Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What will you tell them?

Like me, my Dad is a Pastor. I can rememeber hearing him say on many occasions that there were many times when the only thing that kept him going in His walk with the Lord (from a human perspective) was the fact of who was watching him. What would he say if one of his children asked him why he was not faithful to the Lord anymore?

That same question has lead me in my adulthood and with the raising of my children. What would I tell my children for the reason of my unfaithfullness to the Lord? Is there ever a good reason? I don't think so. Eph. 6:4 is clear to us, as parents, of our responsibility. The Apostle Paul said in His letter to the Corinthians that it is required that a man be found faithful. Faithfullness is not an option for the believer, it is a requirment for the believer.

What are we called to be faithful too? Well, a number of things and this blog is far to short to speak on all of them, so I will just mention a couple and leave the rest up to the Spirit of God.

We are commanded to pray without ceasing (2 Thess 5:18). A prayless life is a powerless life. As a husband, you will never be able to fully and completely lead your family without a vibrate pray life. Getting alone with the Lord and asking for guidance, strength, courage and power. Begging God for blessing, begging God to be glorified in your life this day, begging God for the salvation of your children, begging God to help you be the best spiritual leader you can be by His grace. This is where you meet with the Lord. Question, if you are not faithful to this and you lack the power to lead in your home, if you have not spoken to God in while (I am not talking about a quick 10 minute prayer, I am talking about getting hold of the heart of God), what are you going to tell your children? Can you tell them how important prayer is? No! Because your life does not reflect that.

As a wife, you will never be the care giver to your children that you should be. You will never be the helpmeet to your husband that you should be; because your prayerless life is a powerless life. What will you tell your children? Can you tell them the importance of prayer? No! Because neither does your life reflect this.

We are commanded in Scripture to be faithful to Church (Heb. 10:25). Some would say, "Well, I fulfill my obligation when I go Sunday Morning, I am not forsaking the assembling". Well, take a look at the passage. The passage says to be faithful to the house of the Lord when it is assembling. It does not give leverage if you just attend part of the services. These are the words of the Scripture. Question, what will you tell your kids if you are not faithful? We must remember that our children, even if they are grown, are watching us. Even if they don't ask why, they are wondering. I would hate to be the one that gives my children a reason for not being faithful to God in all things.

What will you tell them? This is an important question that we all must ask ourselves.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Spiritual Acid Reflux"

What a hassle!! I have acid reflux. My doctors diagnosed me with it about two years ago, but probably I had what was later known as acid reflux even in my youth. It is not acting up all the time, but when it does, I feel horrible. Anyone reading this who has it or has had a case of minor heartburn can relate to the pain that acid reflux brings. The burning that comes up through your chest and into your throat, is just at times unbearable. My case is coupled with what feels like "heart attack like" symptoms; pain in the left arm, pain in my jaw. And when it is really bad it is unimaginable pain across my chest. By know, most of you are probably thinking that I need to go to the emergency room. But, I assure you, that is not necessary.

However, there is a spiritual acid reflux. One that can bring just as much pain, but only worse. I call it bitterness or unforgiveness. When Peter asked Jesus how often He should forgive, "seven times", I guess Peter was thinking that was the number of perfection so that should be the limit of his forgiveness. Well, you all know the response of Christ, "seventy times seven". That was, of course, Christ's way of sayng that there is no limit to how much you forgive.

Matthew 5:44 are some pointed words. "Love" is the Greek word "agape" and is the same word used for how we should love our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in Christ. The true love that Christ calls for is a love that does not include resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness.

The thing about bitterness is that it grows. It never just stays the same. It always gets worse and it is a sin. To harbor unforgiveness for anyone (whether they have asked for it or not), is sinful and you completely lack the power to discern the will of God.

Some say, "Well, you dont know what they did to me" or "you dont understand". Any many times, I dont understand. Praise God I dont understand and by God's grace I will not have to understand by experience. But I do not need to experience it to know that bitterness and unforgiveness are sins against God. Why do we not forgive? Because we feel justified to think and act the way we do. Listen, no one has ever done anything worse to any of us, then we have not already done to Christ, and He forgave us all. So we need to ask the Lord to give us the grace to forgive.

Unforgiveness and bitterenss take on many forms. Most of the time when we are harboring bitterness in our hearts towards someone else, or many person's, we usually blame someone who had nothing to do with it. We have all experienced this. I have been the victim of that. But it was not me, it was the bitterness that person had toward someone else. Then I pray that they get whatever is going on with them right with God.

That is the way that it goes. People leave places, not because of the will of God, but because they harbor some ill-feelings against someone. But what happens is that the ill-feelings are not without effect. They just find a new outlet to blame at the new place and that drags down the innocent. Unforgivessness is a sad thing. Are you harboring bitterenss in your heart toward someone? Then you need to go to that person, by the grace of God, and forgive them. You say, "I cannot do that." You are right, you cannot, but the grace of our God can do it for you. Because in forgivess that is the only way that you will truly be right with God again. Jesus said, "Forgive, as you have been forgiven."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"What has God called us to"?

There is a continuing wave in the Church today that is extremely dangerous. This wave is giving up the best thing for something that is good. When a "good" opportunity comes by we convince ourselves that this would be a good thing to partake of, even if it means that we are not faithful to the Lord.

I can remember very clearly, as a young person growing up in a Christian home, that nothing came before our attendance in Church, NOTHING!! This is a heritage for which I am very thankful. One such incident that I remember was during basketball season. It was tournament time and the tournament began on Friday night and went all day Saturday into Saturday night. Well, I went to a Christian School so no problem with Church, usually, with the sports program. However, on this particular tournament we were having revival at my home Church (which was not the Church where I attended school). The coach called me into his office and informed me that he was going to call my dad and speak with him about letting me miss the revival in order to go to the basketball game because, "I know that you need to be dedicated to your Church, but you also need to be dedicated to your team." He called my dad and told him the same thing that he told me. To which my dad replied, "How can I let my son miss Church to let him play a sport and then try and tell him later that faithfulness to Church is vital? I would be speaking out of both sides of my mouth." The coach did not appreciate his zeal for faithfulness, but I know the Lord did. Needless to say, I was not on the bus that Friday night, I was in Church and Church was certainly the best thing for me. Some would say, "What was the big deal in you missing one service?" Well, when God calls us to faithfulness it is not only for those times when nothing else is going on, it is all the time. Besides, we are creatures of habit, one time leads to two, which leads to three, etc. you get the picture.

The mystery is, why do parents allow their children to do the exact same thing that my dad would not let me do and then wonder why their children are not interested in Church. It is because they have told their children, through their actions, that Church is second-class to everything else, or at least everything that we want to do. Hebrews 10:25 is clear that this should not be the attitude of our actions.

If we make it a habit of letting the best thing go for the thing that we think is good, then when that "good" thing is over, there will be anothing "good" thing for us to do instead of being faithful to God.

It all comes down to this: God has not called us to be great ball players (the chances of our children becoming professional atheletes is rare, but we need to train them to be great Christians for the Lord), God has not called us to be counselors for the weary at the cost of our faithfulness, he has not called us to be life-savers; but He has called us to be faithful and to make sure that our children are faithful. He has called us to raise them in the instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

Don't trade what we think is a "good" thing for the best thing of the faithfulness that God has called us to.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Inspiration"- The Effectual Call

We believe in the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures, that is, that the Holy Scriptures are without error. That the words of the Scripture are wholely perfect and not only are without error, but are incapable of containing error. When you consider the Doctrine of Inspiration, what some believers miss is the fact of the moulded will. What exactly do I mean by that? It means that we believe that God can work in such a way that the human will wills to do what God wills that will to do. We do not believe that God had to force the Apostle Paul to write the letter to the Romans or to the Ephesians. We believe that every word of the Holy Scriptures convey God's perfect message because God formed Paul's will to do what the Father's will, willed to do.

That is the idea of 2 Peter 1:21, where the Apostle Peter says that the Scripture did not come by the will of man, by Holy men were "moved" by the Holy Spirit. "Moved" is a Greek term that literally means "to be moved along". The Holy Spirit, as it were, took the writters of the Scripture and moved them into what to say, yet using their personal characteristic style. They were not robots penning the Holy Scripture, their own style was used (which is how we can identify writters of books that are not plainly stated, based on style), and the Holy Spirit formed their wills to write what the Father willed to be written. In other points of theology, as in inspiration, the Father can and does change the will in order for the Father's will to be done. Inspiration is just one example of this.