Mocking Jesus

There are times when I forget that I am going to have to give an account for every action and word I take and speak. Thankfully, God gives me reminders of this eternal truth and one such reminder came yesterday at church.

Our pastor is preaching on Christ’s seven sayings from the cross. Yesterday he was reading from Matthew 27 when the reminder came to my mind:

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Sullied Sacrifices

Imagine your loved one giving you a Christmas gift that looked as though it took him or her three minutes to throw together. There was no effort put into getting your gift, no cost or value, no sacrifice of time or resources. Now if it’s your two-year old child doing so, that is cute and heart-warming. If it is your spouse, then you’d be in a heap of trouble.

So why do we give such ungrateful gifts to the Lord our God? Why do we give Jesus the scraps from our table when we’re finished with the day? In some cases, we don’t even do that. The reason is we don’t love our Lord enough. We express our love to one another in the sacrifices we make for each other. To do otherwise is to be guilty of the same sullied sacrifices for which the Prophet Malachi confronted Israel:

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Foolish Heart

A very popular song from the 80’s was Foolish Heart by Steve Perry. Perry is warning his heart against foolishly falling in love, warns his heart that it has “been wrong before, don’t be wrong anymore.”

Many people live their lives as “one and done” if they are hurt in a relationship in order to protect themselves. Perry is wisely recognizing that our hearts can deceive us. We believe we know ourselves and yet Scripture tells us otherwise:

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Needing More Light

One of the greatest gifts God bestows upon His born-again children is wisdom. Wisdom is portrayed in the Bible as a gift more precious than gold. Wisdom is defined in Ewell’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology as “Divine wisdom given by God, that enables humans to lead a good and true and satisfying life; it cannot be derived by human intelligence.”

With all that has happened in our country lately, the days seem devilishly dark. Darkness is nothing more than the absence of light. Where the church has failed its flock is trying to apply human reasoning and wisdom to issues that can only be solved through heavenly wisdom. Instead of seeking earthly experts, we should be searching for divine discernment:

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Joining the Were’s

Men are using ladies’ bathrooms. Government is so corrupt that we willingly support morally corrupt candidates. Society is so debased that it opposes any biblical standards. Christians compromise their beliefs because it is the road less traveled. Is there any hope remaining for this nation? The answer is, of course, yes.

However, for that hope to be realized Americans in general, and Christians specifically, are going to have to understand the root of America’s problems. America is not facing a political or economic problem. If that were the case our country’s issues would have been resolved long ago. America’s national malady is that we are spiritually sick. We no longer, outside and inside the church, allow the Bible to be our moral compass.

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The Gift of Liberty

Regardless the candidate for president, no man or woman can save America. No man or woman can make America great again. No man or woman alone is trustworthy enough to not have to be under constitutional checks and balances. No man or woman has all the answers to the needs of our nation. That is the description of a king or queen. We threw off the tyranny of king during the American Revolution.

What many voters, regardless the candidate, are seeking from whom they support is some form of kingship or soft tyranny. Our government was designed to not allow one person to have that type of power. Somehow we believe if it is our guy or gal then they will not be corrupted by the power and stay on the straight and narrow. As James Madison once said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

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Finding Firm Footing

Fear is overcome by faith. That which we fear can make us forget that which we trusted. Anything in life that is dangerous can bring fear. Whether it be a dangerous hobby such as rock climbing or hang gliding, or dangerous work such as law enforcement or the military, fear of danger is lessened with faith in our equipment and training.

So how do we overcome fear of the unknown? For example, we look across America and see defeat and depravity seemingly ruling the nation. We allow this fear to cause us to make decisions that are biblically indefensible and logically incoherent. How do we get back to our national motto, “In God We Trust?” We remember who God is:

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Rest for Our Souls

One thing I’ve learned about other Christians and myself during this election cycle is too often we see things through our own eyes instead of eyes of faith. We fear what man is and can do to us, thereby no longer fearing God and rejecting His will for our lives. We trust in our own strength and wiles instead of seeking deliverance and forgiveness from God.

Some have given up. They believe there is no hope for America and are waiting for God’s judgment to fall on our nation. This defeatist attitude comes from weariness and a misplaced focus on man. Too many churches across America have checked out of society to the point that the church as a whole is no longer sought out for its take on current issues.

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Saved from the Snare

Fear is one of Satan’s favorite and most effective weapons. Whether it is fear of the future, fear of the unknown, or fear of man, our enemy wants to entrap us with our own fear so that we do not trust the Lord in all things. The devil may wrap fear in the illusion of pragmatism, but it is still fear. It is relying upon our own wisdom instead of obeying the Word of God. Solomon connects this dichotomy:

“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

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Opposing the Truth Instead of Promoting It

In this election season, like never before in my lifetime, religious freedom is under attack and promises are being made by many candidates to protect it. While this might be comforting to some, the track record of political promise keepers is reason for doubt. Even if we do elect a president who will defend religious liberty, eventually Christianity will be persecuted worldwide. This is not my prediction; Jesus Christ predicted this:

“You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.” (Matthew 10:18)

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The Unbecomingness of Worldly Ambition

Ambition is not a bad thing. Ambition is what motivates us to set and reach goals. However, worldly ambition is quite another thing. Worldly ambition can make us overly self-confident, deceitful, and not fit for the kingdom. A Christian who is driven by worldly ambition is an oxymoron. Jesus explains:

    “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:13-17)

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Faithfully Forgiving

An unforgiving heart is a poisoned heart; it is rooted in bitterness. This bitterness is like emotional cancer running through a person’s spirit bringing grief to everyone, including the bitter one.

The ability to forgive is uncharacteristic of most people. As a species, we tend to hold grudges and desire revenge. The Bible addresses this in many places, including the Apostle Paul’s warning:

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Distinguished or Extinguished

Last night during our graduation recognition night, our Minister of Students Brother Andrew told the graduates that as Christians they could be extinguished or distinguished. He told them as young adults coming into an uncertain world and marketplace, they have the foundation to distinguish themselves among their peers:

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Love Doesn’t Have To Be Divided

Last night at our church our pastor began a study on the Book of Jude. Brother Dennis was recalling when they were expecting their second child and he wondered whether he could love the second one as much as he loved his first. He was addressing the benediction found in verse 2:

“Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” (Jude 2)

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Delighting My Soul

People are losing hope. American patriots despair for their country and look at the state of our nation and see no hope. We look to Washington D.C. to voice our complaints and all we get in return are political patronizing pats on the head.

Many are ready to give up on politics altogether. Glenn Beck just announced yesterday that he’s leaving the Republican Party. My friend Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is considering the same move.

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Saying What God Says

Last Sunday my pastor, Dr. Dennis Brunet, said something upon which I’ve set my heart and mind. He said, “If the Word of God says it, then I can say it.” Americans are a very opinionated people, and many Christians—me chief among them—are guilty of offering varied opinions on many subjects. God’s word has addressed many of the issues facing our nation today, so our opinions must sync up to Biblical teaching.

The immorality that runs rampant through our society today can be dealt with by turning to our Bibles:

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Leaving Behind A Solemn Testimony

My pastor likes to say that getting old isn’t for sissies. I couldn’t agree more. Never mind the physical aspects of growing old, the spiritual pressures can be overwhelming. In my generation we have seen socially both rapid progress and rancid perversion. It’s enough to make an older person just want to retire and fade into the sunset. That would be a waste of much power and prudence.

The writer of Psalm 71 was either old age or at least thinking of growing old when he wrote:

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Getting Knowledge and Grace

Sherlock-Holmes-007I am by nature a loner. As a child, I was totally content to play by myself with all my imaginary friends. My late mother used to tell me about how when I was four, she looked out the kitchen window to the backyard and saw me playing. She said she could see me having a grand time talking and directing at least three different imaginary friends. Perhaps it is because I had two older sisters, while doting over me constantly, obviously were not boys with whom to play. More likely, it is writer’s nature to sit alone and contemplate and imagine different scenarios. This can be creative at times and detrimental at others. The Bible warns against too much isolation:

    “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.” (Proverbs 18:1)

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Pure From Corruption

corruptionOur government has been corrupt for a long time. There is a good reason for that. Our culture has been corrupt for a long time. There is also a good reason for that. Our churches have been corrupt for a long time. Yes, there is a good reason for that too. Our homes have been corrupt for a long time.

Many Christians believe if we can just get the right people in office, then our nation will make a comeback. While that would help some, it is more of an ointment than a cure. A person suffering from skin cancer might be able to relieve the surface pain with some sort of ointment, but the disease itself must be dealt with. Trying to fix a deep-abiding problem with surface remedies only deal with the symptoms. The cure for the disease is what is desperately needed.

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Choosing To Sin

choose-to-sin_choose-to-sufferComedian Flip Wilson used to portray a female character named Geraldine. Geraldine was not the kind of woman you would bring home to meet your mother. When she would try to explain away her misconduct she would exclaim, “The devil made me do it!” That would be funny, however too many Christians use that excuse for living in sin. Last Sunday our Minister of Discipleship and Evangelism, Reverend Pete Belmain, cleared up any confusion about our sinfulness. We sin because we choose to sin.

If we try to make excuses for our sinfulness, we are in actuality condoning it. That may not be what we want to hear, but to blame our sins on our flesh or Satan, or anyone or anything else is to condone it. If we must give a reason for our sin, let us get back to the path of righteousness by at least admitting our culpability. We sin because we choose to sin, and when we do so we condone it. We must never condone sin in our lives or in others. The Apostle Paul warned against such behavior:

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