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No one likes getting sick. I don’t get ill often but enough to cause me to be sympathetic with those who do. I would think this sympathy is universal. Like you, I do not rejoice in the illnesses of others. Thus, you and I will find what follows a sad and concerning statistic. Every day, one million people in the world contract a sexual infection, and over one billion people currently have one or more. There are almost eight billion people on the earth, so that is over twelve percent of the world’s population. This is not good news. This tells us something about suffering caused by sin and about the sexual degradation of the peoples of the earth.

The Lord must respond to the increase of catastrophic sinfulness of those whom He has created. This passage is frighteningly stark:

“And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 6–7).1

This is equally as stark:

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

In spite of the statistics concerning sexually transmitted diseases, it’s interesting, isn’t it, that for decades, Hollywood has encouraged sexual activity while never dealing with its consequences. If it’s not graphic, it’s implied, over and over again. Sinful? You’re kidding, right? You’re a prude if you’re a virgin, and something is wrong with you. Syphilis? Chlamydia? Who cares?

Having said that, I can’t help but wonder what the Lord God Almighty is up to at the present time. Recently, we have heard about the discovery of the viral disease Monkeypox. This is one of its ugly symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control:

“A rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.” 2

It is one ugly virus. I find it interesting that this virus has appeared now that AIDS is in decline, although around 680,000 people died of that viral infection last year.

I can’t state with any authority that these sexually related viruses are part of God’s wrath being poured out to punish the sexual sins of mankind. However, they may be not-so-subtle warnings to unbelievers that what they are involved in is so odious that the sicknesses they suffer are only a hint of how detestable they are in God’s sight. Regardless, since the Lord is sovereign over all things, He is allowing them to inflict people or even causing them.

Now, let me immediately make it known that you, I, and everyone reading this article are fallen creatures. We may not be partaking of the sins about which Jude and John wrote, but we are sinners, as much deserving of the wrath of God as anyone else. The difference, of course, is that we have been and will be saved from that wrath because we have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:9–10).

Monkeypox. Who cares? God cares. If you are in need of deliverance from the result of these sins, cleansing and forgiveness are just a prayer away. Beseech the one who loves you, Jesus, to save you and set you free.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (2011). Zondervan.

2https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/symptoms.html

Gif courtesy giphy.gif.

Many years ago, the Lord gave me a melody for these verses from Isaiah:

“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee. Neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours and lay thy foundations with sapphires” (Isaiah 54:10–11).1

Laurie brought this up to me recently as we were heading out the door to take her to work. I told her that I sang it to her over the phone when she was working at a potato chip factory almost fifty years ago. At the time my thinking was it was the Lord’s promise of comfort when we are in trouble and a promise that He will do something good with precious stones. I had no idea what that meant. But, generally speaking, what I thought about theses verses at the time was true enough.

However, after she mentioned it that morning, I thought about the interesting juxtaposition of the disastrous departure of mountains and hills and God’s kindness in that passage. We live about two hundred miles from the Bitterroots which are part of the Rocky Mountain chain on the western side. We live near the foothills of those mountains. So, I thought about the catastrophe that would affect everyone in close proximity to those hills and mountains if they were to be removed. It is difficult imagine, but it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that such an event would result in the loss of many lives as well as the disruption and discomfort of all those nearby. In fact, in verse nine that proceeded the mountain-removing verses, the Lord brings up the flood during Noah’s time when all living persons, save those on the ark, died. He’s talking some serious business here.

It’s very possible He’s linking the departure of mountains to the end of days. The place in the New Testament where mountains depart is here:

“The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found” (Revelation 16:19–20).2

He told His people that when that happens His kindness would not depart. We are left to contemplate having destruction on one hand and God’s kindness on the other. Although the Lord is kind, the word interpreted as kindness here is not what it means to English speakers today. It is not being polite or behaving like a gentleman or gentlewoman. The word translated as kindness is the Hebrew word “hesed.” The galaxy of words surrounding “hesed” includes mercy and loving kindness, but at the center of its meaning is loyalty and joint obligation. This leads us nicely into the Lord’s next promise that the covenant of His peace will also not be removed. The Lord promised His people through Moses that as long as they obeyed Him, they would be blessed. If they didn’t, they would be cursed. Thankfully, we no longer live under that old covenant. God’s people could not keep their part of the covenant and never have, so a Savior was required to bring a new covenant based upon forgiveness and grace, not law keeping. It is an everlasting covenant and will be in force when mountains depart.

Now we come to the Lord’s last promise in this passage. To comfort those who are afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, He will lay our stones with fair colors and our foundations with sapphires. The best I can come up for an explanation of the meaning for that shoots us directly back to the Book of Revelation.

“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst” (Revelation 21:19–20).

The Lord was making a promise to His people way back in the time of Isaiah that the mountains and hills are going to be removed. However, He will in the end keep His covenant and bless His people with peace those who live in a city with walls that are beautiful beyond imagining.

In response to this joyous truth, I join my voice with this company:

“And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped” (Revelation 5:13-14).

1The Holy Bible: King James Version (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., (2009). Logos Research Systems, Inc.

2All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version except where otherwise noted (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Giphy.

I feel that I am no longer part of this world. It has become more obvious day by day that this is not my home.

Laurie and I learned a song during our time of fellowship with a group of Christians called the Christian House (See last week’s article): This World is Not My Home. Here are the first few lines:

“This world is not my home
I’m just a-passing through
My treasures are laid up.
Somewhere beyond the blue.

The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door.
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.”

When I became a Christian, I knew that I was to sin no longer. No more drugs, drunkenness, or sexual immorality. The Lord took away any previous desire I had for those sins. It was not difficult to avoid them. He was separating me from the world. As I continued in my walk with Jesus and began reading the Bible, I came across these verses:

“Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4–5).1

I will admit I was never quite sure what the Lord referred to when He told His people to come out of Babylon, represented by a whore, but I think it is becoming clearer by the day. Within the last twenty years or so, the sins of this country have become so egregious that I have come to the point where I no longer feel a part of this land I have loved all my life. A majority of the population in my country think it is okay to kill babies, have sex before marriage, commit adultery, and practice homosexuality. In fact, except for adultery, all of these sins are encouraged. Chastity is ridiculed. To pass laws to protect unborn children from being murdered is condemned as fascistic. Rejecting homosexuality is considered bigoted and unloving. In spite of these human positions, the Lord has judged nations that commit such sins.

“You shall therefore keep all my statutes and all my rules and do them, that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them” (Leviticus 20:22–23).

Which sins did those ancient nations commit? Idolatry. Incest. Adultery. Homosexuality. Child sacrifice. Why are we less deserving of God’s judgment than they?

We are not. We have rejected our Savior and Creator, and we are now seeing the results of that rejection. He has given us over to what our sinful natures desire. In our fallen state, we actually think our sins will bring personal happiness. Instead, they bring more darkness and death. The rapidity with which this has transpired is stunning, and the general acceptance of our citizens of these sins is stunning as well.

However, I have not surrendered my hope for the United States. I pray that the Lord will forgive us. I pray that He will send, in His great mercy, a spirit of repentance on a massive scale to this country which I have loved so dearly for so long. I invite you to please join with me in intercession for our country.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Edge images.

Occasionally, while Laurie and I eat lunch, we’ll watch part of a recording of a criminal trial. The reason I write “part of” is because trials last for days, and much of the content is repetitive and boring. It’s a good thing to have a fast forward button on the remote.

Nevertheless, it has been interesting to learn how our courtrooms and justice system function. In these trials, people are subpoenaed to give testimonies on their knowledge of the event. All the trials we have watched are murder trials, and, most of the time, that’s the only kind that are offered. It is difficult for me to comprehend the evil, bloodthirsty behaviors of those involved with these murders. However, the incomprehensible evil at work in such crimes is not the subject of this article. What we will be looking at in this article is the value, as well as the intrusiveness, made possible by current crime-solving technologies. Below are a few examples.

High-definition security cameras are becoming ubiquitous in businesses and retail outlets as well as on city and suburban streets. One’s cell phone can be tracked, revealing one’s geographical location at all times. Deleted messages, texts, and images can be extracted and retrieved from one’s mobile phone, computer, or tablet by experts and put on a screen in the courtroom for all to see. These technological advances have been hugely helpful in providing evidence that lead to guilty convictions.

As I watched a trial recently, a witness who was an expert in data extraction technology was detailing the texts gathered from a dating site the defendant in a murder case had used. As I watched the accused sat quietly while this witness testified, I wondered what it would be like to have one’s personal texts flashed on a large screen for everyone to see. It must have been embarrassing and humiliating. However, she didn’t flinch. I guess when someone has murdered their spouse, the content of messages on a dating site is the least of one’s worries.

Then I began to wonder what it will be like when the secrets of all people’s hearts will become known, and it won’t be because of technological advances. They will become known because there is nothing on the earth—or in the universe—that is unknown to the Lord God Almighty. The Lord sees what we do in secret.

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). 1

“But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:17–18).

These are positive aspects of the Lord’s knowledge of all things. However, the discomfort that the murderous woman experienced I brought up earlier in this article will be nothing in comparison to what will occur on the Day of Judgment.

“For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17).

Writing about the Gentiles, Paul wrote,

“They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Romans 2:15–16).

Embarrassing? Humiliating? Perhaps. I don’t know. Regardless, there will be no denying it. The accused will know what is being revealed is the truth, and that nothing can be done to undo it. For unbelievers, it will be condemning, life-ending punishment.

You and I don’t want to be on the terrible end of these revelations of our sinful secrets and actions on that day. If you are a believer, you have no need to be concerned. You are forgiven with no remembrance of your sins.

“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

What glorious relief, something for which we will be eternally thankful. So, thank You, Lord, for your great mercy and compassion. Thank You, Jesus, for sacrificing Yourself so that all our sins are completely, perfectly washed away—forever.

1All biblical quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Giphy.

On May 24, 2022, the people of the United States were shocked once again by the shooting of elementary school children. Every time such deadly incidents occur, we are bombarded in the media with speculations about what kind of person could do such a thing. Was the motivation religion, race, a nasty upbringing? We speculate, but in the end, we simply find it difficult to comprehend how such evil exists among people. We still cling to the fantasy that we humans are good, down deep.

Well, we aren’t.

“What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:20–23).1

I don’t think it’s a stretch to maintain that lawlessness has increased. Although unspeakable acts have always been with us, the destruction of life over the last one hundred years is almost beyond belief. Twenty million people in the Soviet Union died during World War II. Fifteen million or more died in China, many brutalized by Japanese soldiers. Almost seven million in Germany and six million in Poland died in that war. Germany’s Final Solution murdered over five million Jews. Eighteen to forty-five million died in Mao’s Great Leap Forward. Over sixty million babies have been legally killed in the U.S. since the 1970’s.

So, it shouldn’t surprise us that we see these evil things happening now, should it? However, why aren’t all fallen people running around committing monstrous acts? Because throughout history the Lord, in His grace, has restrained lawlessness. But that has changed and is changing. Paul wrote that before Jesus returns the one who is restraining lawlessness, the Holy Spirit, will be taken out of the way.

“Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:5–7).

This restraint must be removed in order for the man of lawlessness to be revealed and the Day of the Lord to arrive.

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction…” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

According to the passage below, it is going to get more difficult for believers.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:9–14).

What does this mean to us?

We will remain steadfast in faith. We will pray that the Lord will comfort the families of those whose loved ones have been killed. We will pray for the salvation of the perpetrators.

We will place our hope in God.

Like Paul when brought to court because of false accusations, we must work to stand with a clear conscience before God and man bringing truth:

“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:14–15).

Amen.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Edge images.

I was not at all surprised at the reaction of the members of the two major political parties when the Supreme Court, according to a leaked document, decided to overturn Roe v. Wade. This issue has fallen along party lines for almost fifty years. However, for my own knowledge, I watched the reactions of members of the Senate to this ruling, which was again, not surprising. Members of the pro-abortion party were very angry that the rights and privacy of women would now be violated, and their health care would be negatively impacted. Not one word, of course, about the children who were being killed by virtue of the Supreme Court decision in 1973. After a few of them had spoken, I clearly saw another reason these men and women were angry: The number of babies being killed might be reduced. What kind of person would be angry about the possible reduction of the killing of children? That is when I began to understand that these were not just people who had a difference of opinion about pregnancies, they were powerful leaders who were evil.

Please allow me to explain.

It is illegal in the United States to kill eagles or destroy their eggs. It is also illegal to kill loggerhead sea turtles or destroy their eggs. The reason for that is if the egg is destroyed, the animal is destroyed. Eggs are how eagles and turtles come into being. This is logic that a six-year-old child can comprehend. Why can’t these political leaders grasp it? They cannot grasp it because they think they possess answers to moral issues, but they are living in darkness and cannot see. Their hearts have been hardened by sin because they are far away from the life that is in God. Their idea of what life is, is dark and without understanding.

“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart” (Ephesians 4:17–18).1

They suppress the truth. In this case, about the murder of innocents. Instead of murder, they attempt to redefine this horrendous act, calling it health care.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18).

These folks don’t want moral purity or chastity. Don’t have intercourse unless you’re married and thus reduce abortions? They would laugh at you in derision. They despise sexual innocence. They prefer sensuality.

“They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity” (Ephesians 4:19).

Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28).

Here is the constellation of meanings around the word “debased” from a Greek-English lexicon:

Unqualified. Unfit. Worthless. Failed.2

Yet, these dark, lifeless, debased folks are powerful leaders in our nation.

What is a righteous man or woman to do?

First, knowing God is compassionate and that we were also once lost and in darkness, we should pray that the Lord will forgive and save them. Second, we can vote them out. Barring that, we will pray to our Father and ask Him to give us a righteous government that gives heed to His law. Pray that the breaking of the Lord’s sixth commandment will no longer be tolerated anywhere in the land. Ask Him to forgive us and be merciful to us for this horrible sin that has caused millions of helpless babies to be slaughtered and to bring massive repentance to this nation.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

2Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). In A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 21). University of Chicago Press.

Babylon. What does that word mean to you? Perhaps very little. However, after reading this article, its importance may be increased in your eyes, if only something to consider as we face the state of our world.

Babylon was the nation that conquered Judah and took them captive.

The word is also associated with the ancient Tower of Babel. The Lord confused the language of mankind there because they were trying to reach heaven by means of their own strength.

“Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth” (Genesis 11:9).1

This is the origin of the English word “babble,” which means confusion and meaningless talking.

Therefore, this article is going to focus on captivity, confusion, the arrogance of mankind, and sin.

Last of all, Babylon appears in the final book of the New Testament. This is how she is described. It is not a happy portrayal, neither for the world or the Church.

“The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.’ And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:4–6).

This is what is coming. In fact, is already here.

Christians who oppose sexual abominations are called hate-filled bigots who are somehow opposed to people just “loving one another.”

Babble on to Babylon.

One’s gender is not determined by one’s DNA and biological reality.

Babble on to Babylon. 

People, mostly men, who are overcome with sexual lust, rape women and children. No one seems to understand how people can be so evil.

Babble on to Babylon.

Biological males are allowed to compete against biological females.

Babble on to Babylon.

Media promote nudity, sexual immorality and abominations because they can.

Babble on to Babylon.

God is called a monster, a fiction, or a superstition, and is judged by those whom He has created in His image.

Babble on to Babylon. 

Christians are murdered because they are Christians.

Babble on to Babylon.

Prostitution is legal in twenty-two major countries around the world.

Babble on to Babylon.

People murder one another in the pursuit of money, revenge, power, or simply out of hatred and rage. No one seems to understand how people can be so evil.

Babble on to Babylon.

However, this will be Babylon’s end:

“Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, ‘So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more; and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more, and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more, for your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth’” (Revelation 18:21–24).

At the end of the Book of Revelation and the end of the Bible, Jesus said, “Surely I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:20a).

John responded, and I join my voice with his:

 “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20b).

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy of gifpy.gif

You will not get much help from the media or other mainstream sites on understanding what Easter is. They are too involved in hyping eggs, rabbits, and candy. What on earth these things have to do with the resurrection of Jesus, I  have no idea, except some connections to some strange European traditions. For example, I found out just this Easter morning that the tradition of colored eggs came from Poland. People would dye eggs red to symbolize the blood of Jesus. Despite the fact that believers are indeed cleansed by the blood of Jesus shed in His sacrifice, what the connection to eggs from that exquisite sacrifice is, I have no idea whatsoever.

Easter. So much confusion. So much ignorance.

Many years ago, I heard a talk show host wondering why it was a big deal that Jesus died on the cross. His understanding was that He was just a man. He was a good man, to be sure, but many other men had died on crosses. So, what was so special about Him? Many of our responses might be that He was the God’s only Son. True, but I don’t think most unbelievers would be moved by that. They know almost nothing about God, so why should they be impressed with His Son? I think their response would be, “So?”

However—and this is my opinion—I think telling a person who is wondering about Jesus dying on the cross that He is the Creator of the universe may be more impactful. That is quite a thought to chew on. Ever since the discovery of the Big Bang, scientists have been flummoxed by this creation event. They know that nothing comes from nothing, and there seems to be only one sensible conclusion: God created the universe. It is true, nonetheless, that scientists and lay people alike have opted for the multi-universe theory, for which there is zero scientific evidence.

The lengths mankind will go to avoid the obvious truth of reality. Stunning.

However, some, in their foolish, darkened minds, who know a little about the Bible have concluded that God is a horrible being. They are not likely to be swayed by any argument whatsoever. In an opinion piece The New York Times published on April 15, 2022, entitled In This Time of War, I Propose We Give Up God, Shalom Auslander wrote, (These are excerpts.)

“God, it seems, paints with a wide brush. He paints with a roller. In Egypt, said our rabbi, he even killed first-born cattle. He killed cows. If he were mortal, the God of Jews, Christians and Muslims would be dragged to The Hague. And yet we praise him. We emulate him. We implore our children to be like him.”

“Perhaps now, as missiles rain down and the dead are discovered in mass graves, is a good time to stop emulating this hateful God. Perhaps we can stop extolling his brutality. Perhaps now is a good time to teach our children to pass over God — to be as unlike him as possible.”

“Killing gods is an idea I can get behind.”

Killing the Creator of the universe. Killing God Himself who offered Himself in sacrifice for Mr. Auslander’s sins. Great idea. However, tossing God out of our culture and from the town square is futile. His great and wondrous creation always speaks.

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19–20).1

Please pray for your unbelieving friends and relatives. Pray for those in positions of influence and power. Please pray for the United States. We have rejected our Creator and Savior. We must repent.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Edge images.

Jesus is not a God who always meets our expectations of what a God should be. True, He is the God of love, unlike any other gods in all other religions. He cares, is watchful, shepherds us, forgives and is merciful, and is all-powerful and all-knowing. However, He is more than this.

He is the God who will dig us deep.

Let’s look at this scenario. Jesus has just performed one of the great miracles of His ministry, the resurrection of His friend Lazarus. Previously, He had healed a man who was born blind. Before we go on, I must add here Jesus’ extraordinary answer to His disciples’ question before this healing miracle, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind” (John 9:2).1 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3).

 I just want that to simmer in our brains for a while as we proceed.

His most recent act before the event which we will address was His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem riding on the foal of a donkey.

Afterwards, some Greeks came to Philip and wanted to see Jesus. Their request was simple. “Sir, we wish to see Jesus” (John 12:21).

Now, if this question had been asked of you or me, we most likely would have said, “Sure. Bring them here. I’ll talk to them.”

But not Jesus. In fact, His response seemed to have nothing whatsoever to do with the request. Here is how He responded:

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:23–25).

If I were one of His disciples, my next question may have been, “So, you’re not going to see them, right?”

That, of course, didn’t happen.

Jesus is making it known that if these Greeks or anyone else wanted to follow Him, they must die to themselves. We are not to love our lives on this earth, He said. This, of course, is culturally abject nonsense. We love our lives on this earth. This self-centered belief system, which all the world clings to, is the mother of a great variety of heinous sins. Abortion. Greed. Drug and alcohol abuse. Murder. All manner of sexual sins, some of which are abominations. Sex outside of marriage as well as divorce, which has produced millions of sons and daughters without fathers, leading to the dissolution of the family. The West is drenched in this roiling, nasty stew.

So, reader, what do you think about following Jesus? Are you willing to give up your life and turn away from loving it? The cost is great to do this. You will be a culturally misplaced person. An oddity. You will experience loss of friendships. Eighty years, give or take, of cultural discomfort and separation from what the majority of people are doing. However, such a life bears much fruit, Jesus said. The one who hates one’s life in this world as opposed to loving it will keep it, Jesus promised, for eternal life. Eternal life, trillions of years without end, when one leaves the earth.

Without doubt, if we can take Jesus’ eternal view, which makes sense, since He is an eternal being, it is worth it. But think this is easy? No, not at all.

Jesus will dig you deep.   

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Edge images.

I know that many in the world consider Christians to be simple-minded, believers in fantasies like dragons, fairies, and a giant bearded Daddy in the sky. When we lived in China, those who were “educated” thought the farmers who believed in Jesus were just ignorant, unlearned, superstitious peasants.

How little the world knows about Jesus. And how little they know that, God willing, He will dig them deep, which will be to their benefit.

To prove my point, let’s look at a conversation between a religious leader in Israel, Nicodemus, and Jesus. The man had seen something in Jesus that he’d never seen before.

He said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him” (John 3:2).1

Please see here that an educated man believed in miracles. In fact, the miracles Jesus performed were so wondrous that most everyone who saw them knew they were acts of God. No dragons, fairies or superstitions here. Just real, beneficial, merciful works of the Creator of the universe.

Here is Jesus’ immediate response to Nicodemus’ statement, and it is something that no one but He could have offered:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

The man’s response was, if I may paraphrase, “Uh? What in the world are you talking about?” Actually, the account in John reads, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4).

What would you have said?  

Because of the religious leader’s ignorance, Jesus said, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?” (John 3:10).

Jesus was digging this man deep.

 As deeply as Nicodemus had been exposed, he didn’t walk away in a huff, never to return. Look at what he did after Jesus had been crucified. He was hanging out with one of Jesus’ disciples and decided to help with His burial.

“After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews” (John 19:38–40).

 What does this tell us? We are not clear about Nicodemus’ salvation. Scripture doesn’t tell us. But I think he was on the road to belief if not already there. The path to salvation is different for everyone. It may take time, or it may happen quickly. Everyone’s story is different. This is what Jesus told Nicodemus in that first encounter.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

Do you want to know this remarkable God? Or are you convinced you are well-educated and would never fall prey to superstitious nonsense? Regardless, when your time comes, if it does by His mercy, Jesus will dig you deep. He will ask you questions you cannot answer.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Edge images.

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