Saturday, May 11, 2019

What about you?

Some objectors to Christianity express concern about the "other people" in the world, whether it is "the man on the mountaintop" or just those who never have the chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus.

"So what is God going to do about them?" they ask. "Is a loving God going to condemn people to Hell who never had the chance to hear the Gospel?"

Quite frankly, I had the same issue when I was younger.

We don't know everything, but we do know that God loves all men and wants them to come to Him.

You know what? Believing in God means that I trust Him. If I don't trust Him, I can't follow Him. Trusting Him means that I believe God will do the right thing. In fact, that's part of His nature, and without that characteristic, we aren't talking about the same god.

Now that I'm older, I do have an answer.

You can ask God when you get there, but He's going to ask you a question first. 

He isn't going to ask you about "the man on the mountaintop." He has that covered.

When you are standing face to face with God, there is only one thing He is concerned with: You.

You heard the gospel. You have knowledge of who Jesus is.

Do you know His Son?

That's the question.

You know that bit about the log in your eye? Take it out so you can see better to help your neighbor with the splinter.

Jesus made that pretty clear in one of his final discussions with Peter.

Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. John 21:22 King James Version (KJV)

It will be down to you and Jesus.

God won't ask you about other people.

He'll ask about you and your heart.

How will that conversation go? 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter

The Apostles were dismayed and brokenhearted, for their Master and friend died on a Roman cross.

They knew the Sanhedrin orchestrated the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. The terrified Jewish leaders eliminated the single biggest threat to their continued leadership of Israel, and they used the Roman occupiers as their weapon.

The High Priest thought he killed Jesus.

You cannot kill God.

The Roman cross did not kill Jesus. Jesus gave his life up. When he declared "It is finished", Jesus meant that the debt for sin was paid.

God gave us the greatest gift we never deserved. God gave us forgiveness.

Someone needed to tell the Apostles that God's ultimate forgiveness was in the cleansing blood flowing down the cross on Good Friday.

So on Easter Sunday, Jesus, the Christ, rose from the dead. The grave could not hold him. Death could not claim him.

Jesus is Everlasting Life, the Savior, our Lord, God made man, the Way, the Truth, the Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Risen from the dead, Jesus proclaimed the good news to his Disciples, and that Good News is still proclaimed today.

The Apostles did share the fate of Jesus, as can everyone who accepts the forgiveness of Christ and makes Him Lord of their life.

Eternal Life is available to all, because of the resurrection of the Son of God.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (KJV)
Do you want assurance of Heaven? Do you want the Peace that only God can give? Please visit Sagemont Church's website for what to do next.

God bless you. Thanks for reading. Happy Easter!


Friday, April 19, 2019

From Jeers to Tears

Jesus died.

The lives of the Apostles changed irrevocably.

Never again would they walk with Jesus, expecting an exalted place in the new kingdom after the restoration of Israel.

I'm sure they shed copious tears, for their Master,  their friend and their hopes.

The followers of Jesus hid from authorities, afraid their fates were inextricably tied to the fate of their Teacher.

They were right.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

From Cheers to Jeers

Easter.

Easter is the most joyous of events in Christendom. Easter should be the greatest event for all mankind, but it doesn't work that way.

We only have to look at the original Bible account to see why the world thinks of bunnies and not resurrection.

On Palm Sunday, according to John 12, the world celebrated the coming of the Messiah to Jerusalem.
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the king of Israel!"
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
Even the Pharisees saw that the world rejoiced at the coming of Jesus.

A week later, these same crowds jeered as Jesus, the Son of God, carried a cross to His own crucifixion.

He chose to do this, because of His love for mankind, the same people who jeered at Him.

But why did they go from cheers to jeers?

Because Jesus did not do their will. He did not expel the Romans from Israel. He did not restore Israel to their previous independence.

Jesus did the will of God, His Father, instead.

We do the same thing. We rejoice when Jesus conforms to our image of God, when He does what we want Him to do.

When life no longer goes our way - when God's will does not conform to what we want - we reject Him.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "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 (NIV)
We don't need to understand God's will, but we need to accept His will for our life. Seek His will. Walk in His ways.

Don't let your cheers become jeers.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Thoughts on Marriage



We are born selfish. God knows this, as do all parents. 

Marriage is not a contract, as society would have you believe. A contract states that one party will do something for the other party, who in turn has certain obligations. A contract is binding as long as both parties do what they said they would do.

A marriage is a covenant. In a covenant relationship each person pledges to do what they are supposed to do.

God entered into a covenant relationship with Abraham, which is fortunate for Abraham and for us.

The covenant God gave certain promises and Abraham answered with promises of his own. Abraham and his descendants (us) break those promises all the time. God, however, remains faithful to His covenant.

Here’s the point. Marriage can NOT be selfish. The Marriage covenant says that you will put the needs of your spouse above your own. That sounds so simple…

… but if you are reading that and have the slightest twinge of “See, I told you so! You are supposed to be meeting my needs!” then you don’t get it.

You meet the needs of the other person. Period. It does not matter if they meet your needs. You are called to uphold your end of the covenant, regardless of their behavior. EVER.

Two selfish people will destroy a marriage. One selfish person will destroy a marriage. If there are children in the marriage the damage ripples outward for generations. There is a type of damnation to that. A destroyed marriage leaves a scar in the hearts of each person that never heals. Children never really recover.

Now you can jump and say “Well, I can finally be myself once we are married. This person will make me happy and life will be good.”

You will fail.

Consider this, and mark it well. It is never someone else’s job to make you happy. NEVER.

Another person cannot make you happy. How can I say that? A nice dinner, sweet words, candy – these things from one spouse to another cause happiness, right? No. You choose to be happy. That dinner while you are dating will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside and make you happy. That same dinner, in a setting where you are dreaming of the sweet words of someone else, the soft eyes and attention from someone else – that same dinner will not cause happiness.

Stop and think about that. When you appreciate whatever the other person is doing (or not doing) then you are in a different mental place than if you dwell on resentment (which is a reflection of selfishness).

We all choose to be happy. Some people have a harder time of that than others. That’s natural. You must train your mind to think the thoughts that promote happiness. These thoughts, I promise you, are not rooted in selfishness, but in giving.

Most people associate the following with money and tithing:

Luke 6:38 (KJV) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

I will testify that it is true in tithing, though what is given unto us is not always monetary. However, this is a principal that applies in all Life, especially in marriage.

You are commanded to “Give.” It isn’t a request.

Giving does come with a promise and God always keeps His promises.

Do what you are supposed to do in a covenant. Put your spouse first in all that you do. Do not quit doing that even if they are not doing what they are supposed to do. Take that to the Lord, trust Him to resolve it.

Learn the Love Language that you each speak and speak it back to each other.  You can love someone with all you have, but if you are not speaking the same language then you will both be frustrated.

A final word.

You will be disappointed.

At some point in your lives together you will be angry (and selfish) and decide it is not worth it.

There are other people who would be willing to love you more, love you better. What you have is not as good as what you can get.

Satan has one trick, and that’s it. But he is good at it and knows exactly how to apply it to each person so it has maximum effect. It is a lie from the Father of Lies.

When this happens you can start to bemoan how poorly you are treated, looking at what you do not have. You can go to your friends, who will tell you how right you are, and how much better you would be if…

Hear this.

You will always not have what you do not have.

Dwelling on what is lacking in your life is a guarantee of dissatisfaction and a reflection of inner selfishness. Get over it. Dwell on the things that are true, that are honest, that are just, that are pure, that are lovely, that are of good report. Dwell on the things that bring you happiness.

This doesn’t mean to just let your spouse treat you poorly. There is never an excuse for bad behavior between loved ones. Bad behavior happens. Bad behavior can be forgiven. But bad behavior is not justifiable. We are also called to hold each other to a higher standard in our walk with God. Who better than our own spouse to gently and with humility show us where we fail God? And, God as our witness, we had best listen.

To God first, in all that we do, and may this bring Glory to Him in some small measure.