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Discussion in 'The Club House' started by AmPaTerry, Jun 1, 2019.
Thank you Lord for this day.
I have another interesting percentage for you today. This one involves the Beatitudes;
Matthew 5:3-12 (KJV)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
People were asked whether or not they believed the Beatitude of Jesus’ that says ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’. When the answers were broken down by income range, the percentage of Americans earning less than $30,000 per year who believe this was true was 61%. The percentage of Americans earning more than $60,000 who believe it was true was 36%.
It would appear that a lot of folks modify their beliefs sufficiently to keep themselves from being on the loosing side of the issue, wouldn’t it? This is private interpretation at its worst!
Luke 21:34 (KJV);
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”
Psalm 39:6 (KJV);
“Surely every man walketh in a vain show: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.”
The story is told of a little girl whose mother planned to celebrate her fifth birthday by impressing all the relatives. The mother dressed her daughter in fine clothes and said, "Now, here's what I want you to do. You're going to sing a song."
When it was time for the little girl to sing, her mother says, "Honey, what are you going to do?"
The child says, "Nothing."
The mother finds a convenient spot to pinch her and says, "Weren't you going to sing?"
The child says, "No."
The angry mother takes the child upstairs and shuts her in a closet. About half an hour later, the mother goes up and says, "What are you doing up here?"
The child says, "I've been having a great time. I've been spitting on your clothes. I've been spitting in your shoes. I've been spitting on your walls. I've been spitting on the carpet. Now I'm waiting for some more spit."
That attitude of waiting for some more spit is what sin is all about. For man, sin is not just an act. Sin is an attitude. Man is not a sinner because he is a transgressor. He is a transgressor because he is already a sinner. The offense is not only in the transgression but in the intention. Sin is not merely the violation of law but in the disposition of the heart.
That story is from a sermon given by Ravi Zacharias titled "The Lostness of Humankind."
Psalm 52:3 (KJV);
“Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah”
Romans 1:30 (KJV);
“Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,”
Matthew 15:19 (KJV)
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:”
What about you, when things are all going against you? Are you seeking to draw nearer to your heavenly Father - - or are you just waiting for more spit?
In Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer attempts to reconcile the seemingly contradictory beliefs of God's sovereignty and man's free will:
"An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. Nothing can change it. This is at least a faint picture of sovereignty. On board the liner are scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port. Both freedom and sovereignty are present here, and they do not contradict. So it is, I believe, with man's freedom and the sovereignty of God. The mighty liner of God's sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history."
Romans 8:29 (KJV);
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Romans 9:11 (KJV);
“(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth”
Ephesians 3:11 (KJV);
“According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:”
So what are you doing today? We are all on that huge cruise ship, which is proceeding according to God’s plan. Are you standing at the front rail, anticipating the course of divine will that is unfolding ahead? Are you standing at the back rail, regretting the things that are being left behind? Perhaps you are even working to assist the great ship in reaching the destination which God has it set for? Of course, none of us can STOP the ship in it’s course, nor change that course, but each one of us has PERSONAL freedom about going to the port God has ordained for us, or we can jump overboard and thwart his plan for our individual life. There are many who have done this, and there they are, floundering around in water washing over our heads, and wondering what went wrong with their life.
Recently, I talked a bit about how God intervenes in my message preparation on Sunday Morning, and how disconcerting that can be. There are too few Churches today that even HEAR what God is saying. In fact, there are some that I believe He has quit even trying to communicate with! Some churches can’t even manage to preach what God put in the Bible for us to learn from, let alone hear his daily leading for them.
This was recognized 79 years ago! From Fortune Magazine publishee in January of 1940:
"So long as the church pretends or assumes to preach absolute values, but actually preaches relative and secondary values, it will merely hasten the process of disintegration. We are asked to turn to the church for our enlightenment, but when we do so we find that the voice of the church is not inspired. The voice of the church today, we find, is the echo of our own voices. When we consult the church we hear only what we ourselves have said.
"There is only one way out of the spiral, and the way out is the sound of a voice, not our voice, but a voice coming from something beyond ourselves, in the existence of which we cannot disbelieve. It is the duty of the pastors to hear this voice, to lead other people to hear it, and to help them hear and understand what it says."
Ezekiel 1:28 (KJV);
“As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.”
John 5:37-38 (KJV);
“And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.”
Acts 26:14 (KJV);
“And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
God is speaking to his Church every day – but not too many are listening to His words, nor heeding what He is saying to us. We all need to wake up and listen, for the day is coming when it will be too late for each one of us individually, and for all of us as a group, to hasten to those words.
The late Henry M. Morris of the Institute for Creation Research once wrote a devotional in which he pointed out something that I had not heard before; our rapture will be atomic powered! Listen to Henry’s devotional, and you will see what I am talking about;
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (I Corinthians 15:51,52).
"This is one of the greatest promises in the Bible, assuring us that “we” (i.e., all believers, whether dead or living when Christ returns) shall suddenly be changed, with our dead or dying bodies instantly transformed into incorruptible, immortal bodies, which can never die again.
"This great change, when it finally occurs, will take place “in a moment.” The Greek here is en atomo, “in an atom of time.”
(Hear that? An atomic powered transformation! Back to Henry now
"This word, implying the smallest entity conceivable by the Greeks, is used only this one time in the New Testament. It is further described by “the twinkling of an eye,” where “twinkling” is the Greek rhipe, also used only this once. Evidently there is nothing else in this present world comparable in rapidity to this miraculous change which will be called forth when “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (I Thessalonians 4:16).
"The great shout (probably uttered by Christ Himself as at the tomb of Lazarus) will instantly create new bodies for both dead and living believers. “The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive” (I Thessalonians 4:16,17).
"Our new bodies will be like Christ’s resurrection body. He “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Philippians 3:21).
"Christ is able thus to create new bodies for us in a moment, just as when He created all things in the beginning: “He spake, and it was done” (Psalm 33:9)."
"Liberal democracy in a pluralistic society is an endless search for the lowest common denominator that can serve as society's moral bond. The more pluralistic the sociey, however, the more difficult it is to find a common denominator. Let us try to explain the problem in a crude, simple, but not entirely inaccurate way:
"We did away with state churches in this country so that all the Protestants could feel at home in it. We de-Protestantized the country so that Catholics, too, could feel at home in it. We have dechristianized the country to make Jews feel welcome, and then dereligionized it so that atheists and agnostics may feel equally welcome.
"Now we are demoralizing the country so that deviants from accepted moral norms will not feel excluded. The lowest common denominator, we have discovered, is like the horizion, always approached but never reached."
That was written over 30 years ago by Dr. Francis Canavan, who was a prominent Catholic intellectual, political theorist, and professor at Fordham University.
Deuteronomy 12:30 (KJV);
“Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.”
Proverb 29:25 (KJV);
“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”
Romans 12:2 (KJV);
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The depths to which the morality of this nation have sunk are far below anything we could have imagined just a few decades ago. I had an uncle who told me that when he was a kid, he would go down to the train depot and sit on the bench out by the tracks for hours – just in the hope that when a lady ascended or descended the steps into the train, he might get a glimpse of her bare ANKLE! How far we have come –
It is time we quit worrying so much about offending some people, and started worrying about offending a just and a holy God!
I read this piece in Christianity today, and it struck me on a personal level:
“The question "What if God is ugly?" has been going through my brain for about a year. The more I think about it the more sense it makes to me. Whenever we see something we think is beautiful (based on our own concept of beauty), we think of God. But we all have a different (cultural, individual) sense of beauty. So in heaven a lot of people will be disappointed. ...
“In my creativity class, students have to make a list of ugly and beautiful items. And the lists always surprise me. Under the heading of "ugly" I will find the words "spider" and "feet"! How can they claim these are ugly? ... What we call ugly is only our appraisal. My lifelong sermon message has been to acknowledge life wherever you are and whatever it is. For the ordinary is special.”
That hit me pretty hard, because you see – I hate spiders. Anything with more than two eyes is unnatural, to my way of thinking, and I have always considered a spider to be one of the ugliest creatures on earth. What I must consider is they are one of God’s creatures; they are part of his handiwork – and that places them far above my power to judge as less than beautiful. I will work on that.
Ezekiel 16:14 (KJV);
“And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.”
1 Peter 3:3-4 (KJV);
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;”
Psalm 27:4 (KJV);
“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.”
Is there something in God’s creation you consider to be less than beautiful? Join me, then, and we will work on our wrong perceptions together; for any perception of ugliness in God’s creation is definitely a wrong perception, and needs to be corrected in a Christian.
In Hot Springs, Arkansas, is the Morris Antique Mall. Nothing on the inside distinguishes this antique store from dozens like it in Hot Springs. There's a musty smell and dusty relics from the past.
But if you look closely at the outside of the Morris Antique Mall, you'll see something that makes it distinct: before it was an antique store, it was a church building.
Then, there is Bethany Church. When we purchased it, it was in a sad state of repair. A hole in the roof was huge, and had let rain in for so long that it had rotted a hole through the ceiling below it.
The downward path of the rains had continued, and rotted a hole in the floor below that. You could go inside the church, step down onto the dirt, and look up at the blue sky. There were holes in the walls also. Underneath the church, however, we found huge hand hewn beams – as strong as the day they were installed. This church that had been built with so much devotion and love had fallen into a terrible state. There is nothing more depressing than a church that has not been properly maintained, and fallen into ruin.
A focus on the future prevents a church from becoming a resting place for rusty relics, or a sad remnant of its former position in the community. We must be diligent, and support our houses of worship to prevent such a thing from happening.
Acts 20:28 (KJV);
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
1 Corinthians 9:24 (KJV);
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”
Revelation 2:4 (KJV);
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
Be sure to support your local church, starting TODAY and continuing into the future. Support it four ways, and it will NEVER fail:
Support it with your prayers
Support it with your talents
Support it with your finances
And last but FAR from least, support it with your PRESENCE!
Clifton Fadiman, in The Little Brown Book of Anecdotes, tells a story about Vladimir Nabokov, the Russian-born novelist who achieved popular success with his novels Lolita (1955), Pale Fire (1962) and Ada (1969).
One summer in the 1940s, Nabokov and his family stayed with James Laughlin at Alta, Utah, where Nabokov took the opportunity to enlarge his collection of butterflies and moths. Fadiman relates:
"Nabakov's fiction has never been praised for its compassion; he was single-minded if nothing else. One evening at dusk he returned from his day's excursion saying that during hot pursuit near Bear Gulch he had heard someone groaning most piteously down by the stream.
"'Did you stop?' Laughlin asked him.
"'No, I had to get the butterfly.'
"The next day the corpse of an aged prospector was discovered in what has been renamed, in Nabokov's honor, Dead Man's Gulch."
While people around us are dying, how often we chase butterflies!
James 4:17 (KJV);
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Psalm 109:16 (KJV);
“Because that he remembered not to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.”
Matthew 25:43 (KJV);
“I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.”
How about you? Do you notice when someone is in need, or do you continue to chase the butterfly, your own personal reward? When a hand is stretched out to you for physical help, do you ignore that person? Do you offer them a half felt prayer to ease your conscience? Or do stop your own personal pursuit, quit chasing the butterfly, and reach out your hand to help them back on their feet?
I read a story that was told by a London businessman named Lindsay Clegg which dealt with a warehouse property he was selling. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and strewn trash around the interior. As he showed a prospective buyer the property, Clegg took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage. "Forget about the repairs," the buyer said. "When I buy this place, I'm going to build something completely different. I don't want the building; I want the site."
There is a real lesson there for those that are delaying coming to Jesus Christ because they feel they must first clean up their lives. How often I have heard people say they KNOW they need the Lord, but first they have to stop their drunkenness, or quit their gambling, or stop their gossiping, or cease any of dozens of other kinds of activity!
The message I carry, and the message you must carry in your witnessing, is that without Christ, you CANNOT clean up your life! He gives you the strength to deal with all those challenges!
Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse slated for the wrecking ball. When we become God's, the old life is over (2 Cor. 5:17). He makes all things new.
Ephesians 4:24 (KJV);
“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Romans 8:11 (KJV);
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”