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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I can’t get no satisfaction

Back in the 60's one of the big hit songs was, "I can't get no satisfaction," by the group called "The Rolling Stones". It spoke to the constant battle and failure in life to find satisfaction by doing what society expects you to do. Many of us "baby boomers" grew up listening to this music. Many embraced the philosophy of rejecting social norms or socially accepted concepts of right behavior. Today we live in a world where the accepted thing is to just "do your own thing," or "just do whatever makes you happy".

Sadly, this idea has penetrated the minds of many of those who are trying to "find God" or "worship God in their own way". The problem is that though our society may have been bent enough to allow folks to do pretty much whatever they want and still be accepted, God doesn't.

You might be inclined to ask, "What gives you the right to make such a statement?" "Who made you the judge of the world?" My answer is that no one made me the judge of you, it always has been and always will be God that judges. Jesus himself said, (if you accept Jesus as authority in religious matters), in John 12:47-52, "If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say." (NIV)

You see somewhere in life many have been convinced that "as long as you love God, you can pretty much do whatever you want and still be acceptable to him". Yet, Jesus said, "If you don't do what I have said you will be condemned". The apostle John shared these words with us in 1 John 5:3, "Loving God means keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome".


So, are you looking for satisfaction? Have you tried looking more closely at what God asks of you? Read the Psalms and see what the writers equate with joy and happiness. You'll find it is having a real relationship with God, not just a nodding acquaintance.

--Russ Lawson

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Equal rights ordinance is heating up in Houston, Texas

Politics and Religion

(Houston, TX, October 2014) "The battle over a controversial equal rights
ordinance is heating up in Houston, Texas, with revelations that the city
has subpoenaed church sermons, among other documentation, from five local
faith leaders.

Officials have requested that these preachers deliver communications that
have focused on homosexuality or the contentious equal rights ordinance,
which these individuals have fervently opposed.

The subpoenas, which were issued last month, seek, "all speeches,
presentations, or sermons related to the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker,
homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or
approved by you or in your possession," according to the Houston Chronicle."
(Theblaze.com)

This is Satan continuing to chip away at our Christian Freedoms. Just a
couple of years ago I urged the members of our church to contact the leaders
in government regarding the "Hate Speech" bill that was being proposed. This
bill was passed and can be used against ministers who choose to speak out
against the sins of our nation practiced by many. Sadly; many in world and
our churches ridiculed the idea as foolish to think that the government
would try to hinder what teaching takes place in our churches. They were
wrong! I believe the following quote describes the problem well:

"Our society is still trying to answer the question, do politics and
religion mix? The first amendment of the United States Constitution reads,
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion nor
prohibit the free exercise thereof." What the first amendment is saying is
that government should stay out of religion, but religious people can
exercise their faith in the influence of public policy.

Over the past fifty years, lawmakers have misinterpreted the Constitution.
We've majored in the first part of the amendment while abandoning the second
part, and in doing so, we have disenfranchised the gospel, politically,
socially, judicially, and culturally. Like a sponge with the water squeezed
out, ours is a society with Jesus squeezed out, and we are living in a
fifty-year experiment of building a nation without God. No prayer. No Ten
Commandments. No sermon at graduation. No Sabbath. No respect for marriage.

Those things may be contributing to factors to some of today's problems: We
have massive teen drug abuse, school shooting sprees, and an adolescent
suicide rate up 350 percent since 1960. It's time to ask, cannot politics
and religion mix?" (Stephen M. Crotts)

It's time that we understand the importance of God's Word once again. It's
time for us to stand and be counted and call into account those who govern
us. Jesus said this in John 12:47-50 "If anyone hears my words but does
not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the
world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me
and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them
at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me
commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to
eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say."

Russ Lawson - Messages From The Heart
Blog: http://messages-from.blogspot.com

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

FW: Not So Fast

I think Steve Higginbotham is a great writer. I enjoy reading his weekly
devotional e-mails called, MercEmail. You can read his latest articles -
along with other good study material - and subscribe to his MercEmail list
at www.preachinghelp.org

Earlier this week, Steve sent out another MercEmail entitled, "Not So Fast."
He shared a story and made a splendid application about the dangers of
jumping to conclusions too quickly.

About an hour after Steve sent this latest edition, he followed it up with
another e-mail to all of his subscribers. Here is part of the content of
the message:

Well, I did it again. Why is it that every time you make fail to proofread
your articles, you see the mistakes about 2 seconds after you hit the "Send"
button?

It's not that I know grammar, for I religiously follow the following ten
rules in my writing.

1. Don't use no double negatives.
2. Make each pronoun agree with their antecedent.
3. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
4. Don't use commas, which aren't necessary.
5. Try not to ever split infinitives.
6. Always use apostrophe's correctly.
7. Don't write run-on sentences they are hard to read.
8. Corect speling is esential.
9. Mixed metaphors are a pain in the neck and should be thrown in the lake.
10. Unnecessary use of the word "that" is a mistake that many people make.

So you see, it's not a matter of knowledge, just a matter of performance.
Sorry about that! :-)

Then Steve included a revised edition of the article in the remainder of his
e-mail.

As you began reading his list of rules, did you immediately note the
problems in grammar, punctuation, and spelling? Of course, we realize he
was making a point in a humorous way. What a clever way of demonstrating
some of the rules of English by also showing the ways that the rules are
broken!

Yet, perhaps we need to understand another lesson: we ALL make mistakes!
Despite our best efforts, we mess up. "For all have sinned and fall short
of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

But God still loves us. In fact, "God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Because Jesus died for us, we can have forgiveness for our sins and receive
the gift of eternal life.

God will grant forgiveness and give the gift of eternal life to those who
place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in
repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are
baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse those who
continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).

Before we start pointing out the mistakes of others, stop and think. Not so
fast! Remember, we ALL make mistakes and we ALL need to submit our lives to
the Savior so that we can be forgiven.

Won't YOU?

David A. Sargent
www.purevolume.com/listeners/howtobesaved 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sticking your fingers in your ears

STICKING YOUR FINGERS IN YOUR EARS

I ran across an interesting translation of an old scripture this week that
stuck in my mind. The version you may be more familiar with is this one:
"But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped
their ears that they should not hear."(V11)

Here is the modern translation: "Your ancestors refused to listen to this
message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to
keep from hearing. They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could
not hear the instructions or the messages that the LORD of Heaven's Armies."
Zechariah 7:11-12 (NLT)

I can imagine a spoiled child (or adult), sticking there fingers in their
ears and saying, "Nah.. Nah. Nah. I can't hear you". I understand that we
may not actually do those things, but how often do we hear something from
God's Word and decide we don't like it, so we won't do it? Maybe it's a
"silent rebellion."

I read about an old Japanese legend that tells of a man who died and went to
heaven. Heaven was beautiful full of lush gardens and glittering mansions.
But then the man came to a room lined with shelves. On the shelves were
stacked piles of human ears! A heavenly guide explained that these ears
belonged to all the people on earth who listened each week to the word of
God, but never acted on God's teachings. Their worship never resulted in
action. When these people died, therefore, only their ears ended up in
heaven.

All throughout my years of ministry I have continually encouraged people to
not only hear the Words of God, but to respond to those words with a changed
life. To do the things in this life God expects of a Christian. Too many
enjoy coming "to church," but then forget why they came. They hear the
words, but refuse to register them as something actually being required of
them in this life. They have put their fingers in their ears and have
"selective hearing" as far as responding to what is required by God.

I have shared many times the story of meeting a man and having a bible
discussion regarding a point on which we disagreed. I opened the bible and
pointed out a scripture that (in my mind) clearly stated the truth regarding
the subject. I asked the man what he thought and his response was, "I don't
know what it means, but it doesn't mean what it says." (Did I mention that
this man was a minister also?) To me it seemed as if he had stuck his
fingers in his ears and refused to listen to God speaking to him.

You see, sticking your fingers in your ears in not the answer, digging
deeper into the Word of God is! Here is how we should and must respond; in
Act 17:11 we read: "Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than
those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness
and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

Might I suggest using your fingers to turn the pages in your Bible, rather
than stop up your ears!

Russ Lawson

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