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.

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Chicken or the Egg...

The old question, "Which comes first, the chicken or the egg," is answered clearly in the Bible, if you're considering the issue of morals and spirituality. The Bible always and everywhere affirms that the foundation of morality is spirituality, not the other way around, and by that it means, not just "any" spirituality, but specifically the spirituality commended by the Bible itself, the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I've recently been reading the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and it's amazing how clearly false spirituality and evil are linked. Of course, it's really no surprise, because God tells us, in both the Old and New Testaments, that rejecting Him is the foundation of moral destruction.
Evil is a consequence of rejecting God, rather than the cause of it. Hear what Jeremiah says:
(Jeremiah 2:13):
My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns (the idols that Israel worshipped), that can hold no water.
The result:
(Jeremiah 2:19):
"Your own wickedness will correct you, And your apostasies will reprove you; Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the LORD your God, And the dread of Me is not in you," declares the Lord GOD of hosts.
(Jeremiah 7:30-32):
"For the sons of Judah have done that which is evil in My sight," declares the LORD, "they have set their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it. "They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind. "Therefore, behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when it will no longer be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of the Slaughter; for they will bury in Topheth because there is no other place.
The consequence of rejecting God is that you become evil. The consequence of becoming evil is punishment and death. These things are inexorably linked. It may be long in coming, but it will come.

The New Testament says the same thing, for those who think that the game has changed:
(Romans 1:18-32):
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
There is a great deal of social commentary here, and I leave you to read it. For those who disagree with what's written above, remember that I'm quoting it, not inventing it. I'm the messenger, not the author. 
For those who believe that I think I'm "better" than they are, I've also been guilty of some of these things. In other words, I'm on the same level as you, not above. The points, though, of the Romans passage are clear: 
First comes the rejection of God. The consequence of that is a sort of spiritual insanity, in which we literally "go off the rails;" Next, God withdraws His hand of restraint, and moral insanity follows spiritual insanity. Finally, there is a settled state of evil: you reject God, you hate, you do evil, you worship false gods, you fill your lives with evil, and you think it's fine to do so. You "heartily approve" of people who are evil.
This, however is not the endpoint. Judgment and punishment are. The Bible teaches that God will "Judge the secrets of men."
(Romans 2:16: God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus...).
Imagine that. All the difficulty in obtaining true testimony, all the problems getting the facts (I live in the US, and we are suffering through a period of lies and hiding that's unprecedented here), will be gone. All is recorded. All is known. It's just not revealed--yet. All will be revealed, all will be judged, and punishment will be administered where it is appropriate.

THIS is why it is so important to be right spiritually. False spirituality (in the Bible, the worship of idols, etc.) is the root of all personal destruction. The reason is simple. There are not three ways, or many ways. There are two ways. God's way, and the devil's way. Paul said, referring to idols (and if he were writing now he would discuss many other forms of "religion"), "The things that the Gentiles (unbelievers) sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God."
For those who believe that Satan is worthy of worship, I have two words: 
(Matthew 4:10)
Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'"
(Revelation 20:10)
10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Evil has consequences. It does. Spiritual evil precedes moral evil, and the final consequence for those is not "nothing," as some would have you believe, but eternal destruction in the Lake of Fire, which is, despite what some think, a real place.

The answer for all that?
"Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."  (Acts 20:21)
Jesus came to deliver us from all that the devil has for us, and from the consequences of us accepting that. 
(Acts 26:18):
["I am sending you," said Jesus to Paul], "to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me."

Your future is in your hands, whoever you are, wherever you may be. Turn to God, renounce everything false, including the Devil and his works, and allow God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, to give you the forgiveness of all your sins and everlasting life. 

It does not matter who you are, how deeply you've fallen, or how much you have worshipped and done evil. 
Repentance answers all.
Repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ brings light. Eternal life. Forgiveness. Cleansing. Happiness. "Joy unspeakable and full of glory."

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