People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Luke 18:15-17 MSG https://bible.com/bible/97/luk.18.15-17.MSG
We should come to know the Lord as a child with humility and faith.
In Genesis 22 God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, his firstborn son of his old age. Why? Many people, pastors included, preach that it was a test of Abraham’s faith and it was but there is another reason. The firstborn belongs to God, of animals and men, if the firstborn is not redeemed by another sacrifice then they must die. Now, today the sacrifice could be service to others or service to God. My mother prayed to God that my life would be used by Him when I was a baby. She told me that she dedicated me to God when I was born. When she told me this many years ago, I didn’t want to know what it meant and I didn’t really care because I was angry about the way that my parents were in court fighting over child support.
It took many years for me to realize what she was saying, but since I became a pastor I have learned what the phrase “first fruits” really means. In Abraham’s case, Isaac had not been redeemed by the sacrifice of an animal so when Isaac got old enough, he was around twenty years old at the time, God asked Abraham to sacrifice him on the mountain. I’m sure that didn’t make Abraham very happy. In fact, he likely did not sleep much during the night prior to the trip.
But his faith shows up even before they make it to the mountain. When he and Isaac leave the servants with the donkeys or camels that they were riding, he told them that “I and the boy will go to the mountain yonder and worship and we will come again unto you”. Abraham had the faith to believe that if God allowed him to sacrifice his son of promise, then God would raise him to fulfill the promise that He had made about Isaac and his descendants. Because God had made that promise and He would have to raise Isaac from the dead if that promise was real!
The promise was real but God didn’t have to raise Isaac from the ashes of sacrifice, He provided a substitute for Isaac just as God provided a substitute for our sins in His firstborn Son, Jesus. Many of the Old Testament saints and prophets looked forward to His coming and they saw Him and rejoiced. Have you come to know Jesus as your Savior and Sacrifice for all of your sins? All that we have to do is have enough faith in God and in Jesus as our Savior believing that He gave His life as a ransom for each of you. He redeemed you just as the ram in the thicket redeemed Isaac many years ago.
Give your life and your heart to Jesus because your life needs to be redeemed. If you don’t then your life, your eternity will be in hell with Satan and the rest of the people who rejected Jesus as their Savior. That is the only sin that leads to an eternity outside the presence of God.
We have heard songs for this and we’ve prayed for it to happen to us but until you realize that you already have it…it never really sinks into your conscience. God has loved every one of us since before the first blade of grass grew in Eden. He has known our weaknesses and our strengths and where and when we would make mistakes and He loves us anyway. Even when we refuse to listen to Him or we turn away from Him for a time and do our own thing…He still loves us. Feeling loved or unloved? Seek God in the Psalms and Proverbs. His love shines so bright that our own Sun cannot be bright enough to make a shadow.
Endless love. The kind of love that lasts not just for a lifetime but for eternity is the love that God has always had for each of us. Will He show this love to us while we are still alive? Yes, and He does it every time you wake up to a new day. When your day goes your way until you get home that was God making your day smooth and productive. God’s Spirit comes to live with you when you accept Jesus as your Savior and He is with you during the good days and the bad ones. He is never any further from you than a breath and a prayer. If you are hurting, the Holy Spirit can fill in the blanks that you can’t pray because of grief or the loss of a loved one. He knows your pain but He will give you the strength to get through it today and tomorrow and the next day too.
The gifts which the Spirit brings to your life will help with so much and add to your life and your enjoyment of it. God does so much for us each day and most of it goes unnoticed because He takes care of little things before they become big ones. Sometimes we ask Him to do something for us and He knows that we don’t need it or that it would cause problems for us later. He answers those prayers by not answering them. We don’t understand His logic but we aren’t supposed to understand Him. He’s God our Savior, our Protector, our Creator and our Redeemer. What more could you want or need?
If you look at some of the decisions which we make in our lifetime, a good percentage of them are motivated by fear. In particular when we buy things. Some people call it “impulse buying”. Something looks like a good deal so we buy whatever it is because we think we may not find a better price, only to find the same item a month or so later “on sale”. Sometimes it will go on sale the next day, but the people at the store aren’t allowed to tell you that. This happens in our consumer-driven economy more often than it should. I know because I used to do this more often than I should’ve. I still do at times but I keep praying that this “impulse demon” will go away.
Fear causes many things to happen that shouldn’t happen and these things usually happen because of specific fears. Sometimes they happen because of a general feeling of anxiety which is also a form of fear. We also fear telling other people about our Savior and what He has done for them and for the rest of the world. We fear rejection and anger since there are many who just don’t want to hear about a “god that I can’t see” or “a god that left us here to die on this ball of mud”.
God has never turned His back on humanity. He may allow some tragedies to happen or some wars or diseases to become more virulent or for the war to drag on and on, but He has never left us. We look around our world and we see the good of humanity sometimes but the news reports on mostly bad things. There is very little encouraging news which is reported on a daily basis. We may hear of a good deed or some philanthropy that has helped people when they were in need but that is mostly on a once per year calendar. On a daily level, we usually just turn the TV off so we won’t hear so much negativity.
But…God is still in control. He hasn’t forgotten us and since Jesus told His disciples that God the Father knows even when a sparrow falls to the ground, don’t you think He watches over each of us too? God doesn’t lie to get His point across or to just have His way. He is in control of the temperature of our Sun and the gravity which holds our planet in its place. He knows how much is needed to balance the dance of our solar system so that everything stays out of the way of everything else. The universe itself is balanced so delicately that it takes astounding calculations to know that if even one percent fluctuated in one direction or the other life could not exist.
Why am I writing about fear? Because it is an emotion which we are very familiar with and Satan uses it to cause us to doubt our faith in and our salvation through Jesus. Our lives are bound up in anxiety and fear due to disease and wars and economic upheavals just as we are going through right now. Many people are asking the question, “Why would God allow this to happen?”. He is allowing it to turn our attention back to Him and to the real fact that we need Him!
We have become so desensitized to violence and hatred and the sins which happen each day on the Internet or on the news and on TV shows and movies until we don’t blush about much these days. We are not ashamed of the actions of celebrities or our family members. Sinful actions which would’ve been enough to send someone to live with a relative a few decades ago are looked at as normal and permissible in today’s society. When my parents got divorced about fifty years ago it was enough of a scandal that my Dad’s boss leveled some form of punishment at him which I think had to do with a promotion. That would not happen today.
Do we need God and a belief in Jesus which can save our souls from the second death in hell? Yes! The problem is that today many people don’t believe that there is a heaven or a hell and they certainly don’t believe that the Bible is true let alone the fact that many of its prophecies have come true. God exists and Jesus is the only way to salvation for your soul. Satan is also real and hell is prepared for him but many people will go there as well if they don’t turn their hearts back to the One Savior Who can give them eternal life and atonement for all of their sins, Jesus the Christ.
There was an article which was asking the question “Why have teenage suicides gone up 76 percent in the past decade?”. One reason is information overload. This is the first generation which has had constant access to the Internet on a device which they can carry in their pocket. Am I blaming the smartphone for this? Yes, actually I am. It is not wholly to blame of course. Parents who use electronic babysitters to calm their children also are part of the problem. So why are teens feeling so left out and lonely? Because they don’t engage and talk to each other anymore.
Have you ever watched a group or even a family in a restaurant lately? Most of the time they aren’t talking to each other. They are all looking at their phones or texting or scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. Technology is to blame for the lack of interaction in our society because it is like a drug. And we start children on this “drug” sometimes before they can even talk! People don’t feel a connection to their family or their friends because of the detached nature of the relationship. You can’t hear uncertainty or fear in a text, there is no way to relate to an emoticon speaking to you.
All of this technology was supposed to help us not enslave us to it to the point of not being able to spell our words and our emotions. Young people use text abbreviations such as BRB rather than spelling the words and they use them in writing papers in English class and wonder why their grade is not higher? English teachers are having to attempt to undo the damage caused by more than a decade of message-speak. Will they ever be able to undo it? Not likely.
God did not intend for us to be slaves to technology but we are in today’s world. In many countries where there isn’t a rampant embrace of technology, Christian faith and Christianity in general is growing. Because of God’s written Word. People are reading it and praising Him because of Who He is and what He has done for them. Technology can help in this of course, but when we depend on technology more than we depend on God, we have become idol worshipers. Even when we make “our god” statements we have made God in our image and reduced Him to a little “g”. Still an idol because He said in the giving of the Ten Commandments, that we should not make a graven image to represent Him or any other created thing to worship.
The Ten Commandments Exodus 20:1-17
1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (This is the first commandment)
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
When we turn back to reading the Bible and learning from it, in church or in our homes, then our nation and the world will become the people that God intended for us to be. Pray for your children, teach them from God’s Word, learn from it while you teach them and help them to know that God loves them and has loved them since before they were born. Seek Him while there is time in this life because when this life is over, there are no second chances.
God is not surprised by anything, least of all what happens with His Creation. That means that nothing in your life or anywhere on Earth surprises Him. God has been in charge since before the universe was brought into being. So why do we seem to think that He either doesn’t exist or that He is out of touch with us?
Even though it has been two thousand years or so since Jesus walked with His disciples, God is still in control. None of His prophecies have fallen to the ground or failed in any way. Jerusalem and the Jewish people have come back together in the nation of Israel and their language is still intact. This has never happened in history before 1948 and it won’t happen again. Many other prophecies which were foretold by His prophets have come to pass as well and the only one which hasn’t taken place is the coming of our Savior to bring His children home.
Jesus said that He would come back for us and since God cannot lie, He will. The signs of which He spoke in Matthew 24 and in the beginning chapters of the Revelation which John wrote down are all around us today. No, God is not surprised by our behavior or by anything which is happening on Earth or in the cosmos.
Do we doubt Him and His Word? Yes, and mostly it is our own ideas and faults which we see in the world. God is allowing many things to happen so that we will turn to Him and many are doing that. But there are thousands, possibly millions who are accusing Him of not caring about us or completely pushing Him away because they don’t like what is written in His Word. Remember, love cannot be forced and He allows us to follow our own path until we realize that we truly need Him.
Don’t push Him away from your life or family because of a word or a phrase that you don’t like. We can’t pick and choose which parts of the Bible to believe. Either you live by it and believe all of it or you don’t, there really isn’t another way to put it. God is in control but He still allows us to choose, so choose to believe in Jesus as your Savior. The alternative is an eternity without any life, any hope or any good thing at all.
I’ve noticed that many people do seem to be searching for the Reason for Life. Who is the Author of Life? Jesus Christ! He is the Creator and a part of the Triune Godhead along with the Holy Spirit and God the Father. How can I say that many people are searching for something or Someone? Because of the number of people who have visited my little website which God led me to write years ago. Also, because of a search for Bibles on Amazon or any other retail location on the web. Many editions, regardless of translation, are in short supply.
The Holy Spirit is moving in our world today drawing as many people as He can to come to know Jesus as their Savior. The only real way to do this is from reading God’s Word or by attending a Bible teaching church or website. Learn about Jesus and seek to know Him as your personal Savior because He will be that and more. Don’t turn away from Him, especially if you are at the end of your life and you feel God touching your heart. If it is because of age or by reason of some disease which is bringing you to this point, don’t let your life end without Jesus being your Savior. Asking Him to forgive you and make you a child of God is the easiest decision you can make and it is the one which will impact your life far more than you will know on this side of heaven.
We truly are living on the edge of Revelation and if you have ever read this book, the problems which are described in the first few chapters sound exactly like the news broadcasts today. Life is not going to get easier from this point forward, in fact its going to get worse. Because the intolerance of the rest of the world against Christians and their so-called “intolerant” religion is ramping up in intensity and approaching dangerous levels of persecution. In some countries Christians are being hunted down and killed just because of their beliefs and for no other reason. We are being targeted in America because of our “intolerance” but the same thing could be said of their opinion and intolerance too. We are preaching the truth of God from His Word but nobody wants to hear it.
I pray that anyone who reads this post, regardless of the country you live in, seek out a Christian if you can. Ask them about their Savior and pray that your heart will be changed by Him so that your eternity will be with Him in Heaven. The alternative for eternity is unthinkable. Because, whether you believe the Bible and its Word about Heaven and Hell or not. now is the time to make the decision which will impact your eternity and that is a lot longer than your life here.
We tend to think of this life as being the end, at least when you get to the end. Some of us know better though. Life, regardless of whether you believe in Jesus as your Savior or not, does not end when you die. There is a place where you will spend eternity. Whether it is an enjoyable eternity or one of punishment for wrong decisions is YOUR choice. I hear many people say that “A loving God would not send people to hell for eternity!”; in fact, you are right…our God loves each person on this Earth and He would rather not condemn people to hell. It was made specifically for the punishment of Satan and his fallen angels because of their rebellion and their role in leading mankind away from God.
The problem is that there are many people in the world who either don’t want to believe in God as their Savior through Jesus the Christ or they are serving a false religion or a false god. When you are in this group of people then you are in the same “camp” as Satan and his demons are. You are living in rebellion against God’s law and His grace. He has extended His grace to each of us but it is still our choice which determines our salvation or not. If you have felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and then refused to give your heart and your life to Jesus, God won’t turn away from you. But, if you keep turning away from Him then one day you may not feel the conviction of the Spirit again even if you are at a revival or a church service. When that happens, God has turned you over to your own beliefs.
Sometimes it may not take that long. You may feel the conviction and turn away and your life may end before you ever feel it again. Then you will be standing in front of God at your judgement day. When your life ends here, you will stand in front of Him to be judged on your choices in this life and it will be those choices which send you to hell, not the God Who loves you. It is your choice in this life about Who your Savior is which determines your eternal destination. Make sure that you make the right choice before you come to the end of your life.