Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Human Heart...

Jeremiah 17:9 says this:
"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? The following verse says, "I, the LORD search the heart, I test the mind..."
Jeremiah, in 17:9 gives his opinion and observation about the state of everyone's mind and heart--(deceitful, sick,) and then he asks, "who can understand it?" Of course, the LORD answers Jeremiah, "I search the heart. I test the mind--I understand mankind." But Jeremiah never asks the question that is uppermost in the mind of everyone who's honest with himself, when he wrestles with his own sins, his own problems--"Who can cure it?" Many of us go through life without asking that question except in the moments when we have no choice but to face ourselves--we're physically ill. Some tragedy overtakes us.  We make bad choices and have to experience the consequences.
Who can cure my sickness of heart? That is the real question, and Jeremiah not only never asks that question, he evidently doesn't even consider that such a change is possible--however, the LORD later reveals to Jeremiah that these changes ARE possible--even integral with faith and worship:
Jeremiah 31:33-34: this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
34 "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
This is the greatest message in the world:  Healing from the evils that live in our own hearts, healing from the desperate wickedness that we face as part of the human race. 
There are those, of course, who say that all we need is evolutionary improvement, and that humanity is advancing each generation, but anyone who reads the news, anyone who examines himself honestly, knows that is not true.  What IS true is that the human race seems poised to descend into a pit of violence and evil that appears only to increase with each generation, and the cruelties of the last century merge into the cruelties of this century, and also to increase with our growing population.  We are in "self-destruct mode," and we cannot stop what's happening.  However, there is an answer.  
More in the next post.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Way...

Walk...Path...Follow..."The Way..."
But Felix, having a more exact knowledge about The Way...
and [Paul] asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to The Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
However, [said Paul], I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of The Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets...25 But as Paul was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you."
In other words, Felix did not want to face the fact that his future was without God, and that his tomorrows were cause for desperate fear.  You can face tomorrow without fear, though.  Read on...

[Jesus said]: I am The Way...
Thus is Christianity defined.  It's a path, a way, a walk, a chosen direction.  "The Way" begins where you are, and never ends, because it has no terminal point. In choosing to follow Jesus Christ, to become a journeyer on "The Way," you're choosing a life without end, and a life with meaning and direction. The early Christians were called followers of "The Way," meaning that they had taken up the path that leads upward to God. --This makes Christianity exceedingly simple.  To some, it's "selling everything you have, giving the proceeds to the poor, and following..." To others, it's "Follow Me," and deciding that you'll drop everything to do that.  To still others, it's simply believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.   In each case, the decision is what launches us on a path that never ends--that leads into eternity future. It's amazing what God has promised for the simple acts of faith to which He calls us. Eternal life. Infinite riches. A relationship with the King of the Universe, the Creator of all things. 
In other words, getting on "The Way" is unutterably simple.  You just decide:  "I want to walk with God wherever He leads me. I want to know Him.  I want the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in my life. 
Jesus called Himself "The Way" in the sense that He is the sole path to God. He assures us of this by saying, "No man comes to the Father except through Me." You can take the path to living with God forever by coming through His Son, Jesus Christ, but you cannot avoid Jesus Christ and find God. He's at the end of only one road.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Faith is...

"The assurance of things we hope for, the conviction of things we haven't seen..." (Hebrews 11:1)
I always feel like faith is misrepresented.  Some people put it into the category of jumping off a cliff with a hang glider attached. Others talk about it as if it's like getting into an elevator.  I have always thought of it more as a response to hearing from God, and knowing that He is really there.  It certainly has been so with the people I've watched come to the Lord.  None of them said, "I don't believe any of this stuff, and don't bother trying to make me." Instead, they all said, "Yes, I know this is true..." and then what they did was up to them.
Sure, there was resistance from some folks at the first ("I can't believe that, it's nonsense!"), but all of them came to the point where the decision they made, for or against believing in Jesus Christ, was done from the conviction and knowledge that God was there, and that believing in His Son was a real decision based on the conviction that the things the Bible said about Him were true. In other words, NONE of them made the decision based on the common idea of a "leap in the dark, into something we don't know."
In fact, when faith is discussed in the New Testament, it's always a response based on the conviction that God has spoken, and when unbelief is discussed, it's always a response based on the decision not to believe, no matter what the evidence that God has spoken, and that the Bible is telling the truth about Jesus Christ. This was certainly true in the days when Jesus walked on our planet.  He did wonderful miracles, proclaimed truth diligently, had the Father Himself attest to Him, defeated evil forces, and demonstrated at every turn that He was really the Person He proclaimed Himself to be. It is actually shocking to see the rejection He endured, after He had literally proven His pedigree by doing the things no mere man can do (see, for example, John 9 where Jesus heals blindness and John 11, where He performs a public resurrection).  After His greatest miracle, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the Jewish leaders respond this way:
John 11:47  Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, "What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs.  48 "If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." 
...John 11:53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.

On the other hand, if you are receptive and would believe if you knew the Gospel was true, here is something for you to consider:
Earlier in John's Gospel, Jesus issued this challenge:

"If anyone is willing to do His will, he shall know about the teaching, whether it is from God, or whether I [merely] speak on my own initiative." (John 7:17)

If you decide, "I want to find God, and I want to know Him, whoever He is, and believe and do what He says," you will find Him.  In fact, the conviction of truth will be so strong in your mind that you will feel overwhelmed by its power.  When the Gospel was first presented to me, I didn't believe and receive Jesus Christ because I wondered if it was true.  I did so because I KNEW.  And that knowing brings a choice--an alternative.  At that point you can receive or reject what God offers--everlasting life and a life with Him that begins now and extends into eternity future.
I hope and pray that you turn to Him today, but if not today, that you seek Him out, for He said,
"You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:11).
Want to find Him?  He will show you--your response to that "showing" is faith in action.  It's the "YES!" to God's voice.