Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fruits of the spirit 4: A little honest love.

    1 John 4:8
    He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love
    Galatians 5:22-23
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 
John 17:17
Sanctify them through thy truththy word is truth.

John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the waythe truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Today we hear a whole lot about "haters." Usually it comes out something like this. A person disagrees with something someone says, or how someone dresses, or how they live. The other person then responds with: "Don't be a hater." 

Simply put, in today's society, any type of correction towards righteousness is considered hate speech. 

Preachers, teachers, writers, etc have been fined (and, in some cases- imprisoned) for hate crimes due to what the world says is hate speech. As a result, many people live their lives in fear of being called "a hater." It's grown so out of control that men are being fired from companies because they gave money to support traditional righteousness. One preacher was put in jail for holding Bible studies in his own home.

Let's face it. We live in a world that is doing it's level best to stamp out truth. Their version of love is to be patted on the back and told it's ok, regardless of how perverted their lifestyle is. 

Truth has become relative to the hearers viewpoint. Our world asks, as Pilate did years ago, "What is truth?" But rather than that being an honest quest for knowledge, it has become a sarcastic remark intended to say, "That's true for you, but not for me. Leave me alone."

Yet, if we are to truly be Christian, then we are to be like Jesus. In so doing, we need to take a hard look at how he taught. Was Jesus concerned with political correctness? Was he concerned with gathering as large a following as he could by watering down his message? 

The answer, of course, is no. Jesus was (and is) God in human flesh. His mission was simple. He came "to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10) His declarations were clear and concise. He always told the truth- even when the truth wasn't popular.

Jesus called some of the leaders of his day, vipers! Not exactly what folks consider a loving statement.  

His true, but controversial words caused folks to ridicule and revile him, to mock and belittle him, to lie about and (ultimately) to beat and crucify him. 

However, Jesus told us (his followers) that we would be hated, afflicted, and killed for his names sake. (Matthew 24:9) He told us through the Apostles that "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12) 

Why did Jesus say this? Because the devil knows that the true disciple of Christ may be able to reach the lost- continuing Jesus' mission. After all, Jesus prayed for all those that would believe on him through (the Apostles) word- and by extension- our words. (John 17:17)

The devil is not going to give up his captives easily. He does not do this defensively. Instead, he has gone on the attack. He tries to intimidate believers into silence and (hopefully- for him) into turning away from Jesus. 
He has changed laws and culture to the point where (as one preacher put it) "right is wrong, wrong is right, and whatever's grey, have a happy day!"

Yet, Jesus tells us that if we "endure unto the end (we) shall be saved." So, what's a believer to do? FOLLOW JESUS. Tell the truth.

It's not hate to tell the truth. In fact, it's true love to tell the truth. Jesus is God. God is love. Jesus is truth. God is truth. TRUE love always tells the truth. It doesn't matter how much the world rails against us. God's word does not change. 

Society may say it's right. But, if God says it's wrong, then it's still (and always shall be) wrong. If society says it's wrong, but God says it's right, then it's still (and always shall be) right. Let God be true, and every man be a liar. 

This will not make us popular. This will not make us rich. This will make us targets for the worlds thought police. They will call us haters. They will drag us before judges and cast us into prison. But, it's all for HIS name's sake! And it's all to try and save a lost soul. 

Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness. Not, the worlds righteousness. So, we are to tell the truth without fear or favor. 

Proverbs 23:23 tells us to "buy the truth and sell it not..."

Ephesians 4:15 tells us to "(speak) the truth in love..."

It doesn't matter what the world may say. We are to speak the truth. Because if we truly have the fruit of God's love in us, we will speak the truth. God's Love ALWAYS speaks the truth.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fruits of the spirit 3: Yet another look at love.

Galatians 5:22-23

King James Version (KJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

1 Corinthians 13

King James Version (KJV)

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

John 13:35
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

We are living in a very selfish society. In fact, we are living in the age that scripture warned us about: "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." (Mt 24:12)

The younger generations have been described as "the ME generation." In just a few short years, we've gone from "Ask not what your country can do for you," to "What's in it for me?" 

Almost all of our decisions in our society are based on that one concept. "What looks like it will benefit me the most in my opinion?" That last phrase, "in my opinion," is extremely important. We vote for who will benefit us the most. We jump from job to job based on what's best to us. We (and I'm not advocating this) jump from spouse to spouse because the new one looks easier to deal with, or looks more attractive (we think), or can provide us a better standard of living, etc. 

For the Christian, our motivations in life should start and end with, A) what does Jesus want me to do?, and b) LOVE. 

Our questions should be like these: "What benefits the kingdom of God more?" "What will benefit my family more?" 

Love doesn't change because we hit a rough stretch on our road of life. Love is in it for the long haul (Beareth all things, suffereth long, seeketh not her own, etc). Indeed, when we pray and hold onto each other through the hard times, it makes our love grow and makes the good times that much better.

I once heard a story. I don't know who wrote it (or I'd give them credit here). I don't know if it is true or an allegory. But, it illustrates true love to me like no other story I've ever heard,  short of Calvary. 

There once was a man who was the president of a large Christian college. In his time there, he had expanded the programs and had been personally responsible for helping to send many preachers and missionaries to the world.

However, his wife came down with Alzheimer's disease. Because of this, he tendered his resignation in order to take care of her. The board of regents and many Christian leaders implored him to stay on and not step down. 

"Just put her in a home," some said. Others said, "Put her in a hospice care." "You're not equipped to take care of her anyway." "You have a great ministry here. You can't give it up for her. Besides, she doesn't remember who you are!"

With tears in his eyes, the man looked at these people and answered them: "This woman has faithfully stood by my side for over thirty years. She birthed our children. She stayed beside me in good times and she stayed beside me in the bad times. She loved me when I was right, and when I was wrong. She may not remember me. But, I remember her. And I will care for her and love her till death do us part and beyond."

With that, he left the board room forever.

Love truly means putting others first, no matter how difficult that may be. If we love our spouses and families, we will do what we need to do in order to care for them. We will lead them in the ways of God because we love them and God. If we love Jesus we will keep his commandments. 

No matter how hard it may be, how much trouble it may cause us, how much effort we have to put forth, we are to love others. 

That means swallowing our pride. That means not worrying about who's right in an argument. That means being willing to die for them. 

This is why we need the spirit of God. We cannot love others the way the Lord commands unless we let him love them through us. 

Let us stay connected to the branch so that his love can be shed abroad in our hearts and we can bear the fruit of love. And when hungry people are seeking the Lord, they will be drawn to him through the love fruit they see hanging on our branches. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fruits of the spirit, part 2: Are we experiencing and sharing the love of God?

Galatians 5:22-25

King James Version (KJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

John 13:35
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Mark 12:29-31

King James Version (KJV)
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

The Greek word for love in all of these verses is the word "Agape." It means, "affection, good will, love, benevolence." 

So, one of the fruits of the spirit is for us to experience and show affection towards others. That means we genuinely care about others. When we see that they are struggling, we should be moved to prayer for them. And more than that, we should be moved to act. 

James 2:15-17

King James Version (KJV)
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

In this fast paced world, we spend most of our waking hours trying to "make a living." For many people, going to church has become a formality. It's another checked block on our list of things we have to get done. 

Yet, Jesus doesn't call us to GO to church. He calls us to BE the church. That means he requires us to DO what he would do. It is very instructive to us that the first squabble in the church was not over doctrine (Acts 6). It was over the distribution of resources in caring for the widows and orphans. 

Nowadays, the first thing we (the church) tend to do whenever someone comes to us in need, is to tell them "we will pray for you. Have you applied for Government help?" Here's a hint, church: It's NOT the Government's job to help the needy. According to God's word, it's OUR (the churches) job.

Part of the meaning of Agape is BENEVOLENCE. It means, "a disposition to DO good, an ACT of kindness, a generous GIFT." There's nothing in that definition about good intentions or warm thoughts. We are to ACT on and DO what needs to be done for the good of the needy and the glory of Jesus. 

How many times did Jesus either start or end a teaching by meeting the needs of his hearers? If we are his body, shouldn't we be about his business? Which is the more biblical act for us to perform: helping those in need (whether born again or not, and regardless of how they got into the situation in the first place), or building bigger and grander church buildings? Did Jesus die to build the church? Or the church building? 

It has become a source of pride for "God's people" to brag about going to the nicest church building, or the church with the biggest name pastor, or the largest congregation. What get's lost in the shuffle is how many people in need are turned away by that "church" because they choose to spend their money on the building, or the pastor's exorbitant salary, rather than on PEOPLE. 

If we are his body, it's high time we start acting like it. We should care for both where their souls are heading (heaven or hell) AND their physical and emotional needs. It's time we stop patting ourselves on the back for our own perceived righteousness and start BEING righteous by showing the love of God to each other and to the lost. Real Christianity is about relationships- both with God and with others. 

That requires more than a prayer. It requires more than giving a Bible study. It requires getting involved in their lives and helping them in their needs. It means we have to do more than say we are his church. We must BE his church. And men, it requires us to love our wives and families as Jesus loved us- and he DIED for us that we might be saved. (See my earlier post 

If we truly love God, then we will love others as he does. He saw our need and acted. The love that we felt when we were born again should transform us. We should become LESS self centered and more God and others centered. Miracles happen when we take the love of God outside the church walls and into a needy world. 

Lord, give us your mind and eyes. Help us to BE your church by helping others. We repent for our selfishness and false prosperity doctrines. We ask you to open up our bowels of compassion and help us to love others as you do- in helping them in their needs. In Jesus name! 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fruits of the spirit, part 1: Don't get tripped by "the fruit."

Matthew 21:18-22

King James Version (KJV)
18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

John 15:1-9

King James Version (KJV)
15 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

Today, my friends, we begin a study on "the fruits of the spirit." If the Lord says the same, we will study what the fruits are, fruit by fruit. Today, however, we are going to discuss what they are not. 

See, there's a danger when we, as Christians, combine scriptures together that were never meant to be combined- and then try to make a doctrine out of them. 

Yes, Jesus told us to "go into the highways and byways and compel them to come in." Yes, he told us to "go..into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

However, many times, in our zeal to obey these scriptures (and in an attempt to motivate others to try and reach the lost), we can misuse scripture. Two of these sections of scripture are listed above. 

Many a Christian has heard these scriptures used in this way: "We are to reach the lost. Jesus commanded it. If we live our whole lives just sitting on a pew and never reach someone for Jesus, then we are not bearing fruit. Didn't God command Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply? Here Jesus says that, if we don't bear fruit, we will be cast into the fires of hell."

Ever heard this taught in Sunday School, church service, or midweek services? 

Yea. I have too. 

It sounds right. It sounds righteous. It sounds reasonable. The people saying it are definitely sincere. I myself used to teach the very same thing. Unfortunately, both I and the others that have taught this, were sincerely wrong.

Where in scripture does it equate new born babes in Christ with being an individuals fruit? 

Some say that 1 Corinthians 16:15 calls new converts a believers fruit. Not so. It does call the household of Stephenas, "the first fruits of Achaia." Yet, this is the first family born again of the church (corporate body) in that area. If new converts were considered as each individual believers spiritual fruit, then the passage would have read, "the first fruits of (whomever won them to the Lord)."

Many others try to use the concept of sewing and reaping to say that we are commanded to bear fruit (new converts, according to them). Yet, Paul said "one plants, one waters, but it is God who gives the increase." 

This ties in directly with Jesus telling us to abide in the vine. Yet, notice where the emphasis is. It is we who are responsible to abide in him. It is we who are responsible also to sew good seed and water. Yet, in both scenarios, it is GOD who is responsible for both the fruit and the new converts, not us.

It doesn't matter how hard we try to win souls. If God doesn't draw them in, we are laboring in vain. Also, if they refuse to be attached to the vine, they will wither and be cast into the fire. It doesn't matter how hard we try to persuade them. 

Further, how can God hold us accountable for someone else's decisions? We could stand on the street corners every day, all day, and preach/teach the scriptures. But, it is still the choice of the hearers responding to the call of God (or not). God would not be righteous to judge us according to others decisions for or against him.

And don't try the parable of the talents on me, either. Those talents are something God gives us from the get go as his children. Those talents are something we, if we work at it, can add to, but still have control over. 

We are not born again and given new converts that we will forever control. Some folks seem to think and act as if this were so. But, the truth is, new converts are in God's hands and his control. Not ours.

So, what are the fruits Jesus is looking for? When Jesus walks up to each of our trees, what does he expect to see there? What, if he doesn't see it, will cause us to be cursed, whether, and (if not repented of) cast into the fire?  

Galatians 5:22-25

King James Version (KJV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

When we were in the world, our fruits were ungodly: 

Galatians 5:19-21

King James Version (KJV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

These are the fruits we had before being born again and letting Jesus change us. But, after we are in him, he begins to look for different fruits. His fruits. Godly fruits. 

These character traits are what Jesus wants to build into our lives. If we abide in him, our character begins to change, from hate, to love. From evil, to goodness. From impatience, to temperance. That's the fruit he will judge us by. 

It's not about how many converts we gain. It's about how Christlike we can become. In fact, it is God's desire that we are "conformed (molded into) the image of his son." (Romans 8:29) 

Think about one more thing, beloved. In the passage in Matthew 21, Jesus was hungry and went looking for some fruit to partake of. When the fruit wasn't on the tree, he cursed it.

When people are spiritually hungry for the Lord, they begin to inspect the trees that are supposed to be his- US! If we are bearing his fruit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc), then they will be drawn in to want more of what we have (Jesus). 

This is how we win souls to the Lord. Jesus said, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me." If our lives are bearing his fruit, he can use us to draw others to partake of his goodness and be born again.

If our lives are not bearing fruit, the hungry will reject Jesus and try to fill their spiritual hunger in other ways. They will curse us and the God we represent. 

While it is true that the world hates the things of God, many times they hate him because we are not bearing the fruit we are supposed to. At some point, the people who curse Jesus, tried to get some fruit from our trees and found it rotten. 

So, friends, be relieved about the new converts. We all have differing gifts of the spirit (a subject for another time) and callings. And, if you strive to abide in him, someone will want him because of the fruit they see in your lives. 

However, let's recommit ourselves to shunning the works of the flesh. Let's strive to abide in Jesus, so that we can bear the fruit he is looking for- and the world so desperately needs. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's time to pass the salt.

Matthew 5:13-14

King James Version (KJV)
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Some of today's headlines:

20 wounded in stabbings
at Pennsylvania school

That's just to name a few. How about this one:


All I can say, is wow. We truly live in a world gone crazy. Paul said:

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

I'd say we are living in that day and hour. Yes, it was prophesied to happen, but the real question is WHY is it happening? 

The answer to that is found in our opening scripture above. We, his church, have ceased to be the salt of the earth. 

What did Jesus mean by calling us salt? What does salt do anyway?

A) Salt preserves things and helps to prolong it's life- keeping it from becoming spoiled (and causing the eater to become sickly). 

Jesus said that HE is the way, the truth, and the life. So, we, as his salt, are to keep HIM in the forefront. We are to stand for HIS ways, so we can help to slow (or even stop- in some cases) the progression of the spiritual sickness called- dare I say it- SIN. 

But, you say, what can I do? I'm a nobody. No one will listen. I don't walk in the hallways of power. 

First of all, yes you do. If you have a real relationship with Jesus, you stand in heavenly places! You walk in the very throne room of God Almighty! You can touch God for the situation and he will listen and move.

Secondly, you don't have to walk in the halls of congress, or corporate boardrooms, to have an impact. When you are at work, do you laugh at the risque and ungodly jokes you hear? Or, do you take a stand against them? Do you keep quiet in conversations that are lifting up ungodliness? Or do you stand for godly principles? 

Will you catch flack for it? Yes. Could you lose your job? Yes. But, your savior will be pleased. And you just might make an impact on those around you for Christ. 

If we, as his church, had stood up for righteousness, would our society be as far gone as it is? The truth is that we haven't done our job to be his salt. Therefore, the righteousness of God that we represent has greatly diminished in our society.

B) Salt adds flavor to the food it's added to. 

Let's face it. Some things in the word of God are hard to swallow. But, presented along with the love of God, they become much easier for people to accept. 

If we try to communicate the truth of the word of God- and we leave out the love of God- then we leave out the salt, making it near impossible for them to accept what they're being shown. 

C) Salt can be added to a wound and kill an infection and help heal a wound.

When people come to the church, they don't come in perfect. They come in with hurts. They come in with sin. They come in with spiritual and emotional wounds. You may not be gifted to sing, or teach, but you can share your testimony of how God delivered you. You can reach into their situation and show the love of God to them.

Through the spirit of God and his word, we can help to heal those wounds. This is called revival. Revival isn't a shout and a good feeling. True revival is when souls are transformed from unholy to holy. From ungodly to godly. From sinful to righteous. Only by us being his salt, can this happen.

We are his hands and feet. We are his mouthpieces to a lost and dying world. We have the power to show his love and speak his truth. We have the authority to stand in the gap for them and see God change them.

Isn't it about time we were about our father's business? Isn't it time for us to pass the salt to someone who desperately need it? 


A personal request.

Hello friends,
                    Today's blog post will be a little different. Today's is a request of you, my readers. Every writer/blogger hits a point where they begin to question the effectiveness of their work. Are people reading? Am I making a difference? Do the words that I write make any real difference in anyone's life?

                    First, for those who have been reading, I want to apologize. As a blogger, regardless of what is going on in my life, I owe it to you to write regularly. I haven't done that. I am sorry. So, part of this personal request is a promise that, if you see any value in what I've written, I will write every Wednesday from now on- as long as the Lord allows. Part of being a Christian is consistency. This needs to be evident in blogging, as well.

                    Why Wednesday? Several reasons.

                    The first is that my days off from my job are Wednesday and Sunday. Today, I intend to write several blog posts. For I have more than one message rolling around inside me.

                    Secondly, Sunday, which is when most of my postings have been written, tend to be a very busy day for most people. But, they don't seem to spend as much time on-line on that day. Therefore, to try and maximize my possible audience- to try and touch as many as possible- I feel it is better to post my blog on Wednesday, rather than on Sunday.

                    Finally, many people attend church on Sunday to be fed by the Lord. However, few go to midweek services. Many times by Wednesday, many folks are running low on spiritual fumes. It is my prayer that, in some small way, this blog will help to rejuvenate them so that they can keep going on for Jesus in the midst of a hard week.

                    I am toying with the idea of changing the name of my blog to, "Wednesday Wisdom," to show the new focus. But, that's hard to do, since I've been doing this for several years under the current blog title. What do you think?

                    So, I have some questions for you, my readers.

                            1) Do you think this blog is worthy of your time? Has it helped you in any way?
                            2) Do you think that I need a new blog name? If so, what do you suggest?
                            3) Does the blog need a new look?
                            4) Do you think I need to change the style of my blogs? I tend to start with scriptures and expound on how those scriptures apply to our lives as Christians. Does that work for you?
                            5) Do you have other suggestions that would make this blog more relevant for today?
                            6) Do you have scriptural questions that you want answers for? I don't know all things, but I know the one who does. I promise I will try and study and pray it out and get back to you as fast as possible with the answer I feel God gives me.

                     In short, I'm asking for feedback from you. Any advice, questions, criticisms, etc that you send my way will be seriously pondered, prayed about, and answered to the best of the ability God gives me.

                    You can either post a response on this blog, my facebook page, or to my email-

                    Thank you for your time. I covet your prayers and responses to this humble request.

Numbers 6:24-26

King James Version (KJV)
24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
25 The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

If Jesus is Lord, ......?

Luke 6:45-46

King James Version (KJV)
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say.

John 10:26-28

King James Version (KJV)

26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Matthew 5

King James Version (KJV)

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

This truly is a book review. I realize that this is a different way to start a book review. However, this is no ordinary book. 

I became a fan of Davis Bunn through his Marc Royce trilogy (Lion of Babylon, Rare Earth, and Straight of Hormuz). These books were adventure stories- fast paced with intricate plots. Yet, the main characters were struggling with real issues just like we do. So, I was unsure what to expect in "The turning."

I knew the writing would be good. But what could a story with that title be trying to convey? 

"The turning" is a beautifully crafted story that shows what can happen when Jesus' sheep hear his voice and truly respond to his call. Five people from different back grounds experience the Lord's call to step away from their own plans and follow his leading- even though it appeared to make little sense to them. The first step was to do something difficult that each of them had avoided doing for a long time- make peace and try to repair broken relationships.

From there, bonds are formed and new trails are blazed that shake the nation and stand in the way of corporate greed. Five ordinary people against the world's system and message. All because they had the faith and strength to hear and obey the call of the Lord.

This book should sound a clarion call to a world gone crazy. But, more than that, it should speak to believers. How different would the world be if we, as followers of Jesus, would spend our time listening to Jesus? How much better would our society be if we would spend our days obeying his voice, rather than chasing after selfish gain.

Our nation has turned it's back on God and his ways because we, his people, have ceased being the salt of the earth. Yet, we have the gall to complain when the world steps on us and tries to destroy us. We are in a culture war and it's high time we got out of our comfort zones and became engaged.

It's not an easy path. It's definitely a very narrow way. But, if God can use 120 ordinary and uneducated people (beginning on the day of Pentecost when the church was born) to turn the world upside down, how much more can he change our modern world?

If the thousands and millions in the earth today that claim the name of Jesus would allow him to be Lord (supreme controller) of our lives, a revival like the world has never seen is possible. Jesus gave his all for us, can we not give our all to him in return?

We are his hands and feet. We are the light of the world. Like it or not, our lives are glass houses. When we claim Jesus as our Savior people start watching us. We need to pray the words of John the baptist, "I must decrease and he must increase." Let's allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives so that others can see him in us.

Thank you Davis Bunn for sending us a wake up call. I pray that God will use this book to stir his people and help to spark a major revival. May the church arise in the power of truth and mercy and change. Remember:

2 Chronicles 7:14"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

In Jesus name!