Vetted for Heaven

These days there is much concern about vetted those who would come to America. One group who automatically gain access to our country are those who have an American passport – showing they are citizens of the United States of America.

Why should people be surprised that there is a vetting process for those who would enter Heaven. Some argue that the requirements are too narrow and that no one can enter. Those who have given their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior have been born anew and are already citizens of Heaven (Philippians 4:20). Only citizens are allowed to enter THAT country. Do you have Heaven’s passport.

Revelation 21:27 (NASB)
“And nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

 

Three Feet Deep and Rising

Since before the times of the Old Testament saint Job, some people have been accusing those who are subjected to great natural calamities as being worst sinners. There are a few today who say that the people of Houston deserve the rages of Hurricane Harvey.

What does Jesus have to say about this?  From Luke 13:1-5, we learn:
1. All, everyone has sinned.
2. Those who suffer from calamities aren’t worse sinners than those who don’t suffer.
3. Sinners will perish.
4. All, everyone everywhere, need to repent.
5. Those who repent will be forgiven and spared.

God doesn’t like to punish sin and sinners. He does delight in forgiving and delivering those who repent and call upon Him for deliverance. God is just, merciful and gracious.

Luke 13:3 & 5 (KJV)
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

Merry-Go-Round

You’ve heard, “What goes around, comes around.” Life is like an old fashioned merry-go-round. On the carousel, the pretty horse may have just past, but it will be back. Likewise, the way we treat others is the way we are later treated by others.

This is true about forgiveness: when we forgive others, others are more likely to forgive us. The same can be said of showing kindness and doing other good things for others.

This is also true of the negative: –  bad attitudes, evil actions, not showing support toward others, often results in the same attitudes being reciprocated.

Luke 6:31 (NASB)
“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.”

Friend or Acquaintence

Israel Houghton has written a wonderful little chorus that most of us like to sing in contemporary or traditional worship. It repeats (of course) the phrase “I am a friend of God: He calls me ‘friend.'”

WOW! Such a humbling, comforting, mind-boggling concept – that the eternal Creator of everything would care enough about us to identify Himself with us as a friend. Then too, we must remember that friendship is a two-way street. It is a reciprocal relationship. However, like many things in life, we humans often like the benefits without the investments. We want the promises that come with being His friend without any obligations in following Him.

Does He call you friend?

John 15:14 (NASB)
“You are my friends if you do what I command you.”

Know When the Power Is Off

Recently, I got a brochure from the electric company entitled: “How to Know When Your Power Is Off.” — DUH!  This is not rocket science, folks. When the electricity is off, nothing powered by it works…no television, no lights, no refrigerator, no microwave, no blow dryers. So if these are all not working, your electricity might be off. Check it.

Perhaps the saddest thing about the Old Testament hero Samson is not that he let a pagan woman know his pledge to God and then cut off his hair, but that he forfeited his power and didn’t even know that God had left him (Judges 16:20).

Likewise, when Christians continue sinning or failing to follow Jesus, they grieve  or quench the Holy Spirit. Then when that Christian needs the Spirit’s power in his life, he doesn’t even know it is missing.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 (KJV)
“Quench not the Spirit.”

Ephesians 4:30 (KJV)
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

Smart Praying

I can’t imagine functioning any more without my smart phone. It’s a fantastic tool in communications. Especially Siri. I even had to change Siri to male voice because my wife was getting a little jealous of the “other” woman. The smart phone is truly a helpful device for a limited mind.

As we communicate with God in prayer, the Holy Spirit is like that. He enables us to get through to the Father and express even the inexpressible. He is with us wherever we are and ready whenever we want to pray. With the Holy Spirit we are never out of range or out of power or low on  battery.

So learn to pray in the Holy Spirit.

Jude 1:20 (NASB)
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”

 

Everyone Counts

Mr. & Mrs. John Bit were from East Texas and had 12 children. Someone once asked them how they kept up with them all. John replied, “Well, every little Bit counts.”

Having grown up in a large family, I know what he was talking about. Everyone in the family is important, so you keep up with them. Also, everyone in the family has a responsibility to help keep track of the others.

Dad would ask, “Is everyone in the car?” Jack would respond, “Chris and Sandra are.” I might say, “Brenda and Ted are here.” Then Mom would say, “I’m holding Kenny.” Everyone counts.

In the family of God, everyone counts also. Even one sheep is worth going after and everyone is responsible for all – not just one. Social media is just one way (but a good way) to stay in contact with people. IF WE DON’T COUNT, WHO COUNTS.

Luke 15:4 (KJV)
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?”

Works vs Grace

One difference between works and grace as a means to salvation is the former gets you nothing for something and the latter gets you everything for nothing. One’s best good works don’t impress God – these we ought to have done anyway. We all miss the mark of perfection God has set for us. The only way to eternal life is to accept and rely on God’s free gift (grace) of life through Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:8
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

Worn Out or Washed Up

Cotton or polyester/cotton blend? Which do you prefer in handkerchieves? Cotton ones can be bleached and are soft and absorbent. Blended ones don’t need ironing and are lighter. Cotton wears out after hard use. Blended loose brightness and the cotton aspect washes out after many washings leaving only a polyester cloth that won’t absorb snot. Some Christians are like that. Some look worn out from overuse. Some look washed out after having been cleansed from sin so many times they are of no earthly use. Both types become useless. Oh my, where’s the Kleenex?

John 5:14 (NASB)
“Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said unto him, ‘Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.'”

I Didn’t Know You Were Gone

I had missed a couple of weekly pastors’ meetings, so I asked James, “Did you miss me while I was gone?”

His cute answer was a match for my dry humor: “I didn’t know you were gone.”

Well, it has been quite a while since I posted on this site, but I am not going to ask if anyone missed me.  [I’m not sure anyone will even be reading this anyway.]

Instead, as the Lord wills and the Spirit directs, I will be posting here on a weekly basis. Since I am retired from pastoring full time, I have more time to devote to writing. I just don’t know if there is any interest in what this old man has to say – after all I have said it all before. Surely, none of my former members have forgotten anything I’ve said from the pulpit…surely.

I’m back!

3 John 1:4 (KJV)
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”