Christian, Rejoice!

Rejoice-1How sad it is for people professing to be Christians to fail to experience joy in life.  These people may go through life with a negative outlook, pessimistic attitude, and perhaps even harboring bitterness in their hearts.  This is certainly heartbreaking – not what God intended!  Christians, more than any other people on this earth, have reason to rejoice!

Consider Paul’s words to the church at Rome, recorded in Romans 5:1-4: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:”

First, Christians ought to rejoice because they have been justified by faith.  To be justified is to be considered righteous, or “right with God.”

Second, Christians ought to rejoice because they have peace with God.  The strife that existed between them and God, before they obeyed the gospel, has been taken away.  They now enjoy a harmonious relationship with their creator.

Third, Christians ought to rejoice because they have access, by faith, to God’s grace.  Knowing we can never deserve, or earn, heaven, Christians can rejoice in God’s “unmerited favor” toward them (without which, no man can be saved).

Fourth, Christians ought to rejoice because they have hope – a sincere expectation that all the promises of the gospel will be fulfilled.  Christians enjoy a genuine hope of an eternal home in heaven with God.

Today, as a Christian, I will rejoice because I have been justified by faith, have peace with God, have access to God’s grace and live in hope of heaven.

Jesus Christ, the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever

tone armI’m old enough to remember listening to music on eight track tapes (now virtually a relic).  I can remember when cassette tapes, quickly becoming a thing of the past, were “new on the scene.”  Seems like not very long ago I was adjusting the tone arm on my record player. And now, Jason Palmer, writing for BBC News, recently reported that Sony Corporation, after making floppy disks for computers for nearly three decades, would soon cease their production.  Change is everywhere around us!  Nothing seems to stay the same!

Well, almost nothing.  The inspired penman wrote, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).  In this ever changing world, it’s comforting to put your trust in one who is constant; one who never goes “out of fashion” or becomes obsolete.

Today, I’m thankful for Jesus Christ, whose love is constant and whose mercy is everlasting.

There’s No Room for Fear in the Heart of a Christian!

fearThe Bible speaks of two kinds of fear. First, there is the fear that is commanded (Ecclesiastes 12:13). This fear involves respect, honor, reverence, and awe. The second type of fear is forbidden (Revelation 21:8). This type of fear is synonymous with dread, alarm, fright, and terror. Consider three things the Bible has to say about fear.

First, consider the realm of fear. Many often neglect to do those things they ought to do because of their fear of failure. In the parable of the talents, the one talent man took what he had and hid it in the earth because he was afraid (Matthew 25:25). Many often fear the unknown. Men often fear responsibility. A person may neglect to fulfill his responsibility to be a “fisher of men” because of his fear (Luke 5:10). Men often fear old age. But the Bible makes a connection between old age and glory/honor (Titus 2:1-5). Men often fear what others will say (Luke 12:4-7). This type of fear is often followed by wrongdoing (Matthew 26:69-75). Men often fear death, but death can be a gateway to an eternal association with Jesus (Philippians 1:21-23).

Second, consider the result of fear. Fear often prevents a person from doing the will of God. Because of their fear, men often seek to excuse themselves and rationalize their behavior. Fear renders one useless in serving God (Judges 7:3). Fear brings defeat. Peter was initially able to walk on water, but he sank when he became fearful (Matthew 14:28-31). Fear can be contagious. (Deuteronomy 20:8; Joshua 14:8). Fear will eventually cause a person to be lost (Revelation 21:8).

Third, consider the remedy for fear. Every Christian must remember that fear is strictly prohibited. As Christians, we have not been given the spirit of fear, but of power (II Timothy 1:7). In order to overcome our fear, we must learn to place our trust in God, not ourselves (Proverbs 3:5-6). We are to take courage in the fact that God is on our side (Psalm 118:6). In order to overcome our fear, we must do those things we are afraid of doing! After all, the more we do something, the more comfortable we become with doing it.

With Whom Are You Walking?

walking-hiking-stickman-stick-figure-matchstick-manDo you realize your friends will help determine where you spend eternity?  It’s true!  Your friends can help strengthen your faith!  But they can also help weaken your faith!  Consider these words from Proverbs 13:20 – “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (ESV).  Your friends have a definite influence on your character.  If you want to be wise, establish friendships with wise people.  If you want to be a fool, establish friendships with foolish people.

This thought is repeated in the New Testament: “I Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals (ESV).  Some may deny this, saying, “Oh no, my friends will never have so strong an influence on me!  Never!”  But Paul says the person who denies the influence of bad company is deceived.

What lesson can Christians learn from this?   If you want to strengthen your faith and stay loyal to Christ, surround yourself with friends who want to do the same – strengthen their faith and stay loyal to Christ

An Inheritance in Heaven

Have you ever received an inheritance upon someone’s death?  Will you receive an inheritance when YOU die?  You must be thinking, “Nonsense, that’s not possible.”  Think again! If you are a Christian, you have an inheritance waiting for you.  Peter wrote, “Blessed be the God and Fatcropped-bible-medium.jpgher of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not way, reserved in heaven for you” (I Peter 1:3-4).

Jesus’ resurrection makes the inheritance that awaits the Christian in heaven possible.  Jesus’ resurrection assures us of our resurrection.  The inheritance that is reserved for the Christian is in heaven; not on this earth!  To receive this inheritance, you are the one who has to die!  This inheritance is an eternal inheritance – it is incorruptible, undefiled, and will never fade away.

Today, I am thankful for living in hope of my eternal inheritance!

Why Are so Many Afraid to Call It Sin?

cropped-bible-medium.jpg“He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 17:15). This verse serves to remind us of those who are increasingly quick to go to great lengths to lessen the atrocity of sin (Isaiah 5:20). But no matter what man may call sin, God still considers it sin. No matter what man calls sin, sin still separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). No matter what man calls sin, sin will still cause a person to spend eternity in hell, unless, of course, that person repents and turns from his sin (Acts 26:18-20), confesses his faith in Jesus Christ as his savior (Romans 10:10), is baptized to receive the forgiveness of his sin (Acts 2:38), and then faithfully lives a life devoted to Christ (I Corinthians 9:27).  No man, whatever his sin may be or however sordid his past may be, can ever sin so badly that his sin cannot be washed from his life by the blood of Christ!  Never underestimate the power of Christ’s precious blood – it has the power to take sinful man and make him a new creature (Romans 6:4; II Corinthians 5:17)!

Why are so many people quick to call sin something other than what it really is?  A sinful act is always a sinful act, whether it was committed in 2019 B.C or A.D. 2019.  A sinful act is always a sinful act, whether it is committed in my own home, out of town or across the globe.  A sinful act is always a sinful act even when those involved consent to sin. A sinful act is always a sinful act regardless of how many people support it.  Man can reject God’s laws.  Man can ignore God’s laws.  Man may even try to trivialize God’s law by saying the scriptures are “old fashioned” or “outdated” – but God’s word, not man, still serves as the standard by which we will all be judged (John 12:48).  The Bible is not always politically correct; but it is always correct!

Why are so many people quick to call homosexuality an “alternate lifestyle” when the Bible plainly teaches it is a sin? Homosexuality was a sin during the Patriarchal dispensation (Genesis 19:24-28). Homosexuality was a sin during the Mosaical dispensation (Leviticus 18:22). Homosexuality is sinful today. “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (Romans 1:24-32).  Contrary to what many people would have you believe, it is possible for homosexuals to overcome and cease from their sinful behavior (I Corinthians 6:11).

Why are so many people quick to call abortion a “woman’s choice” when the Bible plainly teaches it is a sin? Contrary to what pro-abortionists would have you believe that which grows within a mother’s womb is not meaningless tissue, but a living person with a soul (James 2:26; Ecclesiastes 11:5; Psalm 139:13-15; Exodus 21:22-23; Luke 1:36; Luke 1:41). Life most certainly does begin at conception. Job was considered a person from the time of his conception (Job 3:3, 11). Isaiah was considered a person before his physical birth (Isaiah 37:3). John was filled with the Holy Spirit while he was in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). Men may call abortion a woman’s choice, but God has never given anyone the right to choose to murder another person. Those persons who shed innocent blood are an abomination to God (Proverbs 6:16-17).  It is a shame that our country does not do more to protect the unborn.  No one is more defenseless than an innocent baby, born or unborn.

Why are so many people quick to call alcoholism a disease when the Bible plainly teaches it is a sin? A person can never become an alcoholic without first indulging in the sinful consumption of alcoholic beverages. The Bible teaches that wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise (Proverbs 20:1). The prophet Habakkuk wrote, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink” (Habakkuk 2:15). Drunkenness is a work of the flesh, not a fruit of the Spirit (Romans 13:3, I Corinthians 6:10, Galatians 5:21).  Alcohol has many defenders but no defense.

Why are so many people quick to call lying a character flaw when the Bible plainly teaches it is a sin? Man may overlook lying, but God never has and never will. A lying tongue is an abomination to God (Proverbs 6:17). Those who lie are following Satan, not God (John 8:44). Those who fail to repent and turn from their lies will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).

Why are so many afraid to call adultery and/or fornication a sin?  Many people ignore the seriousness of such sin by referring to it as an “innocent fling” or glossing it over by calling it “having an affair” or quoting the adage “boys will be boys.”  The apostle Paul, writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind” (1 Corinthians 6:9).

Why are so many people afraid to call sin what is really is? Sin!