Paul writing to the Ephesian church said, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”(1:17-19) I can say this is also my prayer for all of you, and, I believe, the prayer that every serious pastor prays for those the Lord has given him. It is really a prayer that I pray for myself as well. That the eyes of our hearts might be opened more and more to the real presence of God working in our daily lives. We do not serve a God who is far off or unconcerned. He is God with us, God of wisdom and strength sufficient for all of our needs. He is God at hand to be worshiped and praised. He is our redeeming God who has called us to Himself. May the eyes of your heart be opened more and more to see Him.
“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”(Genesis 1:31) When we read the account in Genesis of the time of creation before the first rebellion, there was nothing but beauty and harmony. There was peace between man and his world, between man and woman, and between man and his God. It was the rebellion from God’s good that has brought trial, discord, and marred the beauty of God’s world. Yet, God is still good, and wants good for this fallen creation. It is why He came among us. The amazing truth of our good God is that He cared so much for His created beings that He got down in the mud with us so He could lead us back to His good life. God became man in Jesus Christ, a truth even more amazing than the creation itself. In Jesus Christ we have forgiveness, cleansing, and a new life. We are recreated in Jesus.
Some scientists are working on technologies related to human longevity. Some have declared that Immortality may not be a reality yet, but rapidly evolving technology is making it more realistic. Scientists are expecting a tremendous transformation in health and medicine in the next 10 to 20 years. Honestly, I weep at such a report, and they are not tears of joy. It is absolute humanism and paganism akin to the Tower of Babel recorded in Genesis 11. It is a complete lack of understanding of both man and God. I am certainly not opposed to healing diseases, but the emphasis on human longevity denies the truth of our faith in Christ. In Jesus Christ we have the promise of eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Physical death is simply a step over into a perfect kingdom without sin. There is the key. Any human kingdom or society that men make will be one with the same fallen and corrupt natures, even if people have a 1000 years of life. All they gain is more time to exercise that corrupt nature. God calls us to life, true life in a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is an unending life more beautiful than anything we could possible conceive.
A recent issue of Time magazine had an article on a medical procedure for freezing a young woman’s eggs so that they can be fertilized and re-implanted at a later age when she is ready to have children. The woman in the article is quoted as saying “I just don’t want to suffer any consequences for being ambitious in my 20s.” That is a very telling remark covering a whole number of areas in our modern era. Particularly, areas related to our sexuality. We want to have our way without having to face any consequences for our decisions. Scripture refers to this as idolatry. The tragedy is that this young woman, and millions like her, don’t know there is a different way. Since we, society as a whole, have long ago abandoned any absolute moral values by which we are governed, especially values given by God who alone determines all that is right or wrong, we have freed ourselves to do whatever seems right in our own eyes. Above all we don’t want consequences for our choices. But there are consequences. Paul wrote to the Galatian church, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction;…”(6:7-8) We are seeing that reaping in many areas of our world. There are consequences, but there is an alternative. God continually calls us to turn and repent. He can heal and change lives for any who are willing to humble themselves before Him. Paul completes that eighth verse in Galatians with the assurance that “whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
There has been another mass shooting, this time in a crowded movie theater. It will undoubtedly lead to more calls for gun control, stricter law enforcement, and more security measures. None of which will make much difference. The problem is not external with more controls. It is internal in the hearts of men. We are not going to fix hearts by more laws. When are we going to turn our faces back to our Lord for help? To fall on our faces before Him and cry for mercy? In the last Good Morning message I quoted from Jeremiah 6:16 about the Lord admonition to seek out the ancient paths and find His good way. Tragically, the immediate response of the people came. “But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.'” Within a few years of their stubborn answer the nation was destroyed, and the people were carried off into captivity. Must that happen to us before we are willing to turn? The problem is not out there with something we can fix in our society. It is in our hearts, and there is only One who has the power to touch and change hearts, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Joshua chapter 4 twelve men, one for each of Israel’s tribes, are commanded to take a stone from the midst of the Jordan River that the people had just cross on dry ground. They were to set the stones up as a monument so the people would remember what the Lord had done for them there. Monuments are important. Our nation’s capital is filled with monuments, reminders of past sacrifices made for our well being, doctrines upon which our nation was founded, truths that have been the foundation of our society. There are monuments all over this land to battles fought, and leaders who have wisely guided us during difficult times. All of these caution us to remember, remember, remember our foundations. Even more than this, our Scriptures remind us of the hand of our God who has worked through thousands of years to give us life, and bring us to Himself. Numerous verses admonish us not to forget all that the Lord has done, and the guidance He gives for our right path in life. Tragically, we are in a time of forgetting. We’ve become ignorant of His paths, and rewritten His laws to suit our own pleasures. We need to hear, if we can, God’s words through Jeremiah, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”(6:16) Can we remember?
The shortest psalm among all of the 150 in the Book of Psalms is number 117. “Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.” Only two verses but the greatest of expressions that if truly followed by all nations would reveal the greatest measure of God’s grace upon all peoples. The word LORD in capitals is the word Yah in Hebrew, the one true God, the creator of the heavens and the earth. It is before Him that we are all called to humbly bow. It is this God who loves us, and has shown us His faithfulness through out our lives. It is this God who has worked through all the centuries since creation to form a people for a living and eternal relationship with Himself. It is this God, our God, who has shown Himself faithful even in the midst of our unfaithfulness. It is this God who is the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier of all mankind. Our God is worthy of all praise. Praise the Lord.