Archive | July 2018

A Man After God’s Own Heart

 

David the man from whose root sprung the sinless Lamb of God was a “bloody man”. He had killed so many people in war and plotted the murder of an innocent man, therefore, God would not allow him to build the temple, although he requested to do so. Instead, God chose his son Solomon to carry out the task because he brought it to David’s attention that “[You] have shed much blood and have fought many wars” (1 Chronicles 1-15).

However, despite his spotty past, God dubbed David as “a man after his own heart” (Acts 13:22, 1 Samuel 13:14). Why would a righteous and holy God describe a mere mortal in such terms? The answer is clear when he we read David’s history – he was always willing to confess his fault and turn away from his sin. Case in point -when God rejected David’s offer to build the temple, he did not throw a tantrum, but set his to provide materials and instructions for his son to do the task. Who can forget how he lusted after Uriah’s wife, impregnated her, and then plotted her husband’s death to cover his wickedness. Nevertheless, when confronted with his sin, he admitted his wrong and repented (2 Samuel 11:5-27).

God showed that he loved David in all the ups and downs of his life, but God never winked at his sins. He punished David for the wrongs he did while showing mercy to him because he knew David’s heart. He saw that David was a man of humility, righteousness, and honesty. David understood that God despised lying and dishonesty, and like God he hated them too. There are many scriptures in the Bible that expresses God’s distaste for liars and two that stand out are Proverbs 12: 22 ESV: “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight” and Proverbs 6:16-19:

      There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes,
 a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
      and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

 

David himself states in Psalm 63:11 (NIV) that:

 

But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

 

It is therefore a sin to lie continually and support those who lie because God hates deception. Lying has become a pervasive thing in our society because it appears to be the lifestyle of influential people – even the most powerful. It is the norm not to admit that one has done wrong, but to cover up one deception with another deception. Oh, what a tangled web we weave! Where will it end if the “righteous” remain silent or continue to approve of the lies of those in high places? What are we teaching our children? Let’s teach them a memory gem I learned as a child in school:

 

Speak the truth,

And speak it ever,

Cost it what it will

He who hides the wrong he did – does the wrong thing still. (Writer unknown)

 

Be after God’s own heart. He will forgive us if we choose to confess our faults.

 

See the source image

 

 

 

 

 

 

CELEBRATE LIFE

 

I have been baffling over this anomaly for some time: Why do people come to a church to celebrate death rather than life? Despite the efforts of Christian witnesses in telling people that Jesus loves them and inviting them to church, many have never darkened the doors of a church. They will never celebrate when a family member tells them that they are saved from sin and are getting baptized. In some cases, they will avoid the person or pass them off as a nutcase, fanatic, hypocrite or an enemy. However, they will turn up in droves to honor the deceased, even they ignore them in life.

 

Pastors will often report that congregants that they haven’t seen for years, and some they don’t even know, will call them at the oddest time of the day to ask them to eulogize a family member even if the deceased showed contempt for the church during their lifetime. Families want to save face at the wrong time. However, pastors will honor their requests in order not to add to their grief and to take the opportunity to preach the word of God to the living. Recently, Pastor Chris McNairy of Decision Point Ministries, opened a funeral service with his sermon and not at the end, as is customary. It made a difference because about twenty-two people responded to his message. I mention him not because he is my pastor, but because his focus was on the salvation of souls and not on death.  

 

 He was in lock-step with what Jesus demonstrated to his disciples in Luke 9 that it was more important to preach the gospel than to bury the dead. Jesus asked a man to follow Him who made the excuse that he had to bury his father before obeying the request therefore: Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God”(v. 60. NIV).

 

 How often are funerals taken up with eulogizing the dead than with exhorting the living to think about eternity? We must think about what we are doing when we attend a funeral. If the deceased is a follower of Christ, surely, we are celebrating a life well spent because we know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  On the other hand, if the deceased has not accepted Jesus Christ into their heart, we are essentially celebrating their passage into hell. Morbid as it may sound, that’s the reality. No one wants to think that hell is a real place and that people we love can go there. However, it is true that good people can go there if they do not accept Jesus into their lives.

 

Talk about the “dead burying the dead!” That’s exactly who we are when we do not know Jesus and we go to bury the physically dead. Saying all the wonderful things about your dead loved one , a friend, or celebrity will not influence where they spend eternity – their life with or without Christ is the deciding factor. Why don’t you accept Jesus into your heart today or encourage someone that you love to do so? There’s nothing to lose. If you do, someone can genuinely rejoice when you die, and you can do the same for someone else. You may weep because you may miss their touch, smile, or their word – but you’ll weep with hope.

                                                             

Think about it. If God did not know that hell was a terrible place, he would not have sacrificed His only Son. In the first place, hell was not created for us. It was created for Satan and his minions. God created man in his resemblance because He wanted us to be a part of us and not unlike Him. Sin separated us from Him, but God did not want us to languish in it and die without hope. Therefore, He sent His Son to give us life and life more abundantly.  Let’s choose life now!

See the source image