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Archive for May, 2020

“I know the greatness of the Lord—that our Lord is greater than any other god. The Lord does whatever pleases him throughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths.” (Psalm 135:5-6)

The Psalmist, in comparing our Lord to any other god, is not suggesting that these other gods are legitimate divinity. These gods are only real in the sense that men have created them in their own minds and errantly worship them. Having said that, we should consider Allah for a moment.

Allah, is the Arabic word for God. Christian Arabs have no other word for ‘God’ than ‘Allah’, so in this circumstance, the God of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, can legitimately be referred to as Allah.

Muslims obviously use the same word, however their Allah is a perversion of the one true and living God. In other words they have taken the God of the Bible and changed His attributes and altered Bible-truth to harmonize with the false, Muslim faith. Therefore, the Allah of the Muslim religion is a false god. I don’t say that maliciously. I surely do not hate Muslims, I am just proclaiming the truth. Their god and their religion is detrimental to their eternal future.

For the record, there are many religions that have hijacked the God of the Bible and perverted His true identity by adding too, or subtracting from God’s Word. Sadly, many of them masquerade as Christian.

Looking at it another way, imagine some one took the likeness of Colonel Sanders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame), and began promoting him as a purveyor of hamburgers. We all know the truth, so we could boldly and truthfully say that they are lying; they have perverted the Colonel’s true identity and the person they are presenting, despite the familiar picture, does not exist in real life.

There can only be one God – Jesus made that absolutely clear. You would recall that our Lord and Savior was humiliated, brutally tortured and murdered. His sacrificial death served as sufficient atonement for our sin. God did this to His Son. Jesus asked of His Father if there were some other way. There was not. This was the only way. If there were another way or some other god that could have paved the way for our eternal security, then God allowed His Son to suffer a horrifying death for nothing.

It would all just be a nice story, a myth, or folklore, if Jesus our Messiah had not risen from the grave.

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“If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.” (Proverbs 25:21-22)

Let’s start with what the proverb is not saying: if you do something nice for your enemy, he will become enraged, inflamed if you will, and thus it will serve as a God-approved retaliation.

Do we seriously think God would reward us for that?

Of course not.

Isn’t our ‘Christian kindness’ designed to draw people towards Christ?

Of course it is.

The ‘head’ being spoken of in the Proverb is a term which refers to the barely glowing, seemingly dormant embers of a fire, as in a furnace or an old locomotive, that are intended to go low, but never go out, the rationale being that a blaze can be easily stoked by just adding fuel, without having to start a fire from scratch. 

 

The ‘enemy’ in the proverb is a broad term. It simply could mean those who have done you wrong, but it could also typify the unsaved or back slidden person whose head has gone cold. The niceties of the Christian who blesses this person are likened to hot coals that will serve to restore the flame that has expired or perhaps was never there to begin with. 

This is the type of behavior the Lord rewards.

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“Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.” (Psalm 130:1)

“Help me God!” is a familiar phrase to many Christians, so much so we often incorporate it into our testimonies. These believers will go on to tell you that after crying out to God they discovered, either immediately or later on as they matured in their faith, that the help they needed was always there – Jesus provided it 2000 years ago and all that was required was to lay claim to it.



What must we say to take ownership?

“I believe.”

Of course it’s just not uttering those two little words, it must be a truthful confession and it must be all encompassing – in due time you must believe Jesus, His account and commands, as they are recorded in the Bible – the whole Bible. When you desperately call to God for help, you’re agreeing to surrender your ways of doing things for His way of doing things, despite not knowing or understanding all that that means. That is the essence of faith. Some key things you may grasp initially (or will eventually):

1) I’m a sinner and I’m going to hell.

Many folks have difficulty accepting that. They’re not yet in the ‘depths’ (sometimes referred to as ‘hitting bottom’) and life appears to be good; they enjoy their sin and it doesn’t seem to be hurting anyone. They laugh at those who tell them their path is the way of destruction, but then it happens: their habitual sin begins to hurt, causing pain to themselves and to others. In time it brings them to a place where they cannot escape. It’s from these ‘depths’ they eventually cry out, “Help me God!”

2) There’s NOTHING I can do to save myself.

a) You want to reject sin; turn away from it, but you can’t. You may stop for a season, but it always draws you back. You’re desperate.

b) Your sin-history prevents you from going to Heaven and there’s nothing you can do to change that. You can’t ‘do good’ to counteract the bad. Entrance to Heaven requires perfection and our sin (just one sin) makes us all imperfect. Once again, you’re desperate.

3) Jesus is your only help. He is perfect and He paid the penalty for our sin.

It’s not required to understand all the doctrine behind Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross, at least not initially, not when you’re crying out to Jesus from your depths of despair. Just accept the fact by faith that He did it and He’s the only one who can help you. Later on, when the bonds of sin have been broken and you’re free from satan’s grasp, you’ll desire to know more about the Jesus who saved you. You’ll come to realize that He wants a relationship with you and you’ll want a relationship with Him. In so doing, your faith and knowledge of Jesus will grow, and you’ll desire to share Him with others.

4) God will help you even if you don’t believe.

Can that be true?

Yes, but it’s not a wise course to take. I have heard countless stories from folks who, in the depths of despair cried out to God for help and He helped them. Myself included. Promises were made and promises were broken, not by God, but by us. We may have uttered that we believe, but there was no truth in those words. God knew, but He helped us anyway. But our words were empty and the bonds of sin were not broken, therefore our reprieve was temporary. We were pulled out of the quagmire and given a chance to repent; to keep the promises we made, but instead we rejected God. As a result we wound up in a worse place. Sometimes it took several trips before realizing Jesus way is truly the only way.

5) You don’t have to hit bottom

It seems most people take the hard way to faith, but some people actually discovered that there is an easier way. The path is essentially the same, but without having to endure all the pain and suffering caused by self-inflicted sin. They simply believed the testimony of Christians (many of whom took the hard way) or opened their Bibles and learned (and believed) for themselves. God spells out the path very clearly in His word:

  • Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” 
  • Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 
  • Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  • Romans 10:13 “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

That’s it in a nutshell. Believe it and you’re saved. Repentance, ie turning away from your sin and turning to Jesus, is implied in the text and explicitly recorded elsewhere in Scripture. Turning away from sin is not a work, it’s a choice. Besides, good works (deeds) are not needed to be saved. Actually, they’re useless. However, you will develop good works as a result of having been saved. If you’re truly saved, good works are inevitable and you will enjoy doing them.

Please share.

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