Hello All! It's been a while. I've missed you. :-)
It's been so busy here at work, church, and at home that I have been hard pressed to find time to post on my ministry blog. Gratefully, I have been blessed with 8 hrs at work tonight in an environment that lends itself to personal productivity. Since my last post I have preached a message at a Sunday night service at my church. Very scary and exciting at the same time. I have been interested in doing that for some time feeling more and more of a call to minister the Gospel. God has been answering my prayers in that respect supernaturally. Giving me the desires that he has placed on my heart in some respects without me ever saying a word to the necessary people. As I experience blessings and trials side by side along the way I always strive to remember God's greater purpose for everything in our lives. This is that his Glory and goodness would be made known to the ends of the earth. I am so grateful that he called me out of darkness into his glorious light and I pray that if you have not experienced this, that you will soon.
I wanted to bring some thoughts on 9/11, knowing of course that it will be 9/12 when this post goes out. As I do, I would like to clarify that much of this will be a metaphorical parallel vs. actual spiritual judgement on any of the victims of 9/11 since I obviously do not know what the state of their hearts were with God when they died.. As always there is story after story regarding the events of that day. Stories of horror by the survivors. Stories of heroism. Stories of bravery on the part of John Doe people on an airplane. Stories of bravery among the many emergency and police personnel that day.
I think of how many people in the twin towers were not aware of just how perilous their situation was. That soon the building would come collapsing down around them. People milling around on the streets below having no idea of the danger they were in. As the first tower began to fall and people began to run away, firefighters and policemen were running towards the danger trying to warn and rescue as many as possible. Even after the first tower fell, with an inkling that the second tower could do the same, rescue workers continued to do their jobs with no thought for their own lives. The brave souls on Flight 93 who, knowing that they would likely die, thought it important to make sure that they were the only ones who did. Many lost their lives that day to save another. I would like to think I would have done the same.....Would you?
As Christians, we have a responsibility that we are shirking on a daily basis. There is a spiritual 9/11 going on around us every day. Satan is the spiritual terrorist, lurking, waiting for the moment when people are spiritually asleep to strike. I think it's appropriate considering the metaphor that the bible calls him the prince of the air. Except, instead of a few thousand people dying, there are millions dying daily around the world. In our neighborhoods. In our schools. In third world countries that God holds us responsible for as if they lived next door.
These are people who do not know the truth. They do not know that any minute their plane could crash into a building or the ground. They do not know that any minute their building could come crashing down around them. They do not know that any moment, their spiritual world could burst into an eternal, unquenchable hell fire! They do not know that this doesn't have to happen. That God loves them. That he sent his son Jesus to experience the hell that we deserve so that we would not have to.
Who is going to tell them? WE MUST!
IF you have true faith. If Jesus is truly LORD of your life, then you must tell the world. You are the fireman, or police officer. You are the spiritual rescue worker running into that hellhole of a building to tell all those souls they are going to die for eternity without Jesus.
Can you imagine, what would have been said by people and media if all of the rescuers had sat idly by and done nothing on 9/11, If they had either not seemed to care at all or worse yet said, my life is more valuable then theirs and I am not going to sacrifice it on their behalf. They would have been eaten for breakfast by the media. They would have lost their jobs and probably been shunned from their communities. No one can imagine a firefighter sitting in his truck doing nothing beside a building in flames as families scream out the window for help. That would be a travesty.
I would submit to you that if we sit by as supposed Christians and coldly watch the world around us die a spiritual death with no concern for their eternal destination that we are just like that firefighter. He would be fired and possibly arrested for neglect. I would suggest that if we lack concern for the lost and compassion for those in need that we are in danger of being eternally fired as well. Or Rather that this lack of conviction in these areas would be evidence that we were never eternally hired to begin with. The fruit of a true christian whose Savior is also Lord will have these qualities: concern for the lost and compassion for those in need. If we do not have these then we are lacking evidence of our true salvation.
I would invite you to read several passages. In John 15:13 Jesus says, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends". James 1:22-27 speaks of not just hearing the word but doing what it says. He goes on to say that true religion involves taking care of widows and orphans and keeping oneself from being polluted by the world. James 2:14-24. In this passage James speaks to the fact saying you have faith is not enough. Faith without works is dead. You must have works as evidence of that faith. Works that are full of compassion for the lost and those in need. Matthew 25:31-46, regards Jesus separating the sheep from the goats (saved from the unsaved) and he relates it to acts of compassion for those in need. Matthew 7:15-27, speaks of good trees bearing good fruit and bad trees bearing bad fruit. It also states that those who put God's word into practice are the ones who have evidence of a solid foundation in their salvation. And of course Matthew 28:18-20 which is known as the Great Commission from Jesus to the disciples.
Does this mean that works earns us salvation? Absolutely not! Salvation is a free gift from God, by grace, through faith that we are incapable of attaining on our own Ephesians 2:8-9. All of those other verses clarify the fact that we are not saved to simply sit around and continue enjoying the sinful nature. We are not saved to a life that does not look any different than the life we were leading before we "prayed the prayer". We are a new creation in Christ, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new(2 Corinthians 5:17). If we are truly saved then, while our works do not save us, our Christian works will be an evidence of the overflow of Christ in us. We will not do these things because we feel obligated to in order to be in right standing with God....that is impossible. No, we will do these things because we love Jesus and our heart will be to do what pleases him.
So, if you are unsure of your salvation but you long to be sure then get in the bible and cry out to God to save you. The bible says that the Holy spirit will testify with your spirit that you are a child of God. That you will not need to be afraid and that you will be able to overcome the sinful nature because you are now led by the Holy Spirit.(Romans 8:13-16). If you are convinced that you are a Christian and you are not actively pursuing the clear will of God for your life that is in his word for every disciple then I implore you to get in the word and begin crying out to God to place his desires in your heart. Then you will find yourself as one of the firemen who is running into the burning, collapsing building telling the people of their need rather than the one sitting by doing nothing. You will find yourself having a difficult time ignoring those in need as you become acutely aware of all that God has blessed you with.
In all this, know that God is not asking you to do this under your own power. It is Christ who saves you and Christ who keeps you. It is Christ who empowers you unto growth and transformation. As Philippians 2:12-13, says, "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose".
I would encourage you to double-click on the title of this post in your email. It is highlighted in blue. It will take you to my blog page. There you will see a picture of someone who is most likely lost. This comes from a ministry called Joshua Project whose sole purpose is to keep us aware of how many people groups out there are still without the gospel. I invite you to double-click on that picture and check out the site. Ask God to give you a heart for the lost and dying around the world. They are in the billions. Then ask him to give you a heart and compassion for the lost right outside your front door. Be a courageous deliverer of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are currently dying in the spiritual 9/11 that burns around us every day.