GOD, ARE YOU MOVING?

For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory (1 Peter 1:8).

I heard stories and testimonies on the internet of people coming to Christ in the outdoor gathering, especially in the cities. Not only Sean Feucht’s “Let Us Worship”, but others also, and I hope and pray it’s real.

You see, I confess, I struggle with cynicism. I want to believe it is all a work of God, but there is a section of my brain that doesn’t believe anything anyone (anyone I don’t know) says. Everyone lies. We live in a lying culture. I have even heard Christians lie (sighs of grief).

So, I have struggled with this and this is where I have arrived.

First: God is supernatural. God is sovereign. God is good. God is mercy and grace. God brings good out of evil. God hears the prayers of his people.

I believe all of the above (I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24).

Second: When the Gospel is spoken and Jesus is exalted and proclaimed the only way to heaven I believe God honors that.

Third: Paul said in Philippians 1 that although some men were preaching Christ out of envy and rivalry thinking to inflict him, he didn’t care, as long as Christ was being proclaimed. He rejoiced in that.

So, even if I don’t go along with all of someone’s theology, as long as they are not spreading hearsay, but are proclaiming the Gospel and Christ crucified, buried and risen, I believe the miraculous can happen. Does happen. The biggest miracle of all is a stoney heart turned to flesh so that it loves Jesus and delights in God.

I don’t have to see the miracles to believe. I walk by faith, not sight, but because I have faith, I want to see the miracles.

Fourth: I do believe God is moving in our day. He is always busy doing things, but here and now, through COVID and all the rest, we are seeing God deal with his Church.

I love seeing Christians, mostly young ones, standing together, singing and jumping to the glory of God. They hear the word, sing, and pray and are a light in the darkness.

GOD BLESS THEM! DOUBLE GOD BLESS THEM!

I believe, now more than ever, God would have the church leave the building!

We are loved!

BRING ON THE WRINKLES

Aging is a subject near and dear to my heart. I like to say I am on the down shaft of 50 and the up shaft of 100. There … I’ve given away my age.

Life expectancy in the U.S. in 2019 was 78.87 years. In 1928, a demographer predicted that average life expectancy in the U. S. would never exceed 65 years. So much for that false prophet!

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Many scientists, those not working on COVID-19 vaccines and cures, are working on extending our lives. Their goal is not to make frail old people live longer, but to make us young longer. Like Ponce de Leon they are searching for the Fountain of Youth.

Government grants and vast investments from giant corporations are backing research on the causes of aging and how to defeat the aging process. Their aim is to make us all Methuselahs. Remember, he lived 969 years?

Once, a long time ago, in the Garden of Eden there was no aging. Adam and Eve were created as fully grown perfect male and female. Eve was most assuredly the most beautiful woman the world will ever see. She was perfect in every way: no blemishes, no stretch marks, and no extra pounds.

Mental health was an unknown expression in Eden. No pollutants, no processed foods, no stress, no crazies running around burning everything in sight. Perfect bodies. Perfect minds. No death. The wages of sin is death. They were sinless.

Until …

Adam bit the fruit – enter aging.

Eve was the first woman to experience aging. We are at a great advantage over her; we know what to expect – she didn’t. How long was it before she noticed a wrinkle or gray hair? We have no idea, but it must have been a great shock. Just as it used to be for me, but not anymore, I’m used to it.

Ever since this couple introduced aches and pains into the human race, people have been trying to figure out how to escape old age and death.

Why? Because it’s built into us to want more. We know there has to be more to life than this. We want life to be longer and better.

Have you heard the joke about the woman who complains about a restaurant? She says, “The food is lousy, and the portion was too small”.

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It seems logical that if you don’t like the food, you won’t want more of it.
But many people regard life like this woman. They’re not really happy with their lives, yet they want more of it. They not only don’t want to die; they want to be forever young.

Why? Because, in each of us there is a craving for life to be more than it is, for something to fill up what’s missing in our lives, and for something to take away the fear of death and what lies beyond.

Jesus addresses that craving for life when he says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus gives us new quality of life and quantity of life when He saves us. Quality in that He makes life worth living, abundant life, and quantity because He gives us life unlimited — eternal.

We don’t need years added to our life; we need life added to our years.

Scientists are searching for the fountain of youth, but they won’t find it in body parts, cells, or DNA. They will never find the deepest cause of deterioration and death, and they will never find the cure that truly gives life. Death came when Adam disobeyed God. The cause of death is sin against God, and the only cure for death is Jesus and the Spirit of God.

Jesus says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)


So, because Jesus’ words are spirit and they give life, I have a new outlook on aging. It’s bringing me closer to him. I can say with Paul:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16).

Bring on the wrinkles!

DISCIPLE

I began this series with the statement that we don’t want to be swept away by the cultural deception that there is no absolute truth. Christ followers know there is because they know the one who is Truth.

We are looking at John 8:31-32 so we can understand truth and be set free.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

I said that the order of these words are important and can’t be changed.

You can’t be set free unless you know the truth and you won’t know the truth unless you are a disciple that abides or continues in Jesus’ word.

Last time we discovered that abiding means to continue to believe and obey His word. It means to grab hold and cling to His word. It is grabbing and clinging to the end. It is persevering through life’s storms and peaceful times with the same tenacity of grabbing and clinging until you leave this earth and meet Jesus face to face.

Who can abide? Disciples of Jesus.

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Disciple

What is a disciple?

Jesus said in Luke 6:40:
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

The Greek word Jesus used for disciple means to learn and become attached to your teacher and follow their teaching and conduct of life.

For a follower of Jesus that means to be attached to him and follow his teaching and conduct of life. In other words, to be conformed to his image which is what you were born for (Romans 8:29).

To be a disciple, you must have been born again. As Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3:3:

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

And Peter wrote about in 1Peter 1:3, 23-25.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1Peter 1:3).

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Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you (1Peter 1:23-35)
.

It is through Jesus’ word, the Gospel, the Good News, that we are born again. It is through his word, all that is recorded in the Bible, that we are to abide or continue in, as we journey the disciple’s road through this life.


John said in John 8:31 if you are a disciple you will abide or continue in Jesus’ word.

The abiding disciple can expect a exceedingly great reward: truth that sets us free.

Next time we will study the word truth. What is this truth that has such great power?