Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Ancient Path

"The snow never melts high up in the Lebanon mountains. The cold, flowing streams from the crags of Mount Hermon never run dry. These can be counted on. But not my people! For they have deserted me and turned to foolish idols. They have turned away from the ancient highways of good and walk the muddy paths of sin.  Therefore, their land shall become desolate, so that all who pass by will gasp and shake their heads in amazement at its utter desolation." Jeremiah 18:14-16 (The Living Bible - used for better understanding.)
When Jeremiah wrote these words, Israel had forsaken God.  They worshipped foreign gods.  God's word was not heard in the land and His commandments were not obeyed. Therefore, God was sending the Babylonians to utterly destroy Israel and take them all captive back to Babylon.  It was a very harsh, brutal punishment.  Israel had forsaken God and stopped following the "ancient path" given to them on Mount Sinai.
The 10 commandments:
1- Thou shalt have no other gods before me.2- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.3- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.4- Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.5- Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.6-  Thou shalt not kill.7- Thou shalt not commit adultery.8-  Thou shalt not steal.9- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.10- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's." (Exodus 20:3-17)
The Greatest Commandment:
 In the New Testament, when Jesus was questioned by a scribe as to which is the greatest commandment,   "Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 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.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."  (Mark 12:28-31). We all know it as the golden rule.   Each one of these commandments is like a stone on the ancient path we should follow.
What path are we following?I have been so saddened about the recent protests and violent riots against our country, it's flag, courthouses, president, memorials, statues, monuments, churches, and many other things that are good and represent our country.  Our liberties and freedom of speech and worship have also been attacked. What warrants this behavior? Our country is crumbling.  These precious ancient stones are being tossed aside.  A strange, harsh, stumbling path is now being formed and followed, leading to disaster and many of the leaders are just letting it happen.  We are a Judeo-Christian nation, founded on God's commandments and many more instructions given in the Bible, leading to stability and peace. For sure, we've had our problems. We work through them, and learn from them.  There are still many more obstacles to cross. With respect for others, and with God's help, we will solve them.   But I feel like we, as a country, have forsaken God in so many ways and are walking in the "muddy paths of sin".
We as believers need to stay on the ancient path and pray for our country, our president, his family and our churches before our land becomes, as Jeremiah said, "desolate, so that all who pass by will gasp and shake their heads in amazement at its utter desolation." 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Are You Looking for That Blessed Hope?

"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" Titus 2:11-13
When we live with the realization that Christ Jesus could come at any moment to rapture the believers in the air and forever we will be with Him in Heaven (the blessed hope), our life here on earth becomes focused on the question, "Am I ready?"  And the second question is, "Am I living a life, pleasing to God?"
Am I Ready?
Do you know Jesus?  Is your name written in the Lamb's book of life?  If not, would you like to know?  It's as easy as A,B,C.
Admit before God that you have fallen short of God’s perfection.  The Bible calls this sin.  There is no exception; all of us have offended God. Sin separates us from God.
 “For there is not a just man upon the earth that does good and sins not”
(Ecclesiastes 7:20)
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

Believe that Jesus died on a cross for your sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead.  The gift of eternal Life is only through Jesus Christ.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

"These things have I written unto you
that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”
(I John 5:13)

Here is a way you can make it more personal - by inserting your name where it says "world" and "whosoever":
 "For God so loved the world (you can insert your name here),
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever  (insert your name) believes in him
 should not perish, but have everlasting life”  (John 3:16)

God's "only begotten Son" is Jesus Christ.

Confirm your decision. Speak to the Lord from your heart and receive him now as your personal Savior. 
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."  Romans 10:9

Since prayer can be an expression of sincere faith, you may express your trust in Jesus as your Savior through words like these: 
    *** Note ***   (It’s not saying the words, but your trust in Christ alone that saves)
“Lord God, I admit that I have a sin nature, and  I  have fallen short of  your perfect righteousness.  Forgive my sin of unbelief.  I now accept and believe that Jesus, God in the flesh, died on the cross, shed His precious blood for my sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day. Thank you for your forgiveness, and for the gift of eternal life.  Lord Jesus, live in my heart and save my soul.  Help me to walk faithfully in my new spiritual life.
 In Jesus' name I pray, Amen." 

If you have prayed and accepted the Lord's gift of eternal life, or have questions please let me know in the comments!  I would be happy to pray for you in your new life with Him!

Am I living a life pleasing to God?
Our verse above in Titus 2 says that because of the grace given to us, we are to live godly, righteous, sober lives.  As we grow in the Lord through prayer and reading His Word, the Bible, we learn more and more how to walk in His ways and do the things that please Him.  It is a journey.  We continue to learn and to yield our lives to him each day as we look for that blessed hope.