Fifty Shades of Black

We live in a world of greys.  No one is certain of anything, nothing is clearly defined, and everything is molded, changed, manipulated and reshaped to satisfy even the most extreme desires and tastes.  The chaos is deafening!

In the midst of the maelstrom of swirling controversies, debates, arguments, claims and criticisms which polarize society daily I find strength, solace and certitude in the Word of God.  I know in my heart that the Bible is God’s unerring Word. It is a rock upon which one can build a fruitful and rewarding life. I can clearly see that the Bible was developed over thousands of years and woven together in a beautiful tapestry combining the inspirations of men and women of different ages, cultures, races and ethnicities, social standing and education to create a cohesive love story.  Nothing so beautiful and so impactful could be created by mortal men.  Not even Shakespeare and Dickens, Twain and Frost l’ensemble could write with so much wisdom, gravity, beauty and love at the same time.  It is singular and spectacular.

The Bible is the one thing that offers clarity in a world of foggy equivocation.  It offers a black and white assessment of man’s origins, his fallen nature, his effort to be restored to a meaningful existence, and the gift given freely in mercy and grace to deliver reconciliation and glorious eternal existence.

This means that yes, we must accept the Bible in totality.  Not just the ten commandments, but the big fish, 6 day creation, serpents and all. Either it is the unerring, inspired Word of God or it is of men alone.  It cannot be both for if its is then no one alive can with certainty advise where God begins and man ends.  It must be a story with a beginning and an ending, a guide-book for what was, what is and what will be.  It is unique in its proliferating prophesy, proven time and again to be accurate through historical records and archeological evidence, as well as our own eyes and ears.  It is remarkable in its survivability despite efforts by many to ban it, burn it and marginalize it.  It is powerful in its continuing relevance as an observation of man, and as a source of wisdom and healing for those suffering in a violent, cruel and selfish world.  It is of the ages and for the ages.

The sacred writings . . . are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. . . . Contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.  2 Timothy 3:15-17 and Jude 1:3

Reeling from a World filled with contradictions?  Seeking truths when surrounded by deception? Troubled by doubts and fears about the focus of your life?  There is one sure method of finding meaning and truth and loving instruction:  the Bible. Read it cover to cover.  Bits and pieces are mere tantalizing morsels when a feast awaits you!

Have a God-filled day!

Serving the Lord at Work

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 3:23-24.

When you sit at your desk, or get behind the wheel of your truck, or open your store, or start to teach, who is it that you are serving?  Who’s approval do you seek for a “job well done?” The Lord expects that we serve Him and Him alone in all matters and in all things.  In truth He is the fairest judge and the best performance evaluator we could ever want or desire.  In serving Him, the Bible tells us, we guarantee our reward, not the kind that comes in the form of a paycheck (though obedience does bring financial blessings) but instead the reward that extends through this life and into the next.

I found early in my career that I would frequently try to impress someone or another wherever I worked, hoping for their approval and reassurance of my value as an employee and as a man.  The problem I discovered is that most people (there are exceptions) are too flawed to be a role model.  They have their own motives, plans, desires and schemes to get what they want and often used me as a means to fulfill their ends.  Often this meant that I replaced my goals with theirs, my desires for theirs, and my effort was spent for them and not to advance my own career as my own person.  If they talked about someone derisively I did as well.  If they spent their off hours belly up to the bar, I did as well.  If they fudged a time sheet, took supplies home, and flirted with the married secretaries, I did as well.  None of this helped to advance the plans that God had for me, but instead this distracted me from the blessings that He had waiting for me.  I was looking around for a role model when I should have been looking up.

Today when I go to the office I am conscious of my words and action, my judgments and decisions, and how they serve the Lord.  I am not speaking of preaching at the office or converting people to Christ at the water cooler, although these things can happen when God has His hand in your life.  I am talking about being aware that God expects certain behavior from His child and His follower.  It means that when we do something we really do have to stop and think: WWJD.

I have learned that when I work for God and seek His approval for my labors at work, I find greater success at the office: better workplace relationships, more careful and productive decision-making, and less concern about who gets credit and whose ideas are rewarded. Perhaps more important I have greater compassion for my fellow employees and managers.  I seek to lift them up and not tear them down to advance my own agenda.  I am less manipulative and more supportive.  I realize that as a follower of Christ I am to live as best I can the kind of life that God expects from me, and to accomplish that I need to work for Him and Him alone.

Serve the Lord in all you do, including at work.  When you look up for approval amazing things happen!

Have a blessed day.

 

 

 

Running Life’s Race with Confidence and Maturity

Let us press on to maturity.  Hebrews 6:1

In a world that seems to be growing in opposition to Christianity and a Christian biblical world view, true followers of Christ need to be armed with a mature faith to discern the truth and defend their beliefs.  It is not enough to simply attend church every Sunday to stand up for Christ.  We must invest the effort to study the Bible, participate in theological discussions with like-minded believers, share testimonies, and engage in fervent prayer on a regular basis.  We need God to reveal Himself to us now more than ever because Christianity is in the front and center of a widespread effort to discredit, marginalize, distort and stifle the Word of God.

To me Christianity is not a religion it is a way of life.  It is not a denomination but a close and personal relationship with a Savior who triumphed over death to rescue me from sin and give me eternal life.  It is a rejection of the world and its temporal and carnal pursuits and is instead a measured, humble, persistent and patient walk through a minefield of pain, suffering, lies and violence towards a glorious eternity.  The enemy is strong and getting stronger and the distractions increasing; only those who invest in their faith and mature as believers will have the strength and ability to avoid the increasingly harmful consequences of a fallen world.

Lets us run the race with endurance. Hebrews 12:1

In a world of “get it for me now” the development of faith and the blessings of heaven require patience, humility and hope.  By hope I do not mean wishful thinking, but confidence that the measure of things not seen yet believed is greater than those things right before our eyes and dangerously tempting.  We must in spite of the difficulties we face and the bad news we hear be not troubled but confident and patient, for the Lord’s promises will not be broken.

Let us be diligent.  Hebrews 4:11

It is easy to give up or worse become depressed when viewing the carnage of an increasingly fallen world.  It is tempting for you to doubt your faith, and even for some to doubt God’s very existence when they feel boxed in by an evil, selfish, upside-down world.  Yet when we look inward our heart tells the true story.  We know the Truth.  Our spirit gives us direction.  Despite what we see and hear we know the difference between the promises of God and the false promises of the World.  We must remain diligent in our faith and unwavering in the face of our fears.

Let us consider one another.  Hebrews 10:24

We must inspire, stimulate, encourage and support our brothers and sisters in faith.  We can offer a lifeline in difficult times, reinforce the Truth when it is challenged, and join together to create a strong and united front in times of weakness.  When so much of what we know as Truth is challenged and indicted around us, the power in numbers increases confidence and calms all fears.  Together we are one as the body of Christ.

Let us hold fast our testimony of faith without wavering.  Hebrews 10:23

God is faithful.  His Word is Truth.  His promises are assured.  His blessings are real.  Each of us has a testimony that has led us to Christ.  Let us not forget what God has done for us in our lives, and never waver in faith.  Let us never be ashamed of Him, nor afraid to speak with confidence our testimony of conversion and the blessings that followed. In a world that is growing miles wide and inches deep the promises of God are a deep and impenetrable bedrock foundation upon which we are to build our lives, raise our families, and seek shelter against the storms of life.  As the storm clouds darken and the winds pick up speed, our holy house will not even shudder at the tempest brewing all around us.  This is the Lord’s promise and His Word is holy and assured.

God Bless and Keep You!

Who Sets Your Moral Compass?

Be Holy, for I am Holy. 1 Peter 1:16

I asked my children today to define the word “morality.”  My oldest daughter replied:  “how a person views what is right and wrong.”

We certainly live in a world today where each of us is free to determine right and wrong from our own unique perspective.  In fact I would venture to say that we are prohibited by society from even questioning someone else’s version of morality because morals are considered “relevant,”  relevant to your age, gender, race, ethnicity, and even your financial status (rich or poor).  As I explained to my daughter, moral relevance only creates moral nothingness.  Without a firm and shared understanding of certain basic truth’s about proper behavior than anything goes.  When anything goes that is not freedom, rather it is anarchy.

I do however agree that mere mortals have no right to define morality.  Whenever some lofty religious figure attempts to do so it is only a matter of time until his or her own fallen nature results in a well publicized trumpeting of the hypocrisy and God gets the scorn and ridicule.  God himself as the sovereign Creator has the right and privilege to define morality and He has clearly done so through His inspired Word in the Bible and by making himself known to us.  God offers us the firm foundation on which to build healthy and successful lives, and He alone is the one who should be setting your moral compass. He has already built a magnetized needle in all of us that urges us to point to true North, we just have to listen to the compass and follow the arrow.  A hard task indeed but one well worth the effort!

What are God’s moral attributes?  The characteristics of God which set an example for us include: love, grace, mercy, justice, holiness, righteousness, truth and goodness.  Selfless love, grace and mercy for those who hurt us, justice for the wronged, holiness and purity in the face of evil, blasphemy and ugliness, righteousness and truth and goodness in all our acts, deeds and words.

God is separated totally from sin and evil and He wants us to withdraw from it as well.  However to know how to avoid it we must define it.  We cannot make corrupt, evil, depraved and violent things “good” simply because someone claims a self right to do them because of a “special circumstance” or “special understanding.”   We stand or fall for eternity based on the choices we make in this life.  No where in the Bible, despite the love of God and Jesus Christ, do we read that one can spit in the face of the Creator, live recklessly and then simply demand forgiveness in the next life.  We will never live a perfect life, however if we do not even set the compass and try to follow the arrow down the straight and narrow road how can we not expect God to judge us harshly for our knowing disobedience?  The Bible warns us that “though many are called, few are chosen.”  We also know that some will have “ears to hear” while others would not hear the Word if it was blasted in their minds 24/7.

We must therefore learn to “come out of this world” and never allow it to define our morality, never allow the world to set our moral compass.  The world has no moral compass…its sits spinning back and forth in opposite directions searching for a “true North” and all the while ignoring the source that offers the only path to salvation and eternal life.

Ask yourself: “who will I allow to set my moral compass, God or this world?”  If you are allowing the world to influence your walk then brother and sister I encourage you to reject what the world offers and follow the only firm foundation, the only true north, the only path worth walking.  Embrace the moral attributes and characteristics of God and His son Jesus Christ…it will not always be easy, but the rewards are eternal!