Friday, July 28, 2006

When God Did Some Trash Talking

There is an interesting conversation in the first two chapters of the book of Job where God and Satan start talking smack to each other. I have heard some preachers say things like “God can’t look at sin” and “The devil is bound in hell” which are just plain ludicrous. The fact that Satan has access to God helps us understand why he is called “the accuser of the brethren” in Revelation 12:10.

As they converse, God points to Job as someone who Satan hasn’t been able to devour yet. (Snap) Of course, the retort is that he doesn’t serve for God nothing. (booyah) There is an essence of trash talking between the two over the state of affairs with Job. Of course Satan is given permission to work his magic on Job and does so with fierce abandon.

They meet again later and God asks Satan how his plan worked out. (in your face) Of course, Satan has to justify his defeat with another set of trash talking about Job. (yer mama) And God releases him to give it his best shot. Because Job is a man of integrity, it doesn’t work.

The surprise player in this whole scenario is Job’s wife. She throws down the worst of all the smack with her “curse God and die” garbage. In all this does Job hold his integrity? Absolutely!

So what? What does this all mean to me? If your enemy has the audacity to talk smack about Job, surely he will have no problem talking about you. The false prophet in Revelation 13 is describes as a man with two horns like a lamb, but speaks like the Dragon. He looks like a Christian, but speaks like the devil. And how does the Dragon speak? “Did God say…?” in Genesis, and “If you are the son of man….”in the temptation of Jesus. Expect him to speak the same way to you. Expect him to speak trash talk of doubt, fear, lack, and limitation to you. That’s what he does. That’s who he is.

“Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (New Living Translation)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Dead Dogs Come To Life

There are some amazing lessons about grace in the Bible. I don’t think I ever really knew what the definition of grace was. The dictionary said it was “A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence, mercy; clemency.” But I came across one of the best examples of grace in the entire Bible the other day. His name was Mephibosheth. He was the grandson of King Saul and Jonathan’s son. Also to note is the fact that he was lame in his legs.

“Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled.” 2 Samuel 4:4

It seemed that one day long after Saul and Jonathan were dead, David had an interesting idea. He wondered if there were any living descendents of Jonathan. He had loved Jonathan more than anyone else in his life. For the sake of their bond, he was willing to show grace to any of Jonathan’s living descendents. Someone let him know about Mephibosheth, and David sent for him.

“When he came to David, he bowed low in great fear and said, "I am your servant." But David said, "Don't be afraid! I've asked you to come so that I can be kind to you because of my vow to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the land that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you may live here with me at the palace!" Mephibosheth fell to the ground before the king. "Should the king show such kindness to a dead dog like me?" he exclaimed. Then the king summoned Saul's servant Ziba and said, "I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for his family. But Mephibosheth will live here at the palace with me." 2 Samuel 9: 6-9

Mephibosheth lived like a king from that day forward because of the love that David had for his father Jonathan. There was absolutely NOTHING that he did to deserve it. It was free. He went from one deserving of death to one living an abundant life. Why? Grace!

Aren’t we “dead dogs” like Mephibosheth? Is there any good work we have done to deserve the grace and mercy that God has bestowed upon us? Absolutely not! But because of his love for Jesus, we are the recipients of free life. We were lame in our sins, and now we have the promise to live like kings. We get future, power, hope, life, love, health, prosperity, strength, and unlimited access to the Almighty because of his love. It’s a free gift through Jesus Christ.

Isn’t NOW a good time to thank God for this free gift?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gandhi Is In Hell, And It's Our Fault!

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

"If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today.”

Mohandas Gandhi

Ouch! That hurts!

Gandhi was a great man and a serious world leader. He stood for many of the values that Jesus espoused. I am not the judge, nor do I claim to be. But I have to suppose that he ended up in hell based on the scriptures that are clear:

He that believeth in the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:36

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1 John 5:12

So it’s clear based on what I know about the life of Gandhi that he never became a Christian, although he was exposed to our beliefs and people. Did the fact that some who confessed to be Christians, yet lived a lifestyle contrary to their words have an affect on Gandhi heading for hell? I mentioned this to group of Christian men Tuesday night. Most of them got the message loud and clear. One of them said that “he wasn’t going to feel guilty about Gandhi”. I could see the whole “predestination thing” flying around in his mind. Ironically, he is one who was recently having premarital sex out of wedlock.

It is easy to believe that we don’t have to be salt and light to a dying world because God already knows who will make it and who won’t. I wonder if God is going to buy into our lame excuses for not living holy lives. I wonder if there will be any reason for looking like hypocrites that the righteous judge will accept.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. Romans 3:23

But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a job to do. We have to do what we can. We have to get real, be honest, live holy lives to the best of our abilities, resist the enemy, fight against temptation, love those who are unlovable, and show all men how merciful our Lord Jesus can be to us when we least deserve it.

Fare well Gandhi! May we do a better job of witnessing to others.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Before Goliath Lost His Head

Everyone knows the story of David and Goliath from 1 Samuel 17. Little boy David kills the Philistine giant with a slingshot and a stone. But there is one amazing fact about that story that we need to consider and we will have to “reverse engineer” the story to understand it.

Verse51 “David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine's sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.”
When you think that David had to draw Goliath’s sword out of his sheath, one has to wonder why Goliath didn’t even see David as threat enough to draw the sword. I have to suppose that Goliath thought it was going to be a piece of cake, and that he would probably just thump David in the head to kill him. He definitely underestimated the threat David posed. Does the enemy see you as a threat, or does he scoff at you when you come on the scene.

Verse 41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. "Come here," he said, "and I'll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!"
This stick Goliath referred to was found in verse 40 when he said:
“Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.”
The shepherd’s staff was used to keep sheep and the sheep dogs in line. David obviously saw Goliath as the same type of threat that he had faced before. God had been faithful to him before, so why should he fail to show up now? But that is not the point we need yet.

Here’s the difference between David and Saul:
Verse 16 “For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.”
Saul was paralyzed with fear for forty days when Goliath came out and talked smack twice a day. Saul was once a brave man, but to get to the real difference, we need to go all the way back to chapter 16.

Verse 1 says “The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king." And verse 13 says “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.”

Here’s the point: David was already a king even though he was just a young shepherd boy. Saul was already a coward even though he still wore the crown of a king. And they each acted appropriately to their spiritual condition, not their earthly appearance.

Are you a king, even though you might be a ditch digger? Are you a son of the Almighty even though you look like an accountant or a waiter? WE SHOULD START ACTING LIKE WE ARE SPIRITUALLY REGARDLESS OF WHAT WE LOOK LIKE PHYSICALLY. Pray today that God would reveal to you how He sees you, and not how everyone around you sees you.

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known." 1John 3:2