Monday, October 30

Handwriting on the wall

In our culture today you will hear people say, “I saw the handwriting on the wall.” When they use this phrase, they mean not only that they see what is going to happen in a certain situation, but that it is inevitable and is usually a bad outcome for them.
When King Belshazzar saw the fingers of a hand write on the plaster wall, he called for the prophet Daniel to interpret the meaning of the words. Daniel gave the king the bad news….. “This is what these words mean: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. 27Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. 28Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:26-28).” This is exactly the situation that all human beings are in with God. God, in his sovereignty and providence, has numbered the exact time that we have on earth (Acts 17:26). All human beings are found wanting when God measures our lives and deeds on his scales (Romans 3:10). No matter how much success, fame, wealth, and possessions humans may have acquired, it will all be divided and transferred to someone else when death comes. The wealthiest person alive will not take anything more from this world than the most poverty stricken person on the planet. However, there is good news for both the rich and the poor. There has been one who has been weighed on the scales and not found wanting. Jesus Christ is He and He has provided a way that all sinners can be weighed and not be found wanting. By trusting through faith in his atonement and perfect righteousness, sinners can climb up on those scales, clothed in his righteousness, and be found not wanting. This verdict of not guilty is one hundred percent due to what Jesus Christ did for sinners and zero percent for what sinners accomplished. Just as King Belshazzar reached the time when he had to face the handwriting on the wall, there is a day appointed for all human beings to face the handwriting on the wall. Human beings can either face that day alone and be found wanting or cling to the cross of Jesus, secure for all eternity.

Friday, October 27

Gift of God

The clock on top of the Lamar Life Building has been recording time for well over sixty years or approximately one lifetime. The concept of time never ending is difficult to imagine. The gift of eternal life will never end!

As the previous meditation revealed, the first part of Romans 6:23 tells the extremely bad news of the condition of human beings at birth. However, the last part of Romans 6:23 is packed with great news for those redeemed by God’s grace. Gift, God, eternal life, Christ Jesus, and Lord are words that explain the bottom line of Christianity. God is the giver of the gift. By definition, gifts require nothing from the recipient but acceptance. The gift that God is giving is eternal life. This life of happiness, worship, bliss, peace, joy and love will never end. This eternal life is in Christ Jesus. He made it possible by his perfect life of obedience and his sacrificial atoning death. There is no other way to receive this gift but through him. Human beings can sincerely follow other religions and be extremely moral and good by human standards, but this will not result in eternal life. Believing, accepting, trusting, and submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is being in Christ Jesus. This is a relationship of love that is initiated by God….We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:16). This process is not like applying for social security where you sign up and return to your normal life style. It is a gift from God in which God, the Holy Spirit, applies a new heart in the recipient and enables him to willingly come and trust in Christ Jesus…..I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36-26). The only thing that man brings to the table is the sin. God, through his word and the preaching of his word, quickens sinners with his power…. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). As the old hymn so beautifully states, “There is power in the blood.” Praise God for this most amazing gift.

Thursday, October 26

The myth of the carnal Christian

Does God hope, wish, and keep his fingers crossed wanting things to happen or does he ordain and cause things he decrees to happen? Does he regenerate and sanctify with power or does he hope believers will become disciples? Is it possible for a genuine Christian to reject following Christ and be all carnal all the time? Connect the dots……………

Isaiah 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

Isaiah 55:10-11 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

John 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

John 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

Romans 8:9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

Romans 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

I believe sanctification is fueled by grace from God that man is active in and responsive to. The N.T. is packed full of passages exhorting us to be involved in sanctification such as Rom. 8:9-17. Upon connecting these dots with the passages such as Phil. 1:6 and John 6:37 we learn that God does not fail in sanctifying true believers. He is 100% successful and will lose none who are his. In John 17 Jesus prayed to God that he would sanctify his disciples. It is inconceivable that God would not answer this prayer. To believe that it is possible for a true believer not to experience any sanctification defies Scripture, insults the power of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, and means that the high priestly prayer of Jesus went unanswered. Anyone professing faith in Jesus who totally rejects being obedient, loving, and following Christ has not been regenerated and is in need of genuine faith. If they are all carnal all of the time (Rom. 8:8) then they are not saved period. True Christians may be carnal at times, slip, fall, sin and are not perfect, but they are not controlled by the sinful nature although the 'old man' is still causing problems in their lives. The will feel convicted when they sin and will experience true repentance because of the new nature they received at regeneration.

Thursday, October 19

Wages of sin

A group of buzzards wait in an old dead tree to scavenge a meal made possible by death.
Adam was created by God and placed in the garden of Eden where he was given a covenant of works to obey. This covenant had but one simple requirement…… And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die (Gen 2:16-17).” The consequences of disobeying this covenant was physical and spiritual death. Romans 6:23 above states that death is earned by sin. Sin is disobeying God. The nature and traits of God are revealed in his word, the Holy Bible. Among many characteristics, God is pure, holy, just, and absolutely true to his word and when he says death is the result of sin, it has to be that way. Since the result of Adam’s sin (original sin) is that all men are born sinners, physical and spiritual death is the inevitable consequence for all of mankind…..Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12). Physically, man is born alive and remains alive until death. But spiritually, man is DOA (dead on arrival). Just as a physically dead man cannot make himself alive, a spiritually dead man has no hope in and of himself of making himself spiritually alive ….As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Ephesians 2:1-2). Although man does not have the power to become spiritually alive, in the next photo meditation we will look at how God can and does breathe spiritual life into sinners as the second half of Romans 6:23 is considered.

Monday, October 16

Natural Disasters

God controls and directs everything in the universe and nature. He decrees whatever comes to pass in this world including natural disasters.
Before the fall, God, man and nature lived in harmony in the Garden of Eden. Man, due to his sin of disobedience, brought a multitude of problems upon himself, including difficulties with nature. God, in his mercy and grace, chose to redeem many from the spiritual death that resulted from the fall. God’s plan of redemption involves saving men from this spiritual death for eternal bliss in heaven where there will be unbelievable joy with no pain, suffering, or death. However, in this fallen world, God has not said that pain, suffering, death, tragedy and natural disasters will not occur. In fact, He has said the opposite….. The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away (Psalm 90:10). Jesus said …..“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Quite simply, peace comes from Jesus and trouble will come from the world. Scripture reveals in many places that God has ordained all that comes to pass…. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please (Isaiah 46:10). Noah’s flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah are just some of the disasters decreed by God that are recorded in the Bible. The book of Revelation has prophecies about future natural disasters that have been decreed by God. While it is beyond human understanding, The tsunami of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005 were also part of God’s purpose and plan. Though death and destruction are terrible in this world, they have no effect on the spiritual eternal destination of the redeemed. Paul even referred to dying as gain….. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). His point was that death was but a doorway to eternal glory. If people are searching and expecting health, wealth, fulfillment, physical and emotional happiness in this world, they are searching in vain and in the wrong place. However, if they are seeking these things in heaven, they will be fulfilled even if death in this fallen world comes from a natural disaster. (Matthew 6:19-21, Colossians 3:1-4)

Thursday, October 12

Deer from bedroom window!

Psalm 42:1-2 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.When shall I come and appear before God?

What a beautiful thing it is to see God's creation and glory from your bedroom window. The view of a mother deer and her offspring is quite a touching sight. Perhaps that is why Scripture uses deer to illustrate some wonderful truths. Psalm 42 paints a picture of a sinner desiring and wanting to be near God. This is a characteristic of those that God has redeemed. Their hearts will yearn for fellowship and closeness to God.

Monday, October 9

Excuse me, but I don't get it!

I can hardly turn on a Christian radio station without hearing someone proclaim without any elaboration, “God loves you unconditionally.” Is this the message an unbeliever needs to hear? Is this the message of salvation that we get from the Bible? This message of unconditional love implies that your sins of all kind are no problem whatsoever to a loving God who has no other attributes of consequence. Whether you are stealing or selling drugs to children remember now that ‘God loves you unconditionally’. Is that Biblical? What does the Bible have to say about God’s love and his message to a lost sinner? Is it to tell them of his love and to tell them to proceed full steam ahead in sin because his love is unconditional or is it possibly another kind of message? Perhaps we should do something controversial and look to the Bible for answers. Very early in the first book of the New Testament we read the following:

Matthew 3:1-2 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

These are clear words from John the Baptist and from Jesus. Repent! This certainly indicates that ‘Houston we have a problem’. Yet, we not only have Churches proclaiming unconditional love from God, we also have no-lordship proponents proclaiming that repentance is not a part of the gospel message and a changed life is really not necessary for salvation. Excuse me but I just don’t get it. It seems to me that we should read a little further and find out why Jesus thinks we need to repent, or would that make make a ‘sensitive seeker’ too uncomfortable.

Monday, October 2


Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
This old abandoned church near Port Gibson was certainly well built. It still stands as a reminder of a church congregation that no longer meets together. While the history of this church is unknown to me, there are churches that do give up meeting together because of dwindling resources and attendance. The Christian life is one of endurance and encouragement where believers need to encourage each other and worship together…. For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4). Meeting together as a body, whether in public places or in homes, is an encouragement to all believers…. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, (Acts 2:46). Jesus encouraged as few as two people to meet together in his name…. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20). Thus, it is apparent that the body of Christ should meet together and encourage each other even if their congregation should shrink to as few as two people. The Bible speaks of encouragement as a necessity and not an option …. Therefore encourage each other with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18).