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*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.

Neither to the Left Nor the Right

Hello friends, dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

The modern church is grossly guilty of politicizing Christianity, and labeling is quite deceptive. We hear about “liberal” Christians and “conservative” Christians. Some describe themselves as “moderate” Christians. Such labels are very misleading, because the real issue is whether a person is a biblical Christian; is one’s life marked by biblical holiness, love, and purity—as God prescribes? 

The “liberal” claims to do things in love, but has he disregarded God’s holiness? The conservative says he holds to God’s holiness, but has he set aside God’s love? Often, in both camps, God’s mercy, justice, and righteousness are neglected. Again, the issue is not whether one is liberal or conservative, but is he biblical?

Let’s be clear, God’s ways do not always make sense to us. But we have brains about the size of a softball. The Creator of the heavens and the earth is perfect in wisdom. What He calls right or wrong goes. Our thoughts and feelings on the matter is completely irrelevant.

Friends, we need to return to biblical Christianity. For if what we call Christianity is not biblical, then it is not Christianity at all. “To the teaching and to the testimony!” (Isa. 8:20).

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:7

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” ~ John 14:23-24

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

Ichabod—Has the Glory of the Lord Departed from the SBC?

Hello, my friends. I write this with a heavy heart. I grew up attending Southern Baptist churches, my undergrad and graduate studies were at Southern Baptist schools (except my senior year), and I presently attend an SBC church. There was a time, I believe, when this denomination was a beacon of light; however, for the last several years there has been a growing darkness within it. There have been weeds, planted by the evil one, growing to choke out the truth, as ministers of darkness have crept in teaching doctrines that are contrary to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us not dismiss stern warnings in Scripture. Jesus warned,

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ~ Matthew 13:36-42

Jude warns of an ever present danger:

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. ~ Jude 3-4

Understand, my loyalties are not to the SBC, as much as I care about it. For the SBC is not my Savior or Redeemer. I have an issue with those leaders who are drifting to the left and further away from sound teachings of Scripture. Let’s be clear, the Scriptures are not silent about issues like abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, or even godless philosophies underlying the whole “woke” nonsense (these will be discussed later). But I also have an issue with those drifting to the right who minimize the seriousness of sexual allegations and abuse, as well as racial tension. The Scriptures, likewise, are clear about moral and pure conduct, discipline for the immoral, and the value God places on His people of every ethnicity.

I read articles of so much bias, half-truths, outright lies, slander, arrogance, and deliberate stirring of division. Churches and individuals can pay lip service of doing “all for the glory of God” until the return of Christ, but is Jesus truly honored by any of this? Is He pleased or glorified by people behaving in their flesh and sin? Is He honored by persons casually setting aside His statutes? Indeed, He is a God of grace, but He is just as much a God of truth. We must strive to not separate the two.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. ~ John 1:17

For example, I read and article in which Beth Moore, as well as the author, accuse the “Trump cult” conservatives of criticizing her for her verbal attacks on Trump (Note: Trump was not who I initially desired to see become president). No, for many of us, our criticism has little to do with that as much as her hypocrisy. In her open condemnation of Trump for sexual allegations, she openly gave full endorsement of Hillary Clinton, whose DNC platform was nothing short of a celebration of death of the unborn. Not only that, Clinton’s position on nearly everything is anti-Christ and clearly in opposition to biblical teachings and values. Furthermore, while Trump was condemned for his injustice toward women, nothing was ever said about Hillary and Bill’s friendship with Epstein, or about their visits to his island in which human trafficking was taking place. As a former boss of mine had said so well of Hillary supporters, “They condemn Trump for being a sinner, but give their support to a devil.” And this is my issue with Beth, she condemns Trump as an evil man, yet endorsed a person three times the child of hell as him.

Before I continue, what we are seeing is nothing new. If one reads the Prophets, often some of the persons and practices cried out against were corrupt priests and false prophets who permitted sin; child sacrifice; immorality (including temple prostitution/homosexuality); greed; presumption; and idolatry. For modern deceivers who dismiss the Law and Old Testament as irrelevant, Jesus states that He did not come to abolish the Law but fulfill it (see Matt. 5:18-20). Also, the people and the judgements in the OT serve as examples for us (see 1 Cor. 10:1-11; 2 Pet. 2:5-6; Jude 6-7).

We are living in a time when many are either too afraid, or simply refuse, to call sin sin. Many who call themselves Christians have made an unholy alliance with the woke culture, which the very philosophical foundation of this movement is Marxist and anti-Christ. Let us ask such a question along with the apostle Paul,

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? ~ 2 Corinthians 6:14-15

Elsewhere, he warns,

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. ~ Colossians 2:8

The “woke” movement, claiming to want to eradicate racism, promotes Critical Race Theory, which portrays whites as being bad on the basis of being white. Such foolishness not only disregard the fact that all people are made in the image of God, but it simply breeds more racism and tension. Furthermore, “wokeness” promotes, breeds, and applauds lifestyles the Bible condemns. It breeds covetousness and discontentment, disregarding solid work ethic, as persons believe we should all have all things in common. Where is this told in Scripture? Rather, we are taught to work, be productive, and to be content with what we have.

As for homosexuality and transgenderism, and the sanctity of marriage, there are those who try to pit the teachings of the apostles against those of Jesus, but there is no conflict. And ultimately, all of Scripture is breathed out by God, and each writer was carried along by the Holy Spirit (see 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21-22). But as for Jesus, He can get no more explicit than when He declares the very institution of marriage God has ordained:

[Jesus] answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” ~ Matthew 9:4-6

Such behavior is clearly condemned in Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9. Understand, this does not mean we are to mistreat such individuals; however, churches sin whenever they refuse to call such behavior what God calls it—sin. This is no more hateful than calling out heterosexual couples who are committing adultery or fornication. 

Note also, Jesus declares two genders of which God created—male and female. There are no other genders. Then from whence does such confusion come from? Paul says that “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33), so we know such confusion within individuals does not come from God. And we can learn further from biblical principles when the apostle writes,

Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:14-16

Let me now switch gears. What about the various sexual allegations which are being swept under the rug? This is serious error of some of those on the right. It angers me when I hear of churches not only silencing women or children who have told of sexual abuse, but of some who have turned a blind eye to known pedophiles. Does God turn a blind eye to any of this? Check out what Jesus, the King of love, declares:

Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. ~ Matthew 18:5-6

Or what about racism? While, indeed, CRT is certainly wrong, so is dismissing the concerns of non-white Southern Baptists. I believe, if the denomination as a whole was honest, there is a measure of inequality and segregation. There are some rock solid preachers who are not white, but why are they in the background? Let us be very clear on this matter, Heaven is multicultural by God’s design. We read in Revelation,

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God. ~ Revelation 5:9-10

I could go on, but the question remains, has the glory of the Lord departed from the SBC? This is an important question for churches to be asking. Persons can boast of what the denomination has accomplished, but let us take heed to Jesus’ warnings when He says,

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?”And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” Matthew 7:21-23

If the glory of the Lord were to depart, sinful religious persons will continue to perform religious duties. However, such churches would be nothing but whitewashed tombs, attractive on the outside but death within.

Brothers and sisters, we have sinned greatly as a people and a denomination. May God grant us repentance, broken hearts, and contrite spirits. May we repent of all sin, and may the glory of the Lord return. And may we cease to glory in our denomination but glory only in the Lord.

You Are So Much More!

Hello, my friends, and dear brothers and sisters in Christ! I hope this finds you well!

The world will always seek for ways to label us and to create a sense of insecurity within (advertising thrives on this). Our worth, or so we are told, is dependent on our looks, what we possess, who we know, and our level of influence.

How many girls and women are depressed because they do not see a “cover girl” in the mirror? How many guys are ashamed because they are not a tough UFC fighter or powerful leader? How many people, both young and old, sell their souls to have the “right” shoes, clothing, etc. to fit in with the crowds? Yet, all of this empty and fading, just an evaporating mist!

If you read the book of Ecclesiastes, the writer describes all of this as vanity, worthless, fleeting, and empty. The apostle John writes,

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. ~ 1 John 2:15-17

My friend, if you are a child of God, then you are not what the world labels you. You are not a geek, loser, skank, or some other derogatory term. You are not just a waitress, clerk, janitor, restaurant manager, etc. You and I might not be  “cool cats” according to the world. So what? The world is not who defines us or gives us our identity. 

Paul writes honestly,

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Yet, check out what John says of those who are born again of God’s Spirit:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. ~ 1 John 3:1

As if this isn’t astonishing enough, the apostle Peter tells us,

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Peter 2:4-5 

Then,

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9

Brothers and sisters, the world does not define us, God does! May your spirit embrace His definition and identity He has given you! 

Are You Astonished By His Grace?

“O Lord, I am astonished at the difference between my receivings and my deservings, between the state I am now in and my past gracelessness, between the heaven I am bound for and the hell I merit,” prays on of the Puritans. [1]  Who prays like this anymore? What a time we live in, that despite our selfishness and love for sin (one loves lust, another greed, another pride, another idolatry, but each is rebellion against God), persons like to think humanity is “basically good.”  Many act as though God owes us something, as if salvation is a given. 

I am not so much talking about the non-religious, but I am talking about many church goers who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ. People declaring they are such and such, condoning whatever behaviors suit them, then acting as though God is obliged to look upon them with favor.

Is any of us really like sweet Georgia peaches, just a little bruised? But what do the Scriptures say?

As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” … For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, ~ Romans 3:10-18, 22-23

Elsewhere, in an epistle written to Christians, the apostle writes,

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. ~ Ephesians 2:1-3

Apart from Jesus Christ, none of us is deserving of God’s affection. Each of us was walking dead men, followers of the devil, walking in the passions of our own lusts, and children of wrath. No, we are not sweet peaches but poisonous mushrooms. What presumptuous arrogance that is so predominant in many American churches, as persons live however they want to live, disregarding the authority of the Scriptures, the teachings of Christ and His apostles, and thinking God is pleased just because persons gather “in His name.” This is no different than the rebellious and idolatrous Israelites, false prophets, and the corrupt priests God rejected in the Old Testament.

Where is humility? What has happened to mourning over one’s sins? What has happened to persons acknowledging God’s perception as being correct and that it is the individual’s perception which is wrong?

My friend, if there is no evident change in your life and no conformity to the likeness of Christ (including His love, humility, purity, holiness, and the like), then it is highly unlikely that you are genuinely a Christian. 

The apostle writes concerning the grace of God,

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation [i.e., making it available] for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. ~ Titus 2:11-12

Again, he writes,

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, 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. ~ Philippians 2:3-7

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. ~ Galatians 5:13

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

If you are saved—born again—it is only by grace. The Scriptures tell us that even our righteousness—our supposed good deeds—are but “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6, KJV). Look up the Hebrew term for “filthy rags,” it’s quite disgusting—which is the point.

Each of us should be astonished at the mercies God grants us. We shouldn’t ever lose the wonder of His undeserving grace. If you do not at all see glimpses of the wretch and scoundrel you really are (as am I), then how do you understand your need for a Savior? And if such glimpses of your depravity don’t  cause you to realize your desperate need for repentance and forgiveness, it is highly doubtful you really understand anything about grace, let alone experienced it.

That God would bother to look upon us with pity and snatch us from the flames, which was our destination, should create such unending humble gratitude. But how much of this do we truly see within American churches?

__________

[1] Arthur Bennet, ed., “The Mover,” in The Valley of Vision (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1975), 12.

The Foolishness of God

Dear friends, I hope this finds you well. 

Not long ago I posted an article entitled, “Unbelief Will Always Make A Reason.” I don’t mind an honest discussion and dialogue, but I don’t enjoy debating for the sake of debate (Note: if you post a comment simply to be nasty, belligerent, and combative, I will ignore it). Unfortunately, I took the bait and replied to an individual’s posted comment(s) in which blasted me as completely ignorant, a liar who deliberately seeks to spread lies, and in a later comment accused me of being a “bigot.” The last one I actually found kind of funny, because aside from the fact the label is thrown around so often in our society the accusation is filled with irony. According to a dictionary, a bigot is “a person who is obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, especially one who is prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group.” This person somehow came across my blog, which is not all that well known, attacked my Christian beliefs both vehemently and specifically, and spoke very condescendingly and antagonistically. Do you see the irony? One who displayed the very essence of bigotry, in the guise of “science” (which not everything she said was accurate, although she adamantly thinks she is completely accurate), was accusing me of being a bigot. But again, labeling is all too common in today’s society.

Anyway, I do not share this as a means of putting this individual down. I have come across other individuals through the years who sought debate, caring nothing about what I had to say, even in regard to answering questions. Admittedly, some questions I cannot answer, but this goes both ways. When all is said and done, while I am to give reason as to why I believe, it is not my job to convince others. That is a work only the Holy Spirit can do. When a person adamantly declares there is no evidence of the existence of God or of Jesus Christ whatsoever, no argument on earth is going to change his or her mind. 

This individual is correct about me not being a debater or scientist. Although I did very well in undergraduate and postgraduate studies, there will always be people far smarter than me. This is alright, as I am reminded of the brilliance of the foolishness of God.

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…. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18, 25

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. ~ Matthew 11:25-26

It is credited to Jerome for writing, “The Scriptures are shallow enough for a babe to come and drink without fear of drowning and deep enough for theologians to swim in without ever touching the bottom.” 

The Gospel has such depths that leaves scholars scratching their heads, yet such simplicity that even children can comprehend. I do not exaggerate when I say one of the godliest persons I’ve ever known, who had an incredibly deep prayer life and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit was a man who had Down’s syndrome. People can boast in their prestige, intelligence, and might; however, these are the very things that often hinder and blind persons to the knowledge of God.

In retrospect, I am ignorant about a lot of things. If knowing God depended on me being greatly intelligent, wise, shrewd, comely, and influential, I would never come to have known Him. Still, were it not for the great mercy and grace of God who had pity, not only on my blindness and stupidity, but also on my very deadness, I wouldn’t have come to know Him at all.

Let the godless say what they will and revel in their own contradictions and perils, but their words do not nullify the Creator in the least, nor the evidence as displayed throughout creation or the historicity of the Cross. Let the “wise of this world” boast in their wisdom, but it remains that only those who are willing to bow their hearts and knees will begin to see and understand the knowledge of God, and only through the Cross of Jesus Christ is there redemption. Men can continue to believe in the mythological man-made “Utopian” dream, but he will always prove himself to be the sinner he is, with a “Midas” touch to tarnish everything he touches. Still, for those who are willing to receive it, the foolishness of God remains wiser than the wisdom of men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Reflections on the Ugliness of My Heart

Friends, as I was tying the title, I accidentally typed Uglimess. This is more fitting than I care to admit. 

Before I continue, I owe a person an apology, if by chance she reads this. In one of my recent posts, I snidely remarked this person might be a she/it. She believes we are products of evolution. As a Christian, I believe she is created in the image of God, yet how inconsistent I am to speak in such a dishonorable way. To this person, regardless of what you might think of me, I am sorry for my disrespectful words. I’ve deleted a couple of my posts simply because I know they were not written from a spirit of love.

The Bible says,

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

If I have not love, I am nothing

For a couple of weeks I have not felt like myself. I love writing, but I have not had joy in writing. Recently my wife pointed out the ugliness of the post I had mentioned. This irritated me initially, but I knew she was right. As I thought about her words, some words that were shared in a message at church recently, and the way I’ve been feeling lately I began thinking about other things too. When was the last time a person said, “There’s something different about you,” “I see Jesus in you,” or any thing suggesting any evidence of God’s working in my life? It’s been a while. Instead, I’m left looking at the uglimess of my own heart, not liking what I see. Without love, I am nothing.

When You Don’t Know What to Pray

My friends, there are many joys and blessings that are given to followers of Christ, but there are also many frustrations and heartaches experienced by individuals yielding to Him. Many know what it is like to lose friends—even within church settings—when they are serious about the Bible and their walk with Christ. Sometimes God permits dreams to be dashed into pieces or desires unfulfilled. Sometimes God allows things to happen which breaks one’s heart to the core. 

When these happen, one can find himself in a place of not knowing what to pray. After all, he has prayed many times, and he has confessed of any known sin. Why bother praying? What good is it? 

We are far more stubborn, idolatrous, and autonomous than we care to think or admit. While I am not saying every hurt which comes is a result of these, but we must take these into consideration. Jesus desires for us to desire Him above all else, but if we are honest there are often plenty of other desires and loves surpassing our desire and love for Him. It is easy to sing a song saying that He is all we want or need, but when one had persons, things, plans, hopes, and dreams taken from him, his sincerity of passionate singing is put to the test. What is one’s honest reply when God speaks to him, “Child, you still have Me”? It’s okay for the heart to break and for a person to experience grief. This comes with being human. God is not angry with a person feeling disappointed. sad, or even angry necessarily. However, will a person continue to trust God, and even love Him, despite the inner ache? Every true saint must experience this to some degree. But what does one do when they are so broken and wearied that they just don’t know what to pray?

We are like wild stallions who must be broken if we would desire to be used for God’s good purposes, and one of His good purposes is to conform us to the image of His Son—to make us more like Jesus. This is a painful process of squeezing, molding, pruning, chipping, grinding, and purging. Are you and I willing to let Him do what only He can do? Will you and I yield trustingly to Him, knowing He is God and we are not? Still, what if we do not know what to pray? We are told,

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. ~ Romans 8:26-27

Go ahead and groan wordlessly. Cry, mourn, and grieve. Yield to the breaking, for it serves Kingdom purposes. If you and I should desire to be like Jesus, can we be so without hurt, disappointment, or suffering? Isaiah says, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” (53:3). And just as we benefit from His suffering (see Isa. 53:4-6), so others are helped by ours. We are told elsewhere,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

When you and I go through difficult situations, bombarded by perplexity, hounded by questions, and frustrated by the agony God gives comfort in mysterious ways. Sometimes all this seems senseless, heartless, and arbitrary. Yet, God brings you and I into the lives of others experiencing these, and we are able to be ministers to them, applying the balms of both grace and empathy.

What does any of this have to do with prayer? Everything! We are utterly dependent on God, but too often we really do not believe this. But when we do, we don’t always know how or what to pray. This is okay. Just groan. The Holy Spirit will intercede through these, and conform us more into the likeness of Christ in the process.

An Appreciation for Sacrifices

Hello my friends, I hope your Memorial Day weekend may be a blessed, and filled with gratitude of the many men and women who gave their all for our benefit.

The summer of 2002 was the first time I had the privilege and opportunity to visit Washington DC. How unfortunate that our nation’s capital is more known for the dirtbags in offices making shady deals and building their bank accounts, rather than the graves and memorials to keep the remembrance of many heroes alive.

I was there for nearly a week. Each day was emotionally charged, as I was on the verge of tears nearly constantly. The Vietnam Memorial Wall is much bigger and longer than photographs can capture. I have two uncles who were in the Vietnam War. They never talk about the war, but I’m fortunate that I got to know them. Sadly, I passed by name after names, literally thousands engraved on the Wall, of uncles, dads, brothers, and sons of families who did not get to see them or know them. To see so many names engraved cannot be described. I still remember the older gentleman, whom I saw from a distance later, taking off his hat and bowing his head as he walked beside the Wall. 

I remember the statues of soldiers standing silently, yet crying out to remember the brave ones in the Korean War. And how can I forget the Arlington Cemetery and the somber Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers? Each of these memorials are reminders of persons, both living and dead, who made great sacrifices of which benefit others. 

During this week I realized everything I enjoy came at the sacrifice of others. My salvation came at the Sacrifice of the Savior who loves me so, and the sacrifices of many saints who continued to share and preserve the gospel and Scriptures. My freedom I’ve enjoyed comes at the expense of multitudes who have fought for it for, and before that sacrifices of some who sought a new land for a new beginning. Without any disrespect for the fallen, but only to honor the sacrifices of many. I think of my mom who worked and worried, sacrificing so much to raise me. I did not die for my salvation, or fight for my freedom, or raise myself by my own hard work and know-how. These came by the sacrifices of so many before me.

How shameful that so many in our society lack gratitude, let alone the showing of honor, for the many who made sacrifices for them. I hope you will not be among them. These persons deserving of our honor experienced sleepless nights, fear, nightmares, and pain many of us will never understand.

Rest In Peace, fallen heroes. You are  honored and not forgotten.

Unbelief Will Always Make a Reason to Not Believe

Hello my friends, I hope you have had a great week.

Have you ever studied Christian apologetics (the defense for the Christian faith)? Perhaps you have read C. S. Lewis’, Mere Christianity, Lee Strobel’s, The Case for Christ, or Josh McDowell’s, Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Each of these books are quite beneficial, and I would encourage anyone who is having honest questions to read them. However, over the years I have found that most people do not wrestle so much with honest doubts as they do with stubborn unbelief. Generally the problem is not an intellectual one as much as it is a moral one.

Doubts and “timid faith” alike are accompanied with questions. One can observe these in Nicodemus’ dialogue with Jesus in John 3, or in John the Baptist’s questions for Jesus, as he sat in a cell awaiting execution (see Matt. 11:2-6), or the father who requested his son’s healing (see Mark 9:16-27). Stubborn unbelief is an altogether different beast. Unbelief rejects Christ, no matter the evidence, logic, or consequence. Unbelief holds tightly to its pride, position, power, or whatever else, so long as it does not bow itself to the authority of God. Unbelief will always make an excuse to reject Christ and the need for Him. Jesus rebukes the unbelief of the people of the day:

But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.” For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon.” The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds. ~ Matthew 11:16-19

There are those who view Christians as being absurd for believing in an Almighty Creator, yet have no problem believing the universe mysteriously came into existence by chance. There are those who say they “will follow science where so ever it will lead,” yet ostracize scientists who, observing the amazing structure and order from the cosmos to the molecular, dare mention Intelligent Design (understand, ID is not the same thing as theism or Christianity); yet, those who reject even the notion of ID hold up evolution as fact, even though there isn’t any scientific evidence whatsoever to support it. Perhaps no one admits the reason for their unbelief any better than Aldous Huxley:

“I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.” [1]

Is this not the real reason for the majority of people’s rejection of God? Oh sure, most people, on the one hand, have asked honest questions about evil and such. The irony is most people also justify their own acts of evil. This is one of the great evils and hypocrisy of Communist regimes, they accuse religion as being the source of wars, all the while Communism is guilty of all kinds of unjust afflictions and killings of millions of people through starvation, sheer brutality, demented experiments, and social engineering. 

Many of Hollywood’s elites like to accuse Christian’s as being “stupid” and “dangerous.” Now, there are religious nut jobs out there, and there are hypocrites in churches. However, for those who have parents, grandparents, or siblings who truly love the Lord Jesus Christ, are these persons really stupid or dangerous? Do they get F’s in everything and are never successful? Are they the ones in the neighborhood everyone is afraid of, for fear of their lives? No, Hollywood‘s resentment towards God and Christianity has nothing to do with an intellectual issue. No, Hollywood’s is completely a moral one. And the same goes for godless politics. 

Unbelief desires autonomy, and will fight tooth and nail to keep it. Honest doubts and timid faith will listen to answers to their questions and consider them, and are willing to change. Unbelief declares along with Woody Allen, “The heart wants what the heart wants,” despite how despicable the affections.

God does not hide from people as much as people close their eyes to Him. We are given this promise:

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. ~ Jeremiah 29:13

Elsewhere we are told,

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. ~ Hebrews 1:1-3

God is not silent, but people just don’t want to hear. To many, the temporary pleasures of sin are not worth the life to be found in Christ. Jesus could stand before them, as He did the people of old, but unbelief will always make a reason to reject Him. There is nothing new under the sun.

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[1] Huxley, A., Ends and Means, 1937, pp. 270 ff. Retrieved from:

https://creation.com/aldous-huxley-admits-motive-for-anti-theistic-bias (accessed May 27, 2021).