The Real CHRISTian…

The Real CHRISTian…

 I Pet 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a
holy nation,, His own people, THAT YOU MAY PROCLAIM the
praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had
not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”

A.W. Tozier

“The real Christian is an odd human being anyway. The Christian
feels supreme love for One he has never seen, he talks everyday with
Someone he cannot see, he expects to go to heaven on the virtue of
Someone else, he empties himself in order to be full, he admits he is
wrong so he can be declared right, he goes down in order to get up, he
is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is the poorest,
happiest when he feels the worst, he dies so he can live, he forsakes in
order to have, he gives away so he can keep he sees the invisible, hears
the inauditable, knows that which passes knowledge.”

The test. What is your life proclaiming? And of course remember, the
biblical requirement for being a Christian is that, ‘you must be born again’

Acts 11:26 “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch.
And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with
the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called
Christians first in Antioch.”

Luke 9:23 “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him
deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

HAVE A GREAT DAY SERVING JESUS and remember what real
priorities Jesus would have you to practice!!!!

Religion and Salvation…

II Cor 4:3, 4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

The Works-Salvation Delusion

The following are the opening paragraphs of a totally revealing article about “Religion” and “Salvation”. The whole article is noted below for your reading pleasure. It is a long read but it truly exposes the worlds’ objective to make “Salvation” seem complex and to deviate from what God says it is and is well worth your time to digest. It certainly helps to ID what satins’ strategies are and helps us in our combating error.

Galatians 2:211 “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come[s] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Religion and Salvation…
T. A. McMahon

When we compare biblical Christianity with the religions of the world, using the Scriptures to guide us, we see that the gap between them is unbridgeable. In fact, one is forced to the conclusion that there are really only two religions in the world: biblical Christianity–and all other religions. (Note: I refer to biblical Christianity as a “religion” only for comparative purposes: a religion is a manmade belief system, whereas biblical Christianity is what God has revealed to mankind.)

These two “religions” are set apart primarily by what they teach about salvation–how one can get to heaven or paradise or Valhalla or Nirvana or the abode of God, or whatever else people believe about the afterlife. Each of the two can be placed under one of two categories: Human Achievement and Divine Accomplishment–or, to put it simply, the religions of “Do” and “Done.” I’m referring to the fact that either there are things you must do (Human Achievement) or there is nothing you can do because it has already been done (Divine Accomplishment) to earn entrance to heaven.

Biblical Christianity alone comes under the heading of Divine Accomplishment. All the other religions of the world must be placed under the label of Human Achievement. Let’s first consider some of the major religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and certain denominations or cults that profess to be Christian.

Eph 6:12, 13 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

The complete article;
The Works-Salvation Delusion
T. A. McMahon
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come[s] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. –Galatians 2:21

When we compare biblical Christianity with the religions of the world, using the Scriptures to guide us, we see that the gap between them is unbridgeable. In fact, one is forced to the conclusion that there are really only two religions in the world: biblical Christianity–and all other religions. (Note: I refer to biblical Christianity as a “religion” only for comparative purposes: a religion is a manmade belief system, whereas biblical Christianity is what God has revealed to mankind.)

These two “religions” are set apart primarily by what they teach about salvation–how one can get to heaven or paradise or Valhalla or Nirvana or the abode of God, or whatever else people believe about the afterlife. Each of the two can be placed under one of two categories: Human Achievement and Divine Accomplishment–or, to put it simply, the religions of “Do” and “Done.” I’m referring to the fact that either there are things you must do (Human Achievement) or there is nothing you can do because it has already been done (Divine Accomplishment) to earn entrance to heaven.

Biblical Christianity alone comes under the heading of Divine Accomplishment. All the other religions of the world must be placed under the label of Human Achievement. Let’s first consider some of the major religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and certain denominations or cults that profess to be Christian.

Hinduism has about 330 million gods who must be appeased through some type of ritual. A couple of years ago I was given a tour of a massive Hindu temple just outside Chicago. The parking lot was filled with luxury cars. There was imported stonework from Italy. No expense was spared. Inside, doctors, lawyers, and engineers, among others, according to my guide, were serving meals to the idols, Hanuman, the monkey god, and Ganesha, the elephant god.

Hinduism is a system of works–things that one must do to reach moksha, the Hindu heaven. It involves the practice of yoga, which, contrary to what many have heard, has never been for improvement of one’s health but is rather a means of dying to one’s body in the hope of delivering oneself from the physical realm. This is supposed to yoke one to Brahman, the Supreme Deity of Hinduism. Reincarnation, a system that supposedly enables one to work one’s way to heaven through many births, deaths, and rebirths, is one of the teachings of this religion.

Buddhism is also all about works. Buddha believed that the key to reaching Nirvana, which is allegedly the state of perfect peace and happiness, is through an understanding of the Four Noble Truths and by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path.

In essence, the Four Noble Truths declare that we endure suffering because of our desires or cravings. These “Truths” claim that suffering will stop when we cease trying to fulfill those desires. According to Buddhism, we can achieve this by following the Noble Eightfold Path, which has the elements of “right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.” This is all done by man’s achievement, i.e., “doing things right” in order to reach Nirvana.

In Islam, paradise is attained when Allah weighs a follower’s good works against his bad deeds on a scale at Judgment Day. The Qur’an declares: “For those things that are good remove those that are evil” (Surah 11:114). It’s a quantitative process. Good deeds need to outweigh or blot out evil deeds. From the Qur’an again: “The balance that day will be true: Those whose scale [of good works] will be heavy, will prosper: Those whose scale will be light will find their souls in perdition” (Surah 7:8, 9).

Here’s an interesting example of what a Muslim faces to get into paradise: On April 3, 1991, the Egyptian magazine, Akher Saa, recorded a heated debate between four female journalists and Sheik Doctor Abdu-Almonim Al-Nimr, who holds a high position at Al-Azher Islamic University. One of the journalists asked him: “Is the hijab [veil or head covering] obligatory for women in Islam? If I do not wear the hijab, shall I go to hell in spite of my other good deeds? I am talking about the decent woman who does not wear the hijab.”

Dr. Al-Nimr replied, “The ordinances in Islam are many, my daughter, Allah made us accountable to each. It means if you do that ordinance you earn a point. If you neglect one, you lose a point. If you pray, you earn a point; if you do not fast you lose a point, and so on.” He continued, “I did not invent a new theory…for every man there is a book in which all his good and evil deeds are recorded…even how do we treat our children.”

The journalist said: “That means, if I do not wear the hijab, I will not enter the hell fire without taking into account the rest of my good deeds.” Dr. Al-Nimr replied: “My daughter, no one knows who will enter the hell fire…I might be the first one to enter it. Caliph Abu-Bakr Al-Sadik said: ‘I have no trust concerning Allah’s schemes, even if one of my feet is inside of paradise who can determine which deed is acceptable and which is not.’ [See TBC, 10/91] You do all that you can do…and the accountability is with Allah. You ask him for acceptance [Italics added for emphasis].”

In Judaism, heaven is attained by keeping the Law and its ceremonies. Obviously, that isn’t consistent with what the Tanakh (the Old Testament) teaches, yet that has been the practice of Judaism for millennia. As Jesus said, “In vain they do worship [God], teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

His words also apply to a number of “Christian” denominations and cults that stress works as necessary for salvation. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists, the Church of Christ adherents, Roman Catholics, Eastern and Russian Orthodox members, Lutherans, and many others all include something that needs to be accomplished or is necessary for salvation, whether it’s baptism, the sacraments, or joining their particular organization and fulfilling their requirements.

Here is an example from the first 30 years of my own life as a Roman Catholic. I lived by a religious system of laws, many of which a Catholic is obligated to keep. It began with baptism. If one is not baptized, the Church says he can’t enter heaven. It also says that although baptism is required, it is no guarantee. There are many other such rules (works) that a Catholic must keep.

I have a book in my office called the Code of Canon Law. It contains 1,752 laws, many of which affect one’s eternal destiny. Sins recognized by the Roman Catholic Church are classified as either mortal or venial. A mortal sin is one that damns a person to hell, should he or she die without having had it absolved by a priest. A venial sin doesn’t need to be confessed to a priest, but whether confessed or not, all sin adds to one’s temporal punishment, which must be expiated either here on earth through suffering or good works or else be purged in the flames of purgatory after one’s death.

There are obligations that a Catholic must fulfill regarding both beliefs and deeds. For example, one is required to believe that Mary was conceived without sin (an event called the Immaculate Conception). If a Catholic doesn’t believe that, he commits a mortal sin, which carries the penalty of eternal damnation. The feast day of the Immaculate Conception is a holy day of obligation; a day on which all Catholics are required to attend Mass. Failure to do so could result in commission of a mortal sin.

All the belief systems that I’ve mentioned, and many others as well, consist of doing or not doing certain things to reach “heaven.” All are based upon human achievement. But what about biblical Christianity? How is that different?

Ephesians 2:8-9 spells it out for us: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that [salvation is] not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast [emphasis added].” That’s pretty straightforward. Our salvation doesn’t have anything to do with our achievements.

Verse 8 tells us that it is by grace that we are saved. Grace is unmerited favor. If any merit is involved, it cannot be by grace. It’s the gift of God. So if it’s a gift, it can’t be of works. That should be obvious. Someone puts in a tough month of work and his employer comes to him with his paycheck and declares, “Good job, Joe, here’s your gift!” No–Joe worked for what he was paid. No gift was involved.

Regarding a person who works, Romans 4:4 tells us that his wages are a payment for the debt his employer owes him, and his paycheck has nothing to do with grace or a gift. A worker who has done a good job can boast or feel a sense of pride in the work he has accomplished. Yet all of that is contrary to grace or a gift. Grace rules out any sense of merit, and a gift does away with any sense of something earned or paid for.

Paul’s teaching in Ephesians is affirmed in his epistle to Titus, chapter 3, verse 4:
But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. [Emphasis added]

We can see that this is consistent with Ephesians 2:8-9. It’s not by our works that we are saved–not by works of righteousness that we have done–but it’s by His mercy that we are saved.

You may well imagine that, as a Roman Catholic conditioned by a life of Church rules and rituals, I had great difficulty believing that faith was the only basis by which I could enter heaven. It didn’t make sense to me.

Well, not only does it make sense–it’s the only possible way anyone can be saved. It is miraculously sensible!

First of all, what keeps anyone from heaven or eternal life with God? We know that the answer is “sin.” Here is a small sampling of the applicable verses: All have sinned (Romans 3:23); the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23); sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2); the soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20); sin brings forth death (James 1:15).

In Genesis 2, God explains to Adam the consequences of disobeying Him. Adam was told not to eat from a certain fruit in the Garden of Eden. It was a commandment that was related to obedience and love–not of God’s withholding something from Adam, as the Serpent implied. Remember, Jesus said “If a man love me, he will keep my words,” that is, His teachings (John 14:23). Our love for God is demonstrated by our obedience.

What was God’s penalty for disobedience? Genesis 2:17: “…for in the day that thou eat thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam and Eve loved themselves more than they loved God, because they didn’t “keep [His] words.” They disobeyed Him, and the consequence was death. “The day you eat of it you will surely die.” In the Scriptures, death always involves separation, and in God’s judgment upon them, two applications are found: 1) physical death (the degeneration of the body, leading ultimately to its separation from the soul and spirit), and 2) eternal separation from God.

Adam and Eve did not die instantly, but the death process began at that point for them and for all creation. However, their spiritual relationship with God changed immediately and forever. God’s judgment for sin is eternal: separation from God forever. It’s an infinite penalty. And God, who is perfect in all of His attributes, including justice, had to carry out the punishment. He couldn’t let them slide by and just give them another chance. That would have meant that He was not perfectly true to His Word. The penalty had to be paid.

So what could Adam and Eve do? Nothing, except die physically and spiritually, which is to be separated from God forever. And what can the rest of mankind do, seeing that all have sinned? Nothing. Well, one might ask, what if we do all sorts of good deeds that might outweigh our sins, or if we go to church a lot, or get baptized, do religious things, receive the sacraments, and so forth? None of those things will help us. Why? Because they don’t pay the penalty. So what can we do? There is nothing that we can do–except to pay the penalty ourselves by being separated from God forever.

Our situation would be absolutely hopeless except that God has some other attributes in addition to being perfectly just. He is also perfect in love and mercy! “For God so loved the world” that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the penalty for us (John 3:16).

And that is exactly what Jesus did on the Cross. It is incomprehensible to us that during those three hours of darkness (when He cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”) He took on the sins of the world and suffered the wrath of His Father–for us. On the Cross He “tasted death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9), that is, He experienced and paid the infinite penalty for everyone’s sins.

When that divine accomplishment ended, Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” meaning that the penalty had been paid in full. It was a divine accomplishment because it was something that only God could do! God became a man and died physically, because physical death was part of the penalty. Yet, as the God-Man, he was able to experience fully the penalty that every sinner would experience–being spiritually separated from God forever.

God’s justice demands payment. Either we pay the penalty ourselves or we turn to Jesus by faith and receive the benefits of His sacrificial atonement. What does Roman 6:23 say? “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Bible could not be more clear that salvation can only be “the gift of God” and that we can only appropriate that gift by faith.

Any attempt to merit salvation by our works is not just futile–it is impossible: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). Worse yet, it is a denial of the infinite penalty that God imposed, a rejection of God’s “unspeakable gift,” and a repudiation of what Christ accomplished for us.

It used to be that most evangelicals would agree. This is no longer the case as the apostasy gathers momentum in these Last Days. Recently, a Pew Forum survey of more than 40,000 Americans found that 57 percent of those who said they were evangelicals believed that Jesus is not the exclusive way to heaven. Since Jesus is the only one who provides divine accomplishment, all that remains is the futile delusion of human achievement for salvation. TBC

Luke 18:17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

The Not so Little White LIE…

The Not so Little White Lie….

There is no and can be no substitute for honesty. God always knows our motives. The enemy is the master deceiver and this world is controlled by him until Jesus returns a second time to straighten our world out. Until then it is obvious that satan has convinced this world that the little white lie is ok. He convinces us that as long as it does not hurt someone or as long as it is justified in our minds it is ok. He convinces us that as long as it does not hurt someone it is ok. What does God say?

Col. 3:9 “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;”

1 Tim. 6:5 “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

That philosophy is found in our business world. What does God’s word say about bartering and how important is truth to our Lord?

Proverbs 20:14 “It is good for nothing cries the buyer; But when he has gone his own way, then he boasts.”

 Proverbs 20:23 “Diverse weights are an abomination to the Lord, and a false balance is not good.”

And where do we find the total of all truth?

John 14:6 “And Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life, no one can come unto the Father, but by Me?”

The truths Jesus lived and taught are found in;

2 Tim 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The 10 Commandments….

Exodus 20:2a-6 “I am the Lord your God…

  • “You shall have no other gods before
  • “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

The 10 Commandments….

When you hear of someone worshipping an Idol you usually picture some statue with people praying to it and even making offerings to it. So when you are asked if you worship idols you immediately think that you are not in with those folks.  You see yourself as being good at least on the first two commandments of God having to do with idol worship. If we truly are keeping the first two then the other eight noted below should be easy. But if you are breaking the first two then the next eight are usually a product of that sin of idolatry. Look at them and you will see that if you are worshipping anything, person or statue and not worshipping God then breaking the other eight automatically in process. And remember that says we can sin with the mind as well as our hands. An example is anger. We can murder with the mind, commit adultery with the mind and sadly so it goes.

  • “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  • “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
  • “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
  • “You shall not murder.
  • “You shall not commit adultery.
  • “You shall not steal.
  • “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  • “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

So, the real question is whether idolatry is simply the worship of some statue or can it be the worship of other items or people including self. A preacher some 300 years ago gave the following list of 7 questions as a test to folks to see if they were worshipping idols. When you read it you will see that our nature or humanity is the same today as it was then so the test is as relevant today as it was then. I have added the verses that help me on each question and hopefully you also.

  1. What are you most disappointed with right now?
    1. Ex 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
  2. What do you sacrifice your time and money for?
    1. Mat 6:21 “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”
  3. What do you worry about? What scares you?
    1. 2 Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
    2. Mat 6:33-34 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
  4. Where do you go when you hurt?
    1. Mat 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
  5. What makes you mad? The following is an example of righteous anger…..
    1. Mark 11:15 “So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.”
  6. What brings you the most joy?
    1. Romans 14:17-19 “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”
  7. Whose applause do you long for?
    1. 2 Tim 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

 

So, how did you do on the quiz? And if you did not like some of your answers what are you going to do about it?

 

I John 1:8-10 “If we say that 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 that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

 

It’s never too late to change your worship patterns.

 

Heb 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Pride goes before Destruction….

Proverbs 16:18-19 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”

I Peter 5:5-7 “Likewise, you younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.”

Pride goes before the Destruction…

Pride sounds like a good thing but is very dangerous. Wrongful pride has us depend on self over God. “There is a proud heart in every person. The pride that was in Adam and Eve’s hearts is the same as is in his sons and daughters. That is us. Pride is sin, and from there arises this overinflated and self-controlled opinion of our spiritual state and condition. It is ok to feel good about what God is doing through your life, but it is sin to credit that good to our own abilities and strengths.

Luke 18:11 “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”

This is the unsaved person’s motto. A proud man has an eye to see his beauty–but not his deformity. He sees his abilities–but not his spots. He sees his seeming righteousness-but not his real wretchedness.

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.”

It is only by God’s work of grace that we see our lack of humility. The haughty eye looks inward–but the humble eye looks upward for strength, and therefore this is the believer’s motto, ‘I am the least of saints–and the greatest of sinners!’

Luke 18:13-14 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner!’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God!”

Slow Down-Lives depend on it…

James 4:14 “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what
is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes
away.”

Slow Down-Lives depend on it!

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73
in a 55 zone. .. Fourth time in as many months.  How could a guy get caught so
often? When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard.

Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The
cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand.  Bob?  Bob from church?

Jack sunk farther into his trench coat.  This was worse than the
coming ticket.  A Christian cop catching a guy from his own church.  A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man
he’d never seen in uniform.

“Hi, Bob.  Fancy meeting you like this. ““Hello, Jack.” “Oh,   I
guess.” Bob seemed uncertain.  Good. “I’ve seen some long days at the office
lately. I’m afraid I bent the rules a bit-just this once. ”

Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement.  “Diane said something
about roast beef and potatoes tonight.  Know what I mean?”

“I know what you mean.  I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct.”

Ouch.  This was not going in the right direction.  Time to change tactics.

“What’d you clock me at?”

“Seventy-one.  Would you sit back in your car, please?”

“Now wait a minute here, Bob.  I checked as soon as I saw you.
I was barely nudging 65.”  The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.

“Please, Jack, in the car.”
Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door.
Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window.  The minutes ticked by.  Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn’t he asked for a driver’s license?  Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again.  A tap on the door jerked his head to the left.

There was Bob, a folded paper in hand.  Jack rolled down the
window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip.

“Thanks.”  Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice.  Bob returned to his car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror.

Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost?

Wait a minute.  What was this? Joke?  Certainly not a ticket….

Jack began to read:

“Dear Jack,
Once upon a time I had a daughter.  She was six when killed by a
car. You guessed it – a speeding driver.  A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters.  All three of them.  I only had one, and I’m going to have to wait until heaven before I can ever hug her again.  A thousand times I’ve tried to forgive that man.  A thousand times I thought I had.  Maybe I did, but I need to do it again.  Even now.

Pray for me. And be careful.  My son is all I have left………Bob ”

Jack…twisted around in time to see Bob’s car pull away and
head down the road.  Jack watched until it disappeared.  A full 15 minutes later, he, too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.

Life is precious.  Handle with care.

Gen 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

A City without Walls…

Proverbs 25:28 “He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

A City without Walls!

How is your temper this morning? Do you find yourself saying things that hurt others and then regretting what you said? Many times after you have spouted off you wish you could take those words or that event back but of course you cannot. So, the challenge is, how do I keep from doing it, so I don’t have to try to correct the results? Our tempers are controllable with the right source of strength.

When the stress, pressure and aggravation of the day build up, too many of us become a human volcano and take it out on those around us. Unfortunately it comes naturally. Please do not view that as an excuse. You see, it comes from the flesh and if you are a Born Again believer you have the power to control the flesh. That power is called the Spirit or Holy Spirit and at salvation He comes to live within you. How do I know that? The word of God tells us so. In fact, scripture says if we do not have the Holy Spirit we are not saved.

Rom 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” Now if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

With the Holy Spirit can I keep from losing my temper? The answer is yes. Our dark side, called the flesh can be controlled. That control comes when I present myself to Jesus as His servant and allow Him to mold and develop me.

I Cor 10:13 “There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Does that mean I will never sin again by losing my temper? It may be the devastating things that we say and do when we’re angry, or our selfishness that continually wounds and crushes people, or a sour negativity and bitterness that poisons our life and the lives of people around us. It’s all deadly sin that keeps spewing out of our life while often hurting the people we love most. While we have no excuse for sinning we still are overcome by that flesh at times. Fortunately our God is faithful in forgiving us when we recognize our sins and confess them.

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

That daily spiritual battle we fight with our explosive dark side is not new. That same flesh created the first sin and all have that same flesh (Rom 3:23). Jesus is the only one to walk this earth without sin (I Cor 5:21). And fortunately He is the very One that will make intercession for us for our sin. Our need is to recognize it and ask for forgiveness’. The request can only go through one person.

I Tim 2:5 “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

That is the good news for today, because the Bible now shows us how to move from despair to deliverance. We can move from that “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me…?” to a sinner cleansed by the blood of Christ.

Jesus wants to bring that victory into your life – to forgive every sinful hurtful thing you’ve ever done and give you a new beginning. He stands ready to actually move into your life and to control what you have never been able to control; to beat what has always beaten you. He’s the Rescuer, reaching for you. Now it’s up to you to reach back and accept His offer.

Rev. 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”