No time for God (An Email to a Christian Online-Group)
As I have pondering my spiritual life these last few days, I am reminded of the below poem written by someone else, but which aptly describes my own walk with God lately. Though I do not watch regular TV, as I am unable to receive regular TV signals where I live, I still watch videos regularly every night. Never-the-less I am no better than the TV couch potato who watches the tube every night, but seems to have little time for time in God's Word and little if any time reading His Word and time in prayer, and meditating upon His Word.
I wake up in the morning and what do I do? I find myself opening up my laptop to read the latest news and catch up on e-mails. Even though I feel guilty in so doing, I squash away the warning, the Holy Spirit and go online anyways.
It is said, we are what we eat. Likewise, we are what we do. If being a baseball or soccer fan to the hilt is our fix, then that is what we do. We push aside our kids, our wives, our pets and friends to get our daily fix of that sport. If our fix is the TV, the computer, our cars, boats, etc. Then that is what we do. It consumes us and we eat sleep, drink, dream all things whatever it is that is our fix. We are no better than the junkie who pokes his arms with the needle. we need to get our fix.
Whatever is our fix displaces time with God to our shame, to our detriment. Is it no wonder then that when we are consumed with things other than God, that we find ourselves falling away in our faith? Is it no wonder then that when we are consumed with things other than God that we find ourselves slipping back into old bad habits, old sins? Is it a wonder then when we are consumed with things other than the things of God that we gradually begin to eventually find excuses to not go to church, to stop praying, to stop being involved with certain church functions that we used to be a regular at, to stop reading the Bible every day, to neglect praying for the persecuted of the world, to stop praying for your lost friends and family members? Is it a wonder when we are consumed with things other than the things of God that we find ourselves being consumed by the things of the world?
Is it a wonder then that when we are consumed by the things of the world and no longer the things of God that the unbelievers are pointing their fingers at us and saying "Look, there goes so and so. He is a so called Christian. Hmmmmmmmm He is no different than us. He swears, watches porn, never reads the Bible, tells dirty jokes, passes them around on the internet etc. Why should I become a Christian if they are no different than us?"
The above is not me exactly, but not far from the truth neither lately. Why, because I have found excuses to stop reading the scriptures daily as I once did. I have gradually stopped my daily prayer life, stopped meditating in God's Word daily as I once did, stopped putting Him at the forefront of my mind in all things at all times.
This falling away was not a sudden fall in one day. No it was a gradual fall down a slight decline in my daily walk with Him all because I began to slowly replace God with reading secular books and even some good Christian books. Not that there is anything wrong with reading secular books, but these books became more important to me than the reading of God's Word. They began to become my daily fix. And then again, the nightly necessity to watch a video every night took away my evening time of devotions in reading scripture, in prayer etc.
A junkie likewise does not become a junkie overnight. No, the junkie becomes a junkie gradually by getting involved in mild drugs, then he decides at one point in time to experiment in other drugs. His daily desire for another kind of high, another kind of fix is soon met by a stronger fix to get the ultimate high. Unfortunately, the junkie has been deceived. His desire for a better and greater high has led to his daily fix of junk and for many, sadly to death.
It is no different for the Christian who begins a gradual wandering away from the true God, the true Word, the true daily feeding of God's Word. The daily desire for something different leads to a gradual falling away from God towards the things of this world and eventually being led instead of by the True God, being led by the god of this world, Satan. For if we are not following God, we are following Satan.
I have chosen tonight to firstly confess my sin and be cleansed. For if we confess our sins, He is willing to forgive and cleanse us from our sins. 1 Jn 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (NKJV)
Confession of sins leads to a cleansing and then we must repent and turn around and follow and obey the will and things of God.
This is but an example, albeit a true example of how easy it is to fall away from God and find ourselves in darkness and in sin. A falling away begins with small steps doing our own thing, rather than the things of God. No matter where you are in your life tonight, today, God knows exactly where you are, what you are doing and is willing to forgive and cleanse you from all and any sin.
There are many who have joined this group whom have not shown their faces in a long while. Perhaps it is that you have started off with good intentions to change, to follow after God, but instead have with small steps walked away from God gradually. Perhaps you feel too ashamed to go back to Him. Perhaps you think that once you have fallen away, that He will no longer accept you back into the fold. You could be no further from the truth. If God is true to His Word then 1 John 1:9 is a verse you might need to take to heart and remember. 1 Jn 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (NKJV) God is faithful and just and will never, ever, renege on His Word. If He says that He will forgive you and cleanse you of all of your sins if you confess them to Him, then you can be sure that He will.
Turn to Him all who are weary and lost. Turn to Him all whom have fallen away and He will cleanse you and forgive you of any and all your sins. For just as the father forgave and welcomed home the prodigal son, our Father in Heaven, likewise is waiting and wanting greatly to welcome you back home and to clothe you in raiment's of sparkling white clothing and rejoice in heaven with all His angels, and with a feast especially for you.
How about it? Are you wanting to come home?
The 23 Channel
The T.V. set is my shepherd. My spiritual growth shall want.
It maketh me to sit down and do nothing for His names sake,
Because it requireth all my spare time.
It keepeth me from doing my duty as a Christian,
Because it presenteth so may good shows that I must see.
It restoreth my knowledge of things of the world,
and keepeth me from the study of God's Word.
It leadeth me away from the path of planning to attend the evening worship services, and doing nothing in the Kingdom of God.
Yea though I live to be a hundred, I shall keep on viewing my T.V.
as long as it will work, for it is my closest companion.
Its sound and its pictures, they comfort me.
It presenteth entertainment before me, and keepeth me
from doing important things with my family.
It fills my head with ideas which differ from those set forth in the Word of God.
Surely, no good thing will come of my life, because my T.V. offereth me
no good time to do the will of God;
thus will I dwell in the place of the Devil and his angels forever.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Is Sin Worth It?
This morning driving down the highway on my way to church I noticed that the highway department had very recently painted the center line anew with its bright yellow markings. What caught my attention was not the newly painted center line, but the evidence of where drivers had crossed the center line (allegedly) passing other vehicles. Funny how fresh paint leaves evidence of misdeeds. It was quite apparent that both 4 wheel vehicles and transport drivers alike crossed the center line passing others on the double solid line and on curves.
I recently read where someone said that these markings and the posted speed limit signs are suggested speeds and suggested places to pass or not pass. Well although I might laugh at such a remark, it is no laughing matter at all. These markings and signs are there not for a suggestion, but for our safety. They are also unspoken laws for which we are to obey. Where there are solid double lines painted on the road, it is not a suggestion, it is the law. Why, because to pass another in these places is to take the risk of having a head on collision with another vehicle. They are there because there is not sufficient visibility to pass another especially near curves and or hills.
I do not know how many times I have seen folks disobeying and taking a chance passing at unsafe places. I have come close many times to getting involved in an accident because someone else was too impatient to wait to pass at another area where it was safe to do so.
In scriptures, God also has given us His laws to live by. These are not suggestions. These are laws. And likewise as above, they are there for our protection, for our safety.
Since the days of Adam and Eve, man has disregarded Gods laws and gone his own way as if God was only suggesting that we do as He says. Proverbs 14:12 spells it straight for us. It says: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death”. NKJ When we disobey highway markings and road signs we are risking not only our own lives, but also the lives of others. Likewise when we disobey the ways and laws of God, we also risk our lives and the lives of others.
However, there is also one major difference between man’s highway laws and God’s laws. Whereas we can disobey the road signs, and perhaps get away with it because the law is not watching, when we disobey God, He sees all. You cannot get away with your sins. He may not punish you immediately or even within a year. But be sure you sins shall catch up to you.
“Behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure, your sins will find you out.” Numbers 32:23 b KJV
God will indeed visit your sins some day and you will indeed pay the price.
When we disobey the road laws we may get caught, perhaps pay a fine, perhaps do jail time. This is only a temporary punishment. But if you disobey God, the punishment depending on the situation could be eternal. Is it worth the risk of disobeying God? Eternal punishment is obviously not a temporary punishment. It is forever and forever and forever. That is a very, very, very long time.
Tell me, is it worth the risk of disobeying God only to face the possibility of eternal punishment, of eternal banishment from His presence in the furnace of hell, forever being tormented with no chance of relief from pain and torment? Is it worth the risk of facing God and having Him say to you; “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” Matt.25:41 KJV We shall, to be sure, one day stand before God and give an account of our lives.
Perhaps your sins are not so severe. But still. If you continue in your sins, you will one day be punished and God will take away your portion of rewards. Is it worth the risk?
Which of the following will hear Jesus say of you?
Luke 6:22-26 King James Version (KJV):
“22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets”
Perhaps we shall be of those if we obey to whom it is said:
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:1-2 (KJV)
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” Heb. 12:28
As for me I would like to be receiving the good reward.
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Rev. 22:12 KJV
So think about it. Is it really worth continuing on in your sins only to be found out and punished by a fearful God?
Hebrews 10 (KJV):
“10 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.
34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
King James Version (KJV)
"24 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.
2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
4 And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.
6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.
7 And when they cried unto the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.
8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you:
10 But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.
11 And you went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand.
12 And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.
13 And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;
17 For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:
18 And the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God.
19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
20 If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.
21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.
22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.
23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel.
24 And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.
27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.
28 So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.
29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.
31 And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel.”
32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim."