Friday, 30 June 2017

YOLO (You Only Live Once)


“And behold, joy and gladness, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 
(Isaiah 22:13, ESV). 

Today we may not slaughter oxen and sheep, and eat their flesh and drink wine in the exact same context as we read in today’s text. But hey, I do like barbecued lamb chops. Nevertheless, not much has changed since the days of Isaiah. We share in common the key phrase “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”  It is this hedonistic attitude we share in common with the people of Isaiah’s day. A popular phrase among young people today is “YOLO,” which simply means, “You Only Live Once.” This carries the exact same meaning we read in today’s text, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”   We read in the Gospel of Luke 12:19 these words from the rich hedonist: “And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’  (ESV). The attitude implies there is only this present life to enjoy things, so make the best of it while you are here, for you only live once. (see Isa. 56:12; 1 Cor. 15:32). No thought is given about eternity, or what happens after we die? Their minds are far from thinking about God, sin, and judgment to come. Their minds are preoccupied with the here and now, with the passing pleasures of this world. There philosophy for this life is to not think about God, sin, judgment to come, and eternity. Their attitude is, “You only live Once,” live it up! Party it up! Have fun! They say, be the life of the party, but fail to realize the party robs you of your life! How you say? It robs you of the life you could have in Christ. It robs you of the true peace, joy, love, service, and fellowship you could have in Christ. It is true that we only live once in this present life here on earth, that is why it is vitally important to consider the choices you make in this life. Because there is much more to us than just this world we are passing through. We have an eternal soul that will one day leave this earthly existence. Where will you spend eternity my friend? Will it be with God in heaven above, or will it be in hell beneath, forever separated from the Lord, loved ones, and friends who know the Lord? Yes, “You Only Live Once” so be wise and choose life in Christ as opposed to this short existence here in this present world spent living for ourselves. Just as we only live once here on this world, we only die once as well. There are no second chances to come back to correct past wrongs done against God, others, and yourself. “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27, ESV). By faith, repent of your sins and receive Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour today, and experience true lasting peace and forgiveness that can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. You only live once, so make it count for Christ!


Heavenly Father, we only live once here in this passing present world, help us to make wise choices, because our eternity may depend on it. Also, the choice a sinner makes for or against Christ in this life affects him or her for all eternity. For their Eternity is hanging in the balance. Lord, soften the hard hearts of your people, and grant unto us broken hearts over our sin and the Christless eternity our neighbor is headed towards. Give us hearts of compassion and love to win our neighbours to You. In Jesus name. Amen.

Monday, 19 June 2017

IS MARRIAGE WORTH FIGHTING FOR?



“When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” 
(Hosea 1:2, ESV).  

What a strange command the Lord gave to Hosea. He instructed him to go “take to yourself a wife of whoredom” and have her bare your children. Imagine that, marrying a woman known for her bad reputation of sleeping around. Yet, this is precisely what God was telling Hosea to do. I’m sure he must have balked at the idea on first hearing it, but he obeyed the Lord. Now does this mean God approves of such adulterous and promiscuous behavior in women? Of course not. There are ample Scriptures that prohibit such sinful behavior (see Ex. 20:14; Lev. 18:20; 20:10; Matt. 19:18; 1 Cor. 6:18). The purpose in why God instructed Hosea to take as a wife, a woman of whoredom was to reflect the nation of Israel’s state of whoredom. The Lord wanted to show through Hosea’s relationship with Gomer Israel’s spiritual condition before God. Just like Gomer was an adulterous wife, so was the nation of Israel to God. Gomer was the physical picture of Israel’s spiritual whoredom before the Lord. Yet, God loved Israel despite her unfaithfulness to Him. Is this not astounding? Many people are giving up on marriage today. In our culture, people view marriage in a mostly negative context. With so many failed marriages, people look at it as not worth pursuing. They look at such a commitment as being too hard to maintain. Men view it often as a trap where they lose their freedoms, whereas women feel they lose their identity in marriage. Men have much more to lose in marriage than women do due to the fact the courts often award women with the custody of the children and alimony. The truth is marriage is not the problem, people are! Marriage can work if a man and woman are truly committed to each other, and are not in the relationship for selfish purposes, but are willing to genuinely love each other enough to work through their issues. Yet with the divorce rate we have today, many people are choosing to live common-law rather than tying the knot in marriage. Since marital commitment is no longer viewed as “until death do us part,” but is easily broken over mere inconveniences, pettiness, and greed, it is no wonder many young people don’t take marriage so seriously any more. Perhaps the phrase, “until death do us part,” could be better phrased in today’s culture as, “until inconvenienced, then let us part.” I like what a friend had recently wrote about divorce on his blog. He wrote:

“If my wife were to cheat on me, yes, it would very much hurt me, and my emotions tell me that I should divorce her for being unfaithful to me. But if marriage is a portrait of Christ and His church, should Jesus be allowed to divorce us when we are unfaithful to Him? If so, then we ought to teach and believe in the loss of salvation because that is precisely what divorce reflects. Where is the Gospel in any of that?”[1]
This puts a whole new perspective on such marital vows as seen in this phrase, “until death do us part.” In Hosea’s day Israel was unfaithful to God, today the Church is unfaithful to the Lord. Yet in all this the Lord Jesus remains faithful to His bride, the Church. So is marriage worth fighting for? Absolutely! The challenging question for us here is, are we faithful to our heavenly Groom, the Lord Jesus Christ? Christian singer, Warren Barfield's words from his song, "Love Is Not a Fight" are fitting here:


Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave
May God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight
But it's something worth fighting for

Beloved Lord Jesus, we are often so fickle in our faithfulness to you. One minute we are devoted to You alone like a faithful bride, then the next minute we cheat on You in the kisses of other things that rob You of our affection and devotion. Lord forgive us of our unfaithfulness to You and grant unto us a steadfast heart that is not divided by other loves. In Christ name we pray, Amen.

Monday, 29 May 2017

DOING GOOD TO OUR NEIGHBORS



“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” 
(James 4:17, KJV).


Recently, I saw an inspirational video on a social media site that shows a few touching scenes of people seeing other people in need and helping them. Such messages that should inspire us to do good to our neighbors often seem to fall on deaf ears. How many of us walk away unchanged, maybe even unmoved by the message? We hear about our next door neighbor in need and make the excuse someone else will help them. What if no one does, or if someone else does, you miss out on the blessing? We never stop to at least go over to our neighbor and offer them help, whether financially, physically, or emotionally. Maybe a fellow co-worker just got laid off work and has a wife and a couple children to take care of. Do you call him and ask how he is doing? How willing are you to help him financially, while he is looking for work? How about that homeless man you see every day on the side of the road on the way to work? “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good,” knowing the right thing to do speaks of responsibility; “and doeth it not,” rebelling against doing what is right speaks of disobedience; “to him it is sin.” Not doing good in helping your neighbor is sin.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

ALL SIN IS AGAINST GOD


“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,” 
(Psalm 51:4, ESV).

This Psalm is attributed to David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah. Yet, here in today’s text we read that his sin is against God alone. Now how can this be, seeing David is the one who sinned against Uriah, by committing adultery against him with his wife, then to top it off had him killed on the battlefield? Though David had personally sinned against both Uriah and Bathsheba, strange as this may seem, all sin is against God. Why? Well, that’s because we bare the image of God and are responsible to Him. Sin committed against others is never a singular sin, it is always plural in that the sin maybe against someone or yourself, yet at the same time it is against God as well. For all sin is against a Holy God. This is where genuine brokenness, confession, and repentance over the sin or sins we committed is necessary to restore fellowship with our God. As David later said in this Psalm, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." (Psalm 51:17, NASB). Then we need to seek forgiveness from anyone we have sinned against, and then forgive ourselves as well. Sometimes this may not be easy, but it is necessary if we want to experience genuine or uninterrupted peace in our relationships with God, man, and ourselves. So as you, dear reader go about your day today, remember, all sin is against God and not just your fellow man. 

Heavenly Father, we often don’t think about the sins we commit against our neighbor as sinning against you, and you alone. Thanks for reminding us of this truth in David’s words in Psalm 51. With renewed determination and trust in You O Lord, we forsake our fleshy ways to embrace “The way, the truth, and the life” (John14:6) that is in Christ. In the precious name of Christ we pray. Amen.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

GOD'S HOLINESS AND IT'S INFLUENCE



“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” 
(Exodus 15:11, ESV).


The Lord is absolutely Holy, there is no spot of sin in Him. Because He is Holy, His presence has a profound effect upon us. We can’t help but be changed and transformed by His very presence. When we spend time alone with our Lord in prayer, His Word, and meditation, like a search light in the darkness, His Holy presence exposes and convicts us of sin, as well as humble us to our need of God’s help. There are a few Biblical saints as well as non-believers who were affected by God’s Holy presence. Job said, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6, ESV); Asaph realized, “until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.” (Psalm 73:17, ESV); Isaiah proclaimed, “And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isa. 6:5, ESV); Peter cried, “But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8, ESV); even the officers were affected, when they said, The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!”  (John 7:46, ESV); Pilate declared, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”  (John 19:4, 6, ESV); and Peter and John’s boldness, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13, ESV).

Friday, 31 March 2017

THE MYTH OF JESUS HAVING LONG HAIR



“Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” (1 Corithians 11:14, KJV).


Here in America, we have many pictures that promote the myth that the Lord Jesus was a handsome caucasion Jesus. This of course contradicts the Bible that tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ was a first Century man born from Middle Eastern Jewish parents. Even more, these pictures always seem to depict Jesus as having long hair. The question is, did Jesus have long hair? According to the Apostle Paul, it is a shame for a man to have long hair. So here we see the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 11 teaching about headship and how that long hair on a man is disgraceful. So long hair is a glory to a woman, but a disgrace to a man. Some may argue here, yeah, but Jesus had long hair? If He did, why do the first Century Christian men have to have short hair? Great questions. Do not many paintings by artists depict Jesus having long hair as already alluded to earlier? Yes, they do, but many of these paintings depict Jesus as a handsome Caucasian man, when in reality, he was a first Century Middle Eastern Jewish man. Scripture tells us that Jesus was a plain looking man (Isa. 53:3), not known for His good looks, nor is there any indication He had long hair. Now he did have short hair and a beard. That much is clear from the Scriptures. The Bible on the other hand, is silent on Jesus having long hair.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

THE COMING OF CHRIST MOCKED?



“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” 
(Matthew 24:36, ESV).


There is a popular quote I seen recently on a sign a few feet away from a local Church in the city I live in. It reads: “Jesus is coming, look busy!” I have also seen this same quote read, “Look busy, Jesus is coming!” I’m sure the minister of that local Church means well. No doubt, the quote was meant in humor. Yet, when one thinks about the phrase “Look busy” there appears an air of mockery in it. It seems to make light of, or trivializes the coming of Christ. I can’t help but wonder what non-Christians think when they read this message on a Church sign? Again, no doubt, some unbelievers will smile and scoff at such words. Peter describes these people in these words: “Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”  (2 Pet. 3:3-4, ESV). To millions of Christians around the world, “the coming of Christ” is the believer’s hope. Three times we read in the book of Revelations these words of Christ: “Behold, I am coming quickly,” “And behold, I am coming quickly,” and finally, “Surely, I am coming quickly.” (Rev. 22:7, 12, 20). The term “behold” in verses 7, 12 emphasizes the truth “pay attention to,” while “surely” means “of a certainty.” Now the term “quickly” seen in all three verses does not mean right away or immediately as one would think. No, for there are prophecies that need to be fulfilled before that great and notable day.