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A Mystery

11 Feb

You’ve got to love a mystery!!  I can almost see Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby Doo pulling up in their green van right now …  But this is not THAT kind of mystery.  It is a good mystery, and one on which we can depend!!

There are mysteries in God’s word, in the history of His interaction with His people, and mysteries in His very nature.  That we DO NOT understand.  And that is OKAY!!!

Yesterday we brushed by one of them while in Genesis 6.  Who were the Sons of God, the Daughters of Men, and the Nephilim?  I am NOT blogging to answer and talk about the THREE prominent theories.  Those kinds of things are fun to talk about and think about, but none of them change the result:  The earth was in a state of growing sin, walking farther and farther away from God.  That is why God chose to flood the earth!!

As much as I like to understand EVERYTHING, I’ve come to this conclusion that really helps me:  There IS a God, and I am NOT Him!!  And it is okay for me not to understand EVERYTHING about Him.  After all, if I could define God and draw His specifications on a blue print, would He really be God??  The mysteries of God are absolutely real and it really is OKAY for us to have FAITH because if He really IS GOD, we WILL NOT understand everything about Him.

Perhaps the greatest mystery is WHY DID HE LOVE US SO MUCH THAT HE SENT HIS SON??  I really don’t know the answer, but I am so glad He did!!

He is real, He is alive, and I am forgiven by His grace.  Thank God for His mysteries!!

Guilty

15 Nov

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9, NIV

I was talking to a friend this week about the past.  Funny thing about the past:  Often we can look back and see times when we failed God, perhaps in major ways for long periods of time.  In the verse quoted above, John reminded us that God will forgive our sins!!  In Psalm 103:12, we are told:

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12, NIV

God FORGIVES and God REMOVES.  When guilt from the past creeps in, that is the work of Satan.  He will constantly remind us that we are imperfect.  That we have sinned.  That we are guilty.  And, he is right!!  And all thanks and praise to God, because He sent His Son to pay the price for our sins.  And His payment is complete and total.  When God forgives, He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west, which is an immeasurable distance.

So, as for our guilt, give it up!!  KNOW that you are forgiven if you’ve asked God to forgive you!!  Believe God’s promise is TRUE!!

To borrow a saying from a bumper sticker I once saw, next time Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future!!

Misrepresented and insulted by The State

25 Apr

A friend mailed an article to me yesterday.  It was published in The State newspaper and, to be fair, I have included a link to the article:

http://www.thestate.com/2012/04/18/2239108/jones-the-jesus-of-christianity.html#storylink=misearch

In this article, a Unitarian Universalist pastor in Columbia (SC) decided to take on Christianity … particularly Christians in the South.  Specifically, he was talking to you and me if Christ is our Savior and we believe the Bible is true!  (Which, in his article, he implies that he doesn’t believe in the “Mystical” parts)

I read this and was very disappointed that The State would publish such words that insult me because of my beliefs.  If I were of another faith, I don’t think they would have dared to do this.

In his article, this pastor stated Christianity is possessed by two demons:  The first is that of right-wing politics.  I do consider myself conservative, but not a right-winger.  One thing I’ve learned over the years is “right and left wing” definitions are ALWAYS relative to those defining them.  He called several political issues out and assumed exactly how we all feel about them.

When you assume … well, you know the rest.  He has no idea about me and what I believe.  I bet he wouldn’t believe that I do not vote a party line … I am convicted to vote for individual candidates.  I look for those who share my beliefs and values, and I take into account past histories and voting records.  In other words, I do my homework.  In regard to the political issues, I always try to find the biblical answer to those and that is how I roll because I do believe, as foolish as some might think it, that God DOES have a better plan for my life than I could possibly have.  And that God has a better plan FOR THIS WORLD than WE could possibly develop.

Honestly, though, what disturbed me even more was the “second demon” to which he referred:  Supernaturalism.  He stated this as a primitive, pre-scientific worldview that no educated, thinking person could possibly hold as credible.  I will try not to mislead or misquote on this, so I urge you to go read his article.  But, we have great differences here:

I believe in Heaven.

I believe in Hell.

I believe Jesus was born of a virgin.

I believe He ROSE AGAIN on the THIRD DAY and HE IS ALIVE!!!!

And, I do not believe this is merely “magical thinking” that gets me through life.  I KNOW all of this to be true because HE LIVES WITHIN MY HEART!!  And, I take pity on a pastor and people who are misled into believing the only possible explanation of God is one that fits with OUR powers of reasoning.  Yes, I pity those who do not know the Holy Spirit because they would never let Him in.

Why did I write this today?  Because I believe God is far beyond any explanation we can give for Him, any reasoning that we can develop, and any definition we can understand.  Because, if He were not, wouldn’t we all be gods???

The Gospel according to … YOU??

19 Dec

Last night in worship, we looked at the Prologue to the Gospel of John and the first few verses of I John.  Both passages are very similar, and in them John makes a couple of strong points:  He was only sharing what he KNEW TO BE TRUE.  From FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE.  And, he shared that Jesus Christ IS THE SON OF GOD.  IS ETERNAL.  IS THE AGENT OF CREATION.  (The list goes on and on).

But, what we explored last night was the idea that John knew the obligation he had to share what he knew.  Have we shared what we know to be true about Christ with the world??  Even with our families?  What if all the books were destroyed and all that was left to lead our families to His throne was what we wrote because we know it to be true?  In other words, if you wrote all that you KNOW to be true about God down in a book, how would it  read?

It’s a compelling thought.  What do I KNOW to be true about Christ?  Do I share it with those I love?  This Christmas season, you can give those you love the greatest gift of all … tell them what you KNOW to be true about God!!!

A Great War is Waging

27 Sep

There is a great war waging right now in a variety of locations around the world.  One that might seem insignificant is waging in Florence, SC, as we speak.  It is not a conventional battle, but one on spiritual realms.  For Ebenezer Baptist Church.

God is taking hold of His church in a mighty way and Satan doesn’t like it!!  And he is doing everything he can do to pull us away from God and away from each other.  He will use pride, greed, power, envy, rage, and everything else we will allow him to use to accomplish this mission.  Satan loves to inhabit the conflict of God’s people and he wants to do a real number on us right now.  We must not allow him!!

I sit back and watch and it just makes me hurt.  I’ve seen Ed, Justin, Pam, and Andi under attack.  I’ve watched dear friends of mine come under attack.  I’ve seen this church under attack.  And I’ve been hit by too many flaming darts myself.  The time is NOW church for us to PRAY FOR EACH OTHER!!  Dig into God’s word, put on the full armor of God, and DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN!!!

Specifically, do not allow Satan to have any strongholds in your life.  If we all would do this and get back to loving each other, this entire world would change!!!  All starting from an “insignificant spot” on the globe called Ebenezer …

If Life were a sitcom …

6 Jul

I am a product of the TV generation!  I freely admit it!  I grew up watching wayyyy too much television!  The only positive to this is I can KILL: you on 70s and 80s tv and movie trivia!!!

What if life were like a sitcom??  Then every man would be a blithering idiot … every woman a genius … and almost every problem of life solved within 30 minutes!!!  Oh, if that last one were only true!!

The problems of life come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Some last only minutes, some are with us for decades.  Some are easily solved, some take great pain and much time.  Sometimes I wonder if, deep down, tv has conditioned us to always expect the easy answers and quick solutions??  If so, maybe that’s why we get so frustrated with life!!!

SLOW DOWN AND KNOW THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL.  He really is!!!

OK … enough blogging … I Love Lucy has got to be on some channel ….

The Thorns

13 Apr

Not much said about the thorns in Matthew 13. At least, in tha parable of the sower. But Jesus was very clear about the meaning of the thorns later in that chapter!

The thorns, that grow up among the seeds and choke them out, are the worries of life and the pursuit of riches. The obsession with worldly things! When worldly things and material needs become more important to us than the things of God, we are in trouble. Big trouble!

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said this another way: You cannot serve two masters! You cannot serve God and earthly wealth! It will never work!

The pursuit of earthly things will choke out the joy, peace, purpose, and focus of the kingdom of God! And, if you choose this, it will bring nothing but heartache!