Saturday, July 4, 2015

July 5, 2015

“remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,”  Ephesians 2:12-14

This week-end as we celebrate the blessings of freedom for the 239th time, we are soberly and humbly grateful for those who have shed their life-blood on battlefields world-wise to earn and protect our freedom. Since the Revolutionary War, 1.2 millions of our finest young men and women have been lost in wars. Freedom is one of the few things worth dying for because it adds so much to living. The Bible says, “The life is in the blood” and certainly, our lives are blessed because they bled away their life’s blood for us. Be mindful of that at your picnics and fireworks and other festivities.
For those of us who are believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we are doubly blessed! We have benefited from the blood of brave patriots but even more so from the blood of Jesus! His torturous death on the cross won us spiritual freedom. We are free to enjoy the good life and the better life while looking forward to eternal life!

All because of the blood that was shed! Be very mindful of that today as you celebrate. In the words of the great Andre Crouch song:

The blood that Jesus shed for me,
way back on Calvary;
the blood that gives me strength
from day to day,
it will never lose its power.

It reaches to the highest mountain,
it flows to the lowest valley;
the blood that gives me strength
from day to day,
It will never lose its power.

It soothes my doubts and calms my fears,
and it dries all my tears;
the blood that gives me strength
from day to day,
it will never lose its power.

Freedom isn’t free.

July 4, 2015

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

You may have wondered recently, “How did things get so bad so quickly in America?”

You may be afraid to ask, “Will they ever get better?”

The answer to the first question may hold the key to the second.

While, in fact, our culture has been declining steadily for decades here’s one more question that could answer the first two, “Did things get so bad because sinners were behaving like sinners or did they get so bad because Christians weren’t behaving like Christ?”

If you read what Solomon has to say in the verse above and it will give you a hint. Several hints, in fact! Let’s see:

1) “if my people….
2) “...who are called by my name…”
3) “…will humble themselves…”
4) “…and pray…”
5) “…and seek my face…”
6) “…and turn from their wicked ways…”

Would sinners be referred to as “my people”?

Are sinners called by His name?

Who would most need to humble themselves?

Who is most likely to be commanded to pray?

Would sinners be seeking God’s face?

Is it becoming clearer?

Things got worse because God’s people weren’t what they were called to be. He promises they will get better when His people get better.

He’s ready!

When will you be ready?