Mar 9, 2014
Mar 9, 2014
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers” – Romans 1:27-29
If we could only count how many times our Father in Heaven has forgiven us and our transgressions. How blessed are those who have not been given over to themselves. We were born dead in sins and transgressions.
How easily, even at a very young age, do we choose a path laden with sin and depravity in which we spend a majority of our time merely feeding our own appetite for lust, power and domination over those of whom we may freely exploit, ruin and devour. Even when we try to justify our evil intent with a good final outcome, we are only heaping more coal upon ourselves. The ends will never justify the means. Evil can never be pacified, it only breeds more evil.
All who play Judas will come to a terrifying end. There is no winning in this ‘game’ of life. A shallow grave reflects the universal end of an earthly existence. Will we redeem the time? Is our love and kindness ever on display even in response to the growing hostility that abounds a little more with each passing day?
We are no better than the reprobate short of our faith and understanding. However, if we truly have these things what more shall we need. We are infinitely and eternally blessed beyond measure. Our gratitude will transcend temporal things and our perspective shall not give way to hardship and adversity.
We may struggle, but overall our life is very, very good. Is that your worldview? Is it reflected in your walk, talk and life? If not, why not?
Compassion breeds truth in love which in turn breeds bitter hate or joyous redemption. Ultimately, it’s God’s call.
by AJ CASTELLITTO
It may sound strange, but I actually get excited about certain times of frustration. When I sense a restlessness followed by dissatisfaction but cannot identify the cause, then I know to ask the Lord what He’s doing. Past experience tells me that once I make the move He desires, my frustration will end and I’ll be in sync with His plan for my life.
Frustration is usually considered a negative feeling. However, when God agitates us, His purpose is always good. He sometimes uses our sense of dissatisfaction as well as spiritual and physical barriers to guide us toward new insights. For example, I woke up one Saturday morning during my seminary years feeling as if I were in an emotional butter churn—I could not settle to any task or relax, and I did not know why. So I started praying about these feelings and asking the Lord to reveal His will. I spent most of the day on my knees. Soon I discovered that the good plans I had made to temporarily pastor a California church were not His plans. Had I ignored the frustrated feeling, I would have missed a vacation to North Carolina, which resulted in a call to the church God intended for me.
In a culture of busyness, we can easily and foolishly overlook or ignore restlessness. But divinely sent frustration is meant to get our attention. God wants us to ask, “What are You saying?” and “Do You want me to be doing or thinking something different?” As soon as we are willing to deal with whatever the Lord brings to mind, He starts revealing what we need to change in order to receive His insight.
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)
Often this passage is thought of as an admission by all sentient beings of the deity of the Lord Jesus—and it certainly is that. There surely will come a point in time in which “every thing that hath breath” will praise the Lord (Psalm 150:6). Those of us who are the twice-born will do so with great joy. Those who have chosen to reject the gospel will also do so—but with overwhelming terror (Proverbs 1:27).
However, the foundational passage from which the New Testament quotes, and by which it twice applies the event, is found in Isaiah 45:22-23: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”
Our verse today applies the Isaiah passage to the great final judgment referred to in Revelation 20. Other insights in Revelation cite some of the songs we may sing and something of the ceremonies and pageantry associated with the celebration of Christ’s formal assumption of His role as King.
The first New Testament quotation of Isaiah 45:23 is in Romans 14:11-12. Here, Paul applies the judgment to an open report of our deeds: “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Surely this broader sight should strengthen our resolve to “please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4). HMM III
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:13
Now, what is our great encouragement in view of all that we know about ourselves? It is the fact that God loves us without measure, and He is so keenly interested in our spiritual growth and progress that He stands by in faithfulness to teach and instruct and discipline us as His dear children!
I once wrote something about how God loves us and how dear we are to Him. I wasn’t sure I should put it down on paper, but God knew what I meant. I said, “The only eccentricity that I can discover in the heart of God is that a God such as He is should love sinners such as we are!” God has that strange eccentricity but it still does not answer our wondering question, “Why did God love us?”…
You can put all of your confidence in God. He is not angry with you, His dear child! He is not waiting to pounce on you in judgment—He knows that we are dust and He is loving and patient toward us.
If it were true that the Lord would put the Christian on the shelf every time he failed and blundered and did something wrong, I would have been a piece of statuary by this time! I know God and He isn’t that kind of God.
Thank You, Father, that in Your eccentricity You loved me enough to lay down Your life for me, to forgive my failures and call me Your child. Amen.
God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)
We should revel in the joy of believing that God is the sum of all patience and the true essence of kindly good will!
Because He is what He is, we please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections and believing that He understands everything—and loves us still!
The God who desires our fellowship and communion is not hard to please, although He may be hard to satisfy. He expects from us only what He has Himself supplied. When He must chasten us, He even does this with a smile—the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is!
This is the best of good news: God loves us for ourselves. He values our love more than He values galaxies of newly created worlds.
He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust!
Faithfulness to us in our faults is a certain sign of fidelity in a friend. You may depend upon that man who will tell you of your faults in a kind and considerate manner. Give me for a friend a man who will speak honestly of me before my face; who will not tell first one neighbor, and then another, but who will come straight to my house and say: “I feel there is a wrong in you, my brother, I must tell you of.” That man is a true friend; he has proved himself to be so; for we never get any praise for telling people of their faults; we rather hazard their dislike; a man will sometimes thank you for it; but he does not often like you any the better.