asked what all the commotion was about...

So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.
Luke 18:37

He cried out and was told to be quiet - but he cried out even more!

40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him,
41 Saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?"
Luke 18:40-41 

Jesus sets many great blessing into motion. He will even "pass by" in close proximity to us to give us every opportunity to "take possession" of them!

All the blessings and promises of God are available to us through Jesus Christ! However, they will not come to us automatically! God has "signed, sealed and delivered" them to us - but we must "take possession" of them through faith - if they are to be ours in reality! 

God does the big part - but we must choose whether we will do our small part to accept and receive them!

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
2 Corinthians 1:20

What a great and profound tragedy if we lose out on the eternal blessings that God has provided for us through Jesus Christ - simply because we neglect them or refuse to take possession of them!

How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him?
Hebrews 2:3



Wednesday, September 2, 2015


What do you think of when you hear the word "grace?"

Most of think of grace as something benign - some extra mercy from God or having a more casual attitude toward sin. One of the greatest forms of grace comes in a word we might not usually associate with it - FEAR!

Fear is often defined as the opposite of faith. Sometimes, this is true - if we are referring to worry or doubt that God will keep His promise. But there is another kind of fear that is beneficial to us - THE FEAR OF GOD!

This kind of fear does not make us afraid to come to God. Nor does it make us fear that He won't "come through" when we need Him. This kind of fear makes us afraid of the consequences of disobeying God!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:

A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever.
Psalm 111:10 (emphasis added)

When people feel comfortable with that which displeases God, it is a sign of God's judgment!

Fear of offending God is a sign of His favor or grace!

David considered afflictions from God as a way to learn God's ways!
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
Psalms 119:71

We should be very thankful when we fear God. It is a sign that His favor is on us!

We are to seek to know God intimately to learn what pleases Him and what doesn't! Casual seekers are generally more lenient about sin. God is a holy God and He has already judged everyone in the world to be sinful and therefore condemned!

But He did not leave us there! He sent His only begotten Son Jesus to die for the sins of the world - that those who come to Him can be saved! (Read John chapter 3!)

False Accusations
The name "Satan" means "accuser." We must also be aware that the enemy will condemn us and make us feel sinful even when God does not condemn us!

That is even more reason to seek to grow in the intimate knowledge of God!

The Intimate Knowledge of God!
It is vital that each one of us personally knows how God thinks! If we do not, we will either feel comfortable doing what God condemns as sinful - or we will feel condemned for doing what God does not consider sinful!

God's ways and thoughts are as high above man's as the heavens are above the earth:

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

It seems that the intimate knowledge of God has a great deal to do with the Christian life!

The deeper we grow in understanding God and His ways, the more we will...
  • Fear Him!
  • Know what pleases Him
  • Be able to live holy lives according to His definition and standards!
  • Accurately represent Him as His ambassadors to the lost, dying world!
  • Resist the pull of ever-changing culture!
  • Take the correct stand on current issues.



Thursday, August 27, 2015


And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.
Romans 1:28

Our country and our world appear to be increasingly bent on rebellion against God. As we read through the Bible, we can see that God allows this for a time. Some think that the prosperity of a person or a nation is always a sign of God's blessing. While it can be at times, it can also be the precursor to God's judgment!

The great empires of the world did very well - for a season - until they crashed and burned!

We should not make the mistake of thinking that whatever is going on in our country is the direct will of God. Some things are the way God wants them to be. Others are merely the way He allows them to be for His unfathomable purposes!

Some may deny that the world is becoming more immoral or evil and will never turn to God no matter how bad things get. Others plan to continue rebelling against God until it is convenient to turn to Him for help.

This is a dangerous strategy! The power is of deception is such that it will take us farther than we wanted to go from truth!

For example, we may see the world's morals are rapidly declining. We may even believe that God will eventually judge ours and other nations for their sins. In our hearts and minds, we think we will continue to be our own master. Then when we see the judgment  of God falling, we will turn to God. But deception is a powerful force. It seems that once it has been yielded to regularly, it is hard to break free from it!

We wonder how the people of Germany yielded to the evil works of Hitler and the Nazi's. It is simple. Look at the verse again!

"They did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting."

When we reject God, we set ourselves up to do things that we never imagined we were capable of! We may look at ahead and think that America would never cross certain lines regarding evil or immoral behavior. What we seem to miss is that when we reject God now, we are setting ourselves for further deception - meaning we will find ourselves agreeing to that which previously repulsed us!

It is already happening to some degree. Behaviors which God clearly proclaims as sinful were considered shameful in the past - but now are not only fully accepted,but even celebrated and embraced!

Those who accept these behaviors think they are doing so because they have "evolved" in their thinking. Some may think that those who rejected such behaviors in the past were ignorant, stubborn or close-minded. In our modern world, we consider ourselves much wiser as "forward thinkers."

In reality we have been deceived! If we continue to turn from God - we open ourselves up to further, deeper deception. At that time, this "deeper deception" will allow us to freely accept, approve and do what we would presently consider unconscionable!

Would America ever accept a time when Christians would be beheaded? We may scoff at any notion of that as impossible! We are too civilized for that, right? Consider that Christians are being beheaded - in other countries.

How could these countries possibly arrive at the place where they would accept this? 


"They did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting."

What has happened in other places can happen here!

Our intelligence cannot save us  from deception. A "civilized" society cannot save us. Only turning to God can deliver us from the power of deception!

We must turn back to God individually and as a nation - before it is too late!

If we do not, we too will be handed over to a debased mind!



Saturday, August 15, 2015


What's in the Heart?
We often say that God judges by what's in our hearts.

There is certainly truth in that. After all, King David was chosen by God because he was "a man after His own heart."

That is not the same as God judging us for our "good intentions."

David's heart was a heart that longed for God. David wrote:

As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.
Psalms 17:15

God was pleased with David because his heart was "God-centered" and God is pleased with us when our hearts are tender, humble and submissive toward Him! Apart from God David knew that he also had wickedness in his heart because he was fallen. This is also true of every person who was born into this world, aside from Jesus Christ who was born of the Father!

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
Psalms 51:5

This "fallenness" means that we all have a sin nature which taints everything we do and our perception of our own hearts. The Bible plainly teaches that the human heart is wicked by nature and deceptive:

“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?"
Jeremiah 17:9

Our wicked hearts naturally deceive us into thinking that our intentions are good. We mistakenly assume that God will "give us a pass" because we mean well. Our understanding of what is "good" varies greatly. The company we keep, the culture we live in, how we were raised and our environment all create many false definitions of "good."

We may all create our own code of morals and ethics. Criminals have one code. Housewives have another. Our country is currently divided on many issues of right and wrong. Why? It is because we all deceived into thinking that our intentions are "good."

Good Intentions Fall Short!
I believe that God judges us not only in spite our good intentions - but because of them!

God is holy and created man according to His holy image. When God looks at man, he declares that they have "all sinned and fall short of the glory of God!" We may grade ourselves and others on the curve. We look at the best people in the world, realize that no one is perfect, and then judge ourselves to be somewhere in the spectrum between the best and the worst. Most of us think we will get at least a passing grade compared to the worst people on earth - perhaps at the 70% mark or greater.

But God does not grade on the curve! In fact, He sees that even the very best of us are utter and complete failures! If the very best best are failures in God's sight, where does that leave the rest of us?

He perhaps looks at our good intentions and says, "Is that what you consider good?" 

This is what makes us such sinners and failures in the sight of God - that what we consider as "good" is so distasteful to Him! Even our righteousness is filthy in the sight of God:

6 But we are all like an unclean thing and all our righteousnesses are like filthy ragsWe all fade as a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
7 And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities.
Isaiah 64:6-7 (emphasis added)

Our only hope is in God! God sent His only begotten Son Jesus to die for us. When He comes into the hearts of men and women, they are not merely forgiven or given a clean slate. He plants the seed of righteousness in our hearts and writes His laws on our hearts! Our dead spirits are made alive and we become partakers of His divine nature!



Friday, July 31, 2015


The Authority of Scripture
Many in the church today question or debate the authority of Scripture. They offer the fact that there are so many and varied interpretations as proof that the Bible does not speak clearly and is therefore not reliable as a guide to life or standard to follow!

Rather than "proving" that the Bible is not clear, it exposes the flaws of those who interpret it!

Understanding the Bible has more to do with the heart of the interpreter than with his or her intelligence! Often the simplest among us correctly interpret the Bible while the gifted and highly intelligent misinterpret it!

At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes."
Matthew 11:25 (emphasis added)

Pay close attention to what Jesus is saying! "You - the Father have hidden..." It is God Himself who has hidden truths from the "wise and prudent" and it is God who reveals truths to babes! Those with great intelligence often arrogantly assume that if something were true, they would be able to understand it. Yet Jesus reveals that the revelation of God and understanding of the things of God comes only through Him!

Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight!
Matthew 11:26

The Bible is clear - but we may not be able to understand it!

God wants to speak to us! He wants to make His will known to us! But many things can block our understanding of His Words to us!

Rebellion - Often we don't really want to understand the Bible because we do not really want to obey what it says. Claiming it is vague or open to many interpretations is often used as an excuse to avoid its clear meaning.

Worldview - If we approach the Bible with a predetermined mindset, we will not be open to interpretations which disrupt or undermine that mindset!

Lifestyle - Our lifestyles can also be idols which keep us from correctly interpreting an applying God's Word!

Culture - It is often far easier to flow with culture than to follow the clear teachings of the Bible!

Human Love - If we accept what the Bible clearly teaches, it may cause a rift between those family members, loved ones or friends who reject God and His Word. Choosing the love of man over God's Word is a definite roadblock!

Tradition - Those who are brought up in a certain tradition often find it hard to look at Scripture objectively!

Comfort - Correct interpretation of the Bible challenges our comfort zones. We may "back off" of true interpretation in order to continue in what makes us comfortable!

Ignorance - Honestly not knowing the Scriptures makes the unclear to us. We all ave to start somewhere so that is fine - for a while. Eventually, we must choose whether we want to remain ignorant or take the time to become enlightened!

Lack of Study - Really delving into Scripture can be plain old-fashioned hard work! Many want to avoid the effort and choose to read Christian books or devotionals instead of studying and meditating on God's Word! Extra-biblical materials can be useful tools but cannot take the place of the pure Word of God!

These can also be dangerous because, if we are not personally familiar with the Bible, we can be led astray by the imaginations of man!

Make no mistake about it - the Bible does speak clearly! an may falter but if God intended us to obey what the Bible says, we must be able to understand it!

It starts with an attitude of laying everything on the altar before God - having a willingness for God to burn up all that may be blocking our understanding of His Word.

Then we must intentionally study and meditate on God's Word personally. Sermons, books, devotionals may be a great adjunct but should not be the main source of hearing from God!

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
Matthew 24:35



Thursday, July 23, 2015


10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”
12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work."
Revelation 22:10-12 (emphasis added)

I am not one to predict the date of Jesus' return. But one thing is for sure - this dreadful day will come upon us! Why should I describe it as "dreadful?"

It will certainly not be dreadful for those who belong to Jesus. God has promised them eternal life - a huge upgrade from the present world! But verse 11 spells out why it will be dreadful for those who are not His at His coming:

He who is unjust, let him be unjust still...

When this day comes, the contest we call life will be over. In the western world, court cases can drag on for years. But in that day, there will be no more redo's, instant replays, discussions, talking points, new evidence or appeals. One holy and perfect judge will make the final decision for each one of us - for all eternity!

These words or Revelation 22:11 are perhaps some of the saddest in the Bible. They indicate a moment in time when God calls the courtroom to order to judge the world. There is no more time left for changes of heart or promises to do better. The doors are closed and the judgment begins!

God is telling us that the day will surely come - and that whatever state we are in, we should just continue in that state. If we are unjust in that day, it is too late to repent. We made our choices, the door is shut and the time to present new evidence has expired!

36 “ But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 
38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."
Matthew 24:36-39 (emphasis added)

The good news is that at the moment of this writing, this is still a future event! 

While it is true that this day will certainly come when time as we know it will end, God has graciously allowed us a glimpse of the future. In the famous story, "A Christmas Carol," Ebenezer Scrooge is shown his dark future. After seeing what would become of him, he responds by repenting. His life changes and so does his future!

God repeatedly warns us in Scripture that this future day of judgment will come!

Some will respond as they did in the days of Noah, by continuing as they are - eating, drinking and marrying - oblivious to the fact that God's judgment would carry them away!

Others will repent now, and alter the course of their lives forever, escaping the judgment of God!

The even better news is that Jesus paid for our sins - ALL OUR SINS!

God will count Jesus suffering and death on our behalf! We simply need to accept His free gift and allow Him to change us! The big question, of course, is not what one or the other will do with this glimpse into the future.The important question is...

 "What will you or I do?"



Friday, July 17, 2015


39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”
40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”
41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains."
John 9:39-41 (emphasis added)

This is one of the great truths of the Bible! Those who "say they see" disqualify themselves from the true enlightenment that comes only through Jesus Christ!

The predispositions, biases and worldviews we have all accumulated from birth are like huge curtains, or veils which keep the light of Christ from coming through!

3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (emphasis added)

God Fills Empty Hearts! If we are to come to Jesus, we must empty ourselves! After that, if we are to grow in Jesus, we must empty ourselves again - admitting that we are blind and need Him to open our eyes! Then, and only then, can our hearts be open to receive His heavenly light!

God is always willing to fill us! But if we are already full of something else, we have left no room in our hearts for Him!

The Lukewarm Church Jesus rebuked the lukewarm church of Laodicea in the book of Revelation!

17 Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
Revelation 3:17-18 (emphasis added)

This is a graphic example of the great discrepancy between how we often see ourselves and how God sees us!

The Laodicean church viewed themselves as rich, wealthy and needing nothing. Jesus exposed them as wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked! What a stark contrast between their own opinion and the judgment of God!

If we want to see, we must admit our blindness.  If we want to be filled, we must empty ourselves! We must come to Jesus to buy the gold that matters and the clothes that will cover our nakedness. Only Jesus can anoint our eyes with eye salve so that we may see!

The Only Path to God! Do we pray that God would reveal Himself, open our eyes and fill us? Then we must be also be willing to pray that God would shake everything we believe to the core! We must lay ALL of our preconceived notions, competing loves, political views and comfort zones on the altar - allowing Him to upend, correct, remove and obliterate anything and everything that is not pleasing to Him - however dear it may be to our hearts!

Admitting our blindness, emptying ourselves and laying all on the altar are the only means to finding God!

We do not need to fear! God is gentle and good and only wants the very best for us!
When we do let go and give everything to God, we will not be disappointed! The results are glorious! The same God who spoke light into existence will shine in our hearts!

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6



Friday, July 10, 2015


Satan has many strategies and many weapons in his arsenal!

We are all well aware of the obvious, straightforward, direct ones such as hatred, racism, violence and adultery - but it is the more insidious, subtle weapons which affect the world for the worse and ultimately undermine the cause of Christ!

False Guilt
One of the enemies most subtle weapons is false guilt! We should feel guilty and be convicted for our sins - but Satan's name literally means, "the accuser" and he wants us to feel condemned all the time! The Holy Spirit convicts - the devil condemns! Unless we are striving to grow in Christ, we will not be able to discern the difference!

How many of us would be able to identify a genuine Van Gogh from an excellent forgery? The obvious fakes would be easy to spot. If one of his paintings is purchased on a shiny poster at Walmart  for $9.95 - I'm guessing is probably not the original!

But what about master forgeries which are so difficult to differentiate from the real thing that they are sometimes sent out to be tested by labs to be authenticated? I know I could never tell the difference - but an expert can!

We must strive to know God, His Word and His voice so well that we can easily spot the difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the lying accusations of our enemy - the devil!

False guilt can result in sleepless nights, lack of peace and many bad decisions! Perhaps one of its consequences that most negatively impacts the world is that it causes Christians to be fearful about sharing Christ boldly and without apology!

Agape Love (God's Love) Requires Boldness!
We are rightfully taught that one of the marks of a true Christian is love. Yet so often, the our understanding of love becomes clouded by false guilt! We have all heard of, or experienced, those who rage against sin with hate, anger, arrogance or even violence! We are right to rest and be repulsed by these false representations of Christianity!

We  want to avoid this kind of attitude but if we are not careful, we can allow the devil to twist our desire to love into believing that to boldly stand for God's Word is offensive and unloving. We must be clear that it is not!

The result is that we shrink back! We are afraid to boldly proclaim our faith because we fear it might be unloving. So we play it safe and water down our message so as not to offend. As Billy Graham said, "We are unwilling to offend anyone except God!"

To be more concerned about a person;s welfare than whether we are loved in return is true love. Parents discipline their children at the risk that their children may hate them. Selfish parents spoil their children. The result is that those children grow up to be self-centered aand usually, unhappy adults!

Some spoiled children may be relatively successful in this world. But there is much mire are stake in proclaiming biblical truth! In fact the eternal destiny of each person hinges on obedience to God;s Word! To refrain from proclaiming those truths from a lost and dying world is not loving. When we applaud in others what God condemns, we are setting them up for an eternity away from God.

People may temporarily feel better when we hide unpleasant truths from them - but how will they feel when they appear before God?

It's time to "Come Out!"
The world is often bold in proclaiming what it stands for - but we Christians are often timid! Well known pastor, author and radio minister, Dr. Tony Evans, recently said, "It's time for Christians to come out" [of the closet]! The unbelieving world is "coming out" - unashamed of behaviors which offend God. Any kind of ungodly belief is proclaimed boldly in movies, TV, songs, internet and literally paraded in public for all to see! Many who claim to represent freedom and tolerance are on a mission to shut down all opposition!

Christians are to boldly proclaim the message of the gospel - accurately, fully and in its entirety! The world ready accepts a church that worships God privately and shies away from politics and public view. As long as we stay hidden in our monasteries, as long as we do not define or expose anything as sin, we are not a threat to Satan or his kingdom!

Yet unbelievers in the western world are bold to declare Christianity as archaic - but fine for the ignorant and naive! The world is fine with us - as long as we remain "in the closet!" They have no problem shutting down the voice of any Christians who accurately declare the truths of the Bible!

As Christians and ambassadors for Christ, we must never feel guilty for proclaiming the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth of God's Word!

Paul exhorted Timothy to be bold:

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord...
2 Timothy 1:7-8a



Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Churches today often make plans to bring people to Christ based on what people "want."

Church leaders say things like, "No one wants to come to that kind of church anymore." or "Who would want to serve that kind of Jesus?" They view reaching the lost as something akin to an advertising campaign. "Give the people what they want, keep things exciting and show them our smiling faces." is their mantra!

Yet true Christianity is often the exact opposite of what we naturally "want!"

The clear message of the Bible is that man is fallen! Therefore man cannot receive, know or grasp the things of God - apart from salvation. Man does not naturally or intuitively "want" the right things. On the contrary the things of God make Him uncomfortable and seem wrong to him until he is enlightened by the Holy Spirit! (See 1 Corinthians 2:14)

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “ If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 16:24-25

Jesus is counter-culture, counter man's inclination and most important - counter-self! We cannot find Him on our terms. We are fallen and He is holy! Nor can we remain loyal to our culture and find God at the same time!

This is also true for believers. Our perceptions of God are skewed by our fallen culture. We must walk among our culture but we are not to be conformed to our culture! We are to be salt and light to our culture. If we lose our flavor, we will be trampled by our culture. If we hide our light under a bushel, we cannot bring true light to a dark world!

Every Christian must honestly evaluate himself or herself - as to how much we are influencing culture toward God - versus allowing culture to guide us. Are we trying to reach them on their terms or present God on His terms as His ambassadors?

God is transcendent to ALL man-made cultures. Man is sinful by nature and therefore separated from the Holy, perfect God who created the universe! The world desperately needs to make contact with, and be in right relationship with, this transcendent, holy God! If all the church can provide is the same things found in the world - with a Christian "theme" or "flavor" - we cannot meet the deepest need of mankind- a personal reconciliation with The Living God through salvation!

Modern Christianity downplays the need for salvation and reconciliation - and the eternal consequences of dying without Christ! Today Jesus is presented as someone who will make your life better. It will be beneficial to "add" Jesus to our lives - but death to self is optional!

Jesus states clearly that we MUST deny our "self!" It is not an option. We must be baptized into Jesus death if we are to receive His life! (See Romans 6:1-14)

If Jesus teaches that this death to self it is essential to our salvation, what will be the result of lessening its importance? The answer is clear - not only are we dismissing and contradicting Jesus words - we are also giving false assurances to the world that they we can find God or be right with God apart from death to self!

Let's face it - if we teach another gospel - one in which salvation does not require death to self - our churches can be full! After all, who would choose to die to what we want - if we can get the same results without surrendering our own ways!

This may make for a more pleasant church experience now - but what about eternity? There will come a day when we will all stand before God and He will judge us for all eternity!

We don't seem to realize that in that day, no opinion of man will come into play! We may celebrate and congratulate each other now - as we are - without death to self. But in that day - only those who have died to self and received new life in Christ will inherit His Kingdom!

What we naturally "want" is more often contrary to the thoughts, ways and Word of God!

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

The gate into God's Kingdom is narrow; the path to God is difficult and requires death to our fallen "self" nature! Our fallen nature does not need adjustment, healing or tweaking - it needs to die - before we can truly live!



Monday, July 6, 2015


Most Christians agree that we are to think and act in love toward others.

Many issues arise today which seem to be controversial. When these issues arise, we usually take a side. Many fringe Christians act in hate and in spite. These are the ones most often cited by the media of course! It should be clear that God never called us to mock, bash or harm others!

There is great disparity, however, when it comes to defining love and how we should act when these issues arise. Our best course is to look carefully at Jesus as our example of love! Below are just a few ways that Jesus loved us:  

God loved the world so much that He GAVE us Jesus to die in our place. Jesus said He willingly GAVE His life on our behalf - no one took it from Him by force! Wherever Jesus went, He met the needs of people! He healed them, fed them, set them free and comforted them!

Do we love the world enough to give?

Many churches and organizations give - but stop there. If we send people on their way after meeting only their temporal needs, we are selling them short! Jesus also TAUGHT them eternal truths that would change the world forever! If we feed and clothe people only, we are not meeting their greatest need - to be reconciled to God!

Do we love the world enough to teach them the things of God?

Jesus did not "sugar coat" the truth to make it acceptable to the culture of His time! He taught the hard truths as well as the sweet truths! He was willing to be unpopular and was hated by many for what He taught. The Bible teaches that "faithful are the wounds of a friend." Jesus truly loved the world by telling the truth! Thank God for friends who tell us the truth - not just what we want to hear!

Do we love the world enough to tell them the truth?

Though He was the Son of God, He submitted fully to the authority of God the Father while He walked on earth! He said that He only did what He saw the Father doing and only said what he heard from the Father!

It seems obvious. But as followers of Christ, we can love the world best if we "FOLLOW!" The more we submit to the will of God, the more we seek to find God's ways and what God thinks, and then obey it, the greater benefit we will be to the world!

When we allow our own opinions to cloud God's, it may seem right but it cannot produce the fruit of God's Holy Spirit. We all have many preconceived ideas which must be laid at the feet of Jesus! He designed this universe and knows best how to run it!

Can you imagine the power that could be unleashed in the world if we walked as Jesus walked - complete surrender and obedience to the will of the Father?

Do we love the world enough to submit to God and obey Him?

Ultimately Jesus loved us by suffering and dying for us!

For most of us that will not involve becoming a martyr for Christ. But we can suffer and die while we are still alive - we can die to self! The more we allow God to get ahold of us and change us, the more we can really show Him to the lost dying world! When we allow "self" to rule - however seemingly great that self might be - we push Jesus to the background and hide Him from the world!

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:1 (emphasis added)

Do we love the people in the world enough to suffer and die for them?

If we want to truly love, we will ALL have to ask God to demolish our preconceived ideas of what love is and allow Him to impart His own perfect understanding of what it means to love!