Thursday, December 31, 2020

End with a bang!

““Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city." - Revelation 22:12-14

The year my son and I began to faithfully follow a professional football team, they lost their season opener with a score of 40-8. We both wondered if this was a team worth following. That same year our team  went to the Super Bowl and steamrolled over their opponent with a score of 49-26, becoming the first team to win a record five Super Bowls. You see the beginning doesn't always determine the final outcome.

As we open our Bibles and begin with the first three chapters of Genesis, we find Adam and Eve prohibited from eating of the tree of life and escorted through the Garden gates. Their sin brought about the fall of all mankind and eternal separation from God. History tells the sad tale of continued rebellion and godless living throughout the ages. Would there be any hope for ever returning to the Garden and the tree of life? The last page of our Bibles gives a resounding YES!  "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city." You see the beginning doesn't always determine the final outcome.

Did this past year start with a cascade of failures? Do you feel that there will be nothing "new" about the New Year? Well, you can end this year successfully by coming to the Lord for a new beginning. Jesus is one beginning that will always determine the final outcome because...  He is the "Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Where the Lord is...

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God... I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp." - Revelation 21:3 & 22-23
"Home is where the heart is". We all know that a house in nothing more than wood, brick and mortar. But, a house becomes a home through the love of family. Church buildings are made of the same materials as houses, only bigger and more ornate. Whether the temple of old or the churches down the block, they are nothing but buildings without the glory of God's presence. Church is where the Lord is.
If there is no house of worship in heaven since the Lord is the temple, what about that building we meet in from Sunday to Sunday? The church building, as the temple, was never meant to be anything other than a place where the people of God gathered to commune with and worship the Lord of Glory. Until we get to heaven, God has blessed places where his people can assemble together to meet with Him. When we become caught up in the beauty of the building and all its trimmings, we end up with nothing more than a building. Church is where the Lord is.
Do you look for the Lord when you attend church on Sundays? Are you listening for his voice to speak to you heart? When you leave church to enter the week ahead, do people notice that you have been with Jesus?  Church is where the Lord is.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Lake of Fire...

"Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." - Revelation 20:14-15
"Say it ain't so Joe... say it ain't so!" There are circumstances in life that are just too horrible to think about. So, what do we do? We will find some way to put them out of our minds, or we'll rework the facts so they don't sound so bad. Better yet, we just deny their reality.
The fact of eternal condemnation is one of those horrible truths that many people want to deny. We are so happy to embrace the promise of eternal life for the believer, but heaven forbid that anyone who rejects Christ suffer the pains of an eternal hell. Setting apart all the arguments of why this makes sense theologically, may we just accept the written Word of God as true? "If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." 
Is your name written in the book of life? It is if you have trusted Jesus Christ alone as your only means of Salvation. Are the names of your family, friends and neighbors in the book? If so, you have reason to rejoice, if not there's a word from Jude 23 for you... "...snatch others from the fire and save them".

Monday, December 28, 2020

Overwhelmed with Joy...

"Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) "  - Revelation 19:6-8
I arrived at church quite early that day. A feeling of excitement and expectation filled my heart. Family and friends came in with pleasant greetings and were seated by well dressed ushers. Time quickly passed and I found myself at the front of the church looking down the aisle at the most radiant and stunning bride I had ever seen. It was my wedding day and I was overwhelmed with joy.
The day is coming when we, the church will be the bride in the greatest wedding of the ages. We will come to that day after millenniums of waiting. Centuries filled with God's people patiently waiting will have come and gone. All the hopes of years gone by will finally be realized. It will be our wedding day and we will be overwhelmed with joy.
Are you weighed down with the pressure and stress of living? Do you wonder if life is just about preparing and never arriving? Does it seem that we have been waiting for Jesus forever? Be assured my friend that the wedding day is on God's calendar and will take place on time. So live and serve in hope and great expectation. Our wedding day is coming... and we will be overwhelmed with joy.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Coming out...

"Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes" - Revelation 18:4-5
What is it that allures us to pursue the pleasures and treasures of the World? We believe that we are mature adults, but we are often drawn into dangerous paths just like a child is tempted by a lollipop in the hands of an abductor. Just when we think it's all good, the tentacles of materialism wrap around us, leading us farther away from God and further into sin. It is for good reason that the Scriptures warn us... "Come out of her, my people..."
John wrote earlier in 1 John 2:15, "Do not love the world or anything in the world." Some believers look upon these words as light and archaic words of counsel. But the day is coming when the "world" and all its wealth will come to an abrupt end, along with those who have used and abused the "bodies and souls of men" (vs. 13) Why would anyone trade the eternal treasures of heaven for the pleasures of sin for season? It is for good reason that the Scriptures warn us... "Come out of her, my people..."
The New Years Eve parties are coming this next week. Where will you be? New enticements will come your way in the months ahead, how will you choose? Will your New Year's resolutions include more time seeking God's kingdom and less time in pursuing worldly trinkets? Recognize the world for what it is and for heaven's sake...  "Come out of her, my people..."

Saturday, December 26, 2020

HIS Story...

"For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled." - Revelation 17:17
Sacred and secular... We live within a world system that has systematically separated God from man. Michelangelo's iconic image of God giving life to Adam on the Sistine Chapel ceiling is by hand touching hand. Our humanistic society is no longer in touch with God and has neatly placed him in a far off box called "sacred".  Did God simply touch Adam and leave the scene? Does God come into our schedules at Christmas, only to receive a fond farewell at New Years? Is God really involved in the whole of history, or just the sacred part?
In the end of days we are told that kings will relinquish their powers to another because God put it into their hearts. The events we read about in the book of Revelation are the final accomplishing of God's purpose in HIS world. In the eyes of God there is no such dichotomy as sacred and secular, because it's all His Story!
As you celebrate Christmas and soon enter a new year, remember that God is at work in both. He has entered time and space to redeem mankind and he raises and lowers kings and nations to achieve his purposes. Trust him as Savior and rest in him as Sovereign. It's all His Story!

Friday, December 25, 2020

Always the same...

“They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: "Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages. Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” - Revelation  15:3-4
There is George Frideric Handel's oratorio "Messiah", composed in 1741 and then there is "The Young Messiah" originally entitled "Messiah XXI", produced and arranged by Frank McNamara in 1999. They present one great message through two different types of music. The underlying basis for the oratorio remained the same over 258 years. Time changes the way we express ourselves musically, but time will never change the One who is "the same yesterday and today and forever". (Hebrews 13:8)
One song was sung; the song of Moses and the Lamb. The truth of God's great and marvelous deeds was proclaimed thousands of years ago and will be thousands of years from now. God never changes, and for that reason all the nations will eventually come and worship before him. Time, with all its changes and all the differences of generations will come together in one song of praise. Does it matter what musical arrangement is chosen? One tune or the other, we will eternally worship and praise the One who is "the same yesterday and today and forever.
Today is Christmas, and celebrations are taking place all over the world in many ways. Let's not become so caught up in our generational and musical differences that we miss out on the glorious worship and praise of the One who is "the same yesterday and today and forever.


Thursday, December 24, 2020

A song in your heart...

"Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth." - Revelation 14:1-3

Christmas is a time of wonderful songs of joy. Just about every Christmas movie comes with Christmas songs. Some communities celebrate Christmas with concerts and special performances of Handel's Messiah. I see people in our Christmas services that come only once a year, but they sing the Christmas hymns with great gusto. In the words of Josiah G. Holland, "There's a song in the air!"
Yet, there's a song that runs deeper than "a song in the air". The Lord has placed a new song in the heart of those who follow him. David wrote in Psalm 40:3..." He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.". When Paul and Silas were found chained in prison they "were praying and singing hymns to God" (Acts 16:25). You see, God gives new songs to all who have been redeemed throughout the ages. For those who love the Lord..."There's a song in the heart!"
Does Christmas bring you songs of joy that have been hidden away since last year? Or, do you have a song in your heart every day of the year? The last words of Holland's song read, "And we greet in his cradle our Savior and King!" When Jesus becomes YOUR Savior and King there's more than a song in the air... "There's a song in your heart"

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

They just don't mix...

"All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world." - Revelation 13:8
Oil and water don't mix. They never have mixed and they never will mix. You can freeze them or you can boil them, but they will never mix. They are both liquids and seem to show similar qualities from a distance, but they are just different. Seals and otters need water to live, but when they swim out into spilled oil, they eventually die.
In the end, when the days of tribulation come upon the earth, the great distinction between believers and unbelievers will be seen. Believers have new hearts that worship God alone, and their names are written in the book of the Lamb. Unbelievers have no heart for God and their names are not written in God's book, so they will gladly worship the anti-Christ. When it comes down to worship and eternal destiny, believers and unbelievers don't mix. They never have mixed and they never will mix.
An old phrase comes to mind on this subject. "Be in the world, but not of the world, be in contact with the world, but not in contract with the world". While we strive with all diligence to lead unbelievers to Jesus, remember the stark difference. At the end of the day, unbelievers will worship anything and anyone before they will worship God. In contrast, we who are believers only worship our Lord. Don't be confused... believers and unbelievers don't mix.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Reason to hope...

 "The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign." - Revelation 11:15-17 

Another fearful date that haunted many people quietly slipped away. Theories had been running rampant that the world as we know it would end on December 21, 2012. The real heartbeat of fear is rooted in man's limited view of God's plan. Many see this world as their only source of hope. If the kingdom of this world should end: what then? The words of the prophet say this world will end, but he also says that another world is coming. A world where evil will be judged and destroyed and God's people, small and great, will be rewarded. There is reason to hope.
The angel told Mary that her child would "reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." (Luke 1:33) This part of the Christmas announcement is so often passed over. This world with all its bells and whistles is going to be replaced with the kingdom of God and Christ shall reign forever. Christmas is a date, which we should never fear. This day is the birthday of a King who will, one day soon, take his great power and begin to reign. This is reason to hope.
Christmas 2012 may not bring all the joy and celebration to you that others experience. It may be a day that you fear because you feel empty and unsure of the year that will follow. You may feel that this world has let you down in many ways. Well, Christmas can be a joyful day if you will fall before the King of Kings, open your heart and invite him into your life. The future kingdom will become a "present" kingdom when He begins to reign in you. This is reason to hope.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Never late...

"Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” - Revelation 10:5-7 
Every year in late November the Christmas countdown begins. The decorations and songs are seen and heard even earlier. Christmas is coming and everyone is gearing up for the big day. We know Christmas is coming, and we know the exact day it will be celebrated. The first Christmas came in the same way, as God knew he was coming and knew the exact day he would arrive... and he wasn't late!

Jesus is coming again, first to judge the world and then to reign on the throne of David. This coming was announced to his prophets in the very same way as it was for his first coming. That day is coming just like the first Christmas came and with it God's long expected work will be accomplished and age old questions will finally be answered.

Are you gearing up for the Second Coming in the same way you prepare for Christmas? Are you excited and filled with great expectation? Are you telling the story of Christ in the clouds as often as you tell the story of Christ in the manger? Do you live as if you had a Second Coming countdown? No one on earth knows the time, but God has the date set on his calendar... and he won't be late!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

No Seal, No Deal...

"They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads." - Revelation 9:4
Over the years we all collect official documents. We have birth certificates, diplomas, marriage certificates, military discharges and some may have property deeds. If you take a careful look at these documents you will see something that makes them official. Yes, you will find a seal that verifies their authenticity for all legal purposes. Therefore, you will protect and preserve them above all other papers because... without the seal, there is no deal.

God set apart a number of people during this time of great judgment that were his alone. They were given a seal to verify their identity and protect them from the horrors of those days. Just as the Lord will protect those who are sealed during the tribulation, he will protect those who are sealed today from the horrors of coming judgment. Consider the great truth that Paul recorded for us in Ephesians 1:13-14, "Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory."

If you place your faith in Jesus Christ alone, as your only means of salvation, you will be born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit of God. As a result, God will protect you and preserve you until you come safely home to him and receive a guaranteed inheritance. But remember, this is promised only to those who are sealed because... without the seal, there is no deal.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Never give up praying...

"Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake." - Revelation 8:3-5
Have you ever stopped praying for something because too much time had passed? How much time is too much time? A godly man of the nineteenth century named George Mueller decided to pray for the salvation of five close friends. Four came to Christ during his life, but after fifty-two years, Mueller died without the last one being converted. Mueller never gave up praying and a few months after he died, the last friend trusted Christ. Never forget that prayer is timeless.
Do you pray for God's Kingdom to come? Jesus taught us to pray for this and yet, after centuries of God's people praying, there is no earthly kingdom. Don't be discouraged, because John saw your prayers and the prayers of the ages offered up before the throne. The sweet incense of prayer is an important part of the coming of God's Kingdom on earth. Never forget that prayer is timeless.
The birth of Christ came after centuries of God's people praying for the coming of their Messiah. Jesus is coming again to bring final justice and eternal righteousness in answer to the prayers of his people. Don't give up praying and looking above for the coming of Christ. Never forget that prayer is timeless.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Remember those in prison...

"When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been." - Revelation 6:9-11
From day to day, the "News Room" of Voice of the Martyrs reports persecution of fellow believers in China, Somalia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Columbia and India. The stories range from churches being closed to pastors being murdered in the presence of their families. According to one source, more than 200 million Christians in over 60 nations face persecution each day and between 150,000 and 165,000 are martyred each year. The question echoes across the years: How long, Sovereign Lord?
Christianity began at the cross with the death of our Savior. From that day on, believers have given their lives for "the word of God and the testimony they had maintained." But the day is coming when persecution will end and white robes will be given to the faithful. As we "wait a little longer", don't give up your faith or compromise the Word of God.
As you consider this passage today, please "Remember those in prison..." (Hebrews 13:3). Pray for your persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. And cherish the freedom you have to worship your Lord, live your faith and share the good news. Honor your Lord and his martyrs... Be bold for Jesus today!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Is there someone?

"And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." - Revelation 5:9-10
Presidential elections come and go, often with high expectations of a new day ahead. New CEOs arrive on the scene with hope for the future. Great leaders continue to rise and fall as time marches onward. Yet, the question still remains; is there someone who has what it takes to open the doors of the future and bring in a whole new world?
A new song was sung in heaven about a great leader who has already started to change the world. He has gathered people from every tribe, language, people and nation to be in his kingdom. He is worthy to lead because he paid the highest price so others would be worthy to serve and lead as well. Who is this leader you ask? He is the Lamb of God that takes away our sins... He is King Jesus.
Why look to men who are unworthy to open the scrolls of the future? Why expect men to change your world for the better? There is only one leader who is worthy of our confidence to give us hope for the future. Jesus said from the very beginning, "Follow Me". So, keep your eyes on Jesus, because he alone will truly "ROCK YOUR WORLD!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Refresher courses...

"And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!" - Revelation 4:8
I took a CPR course a number of years ago. If you're in that kind of trouble today, don't look to me, because I don't remember enough to put in a thimble. As time passed I failed to take refresher courses, so I lost the knowledge and skill. If we expect to be proficient in what we do, we need refresher courses. In the same way, if we expect to be spiritually effective we need refresher courses as well.
John saw the throne room of heaven, where the nature of God was spoken of repeatedly day and night. Have you ever wondered why? I believe it’s because all creation turns on this fact... “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” We must never forget this truth. It should run through our minds like blood through our hearts. It keeps before us the purity, power and presence of our God.
The more we are refreshed in our knowledge of God, the more we will depend on him. The more often we reflect on his nature, the more fully we will worship and honor him. The more that we think about who God is, the more we will be like him. We are only as spiritually moved as we are spiritually minded. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Hold Fast!

"But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel... Only hold fast what you have until I come." -- Revelation 2:20, 25
Some things change at a very slow rate and age is one of them. We would never accept certain conduct when we were younger, but now we just adjust. There was a time that we would go into action in the face of injustice, but now we put up with it rather than fight. We may not agree, but we tolerate.

The church of Thyatira was commended for her "love and faith and service and patient endurance", and that her latter works exceeded the first. It's good to stay the course over time, but what wrongs do we slowly come to accept? We may work hard, but are we as willing to pay the price for righteousness in our later days as when we were young? Have we reached the point of toleration?

Have you suffered from a slow drift my friend? Has the crisp conviction of youth yielded to the soft acceptance of age? Why fight City Hall you say, and then leave the battle to the younger brethren. Remember, Jesus IS coming and he expects us to "hold fast" and not give in to toleration!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Stay the Course...

"But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent...I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first." - Revelation 2:4-5, 19
In the film "The Patriot" an underlying theme contrasts the patriotic passions of a father and son. Age and experience had dampened the father's passion, while youth and idealism fired the son's. At the same time a phrase from the past is mentioned numerous times; "Stay the Course". As the story develops, the father comes to put his guilt, fears and reservations aside for a new vision and renewed patriotic passion. In the end, he was determined to "Stay the Course".
 As Jesus addressed the early churches, he found a similar contrast. One church had, through time and experience lost her first love, while another church, through time and experience lost her first love, while another church, through love and faith did more than she did in the beginning. For the one church, time had taken its toll. For the other church, time had stoked the fire. Jesus commended the second church for staying the course.
Has recent experiences dampened your spiritual passion? Has time eaten away at your vision and drive for the kingdom of God? Are you doing more for the Lord today than when you first began? Remember, and return to your first love and... "Stay the Course"! 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Why wait?

"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen. Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen." - Revelation 1:6-7
My Dad worked hard for a living. He left in the morning at seven and didn't get back home until six. I looked forward to his arrival most days, but not always. When I was on course with school work and life in general, it was a joy to see his face. Then there were those days when I was haunted with my mother's words... "Just wait until your father gets home!" Oh, did I hope he would be late, but I knew that he was coming.

As the clock ticks away the hours and the calendar turns from months to years, we wonder when Jesus will come again. He is definitely coming, and he won't be late. Will it be a time of rejoicing for you or a time of mourning? Those who have been freed from their sins are filled with anticipation, but those who have rejected the Savior are hoping he will be late.

Jesus is coming again, but not yet. His love still calls out to free you from your sins by his blood. You can enter his family today with great joy, anticipating his return. Why wait until it's too late? Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him!!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Hospitality...

"Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God." -- 3 John 5-6
Walmart had a great idea when they hired people to greet shoppers at the main entrance. The majority have a friendly smile and make me feel very welcomed. While there are some greeters who seem to be bored with their job, most are quite sincere. Even though we are strangers, a hospitable spirit goes a long way.
Along those same lines, my wife and I were visiting a church some time ago while on vacation. We were given a happy and pleasant greeting by a friendly usher. While there were very few others that said hello, we will never forget that kind usher that welcomed us upon arrival and gave a very fond farewell as we left. Even though we were strangers, a hospitable spirit went a long way.
How do you treat visitors at your church? Do you go out of your way to greet them with a warm welcome? As you reach out to new faces this Sunday, be sure your love is sincere and your spirit is worthy of the Lord. Remember, even though you are strangers, a hospitable spirit goes a long way.

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Accessory...

"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work." -- 2 John 10-11
In the legal community there is conduct called "Accessory" that is considered criminal. By definition an Accessory is "a person who assists in the commission of a crime, but who does not actually participate in the commission of the crime as a joint principal". Guilt follows the action with criminal charges and legal ramifications. Basically, anyone who is an Accessory shares in the evil work.
When it comes to spiritual matters we often lose our clarity of thought. John saw the need to give instruction on this point, as unwarranted tolerance seemed to run rampant. Time has not remedied the matter, since tolerance is the way to go for many contemporary believers. While social crime is a serious matter, spiritual heresy endangers the eternal future of the soul. John made it clear with the words, "Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work."
Know what you believe my friend, and stand firm in your faith. Take notice of those who have perverted the doctrines of the faith and do not condone or encourage them. You will notice that this teaching comes in the same letter that speaks about loving the brothers. The command to love one another is well established, but do not welcome those who would lead others astray from the truth or you will share in their wicked work as an Accessory.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Who loves you?

"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." -- 1 John 5:3-5
The simplicity of a child's devotion is a wonder. They love their parents with all their heart and trust them implicitly. Because of this relationship they will obey at times when others might question. The process is very basic, but is soon lost as they mature. Adults have great difficulty trusting and obeying. The missing element may just be love.

So it is with our walk with God. Simplicity may be fine for children, but as adults we question and doubt far too much. Some believe that the Lord's commands are "burdensome" while others believe that victory is impossible. While faith is critical, the real issue is the focus of our faith. The one we trust and obey can only be the one we love.

Who loves you my friend? And who do you love with all you obedience and faith? Your relationship with the Lord is far more than just trusting and obeying. It is a confidence in God's love for you and your desire to respond with a life of love. As John already said in chapter four, verse sixteen, "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us."

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Elusive Love?...

"We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." -- 1 John 4:19-21
"What the World Needs Now Is Love", a song written by Hal David with music by Burt Bacharach was released on April 15, 1965. Being quite well received, it reached number 7 on the US charts in May of that year. Yet, within the next seven years 58,193 American soldiers were killed in Vietnam, and both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated in 1968 followed by riots in 60 American cities. Why is love so elusive?

The children of God have the only hope for real and lasting love. How do I know this you may ask? The above passage says it emphatically, "We love because he first loved us." By the very transforming work of the Holy Spirit love for one another becomes a reality. On this basis we are commanded to love our brothers as we love God. For the believer, love should never be elusive.

Anger, bitterness, hatred and bigotry have marked our world throughout history. In truth, "What the World Needs Now Is Love". And you, my friend, may be the only genuine evidence of God's transforming love in your workplace, family or school. Let the world know that love doesn't need to be elusive.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

"Clean House"...

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." -- 1 John 3:2-3
Our home is always orderly and clean. But when guests are coming for dinner, or even if family is coming for a few days, my dear wife works like crazy to spruce up the place. She vacuums, dusts, brings out the best dishes and stocks the kitchen with good food to eat. She hopes that our visitors will enjoy their stay and be pleased that they came.
John reminds us that we are children of God and the best days are ahead. He tells us that a day is coming when the Lord will return and we shall see him face to face. Furthermore, if we have this hope as a driving force in our hearts, we will get ready. We will "clean house" to purify ourselves just as Jesus is pure. We will want the Lord to be pleased when he arrives.
Take time on a regular basis to do an inventory my friend. How does your house look today? If the Lord returned this afternoon, would he find things in good order and a purified life? Maybe today would be a good time to get out the vacuum cleaner and dust cloth and "clean house". I'm sure that you would want the Lord to be pleased when he arrives?

Monday, December 7, 2020

Restored...

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.." - 1 John 1:7-9
Family life isn't always a peaceful experience. When children deliberately disobey their parents their relationship is strained. In most families disobedience doesn't cause Mom and Dad to toss little Johnny out on his ear. They still love him dearly, but his conduct places a wedge where there had been a tight family bond. Without the restoring work of the Lord that wedge may remain long after apologies are made.
In a similar way our Christian walk isn't always a peaceful experience. When we deliberately disobey the Lord in our thoughts, words or actions we disappoint Him. The fact that He loves us never changes, but our fellowship with Him is strained. Thankfully, the simple step of confession and repentance will always dispel any wedge, since we have a Savior whose blood washes away any and every disobedience.
Are you out of fellowship with your Lord my friend? Have there been too many days without prayerful communion and meaningful worship? Have you allowed sin in your life to strain your precious relationship with Jesus?  Remember, you are a child of the King and He loves you with an everlasting love. Don't allow a wedge to get in the way of joyful fellowship. Come back to the Lord, for He is ready to forgive and wash away your disobedience. His restoration will be full and complete.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Fire-Snatchers...

"But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit... snatch others from the fire and save them..." -- Jude 20, 23
When the house goes up in flames and fire-fighters arrive, you hope they are in good shape. If someone is caught in the house and needs to be rescued, you hope the rescue team is skilled and well trained. People's lives depend on those who are always ready to save the day. The best fire-fighter is a prepared fire-fighter.
In the face of eternity there are souls in danger of fire every day. They need someone who is well trained to "snatch' them from the flames. But too many believers have allowed the "good life" to eat up their time and energy. When the alarm rings they aren't ready to help. The best fire-snatcher is a prepared fire-snatcher.
The emphasis of verse 20 is to build oneself in the faith. If you hope to snatch others from the flames, you need to be skilled and trained. Are you spending time every day in the Word of God and in Spirit led prayer? Do you practice these disciplines so that you're always ready? Remember, the best fire-snatcher is a prepared fire-snatcher.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

In His time...

"First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." - 2 Peter 3:3-7 
Some years ago, news headlines revealed that the remains of Noah's Ark have been discovered 13,000 feet up a Turkish mountain -- according to a claim by a group of Chinese and Turkish evangelical explorers. From the first announcement, scoffers came out of the woodwork. The comments range from the flood being nothing more than a myth to the whole discovery concept being a "crock". The world is filled with more man made theories and less belief in God than ever before.
Peter wrote about our days prophetically and spoke of those who would "deliberately forget". He reminded us that God has intervened in his world with past judgment and one day he will do so again. By the Word of the Lord, destruction will come upon scoffers and unbelievers who choose to forget God.
Christian friend, don't be troubled by scoffers and critics that deny the Lord and his marvelous works. Remember that God's timing is not ours, "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." (8)  Just stay focused on your own walk with God in this godless world and consider, "Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming." (11-12) 

Friday, December 4, 2020

Distressed?

"... and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) — if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment." - 2 Peter 2:7-9
The movie "Gone with the Wind" came out in 1939. This film brought an explicative to the silver screen before the ears of the public for the first time and with it came great distress from Christians. Eighty-one years have passed and profanity on the big screen and television has become regular fare. Sadly, Christians aren't so distressed anymore. As the world has drifted farther from moral absolutes, the Christian community has followed... not far behind. Where is our distress?
Lot was a man of mixed allegiance to God. His choice to live "near" Sodom, and eventually "in" Sodom is a story of spiritual slippage at its worst. But, Peter recorded that Lot never lost his righteous sensitivity that was tormented by the lawless deeds that he saw and heard. Lot was never disconnected from the Lord, and before judgment fell, God delivered him. Lot was surrounded by evil, but he persevered as a "righteous soul" and he was distressed.
We live in an age of great evil and unrighteousness. Our country murders children in the womb without any sense of guilt. We see the lifestyles of the first chapter of Romans surrounding us every day. We know that in time, God's judgment will fall and he will deliver his own. But while we wait for his coming, will we slowly accept and tolerate the Godlessness around us or will we remain a "a holy nation, a people belonging to God" (1 Peter 2:9) and be distressed?

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Reminders...

"So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things." - 2 Peter 1:12-15 
I stood with six men that I had known for years and found myself unable to remember the name of one of my friends. My mind went totally blank. The memory is a tricky thing at times and in the best of health we can have a loss that totally frustrates us. Spiritual truth is easily forgotten was well, no matter how long we have known the truth. We all need regular reminders if we are to be firmly established.
There are times when we are tempted to seek the "new" and "unique" at the cost of leaving the old paths behind. Peter knew that the old truth was the life changing truth that is timeless. He also knew that we all need reminders and he was totally focused on the ministry of remembrance. He wanted to leave behind a solid foundation as a lasting legacy.
Why should we revisit Scripture reading year in and year out? Why should we sit under the preaching and teaching of the same Biblical truths on a weekly basis? The fact is, that we all tend to forget and we need to remember spiritual truth if we are to be firmly established. Never hesitate to remind yourself and others of spiritual truths that will change your life for the better.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

For the love of another?

"Do your best to come to me quickly,  for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry." - 2 Timothy 4:9-11
How sad to see marriages deteriorate because the husband or wife has become too caught up in their career. Their love for each other has been replaced by an overwhelming love for the job. The preoccupation can also be something or someone else, but whatever the reason, the relationship is deserted... for the love of another.

Demas was committed to the Lord and Paul as they labored together in the ministry. Then he fell in love with the world and left it all behind. What a sad legacy to be recorded in the Scriptures for all time. It seemed that over the long haul the world wooed Demas from his first love. He deserted Paul and the mission... for the love of another.

Where is your devotion today my friend? Are you as committed to the Lord and his call as you were in the beginning? Does the ministry of the Word still have your wholehearted devotion? Or have you been wooed away by another pursuit and deserted His greater purpose for your life... for the love of another?

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Our spiritual "Leatherman"...

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 2 Timothy 3:14-17 
I remember the first Boy Scout knife I owned. It was more than cool; it had a knife blade, fork, spoon, and can opener. It was all a guy ever needed for the emergencies of life. Today I own a wide selection of knives that include a number of "Leatherman" products. A "Leatherman" is more than cool; it has multiple knife blades, a saw, scissors, multiple screwdrivers, a file and still more than I can list. It is all that a guy will ever need for the emergencies of life.
When Paul rounded out his counsel to young Timothy, he directed him to his spiritual "Leatherman". He reminded Timothy to continue to use it with confidence. He reviewed the many qualities of the tool and explained how useful they are in daily life. When all was said, Timothy was assured that the Bible was all a guy will ever need for the emergencies of life.
Take a moment to look at your spiritual "Leatherman"... isn't it more than cool? Do you have it sharpened in your heart and ready for use? Do you use this spiritual tool that God has blessed you with day by day? The Lord didn't give us His Word to set on the shelf. When he gave us the Bible, he gave us all we will ever need for the emergencies of life.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Passing the baton...

"You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." - 2 Timothy 2:1-2
During the Olympics we find a wide variety of competitive races. Most involve one athlete who will carry the whole race by themselves.  But the "relay" race depends on the involvement of many. At certain points in the race the next athlete picks up the cause until they pass it on to the next team member. The relay race is all about "passing the baton".
When Paul taught, mentored and wrote Timothy he was passing on the great truths of the gospel. He expected Timothy to do the same by entrusting these truths to reliable believers who would also pass them on to others. Gospel truths are not to be hoarded and kept as eternal trophies. They are intended to change our lives and be passed on to a new generation. We are expected to "pass the baton".
Every believer has great gospel truths to pass on to others. The theme of the "Great Commission" is the heartbeat of this passage. We are to "make disciples", who will "make disciples", who will "make disciples". Who are you mentoring today? Do you have someone to whom you are "passing the baton?".

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Refresh someone today!

"May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus." - 2 Timothy 1:16-18 
There are those of whom we can ask help if it's convenient and there are those who will drop everything to help. It's even rarer to find a person who will go out of their comfort zone to search for someone to help. Such a person truly refreshes the soul.
Onesiphorus was just such a person to Paul. He searched hard for Paul until he found him and then helped him in many ways. At a time of great discouragement, this Christian Brother came along side when he was needed the most. His effort far exceeded a kind word and it brought him into the most uncomfortable settings, but as a result, he refreshed Paul's soul.
Are you waiting for the opportunity to help someone to come knocking at your door? Are you available only when it's convenient? Why not be an Onesiphorus today and search for someone who needs help? Why not make the time today and... Refresh someone's soul?

Saturday, November 28, 2020

It's all about giving...

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." - Hebrews 13:15-16
The "Prosperity Gospel" has been popular for quite some time. Our generation has been quite taken with what they can get from God in riches. We come to worship and pray when we want something from God. The thought of bringing sacrifices to Him or giving generously to others is quite foreign to this self-centered theology. But what is it that truly pleases God?
We may be careful to choose a church that teaches the true gospel, but do we worship and serve in the spirit of that gospel? God is most honored in worship when we offer "a sacrifice of praise" and He is most pleased when we "do good and share with others". John put it this way in 1 John 3:16, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." The right response to the gospel is giving, not about getting.
So, what are you planning for this coming Lord's Day? How will you worship the Lord? Will you arrive with your heart focused on Him and lifting up all that you are to praise him? Will you in turn give to others this week and share God's blessings with them as unto the Lord? For "... with such sacrifices God is pleased"  

Friday, November 27, 2020

Reverence and awe...

"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." - Hebrews 12:28-29
In 1970 a group named Ocean recorded the catchy tune "Put Your Hand In The Hand". The lyrics cover Jesus stilling the water and calming the sea encouraging the listener to put their "hand in the hand of the man from Galilee". A simple song with simple thoughts about God.
The writer of Hebrews doesn't give us simple. He reminds us of the awesome fact that our God is a consuming fire. In response to this sobering truth we are counseled to offer "acceptable worship, with reverence and awe". A profound passage with profound thoughts about God.
Always be encouraged by the fact that Jesus stills the water and calms the sea my friend. He is the answer to every storm you will ever face. But also remember that your God is a consuming fire. Be sure that your life is full of acceptable worship, with reverence and awe. May every day bring consuming thoughts about a consuming God.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Have you missed it?

"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." - Hebrews 12:15
We occasionally have quite a bit of fruit in our house. When it first arrives it's sweet to the taste and healthy for the body. As time passes we fail to eat it all and it starts to rot. The taste has changed from good to bitter. We missed the opportunity to enjoy the sweetness.
Living with trials and struggles brings about the same process. In the midst of troubles, God avails himself to give us the sweet taste of his Grace. (Hebrews 4:16) When we choose to ignore this opportunity, we miss his grace and a bitter root grows up. We start to complain and eventually cause trouble for others. The sweetness is gone and we've started to rot and taste bad to others.
Have you missed the grace of God lately? Did you ignore the need for his grace when you were offended, tried or pressured by change? Are you now living with the results of a bitter root? Are others finding your presence to be a bad taste? Here is a word to wise, don't miss the opportunity to be sweet to the taste... "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Good choices...

"By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward." - Hebrews 11:24-26
Our journey through life is full of choices. Every choice we make will determine our future to one degree or another. We are most alarmed when a bad choice can never be reversed or rectified. But it is most encouraging when a good choice reaps untold benefits for years to come.
Moses made a choice early in life. He calculated the limited value of earthly wealth to be a poor choice. A far better choice was the lasting reward given to those who chose to stand with the Lord. While the temporal cost was mistreatment and loss of treasures, to follow the Lord was a good choice that reaped benefits eternally.
Today and tomorrow will call for many choices my friend. May you seek wisdom and carefully calculate what are "fleeting pleasures" in contrast to eternal treasures. Remember that bad choices are most often irreversible, while good choices reap untold benefits for years to come.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

What's your longing?

"If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." - Hebrews 11:15-16
The puritan pilgrims arrived on the shores of America with a longing in their hearts. The days ahead were brutal and demanded great sacrifice. Eventually, opportunities came for a return to England, but they were focused on a better future in a new land. More significantly, they were looking and preparing for a heavenly country.
Whether it is the patriarchs of the Bible, the puritan pilgrims of the seventeenth century or the new believers of 2020, the dynamics are always the same. If we are still too tied to the old ways of the world, we can always return. But, devoted believers have left the past behind for good, with no desire to return. They are focused on the future, preparing for eternity every day.
Search your heart my friend. What is your longing? Are you so deeply rooted in this world that you rarely think about heavenly things? Are you so satisfied with the present material possessions that you have no longing for a heavenly country? Remember, God's children are those who have "admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth." (verse 13) and their "... citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20). God is never ashamed of those who are looking for the city that he has prepared for them!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Every member...

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." - Hebrews 10:24-25 
From one season to the next sporting competition catches the attention of more people than can be counted. They root for their teams hoping that each player will do their very best. The coaches are just as determined to motivate every player toward peak performance. Because a team is only as strong as it's weakest player, every member of the team needs to be involved to their utmost.
The church is much like a sports team. Every member is important to the success and influence of the ministry. With this issue in mind, the writer of Hebrews instructs us to root for and motivate one another toward spiritual excellence. Just as sports figures need the encouragement of fans and coaches, so do believers. When we are regularly stirred up by fellow servants we most often give our utmost for the Lord.
As you serve the Lord this week my friend, are there others who are lagging behind? Are there those who are neglecting church services and Bible studies? When was the last time you called or visited them to stir them up to love and good works? We need all God's people to be involved, and they need us to cheer them on toward success. The Lord's church needs every member to give their utmost for His glory.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

God forgets...

"Then he adds:  "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." - Hebrews 10:17
There is true forgetfulness and there is a forgetfulness of convenience. At my age there is no convenience about my forgetfulness. There are some things that I truly desire to forget and there are those matters that I can't afford to forget. One thing is for sure, there are some things we need to remember and some that we need to forget.
As we think about our own memory issues, consider this: God chooses to forget and therefore he does. An omniscient creator who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) and knows our every thought before we think them (Psalm 139:2) can willingly forget. But what is it that he chooses to forget? The true joy is in this: God never forgets us (Hebrews 13:5), but he forgets our sins. God has chosen to completely clear his memory of the sins of the repentant sinner.
In this Thanksgiving season, may we remember the many blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us. May we rejoice in the wonderful grace of Jesus poured out upon us during this last year. And in all our gratitude, may we give praise to a God who always remembers us with loving care and yet always forgets our sin and transgressions.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Be prepared...

"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." - Hebrews 9:27-28
"You only go around once", "This is a 'one time' offer", "You're only young once", and so the phrases go that tell us about onetime events. So it is with death, in this life, you only die once. There are no retakes or second chances after that moment. Since no one knows when that moment will come, it's best to be prepared.
Jesus died once to take away the sins of many, not all. The fact is, not everyone is ready for death. The most important way to "put your house in order" is to clear your sin debt. Jesus came the first time to do just that; pay for your sin. Only those who have been set free from their sins (verse 15) are truly prepared.
Yes, you only live once in this life, but there is a life to come. Are you ready? This is not a matter to put off until another day. Paul put it well in 2 Corinthians 6:2 "I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." Don't wait my friend, you only die once, so be prepared. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

The Best!

"But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises." - Hebrews 8:6
Over the years Sears & Roebuck made the practice of categorizing their products as "Good, Better and Best". The practice has caught on and a vast number of retailers are now doing the same thing. The consumer is left with a choice that will be affordable and work for them. Sadly, many people must settle for the "Good" or "Better" because they simply cannot afford the "Best". Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could have the "Best"?
In spiritual matters though, everyone can have the "Best" or "superior" product. In comparison to the old covenant of works and all other religious expressions, the ministry of Jesus is "superior". The new covenant is founded on "Better" promises and therefore, He will be our God and we will be his people by faith and the Lord will forgive our wickedness and remember our sins no more. Now, that is the "Best" offer to all who will receive.
Why try to work your way to heaven? Why follow religious teachings that always fall short of changing your heart? Give up the "Good" and "Better" and accept the "Best" as you trust Jesus and all His promises. Remember, "Whoever believes" (John 3:16) can have the "Best"!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

No better intercessor ...

"Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens." - Hebrews 7:25-26
Lawyers are those who speak to the court on our behalf. Some are fairly dependable and some are just interested in their fee. Yet, it is recommended that we have an advocate to protect our legal interests. I have had so many requests to recommend a "good" lawyer that I've lost count. Thankfully, when it comes to the court of heaven, I can recommend an excellent lawyer to intercede with perfection.

Yes, priests are like lawyers. In the Old Testament they spoke to God on behalf of the people. Today we have one high priest who speaks on our behalf... his name is Jesus. There is no better intercessor for our souls, for he is "holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners". Since he is able to "save completely", we can say that he has never lost a case. Jesus is the best lawyer that money can't buy. (He represents his clients "pro bono")

Why be represented before God by another sinner? Why try to represent yourself? We all need a high priest that "meets our need" perfectly because he is perfect. Jesus always lives to intercede for you my friend, so give your case to him. He alone is able to "save completely those who come to God through him".

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

You are what you eat!

"Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." - Hebrews 5:13-14
I watched as our sons matured, moving from milk to solid food. They quickly grew strong and agile, leaving me no other choice than to stop wrestling with them for my own safety. During those same years I watched my father relegated to a puree diet and saw his weight and strength slip away. The choice of food will always make a difference in our health and strength.
The spiritual life is no different than the physical. We need to move from spiritual milk to solid food to become strong. Furthermore, we need to train ourselves "by constant use" or feeding on solid food so we can "distinguish good from evil". The choice of spiritual food will always make a difference in our ability to know right from wrong.
We all need to grow up in spiritual teachings about righteousness. But, we also need to stay the course so we don't become weak from the lack of constant use. You may have been a Christian for many years, but remember, you still need the meat of the Word to stay strong in the faith. You are what you eat!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Draw near...

"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."  - Hebrews 4:16 
Over the years we have all met people who feel the need to "share breath" with us during conversations. They venture into our "comfort zone" without invitation. It's alright to sit across the table and talk, but we really get uneasy when they force their way into "my space".  Are we really willing to allow needy people to "draw near"?
Thankfully, we have a friend, a Savior, a high priest who is willing to receive us into his "comfort zone". He has invited us to "draw near" to his throne of grace to receive mercy. There is never a time when we need to hold back from "sharing breath" with our Lord. In a way, Jesus has said, "Come with confidence into 'my space' so I can help in your time of need." 
The devotional writings that have made the greatest impact on my life over the years have been written by those who have ventured into our Lord's "comfort zone". They provide the encouragement and blessing that can only come from those who have "drawn near". Now, why depend on those who have "shared breath" with the Lord when we can go with confidence into "His space"
 today? Draw near my friend, draw near!