Monthly Archives: July 2015

How Much Is Too Much?

It seems a bit excessive. Sure, many people wanted Paul dead for preaching Jesus, and 40 men devised a plan to ambush and murder him. But deploying 470 troops to take him to Governor Felix might have been overkill. (Acts 23)

Yet how much is too much when protecting the Gospel? I doubt protecting the Gospel was on the mind of the commander when he went to such lengths to get Paul out of town. He was probably more concerned about his own skin should Paul be killed while in his custody.

I thank God that, when we read his Word, he nudges us at certain truths. The Bible is alive, active, powerful!

God’s nudge today finds me asking myself to what extremes am I willing to go to protect the Gospel? There are those who are planning to ambush the Church, destroy Christianity, eliminate Christians. Satan seems to be on a roll!

Am I prepared to protect the Truth of Scripture? At what cost? When I think about it, no effort can be too excessive if it will keep the truth of Jesus Christ still changing lives.

Dear Father in Heaven, once again I am amazed at how alive your Word is, how it can speak to us every time we open its pages. God, I don’t know the answer to the question you seem to be asking me this morning. I don’t know what I am willing to do to stand firm on your Truth. I’d hope that there would be no limit to what I’d be willing to do. I’d like to think I would stop at nothing to preserve the Gospel. But I don’t always reach out to my neighbor when you prompt me to. I don’t always visit or call that one who you have laid on my heart. I don’t always pray as I should. Am I waiting for the Great Tribulation or something before I begin to battle the enemy? I want to be part of the army that’s protecting the Gospel. May you find me faithful. We have some work to do, don’t we Lord?

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If you say it often enough…

Saying something doesn’t automatically make it true. In Acts 19 we see that during a riot, the city clerk stood up and said:

“Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of Ephesus is temple guardian of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Zeus? Therefore, since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rashly.” (NKJV)

Is it a fact that some god named Zeus fashioned a statue in the clouds and dropped it in Ephesus? Is that what the city clerk said cannot be denied? Do you believe that to be true?

How often have you heard the earth is billions of years old stated as a fact that can’t be denied? What about the statement that life does not begin at conception? Or that homosexuality is a viable lifestyle? Have you heard it is possible to change your gender stated as fact? Or that marriage isn’t restricted to a union between a man and a woman? Some people even preach God is a god of love and accepts all of us just the way we are.

And they keep saying it, and saying it, and saying it.

The sad truth is, if you tell someone something often enough, very often they’ll begin to believe it.

But I’m here to tell you I can certainly deny that city clerk’s story about the statue. I know for a fact that the earth is thousands, not millions of years old, that there is nothing normal about homosexuality, and abortion is murder. I stand on the truth that God is not only a God of love, he is Holy and demands holiness of his children.

And none of that is true just because I say it is.

I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover several times. And each time I do, the more I realize I cannot deny it is true. It has so many checks and balances. This book, written by many writers over many years, clearly presents God as Creator, Almighty, True, a God who loves each and every one of us, a God who demands our obedience and deserves our worship.

In its pages we see Him proving He is who He says He is. And not just once. He chose the physical nation of Israel, and then the Church, to show us exactly what he expects, the consequences of disobedience, the blessings of faith in Him, and the grace that is ours through Jesus. You have to admit that the fulfilling of so many prophesies is hard to deny. Who else but God could bring that about?

I have learned to check what I am hearing with what is written in God’s Word. The voice of Satan is loud and repetitive. And if I’m not carefully guarding my heart, I might begin to assume he’s telling the truth.

Dear one, let’s determine to depend on God’s Word to be our plumb line. Let’s allow God to be the Cornerstone from which everything is measured. Don’t fall for “popular opinion” or you might start believing a statue fell from heaven…

News Flash: Life Isn’t Fair

It wasn’t fair. Paul and Silas had been severely beaten and thrown into prison and they had done nothing wrong. Now I know people say there are no “guilty” people in prison. But in this case, Paul and Silas were truly not guilty of any crime. (Acts 16)

How did they handle that? By praising God and singing until midnight. The other prisoners listened to them. And when the angel came and set them free, they stayed right there. Their example led the jailor and his whole family to the Lord.

Things happen in this life that just don’t seem fair. Cancer isn’t fair. An unfaithful spouse isn’t fair. It’s not fair when there’s no money to pay the bills, or the car breaks down, or someone lies about you. But trust me when I say people are watching how you handle it when things happen to you that aren’t fair. They wonder if you go through trials and hardships any differently than they do.

So do you complain, or praise God? Do you express anger with vulgarity, or do you sing about God’s Amazing Grace? Are you pushing people away from, or inviting them into their Savior’s embrace?

Life isn’t fair. How you handle it, however, could make the difference in someone’s life eternally.

Dear God, I don’t pretend to know what those who read this blog are going through. I don’t walk in anyone’s shoes but mine. But I pray for all of us, Lord, as we live through yet another day. Some of us are facing life threatening challenges. Some hearts are broken. Some of us don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Remind us, Father, that you are there in the midst, that you want to be our strength, our hope and joy. As we face these difficulties, I pray that you will be evident in our lives. And may our example, like Paul and Silas, draw someone to your saving grace. Hear our prayers. Accept our praise. And may Jesus be glorified in us today no matter how unfair our lives seem at the moment.

Godly Leaders

I am one who was saddened by the recent Supreme Court’s decision on marriage. I had hoped our leaders would have upheld our laws. But in this day and age, leadership seems to be following opinion, and not always the opinion of the majority.

Ok. That was purely opinion. But I was reminded this morning as I read God’s Word, how important it is for those in positions of leadership to be led by God. Leaders have enormous influence and, with it, great responsibility.

Solomon was a great leader, as we read in 2 Chronicles. But he raised a stupid son whose first act as king was to alienate the people and destroy the kingdom. (2 Chronicles 10)

The people of Lystra wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas after Paul healed a lame man. (Acts 14) But when the apostles told them they were mere men and not gods, the Lystonians turned their attention toward Jews from Antioch who spoke against Paul and Barnabas. The result? The people of Lystra went from wanting to worship them, to wanting to stone them. Just like that.

The Bible is not wrong when it calls us sheep. Too often we follow the leader blindly, without question, without thought. Those of us in positions of leadership, whether Sunday School teachers, CEO’s, policemen, pastors, History teachers, parents… need to go about our responsibilities prayerfully, soberly, intentionally because people are following our lead. People with eternal souls.

Who do we go to for advice? What do we read? What voices are we listening to? Are we leading according to God’s Word, or on the word of popular opinion?

Dear one, let’s determine to pray for our leaders. We’ve got leaders in government, in civil service, in churches, schools, and homes. And, in reality, all of us have leadership responsibilities in one form or another. Let’s ask God to be our Guide. Let’s spend time in his Word, seeking his will, hearing his voice and drowning out the voices that would lead us astray.

I said I was saddened by the actions of our Supreme Court. But maybe this is the wake-up call we Christians need to get involved in leadership positions in our nation. Maybe this ruling will be what the Church needs to stand firm as we follow our Lord. No doubt God can bring something good out of even this, if we hear his voice and obey.

Dear God, I thank you for our leaders. I pray for President Obama and ask that he would be drawn to you, that he would obey your voice for the decisions he makes concerning our nation. I pray for Senators and Congressmen, for court officials, for our military and our police force. I pray for pastors, teachers, leaders of industry, supervisors, coaches, parents. May hearts be humbled before you and may you find us all willing to follow your lead. I pray that you would lay on the hearts of godly men and women to get involved in the politics of our nation. And may your children support them with prayers and votes. And, Lord, no matter what leadership roles we find ourselves in, I pray that we would look to you for guidance. May you find us faithful.