Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Believing Another Gospel will Change Your Eternal Zip Code

Not too long ago, a friend, who I knew walked with Jesus for some time which now was not walking with the LORD, started telling me he was reading some books by a man who said that God was talking to him and showing him a new way of looking at this life and the eternal life to come. I will not tell you what these “new insights” were all about, but now I understand why this man was so confused and no longer serving Jesus. He asked me what I thought of his revelation. I know you might find this hard to believe, but I calmly told him what he was telling me was total heresy and that if he embraced it, he was a heretic under condemnation of hell fire… which, not surprisingly, he no longer believed in.
If a man claims God speaks to him, how can he prove it and how can we validate it? We are charge with proving all things and to hold fast to the good (true & sound). We know God was with Jesus because of the miracles he performed, and much more so because he rose from the dead. If any man claims anything other than or contrary to what Jesus stated, should we wait to see if he is raised from the dead to validate what he said to be true? If they are true, why would God who is the same yesterday, today and forever contradict himself or change His mind? Specifically, “There is salvation in no other name than Jesus Christ.” I am not talking about a debate on how old the earth is or were the 7 days of creation 24 hour periods. Regardless of what you believe regarding that, it will not change your eternal zip code. To think salvation can come any other way than through believing in Jesus Christ (which means repentance, not penance) will undoubtedly change your eternal destination. Why would you want to give someone, you do not even know, the precious time you have left to serve the LORD to consider something contrary to your faith in Jesus Christ? I would agree with the Apostle Paul who stated “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! .… let them be eternally condemned!” NIV Galatians 1.6-10

Monday, August 23, 2010

Psalm 142 – When in Trouble: Speak Up to the Lord

There is a saying in the military – “Never complain down in the ranks. If you have an issue or complaint, complain up the chain-of-command.” Those under your rank, have less power (positional authority) – for all you sociologist out there - to affect a change that can help you in your situation. Even those at your rank, generally speaking, can’t affect a change either. King David, often found himself in places that were not comfortable. (intentionally understated) Unlike us in Western Civilization, he was concerned about losing his life… King David knew who to talk up to & we should too:
Vs 2 – “I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.”
Vs 5 – “I cry to you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’”
Vs 8 – “Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me…”
To those of us who know the Lord, who are serving him and obeying his commands, it is a comfort to know “…. it is you who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me…” vs 3. I am not taking to the folks that create their own trials through disobedience and the consequences that stem from those poor choices. You will need to get that right by asking for forgiveness from the LORD before you can have confidence he is with you. But, for those of us that find ourselves in a place of trial through no fault of our own… HE is our help and our hope! WE need to acknowledge our place, our rank, and remember how great HE is:
Isaiah 66.1 & 2
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?’ declares the Lord. ‘This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.’”
Psalm 34:18
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Stop Doubting & Believe! John 20.19-31

In who's name do you have life today? By believing in Jesus Christ, you may have life in His name. Imagine what it must have been like to be Thomas and the Lord invites you to put your finger in the hole in His hand... Stop doubting and believe! Without faith it is impossible to please Him. Someone told me that "faith" was based on the past performance of someone or something. Because of the resurrection, we believe and have faith in Jesus Christ today and that the Bible has been validated as the Word of God. So what is it that the Lord is asking you to do for him today? It will take faith to believe that he is speaking to you and will take faith to take action and get it accomplished. Whatever the act of obedience or mission, be assured it will have value in the Kingdom of God and will bring glory to Jesus Christ.

IHS - Br. Mark

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Which Path Are You On? The Way -

John 14.6 - Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
What path are we on? What direction are we headed in?
Proverbs 3.5,6 - “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not to your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.”
NIV - Proverbs 5.21 “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.”
In Jersey City there is a train system – The Path. I often take the path that runs from Jersey City under the Hudson to the World Trade Center in NYC. It also goes to Hoboken, NJ (opposite direction) among other destinations. One time, I took the wrong Path Train and ended up in Hoboken. The train was going the right direction to go to Hoboken, I just made the wrong choice. If you get on the wrong path you end up somewhere other than where you want to be. Choose the right path and life is good! Life is like that.
Have you ever examined the path your life has taken? What path are you on? How did you get to where you are? You made some choices. Have you ever started out on a trip and gotten lost along the way? Generally speaking this happens because of poor choices and poor planning. I taught navigation as a civilian a long time ago. The aviators I flew with me in the Army generally had me fly the aircraft because I was a lousy navigator. (Yes you can teach navigation and be a lousy navigator) I have gotten lost many times so I know what I’m talking about. This happens in life as well. Most people look to others to point them in the right direction or give them the directions to the place they desire to go. How do you know they gave you the right directions? You won’t until you follow them. All the while you are hoping they take you to where you want to go. What’s your final destination for this life? How do you know the path you’ve chosen, and you did choose it, will get you where you want to go?
Poor planning and not having the right tools is a recipe for disaster. To have a successful trip, you need good preparation. We had a saying – “plan the flight and fly the plan. When lost, go back to your last known location.” When lost, you need a compass, a map and it’s helpful to have a watch – In that order. I compass tells you your heading in the right direction - only if you know approximately where you are. I map can point out a good path to take to get you where you want to go – only if you know approximately where you are. I need to back up a bit. Most people, when they get lost, have a hard time admitting it. It’s pride. That gets you deeper into lost because, remembering the first rule of getting lost is to get back to where you last knew you were. After you have meandered around a while you get totally lost! This is where most people find themselves in life. Poor planning and poor choices get you lost in this life. You meander around (make more poor choices) and get really lost and then, to top it off, you reach out to other people who can’t admit they are lost and they give you more bad advice… “The blind leading the blind.” Are you feeling lost in this life? A personal relationship with Jesus Christ can put you on the right path. The first step is admit and understand that you are lost and you need His help. He will give you true, good and proper direction for your life. Jesus Christ can be your compass in life – he points the way - for he is the way, the truth and the life. Without him we are lost. The Bible is the map that will show you how to get to where you want to go. The Holy Spirit can give you the light or the illumination needed to help you understand what you read in the Bible and give you the power to apply it to your life and keep you on the right path!
We need to examine the path we are on - How about Proverbs 3.5,6 - “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not to your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.”
Psalm 119.105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
What path are you on?
Proverbs 14.12 & 16.25 - “There is a way (path) that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
Proverbs 16.2 - “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weight by the LORD.”
Proverbs 15.10 - “Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path: he who hates correction will die.”
Proverbs 12.11- “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.”
The path to immortality is the path I want to be on how about you?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Not What I Believe.. What Do You Believe?

Making disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all the Lord has commanded is every Believer’s calling. What you choose to believe is what is most important. Your eternal destination is dependent on what you believe. Mat 28

Many people ask me… what do I believe? I tell them what I believe really isn’t important to you. It is what you believe that is important to you. If you really want to know what you believe, look at your life and how you are living it. Your decisions & choices reveal to you what you truly believe. As you look at your present state of existence, does it reflect what you were hoping for?

I think the first question the LORD may ask when we transition into eternity is not what church you attended, but “What did you do with the sacrifice I gave you – my only son Jesus? You will need the right answer or the right Advocate (Jesus) with you at that time. If you get the answer wrong, if there is a follow-up question, it might be… “Why did you believe that?” To answer “That is what the preacher, priest, guru or Rabbi taught me will not help your situation. If you haven’t already, you need to take the personal responsibility to make sure you get that answer right. Read the Bible for yourself & do what it says. God did not create a manual for your life and put it into a format that you can’t understand. Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” - NIV John 12:46 Without a personal relationship with Jesus… you are walking in the darkness. If you have been a blind person all your life, you have never known what life looks like until your blinded eyes have been open. Jesus extends to you a personal invitation to come to Him and walk in the light.

IF you come to know Jesus as your personal LORD and Savior understand this has only been made possible by His Father in Heaven:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” NIV - Matthew 16:13-17

Monday, August 2, 2010

IF... THEN...

What a deal... The Lord knows how to structure a deal! But unlike men, when the Lord puts together a deal, he is always generous and more than fair. He always has our best interest at heart... not always so when you make a deal with man. You see, the Lord wants us to have a blessed life and has structured the deal so that, with a little cooperation on our part, we can enter into the deal of the eternities. With the Lord, if we choose the right path, the benefits are immeasurable. You find throughout the Word of God, IF/THEN sequences. Deuteronomy 30:19 "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live..." & Proverbs 2:1-11- Choose Blessings!