Quick Update

First, an apology, I have not been posting much for the last couple months nor writing much, for those who are following God’s Word Is Life, I’m sorry. Just really busy with work and family.
Second, I promise to get back on the ball sharing encouragement, perspective, and biblical truth regarding life and recovery.
Third, a request. Please like, share, follow, and recommend both the Facebook page and the website godswordislife.com
Let’s get the message of renewal, hope, joy, and contentment to the world through the mercy and grace offered to us ALL through a relationship with our Creator Father through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus the Christ, and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Thank you all for your support!

Trifecta of Temptation

This message, given at Christian Baptist Church in Decatur, IL, focuses on the three biggest areas of temptation in the lives of Christians.

Eve was enticed, Jesus suffered temptation, and John the apostle warned his readers in 1 John 2:16 about the same three things.

The Trifecta of Temptation. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

How can we fight temptation? The same way Jesus did! With TRUTH!!!

 

H.O.W. It Works

I have said for many years, if someone, anyone, truly works the 12 steps they will come into a right understanding of a relationship with God and come to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. It doesn’t matter if they be atheist (as I once w claimed to be), agnostic, disillusioned, unchurched, oppressed, even other faiths, or worldviews. If we are totally honest, open-minded, and willing, to look at all the facts regarding creation, life, death, separation from God and its causes, our shortcomings, our relationships with others, and the claims that the Bible makes; we will become disciples of Jesus.

The keys to recovery, whether it be alcoholism, addiction of some sort, or anything the Scriptures frankly call sin, are Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness. The three points of the AA triangle within the circle represent these three ideals.

If we seek recovery and a relationship with God living out these three principles to their fullest, we will invariably come to the same conclusions. If we short ourselves on any one of them, we will end up hitting a wall. This wall may not cause us to relapse in recovery, but it will stunt our growth spiritually regardless. Let’s take a closer look at these three principles and see how they affect our lives and how they can guide us into all truth objectively.

First, honesty. Looking at ourselves, no matter how well put together an individual seems to be, if we are honest, we are all muffed up in many ways. We all have our shortcomings, our defects of character, the places we injure ourselves or others, the things we cover up, justify, or outright lie about, the places we miss the mark of whatever objective or subjective mark of perfection set for us by ourselves, our society, or our belief system. For some, these may be extreme and outwardly obvious. For others, they may be more subtle. If we look at our various cultures, communities, countries, and our world; we can really see just how muffed up we can get.

If we honestly take stock, the Bible has one word that describes all of this, sin. There are many lists throughout Scripture, but there are two that really sum up all the rest… whether you agree with specific items or not, I ask you to simply consider them.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9‭-‬10 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/1co.6.9-10.NET‬

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, idolatry, sorcery (getting high on drugs), hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!

Galatians 5:19‭-‬21 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/gal.5.19-21.NET‬

These two lists sum up very well everything that causes any and every kind of harm we can cause to ourselves and others. The Scriptures are clear in both respects, these things separate us from God both now and have eternal consequences.

You may ask, why should I believe anything the Bible has to say? Other than looking at the truth of just these previous couple paragraphs, if you are willing and open-minded enough to give the Bible a fair shake, See also the attached article by Charlie Campbell, 10 Evidences for the Bible.

10 evidences

There is a Creator. Sin has separated us from him. The Scriptures say this,

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.

Romans 1:18‭-‬20 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/rom.1.18-20.NET‬

If we can honestly accept there is really a problem here. Guess what… God has also provided a solution to the problem. Jesus.

Are you open-minded enough to hear about him? Are you open-minded enough to hear about a loving Creator Father that wants a relationship with us? Are you open-minded enough to read a book that through the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit was given to us to explain how glorious he really is and what he has done to have a relationship with us? Open-minded enough to hear how he has been working since creation to bring us, sinful, rebellious, imperfect human beings into a relationship with a perfect and holy God?
The Bible tells us…

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:16‭-‬19 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/jhn.3.16-19.NET‬

You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross! As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5‭-‬11 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/php.2.5-11.NET‬

because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.

Romans 10:9‭-‬10 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/rom.10.9-10.NET‬

If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:8‭-‬9 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/1jn.1.8-9.NET‬

If we are willing enough, we can break down all the barriers between us and God. If we are willing enough, we can bridge the gap. If we are willing enough, we can help others to do the same. We need to be willing to be open-minded. We need to be willing to honestly evaluate the facts and face the truth. We need to be willing to let go of ourselves and accept God on his terms, rather than making up our own.

Because of our sin, God sent his Son, Jesus, to live a perfect human life as God in the flesh. He died on the cross, convicted of crimes he did not commit as a holy sacrifice to make us right with God the Father, bridging the separation sin has caused. He rose from the dead, as both a symbol of his divinity and to raise all those who are willing to follow him into an eternal relationship with the Father and give us his Holy Spirit to live in and with us, so we can live in his image and show his sacrificial love to all the world.

Can you be honest enough to accept this truth about yourself and God? Are you open-minded enough to give all this information consideration or further your own search for the truth? Are you willing enough to do the hard work and soul searching to restore your relationship with God and follow Jesus?

Have faith, do good, show love, and do the next right thing!

May God bless you!

Agree with me…

It really doesn’t matter what side of an issue you stand on. Christian or not, you will find someone who has written something that will agree with or support what you have chosen to believe.

I was reflecting on this as I browsed the stacks of our public library while my youngest daughter was selecting books.

At one time you at least needed to be a published author, or be published in some magazine or peer review journal, in order for the world to read what you were trying to get out there. Even though it was nowhere near foolproof, most stuff that wasn’t valid or worth reading never made the mainstream. That is not true today. This blog is a case in point, although I think I have some pretty decent ideas and my thought processes are mostly valid. I don’t have thousands of followers and no publishing groups are beating down my door for my next book or article. (I submitted some poetry to a journal for a contest once and was rejected… oh well).

Back on point, today anyone who is anyone can find someone who will support their point of view – whether biblical or not, scientific or not, moral, ethical, legal – it doesn’t seem to matter. As long as someone agrees with your view, it doesn’t matter how subjective it may be; or twisted in logic or interpretation or method. As long as it has support, it must be fact. Truth is in the eye of the beholder, and fact is simply how many people you can get to agree to your point of view.

Regardless of objective truth, or scientific fact, one of my pet peeves when it comes to justifying sinful behavior is: I was born this way, it’s natural, or I am only human.
This doesn’t just apply to sexuality, although you find the arguments in that arena most often. It goes far beyond that.

In my case, I was genetically born with all the markers of an alcoholic (which can be proven). I was also genetically born with heterosexual desires. So I could use genetics as an excuse for addiction, drunkenness, and every type of sexual indiscretion with members of the opposite sex (all things the Bible calls sin). I could use nature to say that it is natural for a male to mate with as many females as possible, to propagate the species. Or, I could just say, “Well, I am only human,” or worse yet, “God made me this way.”
Instead, I find mercy, grace, and forgiveness at the cross. I stay clean and sober because God gave me the power to fight my afflictions. I remain faithful to my wife because I entered in to a covenanted marriage relationship with her, according to God’s design for a man to leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife becoming one flesh and forsaking all others. I strive to be the best man of God I can be.

Another example is men born with XYY chromosome, which are known to be a marker for violence, psychotic, and sociopathic tendencies. We pardon every rapist and murderer in our prison systems based on a genetic excuse, for those who qualify. They were born that way regardless of law and order. When judging rapists, we could take an example from nature. The most intelligent of marine mammals, dolphins, gang rape females to ensure pregnancy to propagate their species. Therefore, according to the laws of nature, why should rape be illegal or immoral in human society?

In nature not every species is monogamous, mating for life, so we could say it’s better to be like animals and for survival, propagate the species with a variety of mates to encourage diverse traits. Survival of the fittest.

Although there is still no concrete genetic evidence for homosexuality, I have known children that exhibited homosexual traits. By the time they are near adulthood (and other contributing factors of nurture, circumstance, psychology) they enter a lifestyle of same sex attraction. We could say, “We see homosexuality in certain apes, therefore it is also found in nature and therefore a natural desire.” That is true; however, it is used as a method of domination and submission in those apes, and has nothing to do with pleasure, love, lust, or attraction.

With so many voices, to which voices should we listen? As human beings, with our selfish natures, we tend to hear the voices we want to hear! We tend to find the opinion that matches our own, makes us most comfortable, allows us to fulfill our own desires and that justifies our behavior. We want to hear the voice that makes our choices right, acceptable and natural, that follows the path of least resistance – not the voice that challenges or convinces us to change or yield.

We all have choice! It was given to us as a precious gift of God called free will! Our first ancestors used the power of choice against God’s original design, which has corrupted our very natures, our very DNA. The further from the original choice we get, the more imperfect our nature has become. Call it genetic decay, if you like. The Bible simply calls it sin – our imperfection missing the standard set by the Perfect Creator.

To say God made me this way, he made me to sin, is a terrible and egregious lie. Our sin nature that we are born with, along with genetic decay (original sin), has made us this way. My alcoholism, addiction, desire for women not my wife, bipolar depression are all the result of genetic decay, with an emphasis on my own personal choices to indulge in those things rather than the things of God.

I have found a large measure of relief from bondage to self though God. My God sent his one and only Son to die in my place – for my genetic decay and my willful choices (sin)- so that I can have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. By agreeing with God that those ‘natural’ tendencies are truly unnatural and go against his divine will and standard (confession), and by asking for forgiveness and intentionally turning from those things toward the direction he wants me life to go (repentance), I find victory over them (salvation).

It is sometimes a struggle to put him first and my fellow man next, and myself last. To choose to live according to the objective and divine standard that He has set down in his Word rather than my own, or at least the subjective ones that agree with how I would want things to be.

I was born imperfect. We all were and will continue to be. However, I will not take pride in my imperfection! I will not celebrate my independence from the standards God has set down! God did not make me how I was.

Through his mercy and grace, I am reborn! I am made new! I am being conformed to the image of His Son, as our original ancestors were created to be in His image. Through Jesus Christ, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the love of my Heavenly Father, I am being remade into how I should be, not what comes “naturally!”

His love extends to all his creation! He desires all to come to him in repentance and to seek his forgiveness! He sacrificed his Son to make that possible!

No matter what our particular tendency toward sin is, no matter how we were born, no matter what we have done…

He wants us to be reborn in a relationship with HIM!