No surer way to hell…

18 Oct

“Falsehood and pretence before God are damnable.

I cannot use a less forcible word than that. Pretence condemns men fatally, and finally if it be continued in. I have noticed in reference to conversions one noteworthy fact. I would not wish to assert as a general rule that which happens to be the result of my personal observation; but be the rule what it may, all the world over, this one thing is a statement of my own experience, — I have constantly seen almost all sorts of people converted— great blasphemers, pleasure-seekers, thieves, drunkards, unchaste persons, and hardened reprobates, but rarely have I seen a man converted who has been a thorough-paced liar. I might have been still more correct if I had said never to my knowledge have I seen a wily, crafty man of cunning become a disciple of Jesus. The heart which is crammed with craft and treachery seems as if it had passed out of the reach of grace. You remember that the ground which brought forth fruit when the sower went forth to sow is called “honest and good ground.” There was nothing good in it spiritually, but it was honest, true, sincere, and so far “good.”

Give me plain-spokenness and I have hope of a man. If a fellow can look you straight in the face you can deal with him. An open-hearted sailor, honest as the noonday sun, puts on no imitation of religion, but is evidently a bad fellow, a very bad fellow, and yet, when the grace of God enables him to listen to the gospel, how he sucks it in, and with what heartiness he responds to it. How very different it is with that clever gentleman who always attends a place of worship, and knows how to raise quibbles, and to answer texts of Scripture, and to blurt the edge of any truth that touches his conscience! You know him, do you not? He is a great sorrow to me. What a mischief-maker he is in all sorts of circles, and what a fetcher and carrier of religious gossip! He slips in and out of gospel services like a dog in a fair, and nothing ever comes of his running about. He is not good enough to be good to himself. How can you get at him? He knows all you can tell him, and yet knows nothing in truth. He is harder to handle than an eel, for he is all twists and turns. The man is shut up in armour, he is cased all over with his lying self-deceitfulness, and the arrows of truth are blunted when they touch his harness. May none of you ever grow into the like of him.

I charge you, above all things, be true.

If Baal be God, serve him, but say so, and do it in broad daylight. If the devil be your master, do not disown him; but do not be one of those mean sneaks who will serve God on Sundays, and the devil when it pays them better. Be not one who will profess to be a Christian to be respectable, and under the cover of that will indulge in the most disreputable vices. Such a man, though never out of the reach of the infinite grace of God — I never meant to say that— is usually the kind of man that the election of God does not light upon, and that the grace of God seldom visits.

Amidst a very large and wide observation I have noticed the fact which I have stated, and, therefore, I bid all pretenders look to themselves lest their bands be made strong, and their death-irons be riveted on their wrists before they know of it. I would say to young persons beginning life, whatever errors you fall into, whatever mistakes you make, ay, and into whatever transgressions you may wander, be true. Wear no cloak of hypocrisy. Profess not to be what you are not; never dare to jeopardize your soul by a falsehood.

Remember, no way to hell is surer than the way of deceit, for it is written, “All liars shall have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.” He that loveth and maketh a lie shall be cast away from the presence of God and from the glory of his power.”

Simple Family Devotions #7: The Good Life

17 Oct

How would you define the good life?

Jesus’ answer is simple. Knowing God.

Not only is knowing God essential to living forever, knowing God is key to really living life well now. It’s important you take time today to think about God.  You can begin where God begins. The first thing God tells us is that He is the Creator. This seems obvious, but we often fail to appreciate its significance. Look up the following verses and note what they tell us about God as Creator and how that reality should impact us.

1.) 1 Chronicles 16:25,26

2.) Psalm 89:11,12

3.) Isaiah 45:5,9,10

4.) Jeremiah 32:17

5.) Psalm 121:1,2

6.) Revelation 4:11

Now, what is one way you will think, feel or act  differently today in light of what you’ve seen about God? 

 

Speak truth, at all costs…

16 Oct

Christian living 101.

Christians must speak truth, at all costs.

Why is the truth so important?

  1. God loves truth. He is actually the God of truth. He is abundant in truth. His truth reaches to the skies. Jesus is full of grace and truth. He is the truth. The truth is in Jesus. The Spirit is the Spirit of truth. God’s Word is the word of truth. Christianity is called the way of truth.
  2. The devil is the source of lies. He’s called the father of lies. Part of what makes lying so awful is not simply that it is bad form or not good manners, but that lying is ultimately of the devil. In fact if you think about how sin came into the world, you remember that it was a consequence of listening to a lie from the devil himself.
  3. Speaking the truth in love is how Christians grow.
  4. Lying has devastating consequences. If we want to know how important it is we speak the truth we only need look at all the misery and unhappiness that lying has produced. Just take a step back and think about how lying complicates life. This habit of lying is one of the main reasons for how complicated life gets. We can’t trust anybody so we have to have all these crazy rules and administrative procedures to keep us from stealing each other blind. In our own lives, we do something wrong, we lie about it, and then the moment we do that, we have to tell another lie to cover up that lie and then all of life becomes more and more complex and complicated until we are caught up in this whole web of lies and deceit.  
  5. God hates deception and he will judge it. Psalm 5:6 says that God abhors the liar. In Proverbs 12:22 we read, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” Revelation 21 and 22 sum it all up. Listen to this frightening warning in Revelation 21:8, “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake of fire and brimstone. “ Or quoting Revelation 22:14 and 15 which speaks of heaven, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters and” get this “everyone who loves and practices lying.” Unrepentant lying has eternal consequences.

When you begin to think about all the emphasis the Scripture places on the truth, it is really no surprise that speaking truth is one characteristic of the radical transformation being saved should make in the way you live your life. Truth is an essential difference between the new way we look at the world as believers and the old way we used to look at the world as unbelievers, and should be an essential difference between the way believers communicate to others on a daily basis. 

Have you really dedicated your life to God?

15 Oct

It is easy to say you have dedicated yourself to God when you are actually living for yourself. 

Jonathan Edwards gives the following six tests to evaluate whether or not you are really acting as if you were own, not God’s.

1.   What are you seeking? You act as if you were your own when you don’t deliberately and wholeheartedly seek the glory of God in all that you do.

2.  Are you willing to compromise? You act as if you were your own when you don’t do what God wants you to do or you do something God doesn’t want you to do simply for the sake of your own comfort or pleasure.

3. Whose wisdom do you trust? You act as if you were your own when you trust in your understanding rather than submitting to Scripture.

4. Are you complaining? You act as if you were your own when you complain about your afflictions.

5. How do you respond when people hurt you? You act as if you were your own when you become angry and bitter and revengeful when people mistreat you.

6. Are you generous? You act as if you were your own when you aren’t willing to happily and liberally give your possessions to those who are in need.

Dads: Day Four

14 Oct

I have been working on a little devotional for fathers and thought I might share some of it with you from time to time. I know I need it!

—-

“Therefore, I the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called…” Ephesians 4:1

It’s possible to accept the gospel with your lips and deny it with your life. 

Some fathers flat out reject the gospel. That’s a problem. Others however are little more subtle. They verbally accept the gospel at church and yet go out and live by a completely different set of truths throughout the week. That may be even worse. 

They say they believe God created the world, but act as if they were the ones in charge. They say they believe their children were born sinners, but act as if the most important thing they could do was increase their self-esteem. They say they believe the incarnation but act as if God’s unconcerned about them. They say they believe in justification by faith alone but become furious when they are criticized. They say they believe in the resurrection of the dead but then neglect their families and their spiritual responsibilities for financial gain. 

While your children desperately need you to teach them the gospel, they also need you to show them you believe the gospel through the way you live your life. Your daily life, your “walk” as a father, should reflect your faith. It should be “worthy of the calling with which you have been called.” In other words, there should be a resemblance between the life you are living and the truths you are proclaiming. Believing you are accepted by God and adopted into His family solely because of the work of Christ should make some very significant changes in the way you relate to your families as dads.

Let me tell you three.

First, believing the gospel should keep you from self-righteous parenting.

If you are convinced you deserve hell and your only hope is God’s grace through Jesus, then you are going to be a grace giving father. You are not going to act as if obedience were always easy for you and you are not going to talk like you always get everything right the first time you do it, and you are not going to overreact and belittle your children every time they sin. Instead, you are going to learn to be patient with them and practice forgiving them the way God has forgiven you.

Second, believing the gospel should keep you from over-reacting in parenting.  

If God loved you, He loves you. God doesn’t change. If He loved you enough to send His Son to die in your place, you can be sure, He is still working for your good even now. And while that doesn’t mean everything that happens in your family is going to be easy, it does mean as you respond to whatever difficulties come up, you must not start acting like the situation is completely out of control and that nothing good can ever come out of it. Because, that would be a lie. God is in control and He is able to use difficult circumstances and, even real sins to accomplish His great plan for your life and for your children’s, as well.  

Finally, believing the gospel should produce an inexpressible joy in parenting.  

Because of what Jesus did, you are going to live forever. One day your body is going to come flying out of the ground and be transformed into a resurrected body that is going to be so glorious that even the angels are going to stand in awe.  How does that not produce joy?    

There’s a day coming when you are going to live as a perfect person in a perfect world with perfect people enjoying a perfect God, perfectly. Forever! And while your life right now is sometimes going to be hard and painful and frustrating, it won’t be that way forever. God loves you and plans to shower His grace upon you forever, and one of the greatest gifts you can give your children, is to live like you really believe it.  

Because, you do!

Take Time to Reflect:

1. What could your children point to in the way you live your life that believe the gospel? 

2. Can you think of any other ways the gospel should impact the way you parent?

Practical Suggestion:

See if you can summarize the gospel message in one paragraph. Then looking at what you’ve written down, try to identify five implications of the gospel for the way you are living your life.  

 

Simple Family Devotions #6: Hope!

11 Oct

Do you ever feel hopeless?

If you are a Christian you might sometimes feel that way, but that feeling is a lie, because you have been given hope. The reason you may feel hopeless is because you are putting your hope in the wrong things, so take some time to go back to God’s Word and remember all you have to look forward to. Look at the following verses and writes down specifically what they tell you about your future.

1.) Psalm 149:4

2.) 1 Corinthians 3:8

3.) Romans 8:18,19

4.) Philippians 3:20,21

5.) Ephesians 2:7

Now quickly take a moment and think, what difference should having this hope make on the way you think and feel today?

Simple Family Devotions #5: Reasons to Always Give Thanks

10 Oct

Sometimes when people read the command to give thanks in all circumstances, they get upset. What do I have to give thanks about? Well, if you are a Christian, there is a lot to be thankful for actually. Let me remind you of some of the things you can be grateful for today. Look up the following verses and note what God has given or done for you.

1.) Ephesians 1:3

2.) Ephesians 1:13,14

3.) John 7:38

4.) 1 Peter 1:3,4

5.) 2 Corinthians 5:21

Now, give thanks. It honors God to be grateful for the gifts He has given you. So don’t just think I have this, isn’t this nice. Go to God and appreciate how much He loves you.