Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Election



   It has occurred to me that we have running for president an African-American, whose middle name is Hussein and whose father was a Muslim, running against a Mormon whose father was born in Mexico.  And both of their running mates are Catholic.  All this in a nation that is more Protestant than anything else.   It is proof that we truly live in a pluralistic nation which offers freedom to the point of choosing our leaders based on their abilities rather than their ethnic background or religious affiliation. 

It is wonderful to live in such a country that abounds in diversity and freedom!  We are actually better Christians when we freely choose to be followers of Christ.  All of us should respect what others believe and honor their right to worship or not worship as they please.  But this conviction does not mean that all religions are right.

The Bible is clear that the only way to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ.   There can only be one truth.  If all faiths are true then none of them are true.    Two plus two cannot be five, no matter how sincerely a person may believe that it is.  Our view on the exclusivity of Christ is really inclusive.  He accepts all who come to Him by faith.  It doesn’t matter what religion you are as long as you become a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.(even Baptists can be saved!)  For when we give Jesus the title, “Lord”, we are saying that He is God(within the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).   So any road to God is a road to Jesus. 

Yet it is a road that one must freely take.  No amount of violence, law-making, or coercion can make a person a true believer.  Thank God that we live in a country that values liberty of conscience.  And I encourage you to pray for wisdom in the coming election.    And then pray for  the one we have freely elected to lead us and the free world.  He will certainly need our prayers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Prayer

Prayer is one of the great mysteries of all time.  How can lowly finite humans communicate with the glorious infinite God?  Yet He says, "...when you pray I will listen.  If you look for me with all your heart, you will find me.  I will be found by you, says the Lord."(Jeremiah 29:13,14)  Imagine if, whoever is elected President said to you, "I love you and I want to help you.  I also value your opinion and I want to spend time with you.  Would you meet with me daily for intimate talks?"  Who would not jump at the chance?  Yet we have the Creator of everything that is saying basically the same thing and we let busyness, sleepiness, faithlessness and a myriad of other things keep us from what our Lord values so much and would clearly enhance our lives.

We find ourselves in bondage to so many things.  We are often held captive by sin, anxiety, fear, depression, sickness, boredom, apathy, anger, unforgiveness,  resentment, or discouragement.  But Jesus came to set us free.  He began His ministry by reading from Isaiah 61, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor,  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and freedom to the prisoners." (Luke 4:18)  Prayer is that spiritual warfare that battles those spiritual forces that would keep us as slaves to a host of negative things.  But think like this:  The Devil, created by God is against us and wants to keep us as his captives.  Now God who created the Devil and can do with him as He pleases is on our side. He came to set us free!  And prayer is the mechanism that we use to ask god to do what He promised: end our captivity and bring us home.

Home is where we are most comfortable.  It is where we can dress of undress as we please.  We can relax and have fun.  Everything feels right and can do what we really want to do.  God says he will gather us form the nations and bring us to our own home and end our captivity.  Savior is often translated, deliverer.  Jesus saves us by delivering us out of bondage.

It's God's plan and He will succeed if we, in our freedom decide to let Him deliver us.  We have the need and He has the resources.  I challenge you to spend 30 minutes a day for one week seeking intimacy with God.  At the end of that time you will find your self freed from self and more closely in touch with the One who is wholly Other.   And you will begin to see HIS Kingdom come into your life and into the lives of many people around you.  You will find yourself and others crying out to God for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven  And it will happen!


Monday, October 8, 2012

God's Plans

"For I know the plans I have for you, 'declares the Lord', "plans for good and not calamity to give you a future and a hope."   Jeremiah 29:11

A great evangelistic lead-in is found in Campus Crusade's Four Spiritual Laws.  Law number one is "God loves you and has a plan for your life."  We all want to feel that we have significance--that our life counts.  We also want to feel that life is not random--that there is purpose in creation.  Such a feeling is built in to us.  All people need at least three things in order to enjoy life:  1)Something to do. 2)Someone to love. 3) Something to look forward to.  The passage in Jeremiah 29:10-14 gives us those three needs. 

No matter what our age, background, training, education, or abilities God has something for us to do.  He made you for something.  It may take awhile to find out what it is.  Noah was 500 years of age before he knew that God plan for him was to build an ark.  It may happen when we are very young.  Samuel was just 12 when the Lord spoke to him and called him begin his prophetic duties.

The passage in Jeremiah takes place while God's people are in exile.  You may feel that your life is out of kilter and far from the Lord.  You may be experiencing sickness, financial hardship, family problems, spiritual malaise, or sinfulness but God has not forgotten you.  Hear what He says to those in exile:  "For thus says the Lord,...'I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this good place."(Jer. 29:10)  God is saying that you may be in what seems to be a bad place but you will not be there forever.  He is giving you His word--His promise that better days are ahead.   He will bring you back to the place where you will find your purpose.

His plans for you are good plans.  He is able to make good out of everything(Romans 8:28).  When Joseph's brothers, who had sold him into slavery, were asking for forgiveness, he said, "You meant it for evil but God meant it for good."(Genesis 50:20)  What you are now going through may seem bad but the Lord can and will use it to accomplish His purpose for you and His Kingdom.  His plans also include a future and a hope.  tomorrow will be better.  We can be sure that even the worst of things--even our death--results in resurrection if our faith is in Christ.  We can look forward to a future here on earth and an even better one when we are in Heaven.

Ultimately our hope is in Him.  He is our Someone to love.  He says, "Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  And I will be found by you."(Jer. 29:12,13)  All of His plans for us--all of the great future He has for us--all of our hope is in Him.  When we are "in Christ" we have all we really need.  The goal of it all, what we were made for, and what we really need is to have intimacy with God through Jesus Christ.  He has given us His word.  Claim it and count on it.

Note to my readers

Dear friends,

I have not published a blog for a few weeks and I am sorry.  I plan on being back on track now and keeping up with my desire to write a blog every week.  Your prayers are appreciated.

Harry