TO KNOW CHRIST AND TO MAKE HIM KNOWN

TO KNOW CHRIST AND TO MAKE HIM KNOWN

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fools in Paradise


The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. Psalm 53:1 (ESV)

There is a problem with a society that abandons the Bible in that they also abandon God. Without God and His Word, there are no absolutes, and instead of dealing with right and wrong we are dealing with good and bad, and we must determine good and bad by compare and contrast.

In a "relative" world, nobody can be held accountable. Actions are justified by the masses, and leaders concentrate more on convincing the people of their agenda than being right and wrong.

In a relative world, the appearance of good is better than being right, and one is only wrong if he or she gets caught, and cannot "wiggle" out of the accusations.

In a relative world, belief replaces truth, feelings trump thought, and comfort is valued more than work. Since there is no possibility of being judged by anyone who matters, lifestyles become something we justify rather than live, and all who disagree with me are thought to be not only wrong but evil.

Hitler did not try to obey God, and he tried to persuade people. He did whatever he needed to do to gain power, and once in control, he used his authority to punish those who opposed him. 

There were those he persuaded and those he could not influence or intimidate into submission he eliminated. 

The government of the United States of America was founded on principles from God's Word. Our forefathers knew the value of absolutes and thereby could declare that all men are created equal.  Laws could be formed that had the backing of the "absolutes" found in the Scriptures, and government officials were servants entrusted with a sacred trust, not royalty who looked after their interests. 

A nation that has abandoned God's Word and God will eventually debate about issues that are explicitly taught in God's Word as if God was not clear in His communication, and thereby dismiss God from its decision-making process.

In the end, we do what Satan did, and what Hitler did, and have made all things about us. We make it so that others must answer to us for their actions, and because the belief is that there is no God, we become god or judge in all cases. 

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul tells Timothy how to teach. He says to reprove, rebuke, and exhort his pupils. To be able to reprove, rebuke, and exhort, one needs to have and know absolutes and how to apply them to life.  

Without absolutes, teaching is impossible, and teachers’ value is diminished. Schools become holding tanks rather than institutions of learning, and the educated become those who have put in the time, rather than those who have learned. 

The apostle Paul told Timothy to be patient, and he warned him to be patient and that the time would come when people would abandon truth and find leaders who told them what they wanted to hear and the people would follow them. 

Well, that time has come, and apart from going back to the Scriptures and knowing and acknowledging God and the way things were meant to be, we have no hope. 



Thursday, September 13, 2018

Owners or Managers

God said to Moses, “I Am who I Am,” not “I have” or “I do.”  (Ex. 3:14). In John 8:58, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” Once again, He did not say “I have” or “I will be” or “I do.”

God cannot be defined by something that can be gained and/or lost. 

Richard Wurmbrand reminded us that “Jesus spoke Aramaic, a dialect of the Hebrew language. Neither in Aramaic nor in Hebrew does the word “to have” exist. So Jesus never pronounced this word. Jesus never said about anything that He “had” it. Therefore He could retain perfect joy when He was undressed to be scourged, since He had never said about His clothes, “I have them.” He had never said, “I have a body.” The body that was tortured was not His. He owned nothing.” 

In essence, you cannot be separated from something you do not have. Those who own much think they control much, and they have the possibility that some day they will lose much. Those who own nothing can lose nothing, and the only way they hold onto anything is with an open hand. 

The real blessing in life is not having something, but being someone. Therefore, the real blessings in life are available to all. 

In the early church, this idea of being over-doing or having was clear.  In Acts 4:32  it says this:“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.”

If we own nothing, all we have belongs to our Master, and we are bond slaves of the same Master, and then we act as servants, and not as owners.  

Those who have much will one day lose much, and those who have nothing will lose nothing. Those who have nothing can be content and thankful in life, for they realize that everything “they have” they manage, rather than own, and their accountability will be in how they manage.

The idea of us giving anything to God seems rather hollow in that He is in need of nothing. The idea of managing what He has given us makes sense in that He makes what we have clearly demonstrate who He is and what He is about. 

Those who own nothing but manage everything have no reason to be prideful, arrogant, or upset when circumstances change, and if we are, it demonstrates that we have yet to understand that we are not defined by our possessions, but by our Master. 



Sunday, August 26, 2018

Hope

According to an article written by Donna Russell (8/20/2018), the Bible was replaced with a Book of Faith” at an Air Force Base after atheist opposition. 

As reported by Donna, A Bible used to sit at a Missing Man Table at an Air Force base in Wyoming. It's been replaced by a book of faith after complaints from an atheist group calling for its removal. The Bible was put there by the National League of POW/MIA Families, according to Life Site News. The League says the table is there to recognize those who might be prisoners of war or who are missing in action.  The group also told Life Site News that each element at the table serves a "symbolic purpose," noting that the Bible, in particular, is representative of how many soldiers gained strength through their faith. They say it also represented the nation's history "as one nation under God."

A book of generic” faith is meaningless. The only power or hope in faith lies in the object of the faith. Atheists have no hope, no power,and a bleak future at best.

Richard Wurmbrand, who suffered in prison for many years and was constantly indoctrinated by atheist Nazis and Communists, said thisAnd when an atheist dies, the funeral speech assures his brokenhearted family that the dead are dead forever, that there is no comfort for the bereaved, that those separated now will never more be reunited, that there is no God and no such thing as eternal life.

When each person does what is right in their own eyes, there is confusion, anger, and a jockeying for position that wears one out, gives no hope, and lives by the rule that might makes right. 

Why would anyone who would think logically allow an atheist to set the rules for how to recognize those who are missing in action and what they gained strength from when all obvious physical hope was lost?

People have the right to believe what they wish, but all people must realize that believing in something, no matter how sincere, does not make something true. The object of our faith matters, and if we are the object of that faith, we have little to nothing to go on. 

Jesus came to this earth, lived, died, and rose again. He never died again, and He proved that those who intended to do harm did not have the last word. It is in Him we have both the proof of Gods love and the hope of what can come to those who have placed their trust in Him. 

If I am in prison and you want to place something somewhere to know what I am doing to remain hopeful, please place a Bible somewhere, and pray to the one and only God of the universe, for He alone is worthy of our faith. My hope has a name. His name is Jesus, and without Him, there has been no hope, is no hope, and will never be hope. 




For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!Romans 10:10-15 (ESV)

Monday, August 13, 2018

Lessons from the Hummingbird


I enjoy having a hummingbird feeder outside a window that allows me to watch these fascinating creatures feed during the summer months. Towards the end of summer, they seem to feed more vigorously, causing me to refill the feeder often. 

As mid-August comes, it seems as if the birds start to fight more than they eat. There is plenty of food for all of them, and when it runs low, I refill the supply. As long as I am here, they will not run out of food in this spot. Add to that the fact that the feeder has multiple feeding stations and you would think that these beautiful birds could easily share, and that there would be harmony in the skies surrounding my home.

Yet, they seem to be thinking that this is the last meal they will have, and that there is only one feeding station. The fights can get brutal as they begin to resemble fighter planes more than cute little birds. 

I am amused by their acrobatics, and wonder if God observes us in the same way that I am observing these birds. 

God, too, has supplied all that I would need, and has given mankind many “feeding stations”from which to drawAs long as He is around, and He will be around for eternity, those who depend on Him will be adequately supplied. 

Yet, we seem to be thinking that we, too, have limited supply, and that there is no possible way for us to enjoy what we have if others are moving into our territory.  We watch others so closely that we cannot enjoy the provision we have, and we guard our territory as if the supply is soon to be exhausted. 

God loves us and is perfectly capable of caring for us and every other person He has ever created. Those who know Him, trust Him, and are thrilled when others join them at the “feeder” that He has provided, filled, and sustains. 

According to the local bird watchers, and without any real scientific observation or reasoning,when the Labor Day holiday comes, one should stop feeding the hummingbirds so that they will start to head south for the winter. The theory continues that if I keep an adequate supply during that time of year, I might encourage them to stay too long, and see that my provision for them has caused them harm, when it was meant for good. The intent of the free food is to help them, not to harm them. (I realize that migrating birds seem to know when to go, so the local bird watchers may be wrong in their understanding of migrating animalsbut, since this is a thought and not a scientific paper, we will go with it.)

As the natural food supply runs out, I let the artificial food supply run out as well.  It is difficult for me to watch the hummingbirds come to the feeder and find nothing. I can almost hear them moan and blame me, and even accuse me of not caring. I realize that these birds would eventually migrate, however, the thought of one crazy thinking bird that decides to hang out because the supply is plentiful and easy is enough to say “enough.”

God knows what we need and when we need it, and He is capable and willing to provide all that we need. He also knows what is needed during each season of life, and He will give abundantly and cease to give according to what is best for us. (No scientific reasoning is needed on this thought.)

God is older than us, smarter than us, and loves us. We can trust Him.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Owners and Managers

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Proverbs 3:9-10 (ESV)
How does one honor God with one’s wealth? We all have wealth, to different degrees. We have resources, and these resources are really ours to manage, not to own. If we think we own things, we act like owners. If we manage things, we act like managers.
Owners have little accountability. Managers have much accountability. Owners make decisions based on what suits them best. Managers make decisions based on how it benefits the owner’s best interest.
When we talk about someone taking ownership, we mean that they act in accordance with ownership, not that they act like the actual owner, for if they did, they would not last long.
All positions of authority on earth are stewardship positions, not ownership positions. Even if you own a business, you really do not own it, God does, and one day you will give an account of how you used His resources, the resources with which you have been entrusted.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Wheat


Look carefully at a stalk of wheat: its height would be something like four and a half feet and the diameter would be a mere sixteenth of an inch. For comparison let us imagine a building 1,250 feet high. (It would be a building of something like 100 stories). And this on a surface of only one square yard. Now, just at the top of the stalk is the heavy fruit. It is moved by winds but does not break. The stalk contains a splendidly conceived mechanical system. It is still a mystery to men how the water ascends to the very top. We need pumps to provide water for the upper floors of our high buildings. We could not make something as marvelous as the stalk. 
( Richard Wurmbrand)






Sunday, July 29, 2018

The more things change.....

Through the years we have witnessed many plans implemented to improve our situations. In my youth, those who attended church were actively involved in what the church was about. We went to church Sunday morning (Sunday School and Church), Sunday night, and Wednesday night for prayer and deep Bible Study. When I was in high school, I went to my high school youth club and was a leader of a club designed for third through fifth-grade boys. 

My weekends were often spent traveling six hours north to the camp with whom our church partnered (where I serve today), and my summers were spent serving young people from back as far as I can remember. Our senior pastor, my dad, would often be the driver, and led us in work, attitude, and Bible Study. I remember that it was normal for youth pastors, leaders, and high school and college-age people to spend the entire summer serving others in this remote location. 

We were busy people.

The problems we faced were not new to our generation, and the solutions we attempted to apply, in retrospect, did little to solve the real problem, and have now entrenched itself as normal in our evangelical experience. 

It seems that after a while, the demise of the family and all social and spiritual ills were attributed to being too busy. The idea of busyness being next to Godliness was and should have been challenged, but we seemed to be focused on issues that had little to do with the actual problems the church was experiencing. 

It is not new or prudent to blame exterior circumstances, people, and programs for our deficiencies. The family was falling apart due to our increased narcissism, not our busyness. 

In fact, what was normal was challenged, and in doing so, a new normal was declared. This new normal was not something that was new at all, and it did not really take full effect until the old normal, and those who embraced it, became evil themselves. 

The old guard became accused of being non-relational workaholics who cared more about doing than being. They were also accused of being dogmatic, legalistic, and out of touch with modern times. 

While there are not sacred methods, only sacred principles, they were accused of making their methods sacred, and for a society where individuality ruled, corporate methods were, well, downright evil. 

Throughout time, we began to switch the focus from God and Bible Study to me and hours of immersion in the culture. The new normal took over, and the old guard was tolerated. The focus, supposedly, was now on the family, self, and relationships, and structure was only valid if it benefited my personal agenda. 

We somehow reduced the church to one service a week with a clever message, about twenty minutes long, that appealed to the masses, and we hired more professional to make sure the music, ambiance, and coffee were just as the masses desired them. We made the chairs more comfortable, the atmosphere more secular, and the times more convenient. 

We lessened the commitment of those who were asked to serve, and in doing so, reduced the effectiveness of their service. We somehow considered it a sacrifice rather than a privilege to teach Sunday School, be a youth leader, or to clean the church bathroom. 
We turned our pastors into specialists, and then hired more of them to do the jobs that the members of the church used to do. 

We changed when the youth clubs met, and moved them to one night, so we would not disturb the family, and even shortened the night and club year to accommodate busy schedules.

With all the changes over the past 25 years, we should be able to look and see that we now have a healthier church. We should see stronger families, people who know more of God’s Word, and who have the habit of walking with Him. We should see more service and more impact in the workplace for our King. 

You would think we would see fewer suicides, depression, anxiety, and stress. Our youth works should be thriving, and, with the amassed wealth of Americans, the church should be sitting on a sound financial foundation. 

Yet, we do not see these things, which means that the changes made had little or nothing to do with the problems we were encountering, and that, once again, we, as people, were duped into blaming something other than ourselves for the problems we experienced. 

I am not sure that being busy is an answer to anything, just as I am sure that focusing on anything other than God is a not a good idea.

In the museum of antiquity in Constantinople, there is the oldest piece of writing known to men. It bears the following inscription: “Alas times are not what they used to be! Children no longer obey their parents, and everybody is writing a book about it.”


The more things change the more they stay the same. Perhaps I need to admit that I am the problem, and then go from there and make myself available to God so that He can work in and through me. Perhaps I need to stop focusing on what is “good” for me and instead focus on the best way to show those around me who God is. Perhaps we need to see the church as a place of corporate service, rather than a service to the corporate.