About Me

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Saginaw, Michigan, United States
A sinner who may come before God because of Christ

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Difficult years

This is becoming another difficult year in the city where I live.  

Another major employer just layed off another 250 employees and there are rumors of more lay-offs and business failures.

The city itself is facing some serious budget shortfalls and there is talk of seeking a tax increase.

Over the last few years there has been a rash of gang killings which has sent a chill over even traveling in certain parts of the town. City officals are often quoted or heard in news stories as asking us to pray for the city. There have even been a number of prayer vigils and gatherings of religious leaders.
It is a sad commentary that we only seek God to bless us in times of trouble.  Maybe that is one of the answers to the ever asked question of why God allows bad things to happen - perhaps it is because He is sought in the 'bad' times.  

In the stores the red, white & blue is out in a flourish. It seems like every other car has a sticker that says "God Bless America", but America continues to refuse to bless God, to honor Him, to thank Him. Now I am not advocating creating a 'Christian' nation. I am not sure what that would even look like (though I would think heaven would be such a nation, one nation, under God as we bow before His Majesty).  

What I am advocating is that we believers need to recognize that God is more important than patriotism or ideology or philosophy. That our purpose is to give God another conduit to show His glory, and how much more glorious is He, then when a sinner is saved through His blood!

We need to focus less on our 401K and more on how we are to show Him, glorified through us, no matter what the situation.


Accepting Others

1  We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me." 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Romans 15:1-7 (ESV)

Romans 15:7 tells us to accept others just as Christ accepted you.

Acceptance can be a tough act to engage in and we need to be clear what acceptance involves.  It used to mean that we can “agree to disagree”, but now the meaning seems to be “ we are both right and I cannot tell you that you are wrong”.

As a Christian, I cannot accept that as the concept. We believe there is only one Truth, and Scripture consistently points this out as true, that the only way to salvation is through Christ and in Christ and because of Christ.

Given that, though, we are also to love each person where they are currently at.  We need to remember that we all have a long way to go to attain the righteousness and glorification of God.  No one is beyond Christ, though not all will come to Christ, but it is not our duty or our role to make that choice.  We are called to be ambassadors.

A few years ago a couple moved into the house next door. They were not married and very young They generally lived a lifestyle far from that one that honors God and God was clearly not important in their lives.

As our new neighbors though, we accepted them where they were. I helped them work some on their house, Jill sent over cookies and food. We fed their dog when they went on vacation. These were small things to show Christ's love for them.

After a few years, they got married, then had a baby, and then another.  We have shared some of their struggles.  For a while they were going to church, but this soon ebbed.

Despite this,  we continue to pray for them and ask God working in their lives.

I have had some opportunities to talk about Christ to them, though nothing deep, and we strive to continue to show them the Lord.

Will this bear fruit?   Will they come to Christ through our efforts?

I cannot answer that, but I know that we are called to continue, to not give up.

Our call is to be faithful to Christ in loving others, even those who do not know Him, to accept them where they, and to continue to hope and pray and trust God that He will work in their lives to His glory.

That is the great joy and sorrow of being a missionary - to wait on God to change the life of someone you have come to love.   Even the neighborhood missionary…or the employee missionary…or even the bowling team missionary.

We must remember to have a passion for those around us to whom only we are Christ.

For His Glory, Tom Peck


Saturday, February 14, 2009

That Which The Lord Hates Part 7

(Proverbs 6:16-19) There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Lets look at the 5th thing which God hates - "feet that make haste to run to evil".

I like how that is phrased.  

It could have been stated simply - a desire to sin, but instead it is feet running to evil.  This is not just conceptualizing sin and then doing sin, it is a rush to sin, not just a crawl, a walk, a stroll, but a "haste to run" to evil.  It is a condemnation of all men of what is found in our heart - that we do not, at the innermost, desire for God to be glorified but for us to be glorified, for us to be on the seat of the King.

We lunge to sin when given the opportunity.  We thrust at it when temptation calls.  It is who and what we are.
We don't like to admit it.  We don't like to face it as a reality.  We want to believe otherwise, but deep inside we know that we are good despite the evidence of our lives.

But the facts speak otherwise - who has not sinned?  Who has not taken God's moral perfection and twisted and distorted it into our own image?  Who has not done that which they believe to be wrong?

Sin is our common denominator.  It is where we are all shown to be equal.  It is the true state of our heart.

Yet, here is God, who despises our rush to rebellion and His response is to sacrifice Himself in our place, opening the way for our redemption by simply realizing who we are and what we need - Christ our Salvation, our Redeemer, our Savior, our Lord.