All Is His

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“The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” – Psalm 24:1

I like to travel, but I hate to fly (doesn’t make sense). I do not hate to fly because I am afraid that the plane will crash and burn, but I hate to fly because I do not like being enclosed with all of those people in this small space that I cannot exit anytime I want. Anyways, that’s besides the point…

The point is, I have seen some parts of this world that are truly amazing. While I haven’t traveled as much out of country as many others that I know, I have been to some places that I wouldn’t mind being a more frequent visitor (St. Maarten!!). I am a huge fan of the beach, and with that being the case, the Caribbean is my ideal destination. It’s so beautiful with it’s crystal clear, amazingly blue waters. When I see the water it as if they are calling out to me to jump in because they look so refreshing. The landscape, the trees, the mountains, the rocks, the sand, the water, the sky, the sunset, the sunrise, everything seems so perfect. It seems so perfect because they all have something so glorious in common, they are God’s.

Everything in this earth is His. This is truly remarkable. From what is seemingly the most beautiful element of all creation to the smallest and what we may consider the most meaningless and ugly element of all creation, it all belongs to God. He created all of it. Not only is all of the creation and this earth His, but everything on the earth and within the earth is His as well. All of the people are His to do with what He pleases. All of the stuff is His. Everything that you think that you “own” is His. You own nothing. It truly is mind blowing that if you sit here and read this blog, you are looking at a computer or phone, or something, and then everything that you look up and look around at, everything around you, and even you, right now, at this minute, is God’s. He owns it all! Pretty powerful isn’t it.

He own’s it all and He is a fountain of all good. Valley of Vision page 11, a prayer entitled “The All-Good”, here is an exert, “Though bottomless fountain of all good, I give myself to thee out of love, for all I have or own is thine, my goods, family, church, self, to do with as thou wilt, to honor thyself by me, and by all mine.” Everything we own is God’s and it is all for Him to do as He pleases. When we truly step back and realize that we own absolutely nothing and we posses nothing apart from His grace and His mercy, it will change our perspective on how we live, how we act, how we treat others, how we “cling” to our possessions, and everything else. The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.

The Absolute of Death

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In our postmodern culture, we are a people that deny absolute truth. One, many will deny the absolute truth of Scripture, to which I do not nor should anyone under the heading of Christ. Two, many deny moral absolutes. Quite frankly, a lot of people, whether in word or deed, will deny just about any type of absolute that you put in front of them.

But, regardless of where you stand on absolute truth, or moral absolutes, or any other absolutes out there, there is one absolute that we cannot deny and that is the absolute of death. I am not sure if “the absolute of death” is a real phrase or not, I may have just made it up, but the point is this, we are all going to die.

In Luke 16:19-31, we are presented with a very familiar story bout a rich man and another man named Lazarus. Both men are totally different. In fact, Lazarus lays at the gate of this rich man just hoping to be thrown some scraps to eat from time to time and actually has dogs (very degrading animals in this culture) licking his sores. But both man have an absolute, that absolute is death. They both die and the rich man descends into hell and Lazarus to the side of Abraham.

The rich man in his torment cries out to Abraham for just a drop of water on his tongue, to which he is denied. Abraham reminds him that he received good things in his life and seemingly had all that he needed, but he lacked one very important thing that would ensure him eternal life, a relationship with God. He begs to go back and warn his brothers lest they fall into the same situation as him upon death. Abraham reminds him that they have the law and the writings from Moses and the prophets. The worry then falls in the fact that this man had disregarded those things on earth and so have his brothers, but if someone comes back from the dead to tell them, surely they will believe. Again, the answer is no. If they are not convinced by the Word of God, they will not be convinced by someone returning from the dead.

So what’s the point? The point is this, we will all die. Rich, poor, black, white, big, small, tall, short, fat, skinny, we will all die. Thus, it doesn’t matter what you have on this earth, what you have done on this earth, whether you have it all, or whether you have nothing, upon your death there will be only one thing that matters and it’s whether you have repented of sin, trusted Christ, and lived your life totally sold out to Christ. We aren’t talking mediocre Christianity. We aren’t talking lukewarm faith. We are talking born again, sold out for Christ, follow Him into a cave in Asia to witness to a lost people group Christianity. We are all going to die, that is an absolute fact. Once you die, you are given no second chances, nor will be allowed to return to warn our family of the fate to come. Now is the time!

The Great God

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If you do not have a copy of Valley of Vision, you need one. It is a compilation of Puritan Prayers that I incorporate into my daily Bible study. I am sharing one of them that I read today that is truly tremendous when we consider the power of our Great God. The greatest line is the last line because it challenges me to ask great things of a great God because I am able to as His child. Here is the prayer:

The Great God

p. 8-9 (Valley of Vision)

O FOUNTAIN OF ALL GOOD,

Destroy in me every lofty thought,

Break pride to pieces and scatter it to the winds,

Annihilate each clinging shred of self-righteousness,

Implant in me true lowliness of spirit,

Abase me to self-loathing and self-abhorrence,

Open in me a fount of penitential tears,

Break me, then bind me up;

Thus will my heart be prepared dwelling for my God;

Then can the Father take up his abode in me,

Then can the blessed Jesus come with healing in his touch,

Then can the Holy spirit descend in sanctifying grace;

O Holy Trinity, three Persons and one God, inhabit me, a temple consecrated to thy glory.

When thou art present, evil cannot abide;

In thy fellowship is fullness of joy,

Beneath thy smile is peace of conscience,

By thy side no fears disturb, no apprehensions banish rest of mind,

With thee my heart shall bloom with fragrance;

Make me meet, through repentance, for thine indwelling.

Nothing exceeds thy power,

Nothing is too great for thee to do,

Nothing too good for thee to give.

Infinite is thy might, boundless thy love, limitless thy grace, glorious thy saving name.

Let angels sing for sinners repenting, prodigals restored, backsliders reclaimed, Satan’s captives released, blind eyes opened, broken hearts bound up, the despondent cheered, the self-righteous stripped, the formalist driven from a refuge of lies, the ignorant enlightened, and saints built up in their holy faith.

I ask great things of a great God.

In Need of Grace

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2 Corinthians 12:7-10, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

The Apostle Paul, arguably the most influential figure in the New Testament outside of Jesus Christ Himself. In my eyes, when reviewing the life of Paul and the many things that He endured after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus, I would personally say he is strong. Yet, in his view of things, and he knows himself better than I know him, he would boldly proclaim his weakness. If Paul considers himself to be weak, then what in the world am I?

Paul was given a thorn in his side by the Sovereign God of all grace, as Paul would put it, as a means to keep him humble. It is widely debated what this “thorn” that he is referring to actually is, and for the purpose of this blog it is beside the point. Nonetheless, there was something that continually hindered him that the Sovereign God would not remove as it placed Paul’s complete dependence upon the Lord.

What is my thorn? In contemplating in my mind what I would consider my thorn, I have boiled it down to one thing: me. I cannot pin point anything specific that I would name my thorn outside of my entire being. My flesh is weak, prideful, hateful, selfish, desiring all of the things that are not of God, thus, my thorn that I battle on a regular basis is me!

In reflecting on my flesh, I am grateful that I have been redeemed and that the Spirit of the Living God dwells within me, but in I still possess this flesh suit which desires the things of this world. Regardless, this is where I find myself today and everyday. My constant state of being is a condition that I refer to as “in need of grace.” I live everyday of my life “in need of grace.” There is never a moment in my entire existence to which I am not in the state of “in need of grace.” I am in this state continually, and the best part about it is that Paul was in the same position. As I am in this condition 24/7 the greatest comfort of all is that I know I am in this position and I know the One that continues to shed this grace upon me. I am 100% totally dependent upon Christ for every single thing. From the smallest of things to the biggest of things. I am capable of nothing on my own apart from the overwhelming grace of God. I cannot breathe without Christ, I cannot see without Christ, I cannot hear without Christ, I cannot speak without Christ, I cannot eat without Christ, I cannot walk without Christ, I cannot type this blog without Christ, I cannot do anything on my own without the overwhelming power of Christ!

Be “in need of grace.” Why? Because if you realize you are in need of grace because of your sinful condition apart from Christ and you turn to Him in repentance and faith, you will receive that grace every second of everyday and on into eternity. Amen!

God Cares About Your Problems

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Yesterday’s Sermon at First Baptist Church Oloh was focused upon Mark 5:21-43. We have been going through the book of Mark and if you desire to hear or watch our sermons thus far you can find them on our website www.fbcoloh.com or sermonaudio.com/fbcoloh. Nonetheless, there are so many important truths in this particular passage that we can pull from, but I briefly want to encourage you with one of the huge truths to consider when we look at our relationship with the High and Holy God and His Son Jesus Christ.

In this passage of Mark, we see two encounters that Jesus has with two different types of people, with two different types of problems. The first person we are introduced to is a man named Jairus. Jairus was the ruler of the local synagogue in charge of everything taking place in the synagogue, mainly making sure that the teaching stays orthodox. The other woman that we see Jesus encounter is nameless. But, we know she has issues.

Jairus’ daughter is very ill, the Greek would render it “on the brink of death” or “sinking fast.” This woman had a discharge of blood for 12 years. Jairus’ problem seems tremendous, his one and only daughter is dying and he is in need of Jesus. Jesus agrees to go with him to his house to see his daughter and in the process is touched by this woman and this woman is healed. As she is healed, Jesus stops as He has felt power leave Him and He has a conversation with this woman. This woman is unclean in all manners of life. Her discharge of blood makes her unclean. Being that this is the case, she is unable to enter the Temple. If she touches anyone, they are unclean and driven from the community until purification. Not only that, odds are, because of her ailment, she was unable to be married and bear children, two other cultural curses of this day.

During the exchange with this woman, Jairus receives word that his daughter has died, yet this did not throw off Jesus. Jesus works in Jesus’ time, not ours. Jesus was sovereignly aware of the circumstances and was not shaken by this news. Thus, Jesus proceeds and raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead.

So what’s the point? My point is this, no matter how big or how small you think your problem is, if you are a child of God’s, He desires to be a part of your life through every circumstance and situation. Often times we get down and think that our problems are too small for God to take time out of His busy schedule to help us and that He wants to spend His time with more important people and their problems. But what we see here from Jesus is that He desires relationship with His people, He is accessible to His people, no matter your stature, no matter how big or small you think you are or your problem is. If you are His, He wants to be involved in every area of your life.

Jairus had a name and a position. This woman had no name and no position other than the fact that she was impure and unclean. Yet, Jesus was interruptible to her as she came to Him in faith. Come to Christ in faith. As an adopted son or daughter Jesus makes it know to us that He wants intimate relationship and this involves every area of our lives. He cares about your BIG problems or your small problems. He is a good and loving Savior. Trust Him. Obey Him.

The Presupposition of Jesus’ Lordship

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If a person refers to themself as a born-again Christian, consciously or unconsciously they are making a presupposition that Jesus is Lord. By placing themselves under the heading of a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, they are giving people the unwarranted notion that Jesus is their Lord. Thus, the next logical question that we must ask when considering this topic is what does it mean for someone to have a Lord? Or more specifically, what does it mean for someone to refer to another as Lord?

A Lord is someone of preeminence that demands obedience. A Lord is someone in whom their followers surrender their rights to. With this being the case, if an individual is to refer to Jesus as their Lord, then they are saying Jesus is of the utmost preeminence, the greatest authority, to whom they surrender all of their rights. Again, believer’s are to operate in a  manner in which they follow and surrender all that they are to Jesus as Lord. Once more, operating with the presupposition that Jesus is Lord, or supreme ruler.

So the question lies in this fact, why do so many “believer’s” go about their lives never living as if Jesus is Lord. Or better yet, why is it so difficult in so many of Jesus’ churches to do things in the manner in which He would have them to do them. Isn’t it funny that it is difficult to have people that call Jesus their Lord actually do what Jesus says to do? Or maybe this one, isn’t it wild that some “believer’s” would claim that they love Jesus but never display a love for what Jesus loves (i.e. His Church)?

It is no different today than it was in the day of Jesus. With this being the case, we can echo the words of Jesus in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”(ESV) So why don’t we as believers submit to Christ’s Lordship in every area of our lives? Why don’t we as believers lead the charge in having our churches submit to Christ’s Lordship in all areas of her life? Let’s lead out as God’s people, submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and living in obedience to His written Word.