I Corinthians 1:27-29

Are Christians weak? Is following Jesus the same thing as assuming a defensive posture of inactivity or defeat? This may seem like a ludicrous question because of course it isn’t, but the truth is that God’s ways are not human ways and following Christ simply makes no human sense at times.

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:27-29 NIV‬‬)

Christianity–because it really is God from whom it derives its existence–is difficult for the non-believing to understand. Those who don’t know Christ recognize and value physical and political strength, aggression and conquest; the way of Christ is foreign to them and–quite honestly–they don’t know what to make of it. Jesus said:

“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:38-42‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

This seems like submission to injustice to some, but listen as Jesus explains WHY we are to do this:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on good people and on evil people, and he sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. If you love only the people who love you, you will get no reward. Even the tax collectors do that. And if you are nice only to your friends, you are no better than other people. Even those who don’t know God are nice to their friends. So you must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:43-48‬ ‭NCV‬‬)

The reason we are not to respond in kind when someone mistreats us, why we are to pray for them rather than wish–or even actively plot–them ill as others would is because God, our Father, gives good to all and as His children we are to be like Him–regardless of how hard it is.

And while this in no way excuses another’s bad behavior, what this means is that our disposition of heart and mind when we are wronged must be such that we are completely resolved to respond with good toward them–not because we can’t figure out how to get back at them or because we are too weak, physically or mentally, to do so, but because by doing good to those who do evil to us we are reflecting the nature of God who made and called us. And who knows, but that perhaps this will cause that person to recognize His existence and authority over him and come to saving faith?

Listen to Jesus again:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit [those who aren’t arrogant, but think of themselves as God sees them], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:3-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

And why is this so–why do we act in such counter-cultural seemingly nonsensical ways? Because:

“You are the salt [the Christlike distinctiveness; the preservative] of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:13-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

We engage in counter-intuitive seemingly self-disadvantaging behavior so that those who do not yet know their Maker and Savior will see our good deeds and glorify their Father in heaven–and possibly, “…come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2:26‬ ‭NIV‬)

Dear Lord, 

Help me, through the counter-intuitive Christlikeness You work in me, be used of You to help those who do not yet recognize Your authority over them “…come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I Thessalonians 4:11

Do you identify with the Alt-Right, Alt-Light, white nationalism, or even white supremacy? Are you part of the Black Lives Matter Movement, or do you lean more toward what President Trump termed the Alt-Left, or the Antifa? If I’ve lost you, you might want to take the time to Google some of these terms because our country has no shortage of political movements to align itself with today. This is not say that a cause is not right or even good, but regardless of what’s going on around us, as people of God we need to consider what He says.

“Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Take care of your own business, and do your own work as we have already told you.” (1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4:11‬ ‭NCV)

Years ago a Facebook friend posted a link to a three-page list of what to pray for your children, which I’ve since used as a structural guidepost for my prayers. The last item, “give their country peace in their lifetime,” initially seemed almost redundant–we do live in the United States after all–but as we as a people drift away from an unadulterated adherance to Scripture, we lose our exceptionalism and become as vulnerable to social unrest as any other country.

I am reminded of Moses–before God called him. When he saw an Egyptian harshly beating an Israelite slave he took matters into his own hands and killed him. Because of this Moses had to run away from Egypt and start a completely new life elsewhere, and it did nothing of note for the plight of the enslaved Israelites. So it goes, each time we take matters into our own hands to humanly right a wrong rather than doing things God’s way. It may be well-intentioned, but is ill-conceived. Protests foment civil unrest; God wants His people to live peacefully!

Let’s take a look at God’s Word, because He is not silent on the issue (this, by the way, was the prayer Jesus prayed right before going to the cross for our sins; it’s long, but bear with me because it tells us so much that we need to know about who we are in Christ and our current situation):

  “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.’” (‭‭John‬ ‭17:1-26‬ ‭NIV‬‬) God’s ways are really not our ways!

“I pray…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” This is not an artificially contrived unity; it borders on the incomprehensible and is of supernatural origin because only the Spirit of Christ in us can accomplish it; Jesus prayed that those who are His be one even as He and the Father are one!

Although what various groups try to accomplish may be worthwhile–some might even insist they are necessary–the problem with causes is that they divide people into different camps. Christ, however, unites. I may not be black (or Asian, or Hispanic, etc.) but my African-American brother in Christ and I have the same Holy Spirit in us and are both part of Christ’s body, His church. How can I then not love him?

So, what cause do you identify with? If you have the Spirit of Christ in you, it will be the cause of Christ and all that entails!

Dear Lord,

Help me do all I can to live a peaceful life, remembering that you tell us to “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews‬ ‭12:14‬) Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Psalm 139:20

Are there people who really hate God? I’m not talking about those who merely refuse to come to Christ; I’m referring to individuals who hate God so much that they actively work to slander and oppose Him.

“They speak of You with evil intent…” (‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:20‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

Yes, those who will not repent and thereby reject the forgiveness God freely gives through Jesus are God’s enemies whether they realize it or not, but there is another category of individual altogether. This is the person who, for whatever reason, has made it his personal business to actively oppose Christ–someone who is a “hater of God.” (Romans 1:30) And while it’s hard to believe that there could be people like this–they do exist, and they show up in various areas of life.

It took me a while, but I finally had to face the fact that BBC’s highly successful murder mystery Midsommer Murders–as just one example–falls into this category. On its surface, this seems like one of those stodgy but innocent British mysteries that tend to attract people “of a certain age,” but if you watch for a while a trend of religious hostility emerges.

It doesn’t matter if the character is a pastor, priest or other cleric,  or if he or she prays or quotes Biblical terminology, or clings to God or is identified as religious in any other way; if they can be linked to God, they are a villain. Yet the series goes even further than an occasional deluded bad guy who clings to superficial trace vestiges of religion–it truly appears as if an intentional effort has been made to redefine Christianity and associate a belief in God and practice of religion with abhorrent aberrant behavior. And because what’s presented is so absurd in its wrongness, after a while you have to step back and ask yourself, in whose reality a person who reads the Bible or goes to church could possibly arrive at such conclusions and think or act like that! Certainly not the one we live in. It’s slanderous, of course, because it associates Christianity in the viewer’s mind with the opposite of what Christianity really is.

Now consider that this series ran for nineteen seasons–that’s years; an entire generation of people grew up during this time! It’s that long that the supporting character changed three times, and the main one twice. Yet whoever followed this otherwise engaging worldly program–supposedly about upscale British villages–was lied to for nineteen full seasons about what clinging to God does to a person. If I didn’t already personally know who Jesus is, what God tells us in the Bible, and what those who follow Him are really like–I wouldn’t want anything to do with Christianity either; I’d be terrified of “people like that” and run in the opposite direction! The only safe people–all of the normal, good characters presented by the series for nineteen years–were, after all, worldly secular humanists.

This program isn’t, of course, the  only offender; there are many others–but it’s important to identify and articulate that these are, indeed, attacks. More than that, we must recognize that they are really attacks on God from whom Christianity derives. Remember what Jesus said? “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬) ‭‭Neither should we be surprised, because we also know that “…evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬) 

Our response? “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it.” (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

Dear Lord,

Help me to remain in You and You in me, that I not be deceived! Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1 Corinthians 1:26

Is Christianity a lower-class religion? There is an increasing plurality of belief in our culture today, but if you examine the religious stratification it becomes apparent that the farther up the socioeconomic scale you go, the less likely you are to identify with mainstream religion, especially Christianity. Why is it that following Jesus holds so little appeal at the higher levels? Is it really a religion for the uneducated and impoverished–an “opiate of the masses,” as Marx famously quipped? Is it something we grow out of as we mature and progress through our academic and professional careers? Or is there a deeper dynamic at work?

“Brothers and sisters, look at what you were when God called you. Not many of you were wise in the way the world judges wisdom. Not many of you had great influence. Not many of you came from important families.” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:26‬ ‭NCV‬‬)

In her book “White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America” Joan C. Williams explains what’s going on at the higher socioeconomic levels:

“Among the elite, we proudly announce we are ‘spiritual but not religious’ and invent some unique blend. Developing one’s own personal melange of world religions reflects our taste for novelty and our penchant for self-development. Conventional religion? So down market.”

This upper class mentality is attracted to the unconventional and avant grade, but this is merely a manifestation of our human pride–something God understands well. It is, in fact, the fate He foresaw for the Ancient Israelites after He would bring them into the land He promised:

“…when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me…” (‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:20‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

Let’s examine the entire passage surrounding today’s verse (this is St. Paul writing to the Corinthian Christians):

“Christ did not send me to baptize people but to preach the Good News [forgiveness through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross]. And he sent me to preach the Good News without using words of human wisdom so that the cross of Christ would not lose its power. The teaching about the cross is foolishness to those who are being lost, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. It is written in the Scriptures: ‘I will cause the wise to lose their wisdom; I will make the wise unable to understand.’ Where is the wise person? Where is the educated person? Where is the skilled talker of this world? God has made the wisdom of the world foolish. In the wisdom of God the world did not know God through its own wisdom. So God chose to use the message that sounds foolish to save those who believe. The Jews ask for miracles, and the Greeks want wisdom. But we preach a crucified Christ. This causes the Jews to stumble and is foolishness to non-Jews. But Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to those people God has called—Jews and Greeks. Even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, look at what you were when God called you. Not many of you were wise in the way the world judges wisdom. Not many of you had great influence. Not many of you came from important families. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and he chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose what the world thinks is unimportant and what the world looks down on and thinks is nothing in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. God did this so that no one can brag in his presence. Because of God you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God. In Christ we are put right with God, and have been made holy, and have been set free from sin. So, as the Scripture says, ‘If people want to brag, they should brag only about the Lord.’” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:17-31‬ NCV‬‬)

So why is Christianity looked down on? Why isn’t it thought upscale? It is because God offers nothing the prideful human soul wants–no great wisdom or spectacular miraculous signs–only the seemingly nonsensical message of the cross. Yet that is exactly what we need. But why does it seem that His message is more readily embraced by the less educated or prosperous?

Again, it is because of pride. The more I have the less I think I need, and it becomes harder to recognize my desperate need for the forgiveness that is only mine through Christ. “You say, ‘I am rich, and I have become wealthy and do not need anything.’ But you do not know that you are really miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” (‭Revelation‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NCV‬‬) Human nature is such that we tend to recognize our material needs more readily than our spiritual, and those who have need will at least cry out to God for physical provision.

So, what must WE do? The same as  St. Paul advised Timothy:

“Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times, and tell people what they need to do. Tell them when they are wrong. Encourage them with great patience and careful teaching, because the time will come when people will not listen to the true teaching but will find many more teachers who please them by saying the things they want to hear. But you should control yourself at all times, accept troubles, do the work of telling the Good News, and complete all the duties of a servant of God.” (‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭4:2-3, 5‬ ‭NCV‬‬)

Dear Lord,

Help me do the work of telling the Good News! Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 20:3

Who is your god? I’m not asking your religion; what I mean is–who or what really owns you? In your most private and honest of moments, what purpose in your heart and mind do you recognize as most consistently important in your life, which you’ve invariably lived out through evidence of time spent and resources allocated? This certainly might be Jesus Christ or a deity from another established religion, but today it is more likely any one of a number of intangible pursuits like a political or social agenda, wealth acquisition, career and professional distinction, prominence in the community, recognition by your peers, financial security, succcessful marriage, higher education, or simply your own comfort or even pleasure above all else.

“You must not have any other gods except Me.” (‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:3‬ ‭NCV‬‬)

Many of us learned the King James Version, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me,” but it (and related translations) can be misleading. Some might understand the phrase “before Me” to suggest we can have idols in our life as long as the true God comes first; not only is this contradicted by other portions of the Bible, it is also not the intended meaning of the verse. The Ancient Israelites were, in fact, condemned for participating in the worship of Asheroth and other pagan deities in addition to bringing sacrifices to worship the true God in the Temple.

The phrase “before Me” is, in fact, better rendered “before My presence.” It refers not to a hierarchy among whom or what we worship, but is used in the sense of “coming before Him.” If we approach the true God, our hearts and minds must be wholly and completely His. We cannot be as James says, “double-minded”–doubting, uncertain or not fully convinced about who God is, what He has accomplished and will yet accomplish, His power, majesty, utter unapproachability except through the merit of Jesus Christ, and the totality of reverence He merits. It is not worship if we hedge our bets; if we approach the true God with a just-in-case back-up plan. Neither is it worship if our life betrays the fact that we have elevated some other pursuit–in and of itself possibly good–to an inordinate level, which is also idolatry.

So who or what IS your god? It is a mistake to approach this question frivolously, because none of us can say we have never valued anything more than Jesus Christ and what we have in and through Him.

I suspect we are so easily disloyal to Christ because we are desperately “human.” We are quick to identify with and embrace causes, goals, pursuits and commitments–witness the acrimony between the parties, the races, even it seems between liberal and conservative churches at times, and the turmoil in world news and local politics, as reflected in the media outlets and online on Facebook and elsewhere–yet we shy away from Christ Himself. He told us to “remain in Me, and I in you,” but how do we imagine we do so? Is it merely by mentally somehow thinking we are “in Him?” Or is there something more active and tangible that we need to do to remain in Jesus? Remember that the New Testament book of Hebrews warns us:

“We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.”‭‭ (Hebrews‬ ‭2:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬)

We remain in Him by reading the written Word of God (the Bible), and responding to Him in heart-felt worship and prayer. We do it by reading godly literature, by meeting with others who love Him above all else, by evidencing our faith in Him by acting upon what He reveals to us in His Word, by actually showing love actively to those in our lives.

So again–who is your god? Is it the Republican or Democratic Party? Is it your spouse? Is it a cause you really believe in? Is it you standing in the community? Is it your business? Is it your education or your house or your car? Is it alcohol or drugs–prescription or otherwise–or partying? The list really is endless.

And while many of these pursuits have a place in our lives–some may, in fact, be necessary for our survival–God condemns our habitual looking to things which cannot satisfy, instead of immersing ourselves in and drinking fully from the only One who can:

“My people have done two evils: They have turned away from me, the spring of living water. And they have dug their own wells, which are broken wells that cannot hold water.” (‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭NCV‬)

I need to recognize who or what my God/god really is, and choose wisely!

Dear Lord,

Help me “Love [You] the Lord…[my]  God with all…[my] heart and with all…[my] soul and with all…[my] mind.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:37‬ ‭NIV‬‬) Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colossians 1:27

Are you of a “certain class?” Granted we have no caste system as India does, and we imagine that–unlike Great Britain with its lords and ladies–we live in an egalitarian society. But do we? Is there really no class distinction here in the U.S.? And if there is, how does where we find ourselves on the socioeconomic spectrum affect our perception of God?

“…Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians‬ ‭1:27‬ )

I recently read a fascinating book by Joan C. Williams, written in response to President Trump’s election to the presidency. It is entitled “White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America,” and the author wrote it specifically to “…[focus] on the class comprehension gap.” 

In it, she arbitrarily splits our culture into three separate categories: the poor (defined as the bottom 30% of families with a median household income of $22,500), the (middle) working class (defined as families in the middle 53% with incomes ranging from $41,005-$131,962, plus higher incomes without a college graduate), and the professional-managerial elite--whom she calls the PME (defined as families in the top 20% with at least one college graduate and a median income of $173,175).

Her own credentials are that she  “grew up in Princeton, went to Yale College, Harvard Law School, and MIT, and…[has] been a law professor for nearly 40 years.” As a member of the PME, she is clearly well qualified to offer her assessment of how this group tends to think, feel, and act. By her own admission she does not believe there is a God, and although I find her opinion as to why many Christ-followers tend to be from the working class somewhat missing the point (even as it legitimately identifies a void), her insight as to why few from the PME believe is spot-on and confirms Scripture.

To explain, the writer of the Old Testsment book of Proverbs pleads, “…give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown You and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭30:8-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

The arrogance of the excessively rich is reminiscent of Pharoah’s reply to Moses: “Who is the LORD, that I should obey Him…? I do not know the LORD and I will not [obey Him]…” (Exodus‬ ‭5:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬) And we all know how that ended for him.

Neither excessive poverty nor inordinate wealth is good. Being too poor intensifies the temptation to dishonesty, while too much wealth engenders in us a perceived independence from and arrogance against God.

I found particularly curious her opinion as to why “religion” is predominantly populated by the lower classes–a fact, incidentally, confirmed by Scripture:

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:26-29‬ ‭NIV).

She explains that because success in the professions is typically predicated on a high degree of commitment, the professional managerial classes derive their identity almost exclusively through their life-work–they see themselves primarily as an attorney, an architect, a surgeon, a professor. She then extrapolates the converse–that because those without meaningful work (she gives the example of a toilet salesman) cannot derive a meaningful identity from what they do, they seek to find it elsewhere, as in religion.

These proclivities are problematic–regardless of which end of the stick you find yourself at. If you are part of the professional class you need to be vigilant to legitimately guard against idolatry–the demands of your professional life certainly may be so all-encompassing that you feel you have become your profession, but just as with the British saying “being in the service of Her Majesty the Queen,” regardless of who we are, what we do, or what we own, we are in the service of the King of Kings–and will answer to Him someday, as will all mankind!

If you are at the other end of the spectrum and find no suitable means of self-identity in your work, you need to guard against making your religion merely your crutch. Religion is not, as Marx insisted, an “opiate of the masses.” Christ is our identity, not because we adhere to lower-class thought patterns or because we have nothing “better” to define ourselves by (what possible identity could be better?!)–He is our identity because He is the only One worthy!

So while a poorer person might look to God for his material survival, and a working class individual for identity and validation–a professional managerial class individual may not feel he needs God for either of these reasons because he has enough wealth to not only survive but thrive, and a worthwhile career. Nonetheless, all three classes have an acute need of the forgiveness God provides in Christ alone, and all will stand before Him. Rich or poor, on that day the only thing that will matter is if we are clothed with Christ.

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened…The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books…Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation‬ ‭20:12, 15‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

Dear Lord God,

On that day, may You see Christ in me, my only hope of glory! Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 Corinthians 6:2

Should you put off the issue of dealing with Christ? Some delay evaluating the validity of His pronouncement of the condemned human condition apart from saving faith in Him, thinking they will deal with it later–as death becomes a more obvious reality and they become less preoccupied with the here and now. But is this a prudent course of action–can we risk refusing to evaluate His truth claims now?

“I tell you that the ‘right time’ is now, and the ‘day of salvation’ is now.” (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:2‬ ‭NCV‬‬)

The problem with putting these issues off indefinitely is that many never do find a suitable moment to contemplate them. Putting them off at all, for that matter, is foolish, because–quite honestly–we are not guaranteed our next breath, much less tomorrow, next week or next year. Yet many nonetheless do, ignoring their eternal destiny for decades. And many of them die condemned under the just wrath of God because of their sin, having by default refused the free gift of forgiveness and acceptance provided through Jesus Christ. But why shouldn’t I wait until later to decide?

Yes, there is the seemingly less likely possibility of an accidental death, but let’s be honest–statistically most of us die because of illness or age-related issues. So why not wait until life is less busy and I can spend enough time evaluating all the evidence at my leisure?

This may seem like a plan. The problem, however, lies in our lack of understanding as to how much of ourselves will actually remain at our disposal at a later time–even if we make it that far.

The reality is that God provides the resources required for the various stages of life, yet we tend to assume that everything will continue as it always has. When we are children, it feels like we will never grow up. When we do reach adulthood, we inherently assume our physical and mental capabilities will continue indefinitely. They won’t.

Each increasing year affects everyone differently, but we are all touched nonetheless. Certain issues will be more debilitating than others, some will be physical and others mental–but it is the exceedingly rare individual who makes it to his last breath in relatively good condition–and who with the faculties of a twenty-year-old?

What we tend to not realize is that pain is exhausting. The ill person is either drugged up or so preoccupied with his suffering that there is nothing left to finally evaluate and contemplate matters of eternal importance. 

Increasingly, also, the older generation–whether because of toxins, diet or other issues not yet determined–is falling prey to debilitating diseases of the mind, such as Altzheimer’s and other types of dementia. And while you can try to reason with such a one–and perhaps some can still comprehend on a certain level–the agility of mind required for studious examination of spiritual issues and contemplation is no longer there. It is unfortunate, but “that ship has sailed.”

Jesus actually tells us, “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬) 

Those who have taken the time to evaluate Christ sufficiently to accept and believe will get stronger in their faith and more perceptive in their understanding of things eternal as the years progress. But those who have rejected Him–and don’t deceive yourself, putting it off is synonymous with rejecting because you really are rejecting at this moment–well…if you consistently want nothing to do with Him, eventually He says, “okay.” Even what you thought you had is gone, and the opportunity has closed forever.

So, should you put off the issue of dealing with Christ? More significantly, can you afford to delay? Don’t.

Dear Lord God,

I know that now is the right time. Help me spend the time I need studying what You say, so I can be convinced You are right. Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment