Are you a “Politically Correct Christian”?

Yeshuah Jesus Yahweh is SalvationHow do you feel about Jesus? While this may seem obvious, let’s unpack the idea a bit more. OK, so you are a Christian. What does that mean, exactly?

  1. You love Jesus.
  2. You believe in Jesus.
  3. You have put your faith and trust in him.
  4. You have turned from your sinful ways and toward righteousness.
  5. You go to church.
  6. You volunteer.
  7. You pray.
  8. You read your Bible.

That is great! Welcome to eternal salvation. Well… hold on. We have been going over in our Friday discussions, week after week specific things that may or may not validate your salvation even if you do all the above mentioned “Christian” activities. So, this one is simple. How do you feel about Jesus? Your first thought might be, “I love Him.” Now put yourself against these scenarios:

  1. You are at work, you are on your break at your desk reading your Bible. How do you react when you hear someone coming?
  2. You are at a restaurant with friends. Do you pray before a meal or do you pass it up for lighter conversation?
  3. Do you ever pray for an extended period of time with another friend out in public?
  4. You are at work in the lunchroom. Do you pray before your meal in front of everyone or do you quietly pray in your mind without anyone being the wiser?
  5. You are at a social event and someone you have never met asks you what you do. Do you bring up your reason for living by bringing up Jesus or do you talk endlessly about what you do for a monetary living?
  6. You are at the park with a friend who is definitely not a believer (make it more real and imagine your Muslim, gay, lesbian, or outspoken atheist friend), and you casually tuck your cross necklace into your shirt before you see them.
  7. You are at your kids school picking them up and you get into a conversation with another mom. Does the name of Jesus ever come into your conversations day after day?
  8. Generally speaking how often does the name Jesus enter into your daily conversation with everyone around you? Never I bet if you are honest. A very few of you will answer “All the time.” Praise YHWH for you and your boldness!

We sing songs about “Jesus, only Jesus” but then are afraid to mention His name in mixed company for fear we will lose our jobs or lose that friend or lose respect. We think in our hearts I cannot wait to see the face of Jesus shining like the sun, but then can’t seem to say his name to others during our day.  Is this how someone treats someone they love? When you are in love you want to shout it from the mountain tops. When you find your spouse you cannot wait to introduce them to everyone and anyone. When you have your first, second, third, twelfth grandchild how quick are you to whip out those photos of them even to perfect strangers? But Jesus? No, that is not politically correct. It’s sad. More importantly it may mean eaternal damnation.

Ask yourself: “How do I really feel about Jesus?” The world sends thousands of signals to us like little darts all intended for us to dislike or even hate Jesus. We are in a literal battlefield. If only we could see what the angels can see. Take a look at what the Bible says about it.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5, ESV)

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33, ESV)

Based on personal experience, I thought I was a Christian but realized I was actually ashamed of Jesus. I was the politically correct “Christian.” I praise YHWH for showing me my folly. Pray about this one, my friend. Don’t be ashamed of Jesus! If this convicted you even a small bit, please read through the other Fruit Audit topics to the right.

Maranatha!

Modern Parable ~ The Judge

I was driving down the freeway last year going along with the speed of traffic when a highway patrol officer came up behind me and put on his lights. You know the feeling: instant panic with ensuing heart palpitations. I looked at the odometer, 79, then quickly took my foot of the accelerator. Surely he’s not pulling me over for 79? I’ve been told that anything under 80 they don’t bother with and besides my cousin is a CHP and I have one of those nifty star stickers on my license to show them I am “one of them”, “part of the family” so to speak and my insurance is military insurance. That will be the clincher. They don’t ticket their own.

The officer came up to my window, asked plainly for my license, registration, and proof of insurance. He walked back to his car, came back, and handed me my speeding ticket. No small talk, all business. I was busted. My “get out of jail free cards” did not work. I broke the law, the officer was just. It did not matter that everyone else on the freeway was going 79. It did not matter that normally they don’t pull you over at that speed. It did not matter that I have a sticker or insurance to prove I am one of them. The fact of the matter is I was speeding. The speed limit is 65. I was going 79… Judged and Convicted.

How often do you justify your actions to a holy impartial Judge. How often do you think “I’m on the good guy’s team, He will let it slide this time.” How often do you think “I’m not as bad as that other guy over there. He must judge based on a curve.” There could be nothing further from the truth. Check out this verse in 1 Peter:

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, (1 Peter 1:17, ESV)

Let’s unpack this verse a bit…

The word epikaleō means to “call on” or to “appeal to” or to “call for help”. It is meant here to suggest that this is a regular occurrence, that we are to habitually call on the Father for help. Peter is assuming his readers are Christians and that they pray regularly. The idea that God is someone we have an intimate relationship with as well as the fact that he is the ultimate judge who always judges fairly and without partiality are all within the same sentence, the readers understand that just because they are part of God’s family does not mean they will get special treatment. This is the true fear of God when one understands this concept to its fullest.

The term “judges” is used in the Greek  “ton krinonta” which is a present participle. This means the judgement Peter is talking about is active and current for their lifetime. He is not talking about final judgement. The Father is actively and presently disciplining his children. That is what this type of fear means.

The Greek word for fear is “phobos” and is where we get the word phobia from. However the phobos of God and his discipline is actually a good thing because its outcome should be a right response to God’s law that will result in growth, sanctification, and blessings.

Peter also reminds his readers that they are exiles, sojourners hear on earth. That means they must continually remember to show foreigners (those of this world) what it means to be a child of God.

Therefor, we are to have an active and intimate relationship with the Father while maintaining a high view of him knowing he is the perfect impartial judge even to us. Because of this we must live our lives in light of fear of his judgement as well as the fact that this world is not our true home and we must be examples to others by bringing honor to our true family name.

Theology ~ Am I Really a Christian? But I’ve Always Been a Christian!

Today is dedicated to some thought provoking sermons and Bible reading. Below are some great places to start. You might glance over them and think nothing of it, but even if you are a Christian, I encourage you to listen to a couple and definitely read God’s Word. You will either be fully reassured or convicted. There is no middle ground. I encourage you to read all of the book of 1 John. It is 5 short chapters. Again, you will either be convicted or reassured. Give yourself the gift of taking time out of your busy day to learn more about God and yourself today!

Am I Really a Christian?
Unchanged
But I’ve Always Been a Christian
Almost a Christian

 

1 JOHN 1

The Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Walking in the Light

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 

1 JOHN 2

Christ Our Advocate

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

The New Commandment

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

Do Not Love the World

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.

Warning Concerning Antichrists

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Children of God

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

 

1 JOHN 3

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. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Love One Another

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

 

1 JOHN 4

Test the Spirits

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

 

1 JOHN 5

Overcoming the World

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Testimony Concerning the Son of God

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

That You May Know

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Halloween, a day to remember the gift of Jesus Christ?

Happy Halloween PumpkinMay this Halloween be a time of reflection. While it is considered a Pagan holiday, it does have some significance in Christian History. It was originally called All Hallow’s Eve or a day to remember the martyrs and the saints (aka hallows) who have gone on before us. So take a moment today and remember what the first and many subsequent Christians went through to give you and me the freedom to worship Jesus Christ. The mere fact that these men and women were martyred gives us great assurance in the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection. People do not die for a lie. They die for the truth. Jesus is alive and we will someday see him again! Remember that on this supposed Pagan day and go out and celebrate with candy and fun costumes in remembrance of those who were martyred for our faith to bring Jesus’ truths to all creation and in celebration of the gift that is our Lord!

Monday Modern Parable ~ The Abundant Life by Wayne Rice

A little boy who lived far out in the country in the late 1800s had reached the age of twelve and had never in all his life seen a circus. You can imagine his excitement, when one day a poster went up at school announcing that on the next Saturday a traveling circus was coming to the nearby town.

He ran home with the glad news and the question, “Daddy, can I go?” Although the family was poor, the father sensed how important this was to the lad. “If you do your Saturday chores ahead of time,” he said, “I’ll see to it that you have the money to go.”‘

Come Saturday morning, the chores were done and the little boy stood by the breakfast table, dressed in his Sunday best. His father reached down into the pocket of his overalls and pulled out a dollar bill-the most money the little boy had possessed at one time in all his life. The father cautioned him to be careful and then sent him on his way to town.

The boy was so excited, his feet hardly seemed to touch the ground all the way. As he neared the outskirts of the village, he noticed people lining the streets, and he worked his way through the crowd until he could see what was happening. Lo and behold, it was the approaching spectacle of a circus parade! The parade was the grandest thing this lad had ever seen. Caged animals snarled as they passed, bands beat their rhythms and sounded shining horns, midgets performed acrobatics while flags and ribbons swirled overhead. Finally, after everything had passed where he was standing, the traditional circus clown, with floppy shoes, baggy pants, and a brightly painted face, brought up the rear. As the clown passed by, the little boy reached into his pocket and took out that precious dollar bill. Handing the money to the clown, the boy turned around and went home. What had happened? The boy thought he had seen the circus when he had only seen the parade!

Are you experiencing all that God has for you? The Christian life is a marvelous adventure, an exciting journey. Many people-including Christians-seem to be content to float in a sea of mediocrity, settling for second best. Do you want the abundant life that Jesus promised? Do you want to live life to its fullest? Then aim higher. Don’t set your sights too low. Determine to become all that God created you to be. Give yourself to Christ, follow Him completely, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you and through you. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

~ Wayne Rice

Daily Bible Reading ~ Isaiah 62-64 and 1 Thessalonians 5

DAILY BIBLE READING LINK FOR OCTOBER 17, 2013

Pastor’s Note:

More today on the restoration of God’s people, the Lord’s just response to sin, and the hope for the remnant of contrite people who turn to God in honest confession—clinging to his grace. In our New Testament reading we should be encouraged and challenged by this short letter from Paul, which is filled with hope and practical instruction.

– Pastor Mike Fabarez of Compass Bible Church and Focal Point Ministries

Isaiah 62-64

Zion’s Coming Salvation

62:1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.
2 The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.
3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken, [1]
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, [2]
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, [3]
and your land Married; [4]
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.

6 On your walls, O Jerusalem,
I have set watchmen;
all the day and all the night
they shall never be silent.
You who put the Lord in remembrance,
take no rest,
7 and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it a praise in the earth.
8 The Lord has sworn by his right hand
and by his mighty arm:
“I will not again give your grain
to be food for your enemies,
and foreigners shall not drink your wine
for which you have labored;
9 but those who garner it shall eat it
and praise the Lord,
and those who gather it shall drink it
in the courts of my sanctuary.” [5]

10 Go through, go through the gates;
prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway;
clear it of stones;
lift up a signal over the peoples.
11 Behold, the Lord has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
“Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
12 And they shall be called The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.

The Lord’s Day of Vengeance

63:1 Who is this who comes from Edom,
in crimsoned garments from Bozrah,
he who is splendid in his apparel,
marching in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, speaking in righteousness,
mighty to save.”

2 Why is your apparel red,
and your garments like his who treads in the winepress?

3 “I have trodden the winepress alone,
and from the peoples no one was with me;
I trod them in my anger
and trampled them in my wrath;
their lifeblood [6] spattered on my garments,
and stained all my apparel.
4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart,
and my year of redemption [7] had come.
5 I looked, but there was no one to help;
I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold;
so my own arm brought me salvation,
and my wrath upheld me.
6 I trampled down the peoples in my anger;
I made them drunk in my wrath,
and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

The Lord’s Mercy Remembered

7 I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord,
the praises of the Lord,
according to all that the Lord has granted us,
and the great goodness to the house of Israel
that he has granted them according to his compassion,
according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
8 For he said, “Surely they are my people,
children who will not deal falsely.”
And he became their Savior.
9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, [8]
and the angel of his presence saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

10 But they rebelled
and grieved his Holy Spirit;
therefore he turned to be their enemy,
and himself fought against them.
11 Then he remembered the days of old,
of Moses and his people. [9]
Where is he who brought them up out of the sea
with the shepherds of his flock?
Where is he who put in the midst of them
his Holy Spirit,
12 who caused his glorious arm
to go at the right hand of Moses,
who divided the waters before them
to make for himself an everlasting name,
13 who led them through the depths?
Like a horse in the desert,
they did not stumble.
14 Like livestock that go down into the valley,
the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.
So you led your people,
to make for yourself a glorious name.

Prayer for Mercy

15 Look down from heaven and see,
from your holy and beautiful [10] habitation.
Where are your zeal and your might?
The stirring of your inner parts and your compassion
are held back from me.
16 For you are our Father,
though Abraham does not know us,
and Israel does not acknowledge us;
you, O Lord, are our Father,
our Redeemer from of old is your name.
17 O Lord, why do you make us wander from your ways
and harden our heart, so that we fear you not?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your heritage.
18 Your holy people held possession for a little while; [11]
our adversaries have trampled down your sanctuary.
19 We have become like those over whom you have never ruled,
like those who are not called by your name.

64:1 Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains might quake at your presence—
2  [12] as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
and that the nations might tremble at your presence!
3 When you did awesome things that we did not look for,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
4 From of old no one has heard
or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who acts for those who wait for him.
5 You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
those who remember you in your ways.
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? [13]
6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7 There is no one who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have made us melt in [14] the hand of our iniquities.

8 But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9 Be not so terribly angry, O Lord,
and remember not iniquity forever.
Behold, please look, we are all your people.
10 Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
Zion has become a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.
11 Our holy and beautiful [15] house,
where our fathers praised you,
has been burned by fire,
and all our pleasant places have become ruins.
12 Will you restrain yourself at these things, O Lord?
Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?

1 Thessalonians 5

The Day of the Lord

5:1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, [16] you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children [17] of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Final Instructions and Benediction

12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, [18] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

25 Brothers, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

27 I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 62:4 Hebrew Azubah
[2] 62:4 Hebrew Shemamah
[3] 62:4 Hebrew Hephzibah
[4] 62:4 Hebrew Beulah
[5] 62:9 Or in my holy courts
[6] 63:3 Or their juice; also verse 6
[7] 63:4 Or the year of my redeemed
[8] 63:9 Or he did not afflict
[9] 63:11 Or Then his people remembered the days of old, of Moses
[10] 63:15 Or holy and glorious
[11] 63:18 Or They have dispossessed your holy people for a little while
[12] 64:2 Ch 64:1 in Hebrew
[13] 64:5 Or in your ways is continuance, that we might be saved
[14] 64:7 Masoretic Text; Septuagint, Syriac, Targum have delivered us into
[15] 64:11 Or holy and glorious
[16] 5:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 4, 12, 14, 25, 26, 27
[17] 5:5 Or sons; twice in this verse
[18] 5:14 Or disorderly, or undisciplined

Offended by a Biblical Charge by Ryan Damato

As Christians, we should be ready and willing to encourage and charge each other to mirror God’s word. We should rest in the fact that we are part of the sanctification process that God has planned for each person and if it we are the ones being charged, we should respond as though it is God charging us, as long as the charge is in fact biblical.

Truths like this in scripture are what help me to recognize that some people will be offended and some will respond biblically. I can’t hold back on a biblical charge or encouragement if I feel like the person is going to be offended. I need to use God’s word as it was intended to be used and I need to respond to it just the same.

~ Ryan Damato

1 Thessalonians 2:12-13

we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers

Quote of the Day ~ God is Not God if God is not Sovereign by R. C. Sproul

“Everything that happens must at least happen by his permission. If he permits something, then he must decide to allow it. If he decides to allow something, then in a sense he is foreordaining it. Who, among Christians, would argue that God could not stop something in this world from happening? If God so desires, he has the power to stop the whole world. To say that God foreordains all that comes to pass is simply to say that God is sovereign over his entire creation. If something could come to pass apart from his sovereign permission, then that which came to pass would frustrate his sovereignty. If God refused to permit something to happen and it happened anyway, then whatever caused it to happen would have more authority and power than God himself. If there is any part of creation outside of Gods sovereignty, then God is simply not sovereign. If God is not sovereign, then God is not God.”
- R. C. Sproul, Chosen by God

Friday Fruit Audit ~ Do you Love the World

starbucksWe live in a world where we sit in a Starbucks sipping a $4 latte and complain about how we lost a stock investment or that our kid’s tuition for private school is too high or that the price of gas is over $4 a gallon. But did you know that over half the population of the world lives on less than $2 a day? We are rich beyond what we could even understand rich to mean.

I sat in a bible study last year and listened to an Orange County housewife pour her heart out to the group that she was desperate for prayer because her family was in her words, “one paycheck away from being homeless.” I honestly did not know what to say. Really!? Did she even understand what that word meant? God forbid she cut back on her cable bill or cancel her smart phone internet service. But hey, let’s decide we are going to be homeless because we won’t be able to afford the $8,000 a month in household expenses. I wanted to vomit. But then realized this is how most people live. It is how I live. They don’t understand how anyone else lives on $100 a day let alone $2. How could they? All they know is this life they live. People want what they are used to.

Well, guess what? God has another idea for us. Take a look around. Take a look at your checking account. What do you spend your money on? If you gave me 10 minutes in your home and a quick peek at your checkbook for last month I bet I could tell you what is most important to you and your family. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to judge you. I am only asking that you judge yourself.

I woke up one day and realized that I was obsessed. Obsessed with the things of this world. I had to have that bright orange Hermes Dogon wallet. I had to have that uber-cute triple set of Cartier tri-toned bangle bracelets. I had to have the most expensive Tod’s shoes. My car needed to be a luxury model. My hair had to be perfect all the time with the perfect highlights. Horror was the day that I stepped out of my house without makeup. I was indeed obsessed. My obsession was not really in the things themselves. Those are not the sin. It was how they made me feel. I felt better than everyone else when I wore my Hermes H belt. I felt better than others when they did not even know what the really high affluent brands were that I had on because I was “in the know” and they were not.

I was disgusting! I bought into the lure and the lie of this world. It blinded me to what was really important. Jesus. Jesus, only Jesus. How often have you heard a wealthy person say “Money is not the root of all evil, it’s the LOVE of money that is.” Money is a necessary tool and that is all it is. I am not saying you cannot be a Christian if you have a ton of cash. However, the Bible does have something to say about it.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:25

Let’s take a moment to dissect this verse a bit. Part of the issue with how we read the Bible today is that we do not place it in historical context. If we read that verse as we understand it today, that would mean it would be IMPOSSIBLE for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Some claim that is not what Jesus meant at all. I have heard that there was a really small gate in Jerusalem that was extremely hard for camels to get through. Here is what Wikipedia says about it.

The “eye of the needle” has been claimed to be a gate in Jerusalem, which opened after the main gate was closed at night. A camel could only pass through this smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed. This story has been put forth since at least the 15th century, and possibly as far back as the 9th century. However, there is no evidence for the existence of such a gate. (emphasis added.)

Variations on this story include that of ancient inns having small entrances to thwart thieves, or a story of an old mountain pass known as the “eye of the needle”, so narrow that merchants would have to dismount from their camels and were thus more vulnerable to waiting brigands. There is no historical evidence for any of these, either. This also ignores the explanation given: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I have looked all over the internet to find any proof at all that there is or was a gate in Jerusalem that was hard for a camel to pass through. There is none. The point to what Jesus was saying is that it IS impossible and if you keep reading you will see how it can be made possible for a wealthy person to get to Heaven.

And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:26-27

Did you catch that? They were exceedingly astonished. I was in another bible study the other night and brought up this point to another group of wealthy OC churchgoers. I thought I was going to get pitch-forked right out of my seat. One woman in front of me actually hit my leg in outrage while three others literally whipped around in their seats in horror and in disagreement. Take it up with God people. It is not my opinion. The Word of God is clear. Wealth makes us self-reliant, not God-reliant. Wealth gives us the ability to be distracted. With God ALL things are possible and I do know some extremely affluent people who are full fledged converts to Christ who follow him boldly. Oddly those people are few and they do massive and mighty works for God. They do not tithe to God. They tithe to themselves. They give 10% of what they make to themselves and give 90% back to God through church giving, church planting, and spreading the gospel throughout the world.

Can you take a really good look at your life? Can you find out if you love your life and the things in it just a bit more than God? Can you be honest with yourself? Your eternal salvation depends on it.

Below are some great Bible verses to help you digest this all a little bit more. My prayer is that you would test yourself to see if you are truly a Christian. It is a request from Paul in his second letter to the church in Corinth. “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” – 2 Corinthians 13:5

This is not for you to stumble my dear reader and wonder if you are saved every day. Jesus wants us to have assurance of our salvation and that assurance is possible. The point is to have that assurance through seeing that you are bearing good fruit. Check the other areas to audit yourself in the areas of fruit. It is a blessed thing to have confidence in your sanctification and salvation in The Lord!

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Eph. 6:24)

Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

 

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 in possessions-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

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. – John 15:19

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. – Matthew 6:24

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. – 1 Timothy 6:10

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. – Mark 4:19