You have heard the saying that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. I wonder why we in the USA are so afraid of history? We see the nation founders removed from many text books; and many universities not requiring American History to get a history degree. Did you know that Germany has kept a great many of the awful Nazi Concentration Camps, because they now know how evil the Nazis were and they don’t want to repeat that evilness again.
So why are we seeing so many groups trying to revise American History now? Why are so many actually re-writing history? What are they afraid of? What we are seeing in America now with the destruction of Confederate Monuments has nothing to do with racism because most don’t know the history of slavery in America. I dare say, they don’t have a clue why the Civil War was even fought, because it had very little to do with slavery. They don’t know the impact that Great Britain had upon American slavery. They don’t know that blacks sold blacks. They don’t know how the founding fathers hated slavery though many had slaves. They don’t know that you could not rid yourself of slaves no matter how much you hated slavery if they were inherited.
Leave history alone, leave the monuments alone, it is what it is! Let us all remember how awful the slave period of time was so we will never ever repeat the sinfulness of slavery of any kind. For if you try to cleanse a nation to suit a particular ideology, you are only making the nation a slave to that ideology. God created all peoples to be free!
We all have “storms” in our lives, problems and pains. The “storms of life” come against us all. Jesus chose the disciples for a grand purpose; He would not allow them to drown in the Sea of Galilee…read Mark 4:35-41. Furthermore, Jesus had a purpose for the group to get into the boat. The purpose was NOT to drown in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, but to get to the other side. So, why do you suppose these seasoned fishermen, familiar with the storms on the Sea of Galilee, were so upset that they thought they were going to drown? They forgot who they were traveling with! The Lord Jesus would not allow them to drown; they had nothing to worry about. So let me ask you, who are you traveling with? Jesus can and will calm the “storms in your life”, all you need to do is to get into the boat with Him! Amen.
The buzz words for today are inclusiveness and diversity. I am all for it on one condition. If we have the same goal in mind, let’s all come together. There is indeed a problem…we are far from having the same goals.
In the Bible’s Old Testament, over and over again, the Hebrews fell into sin by adopting the local culture’s ways. When in Canaan, do as the Canaanites do…right? Wrong! The Hebrews started worshipping the Baal gods; archeologists have unearthed a single alter dedicated to both a fertility god and Yahweh. What were they thinking? If one is good, two are better? The Old Testament is full of examples where inclusiveness and diversity went against the will of God. Obviously, there was no common goal in these examples.
There are of course many groupings we could identify where there could be common goals, thus a great desire for inclusiveness and diversity. We see this in the world’s hate groups. We see this in those wanting dictator governments to control the citizens by pressure. We see this in those who have compassion and want peace.
We should not see this in our relationship to God.
Peter’s vision of the sheet full of birds and animals coming down from heaven was explained in Acts 10:28, as the Jews believed the Gentiles were profane and unclean; but now God intended to make His family, His chosen people [the Jews] into a larger group by bringing in the Gentiles. Here we see inclusiveness and diversity the correct way where there is a common goal…the common goal of belief in Christ Jesus. I want all peoples, black, red, white, men, women and children from all the religions of the world to come together in the LORD Jesus Christ…that is my prayer for inclusiveness and diversity…everyone come to the LORD Jesus! He died and rose again for you; can you receive Him as LORD?
There are many stories of those once believers in God, who at some point reject Him. Why? I have always wondered why. Of course I know there have always been apostates; Satan is probably the very first apostate as he is the leader of all the fallen angels, each an apostate on their own. But to understand Judas…I guess I will never understand how someone walking with Jesus 24/7 for 3 years, being there for most of the miracles and sermons, and then turn Him over to those wishing to kill Him. Oh, people have suggested Judas simply wanted to speed things up; that is, getting Jesus to free the Jews from Roman rule faster. Regardless, there is no justification for betraying Jesus. So let’s back on subject…why do people reject God?
A recent article I read about a Lutheran who became an atheist. When a young person, they had a friend who a Buddhist and the idea of the friend being lost for all eternity for not accepting Jesus could not be tolerated.
Admittedly, they noted a lack of careful examination of the evidence; so what is driving this rejection of Christ? I think that many apostates are simply “wishful thinkers”. They simply wish things to be different. They want the world, redemption, even God Himself, to be a different way, a way of their own desire and invention.
What selfishness! What Arrogance! What laziness to not examine the evidence for God’s mercy and grace! Those rejecting God and His instruction pattern actions of those of Adam & Eve. God gave us free will to decide for ourselves what we want to do and think, even if it is to reject God. But, I say that the creation has not right to be arrogant toward its Creator, for the Creator absolutely loves His creation
Three weeks ago I wrote above God loving us by kicking us out of the Garden of Eden. From this banishment from the Garden, the whole Bible is about God trying to reach His people, people He loves, while allowing the loving freedom of freewill. Part of loving another is to allow them the freedom to accept or reject you. You are free to reject God, but you are arrogant if you think God hates you. God gave His only begotten Son to take your sins away which allows you entry to glory…after the giving of His co-eternal Son, why would God turn to hate you? It has always been mankind that has messed things up; we have all messed things up…only don’t blame your mess on God!
Finally, to repeat myself, to reach the lost, God sent His only begotten Son! Yes, we are unconditionally loved, so what is your response going to be? What will your response be to a love freely given? Using the tree metaphor again, the “Jesus Trunk” wants your branch to be connected and to receive life-giving water.
“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’” (John 4:10 ESV)
Why not be a part of something much larger than you? Be a part of a special family, the family of God; we have a guarantee to be joint heirs in the Kingdom of God! It only costs you everything you’ve got, including your life. Not a bad trade for eternal life in Glory with the LORD Jesus Christ, I say!
What have you thought when you have heard the statement, “she is a child of God”? What does that mean? What it means is what it says, plain and simple. It means that where the Holy Spirit gives witness that our spirit has received Christ Jesus as LORD and Savior, then we become children of God (Romans 8:16). What then? What does the child receive from his father? His inheritance of what the father has built up. As a child of God, we are heirs to the Kingdom of God (Galatians 4:1-7). As with the “Parable of the Prodigal Son” story, the father threw a great banquet for a son that did not deserve it, a son who made all the bad decisions and wasted everything. The reason was simple; the son was lost but came back home to the father, back to the family.
My poor decisions occurred when I was not connected to the “Jesus Trunk”. I was getting poor nourishment by my own actions and decisions. It was not God’s making. I don’t blame God for God waited on me to come back to Him; this is grace. There is no way I can get to heaven except by the “Jesus gate”; it is not by my works, but is by the One I dedicate my life to. In being born again, the old has passed away and my bad decisions and sins are remembered no more. As a born again Christian, my new life should reveal what a real Christian is, and not one in name only…actions speak louder than words.
Though we, the body of Christ in the Christian Church, did not deserve it for all of our bad decisions once made, when we lost souls have finally awaken and turned back to God, we will receive the heavenly banquet and a place in heaven’s mansion where the Father, excited to have us back again, welcomes us home to the Garden again, welcomes us back into the family of God.
Following the “tree metaphor” in the book this blog follows, A Different Kind of Tree; connect to the “Jesus Trunk”, who supports like none other; take root into the Word of God to receive the best nourishment like none other; go out and produce good fruit for when your branch is connected to Jesus Christ and you are then indeed, “A Different Kind of Tree”!
Now, there are indeed some folks (and churches) going around saying that since Jesus already paid the price for my past, present, and future sins; I can now do whatever I want to. Wrong! How selfish is that! Is that the way you thank someone that rescued your eternal soul from hell? If you think so, then you are greedy, selfish and arrogant. You don’t have freedom from sin to keep on sinning! There is only one true “thank you” response; you repent from your sin, and then you praise, worship and dedicate your life to the service of Christ Jesus.
This, my friends, is the development of “good symmetry”, a move toward perfection; finally to be obtained when you are made whole again in God’s Glory. At such time, God will repeat a statement once made long ago about His creation and repeated when you were created, “It is good”.
Using the beautiful butterfly as metaphor, we start out low as caterpillars and we change, some all at once and some gradually. From our fallen state, we morph into a new creation not at all like the caterpillars we were before. God wants His “butterflies”, but He wants His “butterflies” to love Him unconditionally. This is not natural by itself for the world sees it all as foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18); it all takes becoming a new creation in Christ, changed and made new by the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 5:17).
You see, we don’t deserve God’s saving grace! People turn from God because they wrongly say, “God doesn’t care about me”. How arrogant is that? It is the same thing as saying, “God loves everybody in the world but me”. The truth is this: We [humanity] were kicked out of the Garden of Eden before we could eat from that second tree…the “Tree of Life”. Eating from the “Tree of Knowledge”, the one thing we were told not to do, was our arrogant attempt to be like God; to have the every knowledge of God. But had we eaten from the “Tree of Life”, we would eternally be damned by this sin. God’s first saving act was to kick us out of the Garden; yet, today, many see the action as hate from a vengeful God.