Living In A World Without God August 14, 2022
“Therefore, remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” (not God’s people), by the so-called “Circumcision” (God’s people, the Jews), which is performed in the flesh by human hands – remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:11-13)
It’s hard to imagine living in a world without having God in your life. Yet, there was a time when God had a covenant with the Jewish people that He did not have with the Gentiles unless they became a Jewish proselyte (convert). That’s not to say that He didn’t love or care for the Gentiles who, like the Jews, were created by Him in His image. It was His will to make this covenant with the Jews only to fulfill His purposes as read in both the Old Testament and New Testament scriptures. And just because the Gentiles were not obligated to follow and obey the laws God gave to the Jews didn’t mean that they were not accountable to God. In Romans 2:14-16 Paul mentions that the Gentiles will have the secrets of their heart judged by Jesus Christ as to whether they did instinctively the things of the Law, whether their conscience and their thoughts either accused or defended them
What I would like us to focus on is the concept of living in a make believe world where God is not followed. In such a world He is not known, discussed or spoken of in any way by anyone. In essence, this world would be devoid of God completely. There are no Godly laws of any kind existing as no one believes there is a God. One can just imagine what would it be like to live in such a world. Whoever was ruling the country would rule without moral principles thus resulting in laws based on selfishness and greed. Rulers would be men-pleasers not God-pleasers. Everyone would be expected to live under the rule of such leaders and would not be entitled to any freedom of religion.
Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Truth be told, our world today is already heading in this direction. God and moral laws are being pushed aside and replaced with immoral laws and ungodly leaders who have absolutely no desire whatsoever in upholding the truths and moral principles found in God’s word. At a very young age our children are being taught to accept immorality in the schools and adults are punished for speaking against those who won’t believe or accept what others want them to believe and accept. In essence, Christianity, is being pushed aside and replaced by those who desire to live in a godless society.
However, the big difference between a Godly and godless society is that one has a future hope and the other has absolutely nothing to look forward to after it passes away. They are a “eat, drink. be merry for tomorrow we die” kind of society (I Corinthians 15:32).
Whenever one is without God in this world there are without hope. They are without hope for today and without hope for tomorrow. The apostles Peter & Paul remind Christians that they have a living hope in Christ because they were born again (in baptism) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3; Romans 6:1-11). Regardless of how ungodly our country becomes, all Christians have something the rest of the country does not have – a living hope to one day be a part of a Godly society in heaven for eternity.
The Sweet Aroma of the Knowledge of Christ August 7, 2022
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things.” (II Corinthians 2:14-16)
From reading the gospels, especially the gospel of John, one discovers what Jesus was like in various situations in life. That knowledge is described by the apostle Paul as a sweet aroma. It is not repulsive but sweet, pleasant and acceptable.
The apostles witnessed how Jesus responded to difficult situations such as ridicule, mocking, opposition, being accused of being a blasphemer, threats, physical and mental abuse, etc. They saw one who was in control of His emotions while He was under duress. They saw that He entrusted His emotions to God during those times rather than give into human weakness and revengeful tactics. The apostle Peter speaks of it this way, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to God who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (I Peter 2:21-24).
How was Jesus a sweet aroma? The life of Christ was a life of sacrifice in which He lived not for Himself but for God and others. He wouldn’t allow anything or anyone derail Him from completing His God-given purpose on earth. He loved God and others too much for that to happen.
Throughout the Bible, when a sacrifice was accepted by God, it was a fragrant and acceptable aroma to Him like the burnt offering Noah made to God after the flood (Genesis 8:20-21). See also passages like Exodus 29:18, 25; Leviticus 1:9, 17; 3:5, 16; Ezekiel 20:41.
It seems odd to think of our life as an aroma but that’s what it is. Noticed by God and others it is either pleasant or unpleasant, attractive or repulsive. Knowing this to be true, have you ever considered what kind of aroma your life offers to others? Is it the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Christ or is it the aroma of one who is unwilling to allow Christ to be noticed in their life?
|Where Does Faith Come From?4/10/2022 By: Gary Hutchens How does a person get faith? Why does one person have stronger faith than someone else? Why is the faith of some people so weak as compared to the faith of others? Where does faith come from?|
It’d be interesting to hear the answers given by many on such a fundamental question. I’d not be surprised if a good number of people would actually be at something of a loss to give a definitive answer. I’m not sure that some people really know where faith comes from, and almost certainly a great many people who think they know, really do not.
Some people may think that faith is instinctive, something with which we are naturally born. For some, faith may well be more of a feeling. Others may think that faith just sort of happens to some people, whether they seek it or want it or not. This is almost akin to catching a cold or picking up a viral or bacterial infection, like an accident! Still other people believe that faith is a gift from God. The obvious follow-up question should be, “If faith is a gift from God, then why does God not give that gift to everyone?
In truth, faith is a product of a person’s learning, believing and living by the teachings of God’s word. The apostle Paul states, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Basically, a person has to apply himself in order to develop faith. In some way, he has to go about the exercise of learning God’s word. That can be done through personal reading and study, or through study with someone else or through listening to God’s word being taught by someone else.
As a person learns God’s word, he must then make a decision as to whether or not he believes what he has learned. Even if he believes, that does not necessarily indicate that he possesses true faith. A person with true faith will obey the teachings he has learned and believed in God’s word (Jn. 14:15).
Obviously, the faith described in the Bible is not instinctive. It is not a feeling, nor does it just happen to some people. Neither is true faith a gift from God, in the sense that it is totally given by God with the recipient doing nothing on his part toward its development within himself.
In a real sense, faith is a process. First, it must be developed. Then, it must be nurtured and strengthened. The nurturing and strengthening is essential for faith to grow and be the directing and sustaining force within the true believer’s life that God intends it to be. The nurturing and strengthening is itself a lifelong process that never comes to an end (1 Cor. 16:13; Col. 1:22-23).
Knowing where faith comes from, it should be easy to recognize that the condition of your faith is up to you! Are you giving proper attention to the development and strengthening of your faith? Give this question great consideration, for the answer could determine your eternal destiny (2 Tim. 4:7-8)…
This article may have been written for our brethren in the US but I believe it applies to us in Canada as well (Brian Thompson)
“Amen and A-woman” by Brett Petrillo
According to longstanding tradition, the 117th Congress was opened with a prayer. As Rep. Emanuel Cleaver came to the end of his prayer, he concluded with “Amen and a-woman.” Yes, you read that correctly, “a-woman.” As if, in some way, “amen” was actually some chauvinistic masculine word.
To set the record straight, “amen” is an ancient Hebrew word that has been used for thousands of years. It simply means “may it be so.” In other words, after a prayer, we are collectively requesting that the words of the prayer would happen.
There is a tantalizing desire to take this article into the dumpster-fire discussion of politics, but there is a much more important lesson to learn about our culture right now – The United States is ignorant about Christianity. While Rep. Cleaver may have shown us an extreme example, this religious ignorance is more common than you might think.
Personally, I’ve had conversations with people who have “heard of Jesus but didn’t know what He did.” Another person hadn’t heard of Moses or knew anything about the difference between the Old Testament & New Testament. Let’s not even get started on complex Bible words like redemption, sanctification, and righteousness.
The days have long passed when we can make religious assumptions in our nation.
We need to stop assuming people know about Jesus.
We need to stop assuming people know Bible “words.”
We need to stop assuming people know Bible people.
We need to stop assuming people know how to pray or worship God.
We need to stop assuming people know what is happening during worship to God.
We need to stop assuming people know any “basics” of Christianity written in the Bible.
The bottom line is…we need to stop assuming!
At this very moment, we’ve reached a place in our nation where people may not know Jesus,
know the Bible, or know that “amen” isn’t a gendered word. We very well may be heading towards
another time when people are darkened in their understanding because of the ignorance that is in
“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the
Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, “LET EACH ONE OF YOU SPEAK TRUTH WITH HIS NEIGHBOR,” for we are members of one another. “BE ANGRY, AND DO NOT SIN”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Ephesians 4:17-29
If we’re going to reach our world today and fulfill the Great Commission (yes, see Matthew 28:18-20), we may need to change the way we’re doing things now: We may need to change how we think. We may need to change how we teach. We may need to change how we talk. We may need to change what we do. We may need to change how we evangelize. We may need to change the way we pray.
However, we do not need to change the way we conclude any prayer to the one true God…
Can I get an “Amen”?
Brought Safely to the Lord’s Heavenly Kingdom July 17, 2022
“At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever, Amen.” (II Timothy 4:16-18)
Living the Christian life is most rewarding yet it is not an easy life. In his letter to Timothy, Paul reminds him of this fact, “And indeed, all (Christians) who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (II Timothy 3:12).”
In a time when the apostle Paul needed support from his brethren he got none as they had all deserted him in his time of need. Instead of holding a grudge against them for abandoning him, he asked that God not count this sin against them. He knew how difficult it was to stand up for what is right is a world that opposed it.
Like Jesus, Paul knew that he was never alone as long as he did what God wanted him to do (John 8:29). He knew that God was there with him in every trying, difficult moment in his life especially in those times when he had to make a defense and account of his activities before the governing and ruling authorities of his day.
The strength that Paul needed to proclaim the gospel to all the Gentiles came from knowing that God was always with him. He was never, ever alone. And God was there to deliver him from death and from every evil deed planned against him. God had a purpose for Paul and nothing was going to prevent Paul from fulfilling that purpose.
Paul was determined to please God and accomplish His will as long as he lived. He knew his God and he knew about the heavenly kingdom God had waiting for him. It was a kingdom that Paul longed for and, in confidence, states that one day God would bring him safely to it.
In anticipation of such an event Paul states, “To God be the glory forever and ever, Amen.” When Christians and all the faithful from the beginning of time to the end of time are brought to this heavenly kingdom, God will be glorified, exalted, lifted up and magnified forever and ever.
No one should ever want to miss out on being brought to the heavenly kingdom of God. Only through obeying the gospel can one have Paul’s confidence that God would one day bring him there.
Are you confident that one day the Lord will bring you to His heavenly kingdom? If not, please let us help you, through a study of the scriptures, develop that same confidence Paul had.
The Origin of Sin July 10, 2022
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (James 1:13-15)
Have you ever wondered where love originated from? The apostle John tells us that it originated from God. His very nature is love and if one claims to be His child then they will love as He loves (I John 4:7-11).
How about sin? Have you ever wondered about its origin? Did God create it or was that even possible? Who was the first being to have ever sinned? The first recorded sin of mankind is found in Genesis 3:1-19. Sin occurred when Eve and Adam disobeyed God’s commandment. They were forbidden by God to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil for if they did then in that day they surely would die (Genesis 2:16-17). Up to this point I’m not sure if either of them even knew what death was. Had they seen death in plants, animals, birds, etc. up to this point? The Bible doesn’t say. What death are we talking about here? If it referred to physical death then why didn’t they die that very day? Some may believe that it refers to the pronouncement that on the very day they sinned they began to die physically. Or others believe it refers to their spiritual death where one is separated from God and His blessings because their sin made that separation (Isaiah 59:1-2). The prophet Ezekiel tells us that the soul that sins shall die spiritually. However, if that man turns away from all his sins and observes God’s statutes and practices justice and righteousness then he shall surely live and not die (experience an eternal separation from God). Read Ezekiel 18:19-23.
Back to Adam & Eve’s sin. Here’s how sin originated with them. Up to Genesis 3 the only voice recorded in scripture that spoke to Adam & Eve was God’s. Then in Genesis 3:1-5 a different voice speaks to them and it contradicts God’s voice. This causes Adam & Eve to doubt that God meant what He said. Notice Genesis 3:6, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh), and that it was a delight to the eyes (lust of the eyes), and that the tree was desirable to make one wise (boastful pride of life), she took from its fruit and ate; and gave it to her husband with her, and he ate.” See I John 2:16. It’s how the serpent (3:1) works, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9). He entices people with lust and James says they get carried away (from the right attitude before God to the wrong attitude) by lust (James 1:14). When Eve got carried away by it she was able to entice her husband to do the same.
Who was the first being to have sinned? Was it Eve or was it the serpent, Satan himself? It was Satan for John writes, “the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8).
When did sin originate in your life? What day did you begin to die spiritually? I don’t remember what day it all began with me but I do remember that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil in my life and without His help I would be forever dead spiritually and eternally separated from God. What about you? Have you obeyed the gospel of Christ and received the forgiveness of your sins by being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and are you walking in God’s light (I John 1:5-7) so that you will not spiritually die (Acts 2:38; II Thessalonians 1:3-12)? If you haven’t, please consider doing so and together, we can alongside Jesus, destroy the works of the devil in our lives.
I Love the Lord Because … July 3, 2022
“I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.” (Psalms 116:1-2)
What does it mean when a man genuinely says “I love you” to a lady he’s been dating for some time? It means that he likes her so much as she compliments and completes his life as she finds he does her. In that realization they find it very difficult to be away from each other. They enjoy talking and listening to each other and doing things together. They don’t feel the same about going through life unless the other person is with them so they get married – a statement to God and others that they want to live together for the rest of their lives.
Sounds like the words of the Psalmist above, doesn’t it? He states that he loves the Lord because He hears his voice and his supplications. For any marriage to last there has to be good communication. Such communication is more about hearing what your spouse has to say to you than in you talking to them. When both partners do this then their marriage is bound to last as such communication reveals a genuine interest one spouse has towards the other – what’s on their mind, where they’re at, what their needs are, etc. It places their interests ahead of your own. It is an unselfish act and will be well received.
The apostle John reveals that God is this way with His children. He says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we believe that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (I John 5:13-15). Did you catch this wonderful relationship that exists between God and His children? It is a relationship that promotes confidence between the Christian and their heavenly Father. They speak, He listens. Guaranteed!!
When the Psalmist thought about this awesome prayer relationship he had with God he stated that he loved Him because of it and would never cease from talking to Him as long as he lived. When there’s good communication between husband and wife, their marriage will last and when there’s good communication between God and His children, their spiritual marriage will also last.
Only humble individuals will recognize that when the Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth and Creator of all human and heavenly beings, listens to their prayers then they must be pretty special in His eyes. The Psalmist said in the verse above, “Because God inclined His ear to me…” What a wonderful blessing to know that in this big world that we live in, God is attentive to our prayers!
The ear of the Lord is just amazing. I hope that God finds our heart just as amazing. How about you?
God’s Beloved Children June 26, 2022
“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase, “like father, like son” sometime in our life. It speaks volumes of a relationship that exists between the two. In a good relationship, the son will be just like his dad. They often look alike and often share the same attitude and humour and others recognize that. The same may be true in a bad relationship between father and son but quite often is such a relationship the son wants absolutely nothing to do with his father. He doesn’t like the example of his dad and the way he treated him while growing up. Therefore, he wants to be different from his father.
In the text above the apostle Paul reminds Christians that they are not only children of God but beloved children. Our heavenly Father has loved us more than any earthly father could even come close to loving us. Throughout the Scriptures His love for us is indicated in numerous ways but none greater than in His providing us with the promise of an eternal home with Him in heaven. Every action of His towards us in our lifetime has been motivated by His sincere love for us. The apostle John puts it this way, “We love because He first loved us” (I John 4:19). It’s the kind of love that touches us so much that we want to share it with others so that it can have the same impact on their heart as it has on our own. Thus the desire to imitate God and to be “like Father, like son.”
Our Christian walk is a response to the love our heavenly Father has for us. It is a walk that is patterned after the love of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a walk in which His love continues to be seen by others through us. Whenever we share Christ’s love in our walk it is regarded by God as a fragrant aroma, a pleasing and acceptable sacrifice. As Christ gave Himself up so that the world could know the love God has for them (John 3:16) even so must we give up ourselves so that the world can continue to witness the love God has for them.
We would be wise to heed the words of Paul concerning how we should walk. He states, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
Beloved children, may our Christian walk always be pleasing to God as was the walk of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Father’s Day, What Will Happen … June 19, 2022
To all fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day! I can’t think of a more appropriate time to ask the following question: “What will happen to a nation whose children grow up without a conscience?” One reason it’s appropriate to ask this question now is due to the mounting evidence that such is happening in our nation, right now.
Continually, news accounts includes stories of children committing atrocities that would have been almost unthinkable a short time ago. Sometimes, the act of violence are committed by teenagers, such as in a number of mass shootings that have taken place in schools across the country in recent years. But with alarming frequency we’re hearing of pre-teens, and even young children, committing murder. Drug dealers have incorporated young children into trafficking drugs for many years now, tempting them with what seems to be a lot of money, and assuring them that their status as minors protects them from being punished as adults. The legal system in our nation is struggling to deal effectively with a problem that is rapidly getting worse and growing in violence.
Let me add a couple more questions that are really just variations of the previous one. “What will happen to a nation whose children grow up without morals?” The final question: “What will happen to a nation whose children grow up without faith in God?”
Conscience is a product of conditioning. The depth and direction to which a person’s conscience develops is based upon the fabric of his moral conditioning. A conscience is an internal, personal alarm system. It sounds its alarm when a person does something that violates his sense of right and wrong, his morality. What he determines to be right or wrong comes from some standard that serves as the base line of moral values for that person. Without basic faith in God, it is impossible for an individual to develop and consistently maintain a moral conscience. Without God there is no basis for morality, for there is no such thing as right and wrong, only what is expedient for the moment.
Now for the second reason why it is appropriate to ask such questions. Today is Father’s Day.” Where do you think a child should receive his moral training, his basis for developing an effective conscience that helps him recognize right from wrong? What do you think should be one of the most fundamental sources for the development of faith in God for a child growing up? You guessed it, his father!
Too many children are growing up without fathers. Too many children have fathers who are terrible examples and poor teachers of the fundamental principles of right and wrong and goodness. They are ungodly fathers and they are rearing ungodly children.
Harsh words? Maybe, but they’re words of truth. We need to reassess how we’re raising our children. “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). There could not be a more appropriate day on which to begin that reassessment than on Father’s Day.
By Gary L. Hutchens
What Did Jesus Look Like? June 12, 2022
“Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted. Just as many were astonished at you, My people, so His appearance was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” (Isaiah 52:13-14)
“For He grew up before God like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He had no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (Isaiah 53:2-3)
How many movies of Jesus have you watched that depict Him as being very handsome, having long black hair and blue eyes? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one where He’s presented to others exactly as He’s described in the two passages of Isaiah above.
Jesus was not an attractive person to look at in form or appearance. As a matter of fact, He was the very opposite. He was marred in appearance and form more than any man and was like one from whom men hide their face. So, how does one make a movie with the main character being unattractive? Would the movie producers make much money doing so? I doubt it!
Jesus was born in a manger and not a palace even though He would become the king of the Jews. God wanted people to focus not on where He was born but that He was born for a reason. He had humble beginnings and He remained humble all His life. Jesus was created the way He was because God didn’t want people to be attracted to Him physically because of His good looks but rather God wanted them to be attracted to Him spiritually because He was good, righteous and just.
We know from the passages of Isaiah above that the person referred to in those passages is Jesus because of what we read in Acts 8:26-40. A eunuch was reading from Isaiah and asked Philip, the evangelist, to whom was this man referring to and Philip told him that it referred to Jesus. Then the eunuch became a Christian by being baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of his sins. Jesus was attractive to this eunuch not because of His looks but because of His message of forgiveness, salvation and hope.
What do you find attractive about Jesus? When Jewish leaders were wanting to destroy Him they could not find a way to do so because the people were hanging upon His words (not His looks but on what He said to them) (Luke 19:47-48).
Truth be told – Jesus is very attractive when one takes the time to listen to what He has to say to them. When one realizes how much Jesus has demonstrated His love for them they’ll realize that there is not a love existing on this earth that is more attractive than His. I hope you’ll discover His true, inner beauty one day.
Look on the inside of Jesus!