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.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How will you be remembered?

What will your memorial be? When people consider your life years from now what will they be thinking about you? Don't figure we will make the history books but what will probably happen is that we will be remembered by the lives we've touched in some way.
This Sunday we will be remembering those who have served and some who have given their lives so we may enjoy our freedoms. These who have died gave the supreme sacrifice. I don't want to ever forget those men and women.
In Matthew 26: 6-13 Jesus said a certain woman would be remembered by her act of sacrifice and adoration spurred by his approaching death. She had a compassionate loving heart toward Jesus and she has not been forgotten. Her example teaches us some important truths.
Her action showed that love is shown through service. She did something to show how much she loved the Lord. She didn't worry about the cost of the gift she gave him. Too often thats all we think about. What's this going to cost me? This woman knew what was important and she acted on her belief with a personal sacrifice.
May we be willing to show the same service, giving, and obedience to our Lord!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Western Christianity

"Come over to (Europe) and help us," pleaded the Christian in the apostle Paul's dream (Acts 16:9). Paul heard the cry, and Europe became the crucible of Christianity and the most influential continent on the globe. But now, the "glory has departed," as Europe's churches empty out and in the west generally the Christian worldview is in retreat. As an African Christian said recently, "The world-church is having a feast, but the West hasn't turned up at the table." Philip Yancey offers a stark observation: "God goes where he's wanted."
Since the end of WW II church attendance has roughly halved, and the under-thirty generation is hardly bothered with church at all. England had 5.4 people who attended church. By 1f998 that number had falled to 3.7 or 35%, and that during a time when the population increased by 5 million. Even in the U.S. which had remained fairly constant at 30 to 40 percent of the population, there is no room for complacency as the mainline churches also have lost 50% of their members. The younger generation exhibit a determined indifference to church life.
I think we are beginning to see the "great falling away" that the book of Revelation speaks about. A time when Satan has his day and killing of believers grows worldwide once again as it is already happening in some countries. A time where to name the name of Christ might mean death. I have never seen such disrespect for the things of God as I'm seeing today. I have to wonder how much longer God will put up with America's sinfulness. We need to humble ourselves and pray and repent and renew our zeal for the Lord.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is there life after death?

While eating breakfast with a group of men at a prayer breakfast a young waitress asked me if there was life after death. She said she had been worrying about it and could I give her some help. That was like saying sickem' to a bull dog for a Baptist preacher. She is a sweet young girl with two children and I have known her as our waitress for some time. I shared with her that there is a life after death and this is how you prepare for it.
Sir Michael Faraday was a great Christian scientist and as he lay dying a newspaper reporter said to him, "Sir Faraday, knowing that you are about to pass into eternity, what are your speculations about the great beyond?"
With a glow on his face he said to the reporter, "I know nothing about speculation, sir, my hope is built upon him. 'I know whom I hve believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day.'
When I stand in the presence of death as I have done so many times I am not interested in speculation or in guesswork. I want some word of assurance about the life beyond that I can share with the family.
God gives us great assurance when Paul writes in II Corinthians 5: 1-8, "For we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." My friend eternal life is promised to all who accept Jesus Christ into their heart to be LORD and Savior. We shall live again and it will be eternal life in heaven with our Lord and Master. Praise Him throughout eternity!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Living In Peace

I believe our world is winding down as we have known it! I'm ready for the Lord to return. I'm sick of the sin and decay of our own country. I'm sick of the crime, immorality, and selfishness I see around us. So I say maranatha! Even so come Lord Jesus. Then I will know true peace.
How does one find peace in this world? Well first one must put his total faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. One must be willing to yield to him and make him the Lord of life. I believe one ought to follow the Lord in believer's baptism and get active in a church because your now a part of God's family, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. After one makes that decision you have many promises from the Word of God.
I find great peace in troubled times from Psalm 34:7 where it says The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them. Since my teen years I have had the deep personal belief that God will always take care of me. I have had some narrow escapes and difficulties like all living, but God has always protected me. Scripture teaches that God has a plan for each of us and He watches over His own. I believe with all my heart that as long as we walk with the LORD and serve Him He will keep us safe until He is ready for us to come home.
Sometimes I get discouraged and God reminds me the battle is His. Sometimes people hurt us and we're reminded by the Holy Spirit how many times we hurt our Lord by our sin and disobedience. Sometimes I'm afraid and this Scripture reminds me God is looking out for me and I find a peace deep within. Not because I'm afraid of God in the worlds sense, but I have a deep abiding reverence for Him in my life. Because He's my Lord and I reverence Him in my heart and life I have His peace. Hope every reader has this same peace.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pastors Make Hard Decisions

Pastors have a difficult job in many way, contrary to the 'He only works on Sundays' mindset that many people have. For one thing, spiritual stress is very strong. It's why some pastors die young, on average. Some decisions that one must make are very hard.
Sometimes we just should do nothing but the hard thing to do is be obedient in the right thing. A good pastor will be a good undershepherd who is willing to do the hard things...like Paul.
In II Corinthians 7: 1 Paul said "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and Spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
Paul is talking about the promises at the end of chapter 6. If we will obey Him He will be a real Father to us. He can deal with us in that close relationship. It's not talking about us coming out and being separate or we'll lose our salvation. It does mean if we do not lead a clean life, God can't treat us as a Father would want to treat His child. We'll not experience His power in that relationship. God wants to be a real Father to us.
The blood of Christ cleanses us from our sin but we must have a daily cleansing from the contamination that enters our life so easily. When I receive the Word in faith and I act upon that Word, I am cleansed from all the filthiness of the flesh. John said "Sanctify them through they truth: thy word is truth" (John 17:17). The best cleanser in the world is the Word of God. The Holy Spirit will use it to clean us up and enable us to deal with the sin in our lives.
During my years in the ministry it has been hard to live down the failures of so many famous TV preachers who failed morally in some manner. Respect for a pastor is something that must be earned these days by living an exemplary life. For respect is not automatically given for all of us are lumped into the same mold as the famous failures. It's important we live clean lives.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cons and Cover-ups

In my opinion there are many good people being conned by many TV and mega church preachers. Cons and cover-ups claiming to be Christian are not new and neither are the Elmer Gantry's out there. A monk named Johann Terzel conned the commoners of his day into buying indulgences that would allow them certain freedom to commit certain sins. He took the Catholic creed on purgatory and reduced it to this quaint little couplet:

As soon as the coin the coffer rings,
The soul from purgatory springs.

Much of the faith movement today says God doesn't want you poor and God doesn't want you sick. They prey on poor people who are suffering in some manner or who are in destitute financial straights. I don't believe you can show me anywhere in the Bible where it says a Christian will never be sick, never be poor, never have harships as we live in this world.

Those early Christians suffered and died for their faith. They became outcasts and criminals in the eyes of the Romans. Jesus said he was sending us into a world where it was like sending sheep into the middle of wolves. He said we would be hated in this world if we named the name of Jesus. Jesus is always a trouble maker. People don't like their sin exposed so they hate Jesus and they hate his followers.

Also we live in a fallen, broken world. It's because of sin. Death is the result of sin. Everyone is going to die unless Christ returns during their life time. Scripture says, "It is appointed unto men once to die and after that comes the judgment." Death is a certainty and we'd best be ready for it by being in Christ. Don't fall for the idea that being a Christian will make you immune to suffering, disease, or poverty. The promis is that God will be with us through all our suffering and life experiences.
Study and read the Scriptures for yourself. Don't be spoon fed or say amen unless you know it is the truth.