The Throne of His Father David

The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end (Luke 1:32-33).

Two thousand years ago, the angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to a Son who would rule and reign over Jacob’s descendants forever. This King was foreshadowed in the lives of the Old Testament patriarchs, foretold by prophets, announced by angels over Bethlehem, peeked at on the Mount of Transfiguration, proven in words and works at His First Coming, and set as a promise in a Second Coming.

Jesus was propelled forcefully by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan (Mark 1:12, 13). One of His temptations was Satan’s offer to receive all the kingdoms of the world and their glory (Mt 4:8). In a moment of time (Luke 4:5) Satan showed Jesus the glories of every kingdom throughout human history. Satan continued, All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish (Luke 4:6). Jesus could have the kingdoms of this world for but a moment of worship.

God is in control of all things and nothing happens outside of His good pleasure. He ordains the leaders of every nation (Rom 13:1) and has set both national boundaries and their times (Acts 17:26), yet the governments of this world are under the leadership of the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4). This is why Christians must be careful that patriotism not be our religion nor politicians our hope.

The glories of human history were offered to Jesus for a simple act of declaring the worth-ship of Satan. Instead, He went to the cross to redeem sinners. By His obedience to the Father, He will one day destroy the kingdoms of this world and create a glorious kingdom of God upon the earth that will have no end.

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Justice For All

Justice is getting what you deserve.

So what do you deserve?

Coretta grew up in the back country of Virginia during the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. She was politically angry at what she perceived as injustice against herself, her family, and her black ancestors. She’d lived for the fight of justice.

One Sunday morning I was preaching from the Biblical Book of Philemon. It’s the story of a runaway slave in ancient Rome, being sent back to his master by the Apostle Paul, and how both men should act to reflect Christ Jesus.

In my sermon I stressed the fact that Paul never urged either man to demand justice, but to show mercy. Getting what we deserve from God means eternity in the Lake of Fire, for the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23). As sinners, eternal death is what we deserve. But God, who is rich in mercy … made us alive together with Christ (Eph 2:4, 5). Mercy is compassion, pity, love-in-action.

Coretta interrupted my sermon. Standing, tears rolling down her face she said, “Pastor, all my life I’ve been angrily demanding justice from politicians and people, but what I’ve really been needing is mercy. May God have mercy on me, a sinner!

No matter who you are, you will never experience justice in this world; even in America. Do you really want what you deserve? Seek ye first justice instead of righteousness. Demand what you think you deserve. Stir up strife and hatred in the name of justice. After all is said and done, you’ll be let down because true justice only comes from God who will make it certain in His day of Judgment (Rev 20:11-15).

Desire mercy.

Something Juicy to Share About You

The US Constitution lists a series of ten fundamental rights protecting citizens from the government. Five of these one-sentence rights deal specifically with criminal charges. The Founding Founders insisted in the fundamental tenant that everyone is legally innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Simply, this means that you could be caught in the middle of a street, covered in blood, standing on a dead body with a smoking gun in your hand, and legally you must be considered and treated as innocent until you are proven guilty in a trial before a jury of your equals. That’s a fundamental right of everyone standing on US soil – citizen or visitor.

The Bible says:

He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him. The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him (Proverbs 18:13, 17).

Gossip is the sharing of personal information about someone that portrays him in a negative light. Often that information is shared to destroy the reputation of someone or to make the gossiper look better than he really is.

We’ve all been the focus of gossip. Whether the gossip is true or untrue, the one being spoken about ends up being accused, convicted, and condemned before the evidence is ever heard.

The Bible condemns gossip and demands that no accusations be accepted against anyone as true without the testimony of two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 7:6; Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Timothy 5:19-20).

Reject a gossiper  (Galatians 5:14-15). If you don’t, remember that the one gossiping may have something juicy to share about you too.

Voting and the Will of God

Next week, like every November, Americans go to the polls to vote.

A 20-something woman posted on Facebook, almost bragging, that she wont vote because elections never go the way she wants. I replied to her and was immediately unfriended. Let me share with you how I replied to her.

If God is sovereign, and He appoints our leaders according to the pleasure of His good will, why should you vote?

First, God placed you in a democratic nation where you have a right and responsibility to participate in the choosing of your leaders. He could have placed you in a dictatorship. Not exercising your rights shows your lack of thankfulness for where God has placed you and His choice of government for you.

Second, God uses elections as evidence of what’s in our hearts. He takes note of the choices we make when we vote, and one day we will be required to give an answer as to why we voted for a certain candidate or a certain proposed law. Our choices either condemn or affirm our faith.

Third, God works His providential will through people whether your guy wins or loses. To not vote is just as sinful as voting for ungodly laws or ungodly leaders.

Fourth, elections are not always fair and seldom turn out the way we want; but life is not about fairness or what we want. That is selfishness and as Christians we seek and desire what our sovereign Lord wants. Banks are corrupt. Bankers cheat and steal. Banks get robbed and people die, but you don’t avoid using the bank.

Fifth, leaders who quit in the midst of a difficult election and people who purposely don’t vote reveal something of their character: they are unreliable. They cannot be trusted to persevere in the midst of difficulties and hard choices.

Sixth, if you choose to not vote as a means of protest, remember who you are actually protesting: Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves (Romans 13:1-2).

Go and vote according to your conscience as it is informed and shaped by the Word of God and thereby do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Social Injustice and Our Message

As Christians, our primary ministry on this earth is to share the good news of Jesus to a broken, dead, and dying world.

We can’t fix the brokenness of a society. No political party or particular candidate can create a nation of godliness. There has never been a social justice campaign resolve age-old hatred and bigotry or save an innocent life from a corrupt police officer. Protests and chants in California don’t put food in the bellies of hungry African children or achieve equality for women in the Muslim world.

Too many Christians are distracted by the symptoms of sin around us and have ignored and even rejected the cause and remedy of all that ails the human race. Sin brings separation and death. It causes the separation of husbands and wives, parents and children, black and white, rich and poor, Kenyans and Canadians. Sin kills relationships and eats away at nations. The only answer for death is life, and life is only possible through Jesus Christ, the Prince of life (Acts 3:15).

After the massacre in Las Vegas in early October, my wife sorrowed over the loss of 59 lives. I agreed and then reminded her that in all likelihood, most of the thousands at the concert that night and survived were unsaved and would end up in the Lake of Fire. That is the greatest tragedy.

Salvation in Jesus must be our message to our hurting world.

These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name (John 20:31).

Direct Access

Wyoming State Treasurer Mark Gordon

As the days of summer 2017 waned, my wife and I made a spur-of-the-moment and quick 2,500 mile drive from our home in Oregon to Cheyenne, Wyoming, without question our favorite city on the face of the earth.

Our day and a half in Cheyenne was spent riding horses, buffalo, and jackalope. We visited the Train Depot Museum, and the Nelson Museum of the West where I played the hymn To God be the Glory on an old square piano once played by Old West saloon keepers and more recently by Liberace and Elton John.

One of the highlights was our speedy trip to the State Capital Building. We not only walked freely into the Capital Building, but directly into the Governor’s office. I announced, We’re Richard and Kim Rice from Oregon, and we’d like to see the governor. It was already nearing 5 o’clock and he was gone for the day, but the State Treasurer, Mark Gordon, set aside his business to spend 30 minutes graciously talking with us about the state budget, the MouseTrap game, and his favorite cowboy boots just like we were old friends.

It is a gift to live in a nation where freedom is more than a meaningless political buzzword. We have direct access to our leaders – men like Mark Gordon who lead states we don’t even live in!

The Bible says that we can come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

You and I have direct access to God the Father through Jesus, the Way and the Door to Heaven (John 10:9; 14:6). Because Jesus died on our behalf and today ministers as our great High Priest, we don’t need an advance appointment to come to the Father (Hebrews 4:14). We don’t stand outside the pearly gates knocking, crossing our fingers and hoping really hard that someone lets us in. The Father not only permits us to enter through the sacrifice Jesus made, but He welcomes us, saves us, and floods us with grace in our time of need.

Fully Preventable

According to government statistics, 110 Americans die each day in car accidents. The three leading causes of traffic deaths are:

  • Distractions, like cell phones
  • Speeding
  • Substance intoxication

Each of these causes of death is completely preventable. The use of a phone is fully banned for drivers in 15 states, and 47 states ban texting while driving. Driving above the speed limit is illegal in all 50 states. Substance intoxication is against the law in all 50 states.

An eternity in Hell is also fully preventable.

The Bible says that Jesus surrendered His life on a cross, dying in the place of sinners. By trusting in Jesus alone to take your sins upon Himself, you can receive eternal life.

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

The Freedom of Speech

… speaking the truth in love that they may grow up in all things … (Ephesians 4:15).

The United States Constitution is a remarkable document. It defines the role and function of government and lists the protections citizens have from their own government.

Our Declaration of Independence acknowledges that the rights of Americans are not concocted through a vote or dictated by any man or body, but come from our Creator.

Our courts have long held that every person – citizen and visitor, child and adult – has the exact same constitutional rights of protection under our laws.

Among the first of these rights is that the Congress cannot abridge “the freedom of speech, or of the press.” This means that no law can be made to limit, restrict, or take away the right of any person to speak his mind freely without fear of government punishment … even if that speech hurts someone’s feelings.

In America, anyone can publicly and privately speak and write favorably or against the government, a government leader, a political party, or any policy or law. You can be a Muslim arriving from Syria, step into the airport and curse the President, call the Congress vile names, and chant “death to America.” Those around you will not like what you’re saying, but the government is legally required to protect your right to freely speak and print such things. The Freedom of Speech makes America unique in the world.

In Ephesians 4:14, Paul describes the spiritually immature as unstable, fickle, and easily fooled. Spiritual immaturity severely limits the useful ministry of a childish Christian. Paul’s remedy for Christian babies is Bible teaching followed by more Bible teaching, with an added dose of Bible teaching.

Spiritual leaders are given to the Church for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11). This is accomplished through speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Freely preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth without compromise; remembering that freely speaking the truth of God’s Word must be accompanied by love for those to whom you speak.

The Creator or the Culture?

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).

This morning the clerk at the local grocery store wanted to talk. She closed her register and said that after almost 30 years at the same job, she’s not sure how to handle it any longer.

A few hours earlier, a man dressed like a woman came to Lois’ register. The man went on and on about how proud he was of his little boy who he’s raising as a girl. He’s 8 years old now and has never had his hair cut. This was something to brag about.

Lois asked me, As a Christian, how am I supposed to address a man who thinks he’s a woman? What am I supposed to say when he brags about raising his son as a girl?”

About a year ago Lois received a warning from her employer after a complaint was made against her. The customer was offended when Lois said, Good morning Ma’am. The customer is a lesbian who believes she is a male.

As Christians, we believe the Bible when it says God created male and female. God has never confused the two genders, building their separateness into our very DNA. The blatant blurring of that line of separation denies God’s authority as Creator, makes the Bible a lie, obscures God’s design for marriage and family, and perverts His plan for humanity.

Culture that conflicts with Scripture is sin, and every deviation from Scripture that we tolerate makes us responsible for the results.

In America, Christians are being increasingly challenged to either bow to God or kneel before our sinful culture, to stand for God’s Word or queue in the unemployment line, to pay homage to the Lord or remit a court fine and lose your business.