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Monday, September 25, 2017

As Just as It Gets

Does God treat each of us equally? He doesn't keep the rules for all of us. He doesn't call us, answer us or gift us equally. God has different plans for each of us. He treats us all the same by making sure that He treats us in equal love. He has plans for us. Great plans.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Greatest Comes out of Humility

I suppose I have tried to be humble because I know that God gives grace to humble but opposes the proud. I need His grace. I have no great natural qualities that would allow me to do anything significant in my life. I am not especially smart, handsome or charismatic. My voice is far from mellifluous.  I am short in stature and I often stutter when I speak. Yet, even all these special qualities haven't made me humble.

God does great things with humble people. He allowed Joseph (Old Testament) to be thrown in a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery and falsely accused into prison before he would become the second in command in Egypt. Samson was blinded and a slave before he accomplished his greatest feat. Peter denied his Lord. Paul was blinded on the Damascus Road. And consider Moses:

Numbers 12:3 (NIV)
3  (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) 

Think of the greatness of this man!

What is humility? I believe it is setting aside yourself for someone more important. It is seeing that someone as more important than yourself. In fact, it is not elevating yourself or promoting yourself. It is knowing that everyone else has something to contribute rather than trying to do it all on your own. It is really believing these things. Acting humble does not necessarily make you humble.

Few people will pray for humility because they know that God may just give it to them. He may allow them to become blind, infirm or suffer loss after loss until humility appears. Many people would like to be humble if they didn't have to go through the process of getting there.

What can God do with a humble person? He can lead a nation, bring a whole people out of oppression and start a spiritual awakening to His presence and His will that will encompass the world.

I want to be humble, but I am not really humble yet. I believe God would do great things if I was.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Getting Right, Doing Right, Being Right

This message describes the three judgements mentioned in the Bible. It explains the differences between them. It tells what a person who has gotten right with God must do. It explains what the result of getting right and doing right is. There should be peace in the life of the believer.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

I Have a Hate Log in My Eye

We are certainly a country divided. However, we are as divided in what we say and what we actually do as we are politically. The people who castigate others for racial hatred are embracing political hatred. It is as if there is virtue in hating the haters.

Recently I made a point in a sermon: "The logs in our eyes keep us from seeing the logs in our eyes." So many people fail to see their own hatred when they denounce the hatred in others. If people are not born hating, who taught these people to hate like this? Let's not blame this on someone else. We are responsible for our own hatred.

Things don't have to be this way. It is possible to turn away from the hatred. It is a conscious decision. It is a spiritual one, too.

I do not have the ability to love some people. It is not within my flesh. Asking me to love someone that I naturally despise is like asking me to slam dunk a basketball. I can work at it and possibly get closer than I am today but slam dunking a basketball is not in my future no matter how hard I try. I need help.

So, I must rely on the One who has promised to be my Helper,  the Holy Spirit. The Spirit changes me from within. Here's an example.

A few years ago there was another pastor that I didn't like. (I hate to use the word hate It is more truthful than I would like to admit.) So, I criticized him for everything he did. I said that he made believers doubt their salvation when he had a large number of baptisms. I said that he didn't respect God when he wore his hate in the church sanctuary. I said that he was full of himself. The man couldn't do anything right in my eyes.

The Holy Spirit convicted me of my feelings toward this man. The Bible clearly revealed it.

1 John 4:11-12 (ESV) 11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

The love of God was not being perfected in me because of my hatred for this man. I was like one making a whole lot of noise but saying nothing when I spoke of love (1 Corinthians 13:1) The problem was within me and I needed to be changed.

So, I committed to praying for this man every time I passed by his church. That means I did so about ten to twelve times a week. I prayed for good things to happen in his church. I prayed that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit. I prayed that his church would grow. I prayed that he would personally prosper.

An amazing thing happened without any effort on my part. I started to see the good things this man was doing. I saw how he loved the Lord and sought for souls to be saved. He became someone I look up to. And love replaced the hate.

Do I expect people who hate to start loving on their own? No more than I could expect it in my own life. The world needs Jesus if hate is ever going to be conquered. And those who have Jesus need to start doing good things for those they hate. It may be prayer. It may be helping them. It may be giving  them something.  It won't be sitting around hoping for change.

Yes, Christians hate, too. They hide behind righteous indignation, theological correctness and ethical superiority to do so sometimes. Hatred speaks much louder than our self-declared righteousness, theology and ethics. God must get the logs out of our own eyes if we are ever to see the logs in our own eyes.

God is still working on me. I haven't arrived, yet. And each time God removes a log, my eyes feel better.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Big Payday

We sing "It Is Well with My Soul: but often nothing is going right. We come to church and pretend with the other pretenders that we are right in the middle of God's will. Maybe we think we are the only ones who have the struggles that are ours alone. Meanwhile, God gives us the opportunity to come home. Some need to listen to God's call for salvation. He is giving them an opportunity to repent. Others need to go with God wherever, whenever and however He calls. In either case, there is a big payday. Some will walk into the presence of the Lord one day and hear, "Welcome, my good and faithful servant." Others will hear, "Depart from Me." God gives us the opportunity t repent. Failing to do so "thinks down" on His grace. Regardless of what we do, a big payday awaits.

Monday, August 28, 2017

No Place to Hide

There are two groups of people hiding in the church. One group is comprised of church members and attenders who think they can stand before God on Judgement Day because they have joined the church and been baptized. They know deep in their hearts that they have never made a saving commitment to Christ. The second group excuses themselves from praying and sharing Christ with their friends because these friends are good people. They know their friends, loved ones, co-workers and neighbors don't know Jesus as Savior but they hide behind a false hope that God will let them into heaven because they are good people. This message comes from God's Word. God's Word leaves no place for either of these groups to hide.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Enemy Within

Why do we get so upset with others in their pride? Why are we beside ourselves when we see someone cutting in line or not doing what they should? Could it be that we recognize the faults in others because we have the faults ourselves?