Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Very Nastey Couple.

(When Greed went on a date with Lust)

“Greed said give me your body and I will give you some green,” Lust replied, “Very well, I need some some more padding to my purse thats lean”

“They will swallow your soul and devour your life, you will lose wealth, family, children and your dear precious wife, and then after that they will gulp down the rest of your life. They will take all you have and all you hold dear, your very own conscience with an iron they’l sear.”

“They are behind many world evils and drive all thats vile. You give them an inch they will take you over a mile. Down to your death, into the grave, after they have entangled your soul you will have no one to save. ”

“They will inject you with all of their poisons and drag you through sin, they will rob your contentment and eat you within.”

“Run from the couple of Lust and Greed, run, yes run and do not turn back, for in their company you will find sorrow and  lack and then waste in regrets at the end of your days. So consider the cost, before you follow any of their ways. They bear the sons of “illness,” “regret” and “loneliness” and their daughters are “despair” “hardness of heart” and “corruption within”- They will blacken one’s soul with the poisons of sin.

Bribes are the spells that blind decent hearts, to forfeit what is right to gain what is temporal at best, yes indeed, there was in Poe’s classic, “The Monkey’s Paw” and this story had a paw from a monkey that was enchanted with powers to grant three wishes to the one who held it. Yet for those who have read the story, the paw had a sinister sense of humor in granting these wishes and it indeed delivered it’s bearer his wish but with a morbid twist that left the man who made his wishes with a wish he never had the paw to begin with.

So is the price tag of sin, it allures with promises of power, pleasure and prosperity but brings with them if it ever did deliver- curses that follow. Many who grow rich off of extortion or trampling others become cursed in their later years with loneliness and no one to care about them. They trade relational building in for mammon then when they grow older their families may not care, their friends they thought they had may desert them if their god of green paper sprouts wings and flies away. No one ever became rich in a real sense by being greedy, stingy and using their wealth to lord over people.

Vanity would scream, invest only in one’s appeal- yet forfeit the inner self that makes people of virtue desire you. For a woman who invests only in her appeal and charm forfeits her truest potential and when beauty fades and her hair greys- she remains only clasping an idol called beauty that no one is guaranteed. She chases a mirage and if her idol crumbles over years by and by, what does she have to show for the stock she invested if she neglects other things to make deposits toward, such as humility, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, compassion, tenderness, wisdom and other gran virtues? For when beauty fades and no other investments were made, she will grieve she sowed only in a fiels that the earth opened it’s mouth and swallowed.

A Bitter Poem

“I am Bitterness! I live from within, I will feed you to hatred and entrap you in sin. Do not forgive them, enjoy their demise. Listen to me for I breath in your ear nothing but angry lies. Look! There is an opportunity to harm, go for it while you can. You better act now while you have the power in hand.

Oh my prisoner, I will feed you the food of vengeance and delight to let you see your enemies done harm. I have chained you with malice and chained you with rage. I have imprisoned you in anger and have locked you up in my cage.”

Pride Poem.

“My name is Ego, but my friends call me Pride. I have only one love, Me, Myself, and I, I care nothing for others and only for self. After all, I’m just that amazing, look at my talents, my abilities, and my wealth. I look down on others with disgust, can’t they be as good as me? Oh no they cant, I remind myself. I get impatient with people when I don’t get my way. I am the only one who matters at the end of the day.

I do not like authority of any kind, after all, those fools are truly just blind! Advice, not needed! I know what Im doing, your input is not headed.”

Does your church have good fruit, rotten fruit, our sour fruit?

The perfect church does not exist but a good church will have these elements, or at least Im led to believe in my study of Scripture.

1.) Proclaim the message faithfully and accurately

2 Timothy 4:2-3 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

2.) Practice the message faithfully.

1 Timothy 4:15-16 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

3. Another aspect of a good church is one where the people who follow Christ are challenged to keep growing in faith, love and obedience to Christ. Another element is the people of God ought to be humble and concerned about the sharing of the gospel and serving. Its wonderful and necessary to follow a godly standard but if we are not careful we can easily get puffed up and look down on others who are not as far along in Christ as we are! The Christian life has no room for pride or arrogance but “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control”- (Fruit of The Spirit) See Galatians chapter 5.

The Church with Rotten Fruit.
-Well, a church that openly embraces sinful living and teaches contrary to scripture.

In Revelation chapter 2 we see this particular assembly of Christians, “tolerated that woman Jezebel” she taught that sexual immorality was ok and led people into idolatry!

Revelation 2:18-29 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’ To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Such is the case with many necrotic churches of our day, embracing so many things that the Bible does not. It gives no one hope to just speak good words when their endangering their souls anymore than if a doctor told a terminally ill patient that everything was fine and all they needed was an aspirin and a bandaid.

We also have the sour church,
These churches are filled with pious critical people that look on strugglers and sinners with a spirit of proud contempt and disgust. They are the kind of people too interested in juicy morsels of gossip and “he did this or she did that” and talking about it in the old ladies bible study knitting group.

Now forgive us all Lord for we have all at times been overly critical and judgmental. Let us hate our own sin more than that we see in others.

This might have been the church Jonah would have attended if he were alive today. He was angry and wanted the Ninevites to fall under God’s judgement. So he disobeyed God and ran away from preaching to them. Finally God’s hand gave him no other option and Jonah went but threw a little fit when they did repent and turn from their sin and God spared the city.

Jonah was too upset over the people of Ninevah that he failed to really be upset at his own disobedience. God still loved Jonah but reminded him that the city was full of many people that He (God) was concerned for.

Jonah was quite different then Abraham, Abraham pleaded with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah, however, unfortunately not a person repented and the city was destroyed.

Abraham prayed for people’s salvation and not destruction and God is pleased with such an attitude of concern for even the worst of sinners. We see in another place, a man named Phinehas interceding in prayer for the rebellious Israelites.

Psalm 106:30-31 But Phinehas stood up and intervened,and the plague was checked. This was credited to him as righteousnessfor endless generations to come.

Phinehas was a priest, this is significant because in the new testament we are told that Jesus Christ, The Great High Priest intercedes for us who belong to him,

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

Pain might bey the key to unlock our purpose! 

(There was a little boy, grasping tightly to a tattered teddy bear. His father said, oh my boy, can I have your teddy? The boy fearfully grabs it even closer to his chest with tears in his eyes. The father graciously looks at him and smiles lovingly, and says, my dear son how can I repair it if you do not let me have it?)

God, our loving God knows the deepest longings of our human hearts. Maybe its a broken marriage or a shattered dream, maybe its a goal or desire. But we must trust our loving heavenly father with what is precious to us. Ultimately he is all we need but he loves to give his children great and good gifts. Sometimes God closes certain roads in our life to accomplishing or having certain desires because he may not be keeping us from it but putting up a “road work sign”-

Joseph had dreams for his life, in Genesis he was sold as a slave to Egypt by his jealous brothers, accused falsely by Potiphers wife, thrown in prison, and later he rose to be the second highest ruler in all of Egypt so he could save his family and people back home from famine. Remarkably he forgave his onry brothers when they grieved over what they put him through.

Genesis 45:4-5 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

What a remarkable story! From pit, to prison, to power in the palace! God has a glorious plan. Never give up hope! Never surrender to discouragement or set backs! God wants to use your sorrow to save the lives and souls of many people!

God honors faith.

Matthew 13:58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Was Jesus’s power limited because of these unbelieving people’s faith? No, He restrained his power from them because it would have landed on death ears and been displayed to blind eyes.

One reason I think God often does not show up in as many miraculous ways in our lives at times is because we do not really have faith enough to embrace such wonders. God chooses to honor faith, and Im not suggesting wishful thinking here but genuine faith, the faith that goes out on a limb to trust God when everything seems impossible or hopless! The faith that trusts and obeys in spite of the odds in the way. God is not in the circus business and does not show his power or display himself in vain. He always is purposeful in what he does and never is waistful. For an unbelieving mind and heart can easily rationalize all sorts of proof away if it wants to.

Fear is another reason that can cause us to distrust Almighty God and plug our ears up to what he has to say! Or refuse to jump off the diving board into the unknown when God says to. Why?

Because we doubt his goodness and control over our situation. So in our own pride and wisdom we think we got things figured out and under control. Sadly though when we think we have the most control we have actually very little control over things. God’s delights in an attitude of total dependence on him.
Real faith is not believing we will get what we want but real faith can resign itself and sign the deed of our lives over to a God we know is all wise and good.

Real faith says, “God I do not know my future but I trust you are in complete control and always do whats best.” Real faith obeys without all the details because it trusts God and believes him!

Romans 4
“3. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.””

Can you ever go wrong in the long run obeying and trusting God? No, not at all!

Psalm 33:18-19 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.

Faith & The Three Marks of A True Christian

I’m beginning to realize that at the heart of all sin is a spirit of unbelief, and distrust in what God says. Why do we ignore his warnings? Why do we fail to hope in his promises? Why do we end up thinking we know better then he does? It is because we do not believe Him but trust our own intuition and senses more than what he actually knows. This is pride and unbelief. These are the things I despise most about my own self.

1 Peter 1:6-7 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

This is why faith is so valuable! Is it not? It is believing God and acting accordingly! Faith is the root of God honoring obedience I believe, how can we obey Him if we do not trust Him? Faith first and obedience follows. Faith is the the truck the pulls the U Haul of all the good and righteous acts of obedience to God and love for others.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We are saved by “grace” through “faith” as a prerequisite, then we as a RESULT “do good works” which God “prepared in advance”

Well what good works?

1.) Obedience, 

Jesus said, “If you love me you will obey my commands”
Here we see “love” comes before “obey”

2.) Love
Colossians 1:3-5 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel

These earlier believer’s faith in Christ motivated them to love! Their love as Paul says “spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven”

3.) Godly Desire
2 Thessalonians 1:11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.

“Every desire for goodness” I think another distinguishing mark of a born again Christian is an exchange of desires, now not that I’m important but from experience I can say when I came to Christ I had a desire to do what pleased God and reach those who did not know Him. As a church goer and a lost so called, “Christian” I really had very little desire to do anything beyond my own personal benefit or little world. I did not do what God’s word said because I wanted God’s will as much as just his blessings and prosperity. I on occasion did what the Bible said but purely for what was in it for me. “You do this and you’ll be blessed and do not do this and you will not be punished”- a really self centered view.

I remember when I first came to Christ, my ambition was as large as my ego. (The Lord had to take the sand paper to my pride quite a bit over the years I will admit.)

But my hearts desire was, and still is changing the world for Christ.
These Thessalonians believers in the same way possessed a “desire for goodness”

I think a true Christian should never lose their desire to keep growing in love and faith and holiness! So often I look at myself and am dissatisfied with how lacking I am in some of these spiritual qualities! We can only keep pressing ahead to become more like Christ our ultimate example.