The Word has been preached.

The Gospel is the biblical account of the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This most commonly refers to the the first 4 books of the New Testament: Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. These books pretty much sum up Jesus Christ’s message for humanity and presents the scriptural basis for the religion of Christianity.

The word of God, in the form of the teachings of the Bible, has been around for thousands of years. Many non-believers use this fact to justify their position that the Bible is an ancient text that no longer is applicable to modern times. Most Christian believers however can attest that the Bible is a living document which provides spiritual wisdom to those who seek it with an earnest heart.

This difference of opinion, as well as the folly of the former, is exemplified by the following scripture:

Luke 16:19-31New King James Version (NKJV)

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell[a] from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”

This scripture tells many very important messages.

The first being that the rich man had a good life. He was well dressed, had a nice home and ate well. However, right at the gate of his home lived a poor , sick beggar. The rich man had to have passed by this poor wretch every time he walked into or out of his property and yet there is no mention of any compassion being shown to the beggar by the rich man. In fact, the story goes on to say that the beggar was living off the crumbs of the rich man’s household and that the beggar was comforted by dogs.

When both these men died, their roles were reversed. The rich man was in the torment of Hades and the beggar was in Heaven being comforted by the Patriarch Abraham. At this point, it would seem that the story is an example of the biblical adage: ” you reap what you sow”, in other words, the rich man mistreated his fellow man and as such was in hell, and the humble beggar was paid for the miseries that he suffered in his life by being rewarded with heaven.

However, there are many deeper messages as the chapter continues.  The rich man wanted the beggar to be sent to him so that he may give him a drop of water to drink and Abraham told him that he had it good when he was alive and Lazarus, the beggar, had it rough and so now he had to deal with it. More importantly Abraham stressed that once you were where you ended up after death, it was forever and you could not go from one side to the other. How you live your life will determine your eternity.

Next the rich man wanted Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers to warn them to change their ways so that they would not end up like him. Abraham’s answer was that they already have sufficient information to make the right choice ( Moses and the prophets), basically the word of God.

Finally, the rich man said that they would believe it more if they saw someone resurrected, to which Abraham replied that if they aren’t convinced by the word of God, neither will they be convinced by a resurrected being.

This final message is a reminder for us today that we have the word of God ( the Bible), we have televangelists, we have bible radio shows, we have all the information about Christ available at our fingertips via the internet, thousands of Christian churches, missionaries and street preachers and we have the resurrected Christ Jesus! Yet with all this, there are still many people who are not convinced that God is real, Christ is His son, The Holy Spirit is our helper to lead us and guide us into all truth, that Jesus died on the cross to pay the final blood price for all our sins, that He was resurrected on the third day and finally, that he will come again in glory to collect those who believed and accepted His gift of salvation and to judge the living and the dead.

Please don’t make the same mistake as that rich man. He messed up so bad that his name is not even recorded in the bible. The poor beggar Lazarus however is mentioned by name and won eternal life by believing the word of God.  You can too.

The Christian Missionary

Mark 16:15

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

Everyone has heard of missionaries. People who leave their homes and travel to foreign, and many times, dangerous lands to face hardship, hostile natives and repressive governments. Missionaries often live in third world countries, working with the poorest of the poor. They place themselves and oftentimes their families at risk of catching exotic illnesses or even being hurt or killed by criminals.

Matthew 28:19-20

Why do they do it? Why not just serve God and preach the gospel in the safe confines of their native countries? Why face the prejudice and sometimes outright hatred that may be directed towards them by the very people who they are trying to “save”?

1 Timothy 4:12

Some missionaries dedicate their entire lives to serving the Lord through preaching the gospel in different countries. Others go on one or two missions that can last a week, a month or even a few years. Each are led by the Holy Spirit to fulfill their calling into the mission field.

Romans 2:6-16

Not everyone is cut out to deal with the heat, or the cold, or of the many other multitude of discomforts required to fill this labor of love. It really is a calling.

Luke 18:29-30

Ask God if serving on a mission is right for you. The spiritual blessings are many but it is also a lot of work.

The big question a prospective missionary needs to ask him or herself is:  are you ready?

Praise and Worship

I woke up this morning with a new song on my lips. I quickly wrote it down so as not to forget it. I hope to sing it at church soon. This may sound prideful but it really isn’t. I have an awful voice and am not a good singer. I hope to sing it so that others can sing it with me and in that group, there are sure to be better singers than myself. In this way I both praise and worship the Lord.

As a Christian, you will often hear the terms praise and worship used together or interchangeably. This is no big deal as long as that person knows that the two words have separate and distinct meanings.

When you praise the Lord it is an expression of your love and awe of Him through song, dance, music etc. It is a temporary state where you are actively engaged in these forms of expression. Praise can be given to another person, or a dog that has performed a trick well or has become housebroken.

Psalm 150

You can praise the Lord all day long but it is usually difficult to do this if all you do is praise Him in artistic means. After all, you have to do other things than only singing and dancing etc… all day long. Your attention is then divided and you are only halfway focused on the act of praising the Lord. Going to church and singing in the choir does not make you saved just like sitting in a garage making vroom vroom noises does not make you a car.

Matthew 7:21-23

In order to truly worship the Lord, you have to also live your life in a way that is pleasing to God. Worship is a visceral act. It come from within and directs your action in everything you do. Your love of God is the motivator to worship Him. Praise is a form of worship, but only when that praise is directed to the Lord Most High.

John 4:24

There is a good explanation about the difference between praise and worship here.

We worship God everyday, all day, by showing Christ’s love and compassion to our fellow man. We worship God everyday when we devote ourselves to spreading the gospel and bringing more people into the kingdom of God by getting them saved. We worship God through our example which is based on our Heavenly Father’s mercy.

Psalm 95:1-6

1 Peter 4:7

We also worship God when we go about God’s business in a serious, purposeful manner. Not being slothful and finishing what we start so that we may see the fruit of our labors. We reap what we sow but we have to remember to sow so that we may reap.

Hebrews 10:25

The best musician in the world playing the most beautiful song ever written, cannot compare to an orchestra composed of the best musicians in the world playing that same song. In like manner, we as Christians are called to assemble so that we may praise and worship together and like a symphony, may our prayers be carried up in our mutual reverence and adoration. The Lord of All Creation is pleased to hear our praise in unison. Through our praise may He extend to us His limitless mercies and grant us our supplications.

So my brethren, let your walk be led by the light of Jesus Christ and may your lips forever be full of praise of the Lord Most High. Worship the Lord in all that you do and you will never be led astray.

New year, New beginnings.

Happy New Year!

How many times did you say or write this phrase over the last few days?

What did you mean when you wished someone a happy new year? Was your heart wishing them well in the upcoming new year? If you did not include a wish that they grow closer to God this year then you missed out on blessing them thoroughly.

2 Corinthians 5:17

The new year  gives us all the opportunity to start fresh in all aspects of our lives. The idea that the old year, with all it’s trials and tribulations has passed away and we now have greater knowledge and wisdom to deal with this years ups and downs is refreshing. However, if we fail to use this opportunity to renew our commitment to The Lord, we may not enter into our true blessing for this new year.

Jeremiah 29:11

When you trust in the Lord and give Him your heart, it frees your mind and allows you to live day by day instead of constantly worrying about the future.

Isaiah 43:18-19

If you allow the Lord to take control of your life, you will be blessed. Not only with the peace that passes all understanding. This peace comes from the assurance that if you are living your life as a testimony to God, no matter what happens, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings is in charge.

Matthew 5:16

Not only will your new commitment to serve the Lord give you peace, your accelerated spiritual growth will give you greater insight into all aspects of your life. Problems which without God may have seemed insurmountable, will become more easily solvable or inconsequential once you have Jesus in your heart.

Romans 13:11-13

Hebrews 10:24-25

I’m sure that you may have made a few new year’s resolutions these past few days. Please make sure to add the most important one of all: a commitment to greater spiritual growth through improved dedication to God.

2 Peter 1:3-10