At first I would have said, "Yes, America appears to grow deeper in spiritual darkness". In the Old Testament we see moral depravity is sometimes described as darkness (Prv 2:13; 4:19; Is 5:20; 60:2). In the NT darkness is generally a metaphor of moral depravity and spiritual ignorance (Mt 4:16; 6:23; Lk 1:79; 11:35; 22:53; Rom 2:19; Col 1:13). All you have to do is watch the news for a couple of nights and this proves true over and over.
Yet, as I ponder the idea of America growing darker it dawned on me that spiritual darkness has been around a long time. America is not growing darker, it is removing the Light! We have removed God from public schools and politics. And now we are removing or at least limiting Christ in the military. The Military is considering punishment for anyone who shares their faith in Christ. In addition the growing homosexual and lesbian movement wants full acceptance or total silence of the local church.
Today we are seeing growing abuse with political powers like the IRS targeting religious and political groups, like the Department of Justice targeting journalists under the guise of national security, and like the distortion of truth describing a clear attack on our fellow citizens that resulted in four dead patriots. Who knows how deep this darkness will take us? The more we remove the LIGHT, the darker our world becomes!
The solution for our national ills is the truth of Jesus Christ. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5 ESV)
Lord the Light or Your Love is shining, In the midst of the darkness shining, Jesus light of the world shine upon us, Set us free by the truth You now bring us, Shine on me. Shine on us. Amen.
Godly people want to do what is right rather than fulfill a legalistic tradition. Some will follow the letter of the Law but miss the spirit of the Law. Understanding the intent of the Law and obeying the Scriptures changes the heart and mind, rather than providing self-centered people new reasons for selfish actions. Traditions are external; God’s Words are internal. There are many “evangelical traditions” in the church today that are considered as authoritative as the Word of God.
The Pharisees, teachers, and many of the people were blinded to God’s truth and to their own sins. Jesus demonstrated righteous anger at the sins of the Pharisees, teachers, and the people, but His attitude was one of painful sorrow. It makes me wonder how many pastors and peoples are living by traditions rather than fresh inspirations.
In John 6:60-71 we find Christ pulling His disciples aside and giving further instruction on eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Those who were not drawn to Jesus withdrew (John 6:60–65), but those who were chosen remained (6:66–71). The characteristic that separated those who left and those who stayed was a God given ability to discern between the things of the flesh and the things of the Spirit (6:63). Jesus did not give these people a second taste of his miraculous physical bread. He had made his point about the bread of life, of which, by faith, people could have as many tastes as they desired. The lesson was to linger, because the true bread of life remained.
M.C. Tenney writes, "Jesus strongly implied that faith is the result of God’s enabling. Unbelief is natural to those who are selfish and alienated from God and who cannot accept the idea that he can do the impossible. Complete commitment to God is impossible for a selfish heart; the Holy Spirit must awaken and empower it to believe. This does not destroy the voluntary character of faith; it is rather in accord with the cry of the man who said to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Unbelief is part of the fabric of human mentality; the intervention of divine grace is necessary to transform it to faith."(1)
God draws the lost to the Savior through the power of truth, His Word. Those who reject the Word will reject the Savior. Those who receive the Word will receive the Savior and experience the new birth, eternal life. God builds into the saved with His Lordship through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Only those drawn by the Father know salvation through Christ and service through faith.
(1) Tenney, M. C. (1981). John. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 9: John and Acts (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (79–80). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
Last week I started working on a new message titled, Final Words and Faithful Friends with Scriptures taken from 2 Samuel 23:1-17. Little did I realize at the time how much the political world in America would erupt nor how appropriate these verses are to our turbulent times.
Aging King David penned this as his final words, “The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue. The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth." (2 Samuel 23:2-4 ESV). I found this very profound.
I am old enough to remember how America endured Watergate, Iran Contra, and Lewinskygate. During all three of these scandals, our political process was tainted with corruption and misrepresentation before the citizens of our wonderful country. During each situation I prayed that God would do whatever it took to expose the wrong and see the guilty punished regardless of their political party.
Today we have growing concerns over a Benghazi cover up, the IRS targeting specific groups for audits, and the Dept of Justice tapping AP phone lines, all of which are huge. Please join me in asking God to do whatever it takes to expose the wrong and see the guilty punished. We need representatives from both sides to dig deep and discern the truth.
Lord, help us through our current situation to see godly leaders rise up and rule justly over our nation.
Only a woman can carry in her body an eternal being which bears the very image of God. Only she is the recipient of the miracle of life. Only a woman can conceive and nurture this life using her own flesh and blood, and then deliver a living soul into the world. God has bestowed upon her alone a genuine miracle — the creation of life, and the fusing of an eternal soul with mortal flesh. This fact alone establishes the glory of motherhood.
Despite the most creative plans of humanist scientists and lawmakers to redefine the sexes, no man will ever conceive and give birth to a child. The fruitful womb is a holy gift given by God to women alone. This is one reason why the office of wife and mother is the highest calling to which a woman can aspire.
I have no idea who said this but I agree wholeheartedly. May you have a happy and blessed Mothers Day.
In John 6:22-59 we find Jesus speaking in metaphoric terms that undoubtedly left some of His listeners perplexed and angry if taken literally. He said, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink (John 6:54-55 ESV). If what Jesus said before was nonsense, this latter statement bordered on gross sin. The law of Moses expressly forbade any drinking of blood on penalty of being cut off from the people (Lev 17:10–14).
When a person eats Christ’s flesh and drinks His blood it represents the operation of the mind or spirit in receiving, understanding, and applying His teaching or instruction. Christ is not talking about the bread and cup of the Lord’s Supper or any other religious rite. He seeks followers who partake of the elements that He offers bringing them into an abiding relationship with Him. To say that a man receives eternal life by eating bread and drinking wine is to deny the grace of God in salvation (Eph. 2:8–9).
Help me Lord to sense more of you in my mind, my will, and my emotions.
My heart is heavy this day as I see my homeland continues to usurp parental controls while touting "rights" and "women's health" as legit reasons for giving fifteen year old young women drugs without parental consent. These kinds of decisions only foster more irresponsibility and sinful behavior.
Mother Teresa said it so well. She stated, “The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts--a child--as a competitor, an intrusion and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the dependent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters. And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners.”
― Mother Teresa
Lord, help us realize the horrible impact to our country, our homes, our families, and most important the unborn children.
Great teachers are always emulated by their students and today's Scripture is a perfect illustration. In Mark 6:6-13 Christ provides instruction for a training mission to preach, teach, and heal. Like so much of kingdom work, there was urgency in the way Christ gave the assignment and instruction to live by faith. The world still needs sent men and women to preach the gospel and live by faith.
All Christians need reminders of their position in this world as the representatives and ministers of Christ. Every day is a new day to serve the King and share the redemption story. All hearers of the gospel still need admonishing as to the serious responsibility they incur when the kingdom message to repent of sin is brought to them.
Even if your testimony of the work and grace of God is as simples as, "I once was blind but now I see." you have a responsibility to share that truth with an unbelieving lost world. O Lord, help me, help us emulate your model and methods for ministry.
In Matthew 9:34-38 Jesus tells His disciples the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. People then and people today continue to live without a shepherd often harassed by others and circumstances to the point they are unable rescue themselves. How interesting that the multitudes today are still in need of the Shepherd.
When I was teenager, I worked a couple summer jobs that consisted of bailing hay. It was hard work and lots of sweat. Not too many of my friends wanted to help me or the farmer who needed the help. Since Jesus is using the metaphor of a harvest, I could not help wondering why we do not see a greater yield of new souls into the kingdom of God. Then it dawned on me, there is nothing wrong with the harvest. The problem is with finding harvesters.
It is tough work to share the faith and it involves getting spiritual dirt under your fingernails. Lord, help me share my faith today.
In Mark 5:24-34 we read about a sick woman who pushed her way through the crowd so she could touch the hem of Christ's garment. Here is her situation:
1. She had suffered 12 years of Bleeding (Quite possibly ovarian cancer)
2. She went to multiple doctors
3. She was bankrupt because she spent all her money on doctors and remedies
4. She was ceremonially unclean which restricted her temple access and social life
Desperate for change, she pushed through the crowd and came close enough to touch Jesus. Sensing power flowing out, Christ stops to find out who touched his garment. He responds to her weak faith and sends her away a strengthened healed woman.
Jesus Christ is more than a healer, He is the Savior and Lord. Today's church suffers from easy believism. Like the crowds at the time of Christ, it was one thing to join the throngs of followers and something totally different to trust as a follower with faith. Lord help me with my weak faith.