Monday, September 30, 2013

Tripping Over Pride - Part 1

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

While I was on my mini-vacation with my son up at my dad’s mountain house for a long weekend together, Mike (from our church’s ministry board and member of our small group) graciously pinch-hit for me for the first topical Bible Study on “Deadly Distractions and Destructive Temptations”. The first issue of discussion in this six week series was on the sin of “selfish pride and an arrogant spirit”. The purpose of this series is to correct or turn around wrong courses in the Christian life, redirect us onto paths of righteousness and to improve our walk with the Lord this side of Heaven. If it’s broke in the eyes of the Lord, fix it.

Psalm 36:10-12 “Oh, continue Your loving-kindness to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright in heart. Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away. There the workers of iniquity have fallen; they have been cast down and are not able to rise.”

The lesson teaches that of all the sins that can distract us from living effectively for Jesus, pride is one of the most insidious. It twists our perspective on the good gifts of God. We are tempted to believe that any successes or blessings come through our own efforts of depend on our own abilities. Pride takes root in our heart and takes our focus off of God, and life becomes all about us, our accomplishments and goals, not His, in this world. More people tell me that pride is the root problem in our society today, than anything else - The “I” problem. The attitude is: What “I” want, when “I” want. “I” see it, “I” want it, and “I” get it. The secular culture’s focus is: It’s all about “me” and getting “my” needs met in pure existentialism. Yikes!

Proverbs 6:16-19These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,  A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil,  A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.”

When we succumb to the temptation of pride, it takes root in our heart and eventually blossoms into out-and out rebellion. God doesn't let pride go unnoticed. The Bible is quite clear in its description of pride and warnings against its dangers. Self-righteousness goes hand-in-hand with pride and Jesus taught His followers that external behaviors matter less than what is in our hearts. Pride causes us to emphasize “self” rather than God. Pride has become an issue today and needs to be dealt with, because people begin to view themselves as “all-important”. We need to know how to week out and avoid any arrogant pride that has taken root in our lives. Focus on loving, trusting and obeying God and loving others by the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12 & Luke 6:31) and “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3-4), becausePride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor (Proverbs 29:23), Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:5b-6).

There is much more on this relative and live issue to unpack, so I’ll break here and continue from this point in the next post. May the light of God’s truth illuminate our path and our steps on this pilgrimage journey to glory in the kingdom of heaven.

Blessings, in Christ, Brian

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Conquering Fatal Distractions

Galatians 5:13 & 16-19aYou, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious.”

Our new year’s church calendar year starts October 1, 2013 and with it, we've began gathering weekly for our Friday evening small group home Bible Study again. This first series, selected by our group, is on identifying, removing and defending against destructive temptations in life. The introduction of this lesson explains that as Believers, Followers & Students in discipleship of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have made the most important decision of our lives, but probably discovered that the Christian life is not problem-free. Yes, we have the Holy Spirit living within us to provide guidance and spiritual strength, but we still struggle to live the way we know we should.

Romans 7:14-25aWe know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

This is because, this side of heaven, we are battling three enemies: Satan, the God-rejecting world system, and ourself in the flesh. The Holy Sprit dwells in a body of sinful flesh desires by our fallen nature, which is why we still find ourselves struggling to do the “right” (righteous – right in the eyes of the Lord) thing. Sometimes we wrestle with certain habitual behaviors that we fall into when we try to get our needs met apart from God. The source of that struggle is called “the flesh” or “the old man”. And if we live by the flesh rather than by the Spirit, these habitual sin nature flesh desires will distract us from our pursuit of righteousness. These “fatal distractions can literally corrupt and are deadly to our spiritual growth and keep us from maturing in our walk with Christ. They are diversions that distract us from nurturing our relationship with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and, left unchecked, can even be fatal to our spiritual journey. So we ask God to help us identify, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, any subtle distractions in our life and to help us conquer and crucify these destructive temptations, as we live by the Spirit, so that we can walk in victory as we keep in step with the Spirit.

Father God, may our thoughts, words and actions be pleasing in your sight, in the name of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Galatians 5:24-25Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Blessings, Brian

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Members of the Body

1 Corinthians 12:12-27 "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

Drove up north with my son to spend a long weekend with my dad. Whenever I come up to the lake, I love to attend the Sunday Worship service at dad's church and hear Pastor Tracy preach. It is always a blessing to listen and learn from this outstanding servant of the Lord. This week, Pastor Tracy was expounding on "Membership with the church", which was coincidentally an issue that I had just posted about last week. Pastor explained that the church (the body of Christ) is not an institution or an organization, but a living organism. Not like being members of a club, but a body of Believers with Christ as the head, alive and functioning. What does it means? well, there are three phases that happen at the same time in order to work properly as designed, taken from the verses above. 

(1) The body is baptized / "born again" into His resurrection by receiving Him as Savior and Lord - Him in me and me in Him. Don't experience "a little Jesus", but be submerged in Jesus. Drink in , not taste, Christ's life and follow Him. Not affiliated with, but permeated and saturated in the body of Christ. Not visiting or attending, but addicted and serving the ministry of the Lord.

(2) The body is not all one part. God has not placed us as we desire, but by what is His will, so we don't pick and choose. God chooses by His plan. We are here because the Lord has lead us, the universal church, here, then established the local churches to accomplish His will, work and way in this particular time and place - set and establish, while circumstances do not move us ... God does. 

(3) The body is composed - not in inferiority, nor in superiority. Every part of the body is important and necessary, so whatever God gives us to do is important to Jesus, the head of the body.Wisely keep composure because the Greek work for composure means to mix, mingle or weave together,causing several parts to combine into one organic body ... being like Christ (in His likeness), as He helps us to grow, mature and be transformed in unity and diversity, with love and purpose. What we do either brings "fame" or "shame" to His name, so be composed. 

Always remember that God's reign has fell down on us and washed all our sins away by His amazing grace. What is He calling you and I to respond to today?

In Christ, Brian

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Movie Ministry

1 Corinthians 6:11Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Our small group home Bible Study group decided to continue to meet together over the traditional summer break, by getting together every other week rather than weekend and support Pastor’s Midweek “all-church” sessions. Last week, we had one of our customary “Christian Movie nights” because we finished one study series and are about to start another new series. The movie that we watched was titled: “Hidden Secrets” Starring John Schneider (of Dukes of Hazard fame), David A.R. White and Tracy Melchior and featured a great song by Christian band “Building 429” Titled “The Space in Between”. It is story about close-knit friends who had drifted apart over the years coming back together for the funeral of one in the group and the impact that their friendships have on one another in the face of adversity and the burdens of past sins now forgiven in Christ as they follow the truth and reflect the life, light and love of Jesus.




Our group love this movie. The story-lines and character development were outstanding with plenty of humor and drama throughout while bringing to light the challenges, temptations and doubts and the world places in front of every Believers, while driving home the gospel message of “new life” in Christ and the solid foundation of the church (prayer, devotional time, worship, praise, charity and fellowship) to stand firm upon for life. We highly recommend this movie to you all for an enjoyable and uplifting experience. Movie ministry is a blessing.


Ephesians 5:2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

National Back to Church Sanday - Part Two

 Hebrews 10:23-25Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.“unchurched”. 
Pastor JJ ran down the ten most common objections to church, which are just excuses for not going to church. I'll continue now with objection #4:

(4)            “My life situation changed, and I just never went back.” – Life is busy and we can get out of the habit of coming to church, if we do not guard our hearts. The choice to make church a priority is a personal one. It is a matter of dedication to serve the Lord.
(5)            “I don’t have to go to church to be a good person.” Good is not defined as “what profits people’. Church is about being transformed and set apart in holiness for God’s purposes. Being “plugged in” with God. Why is church important? We need to realize how empty  and dry the world really is without the Lord, and then we will have a thirst for Christ.
(6)            I’m too busy, and Sundays are my only time to rest.” We all need rest and church is a great place to start. True rest is spiritual rest and Sabbath rest rejuvenates. Church  is a place to focus our life on Him.
(7)            “Church is boring.” – Church is not about a Pastor rambling. If church is boring then we need to look at ourself for the reason why. This is where we are starting a revolution against the gates of hell, fighting for the kingdom of heaven, healing the broken, and filling the empty.
(8)            “The people tend to have their own cliques, so I never fit in.” Church is an inclusive community that love each other in Christ, bowing together before the Lord, committed to follow Jesus with their life. Romans 12:9Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Join that clique.
(9)            “Christians are judgmental and hypocritical” People accuse the church without knowledge. Their definition is off. They do not allow others to love them in Christ. Christ’s love is bigger that that. The church is people on an incredible mission.
(10)       “I don’t think that I’d be welcome anymore, because I’ve done bad things.” – Church is a place full of sinners. No one is “good enough” for heaven. None deserve salvation from God through Christ. We are all people needing forgiveness and a Savior, who came to save the lost in sin. Knowing Jesus and making Him known. The hospital of the church is put together by the love and sacrifice of Jesus for us. Welcome.

Matthew 16:16-18 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

Pastor Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida gave a challenge: “If the churches are feeding people who are hungry, if they are clothing poor people, if they’re reaching the world for Christ, if the pastor is living in a reasonable home and drives a reasonable car, stop your criticizing, because sometimes it’s just an excuse to keep you away form God. Join the team that is changing the world in Jesus’ name.”

Do not be ashamed of the gospel. Take the message to your community of relationship with the Lord through his body – the church. What would happen if every church member invited just one person to church?

In Christ, Brian

Monday, September 16, 2013

National Back To Church Sunday - Part One

Hebrews 10:23-25Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

This last Sunday was “National Back to Church Sunday” and our church participated in this special day to proactively declare the message that no matter whether you have never been to church, haven’t been connected to church for awhile or you regularly attend, we want you to know you are welcome to join us. Pastor JJ asked, “Do we think of church as a part of a revolution to change the world for the glory of God? Do we see the people of God coming together to bring the Holy Word and the love of Christ to a lost and dying society and culture? Do we know in our hearts that the Lord has commanded, commissioned and sent out the church (the body of Christ) make Jesus known?  Do we invite others to church? Why go to church?

Acts 2:42-47They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

According to George Barna’s research 73 million adult Americans are “unchurched”. Pastor JJ ran down the ten most common objections to church, which are just excuses for not going to church. 
(1)            “I do not believe in organized religion.” The key words are (a) “organized” – orderly, defined roles, behaved. (b) “Religion” – about discovering God, being in the presence of the Lord, and an intimate relationship with the God of the universe. This excuse is commonly, accompanied with “It’s about being a ‘good’ person”. Their definition of “good”. Luke 18:19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
(2)            “I have my own way of connecting with God.” Some say that they feel closest to God when they’re in nature. Romans 1:20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” All feel close to God in nature because He created nature. But nature does not have believers meeting together in community and relationship, developing in communion.

(3)            “I got tired of the church always asking me for money.” We are deceived to think that what we earn is ours, when in reality everything belongs to God and comes from God. Disciples cheerfully and willingly give tithes and offerings back to God for His work in the church, community and world. Charity flows naturally from the virtuous fully developed follower of Jesus. God willfully gave and gives in love.

This is my 500th post. I'll finish Pastor' list and message on post #501.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Subject to the Sovereign

Mark 12:13-17 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

Pastor JJ pointed out that even though we hear the term: “the value of a dollar”, there really is a value in every coin. Money wasn’t the issue but the baited trap as the Israelite governing body believed that they had planned and set up a “no win” situation for this popular Rabbi (so they thought) that threatened their governing rule. Their trick two-sided question: If subject to Caesar, then not subject to God? If subject to God then, not subject to Caesar? Government, and every institution on earth, is made up of fallen human beings. Due to the sinful flesh nature, power breeds corruption and scandals when ruled by created man, not ruled by our Sovereign God as Creator King, even though we cannot see, touch or hear Him directly. Unregenerate man makes decisions against God’s way, but towards physical human ways that pridefully think more highly of themselves than their Almighty Maker. When the Creator of the universe is removed from the equation, then the vacuum formed is filled with a secular government to be the ruling power as a monarchy above Architect and Author of life. Our American Founding Fathers understood what unchecked power does to our hearts, expecting the citizens to serve God, not government, because godless people do not have their country’s “best interests” at heart, but their own image and interests as they reign and rule as sovereign over the people. Give them an inch and they'll become a Ruler.

John 18:36-37  Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”  “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

What were the Pharisees and Herodians trying to do … that which is “right”? Metaphorically, when dealing with man’s government, Caesar is on the coin and the inscription reads “Divine Ruler”. Money is a vital part of the economy in which we live for commerce. Jesus is saying, if this coin is Caesar’s then give it back when asked for. We are to be responsible with our taxes and good stewards of the things of this earth. We need to always keep in mind that we can stuff our coffins to the top with hundred dollar bills, and not one goes with us into the next world. Turn that coin around, where it says “Son of the Divine” and say: “I give what is God’s to God.” Our hope is not in an earthly government and the material things of this world, but in the Sovereign God in heaven and His kingdom, for in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). We are truly subject to the loving Sovereign God, Maker of heaven and earth.

Acts 5:29 Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.

 In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Statistical Morality

Judges 21:25In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”

Saw a good lecture the other day on ethics. Two concepts that have been blended, merged and confused in our contemporary culture are “ethics” and “morality”, but they have two quite different and distinctive meanings. Ethics comes from the Greek word “ethos” and is a normative science (the study of norms and standards by which things are measured or evaluated), while morality comes from the Greek word “mores” which is a descriptive science with the task to describe the way that things happen to operate or behave. Ethics are concerned with the imperative (“ought-ness” that expresses the will to influence the behavior of another) while morality is concerned about the indicative (“is-ness” represents the denoted act or state as an objective fact). So ethics (ethos) is concerned with what is “right” and we should be doing, while morality (mores) describes what people actually “do” and what is accepted.    
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The ethics of a society or culture deals with its underlying foundational philosophy, its concept of values, and its system of understanding of how the world firs together. So there is a philosophic value system that is the ethics of every culture that society embraces. Morality has to do with the customs, habits and normal forms of behavior that are found within a given culture or given society. When the present standards of an ongoing society determines what ought to be, then we are in an exact opposite situation from the biblical ethics  from which we are called; called to live by the sanctity of truth as God sets before us in His Holy Word. But we take surveys and polls to find out what people are actually doing, then determine that what people are doing is normal for this point in history. Since a statistical majority act or believe a certain way, then we conclude that it is normal. And if it is normal, then it is therefore acceptable because it is human, it is what we are, and it is determined “good”. This is statistical morality that normalizes present trends and behavioral practices of a society. Then urges the rest of the people to fall in line, participate and echo that which the given society had judged “right” and acceptable, even if the “new” morality is the “old” immorality. 

Psalm 1:1-2Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.

The motto or slogan of statistical morality is “Be what you are”, merging ethics and morality in a fallen world, but we do not determine what is “right” and what is “wrong” on the grounds of what everyone else is doing. My grandma used to ask me: “If everyone was jumping off a cliff, would you jump too?” Her point was “indicative” and “imperative” also: bottom line: “don’t do the wrong thing just because the crowd is doing it; know and do the right thing”. Finite and fallible man does not define what is ethical (what we ought to do). The character of God supplies our ultimate (ethos) ethics that is the framework and foundation by which we discern and discover what is “right”, “good” and pleasing in the eyes of the Lord. Not living according to what is acceptable, expedient (suitable means to an end), important for peer acceptance or living according to secular principle.

When it comes to statistical morality, God plus none is a majority.

In Christ, Brian

Monday, September 9, 2013

Drawn to Respond

Mark 15:37-39 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

We finished up Pastor JJ Sunday Sermon Series on the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Mark this week with this passage where the sins of the world (past, present and future) were paid, as the Lord redeemed all, by transferring our sins upon Him and His righteousness upon us, with His blood. John 19:30 tells us that Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. He declared “Tetelestai”, a commercial word which means, “it is paid; the debt is paid”. Reality changed. History is not defined by sin, but by victory at the cross. The sin that separated us from God’s presence was torn in two, like the curtain of the temple that kept the Israelites from the presence of God in the Holy of Holies torn from top to bottom, not by man. Reconciliation by atoning propitiation had been completed in the sacrifice of the “Lamb of God” without blemish to provide restoration of relationship between God and mankind. How will we respond?

Acts 4:12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Who was the first to respond at the foot of the cross? The Roman centurion proclaims, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Jesus Christ is beyond the common; our Lord is Divine. Are we drawn to respond by putting our lives out on the line to boldly proclaim: “Surely this man was the Son of God!” and serve our Lord and Savior in humble adoration? Is the center point of our life’s focus to sit in His presence? Jesus calls us to come to Him and His loving embrace. Doubt is not the pursuit of truth, but an excuse to deny truth. Cast out doubt and come gaze upon Him. As we contemplate His truth and our salvation, are we passionately overcome with love and commitment by His glory?

Hebrews 12:22-24 & 28 “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

Lord God, show us clearly where you want us to be. How you want to use us for the advancement of your kingdom and to have your name raised in glory. Amen!

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Low and High, Rich and Poor

Psalm 49:1-9Hear this, all peoples; Give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together. My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall give understanding. I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will disclose my dark saying on the harp. Why should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity at my heels surrounds me? Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him— For the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever— That he should continue to live eternally, and not see the Pit.

I was listening to the radio on the way to work this week of the “Thru the Bible” broadcast of the late Pastor J. Vernon McGee as he expounded to us Psalm 49 and exhorted us about the unhealthy love of money, riches and wealth. Money, of course is not the root problem. We all need money to purchase goods and services, pay mortgages and rentals, schooling, taxes, et cetera. But when we idolize money, then our heart bows to that idol (an item of adoration, awe, devotion, reverence, worship and veneration) that distracts, shepherds and masters us from God and His purposes. The Psalmist says, why should I fear the days of evil here and now, when my willful sin against a just and holy God that will keep me from salvation and eternal life in heaven is all around my feet. A proper prospective and use of money is good and balanced, but idolizing it, improper stewardship of it and self-absorption around it is folly and futile humanistic existentialism. Where is our focus? 

Psalm 49:10-20For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others. Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning). Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them. Though while they live they count themselves blessed— and people praise you when you prosper— they will join those who have gone before them, who will never again see the light of life. People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish.

Dr. McGee explains that the point is: “all die”, low and high, rich and poor. Nobody lives forever. The question is not whether you are rich or poor. In the final analysis, the question is this: Are you “Redeemed”? Are you “Regenerated”? Are you “Saved”? Are you a child of God through faith in Christ? Are you going to Heaven? As the Psalmist says: "That he should continue to live eternally, and not see the Pit." You and I cannot buy salvation. No man has enough to buy salvation from their riches. We might live to accumulate wealth and say: “Nobody can take it away.” But there is somebody that can, and someday will, take us away from it. We may fool ourselves into thinking: “How much will I leave for others?”, but reality is that we shall leave it all. They will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them. Do not allow our conscience to be held captive and subject to the whims of our egocentric culture. The God-rejecting world system seeks to suppress our mind, will and emotions. Immorality draws a man down. In this life, we all, low and high, rich and poor, choose between two masters: either Christ will be their shepherd, or death will be their shepherd.  

Matthew 6:19-24 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

You can listen to “Thru the Bible” broadcast @ and click: “LISTEN”. May this ministry be a blessing to you.

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Cleaning my room the other day, I uncovered an old note of Sermon notes that I had taken earlier this year. Being near-sighted myself, this metaphor homily on our spiritual shortsightedness “struck a chord”. Pastor JJ preached that the bigger picture of God’s plan is that it is not “just about you”, but about rescuing the “dead in its trespasses” world. Oh, our Lord God loves each of us individually, but we are all also a piece of a larger body being rescued. And God didn't rescue us to be hopeless, but to be filled with hope in faith, because faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). It begins with God, so sit before Him and listen. Everyone else, everything else and everywhere else is the wrong place. Know that you need Him.

“The great “I Am” exists and to start life without God is foolishness, because there is no common sense in unbelief. Wisdom comas through God, so if you want to figure out life, then begin with the Lord. We imagine and pretend that we can make it on our own, but deep down we need God’s love. As sinners, we do not deserve His love, but God gave His unconditional, God-made, agape love as a choice. Love from afar was not enough or even an option for the Lord. The Almighty teaches us how to love, but not a “cheap” love or an “easy” love. God did not just “feel like” loving us. Jehovah gave of Himself, because God is love and chooses to love out of His character. God gave Himself so that we could have life. God gave life by His love.

You may have heard before that you can replace the word “world” and the word “whoever” with your own name and see how much God loved you individually. But if you look at this verse and just see you, then your vision is short and you are short-sighted. “For God so loved the world” means that God give us a mission to spread His love as co-lovers of the world. It doesn’t stop with us; His love grows. The message: “Turn to God in repentance, accept the Savior and find “real’ life in Jesus Christ. In Him, we find meaning in life. Has it changed our world? This is the beginning, not the end. Everyone needs God’s love.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Finding Joy in All the Right Places

Psalm 34:8 “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.”  

My dad’s favorite TV Preacher is the late Adrian Rogers. His gift of taking biblical truth and communicating the application of that truth into our daily lives opened our eyes and cleared the fog so that our walk with the Lord on this journey to the “Promised” land of eternity in Heaven continually grew and the distractions of the flesh, the God-rejecting world system and the lies of the devil were recognized for what they are, in false/wrong paths that lead to unrighteousness, to keep us on the road of “Righteousness”, which lead to love, joy and peace. Repent means “make a U-Turn” on the paths of unrighteousness and get back into that “right relationship with the Lord, because the pursuit of happiness is truly found in the pursuit of holiness. Then, you will be finding “Joy” in all the “Right” places.

A Christian should be filled with joy. But we can’t take any credit for it. It is Jesus who gives us joy and satisfaction. We couldn’t have found it had we been searching for it, but by finding, knowing, and growing in Christ, He has filled us with an overflowing joy. Do you know what the devil will tell you? That holiness and happiness don’t go together. He will tell you that if you make up your mind to live a holy life, then you won’t have any fun. Friend, the devil is a liar.

You’ll never know satisfaction and joy until you find it in the right place. You’ll never enjoy the good things of life until you know Jesus. Oh, how sweet to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Is the hunger of your heart met in Christ?

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John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (KJV)

Let the truth set you free! In Christ, Brian

Monday, September 2, 2013