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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Consider the Orphan and Fatherless Children


Job 29:12 (KJV)
Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. 


A story made popular in the news caught my eye. 

It speaks of a young man who cried in church for a family... he wanted to be adopted. There was a lot of attention, a media frenzy, as well as an out pouring of offers of adoption from individuals across the country. 
Reference: Lane DeGregory, Tampa Bay Times 

Now all of this is fine and dandy, but it still boils down to a lot of "Hoop-La." My questions are these...



Where was the attention or the offers before his plea became public? 



Why does the media (in general) wait for angles and public appeal before jumping on the bandwagon? 

 Why do we generally wait on the media?  



While I might be willing to give a pass to the media as an institution, I can not give a pass to the individual, especially not to those who follow Christ.

Everyday, as we go about our hustle and bustle, there are a countless number of children who languish without notice in the adoption system. For the most part we only recognize their existence on those occasions, such as this one, that spring to our attention in the news media. And in our attention - we seem quite comfortable in allowing ourselves not to notice or acknowledge their presence. 





America boasts of a Christian Heritage, something that is also being debated in recent times. For the sake of argument, lets say that "We Are" a nation of Christians. If Christian, then we are failing. We've failed because we have dropped the ball on the poor, the fatherless, and those that have none to help them. 


In private it's easy to say things like...

 It's not my fault.  
It's not my problem.  
It's none of my business.
They're not my children. 


All of these are excuses. They're excuses... being offered to justify an individual's lack of humanity. This is even more profoundly true of anyone, who, insists on being identified as Christian. 

Why are we so afraid to practice righteousness and perform those acts of kindness that we know to be good? 



Psalm 82:3 (KJV)
Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. 

















To be fare, I know full well that not every person is in a position to accommodate a full scale adoption, I don't expect everybody to be. However, you still can't excuse that fact that there are way too many who are able, but don't lift a finger. There are Christians who possess the resources, both financial and logistic, and in a lot of cases the mental fortitude necessary. What they lack is commitment. It is to them that I offer this debunking of the excuses mentioned earlier. Hopefully my expansion will give us all some things to consider from a spiritual perspective. Maybe a few of us can find the encouragement to go further in committing to those who are hurting... "Our Children."  


Psalm 71:17-18 (KJV)
O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.
Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. 





It's not my fault.

Oh really, are we really going to try an hide behind this as an excuse? It's not about finding fault, it's not a blame game. OK. so you didn't do anything to bring about the conditions or circumstances that went into this tragic outcome... that may be true. Still, I don't think it fully lets you off the hook. If we are aware of conditions and circumstances that carry the potential for harm, can we comfortably turn our heads and ignore them? While we may view this as far removed and not affecting us personally, it still affects someone. Someone is hurting and feeling pain. What happened to the simple values of compassion, a quality known to be a part of Christ's character. Should it not also be the character of all who would be "Christ Follows?" 



Lamentations 3:32-33 (KJV)
But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

 



It's not my problem.

Poison in the Kool-aid is a problem. The fact that you're not drinking it might make it slightly less of a problem for you... but it's still a problem. The world we live in, our world, comes with its own set of problems. Problems that present themselves in our lifetime, that makes them "Our Problems." They are a problem for the whole of mankind, and neglecting them only passes them on to a new generation in addition to the set of problems that will come to that generation in their time. Stop for a moment and consider what we presently face. Everything from "Global Warming" to "World Hunger", these issues exist because others passed the buck in neglecting them. Issues that go unresolved only fester and become worse.  



Philippians 2:14-15 (KJV)
Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 







It's none of my business. 

Happiness is a joint project. More so, Jesus Himself desired that our joy be full. How can we truly be happy when those around us are miserable? Everybody has needs, and among those needs are those which can not be supplied by the person in need. In addition to the need itself, they need assistance. Making life better is the business of us all, and we need to get busy making the effort. It will require cooperation because no one person is quite up to the task alone. 


Luke 2:49 (KJV)
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 







They're not my children. 

Careful, I wouldn't be so quick to hold such a rigid point of view! We belong to the "Race of Man" and all children are the children of men. We may not have brought them into the world physically, but they are the only children we will experience during our lifetime... that alone gives us responsibility concerning them. They will grow up, live in our communities, become our neighbors, our co-workers, our good citizens, or the criminal element that we abhor. Whatever they become depends on how we regard them now. As Christians we have been charged with training them in the way they should go. With supplying them with the value of godly principles and the understanding of "God's Will." All of this not withstanding, children still fall under the banner of those included in the "Great Commission" carrying the potential to become a "Child of God." Do we really want to ignore a member of God's family by not including them in our own? 


Mark 10:14 (KJV)
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.



In closing I encourage us all to consider that Our God is a merciful God. He takes up the cause of the neglected and forgotten, always seeking the lost. His favor is with His servants, those that take up "His Righteous Cause." I urge you to remember that as "Followers of Christ", we serve Him and not our own agendas or desires. Let us therefore be diligent, making an effort to ease the pain of those who are hurting... "Especially the Children." 


For a better understanding of Christian Character and being a Disciple with the Love of God... 
Read my book "The Jesus Command." 




Blessings
Matt. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Most Important Celebration





Twice each year Christians celebrate dates associated with events in the life of Christ. The significance of these events remains a key foundation for Christianity. The birth of our savior would be made meaningless had not the second event occurred. It is the most important single event in all of history.


Three days, mark for all mankind, an unparalleled turning point in the universal order. The death, and resurrection of Jesus, changed the status of man and his relationship to God forever. Without this, Christ would be nothing more than another holy man. With it, we have a believable assurance toward the gift of salvation. All men can be drawn unto Him because He was lifted up. The price for sin has been paid, once and for all; death has lost its sting. No longer is it necessary to make sacrifice to atone for sin; Christ is our atonement. He has done what no mere man could ever do; being the unblemished sacrifice, perfect in every way.


To help understand the real essence of what took place, I am sharing these posts of early essays, written back when I first started my public writing. They still hold my feelings and have meaning for this celebration of Christ's Resurrection.


The Gift (April 15, 2006)





John the Baptist was in prison, and probably knew that he was going to die. He had preached the news of Jesus, that he would come to set things right, The New King. This same Jesus didn't seem to have an army. Instead He hung out with the poor, the lepers, and other publicans. Having doubts he sent his disciples to get some answers. When asked about it Jesus gave simple instructions “Go and tell him what you have seen." We must all keep in mind that often times we won't receive what we expect. However; what we do get is a hundredfold better than what we need. Jesus came into the world at the Will of the Father. His very life was an act of LOVE, and a benefit for all mankind. The death and resurrection of Christ was necessary for forgiveness. Had judgment been rendered with the first coming, all mankind would have been lost. "For all have sinned", so who could have been saved. Jesus died so that we might live. The power of His Holy blood and it alone gives us the chance at redemption. It was not the power and might, that John the Baptist sought, but the humility, in the selfless act of sacrifice. This was the unexpected gift of LOVE that was, and is the most powerful gift of all. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)


As we attend service, Spend time with our families, or otherwise celebrate this time... I urge you to reflect on what a great and personal gift was given us by Jesus Christ, with this life changing event.


Reason (July 6, 2006)






Genesis 3:6-7 (NIV)
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.




Selfish... or selfless, it's a question of position. Which position a person takes is one thing, but which one they hold is another ball of wax. The word desire is introduced at the very start in the story of man. God imparted it as part of man's original package. In the beginning our desires were led by God. We followed His will and all our desire was good. The free will of man had the influence of God, who could only instill righteousness. As a result of this, man's will and the will of God, were one and the same. There was perfect fellowship. God's plan for our lives was always to give us and allow us the very best. In the beginning our choice was focused on His perfect will.


One of the tools of Satan, used in spiritual warfare is temptation. It is probably his most effective and most often used. We see above that it was the one used in the fall of man. Temptation was used to corrupt the will and desire of man. Satan only had to play with the desire that was already in place. Once the fruit had been eaten, the perfect influence of God was no longer the only voice that man would hear. The groundwork for ongoing temptation, or evil desire had been set. Satan, looking to rob us of our focus, found a way to corrupt God's plan. He added to our ability to choose. With his deception we had to contend with reason, long before we were ever ready to handle it. Every time we make a choice we try to attach reason to the choice we make. Even when it's a bad choice we want to justify it. Reason for us is really confusion. We need the wisdom of God, and the help of the Holy Spirit, in order to obtain righteousness. This is the key to salvation, to accept Christ as a savior. Without Him in our lives, to strengthen our commitment to His will... we fall back on our reason. Remember, most reasons are nothing but dressed up excuses. It's like this, when He comes what you will stand on... His righteousness... or your reason!!






Jesus knew the power of man's desire as well as what would result if we were left to the temptations of Satan. In His example of prayer, He teaches us to ask our Father in Heaven: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil..." Jesus knew that the evil temptations of Satan would come to influence our power of desire.


John 17:15 (NIV)
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.



There are some very good reasons for staying in this world, for one there are others that must hear the message of Christ's salvation. Those who follow Christ and bring that message must learn to resist the evil one. This corrupt place is the best training ground for both Satan's tactics and following the direction of the Holy Spirit.


All is not lost, for God is still in control. Satan corrupted man, not God! We were redeemed and given the gift of salvation, if we only believe. To believe in Christ is to trust in his Word. After all, Jesus is the Word. When we study His word... and I do mean study, we learn to hear and recognize His voice again. As in any relationship, choice of involvement is key. You must want and desire to be there. If you make wanting a relationship with God... YOUR REASON... you have the best choice possible. This is what reconciliation to the fellowship of God through Christ Jesus is all about. Things can be restored as they were in the beginning.


John 3:16-19 (NIV)"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.


It all comes down to your reasons behind the God given power of desire that you have. What will be your choice? God Himself is asking the question... think hard about your answer.







1 John 5:18 (NIV)
We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.

1 John 5:19 (NIV)
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.



I hope and pray each and every day that you all find "GOOD REASON" to choose life. It's in the Will of God.... found in His Word. Your place in eternity should be all the "REASON" that you need.


Blessings,
Matt.

Monday, March 16, 2015

An Ending World


Don't let the title of this video fool you...
The message is on point.






The world we live in is riddled with trouble.
Pick up a paper or turn on the news.
I refer you to these sources because people find them easier to relate to.
They're generally looked at more so than the Biblical source.


Anybody that has payed attention to the Bible should not be surprised at the descending state of affairs.
The Prophets, the Apostles, and even Jesus Himself; all foretold that this would be the case.


What surprises me is how we generally discount the Bible and its warnings and then chalk it up as coincidence when reality confirms its truths.


Whether you accept the scriptures or not, it has to be clear to all that things are bad...
and they don't have a real favorable conclusion that we can see.
You'd really have to be well connected and privileged to some serious perks in order to be comfortable
and fully at ease with conditions the way they are.


Anybody that has hope for a better tomorrow must concede that this present day and age has to end.




2 Peter 3:13 (KJV)
Nevertheless we, according to his promise,
look for new heavens and a new earth,
wherein dwelleth righteousness. 


For a better understanding of the character of a Disciple and the Love of God... 
Read my book "The Jesus Command." 


Blessings
Matt.



When I was a boy in my father's house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, "Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
(Proverbs)

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Galatians 6:10 (NIV)

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