In his infinite wisdom God disregarded the lawyer’s desire to a make prosperous living, thus extending litigation ad infinitum, ad nauseum. On at least four occasions in Deuteronomy God instructed Israel to quickly and carefully identify evil among them, then administer appropriate punishment: 13:11, 17:13, 19:20, 21:21.
Aided by hordes of lawyers needing employment and wanting luxury, America sinks into endless litigation. One capital punishment case took 13 years before the criminal paid its price. One Australian man lived 70 years, 303 days on death row before he died at 92 of old age.
What if, like mythical Pinocchio’s nose, every sinner’s would grow an inch for each lie? What if an arm or leg grew shorter each time we sinned? Or, if, like bank robbers, every sin included a dye pack which explodes minutes after the theft, or killing or fraud, bathing the sinners’ legs in red?
No? Probably not.
Nevertheless, the litigious nature of our society, fueled by the American Bar Association, needlessly lengthens the time between arrest for a crime and the trial to convict and its punishment.
God has nothing to do with our delays, though he seems reluctant to judge. He won’t be mocked. Judgment delayed isn’t judgment denied; it’s merely judgment intensified! America remains in the bulls-eye of God’s wrath for rejecting his Son. It isn’t IF, but WHEN, that wrath falls. Delaying it means: his patience is giving us the chance to repent. It also means, when it comes, his wheel of justice will grind slowly and exceedingly fine.
A medical doctor once saw the finger nails of a man he identified as a baseball executive. By seeing them on T.V., he understood that the man had serious health problems ahead. Interestingly, the man he identified wasn’t the executive but a man sitting beside him. But the doctor’s diagnosis remained the same.
The future can sometimes be seen in present events. We often say, “If such and such keeps up, such and such is bound to happen soon.” Jesus noted that his generation had the weather deciphered. “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’, and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky but you cannot interpret the signs of the times....” Matthew 16:2. When Jesus spoke of the temple being destroyed the disciples asked him, “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3. Jesus replied in language that still baffles Bible students.
Hurricane hunting planes fly into the violent vortex of wind and rain to give accurate details of wind speed and direction of the storm. That gives meteorologists a grip on what land mass is the target and what damage is possible.
However, as Jesus said to his day, understanding nature doesn’t qualify one to understand the “signs of the times.” They could tell the future of weather hours ahead by present weather conditions. But they had no sense of the “spiritual times” involved in Christ’s appearance in Israel. That failure led in A.D. 70 to Roman armies investing the holy city, dismantling the sacred edifice layer by layer and burning everything combustible. And Jews being sold into slavery by such numbers they cost pitifully little.
What about America today? Do the “spiritual signs of the time” have meaning for us? Well...consider: from the earliest permanent settlements in America, Jamestown in 1607 and Plymouth in 1620, faith in the God of the Bible determined acceptable behavior. If America had started with the morals in place today, where would America be today, four centuries later? Especially since but 56% of us believe in the same God who brought those settlers to America.
Are Christians insightful enough to see the future that our reckless belief and behavior will inevitably bring to our children and grandchildren? Or do we mistakenly think it’s no longer important that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD”? Psalm 33:12. Or that it no longer matters that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people?” Proverbs 14:34.
Are we so depraved as to think that God’s Old Rules no longer Rule, leaving us free to make new ones as culture changes? It doesn’t take a genius to see the drift-rush in American life to the pre-flood Genesis 6:5 immorality. But is there enough spiritual insight left in America to prepare the nation for God’s Terrifying Judgment? Fini
(A disclaimer: I had no idea what I would write when I began this blog.)
Like birds in a nest, many people satisfy themselves with a chewed and regurgitated Bible message. Even then, like Charley Brown, they don’t want to THINK to understand it; they want to simply absorb the message by osmosis.
If that approach is correct, why did God command the men on Mt. Hermon, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him” Mark 9:7? And Jesus said, “Listen!”, when teaching the parable of the sower Mark 4:3. And, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” Mark 4:9 And, “Consider carefully what you hear”...Mark 4:24. And, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this” Mark 7:14. Deuteronomy 18:15, I Kings 4:34, Proverbs 1:5 and James 1:19 are other representative scriptures.
Not wanting any of his spiritual jewels to be unrecognized or misunderstood, God demanded care in listening to every message. He wouldn’t be careless in what he said. He knew we would very likely would be as we heard. Listening hastens understanding since it stirs up “the little grey cells.”
. . . . . . . . . .
Like sins left too long unrepented, the Allies had little choice but to let Nazis have nearly three years to build up an invincible defense around the Ploesti, Romania, oil fields. Allied bombers appeared in the skies August, 1944, and often thereafter. The nearly impenetrable anti-aircraft fire inflicted staggering losses on those planes. And only at the end of August, 1944, did Russian infantry capture the city and its previous resource.
Any fault, when small, is reasonably capable of solution, at a reasonably small cost. But left to grow in us, either poorly disciplined or undisciplined, it will exact a severe cost before it ceases or recedes. Swollen with years of unchecked self-indulgence, it will require surgery that makes the cure more painful than the disease. And that will be the worst possible choice: to make peace with the sin rather than to war against it! “That’s not the way I want to be” becomes a mournful, “That’s the way I am.”
Let the words of C.S. Lewis encourage us: while sin begs our patience while it’s small, it offers no mercy to us when it’s large. While begging a small place in our lives at first, it will at last demand our entire life. America has so long boasted of tolerance that it sees any effort to correct sin as an unacceptable infringement on personal freedom. It’s time, before it’s too late, for America to realize that God imposes accountability on every freedom. Fini
A man spent 40 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The jury rejected the sworn testimony of fellow-workers to find him guilty. That’s an extreme example of witnessing fruitlessly.
Why, then, bother to bear a witness to Jesus since at least some, or most, will pay no attention? Well, one reason is that God’s Truth must have a witness. Jesus referred to that in his Triumphal Entry. The leaders criticized when he accepted praise from little children. Were they the best he could offer? Yes, because God used such innocence to praise his reality Matthew 21:16. And the leaders went ballistic when they heard the tumultuous crowd descending from Mt. Olivet praising Jesus, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” When they demanded he stop all that excess, Jesus replied, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” Luke 19:37-40.
God’s word can’t return to him void of results Isaiah 55:10-13. And if the only result is the witness borne, those who still reject it do so from intention, not ignorance. True, every Christ-centered witness can be challenged by a Satan-inspired denial. And many will prefer to live in denial of God than confess their need of him.
Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription, “The Lord knows those who are his, and everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” II Timothy 2:19.
Christians, take a chance. Bear a witness for Jesus. Some won’t like it. Some will object. Some will verbally attack you for being so bold. Or worse. A Jews for Jesus witnessed on a New York Street. Someone came by and slugged him to the ground. A fellow Christian Jew stood by and watched. “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars,” he said. The prone Christian replied mournfully, “Neither would I.’
But he would for Jesus. Amen. Take heart, Christians; if we fail in our witness, we have failed in a cause that shall eventually succeed. Far better, then, to bear a failed witness in an ultimately successful effort. Far worse to be a successful proponent of a cause tht eventually fails.
But, word of hope. We’ll often be surprised by how effective our witness is. Many want to know God in Christ. They will listen when we teach Christ’s word. They will obey. It’s like reaching a hand back to offer assistance to someone struggling to regain his balance or stance or escape some danger. The one reaching out will find that someone reaching back and holding on!
God’s truth will be vindicated. Never stop talking about Jesus to unsaved friends. They need to hear what we have to say. And, whatever their response, they will know that “a true prophet has been among them Ezekiel 2:5. Fini
The shipwreck at sea that Luke so brilliantly recorded in Acts 27 offers a cornucopia of spiritual truth. This blog records one of the unpleasant truths: not everyone hearing God’s word listens; not everyone listening believes; and not everyone who believes obeys.
Consider both the sailors and solders aboard the stricken vessel. After Paul had borne witness to his faith in GOD, the sailors (27:30) tried to escape the ship once close enough to shore to chance surviving in the lifeboat rather than trust the ship.
Then, with land seen, but not recognized—likely due to clouds, mist, rain and distance—the soldiers (27:42) intended to kill the prisoners, including Paul, the very man who offered hope. Paul’s protest to centurion Julius stopped the sailors; Julius’ own desire to save Paul thwarted the soldiers.
Spiritual principles we can learn from this truth. One, many people will readily talk about God if a Christian initiates the conversation. Thus, we must sometimes make, not wait for, an opening. Christ’s question to the Samaritan woman, John 4:7, proves an introduction can be almost anything.
Two, Christians cannot be physically separated from the unsaved. The life of Jesus offers ultimate proof. Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians, 5:9-13, a supplementary example. The lost need our personalized example as we need the daily contact with them that sharpens our witness. Philemon 6 is an example.
Three, a calm, dignified presence that reinforces our witness will have greater results than Bible-waving and indiscriminately shouting Hallelujah or Praise the Lord.
Four, being a witness of God’s grace or presence, assurance or certainty, won’t always make it overpowering. The Master’s teaching proved that. While many believed in him on resurrecting Lazarus, others raced the news as a criticism to the leaders John 11:46. Every apostle followed his example. Paul found it true on board. Not everyone will be convinced by the evidence. End Part I
Who are those “people of faith” the Union-Tribune gladly parades as qualified interpreters of God’s word? When God in Christ, in every possible way language can say it, say they alone have the authority to write a book of inflexible moral truth!
What kind of “faith” do “those” people have? Religious, maybe. Ecumenical for sure. Both views posit all opinions in life about everything as equal, none superior; and only complementary to others, not competitive. When God took specific steps to record his word JUST SO humanity would not resort to “do it yourself religion”. What kind of faith is it that exalts human opinion over God’s eternal word? Who lack faith enough to believe God has spoken but possess a superfluity of faith that THEY can determine what he should have said if he had?
They do not have Biblical faith. It believes whatever God says. They don’t have faith enough to believe that God’s word in Moses, the prophets, the apostles and Jesus Christ has the final word in doctrine, behavior and life. But they have superior faith in their opinions as to what is now acceptable sexual behavior—seeking to re-define God to suit culture!
What in their personal portfolio gives them the courage to defy God? Did they have a PRE-EXISTENCE AS GOD, WITH GOD, as Jesus did? Did they come from God, as Jesus did? Did they come from a virgin’s womb, as Jesus did? Have they lived perfectly, as Jesus did? Do they perform miracles, as Jesus did? Can they die to forgive sins, as Jesus did? Do they plan to rise from the dead by their own power, as Jesus did? Or ascend into Heaven, as Jesus did? Or sit at God’s right hand, as Jesus did, as High Priest forever? And do they now plan to tell Jesus they will be the judge of all mankind, as he already says GOD made him?
What credentials do these people of religious, ecumenical, indefinite faith have that makes them arrogant against God? And why would Bible-believing Christians change their allegiance from the Living God and Jesus Christ whom he sent to pledge it to sinners who want to make deities of themselves? Fini
I join the Mass Resistance movement to oppose the Drag Queen Story Hour. It wants to parade before school children. In reality, it only promotes the homosexual lifestyle. Advocates of Drag Queen, led by the Southern Poverty Law Center, label Mass Resistance a hate group. Only in our depraved culture could those who defend God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Holy Bible’s teachings as revealed be called a hate group.
Instead...the Mass Resistance movement honors God the Father who, under Abraham, damned homosexuality, Genesis 19:1-29; damned it under Moses, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; damned it under the Judges, Judges 19:1-21, 25; damned it under the prophets, Isaiah 3:9, Jeremiah 20:16, 23:14, Zephaniah 2:8-9; damned it under God the Son Mark 7:20 (under the umbrella term sexual immorality); damned it under Holy Spirit-baptized Apostles: Paul: Romans 1:18-27, I Corinthians 6:9-10; Peter: II Peter 2:6; John: Revelation 21:8 (again under the umbrella term sexual immorality; and the Lord’s own brother Jude 7.
God the Trinity in one accord damned homosexuality as a perverted lifestyle. The august persons possessing their authority also warned the homosexual lobby not to make their lifestyle acceptable, normal and equal to heterosexuality.
What credentials of similar, equal or superior authority can advocates of homosexuality propose? The entire issue comes down to that: who has the authority to condemn or condone it? Mortals, who have no regard for God; who consider the Bible outdated and irrelevant; who diminish Jesus to irrelevance? Or God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit and those ancient holy men God used to write his word?
Choose your authority, America. The decision determines our future, for GOD WON’T BE MOCKED! Galatians 6:7 End Part I
The instant Esther died God saw as the instant she began to LIVE with him. For death completed her purpose on earth. God created her to find eternal life in Christ and in Jesus she found it II Corinthians 5:1-5.
That’s the challenge facing everyone: will death complete, or disrupt our purpose in life? Will it be the day we’ve been waiting for OR the day we’ve desperately tried to avoid?
An 18 year-old college student went swimming in the ocean off Luzon, Philippine Islands. A shark bite left him near death. His final words were, “This is the day I’ve been waiting for.” We can understand Winston Churchill saying that when rising to Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1939 when 65. His entire life had prepared him for that moment.
But no...that was simply Churchill’s career-day, not his life-purpose day. The 18 year old boy lying on the beach bleeding to death had reached his life-purpose day. He had lived for Jesus to his 18th year and would see GOD that very day and forever after.
However young or old we are at death, have we prepared for our Life-purpose day?
Point of interest, then...instead of mourning our loss of Esther, let’s instead rejoice in her gain. For what would we leave our family as our last bequest? Weep for me, for I’m gone? Or, don’t weep for me, let not even one tear fall. What you dream of I can see, and friends, it’s worth it all.
I trust...do not get buried in the losses family survivors have experienced. Focus instead on the gain each deceased member inherited: each one I know a baptized, forgiven, faithful disciple carried by angels into the presence of Jesus who enveloped them in his joyous embrace.
And if we think faith in Christ is too hard to express at this time—is it easier to drown in sorrow than hope in God? Shall we seek to assuage our grief with MORE grief or lessen it with much MORE hope?
Hope. Confidence. Assurance: the message God gave John on Patmos. The same message he gives us. Don’t see what IS now; see instead what is to BE!
When everything vanishes, and only Jesus remains, we’ll be eternally glad we had prepared to meet him. When everything vanishes, and only Jesus remains, we’ll never be glad again if we haven’t! Fini
Christians will experience the impact of afflictions, despair and grief common to mankind, but God will never desert us to their power. In the world we’ll have trouble, Jesus warned in John 16:33, a reality we can’t avoid. Trouble we can manage, or sometimes can’t. Trouble that’s minor, or catastrophic. Trouble we soon forget, or leaves us scarred for life. Inevitable, indiscriminate, never-at-an-opportune time tribulation—at which Jesus snaps his fingers in scorn since he faced and overcame it all!
Jesus...the ONE in our corner when circumstances have backed us there; who sees us through when others say we’re through; who stands BY us when we’re weak since he stood UP FOR us when we were sinners. Jesus...whose bodily resurrection transformed death from finality to introduction and declares death the opening, not the closing, act of life.
An Oceana man died in 2004. Conversant in multiple languages, he had eventful careers in teaching, business and real estate. Yet, when his son sat at the death bed weeping, the man could say only, “Don’t be sad, son. Eighty-three years are enough.” Then there was a Christian man who died at 95, but they hardly began for him, let alone proved enough. A man lived in the wilderness of Wheeler Mountain, Vermont. When he suffered a heart attack, paramedics came and wheeled him from house to ambulance. Before being hoisted inside he begged for one last, long look upward at what he was leaving.
Yes, the way of the world...looking back at what’s GOING. While the Christian looks forward to what’s COMING! Billy Graham pondered his coming death. And said, when you hear that Billy Graham has died, don’t you believe it. In the instant I take my last breath, I’ll be more alive than I’ve ever been. End Part IV
Never doubt: God’s word still predicts doom for all who oppose him. And never doubt: he guarantees victory for all who love Christ’s appearing. It sometimes seems that serving God costs more than we can pay. He seems to take little notice of his people, whatever their problems. He allows the unconverted lavish displays of success and wealth.
Indeed...sometimes...only FAITH in God’s goodness keeps his people stalwart in discipleship. But IT DOES! Speaking from personal experience: when in prayer I declare faith in God, regardless, whatever circumstances may be, my fears subside and my peace of mind grows.
Christians still trust God’s word when life seems harsh and unfair; when our life grows more complex and mysterious. For there we still read: God is our refuge and strength. And underneath are his everlasting arms. Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 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.
God’s word continually reinforces our spiritual lives, even as we’re hard pressed on every side, for we aren’t crushed; we’re perplexed, but not in despair; we’re persecuted, but not abandoned; we’re struck down, but not destroyed II Corinthians 4:8-9.
God’s Presence unfailingly lowers our fears as it raises our expectations. And unfailingly charges us to take courage when opposed or hurt, to advance when attacked and to persevere when all seems lost, God doesn’t care and we don’t matter. End Part III