Thursday, May 14, 2009

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The Love Of God

I have recently been attending a church that reminds me of the Jesus movement in the late sixties and early seventies. In those days we were centered on the love of God, both from Him and toward Him. Even in those days (and I suspect even today), many denominational churches when confronted with a longhaired, sandal footed, hippie looking dude, would not let him enter, even if His name was Jesus. Jesus’ message is that God loves you and wants you in the family. Many denominational churches today have lost the love factor. Thus, many people have been hurt by church dogma. A pastor’s wife once told me that a denomination is nothing but a monument to a dead saint. The early church, I believe, was much like the Jesus movement I mentioned above. You could feel the Lord’s love and presence in the meetings. These Jesus freaks, as I remember, looked like hippies as well as housewives, businessmen and soldiers. What they had in common was that they all had the love of God inside of them.

There is no perfect church. There are no perfect Christians. Your walk with the Lord doesn’t have to be, nor should it be, the same as anyone else’s. None is perfect, no not one (Romans 3:10 ). Judge not, lest you be judged (Matt.7:1 ). The kingdom of God is here, but it is not easily recognized by most people (Mark 1:15). The kingdom of God is on the inside. Jesus said that the kingdom of God was near ( Matt.4:17 ). When his work was finished (He said on the cross that it was), the Holy Spirit was sent to us as promised. The Holy Spirit represents the kingdom of God here on the earth. His job is to guide us to the Father through Jesus. When the Father is assured that we truly accept the gift of sacrifice that Jesus gave for us, the Holy Spirit will come to dwell within us. This is what Jesus meant when he said that He would never leave us of forsake us (John 14:15-21, 25-27 ). Where the Father is, so are the Spirit and Jesus. Where Jesus is, so are the Father and the Spirit. Where the Spirit is, so are the Father and Jesus. The Spirit is within me; therefore, the love of God is also there. I know it’s hard to understand that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one and the same, even though we can grasp that water, ice and steam are the same substance.

The Love of God is a wonderful and glorious thing. God wants us to share His love with others, not just love Him as He loves us. Love your wife, love your kids, and love your neighbor (Mark 12:30-31). A Presbyterian minister once said that the love of God is like a garden hose. You wouldn’t try to push the water back up into the hose; you would spread it around so that things can grow. The flow won’t stop unless you turn off the spigot. Can you feel the overflowing Love of God in your church, or have time and man brought in things that pinch off the flow? It’s not that God wants to love you – He does love you. All you have to do is realize it. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).

The pastor of a church I was attending was at a pastors’ meeting when one of the other attendees referred to our church as an “introductory church”. This apparently meant that our church had not yet matured. Could it be that this person had lost his initial love and been overcome by churchliness? There is a song that says “bring back the new again, I want to see Jesus”. All churches should be introductory churches. Their job is to present the Gospel in a way that makes people want what the Lord has for them, not bog people down in man made rules and regulations. There is enough of that in everyday life.

Each person has a different personality. Each person walks through life at a different pace. Each Christian has a different personality and pace. God does not make cookie cutter Christians, and He doesn’t want you to act that way. A person’s walk with the Lord and growth in the Christian life may be far different from yours. Therefore, let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you my know how you should answer each one (Col. 4:6 ) Christians are to be the salt of the earth. Let the world savor life through us, not be judged by us.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans15:13)

Rick Rahn

Monday, May 4, 2009

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Who Says Jesus Is Lord?

The angels do. The devil and all of his minions do. The Bible says unequivocally that Jesus is Lord. Everyone who has passed on to a place other than heaven now knows. Everyone who has passed on and gone to heaven knows. Even our Father who art in heaven does (this is my son in whom I am well pleased). The Holy Spirit is witness to this fact. I do and I know many born again folks that do. Where do you stand?

It’s easy to become born again into the kingdom of heaven. All you have to do is believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and has risen from the dead for the coverage of your wrongdoings and then tell some other folks that you do believe (Romans 10:9-13) and your are covered. The trick here is the believing in your heart part. Only the Holy Spirit can lead you to this understanding. Seek the Lord with all your heart and soul and he will reveal Himself to you. You can come to this realization either by the sky opening up with thunder and lightning and great revelation or very matter of factly as I did by the yet quiet voice of the Holy Spirit.

Before I got married, my father in law, in essence, told me that I would be responsible for my wife’s well being for the rest of her life. This is similar to Jesus for once we are grafted into the family of God, He is held responsible for each of us for the rest of our lives. The Father can only see us, from that point on, through a veil of blood, which covers the wrongdoing, which we have done and will continue to do throughout our lives. Becoming a Christian doesn’t by any means make us perfect, just forgiven. There are good Christians, not so good Christians, hypocritical Christians and those who profess to be Christians that haven’t the faintest idea of what it means to be a Christian.

To look all around and see all that God has created and believe that it is the result of random luck or evolution is brain damage plain and simple. You wonder why the church (the body of Christ) doesn’t seem relevant in your life – it’s because you are withdrawn from it. The bible says that if we fail to, the rocks will cry out the divinity of Christ. Do you suppose that there are those out there that are dumber than a box of rocks?

In Genesis 22:15 Abraham didn’t withhold his son, and the Lord provided the sacrifice. In the same way, through the line of Abraham, the Lord did not withhold His Son and approved of His Son’s sacrifice to make it possible for us to obtain salvation through grace. Or would you rather work for it? Just remember in your efforts that the Bible says; all have come short of the Glory of God. None of us are perfect. We even make mistakes in our everyday business and family lives. (Do you suppose that God is a Presbyterian? They believe that all things are predestined and things cannot be changed by man. God does know the beginning and the end you know. He even knows what your final decision is going to be.)

Ever wonder where the bible came from? Yes it was written by men over the centuries. It first started as the passing down, generation to generation, by word of mouth in the same way all of history was passed down. After that it was converted to the written word. Since then it is somewhat easy to see that the writings have not changed for at least thousands of years. How is this possible? That also is easy to see. Since the bible was written by holy men under the influence of the Holy Spirit one could say that as in the writing of the Ten Commandments, it was written by the finger of God. Over these many years there have been many men who tried their best to prove the bible was wrong or at least incorrect. Thus far the score is them none and the bible 100%. Can any other writings in the history of the world meet this challenge? As I see it, if you can’t put your trust in the bible, what in the world is there to trust in?

Rick Rahn