Thursday, April 13, 2017

Never Let Go

I watched a movie entitled "The Guardian", a true story about a Coast Guard rescue worker. It is an amazing story, a good movie. At the end of the movie they played the song, "Never Let Go" by Bryan Adams.

I was struck by how much of a spiritual message there is in this song. Jesus laid his life down on a cross for us so that we may have eternal life. We are called to lay our lives down for others. In other words, "prefer others over ourselves."
Can I give away my last $20.00 to someone who needs it more than I do, believing that God will do what his written word says, and provide my every need?
Can I invite unexpected guests to dinner when there is barely enough to feed my own family, believing God will multiply the loaves and fishes? Can I give of myself, all that I have; offer to help others in any way, believing God will give me the physical and emotional strength to do all that needs to be accomplished?

Can I lay my life down for others when it doesn't suit me? When it interferes with my own schedule? When it is a great interruption of my own plans? Can I do it in all things, big and small? Can I do it every day, maybe several times a day? Can I do it willingly, with a smile, while singing "All Is Well With My Soul"? Can I give up my own hopes and dreams to care for another? I don't know. But I know that God will surely present opportunities for me to practice. He will put people in my path who have needs, and give me an opportunity to serve them. His word says that he has given us "everything that pertains to life and godliness." So then, I am able to do it. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He will show me how.

"Can you lay your life down, so a stranger can live?
Can you take what you need, but take less than you give?
Could you close every day, without the glory and fame?
Could you hold your head high, when no one knows your name?
That's how legends are made, at least that's what they say.
We say goodbye, but never let go.
We live, we die, cause you can't save every soul.
Gotta take every chance to, show that you're the kinda man who;
Will never look back, never look down, and never let go.
Can you lose everything, you ever had planned?
Can you sit down again, and play another hand?
Could you risk everything, for the chance of being alone?
Under pressure find the grace, or would you come undone?
That's how legends are made, at least that's what they say."

Bryan Adams

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

There's Nothing New Under The Sun

Recently I listened to a word from a good friend of mine, Charles Russell, who teaches bible and gives sermons on a weekly radio program called "Anchored In the Word". His most recent teaching was from 2 Chronicles 36:16, "But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy." This is the story of Jeroboam, the first king of the divided northern kingdom of Israel, and King Rehoboam, (King Solomon's son) who ruled over Judah, in the south. In a nutshell, Rehoboam went before the wise old men of council and asked their advice on how to rule the people. They told him to "go easy." Then Rehoboam went to the young men of council and asked them. This group said, "don't lighten up on them." So Rehoboam took the advice of the young men and told the people of Judah he was going to make it even tougher on them. You can read their story if you like from 1 Kings, chapters 11 and 12.
I have pondered this story in my heart for a couple of days and I have several thoughts rattling around in my brain.

I marvel in our modern day how we see certain ones come and ask for advice. They'll go to a few different people, then they'll either choose unwise counsel or just go do what they wanted to do all along. We see it often, people are told the truth, but they choose the darkness rather than light. It reminds me of Jesus standing in front of Pilate and Pilate saying "what is truth?" All the while it was staring him in the face. Was Pilate blind to the truth? Or was he willfully blind?

John 3: 17-21 says, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

It seems that these days we are seeing more and more people who have been told the truth and willingly rejecting it, whether about religion, politics, ethics, morals, it doesn't seem to matter. This is wide spread right now in America and throughout the entire world. There have been videos released proving bold-faced lies about things and still people will say, "I don't care, it won't change my mind."

And yet the bible says, "That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

So the question I ask myself then is: how do you help someone see? How do you help them know the truth?

Let's look at Romans 1, beginning with verse 18 and down. (I am using the ICB [International Children's Bible] so it is very easy to understand and very clear.)

"God’s anger is shown from heaven against all the evil and wrong things that people do. By their own evil lives they hide the truth. God has clearly shown them everything that may be known about him. There are things about God that people cannot see—his eternal power and all the things that make him God. But since the beginning of the world those things have been easy to understand. They are made clear by what God has made. So people have no excuse for the bad things they do. They knew God. But they did not give glory to God, and they did not thank him. Their foolish minds were filled with darkness. They said they were wise, but they became fools. They gave up the glory of God who lives forever. People were full of sin, wanting only to do evil. So God left them to follow their evil desires. They traded the truth of God for a lie. Because people did those things, God left them and let them do the shameful things they wanted to do. People did not think it was important to have a true knowledge of God. So God left them and allowed them to have their own worthless thinking. They know God’s law says that those who live like this should die. But they continue to do these evil things. The King James Version says it this way in verse 28, "God gave them over to a reprobate mind." That word reprobate literally means "unapproved" and "void of judgment."

We see this happening before our very eyes. God allowing those who refuse to see the truth, stay happy and comfortable living in their lies.

The key point I want to make is this: They don't have to stay there! In the Old Testament, (before Christ died and rose again) God said, "there is no remedy." He was basically saying, "that's it. I am a just God, therefore I MUST judge sin. I've gone as far as I can go. This is it, you've reached the end of the line, there is no remedy."

BUT, praise be to God, in the New Testament, now that Christ has suffered and died for our sins and risen from the grave, there is! Jesus Christ IS the remedy! We do not have to stay where we are. Jesus said, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it." (Mark 8:35)

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)