Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Only God Can Judge Me!

 Another popular response to challenges of visible unrepentant sin in someone's life or expressions of concern over someone's salvation is this,

 "Only God can judge me!"

This is one of the most frightening statements that I hear people make today.  I have actually seen t-shirts with the statement printed on them.  I have also seen tattooed on people's bodies.  

Here is the reality.  If you wait for God to judge you, you have waited to long.  

The bible says that the day will come when God will judge the living and the dead(1Peter 4:5, 2 Timothy 4:1).  Hebrews 9:27 says, "it is appointed to man once to die, after that the judgement."   In Matthew 10:28 Jesus states, "and do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

Well, in relation to that last scripture you might ask, if I will be destroyed, what difference does it make?  I won't suffer once I am gone.  On the contrary, Titus 1:8-9 says this, "in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might".

Certainly, we are not to judge hypocritically according to Matthew 7.  This means that I should not look down upon sin in the life of someone else if I myself am regularly committing that same sin without a repentant heart.  If one has a repentant heart regarding a certain sin, they will not blatantly continue in it.  If they do, with no regard for it's offense against God's holiness, that is evidence that they likely do not have a heart surrendered to Jesus.  If this is true and they die in that state, they will most certainly face eternal destruction.

Make no mistake.  You will face judgement.  We all will.  The only defense we will have is the blood bought atonement that is ours if Jesus was Lord of our lives.  If this has been the case, your name is in the book of life and you are eternally safe.  If not, you are eternally damned(Revelation 20:11-15).

Wouldn't you rather that someone in this life challenged you and held you accountable, and possibly created this concern now, rather than later.  It may be that you have not understood with your heart as your mind thought you did.(2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

I plead with you not to harden your heart to anyone who brings concerns about sin in your life.  Humbly and gratefully receive their thoughts and bring them before the Lord in prayer.  Don't reject them without at least asking the Lord to reveal to you any way in which you may be blind to this sin.  Ask him to open your heart and enable change in a given area if you become aware that sin exists there.

Pride can certainly cause an initial negative response in your flesh to the challenge.  However, if you are a child of God, the Holy Spirit will soften your heart and lead you to repentance.  Repentance leads to holiness which is what God is calling us to as believers.  There is no greater goal than Christ-likeness.

Rather than righteous judgement that leads to eternal destruction, the fruit of repentance is ultimately an eternity spent in the presence of Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Love in Christ,


Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Now here is a question that many ask, if not out loud, then certainly in their head.  Most of the time with an air of offense.  I know this because it has been confessed later.  That question being, "Who are you to question my salvation?"

Well, the bible actually encourages us to do this. Since I presented that challenge in the previous post I thought I had better back it up.  The Apostle Paul, who wrote the better part of the New Testament wrote these words in 2 Corinthians 13:5.  "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.  
test yourselves.  Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?  Unless you fail to meet the test."

This scripture is written in context as part of a thought process that has involved concerns expressed about unrepentant sin(1 Corinthians 13:20-21).

If you have not turned from your sin and surrendered your heart to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, then you have reason to be concerned.  If there is very little to no evidence of the fruit of obedience to the commands of scripture in your life you had better hope that someone questions it.  Worse yet, if you don't possess a truly heart-felt desire to repent and pursue holiness before God then there is a problem.

You don't want to find out when it is too late.  There is no chance of repentance once you are in hell.

Stay with me as we discuss further attitudes surrounding a lack of repentance.  Also, we will discuss what it means to be a believer and follower of the one true and living God; a believer who is truly living a life of repentance and obedience that is indicative of change.  A change that works itself from the inside out, not the outside in.  It IS a heart issue, NOT simply a behavioral issue.  There is no greater truth to get right in this life than a proper understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you are wondering how these things apply to your heart and the way you live out your life as a disciple of Jesus Christ, we will get there.  Application is important but we need to get the basics first.

Love in Christ,


Monday, July 29, 2013

Are YOU a believer?

Are YOU a believer?  You might say, "Well yes, of course I am."  Are you sure.  Consider this.

In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says these words to the crowd he is speaking to.  "Not everyone who says to me  Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?  And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me you workers of lawlessness."

Some of the people Jesus is speaking to are religious people.  Maybe even religious leaders.  They believe they are right with God because of their works.  Because they said the right words and practiced the right rituals.  However, Jesus suggests in the previous verses that the path is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction and those who enter it are many(Matthew 7:13-14).  He suggests that some of those "many will be people who thought that they were going to heaven only to find that their actions were worthless because they were not motivated by love for God, but love for their own goodness.  They were self-righteous acts.

You might even ask what right I have to ask such a question and risk causing someone to doubt.
In time, we will discuss that, as well as what truly makes you right before God and how you can be assured of  your salvation.

There are many who are unsure of their spiritual state before God and there are many who are dreadfully self-deceived about their Christianity.  My goal is not to create unnecessary doubt.  However, if there is any question in your spirit as to your standing before God at this time, I would suggest that you pray a lot about it and dig in the word to see what it says.  Follow along as I flesh out various responses to this question and provide tools to help us better understand the wonderful Gospel that saves us, sanctifies us, and assures us that we are in right standing before God.

Even if you think you are fine, isn't it worth a little contemplation to examine the status of your heart in relation to what the word teaches.

This is not a question you can afford to get wrong.

More tomorrow.



Saturday, July 27, 2013

Change is in the air!

Hello Blog Family!

I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and prayers as I have been exploring the blog-o-sphere and experimenting for the glory of God.  Many have been blessed by what I have done, have given me positive feedback, and have sometimes thanked me personally.  Others, while only intending to provide constructive criticism, have made suggestions that it could be shorter and more succinct. I would like to emphasize that any criticism has been welcomed and, in fact, requested.

I have been striving to heed these thoughts by splitting posts into two or three parts.  Some have enjoyed that.  Though, I admit I have had concerns that they are still to long for what most are looking for in a blog.  I recently received requested feedback from a fellow ministry style blogger with more experience writing than myself that has prompted further consideration.  It was constructive and useful.

Because I know the Lord continues to do a work in me and I want to be mold-able clay for the Potters use, you will notice changes coming soon.  Changes that I hope will be for the better regarding peoples interest in reading and willingness to share the posts that they receive either by Facebook or email.  I have very limited reach as one person, even on a platform such as Blogger and with the use of Facebook.  If I truly want to reach the world for Christ and the glory of the Father's name virtually, then I need people to share my stuff.  I want people to share my stuff.  Because my stuff, as it were, is Gospel driven and prayerfully, will lead others to beginning a relationship with Jesus, if not moving deeper in their already established relationship with Jesus.  I do not want to be seeker-sensitive in content, but if simplifying or at least shortening the amount of material per post will make it more readable, and thus more desirable, then so be it.

So here is what you will notice.  More posting.  I am going to begin striving for a daily post.  It may not be daily every week however, Lord willing, you will notice multiple posts per week.  Because of this it will definitely be shorter, more often than not.  What you will probably often find however, is a continuity of the message of the post.  A stream of thought over a period of days as pastors do in sermon series.  So if you or others are shocked or offended by a particular post.  Maybe you even feel like you are tired of hearing about a particular concept.  Hang with me.  As you have seen I am determined to complete a thought and back it up with scripture. I also want to be well rounded in subject matter.  It will simply happen over a longer period of time.  You may even find you have more time to think about what is being said since it will come sprint style vs. marathon style.  I admit I have some thoughts that I would prefer to put into one solid post for continuity's sake so you will still probably see a lengthier post on occasion.  I am not sure how often yet.  Hopefully, you will enjoy the sprints enough to endure the marathon's  :-)  I am sure that they will not all be linked in subject matter, but many probably will.

So, daily posts.  Less material per post.  Less time consuming.  More easily read.  Maybe even a change in design, at some point, as I contemplate a change of address or platform.  Blogger has been great but, their are other blog sites that are still free or involve an inexpensive initial investment that will allow for more creativity on the blog page as well as in the content of the post.  Please pray for me as I explore, think through, and pray myself, about this process. 

I am excited about these challenges of thought and creativity.  I know some enjoy things just the way they are however, if I can reach more hearts with the Gospel by adjusting then I welcome the change.  The daily posts will begin very soon.  As always, go to the word.  Look at the scripture references that I give and look up more info on the topic. Don't agree or disagree with the posts without having investigated why you feel that way.  My goal if for you to grow in the Lord and studying God's word is the only way for that to happen.  I am happy to discuss these topics further privately with anyone who is interested.  Nothing is more important to me in regards to this blog than that God be glorified in and through your life.  Please feel free to provide feedback via FB or email.  Many of you see these posts via FB anyway and can simply reply to the post.  Also, my email is at the top of the True To The Word blog page.

Looking forward to this new adventure. May the glory and renown of God's Great Name be reflected in my work and in your hearts as a result.  Stay tuned.  You will not regret it.



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tongues on Fire

I realize that this will be hitting Facebook and the emails of those subscribing on Independence Day and that someone might actually take the time to read this on Independence day.  So before I get started, out of respect for the holiday, and appreciation for all those who gave their lives or are currently serving to provide and protect my freedom of speech on this blog as well as all other freedoms, let me say,


Now with that said, let's get started.  :-)

Since, as referenced in the previous blog post Vertical or Horizontal Repentance, one of the primary sinful acts that gets apologized for around me is profanity and gratefully that is one that, by God's grace, I do not struggle with as a rule, I want to provide a few thoughts and scriptural evidences regarding why WE as Christians ought to be considerably more concerned than many seem to be about the state of their tongue. 

Now, many have addressed the tongue in regards to speaking positively or not criticizing in a nonconstructive manner and certainly these things are important.  We need to represent the love of Christ in all that we say and do.  Unfortunately, I sometimes hear people who do these other two pretty well while telling dirty jokes or using profanity still seems to be a relatively nonchalant practice for them.  This may seem nit picky to some but the fact is, from a scriptural perspective, there is no wiggle room for casual cursing or casual telling of dirty jokes.  It is absolutely not glorifying to God.

I will grant you that loosing your temper or a sudden significant pain may not be your best moment.  That scenario gets my goat at times as well.  Though not often because, I practice not allowing profanity to be a part of my vocabulary.  What concerns me is casual and seemingly unrepentant use of profanity or coarse joking.

I see this not only from the general public of professing Christians but sometimes even from people of influence in ministry related roles or minsters themselves.  I have heard testimony from others of actually observing pastors doing or saying things outside of church that make them virtually indistinguishable from the world.  This same kind of behavior has been recognized at church functions and in staff meetings as well.  Now mind you, I have grown up in and have been around ministry all my life so these examples are not from any one place.  Regardless, this kind of behavior is outrageous.  No one should act this way but, there is an even higher level of accountability for those in ministry.  I would strongly warn anyone in such positions to guard themselves carefully and those whom work under them.  "No body is perfect" is not an excuse for any of us.  It must be clear that we are striving for perfection and we must make apology and clear effort toward repentance when we fail. We must hold each other accountable and be willing to be held accountable ourselves.

With that said, what scriptures speak to this?  The number one verse that speaks to this sinful behavior is Ephesians 5:4.  I am going to put it into the context of Eph. 5:1-5, "be imitators of God therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, jut as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity of, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.  For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."
I placed this in context so that we can get the whole picture that obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking are ranked right in with sexual immorality, impurity, or greed.  It states that anyone who is practicing this behavior in an unrepentant (unwilling to change) manner will not go to heaven.  That's an eternally big deal.

James 1:26 says, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."  In James 3:6 he says, "The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.  It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."

I could list scripture after scripture regarding this and I would encourage you to read up on this.  Instead,  I will reference briefly two other commands for holy living.  God  said, Be holy even as I am holy(Leviticus 20:26).  The Apostle Peter thought that same scripture worthy of quoting in 1 Peter 1:16.  The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, challenges the Church to "live a life worthy of the Gospel" (Philippians 1:20)

This can be done.  Let me encourage us all that 1 Corinthians 10:13 states this: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 

God will enable you.  The question is how.  Well, if you are a believer, Jesus said that he would send us a helper in the person of the Holy Spirit(John 14:15-17)  However, how does the Holy Spirit help us?  Certainly, he brings conviction in the way of a lack of peace.  He can be much more effective though if we give Him something to work with.  For example, Psalm 119:9-11 says this, "How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to your word.  With my whole heart I seek you, let me not wander from your commandments!  I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."  Scripture planted into our hearts and minds through memorization is then available for the Holy Spirit to utilize as a means of teaching and correction.

As a side note, if you think you cannot memorize scripture let me posit this for you.  First,  I'll bet that if I promised you a thousand dollars for every verse you memorized you would figure out how to get it done. Psalm 19:7-11 makes it clear that the statutes, commands, law, and fear of the Lord are more precious than gold, sweeter than honey, and that in keeping them is great reward.  Second, God will not give you a command that he will not enable you to follow.  2 Peter 1:3 states, "His divine Power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."  As believers, we can obey God.

The Apostle Paul provides another insight into success over sin.  Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally brothers, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is just, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." 
You see, if you are only allowing these types of things, all of which are glorifying to God, to be what your brain and soul feeds and meditates on, then that will impact what comes out of your heart and mouth. What comes out of our mouths is generally associated with our hearts.(Luke 6:45, Matt. 15:10-11, Matt 12:36-37)  As Christians we should want what comes out of our mouths and what is meditated on by our hearts to be pleasing to God.(Psalm 19:14)

While we are required to make much effort in living holy lives, we are not expected to do it on our own.  Philippians 2:12-13 is one of my favorite verses.  It states, "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to work according to his good purpose."  

We must work hard to properly represent the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.  I cannot put it any better than the Apostle Paul does in Romans 12:1-2 in which he states, "Therefore , I urge you brother in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God for this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any long to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is, his good, pleasing, and perfect will." 

I am striving every day to live this out.  I do not want to misrepresent the God who gave everything for me so that I could have eternal life with him.  I don't want to spit in his face by daring to think that I have the right to say or do whatever feels good.  We must strive to represent the perfection and holiness that God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son commanded us to.  We will stumble, but we MUST repent vertically for God's benefit and horizontally for the benefit of those listening.  We must never become complacent or apathetic about sin in our life.  We must tremble in reverent fear of a Holy God.

Therefore, guard your heart, your eyes and your tongue.  Never take for granted what Christ did for us on that tree.  LIVE A LIFE WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL!

In Jesus name,