Sunday, December 27, 2020

Life After Christmas

I hope you all had a merry Christmas this past week with your family. The holiday season can be difficult for some, but I pray that everyone was able to find a reason to be thankful this season.

We enjoyed Christmas with our family, or at least for while it lasted.

 Our tree that was once full of gifts is now bare.

Stockings that were once stuffed are now empty.

Our family that was all together is now dispersed.

We were left with trash bags full of wrapping paper, the sound of toys being played with around the house, and leftovers in the fridge waiting to be heated up and eaten again.

Our house that was once decorated in Christmas went back to normal.

In other words, life moves on. Responsibilities still need to be tended to:

-   Expectations are still needing to be met.

-   Rules still have to be followed.

-   Children are still needing to be raised.

-   Etc

This made me think about what it was like for Joseph and Mary after Jesus was born. 

Imagine how miraculous the scene was at the birth of Jesus in the little town of Bethlehem. Even in the midst of how humbling He came to earth, it was a holy moment. The magi coming afar to visit baby Jesus with gifts of gold frankincense, and myrrh. After spending time with baby Jesus, they left.

New parents Mary and Joseph were now alone with their miracle child, expected to provide, protect and raise him with all they had. Christmas had come, and Christmas had gone. Reality set in and life after Christmas had begun.

This is where we pick up in Matthew 2.

Matthew 2:13-15

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod.

Life got serious for Joseph and Mary. Reality set in and Joseph was left with the responsibility they had been given.

They had been called by God to raise, protect, provide, nurture and raise this child that would one day become the savior of the world.

But HOW!! They were responsible for the only child of God! The savior of the world! The coming (now arrived) Messiah! How were they going to do what seemed to be an overwhelming task!?

Like Joseph, we too have been called by God to be a light in the world and share Jesus with our neighbors. God has given us a specific role in His kingdom. But How can we do what God has called us to do?

1.    God Spoke to Joseph
v.13 -
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.””


In the midst of everything that was expected of Joseph and Mary, God spoke to Joseph. 

God made Joseph aware of the danger the child was in and also gave him direction on where to go; God prepared a way for him and Mary.

God did not leave them to have to figure everything out on their own. God was with them every step of the way.

Egypt was a well-ordered Roman province and was close nearby, out of Herods jurisdiction. Therefore it made sense for Joseph to be led there by the Holy Spirit. In fact, in almost every city in Egypt, there were most likely a certain population of Jews, as many sought refuge in Egypt when things got difficult for them. There was also a large Jewish population in the city of Alexandria in Egypt, approximately a million Jews resided there. Therefore, Joseph and Mary would not have been strangers in Egypt, in every town they most likely would have found Jews who were also seeking refuge.

God already had a plan in place for Joseph and Mary. God was not going to leave them alone.

Just as God was speaking to Joseph, God is speaking to you.

God still speaks today! God is always speaking, we just have to tune our ears to hear His voice. God’s foundational way of speaking to us is through His Word. The Word of God is the primary way that God speaks to us. His Word provides clarity in times of confusion. His Word brings a solution to a problem nobody else can solve. The Bible is the encapsulated Word of God!!

Hebrews 4:12

“For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

God is speaking to you today. God is not going to leave you on your own to have to figure things out by yourself. He will help you if you allow Him. God will never leave you nor forsake you.

2.    Joseph Obeyed God
v.14 -
And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt…”


When God spoke to Joseph, he obeyed God and did as He told him. Joseph heard God and did exactly as God said. He did not wait, but got up that night and left for Egypt right then and there. Joseph was quick in his obedience. 

The safety of baby Jesus and mother Mary was dependent on his obedience; surely Joseph realized this.

When God speaks, our obedience to follow through is vital. God speaks to us everyday through His word…it is our responsibility to obey and follow through. 

Obeying God impacts more people than just yourself.

Obeying God may not always be just about you; as it effects other people in your life as well.

3.    Joseph Trusted God
v.15 -
and remained there until the death of Herod.”

Joseph stayed where God told him to go until further notice. Joseph trusted God enough to remain in the last place God had told him to go. Joseph no doubt continued to be faithful where he was.

It easily could have been several years before Joseph heard from God again to leave Egypt and return to Israel.

Jesus was born around 4 B.C. Historians and theologians narrow Herods death to either 4 BC or 1 BC. They both have their reasons and doubts, but an account by Josephus writes that there was a lunar eclipse right before the death of Herod. Many believe that it was the eclipse recorded in 1 BC that would make the most sense. Jesus is believed to have been born in 4 BC. That would make Jesus around 3 years old at the time God spoke to Joseph to leave Egypt.

In turn, they could have been in Egypt for 3 YEARS!

Its important to trust God where He has you now. God will speak to us when He is ready for us to move forward. Until then, it is our responsibility to remain faithful and do what God last commanded us to do. How we wait is more important than “how long” we wait.

Trusting God means to:

-   Be content

-   Be Satisfied

-   Embrace

Philippians 4:11-13

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”


1.    Allow God to Speak to You - Open up the Word of God and let God bring a fresh word in your life.

Romans 12:2
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

2.    Step into your calling through obedience - Your obedience, or lack thereof, impacts the people around you.

3.    Remain faithful where God has you - Be content with where God has you and remain faithful.

Galatians 6:9
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.”


While reality is setting back in for all of us, it is also setting back in for everyone else who has not made Jesus Lord and savior of their life.

We must tell them about Jesus and trust God to bring them to repentance.

There is LIFE with Christ. Be sure to share it with someone this week in your world.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

The Christmas Story


There is no other time of the year as exciting as Christmas time. There is a feeling in the air this time of year as there should be. The celebration of God sending His Son to be born of the blessed Virgin Mary gives us all hope and fills the season with joy.

This morning we will share the Christmas story together and read a few verses from the New Testament Gospel of Luke. Allow me to give you just a little background while everyone is getting ready to follow along.

It was most likely early in the summer of the year 6BC. The designation “B.C.” stands for “Before Christ.” The designation “A.D.” stands for “Anno Domini,” which means “The Year of Our Lord.” Properly BC goes after the year and AD goes before the number of the year so that 1BC and AD1 are spoken correctly when read aloud.

Why, where, and when did these designations begin and who decided they were accurate representations? Counting years has always been a necessity and using some well-known reference point from which to count has been the norm throughout all known history. Whether from the coronation of a King or the fall of a nation; a great earthquake; or a remembered battle, dates and years have been fixed from points in every culture.

In the 4th century the Church leaders realized the benefit of the whole known world celebrating Easter on the same date. Thus European mathematics was birthed, and the science of calculating came to the western world. Almost 200 years later, in what we now know as “The Year of our Lord 525,” a monk named Dionysius offered the idea of calculating years together in common from the year of the Birth of Christ.

Following Dionysius’ research, he decided to offer a calendar going forward from Easter day, AD532, and begin a Common Era termed Anno Domini, the Year of Our Lord. The addition of the BC element to the calendar came about over two centuries later in the 700’s.

The system of calculating years in BC and AD terms did not take firm hold on the western world until the 9th century after Charlemagne adopted it for the Holy Roman Empire.

“By the 15th century, all of Western Europe had adopted the B.C./A.D. system. The system's inclusion was implicit in the 16th-century introduction of the Gregorian calendar, and it later would become an international standard in 1988 when the International Organization for Standardization released ISO 8601, which describes an internationally accepted way to represent dates and times.” (

Due to the increased ability to calculate time and the greater availability of more accurate historical information, calculations today put the Birth of Christ in about the year 4BC. I find it so interesting that the Apostle Paul and all of the Emperors of the Roman Empire, along with almost everyone on earth right up until the middle ages never heard or used the terms BC or AD. Now everyone can easily see that David lived in about the year 1050BC and that the Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in AD 313 making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.

So, as I said in the beginning of the message today, it was early summer in about the year 6BC, when the angel Gabriel was sent to Jerusalem to speak with an old Priest named Zacharias who was burning incense at the altar of God and making intercession for the Children of Israel.

The Christmas Story begins … (Zacharias, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist)

·        The Angel Gabriel told Zacharias that his prayers had been heard …

·        Elizabeth becomes pregnant in her old age …

·        About six months later, along about this time of year, perhaps during the Festival of Lights, also known as the Feast of Dedication …

·        That same angel, Gabriel, makes another visit. This time to Mary …

The Christmas story continues … (Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus)

Luke 1

26 ¶  Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

27  to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

28  And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

29  But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

30  Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

31  “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.

32  “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

33  “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34  Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35  And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

36  “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.

37  “For with God nothing will be impossible.”

38  Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. 

Mary makes haste and travels a great distance to see her cousin Elizabeth and finds everything the angel said to be true. As well, when Mary first greeted Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to prophesy to Mary. Mary went back to Nazareth in the spring, near the time of the Feast of Passover, about the time Elizabeth was ready to deliver. Then, 6 months later …

Luke 2

1 ¶  And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

2  This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.

3  So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4  Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,

5  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

6  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.

7  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 ¶  Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

10  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

11  “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

12  “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14  “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

The Christmas story is such a wonderful message, and it holds so many timeless truths for us to consider today. Here are but a few:

1.  Life begins at conception

2.  Nothing is impossible with God

3.  Miracles happen when we say yes to Jesus

4.  The world has never made room for Him

5.  Peace on Earth and Good Will towards Men

This is not a time to be worried or afraid for the future. It’s Christmas! The season of joy and of celebration. Jesus is alive; nothing is impossible with God; Miracles happen when we say yes to Jesus; The world may not make room for Him, but we do; and God has already proclaimed: Peace on Earth and Good Will towards all men. Be happy and celebrate Jesus this season.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Judgment Day


2 Corinthians 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

King David also understood judgment day was coming.

Psalms 50:4  He shall call to the heavens from above, And to the earth, that He may judge His people:

King Solomon understood judgment day was coming as well.

Ecclesiastes 12:14  For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

The Apostle Paul wrote about the coming judgment day several times.

Romans 14:12  So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

The Apostle John told us judgment day was coming.

Revelation 20

12  And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

15  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Jesus taught judgment day was coming.

Matthew 25

31  “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

32  “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

What will judgment day look like? Heaven’s judgement will be much different than that of the world.

Matthew 25

33  “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

34  “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35  ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;

36  ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 

As I said, heaven will judge us much differently than does the world. In fact for the most part heaven’s judgment will be opposite the world’s.

The world may judge success on how their books or records sell …

        Heaven will rather judge a person on those books and songs say.

The world often judges a person on how much money they have …

        Heaven will rather judge a person on how much they give.

The world might judge a person on how many degrees they earn …

        Heaven will judge a person on how much faith they have.

The world judges a church on how many people they seat …

        Heaven judges a church on how many people they send. 

The world judges people on how strong and powerful they are …

        Heaven judges people on how humble and loving they are.

The world says it is great to have servants and be served …

        Heaven says the greatest among us are our servants.

Judgement day is coming. Jesus made some things very clear …

Matthew 6

19 ¶  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;

20  “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

21  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I want to encourage you to set your heart on heavenly rewards this holiday season. Call upon the name of the Lord and:

·        Be saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

o   Ephesians 2:8-9 (not by works)

·        Once saved:

o   Be kind

o   Be merciful

o   Be loving

o   Be a giver

o   Be blessed by God in the name of Jesus!

Luke 6

37  “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

38  “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Judgement day is coming! It should be something for which we are all looking forward to with great excitement!

Yay! God is going to reward us according to the works we have done on this earth! Forgiveness takes care of sin but then what … don’t you want some eternal rewards? This is a big deal and it is super important.

Today there remains an open invitation to make Jesus you Lord and to fill up your heavenly treasuries with eternal rewards. The sky is the limit! Just go ahead and invest as much time, talent, and treasure as you wish. We have a limitless God with limitless blessings to bestow on His children for the works they do in His name. I love it!

Merry Christmas everyone …

Saturday, December 12, 2020



Isaiah 5:20  Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 

It is my hope today to discover how to tell if something is really the truth or if it is just whitewashed to look like the truth. Not everything that looks good and strong and protective and secure actually is. However, sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between a whitewashed lie and the truth. Perhaps God’s Word gives some critical insight that will help.

In the year AD57 the Apostle Paul was at the end of his third missionary journey when the Holy Spirit told him that he must go to Jerusalem without delay. This was Paul’s fifth visit to Jerusalem since becoming a Believer in Jesus as Messiah on the Damascus Road about 25 years earlier. Many friends attempted to discourage Paul from going back to Jerusalem concerned he would be arrested and perhaps even executed for his beliefs.

Paul was known as on outspoken man and he was acquainted with the persecutions which come along with telling the truth to people in power whose power, position, or perspectives are threatened by the truth. Nonetheless Paul and his supporters were well known throughout the empire for speaking out about their beliefs. 

When Paul arrived in Jerusalem, his friends there told him that his reputation preceded him, and that people were calling him a law breaker and a troublemaker. Paul did not wish to cause problems, and he did everything he could to avoid making things worse however the Pharisees and the Sadducees and those in Jewish political power could not stand him. They were Paul-haters. Really, they were Jesus-haters … truth-haters … they hated anything and everything that did not favor them being in total control with power and privilege over every other person.

These groups of Paul-haters had made up their own version of the truth and were using their positions to shape the narrative, influence the courts, and control the people. Just like they had done to Jesus a little over 25 years earlier, they did to Paul. These truth-haters, (ie. those who do not accept Jesus and His Lordship over their lives), lodged a false accusation and launched a public smear campaign, created a plausible narrative around their fake news and had Paul arrested and put into jail awaiting his day in court.

Of course, they all knew the court proceedings were going to be filled with lying witnesses, false evidence, and perjured testimonies. On top of that the judge and jury were leaders of the Jesus-hater’s group. It was all a big political setup right from the start. These people didn’t care about getting to the truth … they only cared about staying in power so they could continue to enjoy their high and lofty, better-than-others, glad-I’m-not-you, “it doesn’t apply to me,” positions.

When the court convened Paul was brought up on charges of breaking the law. Now these were the kind of people who were willing to do anything to get their way. If you continue reading the story, God miraculously delivered Paul from their evil intent and left these whitewashers in power for a short season. However, those truth-haters weren’t satisfied with the outcome. They formed a league of 40 men who made a vow to not eat or drink anything until they assassinated Paul. Then they put their plan into action. Once again God miraculously delivered Paul and uncovered the evil plot.

Back to the court proceedings in Jerusalem. Whitewashers verses the Apostle Paul, AD57, the dishonorable High Priest Ananias presiding. 

Opening Statement by the accused:

Acts 23:1 ¶  Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” 

Objection by the High Priest:

Acts 23:2  And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by Paul to strike him on the mouth.

Presentation of evidence by the accused:

Acts 23:3  Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?” 

Whitewashed wall! That’s what Paul called those who are in leadership who say one thing and do something else … those who judge and punish the common person for doing something that they themselves do without hesitation. Whitewashed walls … This is a Jesus problem … Truth issues …

I have been flabbergasted during the past few months at the number of high profile leaders in our state and nation who hold positions of great authority, not unlike the High Priest Ananias in the time of Paul, who enact laws, sign executive orders, hold press conferences, cast votes, close businesses, restrict meetings, limit personal freedoms, cancel family celebrations, and forbid church gatherings, while all along they are going to get their hair done at closed beauty salons, attending birthday parties for friends and families, jetting off to foreign get-a-ways with large groups of privileged people, joining mass riots and looting, celebrating political party victories, and showing up in the thousands at funerals of people who they say are more important that the rest of us, as though the rules that are supposed to apply to everyone else just don’t apply to them for some reason. Are these people lying or do they really think they are exempt? 

This is not just a common brand of hypocrisy; these people were demonically inspired insincere elitist in full array, unafraid of the consequences. They believed they were above the law and that they held all the power. Is anyone big enough to hold them to account? Well … I’m glad you asked … let’s look at where the Apostle Paul got this concept of whitewashed walls. As you know, there was no New Testament at that time. Paul took his truth from the Old Testament writings of Moses, David, and the prophets. Paul’s statement in Acts 23:3 comes from Ezekiel 13. 

This was a time in Israel when the nation was in great conflict and turmoil in about the year 590BC, just 2 years before the third and final Babylonian siege of Jerusalem and 4 years before the final destruction of the Temple.

Ezekiel 13

10 ¶  “This will happen because these evil prophets deceive my people by saying, ‘All is peaceful’ when there is no peace at all! It’s as if the people have built a flimsy wall, and these prophets are trying to reinforce it by covering it with whitewash!

11  Tell these whitewashers that their wall will soon fall down. A heavy rainstorm will undermine it; great hailstones and mighty winds will knock it down.

12  And when  the wall falls, the people will cry out, ‘What happened to your whitewash?’

13  “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will sweep away your whitewashed wall with a storm of indignation, with a great flood of anger, and with hailstones of fury.

14  I will break down your wall right to its foundation, and when it falls, it will crush you. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

15  At last my anger against the wall and those who covered it with whitewash will be satisfied. Then I will say to you: ‘The wall and those who whitewashed it are both gone.

16  They were lying prophets who claimed peace would come to Jerusalem when there was no peace. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!’

17 ¶  “Now, son of man, speak out against the women who prophesy from their own imaginations.

18  This is what the Sovereign LORD says: What sorrow awaits you women who are ensnaring the souls of my people, young and old alike. You tie magic charms on their wrists and furnish them with magic veils. Do you think you can trap others without bringing destruction on yourselves?

19  You bring shame on me among my people for a few handfuls of barley or a piece of bread. By lying to my people who love to listen to lies, you kill those who should not die, and you promise life to those who should not live.

20  “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against all your magic charms, which you use to ensnare my people like birds. I will tear them from your arms, setting my people free like birds set free from a cage.

21  I will tear off the magic veils and save my people from your grasp. They will no longer be your victims. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

22  You have discouraged the righteous with your lies, but I didn’t want them to be sad. And you have encouraged the wicked by promising them life, even though they continue in their sins.

23  Because of all this, you will no longer talk of seeing visions that you never saw, nor will you make predictions. For I will rescue my people from your grasp. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”

Believe me when I tell you that it is never over until God says it is over. God is patient and God is kind but God is not a pushover. Even when it takes time, even years, or decades, God is determined to have the last word. He will not allow deception to prevail and He will allow the wicked to go unpunished or the righteous to go unrewarded.

How can we tell the difference between the Godly and the ungodly … between the wicked and the evil … between the false and the true … between right and wrong … between deception and lies … between the whitewashed walls and a true strong defense? Look at the leaders …

Matthew 23:4  “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”

The Godly will not bind heavy burdens on others which they are unwilling to bear themselves. They will not say one thing and do something else. All those hypocrites are surely nothing more than whitewashed tombs. Jesus further said:

Matthew 23

27  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.

33  “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”

Just as the Apostle Paul said in his presentation before the high court in Acts 23:3: “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?” Don’t be confused … and don’t trust a whitewashed wall.

Two admonitions I find from the message today:

If you are a liar or feel entitled or justified to live above your own dictates:

1.   Repent and embrace the Truth … His name is Jesus … His Word is well-tempered mortar - He will change your life.

If you are saved and living the way you expect or require others to live:

2.    Pray for those who whitewash lies to look like the truth. Pray that they repent before it is too late … Pharisees and Sadducees and High Priests, or Republicans and Democrats and Judges alike.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Pro Choice


People don’t naturally like to be told what to do. And they like it even less when they feel like they are being made to do something they did not choose.

It’s not just human nature, it seems to be the nature of all life. We even see it in the animal kingdom. Perhaps we all like to have a say, choose for ourselves, and make our own decisions. Animals, humans, and even angels have been given the right of choice. Everyone has a choice.

Deuteronomy 30:19  “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”

God created us with the power to choose and He also encourages us to choose life.

I suppose we would not like it very much if God made us get saved … and if God did save us by force or took away our power of choice, we would most likely resent it and further harden our hearts towards Him. It is a good thing for a parent to teach and instruct and correct and encourage, but there comes a time when we should become responsible for our own decisions and also responsible to deal with the consequences of those decisions. God, and every parent, just hopes and prays we make the right decision.

Nowhere in the Bible confirms this truth more than we see in the account of the original sin in the Garden of Eden. For just a moment, let’s take the serpent completely out of the picture and put the focus on the people who were ultimately responsible for their own decisions.

Genesis 2

8 ¶  The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.

9  And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

15  Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

16 ¶  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;

17  “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

We can clearly establish man in the Garden of Eden instructed to freely eat of every tree in the Garden except one. The two trees mentioned, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, were both in the garden. Only one produced the forbidden fruit. 

It seems when God created both angels and men, He gave to them at least one of His own qualities … the right to choose. We learn from the scriptures that one third of the angels chose to join the angel Lucifer in his rebellion against God perhaps feeling as if God’s ways were too restrictive. It seems like the fallen angels whom we recognize in the scriptures as evil demons and the rulers of the darkness of this world, enjoy lying and deceiving and causing fear and chaos, delivering pain and disease, bringing out the worst in the carnal nature of man, championing evil and depravity, separating families, persecuting the innocent and making sport of every good and decent human.

The Bible teaches there is no redemption for the devil and his angels. However, there is redemption offered by God to man. In the Garden of Eden there were two trees mentioned by name. Two choices in the Garden of Eden … the same two choices each person has faced ever since.

What I don’t understand is “Why would anyone not want to eat of the Tree of Life and live forever?” Let’s continue with the account in the Garden after Adam and Eve made their decisions to sin. Remember:

Sin Separates

1.  Man from Man

a.   Before sin Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed

b.   After sin Adam and Eve made aprons and hid themselves from one another.

c.    Sin destroyed the intimacy God intended between man and man

2.  Man from God

a.   Adam and Eve hid from God in the Garden of Eden

b.   Adam even blamed God … “the woman ‘You’ gave me!”

Sin separates … man from man; man from God; and number 3:

Genesis 3

22 ¶  Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”  — 

23  therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.

24  So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

3.  Man from the Blessings of God in this Life and the Next

a.   God put man out of the Garden of Eden

b.   Man was separated from eternity and

c.    Man was separated from the blessings of God in this life

I don’t know how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden before they chose to disobey God, nor do I know how long they remained in the Garden after they sinned. Long enough evidently to make aprons and hide from God plus whatever time there was between God speaking with them and then speaking with His heavenly council. What I do know is that the Tree of Life was right there in the garden with them both before and after they sinned. Why didn’t they choose to partake of the Tree of Life?

I don’t know that any more than I know why people today walk around in their sin and separation from one another, from God, and from the blessings God wants for them in this life and in the life to come and never reach out to Jesus who is right there beside them every step of the way.

Partaking of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden was a physical natural act. Partaking of the Tree of Life today is a spiritual supernatural act which produces the very same results. Jesus is our Tree of Life!

When Jesus gave His life on the Cross of Calvary, was buried in the Garden Tomb, and rose again on the 3rd day victorious over sin, death, hell, and the grave, God restored man’s access to the Tree of Life … It’s Jesus!

Jesus said if anyone would come to Him, He would accept them, forgive them, and give them eternal life. Every person has access to the Tree of Life today. All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The Tree of Life is not only with us to give us eternal life, but Jesus also wants to save us from the hell of this life. If you have been born-again and have received eternal life through Christ, you have continual access to the Tree of Life for every situation you face. The devil is still in the earth, and his demons are doing their very best to destroy every good and decent person. They like to make sport of you and Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil in your life. You can call on the name of Jesus today! 

There are still two choices in this life just like there were in the Garden of Eden. If you think Adam and Eve were stupid … what do you think about yourself? Which tree do you run to and which fruit to you choose?

Don’t allow that lying sneaky serpent to separate you from others, from the joy of fellowshipping with God, or from the blessings God intends you to enjoy in this life … call on Jesus for help and choose to simply obey His Word. Don’t allow yourselves to be deceived into believing that disobeying God’s Word is ok … it is not!

God knows you don’t like to be told what to do so He has given you a choice! Choose life!