The Love of God

Screenshot (1340)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16–17, NIV 1984).

My Musings – In his book “The 7 Habit of Highly Effective people,”  Stephen R. Covey writes:

I have a friend whose son developed an avid interest in baseball.  My friend wasn’t interested in baseball at all.  But one summer, he took his son to see every major league team play one game.  The trip took over six weeks and cost a great deal of money, but it became a powerful bonding experience in their relationship.

My friend  was asked on His return, “Do you like baseball that much?”

“No,” he replied, “but I like my son that much.”

Read that again.  How many of us make a habit of going to kindergarten plays?  Not many, right?  But how many, if at all possible, would miss one that their child or grandchild was in?  Is T-ball really a sport we cannot get enough of?  It is if our child or grandchild is in it.  The examples could go on and on.  But I think you get the point.

What would cause Jesus to leave the fellowship of His Father, become one of His creation (yet retaining His divinity), only  to die a cruel death at the hands of the people He came to save?  I think you get the idea.

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky

“The Love of God,” Frederick M. Lehman

My Advice – For Covey’s friend, it was a powerful bonding experience.  But that’s nothing compared to the born again experience.   If you have been born again, continue to bond by growing in Him.  If you have not been born again, you can experience the love of God today.

_________________

Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

 

Philadelphia: Little Strength But Loyal To Word

From the archives.

The Brew Is A Musing

Screenshot (1342)

THE LETTER – “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world…

View original post 1,862 more words

Look to the Son

Screenshot (1336)

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39–40, NIV 1984).

For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  (John 6:40, NIV 1984).

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37, NIV 1984).

My Musings – How is it that people can diligently study the Scriptures and not see that they testify about Jesus?  Of course, when this was written they only had to the Old Testament to study.  But they had the Old Testament prophecies playing out before their very eyes (in “living color”).  Now, we have the New Testament that they did not have.  Yet today, far too many believe that the Scriptures testify about the law, or about grace plus the law.  They refuse to believe, or find it too hard to believe, that “everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  They refuse to believe there is a period at the end of the sentence. As a result, they “refuse to come to [Him] to have life.

My Advice – Whoever “comes to [Jesus He] will never drive away.”  If you believe about Jesus (who He was, what He said and what He did), then why not believe in Jesus? He “will never drive away.”

___________________________

Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

Sardis: Reputation As Alive But Dead

From the archives.

The Brew Is A Musing

Screenshot (1334)

THE LETTER – “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name…

View original post 1,546 more words

The Great Divide

Screenshot (1332)

Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty.  (Zechariah 4:6, NIV 1984).

My Musings – On September 11, 2001, terrorists targeted three of America’s symbolic sites:  the World Trade Center (symbol of America’s economic power), the Pentagon (symbol of America’s military might) and either the White House or U.S. Capitol (symbol of America’s form of government).  Due to the heroic efforts of its passengers, the last plane never made it to its target.  The careful selection of these sites make it clear that the terrorists’ objective stretched beyond the physical targets and “collateral” deaths of the innocent victims. The primary target was perhaps the American psyche.

In the immediate aftermath, the effect was just the opposite.  The American psyche was rejuvenated and patriotic fervor was rekindled. The “collateral” benefits was a lessening in the divide between the haves and have nots (economic extremes), the hawks and doves (military extremes) and the Democrats and Republicans (political extremes), at least for a season.  But time has passed.  The American economy remains the strongest in the world.  It’s military might is still unequaled.  In terms of government, the great American experiment remains unrivaled.  But the divide between the haves and have nots, the hawks and doves and those on the left versus those on the right have widened.  What the terrorists failed to do, we are doing to ourselves.  The country has not fallen (yet), but the divide among its people is greater than perhaps ever before.

There was a fourth great symbol of America’s strength that was not targeted that day, at least not directly.  Perhaps this is because there is no single physical manifestation of it.  Perhaps it is because it was not perceived as a serious threat by the perpetrators.  The symbol?  America’s trust in God, specifically its Christian heritage.  There were brief signs of a revival following that attack, but the Church has grown colder and the divide between believers and non-believers is maybe wider than all of the others.  This is, I believe, the greatest danger to America, and may be the underlying cause of all the other divides.

My Advice – All of these divides, as great as they might be, are merely symptoms of the greatest divide of all – man’s separation from His creator.  But the solution to end the divide is the easiest of all, and it’s free.  It’s not by might or power.  It’s by surrender.  And it could solve the other divides one person at a time.  Are you one?  Be apart of the solution.  Surrender your life to Christ today.  My blog series “The Born Again Experience” will show you how, and it really is that simple.

Thyatira: Increased Works But Tolerates Evil

From the archives.

The Brew Is A Musing

Screenshot (1330)

THE LETTER – “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am…

View original post 1,923 more words

The Road Less Traveled

Screenshot (1328)

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.”  (Genesis 1:26, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Humans are distinguished from the rest of the God’s “creatures.”  We have self-awareness (conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires).  We have imagination (the ability to form ideas, images or concepts that are not observable by our senses).  We have a conscience (an inner prompting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior).  We have an independent will (the ability to make decisions and choices and to act in accordance with those choices and decisions).  We have principles (fundamental truths or propositions that serve as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior). To name just a few.  This is, in part, what it means to be made in God’s image (not to mention the fact that we are more than just a physical creature).   The animal kingdom, for example, when confronted with a stimulus, can only respond to that stimulus (based on instinct, urges, conditioning, fight or flight, etc.).

Stimulus ——-> Response

Humans are different.  Because of things such as self-awareness, imagination, conscience, will, and principles, we have the freedom to choose how we respond to the stimulus.

Stimulus ——-> Freedom to Choose ——->Response

While we may be pre-disposed to certain “determined” responses due genetic determinism (your DNA or nature), psychic determinism (your upbringing, or nurture), and environmental determinism (something or someone in your environment that influences  you one way or another), in the final analysis we still have the freedom to choose.  Our choices cannot ultimately be blamed on these factors.  Our choices, our behavior (response), is a product conscious decisions that we make and that we are responsible for.

Despite all of this, from the very beginning, and all too often, our lives are characterized by so many wrong choices.

Stimulus – When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom,

Freedom to Choose

Response – she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

(Genesis 3:6, NIV 1984)

My Advice – Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some “magic” eraser that would let us start over with a clean slate?  The truth is, that there is.  There is a choice we can all make that will make up for all of our poor choices, as if we had never made them at all.  “In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7, NIV 1984).  “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:12, NIV 1984).

Stimulus – “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8, NIV 1984).

Freedom to Choose

Response – “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”  (John 1:12–13, NIV 1984).

The Choice Is Yours.  Choose Wisely.

______________________________

Adapted from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen R. Covey

______________________________

Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”