“But someone will say, ‘you have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18) and, “For as the body apart from the spiritis dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26).

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Political vs. Spiritual Environment

Jim Denison writes, "According to columnist Jim VandeHei, there are other factors involved as well (regarding our "dysfunctional life of American politics") . Consider his list:

•    There is no market today for normal politics, much less compromise. To get noticed, leaders must be extreme.
•    Centrism is nearly extinct at the national level. The Tea Party on the right and aggressive liberals on the left dominate our politics.
•    National political parties are shells of their former selves. Social media has rendered these gatekeepers of establishment order nearly obsolete.
•    Fake news fans the flames of partisanship as faith in traditional media declines.

I would add that the cultural dysfunction of our day is the logical consequence of a decades-old worldview called postmodern relativism. Since our minds interpret our senses to produce knowledge, we're told that all truth claims must by definition be subjective and relative. According to conventional wisdom, since there can be no objective truth, we must tolerate all views (except those we consider intolerant, of course).

In such an environment, there is no consensual truth to seek or defend. Our opinions are what matter. If you agree with me, you're right. If you disagree, you're wrong. As politics flow downstream from culture, such rancor has become the new reality."


Our only reality that is unchanging, that is truthful, that is righteous, is Jesus Christ. 

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6. 

Pretty simple. Blessedly so. 



Friday, December 16, 2016

Merry Blessed Christmas

Jesus birth was and is God's gift to his children. Those of us who believe in him, are his dearly beloved children and we have been given true and real hope.

For God So Loved the World

16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus' birth, his subsequent death and rise from death has assured believers of eternal life. Nothing we can do can help us achieve eternal life. Only our belief in him and in his work will save us.
 Titus 3:5
he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
Jesus' birth is a celebration of hope. A hope that is deep, rich, and abundant in joyful everlasting life. Whatever we must go through here on earth, will be forgotten in heaven. All life there will be made new through our Savior's power and vision.
 Luke 19:10
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” 
Indeed, Jesus birth is an incredible gift to all mankind. This Christmas, celebrate hope and God's great gift of grace and mercy. Grace for undeserved favor and mercy for not punishing us for what we certainly deserve.   
Celebrate a joyful and thankful Christmas!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Prodigal Son

Jesus often spoke in parables to his followers and to those who were curious about his teaching. One of the parables that I used to find challenging was that of the Prodigal Son. Of two sons a man had, the youngest asked his father for his inheritance, which would be about one third of his father's wealth. The father gave the young man the money and he promptly took off to another country where he lived wildly and foolishly, ultimately losing all his money. In the process, he ended up starving and tending pigs. Coming to his senses, he decided to go back home. He would ask heaven and his father for forgiveness and would  even be willing to be treated as a hired servant. But to his surprise, his father was delighted to have him home. In fact, his father gave him a robe, a ring, and wonderful feast slaughtering the 'fatted calf'' for the festivities. Now the oldest son was not happy with these events. In Luke 15:25 read:

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

There are many commentaries on the oldest son. Some think he was a hypocrite and stayed with his father only waiting for him to die so he could inherit the two-thirds that would go to him. Others say he is an example of Christians who judge those who have sinned and although they have repented, they are still frowned upon. Others say that he is an example of rebellion against God's grace. I say this is not only about the oldest son other than, yes,--he was hurt, jealous, and he didn't understand why his father could be so forgiving, while seemingly not paying much attention to him, the eldest, who had behaved in accordance with his responsibilities. 
I say this is about the grand love of God not only for the 'prodigal' son, but for the one who is confused, hurt, and feels left behind. In part of this parable I see Jesus  reassuring us that when we feel slighted, and jealous--God is always with us and always loves us. And when we come back to him, and ask his forgiveness, he is thrilled!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Amos 8:11

Turn to the Old Testament or Google Amos 8:11. This is the English Standard Version (ESV): 11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord."

 While the prophet Amos was speaking to the Israelites warning that God would surely cut off communication with them because of their lack of interest and even hatefulness towards His prophets, they would realize the heartbreaking loss of God's words during their painful destruction and subsequent captivity. Yet Amos' words can also be read as a warning for our age. Many have turned from the Lord. Few attend church, study the Bible, or seek the words of Godly pastors, teachers, and Christians. Instead, many rely on political correctness, their own ideas of what is right and wrong, and what is trending. Sadly, people without God are without hope, yet they don't know this. They rely on their own strength and understanding. If ever there was a time to reach out to the lost it is now.

 Hebrews 11:6 English Standard Version (ESV): 6 "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

Monday, May 23, 2016

God's Sovereignty In Our Lives

Charles Haddon Spurgeon preached
"Blessed is that man who had done with chance, who never speaks of luck, but believes that from the least even to the greatest all things are ordained of the Lord. We dare not leave out the least event! The creeping aphid upon a rosebud is as surely arranged by the decree of Providence as the march of pestilence through a nation."

Indeed, we must not speak of 'luck' or 'chance'. All is in the will of God. How wonderful is that? This great hope--the hope of God's control over the universe and all his creation gives us unshakeable peace and comfort.

In Matthew 10:29-31 it is written, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." 

Understand, that God, your father holds EVERYTHING in his hands. You are loved. Through both good and bad times, we can count of God's sovereignty and his deep love for us. Regardless of how small the matter, rest assured, God is in control. We might not understand the course of events, but hold tight to the Father's hand. He will never leave your side.

 "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” ( Deuteronomy 31:6)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Why are Christians and not Muslims Mocked?

It's interesting that certain groups in the US hold disdain towards Christian beliefs and if not verbally criticizing, many resort to mockery. This mockery can be found on TV, in film, and in print. While Muslims are only criticized if they are radical, there's little criticism of their beliefs and certainly not mockery. Why? Is it fear, reverence, or respect? I don't have the answers, but there are parallels in both Christian and Muslim beliefs concerning marriage and homosexulity, yet it is only the Christians who are attacked for holding with Biblical marriage, and disagreeing with homosexual practices. (See Saturday Night Live's (SNL) parody on gay marriage and a Christian baker, April 16 2016.) Abortion is another issue, but I believe one does not have to be rooted in theology to realize the unborn are in fact "unborn persons" (even Hillary Clinton used that term, although acknowledged they had no constitutional rights. And not to ramble here, but in some states if a pregnant woman is murdered, it is considered a double homicide.) But back on point: As Christians we must show our love and kindness even to the mockers. We must stand strong in faith, in God's commands, and act and speak with gentleness and humility. We don't have to fight any battles for God and rest assured, he will not be mocked:

 "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." (Galatians 6:7).

Friday, April 1, 2016

The State of the Presidential Contest

It is disturbing to watch the presidential candidates' behavior as they present themselves and their ideologies for the country's highest office. What is the need for verbal abuse lodged at competitors and certain ethnic groups? Political strategists certainly have opinions and answers for this behavior, but the heart of the matter isn't a pundit's analysis; it is a reflection of how far American society has fallen in morals, respect, and ethics. Thankfully, God has this all under control and he will ultimately raise up who he wants to raise up and use that person according to his will. As the prophet Isaiah writes in 55:8,9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts your thoughts." This is indeed comfort.