L-O-V-E: The four-letter word that the world needs to hear a little more of

It took precedence over miracles, it identifies a follower of Jesus and it has conquered the highest haughty spirits – it’s love! (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, John 13:35, Philippians 2:1-4)

Love is the most unprofane four letter word that can be spoken…and it bears repeating as oft as it’s needed. It binds, it cures and it cleanses – and that goes for the ones who give it and for those to whom it is given to. (Ephesians 4:16, 1 John 3:10-11, 1 Peter 1:22)

Love isn’t lust. It’s not even something that’s always a feeling – it’s something that’s guided, something that’s godly and something that expresses goodness in the face hatred. (1 John 5:3, Romans 12:9, Matthew 5:44-45)

Clean your ears out with this: for God so loved the world that…you’ve heard the rest, right? EA

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20

What happened to the diversity of thought being a good thing?

An athlete can come out as a cross-dressing homosexual and they are praised by the media as being a heroic example, while another athlete speaks out as a cross promoting Christian and they are castigated by the media as being a bigot and are told to keep their beliefs at home.

A politician that sees no sin in anyone other than those who call a spade a spade can sing “Amazing Grace” and they’re called the “reverend-in-chief”, while another politician who sees and calls out the sin that causes humanity’s need for amazing grace and they’re called a “homophobe” who clings to an out-of-date book.

A law can be created to “protect” an individual’s lifestyle from those who disagree with it and it’s seen as just and fair, while the same law can force those who disagree with being forced into doing something that goes against their lifestyle into doing that very thing and somehow there’s no inequality or injustice in it.

So what happened to that idea that said diversity of thought was a good thing? I guess it’s only good until the thought differs from the desired diversity…which doesn’t sound very diverse at the end of the day, now does it? EA

He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan. Whoever loves wisdom makes his father rejoice, but a companion of harlots wastes his wealth.” (Proverbs 29:1-3)

That’s not what John 3:16 says!

Sinners Prayer

While doing some evangelistic work at a local festival I was given the above piece of paper (which, by the way, also happens to be a fake $100 bill on the other side) by an individual who had stopped at our congregation’s booth. After reading the piece of paper, I decided to look up John 3:16 because the wording under the scripture reference seemed to be a little longer than what I remembered the actual verse saying, and just as I suspected – it’s not what John 3:16 says!

The prayer and the promise on this paper is as fake as the $100 bill on the other side. And like the fake $100 bill, these tactics seem real until you open them up to the light of God’s word so don’t fall for it. No apostle or prophet of Jesus Christ ever taught anyone to pray a made-up sinner’s prayer to be saved; and not one time in the New Testament can a verse be found that says faith alone saves anyone. Peter didn’t say, “believe and pray to Jesus for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” in Acts 2:38. And Paul wasn’t told to, “arise and pray some more, washing away your sins, calling upon the name of the Lord” in Acts 22:16. So why should anyone say anything close to that today?

John’s gospel is full of people who believed in various ways but they still weren’t saved, so don’t miss the point of John 3:16 (which happens to include the new birth that was discussed at the beginning of the chapter)! The point of John 3:16 is about opportunity. It’s an opportunity to find salvation from the effects of sin by listening to God’s instructions which have been given unto us by the Son who was lifted up on the cross to be the answer to our sins.

Believing in Jesus involves actions, and these actions don’t include some prayer written by the inspiration of some man or woman. And this why you’ll find sinners praying in the New Testament, but you won’t find the sinner’s prayer because that’s not what John 3:16 says.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:14-17)

Don’t Slip on the Words of a Smooth Talker

Some people see a ring on the finger and they respect the boundary that it represents.

Some see a ring on the finger and they see as it a challenge.

To such a person the “game” begins with the end goal in sight: false flattery, ego inflation, and an up-tick in excitement which reaches a point of infatuation that ignores the obvious – righteousness and the cost.

Such is the danger of allowing our heart to slip on the words of a smooth talker that has no regard for our soul. EA

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell.” Proverbs 5:1-5

 

What Are The Ingredients That Make Up Gilead’s Balm?

After throwing Joseph into a pit, ten brothers saw some traders heading to Egypt with it (Genesis 37:25). In a sad twist of irony, multiplied centuries down the line, the brother’s descendants, along with the nation of Egypt, would metaphorically be at a loss without it (Jeremiah 8:22, 46:11). And millennia later, numerous songs have mentioned it, and even a modern-day pharmaceutical company bears its name. What is it? It’s the much sought after balm of Gilead.

Although originating as a literal and highly sought-after medicinal salve produced in the mountainous regions of north-eastern Israel, the reputation of, and reference to, Gilead’s balm became a symbolic medium and antidote to the sickening effects of sin due to the fact that no worldly medicine could help a dead or dying soul – the spiritual problem demanded a spiritual solution! Thus, Gilead’s balm was the name of the soul-saving prescription that could only be written and administered by God.

So what were the spiritual ingredients that made up the medicine of God? The same ingredients that it contains today:

Read the list of scriptures for yourself. They don’t take long to read, and their theme is easily recognizable because the ingredients of Gilead’s balm are clear and understandable which is the way God designed it to be.

And one last thing, keep in mind that the Great Physician from Galilee is the only one today who still offers and is able to write the prescription for the same balm that contains salvation’s salve for a sinful and dead soul. EA

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:21-24)

Freedom from sin – before or after?

Read Exodus 14:9-31 and 1 Corinthians 10:1-4.

Now, when did Egypt lose their power over Israel? Before or after Israel was baptized into Moses?

When did Israel find their freedom from bondage? Before or after they were baptized into Moses?

How did Israel end up receiving their God-given freedom from slavery? By faith before being baptized into Moses, or by faith after being baptized into Moses?

Now think about those answers and exchange Egypt with Satan, Israel with your name and Moses with Jesus, then read Romans 6:1-18 and answer the same questions to figure out if freedom from sin comes before or after being baptized into Jesus. EA

Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:34-36

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:16

Are you a lightning-bug Christian?

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve discovered that catching a lighting-bug after the sun has gone down isn’t as easy as I remember it being as a kid.

Maybe nostalgia has skewed my memories, but the flying light-bulbs just don’t seem to stay lit as long as they used to!

Truth be told, now it seems they act more like some Christians in the church – you see their light shining in the dark, but before you can make your way to them they turn out their light. EA

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15)