FEAR AND HATRED – OUR ENEMIES

FROM MY HEART TO YOURS

FEAR AND HATRED are the greatest enemies of mankind.  The problem begins with this:  All of humankind should fear God, but most don’t.  Consequently, we wind up fearing (and hating) essentially everything, or everyone else.

Let’s begin our discussion with the subject of hatred.  It started in the Garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve were afraid they didn’t know enough, and it was at that very point that Satan attacked them.  “We’re allowed to eat of any of the trees in the garden, except the tree of the knowledge of good evil, ” said Eve to Satan.  “Ah (says Satan), God knows if you eat of that tree, you’ll be as smart as He is.  And, of course, God doesn’t want you to be as smart as He.” (My paraphrase).  You know the rest of the story:  Adam and Eve, hating the fact that they weren’t as smart as God, ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the midst of the Garden, and fell hard, taking all of us with them, as it were.

The same hatred that they had for God, evidenced by their disobedience to Him, is inherent within all of us today.  As a result of our inherited hatred for God, we are a totally depraved bunch, every one of us.  We are at enmity with God when we come into this world, and apart from the grace of God in Jesus Christ, we’ll remain that way, all the days of our lives.

Last evening, I witnessed on the Academy Award Show, the obvious hatred (and fear) of some black people for white people.  Now this is a two way street; because there are also a lot of white people who hate blacks, and are afraid of them.  The problem is, we all, black and white, think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.  Hey!  Listen up!   None of us is better than another!  We’re all God’s creation in Adam; and, we can all be children of God in Christ, if we come in repentance to God the Father, and by faith to Jesus Christ.  If we do that, and worship God in Spirit and in Truth, instead of with our tongues in our cheeks,  we can and will have harmony.

The question is:  Will we?  History dictates that we won’t.  Does that mean we can’t?  Absolutely not!  It merely means nobody has tried it till now.  Why shouldn’t this generation be the first to really try?  Not with the Bible in one hand, and a dagger in the other, but with our hearts and minds in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our eyes of faith upon Him as well!

With love in the Lord Jesus, from a  sinner saved by grace,

Bill

 

 

 

 

FEAR AND HATRED – OUR ENEMIES

FORGIVE, OR NOT FORGIVE?

FROM MY HEART TO YOURS

In Matthew 6:9-15, Jesus tells his disciples (I’m paraphrasing) “If you forgive others, your Father will forgive you; but if you don’t forgive, you’ll not be forgiven.”

This is a condemnation for most of us; because we all have a hard time forgiving others.  It’s not a characteristic of our totally depraved human nature to forgive.  That is the reason Christ emphasizes this to His own.  Rather; this is a work of the Holy Spirit, and only those who worship God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24), will obey Christ and forgive others.

In truth, most of the trouble in the world today, is the result of people being unable or unwilling to forgive.  This is often the reason people fight, one on one, and nations wage war on one another in toto.  In fact, the attribute of forgiveness, may be the one most needed in the world today.

Therefore, when we read the “Lord’s Prayer,” especially where Jesus teaches, “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” think about what it really means.  We are asking God, to be exactly as forgiving to us, as we are willing to forgive others.  That sort of puts an entirely different view on our relationships with others, doesn’t it?

As ever, with love in the Lord Jesus, from a sinner saved by grace,

Bill

FORGIVE, OR NOT FORGIVE?

FORGIVE US AS WE FORGIVE!

FROM MY HEART TO YOURS

In the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, he says we should ask for forgiveness in this way: “And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us!” (Matthew 6:12)  As I sit here, thinking and writing, I wonder: “Is it wise to pray in this way?”  It must be, or the Lord wouldn’t instruct us in that way; and yet, do we think of all the implications of his request, when we pray in that way?  Probably not, if we did, we’d most likely bite our tongues.

Forgiveness may be the absolute most important factor in our relationships; not only our relationship with God, but our relationships with all others as well.  Not only can we destroy others by the things that we do out of a bitter spirit; but we can destroy ourselves as well, in regard to effective prayer, effective witnessing, and effective works that we endeavor to do for the sake of God and His Kingdom.  Not only those things I mentioned; but inside our beings as well, we can render ourselves hateful; bitter, unhappy, and just plain worthless in regard to service for the sake of Christ and His Gospel.

Years ago I worked with a man who was, in my opinion at least, “bucking” for a boss’s job.  Consequently, I despised him.  I despised his methods, his snitching, and his (at least, once again in my opinion) constant criticism of all who worked with him.  Well, he was made chief operator at the water treatment plant where we worked; and I was devastated.  I literally hated him!  However, God began to work on my heart, and I prayed that God would help me to get past my hatred, and, that I’d be able to work with, and get along with my new boss.  Guess what?  He turned out to be the most fair; the most considerate; and the absolute best boss I ever had.  We never became bosom buddies, but we had a respect for one another that enabled us to work together for a number of years.  He taught me a lot; and later on, when I became a water plant manager myself, I often emulated his example in dealing with those under me.

So, friends and neighbors; sisters and brothers, think of the implications of the phrase:  “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us!”  It just may be the one thing most needed in your life, as it was, and still is, in mine.

With love in Christ for all, a sinner saved by grace,

Bill

FORGIVE US AS WE FORGIVE!

WHO WANTS TO BE DRIVEN?

FROM MY HEART TO YOURS

The book “A Purpose Driven Life,” by Rick Warren, has undoubtedly touched many people; and, ostensibly, many have been helped by it.  But, for me, the idea of being “driven,” especially at my age, isn’t attractive at all.  Much more attractive and sound according to Scripture, is the idea of being led by “The Good Shepherd.”  Jesus says, in John 10:14-18: “I am the Good Shepherd.  I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”  Jesus says further, in John 10:27-30: “My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.  I give them eternal life and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me (see Ephesians 1:4), is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”

What comfort and assurance there is in the above verses.  I’ve a question.  Why would anyone want to be “driven,” when the Good Shepherd deigns to lead us, as a shepherd leads his sheep?  Many things may be deemed “good.”  But when you consider a “know so saving relationship” with the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re talking, not about something that’s merely good; you’re talking about what’s indubitably,”the best.”  Those who are in Christ are in a grace/faith covenant with the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.  We are his, and He is ours forever, and ever!  Think of that!  In light of these things, who would want to be “driven?”  Much more desirable is the idea of being “led,” and of following the Lord Jesus wherever He leads.

My friends, I don’t mean to be picky.  I just don’t want to see something passed off for being the best, when there’s something infinitely better.  Jesus just can’t be beat!  That’s a fact on which I’m staking my life.  Paul said to King Agrippa in Acts 26:29b, “I would that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am – except these chains.”  My prayer is the same as Paul’s.  I pray that everyone who considers being led by Jesus Christ, would receive Him as Savior and Lord today.  Why not?  There’s not a better offer anywhere!

With love and prayer for all, from a sinner saved by grace,

Bluegill Bill

 

WHO WANTS TO BE DRIVEN?

CAN WE REALLY UNDERSTAND?

FROM MY HEART TO YOURS

2 Timothy 2:7:  “Consider what I say, and the Lord will give you understanding in all things”  (NKJV, NU Text).

What can we really understand or believe when we read the Scriptures?  Is Almighty God really sovereign, or is He limited in His power?  Some people believe that He is limited.  In other words they think that He, like we, is unable to do all things, and work all things according to His own purpose.  Their actions and their statements confirm that they believe God is shut up to the same limitations that humankind experiences and displays.  In Joshua 24:15, Joshua through the Holy Spirit says this:  “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourself whom you will serve, whether the gods which you fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

So, sisters and brothers, it’s the same with us.  The question is: Will we serve the True and Living God?  Many people serve a Jesus of their own making.  Many have, over the centuries since Christ’s advent, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, created many  Jesus’ contrary to Jesus Christ as He is revealed in Scripture.  They, like the Pharisees, have put more stock in their traditions, than they do in God’s Word.  In Isaiah 42:8, God says:  “I am the Lord, that is My name, and My glory I will not give to another, nor my praise to carved images.”  Images of God aren’t only carved out of wood or stone, or made of clay; but they are formed in our minds as well, and written down on paper.  False images of God are worshiped by many people.  In fact, God is revealed truly and correctly to us in His Holy Word, and no where else.  The True Christ, is revealed to us in Holy Scripture, and no where else.  When Christ ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our Teacher, our Comforter, our Guide, our Helper.  Read John 16:7-15, and see if this is not so. The Holy Spirit was sent, literally, to be in the place of Christ, who is at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us.  The Holy Spirit is the true “Vicar of Christ,” who is in the place of Christ, until He comes.

In answer to the question: “Can we really understand,” I say the answer is, yes!  We can and we will, if we place ourselves by faith in the hands of Almighty God.  If we understand that our relationship to Him, if it’s genuine, is by grace alone; through faith alone; in Christ alone; as He is revealed in the Bible alone; and we will give glory to the Triune God:  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit alone.

My prayer, echoing the prayer of David in Psalm 51, is this:  Create in all of us clean hearts O God, and renew right and steadfast spirits within all of us, so that we may think of You aright, and serve you in newness of life forever. In the name of Jesus, Amen!

With love for you all, and prayers for your happiness in the Lord Jesus Christ,

A sinner saved by grace,  Bluegill Bill

 

CAN WE REALLY UNDERSTAND?

IN THE DAYS OF NOAH

FROM MY HEART TO YOURS

Then God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).  

Since the fall of Adam, humankind has been estranged from God.  As Isaiah puts it in Chapter 53 verse 6, “All we like sheep have gone astray.  We have turned everyone to his own way.”  That would be the end of it, and the end of us; but for the rest of the verse: “and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  Now, who is the “all” that the Holy Spirit through Isaiah is speaking of here?  Why, it’s all of we who are God’s sheep.  Those whom the Father has chosen from the foundation of the world, and given to Jesus.  We who have gone astray, evidenced by the total depravity of our common nature.  The Gospel of John alone is shot through completely with evidence that this is so, no matter how it absolutely goes against our fallen natures and our finite inability to comprehend. (John 6:37; John 10:27-30; John 15:16; John 17:2; and a vast number of other verses throughout the entire Bible.)

Jesus says this in Matthew 24:37: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”  Just as the flood came as judgment, quickly and unexpectedly, so will Christ come quickly to judge the living and the dead.  None heeded the preaching of Noah regarding judgment, and relatively few will heed the warning from God’s Word regarding the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In fact, the intimation of Christ’s statement concerning this, is that people will just be going their own merry ways; eating and drinking; marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Jesus comes.  And, though it shouldn’t take us by surprise, given the myriad of warnings we’ve had, it will be, nonetheless, totally surprising to the vast majority who are on earth at that time.  As some one, and perhaps many have said: “If history teaches anything in a definitive way, it teaches that people don’t learn from history.”

All of the above facts to the contrary notwithstanding, why should you and I be duped by the world, the flesh, and the Devil?  Why should we be caught by surprise?  We have ample warning from God’s Very Word concerning what is in the future.  Why should we not, each of us, become a “preacher of righteousness,” as was Noah, in regard to the return of Jesus Christ?  Instead of sitting idly by, though a believer we may be, and watching people go their merry ways, not honoring God, and not caring about anyone else except in superficial fleshly ways; why shouldn’t we be involved in the “Ministry of reconciliation?” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

It’s certainly something to think and pray about, isn’t it?

As ever, with love from a sinner saved by grace,

Bluegill Bill

 

 

IN THE DAYS OF NOAH

CAN ANYONE BE AGAINST US?

FROM MY HEART TO YOURS

In Roman 8:28-32, the Holy Spirit through Paul says this:  “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.  What shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things?”

The answer to the question “Can anyone be against us?”, is, ostensibly, no!  No one can overcome the purposes of the Sovereign Creator of all things.  At least not in the permanent or eternal sense.  Can they for the time being, here on earth, wreak havoc in our lives?  O yes, they can!  Paul is speaking here about when all is said and done.  When the trumpet of the Lord sounds, and time is no more, and eternity is ushered in;  then we will be proven “more than conquerors through Him who loves us.”

Notice the wording in the Scripture quoted above from Romans 8th chapter.  Notice that God considers this already done.  We were predestined to be conformed to Christ’s image; we were called by the Gospel; we were justified; and, notice He says we were also glorified, just as if it were already done!  That’s because God, who knows the end from the beginning, and works all things after the counsel of His will, has ordained that it be so.  And, since He is the Sovereign God, His purpose cannot and will not be thwarted!  Therefore the answer to the question, “Can anyone be against us?,” is a resounding NO!

So, if you are one of Christ’s own, rejoice and praise Him!  Because, “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, no any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38,39)

With love, from the heart of a sinner saved by grace,

Bluegill Bill

 

 

CAN ANYONE BE AGAINST US?