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Friday, November 28, 2008

Changed Means Changes

For not even his brothers believed in him.
(John 7:5 – ESV)

One of the toughest problems I have experienced in my Christian life and witnessed in the lives of others is the tension between the old life and the new. I mean to say specifically those times when you have to learn to leave other things behind, and, when necessary, things we have grown attached to. Sometimes it means we have to leave behind our friends.

Now, you don’t leave them totally, at least not all of them right away, but you cannot do the things you did, you cannot go to the places you used to go, and so forth. You have a new Master to obey. This can be hard. You know you have changed, but what some don’t realize is that they are still changing. Believers who say things like “The Lord delivered me from so and so and I never wanted to go back again” only confuse the issue. God doesn’t always take away our desires, or the desire for our friends.

Jesus’ siblings had seen Him all their lives before He went out into public ministry. Suddenly it would seem that He was doing miracles, and gathering disciples, and considering human nature and family nurture, no wonder His immediate relatives were skeptical. When people grow up with you, even if you were a decent kid, and then you identify with Christ, it will be as it was with Christ. They won’t believe you are who you say you are, a Christian. They will think you are out of your mind for “trying” to change, and your old friends will think you are weird for not running with the pack (1 Peter 4:4). They will test you, and the trouble for some is they see this testing in the wrong way. They think it means they aren’t saved, but what it really means is that they are, they are also just on the way, in the process.

Just because you haven’t changed all the way doesn’t mean that you aren’t changed and that doesn’t mean you aren’t changing. You may still feel the pull of the peer pressure but all this should do is prove to you that you do need to renew your mind (Romans 12:2). You do need to cast down contrary thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5), and think on good things (Philippians 4:8). You do need to realize that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33). You must water that seed, till that soil, and grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

You must learn to be a twig before you become a tree. A twig can snap easily that is why it needs nurture, which is all the things we mentioned before, including bible study, prayer, fellowship, and the like. Twigs grow into trees in the terrain of the church. Outside is bad ground. You may think you are a tree, but if you aren’t in church, you are still a twig, because all of God’s trees are in God’s greenhouse, the church. Plant yourself in that pew, till that soil, water that seed, and watch yourself grow.

Things are different now, but it is not the decision to start but the determination to stay that counts. Thank God that what He starts He finishes (Philippians 1:6). But let me also give you a word of encouragement friend. God is the author and finisher of our faith, but He is also the performer of it. He ordains not only the end result but also the means to that end. That is why we can act with confidence and with a full assurance of faith (Philippians 2:12-13 / 1 Thessalonians 5:24 / Hebrews 10:22). When you are changed, expect changes. It is your destiny.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Harden Not Your Heart

But exhort one another every day… that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
(Hebrews 3:13 – ESV)

Some people have become so hardened against going to church that they don’t realize any of the benefits of being there. That is to say, they will not receive some of those benefits at all, because they cannot be had elsewhere, certainly not in isolation from the local church. Lets take a look at these verses from the third chapter of Hebrews and apply them to this situation.

Hebrews 3:12-13 – the deceitfulness of sin is what hardens you into unbelief, and you depart from the living God. He tells us how to avoid being hardened to unbelief, and how to help avoid the deceitfulness of sin, by exhorting one another daily, this means we need to be in church, and to fellowship with other saints! Of course if you aren’t plugged in to a local church, you aren’t plugged in to a fellowship whereby you can exhort your friends in Christ, and you in turn are not exhorted. You don’t make calls to them, you don’t visit them, and you don’t meet with them weekly in worship.

Hebrews 3:14 – If we have really become partakers of Christ, if we have really heard His voice, we will hold the beginning of our confidence (assurance) steadfast to the end. But it isn't enough to leave the matter at "if you are really saved, you will endure"; realize that God uses these warnings and appeals to our will as His appointed means to get us to endure; we work in accordance with His decrees (Philippians 2:12-13 / Colossians 1:29). How is it that church attendance, a thing you once considered important, is no longer a priority?

Hebrews 3:16-19 – it is not enough to make a good beginning (Mark 4:16-17). The difference between holding fast and departing from the living God is an evil heart of unbelief, which happens when the heart is hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, which we combat by exhorting one another daily, by prayer, and by being bold and boasting only in Christ (Galatians 6:14). Friends, this CANNOT happen if we aren’t in a local fellowship with like-minded believers. We won’t “enter in” because we won’t yield to God and what He is trying to do for us and through us and to us through the local church.

My exhortation to you: receive it; don’t harden your heart.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Saved to Serve

…there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ.
(Philippians 3:18 – NLT)

Paul had earlier spoken of the legalists (3:2-3), now he speaks about the libertines. You are to forget the legalist path, the “make your own way” types of the past, but you are not to swing the pendulum too far. Your obedience is not the root of your justification, as the legalists would say, but it is the fruit of your justification, as the libertines wouldn’t say. Good works does not save you, but you are saved unto good works. Grace is a teacher – Titus 1:15-16, 2:11-14. Some are not walking the walk (Galatians 5:25), and they talk a different talk. It is all about what they are allowed to do, they use liberty as license, and they are deceived.

Be aware of this fact: it is not those who don’t even claim the name of Christ that Paul is talking about in this passage, it is those who remain self-indulgent, who don’t press on to maturity, but who keep feeding their old man, and then try and justify it by saying that they are allowed, or even that it is somehow right. They are ripe for deception, and are already deceived. It is not those who are trapped in sin, even, that Paul is discussing and warning about, it is those who defiantly state that they are of Christ but who won’t take their self-indulgent old man to the Cross. This is why Paul says to be following him and those who walk right because there are many who don’t, and they are dangerous.

When you are saved, you are saved to serve, and that means others, not serving yourself, like the people Paul warns about here. When you won’t go to church, what are you doing? Think about it. In order to get your food, you must always do what? Serve yourself, and you never serve others, do you? And you prevent others from serving you.

Paul says beware because these types tend to try and gain converts to appease their conscience. Other biblical writers warn us also. Jude 1:3-5 – obedience is believing, acting in accordance with what you believe (that sin is bad and that Christ has delivered us from its bondage). Look at 2 Peter 2:2, 10, 14, 18-20. 2 (sensual), 10 (despise authority, i.e. they won’t learn in community they won’t follow patterns they must make their own), 14 (they try and recruit others who don’t know better), 18 (they appeal to the flesh of those who are still struggling with it), 19 (they talk of freedom but they are slaves to sin and self), 20 (they are unfruitful in their knowledge – Hosea 4:6-10 / 2 Peter 1:8).

Their end is destruction, whose god is their belly, or their own appetites; they live for the pleasures of the body, mind, and soul. Romans 16:18 – and they try and win others to this view, which is why they are doubly dangerous, it spreads because it is an easy way. Their feelings, emotions, and passions rule them, meaning they do what they want to do; their god is their own self-ish desires, with its self-indulgent agenda. They are proud of their liberty, thinking they are more enlightened than those whom they see as more narrow-minded, and they are constantly trying to defend their “right” to import this or that practice from the world. They are worldly, they thought they could be whatever they wanted to be, worship however they wanted to, and approach a holy God anyway they saw fit, and still keep Jesus too.

They wouldn’t let anyone correct them, they wouldn’t accept rebuke or be admonished, and they thought that they knew better. They are not broken by their sin and instead of falling on Christ, He will fall on them to their peril (Matthew 21:44). They wouldn’t suffer the death of the flesh; they are enemies of the Cross of Christ.

In this way are they enemies of the Cross: they may have thought they believed in it for Jesus, and indeed that is all it takes to be saved, believing Jesus died on the Cross for your sins is a saving knowledge of Christ. However, the bible clearly teaches that this knowledge if held in truth will cause a believer to also follow Jesus to the Cross. Godliness teaches us to become more and more repentant, our lives will progressively become more and more unlike the world, not like the world.

The degree of effectiveness in an individuals life is not the question, the resolve to do it at all or to deny the need to is the matter at hand (1 Corinthians 5), the desire to become sanctified in practice, rather than defiantly avoiding the possibility of going to the Cross for the gradual death of the self life, that is the question. In essence, they deny this saving knowledge in practice, if not in doctrine, by not believing in and following Jesus to the Cross in their own life. They became progressively more and more deceived, their faith was proven not to be real, and they are damned.

Those that won’t go to church wind up serving themselves and that isn’t why we are saved.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Need to Lead


Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
(Hebrews 13:7 – ESV)

In the Body of Christ, you are either a leader or you need to be led. Now everyone needs to be led by Christ through the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit, but there are also leaders in the Body, and those leaders are present in the local church body. You cannot be without a leader unless you are a leader, and truthfully, even leaders need to be led.

You may say that you have no leader but Christ. However, if you have no other leader then you must be a leader. If you are supposedly good enough to go it alone, which is not true, but hypothetically, if you were, then you would be needed to lead others. You would be called by Christ to lead in His church. By not leading you are disobeying a lot about what God says about the church and everyone having a role in it. The truth is, you are either not strong enough, which would be my belief about you, or you are strong enough and yet you won’t lead others. Either way you are wrong and out of the will of God. You either need to lead or need to be led and Christ leads those who know this; if you don’t you aren’t being led by anything other than yourself. Well, and the Enemy of your soul, the devil.

You need to be discipled and you need to disciple others. Catch that: even if you have been discipled and are ready to storm the gates of hell all by yourself you have the responsibility to disciple others. If you are such an ace why would you not want to serve your supposed Master by helping others earn their wings? Go ahead and fly your own solo missions and see if you don’t get shot down time and again.

Look at Hebrews 13:17 (ESV) – Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls… This verse assumes that there are leaders in the church. It is easy to see that there are those being led, of course. What this text doesn’t say, and what no New Testament text says or implies, is that there is a situation where there is no earthly leader. There are always teachers and those taught. You are one or the other or both. The truth is that we are all both. Well, except those that are neither. They won’t submit to teaching, and they teach no one. They might as well rip this verse right out of their bibles!

Consider 1 Peter 5:1 (ESV) – So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder… Are there elders among you? Not if you are by yourself! In life you are always learning from someone else, why would that change now? Christianity isn’t a graduation into an individualistic thing it is exactly the opposite; it is learning to depend on God by depending on others and them depending on you. If you are strong enough to be an elder, leader, or Sunday School teacher, then do that, don’t sit at home disobeying God’s call on your life.

Finally Titus 1:3 – But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching… I hope my preaching has manifested the truth to you. Listen, we are all are following something and someone. If you aren’t being led to being in the church you aren’t following Jesus.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Monday, November 24, 2008

One Man Army

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you,"…
(1 Corinthians 12:21 – ESV)

One of the most absolutely ridiculous ideas out there is the one that says we don’t need to go to church. The New Testament doesn’t even dream of such a thing, the letters and authors all take for granted that people will be meeting together. Saying you don’t need church is saying you don’t need the rest of the Body, but that is patently false. We are in a spiritual war; how can you expect to win battles for the Lord when you are running away from the rest of the troops?

How do all the body parts function together when they aren’t all together? Are you the whole Body? We know that cannot be true: "The body is not one member, but many" (1 Corinthians 12:14). Okay, so if you aren’t all of it, how can you function without the other parts, and how can you disrespect the other members of the Body? How can you go against the clear teachings of scripture such as “there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care, one for another” (1 Corinthians 12:25)? You cannot care if you aren’t there.

Listen to Charles Haddon Spurgeon – “We ought to regard the Christian Church, not as a luxurious hostelry where Christian gentlemen may each dwell at his ease in his own inn but as a barracks in which soldiers are gathered together to be drilled and trained for war. We should regard the Christian Church, not as an association of or for mutual admiration and comfort, but as an army with banners, marching to the fray to achieve victories for Christ, to storm the strongholds of the foe, and to add province after province to the Redeemer’s Kingdom.”

You aren’t some religious Rambo you need support troops, and they aren’t those programs on TV, the radio, or the Internet. I am all for electronic media and for using it to glorify God and to help myself and others grow, and I know it does. That being said it is no substitute for being there in that pew, listening to that pulpit, with those people face to face and in weekly fellowship with them as fellow soldiers.

The only one-man army that will ever have victory is Jesus Christ. Are you behind Him in the barracks with the rest of us, or are you out cavorting with the Enemy? It is one or the other.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Friday, November 21, 2008

The Difference

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance:
(2 Corinthians 7:9)

As a preacher, I want what God wants for you. I am not trying to get you to feel guilty; I am trying to get you to be godly. I want you to think about something, but then also to act on it. I don’t want you to feel guilty unless you get godly. The difference between feeling guilty and being godly is the difference between remorse and repentance. Not just feeling sorry and crying, but being sure and changing.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

All But One

"Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"
(Genesis 3:1 – ESV)

Satan tempted Eve with a focused plot, “we never have enough unless we have it all”. It was Satan’s sin, covetousness. God hadn’t said “not any”, He had said “all but one”, but when focused upon, that one forbidden thing seemed as important as anything. It continues today. It is now a part of our fallen nature; the one thing we can’t have is the one thing we must have.

This truth applies in many areas, but let us consider one “hot topic” from this perspective. If a woman is not supposed to be the leader at home, and the home is a model for Christianity and the Christian life, why then would that change for the church, a model itself? Is this Christlike? Jesus was equal with the Father but He functionally subordinated Himself for the sake of His role (1 Corinthians 15:27-28 / Philippians 2:6), and so wouldn’t it be more Christlike for a woman to do the same? Wouldn’t the biblical idea of submitting to not being able to be a pastor / elder / teacher of men (1 Timothy 2:12), in spite of our gifts, be an opportunity for Christlikeness not an obstacle to it?

You might say, “But I have these talents; and God has given them to me, so why shouldn’t I use them?” Indeed, you should, but in the way that God wants you to, and this is defined by His Word, not by His giftings. The temptation is great, but consider something first. Sure, you could preach and teach men and perhaps do it more effectively than any man in history. However, Christ had all the power of the Godhead, but in His role as Messiah, He was limited in using that power. He could have demonstrated His power by jumping off the Temple. To come down off that Temple would have been a powerful witnessing tool to proclaim His role as Messiah, but it would have been out of God’s will.

Just because you have the power to do something, or you could be effective at doing something, more effective than the current way of doing things, well this doesn’t make it right. The temptations of Christ in the wilderness teach us that it is not about what you can do, it is about what you should do. God allows us to be rebellious and out of order, but to be godly and Christlike is to be in order, as the Word of God defines it. Practical benefit is not the measure. If Christ would have turned the stones to bread, the next thing Satan would have said is “now feed the world!” The world may have been fed, but with ill begotten bread. Is this what you want?

When God says that there is something we cannot have, Satan says it is the one thing that we must have. When God says all but one, Satan says all or none. Then in a way, so does God. Think about it.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Speech and Reach

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
(1 John 3:16-18 – ESV)

As Christians we are to demonstrate sacrificial love for those of the household of faith, but also to those who are not (Galatians 6:10). As we lay down our lives in service, we are doing so as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23), knowing that our labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). This is the driving force behind our benevolence, and the truth is that Christians have shined as lights in the world (Matthew 5:16 / Philippians 2:15), and as showers of blessing upon mankind (Ezekiel 34:26).

Now it is also certainly true that many horrible things have been done in the name of Christianity. However, for all of our many problems, it is the church that has maintained the moral standards that are the fabric of our society. The church has built the hospitals, the schools, the orphanages, and was the backbone behind the civil organizations as they were born. The church fed the poor, and ministered to those whom the world forgot. It is the church that is the first to respond to disasters, personal, regional, and national, giving sacrificially and giving when no one is looking.

Yes there are humanitarian and other religious efforts not associated with Christianity that reveal God’s love in an indirect way by their sacrifices to help other people, and these give glory to God even if they do not subjectively do so, because objectively speaking, they show forth the fact that God shows mercy through other people and that the Christian ideals are the right ones. But this does not constitute saving faith or Christianity. It is not Jesus teachings, but Jesus Himself that makes Christianity what it is.

Now as Christians, when we do these things, but also by our words and hearts give glory where it really belongs, to God, and do so proclaiming the gospel while we do it, then we subjectively and objectively give glory to God, and not only are people helped, God is praised and pleased as we rightly give Him what He is due in a conscious fashion. It is not merely social action; it is spiritual action. We speak of Christ, and His sacrifice, as the ultimate demonstration of God’s love, which is why we reach out to others.

It is not that these things aren’t good, in many cases they are, but the fact is that as non-Christians they are not thanking God for them, and God is the source of all that is good. It is good that they do civil good, but it is God that has made them do any good at all. This speaks of common grace, but as Christians we must speak of saving grace as we reach out to help. Let us thank God that we can do any good at all.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

60 Seconds (22)

“TRUTH HAS FALLEN IN THE STREET”

Chuck Swindoll wrote, “In a world where everything has turned gray and become a blur, the Scriptures still mark the lines between right and wrong, between good and evil, between blessed and cursed.”

In Isaiah 59:14 – 15, the prophet, writing of the conditions of his day, stated, “For truth has fallen in the street.” He personifies truth as a victim of violence, like a man who has been beaten and stabbed, and he lies in the street fighting for his life. He gives five consequences:

JUSTICE, the ability to make right decisions is seen as one who has been driven out of the city, for “justice is turned back.” Previously, in verse 10, he says in looking for solutions to their problems, they resemble a person without eyes, stumbling in darkness. Jeremiah asked, “They have rejected the Word of the Lord, so what wisdom do they have?” (8:9). Dio Chrysostom said, “Like men with sore eyes, they find the light painful, while the darkness, which permits them to see nothing, is restful and agreeable.”

RIGHTEOUSNESS, living according to moral principles, is pictured as one who stands at a great distance from the city, “And righteousness stands afar off.” Humanism teaches, “There are no absolutes, no right or wrong, all morals are situational.” George Orwell showed in his novel 1984, when objective truth is denied, anything can mean almost anything else.

EQUITY, integrity and honesty, are seen as trying to enter the city, but cannot because of the corruption, “And equity cannot enter.” Philip K. Hitti, author of The Temperament of the Arabs wrote, “What a people believes, even if untrue, has the same influence over their lives as if it were true.”

TRUTH is disappearing, “So truth fails.” Jeremiah spoke of the people’s preference for religious leaders who said politically correct things rather than the truth (5: 30 – 31). Knowing that their way of life would ultimately bring God’s judgment, asked them, “What will you do in the end?”

THE RIGHTEOUS are mocked, “And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.” A. W. Tozer stated, “To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men.”

The Pennsylvania State Highway Department once set out to build a bridge, working from both sides. When the two crews met halfway, they were 13 feet to one side of each other. Alfred Steinberg, writing some time ago in the Saturday Evening Post, went on to explain that each crew had used its own reference point, stating, “Location by approximation can be costly and dangerous.”

A small bronze disc at Meades Ranch Triangulation Station in Osborne, Kansas, marks where the 39th parallel crosses the 98th meridian. The National Geodetic Survey, a federal agency whose purpose is to locate the exact position of every point in the United States, used this scientifically recognized reference point until the more precise reference system, the global positioning system (GPS). All ships and planes rely on the Survey. The government can build no dams, nor shoot off a missile, without this agency to tell it exact locations – to the very inch!

The reference point (or GPS) for life is the truth of the Word of God!

Proverbs 23:23, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it.”

Dave Arnold, Pastor, Gulf Coast Worship Center, New Port Richey, Florida
www.davidarnoldonline.org

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Monday, November 17, 2008

In the Name of God

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
(Exodus 20:7 – ESV)

Yes, terrible things have been done in the name of religion and for supposedly religious reasons. This has led many to declare that religion is the source of all man’s problems. Yet it is not religion itself, but men themselves whom are the cause. It is men who don’t truly know God but who are under the influence of their own dark hearts that use their religion to do their own will in destruction. It is the heart of mankind that wants to use some idea of a god to manipulate and control people, whether they are the masses or a relative few.

However, the answer is not to ban all religion, but to become more discerning. The problem is false religion held by false men. They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain! (Psalm 139:20) It is men who use religion as a cloak for their devious schemes. If society were actually interested in sorting through this mess and finding out the truth, they would take the time to properly understand and make the effort necessary to therefore represent what each religious system of belief actually teaches, and then they would have the information necessary to find the right one. Of course, that is but a vain hope.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Friday, November 14, 2008

In Every Way?

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
(Hebrews 4:15 – ESV)

But one who in every respect has been tempted as we are – we read this verse and we think, in our hearts, "No way, Jesus never had to deal with what I've got to deal with". Or perhaps, "Yeah, but Jesus didn't have the magazines, the billboards, the short shorts, the movies, the TV shows, or the computer in his face all day long". Or we think of some other modern manifestation of the old sins, and think Christ didn't have it as hard as we do. Or we tell ourselves that Jesus had the power of the Holy Spirit, and so He had the advantage, and the list goes on and on.

When we seriously meditate on the Bible and what it teaches about sin, we can see the truth of verses such as 1 John 2:16 – by this verse we understand that all temptation comes into three categories: pleasures, possessions, and pride/position.

He was tempted with all this in the wilderness (Matthew 4 / Luke 4) –

Stones turned to bread – lust of the flesh (pleasures)

Kingdoms of the world – lust of the eyes (possessions)

Top of the Temple – pride of life (position)

We know that Jesus was tempted numerous other times, but here we see that He was indeed tempted in every respect. If you have had cancer you can sympathize with someone else who has it, even if it is in a different body part, it is still the same disease. Jesus was tempted under stress and pressure to abandon the will of God, to use His divine prerogatives and find His own fulfillment through His own way, instead of relying on God for strength. That is what He was tempted with, and that is what we are tempted with, and He can sympathize with us. That is what Jesus was tempted with in the wilderness, that is what the Jews were tempted with in the wilderness, that is what we are tempted with, and the question is will we make it out of the wilderness by entering in? Will we cave in to the pressure, or enter in to the throne room?

Yet without sin – Jesus did not yield under pressure. Now this is saying more than that. He is the Son of God, and is impeccable; He was not able to sin. If He was peccable it would mean He was able to sin, but didn’t. He can’t sin, and He did not know sin but He did know temptation.

C.S. Lewis, imagining someone objecting here, said, “Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is . . . A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in . . . Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means – the only complete realist.”

Jesus did not have internal temptations to sin as we do, but Jesus had the limits of hunger, thirst, and weariness, and through these the enemy strikes. He sympathizes with the assault of temptation in times of crisis. Jesus knows temptation in a way we don’t, because only the one who never gives into temptation knows the full strength of temptation.

The pressure mounted until it reached its peak in the garden of Gethsemane. “If it be possible let this cup pass” was His cry, yet He also said, “not My will but Thine be done”. Unlike Christ, we feel the least bit of pressure and we go running back into the wilderness of our own worldliness. It is true that Jesus never faced temptation in an inner sense the way we do, because there was never a sinful nature pulling Him to sin from the inside. But He knew the strength and fury of external temptation in a way, and to a degree, that we can never know. He knows what we go through; He has faced worse. Thanks be to God that He passed every test.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Which Switch?

not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
(Ephesians 6:6 – ESV)

People sometimes think they can behave as they want to and still make themselves be good when “it really counts”, but they are fooling themselves. You’ll get caught off guard, unprepared, vulnerable in the darkness of your own deception, and in a moment that really counts. You see, holiness is not something you just turn on and off, like a switch. Holiness is a change of direction, a path, switching the road you are on and following a new way. It is actually switching into new life.

Now there is the false light switch, the one you turn on and off as you wish, and then there is the true light switch, the one Jesus turns on and doesn’t ever turn off, the light just gets brighter as you go along. The true light dispels the darkness, the false light just means you can see a little better but you are still walking in darkness all the same. The real tragedy is that when you are walking in darkness with a little false light you are recognizing that you need some light because you see how bad it really is to stumble around in the dark all the time, but you won’t let Jesus turn on the true light. Are you one of those who are walking in perpetual night?

Jesus isn’t some friend who lives inside your house that you invite out to play only when you feel like you are supposed to, or when you need it, or when it suits you. Friends that is artificial, sort of like a flashlight; the battery will eventually run out. The switch to holiness doesn’t just come on like a light you can turn off later, it is a light that stays on all the time, and it is a life. Are you following the flickers of a false light? It is time to make the switch that counts. To think you can just switch into holiness mode means that when you flip the lever, it isn’t actually the holiness switch but the hypocrisy switch you turned on.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Value the Vision

So these came to Philip… and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
(John 12:21 – ESV)

People often believe that God is able to help them, but they don’t believe He is willing to, at least not in their particular circumstance. They want to blame some curse or something else, but fail to see the plan of God. The truth is that they want to be helped in the way they want to be helped, and if they aren’t helped in that way, they don’t actually want to be helped, and they will grumble about not being helped.

Into this idea of wanting to see God help us walks Jesus. The passage from John 12:20-36 is very instructive in many things. Jesus teaches us that to die to self and to serve Him will bring honor from God the Father to that person who does so, and spiritual light will be the result. Walking in this light will increase our fruitfulness, our faithfulness, and our fulfillment in God and His plan.

We say we see this, and that we believe it, but then we ask, “Why is it so hard?”

This is not just about Jesus and the plan of salvation, but the plan for our personal deliverance from those sins that we cannot see our way out of. God uses the Bible and your individual experience to craft a personal attack plan for rooting out the sin in your life. Oh, it is the same methods and instruments as He uses for everyone else, but it is indeed a unique plan suited for you. The Holy Spirit is truly guiding the child of God to walk in faith, in the Spirit, to continue down Believer’s Boulevard, turning onto Repentance Road, finding Submission Street.

If you are willing to submit to God’s plan He is willing to help you see it more clearly, as far as the goodness of it goes, and to see how it shapes you, and to have a vision for knowing that He and His plan are righteous and to pursue His righteousness despite circumstances. This all takes spiritual vision, and our focus must be honed, and this happens through submission leading to obedience from the heart of the person who sees the value in it. You have to submit yourself to the vision, the plan of God for your life.

The truth is we don’t submit fully and so we see the obstacles to faith not the object of it.

This lack of true submission can be in particular circumstances that challenge our vision for faith, where we see Jesus as our all in all in general terms, but something else looms larger in the moment. We stop walking and the Light grows dim, we can’t see where we are going, and we fail to move from fear.

This lack of true submission also manifests itself in the larger arena, with people who struggle with an overall level of submission. For them their spiritual vision is mostly an idea, Jesus really isn’t in focus day by day, and He is just turned to when everything else is closing in on them. Many people want just enough God to get out of trouble, but only so as to try it their way once again. The problem with this is that if you get out of trouble, but you don’t get into truth, you will get back into trouble again. Your way won’t work, and you have to see that submission to God is the way into true fulfillment for you.

This is not about everyone else’s idea of God’s plan for you, but God’s own plan just for you. Be honest friend, you know some of it right now, you know how you have to start, and you just won’t do it, because you don’t believe it is actually right. You say it, but you don’t feel it, and so you don’t live it. The walk of faith is fraught with steps of submission, and your strength is in yourself, not in God, and you realize you cannot do it. You fail to submit once again, and you are on your knees, crying, or on your back, dying, or even on your feet, trying, but God just doesn’t seem to be helping you.

However, this plan, as you walk it out and value it, you will see the steps and learn to love the new you, instead of wanting to keep just enough of the old you to feel comfortable.

In either case, whether in momentary lapse of vision, or lack of any real focus within an individual’s life, the diagnosis is the same.

This is the true problem; people don’t believe God will do right by them, as far as their measures are concerned. They feel and live as if their ultimate good must also include their temporal satisfaction. They may indeed let God define a good ending but they define a good life.

You must follow Christ to the Cross by faith. There is no side road to salvation, or deliverance. If you want the power of God, if you want to learn to value the vision, to see how good God really is, you must go down Repentance Road, and make sure you stop at Submission Street. If you don’t, believe me, you will have made a wrong turn.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

60 Seconds (21)

HE IS ABLE

James Stewart, in his book The Wind Of The Spirit wrote, concerning the men of the New Testament, “They do not attribute anything to themselves…The constant watchword of the New Testament is not ‘We are able’: what you do find over and over again is ‘He is able’—and when they say it, they are looking away from themselves to God.”

On six different occasions, we find the expression “He is able” in the New Testament.

He is able to SUCCOUR. Hebrews 2:18, “He is able to succour them that are tempted” (KJV). “Succour” means “to come to the aid of.” The N.E.B translates, “He is able to help those who are meeting their test now.” Paul stated that when we are tempted, “God will make a way of escape” (I Corinthians 10:13). “Escape” has the connotation of a narrow passage out of a treacherous canyon. Remember, “When you meet temptation, turn to the right.”

He is able to SURPASS. Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” God promises in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” This last phrase means, literally, “to give you what you long for.” Spurgeon preached, “He cannot lie, He never will revoke His word. Has He said, and shall He not do it? He has spontaneously made the promise, and He will divinely make it good. Upon every promise the blood of Jesus Christ has set its seal, making it ‘yea and amen’ forever.”

He is able to SECURE. 2 Timothy 1:12, “He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” “Committed to Him” is an expression used for depositing something precious in a bank for safety. A. W. Pink assured, “Nothing is too great and nothing is too small to commit into the hands of the Lord.”

He is able to SAVE. Hebrews 7:25, “He is able to save to the uttermost.” The word translated “uttermost” indicates that which is complete, perfect, and final. An alcoholic became miraculously born again. A former drinking buddy teased him, asking, “You don’t really believe Jesus turned that water into wine, do you?” Although barely acquainted with the Bible, he answered, “Well, I don’t know much about that, but I do know that at our house He changed beer into furniture!”

He is able to SUPPORT. Jude 24, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling.” To the believers at Philadelphia, in Revelation 3:8, Christ stated, “You have kept My Word.” Then in verse 10, He promises, “I also will keep you.” Vance Havner commented, “There are two ‘keeps’ here. Because they kept the Word of His patience, He will keep them. They kept and are kept.”

He is able to SUBDUE. Philippians 1:21, “He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” “Subdue” is a military word meaning “to put under rank.” James wrote, “Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord” James 5:7. “Coming” is used of the invasion of a country by an army and the visit of the king. Christ’s return will be the final invasion of earth by heaven to overthrow evil and establish righteousness. A layman wrote a letter to his preacher friend, and instead of signing it, “Yours truly,” or “Sincerely,” he just signed it, “Until.” We are waiting until His enemies are made His footstool (Psalms 110:1).

HE IS ABLE!

Dave Arnold, Pastor, Gulf Coast Worship Center, New Port Richey, Florida
www.davidarnoldonline.org


“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Even Though

Then his servants said to him, "What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food." He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, 'Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me."
(2 Samuel 12:21-23 – ESV)

The child produced by the adultery of David and Bathsheba died, as the scriptures tell us. Within the circumstances surrounding this death we see something of David and his understanding of God, things that are instructive to us.

Even though it was David who had done something wrong, he sought mercy for the child. Even though God had already declared that the child would die (vs.14), David prayed fervently and fasted. Even though the child died, David saw Providence. This was personal, not chance, not bad luck, not an accident, not an unmerciful act of fate. There was still a purpose. If you do not believe this, let me ask you plainly, what is your alternative?

Whom the Lord loves He chastens (Hebrews 12:6). Instead of passing blame onto others or the devil, or our lack of faith, we need to see the truth. God struck the child. The God that is love, all knowing, all wise, and all powerful, we can trust Him. Even when facing consequences due to bad actions it is still good to pray. In Psalm 51 we see David proclaiming that God is clear in speaking and just in judgment. This was wise and good and we can say nothing else if we believe it was the Lord who did it.

Where are you going to find comfort when God strikes you in your most treasured areas? Fleeting fancies of a fantasy notion of faith, which fly away or come back to haunt us again? The child was punished for the guilt of another but it wasn’t innocent; all are sinners and deserve death. We may not understand the reasons but we can still trust God and His character.


“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Friday, November 07, 2008

60 Seconds (20)

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

Martin Luther proclaimed, “God alone has secret plans, and what He’ll do we will find out when it happens. We’ll leave things in His hands and cast our cares on Him, for it’s His cause that is at stake, and He will advance it.”

To fail to recognize the sovereignty of God, is to fail in all of life. In Psalm 67:4 we read, “For You...govern the nations on earth.” “Govern” means “To lead and guide them as a shepherd his flock.” The seal of one of the Waldensian churches pictures an anvil and a number of broken hammers, with the motto: “Hammer away, ye hostile hands! Your hammers break; God’s anvil stands.”

One purpose of the Book of Daniel is to demonstrate the overruling and providential power of God over all the affairs of man. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar, “That the living may know that the Most High rules in the affairs of men, and gives it to whomever He will” (4:17, 25 and 32). The word translated “Most High” is a title, and is used in Scripture for God only, never to a member of the human race in his role as ruler. It is a title to describe God’s absolute position of authority. He is the Most High. There is none other above Him with any right to rule. Psalm 83:18, “That men may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.”

Proverbs 21:1 states, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” The Hebrew meaning of “rivers” refers to irrigation canals which were under the control of the farmer. Three times in the book of Jeremiah, the Lord refers to Nebuchadnezzar as, “My servant” (25:9; 27:6 and 43:10). In Ezekiel 29:20, God said of the entire Babylonian Empire, “they worked for Me.” The heart of King Cyrus was turned to send the Israelites back to their homeland after 70 years of captivity. God pre-named him some 150 years before his birth, and in Isaiah 44 and 45, told what he would do. He even turned the heart of Artaxerxes to send provisions as well as people, for rebuilding the temple (See Nehemiah). Psalms 47:3, “For the rulers of the earth belong to God; He is greatly exalted.”

Circumstances do not alter God’s great sovereignty. For this reason, a follower of Christ will recognize His hand in times of prosperity (Deuteronomy 8:18), or in adversity (Job 1:12). On the Day of Pentecost, Peter preached that Christ was “delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God” (to be) “crucified, and put to death” (Acts 2:23). “Delivered” means “handed over,” and “determined purpose” means “predetermined plan” or “set purpose.” What man declared to be an unjust tragedy, the foreknowledge of God knew it was for our redemption.

F. B. Meyer reminded, “The Oriental shepherd was always ahead of his sheep. He was in front. Any attempt upon them had to take him into account. Now God is down in front. He is in the tomorrows. It is tomorrow that fills men with dread. But God is there already, and all tomorrows of our life have to pass before Him before they can get to us.”

“All I know is…everything.” – God.

Dave Arnold, Pastor, Gulf Coast Worship Center, New Port Richey, Florida
www.davidarnoldonline.org


“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yes He Can! (7)

And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
(Romans 4:5 – ESV)

We need grace not grit. People think they can stand together and vote for hope but they won’t all get to vote on which measures to take, and some will disagree, and so some will be left out as always. Just getting everyone into agreement that we can do something doesn’t mean we can actually do it. Especially because not everyone who agrees we can do it will agree on HOW to do it. That is and was and always will be the problem, how to do it, not the resolve to do it. Christ has done it, He knew what to do and did it and when we agree with Him we don’t have any more work to do in order to be saved we just work to proclaim it.

They say, “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” well the Bible says He is the one we are waiting for. They say theirs is the message for this time but the Bible declares our message is the message for all time. Yes He can.

People want the world to change, but it can change and often does, but not for the better. So people want the world to change for the better, for the good, but what do they see as good? They all have different ideas and God says none actually seeks for the real good, for the real God, and so they may change the word but it won’t be for the good, it won’t be for the glory of God.

Rallying behind some political movement in the guise of some humanistic spirituality that says, “yes we can”? We need to realize that God says no we can’t; but that doesn’t leave us without hope it turns us to the only real hope. Can we save the world, can we save our children, can we save our own souls – no we can’t. But can God save the world, can God save our children, can God save our souls – yes He can!

If you want the world to change you need to have your world changed. People want the world to change and it will change when the people are changed. Don’t look to the power of people look to the power of God, look to Jesus Christ. Can He change the world? Yes He can. For the redeemed the world has changed and the world will be changed. The question is will you be changed? Do you believe God can change you? Yes He can.

Did Christ pay for our sins? Yes He did. Will God deliver on all of His promises? Yes He will. Can God justify the ungodly and still remain perfectly just, righteous, and holy Himself? Can God have perfect mercy, love, and justice, all at the same time? Yes HE Can!

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

60 Seconds (19)

THERE IS A GENERATION

In his article, “The World’s Second Oldest Religion,” R. J. Rushdoony wrote, “Traditional Christian society as we have known it is on its death bed. Our society is not only secular in life-style and world view, but in thought and philosophy. As society, and for that matter the church, is shedding the garments of longstanding tradition, two alternatives are now open. One is to embrace and live under some form of humanism; the other is to come under the mandates of the Kingdom of God.”

In Proverbs 30:11 – 14, a generation is described. It is a class or kind of people who degenerate towards godlessness. Four descriptions are given:

1. A generation that curses its foundations and rejects Biblical authority. “There is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother,” verse 11. “Curses” means “to despise, to bring into contempt.” “Father” means “the foundation that protects,” and “mother” speaks of “the bond of the family.” It is a generation that rejects basic Judeo-Christian values that have been the foundation of stability and protection. William Penn warned, “If we are not ruled by God, then we will be ruled by tyrants.”

2. A generation that is religious, but not born again. “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness,” verse 12. To be “pure in its own eyes” is to develop one’s own personal idea of salvation and believe it to be true, even when it contradicts the Bible. However, the verse continues with “yet is not washed from its filthiness.” “Washed” means “cleansed,” and “filthiness” in the Hebrew means “to evacuate the bowels or to excrete.” This is a generation of people who have convinced themselves they are clean, but their hearts are as filthy as that which belongs in the sewer. “Christians” but not born-again.

3. A generation that becomes a god unto itself. “There is a generation – oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up,” verse 13. “Lofty eyes” and “eyes lifted up” are defined as man exalting himself and becoming his own standard of values, or lack thereof. Amos D. Millard wrote, “Humanism is a system of thought and action which holds that man is capable of self-fulfillment, peace on earth, and right ethical conduct without recourse to God. It is thus a religion which deifies man and dethrones God.”

4. A generation driven by a spirit of violence and devalues human life. “There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, and whose fangs are like knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men,” verse 14. John Paul II said, “Abortion, the deliberate killing of a human being before birth, is never morally acceptable and must always be opposed.” During his reign as king, Manasseh sacrificed his own children to idols and ruthlessly killed people, illustrating that what we believe deep within us has a profound effect on our behavior. Abortion, the ruthless and merciless slaughter of the unborn, is not just another issue, but it is THE ISSUE, because how we value one individual life, determines our view of all of life!

Acts 2:40, “Save yourself from the perverse (crooked) generation.”

Dave Arnold, Pastor, Gulf Coast Worship Center, New Port Richey, Florida
www.davidarnoldonline.org


“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes He Can! (6)

And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
(Romans 4:5 – ESV)

Do you need a revival in your soul? Then awake again, back to your first love. If your life needs a little life go back and revisit when you first knew you had it. Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I am found was blind but now I see, ‘twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved, how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.

Sometimes all we need is a little adjustment. We just moved some things around in our living room and the result was indescribable. The room was the same, the furniture basically the same, but we needed to do some rearranging to see more clearly how beautiful it all is. What you need is not novelty but freshness. You need to rearrange your life around God.

Has your experience in Christ changed you for the better? If not you need to check on the source you are drawing from: is it true or is it just you? Emotions (and emotionally moving experiences) can make life beautiful, but they often make lousy guides for determining the direction of our lives. Experience gets its value from the one who has it. Do you value what God has given you? If so then your experience will ripen the fruit of the Spirit in your life, and a little will always go a long way, and you will be growing in God. If not your life will rot and spoil on the vine. Perhaps you need to actually experience being justified by faith. Have you had that decisive moment where you have seen your inability and the availability of His grace? Have you repented from thinking you can do it all yourself and trusted in Christ who has done it all for you?

People want change; well they need to look again at when they were changed. Have you been changed? Then you ought to still be changing into the likeness of the One who changed you. Are you justified? Well then you are going to use your life as if you were forgiven. If all your debts had been paid you would have a different look; people would see that you were a changed man, that the burden had been lifted. Well let me ask you; are you a changed man or woman? Have the burdens been lifted? Are you justified by faith or are you still working it out for yourself? What the world needs, and what you need is not self-confidence, or self-esteem, but confidence in God, and esteem for Christ. Can Christ lift your burdens and give you assurance – yes He can.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Yes He Can! (5)

And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
(Romans 4:5 – ESV)

This truth, justification by faith, is what makes Christianity distinctive among all other religions of the world. The false prophets of the false hope think their cause is righteous but we declare only Christ is righteous. No matter how much good they can do if they do not do it for the glory of God it is unrighteous, it cannot justify them before God.

I don’t want to elevate you. I don’t want to show you how we can do it. I don’t want to simply excite you, because that will wear out. I don’t want to proclaim the power of people I want to proclaim the name of God. You could change the world but only God can change your heart. You could save the planet but only God can save your soul. You could justify yourself in the eyes of the whole world but only through Christ can you be justified before God.

While the rest of the world looks for a political savior or some religious savior that only tells them how they can save themselves, we look to God who through Jesus Christ can justify the ungodly and give them a hope for heaven.

Others make promises they cannot keep. They do not have the power. They could be in control of all humanity and still humanity does not have the power to save itself.

People say that they want to see a world without fear. My Bible says that perfect love drives out fear, and we see that perfect love in our perfect Savior Jesus Christ. Can you see it, if you are a Christian, if you are born again then the answer is – yes you can. We need to see the kingdom of God but unless we are born again we cannot see it. Can you see the kingdom of God?

People are looking for redemption but we do not have that power only God does, only OUR God does. I am redeemed by Christ not by cause. They are all looking in the wrong place because they cannot see any other way because they are spiritually dead to God. They must be born again to be able to see it. Can you see it, are you redeemed, have you been justified by faith?

They say that there is nothing false about hope, but it is nothing but false if you believe in a false hope. And the Scriptures here and everywhere proclaim in no uncertain terms that only through Christ is there any real lasting hope for today, for tomorrow, for eternity.

False hopes fade away and false messiahs come and go but only our Messiah, our hope, our God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the true living hope that we have been born again to, born again to see, born again to be, born again into realizing this and proclaiming this truth, this cause, this hope to a lost and dying world who is always looking to some slight glimmer of hope only to be tricked again into believing that they can muster up hope and have real change by the power of themselves and their unity. This is not hope, friends, this is hell and only Christ can deliver us from it and unite us in a reality and hope that is true for all times, for all nations, for all people. Can Jesus Christ give us a true and living hope – yes He can.


“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Yes He Can! (4)

And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
(Romans 4:5 – ESV)

This is the truth that anchors us in a real hope. Unlike all other hope it is not dependent on our efforts or other factors, but on God and His own character alone. As we see it demonstrated in the death of Christ we know that it is real, it is sure, it is hope we can count on, the only one. People are getting really excited about the false hopes of humanity but they depend on humanity and its goodness not on God and His. How can they depend on some collective consciousness when they cannot even depend on themselves? If people aren’t as good as them and they have trouble, how can they do this, why would they believe it?

They can say yes they can all they want but their own lives and the lives of the others who have messed things up in the first place (which is who they are depending on) these lives tell the true story that no they can’t. What makes them think they can unless they think they are God? That is the real problem; they think they are God. They won’t say it, but in their hearts they believe in the goodness of mankind, the ability to save ourselves. If they will just open their eyes they will see their demise without the true God. But unless God opens their eyes will they ever see – no, they can’t.

This truth is why we see the need for suffering and evil in the world – to continue to show us that we need the Lord. Can we stop poverty by our purity – no we can’t. Can Jesus Christ give hope to the humble – yes He can.

Ungodliness means not like God, not only in holiness but also in power. We cannot band together and take care of it all. Yes we should love all our neighbors and try and help where we can, and truthfully we would do a lot if people would get together, but it will never be enough. The truth is that we will never band ourselves in unity enough to be able to reach such heights that we can climb our way out of our own hearts. We love Him because He first loved us. We can love others with true love because we have received the true love, the eternal love of Christ.

They are looking to save the world we are looking to the One who saved us

They are looking to the power of unity we are looking to the One who united us

They are looking to the power of humanity we are looking to the power of divinity

They are looking to the divine within we are looking at the divine as Him

We don’t look to ourselves but to our God; we work not for justification but from it. We have the real hope and can we proclaim it in utter confidence, yes we can, but the only reason we say yes we can is not because of we, but because of He. It is not simply yes we can, but yes HE can.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Yes He Can! (3)

And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
(Romans 4:5 – ESV)

This is the truth we ought to be excited about more than any other. If we are not we need to examine ourselves, and indeed, we always need to be examining our lives as to how this truth is affecting us in the here and now. I believe one of the greatest errors to infect the Christian Church is the notion that justification by faith is only a ground level aspect of salvation. Because of this, the believer is told they must have further stages, additional works, or the experience of a "higher Christian life" beyond what was begun in justification. People get all excited about some new fad, some new personality, some new secret, some new way to tackle some old problem, some shortcut to happiness. If someone promises a way to do it other than the way God has laid out before us, we are all too happy to run and get it, to pay for it, to bow to it as we do all our other idols. It is time we reclaim and proclaim this ultimate truth. This is the gospel. Yes He can.

This is the truth that shows our God must be the real God, this truth exalts His holiness while also exalting His justice, mercy and love. It is not just that we don’t have the purity but we also don’t have the power. The power is not the purity, and even if people were untied perfectly around a single cause, humanity doesn’t have the power to stop the forces of nature let alone the fact that they will never achieve perfect unity because they don’t have purity of the heart. We might have some pure motives, perhaps, in a sense, some yearning for good, yearning for true meaning, but they cast it aside when it is right in front of their face in the person of Jesus Christ. How foolish to unite around a flawed notion of a common collective when we have the perfect purity and demonstration of divine power that has rippled down through the centuries still speaking to us of the reality behind the rhetoric of the Bible. Can humanity save itself – no it can’t. Can Jesus Christ save all that come to Him – yes He can.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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