Nothing Greater

People throughout the centuries have desired, plotted, envied, coveted, blackmailed, killed, warred, and sold their souls for the fleeting pleasures, riches, and empty praises of others. What a tragedy that many eagerly sacrifice everything for a mere “piece of the pie,” like Esau, trading blessings, honor, and inheritance for a mere bowl of soup.

If we are not careful, we can become so preoccupied with pursuing our dreams, accumulating money, desiring to be attractive, popular, or powerful that we neglect what truly matters.

Jesus warns,

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? ~ Matthew 16:26

The glory of kings fade into oblivion.  The wealth and prestige of the elite and powerful comes to an end eventually. Vain beauty and strength of youth eventually evaporate with time. And the applause of people, who can be so very fickle, eventually ceases. Nothing in and of this world is permanent, and none of these compares to the excellency of knowing Jesus Christ. 

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him. ~ Philippians 3:7-9

My friends, today do you recognize the incredible privilege and excellency of knowing, and growing in the knowledge of, Christ?  Or do you simply take it for granted—or worse, don’t recognize it at all?

Caedmon’s Call said it so well in one of their songs:

“This world has nothing for me, and this world has everything/All that I could want and nothing that I need” ~ from the song, This World

Jesus Christ does not come to fulfill our carnal, selfish, and destructive appetites; yet, He gives what the world cannot give: peace, contentment, agape love, and salvation. Still, even aside from these, nothing can compare to His beauty, splendor, and majesty. 

The psalmist writes,

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. ~ Psalm 84:10

Friends, what is important to you, today? What is capturing your attention? Whatever it is, there is nothing greater or comparable to that of the knowledge of Christ and beholding His glory. Don’t trade the eternal for the temporal. Don’t surrender what is truly glorious for that which is merely sparkly. Don’t let anything contend with the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.

Listen to this week’s podcast:

https://anchor.fm/geno-pyse/episodes/Nothing-Greater-e140i30

It’s Still, and Shall Ever Be, About the Cross

Hello friends, brothers and sisters in Christ! I hope this finds you well today.

“Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world, has a wondrous attraction for me,” goes the beloved hymn. 

The Cross. It is the central-point, the very heart, of Christianity. It is where the sins of the world and the wrath of God clashed with fury, resulting in redemption for all who put their faith in the One who died upon it—then was raised from the dead.

Paul writes,

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18

Indeed, the cross is despised and considered foolish to those in academia, Hollywood, religions, and the like. It is foolish to those who submerge themselves in violence, greed, and immorality. Still, the Cross remains a beacon of hope to all who come to it humbly. The world continues to mock it; nevertheless, through the Cross the burdened continue to find rest, the guilty find pardon, the dirty find cleansing, the hopeless find a living hope, those who sat in darkness receive light, and the lonely find acceptance.

The world will remain a cesspool of toxic filth. Yet, the Cross of Christ will continue to be a beacon of light and the entrance into salvation for those who are willing to come to it and believe in the Christ who died upon it—then was raised from the dead.

The world will forever mock the Cross, but such mockery and scorn will never dilute the potency of the power of the Cross. 

A Place for You

Good morning, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope this finds you well.

In my last post, I asked if God’s love is unconditional, and if He loves every individual equally. The reason being, many view God as loving, apart from all His other attributes, such as His holiness, righteousness, and justice. 

Still, someone might read my last post and wonder if God loves him or her, and question if He has a place in His love for them. Friend, if this describes you, I have wonderful news: Yes, there is a place for you! Jesus gives an open invitation to all who are willing to respond and come to Him, regardless what they might have done. None of us earns His affection or grace, for each of us has sinned and fall short of the glory of God (see Rom. 3:23). Many of us, by His grace and conviction, feel the weight of our guilt, shame, and dirtiness. Jesus gives this invitation:

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. ~ John 6:37

The apostle Paul writes,

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8

Friend, God does not ignore our sins, but Jesus bore the penalty of our sins, bidding all to come find sanctuary and redemption in and through Him.

Yes, there is a place for you in God’s love, The real question is are you willing to come to Him in genuine faith? Yes, you might be a mess, just as the rest of us, and your temptations, struggles, and shame are real. However, for those who truly come to Christ in faith, believing that He paid the debt that none of us could pay for our sins (the shedding of His own blood), we have this promise:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:15-16

Friend, respond to Jesus’ invitation to you. You have His promise that if you come to Him sincerely, He will not cast you out. You have a place of acceptance, redemption, and security in His love. 

Is God’s Love “Unconditional”?

Hello friends, and dear brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope this finds you well today.

I ask you to think about an important question, because the way you perceive the answer will have major consequences. Is God’s love unconditional? I would venture to say most people would answer this question with a resounding “Yes!”—but is this answer correct? Does God love the wicked and the righteous equally and unconditionally? We hear in so many churches, “Come, God loves you as you are.” But is this true?

Jesus says, 

For God so loved [agape] the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16

The love of God is certainly unmerited and undeserved, but is it unconditional? Again, is it true that He loves us as we are? Consider the following passages:

The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. ~ Psalm 11:5-6

Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no more; all their princes are rebels. ~ Hosea 9:15

And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. ~ Luke 13:2-3

No, God does not love us unconditionally, and no, He does not love us just as we are. God hates our selfishness, greed, and immoralities; He hates our slander, hypocrisies, and lying; He hates our refusal to forgive, violence, and mean-spiritedness; and He hates our idolatries, corruption, and ulterior motives.

Throughout the world and in so many churches—both liberal and conservative, mind you—we’re patting ourselves on the back, all the while ignoring the grotesque sins we harbor in our hearts, and come floating to the surface in many of our words and actions. God does not love us “as we are”; no, He calls us to repent!

Lest someone says that what I am saying conflicts with the doctrine of grace, the apostle Paul teaches us:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. ~ Titus 2:11-13

No, God does not love us as we are. He calls us to confess and repent of all known sin. His desire for His people, those who are truly born again, to be conformed to the image of His Son.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. ~ Romans 8:29

We can see so much around us, in every denomination, what Dietrich Bonhoeffer described as “cheap grace.” Many talk about God’s love and grace, even though they’re not being trained or changed by it. Many talk about Jesus being their Savior, but the question must be asked, from what has He saved them from? For Jesus came to save His people from their sin (and their bondage to it), not simply to save us from hell.

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. ~ Matthew 1:21

Understand, God’s love and grace abounds exceedingly for those who come to Christ in faith. Indeed, He is so ever tender and compassionate, and understands our weaknesses. However, for those who want to indulge in their lusts and passions while professing an empty faith, such individuals do not understand God’s love or grace. Oh sure, they might go to church, but they are building their house on sand without a foundation.

Weeds in Our Soil

Hello friends, brothers and sisters in Christ.

If you are one who plants flowers, keeps a garden, and tries to keep your yard looking nice and kept, then you know the pests weeds can be. It drives me crazy when I hear people say, “Weeds are just another part of God’s beautiful creation.” So is fire, but I don’t want it burning up my house! Jesus didn’t have a positive view of weeds either. After all, they come as a result of the Fall, not God’s original design.

Something to note about weeds—and this is important—you don’t have to plant them, water them, or attend to them for them to grow and take root. However, if left alone and ignored, they will eventually ruin a yard or garden. The work and labor comes by keeping them from growing and taking root. The sweat comes by uprooting and killing them. There is a powerful lesson to learn from this.

Jesus, teaching about different conditions of people’s hearts, says,

Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them…. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. ~ Matthew 13:7, 22

There are various seeds “blown about” in our world that, if we are not careful, will choke the Word of God in a person. How many have had their faith shipwrecked because they allowed seeds of greed and worldly pleasures grow and take root? Others allow the seeds of godless ideologies or worry to grow in the gardens of their hearts, permitting them to grow and strangle the Word. 

It is true, salvation is by grace, and godly fruits of the Spirit are produced only by the work of the Holy Spirit. However, it is no different than fruit and vegetables grown in the natural order. Only God  is able to produce crops, but required is still the work of people plowing, planting, watering, and uprooting the weeds. Spiritual growth doesn’t just happen. Although God is the One who causes the growth and development of one’s spiritual life, it is our responsibility to be diligent in tending the gardens of our hearts regularly, guarding against pesky weeds from taking root and choking the planted Word.

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To listen to in-depth topics on spiritual issues, check out my podcast, The PROCLAMATION! at:

https://anchor.fm/geno-pyse/episodes/True-vs–False-Worship-Part-1-e13dh23?fbclid=IwAR3PmhgNH5kDs5rAS5xzlD0FPqKrJzr0EcESRziCwD8aOgvWmf7_AXErtQI


What Is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel? Not simply in definition, but in practically? Put in another way, what does it mean to say, “I’m a Christian?” So much that is called “Christian” is not Christian at all. 

Going to church does not make one a Christian any more than stepping into a garage makes one a car. Neither does simply saying a prayer and holding to a confession of faith. Rather, is one born again by the Spirit of God? Is he yielding his life to the Holy Spirit, and is he becoming more like Jesus? Is one’s character being developed in holiness, love, and purity?

The significance of the Gospel is only recognized by those who realize they are deeply and grossly affected by sin. Yes, Jesus died for our sins, but by His resurrected life He seeks to change us.

My friend, how well do you understand the Gospel?

*For a deeper discussion on the matter, please visit my podcast, The PROCLAMATION!, episode: “What Is the Gospel.

https://anchor.fm/geno-pyse/episodes/What-Is-the-Gospel-e13an5i?fbclid=IwAR0_xClhVTR4P9GfzucuxU2q7qabTFJqxezkRyt9BKbHpIeVp8tz0WsgiN4

Let Us Talk, Child

Find mending for the brokenness,

    That you hold inside;

Find cleansing for the guilt and shame

    That you try to hide.

Come, let us talk, child,

    Do not run in fear;

Rest in My loving arms,

    Let Me wipe away your tears.

I see you through and through,

    No need for your disguise;

Let My truth set your spirit free

    From sin and the devil’s lies.

O Come, precious child,

    I love you more than words can tell;

Let us talk and you will know

    My grace has made you well.

    Ours is a world filled with raging chaotic storms spun by fear, greed, pride, lust, dishonesty, and hate. Each of these are dangerous alone, but when these begin to mix one cannot predict the domino effect that will follow, or the damage that is going to be done. Like a butterfly effect, the activities that accompany the present and immediate can affect others elsewhere—even many years later!         

    Many of these storms we are caught in are by our own making, because each of us must deal with fear, greed, pride, lust, dishonesty, or hate in some form or capacity. And each of us are also caught in storms created by others. This is the reason there are many broken homes with alcoholism or various forms of abuse; why there are betrayals within relationships; why so many schools have become war zones; why so many of our cities experience perpetual, senseless violence and crime; etc. Indeed, our world is a tumultuous, cold, dark place.

    How many broken, wounded, and lonely persons are there who have parents or grandparents who taught them about the love and power of Jesus? How many once attended good churches where the love of Christ was displayed genuinely? Yet the glitter of the world dazzled them, and they could not resist the temptations of alcohol, drugs, immorality, etc. They mock the One they turned their backs on. As time continues to pass, they wallow in their guilt, shame, anger, pain, and sense of meaninglessness. Nevertheless, through all this, in all their hurting, Jesus calls out to them to come to Him. As He did with Jerusalem, He observes them from above, weeping, “O children, children, you who mock and mistreat my people who I send to you! How often would I have gathered each of you as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (see Luke 13:34).  

    The One who has the power to bid   them to walk on the raging waters, is also the One who has the authority to calm their storm (see Matt. 14:22-33).

    Child, where are you today? Jesus is inviting you to come to Him for cleansing, rest, and healing. He bids you to come and be warmed by the flames of His love. Are you responding to Him?

~ From, In the Eye of the Calm: Reflections and Poems on Faith, Hope, Love, & Life, by Geno Pyse, (c) 2019.

*The Wonder of His Glorious Majesty

Today, Jesus is the object of ridicule, mockery, and scorn in Hollywood, Washington, the media, our universities, and public squares. Even from many pulpits Jesus’ person and works are trivialized. The time is coming, however, when the snide and blasphemous comments will be silenced, the arrogant and condescending smirks will be wiped off faces, and the confident defiance will turn to dread. Jesus came the first time as a gentle Lamb, setting aside His crown and glory, to be slain for the sins of humanity. He will return as a majestic and conquering Lion.

John writes,

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. ~ Rev. 1:7

And Paul declares confidently,

Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Phil. 2:6-11

While on earth, kings, rulers, and their councils stand together “against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’” (Ps. 2:2-3). The Bible is clear that even the kings and leaders of the earth, militant atheists, Communists, and even Satan and the demons will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is both King of kings and Lord of Lords, to the glory of the Father (see Rev. 17:14: 19:16).

The glorious reign of Christ will not be stained by sin or contaminated by corruption. His rule is one of righteousness. His kingdom is one of holiness, purity, and joy. His leadership is perfectly just. He cannot be bribed or bartered, and He shows no partiality.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. ~ Rev. 21:22-27 (emphasis added)

There will not be human trafficking or any form of exploitation of others in Christ’s kingdom. There will not be lying, cheating politicians or violent, drug smuggling gangs. There will not be pornography or any other form of perversion. By the complete transforming power of the Holy Spirit, the citizens of the kingdom will be honorable, pure, and honest. The citizens will have genuine love for one another and heartfelt devotion to the Eternal King.

The world mocks such a kingdom, accusing it as sounding “boring.” The kingdom, however, will reflect in a grander way what humanity and life were intended to be. There will be no diseases or death. There will be no crime or ill intentions. This there will be no cause for sorrow or tears. There will no longer be such feelings of shame, guilt, loneliness, or rejection.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” ~ Rev. 21:3-4

The citizens will live in the peace and presence of their God and King. No longer will there be sin to drive a wedge between people and God, people will have no reason to try to hide, and God will have no reason to hide His face. The redeemed ones will have the privilege of walking with God in true fellowship.

There was a time when the church reflected with longing the glory to come and to dwell in the very presence of God. Today, we seem quite content with football, concerts, and the like. We have lost the wonder of the splendor and majesty of the great King. So much of what we call “worship” seems to be less to do with whether God likes it and is truly glorified, and more about our preferences, whether we like what we are singing, and the way these make is feel. But how often do we come with a hushed reverence, recognizing we are in the presence of Cosmic Royalty? How often do we ever see the great King by faith, and are completely aware that our opinions, preferences, and feelings are inconsequential? Do we ever come to the point of understanding that the only thing that matters is if the King is pleased, honored, and magnified? Are we willing to be uncomfortable, to let our feelings be hurt by conviction, and to yield ourselves completely to the service of His Majesty?

As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” ~ 2 Chron. 7:1-3

It is important to understand that Jesus’ kingship is not a democracy or a republic. Rather, His is a monarchy. Furthermore, He is King today. He is not waiting to reign. The question is, do we recognize Him to be the rightful King over our lives today? Are we yielded to His kingship?

Jesus asks, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). Likewise, when the King returns, will He find those who profess to be His serving Him faithfully? How could He if His people are no longer filled with wonder concerning His glorious majesty? O that the Holy Spirit would help us to recapture the wonder of the majesty and grandeur of Jesus Christ. O that our hearts would cry out, “Long live the King!” And O that we would yearn for that day when every knee will bow and confess that Jesus, indeed, is Lord! Amen.

* From, Recapturing the Wonder of God, by Geno Pyse, (c) 2021.