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Monday, March 19, 2018

When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you shall surely die' and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man will die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Ezekiel 33:8

The Bridge is Out

The driver and his family had been following the fine wide highway for miles. It was an easy way to go. Coming around a bend they came upon a state highway worker with a large stop sign.

The driver stopped and rolled his window down and asked the road crew worker, “What's the problem?”

The road crew worker said, “The bridge ahead is out.”

Oh, that shouldn't be a problem,” said the driver.

The road crew worker lowered his sign. “I will be held responsible, not to mention guilty, if I don't warn you there is no bridge across the river and it is treacherous and deep. If you keep going you and your family will perish.”

The driver smirked. “How could a State that loves good drivers send them into a river to perish?” he asked. The road crew worker smiled sympathetically. “If you turn around and go back to Highway 7 it will take you safely to your destination. It's narrower than this road and a little harder to navigate but it will get you there. If you keep going down this road you will perish.”

The driver rolled his eyes with contempt. “Oh, I don't believe the bridge is out and as you can see this highway is wide and fine. And as far as I'm concerned I don't even believe there is a river. I'll go on and it'll be fine. I'm a good driver and the State should know that. Now stand back.”

Before the road crew worker could say another word the driver hit the gas and squealed around him and headed down the road. The road worker frowned as he watched the car disappear down the wide road. “Hmm,” he said to himself, “the narrow way is hard and few there be that find it.” Neither the driver nor his family were ever seen or heard from again. How could a State that loved good drivers send a person to a destroyed bridge on the edge of a swollen and raging river? It's simple. Even with the warning the driver chose to ignore it and go there. The State did not send him there.

Call me what you will but if I did not tell you that hell is an agonizingly real place and one to be shunned (Luke 16:19-31) I would be negligent and guilty in my duty to you as a follower of Christ. Jesus spoke often about hell (Matthew 8:12, 13:42, 25:46, Mark 9:42-48). Hell is eternal separation from God and a domain of great horror. Consider what Jesus had to say about it in the verses above. God doesn't send anyone to hell, they go there by their own choice. Have you never heard that the gates of hell are locked from the inside? In fact, God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2nd Peter 3:9). But how can a completely Holy God allow a completely sinful people to spend eternity in His presence?

Why did God choose eternal death as the penalty for the unrepentant? Because men and women can never fully pay for their sins and the payment for rebellion against God is eternal death even as the righteous price Christ fully paid to forgive sin is eternal life in Him. Eternal punishment was originally prepared for Satan and the angels who rebelled with him against God (Matthew 25:41).

Sin has destroyed the bridge we once had to God. However there is good news. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to fix it. He became the only Bridge of Access to God that has reestablished fellowship with Him once again (John 14:6). If you're in the driver's seat and you don't believe that God sent His Son to be that bridge to fellowship with Him then I would suggest you turn around and take the narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14) through the Son and believe on Him. It's true the way is narrower than the wide way that leads to destruction but it will still get you safely to where you want to go.

If you simply believe that Jesus is God's only begotten Son (Acts 16:31), who died for your sins and rose bodily from the grave three days later and will return again to Earth as its ruling King, you will have taken the narrow way to righteous eternal life. It's that simple. Why not trust in Jesus? What have you got to lose except a washed out bridge to disaster?


Saturday, March 10, 2018

but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy for I am holy.” 1st Peter 1:15-16

Wholly Holy

When I first read God's command 'Be holy for I am holy' I thought 'That's totally impossible!' It wasn't until I happened to come across the book The Pursuit of Holiness, by the author Jerry Bridges, that the explanation to be holy because God is holy became clear. He knows we can't be holy just like He is-that is impossible. But He calls us to a life of holy living by obeying His precepts and holy directions for our lives in our daily activities. That is completely doable.

After reading this book I became aware of how ignorant the average believer was concerning God's attribute of holiness. Shortly after reading the book I taught a weekend class on holiness. My first question to the class was; “Does God want to be known first for His holiness or His love?” To a person everyone said “For His love” and gasped when I said “He wants to be known first for His holiness.”

While we cannot attain the kind of perfect holiness that is the premier attribute of God the Father we can choose to seek to walk in a God-honoring fellowship with Him with the help of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Holiness is not an option, something you can take or leave. God's words in the Old Testament (Leviticus 11:44, 19:2, 20:7, 20:26) and the New Testament (cf 1:13-16,) are clear commands to practice and live a holy life.

Living a life of purity and righteousness, a holy life, is one of the most liberating things we can experience. It sets us apart to God, clears the conscience, allows the Holy Spirit to empower our hearts and minds, creates clearness of thought, excites the spirit within us to share Christ and disciple other Christians and leads us into a deeper fellowship with God which He, Himself, deeply desires. He is Wholly Holy in a way that is unfathomable, yet He desires us to live lives of righteousness in our behavior and our daily conduct. God says “Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you” (Leviticus 20:8). God's holiness is defined by an incomprehensible purity. His holiness is something that is impossible for us to attain but we can still walk obediently in His holy statutes and in that sense we can be pleasingly wholly holy to Him.


Monday, March 5, 2018

Consequently He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

The Perfect Person

If you had to defend yourself to a completely holy and pure God what would you say or do? Would you stand tall or cower? Would you speak with great skill or would you be tongue tied? Would you be confident or terrified?

Speaking of Jesus, the writer to the Hebrews says 'For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin' (Hebrews 4:15).

A big problem exists for believers with the age-old accuser of Christians, Satan, who consistently attacks and brings rabid accusations against us. Even though Christ defeated sin when He died and rose from the dead three days later we're still plagued by a sin nature. It causes us to occasionally step out of the will of God giving the devil an excuse to accuse us before Him (Job 1:6-11). That's the bad news.

The good news is Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father in glory and He continually defends us and contests the devil's attacks against us. He declares us forgiven by His sacrifice on the cross (Romans 5:10). Why do we need a high priest to intercede for us and another human at that? What better representation can we have before a perfectly Holy God than another perfectly holy fellow human being that experienced the physical hardships of life (Matthew 9:35, John 4:6-7, 31)? We don't need to ask if He'll do it for us. He's already on the job interceding for us as our great High Priest. Jesus is the Perfect Person for it. Now that is just perfect isn't it?


Monday, February 26, 2018

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (ESV)

Believe it or Not

Have you ever heard of Ripley's Believe it or Not column? It still runs in the comic's section of a few newspapers. It's full of interesting facts. For instance it says a dress Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy sold in November 2016 at auction for the world record of $4.81 million dollars. Believe it or not.

What can you believe these days? Let's talk about Jesus Christ. Can His existence be proven scientifically? No, but you can't prove what you had for lunch scientifically either. But you can have eye witnesses who saw you eating lunch verify you did down to where you ate it and what you ate. It's called the 'historical method' and is based on solid witnessed verifiable evidence. Jesus' life and miracles were witnessed by reliable men and women who beheld His majesty (1st Peter 1:16) and reported what they saw.

Jesus gives eternal life and the Bible says that to receive Him all you need to do is believe that He shed His blood and died on a cross for the sins of the whole earth up to this very moment (including yours) and that God raised Him from the grave after three days. That's all, Just believe (Acts 16:31, 34).

Once you do the Holy Spirit will fill you with His presence (Ephesians 1:13-14, 2nd Corinthians 1:21-22). He is the Comforter that Jesus said He would send to us (John 14:16-17). Christianity isn't some kind of killjoy experience that sucks the excitement out of your life. You will find it is elating as you develop a relationship with Christ and get to know other believers. Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Those who believe on Jesus Christ are loved by Him and the Father (John 14:21). As a friend of mine once said, “Why not trust Jesus? What do you have to lose?” Believe it or not but I hope you believe it.


Ken, attends CrossLife Church in Russellville, AR,

Monday, February 19, 2018

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes'? Matthew 21:42


A cornerstone ( or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone to be set in a masonry building. It is important because all the other stones are laid and set in reference to it and decides the form of the building. Jesus was a carpenter (cf Mark 6:3, Matthew 13:55) but He knew the basics of building with stone.

Jesus wasn't talking about construction though. Instead He was telling the religious leaders that they (the builders) were rejecting Him, (the stone) and His Messianic claim and that He was sent by God to be the Spiritual Cornerstone of Israel. As it was during His ministry so it was at the end that even though He did great signs and wonders in the Jewish nation He was still not believed by the Jews to be the Son of God.

It is an interesting to consider that as the spiritual cornerstone all who believed on Him or who ever would believe on Him in the future would be set in spiritual reference to Him as the Father's Cornerstone. Salvation and redemption comes only through Him (John 14:6).

It's sobering that in Jesus' next statement He says of the religious leaders there will be judgment as all the stone falls on will be crushed (vs 44).
Believers are set in their perfect place in accordance with reference to God's cornerstone with no fear of God's wrathful judgment for sin because of what Christ did on the cross for the forgiveness of our sin.

In these days when it seems the earth has no true direction it is a comfort knowing we are set in reference to God's Cornerstone; a solid rock and is also the true foundation that supports the building called the Bride of Christ (the Church). He was before all things and now holds all things together by His authoritative power (Colossians 1:17). He is the Christ of God and His Chief Cornerstone and it is marvelous in our eyes.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 English Standard Version Bible

Three Chickens and a Piece of stale Bread

My neighbor across the road owns three chickens that come over to my front yard to eat the seeds that fall out of my bird feeders. Now we really know why the chickens crossed the road. I've found they will eat pieces of bread too. One day my wife put a piece of bread on the kitchen counter but didn't tell me it was for the chickens. After a couple of days I discovered the bread was for my neighbor's poultry but it had grown stale and hard and felt like a shingle.

David wrote this Psalm 3,000 years ago. As dealing with the human condition David's prayer is as relevant and fresh now as it was then. The human heart can at times become as stale and as hard as that piece of bread. 

Most of us know we can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ but did you know you can have a personal relationship with God the Father too? It's entirely possible. While we must not forget God is just concerning sin He is also full of loving-kindness to those who love and put their trust in Him. God took on human flesh in the form of Jesus Christ and lived among men (John 1:14). Jesus said if you have seen Him you've seen the Father (John 14:9).

An essential knowledge of God is not a means to gratify ourselves but it is wealth of the Christian life. We can know God the Father in an intimate relationship but He rejoices in hearts that are pliable, tender and yes, you might say fresh. Seek Him and He will find you and if you are these things you'll come to know Him in a brand new relationship. You'll be the coolest thing since sliced bread.