Does God Make Resolutions?

Isaiah:6:6-7: Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it and said, behold this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away and your sin is purged.

As January comes to an end, I wonder, how are those resolutions coming along? Is you gym bag already gathering dust or is it still in the trunk of your car surrounded by your best intentions? What about that diet plan? Are you still going strong? Chances are, regardless of your best laid plans, the goals set in a moment of passion and emotion have been laid aside; not intentionally, it just happens. Jesus provides us with the reason in the book of Matthew 26:41 NKJV
Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

In short, we can not accomplish anything in our own strength. Separate from God, anything we do falls miserably short of His plan for our lives. This includes being a follower of Jesus. As we begin the journey into 2015, do you know for certain where your journey would end if today were your last day on this earth? Have you examined yourself? What is the condition of your heart? Through His word, the Lord shows us that we must come to the end of ourselves in order to enter into a right relationship with the father. Isaiah 6:5 shows us what true humility looks like. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.”
At the moment we understand that there is only one way to the Father, there is one answer, one truth, the Holy Spirit touches us and we are forever changed.

Simply knowing the truth does not save us. People can profess Christianity, attend church, even serve and not be saved. Salvation comes from acceptance of Jesus as Lord of our lives in all humility. A man or women led by the Lord moves from glory to glory and strength to strength. When difficulties come, and they do , the Lord of eternity is our strong tower. Psalms 61:3-4 NKJV For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah

I do not make resolutions because, promises made in the flesh do not last. Only the truth of Christ and Him crucified is eternal. So, as 2015 gets underway, let us examine ourselves, focus and recommit if necessary. Let us see what the Lord resolves to do with a heart that is willing.

Grace & Peace

LD

*If you would like to know more about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, email me at savedIIserve@gmail.com and let me know! I will be happy to lead you through what the bible says about salvation and accepting Jesus Christ as your savior.*

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Messiah is Here Shhhh

Luke 2:8:  Now there were in the same country shepards living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Christmas eve is an amazing time. When you are young, it is filled with anticipation. Perhaps you have a roll in the Christmas play or you are singing in the choir. Maybe your favorite aunt, uncle, or cousin, is in town , and there is always the excitement that goes along with the gifts under the tree.

As adults, Christmas eve changes. The responsibilities change. Instead of having a roll in the Christmas play, now your directing it. While you still look forward to that favorite aunt or uncle coming over, now you must entertain them. As for the gifts, you just know you’ve forgotten something. Even so, there is still Christmas Eve service.

All of the stress of the day begins to melt away as afternoon stretches into evening.  As you count glass ware to ensure that you have enough for Christmas dinner, your mind drifts to the upcoming service. What will the message be? What book will the pastor be teaching from? Will old man Smith make it? He has been in the hospital so as you get aunt May her fifth cup of sugar free coco you say a silent prayer for Mr. Smith and his family. You are at peace. 

You get everyone into the car or cars and you arrive at church; as you pull into the lot, you are looking for Mr. Smith “God must be getting ready to use me,” you think, not as silently as you would have liked. “I can’t wait to shake his hand and wish him a merry Christmas,” you tell your aunt.

Then you realize that your uncle has been circling the lot for a good ten  minutes. Who are all these people? You have never seen them before. Then the realization hits you like a red wine stain on a white table cloth. Your family, may never find a parking spot much less sets for 8 in the santuary. The peace that you had earlier in the day; that’s gone. The Creasters ( Christmas and Easter church goers) are here desending like a plague of locust on Egypt. You hope that you will at least be able to sit in the santuary as you park across the street. Suddenly it is cold; the wind and snow hitting your face like a thousand needles. You hadn’t noticed until now what a bitter night it was. You aunt, somewhere  behind you, says that everyone looks nice. You nod and grunt absently as you trudge to the door. Mr. Smith holds it open for you as you aproach, greeting you as you enter. You don’t notice saying, ” it’ll be impossible to find 8 seats together.

If you can relate to any of the above story, you are not alone. I chuckled at the ease with which the above prose flowed when I wrote it. As the old saying goes, “we laugh because it’s funny and we laugh because it’s true.” I think that all Christians have  been frustrated at one time or another by the ocasional, or more appropriately put, the twice a year church attendees. After all, this is the big day, the celebration of the coming of Christ to live among us; our salvation made flesh. There is a bit of pride in it. Pride in the knowledge that Jesus died so that we who believe might live. Romans 10:13 For whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Those of us who are saved can get caught up in the revelry and in doing so miss the point.

Who did the multitude  of heaven announce the good news to? Shepards. Shepards represent the lowest of the low, the bottom of the food chain. There is a reason for it. The reason is revealed  in Luke 2:10 Then the angel said to them, do not be afraid for I bring you good tidings of great joy which sall be to all people. The part that strikes me is all people. As my pastor is fond of reminding us, all means all. Yes, all even means that family of twelve who you have never seen before that took up the last full row of seats and forced your family to sit in the back.

If it is crowded tonight, rejoice because this may be the only exposure  to the gospel the that the strangers who occupy your usual seat may get all year!  Pray that the word of God would fall on a soft heart and that they would come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. People must hear the gospel to be saved by its power. This is the biggest night of the year, not for Christians but for God. Instead of praying for good seats, pray that all who will hear the truth will be saved. This is not a members only meeting; it never is. Shake the hand of a stranger, offer to pray for them. Be engaged and watch as the Lord God makes His presence known to all! Jesus is here!

Merry Christmas!

LD

 

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Tact Please

John 3:15: That whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 

Years ago, I sat in a small church and listened to a pastor explain the truth of grace. He started with the above verse. It is an awesome promise. No matter what you have done, no matter where you have been, no matter how far you have strayed from Jesus, as long as you believe in Him you will live in eternity with Him. Just as that truth was beginning to settle over me, providing warm fuzzies galore, the pastor finished his thought by saying, “that goes for everyone; even Charles Manson.”

I sat bolt upright in my chair. Just the name alone conjures fear. If there is a personification of evil, Charlie Manson is it!  Could the promise of salvation really be for him? is there a possibility that we might see Manson in heaven? If we believe the words of Jesus as He spoke to Nicodemus then, yes. The word used by Jesus is whosoever, meaning everyone who believes. The Greek for believes or believeth (KJV) is pisteno meaning to commit.  So, put another way: Anyone, who commits to Jesus will have eternal life.

It was John 3:15 that came to mind when I received and article from a friend this week.  from time to time, people do send me articles, book recommendations, and the like. I have never commented publicly on anything I have been sent, until today. the author of the piece is of no consequence except to say that he identified himself as a pastor. The topic of the piece is also of no consequence except to say that it dealt with a report that was released by the  government recently outlining certain activities undertaken by members of our clandestine services in the days and weeks directly following 911. The article was more political than spiritual; dealing with perceived moral equivalence that in my humble estimation can not be drawn.

I will not speak on politics here. I will not speak on left or right, conservative or liberal, or concerns over national security.. My goal is to preach the gospel of Christ to all that would hear it, to do my small part to plant the seed of truth in a sinful world. In reading the piece, I could not get past the first sentence, “You can’t be a Christian if…” From here you can fill in the blank because, in truth, it doesn’t matter what you choose. Pick the first sin that comes to mind. Is it pride? If so, then I am out of the club and so is the apostle Peter. Go ahead and mark out First and Second Peter in the bible and nullify the over 3000 conversions on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).  Some of you might think I’m being cheap in my sin selection. After all, everyone is guilty of a little pride now and  then, that’s not a deal breaker. James 2:10 reminds of the truth. For whosoever shall keep the whole law yet offend in one point is guilty of all. In God’s eyes there are no moral equivalents. Sin is sin. We, a broken and sinful race can never overcome that. We can never get across the chasm that separates us from God. There is good news: Romans 5:8 But God Commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (KJV).

That is great news! that is news that has the power to change lives, to change the world! But, in order to be saved by the word of God one must first hear it. When christians make blanket statements such as you can’t be a christian if, we are missing an opportunity to preach the gospel. We lose the chance to share the love of God and what Jesus did for all people. Does that mean that as Christians we should accept everyone,  never showing them the sin in their lives? No. Lead people to  Christ with tact as your tool not a sledge-hammer. Sharing the gospel is not about winning an argument or a debate. After beating someone down we can’t throw in a cursory, “Jesus loves you.” It will not be received as unto the Lord. Jesus is in the salvation business not us. Mathew 7:1 Judge not that ye be not judged (KJV). It is as I heard one pastor say, “the unbelievers favorite verse.”  it is what they use to get you off their back. The Greek word for judge is intersting.it is krino meaning to condemn or damn.

That is a far cry from calling someone out for an immoral lifestyle choice, or coming alongside a backsliding brother or sister with a rebuke in love. We must seek the Lord in all things and when  called upon, speak the truth in love not damnation. Are the truths still uncomfortable? Yes, at times, but they are always to be tempered with the love of Christ. Lead them through the open door of repentance and salvation and let the Holy Spirit make the changes that are necessary.

Grace & Peace,

LD

*If you would like to know more about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, email me at savedIIserve@gmail.com and let me know! I will be happy to lead you through what the bible says about salvation and accepting Jesus Christ as your savior.*

 

 

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