Christians unaware of worldly attitudes

“He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female …?’” Matthew 19:4.

So, just how much of your attitude does the culture control? The culture has really weaponized this Kreeft quote, “Control the language and you control thought; control thought and you control action; control action and you control the world.”

Like the frog that boils as it tolerates each increasing degree, Christians are unaware of how worldly their attitudes have become. In its dogma of ‘man is man’s own savior,’ the false religion of humanism holds government as society’s god and identity politics as its commandments. Our Lord and Savior tells us, however, that we are to “read” to get our doctrine, that it was God who “created” people “male and female,” and that we are able to trust all that the sovereign God wrote “from the beginning.”

This means that topics of which the humanists say “the science is decided” to enforce your adherence, such as marriage, gender, homosexuality, fornication, etc., are really the ones that are controversial. What is decided is everything that God has written about in His inspired Word “from the beginning.”

Who controls your attitude?

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A yeti in Walmart

“But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard’” Acts 4:19-20.

If you encountered a Yeti in the automotive section of Walmart who explained to you which oil you needed for your car and then gave you the money to pay for it, we would tell everyone we saw every detail of that exchange. People might not believe you because to them Yetis are mythical. They might question you a lot on how you know that it was a true Yeti or how it knew so much or could pay for your oil. These might be uncomfortable or challenging conversations for you, but you’d try your best … because you truly believed it all to be real.

I would assert that the reason that evangelism doesn’t happen is not that we are uncomfortable speaking about the gospel or not up to the challenge of explaining to others what Jesus accomplished at the cross and at the tomb. It’s a faith problem. Your faith may be just lukewarm enough to worship with the church but not to let it change your life.

Does your faith compel you to speak of what you’ve seen and heard?

Doug Kashorek

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Has the impact of his mercy hit you?

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks …” Luke 17:15-16.

On the border of Samaria and Galilee, a likely mixture of Jews and Gentiles were brought together by more than just a disease; they all had faith. All ten were calling Jesus ‘Master’ and asking Him to have mercy on them. Jesus didn’t sort them out by who was in the covenant with God. He saw their evident faith in Him to heal them and told them, still unclean with the disease, to show their skin to the priests who could confirm their healing.

By that same faith, all ten went … and on the way all ten were healed. The only one to return and give thanks was a foreigner who didn’t know the Law, the sacrifices, or the temple.

Being thanked meant something to God incarnate! And so we, who have much to be thankful for, not the least salvation and forgiveness from our disease of sin, should, as the song says, “Give thanks with a grateful heart … because He has given Jesus Christ, His Son.”

You’ve obeyed the gospel and been healed from sin, but has the impact of His mercy hit you so that you gave thanks?

Doug Kashorek

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No such thing as a secret Christian

Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him. … Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so they would not be put out of the synagogue” John 12:37-42.

It’s towards the end of Jesus’ three-year ministry, and His hard teachings are separating those who want their heads and hearts full and not just their mouths and bellies. Even though He had proved to them in a variety of ways—even raising a dead man—they still did not believe in Him.

Here, ‘believe’ is used in its truest sense that requires action. If you believe that a truck is going to hit you, you get off the road! The actions because of true belief are outlined in scripture, publicly confessing Jesus as Lord being one of them.

There is no such thing as a secret Christian. A few verses later, after Isaiah shows that true belief requires the actions of an understanding of the heart and a turning from sin, certain authorities who loved the glory of men more are said to believe on a level in which they would not confess Jesus for fear of repercussions. More than just words, they wouldn’t let Jesus be their Lord.

Have you confessed Jesus?

Doug Kashorek

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The true definition of repentance

“And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. … Which of the two did the will of his father?” Matthew 21:28-32.

Jesus begins this parable by saying that a man had two sons. So He is speaking of those within the church who claim God as their Father.

Many are like the second son who say he will work in his father’s vineyard but who don’t go. They’re excited to find a group of good and loving people at the church who give them a sense of belonging or sometimes material things, but their service and connection with the body rarely extends beyond attendance at Sunday morning service. Continue reading

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Barely saved?

“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” Hebrews 7:25.

This is why the gospel is good news! Jesus is able to save the the uttermost. Most of us hope just to squeak in past the pearly gates on our own merits or on the delusion that the sins we’ve done haven’t really been that bad to keep us from heaven. We either hope to save ourselves or have God turn a blind eye and barely save us.

Because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, though, He is able to save to the uttermost. As our mediator and High Priest who always lives (as He’s conquered death once and for all), Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father to intercede—for not just anyone—but those who draw near to God.

And what an advocate we have in Jesus! He’s the just judge who declares us guilty, sentences us to death, and then bears the penalty for our crimes so that we might share in eternity. This means that nothing can separate us from His love if only we would obey His gospel and trust in His intercession. And that is good news!

Have you obeyed for Jesus to intercede for you?

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Very little relevance?

“And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go ….’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?” 1 Samuel 15:18-19.

I’ll bet you had to look to see if this quote was from the Old or New Testaments and then breathed a sigh of relief when you saw that it concerned an Israelite king who died long ago and has very little relevance to you. That’s the struggle!

We forget that in 1 Corinthians 10 God uses the Israelites in the wilderness to warn us not to fall into their sins. Or Romans 15:4, which tells us that the Old Testament was written so that with encouragement and endurance we might have hope.

It is very relevant, especially considering that God has sent us also on a mission that begins with the command to “Go.” After explaining that all authority was His, Jesus tells us to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

What if 1 Samuel 15 was calling us into account when we make excuses or justify why we had to modify God’s command instead of King Saul. The kingdom was taken from him then.

Are you obeying the voice of the Lord?

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‘Sing to me of heaven’

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” Matthew 13:44.

Singing to each other about heaven is certainly encouraging. Because this world has its share of troubles and so many of us are going through struggles, we need to be built up by the scriptural vision of where we will spent eternity with the One who saves us when we gather together as the church.

“Sing to Me of Heaven” is such a song. When we do that, we bring release from toils, lift burdens, and shower blessings. We bring happiness to one another and dispel loneliness that comes from walking this world and missing those who have already gone on. We also dispel the shadows and weariness that lay over hearts when we sing of heaven. The Refrain reminds us to help others to fondly dream of better things and keep their eyes fixed on the goal as the shadows of the evening fall.

Heaven is so valuable as a goal for our eternity and our spiritual well-being and perseverance here that we must be willing to sell all of this temporary world that we have to gain it.

Are you singing to others of heaven to encourage them?

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The depth of love

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends …” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8.

We’ve just left a season in which the entire world is focused on love. Flowers were given; chocolates were consumed; proposals were made; and radio stations played songs. What are the best love songs of all time? Those that speak about the greatest love story of all time—and they aren’t just sung during February but every first day of the week by those who know God’s love as demonstrated through the gospel. From the radio we might hear, “I want to know what love is? And I want you to show me.” The answer the singer is seeking is something in the range of superficial to committed from another—the best that human beings can do. Because we’re made in God’s image, we have the ability to love as He loved us, but it took God becoming flesh and dwelling among us to truly show us the depth of love. Up until Frozen, Disney taught that infatuation is love. The opening of “Up” for a deeper emotional look at mature love. When a movie shows a sacrificial love, it’s learned from the pages of the Bible.

Do you sing weekly about the greatest love of all?

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God-centered love

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” 1 John 4:7.

Self-love can be dangerous. It is at the heart of selfishness. Those in the world will do what is right by themselves at the cost of everyone around them and disguise it as ‘relative truth.’ Because they are true to the standard they have set up for themselves, they believe themselves good and loving people. Knowing this, Christians seek so much to love God and others that they may not love themselves. Our relationship with God is planted when we realize God’s love for us in Jesus dying in our place on the cross. It is fed, watered, and tended with study, prayer, and service to those around us and then blooms into an imitation of Christ. This is not a self-centered love but a God-centered love that emanates into every aspect of our lives and is the lens through which we interact in this world. This is how we love one another as Christ loved us. This is how we are truly born of God and know God. Love for one another is not fodder for a checklist. Looking outside of ourselves isn’t just for our spare time or only after our own needs are met.

How do you love?

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God a terrible obituary writer

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 21:25.

God would be a terrible obituary writer. You know, no matter how the person lived his or her life, the blurb in the newspaper always says glowing things about the person … but God tells it how it is! They were a chosen race, but they had chosen sin. They were a royal priesthood, but they had bowed down to idols of their own making. They were a holy nation, but they had fashioned the Creator in their own image. They were a people for His own possession, but possessions had been gathered for their own selfish pleasures.

They were all this so they could “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called [them] out of darkness into His marvelous light” 1 Peter 2:9-10. Oh, but wait, how did my Bible get flipped open to the New Testament? We were talking about the Israelites, after all!

There are so many similarities between God’s people in the time of Judges and now that the lessons not learned by them then should be taken to heart today.

What would God change in the obituary of His church if the last verse of this book were written today? What would you be remembered for?

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Devastating compromise

“And the people of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until the evening. And they inquired of the Lord, ‘Shall we again draw near to fight against our brothers, the people of Benjamin?’ And the Lord said, ‘Go up against them’” Judges 20:23.

It had come to this. When God’s people had first entered the Promised Land with Joshua so many years before, they were God’s instrument for justice against the pagan nations about whom His longsuffering had run out. The Israelites shrank back from obeying God and eventually blended in with the cultures around them until they were indistinguishable and the Sodom-like scenario of the previous chapter occurred.

Thus, the corrupt-but-slightly-better eleven tribes went to war against the worst one. After just one day, the losses were staggering, but God, who had promised Abraham that his descendants would number like the stars and sand, in His justice had them fight a second and then third day.

Sin has devastating consequences, and God is constantly refining His people as silver through the fire. Not all Israel is Israel, and not all the Lord’s church is His church.

If you compromise with our culture, will you withstand God’s refining?

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To fellowship God, one or the other

“… God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” 1 John 1:5-7.

Who is on the $5 bill? Most would say ‘Lincoln,’ but really it is just his likeness. Jesus is described as being the image of the invisible God. That means that in every way and characteristic, He is an exact representation of God. He is God in the flesh.

In John 10:30, He tells us that He and God are one, meaning that they are in perfect fellowship with one another. Two who become one flesh in marriage are supposed to be one in fellowship as well. But to be in fellowship with God means to either have God change to be like us or we change to be like Him.

We don’t want a God who has darkness in Him, so we must expel the darkness from ourselves and take on the characteristics of light. Then, this passage tells us, we not only have perfect fellowship with Him but His people, who are striving to become one with Him, as well.

Are you in fellowship with God and His church?

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Counting my blessings is a frightening activity

“So I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours” Matthew 25:25.

Often I find that counting my blessings is a frightening activity because God has given me so much and is expecting much from me in return. It’s the principle of—if much is given, much is expected. It truly makes me wonder if I’m doing all that I can for His Kingdom and Name or if there are ways that I’m squandering my time and resources.

A ‘talent’ in the parable is, of course, a unit of money, but it’s easy to see just how the ready application of this heavenly lesson is that God wants us to bring Him a return on the spiritual blessings He has entrusted us with. And, while each of us as individual Christians and collectively as the body of Christ, need to examine our investment, it is easy to ask ourselves how we are or aren’t using the temporary, physical blessings for His Kingdom and His Name.

We each have food, clothing, and shelter, but beyond the basics, we have cars, possessions, and jobs. God has entrusted you to place you where you are in life with what you have. The church has buildings, grounds, and a bank account.

Are you/we investing or burying y/our talents?

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Worshiping idols but sure of God’s blessing

“Then Micah said, ‘Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest’” Judges 17:13.

Two wrongs don’t make a right—yet this is what Micah and most of the world believes today. Micah stole some money from his mother and restored it to her with a confession. This bright spot in the tale dims quickly as his mother dedicates the money to the Lord by having a carved metal idol made with it. Micah then puts it in a shrine in his house along with an ephod and household gods and installs his sons as priests.

How could straying so far from God’s commands be pleasing to God? The text explains that, like today, everyone did what was right in his own eyes. It was a ‘tolerant’ society in which each sets up his own standard for life and God’s standard, if not forgotten, is just a loose guideline. This is clear when Micah finds a Levite as the Law demands to minister, not at the tabernacle but before his idol, and then proclaims that he’s certain that God will now prosper him.

If we do not return to God’s Word for our faith, life, and worship in our very ‘tolerant’ society, we are just like Micah—worshiping our idols but sure in our minds of God’s blessing.

Are you Micah?

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