Sunday, September 30, 2018


I Was Just Thinking About – ASSUMPTION.

The common meaning for the word assumption is: “The act of taking something for granted or something that is already taken for granted.” In a unique way, as the nation weaves its way through the “Me, Too” generation and movement, we are finding that an accusation is now considered to be a fact, and innocence must provide evidence to the contrary. In other words, our culture has redefined itself in such a way that it assumes something to be a fact even though there is no corroborating evidence to prove it.

Sadly, this is also true across Christendom today. There is an ongoing assumption that everyone about whom we care is a “Christian” whether or not there is any substantiation by a credible profession of faith or a transformed life and lifestyle. Everyone who embraces this concept should make it a point to read and digest all of what is contained in First John. Chapter One would inform one about the reality of sin and the need for it to be confessed. Read and reflect upon verses 5 through 10 and determine where your life is and how it relates to these words.

By the same token, one’s testimony should square with God’s testimony in First John 5:8-13, “God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.  Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.  And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 

One’s life must be measured by God’s Word BEFORE anyone should make an assumption about eternal life as it pertains to another person. The manner in which one lives his or her life is determinative in this regard. One of the churches I attended as a youth had an interesting ritual that has pasted into the Hymnal. Every Communion Service, that ritual was recited (or read) by those in attendance. All would do well to carefully read through Romans 12 and I Corinthians 13, The Pastor would pointedly ask: “Is this how your life is being lived? Can you take part of the Lord’s Supper worthily? Is there anything you need to confess or get right with the Lord and/or another person?”

Later today, and again next Lord’s Day, I will be participating in a Communion Service. I reviewed these passages once again early this morning in preparation for the Communion Service. I wonder – how many assume they are entitled to participate – worthily or unworthily – in this important moment in their life. Could it be that some are assuming as fact something for which there is little or no evidence? I also wonder, how many have taken time to meditate upon and prayerfully reflect upon the words of Scripture that exhort one to examine himself/herself BEFORE participating in The Lord’s Supper (First  Corinthians 11:28-29). This should be a primary consideration for anyone before any Communion Service. God is serious about this matter – are we?

May the words of Second Corinthians 5:14-21 be the valid testimony of your heart, soul and life. AND - may the words of Maud Fraser (1891) be the song of your soul today…
I belong to Jesus; I am not my own;
All I have and all I am, Shall be His alone.

I belong to Jesus; He is Lord and King,
Reigning in my inmost heart, Over everything.

I belong to Jesus; He has died for me;
I am His and He is mine, Through eternity.

Prayerfully – consider these words with me.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


I Was Just Thinking About – A DIVINE “POP” QUIZ.

In the devotional written by Joseph Stowell on September 27, 2018, Get More Strength For The Journey, the following was posted based on John 14:6, where Jesus stated: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Stowell went on to write:
“Recently, I read a disturbing quote from a pastor of a large church in California. He said: “I used to believe that we should ask Muslims to accept Christ as their Savior. But I don’t believe that any more. I’ve sensed the presence of God with Muslims, and I’ve come to believe that it’s wrong to try to talk them into becoming Christians.” I don’t know why he changed his mind, but caving in on what Jesus has clearly said, is a betrayal of Jesus Himself. Jesus came to make a way to God by removing the one barrier that blocks everyone’s path to God—the barrier of sin. This meant that He had to die in our place to pay the price of sin. Without His sacrifice, there is no other way. Let’s face it; if there were other ways to God, then He didn’t need to die. It’s ludicrous to believe that His Father would send Him through the agony of the cross if it were only another religious option. To deny that He is the way is to deny Jesus.”

One of the realities of education is when a test is given to determine what the student has learned or knows. When a stated time is designated for a test, one can prepare in advance for that examination. However, some teachers also employ a “Pop Quiz” that can take place at any time. It is a measure of how current a student is in terms of assignments done and lectures understood. A wise teacher will prepare the student in terms of that which they need to know, how that knowledge is affecting one’s thinking and what is being applied in one’s life. The point of an examination or “pop quiz” is to assess what a student knows, thinks and does.

It would be interesting to periodically conduct a “pop quiz” with Church Members to determine what they know, think and do with God’s truth and Jesus Christ Who is the way, truth and life. If the first question posed was: “Why should God let you into His heaven” what would one’s response be? If it was defined in terms of what one believes how would that influence one’s response? How would you answer God’s question? Would you respond by indicating you have memorized The Apostles’ Creed and recite it every week during a worship service – that’s what “I” believe? Hmmm. Do you think God would find that to be adequate? OR – would you indicate that you have clearly understood the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and have responded to it according to Romans 10:8-10 – The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:  If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.” This would be the first step of faith in Christ. Other steps would include the spiritual work of sanctification wherein one dies more and more to self and lives more and more unto Jesus Christ.

One day, as one dies and enters into eternity, each one of us will be given A Divine Pop Quiz. Why should God let you into His heaven? When we gather in Church and observe The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, what is you basis for participation? Are you partaking worthily? The words from the Hymn – Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness – should grant you hope and  encouragement…
Bold shall I stand in thy great day;
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

When from the dust of death I rise
To claim my mansion in the skies,
Even then this shall be all my plea,
Jesus hath lived, hath died, for me.

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


I Was Just Thinking About – RECALCITRANCE.
There are several words that could be used to describe our culture and political climate. Some of the terms commonly used are polarization and partisanship. There is the persistent designation of terms such as left versus right; liberal versus conservative; socialism versus capitalism. Strangely, the Church that is supposed to be light and salt in the culture and world has allowed the culture and world to become a growing influence within the Church. An older term that was often used to describe such a shift was worldliness – the earthly, mundane and pleasure-seeking versus spirituality – dedicated to God, spiritual things and true religion.
Paul wrote about these contrasting lifestyles in Second Corinthians 6:14-7:1. He asked a series of reasonable and obvious questions: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership can righteousness have with wickedness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement can exist between the temple of God and idols?
It is difficult for the Church to examine itself and to make adjustments that would be honoring to the Lord. Why? The presence of recalcitrance within the leadership of particular churches. It is a trait that is characterized as being unmanageable. There are those who are firmly set in a lifestyle choice and behavior. There are those who are recalcitrant and exercise control and influence over and in local churches. Many times it is done by people of wealth and/or achievement. They have become set in their ways and are unyielding to any other point of view except their own. Regardless of guidelines and requirements for church order, they tend to march to their own drummer. They can be generally insensitive and are used to getting their own way. They would fit the definition of being difficult to persuade, control, or being compliant with rules and regulations by which others are expected to be governed.
How does that apply to the average professing Christian and Church today? Jesus Christ instructed His disciples regarding the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit in one’s life where He would convict and convince regarding God’s truth in Jesus Christ (John 16:13-15). The job description of the Holy Spirit was: (1) He will guide you into all truth; (2) He will speak what He hears; (3) He will declare what He hears; (4) He will declare to you what is to come; and (5) He will glorify me. When Paul wrote about the Holy Spirit, he emphasize the guardedness that should be present in one’s life so that adherence to Ephesians 4:30, “Grieve not the Spirit…” and First Thessalonians 5:19, “Quench not (do not extinguish) the Spirit” would be believed and practiced.
In the extreme, there are time and places when God has given up on people groups who have become set in lifestyles and behaviors that are contrary to His standards: (1) prior to the flood in Noah’s day (Genesis 6); (2) Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19); and (3) those who refused to glorify God and His values (Romans 1:18-32).
One would do well to read Revelation 2 and 3, and the words of the Head of the Church – Jesus Christ - when He addresses the seven churches. The paradigm that is relevant in all ages to all churches and all people is: Remember, Repent (change) Return and Recover. No one is excused from this formulation stated by Jesus Christ. Refusal to comply results in Removal. The seven stars (Revelation 1:20) are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp-stands are the seven churches. Jesus states over and over again, “if you do not repent, I will come and remove your lamp-stand from its place” (Revelation 2:5). Jesus is serious. Are you?
Prayerfully – consider these things with me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


I Was Just Thinking About – AMBITION.

We’ve all met them. There are those who are listless, shiftless and lazy. They are just there. Sometimes they are seen – most of the time they aren’t. They go unnoticed by most. We have also met other types. They are aggressive, demanding, desiring recognition, acting superior to others. They are seen as being highly motivated and ambitious. They resort to whatever means requires so they will receive the recognition they crave. Have you met them? Do you know them? On a human scale, where do you and your thinking place you?

For our purposes, we owe it to ourselves to give thought and response to: What does the Bible say about ambition? A basic definition is: The earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, power, fame, honor, wealth, recognition. It also includes: The willingness to strive for attainment. To achieve, one will resort to whatever it takes to acquire the desired goal. While this is a secular definition and range of possibilities, it has crept into and affected the thinking of some in the spiritual sphere.

What should the Biblical understanding and application be in and for one’s life? Personally, over the years, I have made the Book of Philippians a must read and reference point for my and one’s life. We should never find ourselves measuring who we are or what we do by the secular standards and practices. Philippians 1:17 makes note of those who are motivated by “selfish ambition” and their individual interpretations to gain an audience and support group. To a certain degree, they are successful in their own eyes. Contrast that with Philippians 2:3-4 and the instruction: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit…” The admonition is that one should “look to the interests of others.” If this is one’s commitment and goal for life, it will be evidence in the application of First Thessalonians 4:10-11,

“We urge you…to make it you ambition to lead a quiet life; you should mind your own business…so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders.” In that process, our sole purpose is the application of Second Corinthians 5:9, “We make it our goal (ambition) to please Him (the Lord).”

The Got Questions Ministry shares this helpful thought about ambition: “The Greek word for ambition, philotim, means literally: to esteem as an honor. Being ambitious, in and of itself, is not wrong, it’s what we esteem or honor that can be a problem. The Bible teaches that we should be ambitious, yet the objective is to be accepted by Christ, not by the world. Christ taught us that to be first in the Kingdom is to become a servant (Matthew 20:26-28; Matthew 23:11-12).” What should one be ambitious to be and do? The disciples had to learn this lesson as hey followed Jesus and learned more about Him and His will. One lesson was to learn how to be a servant. It was not what they thought or said but what they were becoming and doing for the Master, Jesus Christ.

Charles Wesley captured this concept from words ascribed to Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Leviticus: “We have every one of us a charge to keep, an eternal God to glorify, an immortal soul to provide for, needful duty to be done, our generation to serve; and it must be our daily care to keep this charge, for it is the charge of the Lord our Master, who will shortly call us account about it, and it is our utmost peril if we neglect it. Keep it that ye die not; it is death, eternal death, to betray the trust that we are charged with; by the consideration of this we must be kept in awe.” Charles Wesley went on to write:

A charge to keep I have, A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save, 
And fit it for the sky.

To serve the present age, My calling to fulfill:
O may it all my powers engage 
To do my master’s will!

Arm me with jealous care, As in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare 
A strict account to give!

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.