Thursday, August 1, 2013

There is None Other

Romans 3:10-18 - As it is written:
There is none righteous, no, not one; 
There is none who understands; 
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit;
The poison of asps is under their lips; 
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace they have not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.

These Words came from God, not me.

I watched a short video today. So often I read or view things, listen to other people speak and relate so well with what they said and wish I had been able to come up with the same words. I may have said similar things in my own way, but another way seemed better.

First of all, might I just add that no matter what I say, the Bible says it better! If posted only scripture, it would be better. Because it is alive and speaks of truth.

But I digress. The video was about a woman dying of cancer with only weeks left to live and she spoke at a function to tell her story. We all have one, you know. We all have some history…abuse, prostitution, alcoholism, abortion, drugs, anger issues, theft, murder…the list can go on for a very long time but you get the point. Her point was this: we are all sinners, we all need salvation. She was dying and God did not spare her. But as she was preparing to die she had a message to share that others would find peace, hope and comfort, as she had. One seed that has died, when planted firmly in the ground, bears many more plants and many more seeds. This was her intention.

We are all born into this world into sin. There's no getting away from it. It's the way of the life in the flesh. It doesn't matter how good a life we try to live, how much we do for others, how much we donate to worthy charities, we are all filled with sin. It's human nature.

There is a way to change our nature. This involves some sort of death within us. At any stage of life we can find out or have heard what how to go about this. Perhaps some don't at first get it; some will reject it; some will take it and go with it. It's what we do when we hear that truly matters. It takes us from our fleshly nature and causes us to have a spiritual nature. Oh, we still do things in the flesh. It will always be something we have to fight.

Like I said, there is a way to change. I can tell you that I'd heard a couple of times how to make this change but the first time I went only through motions because I felt obligated to. I had ignored the whole evening by the time things were over. Many years later thoughts and yearnings were beginning to emerge which I didn't quite understand. And finally the day arrived when I came to real grips with the way to change.

This way is Jesus Christ, the Way, Truth and Life. He is the only Way to our Father in heaven. He is all the Truth we need to know. He brings us Life everlasting. He is the bridge that gaps that immense chasm between man and God that came as a result of Adam and Eve's sin.

They were sinless, like we should all have been, until they made one mistake. And that mistake changed the lives of each person after them. You cannot dispute the fact that you are wracked with sin. We all are. If you say that is not you, you believe a lie. Your eyes, heart and mind are blinded to the truth.

There is only one Truth and that is Jesus Christ. When you know Him you see the lies that have been sowed over the years of your life. Lies of a church, a clergyman, parents, friends, authority figures, news stations…another list goes on.

When you know Jesus, you know the Truth. Your eyes which were blind now see; your heart which was hardened has become flesh and moldable; your mind begins to take on true wisdom and knowledge…all which are amazing when you know Christ.

God sent His only Son to live a sinless life on earth that mankind would see, hear, believe and follow Him. Those that did carried on in His footsteps preaching what He preached. It has continued since then. What makes anyone today who lives for Christ any different than those disciples back then, I ask?  If you believe Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter or Paul, why not someone else preaching the same message? The Word of God has remained a constant in this life. (Although there are those who have distorted such truth.)

The Word of God will never completely be destroyed because it is from Him. Scripture states that the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8). There is power in the Word. Christ is called the Word. The Word will never be destroyed…that same Word, Jesus, died and rose again to live forever. How powerful is all that? Here's more to chew on: For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

The Word (Jesus) of God knows all about you. He knows your sin…yet He loves you still. He is alive and active and as you read the Bible, the Word, you hear Him speak. And He knows you are a sinner in need of His salvation.

There are many religions in this world. Many also claim all religions somehow worship the same God/god. But it is not true. There is only one God, who created all things and all people. Man has chosen to make their own gods to suit their own purposes. There is only one God who can hear your prayers. No statue or idol or icon or whatever can do that. They are not alive; they have no spirits. It's a lie to think something other than direct communication with God will work. He does not come in the shape or personification of an animal. He also is not reached through the prayer to a dead person like a saint, or even His mother. He and He alone has the time and ability to hear our prayers. No man can stand in the gap between God and other men. Only one Man, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We do not live in a perfect world. We all struggle with something. We all have faced loss or illness and all will face death. Where we go after death lies in a decision we make while we're still able. We are to seek God while we still have the time. That means now, today, because we don't know what tomorrow or even the next hour will bring.

I have received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I am still learning how to trust, obey and place my faith in Him. It's part of my own personal struggle at times. But through times of doubt and struggle I hold on to my belief in all Christ has done for me, what He has taken me through, gotten me out of, and from which He has protected and freed me, even before I knew Him. Struggles in life will never go away. It's part of this sinful world we live in with an enemy of our soul who is literally hell-bent on bringing us down to his sorry level. Where God wishes that none should perish, satan wishes that all would.

I continue to pray that when the real troubles come I can share what this young woman did. God will not always take us out of our struggles but use them to strengthen us. And sometimes our personal struggles, even to death, are ways God can use the right person(s) to lead others to the saving grace that only Christ can bring. Lord, let me be as strong and courageous as this woman. Let me not ever ask, why me? But instead use me for Your glory to show who You are in this fallen world.

As she said so aptly: Jesus suffered. God did not spare Him. Why would He spare me if my suffering would result in good for you? If my suffering is the means God would use to bring even one person to Himself, it is an honor to suffer. Does that seem strange…but it is the only way that all of this makes any sense at all.

Some may argue that God is unkind to let us suffer. But knowing He has a plan for each and every one of us and that He is the one who will bring those plans to whatever fruition it will be, should take all the worry from us. In Christ we do not have to worry about what to eat or drink, what to wear, even what the next day will bring. We are to just "go against the flow" in Christ. I have an old t-shirt that says this. It referenced Romans 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Not being conformed to this fleshly world, but submitting to spiritual life in Christ, where by His Word we learn the way and the truth to receive the life. 

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one. "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." ...from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Psalm 14:2-3, Jeremiah 33:3, Deuteronomy 4:29)

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