Category: DEVOTION

TACKLING THE MONSTER WITHIN

It’s human nature to point fingers at other people, without finding fault at our own end of the finger. Some people live their whole lives without dealing with the monster within their own souls. They don’t see their problem-they just experience the consequences of their failings, and blame others for them. The wreckage they leave is often not visible to them, but it’s very tangible to those they’ve damaged-sometimes for a lifetime. 

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I was thinking about someone I was once very close to, and looking at the trail of wreckage she has left all the way along in her life: broken relationships, broken people, offended family members, lost homes, lost jobs, and worse. At this point in her life she seems unaware that any of the problems were caused by her. It’s always someone else’s fault. It was always her that was wronged. In no part of her life, it seems to her, was she responsible for what happened.

It’s always easy for us to see the faults in other people, but we don’t see them in ourselves very well, if at all. On top of that, our pride prevents us from even beginning to consider that what happened may have been at least partially our fault. And here I’ll freely admit that I am one of the guilty. When I allow myself, I catch a little glimpse in my mind of what I may have done, not just to one person, but to a whole string of people, in the course of my life. However, examining what happened closely is painful and embarrassing and demeaning: it doesn’t fit with the way of today’s life which says it’s all about me, and that others don’t meet my standards. We all make excuses for ourselves.

How will I ever truly confront my own dark side? As tough as it is, it has to be done, because if we don’t tackle that monster; that habit of destruction or of neglect or selfishness, we will continue to wreak havoc, and the consequences will affect us as well as others.

There are many reasons why Jesus said that we have to repent. It’s not just so that we can get back into a right relationship with our creator-it’s so that we can become more Christ-like, which is what our God wants in us. It’s so that we can stop damaging other people; so that we can stop giving our God a bad name that He does not deserve.

In prayer and meditation on our God and His words, we can face up to those monsters within us. We have to first acknowledge that we may be at least partially responsible. We have to ask ourselves if what happened with so-and-so could have been avoided if we were more caring and less selfish. And we have to make ourselves do what we can to at least try to mend bridges and to heal hurt souls. It takes humility, resolve, and determination, along with a daily walk with God. Don’t believe those preachers and believers who say “It’s all God”, meaning that only God can change us. If that were the case, Jesus would never have said that we need to repent, and Peter would never have written this:  

For this very reason, make every effort to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins (2 Peter 1:5-9).

 

NICE PEOPLE

How many nice people do you know? Let me be a little more specific: How many people do you know who you feel at ease with; who are genuine and real; who are warm and thoughtful; who you know care sincerely and consistently about you; who you trust, and who are committed to companionship with you for life?

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Perhaps you’re fortunate enough to know a lot of such people. I’ll have to admit, reluctantly, that I could probably count the number of such people I know on one hand, and have a finger or two to spare. If I look back over my life so far, I may be able to employ all my fingers and toes in the count.

I’m not saying this to have a dig at human nature, as easy as that would be. After all, I’m human too (surprise surprise) and I suffer from the same weaknesses and faults that everyone else does. We can all be hurtful at times, or aloof or busy and inconsiderate. Just how do those few “nice people” manage it? How are they nice? What makes them kind, considerate, warm, forgiving, and all those other special endearing qualities which I am deficient in?

If I focus more closely still on what turns me on, socially speaking, I think I would have to single out that amazing ability a very few people have to make you feel welcome, wanted, loved, and appreciated, every time you meet them, even when you know you’re a nobody, and even when you have nothing to offer them in terms of this world’s perks. I can picture a few shining faces, always fixed on mine, so glad were they to see me and let me know so. They were(and are) the people who have made me feel like life was worth living, that there is a loving God, and that the world really is a beautiful place after all.

My next point is unavoidable. As I’ve considered these people prayerfully, I’ve had to ask my God why I’m not like them. Why am I not a nice person? I wish I were. I wish I could have that effect on people. I wish I could be warm, polite, kind and welcoming as a normal standard of being, rather than having to stretch to a minute or two of pleasantness before I lapse back into my normal modus operandi: being distant and preoccupied.  And as many professing Christians as I’ve met over the years, I must confess that the bulk of them have been, like me, in various stages of brokenness, selfishness, business, worldliness, and yes, sinfulness. We go to church (in normal times) in the hope of meeting people who are going to reflect the love of Jesus Christ, not realizing that everyone else is doing the same thing.

How many of us rise to the occasion?

The answer must lie in genuinely becoming Christ-like. I don’t mean a fleshly spirituality in which we think we’re just like Peter and Paul and can do all their magic tricks: I mean loving, selfless, warm, patient, faithful, godly behaviour as a way of life.

The few who achieve that level of walk with God in this life will be the ones to shine like stars for ever and ever.

WHEN IT’S GOOD TO JUDGE

There’s a serious epidemic at large in the Church these days-and one of the symptoms is the refusal to make a judgment on whether something or someone is right or wrong…

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Somehow Christians have bought into the multicultural mindset to the extent that they think they would be committing a crime against humanity by pointing out that someone has got it wrong. Well pardon my incorrectness, but that’s just plain wrong!

I once wrote at some length in answer to the now common mantra that “it’s wrong to judge”, often linked to the words of Jesus when he said “Do not judge”. I pointed out that once you get that plank out of your own eye, said Jesus, you are free to lovingly help take the mote out of someone else’s eye. Therefore, Jesus wasn’t saying it’s always wrong to make a judgment: he was speaking of hypocrisy. Do not pass judgment on someone else if you are no better than they are, but do…do, once cleansed of your own hypocrisy, go on to point out faults in others, and to tell them they are wrong.

One of the many huge reasons this epidemic is a problem is that there is a multitude of false teachers out there. Some are just mistaken, but some are of the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” variety. And the wolves are leading sheep away, sometimes intentionally. The Church is in need of more sheepdogs, to give the warning that there’s danger, and then to chase off the wolves and the bloodsuckers. We’ve all been so conditioned by left-leaning philosophy that we’re afraid to point out anyone for fear of being called “judgmental”. Perhaps, in many cases, people either don’t know when a teaching is wrong, or they really do know and they’re happy to go along with it anyway.

We’ve wandered away from our Guide, which is the written Word of God. Or else the godless culture around us has had such an effect on us that we really like what we’re hearing, and we’re content to wander away from the true faith once delivered to the saints. But if we aren’t following what Christ and his apostles taught, we aren’t really Christ-Ones at all. Call that a judgmental statement if you like-I can take it.

Without the Maker’s instructions to guide us, we can only wander into mistakes, error, sin and eventually insanity. Isn’t that what’s going on in our culture already? And should we, the Church of Christ, go the same way? If we would only look at what He said we would know that it is not only the right thing to pass judgment on false teachings and false teachers, but it’s actually commanded repeatedly in the very Scriptures which tell us about our Lord and what He said to us. You can’t go a single chapter in the Bible without seeing that it’s vital for us to constantly make judgments about what is right or wrong: it’s fundamental to our faith. God has standards which He expects us to know and to keep, and there is no wishy-washy confusion or ambivalence in the mind of our Creator:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves…” (Matthew 7:15).

Yes, dear readers, some things are wrong, some people are wrong and some teachings are wrong and often in direct opposition to our God. Very often the ones promoting them are in our churches and on our TV and devices. And it’s up to us, and particularly those claiming to be our shepherds, to get rid of them! So get that mote out of your eye, get into the true Word, and then start judging!

GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT GOD

Thank you to my loyal readers who keep coming back and wondering where I’ve been: I’m planning on being back regularly from now on…

Two things have been on my mind lately above others. One is our current political and social climate, and the other is the widespread belittlement of God even among professing believers. These two things are inextricably linked. The loss of reverence for our Creator in society as a whole but also in the Church, was bound to result in lawlessness and degradation. The worst aspect to this is that many professing Christians have succumbed to it-often without realizing it themselves. Our testimony and witness to the world is compromised by our own lack of belief, dedication, and fear of God.

The half-hearted church was foreseen by our God, and we can know how He feels about it:

“So, because you are luke-warm-neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth…” (Revelation 3:16).

The corrupt, compromising church was also foreseen by Him who knows the end from the beginning, so that He warned us to separate ourselves from the evils of fallen man:

“Come out of her my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues…” (Revelation 18:4).

Those who reject the deity of Jesus, who reject the fact that our God created all things, who reject the supremacy of Scripture, and who put their own words and the words of their favourite teachers above Scripture are all included in references to hypocrites and false teachers contained in the New Testament especially, but also in the Old. And once you cast off from the absoluteness of the truth of Scripture and invent your own, you are then metaphorically on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, without navigation, radio contact, charts, or even the benefit of experience.

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Ironically, the One who will spit the luke-warm church out of His mouth identifies himself as “…the ruler of God’s creation” (Revelation 3:14).

Just as bad as the rejection of the Bible as our ultimate guide, is the determination to use it to support false teachings and faulty or corrupted interpretation. This attitude is rampant in the Christian world now: “Let’s follow what so-and-so says and find one or two verses which appear to back him up”. In contrast, Scripture tells us:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man…” (Jeremiah 17:5).

The Western World is now in moral free-fall, and there’s no way of stopping or slowing that fall if all we have to offer is a few jangling guitars and singers shaking their hair, a weak impersonation for spiritual gifts, an effort to bow to political correctness, and politicians who make promises in order to promote themselves. (Having said that, I say “Trump 2020!” The alternative is the destruction of America and so the West).

More than that, we have an insular Church which has largely rejected what God has to say. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” says the word of God, and, “In six days God created the heavens and the earth”. A large percentage of ministers prefer to follow what unbelievers and atheists say-that in the beginning, billions of years ago, something happened, our ancestors crawled out of slime and swung in trees, and later on God, or a few good teachers, came along and got involved, trying to get us all to be nice to each other. This is belittling God and calling Him a liar. This is putting the word of fallen, God-rejecting mankind above the Word of the Immortal, Almighty, Omni-present, omniscient Creator and sustainer of all things. This is nothing short of foolishness!

It not only calls God a liar, it calls Him weak and  incapable and irrelevant. “We know it’s all science now” is one pathetic view: pathetic because the real logic is that anyone who created all things would have to be The Master and Creator of science! Did an infinite being create all things by His infinite miraculous power, or did the universe create? That’s your choice! There’s no middle ground without putting God down beneath the feet of man.

Any true science today is only observing the handiwork of God. He is the Creator of science…not someone who just came along so that he could make us fall over backwards, or offer us new ways of being nice to each other. God is our Creator and He will be our Judge! He has the power to save us or to throw us into hell!

Its time for those of us who are serious about our faith to fall on our knees and worship the incredible being who made us, and who holds our souls in His hands.

 

EMBRACING DIVISION

If you’re interested in truth you belong to a rare breed in today’s world. In fact, truth is so out of style that a large number of individuals and organizations are intentionally working at avoiding it, and in preventing you from finding it…

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Who checks the so-called “fact checkers”? Where did they get their diplomas in absolute truth and neutrality? The answer is that they didn’t: the claim of neutrality is itself a lie, a deception. Even judges are making rulings according to their political and social biases. The Supreme and only Judge will one day call them to account. So-called “news” media and social media corporations are intentionally working hard to influence and sway millions of people-entire nations, both here in the US, and in my country of origin, the United Kingdom, and doubtless around the world.

The expressed desire of some that we should “all just get along” is, unfortunately, redundant, because “getting along”, and “uniting”, and “coming together” has to be done under their political, religious and social viewpoints and moral standards. There’s no more genuine debate to find genuine middle ground or to find the best way. There’s no more desire to go half way, or to compromise, or to come to an understanding of truth: we are all, whether we ever wished to be or not, of necessity taking sides.

This taking of sides was an unavoidable outcome of events which have transpired particularly in recent years. When you are publicly shamed or fired from your job because of a view you have, the concept of freedom is severely under assault. The time has come to either fold and go along with the pagan crown and the tide of godless secularism, or to take a stand and say, “No more”. If your nation is just about to be sold out to globalism and Marxism, the time has come to either give it up to the revolution, or to take a stand and do something to stop it while there’s still anything to be done.

And in the Christian world this division is also taking place. Pardon my duality, but to shrink the entire issue to nutshell size, on the one hand we have those who believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and on the other side, those who don’t. Behind all of what is taking place in politics and in society and in the church is the choosing of sides: do we want to live according to our Creators standards, or do we want to rebel and go our own way? People in the Christian world who have cut themselves adrift of the finality of scripture are really throwing in their lot with the political and social rebellion. To support my assertion, we can go to Scripture itself. If you profess to have faith but that idea offends you, be aware that you may really be travelling or at least loitering on that broad road which ultimately leads to destruction.

Of course, if the Bible is not your ultimate guide; if your favorite super-wealthy minister has got it more correct than God did; if your guide is your belly or your favorite activist or your sexual proclivities, what I have to say here will mean nothing to you. For the rest of us-those on the narrow road which alone leads to Life, be aware that Jesus Christ said this:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34).

Read the rest of that chapter and there can be no mistake: the world of people is not going to all get along, and there will be no peace until He returns. More than that, it’s God’s intention that the world of men be divided. Some professing Christians deny this fact. They are among those who reject the truth of scripture, except to use parts of it to promote their own ideas. The entire concept of the final judgment is as stark a reminder as can be that there are saints, and there are aints, and there is nothing in between. There is a heaven and there is a hell, and there’s no neutral part of the universe-God’s universe- where the agnostics and the uncommitted and the rebellious can retire to. There is no middle ground. There is no “salvation for all” from the wrath of a holy, almighty God apart from Jesus. There will be no world-wide revival and turning to God as some Charismatics claim, according to the testimony of scripture concerning last day things. Instead there will be a “falling away”, or “rebellion” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). And God himself has called us out of the world marching to destruction:

“Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins have piled up to heaven…” (Revelation 18:4).