It is necessary that God should punish rebellion and apostasy. The bible says; “The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all its fullness, You have founded them. The north and the south, You have created them; – You have a mighty arm; Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;” (Psalm 89:11-14,)
Every act of rebellion, every act of sinfulness is a direct attack on the throne room of God. For Him not to punish sin is for Him to surrender to evil. God will and has acted on this necessity. He tells us; “Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.’” And “For a fire is kindled in My anger, And shall burn to the lowest hell; It shall consume the earth with her increase, And set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” (Deuteronomy 32: 35& 22)
WE have a great necessity, to wake up, to remember our first love, to hear with the ears that God has given us the warning that God has spoken to us in Deut. 32:28. when He says “For they are a nation void of counsel, Nor is there any understanding in them. Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would consider their latter end!” (Deuteronomy 32:28-29)
This is a fictional story that I wrote a few years back. Nothing like this is happening in America— Yet.
Accept for the stars in the moonless night sky there was no light. The pale gray asphalt gave off enough of a glow that we could walk without stumbling. We were thankful for the dark, because we could walk the streets without drawing the attention of the soldiers. We made it to church that night without any trouble.
When we got to the dark house where we were to meet, our leader briefly turned his small flashlight on. He shined it in the dust at the side of the door. Even though most people would not have saw anything but random lines in the dirt, we clearly saw two lines that intersected to form a crude drawing of a fish. This was the sign that the meeting was happening and that it was safe to enter.
Without knocking the leader slowly opened the door, a small light illuminated our faces revealing out identities. A low voice said. “Follow me”. We walk down a short hall where a door opened to a room that had no windows. Crowded into the room were ten other people who had also come at great risk of their lives to worship The Lord.
In this small interior room we could speak without fear of being heard outside. The Pastor spoke up, “Welcome brothers, now that you are here we will start.” Then with a clear voice he began to sing, “We love you Lord, and we lift our voice to worship you O my King” and we all joined in to sing praises to God. We sang several songs and someone prayed.
Because Bibles had been outlawed no one had one, but the pastor passed out hand written copies of John Chapter 3. He then began to speak of how Nicodemas had come to Jesus in the night because it was also dangerous for him to worship Jesus. The pastor’s message was clear and comforting. I felt peace and courage as I listened.
But then the peace was vanquished by the sound of the front door being blasted open by gunshots. The boots of a dozen soldiers could be heard as they went from room to room. Then the door to the room we were in burst open. We were blinded by the bright lights that were attached to the soldier’s weapons.
I was paralyzed with fear. A voice from behind the lights demanded that we line up against the wall. One of the soldiers gathered up our copies of John and handed them to the leader. He looked at handwritten Words of Life and screamed, “Who wrote this crap”? The pastor stepped forward and began to say, “I did” but before he could say the words a bullet tore through His chest. His blood splattered over all of us.
Then the voice of the leader changed, where it had been harsh and loud now it was soothing and oily gentle. Pointing at the body of the pastor he said, “I know that you all really support your government and that you have simply been misled by this criminal”. He continued, “I am not an unreasonable person. Now that you have seen what happens to subversive criminals I know that you will want to renounce his teaching and declare this Jesus to be a fraud. If you wish to leave this room with your life then step forward and tell us that you know this Jesus is a foolish fairytale.
I have never been so scared in my life. My heart was beating at an insane rate. I did not want to die. I believe that Jesus is God; I had vowed to follow Him forever. I am ashamed of what I did next. I wish I had been brave, but I was not, I was a coward. I stepped forward. I could not hold my head up but I mumbled these words, “Jesus is a fake”.
Then one by one the rest of the Christians stepped up, and one by one they each said the words, “Jesus is a fake”. As we each denied Christ we were told to stand together on one side of the room. In a few minutes all but three had betrayed the Savior.
The three stood there, a teenage girl, a very old man and the pastor’s wife. They stood there weeping. The soldier pointed his weapon at them and said, “Renounce God or die”. The old man lifted his head and with clear and strong voice said, “Even so, though I die, I will never betray my Jesus.” As he said these words, the pastor wife and the young girl slipped their hands into his and lifted their eyes to the heavens. Their faces shown with a Holy Light and for a few seconds the room was silent. As if paralyzed by an invisible presence the soldiers were unable to speak.
Suddenly the lead soldier shook his head, as if he was shaking off the invisible presence. He pointed at us and roared “Leave”! We all scrambled to get out of that room through the front door. Once outside the house we stood looking at each other in shame.
Then we heard three voices begin to sing. The quavering voice of the old man, the grief stricken voice of the pastor’s wife and the high clear voice of the young lady began to sing, “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound”. There was an explosive sound of a gunshot. Silence! But then strong, and clear the pastor’s wife and the young girl sang out, “that saved a wretch like me” BOOM another gunshot shattered the night. There seemed to be no break in the song this time, the teenage girl continued to sing loudly and clearly, I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I See! A final shot rang out and the voices were silent.
I ran, along with the other Judases. The sound of the shooting faded but the song reverberated in my soul. I found a dark place to hide and prayed that Jesus would forgive a wretch like me.
I love Thanksgiving. Families spend time together and there’s always plenty of turkey, dressing and gravy. Thanksgiving comes at the best time of the year. I love the falling leaves, the cool days, the cold nights and the smell of smoke from someone’s fireplace. I love Thanksgiving for many reasons, but most of all I love the fact that grateful people are giving thanks to our good and gracious God.
In First Thessalonians, Paul the Apostle teaches us about thanksgiving. He begins by showing us that we should give thanks always for one another. We should be thankful for our churches, church leaders and our pastors. As we thank God for our friends and loved ones, we should also constantly lift each other up in prayer.
The Word of God tells us that it is His will that we should give thanks in everything. Now, I do not think that God is insisting that we give thanks for all things because there are some things that we are just not going to be thankful for. However, God has promised never to leave us or forsake us. Therefore, no matter what circumstance we are in, we can always give thanks because we know that God is in it with us.
The Bible teaches that we are to rejoice always, because there is always joy to be found in Jesus. We should pray without ceasing, because we have a God who never ceases to listen to our prayers. In everything we can give thanks, because God is victorious over all things.
I love Thanksgiving because on this day and every day, I know that my gracious God is worthy of all my gratitude.
I once knew a man who became very sick. He went to the doctor for treatment. However, the doctor was unable to help him. He had an untreatable cancer and only a short time to live. What can a man do in this situation other than go home and get his house in order.
This man and his wife of many years had worked hard to build a house, a home and raise a family. As he looked around, he realized the house that he would leave behind was in shambles. Not wanting to leave his wife in such a rundown house he began to make sure it was restored and in good condition. Yes, he was going to be gone and would not benefit from the restored house, but he loved his wife, so he got the house in order.
Society is the house we live in and it is in shambles. It does not matter what your age is, you are not promised tomorrow. If you do not want to leave a broken and rundown house behind, do something to improve society today. Remember your loved ones are going to live in this world you leave behind.
So cover this world and your loved ones with prayer. Then broadcast seeds of the Gospel everywhere you go. Be kind to everyone and lend a helping hand to at least one person today.
Love God with all your heart and let this love be evident in your words and actions. Remember this, if one person has a closer walk with God because of your actions today, then you have made the world a better place for tomorrow. And you will have succeeded in setting your house in order.
On April 16,1978 Deborah and I were married. On that day, by God’s Grace the two of us became one . In 1979 we purchased a house and it has been our home every since . In this house we have laughed and cried, we have fought and made up, we have celebrated and mourned. This is were we live. In this house we raised our family and every inch of it is coated with memories. It is our home, but it is not us, it is not our marriage.
This house greatly reflects our personalities. We are familiar with all the creaks and pops and every crack in the walls. There is contentment to be found in its every flaw and we want no more comfortable place than is our house. But if it is taken from us tonite and if tomorrow we are homeless we will still have each other because what God has joined together nothing can put asunder. You see this house is our home, but it is not us, it is not our marriage.
All over this land there are buildings that people call churches. Some are beautiful brick and mortar structures while others look more like metal warehouses. In these buildings church members have laughed and cried, they have fought and made up and they have celebrated and they have mourned. In these buildings the family of God has grown and they are filled with memories. But if all these buildings were destroyed today and we had no place to gather, we would still gather and we would still worship God. These buildings are not the church, they are not our salvation.
The church is the bride of Christ, Jesus is the bridegroom . He loves the church and He gave His life for her. But when Jesus said,” I will build my Church” He was not talking about brick and mortar. No, He was talking about us. Those of us who are His followers, we are His bride, we are His church. We have been chosen by God to be precious, living stones in the spiritual house that Jesus is building.
One day all these buildings that people call churches will rot and burn, they were never meant to be permanent. However The church that is the bride of Christ is built on a firm foundation and will never fail. Christ loves the church and gave Himself for us, He has sanctified and cleanse us and one day we will be presented to Him as a glorious church, holy and without blemish.
Lord, once there were people who were told by their government how they must worship. They were told who they would serve and what their doctrines would be. But You stirred their hearts and they rose up in defiance of the tyrannical rulers. They bravely risked their lives and sacrificed all they had for religious freedom.
Lord, once again we find ourselves oppressed by a government who would tell us how we must worship, who we will serve and what our doctrines will be. Lord you once stirred the hearts of your people to rise up in defiance of an unjust government, My prayer today is that you will do it again Lord
Lord, this great nation was born when men were stirred to fight for their Independence and freedom. Brave men realized that they were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Lord you stirred the hearts of these brave men to stand up to despotism and demand the right to live in a land of truth, justice and righteousness. Today I beg you Lord, please do it again!
Lord, once you raised up great men to lead this nation. These men were not politicians who could be bought or swayed by vagrant ideologies. No, truly great leaders are valiant statesmen who stand on Biblical principles and refuse to be bought or bullied by ungodly men or entities. Lord you once raised up true leaders to guide this nation, please Lord do it again.
Lord, you once raised up prophetic men who were unafraid to stand before evil and corrupt leaders and proclaim , “Thus says the Lord’. Heavenly Father we once again need a Moses to say, “Let my people go”. Once again we need an Elijah to challenge the false gods and the evil Jezebels of today. Once again we need a Nathan who will stand before the nation’s leaders and say, “be sure you sins will find you out”. Once again we need a Jeremiah who will weep over this broken nation as he boldly proclaims a truth that burns in his bones. Once again we need a man like John the Baptist who will shout loudly, “Repent, because the Kingdom of God is at hand” Lord you raised these men up once, today I beg You please do again.
Lord, in past centuries you stirred the hearts of common people to call out to you and from these stirrings great awakenings were born. During these times of revival, fearless evangelist thundered across this land preaching that you must be born again. They proclaimed the truth of God’s word and did not hesitate to call evil, evil and sin, sin. Lord, we desperately need for You to do it again
Lord, once you made this nation great. But now we wallow in sin. The cesspool of sodomy is forced on us by evil men. Right is called wrong and wrong is called right. Today righteous people are ridiculed and perverted people are celebrated. How long Lord will you strive with wicked men.
Lord, you have told us that we who are your people must humble ourselves and pray, and that if we will turn from our wicked ways, then you will hear from heaven and heal our land.
Lord you once made this nation great; it is my humble prayer that you will please do it again.
I saw it on an empty shelf in a store. The merchandise that inhabited that shelf was sold out. In its place was a sign that said, “ more to come”. This was a promise that the empty shelf was only a temporary condition. There was more to come, it would be full again.
“More to come” that is an assurance that the emptiness will not last. This is nice if you are looking for a book in a bookstore. But what happens if it is your life that suddenly has the gaping empty spot? Where is the promise of “more to come” when death takes a loved one. Where is the hope of “more to come” when a crazy disease steals your future? Where is the desire for “more to come” when divorce invades your marriage. Life events like these often leave us feeling empty and thinking that there cannot possibility be any “ more to come.”
However in Jeremiah 29:11, God says “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Now, can you hear the laughter of children and the birds singing? That is God’s assurance that life will go on. Take a deep breath, do you feel the air rushing into your lungs? That means you’re still alive. If you’re still alive, then take the breath that is in your lungs as God’s promise that there is “ more to come”.
Please understand,God never promised His children that every day would be good. But if we trust Him, we will find that everyday God is good. As a child of God, we have only seen the beginning. We don’t know how we will end up. Our eyes cannot see, our ears cannot hear and our hearts cannot understand the fullness that God has for His children. We know that faith is the essence of things hoped for and the certainty of things not seen. It is our faith in Jesus that fills our empty hearts and guarantees us that there is “ More to Come”.
A religious leader approached Jesus and asked, “ Sir what is the first and greatest commandment?” Jesus answered, Listen! The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “The second is Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
It is true and all Christians know it. All the commandments of God are contained in these words, “ Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.” I do not intend to take anything away from those commandments but I believe that we have missed the first commandment in this passage of scripture. You see the very first thing Jesus commanded us to do was to “ listen”.
Read the Bible and you will hear the voice of Jesus as he teaches the whole counsel of God. Listen to the wind in the trees and be reminded that the Holy Spirit reveals knowledge of the Holy One. Hear the laughter of a child and know that there is joy in heaven over the salvation of a lost soul. Hear the shuddering sobs of mourners and understand that Jesus weeps with the broken hearted. Just listen and the evidence of God’s love will be heard all around.
So, rise early and listen as a new day begins. Hear the last call of the whippoorwill and the awakening coo of a dove. Listen as the raucous cawing of a crow instigates the chattering debate of squirrels. In the distance a cow is lowing to be fed and closer by hummingbirds are quarreling over the feeder. Through all this noise you can’t help but love the Lord your God with all your heart. Especially when this cacophony of nature transforms into the symphony of creation. You see it’s just an old fashion love song that was written for you and me and it’s being sung in perfect harmony.
The little girl was dead. Her father had ran to get Jesus in hopes that she would be healed. But they were too late. As they enter the house they found it filled with wailing and anguish. The possibility of a miracle had vanished with her last breath. Hopelessness now saturated the house.
But now Jesus is here, and when He says, “ little girl arise” she does. The wailing and anguish quickly turned to joy and shouting. She is alive because Jesus is Lord. Give the little girl something to eat, she’s hungry. In the presence of Jesus, anything is possible and hopelessness is destroyed.
This is not just a story from long ago. This is a promise for right now. The promise is this; miracles are not dependent on circumstances. Instead miracles are always possible, if Jesus is in the house. Tears are dried, sorrows are vanquished and impossibilities become possible when the Lord of the universe becomes Lord of the heart. In the presence of Jesus, hopelessness is destroyed.
Has hopelessness become a resident in your heart? The loss of a loved one may make you think that life can’t go on. Financial ruin can remove a roof from over your head. A disease diagnoses may put your future in doubt, or a prison sentence can convince you that your life is over. These things can rob you of your will to live and your hope for a miracle. But don’t let your heart drown in despair. The Bread of Life is here now. Jesus says; rise up and eat. So rejoice in the Lord and find joy in the God of your salvation. In His presence, miracles are possible because He is The Destroyer of Hopelessness.
As a preacher and teacher of the Gospel I have always felt compelled to encourage people to read the Bible daily. I do this because I feel it is important to have first hand knowledge of God’s Word. The fact is most of the biblical knowledge many people have is wrong. It is wrong because it is learned from someone else. Read the Bible yourself, let your knowledge of God’s Word come from God Himself
I hope everyone will accept this challenge to read the Bible. If you are a Christian, read it everyday and your faith will be made stronger. When lost people read the Bible everyday I believe they will be drawn to Christ. A broken-hearted person finds comfort when their tears fall daily on the open pages of a Bible. Addictions can be overcome by the daily reading of God’s Word. Oh, if you are an atheist, read the Bible daily to prove that there is no God, and let me know how that works out for you.
You will scare some people to death if you read the Bible everyday. False teachers will be scared because they can no longer lead you wrong. False preachers will be scared because they will be revealed. Real preachers will be scared because they are going to have to work harder to stay ahead of you. Politicians will be scared because Bible readers will not be misled by their lies. Socialists hate Bible readers because God’s word is truth and truth has given us freedom that we will not surrender. Satan trembles when you read the Bible everyday because you will learn to resist the devil and when you do he will have to flee.
I wish everyone would read the Bible everyday. Daily Bible reading will put God’s words in your mind forever and they will guide you everyday. Your sleep will be peaceful because His words are on guard. And when you wake, the first words you hear will be God saying “Good morning My child.” The Bible can be a lamp for your path and a light to brighten your future. And when you stumble the Word of God will gently lift you up and help you to have abundant life.
So read the Bible daily. It will do you good and help you too. Faithfully reading God’s Word will change the life of you and your family. If enough of us read the Bible, it will also change our country and our world. That is what will happen if you read the Bible everyday.