Sunday, January 29, 2017
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
In the late '60s, the Rolling Stones recorded a popular secular song called, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." Otis Redding and others artists recorded it as well.
In the quest for satisfaction, people will try anything and search everywhere. They turn to pundits and so-called experts. They turn to sex, drugs, alcohol, social media, gambling, and the club scene. Advertisers sell products with the statement, "Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back." Searching for satisfaction, however, many have fallen victim to the tricks, the schemes, the wiles of the enemy. Many have ended up strung out and addicted to drugs, divorced or estranged from their loved ones, bankrupt, and deep in debt while trying to fill that God-shaped place in their souls that only God can fill.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
As believers we have one hope of our calling. With hope, followers of Jesus Christ can confidently engage the world despite the obstacles they many face. The Bible teaches us that we have a saving, living, secure, joyful, good, blessed, courageous, purifying and glorious hope!
- One Hope. Ephesians 4:3-6 states, "Make very effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all, and through all and in you all."
- A saving hope. Regarding our adoption as sons and daughters, the redemption of our bodies, Romans 8:24 states, "for in this hope we were saved."
- A living hope. 1 Peter 1:3 states, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...."
- A secure hope. Hebrews 6:18 states, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."
- A joyful hope. Romans 5:3 states, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us." Romans 12:12 states, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
- A good hope. 2 Thessalonians 2:16 states, "May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."
- A blessed hope. Titus 2:11-14 states, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good"
- A courageous hope. Hebrews 3:6 states, "But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast." 2 Corinthians 3:12 states, " Having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech."
- A purifying hope. 1 John 2-3 states, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure."
- A glorious hope. Colossians 1:27 states, "To them (the saints) God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Each year, we start the year making resolutions of every kind, some worth keeping and some frivolous and not worth keeping. In recent months, the word "Challenge" has been used to describe vows, pledges, and resolutions to keep our promises. Anytime, however, we vow to know and obey the will of God, then there is a resolution worth keeping.
In this passage, Isaiah speaks of the time when Egypt, of all places, would know the Lord, and worship Him - Not only would they worship the Lord, they would make a vow to Him and keep it. One of the cities in Egypt, Heliopolis, worshipped the sun god. That the worship of Yahweh would be taken up was the sign of a radical transformation. First, note the reason for them making and keeping this vow (v20). They are being oppressed, but because God is full of grace and mercy, he sends a deliverer, a savior to rescue them. The savior is believed to be a reference to a future millennial reign of Jesus Christ. Every Christian is a recipient of God's grace and mercy. At some point we were, like Egypt, separated from God. But somebody prayed for us and the Lord answered. We underwent a radical transformation. Jesus saved, delivered, and set us free. Therefore, when we make vows to God, we ought to keep them. If nobody else around us lives for God, we ought to live for him.
Here are some vows (resolutions) concerning our relationship with Jesus Christ, the Bible and the church that are worth keeping. We should better understand our relationship with Jesus Christ, better understand the Bible, and the church.
First, we should strive to better understand three things about our relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is only way to salvation (Acts 4:12 & John 14:6); Christ was sinless and therefore my example (1 Peter 2:21-22); and I am not my own but belong to Christ (1 Cor 6:19-20).
Secondly, we should strive to better understand these three things about the Bible. It as the inspired Word of God (2 Tim 3:16); It is my light and guide (Ps 119:105); and One day I will be judged by the Gospel (Romans 16 & I Cor 3:13-15).
Finally, we should strive to remember three things about the church. It was purchased with the precious blood of Christ, and ought to be respected (Eph 5:25 & Acts 20:28); The church is a divine institution and ought to be honored (Matt. 16:18). Jesus instituted the church. He protects the church. He is the head of the church. Lastly, It is my duty to be loyal to the church by attending regularly (Heb. 10:25) and keeping my membership in good standing.
Sunday, January 08, 2017
As I eat a chocolate peppermint candy cane, I say this is good. No, not the candy cane, although it is good, too. I am referring to this No Junk Food Challenge. After all of the holiday food, to go on a junk free cleanse is a great idea. It will allow you to bring your body back to a level of "equilibrium. "
However, if you are preparing to fast, as many are doing at the beginning of year, there needs to be more. I would add prayer, Bible reading/study, worship and fellowship with like-minded brothers and sisters in the Christian faith. While denying yourself junk food for 21 days, do not deny yourself intimacy with God...Increase it for 21 days!
Your goal as a believer should not be to simply say that you did this or that for 21 days. No. Any non-believer, or person of another faith can do that. Any fitness enthusiast can do that. Your goal should be to deny yourself or fast at the beginning of the year in order to draw closer to God and increase your walk with Him throughout the year; praying to be on his agenda, praying for direction and guidance in handling your personal and business affairs, praying and reading the Word of God, and seeking wise, godly counsel for knowledge, wisdom, and understanding for the journey! Amen.
In a few short days, like it or not, the 45th president of the United States will be sworn into office. The inauguration will include pomp and pageantry, parades and songs of praise, no doubt. Already there are those singing new songs of praise for the president-elect. While some are praising, others have been and will be peacefully singing songs of protests on January 20th, Inaugration Day. What new song are you singing?
This weekend's Precepts for Living Bible lesson in Psalm 96:1-13 has me singing a song of praise to the true and living God! It is so important to meditate on Psalm 96 because it serves as a reminder that no matter who is president, no matter your party affiliation, God is still on the throne! He alone is Sovereign and worthy of all praise, honor, and glory!
Psalm 96 is a song of praise, but specifically, an enthronment psalm that celebrates God's divine kingship over all the earth. The Lord reigns! He established the world. He is Creator, Sustainer, and Vindicator of the world! As believers, our new song should contain blessings, daily testimonies of God's salvation, and recollections of His glory and wonders (vv 2-3). In fact, our entire lives should be one continuous new song of worship and praise to the One true God who sits high and looks low. We should not be so self-centered that we neglect and forget the One who can handle our problems. We should not be so heavenly minded either that we are no earthy good. We should praise God for his perfect justice, be aware of earthly injustice and speak out against it. Let us sing a new song to God who reigns and is coming back again! No matter who is in the White House, God is on the throne! Amen! Jesus saves!
"Sing a new song to the Lord ! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord ! Sing to the Lord ; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves."
Psalms 96:1-2 NLT