This category is for posting on religious, preferably Biblically sound topics.
God’s Word is Important But…
In “Section 6” we looked at distractions that slowly creep in to replace love and compassion with head-knowledge and Godly motivation with that of man-centered traditions. In the final section, The Fatal Distraction-Section 7, we will look at how we can be victorious over the things that distract believers from fulfilling the “Great Commission” that Jesus as He departed to be with the Father. The command that Jesus gave us as believers is the difference between “heaven and hell” for those who have not heard the gospel. The focus for believers must be that of Holy Spirit empowered declaration in a world that is perishing as opposed to introverted pontification in religious machination as a rebellion against the world around us!
Recipe for Success
As we walk out our life in Christ Jesus we must never forget that God desires “Compassion not sacrifice”. God’s Word tells us in Hosea 6:6 “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” and in 1 Samuel 15:22 “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” The fact that God demonstrated His steadfast and merciful love for us, as we were dead in our sin but made alive through Christ Jesus, He also wants us to demonstrate that steadfast love and mercy to those who are perishing.
In order to insure that we do not become Pharisaical toward those who do not know Jesus we must always remember that we were sinners separated from God for eternity by our sin nature. It must never leave our conscience that apart from God’s gracious gift of His Son Jesus we would be hopeless, helpless, hedonists that are displeasing to God in every way. The apostle Paul said it best in Romans 7:24:25 “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
God’s Word is important, but…
In “The Fatal Distraction” Section 4 we covered the fatality, discovering that the fatality is not us but those around us with whom we do not share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes it is difficult to see the warning signs of the fatal distraction. Today, in Section 5, we’ll cover the first two warning signs that are clues of distraction. Here we will look at how we can recognize when we have begun to become Pharisaical in our perspective toward others. As we pursue our relationship with God we must always remember from where we have fallen and to where we have been restored and by whom we are offered the free gift of salvation that has nothing to do with our religious efforts. Now the “Warning Signs”.
God’s Word is Important, But…
In Section 2 we looked at “Knowledge without Action is like Fireworks with No One to Watch” and how learning God’s Word without without taking action is like putting a bright lamp under a bushel basket. Today we’ll look at “The Fatal Distraction-Section 3” and try to uncover how we, as believers, become distracted with things that are not an integral part of the ‘Great Commission”.
God tells un in Hebrews 4 that His Word is “sharper than any two edged sword” and that it “is able to judge the intentions of the heart.” While the intentions of our heart are key in performing God’s will, we cannot write off the commands that He has given us as His people in the “Great Commission”. We may not have the gift of evangelism but we are all clearly called to evangelize. We may not have the gift of preaching but we are all called to share the gospel with everyone around us. We may not be gifted by the Spirit as a prophet but we are called to be the “salt of the earth” and speak into a world of darkness the light of His Word.
If churchy activities distract us from doing the things just mentioned it is time to evaluate what is truly in our hearts. Are we pursuing righteousness through deeds of “good works” or are we pursuing the “Great Commission” as commanded by Jesus. Is our inclination to speak the truth of God’s Word or shrink back from the world of darkness? Are we bold in sharing the gospel or have we been caught up in “Fatal Distractions”?
God’s Word is Important, But…
In Section 1 we looked at “Information without Formation Leads to Spiritual Devastation” and how learning God’s Word without that learning translating into a changed heart leads to legalism and self-righteousness. In today’s installment of “The Fatal Distraction” we’ll look into how studying God’s Word must prompt action or it is merely another churchy “check box”.
So many times I have taught studies from God’s Word things that profoundly changed my heart and forced me to take action based on what I had learned. But when the teaching time was over no one remembered from one week to the next what had been taught. The attitude of those who attended was one of “Bible Study”, “Check”! But in studying God’s Word, many times tears of joy follow tears of sorrow as I realized how short I have fallen but how God had provided a way for me to have eternal life in spite of my own sinful nature. God’s Word speaks clearly into my life by the power of His Holy Spirit. Each time I read and study God’s Word, things in my heart change. I truly understand what the prophet Jeremiah felt when he wrote Lamentations 3:22-23 “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” So how is it that so many people can hear God’s Word taught clearly, but have no sense of responsibility to allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives so as to result in action? Continue reading
How to Deal with Temptation
Satan Uses Three Avenues!
Today we’ll look at how to deal with temptation. We’ll focus on the temptation of Jesus and how Satan used the same methods he used in the Garden of Eden to temp Jesus. How did Jesus handle the same kind of temptations that caused Adam and Eve to fall into sin? Continue reading
Catch for us the Foxes; It’s The Little Things!
Recently my daughter posted her “Snow Day Activity” on Facebook and it was the scripture in Song of Solomon 2:15. Today I was reading D.L. Moody’s book “The Overcoming Life” (highly recommended) and what did he write about? Song of Solomon 2:15. So I figured that the “Thought of the Day” should be about what that scripture represents to me. Some would disagree theologically but D.L. Moody and I are right in sync so Here we go! Continue reading
Ephesus and Pergamum
In a Tale of Two Churches we’ll talk about two churches in the book of Revelation. The Church at Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7) and the Church a Pergamum (Rev 2:12-17). These two churches operated in completely different methods but had two things in common. They both had to deal with the Nicolaitans yet in their respective response were both displeasing to the Lord thus resting under the same sentence; “Repent or I’m coming to remove your lampstand”.
Let’s begin with the scriptures from Revelation. Continue reading
The Sin of the Way It’s Always Been!
I never cease to be amazed at the power of tradition. No matter how ineffective a ministry has been it can become a tradition or set of traditions that hold people captive with almost mystical power. When you look at the traditions of of the church you see ministries that have been built around programs which have not born fruit for decades. Is it any wonder that many if not most churches are slowly dying on the vine? Is it any wonder that the church of Jesus Christ is no longer the “salt of the earth”?
Having been involved in many churches over the decades one of the things I can say with confidence is that I have never seen a church split over Biblical doctrine. In every case it is over things that simply do not have Biblical precedence and, even more importantly, are rooted in the personal preference of people who have been in the church for a long time. That’s the way it’s always been and we have to keep it that way! The traditions of man!
Traditions have become the inane, anachronistic center of attention in many, many churches.
Fulfilling the Great Commission!
One of the things that has never struck me a quite right is the old notion of inviting someone to church. Recently, I wrote an article on”Fulfilling the Great Commission” and it suddenly dawned on me to as why that old adage “invite someone to church” has never set well in my spirit. The reason is quite simple. Inviting someone to church is not fulfilling the “great commission” but committing the “great cop-out”. It is so much easier to invite someone to church because the sharing of the gospel then rests on the shoulders of the pastor who is trained to to do that! Right! Wrong! The last command that Jesus gave us before ascending into heaven was quite clear. Here it is:
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
What Proceeds out of the Mouth Defiles the Man
The study today is from Mark 7:1-23. (the parallel account is in Matthew 15:1-20). The anchor verses are Mark 7:20-23.
Mark 7:20-23 “And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.21For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.23All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” Parallel passage in Matthew 15:1-20.
One of the things that we believers must learn how to do is meter what comes out of our mouth. It is clear from the scripture in Mark that Jesus was talking to the disciples about what was in the hearts of the Pharisees. Jesus response was directly addressing the fact that the Pharisees were hung up on the traditions of man and their intent was to controlling others using traditions through verbal coercion. The Lord not only directly confronted the heart of the Pharisees (Mark 7:5-8) but He expanded on it in in a way that is meaningful to believers (Mark 7:20-23). Continue reading