Category Archives: Feature Articles

Eternity is Forever

Reflect on the title for a few moments. “Eternity is Forever.” These three words SHOULD have a profound impact on your life.

For the ungodly these words will provoke fear, denial, or a mixture of the two, depending upon how honest they are, and how well they have buried the reality of sin, righteous, and the judgment to come of which the Holy Spirit convicts them (John 16:18).

Fear SHOULD be the reality in light of the fact that those who fail to measure up to God’s perfect standard, and also reject the free gift of forgiveness and mercy through Jesus, will spend forever receiving punishment for their sins. Hell will not be a place of parties, but a lake of fire. Having been briefly trapped in a fire, I can tell you that it is not a pleasant place to be. Being trapped in a fire forever should be avoided at all cost.

In fact, as Jesus speaks he offers this advice:
“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than [having] two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than [having] two eyes, to be cast into hell fire. (Matthew 18:8-9 NKJV)

The reality is that is not our hands, feet, or eyes that cause us to sin. It is the sin which has infected our hearts. Jesus is not calling for dismemberment of our extremities. This will not solve the problem. His statement does make perfectly clear just how serious our sin problem is. We should do anything necessary to avoid the everlasting fire and the associated torment.

We need a new heart! We need a heart that is free of sin. You don’t have to ascend in to heaven to find this new heart. God is wanting to give it to you. God has provided a way to give it to you, a way with which He can be both just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Christ.

Listen to the simplicity of how to receive the gift of life:
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:8-10 NKJV)

Think back to the title again: “Eternity is Forever.” Reflect on Jesus’ illustration of just how important it is to avoid everlasting fire. You should be willing to do ANYTHING to avoid such a fate! The good news is that freedom from such a fate is a free gift for anyone who is willing to bow before Jesus and confess Him as Lord.

As imperative as it is for the ungodly to face the reality of their peril, these three words are good for all of us to reflect on. “Eternity is Forever.: This really puts the distractions of this life into perspective. The things that we often spend so much time and energy on will soon pass away. How well are you spending the precious days of your life in light of this eternal truth?

Marriage: God’s Plan from the Beginning

Even in its current fallen state we see a marvelous beauty and design in God’s creation.  When we look to the heavens, we see the artistry, the perfect timing and spacing of stars and moon hurtling through space, yet unveiling a beautiful choreograph of days, months, and seasons.  If we take a microscope we see the marvelous hand of our Creator in the smallest details of even the simplest organism.  When God does it, He does it right!

In Genesis Chapter 2, which recaps in greater detail the sixth day of creation, we find God unveiling His perfect plan for man.  We know that it is His perfect plan because this is before the world was marred by the fall.   Everything that God made was good, and this is no exception.

God provided a powerful lesson for the first man, Adam.  God first said: “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him.”  He brought every creature before Adam and let him name them.  At the end of this process we read:

Genesis 2:20 (NKJV) So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

Out of all the multitude of marvelous creatures that God had made, there was not one that was the perfect companion for Adam.  After revealing to Adam that none of the other creatures completed him, God then provided that missing perfect companion for Adam.

Genesis 2:21-24 (NKJV) And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

And Adam said:
"This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man."

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Here is the perfect lifelong companion for Adam.  From his very side was made woman.  She is distinct, and yet part of him.  Adam did not “leave his father and mother,” but states what God’s plan is to be for all future men.  They are to find in a woman, their perfect lifelong companion and helpmate.  They are distinct and yet would become “one flesh.”

The fall did not change this perfect initial plan of God.  Our sinful selfishness makes it harder to live out that “one flesh” relationship, but countless peoples and cultures have shown that this is the only plan that works and is blessed by God.

Here’s praying that you find that perfect person to be your lifelong soul mate as you glorify God by joining together, one man and one woman, for a lifetime “one flesh” relationship in marriage.

Busyness, Busybodies, and Worship

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This is a call to not be deterred from the simplicity and joy of worshipping Jesus.

Busy, busy, busy. These words could easily describe the twenty-first century. Running to and fro, with lists, texts, and pedal to the metal. In such a fast-paced life how does one find a way to slow down and recharge your soul with the peace of worship.

Bossy, overbearing, and grating . Unfortunately, such a description fits a few people in every church. How do you take your attention away from such busybodies and the distractions that they cause. How do we move beyond the dread of the next disruptive remark, to satisfy our longing for the peace of worship?

Here are seven steps that will help us back to sincere and joyful worship.

1. Acknowledge that excuses abound. It may be impossible to completely step back from the stress and pace of our frenetic world. But if there is a way to calm ourselves for sincere worship, it starts with realizing that we need to get there. There are innumerable excuses that we could use to keep us away. For now, list the things that have you going so fast that you can’t stop for worship.

2. Realize that obstacles exist. There are things and people that can derail our best intentions to worship. Walking into the front door of the church and immediately encountering a caustic comment, can easily destroy a carefully cultivated peace in preparation for worship. Acknowledge that there will always be such situations. Since you will never be able to totally eliminate or avoid them, come prepared to shed them as quickly as you encounter them.

3. Jesus is Worth it! Here is the key to sincere and joyful worship. It is not about us. It is about Him. God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die in our place. Jesus loved us so much that He left the beauty and joys of heaven to walk in this world of excuses. He experienced the worst of people, so that He could open the way, for the worst of sinners into the joys of His kingdom. He is so worth it! He is so worthy! Keep your focus on Him. Prepare to give Him the worship that He deserves.

4. Clear the clutter. Remember that list of excuses? Now that we have focused on the preciousness of Jesus and His worthiness of worship, take that list and evaluate it in light of His glory and grace. How can we let anything stand between us and pure worship of His majesty. Turn off the phone. Clear the calendar. Kill the TV. Shutdown the computer. Prepare to worship the Master. Try starting the evening before. The Sabbath started at sundown. Maybe our day of worship needs to have a head start as well.

5. Pray for the obstacles. Remember those unavoidable obstacles we talked about. The only effective way to shed them is to pray for them. Yes, we should be polite and gracious in our words and actions to abrasive and disruptive people, but ultimately you can’t change them. Only God can change people! Just as He changed you, He can change others. When you hear the caustic comment, pray for God’s blessing to be so abundant and bountiful that they would not be able to contain the joy that flows from God through them. Will this happen in every case? Does it matter? You have done all you can do. We pray and wish for them the best. The rest is between them and God. Ours should be peace to worship.

6. Serve and Worship Him. When it comes right down to the time of worship in a church, it is all about God. Worship means worth + ship and He is so worth it. Take your mind off what happened yesterday, the cares of tomorrow, the incident just encountered, and focus on Him. Take a moment to calm your spirit, breath His air, and say a few words of thanks and praise. It is time to worship the One who is worthy of all our love!

7. Let His peace calm your troubled soul. The beauty of worship is that if we get to a place where we truly encounter Jesus, it is the most rewarding and soul deep satisfying of encounters. He has EVERYTHING under control. His blood covers yesterday, His presence will sustain tomorrow, and every knee shall bow before Him. Worship Him. Rest in Him. Let no excuse or obstacle deter you from the simplicity and joy of worshipping Jesus.

He is Risen Indeed!

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Easter is a victory celebration. Death could not hold the only begotten Son of God. In reality, death could never rightfully claim Him in the first place. Since He was sinless, since He is the Son of God, there was no reason that He should die except one. The one reason that caused Jesus to lay down His life was love.

Make no mistake, Jesus did lay down His life. No one could take it from Him unless He willingly let them. He was willing. The reason was because He loved sinners. Sinners just like you and me. The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many.

Having willingly laid down His life while paying the full penalty for our sin, the grave could not hold Him any longer. He rose from the dead just as He said He would, never to die again. Now He ever lives to make intercession for those who come to God the Father through Him. What a victory!

Let There Be Change

New Year’s Day is always one week to the day after Christmas.  It is very fitting that this is the case.  To truly “get” Christmas always calls for change.  What kind of change has Christmas called for in your life?

Making the Leap

We saw in “Let There Be Light” how a group of shepherds were going through another routine night watching their sheep.  Suddenly the night was anything but routine.

The appearance of an angel, the light of the glory of the Lord, a revelation of the Savior’s birth, and a heavenly multitude praising God made the night extremely extraordinary.

The shepherds journeyed to Bethlehem to see if these things were so.  Was there really lying in a manger in the City of David, a Savior who was the Messiah and the Lord?

When they got to the manger and found Jesus, these shepherds were never the same again.  They immediately made known what had been told them about this special child so that all that heard marveled at what they were being told.

As they left the city, they did so as men who had been changed.  Coming in they were still probably wondering what they would find.  Would they really find the Messiah lying in a manger?  Could they really have seen and heard a heavenly chorus? What did any of this mean to their life?

Having found Jesus just as they were told, they knew the truth.  “the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” (Luke 2:20)

These men were changed!  They were now praisers of God.  They continually gave Him glory.  They were never the same again.

Anyone who truly sees who Jesus is; that He is the unique Son of God, who left heaven to come and die for their sins, can never be the same again. Change MUST come!  How could you not praise God and continually give Him glory.

Have you really celebrated Christmas recently?  Is the change evident in your life?  Let There Be Change!