Bless and Curse

Every morning when I wake up, I stumble my way to the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot. Behind me is my dog who wonders why we are up so early. As I hear the coffee machine begin to start brewing, I’ll take my dog outside to go potty. Usually when I come back inside the coffee machine is done, and I’ll grab a cup, and head to a small room of my house to read His word.

This morning I came to Psalm 134. Such a small yet powerful psalm, that is only three verses long.

Lift up your hands to the holy place

    and bless the Lord!

Psalm 134:2

In this Psalm, I picture a congregation lifting their hands in praise to bless the Lord. Soon I began to think about other ways in our lives that we are able to bless the Lord. One of the ways is how we talk. What we say with our mouths is controlled by a very small yet very powerful muscle.

Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

James 3:4-5

Our tongues can be used for good, and they can also be used for evil. We can give someone a genuine compliment with it. We can sit down and pray for someone with it. We can sing songs of praise to God for it. We can also say many hurtful things with it. It is capable of both blessing and cursing.

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

James 3:9

We must then ask ourselves, what is coming out of our mouths? Are the words we speak good? Are we showing other people Jesus through what we say? Is there a mix of good things and bad things?

Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?

James 3:11

In this generation, this can be applied to what we say online. Our social networks are yet another extension of our mouths, a ship that we guide with our tongue. We must gently, with compassion, love, and truth, share Jesus and his love with the world. Before you hit that “Post” button, or “Tweet” button, use this moment with online communication to your advantage.

Think about what you’re about to share, and if it is going to bless or curse?

Momentary Affliction

In light of the ruling by the Supreme Court, my mind has been traversing the promises of God. I have been dwelling on His design for marriage in Genesis 2:21-24, and Jesus echoing that same thing in Mark 10:6-8. 

Even thought I disagree with their decision, I have a sense of peace. That peace can only come from the Holy Spirit within me. I thank God for this gift daily, as this life would be impossible without the guidance of His Spirit.

God is in control. Even though this ruling completely contradicts the word of God, I believe that this has happened for a greater purpose than our finite minds can see. I have faith that there will be good that comes from this all. All things work together for good, which is to bring glory to God (Romans 8:28).

Maybe this could lead to a revival? Maybe Christianity will become so radical, so completely separated from this culture and world, that the truth will shine so incredibly bright, and lead to more people surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus?”

The thing that keeps coming to my mind is that what has happened here is momentary.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. 
2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭17

The weight of the eternal glory of God triumphs the weight of the light and momentary decision here in the United States. There is just no comparison, and there is nothing that will separate us from the love of Christ. Not even a decision by five members of the Senate.

But we must pray. As Jesus said in John 14:14, “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” I encourage you to come to Jesus in prayer! Prayer is the one thing that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to do. It is so powerful, and there is no question that God will answer all of our prayers perfectly.

Marriage

Today, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that same sex marriage is legal in the United States. This means that each state must allow two men to be married, and two women to be married. This is the marriage that man has ordained, but it is not the true marriage that God has ordained.

We know that God created Man, and from Man he created Woman, who He saw fit for him.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
Genesis 2:18

And that in marriage, Male and Female will come together and become one flesh.

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Genesis 2:21-25

We know the words Jesus spoke confirming this truth.

But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Mark 10:6-8

How are we Christians supposed to respond?

  • We are called to pray (Philippians 4:6-7)
  • We are called to rejoice always. (Philippians 4:4)
  • We are called to stand firm in the truth that we have. (Ephesians 6:13)
  • We are called to respond with love in the truth. (1 John 3:18)
  • We are called to love our enemies and pray for those that persecute us. (Matthew 5:44)

We must not only stand firm on the truth of marriage, but on all of the desires of the flesh. Every single sin grieves the Holy Spirit, and separates us from God. We must proclaim repentance in everything.

To those that do not believe, I know what it is to live in sin. I was not saved until after my 30th birthday. That is thirty long years of living for myself and not for God. I know the choices that I made, and how easy those choices were to make. The additions that I was under. The things I thought could be enjoyed outside of marriage. I know that we cannot choose the consequences of those choices, and the magnitude of the hurts that will follow. For those of you that do not agree with biblical marriage, I write this out of love. It is my hope that you may see this truth, that it will protect you, and that truth will set you free.

To my dear brothers and sisters. God is here, and there is no other God than He. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Jesus is our Lord and Savior. He is King of kings. And Lord of lords. He has risen from the dead, defeated death, is seated at the right hand of our Father, and will reign for eternity. We have the Holy Spirit, which is our guarantee and guardian. And one day, Jesus will come again, and will restore all things.

 

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)

 

Missing Out

 

Do you feel like you are missing out? That there is something in this world that you do not have, yet everyone else has but you? This is a temptation that I face daily, and I’m sure that others can relate. It is the temptation to think that I need something other than Jesus in my life for joy and happiness.

Sometimes we can forget many of the precious promises from God.

We are promised that we have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). We have the Holy Spirit, which dwells within our body (1 Corinthians 6:19). Which means that God is with us at all times and everywhere we go. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). We have the assurance that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). That nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). And that we will spend eternity with Jesus (John 3:16).

How great are these promises! And as I am writing these, what I’m about to say just seems to grow so dim, yet it is still there.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel that we have everything we need. Sometimes it feels like there is this one thing that would fill us with happiness and joy, and all of our problems would go away.

Whatever that one thing is, it will never come close to the only One thing that can truly satisfy.

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

Only by resting in the promises of God will we be satisfied. Only in Him we have direction in this life. And only in Jesus do we have fullness of joy!

 

Take Heart

What does it mean to experience tribulation and persecution?

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (‭John‬ ‭16‬:‭33‬ ESV)

Jesus understood what it meant.

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3‬:‭12‬ ESV)

Timothy understood what it meant. 

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭12‬ ESV)

Paul understood what it meant. 

The gospel was so radical in the early church. When revealed to the Jews (Acts 2), Samaritans (Acts 8), and Gentiles (Acts 10), people either believed in it, or rejected it. There is no half way point between the two. Those that rejected it saw the gospel as a threat to their own self righteousness. 
The gospel is even still radical today. To deny ourself, and to live for Christ is to deny everything worldly. Here in America, we live in an independent and self sufficient culture. We do not want anyone infringing on our way of life. And anyone who disagrees on how we live just doesn’t understand. 

There are two ways to live: For the world or for Christ. 

To live the Christian life is to say that we are not self sufficient, but only capable thorough and with Jesus. To live a Christian life is to say that the things of this world will never satisfy us like the love of Jesus. To live a Christian life is to love and stand firm in the truth. 

Loving the truth and living for the truth and sharing the truth will lead to persecution. It may come from our work, our friends, our family, our husband or wife, our kids. We all face it in different ways. It may even come from others in our church. 

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭6‬:‭13‬ ESV)

We are to put on the are our of God, which will enable us to stand firm. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are convicted of the truth, and it is through the same power that we are able to endure persecution. 
The same power that resurrected Jesus, who has overcome this world.

I pray that you are encouraged, knowing that you are not alone in your sufferings. We are in this together. And will one day stand in the presence of God, where there will be no persecution, no tears, but love and the glory of God surrounding us. 

To His honor, and praise, and glory. 

The Glory of God

What is the glory of God? This is such a huge question, one that has been mulling in my mind for some time, and will barely touch in my few words here. Throughout the bible, God does many things to bring himself Glory. Two foundational truths about Gods glory are:

1. He created the heavens and the earth for His own glory.

And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!

– Isaiah 6:3

2. He created man for His own glory.

everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

– Isaiah 43:7

All of creation was created for the glory of God, and to glorify God. So Gods glory is everywhere that we look. We are without an excuse to see God in all of creation (Romans 1:20).

So what does that mean for us? Since God created everything for His own glory, we are to glorify God in everything that we do in order that the glory of God may be seen by everyone.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

– 1 Corinthians 10:31

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven

Matthew 5:16

We were created to glorify God in everything that we do. Our bodies are a living sacrifice, and were created by Him and for Him. So in eating, in drinking, in sleeping, in working, in talking, in listening, in driving, in writing, in reading, in seeing, in breathing we are to give God the glory.

Assurance of Salvation

This morning I came across a video that bubbled up a flood of tears and emotion.

Assurance of Salvation

The caller into this radio program was in the midst of a storm. He explained how he is facing lung cancer, and was recently told by the doctors that they have exhausted all possibilities, and that he has about four months to live.

Although he knew Jesus is the son of God, he was seeking assurance in his salvation, and wasn’t sure if it was enough to just believe. I could hear in his voice the concern, and fear, and uncertainty if he would truly be saved.

My heart goes out to him, because a year and six months ago, in different circumstance, I too had the same question.

Where will I end up for eternity?

The same question has been on my mind for many people I know, and how I can effectively in truth and love share the hope that I have in Jesus with them. Last night, as I was laying in bed with the lights off, the account of the Roman jailer coming to know Christ as his savior came to my mind. So I turned on the light, opened my bible to Acts 16 and began to read.

 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Acts 16:29-30

The unknown brought fear and trembling upon him. He wanted to know with certainty what he must do to be saved. The answer to this question is so simple, yet is so hard for many people.

And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Acts 16:31

We must believe in the Lord Jesus.

The Greek word believe is translated from is pisteuo, which means to believe, to entrust, to place confidence in.

To believe is to entrust your life to Jesus as your Lord and Savior. To know Jesus as Lord is to know that He is trustworthy to be the one and only authority over your whole life. The know Jesus as Savior is to realize that you are a sinner in need of saving, and to know that God loves you so much that he sent his only son to die for your sins so that you will have everlasting life in His presence.

A year and six months ago, I came this realization, and my life has been completely changed.

You don’t need to have everything figured out. You don’t have to know all of the answers to your questions. You don’t need to go home and straighten out your relationships. When we go to a doctor, we don’t heal or fix ourselves first.

Let Jesus take control of your life, and believe in Him.