The Light of the World

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. – John‬ ‭3:19-20‬ ‭NIV

Imagine you’re sound asleep in a dark and quiet room. You’re comfortable. You don’t want to be disturbed. Now imagine some happy morning person bursts into your room and opens your room darkening curtains, allowing sunlight to flood the space. You open your eyes for a second, but the brightness is too much. Quickly you close your eyes and bury your head under the covers, trying as hard as you can to keep the light out.  

At this point, some will realize the value in the refreshing sun light. They will throw back the covers and allow their eyes to adjust to the brightness as they rise, ready to start a new day. Others will grumble from under the covers – pleading with their assailant to close the curtains so that they can settle back into the darkness. 

This is an analogy of what happens when the truth of the Gospel is exposed. When the light of God’s Word, the Good News of Jesus’ saving sacrifice, shines on a world content in their darkness. 

BAD NEWS – Every one of us is sinful and no matter how good we think we are, we will never be good enough to be in the presence of the Almighty God.  God is a just God – and sin cannot go unpunished. The wages of sin is death! (Romans 6:23)

GOOD NEWS – But because God loves us, he provided a way for us to be redeemed. He sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our sin. He died so that we could live. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus. (Romans 6:23)

CHOICE – To avoid the final judgement of hell, you must acknowledge the ugliness of your sin, turn from the darkness and run to the light of Jesus. You must choose to follow him as your Lord and Savior. The alternative is to put your faith in something or someone else and hope it works out – though the Bible clearly says it won’t.  Salvation is found in no one else. (Acts 4:12)

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” – John‬ ‭3:36‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So what will you do?  Will you see the light of Jesus and embrace him or will you bury your head under the covers to flee from him?  Your answer to this question has eternal consequences. You must decide now. The curtain is open and the light is shining. Don’t hide from it and fall back to sleep. The next time the curtain is opened, it may be too late. 


“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ”- Mark‬ ‭13:32-37‬ ‭NIV‬‬

  

Climate Change – Saving the House, Not the Inhabitants

Climate change is a big deal these days. People argue about its validity, some insisting it should be a top priority while others claim it’s nonsense.  As so many of the social issues of the day are doing, it is even dividing the church. So what is an appropriate Biblical view? 

We certainly cannot deny that God made the earth. He made it, and he called it “good”. (Genesis 1). But apparently the earth in itself, and even all of the animals, weren’t enough. God decided to make human beings. And when he did, he blessed them and told them:  “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” – Genesis 1:28  (Interestingly, one of the claims of some concerned with the climate change problem is that the earth is over populated. God didn’t appear to put a cap on the number if people when he said “fill the earth”.)

It is also important to note that the downfall of earth is not a new thing. It began with the fall of man. (Genesis 3:17). When God decided to destroy the earth the first time, he did so because it had been corrupted by the evilness in mankind’s hearts. God didn’t appear to be concerned about how they were or were not caring for the earth, but rather by their violence towards one another. (Genesis 6:12-13) And Jesus’ message was clearly about loving and obeying God; loving one another; and spreading the message of salvation through him alone. 

The plan for this physical earth culminates in its destruction. (Zephaniah 1:2). God has an eternal home prepared for those that put their trust in him. So it would seem to me that as Christians, we should be far more worried about the souls of people than the physical state of the earth. 

Consider this analogy.  I have provided a home for my children. It’s not just somewhere for them to live, but hopefully also somewhere for them to enjoy life. Do I expect them to keep it clean and to care for it?  Of course!  But that has more to do with having a home we can all enjoy than it does with the actual building itself. Now what if our house was on fire, doomed to be destroyed?  Would I be frantically telling my kids to get buckets of water to save the building? No!  I would be screaming as loud as I could to them – “Save yourself!”  I would be telling them clearly which exit to use. And once we were safely out of the house, I would be thanking God that even though the house is gone – we are still alive!

Our message – first and foremost – needs to be the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to be telling people how to get out of the burning house instead of giving them buckets of water in a futile attempt to save it when it’s bound for destruction. Instead of creating summits to battle the destruction of the physical earth, we need to be creating churches that battle the destruction of human souls. 

  
 

Israel is God’s Nation

I’m not a political blogger, but since current American leadership seems to be “un-friending” our best friend and deciding to buddy up with the trouble makers, I thought it was a good idea to look at what the Bible says about Israel. 

I have read the Bible cover to cover more than once and God has given me a heart for the Jewish people.  In reading their story and how it weaves together with ours (Christians) I feel as though they are my long lost brothers and sisters. True, many Jewish people have yet to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is their promised Messiah – but the eyes of many are being opened to that truth, which of course God has said all along would happen as the return of Jesus draws near. 

It is no secret that Israel is God’s nation. God established that very early on and he makes it clear throughout Scripture that he will defend Israel.  As Jacob (whom The Lord called Israel) journeyed through the land where Israel now exists, The Lord made it clear what his plans were. 

“At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” – ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭28:13-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

If you’ve read the Old Testament, you can clearly see it is a story of Israel’s relationship with God. How they would be blessed when they honored him and lost when they turned away. Over and over again … blessings, rebellion, separation, repentance, redemption, blessings. (I’ve always found the fact that God remained their God even when they screwed up very comforting since the pattern of my own life resembles theirs.)

Once He broke into the scene in flesh, Immanuel (God With Us) – Jesus the Messiah – He didn’t suddenly decide that Israel was no longer important. He did, after all, choose to be born there. (Bethlehem)  And when Jesus’ ministry began, his first “go” command to his apostles sent them to his own people. 

Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:5-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

And as Paul, a Jew hand selected by Jesus himself to deliver the Gospel message to the Gentiles, went out to spread the world he further confirmed that Israel was still in the game. 

They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! – ‭‭Romans‬ ‭9:4-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it. – Romans‬ ‭11:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, “The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness. And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.” Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. – ‭‭Romans‬ ‭11:25-29‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As the return of Jesus Christ draws nearer, let’s not forget that Israel and the Jewish people play a big part in the last days of this earth. 

Wait! Don’t harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.” And I heard how many were marked with the seal of God—144,000 were sealed from all the tribes of Israel – ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭7:3-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. – ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭21:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The fate of those that come against Israel is a whole other blog post, but let’s just end with this and remember to pray for Israel as well as for our own leaders. 

I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. – ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭12:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What If We’re Right

As I see the full extent to which mockers and scoffers are denying God through ignoring his laws and attacking his people, I wonder if any if them have stopped to consider what will happen if they’re wrong. 

What if all the things Bible believing Christians are saying are true?  What if obliterating truth and morality actually does have eternal consequences?  What if all of the supposed victories being won for ungodly causes really will bring about God’s judgement?  Do you suppose the Alpha and Omega, who is not bound by time but sees the past, present and future in a single glance will say – “You’re right.  When I inspired the Bible to be written, I wasn’t able to take into consideration what the world would look like in the 21st century. Otherwise I surely would’ve changed up my laws for mankind to better fit into what they would consider moral.”  

Or are you hoping that God is more like a passive parent who may have rules, but really doesn’t expect them to be followed? Do you suppose that despite the fact that he is holy and just – he doesn’t plan on holding anyone accountable to the things he said in his Word?

Does it seem even a little bit strange that now more than ever, everyone is working to silence anyone proclaiming Judeo-Christian values?  The very people that for thousands of years were looked to for moral guidance? Do you ever wonder at all if you should maybe read the Bible (the whole Bible) for yourself and see if there’s any truth to the things we are trying to say?

Have you ever stopped to consider that there’s an epic battle going on between God and Satan, between good and evil?  That Satan, knowing full well that he will lose in the end, just wants to take as many people down with him as he can?  That Jesus is returning to judge the world and that only those made righteous through complete faith in his death and resurrection will be going with him?  And that claiming to be his follower will not cut-it if the life you lived didn’t line up?

I’m guessing as you laugh at the cries of the “Christian fanatics” and celebrate the fact that your society is drowning us out – you are hoping we’re not right.  

Because if we are …

Loving Enough to Offend

Why are so many Christians overly careful not to offend people? Did we maybe confuse offending someone with being unloving? Are we not, being filled with the Holy Spirit, able to speak the truth in love – even if some are offended by what we have to say? To be clear, as a Christian I am daily offended by things that I see and hear in the world around me. Others appear to have unlimited freedom to speak their mind – and yet as a Christian, I do not? Would it be more loving for us to keep quiet about what God’s Word says and to continue to allow Satan to deceive the lost? I’m quite sure that he is happy when we bite our tongues and only talk about The Truth in our little Christian circles.

And how about the fact that we are called to be Christ-like? What if we asked the question: “What would Jesus do?” Undoubtedly he loved every sinner he interacted with, but he was not afraid of offending them or making them feel badly when he addressed their sin. Every one of us (all sinners) should feel badly when we see our sin. It is exactly this feeling, the conviction of the Holy Spirit, that is meant to drive us to repentance. That shows us exactly how much we need the Savior because on our own we are lost.

If we see someone driving along in their new sports car, quickly accelerating along a road that we know ends abruptly at a cliff is it more loving to just let them enjoy the ride despite the end result? Or would the right thing to do be to tell them what we know because we don’t want to see them reach the end of the road with too much speed to stop?

I believe that we must speak the truth, even if people don’t like what they hear. Not because we are better than them, but because we know that there is an answer that offers eternal salvation. Because we know that there is far too much at stake for people that do not know the truth.

The message: You are a sinner. I am a sinner. None of us can do anything to save ourselves. The only thing that saves us from our sin and offers us redemption from eternity in hell is the blood of Jesus Christ. It is only by giving our life to Jesus and allowing him to change us that we have any hope at all.

I commend those who speak boldly with a mission to reach the lost and deceived with the truth of God’s Word. He does love the world, which is why he sent his Son. But he will judge the world based on what they did with the truth.

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. (‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭17-19‬ NLT)

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. (‭Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭13-14‬ NLT)

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ (‭Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭21-23‬ NLT)

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭24-27‬ NLT)

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. (‭Matthew‬ ‭9‬:‭36-37‬ NLT)

To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ (‭Matthew‬ ‭13‬:‭12-15‬ NLT)

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (‭Matthew‬ ‭16‬:‭24-26‬ NLT)

And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. (‭Matthew‬ ‭24‬:‭10-14‬ NLT)

“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. (‭Matthew‬ ‭24‬:‭37-39‬ NLT)

“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. (‭Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭31-33‬ NLT)

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭28‬:‭18-20‬ NLT)

  

Pray For The Lost

Every day we see more and more the accelerated decay of values and the massive shift towards moral relativism. As Christians it is hard to know what we should be doing as individuals. God has gifted each of us differently with special passions and talents he wants us to use for his glory, and we should definitely be about the work of the Kingdom – but that’s a different topic. I am convinced that the one thing every follower of Jesus should be doing is praying for the lost. You can see in the passionate celebrations of immoral victories that so many people are truly deceived. Satan is a master manipulator, and he’s been really busy deceiving — as usual!

Please join me in daily praying for the lost souls. It’s likely that you have names and faces that come to mind as you think of people that need this prayer. Pray for them specifically. Pray also for world leaders, for false prophets, for deceived church-goers… — Never stop praying! (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

*****************************************************************

Lord, I lift up in prayer all of those that have not yet acknowledged that you are the only way for eternity in heaven. That have not yet realized their need for a Savior. That are being more and more deceived by the “new ideas” that even professing Christians are falsely proclaiming. I pray that you will keep me aware of those in need of prayer and also use me in whatever way you have planned to impact their life for you.

I pray for those that have acknowledged you as their Savior but have wandered away from their relationship with you. That have allowed the things of this world to get in the way of the relationship that matters the most.

I pray for many professing Christians that although they know you, Jesus, they are being led astray from who you really are by all of the confusing world messages. If they are worshipping the “wrong Jesus” – they are committing idolatry, and they don’t even realize it.

I pray for all of the children that can be impacted by the repentance of lost adults. Lord, save whole families with the truth of Your Word and the redemption of your death and resurrection.

And I pray that you will silence the false prophets who’s hearts have hardened beyond being able to see the truth. That their deception will come to light in the eyes of those you long to redeem so that they will see THE truth!

Lord, you are waiting to judge the earth until the last of those whom you have chosen repent and believe. Help those of us that are already on “the team” to do our part to deliver the message.

For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God. (‭Romans‬ ‭10‬:‭3-4‬ NLT)

For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape. But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. (‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭2-11‬ NLT)

image