Month: April 2012

Undefeatable

If Paul is free, he converts the world; chain him to a jailor and he converts the guard; put him in prison and he writes the Bible; if you kill him, you do him a favor as he goes to be with Jesus.  Now how do you defeat a guy like that?” — Billy Bland, Memphis School of Preaching Lectures

From Glad Tidings of Good Things – Jacksonville, AL

“…for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16)

GOD problems

Look at that title…what is it saying to you…does it make any sense? Look at it one more time. There is a sentence and a lesson in that title of two words. It’s a sentence that is easy to say, but a lesson that’s hard to remember; but the lesson is a fact nonetheless. If you have figured it out great! If not, here is a hint – which one of the words is bigger? Do you see it now? “God” is bigger than the “problems.”

God is bigger than our problems! I told you it was an easy sentence to say but a hard lesson to remember. God is big, very big! The Earth is compared to His footstool (Isaiah 66:1; Matthew 5:35). God’s hands made the dry land the way we might make a sandcastle (Psalm 95:5). The Bible describes God gathering the sea together in a heap and breathing the host of the heavens into existence (Psalm 33:6,7). These are the four biggest things we can see on or from the Earth: the dry land, the oceans, the Earth itself and the heavens above. These things are huge! And yet they are all very small compared to our God; but let a problem come knocking and we soon forget all about that.

God made us and we often (not always! but often) make our own problems. I could’ve easily made the word “problems” bigger than the word “God” in the title. But who’s really bigger? The One that made us – or the problems we make? I know the answer and I hope you do too, but that question still manages to stump me from time to time.

Remember the man possessed with the legion in Mark 5? In verse nine Jesus asks the demon his name and the demon answers, “Legion.” In case you don’t know, the word legion is a military term representing a group of several thousand soldiers. Most people agree it probably meant about 6,000 around that time.

So here is Jesus facing a demon several thousand strong – He’s got a big problem on His hand’s right? Wrong! Why not? Because Jesus had more than twelve legions of angels from the Father that would’ve taken care of that problem! (Matthew 26:53) Put that number in your calculator and tell me which is bigger.

Sometimes we may wish that God would just come down and take care of all our problems in a snap, but our problems are often lessons reminding us to rely on Him (James 1:2-4). Let’s all do our best to encourage and remind each other that God really is bigger than our problems. Think about it.  EA

“…He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

Jesus Will Come Again

A beautiful song with the above title reminds us about a fact that the world scoffs at, and we as Christians sometimes take for granted and forget. Here’s how the first stanza and chorus reads:

“Jesus is our loving Shepherd, And He is a faithful guide. He is coming back from Heaven for the church of Christ, His bride. He has promised all the faithful that a home to them He’ll give: And to glory will receive them. Evermore with Him to live.”

As much as it is necessary for someone to believe that Jesus was crucified for our sins, buried and defeated death (Romans 10:9), you must also believe the Bible’s teaching concerning His return. Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus returned to Heaven in front of His disciples, which were afterwards told by two “angels” that Jesus would return in the like manner that He left. (Acts 1:9-11) If you believe Jesus is who He said He is, then you must believe that His return is inevitable.

Will all be well when He returns? Will the earth be filled with peace and happiness? Not unless you consider great noises, heat and fire peaceful (2nd Peter 3:10). Will He return in secret? Not unless you think you can hide lightning! Christ said that all people would see Him return (Matthew 24:27,30). Will people, including some Christians, be unprepared to see and meet Him? Sadly, yes they will be (Matthew 24: 45-51). Will His return usher in the judgment day in which the majority of people will sadly be cast into Hell? Unfortunately, yes it will (Matthew 7:13-14; 25:31-34,41,46 & 2nd Corinthians 5:10).

His return is no fairy tale (2 Peter 3:1-13). (more…)

Jesus Is The Real Deal

Long ago God’s prophet Amos warned his listeners, “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11).

God kept His word. In an age that saw about 450 years of silence from the prophets of God before John came out of the wilderness preaching repentance and the kingdom of God, Israel managed to get their spiritual appetite back (Matthew 3:1-6). They were lacking true spiritual leadership. The religious sects of the day had abused the people with a fake outward show of righteousness and an inward moral decay (Matthew 23 & Mark 12:18, 38-40). The people were looking for someone who was truthful, understanding and passionate. They were looking for someone who was real. The prophet who broke Israel’s “spiritual fast” with his words from God declared Jesus to be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29-35). The real deal had come.

Jesus was the real Man. He taught the people of Israel how to truly show their love for God and their neighbor (Luke 10:27, Matthew 6:33 & Philippians 2:5-8). It’s easy to be a “man” when you have a crowd behind you, but Jesus stood up against wrong even when the crowd and public opinion was against Him (Matthew 21:12,13 & John 8). He showed what a real man was by treating women with respect, love and mercy (John 4:6-15; 8:3-11); and without a doubt, this man loved His mother (John 19:25-27). He showed the world what the definition of a man was.

Jesus was the real Friend. Jesus made friends before His public ministry began (Mark 3:21). He had a bad reputation with the religious leadership of the day for being a friend to “tax collectors and sinners” but He had a good reputation with the common people (Luke 7:34 & Mark 12:37). (more…)

Which Comes First???

So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind.” (Genesis 1:21)

The “age-old” question, “Which came first? The chicken or the egg?” that so many in the world quibble about is easy to answer when one reads what God’s word says about it. So what does it say? Right there in Genesis 1:21 you have it. First the bird, then the baby.

Another question that so many in the religious world quibble about is, “Which comes first? Baptism or salvation?” The answer to this question can be found just as easy as the answer to the previous question if we would only let God’s word give us the answer.

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

So what does God’s word say about it? Right there in Mark 16:16 you have it. First baptism, then salvation.

Now, why do so many in the religious world trust God’s word when it comes to Genesis 1:21, but they can’t trust it when it comes to Mark 16:16? It’s something to think about. EA

“I’m Tempted to…”

Have you ever caught yourself saying that you are tempted to do something? Be honest! Even if you have not said it I know you have thought it. Temptation is that tug at the sensual side we have. It can be unique to each of us but it can be very general to all of us (James 1:14, 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Some temptations are obvious while some have the tendency to sneak up on us. Some we see coming and others catch us by surprise. Some we know to stay away from and some refuse to stay away from us. I cannot say for certainty what tempts you personally, but I can with reasonable certainty think of something that tempts us all to one extent or another. Something God’s word talks about.

Giving into the temptation of getting even can be easy to do. Sometimes the temptation is to get even publicly because of embarrassment or sometimes privately because of pride. Sometimes we even want to get even on the behalf of others such as friends and family members. When we think “I’ll show them” we usually end up just showing our self!

Not retaliating takes spiritual discipline. A difficult discipline! A discipline we are called to emulate after the example of Jesus (1 Peter 2:17-23). Getting even goes beyond physical or even verbal retaliation; it can extend to the withholding of something that we have from someone who is in need.

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21)

Let us all be able to say that we are tempted to let it go…and actually mean it. EA