Archive for November, 2022

Slavery

Slavery is a despisal thing. Much is said about the horror of it. Yet, not enough is said about the scope of it. Not regarding yesterday, but today. There is no greater slavery than is exercised in America today. It is the slavery to a great master, yourself.

When you yield to something, you will soon realize the tremendous control it has over you. Even though you say, “Oh, I can give up that habit whenever I like,” you  know you can’t. The habit completely dominates you because you willingly yield to it. You may claim you can break a bad habit anytime you want, but experience shows it is a dominating habit. Remember the good definition of a habit is, “I have to have it now.”

Scripture defines slavery this way, “…you are that one’s slaves whom you obey….” (Romans 6:16)

You, and you only, are responsible for the things that control you. If you are under the control of some slavish habit it is because you willfully submitted yourself to it. It is a damnable tyrant. Conversely, if you obey and follow Jesus it is because somewhere along the way you determined to.

Some bad habits are obvious, such as drug addiction, and using profane language. Some more covert ones are equally bad, if not more controlling, such as, greed, lust, covetousness, or avarice. Consider lust, whether it is the lust of the flesh or the lust of the mind, it can be controlling. Whether obvious or obscure all bad habits can be controlling, enslaving that is.

There is no power within the human soul itself that is capable of breaking the bondage of the nature created by yielding. Bad habits are more difficult to free oneself from in the energy of the flesh than it was for a physical slave to escape from an owner who was a taskmaster.

In the form of slavery once practiced in America there was only one way to freedom, redemption. It was possible for someone to pay the price of redemption and purchase their freedom. 

No release or escape from one’s habitual master will ever come from any human power, but it can come through the power of redemption. You must yield yourself in utter humiliation to the only One who can break the dominating power in your life, the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

In a previous era the church sang the truth: 

“He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean; His blood availed for me.”

Hopefully your heart can sing that song of liberation. If not, it can as of now if you yield to Him and resolve to obediently submit to His Lordship. Be free, do it.

Good habits are also hard to break. Break free of old bad habits and start today to make some new good ones to replace bad ones.

Work It Out

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8: 28

It should be noted this provision is only applicable “…to those called according to His purpose.”

All this “we know”—know it for a certainty, from the word of God, from our own experience, and from the experience of other believers.

The late F.B. Meyer said, “If any promise of God should fail, the heavens would cloth themselves in sackcloth, the sun, the moon and the stars would reel from their courses; the universe would rock, and a hollow wind would moan through a ruined creation the awful fact that God can lie.”  Don’t worry, that is not going to happen for “…it is impossible for God to lie….” Hebrews 6: 18 

It is not unreasonable that this provision is only for believers. If you went to a physician you did not like or trust you likely would not take his prescription or submit to his treatment. If you don’t love God, and trust His wisdom you will rebel against him.

In summary the verse does not teach that all things are good, they simply are not. What is means in essence is that in all things, all things, God is very busy to bring the good out of them. Trust Him to see that it is true.

Daily you consume two deadly poisons sodium and chloride. Taken separately they are deadly. Together Sodium Chloride, NaCl, is salt.

Imagine these untaste items in a mixing bowl: raw eggs, flour, shortening, a tablespoon of salt, and a cup of sugar. With the exception of sugar any one or a combination of any would not taste good. Combined they are the ingredients of a tasty cake.

God often has more distaste items in His mixing bowl in order to produce something good in our lives. 

It is easier to see this in the big events in life than in the small. Little ones add up as is illustrated in this scenario. Start with a penny a day and double it every day for thirty days. In just 30 days the total would be 536,870,912 pennies totaling $5,368,709.12.

In the text “work together” is in the present tense, meaning they keep on working together. They never stop. They never stutter or stop working together. With this in mind consider life a motion picture, not a snapshot. Each frame relates to all others. Together they make a beautiful film.

Job, whose suffering is legendary, is an example. Was his sickness good? A resounding, no. His response counters this no. “He knows the way that I take.” “When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”

Consider things going on in your life. What is the architect of eternity designing for your life? Whatever it is, it is something good. “We know” because “…it is impossible for God to lie….”

Pray for the Ukrainian People

Vladimir Putin is a man of his word, but one few people seem to believe it. When elected this last time he said he wanted to reunite the former Soviet Union. February 24, 2022, at 6:20 AM  Putin continued his crusade. He is keeping his word. Our government knew a year in advance he planned to invade Ukraine.

On a different front China is drooling over Taiwan. We still have time to do there what we could have done in Ukraine. That is to arm Taiwan so thoroughly that China would say we can take it, but the cost is too great.

If Putin is a man of his word Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are on his drawing board. Even Hungary and potentially Poland are next.

Meanwhile back home President Biden continues his efforts to further appease the “Green” proponents especially the “Squad.” Never mind the escalating prices in America are full speed ahead. To achieve their objective, reducing drilling for oil and continuing the Canadian pipeline is essential. We can buy oil from Russia. Our oil is so very much cleaner than theirs. Theirs will pollute our country more than our own oil.

The debacle in Afghanistan was a go ahead for Putin. Seeing weakness in our leadership emboldened him.

Our government has offered to aid President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in fleeing the country. He refused. He has appeared on television telling his countrymen that would probably be the last time they would see him alive, but that he was staying and not going anywhere. Patrick Henry said what in 1775? In case some modern students don’t know it was, “Give me liberty, or give me death.” 

What does our president do? He offers sanctions saying, “…we all know sanctions won’t work immediately, we can have a conversation in a month or so and see if they are working. That must frighten Putin. 

This is not a horror free war. Most Russians soldiers are employing the same tactics used by Genghis Khan. It is to destroy, burn, ravage, pillage, rape, and murder without mercy so that other cities might surrender to avoid such.

Aside from gaining oil rich Ukraine with its fertile fields of golden grain crops is a religious component. The Russian Orthodox Church is a puppet of the state. While serving the dear people of the Roswell Street Baptist Church as pastor we had 85 upper echelon of leaders of the Russian educational community worship with us. Privately they told me of their efforts to reform the educational system and introduce morality therein, being opposed by the Russian Orthodox Church. They did not have freedom of religion in Russia. Ukraine did. There was a concern that freedom in the Ukraine might catch on in Russia. Russia feared the independence of the free Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

One thing Putin fears is a free people.

Saints Alive

“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord…” I Corinthians 1: 2

The title saint has been distorted and in some circles lost its meaning all together. Some think they are persons who lived a long time ago and committed some meaningful or miraculous activity and have had their likenesses portrayed in stained glass or in an oil painting with a halo. Not!

If you are a Christian you are what the New Testament refers to as a saint.

Believers are “called to be saints.” (I Corinthians 1: 2) The meaning of the Greek text is you have been summoned to be a saint. The expression is kleetos hagiois which literally means you were summoned to salvation.

The word saint is never singular in the New Testament. It is used as a reference to the Christian community. The Scripture uses the term saints as a reference to all Christians. A saint is one who has heard the call to salvation and answered it.

This same Scripture refers to those who “call upon the name of the Lord,” literally “the calling ones.”

It speaks of those who use the authority on another as the basis of the call. This is easier described than defined. Suppose I go by a small store and purchase an item and ask to come by later and pick it up. Later I go by and have someone with me who I asked to go in and get it for me. They would say to the merchant, “Nelson Price asked me to pick it up for him.” That person would be calling on my name. Christians are those who have heard the call to salvation and answered it. When we pray in Jesus’ name we are calling on the Father in Jesus’ name. Saints have the right to do so.

Sainthood has two aspects: our standing and our state. Our standing is we are Jesus’ protectorate, we belong to Him. Our state relates to our conduct. Often our conduct is unbecoming of our standing in Jesus. This causes confusion. The world is more aware of our state than our standing. Our standing is mystical and our state observable. 

Observe yet another misunderstood term used to describe a Christian, “sanctified.” This term further describes saints, that is, all Christians. In modern parlance it has come to be misunderstood as being perfect. No one meets that standard. However, I still have the business card of the pastor of the Perfect Church in Atlanta who professed to be perfect. I would like to talk with his wife about that. 

Sanctified comes from the same root as saints. It means set apart, devoted to God, separated, and belonging to God. Stop and reflect upon yourself in light of those terms. Our standing as saints who are sanctified demands, and deserves our best for Jesus.

Keep Hope Alive

Your mind has more nerve lines than the entire phone system in your state. In it are more routes for electric current that the power lines in North America. Isn’t evolution amazing? Not! The God who put seven colors in every ray of light and causes it to travel at 186,000 miles per second is sending you a message of hope.

He is calling us from the ghetto of our ego. He is urging us not to engage in an orgy of self pity. He wants you to focus your zoom-lense mind on what He has in store for you. You may feel you are held in the same esteem as a piece of lint on a black-wool-coat, BUT….the God who has given order to the electrons, protons, and neutrons that swirl around you like a swarm of bees wants to enable you to make a quantum jump in life. He has called you to hope. Even if you have the wealth of Saudi Arabia and don’t have hope you can’t be content and productive. This is not an ethereal day dream, vague optimism, or the wish that somehow everything will work out all right. The air of despair is overcome only by hope. Hope’s arching rainbow is visible on the horizon of all who have faith in God, even on the grayest of days.

Experience might well drive some to despair.

Circumstances might lead some to depression. It is easy to drift into hopeless acceptance of defeat.

However, when we say a situation is hopeless we are often slamming the door on God. Don’t discount God. He keeps hope alive.

The Apostle Paul who faced many hopeless situations with vibrant hope described his God and appealed to the disconsolate with these words: “May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace by your faith in Him.” (Romans 15:13)

This filling with joy and peace comes in close association with “faith in Him.” Apart from Him hope vanishes. God responds to faith in Him.

You can’t control what happens to you, but can control your action and reaction. You can’t change facts, but you can change your attitude. The choice is yours. 

The loss of hope can be overcome because of two human factors: one, your mind and the other your will. Your will which not even God will overpower, and your intellect which only you can forfeit can enable you to sustain hope. These two tools are given us by God to enable us to manifest and maintain hope.

No farmer ever planted a seed who did not hope it would grow. No astronaut ever sat on a launch rocket without hoping it would work. Whatever your circumstances, face them with hope.

Remember, this “…hope which we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” (Hebrews 6:9)

Great acts and achievements grow best in the garden of hope.