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.

Advertisements

Discomfort for Mr Macaroni

slow food pasta art workHeaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.”

Mr Macaroni boiled hearing Moody’s words. He’d always been something of a limp noodle, and today he was doubting his choice of employment. It had always been tough making decisions, but once made one he was left feeling deep regrets. When the clock struck 5, Macaroni was ready to get sauced.

Despite his constant indecision, Mr Macaroni was as true as a man could be. He was no impasta when it came to living, but his new job as a dental assistant was leaving him feeling a bit al dente.

He quickly exited the office on his way to the Meat Ball to dance with his sweetheart, a beautiful Italian gal named Penne. All dressed up, he straightened his little bow tie and slicked back his thick blonde angel hair with a bit of olive oil.

As he stepped from the sidewalk into the street, humming “On top of Old Smokey all covered with cheese,” Mr Macaroni was still steaming. A motorcycle with gleaming chrome twin-forks raced toward him. He never knew what hit him and instantly pasta way.

A moment later Mr Macaroni opened his eyes. Before him were the golden arches and beyond was the dazzling White Castle he’d always heard about. Macaroni was greeted by a choir of French guys singing, “Welcome to the realm of Burger King and Dairy Queen.”

A stout fellow calling himself Big Mac approached and laid a whopper of a story on him about being dead and forever living in the presence of the King. “If you’ll lettuce, tomater my friends and I will take you in-and-out through the kingdom.” It gave Mr Macaroni the shakes.

He hadn’t been at ease with people when he was alive, now an eternity with them was unbearable. He wasn’t made for a place like this. He hadn’t wanted anything to do with the king while he was alive and he didn’t want it now. He longed to have it his way and he wasn’t lovin’ it one bit. Mr Macaroni wondered, “Why did the King bring me here if I didn’t want him back when I was living?

If you don’t enjoy King Jesus today, what makes you think you’ll enjoy eternity with Him?

In My Father’s house are many mansions; it if were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:2-3).

We Wait for His Son

Photograph of the solar eclipse seen in Oregon, USA August 21, 2017

We wait for His Son from Heaven, who He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

I live within the path of the recent solar eclipse of the sun. Some Americans believed this passing of the moon between the sun and the earth was a sign of the end of the world. They were sure it would announce the return of Jesus or the advent of the Antichrist. They twisted together speculation and Scripture taken out of context for their strange doctrine. In doing so they created fear and raised money while maligning Jesus Christ and His holy Word.

As Christians, we eagerly await the return of Jesus from Heaven. We look for Him – who died for the Church and was raised from the dead for the Church – to return in the clouds and gather His Church unto Himself to forever be with Him. We anticipate Jesus Christ, not the Antichrist.

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another (1 Thessalonians 5:9, 11). We have comfort, joy, hope, and demonstrate lives of godliness in Jesus, we don’t live in despair and fear over the future.

Sin Isn’t the Leading Cause of Death

As Christians, we sometimes wonder why God doesn’t bring an end to the pain and suffering in this world caused by sin. We ask, “Where is God’s justice?” But God has done something: He sent Jesus to die for sinners.

Our real difficulty is accepting God’s patience. We want Him to do something now, something we can see today and know that justice is being served.

God’s justice, however, is bittersweet when we remember that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Sin isn’t the leading cause of death – it’s the only cause of death. God told Adam and Eve that in the day they disobeyed Him, you shall surely die (Genesis 2:17); and so it’s been ever since.

His justice means that the sin of every person must be punished. Every sinner must suffer the consequences of offending God. Crying out for God’s justice means that some of our own family members and friends will be forced to cash that check which brings eternal damnation.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).

Kenyatta, Odinga, and the Will of God

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 (Romans 13:1).

Kenya is a young nation, having gained its independence from the British on December 12, 1963. The nation has struggled to set aside tribal animosity and bind itself together as one people. Politics has been the flash point. A decade ago, over 1,000 people were murdered in election violence.

Voting for a candidate, or against a candidate, based on his tribal ethnicity instead of his beliefs – will destroy Kenya and any other nation. Tribalism divides rather than heals.

In a few days, on August 8th, Kenyans will go to the polls to elect their president. The great question every Kenyan should be asking is not which candidate will win the election, Kenyatta or Odinga, but how the hearts of sinful men will respond to the will of God.

Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves (Romans 13:2).

** Please keep us in prayer while we minister in Kenya. Thanks!

The Power of Salt

My introduction to the power of salt occurred when I was just a boy.

For most of my youth, my mother provided for us by doing child daycare in our home. Quite the wiseacre, one April Fools Day I filled the sugar bowl with salt.

Once I left for school, my mom served the other children their Cheerios, topped with a spoon of the white crystals from the sugar bowl. No matter what she said or did, not one of the kids would eat their cereal. When I got home from school later that day, I found myself in a heap of trouble.

In the ancient world, salt was more valuable than gold. The Roman government often paid its soldiers with salt. The Latin word for salt, salis, is the basis for our English word salary. Ancient Rome is also the origin for our saying that something without value isn’t “worth its weight in salt.”

At a time before refrigeration, salt was also valuable because when liberally applied to food, it preserved the food by slowing corruption.

Salt which loses its saltiness is worthless.

Jesus said to His disciples, You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men (Matthew 5:13).

God’s people are salt in this world. By our very nature as His children, we retard the sinful rot in society around us. He uses us to flavor the world in which we live for His glory. Our loyalty to Christ Jesus and faithfulness to His commands is a proof of our conversion so that wherever we go, we live as representatives of His presence.

The Lord’s Day

the-lords-dayI was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet (Revelation 1:10).

Cult groups harp on the idea that the Roman Catholic Church changed the day of Christian worship from Saturday to Sunday; but the accusation is neither historical nor Biblical.

God gave the Jews the 7th day of the week for rest. Saturday, the Sabbath Day, commemorates God’s completion of Creation (Genesis 2:1-3) and God commanded Israel to observe Saturday as a time of rest from their labors (Exodus 20:8-11).

Christians, however, held Sunday as our day of worship from the very beginning of the Church (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). The Church began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), which always falls on a Sunday, exactly 50 days after the Passover Sabbath.

Jews found the rest from their physical labors in a day on the calendar, Christians find their spiritual rest in the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus  (Matthew 12:8; Hebrews 4:9-11). He called everyone tired of struggling to keep the Law of Moses to Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

Sunday is the first day of the week. It was the day God began His creation of the universe (Genesis 1:5). Sunday, the day of new beginnings, was the day He created light (Genesis 1:5) and the day Jesus, the Light of the World, was raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1).

As Christians, we worship God every day of the week, but Sunday is our primary day for corporate worship through teaching the Word, prayer, taking the Lord’s Supper, and giving thanks.

More Boring than a Wheel

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day (Exodus 20:9, 10, 11).

A CBS News story reported in May that Jews and Christians made up the idea of the 7-day week as a form of time slavery. The “week is man-made, arbitrary, a substance not found in nature.”

Instead of time being a continual revolving cycle of renewal, “Judeo-Christians decided that time was actually linear, beginning at creation and moving toward end times. This idea stuck—and it’s way more boring than a wheel.” To improve the conquest of time, the author of the report said we must elevate the weekend, which she claims was invented by socialist-minded politicians.

If you think that socialism is compatible with Christianity, here’s more proof you’re wrong.

God has a different idea about time than communists. The Bible says that He created the idea of a 7-day week when He created the heavens and the earth in six days and then rested on the seventh. It’s not man-made, it is inherent in His creation.

Instead of conquering time, we must be living circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Our Citizenship

German officer coat and hat 6.2016My son is finishing his third year of German language in high school. He loves it! Every conversation is littered with Deutch words and phrases. He listens to their music, follows German politics and politicians and is planning to move to Germany. It seems that everything he thinks of has a German slant to it. Fortunately he’s not scouring the internet for a German fraulein! … at least not yet.

Though the United States is his home and has been the home of his family for 6 generations, he keeps his mind and eyes on another land. It’s a land he’s never visited, but he’s heard about, read about, and has his heart set upon.

The Bible says of Christians: Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20).

It seems we often forget this truth because our minds, eyes, and hearts get too wrapped up in the things of this earth. We forget that Heaven is our true home and homeland. We fail to set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2).

It’s hard not to be consumed by the things in the land where we reside and what we naturally know, but remember Christian friend, your citizenship in not in this world. Heaven is your eternal home.

A New Commandment

two churchesMore than thirty years ago, it was my first stint as a youth pastor and our Youth Extravaganza! was going to be amazing. One of the old-time leaders of our denomination was going to preach a “wing-ding” of a message. There would be special music and ice cream sundaes afterward.

We printed up fliers and posters, and sent letters to every church in our city. We went out of our way to specially invite the other churches of our denomination.

The big night came – but only the youth in our own church showed up.

I was terribly embarrassed. I was embarrassed for myself and my youth who worked so hard to invite others. I was ashamed that no other churches, especially those of our denomination, showed up. I was horrified for our guest who preached to a near-empty auditorium.

Sadly, this wasn’t the first time I experienced this kind of Christian fellowship.

Churches located next to each other, with near identical beliefs, won’t cooperate. Each group is concerned in protecting its own money and attendance figures.

Just as bad, Christians live next door to each other and won’t even speak.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35).