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AN OPEN LETTER TO GOD

AN OPEN LETTER TO GOD

Dear God,

Whenever I pray, I always seem to have a difficult time when it comes to expressing my thoughts.  Every time I try to express myself, I am overcome by the reality of who You are. When I pray, all I want to do is fall on my face in awe.  The only words that seem to come out of my mouth are expressions of love and gratitude and, if I can stay focused long enough, I bask in Your glory and holiness.  So what I have decided to do is write You a letter.  I feel so limited with my human vocabulary.  I know You see beyond my verbal inadequacies and know the thoughts and intents of my heart, but for my own understanding and clarity, I have chosen to write You.

The reason for this letter is to ask Your forgiveness for the way my Country has offended and betrayed You.  No one is immune from taking responsibility for what has happened to this once “Great Oasis” in a world of chaos.  Now, I cannot speak for those who represent the Kingdom of Darkness, but I feel as a Believer and representative of Your earthly Kingdom that I need to share a few thoughts with You.  I can only imagine how You must feel to see this country, which was once a lighthouse to the world, becoming a federation of spiritual darkness.  We, as a country, have moved from seeking Your guidance to pursuing the wisdom the world offers.  We have moved from all life being precious to choosing which lives are worthy to be born.  We have moved from the unity of a man and a woman to the unionizing of same sex individuals.  We have banned the celebration of Jesus’ birthday for the promoting of a red-suited fantasy that has caused financial irresponsibility.  We have substituted the Easter basket for the Cross.  Sight has replaced Faith.  Love has been defined as eroticism.  Violence has dwarfed peace.  Secular humanism has replaced Spiritual Truth.  Self promotion has replaced servitude. Elevated education has been replaced by sub-cultural teaching.  We have strived to be politically correct instead of being spiritually right.  Children have been taught to believe in only what they can see.  On and on its goes and where it stops only You know.  I have wondered how much longer You will put up with our rebellion.  I know that if it were not for Your Grace and desire that no one perishes, You would have already authorized Jesus’ return.

What bothers me the most is the roll the Church has played in this spiritual rebellion.  We Believers are all guilty of the sin of omission.  We have failed to stem the tide of evil by failing to defend and promote the principles of Your Kingdom.  As You listen to Your people, I am sure You detect the current of negativity that surrounds our gatherings.  We discuss and promote how bad our country is, instead of sharing how good You are.  We criticize our political leaders instead of acknowledging Your sovereignty.  We have been so near sighted that we have lost sight of out mission.  We have exchanged our calling as a representative of Your Kingdom for being students of End Times and how to prepare to leave this earth.  We have adapted the “Pilate syndrome” in which we have washed our hands of the whole mess.  We have laid our spiritual weapons aside and have donned our robes for departure to the Promised Land.  “Rapture” has been the cry of the beleaguered Saint.

God, please forgive us for letting You down.  Forgive us for our complacency.  Forgive us for our contemporary blindness.  Forgive us for hibernating in our caves of separation.  Forgive us for our waning commitment.  Forgive us for our lukewarmness.  God, as You grant us forgiveness, and if there is still time, would You give us another chance to be the people You have called us to be?

Your Servant,

Simply Rhetorical

 

THE EMOTION CALLED WORRY

All of us have sometime or other undermined our faith by assuming a role that is not conducive to our spiritual stability and growth.  One of the ingredients we mix into the challenges of life is the emotion called “WORRY.”  It has caused detours in our life’s journey.  It has even caused health challenges to our houses of clay.  This little word has elevated circumstances into a fearful and exaggerated status.  WORRY has brought both a direct and indirect challenge to God’s authority and power.  WORRY is like the hole in the boat that continues to allow an invasion of circumstances that will affect the stability of the vessel.  WORRY activates our human nature to the point of questioning our divine nature.  Soon we begin to magnify the situation to the point that we micromanage the challenge.  WORRY is the antidote to faith.  The Believer was never meant to exhibit the characteristics of the unregenerate, yet we exhibit them more than we like to admit.  Many of our emotions are keyed to denying the sovereignty of God by promoting human understanding.  Instead of trusting God and taking Him at His Word, we rely on reason and trusting in ourselves.  Try rewinding your life’s experiences and see incidences where you used WORRY to face your challenges.  How did WORRY work for you?  Did it have a positive effect on the situation?  Were you able through the use of WORRY to ease your concern?  Did WORRY help you overcome your exaggerated situations?

WORRY is Satan’s faith word.  He loves to get our eyes on the problem rather than on the answer.  He loves to go to the cemetery and dig up our old nature.  He wants to see the “old man” resurrected.  He wants us to see only the things that are visible.  He wants to take the little things in life and make them into a tsunami that will wash away our faith in God.  WORRY, fear, anxiety, anger, and depression, which were once buried with our old nature, are presented to us like a reunion with a long lost friend.  WORRY tends to question God’s ability to fulfill His promises.  WORRY causes us to cross our fingers instead of folding them in reverence.  WORRY wants us to put our hands in our pockets instead of lifting our hands in praise.

The Bible makes it clear that God has everything under control and that means everything!  We are commanded to cast all our care on Him who cares so much for us. (I Peter 5:7)  That means transference of all our problems to Him.  We are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices. (II Corinthians 2:11)  That means we should never be surprised at what Satan tries to do in our lives.  The Bible teaches us not to be concerned with such things as our physical stature or what we should eat or wear. (Matthew 6:25-34)  That means we should not WORRY about tomorrow, for God has already made provision for those needs and concerns.

It comes down to whom are we going to believe?  Do we trust in Satan and his suggestions or do we trust God and His absolutes?  Satan says to trust in ourselves, while God says to trust in Him.  Satan tells us to lean on our own understanding, while God tells us to lean on Him. (Proverbs 3:5,6)  It really is a question of whom do we trust?  The next time WORRY desires our attention, let us be so full of faith that there is no room for WORRY.

DEMONS AND CHRISTIANS

 

The subject of Demons, Evil Spirits, Devils, and Deliverance has been a subject of limited interest, at least in the mainline Church.  Only recently has Demonology moved from the shadows to a more pronounced area of religious discussion.  The Catholic Church has always been involved in Exorcism, but only through selected venues and situations.  Hollywood has ventured into the dark side of spiritual warfare with a plethora of movies that have raised the awareness of evil spirits and their possible possession of human beings.  Outside of the United States, especially in Latin American, Africa, and the far eastern countries, it is a different story.  In these countries, spiritual warfare is waged with the same zeal as evangelistic outreach.

What about Demons (aka evil spirits)?  Where did they come from?  What is Demon possession?  Can a Christian be possessed?  What power do they have?  What is their purpose?  Speculations abound as to the resolve of these questions.  Many viewpoints pertaining to Demons are merely individual editorials that are shared with limited Biblical knowledge.  There are countless books on Satan and evil spirits.  The problem with acquiring publications that purport to elaborate on Biblical principles is that people tend to elevate these materials to a place of equal status with the Bible.  Without engaging in absolutes, I would like to lay out a few thoughts that may help you activate a more thorough study of the Scripture on this subject.

The Bible does not define where Evil Spirits come from, but it does make it clear that they are dedicated to disrupting anything or anybody from the purpose and desires of God.  The mind and body of the individual is the targeted area for these spirits.  They have tremendous influence and power over undisciplined individuals.  The majority of their activities are around “label wearing” Christians who are not actively serving God.  Their emphasis is always around the flesh and carnal instincts of their subject.  Many (not all) sicknesses, both mental and physical, are a direct result of Evil Spirit involvement.  Depending on the targeted individual, there can be multiple Spirits involved.  These “demons” know a person’s status and activity in the Body of Christ.  They know if you are active in your faith or are just a “tag wearing” follower.  They can’t read your mind, but they can influence your thinking.  They can’t make you do something, but they can influence your reasoning to the point of acting on your thoughts.  They cannot override your will, but they can entice you to adjust your will.

There is a battle being waged between Good and Evil;  God’s Kingdom versus Satan’s Kingdom.  Satan is out to maim and, if possible, destroy God’s earthly army.  The best way to do that is to challenge the professed Believer’s service and commitment.  There is more Evil Spirit activity around churches than in secular places.  As mosquitoes are drawn to standing water, so are Evil Spirits drawn to Lukewarm Believers.  Can a Believer be possessed by a “demon?”  Possession depicts ownership.  Every Believer was adopted into the family of God by way of the Blood of Christ.  We belong to God!  Satan cannot possess what God owns.  So the answer is NO!  Can a Believer be influenced by Satan?  YES! But only to the degree you allow him.

I have purposely left off Biblical references because I want you to go the Word of God and search it out for yourself.  Never let people display their take on a subject without searching the Word to see if it lines up.  As you go to the Word, you will see not only how Evil Spirits work, but more importantly, you will see the power and authority that the Believer has over Satan and his army!

TRUE CONFORMITY

 

We live in a society where the rotating of worldly values preoccupies our desires.  The effect of following these standards is conformity to their enticements.  Secular humanism defines what materialistic things we should have.  All forms of materialism are paraded before our searching eyes.  Fashion brings identification to the standards of the world and a sense of acceptance.  Tattoos that identify attitudes are displayed wherever exposed skin is presented.  Our bodies are draped in name brand fashions.  Our homes are filled with electronics which have their life expectancy geared to the arrival of a newer or updated version.  Our modes of transportation identify our fantasy position in society.  Our housing displays a pretense of societal success.  Our recreational toys exhibit the importance of extreme pleasures.  Draped beneath these objects of fleshly fulfillment is the financial responsibility they carry.  Hidden from the view of others is the financial ruin that lies beyond the outward displays.

Christians are not immune to societal conformity.  In fact, many Christians strive to be accepted by those outside of the faith.  It is hard sometimes to distinguish a Believer from a non-believer.  We dress, speak, and act so much like the world.  The Bible teaches that we are strangers in this world.  The Word says we are a royal priesthood.  We are a peculiar people.  We are “sojourners” that have taken up temporary residency in a hostile environment. (I Peter 9:9,11)  The Bible warns us to not be conformed to the world (Romans 12:2), yet we continue to imitate it.  Instead of being living examples of Jesus, we have become actors and actresses who display our own understanding of what it is to be a Christian.  I am not advocating conforming to a pre-contemporary life style.  I am not saying we cannot dress appropriately to the times.  I am not saying we cannot have modern devices that can assist us in life.  I am not saying we can’t have affordable means of transportation, or live in a nice house.  I am not saying we can’t own recreational equipment.  What I am saying is that we need to learn to live within the parameters of God’s Kingdom.  We need to be good stewards of His finances.  It is not a question of what the world says we need, rather it is acquiring what will bring glory to God.  We are not here to be followers of the world, but to be examples of a new and living way.  We are not on this earth to impress others, but to honor God.

The reason this world is falling apart is that we Christians have fallen away from our calling.  The reason the world is failing to see the answer is because the Christian is failing to live the answer.  The world laughs at Christianity because they don’t see any real difference between their lifestyle and ours.  Jesus told Philip, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)  We need to come to the place where, by our presence, we can say, “He that has seen me has seen Jesus.”

I know there are many Christians that are living examples of the Kingdom of God.  But there is also an equal number of Christians that have, like Demas, fallen in love with the world. (II Timothy 4:10)  If we hope to make a difference in our communities, we must be willing to exhibit a difference that will cause people to desire the One we represent.  Let us learn to stand as Paul did by saying, “I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2: 20)  Let us learn what it is to be a light in a darkened world.  Let us not reflect the world, but may the world reflect the Believer!

THE RETURN OF THE SELF WOUNDED

 

Not too long ago, I had the opportunity sit down with an individual who was no longer involved in organized religion.  This person had not just been an average Sunday morning attendee, but a board member who, along with his co-deacons, assisted the Pastor in ministering to the people.  It did not take much prodding to get him to share what went so tragically wrong.  His story is not unique.  There are many individuals who have become casualties of spiritual warfare.  These are good people who happened to be in the right place with a wrong attitude.  I know there are some who will read this article with a quick resolve to discredit any premise that would challenge their misunderstanding.

If we all could just step back from conflicting issues and take a deep breath.  If we could look at negative situations with the attitude that God is allowing the fire in our life to provide a period of refining.  If we could look at turning our cheek instead of our back, we might learn a little more about being a true disciple.  If we could learn to count up to 490, we might learn with Peter the true principle of forgiving. (See Mt. 18:21, 22)  If we could learn to be a conscientious objector, we could be the peacemaker God has called us to be.  If we could learn how to wear the full armor of God, we would never run away from a conflict.  Jesus preached that if we hear and obey His Word, our life will be like a house build upon a rock.  No matter what is blown our way, we will never be moved.

There are many Christians who have walked away from situations that conflicted with their weaker moments.  When conflicts interweave with a spiritually idle mind, there will be human responses that generate exaggerated responses.  Whenever we respond to carnal or misunderstood accusations by counter actions that are based on our feelings and emotions, we have fallen into Satan’s snare.  We all share responsibility for how things sometimes get out of hand.  No one is without sin.  The problem is that it is always the other guy that started it.  Well, if he truly did, then we need to end it.  We must stop wearing our feelings on our ear!   If somebody hurts us with words and deeds, we need to bring healing with our words and deeds.  If somebody hates you, we need to learn to love them.  If somebody spreads lies about you, we need to love them all the more.  Much of the hurt in the Church today is brought about by weak Christians who do not understand God’s Word.  Instead of leaving the Body of Believers, we need to see the opportunity to bring the Gospel to those within the Body.  Africa can wait; Asia will be still be there.  We need to look within the Church; the field is ripe for harvest!  I know there are people within the Church that are enemies of Christ and are there for the dividing of the Church.  Those people need to be removed. (See Titus 1)  But the harvest I am talking about is the spiritually blind that need to see the light of the Gospel, those who have the vocabulary, but don’t understand the words.

If you have been hurt and have left your position within the Church, its time to get back!  God is not done with you yet.  If you have been self inflicted by your reception of the hostility of others, receive your healing.  If you let your spiritual guard down, restore the perimeter.  Weakness comes from fasting the Word; strength comes from feasting on the Word.  It is time for all Christians to “man up” and be the person God has called us to be!  Remember, “I AM” said, “You are,” so no more excuses!

 

 

PRAYING IN HIS PRESENCE

 

Prayer is communication with God.  It is being in the presence of God.  It is having a conversation with Him.  It is an intimate sharing and expressing of our concerns.  It is a requesting for intervention, not only in our lives, but in the lives of others.  It is interaction with the One who created all things.  It is a time of sharing our needs and even our wants.  It is a time of not only speaking, but listening.  For many years, I looked at prayer as simply petitioning God, with no thought as to what I was actually doing.  I knew that God heard my prayers, but the evidence expressed in my countenance would go unchanged.  I would finish my prayers with the assurance that my blood pressure would still be the same as it was before I prayed.  There was no sense of awe as I ended my predetermined verbal expressions.  My attitude was that I fulfilled my communication requirement and there was nothing more to do than hope my requests would be answered in a timely fashion.  I would exhibit more excitement in talking to a socially elevated individual than I would with talking to God.   Have we come to a place where God seems so distant and inaccessible to our consciousness?

When we begin our prayers, there is a transformation that takes place that, if understood, would change our understanding of prayer forever.  The Catholic Church believes that during Eucharist (Communion) the wine is instantly turned into the blood of Christ when the recipient takes of the Cup.  The term for this transference is Transubstantiation.  I am not Biblically persuaded as to the validity of the claim, but I am convinced they have touched upon something that needs to be pursued.  How would this concept of transference fit into our prayer life?  Would it be acceptable to conjecture that when we begin our prayers we are brought into the presence of the Living God through the name of Jesus?  If that is possible, would that not affect us to the point of elevated reality?

The recording of Jesus’ transfiguration could possibly shed some understanding as to the environment in which our prayer life brings us.  The Bible says that as Jesus was praying in a certain mountain, His countenance was altered, and His raiment became white and glistering.  During this time of Prayer, both Moses and Elijah appeared with Him.  The Scripture states that they discussed Jesus’ decease that would be accomplished at Jerusalem.  Peter, John, and James, who had accompanied Jesus, were asleep and awoke just in time to witness the encounter.  As they became conscious of their surroundings, they saw Jesus in His glorified state.  A cloud descended upon them and they heard God say to them, “…this is my beloved Son: hear Him.” (See the account in Luke 9:28-36)  What we see is that the prayer of Jesus brought Him into the realm of the Heavenlies.  What the witnessing disciples saw was the transference from the natural setting to the supernatural experience.  One is reminded of Elisha at Dothan when he asked God to alter his servant’s eyes so that he could see the angels of the Lord surrounding their city while their enemies stood at the city gates. (See II Kings 6:17)

I am saying that we need to shake up our dry bones and visualize our appearance before our loving Heavenly Father.  Let us desire a prayer life that is more than a simple exercise of words and hopeful expectations.  Let us stop our soliloquy of phrases and spiritless words and realize to whom we are talking!  Let us see ourselves in the presence of God.  When we do that, our prayer life will take on a whole new meaning.

OUR NEGLECTED CALLING

Jesus ministry was first and foremost to the Jewish people.  He said to the woman of Canaan who desired that Jesus deliver her daughter from an evil spirit, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)  Jesus continually frequented the synagogues with the specific purpose of turning the hearts of Jews back to God.  When He sent the twelve into the country side to preach, He commanded them to go only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10:6)  God had a covenant with Israel that no matter how rebellious they became, He would never forsake them.

We also have a covenant with God through the blood of Christ.  Jesus said He would never leave nor forsake us.  No matter how rebellious we become, we can’t escape His forgiveness and love!  In Luke fifteen, we have the account of three lost things and their consequent recovery.  There is the shepherd who lost one of His sheep.  He left the other ninety-nine and went in search of the stray.  When he found it, he called all his friends and neighbors and together they rejoiced and celebrated over the found lamb.  There is the woman who lost a coin.  She searched her house diligently until she found it.  When she did, she called all her friends and neighbors and they rejoiced with her over the recovered coin.  Finally, there is the account of the son who rebelled against his father and went out into the world.  His father would continually look out toward the horizon hoping that he would return.  One day he made out his son, “…Yet a long way off…,” and ran to embrace him.  There was a great celebration, for the son that was “dead” was “alive again.”

All the things that were lost belonged to the person who lost them.  The lamb and the coin were owned by the shepherd and the woman.  The son was part of a family.  There was no discovery, but a recovery of what was already theirs.  There are many people today who were once part of the Kingdom of God but are no longer serving the Lord.  In fact, for every new Believer that comes into the front door of the church, a backslidden Christian goes out the back door.  It is pretty much a wash.  Many Believers are so excited about “new blood” coming into the church that they fail to see the bleeding and wounded going out of the church.  Last year, the media related the story about the sinkhole in Florida where a man’s bedroom disappeared into the ground.  Looking at the outside of the house, one would think nothing was wrong.  It is just like so many churches today; it looks good on the outside, but inside there is a “sinkhole” into which many are disappearing.

Jesus realized the importance of reaching the backsliders and those with the Egyptian syndrome (returning to their former lives). (See Numbers 12:2-4)  We cry for lost souls, but shrug off the misguided souls.  We rejoice over new members, but write off the lost members.  We attempt to establish new relationships, but fail to reestablish old relationships.  We throw out our arms in acceptance of the seeking, but fold our arms when it comes to lost saints.  If the Church is to reign victorious, it needs to reach out to those who were once strong in the faith, but are now weak in the flesh.  Evangelism is a two way street: it must reach those who were once part of the faith, but are now in the world, and then reach out to those who have never been given the chance to be part of the family of God.

MORE LIKE JESUS

 

My life’s desire has always been to be more like Jesus, to live a life exemplary of my Savior and Lord.  But no matter how hard I try, it seems I always fall short of my quest.  I have spent years studying the life of Jesus, but I seem to lose touch with the reality of being Christ-like.  I marvel at the victory Jesus had over His flesh.  He was tried, tempted, and enticed to pursue the dictates of the flesh, but not once did He succumb to its offerings!  We know that Jesus was Divine as well as human.  We know the Divine nature in Him could not sin, but the human aspect of His being was not immune to the temptations in life.  He struggled just as much as any other individual, yet without fault, slip, or failure.  What was the ingredient in Jesus’ life that made Him victorious throughout His brief earthly ministry?  What was it that enabled Jesus to overcome every trial and testing?  He was not immune to sufferings and struggles, yet there was never a situation in which He failed to achieve the victory.  Is it possible to achieve such a Christ- like life that we can say at the end of each day, “It is no longer I that live, but Christ?”

I believe that the key to Jesus’ success was His prayer life.  Beginning at His baptism, He stood in the water praying. ( Luke 3:21)  He would go up into a mountain and pray all night long. ( Luke 6:12)  Just before selecting His twelve disciples, He spent all night praying. ( Luke 6:12)  After the feeding of the five thousand, He took His disciples with Him and prayed. ( Luke 9:18)  One time, He took Peter, James, and John up into a mountain to pray and as He was praying, He was transfigured before them. ( Luke 9:28, 29)  There were times He would get up before dawn and go and pray. ( Mark 1:35)  Jesus’ life was highlighted by prayer.  All the way to the cross, His road was covered in prayer.

When I look at my prayer life, I see my spiritual scale completely out of balance.  I pray, but not with the regularity and sincerity that is required from God’s children.  I pray, but it is more with an attitude of compliance and obedience than with a heart-felt desire to commune with my Heavenly Father.  We Christians tend to traditionalize our prayers around the food table and the bed.  Between our regimented petitions, we scatter our supplications of wants and needs.  If time permits and we don’t forget, there are the quick prayers for those for whom we said we would pray.  When is the last time we remember “saying” our prayers at the end of the day and being able to say “amen” before the “zzzzzs” take over?

I want to be more like Jesus, but without understanding the value of prayer and its role in my life, I will never be able to achieve the Christ-likeness that I desire.  We love to talk about the miracles, signs, and wonders Jesus did, but we fail to understand the importance of prayer in His life.  Jesus followed God’s directions for His life, and His destinations were achieved through His communion with His Father!  We may be able to quote Scripture by heart.  We may be able to exhibit some of the characteristics of Jesus’ life, but we will never to able to truly be like Him until we understand the importance of prayer in His, and our, life.

 

NEVER FORGET

 

For many Christians, the subject of forgiveness through God’s wonderful Grace has been stored in the recesses of our minds.  We know through God’s Word that, when we accepted God’s offer to expunge our sins through the blood of His beloved Son, we became a new creature.  We realized that our old life passed away and the reality of continual fellowship with our Redeemer lay before us.  It has been hard for me to fathom how soon we forget what was accomplished through God’s intercession in our lives.  Look around next Sunday as we gather to worship with our spiritual peers.  How many of us are displaying the joys and thankfulness for God’s intervention in our lives?  If we are honest, we will readily admit that our foundational Christian experience of repentance and forgiveness is no longer holding a place in our consciousness.  Yet, if it were not for that experience, none of us would be where we are today.  We must never loose sight of our salvation for that is how it all started.  Have we become so calloused that our inauguration into the Faith has little significance to our lives today?  When we think of what we were before Christ, how can we sit in our Sunday morning pews/chairs looking bored and complacent?

Take a look at the forgiven sinner who came to Simon the Pharisee’s house to hear the teachings of Jesus.  (See Luke 7:36-50)  As Jesus was sharing with His host and company, this woman came in and stood weeping behind Jesus.  As her tears fell upon Jesus feet, she knelt down and began to wash His feet with her tears.  She then took her hair down and wiped His feet with her hair.  Reaching for her alabaster box of ointment, she then anointed His feet.  Reading this account correctly, one would assume that Jesus had previously encountered her and had forgiven her sins.  Simon was incredulous and could not understand why Jesus would let such a sinful woman touch Him.  For Simon’s benefit, Jesus reiterated what He had done previously and said to the woman, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.”  There is so much more to this story, but the important teaching is that when one is forgiven much, that person will love much and that is not an inaugurated love, but an everlasting love!

How can we ever forget God’s forgiveness?  How can we ever become complacent?  How can we ever let our joy fade into obscurity?  How can we ever close up our tear ducts of thankfulness?  How can we ever become a spectator instead of a participant in Kingdom living?  How can we ever take our salvation for granted?  How can we ever stop worshipping?  How can we ever stop expressing outwardly what has happened inwardly?  How can we ever live like the world when we are not of this world?

When we walk into our worship arenas this week, let us enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise, for we were once lost and are now found!  Let us exchange our lemon faces for smiley ones.  Let us exchange those defeats into feats of victory and adoration.  Let us exchange our cosmetic frowns into the image of our Creator.  When is the last time we fell to our knees and shed tears of thankfulness?  If it has been sometime, let us resolve to start exhibiting our gratitude daily!  We can all do this because of what God has done for us and in us!

GOD’S TREASURE CHEST

I marvel at how many times we misread or misinterpret God’s Word.  Maybe we think that God needs our help in explaining the intent of the Scripture.  Maybe we think we need to translate His Words into an easier rendering and application so people can have a greater understanding.  Maybe traditionalizing the Holy Book into our own personal experiences will help develop a better connection between God and man.  Maybe we think paraphrasing the Word will help gain a greater audience.  Piecemeal Scripture, in which only the feel good verses are promoted, has caused the Word of God to be downgraded to simply Christian psychology.  When are we going to accept God’s Word as He intended it?  It is not simplifying the Word to a common denominator; rather, it is lifting the reader to the realm of spiritual understanding through the Holy Spirit’s tutorage.  It is amazing how much literature is produced to explain the Bible and its relevance to our daily lives.  There are books that are keyed to explaining Biblical overviews.  There is even one entitled “DUMMIES GUIDE TO THE BIBLE.”  Much of the Christian literature today is keyed to learning how to get from God: as long as one is willing to give something green to the promoter.  It seems we are in the neo-DaVinci Code era in which secret codes are supposedly hidden in the Bible.  We are challenged to unravel the secrets that will lead us to such things as financial prosperity and weight loss.  We need to stop looking for hidden treasure and realize the wealth of God’s Word is right before our eyes.  We need to stop trying to unveil what has not been veiled.  We need to have an attitude of simply accepting God’s Word as He said it.  It is true that the Bible will make little or no sense to the unregenerate reader, but to the true Believer, it is the inerrant, infallible, and eternal Word of God.  We must never dilute the Word through human interpretation, but promote its truth to one another in love. Many of the false doctrines that have been activated through out the years are so aligned with real Truth that it is has been hard to separate truth from fiction.  Verbal promotion of heresy is usually hidden within the tenets of faith in Christian organizations.  Whenever we find something is taken away from or added to the Scripture, there should be alarm bells sounded in the heart of the true Believer.  Whenever promoted Scripture conflicts with other Scripture, there should be a spiritual uneasiness.  One case in point is water baptism.  Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19); yet, some believe that after Pentecost, people should be baptized in Jesus’ name only. (Acts 2:38)   After commissioning His disciples, Jesus told them not to start their ministry until they had received the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 1:4)  Jesus’ command did not include a change or contradiction of direction; rather, an enablement to carry out His orders through the authority of the Holy Spirit. The Scripture is God’s Word dictated to His scribes through the Holy Spirit.  We must learn to accept God’s Word by faith, and not to scrutinize the intent of the Scripture to our own satisfaction.  As we open God’s Word, we will discover His unlimited riches.  There is no need to look for hidden treasures and new truths for they are already before us in plain sight!