During the 60’s, political activism was encourage for everyone to be involved in the shaping our country. Many pastors thought that this was a way to keep the influential power of the Church. It worked for a time because the general thought was that we are a Christian nation. Churches were involved in political campaigns. Many Christians won. More people were interested in programs than the Gospels. It was and is a popular way to run a church. It isn’t the first time this has happened. It happened in the 1st century with the new Christian church. Ephesus was the center of Christianity in the 1st century. Read Ephesians then read Revelations. In 40 years, Ephesus went from a powerful Christian church, to a church on the brink of failure.
Rev.2:4 “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”
The point of Christianity is to love God above all others or things. You want people to have Christian values, first they have to be Christians. The Gospels will show them the way.
When I was a child one of my favorite games was being a soldier. I saw the glory and honor in a soldier’s life. I saw the dedication of the soldier to winning the battle. I wanted to have those attributes in my life. As I got older I saw the real cost of being a soldier and was not as enthusiastic on living that life. But the funniest thing was that I was called to that life, as every believer is. We are called to endure hardness, not entangling ourselves in the cares of this world. We have offensive weapons, the sword of the spirit, the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. With training, we can use these weapons effectively to win battles. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” It’s sad to see that most weapons are rusting because of they aren’t used for anything. Don’t expect the weapons to work if you have not practiced with them. Be diligent and train, because you don’t know when cancer or divorce will show up at your doorstep.
How many people do you know including yourself, that struggle to achieve what they believe is their station in life. They want the biggest and best there is to offer in life. When I first started walking with God, He told me not to look at catalogs. He said it genders greed. God wanted me not to look at my life but the lives of ours and to see their needs. No matter what station in life they have, people are basically the same. Everyone has the same needs. In 1983, the Year of the Bible in the United States, Gallop poll took a poll in the US, to see what people wanted most in life. Not only were they surprised by the answer, but amazed at the three basic needs in life. The poll showed that people wanted love, joy and peace most in their lives. By the way, that is the first three gifts of the Holy Spirit that God gives freely to man. Look around and listen to see the needs of people.
Iron sharpens Iron. I saw this on a sign for a popular bar and grill. I wondered what in the world. It’s a scripture from Proverbs. Solomon asked God for Wisdom. Wisdom is understanding with experience. Solomon spoke over 3000 proverbs in one day. This is one of those proverbs. It is Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” The meaning of the proverb is it takes a friend to help you achieve your personal goals and that with a lot of abrasions. So when a friend is telling you the truth about something, remember you need that friend to help you. I am still amazed by what people do. If you want to read what Solomon figured out what life was really about read Ecclesiastes.
When we were born, our lives were about receiving what we needed to live. We had to eat, to be clothed, to sleep and to be cared for. As we got older, we became more independent or so we thought. We went about our lives dressing ourselves, eaten what we wanted, and doing what we thought we should do. All the time believing that we were powerful and independent. We would live forever. There is nothing wrong with self-esteem. We should believe that we have learned enough to live in this world. But the idea that we are invincible or that we don’t need other people is a lie. A very craftily constructed lie that will kill you. We were designed to be connected to other people and would need that interaction to survive. It is a rude awaking for most people that they need someone greater than themselves to survive this world. God put that need in us so we would find Him. The goodness of God leads us to salvation. No one can find that salvation on their own. God has to bring us to the point of accepting His salvation. How far do you have to fall before you will accept God’s invitation to life?
People have a romanticized version of the human condition. We are made out of the dust of the earth and the breath of God. God gave us our mind, will and intellect. That is who we are. Then we are born and live on this earth to learn. We learn different things accordingly to our parents, locations and other people. Man has a capacity for doing good and evil. We are born knowing how to lie, steal and cheat. Then we are taught to be kind and gentle to our fellow-man. Although we were given the power of gods, we were not given to power to control ourselves. Look around and see the inhumanity to man that we are capable of. God shows us how we can walk on this earth and live like him. It takes courage to live righteously. It takes nothing to live in sin, but it costs us our own souls. The same problems we have today are the same problems people had in the beginning. The message from the beginning has never changed. We are sinners and are separated from God. If we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, God will forgives us and accept us into the kingdom of God.
The way the world is right now, everyone is trying to sell me insurance. Where they got my name and address is still a mystery. People I have never heard of are doing they level best to get me to buy insurance. It seems that I supposedly need insurance for everything. Folks, insurance is for only after the fact that something happens to you. Then it doesn’t cover everything. If the insurance company doesn’t want to pay, they don’t cover it. It is and always has been a poor replacement for assurance. Assurance isn’t based upon how much you pay or whether or not if someone is willing to pay. Assurance is based upon faith, trusting and believing. What do you trust in? What do you believe? Where do you put your faith? I always loved the stories of King David of Israel. Before David became king, he was King Saul’s general. He led the army of Israel into battle. God had promised David that one of his descendants would be the Messiah. David believed God and led the children of Israel into battle many times. He would run into the heaviest fighting and fought his way out. The people of Israel would sing songs about David’s exploits. This is assurance, trusting and believing.
Psalm 91: 9 “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”
I was reading in the Book of Matthew where Jesus was talking about the camel going through the eye of the needle. He was saying that unless a rich man puts down his earthy riches; he can’t enter the kingdom of God. The apostles where all amazed at what he said. Peter asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answered saying, “with men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” This is where I come in. God was showing me all the great men of God and their accomplishments. He began to tell me these were normal Christians. They did what was expected. That is a standard, the norm. They were normal Christians. Jesus said, “greater works shall you do because I go to my Father.” I am suppose to do greater works than Jesus and this is the standard. I looked at myself and saw that I didn’t even measure up to the standard. Who can be saved? Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Years ago, I was attending church in Lafayette, La. There was a young man who was a quadriplegic. He could only get around in a wheel chair pushed by someone else. A young woman was helping him with his parents. I was invited to his house by the young women. She wanted me to meet him. He could not speak with his voice, but had developed a system with a pointer on his head to point to letters or words on a board. It was arduous and painstaking to carry on a conversation. But he enjoyed talking to people. We talked for about an hour. It was interesting because there was nothing wrong with his mind only his body. We talked about many things, especially things of the Lord. The last thing he said to me, was what bothered him the most. He said it was the constant drooling that he couldn’t control. I began to cry, because I saw my sin. He couldn’t use his body and nothing could stop me from using mine. Yet I would complain. He couldn’t speak, but I complained when I had to talk to people. He couldn’t walk and I would get tired walking around. He loved life and showed me the truth spirit of Christ in him.
Do you remember 9/11? People were afraid. For almost 3 weeks the church in the US were filled with people. Then people weren’t afraid anymore and stopped going to church until the next disaster. Let count them. There has been a disaster every year affecting the US since 2000. It has slow but surely drained the monetary and human resources of the US. Now people look at disasters and go “Whatever!” Why is it that only personal disasters get our attention. Must someone died in your family before you will pay attention. We are to live our lives as if this day was our last. God never gave us tomorrow. What He does give us is now; today is the day of salvation; now is the time. Beyond that we have nothing. If God gives us 70 years of life, we are blessed. And I don’t care how good your money is or how good your doctors are. If it is your time to go, nothing will stop it. Look around and see what really is happening in this world. You will see people calling evil good and good evil.
Isa.5:18 “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope:19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”