Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Your faith is only as strong as its object!"

Day #132

Scripture Reading:  Psalms 18 - 20 …

"GOD" …   Who is He?  What does it mean to BELIEVE in God?  I am continually reading in our local newspaper about people who claim to believe in “God,” but they don’t know the God who reveals Himself in His Word and who came to earth in His Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for sin on the cross.  In fact, they don’t talk about sin at all!  Instead, their focus is on man and what God can (and even SHOULD) do for us!! Their thoughts and words range from an "Interfaith" column written by the leader of an "interfaith institute" at a nearby university, promoting a deeper understanding of our unity as human beings, to an article advocating  bringing Jews and Christians together to worship (ignoring the fact that these Jews do not accept Jesus as their Messiah), to "insights" from a discussion among followers of various religions at a local pub, "where God, conversation and beer mingle."

Let me share a few quotes that I have read:

"We are all children of God, made in God's image.  We may not think alike or understand God in the same way, yet we are called to love each other.  That is the core of interfaith understanding."

"We must learn to respect each other and indeed love each other and strive for the flourishing of every child of God."

"It was like, 'Wow, they're accepting of it.'  And it's not about Jesus; it's all about praising God."  (Did you hear that??)

 "That's essentially what we're all trying to do - connect to the transcendent."

"After all, breweries lend themselves to long, open-ended conversations, and you don't get more open-ended than theology."

"It is tragic there are serious tensions among Hindus, Muslims and Christians in certain areas.  But it's important to note the reasons for this are clearly socio-political, NOT theological."

These people are being deceived and, like all who are being deceived, they don’t even realize it or imagine that it could be so. They completely fail to grasp the fact that it is irrational to claim to believe in Jesus, who says that He IS the Messiah, that He IS God in the flesh, and then deny that to be true!!!  The religions of the world are simply and totally the philosophies, the ideas, the theories of men in their darkened spiritual condition. To summarize the message:  "Pick your 'God.'  Or make your own.  It's OK … nobody knows for sure who, what or even IF God really is.  But we DO know we're all his (it's?) children … maybe.  Whoever or whatever 'God' is, we're just along for the ride and we'll all arrive at the same place eventually.  We think - we're pretty sure - we hope, it's NOT about Jesus; it's all about praising 'God' - who is he again?"

Compare this to the message of David in Psalms 18 - 20.  "I love you, O LORD, my strength" (18:1).  He calls the LORD, the great "I AM," his Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, Refuge, Shield, Horn of salvation and stronghold (18:2), who is "worthy of praise" (18:3).  David declares, "The LORD lives!  Praise be to my Rock!  Exalted be God my Savior!" (18:46).  It sounds as though David KNOWS this God of whom he speaks.  God had revealed Himself to David and David believed in God BECAUSE he knew Him.  Those who say they do not know God and tell others that they cannot know God “believe” in a fantasy.  They speak of what they do not know.  Why would anyone listen to them?

Psalm 19 begins by explaining HOW David knows Him:  "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  …  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard" (See Romans 1:18-20).  God is the Creator and every human being who has ever lived has seen the evidence of His majesty and power and wisdom.  And there's more.
God has revealed Himself in His Word:  Psalm 19:8-11 … in His law, statutes, precepts, commands and ordinances.  God is righteous, perfect, holy and just and reveals His will to His people.  "By them is Your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward" (18:11).  "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer" (19:14).  That is David's goal, as it is the goal of every true child of God who has been taught by His Spirit and who has put his or her trust in this one, true God.

Yes, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God" (20:7).  Is that true of you?  Do you know this God?  Do those you love and care about know Him?  Are you telling them?  The writer of Hebrews, inspired by the very Spirit of God, explains:  "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, through whom He made the universe" (Hebrews 1:1-2).  It is in knowing God and believing in Him that you have LIFE!

He goes on in Chapter 2 to warn that "we must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  For if the message spoken by angels was binding (the law and the prophets), and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?" (2:1-2).  Are you living by faith in God … this one and only true God who has revealed Himself through His Son Jesus Christ?  You see, it IS about Jesus, for He IS the Way and the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him" (John 14:6) … by FAITH in Jesus Christ.

All the other voices speak lies.  The Bible, God's Word, holds the only key to eternal life:  faith in our risen Lord and Savior, the eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ.  There is no other way.  All the efforts to "mix" the religions of our world today will bring only judgment upon those lost in the darkness of spiritual ignorance.  To all around us we must continue to declare, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!" (Acts 16:31) … "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven, given to men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

"Oh heavenly Father, our Rock and our Fortress, our Deliverer, our Savior, our Strength and our Shield, I praise You today for revealing Yourself to me, in Your creation and through Your Word and in Your Son Jesus Christ.  Help us who believe to be ambassadors of Your eternal kingdom, declaring the truth against the rising tide of apostasy, knowing that YOU are the object of our faith and that by Your strength, we shall not be moved!  In Jesus' name, Amen!"

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