May 20, 2012
Friendship Can Hurt
Ps 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. KJV
5 Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.
6 For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house. KJV
48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. KJV
I remember an old Amish man sitting on the back of his produce wagon doing a little philosophizing as he sold his wares. He said, “Never worry about your enemy because if anything happens to you he will be the first one they will suspect. Worry about you friend as no one will suspect him.”
As I look back on my life I have to admit that the ones who have hurt me the worst have been those whom I considered friends and trusted. My enemies I expected to treat me badly and stab me in the chest but the knife in the back from a friend or Christian “brother” or “sister” have caused the worst pains and scars.
While it has been said to “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” because you can trust your friends and need to keep your eye on your enemy there are times when it would be wise to evaluate your friends on a regular basis.
As those who have come into a large inheritance or win the lottery find out friends are easy to come by when you have something people want. If you are famous many will want to be your friend because your fame may help advance their careers. Sometimes even your friends at church are more about networking than about friendship. When a better contact arrives you are tossed to the side and if the new friend is your competition the old friend may not have a problem sharing things he heard from you about your business,
As Samson found out there are time when even a spouse may not need to know some things as she may use that information when she decides to leave you or is angry. Indeed, she should be your best and safest confidant, but reality has bitten many a man. It goes both ways. Many a woman has been embarrassed by what picture or conversation has been shared on the Internet by an ex-boyfriend or husband.
Blood is supposed to be thicker than water, but Micah tells us that it may not always be thicker than some situations and certainly not always thicker than money. David learned this when his son rose up against him. Truly, when I was growing up I was not really sure if my kin were friend or foe as it seemed someone was always fighting against someone else. When my mother and I were at one relative’s house they would be talking about two others and if we went to the one that was being talked about then the conversation may be about the one we saw last and another one. It did not take me long to figure out that we were the subject of many a relative’s conversation when we were not there. I suspect it makes sense that after my maternal grandmother died there were no more family reunions. They only showed up for her sake, I reckon. As they got older and started dying off the survivors did mellow out and hang out more with each other, but it is sad it took old age and death to make that happen.
Anyone ever have in-law problems? Mother-in-law jokes and such do have a lot of truth in them. I was fortunate to have have a great Mother and Father-in-law. No one has ever had son-in-law or daughter-in-law issues as they are always a joy and a jewel. OK, no ROTFLs, please. And they say the Bible is not relevant.
Ah, if we only had the discernment Jesus had when He knew the one that would betray Him and we could handle ourselves as well as He did when the crowd showed up for the betraying kiss. Most of us would not have been calling Judas friend in a calm and controlled fashion. We would probably call him a bunch of other names as well as assuring that he knew he was going to bust Hell wide open.
So since there is so much opportunity for pain do we become hermits having no friends, spouses, children and hence no in-laws to avoid the pain? No, we were not wired for that. We are made in God’s image and He knowing the outcome still chose to create Adam and Eve so that He could love them and the race they would generate.
He accepted that Man would cause Him heartache, but for the chance to love those who would love Him He chose to endure the grief even to the point of having His own Son endure the rejection of those He came to save and the pain of the Cross, which was minimal compared to the pain suffered by both the Father and the Son during the time of judgment when they were separated from the fellowship that they had always enjoyed.
Thus we must reach out and seek love, be it friendship, spousal or familial because it is part of our Divine design. Yet, we must go into it with eyes open knowing that we are part of a broken race where we may be hurt by the ones we love and sadly, even cause hurt to those we love. We must seek to be kept in the love of God and allow His love to navigate our lives through the mines of life as well as avoiding the torpedoes of the world, the flesh and the devil. With Him as Captain of our vessel we can sail through the stormy seas. When we grab the wheel and try to adjust the mainsails we will experience damage and loss of goods, but the ship will make it to the harbor no matter how battered and torn it may be. The less we grab the wheel the less the damage. Yet, we must launch out into the deep of life seeking to give love no matter how little we receive back. That is being conformed to the image of Christ. Maranatha!
May 18, 2012
There have been many that claim to have been to Hell and Heaven and came back or were sent back to tell us about it. Atheists have been to Hell and Heaven. Professing Christians also have been to Heaven or Hell. Are these valid experiences or things to distract people from the real Gospel and look to second chances or adapt an attitude of fatalism?
The story of the rich man and Lazarus would refute these experiences. We have the Word of God and if that is not enough then they will not believe even if one comes back from the dead.
Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. KJV
Many of the Hell accounts speak of the demons having great joy in tormenting the damned souls. Note that the rich man is tormented by the flames, not demons as they will have no pleasure in Hell either. The flames and the mental torment of having seen Jesus, having all their lusts but not being able to fulfill them and a life of memories that are perfect to constantly condemn them as well as seeing clearly their opportunities to be saved will be enough torment.
If the person is really dead they are not coming back. Jesus’ resurrection is the only sign that a wicked and adulterous generation gets. If Moses and the NT are not enough for them then no amount of testimonies of people who came back from Heaven or Hell is going to change them. Faith is to be in Him and the Word not the experience of another person.
As someone once said, “If you die and go to Heaven you will not want to come back. If you go to Hell, you cannot come back.”
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. KJV
Once you are dead you are judged and awaiting final disposition to either Glory or the Lake of Fire. Hell as we know it is only a holding cell until they appear before the Judge at the Great White Throne judgment and then sent to the real prison. Even those who are now with Christ have not received their full reward. That will come at the Bema. No one is coming back except the saints at the Second Coming and not before.
The stories of these people may be sincere, but not Scriptural. Many have tried to describe Hell and Heaven over the years in text and art but all fail. If eye hath not seen nor ear heard what God has in store for the saints then the same is true for Hell. Whatever we can imagine about either is not going to be accurate.
The key is to be saved and avoid Hell. Then it will not matter what it is like there since you will not be going and will do what you can to keep others from going as well. It is too late for those that have passed over. Take heed while you still breathe. Maranatha!!!
May 14, 2012
I see a lot of criticism on Facebook and other forums when people speak of various issues and call them sin. Folks are reminded of “Judge not, lest ye be judged” and called unloving and lacking grace, etc, etc. However, while there are times when I have seen truth spoken in an unloving and graceless manner truth is still truth.
If God’s Word speaks to an issue then that issue has already been judged and if you choose not to speak the truth about the issue than you do not love nor have mercy for until a person comes to see the truth he cannot receive forgiveness. If you do not wish to see a person forgiven and set free how then can you say that you love them and know the meaning of grace? It matters not the issue. Grace and TRUTH came by Jesus Christ and we are to speak the TRUTH in love. After all, Jesus said I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. The three are like a trinity. Grace, truth and love are together or you have none of them.
No one received the grace and love of God into their life until they received the truth about God and man and man’s situation. Sin is sin whether it is telling a lie or murder so there are no more important things in that light. That is why the Holy Spirit was sent to lead us into “all truth” not just the convenient truths that we love to hear. Sometimes the truth is negative and hurts, but just as surgery is a harsh method of dealing with heart trouble it is often the only mean of preventing death. Truth spoken in love as we are commanded may at times seem to be unloving or not of grace, but the reality is that it is the only way to save a soul from death.
If you truly love and wish to show grace to someone then tell them the truth in love in the prayerful hope they will choose to receive it and the grace and forgiveness that comes with it. Their reaction may be to reject it and curse the messenger, but that is not to deter you. Jesus was the epitome of speaking the truth in love and still they cried, “Crucify Him!” The Apostles also died at the hands of those they sought to bring to the love of God. Though many believed and received others rejected. That was within their rights as individuals with a free will. It is our duty as ambassadors of Christ and His Kingdom to present the message of truth. A person will not know His need for Christ and His forgiveness if they do not know that they are sinners. Holding back truth is not being graceful for you do not know what truth will be the one to bring them to conviction and salvation.
2 Cor 2:14-17
14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causerie us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place.
15 For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
16 To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. KJV
Had a fellow tell a girl once, “You stink good!” An odor is an odor. The only difference between a sweet smell and a stink is the opinion of the one doing the smelling. Are you manifesting His savor in every place? Let those who smell it make their choice what to call it. Maranatha!