Why I’m Glad Christ Died For Me

Jesus Christ was made a lowly human. Maybe we don’t think being human is all that lowly, but it is, especially if you are the Almighty God. He took on Himself the form of a servant becoming obedient unto death even death on the cross.

He was wounded, beaten, mocked, scourged, spit on, and He did this in our place.  On top of all that, the real tragedy of the event, is that He was forsaken of His Father. It pleased the Lord to crush Him. He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The pain of crucifixion is so intense they invented a word for it–excruciating, which means “out of the cross.” It is pain that comes from dying on a cross.

Lots of people died on crosses, doing such a thing accomplishes nothing. Unless the one dying happens to be GOD IN THE FLESH taking the wrath of God on Himself for the sins of the world.

I for one am really glad that Christ died for me because now I can get drunk, cuss and swear, fornicate, and all manner of lewd things and totally get away with it! It also means God will help me buy a new car and accomplish the American Dream. And when I get cancer, He’ll just go ahead and take that away from me!

Isn’t it great that Christ suffered for me so I can live up to my full potential and accomplish all my dreams? Amen!

You and Barabbas

Barabbas was a bad guy. At some point, Barabbas started a riot, stirring up a revolution. The punishment for his treason was crucifixion.

As we know, Barabbas was released and Jesus Christ was crucified in his place.

Barabbas got off the hook and Jesus got on.

This is salvation.

Christ took your place. You should have died there, but instead He did while you were released.

I often wonder what happened to Barabbas. Did he repent? Did he start another revolt? Was he able to sleep at night?

I don’t know, there is no information about the rest of his life. I imagine he is like many who could benefit from deliverance and yet wallow in bondage.

What shall we do if we neglect so great salvation?

In Which My Hatred of Camping Illustrates Eternal Truths

Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 5 that we currently live in a tent, but we have a house in heaven. Instead of living to take care of your tent, live to prepare your house in heaven.

This is great advice! If we understood the eternalness of eternity and the temporalness of everything on earth, our priorities in life would shift immediately.

“If you love the world or the things of the world the love of the Father is not in you,” is how John puts it. “No man can serve two masters, he will love the one and hate the others, no man can serve God and mammon (money, earthly stuff),” is how Jesus puts it.

Paul says, “We would rather be absent from the body and present with the Lord, so we labor that whether present or absent, we are accepted of Him.”

I love this idea. I love it for its simplicity in calling us to lay hold of eternal life, to glory in nothing but the Lord. I love it for its counter-cultural, rebellious, non-conformist, nothing binds me mentality.

I love it because it backs up an old prejudice I have against camping. Who wants to sleep in a stinking old tent when I can go home and sleep in my house? Is this not why I bought a house?

Live for the house, not the tent.

The Trap of Music

Many years ago I had a cleaning job from 8pm until 2am. During that time there was a radio on tuned to a classic rock station. Five hours every night for two years I got classic rock music jammed into my brain.

I know em all. Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Doors, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and many, many more. I have not purposely listened to classic rock for about 14 years now.

But every time a song comes on in a store or someone says a phrase all these words come back. The other day my wife said “People are strange.” Which inspired me to sing several lines of The Doors. “People are strange, when you’re a stranger. Faces seem ugly when you’re alone.”

I have not heard that song in years, but the words are still there. Most of the time I don’t even think about the words, what they mean, they just come out.

Music has a way of sticking in our brains. Lyrics, even if they are dumb or non-sensical, stay with us and come back with a little prompt.

In many regards, this is how people treat Scripture. We know what God has said, we can quote it, it pops in our minds, but it passes away and fades out. This is not a good thing. Ezekiel judged Israel like this,

“And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.”

We hear them, we know them, we can say them, but did they really sink in? Hey, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Nothing Doubting

Doubt is a killer. It keeps us from doing what is right. At the same time, doubt can save your life as it can keep you from doing what is wrong!

The Greek word for doubt means “double standing.” It’s a neat word picture. You keep one foot on solid ground and another foot out on the thin ice to see if it will hold.

Using doubt to test ice is a good thing. But if God commanded you to walk on the ice then doubt is a bad thing. Think of Peter walking on the water. Jesus grabs his hand as he is sinking and says “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt? (Why did you double stand)?”

Ever have one of those moments where you know what you’re supposed to do, an act of obedience to God and you are completely freaked out about it? I have one of those things right now. I know I should, but I’m afraid.

I’ll admit it readily, I’m freaked out. Don’t want to. Don’t even know how to really. I want to dabble in it, put one foot out, test the water. Actually, I’m not even sure I want to do that.

I hate doubt when it leads to doubting the wrong thing. The opposite of faith is doubt. Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief.

The Non-Adventuresome, Mundane Call of Christ

I was looking for something regarding the Great Commission and I came across a web site that described the Great Commission as “A timeless and wonderful adventure in faith for all Christians.”

Currently people use words like “adventure” and “extreme” or maybe even the hyper-radical “X-treme” for those who really like it on the edge, to describe the Christian life.

I understand the desire to do this. No one wants to say that following Christ is boring, that doesn’t really sound good or holy. But I have to be honest, it’s not exactly an X-treme non-stop adventure.

It reminds me of the local mini-golf course that promises “an unequaled miniature golf experience! The adventures and legends of infamous pirates come to life in our award-winning theme park settings.”

What this really means is that you’ll be surrounded by screaming kids who smack you in the shin with their putter and launch your scuffed up, nearly square golf ball into a scum-covered pond filled with cigarettes.

The problem with advertising the Great Commission as a great adventure is that it really isn’t, at least not in the way people generally define the word “adventure.”

In fact, what Christ is doing is calling people to a way of life. It’s a day-to-day existence with some triumphs and many failures. If you’re doing it for the thrills, expect to be disillusioned quickly.

We are called to run a race, not an “X-treme Gr8 Race” either, just a race. A long, tedious, injury filled race of faith. Our only advice for this race is–put off sin that besets us and run. Just run. Day in and day out. Run.

Keep running. Then run. Run some more. Do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. Just keep running until you reach the end. The prize at the end is the thrilling adventure. Make sure you make it.

Hammer Time

God’s Word is the greatest treasure we have on earth. This is our source of life,  joy and peace. This is the written word of God that makes people wise unto salvation. This is the quick and powerful sword of the Spirit. The word that fully equips a man to every good work.

The Word of God is usually talked about in all-positive terms. It’s something we delight in and cherish. But it’s a mistake to think of the Word as something that delights believers and something we cut up non-believers with. God is no respecter of persons, nor is His Word.

Jeremiah 23:29 is beautiful, it gets little attention in our favorite verses about the Bible. I’d like to shed some light on it. Consider it. Think about it.

“Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”

Oh, that’s some beautiful stuff right there. Have ya been burned my brother! Have you been smashed to pieces by the hammer of God’s Word? I can hear sermons already.

Boring Testimonies

Testimonies are cool things but often turn into disaster. I’m not sure how a guy can give a testimony when we are to “forget those things that are behind,” but alas, I’ll just get in trouble if I pursue that angle.

One of the disastrous things about testimonies is that if you weren’t a drug addict, atheist, child-rapist, murdering, kitten-kicker your testimony is boring. Kids brought up in Christian homes feel bad they weren’t bad, God’s grace hasn’t abounded because they were such pathetic sinners.

Here’s the thing, Jesus Christ was a good kid. Luke 2 says he grew in favor before God and man. People liked Him. They liked Him until shortly after His baptism when the Spirit descended on Him and He began His public ministry.

I am not claiming in any way that Christ was saved at His baptism, please don’t take me there. What I am saying is that when even a good man goes public with his faith, people notice.

Jesus was baptized in Luke 3 and by Luke 4 the people He grew up with, the ones whom He grew in favor before, wanted to throw Him off a cliff. Hmm, wonder what happened?!

The good kid Jesus became flint-faced servant of God on a mission. Maybe the reason why good kids have such pathetic testimonies is because they don’t have one. Maybe God never showed up. But I imagine I’ll just get in trouble if I pursue that one much further.

What someone else’s testimony is cannot be my main concern in life, I must worry about my own and work out my own salvation and make my calling and election sure. I encourage you to do the same. Has God truly arrived in your life? Change happens when He does.

Knowing God

There is an alarming over-familiarity with God these days. We all have our computer programs that give us verses in 67 translations with Greek and Hebrew dictionaries. You don’t even have to study anymore to know everything.

This is good, I have no problem with these tools, I think they are awesomely thrilling to use. Unfortunately, it often leads to a “been there, done that” mentality.

It’s hard to teach people anymore because they’ve heard it all. Since they’ve heard it, they assume they know it and you have nothing to teach them. We must remember that when studying Christ and God we are dealing with the infinite.

I attended a Bible study Tuesday night where the teacher talked about the word “with” for 45 minutes. It was quite interesting. What does it mean to be “filled with” the Holy Spirit? 45 minutes on “with.”

You probably know what “with” means, I’ve used the word many times, with authority. Look up “with” in a dictionary some time.

It’s actually hard to define “with” and there is debate as to what “be filled with” the Spirit means because of the differences in definition.

If there is difficulty in understanding the word “with,” imagine the utter blasphemy of claiming to know Christ or to know God in a familiar, nonchalant kind of way.

“no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son.”

I imagine there are many points to be made with that verse.

Teaching Fear?

Fearing God is something we’re supposed to do, the Bible makes this point very clear. But what if someone doesn’t? How do you help someone fear the Lord?

One attempt is to drop rules on them. Legalism strictly interprets God’s Word and applies it to ridiculous levels. Every activity in life has rules attached to it that loosely refer to some random verse.

If you can make people feel guilty maybe they fear God. Isn’t guilt an admission that they’ve offended someone higher than them?

It may be, but if their guilt is primarily there because you are there, then this is not fear of God. This is fear of you, which many pastors settle for, because it is quite an ego booster.

I think the only way to teach people to fear God is to teach them about God. His power, His majesty, glory, beauty, strength, justice, perfection, holiness, love, mercy, and all else that is God.

Underlying all that is the Gospel, the manifestation of God’s love toward us. If the Gospel’s goodness does not shake a man to his core, there is nothing you can teach him to make him fear God.

There are many who “fear God” but have no true understanding of the Gospel. They say the right things, but their heart is off wandering. Isaiah describes Israel this way:

“Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.”

Don’t settle for counterfeit man-based fear; fear God.

Christ Feared The Lord

The “fear of the Lord” is one of those Old Testament concepts people don’t think they need anymore. That was for those under the Law who had to fear the earth swallowing them. Today we’re under grace and God is love now, not fear.

So goes the rationale. I beg to differ.

The God of the OT is the same as the God of the NT. God is still God and we are still people. Fearing the Lord is inherent in peopledom. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, which may explain why the Church is so dumb today.

Isaiah speaks of Jesus Christ and prophecies concerning the character of Christ that “the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”

Jesus Christ will fear the Lord! The fear of the Lord is what played into Christ’s perfect obedience to His Father. Furthermore, if believers today are “in Christ” and are to have the same mind as Christ, then fearing the Lord would be automatic.

When John says “perfect love casts out fear,” he’s not talking about removing fear of the Lord, he’s talking about removing all other fears of anything because of God’s great love in Christ.

Don’t be dumb; fear the Lord.

Silencing the Judges

Christians sometimes complain that since they are not saved by works, others should not judge them on their works.

This is a nice happy thought, but it’s just not true, nor should we act like it is.

Many years ago Christian types were putting the “Christians aren’t perfect just forgiven” bumper stickers on their cars. This is pure Christian arrogance.

It basically says, “I’m an idiot and you can’t have a problem with that because I’m forgiven, so I’ll just keep being an idiot.”

It is true that genuine Christians are forgiven, no argument there. I do have an argument with the idea that since that is true what I actually do ceases to matter.

Paul told the Corinthians not to give offense in anything so the ministry is not blamed.

Proverbs says that people judge the character of kids based on what they do, they even project life outcomes by childhood behaviors. People judge you based on what you do, even if you’re just a kid making no religious pretensions.

What people think of you should not be your biggest concern in life; it should also not be your least concern. It does factor in.

You can tell people to stop judging and keep on doing your sin, OR you can go ahead and knock off the sin and give them nothing to judge.

With our well doing, we can put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. There are fools, let us indeed endeavor to silence them. Amen.

The Simplicity of Christ

There is a movie ad running right now that tells us that this movie is “entertaining as hell.” My mind blows every time I hear that.

Apparently entertaining does not mean what I thought it meant, or perhaps hell no longer means what I thought it meant, or it could be that as no longer means what I thought.

We live in a culture that calls evil good and good evil. A culture where words really don’t mean anything.

This is highly disturbing to a person who preaches, who uses words. I’m not sure anymore if I make sense.

Every once in a while the frustration comes out, but with the frustration comes a sincere attempt to make Scripture simple. Here is my attempt.

Modern Christian Gnosticism

Gnosticism is a belief that the universe is a duality: light and dark; good and evil; flesh and spirit, etc.. Gnosticism hit its peak in 150ad. Some of the New Testament books confront Gnostic beliefs, like 1 John.

Outside of Christian Science and other odd duck cultish religions, gnosticism seems to have fallen away. A belief that matter is evil and spirit is good is probably not a threat anymore. Or is it?

It might be if you attend an Evangelical church in America. Gnosticism has carried over in our belief concerning the Gospel and its effects in the believer. Modern Christian Gnosticism goes like this:

“I believe that Jesus died for my sins. God has put me right with God. He has given me a new spirit and spiritually speaking I’m good to go. Therefore, since He’s made me spiritually good with God what I do in the flesh doesn’t matter. Flesh is all evil, always will be, you can’t expect anything good there. So I stand in security in the spirit and let my flesh continue in sin and grossness. Mind over matter, baby! I don’t mind sin, so it doesn’t matter because it’s just the flesh, what else do you expect?”

That is nothing more than gnosticism. When the NT speaks of flesh and spirit you must make sure you know what is being talked about, usually determined by context.

The “flesh” does not always mean our bodies, it is indeed possible for the believer to mortify the deeds of the body and to use the body to be a vessel fit for the Master’s use. Your old man (your sin nature, also sometimes referred to as “flesh”) is always corrupt, but has also been put to death with Christ.

Since the old man, the flesh nature, is put to death, we are to reckon ourselves (our life we still have in our flesh and bones body) alive to Christ. “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, the life that I know live in the flesh (my body, not my old nature) I live by the faith of the Son of God.”

Make sure you know your terms and beware of the subtle trap of gnosticism that keeps believers defeated in sin, yet feeling really good about it.

Samson and Biblical Illiteracy

This is a photo of a biblical action figure from a “Christian” “Book” store. Our pal Samson with his hulking muscles and wavy blonde hair.

Is there any chance Samson actually looked like this?

Absolutely none. Here’s why:

1) He may have acted like a dumb blonde, but seriously, blonde hair? Jewish guy? Possible, but not likely.

2) All the muscles. Every depiction of Samson I’ve ever seen shows him with rippling muscles popping out everywhere. If that were the case, dear Delilah would not have asked what the “secret” of his strength was. “Um babe, it’s all my muscles. Welcome to the gun show. Pow! Pow!”

When Samson got his hair cut, did all his muscles deflate?

Samson’s strength was from God. There is no amount of muscle that would allow a guy to carry gates of a city away nor to knock over a building. He had strength given to him by God related to his Nazarite vow.

If Samson looked like this doll, God would not have used him. God uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise. Come on Christian book store seller guys, read the Book sometime.

Behold, I Am Here!

Elihu was the youngest guy that sat with Job. He refrained from speaking out of respect for his elders. At the same time, his elders were really annoying him.

Elihu disliked what the friends said because they assumed Job was bad, but everyone knew Job was a good guy. Elihu was mad at Job though, because Job maintained his righteousness and was boggled as to the suffering.

Elihu’s answer is that they should leave these things to God as He is in control of all things.

God has no negative thing to say to Elihu. God told Job to be quiet, who are you, Job? God told the three friends they needed Job’s intercession to stay alive.

Nothing to Elihu. Why? Many think, myself included, it’s because Elihu was exactly right. He put God at the forefront, not Job nor the opinion of the friends.

What amazes me though, is that if Elihu was right in what he said, or at least not deserving of a rebuke, how did he get away with saying this?

“For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.”

That is some amazing stuff right there! I believe I have found my new life verse.

Universal Wisdom

In the midst of Job’s sufferings he says to his philosophical friends, “What ye know, the same do I know also, I am not inferior to you.”

We all know that God judges evil people, this is not original thinking to you guys. This wisdom will not die with you. But Job’s point is, exactly, God judges wicked people and I aint one of em!

Moments later friend Eliphaz says, “What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us?”

Eliphaz uses almost the exact same words as Job. We all know God judges evil people. But the friends’ point is, exactly, God judges wicked people and you are being judged, therefore, you must be wicked!

The friends and Job use the same information to build their case and yet come to completely different conclusions. Almost reminds one of Calvinism and Arminianism debates.

In the end we know that Job was right. God is the judge. The things that are revealed belong to us, but the hidden things belong to God.

Often we use what God has revealed to judge others, to determine their eternal state or their righteousness. But this judgment is based on things that are largely hidden. God knows the heart and its thoughts and intents.

Job’s friends got nailed because they used the knowledge they had (which was true, which is why Paul even quotes one of Job’s friends) to make assumptions about knowledge they did not have.

Knowledge puffs up. Because we figured out a little bit, we assume we can guess the rest. Beware, destruction lies there.

The Two Sides of Faith

Believers are given the Holy Spirit who continually makes intercession for us–and yet we’re still told to “pray continually” and “continue instant in prayer.”

Believers are saved by grace through faith not by good works–yet we are told to have “patient continuance in well-doing.”

Believers are forgiven of all sin and made righteous and holy–and yet we are told to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit.”

Believers are set free from the Law–and yet are told to “fulfill the Law of Christ” and to love one another, which is the fulfillment of the Law.

Human minds have trouble accepting two seemingly opposed thoughts. So, Christianity, being made up of humans, most of whom have minds, has divided into three camps:

1) The camp that takes the first part of each of the above points–it’s all about Christ, I’m out and He becomes responsible, not me. All I did was show up at the right time.

2) The camp that takes the second part of each of the above points–it’s all about me. Christ did fine things but I really need to help Him out to make sure it really took.

3) The camp that takes both sides of each of the points above and lives by faith. Reckoning the work of Christ to be true and then endeavoring to make it real in practical living.

Count me in Camp 3.

Calvinism and Atonement

If you tell a Calvinist that you are only a four-point Calvinist, they know the one point you are not sold on is Limited Atonement.

The L of the TULIP is the weakest link. It says that Christ only died for the elect, so the atonement was not for everyone.

I think this is the most obvious example of Calvinism’s extremism that goes so far as to ignore Scripture. I’m not even sure Calvin ascribed to Limited Atonement, but boy howdy do his adherents.

In order to prove Limited Atonement you have to redefine the word “world.” Christ died for the sins of the world is a fact stated in Scripture. It’s a rather inconvenient fact for Calvinists because it refutes Limited Atonement.

I go with Scripture. Call me backward, but I do. There is no way the word “world” means “the elect” or “the world of believers.” It just doesn’t and any effort to say otherwise looks increasingly foolish.

Calvinism and The Gospel

I will not fall into the Arminian trap of saying that Calvinists don’t do missions, because they do. But the degree which they do, is the degree to which they do not act on their beliefs.

If God saves everyone with no choice, then it makes no sense to evangelize. It makes no sense for God’s Spirit to be at work convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. It makes no sense to establish the church, an institution given the task of proclaiming the Truth of the Gospel.

Even worse, it makes the Gospel a colossal lie. “Whosever will may come” was apparently said in a weak moment. What God really meant was, “Whosoever God wills may come.” But no, the willing is on the part of the person.

In an effort to elevate the character of God (a fault I would prefer over many others, however it still remains a fault), Calvinists delve into error. They do this in two main ways:

1) Since God is the Savior and Salvation is of the Lord, people have nothing to do with it. God made man, some to be saved and some to be condemned and they have no choice in the matter. It’s an over-emphasis on God and a underemphasis on human will. I understand the desire to do this, but not if it goes further than Scripture and makes God a heartless liar.

2) Trying to avoid the salvation by works stuff, Calvinists want to make sure there is absolutely nothing we do in salvation. Therefore, they go so far as to say we can’t even believe. Again, I see the desire to avoid salvation by works, but the Bible does affirm over and over that we are capable of believing.

I applaud Calvinism’s desire to elevate God and de-elevate the sinner. I get this. But don’t take it so far that you make plain Scriptural statements no longer true.

God does not need our defense to protect His character. Go with what He has said is true. We can choose. We can believe. We are accountable to do so.

Calvinism and Foreknowledge

Right off the bat let me say that I accept predestination and election. I affirm the sovereignty of God and reject things like Open Theism and other weirdness. It’s God’s world, He can do what He wants and He knows what He’s doing.

I do not deny election, I do deny Calvinistic explanations of election. The standard line goes like this:

We are dead in sin. Dead people can’t choose. Dead people are like rocks: no life, no reasoning, no ability. Therefore, if a person is to get saved God must infuse them with life first, which means God saves them, then they come to an awareness of salvation.

This is all fine and dandy logic, but it’s not what the Bible says. Nowhere in the Bible does “we are dead in sin” mean that we are like a rock with no reason. We are still alive, we have senses and the ability to think and choose.

Not only do we have the ability to choose, we are judged, held accountable, for our choice. If it has nothing to do with me then I become the judge of God, “How come you didn’t choose me?”

I have yet to hear a Calvinist response to this that works with the Bible’s depiction of God.

Predestination exists because God is outside of time and we are not. He knows things that we don’t, like, the future. That is why Paul wrote Romans 8:29, “whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate.”

Foreknow means to know something beforehand. God knew stuff about us. I don’t know what, we are never told what. It just says that He foreknew people, so he predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son. That’s all I know and that’s what I go with.

Calvinists define foreknowledge as basically the same thing as predestination. Here is one Calvinist’s attempt to explain how Calvin defines foreknowledge, “God intimately knows certain individuals and thus favored (or elected) them ahead of time.” So basically, what Paul really meant was, “God did predestine those whom He predestined.” But that’s not what Paul says.

Predestination is based on foreknowledge. God knew something about me, that’s why I was predestined to be saved.

Calvinism and Me

My first memory of Calvinism was in seminary. We had to get psycho-analyzed to determine what denomination we would best fit into as a pastor. One of the first questions I was asked was, “Are you a Calvinist or Arminian?”

I said “A little bit of both.” To which I received a look that said, “are you some kind of retarded, backslidden, heretic?” To which I returned a look that said, “Um, probably.”

Eleven years later, I’d answer the question the same way. I’ve read Calvin’s Institutes. It was good. I liked more than I thought I would, but I don’t swallow it all.

Everyone and their mother is a Calvinist today. If you are a Christian blogger you are more than likely a five-pointer Calvinist. It’s the way to go apparently.

I think I know why it is so popular: Calvinists write a lot. They can afford to sit in their offices and write all day since God has the world covered anyhow. Sorry, cheap shot. OK, I”m not that sorry.

They are very academic and prolifically authorial. To be a Calvinist says “I’m smart. I read large books. I follow other smart guys who read and write large books.”

Arminians get little respect. They have Wesley. That’s about it. Wesley is blamed for over-emotionalized revivals for hicks.

What side sounds more respectable to you?

Apart from  judging the book by the cover observations, I have some other issues with Calvinism. I’ll share a couple in the next few days.

The Freedom of Obedience

Obedience is not a popular word. We are used to self-determination, pulling ourselves up by our boot straps. We are the captain of our ship. I bow to none.

Our self-focused pursuit of liberty and happiness sure seems like it would lead to liberty and happiness. Funny how it doesn’t.

True liberty and happiness is only found in obedience to God.

Obedience does not lead to thoughts of liberty or happiness for most. Unfortunately, this  is an admission to disobedience. For truly obedient people know better.

We do not use or get liberty by serving ourselves, but by lovingly serving others.

Obedience to God allows us to be relaxed. We don’t have to remember when to lie and who to lie to. We don’t have to waste energy putting on a show. We don’t have to waste time explaining how even though we saw that commercial we “really don’t watch much tv.”

Ah, bask in the freedom of obedience. It allows you to sleep well at night and redeem the time. Enjoy.

Death by Options

We’re all familiar with the story of Elijah’s fire from heaven in the showdown with the prophets of Baal. But I’d like to point out the instigation of the confrontation.

Israel wanted to worship the Lord but also wanted to worship Baal. Elijah thought this was pretty dumb, so he asks, “How long halt ye between two opinions?”

I’d like to ask that question of us, How long halt ye between two opinions?

The double-minded man is unstable. One day he’s going good, the next day who knows where he’s off to. James’ advice is that the double-minded man purify himself, let go of sin, knock it off. Let all who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Half-hearted Christianity is of no value. We are to be men of one thing, as the apostle Paul was. Make up your mind already or else quit playing the game. No man can serve two masters.

Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul and mind. Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. Come to Christ, once for all, be made new, rise up to newness of life and live the no longer I but Christ life that ensues.