God Promised

October 7th, 2010 |

The other night I was reading in Joshua and something caught my eye. It caught my eye so much so that today, several days later, I am still thinking about it. I have reread it several times over the days.

What passage?

Joshua 21:43-45

43 And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. 

44 And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand.

45 There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

There is something beautiful about this passage.

Think about how long the Children of Israel were roaming through the desert. God had mad a promise to them, but they wouldn’t accept that promise. They were unwilling to take the gift God wanted to give them. That is another lesson in itself.

But then God comes through.

God gave them all the land He promised to their parents.

God gave them peace and safety as He promised. Israel’s enemies fell before her as God promised. Every single thing God promised came to pass. He left nothing undone.

All came to pass.

You might be asking, “So what? God kept His promise.”

He did. But more than that, He kept all of them. Sometimes, as Christians, we look for God’s promises and when we get a blessing, we stop looking and expecting. We think, “OK, I got something, I should be content.” But if God promised, you can take it to the bank. If God promised, you should expect it. If you aren’t expecting God to deliver, He might do the opposite, just as He did to Israel. He might put you in a spiritual valley until you are ready to accept He wants you on the mountain.

Because they were not willing to possess the promise God gave them, millions died without. Because Joshua was willing to accept God’s word, he received the promise.

The point is this: It doesn’t matter how big or how small the promise, God will keep it. Our confidence in Him, our faith in His word guarantees that all will come to pass.

Popularity: 44% [?]

Hold Strong

July 28th, 2010 |

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. Unfortunately, he is very good at what he does. Just as thieves can steal cars that have alarms or break into banks and other protected places, the Thief can also sneak in and rob us while we are unaware–even if we are praying.

People ask, “If there is a God, why do bad things happen to good people?” Sometimes non-believers ask, “If there is a God, why have your prayers not been answered?”

The answer is above. The Thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. Yes, we may be praying, believing, and going to church, but those defense systems only defend our souls 100% of the time. Our worldly gains, be they money, children, or our health are protected, but not as well. The Thief  may still slip in and nab an item here and there.

If the Thief has taken something from you, I encourage you to hold strong. Hang on! Because Jesus didn’t end with simply telling us about the Thief. He said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Jesus came that we can have life and have it more abundantly than we could without Him. Hold on to the promises of God. Yes, the Thief may have taken something or someone from you, but Jesus has come and has promised you a wonderful life.

Don’t chase the Thief trying to get that thing back. If you do, you only leave your other treasures unguarded so more thieves can slip in and plunder them. State your case to Jesus. Let Him chase down the Thief and restore you.

John 10:10

Popularity: 39% [?]

Which God do you serve?

July 22nd, 2010 |

Life is tough. We face challenges daily. The greatest challenge each of us faces every day is which god will we serve? Will we serve the God of heaven and earth; the God who formed us and knew us in our mother’s womb? Or will we serve someone or something else?

In Matt 6:24, Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Because mammon means “money,” some people claim Jesus was speaking against wealth. That is inaccurate at best and deceitful at worst.

Jesus was not talking about “money” but about “the world.” We can discern this by verse 25. In context, we see that we cannot serve heaven and earth at the same time. Jesus Christ is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, but Satan is the Prince of the earth. So, we cannot serve Jesus and Satan simultaneously.

But what does it mean to “serve” the world?

You do not need to bow down and say, “Hail Satan” to serve the devil. Every time you place some “worldly” thing above Jesus Christ, you elevate the Prince of the earth and deny Jesus Christ His rightful place of glory. For an extreme example, the person who chooses to go get drunk instead of going to church silently says, “Alcohol is more important that God.”

But often times, our decisions to serve Satan are much more subtle. Even many of us who can be found in church and reading our Bibles may be duped into serving Satan at times. Consider the “Christian” salesperson who conveniently omits a couple of truths or exaggerates a bit to make the sale. Whom is he serving? Only himself. God is not glorified by his actions. Consider the “Christian” who is caught speeding. Is lying to get out of a ticket any better than lying about something else? Is God glorified by lies? In both of these instances, the person is only serving his or her own personal interests. They are serving the things which they can see and feel instead of God. While He is watching, because they cannot see Him, they do not serve Him–like those demanding a golden calf to worship while moses was on the mountain.

As you face tough situations and decisions, I encourage you to ask yourself, “Which decision will glorify God? Which course of action will elevate God above everything else?” Sometimes your path will be the more difficult or costly one, but it will definitely be the right one.

Popularity: 35% [?]

Psalm 119:33-40

February 15th, 2010 |

Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.

Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.

Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.

Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.

Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.

Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.

Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.

How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life in your righteousness.

This is an awesome prayer. It reminds me of the words of Jesus, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all these things will be added unto you.”

Popularity: 6% [?]

One Path to Heaven

December 14th, 2009 |

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12)

It is no surprise that non-Christians will disagree with this verse from the Bible. What always surprises me are the “Christians” that deny this truth. Those Christians that say, “there are many roads to God” or “All religions lead to heaven.” Really?

Logic dictates that all roads cannot lead to God just as all roads in the world cannot lead to Disney Land. Some roads are dead ends. Some are too short. And some head in the wrong direction.

Let us look at a couple of other religions. Does the path of a Satanist lead to heaven? How can one who faithfully worships Satan be rewarded by going to heaven to sit with Jehovah God while that person’s master burns in the lake of fire? What of the path of the Mormons who believe the best Mormons will become gods and have universes over which they rule? Mormonism is not a path to God, but a supposed pathway to godhood–which is the same temptation the devil offered Eve in the Garden of Eden.

There is only one path to God and heaven, Jesus Christ. His is the only name and only gospel that will grant us entrance into heaven. It is He who will sit upon the throne judging us, not according to our works, but according to our faith. If we do not have that lamb’s blood applied to our lives, we will find ourselves locked out of heaven. If we place our trust and hope in Him, neither death nor life nor height nor depth will keep us from the love of God. On the obverse of that coin is the truth that faith applied anywhere else is misapplied and will separate us from God.

Popularity: 17% [?]

Bless them that curse you

November 10th, 2009 |

One of the things Jesus told us was

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt 5:44)

It isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Often times, our flesh gets in the way. We feel someone wronged us, perhaps they actually did, and we want God to punish that person, not bless them. After all, why should we want to see good things happen to someone who just harmed us?

I would like to give you a real world example I am wrestling with. I lost my job over a year ago. I didn’t get unemployment. I blew through my entire savings. I am struggling to make ends meet. A couple of days ago, I stepped out on my back porch and realized someone stole my pressure washer. It was a Huskie 1550 PSI electric washer I bought just before losing my job. I only got to use it 2 or 3 times.

As a side note: earlier this year, someone came into my back yard and stole a rose bush. Yes, they acually took the time to dig up a small bush I bought for $5 or $10 at Wal-mart. So, this theft made me feel doubly betrayed in my small town of Decatur, Alabama.

When I realized someone stole my pressure washer, I sat down. I admit I felt hurt, violated. I wanted to cry. No, I wanted to curse. But I prayed, “God, please get me to the place where I can forgive this person and ask that you bless them.” Then the thought came to me. As we forgive, so are we forgiven. I admit it, I didn’t feel it right then, but I continued my prayer and asked God, “Please, LORD, let me forgive this person. Please bless them.” Over the past couple of days, I have continued to ask for God’s blessing upon this person. It is my sincere hope that God will bless this person with a job or money so they do not have to go around stealing from people who are also facing hard times. I hope God will forgive the person. Hell is a horrible place and going there because you didn’t want to work to buy a  pressure washer that was only $100-$150 would be a shame. So, I pray God forgives him. And I pray God blesses this person with a conscience. And that God will bless the person with salvation.

Praying this way not only helps me to forgive the person–so I feel better–but it also blesses others I do not know.

If God should bless this person as I have asked, it means other people will not have things stolen from them. So, they are blessed. It may also save the thief’s life. Recently, a teen was shot and killed when he broke into a man’s house. As this thief goes around stealing, he might try to steal from the wrong person and get shot. This blessing would not only keep the homeowner’s conscience clear from having killed someone over something small, but it would also save the thief’s family the grief and expense of burying a loved one. Perhaps this person will even father a great man of God if he lives long enough. I don’t know.

I do know that when we pray for those who despitefully use us, when we bless those that curse us, we are also asking God’s blessing upon many others we do not know. We may never see God’s blessings in these lives, but we can rest assured they are there.

If you’ve been wronged, if someone has injured you, I encourage you to pray for that person. Don’t pray that God will punish or hurt them. Pray that God will bless them. You’ll feel better and you’ll be helping more people than you know.

Popularity: 4% [?]

Christian Intolerance

July 23rd, 2009 |

We often hear about how intolerant Christians are–about how Christians hate homosexuals and non-Christians, but is it true? Does repeating something enough times make it so?

If five billion people claimed 2+2=5 would they be right or would the one billion claiming it is four be correct? Hopefully, we can agree the latter group would still be correct, despite the overwhelming majority’s concurrence.

While I confess there are a handful of people who claim the name of Christ, but do not share His compassion, the majority of Christians are extremely tolerant.

Calling something like homosexuality a sin is no more an example of intolerance than calling a Ford a car is. Since homosexuality is such a heated topic though, let us look at it through a different prism. Is it intolerance when a Christian says raping and murdering a child is a sin?

The truth of the matter is we are called to love sinners while being intolerant of sins. But we cannot live others’ lives for them. So, we must be intolerant of sin within our own lives. It is like when Jesus asked, “Why do you complain about the splinter in his eye when you have a whole plank in your own?” (Yes, I’m paraphrasing Him.)

Telling someone something is a sin, however, is not a matter of splinters and planks. Nor is it judging another. It is a simple statement of fact. As an analogy, let us consider someone says, “I have a great idea. Let’s go to the theater and shout, ‘Fire.’” If you tell them, “That’s illegal,” are you also arresting and convicting them? Of course not. You simply told them something was against the law. That doesn’t mean you think you’re better because you only violate other laws. Nor does it imply you are perfect.

If you love your brothers and sisters even as Christ loved you, you will tell them what is sinful.

Popularity: 6% [?]