Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Compel them...

"And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled." - Luke 14:23
Every week we are encouraged to participate in some extended auto warrenty program or new financial investment plan. There is no end to those who would sell us the Brooklyn Bridge if given the opportunity. On one hand, some of these dear people really believe in their hype and then others are just in it for the monetary gain. But, whatever the reason, they are determined to fill their quota.

The Lord portrays the Kingdom of God as a banquet. The invitations are systematically rejected with an ocean of excuses. Finally the direction is given to compel people from the highways and hedges to fill the house. This story has much truth to consider, but for the believer we are given a fresh call to invite others to accept our Savior's call. We believe the truth and it has given us great reason to compel others.

Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:20, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."  Be encouraged afresh my friend to "compel" and "implore" your world on behalf of Christ. It's well worth the effort!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

No Day Off...

"Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, 'There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.'" - Luke 13:14
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away and many light-years ago family Doctors were available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I know this to be true because I was raised in such a galaxy. When, as a young man, I suffered a head gash on a Sunday afternoon, the family Doc had me come directly to his office and he took care of my injury, right then and there. There was no day off for those in need.

The Lord often made it clear that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27) Yet, religious legal eagles restricted compassionate care for others to any other day than the Sabbath. Fundamentally, this group placed God in a box and refused to believe that He would work outside their man made limits. Little did they know that with God... there is no day off for those in need.

You may not be a strict Sabbatarian my friend, but do you ever place God in a man made box? Do you expect God to only work within your parameters and theological confines? Is it possible for the Lord to perform the miraculous as He chooses, when He chooses? Is it just possible that the Great Physician might be available twenty-four hours, seven days a week in the most unimaginable set of circumstances? Could it really be, that with God... there is no day off for those in need?

Monday, April 19, 2021

A Choice...

"Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three." - Luke 12:51-52
In the New York/New Jersey Metro area there are Yankee fans and Mets fans; Jets fans and Giants fans; Nets fans and Knicks fans; sports teams divide people. Life is full of division. There are shore people and mountain people, dog people and cat people, casual people and formal people. The bottom line is this: you have to make a choice.

Everyone thought that Jesus came to bring total world-wide peace. Their view of peace was, and is today a "let's get together" peace. The idea sounds great, but the Lord made it clear that no such utopia was going to happen in this age. He came to offer a new life with God which differed greatly from the way of the world. The message included repentance and consecration to Godly living. As a result, people have to make a choice.

Division is a sad truth my friend, but it is reality. While the good news that Jesus brought should bring an overwhelming peace and healing of the nations, it doesn't. Why, you may ask? Because not everyone wants a new life with God. They prefer to live for themselves and follow ungodly paths. Until the Lord returns, peace is a personal gift from God and with God. (Romans 5:1) But, you have to make a choice.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

All about that...

"And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing." - Luke 12:22-23
Clothing and food has gone through many changes in my lifetime. Styles of dress have changed more times than I can count and specialty restaurants have flooded the market. While there are many people who are living hand to mouth in our country and around the world, there are also a vast number who worry about dressing in style and what menu to serve upcoming guests. Don't they realize that life is more than that?

Jesus addressed the multitudes with words of comfort and guidance. He assured them that there was no need to worry over the mundane issues of life. God will faithfully meet the needs of His people, just as He feeds the birds and clothes the lilies. With this truth clearly presented we can redirect all our energy and wealth into seeking God's kingdom. Life is all about that.

Whether you are struggling financially or so well off you can't decide which color to wear today, this message is for you. There is a higher calling and priority for every child of God. When we simply trust in the Lord for the basics and focus on the bigger issues of eternal value, everything falls in place. Life is really all about that!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Coming to light...

"Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known." - Luke 12:2 
Not too long ago we had our carpets cleaned. A great deal floor space was open for the process to be done, but there were some places that needed to be uncovered. My office was one location that needed a chair mat to be removed before the cleaning began. I could have left the mat in place but the carpet would have remained unclean until someone else moved into that room. The dirt would eventually come to light.

Jesus warned his followers that a day of accounting would be coming. No matter how well our sins and trespasses may be hidden from others, it won't last forever. There are times when we believe that our lives are even hidden from the Lord Himself. We can sweep it all under the rug, but one day everything will be discovered. The dirt will eventually come to light.

Is your faith only a surface experience my friend? Do you believe that the Lord only sees what you choose to reveal? Do you think if you ignore unconfessed sin long enough it will simply disappear? Have you swept more under the rug than you are willing to admit? Well, be aware that a day of accounting is coming. Whatever you haven't dealt with now, will most certainly come to light then!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Do Both!!

“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others." - Luke 11:42
Life is full of choices. You can have vanilla or chocolate ice cream. You can use hot sauce or sweet sauce. You can have strawberry or blueberry pie. You can have a hot or cold drink with your meal. But we are often told that "you can't have your cake and eat it too!" In other words, you can do one or the other, but certainly not both.

There are some people who believe this must be the same in spiritual matters. They settle themselves by doing well in one Biblical area, but not any other. As Jesus rebukes these Pharisees, He addresses the issue of doing it all. He teaches us that we can and must do one and the other by doing both.

In a phrase, are you a "holistic" believer my friend? Do you follow the tangible steps of tithing and various contributions, and at the same time find ways to show righteous support and loving care for those in need? We ought to do the first without neglecting the  latter. We don't have to choose one or the other, we can and should always do both.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Obvious...

"As the crowds increased, Jesus said, 'This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.'" - Luke 11:29 
There are currently some 500 members of the "Flat Earth Society". These people believe that the earth is a flat disk centered at the North Pole and is bounded along it's southern edge by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars only a few hundred miles above the surface of the earth. This only goes to prove that there will always be people who refuse to believe the obvious.

When our Lord spoke to the multitudes they were filled with unbelief and sought more miraculous signs. He knew that no matter how many signs would be given, unbelief would prevail. In God's divine design, only one distinct sign would be given... the resurrection. And yet, in a later account that Jesus speaks of in Luke 16:31 we read, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead". There will always be people who refuse to believe the obvious.

Two weeks ago we celebrated Resurrection Sunday.  The world simply recognizes the day as a holiday known as Easter. They give it no real credibility other than a time to give children Easter baskets with candy and goodies. Meanwhile, many people are still looking for that special miracle from God. But, the tomb is empty, He is Risen! What more does God need to do for anyone to believe? Why will you not believe the obvious?