Saturday, January 25, 2014

Morrow Bible Church

Morrow Bible Church

Monday, June 22, 2009

God Hates Divorce

I haven't written a blog for a long while. But one bit of news has me itching to write about the topic of divorce.

Tonight I just read the news about the married couple, John and Kate, from the hit TV reality series, "John and Kate plus Eight", and their plans to separate and end their marriage. The one thing that really bothers me is that these people are seen as Christian people, going to a typical American contemporary church.

Hearing this news saddens me greatly. Let's for a moment review what a true Christian is. A true Christian is someone that fully believes that God sent his Son, Jesus, to come to this world born of human flesh, and despite being God and perfectly righteous His purpose was to die on the Cross, paying the very penalty for our sin that we deserved to pay. He also rose again after three short days, showing that we too, if our faith is placed in Christ's death as the only possible sacrifice in place of our sin, will rise from the dead.

The fact that we need Christ's death as an atonement for our sins, shows that we truly indeed must have an inherent nature that is hopelessly sinful. This fact makes prideful human beings angry. How dare anyone tell me that I am a sinner. But for those of us who see and observe the evil that one human being can do, and observe that we have all at least been enticed with the same type of wicked thinking, we know that we are truly deserving of an eternal punishment for our sinful nature.

One then, who has come to a true and correct understanding of Christ's sacrificial love for us, will continually grow to wonder at the depth of God's NEVER ENDING love that he has for us. When we were unsaved sinners, God did not stop loving us. A true, born again believer and follower of Jesus Christ, understands and knows the depth of love that God has for us. A true born again believer, will also then, never quit in showing and practicing a genuine love for those around him, especially his or her spouse.

There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians, but there lives demonstrate that they have never been touched by the deep love that Christ showed them in dying on the Cross for them. As such, they do not have the ability to love others with the same type of never-ending love with which Christ loved us.

One day, God is going to separate the just from the unjust. Those who are just will be justified only by their faith in Christ's death for their sins. However, these people with this kind of faith will go on to show kindness to those in great need. Jesus, in his parable, told those on His right, (to summarize generally) "when you did these acts of kindness to people who least deserved them, you did these acts of kindness to me." The kingdom of heaven is going to be made up of those who truly understand and practice the love of Christ towards others. God in his true love, will not allow those who do not understand His true love towards us to be with Him in eternity.
Those who never come to understand His true love for us in the act of His death and resurrection for our sins, will never know Jesus. Jesus will never know them.

There seems to be many people who would say that they are Christians, yet they seem to just walk out of their initial marriages or cheat and abandon their first love and remarry someone they think is a better spouse.

It is true that Jesus forgives even the foulest sin when there is a heart of true repentance. One thinks of the woman at the well that Jesus spoke to in John Chapter 4. If one thinks about this situation it is a true miracle. The woman was very disrespectful towards Jesus, because she knew that Jesus was a Jew and that she was a Samaritan. The Jews held the Samaritans in utter contempt for their disloyaty to the temple in Jerusalem. In turn, the Samaritans despised the Jews as well. When Jesus asked her for a drink, she responded by basically saying, "who to you think you are?" Then Jesus confronted her about her disloyalty to her five previous husbands, and the man with whom she was currently living with. The miracle was in the woman's response to Jesus's initiative in confronting her with her past. "Sir I perceived that you are a prophet..." The tone of respect in which this woman spoke to Jesus changed drastically after Jesus brought up the subject of her shameful past. The woman was willing to give Jesus the respect that was due Him, and this respect for the Lordship of Jesus changed her life because she saw her true wickedness and was willing to repent.

When people who call themselves Christians insist on getting divorced (other than for reasons such as receiving physical abuse), this example seems not comparable to the example that Christ showed us when He died for our sins.  I fear the high divorce rate of Christians really undermines true Christian testimony.  

People talk about Hate Crimes these days. The number one Hate Crime short of murder is divorce. You promise to love someone unconditionally for the rest of your life, then you turn around and essentially say you never meant it. God's love is permanent.  I believe if people were focused on this fact and strove to imitate the love of Christ in our marriages that their would be so many weak marriages that would be saved and preserved. 

I cannot for certain say what God's judgment is going to be like. However, I fully expect that there will be a great many people who called themselves Christians that God will ask to stand on his left. Among the events in their lives that will be shown to demonstrate that they were not true followers of Christ, I am confident that we will see their lack of everlasting commitment to their spouse as among the greatest evidence that these people never had a saving faith in Jesus Christ. In addition, they taught their children that love is not permanent. Indeed they taught their children that there is no such thing as love at all, and contributed greatly to a world where people suffer mercilessly at the brutal hands people who do not know love, because these people do not know Christ. Christian who do not know how to love, do not know God, because God is love.
1st John says this very clearly.

The greatest tragedy in this event of John and Kate's divorce is that there are now eight more children who will grow to learn that true love and marriage is not permanent. It will be much harder for these children to ever understand the true love of Christ. 

Praise God for families and husbands and wives who stay true to each other and demonstrate the ever present love of the Lord by standing firm in your marriages.  You truly are our examples and heroes.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Short Mission Trip Visit to Peru

I took a short trip to Lima, Peru along with attenders of Alliance Churches in Prattville Alabama and Elizebethton, Tennessee. I should probably write more about the trip. I hope to do so soon.
Attached is the following link to many pictures that I took in Lima with my new
Panasonic DMC-L1 camera. Hopefully these pictures will allow you to feel like you have visited Lima, Peru. I hope you enjoy these pictures.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Man's best friend!

Hope you are all doing well. The two previous video posts are of a friend's dog, named Beethoven. I got Beethoven all excited about having a snack of crackers in one of the videos. In the other video, Beethoven is eating crackers off of the tray tables that we were using as we were watching the Louisiana State University and Ohio State University College Football National Championship game. Thank the Lord for nice little dogs such as this one!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sermon Notes: Matthew 6:24-34

The passage discussed here is part of Jesus's renowned "Sermon on the Mount." Jesus said many critical things in this sermon. It would be interesting to see the reaction of a church audience to this type of sermon if it was preached this way today in many of our churches. I can see many people commenting, "This sermon was too harsh!" Or, "The pastor spoke on a variety of topics, but he should have coordinated them all more clearly to make a central point."

Interesting question: if you had to summarize the Sermon on the Mount in one sentence, how would you summarize it? I need to think about it. I will write my thought in a future post. I look forward to your comments on this question.

Well, let us summarize this mornings sermon. The passage is Matthew chapter 6, verses 24 through 34.

Reading from the Word of our Lord:

24"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other You cannot serve God and wealth.
25"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
26"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
27"And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
28"And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,
29yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
30"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
31"Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'
32"For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The pastor entitled the message, "Seeking God above all else." I believe that the Lord likes to lay out ideas in a way that is opposite from the way we as humans like to think. This is the way the Lord gets our attention. If the Lord would do things the way we think and expect, we would not see Him moving in our lives. This is why the Lord says in Isaiah 55:8, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. If we stop and seek to understand God's words and actions from His point of view, He will help us to understand. If we don't seek this understanding, we will be clueless as to why things in life really happen.

For example, in John 9, Jesus healed a man who was blind all his life. The Pharisees grilled this man with questioning about who had healed him and how he had been healed of blindness. The man who had been healed of blindness kept on telling the Pharisees the details of how he was healed. Because the Pharisees despised Jesus, they would not accept his truthful answer as fact, and kept on questioning him. When the man heard the Pharisees denouncing his Healer as a sinner, he could not accept this reasoning. Instead of backing down, he lectured the Pharisees for their illogical thinking, asking how they could state that a Healer with the powers that Jesus had was indeed a sinner. They threw the healed man out of the synagogue.

Jesus then met again with the man He healed and revealed Himself as the Messiah to the formerly blind man. The blind man immediately worshipped Jesus. Apparently, as soon as the Pharisees threw the formerly blind man out, they must have run out of the synagouge too. Maybe they worried that Jesus would appear again to the man they had just mistreated. So they wanted to get in on the action. Isn't it interesting that we have this characteristic to try to find out who is watching immediately after we do something that we know is inherently wrong? :-)

As soon as they rushed outside of the synagogue, their newfound fears were confirmed. Yep, there was Jesus -with the formerly blind man.

Jesus knew He had the Pharisees attention now, and made this statement;

John 9:39 And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind."

Jesus said this to lift up the head of the formerly blind man up above his enemies around him (Psalm 27:6). The Pharisees clearly understood that Jesus was putting them down for what they had done. The formerly blind man, blind his whole life, could now see not only physically, but spiritually. In one sentence, Jesus exalted the "seeing faith" of the man who had been blind all his life, and let the Pharisees, who saw themselves as the spiritual leaders of the Jewish, know that they were spiritually blind and had been for their entire life!
The sheer power of words from the Master who spoke the world into existence!

The same type of power that we see in Christ's words in John chapter 9 can be felt in Matthew 6:24-34.

Jesus tells the crowd that they are to not worry about how their everyday physical needs will be met. Instead, "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things (daily necessities and wants) will be added to you."

I cannot place equal priority on seeking the Lord's will for my life and continue to seek ways of satisfying my own personal desires. In doing so, I am really trying to get what I think is the best for me at the expense of what God wills for me. It is clear that I am pursuing not only my own desires, but that these desires are contrary to what the Lord desires for me. I am having more faith in the end result of getting things that I want, rather than having faith in the fact that the things that God wills for my life are solely good.

I believe that through this sermon, the Lord has spoken to me today about a current weakness in my life -- one that the Lord has been gently teaching me to improve upon during the last year and a half. In trusting in my own efforts to make life proceed positively and get the things that I want, I make myself more worried and physically worn down. I get discouraged because I am finding no comfort or rest in my own scenarios of what might possibly happen to me and my desires for a good life. I am not finding comfort, peace, and rest in the knowledge that God is truly in control of my life, and desires to bless me with His best for every area in my life, for every moment in my life, from now into eternity.

In contrast, if I seek God's will in all that I do, the Lord will bring me to a "perfect peace" about why I am where I am at this point of life and where in life the Lord wants me to go. My faith is no longer placed in establishing details of my mortal life that will end physically here on earth, but in following God as he takes and guides me along a Pathway that is illuminated by His lamp, the Holy Spirit in my heart, to complete the good work that He began in me in the Day of Christ Jesus our Lord. We are no longer planning for the physical details of our lives in the future here on earth, but the Lord is now guiding us as part of His own plan to "create a new heaven and a new earth."

Matthew 6:33; "Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you."

It is easy to read this passage and incorrectly conclude that we are to do nothing to look after ourselves and prepare for our future days here on earth. It seems that God wants us to have a "near-sighted" approach to life. This couldn't be further from the truth. God wants us to recognize that He has a plan that touches a future that is infinitely beyond any human future that we will be able to touch ourselves.

And He wants Us to be a part of it. As His own adopted Sons and Daughters.

Do you and I truly believe in God's Son Jesus, that he, being Holy, died in our place for our sins? And that He rose again, symbolizing that one day, God will raise us from the dead, unto eternal, everlasting life, free of sin, shame, and suffering? Do you and I truly believe, then, that God will guide our path in life towards a future that will lead to eternal life in His Kingdom, and allow us to be a witness to others who will eventually accept Christ?

Let us all continue to seek Him (Romans 16:25-27) -- "Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,
26but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;
27to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.