Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Real Problem

"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." 
John 3:36

Few people want to talk about the wrath of God.  It’s just not a very popular subject.  Even in our pulpits today there are preachers who steer away from it in their sermons.  Not wanting to offend people, they leave out the judgment aspect of God’s character.  But if there is no wrath of God to be reckoned with, then Jesus Christ did not need to come to earth and give His life.  Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17)  Saved from what? From condemnation (Romans 8:1-3).  The world is already under condemnation for its rebellion against God. But God out of His great love for the rebellious sent the Son He also loves to save the world from what it deserves -- hell. Are we so self-centered and prideful that we believe God sent His beloved son to suffer a torturous and horrifying death on a cross because we’re so good we deserve it? Heaven forbid!  We're so bad we would die without it!

"I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully ‘All will be saved’. But my reason retorts, ‘Without their will, or with it’? In fact, God has paid the price, and herein lies the real problem: so much mercy, yet still there is hell." -- C.S. Lewis

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Uncomfortable Zone

Now the LORD said to Abram,
         "Go forth from your country,
         And from your relatives
         And from your father's house,
         To the land which I will show you; 
    And I will make you a great nation,
         And I will bless you,
         And make your name great;
         And so you shall be a blessing;"
Genesis 12:1-2

"That's out of my comfort zone." How often have we heard that phrase or used it ourselves in the face of a new challenge? God certainly called Abraham out of his comfort zone; away from his relatives, his home and his country into a strange land. He made him a promise that would only be fulfilled if Abraham had the courage to leave everything he had known for 75 years. If Abraham had said no to God, he would have missed out on incredible blessings.  Because of his obedience, Abraham became the father of a great nation and from his seed came the Messiah. Are you hesitating to go somewhere or do something for God because it's out of your comfort zone?  Don't miss God's blessing. Consider the journey of Abraham and step into that uncomfortable zone

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Go Straight to the Top

"Now, O LORD our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O LORD, are God." 
2 Kings 19:19

I have a dear friend who suffers from a debilitating disease.  As every day is a struggle for her, I continually lift her up in prayer.  She sent me an email this morning with the comment, "People often look at prayer as a last result. I look at it as my first response. Why deal with the middle man. I like to go straight to the top." Hezekiah was a godly King. Unlike his evil father, Hezekiah revered the Lord and restored worship of Him to Judah.  But when the Assyrian king attacked his country, Hezekiah failed to first seek God and instead placated his enemy with gold from the temple.  Unsatisfied, the Assyrian king came back with another threat.  Only then did King Hezekiah turn to the Lord in prayer.  God heard Hezekiah's prayer and delivered him from his enemies in a remarkable way (19:35-37).  Don't delay when trouble surrounds you, as King Hezekiah did. Go straight to the top!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No Better Friend

         "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
Proverbs 18:24b

It's good to have earthly friends; the world would be a lonely place without them.  The truest friendship is shown in action. Talk costs us nothing, but action always has a price. Even if we show up just to listen to a friend, it costs us the time involved. Jesus counted the cost of being a friend to sinners and paid the ultimate price -- His life. He redeemed us by the shedding of His blood for the forgiveness of our sins.  He sent His Holy Spirit to live within us, to comfort us and guide us. Now Jesus stands before the Father as our intercessor and one day He will return to gather us to Himself. There can be no better friend than Jesus Christ.  The Friend who sticks even closer than a brother.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

God's Reassuring Hand

"You have enclosed me behind and before,
         And laid Your hand upon me." 
Psalm 139:5

A good rancher will erect fences to hold his livestock. He knows that without them his valuable possessions will wander into danger. If a rancher will take these steps to protect his animals, how much more will our Heavenly Father protect us, His precious children. Unlike manmade enclosures that can be torn down, the invincible God Himself encloses us. He stands before us and behind us. To the left and to the right. But there's more! He not only surrounds us with protection, He also has His hand upon us. In the original Hebrew the description of this word hand is "palm" or "flat of the hand".  Just as a loving father will place the flat of his hand on his child's head or back as he guides him along the way, so our loving Father guides us. Think on that for a moment. God doesn't just build a security fence and then leave us. He stays with us and steadies us with His reassuring hand. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Do Not Fear!

"You drew near when I called on You;
         You said, 'Do not fear!'"
Lamentations 3:57

Trouble in our lives can create feelings of abandonment.  But God does not abandon His children (Matthew 28:20). If we do not see Him, it's because we are looking the other way.   We are focused on the source of our misery instead of on the One who can help us. That's when we begin to believe that God has left us alone to fend for ourselves. If we don't change that way of thinking our situation begins to appear hopeless, and the more hopeless our situation appears the more fearful we become. The prophet in Lamentations tells us he "called on" the Lord. That word "called" literally means "cry out in a loud voice." This shows the intensity of his need. God immediately drew near and told him not to fear. As Christians, the Lord is already near  through the presence of  His Holy Spirit living within us (John 16:7). He is there to help us. Whether we cry out or whisper to Him in our distressHe answers, "Do not fear!"

Sunday, February 27, 2011

From Generation to Generation

"Forever, O LORD,
         Your word is settled in heaven. 
    Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations;
         You established the earth, and it stands."
Psalm 119:89-90

Our faithful God. He is completely trustworthy. He speaks from His throne and what He wills is done. He doesn't change. His faithfulness lasts from generation to generation. All the earth is His. He spoke it into existence and it remains firm. Who is like our God?

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