AMAZING

John got a rough start in life. When John was 7 years old, his mother died and John’s father was the captain of a merchant ship. John was bitter toward God, blaming Him for His mother’s death.

John lived a life of sinfulness and self-destruction. John’s sins cost him greatly for eventually he ended up as forced slave labor on ships and ports. Though John eventually escaped this life of slavery, he went on to serve on ships and finally on a ship of slave traders. Now he was a part of forcing others into slavery.

One night on the high seas a storm like nothing he had ever seen arose. The fierceness of the waves and wind was terrifying to John and all the crew who surely knew this would be their end. But then in the midst of the storm’s fury, John dropped to his knees and cried out to God for mercy and pleaded if God would save him he would dedicate his life to God’s service.

There God spared John and his crew. John was converted, left the sea trade and began to serve God as a faithful teacher of the scriptures. John’s faith grew and people came to listen to him teach. John wrote several hymns for the church. His most famous was title, “Faith’s review and expectation” of how God preserved John’s life from such sinful living. The song was later changed to the name most people know it by today, “Amazing Grace”. And it still is as true now as the day it was written.

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WHAT ARE WE TO BE

If several people who attend church were asked what kind of Christian they were, I’m sure most would identify that they are some type of church person. They’d mention that they were either Baptist, Church of Christ, Methodist, Church of God, Catholic, Assembly of God or some style like Pentecostal, charismatic, full gospel, and so on.

But is this what we should consider as a Christian? Labels do not make a person a Christian. It has to be from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and He has to be the Lord of a person’s life. The true church is the only one, established by God Himself through His Son Jesus and no other.

There is nothing wrong with these fellowships or denominations or movements or whatever you want to refer to yourself as. But without Jesus, and Him alone, as Lord there is no other way to God. Today this nation has fallen more and more into darkness and many people are losing more hope. Only the true church has the answer and it is not found in a certain leader nor movement or worship preference.

The Christian is reminded in the Bible in 1st Corinthians these words if we are to be true representatives of the true God of heaven and earth and to be servants of Jesus Christ as Lord. Listen to them carefully: (“Speak the same thing, that there be no divisions among you but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind.” 1st Corinthians 1:10).

The Christian, which is the church, is told to work together with all these that are followers of Christ and until they do there is not going to be the results there could have been to reach a world full of people that desperately need Jesus today and a nation that needs a spiritual awakening.

THE PLANTERS

Seed can’t do any good if it’s not planted. God’s greatest servants are His seed sowers who get the seed out and get it distributed in the ground. There is a great need today, not tomorrow, but today, to be focused on kingdom planting. Many are still just interested in tending their own garden. There is only one field God is interested for you to be in. “HIS”.

There is nothing wrong with tending your own field. What can cause problems is how much time you spend doing your business when God has work for you to do in His field. There is way too much tending the fields of people in the world and not nearly enough of tending God’s fields that can produce eternal harvest.

Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the ungodly…He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water…”

God has all the resources but uses people to get them sent out through channels and some are holding God’s resources that need to be in the fields. And there are some who are supposed to be more involved than they are. There is nothing greater for any Christian to do than being a part of growing the kingdom of God.

God said in Proverbs 8:19 – “My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, and my revenue than choice silver.”

Wouldn’t it be much better at the end of this journey to arrive in heaven and hear “well done good and faithful servant” instead of “well you’re done.”

The reason the gospel is not getting out like it should is that church people don’t get involved enough, personally.

MANAGING SIN

This is very common in our world. People believe they can do this. They believe they can be good and then bad if they choose and this is ok if they just make sure they do more  good than the bad. Basically, if you are a good person, you’re an OK person with God.

Most people believe they can manage sin and everything will work out fine in the end. But they need to take into consideration what God’s word says about this. 1st John 3:6, “He who abides in God does not sin.”

Now we do make mistakes. But to roll the dice on sin, to gamble with one’s soul, is more than dangerous because sin leads to death. For people to be willing to try to play with sin thinking they can manage it will end up being destroyed by sin.

Listen from the book of James, chapter 1, verses 14-16; “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed, when desire is conceived it gives birth to sin and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived.”

You see there are many who think somehow God will give them a “pass” or that they’ve said a prayer somewhere along their life and they’ve made some kind of a deal with God even though they just live as they believe is right. No one can ever manage sin and win. They’ll lose everything in the end.

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE

God has put His true church right in the middle of the problems and attacks of the world’s sinfulness to stand against the advances of evil. Ephesians chapter 6, verse 12: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

We are in a spiritual war; this election in November is a spiritual issue, not so political, and here stands the church right in the middle.  Who can make a difference?  God is standing in the center of the storm by placing His Son, Jesus, right in the middle of any mess or trial we face today.  Jesus has always been and is still the calmer of storms and the hope of the world.

God has equipped the church for battle and to take a stand for righteousness and being able to meet the darkness head on with the light of His word, His power and His mighty right arm.  The church, the Christian, has at their disposal all the weaponry, all the power, all the wisdom, and all the provisions needed to win this battle or any battle. Jesus is coming for a victorious church; not a beaten down or compromised church, but a church that has overcome all the world has thrown at it because the church is the Christian who has been bought by the blood of Christ!  And has authority, if we will step forward for duty for such a time as this.

 

ELECTING RULERS

It is impossible to not talk about religion and politics if a Christian cares about their faith and responsibility in the world. Does not God’s word declare, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived.” The issues of our times are too complex, too important, but not so with God. God is not controlled by the political system.

In elections whether they fail or not, God picks those He chooses to fill the office! But it is up to the people to cooperate and do what God asks them to do in voting. The nation has been given a moral compass because it was founded on one by our forefathers.

Countless elections and bills passed and decisions made have affected millions all because of one vote. So all have a responsibility to vote, for the good of others, as well as themselves. We need leaders who know that their character in private is just as important as what they do in public.

Choose to vote for men and women who pursue wisdom because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We must have men and women to lead who have a healthy moral sense and who are wise in the use of words and conduct. Men and women of integrity who do not just tell us what we want to hear, but tell the truth whether we want to hear it or not.

The temptation is great to vote for those who we think can produce the greatest benefits to ourselves. But again, voters must also use the standard of God’s word, regardless.

Our country was once was more governed by Christian principles and was more Biblical, with righteous principles than it is now. If we want our country to return, not to its past, but to God, then we must live according to the principals of His word, in the church as well as in the government.

WHEN LEADERSHIP IS DECEIVED

I believe the word deception is more prevalent today than in times past.  People are deceived every day but when even those that are doing the deceiving believe their own forms of lies and manipulation then deception runs from leadership on down to its followers and causes a chaos that seems to have no end.

The Bible warns people who live this way what will happen if this behavior continues.  The scripture plainly says that because of people’s continual sinful ways, that people’s minds will become as reprobate, where they can no longer think clearly, they will act against their own natural senses and will become even worse than animal-like behaviors.

Satan is a master at confusion and deception.  And today he has become very active because of how many in the general public have chosen how to live according to their own desires.  This generally has started at the leadership and has then made its real appearance in the society that leadership has affected.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Look how people lust for their own gratification.  Many are doing what they think is right in their own eyes and again the Bible speaks directly to this.  Times are not going to get better because Jesus is on the verge now of returning. Sin is being given by leadership a broad path into society.  Restraints are being taken out daily and soon this all will run its course and actually get even worse as the day draws near for Christ’s emanate return.

GOD HAS A PLAN

To some it may not look like it as we look across the globe. There is no doubt that as time changes so are the instabilities of the world. Constant threats of terror attacks, some new virus or possible financial collapses in this nation are here or there. Yes, we live in a day of revolving problems that won’t go away and are actually growing with intensity as natural disasters are seemingly on the rise and tensions among people groups and lifestyles, diversities and tolerance for all is pitting some against others.

It looks pretty bleak at times and actually it is. Not because there is no hope but because there always is hope in following God’s son, Jesus. The reason people can’t find hope is they try to solve their own problems and those the world is facing.

People meet here and there trying to devise plans or new laws to deal with the issues of the day when all the time all they have to do is to turn to the One who has the answer and back off of their own opinions and unstable plans.

God has and always will have the right plan. Now as long as mankind continues to interfere, with their own solutions, the problems will continue to grow and eventually overpower us. But nothing is bigger than the God who made this earth. He alone can deal with any issue we face, you personally or as a nation.

We have to back off and turn our lives and these situations over to Him, alone. Serve His purposes, pray for His guidance. Regardless of what we might think needs to be done, God has a plan and God’s plan will work.

THE FOUNDATION WE HAVE

Did you know the Hebrew word for the United States is Land of the Covenant? There are only two countries in history that have had their political standards and their moral standards aligned with the Holy Scriptures as nations that were to obey God’s word and glorify the only true God of heaven. Those two countries are the nation of Israel and America and God has proven time and time again that He has had His hand on both countries.

In August  1814, after the British troops broke through American lines, they began burning U.S. government buildings all across Washington, D.C. and it appeared the young nation would collapse. Then, suddenly, massive thunderclouds gathered and the first ever recorded tornado in the city’s history rampaged through the capital. The violent twister decimated the British army and, at the same time, a torrential downpour of rain extinguished the fires they had just set – changing the course of the war and saving the fledgling nation.

America’s rich tradition of prayer was established by those who sacrificed to lay the foundation for a government based on the principles of God’s word. God needs prayer warriors, intercessors, that will intercede for this nation and unless God shows up in His miracle working power, this nation is headed for rough waters, possibly greater than any of us have ever seen or would want to know.

And God will only show His miracle working power in people that will seek it and seek His ways and put self aside and pray. Many great prayer warriors have come before us. But today it is up to us. We must seek the Lord through prayer and seek Him through Jesus whose name gives us the authority to pray. It can be tempting to believe that America has reached a point of no return. While these factors cause despair, we are reminded in Scripture that with God nothing is impossible. No problem is too great for Him.

HAVE YOU CHECKED YOUR OIL

In Matthew chapter 25, there is the story of a wedding about to take place. All were to be ready but were not. They were to meet the bridegroom and to keep oil enough for their lamps. Now here we see how 10 thought they were ready to go but found out they had problems. Half didn’t keep their lamps prepared and because they let them burn as much as they wanted to; they ran short when the time came and they really needed to be ready.

They were told the time will come and when it does, be ready and until then they were to watch but only half did. Half lived like they wanted to. They were burning their oil as much as they wanted to and not using wisdom for they were told, “stay prepared for the bridegroom is coming”.

Here lives were lost for the bridegroom came and left. Those who had not paid attention, found themselves turned away and no longer an opportunity to go.

We must have Godly balance and only the Holy Spirit has all the inside information. We can’t understand God if we don’t have a good relationship with Him. When we miss God, the cost can take years, sometimes, to recover from. Yet God’s word says if we will obey Him, He will give back what the locust has eaten. There is a cost for not following God like we should. Many today sit in churches all over America. Things should have been different in their lives. Some Christians have missed opportunities for ministry, exceptional jobs, marriage partners, friendships, church assignments and many more things all because they wouldn’t trust God enough to step out in faith and try Him and His promises.

Check the oil running your life today. God will refill you. There is still time left for your life to make a difference for Him and be ready for the eternal future to come.