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When gods go crazy

Scripture Reading: Romans 1:18-32; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:8; Romans 6:1-11; Romans 8:1-28

Confusion. This one word describes the current cultural climate in our nation.

Mankind has finally reached a pinnacle. This is not a pinnacle of morality, nor is the height of compassion and concern. Instead, we have climbed the mountain, and while cresting this seemingly sacred place of knowledge and wonder, we have declared ourselves gods who have the power to remake ourselves into whatever image our delusional minds can conjure.

In Romans chapter One, as the Apostle Paul works from his declaration that the gospel is the power of God unto Salvation, we run afoul of a series of pronounced judgments that flow from the Creator-God of the Bible.

We move from a sordid sexual rebellion, to a humiliating homo-sexual rebellion and finally crest on to the contemptable wasteland of confusion about such things as our basic anatomy, and the fundamental purpose for our existence.

This disgusting decay, however, is regarded in our society as being “woke” and suddenly the unholy Mastermind has impressed a new Gnosticism upon us. With the new-found understanding of reality and of existence we are finally freed from the so-called tyranny of patriarchies, polite societies, partiality and pathetic religions. The limits of our understanding about ethnicity, gender and sexual expression are being unwound by a new “woke” mob that wants only the best for us… Or if we are unwilling to acquiesce to the their not so subtle demands to re-imagine culture, customs and Created order, then we will be quickly silenced and slapped with a label… REJECTED…

As a Christian, I believe that the Decay and ultimate Confusion of Romans chapter One is not the final focus. If you are bound up in focusing on what is wrong, you have missed the rest of the message to the church at Rome. This message is that THE JUST shall live by faith. Who is JUST? Jesus Christ. Who is JUSTIFIER of those who believe? JESUS CHRIST. The message of doom in Romans chapter One culminates in the teaching on Justification in chapter Five, The teaching on Baptism into Christ’s death, burial and Resurrection in chapter Six, The truth that there is now no longer ANY condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus and that we can cry out to our heavenly Father and know He is working all things out for the sake of those who love Him in chapter Eight. 

This does not even begin to plumb the depths of the book of Romans. I want those who are followers of Christ to realize, the crazy path of wrath in Romans chapter One meets the LOVE of GOD in JESUS CHRIST, and if a person trusts God about their sin and trusts that Jesus is the sacrifice on behalf of their sin then THEY ARE SAVED from this earned judgment. They may then live in peace because they are at peace with God through Christ.

Please, don’t get stuck in Romans 1:18-32, read the rest of the story!

Is Going to Church Really Necessary?

Is Going to Church really Necessary?

The technological era we live in has made it quite easy for us to sit on our couch and watch TV preachers speak on Sunday morning. We can tune in to Christian radio and hear sermons and messages 24 – 7.  The internet gives us even more opportunity to hear our favorite preachers. If we miss the live stream, most messages are recorded and available to watch and listen to at our convenience.  We can even listen on our smart phones while driving or performing other tasks. Due to the Covid lockdowns, many of our churches are now streaming online and posting their recorded messages on YouTube or other sites.  Now I can sit in the comfort of my own home and hear my own Pastor speak on Sunday morning! 

These are all great options to hear Gods word, when we for whatever reason can’t join together, however, we must ask the question:  Is Church attendance really necessary? The answer is an overwhelming yes!

In the New Testament we see Jesus regularly visiting the synagogue. 

Luke 4:16 – He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read…

“As was his custom,”the Son of God, Creator, and Savior of the world, thought it important to gather together, to worship the Father, to look in to the Holy Word of God, and to have fellowship with other believers.

The early Church in the book of Acts thought it so important that they met daily.

Acts 2:46-47 NIV   46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. 

The reasons to meet together are too numerous to list here, but the benefits are great, not only for the individual, but for the church as a whole. The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 compares the Church, or Body of Christ, to the human body. 

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 NIV 12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.13 For we were all baptized by[a] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Without digging in to the entire passage, the point is simple, if you remove any part from your physical body, your body will no longer function as it did before, and likewise the part that was removed will die and no longer benefit the body.  Same goes for you or I as individuals, our participation, or connection, benefits the entire church body, and we as a part, must be connected to the body, and ultimately to Christ to survive.

Hebrews 10:23-25 NIV 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Faith Failure

As humans we are acquainted with failure. Failure is part of our human condition and it is normative throughout our lives. However, we often spend a great deal of time hiding from or hurting from failure and either choice can lead us to make poor decisions, particularly in regard to spiritual matters.

In Matthew 8 we read:

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Matthew 8:23-27

The disciples in the text are faced with a storm on the lake of Galilee. This was not something with which they were unacquainted as fishermen from the region. But, on this occasion, whether the storm was more intense than normal, or they were more frightened than normal, their decision to reach out to Jesus for help indicates that they thought the matter was beyond their expertise and control.

The rebuke of the Lord is telling. He indicates that their fear and lack of faith were working hand in hand to cripple them from making a better choice with regard to the outcome. Perhaps they could not keep the water out of the boat, nor were they able to stop the storm by themselves, but, they had either forgotten or failed to understand Who was with them in the midst of the seeming calamity. In that moment the miracle of the calmed seas certifies Jesus as Lord over creation. Fear and Faith Fails needed a stern correction so that in the future, their choices would be made from a place of trust and serenity.

You and I will indeed experience fear and failure. The goal is to secure our hearts and mind, that is the seat of our decisions and our rational understanding to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus, Christ. Like the disciples we need to accept that despite the intensity of the storm and uncertainty of the outcome, when Jesus is with us, His will for us will be accomplished, and we will make it safely to the earthly or heavenly shore of His choosing.

Joy Perspective

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world”

Philippians 2:14-15 (NKJ)

On a beautiful sunny day, I greeted our neighbors as I walked our dog through our neighborhood.  Extending the typical greetings of “how are you doing?” was met with more than a few grumbled responses.

Today, many around the world, are living under lockdown orders, in confined quarters, limited access to necessities and unable to enjoy daily activities.  Our neighborhood is in a middle of beautifully wooded park land, enjoying wide open spaces and near many conveniences.  While many are experiencing significant impact on their careers, to the best of my knowledge, everyone in this neighborhood is gainfully employed or retired.  

The responses reflected a narrow perspective, which in turn forced me to reflect on my own perspective and attitudes.  Living in the grace and abundant mercy of GOD of heaven, do I conduct myself with joy?  Does my walk reflect Philippians 2:14-15?   Equally important, what am I willing to do to become harmless and blameless before the LORD?

GOD’s word tells me to trust GOD and be reverently thankful. “Fret not about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto GOD.” (Phil 4:6)  Also, HE tells me to care for others “…not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Phil. 4:32)

In short, follow JESUS’s command, love GOD and love your neighbor as you love yourself.  This seems to me to be the shortest route to changing one’s perspective.