Thursday, August 24, 2017


One of the more intriguing verses in the Bible is Psalm 11:3, “… if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” When I first heard this verse as a young man it gave me great pause. I began meditating on the implications, which, if taken to the extreme, could cause fear to rise up in your heart. Other verses came to mind like, “If God is for us who can be against us?” The inverse of that would be, “If God is not for you there is no hope.”

It is this type of thing that causes people to fall into great depression and fear. Others begin to lash out in anger at what they feel is injustice. They shout, “Who is God that He would not be for me?!?” First of all, they do not understand the nature and character of God, and secondly do not understand scripture. Let’s look at this a little more closely.

I’m 58, but I have never seen the type of things going on in the world that are happening today. I’m sure others have, and possibly in history much worse things have transpired. But in my lifetime this is the most unusual. We have at our disposal the greatest amount of information ever amassed: the Internet. Just about anything you can imagine is available at your fingertips via smartphone, tablet, laptop, or even a watch! Yet, I have never seen such confusion. For most of us, we grew up with a worldview given to us by our parents, teachers, and preachers. Today, even from an early age, you can have access to any worldview that exists.

Knowledge can be dangerous. Knowledge without wisdom is like playing with bullets without a gun. Inside a gun bullets are safely housed in chambers where accidental firing is a minimal risk. Outside of a gun they are a danger. Knowledge (bullets) inside a gun (wisdom) can be fired at a target with great precision and accomplish the desired result. Outside of wisdom, knowledge may shoot any direction lacking the barrel to guide it, not only missing the desired target, but also potentially causing harm to innocents.

For many, knowledge is considered a “foundation” upon which we can build a structure with little risk of it ever crumbling. Modern science is this way. The main issue with knowledge is that it is always changing. We are constantly learning more about our world, and this new knowledge totally changes our previous understanding. Many theories have been developed about how earth, and the entire universe for that matter, came into being. Every day new information is obtained which totally refutes the knowledge from yesterday.

So, back to the topic at hand. If you base your life on knowledge alone it will most likely crumble over time. There has to be an absolute; bedrock. You have to get beyond the fluff and hype, especially in today’s world of “fake news” and straight out propaganda, and find truth. Once found, drive a stake in it so you cannot be blown from it, and you will not wander from it. Live your life from that place of truth. Look at the text again, this time in context.

Psalm 11:1-3 (ESV)
In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

“In the Lord I take refuge…” That is this psalmist’s bedrock. Then he continues, “How can you say to my soul …?” He is refuting others that say, “You better watch out! What if God doesn’t …?” For the psalmist there is no doubt that the Rock to whom he has attached himself cannot, and will not, be moved, destroyed, or in any way shaken. When you find this place in your relationship with God you, too, will be uneasily moved by anything that someone may say, or any knowledge that may present itself that is contrary to what you know to be true about God. If you are not there yet, keep digging. Once you get through the layers of junk, mistruth, deception, etc. you will find the unshakable Kingdom of Heaven!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Spiritual Growth

This chart has been on my desktop ever since I saw it for the first time. It depicts in very succinct fashion the cycle we go through in our spiritual journey. Right now you are in one of these four spiritual states. Unfortunately two of the states have as part of their description the word “unaware.” That is by far the most dangerous. The greatest problem of not knowing is that you don’t know. Let’s take a quick look at them.

1. Unaware and Uncommitted. I heard it said that there are three types of people in the world: those that make it happen, those that let it happen, and those that wonder what happened. This first group is worse than that. They are not even wondering what happened. Unaware. This is the state in which every human begins life. We are separated from God because of the sin-nature we inherited from Adam. We are certainly uncommitted because we do not even know there is a need for God in our life.

2. Unaware and Committed. Most people, in an effort to fit into their peer groups, begin to commit themselves to various things. Since they are still separated from God and don’t know it they begin to find fulfillment in social groups, political causes, activities (recreation, business, relationships, etc.), escape methods (drugs, alcohol, food, etc.), and some even commit themselves to spiritual pursuits (occult, new age, earth worship, etc.). All of this activity is simply an attempt to fill a void which they are not even fully aware exists.

3. Aware and Committed. Once the Holy Spirit begins to draw us toward Christ, we hear the Truth concerning Jesus and His love for us, we become Aware! When we respond to Him and allow the Love of Jesus to transform us, we become Committed. This is the state in which God desires for us to live our lives: fully aware of His Love, plans, and purpose, and fully committed to becoming like Jesus. It is in this state that we will experience the greatest peace, joy, happiness, contentment, fulfillment, excitement, and just about any other positive adjective or adverb you can imagine. This is living.

Sadly, there is a fourth state. Hebrews warns us of this place so that we can avoid ever entering into it.

4. Aware and Uncommitted. There is great debate and heated arguing that goes on between Believers about eternal security and “backsliding” (or falling away). I’ll leave that for the zealots and scholars. I do think, regardless of whether you become un-saved or not, there is a place that one can drift, usually unintentionally, where after being Aware and Committed, you become Aware and Uncommitted. You still know the Truth. You still know God and His love for you. You still know the plans and purpose that God has for you. But, you walk away, lay it down, let it fade, … or any number of other metaphors which imply a step back from the commitment you once had.

I honestly feel that Stage 1 is a better place to be than Stage 4. At least there you have the benefit of not knowing. You also have the potential for being enlightened and moving toward Stage 3 and fulfill your life in God. I alluded to this passage earlier, but look at these verses:

Hebrews 6:4-9 (ESV) For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.

Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.

I do not share this to cause you to fear, or have doubts about your salvation. However, we need to remain sober and guard our hearts to prevent us from ever falling away from what God has done for us through Jesus. When you continue to seek Him more than you do any other thing there is little danger that you will fall away.

One of the best decisions Martha and I made to foster a healthy marriage relationship is the same advice I give to folks getting married. It is very simple, yet extremely profound at the same time. “If you never consider divorce an option, you will never get divorced.” Because I know that divorce is not an option it causes me to seek reconciliation. It causes me to put away pride. It creates an atmosphere for self-less living. I defer my desires to, instead, meet her needs.

How much more then, when we approach our relationship with God in a similar fashion, are overwhelmed by His lavish Love that He pours out to us. Let us purpose to live life Aware and Committed. We will find the best life available to us now, and in the one to come!