Thursday, November 15, 2012

Life is Short

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower thereof falls away.” 1 Peter 1:24       -Pastor Bill

Life is long. Life is short. 
It depends on your place in life. It depends on your circumstances. There are those that are fighting for their lives, battling cancer or some debilitation. There are others contemplating suicide, murder, and escape because of circumstances that seem too unbearable to live in, diseases, addictions, bad marriages, broken hearts etc. Probably more suicides take place from emotional problems than any other. Cases in point: a grandmother kills herself and her three grandchildren using carbon monoxide poisoning after her daughter wanted to restore custody from her mother after the daughter had been abusing her kids. Another, a mother stabs her children to death in revenge for her husband neglecting her. These are just two in the last week.
Reports continue grow of custody battles, abductions of children by estranged parents, murders of estranged wives, lovers, and then the murder of the children involved. The settling of affairs or the getting even is accomplished by death to all, even the innocent.
This is purely symptomatic of a society with no values. There is nothing to hold onto in times of extreme difficulty. Irrationality is common. The guidance of self in times of emotional upheaval leads to extreme measures which later prove to be devastating beyond imagination. Where does one appeal when there is no moral authority? Who or what can give you sanity and perspective in the midst of the emotional storm? What character traits guide your life? How do you know what is true or false?
Without a moral undergirding, society is left in a sea of personal opinion and self guidance. All that is left is to satisfy the flesh, the carnal mind, the animalistic urges, and the brutal nature of fallen man. With no standard, we cannot achieve to higher thinking, altruistic acts of kindness, forbearance of ill treatment, unrequited love, and misunderstandings.
The Bible says that life is short. Really, the life on this earth is short, in this mortal body; and then life is eternal in the spiritual state, the eternal state. Suicide does not end life. It prematurely transitions the person into the eternal state, prepared or not prepared. It is a ruse of the enemy to make people believe if they take their life, it is all over. You cease to exist, the pain is gone, and blissful nothingness ensues. Wrong. The Bible indicates that the soul is immediately taken to Hell or escorted to Heaven depending on the relationship with Jesus. In my opinion, most of those who commit suicide do not have a relationship with Jesus. Mostly the transition from the pain of this world results in entering the realm of pain for eternity. It is not a relief, but an intensification of the same agony.
Yet, without the message of hope and the foundation of faith and morals, where can they find guidance? Obviously, all our studies in psychology have not remedied the situation because for all the counselors, there is an increase in the hopelessness. For all the blaming of parents and environment, we still are not seeing the healings and the healthiness of the society. It is actually sicker.
But, as I was preaching Sunday, where are the Christians whose lives exemplify godliness? When you as a believer are comfortable using gross, foul language and are purveyors vile behavior, where is the grace, the message? If you as a believer are living a life with little character value, where is the salt to change the world? If we view sexual immorality and promiscuity as normal and okay, where is the light of the world? 
Till we really begin to see the eternal picture, we are going to sway with the winds of the world and offer no hope, no answer, no guidance. If we fail, it does not change who God is, or change his message, or change the fact of His absolutes. It is we who have failed God and have failed the society, the time, the culture, and our place in history. The messengers, the light bearers, the salt shakers have failed those who are desperate, the hopeless, and the intellectual who finds no joy in living, and the wealthy who has nothing in his character. The hopelessness crosses all strata of life. Money or the lack there of does not cure the ills of the soul or guarantee a happy life or insure the destiny after the world.
The saints, the believers, the church, the kingdom of God, whatever you want to call yourself, it is imperative that we begin to live in a manner that makes a difference. You will not be exempt from marital problems, kid problems, job problems, health problems, but you will certainly handle them in a manner that is dramatically different than the world. Our hope is in nothing less than Christ and His redemptive sacrifice.
Jesus came and gave us guidance. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Pretty straightforward and simple. Life is short. The learning curve is very steep. 
Life is long? No, Life is short!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Voice

Scathing. Sharp and to the point! No holds
barred. Shocking.
I am not referring to the presidential
debates; I am referring to the prophet Isaiah.
I am referring to the anointing of the Holy
Spirit that spoke through him. Yet, I find his
indictments against the nations to sound so
familiar, so current, so contemporary.
God was speaking through Isaiah, not only
to the nation of Israel, but also to the nations
around them. He indicted Israel, Syria,
Moab, Egypt, and numerous other cities and
The main issues for Israel was the lack of
relationship with God in the determination
of the nation. God was bringing judgment
for the people turning to every supposed aid
other than to God. They were seeking aid
from Egypt, making alliance with Assyria,
paying tribute for protection and all the
while, their protector was waiting for a call,
a prayer, a petition. He indicted them
because they turned to other gods and
worshipped petty idols and gods of
immorality. Yes, even fornication and
adultery can be dressed up in religious
forms as the fertility cults practiced so well.
So the natural lusts of humanity are placated
and endorsed by making it a religious
exercise and calling it holy.
God was not pleased. They also came to the
place they did not want to hear the
prophets. They were told not to prophesy,
but speak soft, kind things. The seers were
told not to see. Essentially, it was the
rejection of any kind of input from those
who were spiritually watching for the
nation. It reminds me of Ahab, King of
Israel, saying that the only true prophet he
knew would not say anything good about
him; so he would not call on him.
There are voices in our nation who are
crying out. They are speaking warnings,
concerns, and deep, dark prognostications.
They warn of things to come if we do not
turn as a nation. The values of our
foundations are being undermined and our
connection to God is being forcibly
disconnected. We are allowing a vocal,
powerful, minority to undermine our
country. We may be at the brink, the tipping
point, where we move headlong without
restraint into a moral morass.
There comes a time in the dealings of God
where repentance is too late. Those souls
who pass everyday into eternity lose their
opportunity for repentance. There have been
those who have made deathbed confessions
of faith and repentance and are spared, but
there are those who decide to repent too
late. At that point there is no turning back.
So it is in the history of nations. There is a
point where judgment is unstoppable. The
nation may attempt to repent or say they are
sorry, but it will be too late. The motions of
judgment are in place and will not be
revoked. The Israelites certainly knew of
their God and probably cried out to him as
they were being starved to death in siege,
cried out to him as they were being marched
to a foreign land for slavery, or begged for
mercy as their children were being
slaughtered by ungodly mercenaries. The
tipping point is a place of no return.
You may say how harsh I am writing. I do
not like it, Isaiah did not like it, no man of
God likes it. Throughout the scriptures, the
warnings are delivered by men of God to
the people who have lost their way
spiritually. The warnings go to those who
have embraced the world and gone after
other gods or who have become proud,
arrogant, and self sufficient. Instead of
turning to God, they turn away to self
improvement, self esteem, and cult heroes
that they think will rescue them.
This is the last newsletter before people are
going to vote. The news this morning,
liberally biased as it is, says that the election
is so close that it is beyond prediction. It is
also called the most critical election in over
50 years. So, do we March on to Socialism or
do we return to the Democratic Republic
that was constituted years ago? Do we
throw values and morality away and
embrace moral anarchy or do we return to
the God of the Bible and his moral, social
Most people will look at the election solely
from an economic view, but I see deep moral
and value issues. My vote is not about the
economy; my vote is about the values that
shape a nation and bring God’s blessings. I
know that a nation that blesses Israel, will
be blessed as promised from the book of
Genesis. I know that a leader that snubs
Israel, who coddles their enemies, will bring
destruction to our nation. My vote is for
those that support Israel because God does.
Billy Graham put full page ads in major
newspapers this past week.
I quote, The legacy we leave behind for our
children, grandchildren, and this great
nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th
birthday, I realize this election could be my
last. I believe it is vitally important that we
cast our ballots for candidates who base
their decisions on biblical principles and
support the nation of Israel. I urge you to
vote for those who protect the biblical
definition of marriage between a man and
a woman. Vote for biblical values this
November 6, and pray with me that
America will remain one nation under
God.” - Billy Graham