Do you pay your debts?

How’s your credit? What’s your credit score?  I had these questions asked of me recently when I purchased a new to me vehicle.  I had no idea, but I found out both my wife and I had a better credit score than 95% of folks. But it got me thinking about debts and who we owe for what. And the gut wrenching, character revealing question, do you pay your Debts?

The apostle Paul hits on this topic in Romans and proclaims we are all debtors.

8:12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–

8:13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

But the revealing issue is not that we owe, but who we owe a debt to – not to the Flesh! We owe nothing to ourselves, our bodies, our physical wants and desires, which gratify the flesh. We owe no debt to the flesh, such that we should live according to the flesh, and be driven by the flesh and its desires. Rather it’s the Spirit to which we are indebted, to which we owe our lives and our living, and the energy and days of our lives. As Christians, we all should be ones who pay our debts, especially our debt of gratitude to God.

But Paul reveals the frightening truth about life and whom we choose to live it for in verse 13. “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die.”  Well, yes, everybody dies you might think. But the death of which Paul speaks is an eternal death, where the grave is victorious and the sting of death is eternally painful. If we give our lives to living for the flesh, living selfishly, self-centered and me-only focused, in the end we fail to repay our debt to God.  We fail to repay our debt to Christ for the grace we have been shown, to the Spirit for its indwelling presence, and in the end we tragically lose everything.

No, Paul exclaims it’s the Spirit to which we are debtors, for its indwelling, for its presence and power in our lives, and for the pardon and grace we have received.  And heavenly truth is revealed to us – “but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”   If by the Spirit, we live our lives leaning on the Spirit, with its guidance, strength, and power, we can crucify and put to death the desires and deeds of the flesh which do not please God.  We acknowledge our indebtedness by submitting the living of our lives to the Spirit thereby pleasing God. In doing so, though it seems contrary, we truly live and experience life in abundance with peace and joy.

But there is more, there is a greater truth at play here, we become more than merely ones who pay our debts. We become more than just ones who have a good credit score and reputation. Paul saves the best for last and slams the gavel down and shouts, as if to say, don’t you understand – “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”   We move from debtor to family member. Through the Spirit we are reborn and are adopted into the family and become children of God. We become joint heirs to the kingdom and just how awesome is that?

So my dearest brothers and sisters, quit living for and serving the flesh – that brings only death. Choose instead to live in and by the Spirit. Life, joyously abundant life, and an awesome family awaits you!

Come into the light

Darkness. The absence of light. Complete utter darkness. That place where our fears run wild, where evil hides and plays its devilish games. That place where God is absent. It’s the year 2018 today and darkness is spreading, invading spaces that once were light. Darkening thoughts that once were bright. Hearts and homes, cities and countries have fallen to evils delight. And yet, in the darkness there is a great light.

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all…

Come ye, yes you, come into the light. It’s safe here in the lights presence. It’s warm in the light. There is no fear and no condemnation here where grace reigns. There is joy and peace and comfort in the light. Come ye to the light. Come all ye who are heavy burdened, who are laboring in life’s valleys of trials and tribulations, of sorrows and sin. Come to the light and rest in its peace. But leave the darkness and the thoughts and ways of darkness behind you…

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true;

Come join in fellowship with the children of the light and the God of light. Come and follow with us Jesus the Christ, the one who brought light into the world. We welcome you! We are the church. Let us walk together in peace and harmony with Him on this journey of life. Let us experience together all that is good and right and honorable on the paths of righteousness. Let us experience together the Joy of the Lord and His peace that surpasses understanding. Let us walk together beside still waters and through green pastures as He restores our souls and calms our troubled hearts. When we faithfully walk in the light we have fellowship together and we are made whole again.

1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Goodness and mercy abound here in the light. Jesus, Gods son, is the light of the world. Do you know Him? He knows you and He loves you. He knows your name, He knows your heart, He knows everything about you – even the number of hairs on your head. And He still loves you. His love for you knows no bounds. He loves you so much that He died for you, so that your sins might be forgiven. So that your life might be restored. So that you might be a welcome guest in his father’s house, in His house.

In His house there is no deceit, no evil, no darkness and His perfect love casts out fear. In His house it is well with my soul and yours. In His house the table is set and bountiful and our cups overflow. In His house there is always a place set for us and rooms to dwell in. In His house our heads are anointed with oil and His rod and staff comfort us. In His house we are invited to dwell forever. Won’t you come join us here in His house? He’ll keep a light on for you.

What is the Bible?

So, I was browsing the web today and noticed: According to the International Bible Society’s website (www.biblica.com)

The Bible is the account of God’s action in the world, and his purpose with all creation. The writing of the Bible took place over sixteen centuries and is the work of over forty human authors. It is quite an amazing collection of 66 books with very different styles, all containing the message God desired us to have.

This compilation of booklets contains an astonishing variety of literary styles. It provides many stories about the lives of good and bad people, about battles and journeys, about the life of Jesus, and about early church activity. It comes to us in narratives and dialogues, in proverbs and parables, in songs and allegories, in history and prophecy.
The accounts in the Bible were not generally written down as they occurred. Rather they were told over and over again and handed down through the years, before eventually being written down. Yet the same themes may be found throughout the book. Along with the diversity, there is also remarkable unity throughout.

So what is the Bible? Well, in addition to all the above, the Bible is:

  • A guide for living life to the full. It gives us a road map for the perilous journey of life. Or to put it another way, on our voyage through life’s ocean, the Bible is an anchor.
  • A storehouse of wonderful stories for children and grownups. Remember Noah and the ark? Joseph’s coat of many colors? Daniel in the lion’s den? Jonah and the fish? The parables of Jesus? These stories emphasize the triumphs and failures of ordinary people.
  • A refuge in trouble. People in pain, in suffering, in prison, and in mourning tell how turning to the Bible brought strength in their desperate hour.
  • A treasury of insight as to who we are. We are not meaningless robots, but we are magnificent creatures of a God who loves us and gives us a purpose and a destiny.
  • A sourcebook for everyday living. We find standards for our conduct, guidelines for knowing right from wrong, and principles to help us in a confused society where so often “anything goes.”

What do you think about that? the Bible – A message to us! A guide for Living! A Storehouse of info! A refuge in Trouble! A Treasury of Insight! A source book for Everyday Living! Awesome points, but personally I believe it’s even more, that it’s the very word of God spoken to and through His creation, recorded and preserved for our generation and generations to come. The Bible, a message thru time from a timeless and ageless God who created all that is seen and unseen. The Bible, a divinely perfect work through imperfect vessels guided and guarded by an all-powerful God and conformed to His will, with whom and in whom all things are possible. The Bible, a message from God to you. Its personal. Its priceless, and its all meant for you.

Now,  when we understand it is truly THE “message God desires us to have”, the question becomes WHAT THEN do we do with this message? With the words of truth revealing the desires of God for His creation? With the instructions for living as we were created to live? With the “standards of conduct” and “guidelines“ and “principles” to live by in a manner acceptable to God our creator and ultimately our judge at life’s end?

The question becomes not WHAT is the Bible but HOW WILL this marvelous revelation, the bible, Gods Living Word, AFFECT our lives?

Shall we not note the effort our God went to in order to send us this message? Shall we not consider the uncanny consistency, the divine unity in the narrative? Shall we not consider the unfathomable cost in the faithful preserving and guarding of the narratives for over sixteen centuries? Shall we not respond to the consistent and persistent call throughout? O Sinner, draw near, hear my voice for I AM, heed my call and believe in Jesus the Messiah. The one I sent, the one who proved my love for you! Repent o penitent heart, turn from your wicked ways (to my guidelines in the bible) and live! Or shall we reject it in utter dis-belief? Or worse, destroy its integrity and sixteen centuries of faithful preservation and change it now to suit our sinful and rebellious hearts? Heaven forbid!

The only reasonable action is to conform to it! Hear It – Study It – Love It — Live It!

Lord, May this Easter bring an awakening in our hearts and minds and a turning to you as we once again remember “He is Risen” and rejoice in the Message of Love you have sent to us. Amen