People of the Cross

acts 19 crossThis image has gone viral across the internet. The words of ISIS reverberate across our consciousness and the question arise: Are we really the people of the Cross? It is then that I recall the words of Joseph: “Gen 50:20 As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose….” What good can come out of something like this? It is this that OM Harris a blogger friend recently wrote: “We have a mandate to live in anxious anticipation, and in so doing I preach a gospel of repentance” Am I living in anxious anticipation? Do I really believe that God’s good will come from this?  That is what a true “people of the Cross” do.

This is the same message Paul left with the Ephesian elders as he met with them for the last time. “testifying …about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus….But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace.” [vs 21/24]. Later Paul would write: “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith!” [2Ti 4:7]

But the race is not over! Until then we are the “people of the cross” with the message of truth: Jesus alone is The Way, The Truth, and The Life!  We are to be busy about testifying about the gospel message even when the wolves rear up. Remember this promise:  Indeed, the Lord who commands armies has a plan,” and it will be fulfilled. [Isa 14] Listen to these words: “Obedience is better than crumbling to the fears of speaking out.” [O.M. Harris]  Be faithful to pray that God release his angelic legions, miraculous signs and wonders so that the wolves’ mission of destruction is hindered; that they may have dreams that will convict and turn them from unbelief  to the true Messiah.  And how do we pray for ourselves? We must pray that we remain steadfast as the “people of the cross” and join Paul in saying: “I do not consider my life worth anything to myself.”

Are we truly the “people of the Cross?” That is the question of the day.

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Give God Glory

acts 14 glorify god2Luke wants us to follow his train of thought as he seeks to remind his reader of these principles: “The chief end of man is glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

Herod was an example that lived by neither and in fact sought his own glory.  Luke teaches us through the illustration of Paul and Barnabas in Lystra, where a lame man is healed, that it is God alone who deserves glory. Seeing a lame man healed, the entire town erupts and seeks to glorify them. But, unlike Herod who accepted what was due God, Paul and Barnabas shouted, tore their clothes and said: “Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.”

When pagans (unbelievers) know not the living God and seek to glorify us we must do as Paul; present God as Creator and ourselves as the creation always seeking to give God his glory and the praise due to him alone. Paul wisely used God’s creation first for this reveals “God’s invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature.” Yet is not creation that points men to the Savior and their need of salvation;  it is the very breathed inspired Word of God. Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [2Ti 3:16] “so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”[Rom 15]

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The Depraved Heart

acts 12 rom 1 without excuse2aIn  Acts 12, Luke wants us to notice not only just the death of James and the deliverance of Peter but rather how longsuffering God is and how depraved men are and he accomplishes this  by showing us the heart of Herod. Just as creation reveals God in all of his glory so the heart of men is revealed in all of their depravity.  Herod, like us, falls into the category of one who has seen, heard, and experienced all of God’s grace. We all have a choice; repent and be forgiven or remain steadfast in our sins.

King Herod, rather than seeking to know about  Jesus and His resurrection, seeks to silence the message and the messengers by arresting and beheading the Apostle James. Seeing how that pleases the Jews he has Peter arrested and plans his execution. But, God’s ways are superior to men and God will reveal Himself to Herod by delivering Peter because of the power of praying church. God’s grace is revealed to the guards and Herod through a unexplained miracle yet in retaliation Herod becomes livid and executes Peter’s guards. Pouting Herod retreats to Caesarea where he is proclaimed as God by men from Tyre and Sidon. Herod did not give the glory to God. Just as an umpire in baseball says: “you’re out!” so God called Herod and said “you’re out”   “I am the Lord! That is my name! I will not share my glory with anyone else” [Is 42]

And yet, God graciously gave Herod 5 more days to repent. Did he or does he have this before him: Heb 10:31 “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Have you experienced God’s grace?

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Psalm 19-20 “God in all of His Glory!”

psalm 19 god and his glory revealedaDr. Henry Morris in reflecting on this psalm wrote: “The 19th psalm is one of the most magnificent writings in the Bible and indeed in all literature. Charles Spurgeon also in reflecting wrote: “Any book without its first page would be sadly imperfect, and especially the great Natural Bible, since its first pages, the sun, moon, and stars, supply light to the rest of the volume, and are thus the keys, without which the writing which follows would be dark and undiscerned

So from a scientist to a theologian we have the same view: God is sovereign and He is revealed in the glorious expanse of the heavens. Thus the words of Paul resonate with our spirits: “For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made” We see them as we stand and view the heavens in the dark of night or the bright light of day. No matter when, God has clearly revealed himself that we may bow our knee in humble adoration and praise him for who he is and for his glorious majesty.

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