Lucia's Blog
Google Logo
Image Caption goes here.

Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

A SHELTER IN THE TIME OF STORM

“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in him.”  
Nahum 1:7



When my heart is overwhelmed, I find so much comfort singing songs of praise.  They lift my spirit.  The song “A Shelter in The Time of Storm” describes our LORD as a shelter for us amid life’s storms.  It assures us that we are safe with God, our Shelter, during dark and difficult times.  Our LORD is our Shelter because He is our Rock in whom we hide in the time of storm.  He is a great Rock in a weary land.
"Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land"  (Isaiah 32:2).  

Because He is our Rock, we can surely hide in His shadow for safety.
"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings... "  (Ps. 17:8-9).  

As we hide in His Shadow, we are secure from all ills.
"You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor"  (Job 11:18-19). 

Our God is our defense from alarms.  He is our shade by day as a tree provides shade from the sun.
"The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night" (Ps. 121:5-6).  

Indeed, our God is our fortress, stronghold of defense in darkness, by night.
"In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.  2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me"  (Ps. 31:1-2).  

Hence, we have no reason to be afraid or fearful amid our time of storm.
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can flesh do to me?"  (Ps. 56:3-4).  

He is our Shelter in the time of storm, for He is our retreat in Whom we find safety.  God provides us a safe retreat from our trials and tribulations.
"I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest"  (Ps. 55:8)

"Sustain me so that I may be safe, That I may have regard for Your statutes continually"  (Psalm 119:117).

"And sent Timothy, our brother and God’s minister in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith; 3 that no man be moved by these afflictions; for yourselves know that hereunto we are appointed. 4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we are to suffer affliction; even as it came to pass, and ye know"  (1 Thess. 3:3-4).

"But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one" (2 Thess. 3:4).

“For Thou hast been a shelter for me (Ps. 61:3).


The past few months have been rough for my family and me.  We have been afflicted with sickness and death—sorrow over sorrow.  I feel as if a big tsunami has hit me. Without mercy, it has almost drowned me!  But I keep reminding myself that our God is much bigger and more powerful than anything.  He is more powerful than the COVID virus, and He will continue to be our place of refuge during difficult and dark times. It is a fact that all Christians must walk through the valley of affliction.  We must acknowledge that God has not promised us immunity from trouble.  In fact, Jesus told His disciples, 
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  

Or, as the New Living Translation translates it, 
“You will have many trials and sorrows.” (John 16:33, NLT)

We must understand that God never promised that life would be easy or “a bed of roses.”  
  1. God has never promised that we Christians would never experience loss, failure,  death, or pain. 
  2. He never promised that our path would be smooth.  
  3. But God did promise never to leave us, for He will forever be standing by our side, strengthening us, comforting us, carrying us through the tough patches and bumpy roads.  
  4. He has promised to be our stronghold
  5. He has promised a place of refuge where we can go and hide amid the storms of life that rage all around us.  

God wants us to find great comfort and peace when things get tough and ugly.  And I believe in all His marvelous promises with all my heart!  We serve a God who knows us well, for He knows all of our afflictions one by one.  He walks with us in our afflictions, for He is the God of all comfort.  He is the Father of mercy.   May our God shower His mercy down, that He may bring comfort to you and me in our time of affliction.  May we comfort those who need comfort as God has shown His comfort to us.  May we show the comfort of God to others in their time of affliction as God has so graciously comforted and upheld us during our difficult times.   

Let us take a quick look at what is going on during Nahum’s time before considering chapter 1:7, where I want to focus this study.   


I.   A BRIEF BACKGROUND ON THE BOOK OF NAHUM:

Nahum is one of the Minor Prophets. The theme of Nahum is God’s wrath against Assyria.  God proclaimed through Nahum His plan to judge the city of Nineveh after allowing two hundred years of powerful Assyrian kings and rulers. This book reveals God’s distress about sin, and intention to punish the guilty of their wickedness, and His power to carry out  His judgment.

The book of Nahum is God’s prophecy about the fall of Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire. Nineveh is the city that Jonah saved from certain destruction.  God called Jonah to preach to the wicked city of Nineveh. God’s message to them was that He was going to destroy them in 40 days.  But the people of Nineveh repented, from the king all the way down to the lowliest people in the city.  And because they repented, God did not destroy them.  It made Jonah very angry.  By the end of the book of Jonah, Nineveh had repented, becoming a righteous city blessed by God.   

However, that is not the end of this story.  If we fast forward 100 years, we notice that Nineveh and the Assyrians turned back to the wicked and violent ways of living of the days before Jonah.  And thus, 100 years later, God declares, “I’ve had enough.  I’m going to destroy the Assyrians.”  There was going to be no nation left. In chapter 1, verse 2, we read:

The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies.” (Nahum 1:2)


 And in verse 6:

Who can stand before his indignation?  Who can endure the heat of his anger?  His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.” (Nahum 1:6)


Indeed, God was going to destroy Assyria!

The word “Nahum” is a Hebrew word that means “comfort” or “consolation.”  Isn’t it ironic how this short book describes in great detail the destruction of Assyria written by a man named “comfort”!

But Nahum did not deliver this message to the Assyrians but to the Jews who had been conquered, mistreated, abused, killed, and carried away into captivity by the Assyrians.  God said to those Jews, 

“I know what your enemies have done, and I will make sure that they are punished for the sins they have committed against you.  In the end, I will make everything rightThe righteous will be rewarded, and the wicked will be punished.”  


Are you able to grasp the great comfort in that message?   Nahum’s message is akin to the book of Revelation, where Christians were being persecuted by the Roman Empire.  God’s great comfort in that message to them was that things were going to turn out well in the end, even though things did not look so good at the moment.  The Roman Empire was going to be destroyed.  God wanted them to see that in the end, for He was going to make everything right.  The righteous were going to be rewarded, and the wicked were going to be punished.  

However, God didn’t say to the Jews of Nahum’s day or the persecuted Christians in the first century, 

“I will take away all of your sufferings.  I will make life easy for you.”  

God never promised that.  But He did say, 

“I will be with you.  I will be your comfort.  I will be your strength.  And I will make everything right in the end.”  


With this in mind, let us focus our thoughts on Nahum 1:7, which shows us that God’s help, refuge, and power in our times of trouble is not fiction but a reality.

“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in him.”  (Nahum 1:7)

  

II.  THE UNENDING STRENGTH AND PROTECTION OF GOD AMID LIFE’S TROUBLES:

  • Life’s Troubles Are a Reality:

Troubling days are not fiction but very present.  Hardship in this life is not fiction. It is a fact that life is not fair.  Money is fleeing. Youth is wasted on the young. Some people die young. Trouble comes on the unrighteous and the righteous. Just because we are Christians does not mean that our days will be trouble-free and only full of rainbows and rays of sunshine.  This life has trouble, and that is not fiction!

“Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.”  (Job 5:7)

“Man, that is born of a woman, Is of few days, and full of trouble.”  (Job 14: 1)

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  (Matthew 6:34)

“In this world you will have trouble.”  (John 16:33b)

However, the refuge of the LORD is real and not fiction.  
  1. God’s love, mercy, strength, and peace are real, not fiction. God is not fiction.   
  2. Faith in God does not bring about fictitious results. 
  3. The peace and strength that comes from an intimate relationship with God is as real as any physical relationship we have.

  • God Is Good:

“The LORD is good.” 

Indeed, God is good. God is always good, kind, merciful, and always righteous. Throughout the Bible, God is associated with verbs like “forgives,” “heals,” “redeems,” “crowns,” “satisfies,” and “renews.” That is, our God is good

    • The LORD of the Universe, Creator, and Sustainer of our lives is good, and there is no hint of evil in Him. 
    • Everything He does is good
    • His judgments are good
    • His wrath is good.
    • His Word is good. His discipline is good
    • His will is good
    • His blessings are good

Psalm 34:8 says, 

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” 


Whenever I think of God’s goodness, I cannot help but think about Joseph’s story in Genesis 37-50. Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son.  Joseph dreamed that his brothers and father were bowing down to him and that one day, he would rule over them all. Joseph’s brothers were angry and jealous because their father Jacob had given Joseph more attention and affection and also because of his dreams.  Thus, they plotted to kill him. They threw him into a pit instead of murdering him.  They sold Joseph to slave traders and lied to their father, saying that a wild beast had devoured him.

While he was in slavery, Joseph worked for an Egyptian official named Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife felt hurt and angry because Joseph didn’t respond to her when she tried to seduce him.  So she lied about him to her husband, getting him thrown into jail. In jail, he had the opportunity to interpret some prisoners' dreams, prophecies that came true. One day when the Pharaoh had a dream, Joseph was called to interpret the dream. Joseph told the Pharaoh that there would be 7 years of plenty in Egypt, followed by 7 years of famine.

Pharaoh made Joseph second in command in Egypt.  Joseph organized the food during the years of plenty so that everyone didn’t starve in the years of famine. Eventually, Joseph’s brothers came to buy food but didn’t recognize him. Joseph sold them food and asked about his father.  Finally, Joseph told them his identity. Joseph’s family all moved to Egypt during the drought and famine. Joseph saved his family from certain death from starvation.

    • Does this story show God’s goodness? 
    • Was it good for Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery? 
    • Was it good for Potiphar’s wife to falsely accuse Joseph when she didn’t get her way? 
    • Was it good for Joseph to be put in jail? 
    • Was it good that there was a famine? 

None of those things were good.  However, in Genesis 37-50, we see that God was working for Joseph’s good the whole time. How do I know that?  Because in Genesis 50:19-20, Joseph said: 

“Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” 


This is not fiction. God is good. That is the truth, the reality.

  • God Is A Refuge (Shelter, Stronghold):

“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.”


The word “refuge” in this verse means “a strong place of safety and protection.” A bomb shelter is a place of refuge from war. Our homes are a refuge from the hustle and bustle of work and life.  The word “refuge” means a place of absolute safetyOur LORD is our shelter (stronghold, refuge)  because He is our defense from alarms.  We can always look to Him as our Helper and Refuge, for He is always near in life’s storms.
"God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.  2 Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, And though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas"  (Ps. 46:1-2).

"God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my life"  (Ps. 54:4).

"Hear my voice according to Your faithfulness; Revive me, LORD, according to Your judgments... 151 You are near, LORD, And all Your commandments are truth"  (Ps. 119:149-151).


This world is not our spiritual refuge. It provides little comfort.  God is our strong safety and protection.  Our refuge or shelter from what? 

    • A refuge of salvation from being lost (2 Samuel 22:3).
    • A refuge for the truth and what is true (2 Samuel 22:31; Proverbs 30:5).
    • A refuge of peace (Psalm 2:12).
    • A refuge of gladness and joy (Psalm 5:11).
    • A refuge from evildoers (Psalm 14:6, 37:40).
    • A refuge from all wrong in the world (Psalm 18:30, 46:1).
    • A refuge from shame (Psalm 31:1).
    • A refuge that turns His ears quickly to rescue and save us (Psalm 31:2).


In the Psalms, God is often described as our shelter, refuge, a fortress in the time of the storm.   Consider a few of them.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  (Psalm 46:1)

"The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”  (Psalm 18:2)

"Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint.  Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy."  (Psalm 61:1-3)

 Most of the Psalms that speak about God as our refuge, stronghold, and shelter in the storm were written by DavidA man who lived his life amid trouble for many years.  He was physically worn out because of what he had to endure—a man who was forced to run from King Saul to find shelter in the mountains to hide.  But, more than that, David needed the shelter that only God can provide through his dark times of distress.  Truly, David needed shelter in the time of storm when he felt surrounded by enemies. His people wanted nothing to do with him. Even his friends turned their backs on him. 
 As I read these Psalms, I can definitely relate to David.  Why?  Because we all must struggle with life’s pain and sorrow.  We all must deal with suffering, rejection, criticism, gossip, slander, and evil that threatens to harm us.  However, we have God’s blessed assurance that we can go to Him to find refuge or shelter when trouble and hardship seem to invade our lives.  We know that we can pray to God, for His presence is with us.  We can open His Word to find peace and comfort.   We sing songs to praise God to be lifted spiritually into the throne room of God. We can find strength, wisdom, and perseverance amid our struggling times. It is not fiction but a reality that God is our refuge, shelter, and stronghold.

  • God Cares:

“He cares…  “ 


The word “care” can mean a lot of things. Let me explain.  For instance, our care for a dog is different from our care for the lawn, baby, or finances. You see, different things must be cared for in different ways. So how does God care for us? 

In Deuteronomy 11:11-12, we read,

“But the land you are entering to possess is a land of mountains and valleys, watered by rain from the sky. 12 It is a land the LORD your God cares for. He is always watching over it from the beginning to the end of the year.” 


It means that God is always watching over us and that we are never out of His sight.

In Psalm 55:22

Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”


It means that God will give us strength and sustain us.  He will hold us up and not allow us to be shaken.  

1 Peter 5:7

“Casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.”


It means that God cares for us in the midst of our anxiety.  


Personally, I am always mindful of God’s care for me and how He has often made a way for me when there seemed to be no way. Our loving God goes before us to bless us even when we are not aware that He cares for us and is carrying us through the storm.   God is the “point man” on a strike team. He is in the front hacking branches down in the Amazon. He is the One making life level for us, for He knows what is ahead of our path’s journey.

  • We Can Trust God:

“Who trust in him.”


Our verse speaks of those who “trust in him.”  How do we trust God?   Trust in God does not mean that we must believe everything will go the way we want it to.  If that were true, those who obey God should be the most enviable people on earth. Everything must go their way. Is that really true?  No, for it doesn’t work that way!  Those who are God’s righteous children are many times murdered for their beliefs and convictions. Others lose their jobs or livelihoods because of their faith and faithfulness to God.  Some deceive themselves, thinking that “believing in” God entitles them to a problem-free life.  So when troubles come their way, they think they either don’t have enough faith or God is “not holding up His end of the bargain.”

Trust in God does not mean that God must explain everything that is going on in our lives. God didn’t answer Job when he asked, “Why me?” God does not owe us an explanation when life is painful and confusing. Our infinite, eternal, and all-powerful God, the God of the Universe, does not owe us an explanation! We are not His father or Lord or King… He is our Father, Lord, and King. Trusting God means that no matter what happens or what life throws our way, whether good or bad, we still turn to Him rather than away from Him. That’s it!  Even when life hurts painfully and nothing we have asked God for worked out the way we were hoping it would… we still turn to Him with all of our heart.

In the end, we have only 3 choices:

    1. Trust in God. God is a benevolent, omniscient, omnipotent God who is in complete control and will one day wipe all evil from the face of the Universe.  God is the only One who can restore all humanity by the blood of Jesus Christ to harmony, peace, and joy.  It is indeed the best choice to make by far.
    2. Put our trust in fate, destiny, karma, or some other type of worldly concept.   This is the way the world without God chooses to alleviate its stress when life is overwhelming.  And though it is true that trust in “karma” might help in some way, for the most part, it has its limitations because we can never find hope or meaning.  Fate does not guarantee that our pain will end.  Fate does not care about you. Fate is just fate. Destiny is just destiny.
    3. Trust only in self.  This is the worst of these three choices. We human beings are notoriously unreliable.  We cannot control the weather. We cannot even control our tongues, certainly not the “stock market,” or even our health. Much less can we control our past or present or future. Trusting only in self leads to disaster.

Thus, it is not fiction that we must trust in God.  God is good, our refuge in times of trouble, and He cares for those who trust in Him.  We serve a good God who is ever-present in our lives when this world’s garbage and lawlessness rear up and bite us.  That same God is ever-present when life is full of troubles and pain.  God cares for us amid life’s storms because He loves us more than we can possibly know! 


CONCLUSION:

When life is uncertain and full of troubles and worries, we must turn to God in prayer for wisdom and peace and allow Him to fill us with His Word to strengthen us.  Although trouble in life is very present, God Almighty’s unending strength and protection are a reality and not fiction.

We must turn to God and trust in Him when life disappoints us or breaks us, for He is our refuge and shelter in the time of storm.  As a tree provides shade from the sun, so our God is our shade by dayHe is our place of safety in darkness.  He is our fortress of defense by night.  Thus we must not be afraid or fearful, for in God Almighty, we can find refuge to keep us safe while the storms of life are raging furiously all around us.  

Often life’s trials and tribulations are symbolized as raging storms in the Bible (Ps. 55:8; 119:117; 1 Thess. 3:4).  Jesus is also described as our shelter because He is our Rock in whom we can hide.  As Christians, we can rest assured that “no fears alarm, no foes affright,” as long as we look to Jesus as “A Shelter in the time of storm.”  

Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A shelter in the time of storm.


Life is full of whys that we will never be able to resolve or answer.  One of the questions we ask more than any other is, "Why?"  "Why Lord… ?"  And though there are many why’s we will never be able to answer, there are many things in life that we know for sure.  
  • We know that we live in a broken world.  
  • We know that God has not given us a ticket out of this world's brokenness just because we are His children.  
  • Sadly, so often, what happens to us and those we love involves pain, hurt, shock and despair. 
  • This world we live in is not our home, for it does not operate the way God intended.

There is something else I know for sure.
  • We have a God of Grace who meets His children’s needs and who never forsakes them in their times of darkness and hardship.  
  • Our gracious God is worth running to for refuge and safety.  
  • He is worth waiting for.  
  • He brings us sweet rest from our heavy burdens when it feels like there is no rest to be found.
  • Our Almighty God has always cared for those who trust in Him and need refuge, a shelter in the time of storm in their lives. 
Indeed, He is a God of great comfort!

God gives us comfort not only for our own well-being but also for the benefit of those around us.  Paul said,  

“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God”  (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). 


Our God is the God of all comfort and mercies.  He comforts us in our times of trouble.  He is ever-present when we walk through the trials of life.  He is not far from us, for He is with us comforting us in all our troubles.   But God’s comfort does not end with what He does for us, as if that were the end of His purpose.  Paul says that the comfort that we receive from God is not just for us, for we must share that same comfort with others as they go through life’s trials.  God comforts us so that we may comfort others.  I am so grateful to my gracious God for being with me in the toughest moments of my life!  I want to be God’s reflection of that comfort He granted me to others amid their storms.  That is the way God in His wisdom has designed the body of Christ to function.  

I wonder.  

  • Are we willing to provide a place of refuge to others today?  
  • Are we willing to be there for others who have had the bottom drop out of their life?  
  • Are we willing to care enough and listen while someone cries because of their heavy burdens?  
  • Will we be there for someone when life is awful to them?  
  • Will we be willing to care when someone is hurting?  
  • Will we try to understand what they are going through and provide a place of refuge or shelter to them in their storm?  

We Christians have been the recipients of God’s comfort so many times in our own lives.  Thus, we must stand ready to be that place of refuge to others!  Every Christian must be a storm shelter to those who are hurting and need our loving compassion.  Why?  Because
“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in him.”  (Nahum 1:7).  

And also because He is  
“The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). 

Let this sink deeply into your hearts!                                      

Let us be thankful to God for sending His Son, our Lord, and Savior, into a world of suffering and sin to pay the ransom for our sins that we might have eternal life. We have the hope that one day there will be no more affliction.  There will be no more suffering and deathIt is our greatest comfort!  As Nahum expressed it clearly, the day is coming when God will make all things right.  The righteous will be rewarded, and the wicked will be punished.  Oh, what a great comfort in knowing that!

Moreover, we must be thankful for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Although we live in a world full of tribulation and affliction, we have the hope of that resurrection to help us endure till the end. There is coming a day when all of our sufferings and trials will come to an end.  God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.  Let this hope be our greatest comfort and motivator.  Let us praise our God for the hope we have in Christ Jesus, not just in the future, but for the comfort we receive from Him even today.

May we always trust in God to help us amid our sufferings and trials.  May we turn to God in times of tribulation and affliction to find refuge, unending strength, and protection.  May He be our shade of defense and our shelter in the time of storm.  May He be our shelter when the raging storms may round us beat.  May He be our Helper and our Rock in the weary land in Whom we hide for safety and refuge.  And may we always be thankful to God for sending His Son, our Lord, and Savior, into a world of suffering and sin.

I hope the words of our beautiful song, “A Shelter In The Time of Storm,” will lift your soul the way it does mine.  

"A Shelter In The Time of Storm"

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,
A shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,

A shelter in the time of storm.
A shade by day, defense by night,
A shelter in the time of storm;
No fears alarm, no foes affright,
A shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat,
A shelter in the time of storm
We’ll never leave our safe retreat,
A shelter in the time of storm.

O Rock divine, O Refuge dear,
A shelter in the time of storm;
Be Thou our Helper ever near,
A shelter in the time of storm.
 
The chorus 
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A shelter in the time of storm.

 


Luci



Friday, February 19, 2021

OH, THE PRICK OF THE HEART!

 

“... Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.’  37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ 38 And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself… ‘“   
Acts 2:22-23, 36-41


The Gospel has the power to convict man’s heart about sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-8). This puts power in the message, that is, in the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16).  God uses the power of the Gospel to prick the hearts of those lost in sin, producing faith in them (Romans 1:16; 10:17; Acts 2:37-38).  But men must freely choose to obey the Gospel. God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11).  In the book of Acts, many heard the Gospel and were pricked in their heart.  After hearing the Gospel, they were baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:22, 37-38; 8:5, 12, 35; 9:6; 10:5-6; 11:14).  The Gospel pricked their hearts.  Thus they obeyed from the heart.   Oh, the pain of correction, the prick of the heart!

"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?"  (Acts 2:37)


Men inspired by the Holy Spirit preached the Gospel.  The Gospel can open men’s hearts with understanding and discernment rather than by a personal and direct operation of the Holy Spirit like so many in the religious world claim.  The culminating act of heeding the Gospel is baptism!

Jesus did not come to this world, suffer and die on the cross so that you and I could indulge in sin.  Jesus came preaching, 

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). 

He came not to send peace, He said, but a sword and division (Matt. 10:34; Luke 12:51). He called the Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites (Matt. 23:13). He said not everyone that claimed to be His disciple will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21-27).  Jesus challenges us to think and do better, hear His words of salvation, and convict our hearts of sin.  Sadly, many will be offended when they hear His words.
"Many therefore of his disciples, when they heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? 61 But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said unto them, Doth this cause you to stumble?"  (John 6:60-61


The apostles were concerned and warned Jesus that His words and speech were offensive to the Pharisees (Matt. 15:12). Some were so offended that they “went back, and walked no more with Him” (John 6:66).   

You see, the Truth, the Word of God, has this effect on some who are not honest and sincere of heart, for they love to live in darkness.  But the Truth spoken out of love for God and the souls of men can prick the honest and sincere heart.  Nevertheless, the first sermon preached was hard to hear.  
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men… 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.  37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?' 38 And Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself… '"  (Acts 2:22-23, 36-41).


Peter’s sermon was hard to hear (Acts 2:22-41).  Would you dare say that Peter had no love in his heart?  Peter loved and cared, even in his sermon on PentecostBut love demands a painful prick of the heart!  

When they heard Peter’s inspired sermon about their participation in the crucifixion of Christ, they were pricked in their heart or cut to the heart (Acts 2:37). You see, the Gospel pricked their conscience.  They felt guilty because they had rejected and murdered the very Son of God!  

Sadly, there are too many today who would rather have their teachers tickle the ears because they love to have it their way (2 Tim. 4:3). Many serve their own belly by speaking smooth words, sugar coating the precious Word of God, giving fair speeches, with no better purpose than to deceive the heart of the simple (Rom. 16:18).  

Jesus did not suffer and died on the cross so that you and I could indulge in sin.  The Word of God must challenge us because that is the only way to prick the heart!  We must allow the Word of God to prick and cut to our hearts to have its effect.  

Thus, we must examine our hearts in the light of God’s everlasting Word.  We must study the Scriptures diligently to make sure that what we hear is the Truth of God (Acts 17:11).  

May we allow the Word of God to prick our hearts to have its effect on us and be pleasing to God and go to heaven.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  (Hebrews 4:12


Luci



Thursday, February 18, 2021

"YOU NEVER MENTIONED HIM TO ME"

“And he said to them, 'Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.  
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.'" 
Mark 16:15‭-‬16


We marvel at the single-minded way that Jesus worked at bringing the hope of a new life to people who were hopeless cases, mired in long habits of sin and corruption. He has shown us the way. Now it is our turn to carry His Message to those marred by sin, redeemed sinners rescuing others still lost and dying in a twisted world of darkness and despair.  


I.   THE GREAT COMMISSION:

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He left His disciples with instructions about going into the world to preach the Gospel.  They were to preach the Gospel to every creature, to every human being, whether king or beggar in the street.  They were to preach the good news to everyone, the lost.  

  • So What Is The Good News?  
It is the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ.
"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me."  (1 Cor. 15:1-8)  

Jesus came to bring Grace and Truth to this world of darkness (John 1:17), bringing salvation.  But to receive salvation, we are commanded to do the following. 
  1. We must have the faith to obey God’s terms of salvation.  
  2. We are commanded to strive to live by the perfect Law of liberty, and that includes evangelism.
  3. We are to repent and seek God’s forgiveness and keep being faithful to Him until the end (1 John 1:7-9; Phil. 3:12-14).  

Those who have not yet obeyed the Gospel must obey the Gospel to become God’s children.  That is,
  1. They must bury the old man of sin and wash their sins away in the waters of baptism, for we must die to rise into newness of life (Romans 6).  
  2. After we obey the Gospel, we must share and teach it to the lost, for it is God’s command!  

He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not obey will be condemned (Mark 16:15-16).  

This boils down to how we treat the lost in this world.  
  1. Are we treating them like Jesus did?  
  2. Are we treating them like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did?  
  3. Why not stop and think about it, for you will be judged?  
  4. Are we more like Simon the Pharisee or God the Father?  
  5. Do you suppose the Pharisee of Luke 15 would have welcomed or received the prodigal son as his father did? 
  6. What would have happened had you and I been on the front porch to receive this prodigal son?
  7. Would we show compassion toward the one who has repented or show indignation?  
  8. Why is it that unbelievers treat others better than we who are Christians?  There must be something wrong!  
Hence,
  1. We must imitate Christ and treat the lost like friends and not enemies as our heavenly Father would.  
  2. We must make sacrifices to give the lost a chance to hear the good news, the Gospel of our Lord and Savior.

The Gospel is the power of God to save men that they may turn away from their evil ways to God for direction and guidance.  God saves men by the preaching of the Gospel of salvation.  It is the only WAY that Jesus is going to heal the sin-sick soul that is dying.  The Gospel is given into our hands to teach it to all men that they might be saved from their sins.  Every day people are dying unprepared for eternity! 

God has already provided all the means and the Message to save the souls of men, and we must bring the two together (John 3:16; Romans 1:16).  
  1. Can we expect to find favor before God with the blood of the lost on our hands (Acts 20:26-27)?
  2. Is there any other way of hope for a dying world?  What is the condition of the lost without Christ? 
  3. Is there any other place where the lost can turn to? 

For that reason, we must carry God’s precious Message and guide the erring back to Him.  

There are so many lost souls in this world in need of the Gospel to save them.  Look up and see how the fields are already white for harvest!  (John 4:35).  We must lift up our eyes and notice them and approach them the way Jesus wants us to.  The opportunities to teach the lost the Gospel are abundant!  So let us not slip back into our comfort zones, but let us move forward with purpose to seek and find these lost souls.  We must pray to God to lead us to a lost soul in need of the Gospel!  

  • The Grace of God And The Gospel:
"He will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household."  (Acts 11:14)

The Grace of God and the Gospel go hand in hand. In Acts 11:14, Peter spoke to the Gentiles words by which they were saved (cf. 10:30-48).   

"And Cornelius said, 'Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms have been remembered before God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.'  34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: 'Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.  44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 'Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?' 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.'"  (Acts 10:30-48)

In Acts 20:24, 32, we read that the Grace of God is manifested to all men through the instruction or teaching made possible only through the "Gospel."  Paul's ministry was to testify about the Gospel of Grace.  The apostles ordained by God carried out this commission beginning on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when 3,000 souls obeyed the Gospel of the Grace of God (Acts 2:37-41).  The apostles preached the Gospel in Jerusalem and in all Judea, Samaria, and the remotest part of the earth (Acts 1:8).  All the cases of conversion in the book of Acts show the efficacy of the Gospel.

Today as well, we are saved by the Grace of God when we obey the Gospel.  
  1. It is only by the Gospel that we learn how to please God.  
  2. Obeying the Gospel of the Grace of God demands that we fulfill the terms of salvation found in the Gospel.  
  3. To be saved by faith is to attain the mercy of God by obedience to the Gospel of Grace. 
  4. All this has been possible through Christ's blood which was shed in a cruel death (2 Cor. 5:20-21).  
  5. Salvation by faith in Jesus is founded on the Word of God (Romans 10:17) that leads the sinner to obey the Gospel of Christ (2 Thess. 1:8). 
  6. There is no justification without obedience to Christ, which is obedience to His Gospel. 

Therefore,
  1. We must share the Gospel with the lost. God has commanded us to do so (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; 2 Tim. 4:1-2; 1 Peter 3:15).  
  2. We must share the Gospel with the lost, for it is the power of God to salvation (Rom. 1:16).  
  3. We must share the Gospel with the lost, for by doing this, we show the lost that we love their souls and don’t want them to be separated from God eternally (Col. 1:28).  
  4. We must share the Gospel with the lost because we have compassion for them and don’t want them to perish.  

When the Gospel is taught and is believed and obeyed, it is God’s power to save and transform men: men like Saul of Tarsus, the worst sinner of that day, and of course people like you and me!

Since the Gospel is God's power to save men, we must pray fervently to God that He might send us to those who are diligently seeking Him and want to turn away from the wicked way.  I was one of those souls who was found when I was diligently seeking after God!  I was taught the Gospel by someone who reached out to me.  We must pray for God’s help that we may find these precious souls.  They are desperately waiting for us to teach them the good news!  We must pray to God to use us in whatever way He can to lead us to a lost soul that he might be saved through the Gospel of Christ.  

Paul instructed Timothy, saying,
And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”  (2 Tim. 2:2)  

That harmonizes with the Great Commission as recorded in Matthew  28:19-20.  Jesus wants Christians to teach people everywhere about their need to obey the Gospel to become children of God and be saved.  But to teach others the Gospel, we must study the Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:15-17).  It is the responsibility of every member of the Lord’s church.  God will judge us on the final day!  The Great Commission begins with the Word, the Gospel.  God never said to wait for the lost to come to us.  He has commanded us to go to them.  There is no need for fear or intimidationGod has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).  When Jesus sent the apostles, He assured them, saying, 
Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matt. 28:20)

CONCLUSION:

There is a beloved hymn called “You Never Mentioned Him to Me.” It is a song that forces us to consider the consequences of not speaking to warn the wicked.  The song should move us to teach the lost!  The words stress our need to get busy in the Lord’s work of sharing the Gospel with the lost, for there is a coming day of judgment when before the bar we will stand.  "The bar" is often used poetically to refer to God's judgment that we must all face
"Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God."  (Rom. 14:10)  

And though we know that many will be lost, we still must teach the Gospel so that no one on that day will be able to say to us, “You never mentioned Him to me,” and then go into the everlasting fire (Matt. 25:41).  We must help others prepare for judgment so that they will not have to hear those words, "Depart from me.”  (Matt. 7:21-23)

The Gospel can guide the lost to Christ (Acts 11:14).  Every Christian must mention Christ and what He did to redeem us.  We must labor in sharing the Gospel so that none may say on that final day of judgment, "You Never Mentioned Him to Me."  

What will we do, how will we feel, if at the day of judgment some lost soul should cry in deep despair, “You never mentioned Him to me?!”  

If on judgment day, we find ourselves having not obeyed the Great Commission, having not tried to teach lost souls the Gospel of salvation, what do you suppose our Lord will say to us?  If you know the lost need to hear and be taught the Gospel, have you mentioned Him to them?  God is interested in our souls and the souls of our families as well.  Therefore, we must open our eyes and see the harvest! The harvest is plenty, and there is much labor to do!  

“You Never Mentioned Him to Me”

When in the better land before the bar we stand,
How deeply grieved our souls may (will) be,
If any lost one there should cry in deep despair,
"You never mentioned Him to me."

O let us spread the word where’er it may be heard,
Help groping souls the light to see,
That yonder none may say, ‘You showed me not the way,
"You never mentioned Him to me."

A few sweet words may guide a lost one to His side,
Or turn sad eyes on Calvary;
So work as days go by, that yonder none may cry,
"You never mentioned Him to me."

 The chorus,
"You never mentioned Him to me; 
You helped me not the light to see."
"You met me day by day and knew I was astray, 
Yet never mentioned Him to me."



May we understand that the Great Physician is here among us to heal those who are woefully ill.  Our great Shepherd seeks those who are lost and gently restores them to the flock.  And so we should approach those He brings into our path in the same graceful manner as He did with gentleness, humility, and a servant's heart.


Luci


Sunday, February 7, 2021

WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN

"And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, 'We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us.' 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, 'We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. 33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them."'  
Acts 5:27-33



Though the world might rebel at God's Word, His divine authority, and His principles of righteousness, calling evil good and good evil; changing darkness for light and light for darkness, and being wise and clever in their own eyes, God’s Word and divine principles of righteousness will be settled forever in heaven. No matter who our opponents may be, though they readily reject God’s Message that saves all men, we must resolve to strengthen our efforts to speak the Truth in love (Eph. 4:15).   

We must not compromise our faith and conviction. We must continue being lights that shine brightly in word and deed, doing all things in the name of the Lord by His authority (Col. 3:17). Remember that only the Gospel, His Truth, can make men free from sin.
"But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 8:32).
"And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free"  (John 8:32).

Thus, we must continue to take the Sword of the Spirit out of its sheath and move forward to fight against our society’s moral decay. We must keep crying aloud the Message of the Gospel to them and not hold it back. We must lift up our voices like a trumpet, declaring to all people their sins and transgressions that they might come to know God's goodness and grace and repent that He might save them from their sins and folly.
"May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire"  (2 Peter 1:2-4).

Our Father's kingdom shall never be destroyed. He will triumph in the end, even when wrong and wickedness seem so strong. God is still sitting and ruling on His eternal throne, a throne that does not tremble before the threats and darkness of this world.  We, His faithful, must fight tooth and nail the good fight of our faith until the end, for the battle is not done, and we must confess Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords through His Gospel.  We must continue to proclaim and live out His Gospel Message even in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation! 


IS SATAN SILENCING YOU?
"But Peter and John answered them, 'Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."' (Acts 4:19-21)

I have observed that often we start our walk with Christ on fire, and suddenly that fire is gone. We share the Good News of Jesus, our Lord, what He has done for us, our joy, and our hope. But often, with the passing of time, we become indifferent, and we care no more. Because of persecution or perhaps because our faith is questioned; maybe because someone has mocked or ridiculed our faith, we are silent and ashamed.  We stop sharing the blessings of redemption with others. We must not allow Satan to get his way! We must speak up about the Lord, the penalty for sin, and the remedy that the Lord has provided. We must share His powerful Gospel of salvation and shout it out from the rooftops to a dark world dying because of sin!

  • Satan Silences Us By Causing Fear In Us:
Let's not be silenced! 

I think about that time when I was diligently seeking my Lord, and He provided someone to share the Good News with me. My friend was not afraid and intimidated by Satan. Had it not been for her determination in doing so, I would not be here and have the convictions Grace has taught me. Thank God for those who will speak up and will not be afraid to proclaim the Good News of salvation no matter what the circumstances may be! Thank God that they did not allow Satan to silence them!

Although God's world rejects God's sovereignty and righteousness and fails to submit to His rule, He is still Lord and King ruling from His mighty throne. Satan cannot thwart God's victory of righteousness, even though he intends to destroy mankind with deceit and lawlessness. We must continue being soldiers of the cross to defeat the evil one and his lawlessness with the Sword of God, the Gospel

  • Our Faith Must Not Waver:

As long as we continue living on this earth as faithful followers of Christ, our battle is not done.  We, the righteous, must keep fighting the good fight of our faith until our last breath. We understand and accept that we have a spiritual war to fight. We must fight that war with God's full armor to be victorious! And though our fight seems difficult, we must still proclaim the Gospel Truth in love no matter how much resistance we face. Our faith must not waver. We must trust in God to help us fight the good fight of faith no matter how vigorously we are attacked or persecuted.

Therefore, we Christians must not compromise our faith and convictions because of pressure and persecution (such as the first century Christians suffered) or out of a desire to conform to this world (Rom. 12:1-2). Jesus warned His disciples, saying, 

"For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels" (Luke 9:26). 


CONCLUSION:

We must stand up for the Truth of God's divine Word even if that involves persecution, being scorned and ridiculed, even put to death. We must keep teaching sinners the Gospel even if Satan shuts our mouths. We must not deny our Lord His Lordship and fail to defend the Gospel Message. We cannot afford to be silent about the riches of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. God will not allow us to have a silent faith. We must have a speaking faith!

May our Lord give us the courage to speak boldly to those in darkness by drawing them to the Truth and pointing them to the Light of our Lord Jesus. Let's speak of His Grace and hope.  May our Lord help us to never be ashamed of His Testimonies, Precepts, and Statutes, which are life to the dying soul. May we proclaim faithfully and boldly the riches of His Gospel, His power unto salvation for everyone who believes in Him. 

To Him be the glory!

Luci


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

EMPTYING THE CROSS OF ITS POWER

 
"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." 
Colossians 3:2-4


When our faith and worship are based on excitement, feelings, and personal beliefs rather than the whole Gospel Message, we’re precisely doing the thing that Paul condemned in 1 Corinthians 1-2. When all we want is coffee, donuts, and barbecues rather than the simple proclamation of God’s Word, we are emptying the cross of its power.  Why?  Because we think that we must soften and change the Message of the cross of its power so that more people will receive it and accept it.  How can we call others to the Gospel without the Message of the cross?  

We must empty ourselves and die to self completely to embrace the Message of the cross and Jesus as our new life.  When we put into practice the words of Colossians 3:2-4, then our lives will be hidden with Christ in God, for Christ is our life and nothing else. But when we are ruled by our emotions, our own prejudices, and beliefs, that is, our own worldview, rather than engaging our minds and having our hearts pricked by the Message of the cross, then we have emptied the cross of its power.

The Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).  Sadly, those who don’t set their minds on heavenly things want to feel good and have fun rather than face the cutting edge of the Word of God, the only thing that will produce faith and grow our faith.  Nothing else can cut to the very core of our heart than the Word of God! 

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).


Likewise, we empty the cross of its power when we make worship about pleasing people with worldly tactics instead of the Word of God.  I must stress that the church is not about one person or people. It must be focused on Jesus and not on ourselves. When we use worldly tactics to make people pay attention to the Message of the cross, we empty the cross of its power.  We cause people to divert their attention and focus away from our Lord. Paul never wanted the attention of men to ever rest on him. To effectively deliver or proclaim the Message of the cross, the Gospel, we don’t need to have a methodology or eloquent speaking skills. The Gospel does not need such carnal skills. In fact, they actually get in the way of the Gospel Message!  

We must be clay jars that hold the treasure of the Gospel. Human brilliance or wisdom is antithetical to the cross of Christ. It messes up the essence and purity of the Gospel and empties the cross of its power.  In doing this, we are showing that we are ashamed of the cross.  Our worship and teaching must not be about ourselves. It must be about pointing others to God alone.  We cannot call people to Jesus without His Message of the cross. 

The world around us makes minimal effort to live by God’s Word.  As a matter of fact, they even scoff at the authority of the Bible.  But for us Christians, we have no other alternative but to submit to the Lordship of Christ and His rule. 

According to our culture, right and wrong are personal preferences, personal ethical standards.  "I say what is right for me."  Thus moral decisions are based on personal feelings or emotions.  According to this way of thinking (moral relativism), there are no absolutes or true beliefs because they are flexible and always changing. The only way we know we are right is by testing everything we do in word and deed with the Word of God.  Rather than depending on our own feelings, views, opinions, habits, or traditionsThis is our sole standard, and we must trust in the Message of the cross and its power.  

May we submit to the Lordship of Christ and His rule rather than on our own feeling, views, opinions, habits, and traditions.  May we never empty the Message of the cross of its power but rather trust in it to point others to God alone for salvation.  And finally, may we always set our minds on heavenly things and engage the Word of God to grow our faith, for it is the only thing that can cut to the very core of our hearts.  

"... For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power" (1 Corinthians 1:13-17).

"Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way" (Psalm 119:128).


Luci