Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What Will Happen When We Meet Our Maker?

For Christians, the meeting with our Maker will be an awesome experience. We will get to see first hand the source of life and all of creation. This meeting will allow us to worship our Lord and Savior in person and be able to express our deepest heart-felt emotion of love and reverence for all He has done for us. We will be given a place in Heaven because we will be seen as righteous, since we (repented) confessed our sins and accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord of our lives. Jesus Christ's perfect blood sacrifice on the cross was the payment for all our sins.

For Unbelievers, the meeting with our Maker will be a very frightful experience. They will realize all too late that they rejected the only way into heaven. This rejection of Christ as Lord and Savior while in their earthly bodies will leave God with no choice but to execute His perfect judgment on them for their sins. Unbelievers will be cast away from God and thrown into the Lake of Fire (Hell). Please come before God, repent of your sins, and accept Christ's sacrifice on the cross as the atonement for your sins. Trust in Christ as your personal Lord and Savior today while you still have the breath of life. After you die or when Jesus returns, it will be too late and your fate will be sealed. I pray you will come to Jesus today!

According to God's word in His Holy Bible, every knee will bow before God and every tongue will confess to God. See Isaiah 45:23 and Romans 14:11-12.

What will your first reaction be to this existence with our Maker? We will only know once we are in His presence. I can only imagine. Will you think about what your reaction will be while the music video below is playing?

I Can Only Imagine

Sunday, January 20, 2008

God Moves In A Mysterious Way

Psalms – 150 Psalms, David wrote 73 according to the superscriptions. This week’s focus is Psalm 7.

Psalm 7: The superscription says that this Psalm is a Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjamite. Shiggaion is a term derived from the verb which means “to err” or “to wander.” It might also mean “wild” or “ecstatic.” It’s a poem written with intense feeling, a lament to stir the emotions. It’s a request to God for justice against those who make slanderous comments.

OT Background: Justice is a priority in the Bible. We often think of justice where God will punish sinners. However, we see that justice includes helping those that either can’t help themselves or are under a hardship. Please read Exodus 22:22, 23:6-9, Deuteronomy 24:10-15, 19-22, Amos 2:6-8, 5:24, Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 82:3-4.

Life Question: What does God want me to do about the injustice I encounter?

Seek Refuge in God
Please read Psalm 7:1-2 – We don’t know the identity of Cush the Benjamite. When Saul falsely accused David of plotting to take his throne (1 Samuel 18 - 19), David had to flee Saul. David could have written this Psalm at that time as Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. When we are threatened or even mildly persecuted, we tend to retaliate or lash out in revenge. But what does David do? He turns to the LORD. David knew how to guard sheep against wild animals, including lions. Please read 1 Samuel 17:34-35. David knew that words could tear him like a lion, ripping him apart. David felt like a sheep being stalked by a lion when the shepherd was not near to help and deliver him. He felt vulnerable.

Evaluate Your Heart (Actions)
Please read Psalm 7:3-5 – One key step in responding to verbal attacks is to step back and honestly examine our life to see if the criticism is true. Sometimes God can use others to confront us with the truth that we have refused to admit, like where Nathan confronted David with his sins and David listened to the truth. But these “if” statements in verses 3 through 5 are showing some of the accusations against David. David admits that if the statements are true, then he deserves what the enemies want to do to him.

[Contemporary Injustice Assertion Beginning]

This is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, so we should take a moment to go over some contemporary issues. Please reread Isaiah 1:17. Let’s cover some injustices in the U.S. that are evident. The Declaration of Independence states the following:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

The U.S. Constitution states the following:
"We the People of the Unites States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice . . . and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity . . . ."

and "Representatives . . . shall be apportioned . . . by adding to the whole number of free persons . . . [and] three fifths of all other Persons."

Why did we count some people as only 60% of a person? This situation got rectified in the 13th and 14th Amendments, where the 13th Amendment ended slavery in 1865 and the 14th Amendment, Section 2 counted every person as a whole person in 1868. There is a parallel to this situation in the abortion debate today. People are unwilling to define a preborn baby as a person. What part person is the preborn baby? 25%? 50%? Do we base the percentage on a fraction of 40 weeks? Or do we refuse to admit the baby is a person at all? There is really no justification whatsoever to deny the 100% personhood of a preborn child. We have a responsibility to protect those that can’t protect themselves. Otherwise, we could be guilty of sins of omission. All human life is equally important.

If you feel strongly about this abortion issue, please note that the State of Georgia was mentioned this week (1/14/2008) in a U.S. News & World Report article, New Abortion Wars: An age-old fight is heating up in the states. The Constitutional Amendment is attempting to declare a fertilized egg "a person" who enjoys "inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of law." This proposed Amendment is known as the "Personhood Amendment" and is planned to be on the ballot in Georgia in the 2008 election.

[Contemporary Injustice Assertion End]

Call For His Justice
Please read Psalm 7:6-11 – We can bring our sins before God, confess them, and be forgiven. In this manner, we can be declared righteous even though we are sinners. Notice the words “justice, judge, righteousness, and righteous.” Our English word for “justice” emphasizes judgment that is fair and impartial. The Hebrew word also increasingly included a judgment based on mercy and compassion for the poor and homeless (aliens, dispossessed). Sometimes with all the injustice, we don’t know what to pray for and the Holy Spirit will intercede on our behalf. Please read Romans 8:26-27.

Rely on God to Respond with Righteousness (Not in Book)
Please read Psalm 7:12-17 – verses 14-16 are showing that people reap what they sow. But unfortunately in that process, innocent people can get hurt. And sometimes, God allows evil to continue even though innocent people are hurt. But how does David end the Psalm in verse 17? With thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness. We have to put our trust in God and His righteous judgment. God will execute final justice, even if it is not during our lifetime.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How Can I Get Rid Of Guilt?

For born-again Christians, the idea of committing any sin is abhorrent. Christians want to please God the Father in their obedience to Him in all that they do. Are Christians perfect? Of course not. But having the will to please our heavenly Father is where the Christian differs from the unbeliever. Where there is only God's perfect moral standard for living, unbelievers will attempt to implement their own moral code and will fail in even attempting to adhere to their own substandard morals. So to discuss guilt, we have to understand it from the perspective that we are coming from in feeling guilty and whether we are Christians or not.

For Unbelievers:
If you are having guilty feelings, the Holy Spirit could be working in your life. Repent of your sins to God, and come kneel before His throne and dedicate your life to Him. When you do this, you will be born again and will be a Christian. Jesus Christ died for the forgiveness of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. You will be guilty no more.

"For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit."
1 Thessalonians 1:4-6

For Christians:
If you are having guilty feelings, recollect when the last time was that you repented of your sins to God? Do you have any unconfessed sin in your life? If so, confess your sins to God, and He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness. If you continue to have guilty feelings even after you have confessed all sin to God, then Satan is actively working in your life to thwart you from doing God's will. Guilt is a powerful tool of Satan to rob you of the joy of being a Christian. Satan is the accuser.

". . . For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before God day and night . . . ."
Revelation 12:10

I can think of two ways of dealing with this type of guilt from Satan.

1) When Satan brings up your past, bring up Satan's future.

"When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
Revelation 20:7-10

This is an easy way to remind yourself who your Master is. God's Bible tells us that through our confession we are purified, so we have a clean slate.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9

2) If you are still struggling with guilt, you might need to call on God in the Name of Jesus to remove Satan from your path.

Satan is an obstacle for you. What better teacher to learn from than Jesus Christ Himself! In Matthew 16:21-23, Jesus is explaining to His disciples that He will suffer and die, yet be raised on the third day. Peter, who is the Rock on which Christ built His Church, took Jesus aside and told Him, "Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!" Jesus answered, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me . . . ." In the Name of Jesus, command Satan to get out of your mind and behind you as you are on the path of righteousness doing God's will. Guilt should end at your confession. You are blameless before God.

If you are a Christian feeling guilty even after you have confessed all sin, please stop. Harping on the past is not only unhealthy physically, but it is also unhealthy spiritually. You are wasting precious time resources that you could be focusing on saving the lost or ministering to others.

If you are an unbeliever, I pray that the Holy Spirit will convict your heart and move you to repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. It is only by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, that we are able to be called righteous before God. No other Name will do. The time is now! All Praises to Him!