Monthly Archives: June 2015

THE DAY GOD CRIED!

SUPREME COURT DECISION

Yesterday, the Justices of the Supreme Court of America rendered a decision stating that marriage between same sex lovers was something to be allowed and protected by the Constitution. A recent Gallup poll taken in late May, 2015, reported that 8 out of 10 young adults favor gay marriage. The poll said the trend for those approving such a union has been climbing rapidly for the last few years. The May report said that, across the board, 55 % of the Americans polled favored marital rights for gays (same-sex marriages).

Newscasts I saw yesterday evening lauded the Supreme Court decision (a decision decided by a vote of five to four) as being just. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote, “No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.” One account reported that Justice Kennedy wiped tears of joy from his eyes as he gave his opinion of the decision. I cried too! His were tears of joy and mine were tears of extreme sorrow. I believe God cried tears of sorrow too!

President Obama welcomed the decision, saying it “affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts.” “Today,” he said, “we can say, in no uncertain terms, that we have made our union a little more perfect.” How is our union made more perfect when we disobey the laws of God?

Chief Justice Roberts responded that “people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they received from the majority today.” Chief Justice Roberts also said that only 11 states and the District of Columbia had embraced the right to same-sex marriage democratically, at voting booths and in legislatures. The rest of the 37 states that allow such unions did so because of court rulings.

This sad ruling is contrary to the Holy Bible and brings me to tears for the moral state of our Nation. Men of authority have no right to change God’s law on marriage to suit the wishes of the people. Doing so will only bring disaster upon our Nation.

MARRIAGE LAW?

The question must be asked, “Who has the right to decide who is eligible for marriage?” The answer is: God, alone, has the right to determine whether same-sex marriage is acceptable or not. The first book in the Bible, Genesis, gives the precedent for lawful marital union. The first marriage was between Adam and Eve, a man and a woman. God, Himself, gave divine approval on their marriage shortly after he created Adam. Adam, a manm was given Eve, a woman, to be his wife. Scripture says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh”, Genesis 2:24. No authorization for same-sex marriage can be found in Scripture.

Some will say, “times have changed”. Have they? In Jesus’ day the Pharisees came to the Lord and asked, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” Matthew 19:3. Obviously this question refers to the marriage between a man and a woman. Jesus’ reply came from Genesis 2:24, the passage noted above. Therefore, it is obvious that from the time of creation until Jesus’ day marriage was to occur between a man and a woman. Jesus did not have same-sex marriage under consideration when He replied to the Pharisees.

In the New Testament, the church age, we learn that God condemns homosexual activities. The apostle Paul wrote, “For this reason God gave hem up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error,” Romans 1:26-27.

Nowhere does the Bible indicate approval for same-sex marriage nor does He authorize sexual activity outside of marriage. Unfortunately, our Nation long ago turned a blind eye to sex among consenting adults and is now more accepting of same-sex marriages. I am convinced unauthorized sexual activity brings tears of sorrow to the God of heaven.

However, there is something much worse than tears of sorrow. That is the wrath of God against those who follow a sinful lifestyle. In Genesis 19 God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their sinful practices. You only have to read the text to see that some of the men of the city wanted to engage in same-sex relationships with the angels of the Lord who came to rescue righteous Lot. Ezekiel 16:58 informs us that residents of these two cities were engaged in lewdness.

I fear that America is going down the same path ancient Israel followed during their early days in the Promised Land. Just like the early Israelites, we have raised up a generation that does not know the Lord nor His Holy Book. Twice in the book of Judges we read, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes,” Judges 17:6; 21:25. Their efforts to serve God according to man’s wisdom brought the Nation nothing but sorrow and servitude. Only when they turned back to God and His will were they a blessed nation.

We need to realize that the men who comprise the Supreme Court are not Gods. They are mere mortals just like you and me. It is not for them to upgrade God’s law on marriage. They do not have the wisdom to do that. “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps,” Jeremiah 10:23. What was true in Jeremiah’s day is true today. Without God’s instruction book (the Bible) in our hands we cannot – we will not – make proper moral decisions. Man cannot improve upon what God has written. God commanded Moses to write, “You shall not add to the word that I command you nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God,” Deuteronomy 4:2. The words of Agur, son of Jakeh are, “Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar,” Proverbs 30:6.

The authorization of same-sex marriage in America is wrong. It violates the clear evidence that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman. We can make such marriages legal in America if we wish but we cannot make it acceptable in the eyes of God.

A CALL FOR REPENTANCE AND PRAYER! Yes, we as a Nation, need to repent and pray for a return to the morality found in the Holy Bible. Only then can we expect God to bless our Nation. Believers need to take a stand for God. Be like Peter and John who were commanded by the political leaders of Jerusalem to keep silent. Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than man,” Acts 5:29. Christians! Arise and speak clearly on God’s will concerning marriage. He would have us to be bold and clear on the matter. As for me, I must speak. I must teach that God only authorized marriage between and a man and a woman. That, and that alone, is acceptable to God. Were our nation to return to God it would be a day when God cried again. Only this time, it will be tears of joy! What do you say? Are you ready to make God happy? Doing so will make us a blessed people.

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UNBELIEVABLE BUT TRUE!

In Ezekiel chapter 8 the prophet is shown the religious apostasy of the religious leaders in Jerusalem. In this chapter the prophet is taken from Tel-abib, Babylon, to Jerusalem in a vision. It was not that he was physically taken to Jerusalem but his experience was exactly the same as if he were there. Ezekiel arrives at the entrance of the gateway of the inner court that faces north. What he sees is an astonishing religious failure by the priests and Levites. What he sees is total religious failure. For a nation so blessed by God their actions are unbelievable but true!

THE IMAGE OF JEALOUSY

The first thing Ezekiel sees is an image called “the image of jealousy”. The image does not belong in the court of the Temple grounds. It did not belong anywhere in the land of Judah. This was the Temple area, a place dedicated to Jehovah. Yet when entering from the north a person could not enter without observing an idol to a pagan god. God is jealous over the fact that His people were worshipping a pagan deity rather than Him. God’s “bride” Israel was being unfaithful to Him. No wonder He was jealous. For this reason, God said, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary?” No wonder God called the image the “image of jealousy”. Don’t be deceived. God is a jealous God. Later He will say, “And I will judge you as women who commit adultery and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy,” Ezekiel 16:38. Unfortunately, there are still more abominations to be shown to the prophet. They are unbelievable but true!

THE HOLE IN THE WALL

Ezekiel is now told to dig through a hole in the wall located at the entrance of the court. After digging he finds a secret door and enters a room full of abominations. Engraved on the walls were images of loathsome beasts and all the idols of the house of Israel. Inside were 70 leaders of the people burning incense to these false gods. They thought their deeds would not be known because they were in a “secret room”. The seventy said, The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land,” Ezekiel 8:13. It is unbelievable but true that the religious leaders of Israel, those living in Jerusalem and serving at the temple, were secretly worshipping idols – gods made with human hands.

THE INNER COURT

Now the prophet is brought to the inner court. He sees about twenty-five men standing with their backs to the Temple of the Lord worshipping the sun. God asks Ezekiel the question, “Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations that they commit here, that they should fill the land with violence and provoke me still further to anger? Ezekiel 8:17. This statement points out the sad truth that the nation was not only a religiously perverse nation but they were also acting violently against their own people. Unbelievable but true!

A WARNING TO GOD’S PEOPLE

When you study the Bible you find that God’s people have had a very difficult time remaining faithful to Him. According to the apostle Peter, there have always been false prophets among the people, 2 Peter 2:1. People will generally follow their leaders. Unfortunately, when elders, preachers, and bible class teachers go astray a great number of the people follow their error. In some cases the people go ever further away from God’s word than their leaders. By the time Ezekiel did his work the Northern kingdom of Israel had already fallen (722 B.C.). Even earlier (745 B.C.) the words Hosea were written to a people who had fallen away from God’s word. Hosea wrote sad words that depicted a fallen people. Here are a few samples of what the prophet wrote:

“There is no faithfulness or steadfast love and no knowledge of God in the land,” Hosea 4:1.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will forget your children,” Hosea 4:6.

“And it shall be like people, like priest, I will punish them for their way and repay them for their deeds,” Hosea 4:9.

TAKE GOD’S WORD SERIOUSLY

Don’t you love the people in the city of Berea? Paul and Silas entered their city with some “strange new teachings”. To their credit, the Bereans did not accept what they were told based upon the charisma and speaking ability of their teachers. When Paul taught, the people of Berea “were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so,” Acts 17:6. This should be the attitude of everyone who claims to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. We must compare the words spoken to us by our religious leaders with the Holy Scriptures. If the two conflict, take what the Scriptures say instead of the interesting new doctrines spoken by men.

FOLLOW JESUS

Finally, we must not allow society to dictate our lifestyle. The morality and practice of most people is in direct opposition to what is written in the word of God. It is not enough to know the truth – we must practice it. Mold your lifestyle after the moral principles and teachings found in the Bible. Build your faith upon the rock and it will stand firm when the storms of life appear, Matthew 7:24-27.

When we take our faith seriously we will not be led astray. True religion is not just mental belief. We must live a lifestyle of obedience to the commandments of God. The key is to follow Jesus and His teaching. After all, it is through Jesus that sinful people like us are saved. When we obey the Gospel of Christ we are saved by the sacrifice made by our Lord Jesus Christ. His blood atones for our sins! From that point onward it is up to us to remain faithful until death, Revelation 2:10. As unworthy as we are, God loves us, and will save us, when we love Him and obey His commandments, I John 5:1-5. That is unbelievable but true!

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FINDING GOD’S PLAN

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans

for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future

and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

Do you remember when you were young and older people would come up to you and ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Isn’t it interesting what children say in response to that question? “I want to be a fireman”, or “I want to be a millionaire”, or “I want to be a teacher”. I always answered that question with “I don’t know!” And, I didn’t! I was 25 years old before I realized that I wanted to become a gospel preacher. That realization was not yet clear in my mind when I enrolled in the Sunset School of Preaching (Now Sunset International Bible Institute) in Lubbock, Texas. My primary goal in attending Sunset was to gain bible knowledge. The realization that I wanted to serve the Lord fulltime came later in my first year of study. For some of us it just isn’t easy to find the best plan for our lives.

Last week I began teaching a Sunday morning Bible class on the book of Ezekiel. As I prepared the lesson one thing became very clear to me. That is, God was going to change the direction of Ezekiel’s life drastically. God spoke to him he was 30 years old, Ezek 1:1, and a captive in the nation of Babylon. Scripture tells us he was a priest. If you know the Old Testament you will realize that 30 is the age when a Levite priest began his ministry. Levites would continue serving until the age of 50. Ezekiel didn’t know it but God had a different plan in mind for him.

Thus, for 30 years Ezekiel planned upon serving God as a faithful priest. It was a noble plan, a good plan, and a route taken by countless others who were descendants of Levi. However, God has a better plan for Ezekiel. He was to become a prophet of God. That was to be his calling. God appeared to him in a vision and charged the priest to become a prophet and the human author of the book of Ezekiel. He served as a prophet for least 23 years. That was not the direction Ezekiel envisioned for his life work. However, it was God’s plan.

When you read the first three chapters of his book you get the sense that Ezekiel was a bit overwhelmed when God gave him his new job description. Here is a sequence of events that are recorded in the first three chapters of Ezekiel:

  1. The word of the Lord came to him, 1:1-3. Through Scripture, the word of the Lord can also come to us.
  2. He beheld the glory of God in a vision, 1:4-27. In this vision he saw cherubim and above them he saw the Lord in His glory sitting upon a throne.
  3. Ezekiel fell on his face when he saw the glory of the Lord God, 1:28.
  4. He heard God saying, “Stand up, I will speak to you”, 2:1. The Spirit helped stand Ezekiel up.
  5. God then gave Ezekiel his job description, 2:2-7. He was to speak to a rebellious nation, living in exile, who for the most part would not listen to his faithful proclamation of God’s message.
  6. For the first part of his ministry the message was that Jerusalem would fall, chapters 3-24. The fall came to pass in 586 B.C. About six years into Ezekiel’s ministry.
  7. God supplied Ezekiel with his message on a scroll he was commanded to eat, 2:8-3:3. This sweet tasting scroll symbolized the inspired word of God that Ezekiel was to eat so that it would become part of who he was. He pronounced God’s message to the people.
  8. To help persuade him of the source of his new mission, Ezekiel heard a sound like an earthquake and the sound of a mighty voice. The hand of the Lord was strong upon him, 3:4-15.

After returning to the exiles in Tel-Abib on the Chebar Canal the prophet was completely overwhelmed for seven days. His life was taking a drastic turn from what he had imagined. God chose a better plan for Ezekiel: He was being appointed to be a prophet.

After the seven days were over God gave him his commission to be a watchman for the house of Israel, Ezek 3:16-21. It was time for Ezekiel to get up and get to work. God had given him a job to do. He was commanded to be a watchman with a charge to deliver God’s message to the wicked and to the righteous who had fallen from their righteousness. The message was so important that if the prophet failed to give them warning the people would be lost but their blood would be on Ezekiel’s hands. Once he accepted the Lord’s assignment his life was changed forever!

Can you think of others whose lives were drastically altered when God provided them with a better plan for their lives?

  1. How about Abraham? He was called to leave his home and family and wander in the area that became the Promised Land. God had a better plan for him and when he accepted God’s plan he was selected to be the one through Christ would be born.
  2. How about Moses? After fleeing from Egypt at the age of 40 he became a shepherd for yet another 40 years. At the age of 80 God called him to lead His people out of Egypt to the Promised Land. God had a better plan for Moses than shepherding sheep. Thus Moses became one of the most important people in the Old Testament.
  3. How about David? David was a shepherd boy called to be a king. God had a better plan for David than anything he could have imagined. His Son, Christ, would become king forever and ever.
  4. How about Saul of Tarsus? This godly man who was mistaken about the Messiah was a brilliant student of the word of God yet he had missed the most important message contained in scripture. That is: the coming of Christ and His gospel message. At first Saul persecuted the church. He thought that was his God given mission in life. That all changed when he saw the Lord on the road to Damascus. God had a better plan for Saul (Paul) and appointed him to be the apostle for the Gentiles. Was there ever a missionary as great as Paul? I don’t think so!

How about you? Have you found God’s plan for your life? We should not expect God to speak to us in a vision like he did to Ezekiel and others. Nor should we expect to hear a voice from heaven like Abraham and Moses. God speaks to us today through His holy word. For some it is relatively easy to discover God’s plan for their life. Consider the ease with which Samuel became a prophet and leader of his people. Others of us have a more difficult time finding His plan for our life. That plan might cause us to change everything we thought we would do with our life. Finding God’s plan for your life will definitely lead you to a better way of serving the Lord.

If you are struggling to find His plan for you own life, you might consider the following steps. You can begin by being faithful to Him in every possible way. When God says something in the Bible we believe it and if it is a command for us to do we obey it. You should pray for guidance and His leading in all of your prayers. You should Worship regularly, read and study your Bible faithfully, and look for opportunities to serve Him. When we diligently seek to follow the path God has laid out for our lives we will find it.

It might take more time for some than others but the path will be found. After all, Moses had wait for 80 years before God called him to lead the Israelite Nation out of Egypt. For others finding God’s plan might be easy. I think of men like Andrew, Peter, James and John as examples of people who discovered the path they should follow very quickly after meeting Jesus. Perhaps others are somewhere in between the examples we just considered. We should strive to be clay in the hands of a loving God. He will mold us into the servant He wants us to become. The truth is, if we do our dead level best to serve Him, He will direct us down the path He wants us to follow.

“Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!

“Thou art the potter, I am the clay.

Mold me and make me; after Thy will,

While I am waiting, yielded and still”

                       Adelaide Pollard

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