Wednesday, August 8, 2012

When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder

When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder..Who'll Be There?

As a young man I remember singing "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder" in church often.  It was written by James Black in 1893.  Have you ever wondered when that roll is called up yonder at the Great White Throne judgment who will be there?  I have and I've learned that God not only loves the whole world of humanity, but he loves individuals enough to write their names down in a book in heaven, and Jesus said we should rejoice, because our names are written there (Luke 10:20). 
     In Philippians 4: 3 Paul talks about the Christian workers there in Philippi whose names are written down in the book of life.  Hebrews 12: 23 speaks of born again believers whose name is written down in heaven.  Revelation 21: 27 reminds us that the only ones who will enter the heavenly kingdom are those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. 
     I believe there is more than just this life.  God created us and knew us when we were in our mother's womb.  He wants a personal relationship with us.  He wants us to know Him.  Our sin, our selfishness, our going our own way keeps us from having that relationship.  We each and everyone has sinned.  But thanks be unto God that through the blood of Christ we can be forgiven if we are willing to repent, turn from our sins and accept Jesus Christ into our heart and life.  That word repent means to forsake our sin and turn to follow Jesus Christ.   When we do that our names are written down in the Lamb's Book of Life. 
     Yes one day the roll will be called up yonder...will you be there?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Temptation Can Be A Fatal Attraction

In the prophet Hosea's time Israel could not resist temptation and it led to their demise. When the Israelites first arrived from Egypt, after the Exodus, the most popular religion of the land was worship of Baal, a god who promised fertility in family, flocks, and field.
The Israelites bought into it and started worshipping Baal which means they broke the first of the Ten Commandments. But they also took part in sex rituals that were a part of Baal worship. The shrines and temples of Baal included temple prostitutes both male and female. A Baal worshipper had relations with them as a way of requesting Baal to grant them many children, large flocks, and an abundant harvest.
Hosea preached against this. "They will have sexual relations with the prostitutes, but they will not have children," he argues. Hosea put the blame squarely on the men of Israel. "The men have sexual relations with prostitutes and offer sacrifices with the temple prostitutes. A foolish people will be ruined." (4:10, 14)
In America we have a lust for sex. I'm surprised Baal is not openly worshipped today because of the propensity to succumb to sexual temptation exhibited by so many in America and pornography is a billion dollar business.
There are two ways to deal with temptation. You run to it, or from it. The Israelites in Hosea's day ran to it unlike their forefather Joseph who ran when faced with sexual temptation. As God punished Israel how long before He takes His hand off the American people? Pray for a return to the Creator God on the part of our people.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What's Up With Morality?

A few years ago, young women blushed if they were embarrassed. Today, they are embarrassed if they blush. I find myself not easily embarrassed anymore. After 37 years of observing, pastoring, counseling, and talking to people there is not much I have not seen in terms of moral behavior.
Some boys held a little experiment one time by placing a frog in a container of water and they began to heat the water very slowly. The water finally reached the boiling point and yet the frog never even attempted to jump out. Why? Because the changes in the environment were so slight and slow to occur that the frog didn't notice them until it was too late.
As Christians we can end up like the frog. There are changes that have occured in our moral environment that we don't even notice have occurred. We can be dying without even noticing it morally speaking.
We have been schooled by entertainers to laugh at what was once considered improper and vulgar. Some psychologists have said anything you do is okay as long as it doesn't hurt someone else. People are classified with the radical right if they have any moral values that they hold to be true. I believe there are boundaries for human beings. I believe there is right and there is wrong. I believe the Bible, rightly enterpreted, teaches us how our Creator wanted us to live. It is the owner's manual for a believer. Yet it too is maligned and criticized but it cannot be done away with. What's happened to morality? Everyone does what is right in their own eyes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Back in 1675, some nine years after the terrible fire in London, Sir Christopher Wren himself laid the first foundation stone in what was to be his greatest architectural enterprise---the building of St. Paul's Cathedral. I've been in that beautiful building. It took him 35 years to complete this task, and when it was done he waited breathlessly for the reaction of her majesty, Queen Anne. After being carefully shown through the structure, she summed up her feeling for the architecture in three words: "It is awful; it is amusing; it is artificial."

Imagine how you would feel today if words like these were used to describe the work of your life! However, Sir Christopher Wren's biographer said that on hearing, he heaved a sigh of relief and bowed gratefully before His sovereign. How could this be? The explanation is simple: In 1710, the word awful meant "awe-inspiring," the word amusing meant "amazing," and the word artificial meant "artistic." What to our ears might sound like a devastating criticism were in that time words of measured praise.

There is no doubt a lesson in that story for those who would quibble over the relative merits of the various Bible versions and translations. Shades of meaning cannot alter what God has revealed in his Word. God is bigger than we can imagine and He is always at work.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

God's view of modern worship

I wonder how God views the way the modern church worships: Welcome, announcements, three hymns, offering, special music, message. I wonder if He gets bored with our rote and ritual and heartless worship. Matt Redman has a book out entitled "Facedown." It's worth reading as he speaks about the awesome power, majesty, holiness, and strength of God. Worship of this God has always caused people of the Bible to fall facedown.
Moses, John, Paul, Isaiah and so many others when they were confronted by the Holy God. Yet when modern day believers come to worship they want it short and sweet without much cost. No knee bending, no face down, no repenting, no confession of sin, no freely opening of the heart to what God might want to say to them. The preacher has become a star rather than a leader of our people to reverence, respect, adore, love, and fall facedown before our mighty God.
To many Pastor's try to please people and encourage church attendance and giving rather than encouraging people to fall in love with Jesus and give Him the adoration He deserves. Teaching a culturally acceptable gospel rather than a life-changing, radical moving away from the old lifestyles we once adhered to. Following Christ is a slap in Satan's face. It makes the ungodly mad. The truth sets people free though and thats what we must teach. God is moving around the world and convicting hearts and revival is breaking out in many places but not the U.S. We have lost that sense of God's power and holiness. We must recapture it if there is to revival.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What Do I Know of Holy

A recent song asks the question, "What Do I Know of Holy?" I began to think that God calls us to be holy, but what do we know of holy? God is holy (I Peter 1: 15-16; Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:4). When we speak of the 'Holy Spirit", we're saying the Spirit is holy. If we are 'indwelt' and even 'filled' with the Spirit, does it mean holiness is in us? But what is holiness? Following the law? A saintly countenance? Churchly achievement? Excellent performance? Good deeds? Being super nice to everyone?
The holy life is simply living as someone who belongs to God and who lives by the vision of the Kingdom of God. Were it only that simple. For we, on our own, don't have much to work with. We can't rightly envision what a life of holiness is, and even if we could, we couldn't get ourselves to be that way. So, the Spirit brings us into the holiness of Jesus. Thanks to the Spirit working through your faith, Jesus is really there with you and within you, giving you Jesus' holiness. It is given to us by God's grace.
Some emphasize biblical standards of holiness. Sometimes it becomes legalism. Firmer roots come when we admit we are broken creatures. Even our vision of what makes for holiness is marred and twisted. We are strangers to God's ways. We must pray for the Spirit's leading. Without the Spirit's work, we not only cannot know God, but we also fail to discover our true selves. The Spirit, through the Bible, shows us what a God-pleasing life is, and leads us to want to live it and treasure it.
If you need Godliness, only God has it, so only God can give it to you. It's all because of what Christ has done. Else what would I know about holy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Time Off

Well Monday begins a two week vacation. I will be in Gulf Shores Alabama just in time to see all the oil floating into the beaches. Our condo is right on the beach and I enjoy walking early in the morning and late evening on the beach. Hope the oil does not ruin that possibility but I feel it will.
Man has a way of ruining the planet it seems. Mostly its done in our efforts to make money. Many companies and entrepreneurs don't take into consideration the possible damage done to the planet due to their efforts. But also some areas of TX look like a dump because careless people throw trash out their automobile windows with no regard for the land.
But man's activities don't end with the planet. Lives are ruined because of selfisness and sin. We have a tendency to think only of ourselves unless God enters our lives through faith in Christ. I think that is the best definition of sin: Each man doing his own thing in his own way regardless of what our Creator has said in the Bible.
Our prisons are full because we kill, steal, use other means to get what we want regardless of who else it hurts. Man is a pretty small package without the life changing truth of God guiding his life. We are incapable of genuine unselfish love apart from knowing the love of God. We can't be graceful unless we have experienced God's grace. We won't be merciful unless we have experienced the mercy of God. Get into your Bible and discover the love, grace and mercy of God in Christ Jesus.