Thursday, December 19, 2013


An Attitude of Gratitude

I was thinking back on a recent article comparing how God's complete renovation in our lives is similar to the work done on the TV show Extreme Home Makeover.  If you have ever seen that show, then you know how the homeowners are often overcome with gratitude once they are presented with their new home.  There are usually tears flowing as they express amazement at the transformative work done while continuing to thank the carpenters for the work.  Why?  Because of the largeness of the gift they have been given.  They have not earned it; they only had to receive it.

It is the same for us.  When God changes your heart into a reflection of His own and grants you new life in Him by His Spirit, the natural result is gratitude (Psalm 26:7, 100:4; Jeremiah 30:19; John 2:9; II Corinthians 4:15, 9:11; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 2:7, 4:2).

However, when you have (outwardly) conformed yourself into your own image by your own soulish power, the natural result is pride. I once had a discussion with a young believer who claimed to be "proud" of her growth in the Lord.  I cautioned her to reflect on whether the sources of that "pride" were really God's work at all.  How is it possible to take pride in something over which you did not perform?  And if you performed it, then perhaps that is the indication that you need to turn it over to the Lord for Him to perform His work.  He is the Potter, after all.

All aspects of the flesh needs to be turned over to the Lord...even our own perceived "right"eousness.  If we do not, then the manifestation of this defiled fruit will show itself in our lives, including how we interact with others. A heart born of gratitude will be imbued with gentleness; a heart born from pride will filled with condescension.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


The Only Thing That Matters

Death brings about a peculiar reaction in people.  Folks talk about hypnosis, well I think there is such a thing as "deathnosis" (yes, it has come to the point where I am now making up words).  What is deathnosis, you ask?  It is the altered state of consciousness people enter when the topic of death comes up.  It is a fantasy-based mindset in which the realities of death and the hereafter are glossed over in favor of whatever fluffy alternative a person chooses to believe.

For example, have you ever noticed how everyone who dies is said to be in a "better place"?  If Jesus says that most people are actually traversing the broad road which leads to destruction, then what is this better place of which people speak (Matthew 7:13-14)?  In addressing the topic of death with others, it has been said to me, "Well, so-and-so is now reunited with all of the family and friends who went on before them, so I know they are okay.Really?  What if these friends & family are in Hell?  Does it soothe their conscious and turn their time in Hell into a great celebration because they are together again with those deceased loved ones?  I have seen obituaries so doctored that I couldn't even recognize the person described. Deathnosis.

I am not saying to speak ill of the dead.  What is done is done, and there is a judge we all will face after our deaths (Hebrews 9:27).  I am saying that we must face the truth about death and the condition of life after death.  This reality is not going to change just because we don't want to accept it.  No amount of preaching the deceased into Heaven is actually going to get them there if they did not live for Christ.  Do not go through life falsely believing that your "good" works or motivations will save you...they won't.

In fact, almost nothing will get people more riled up than to refuse to glorify the dead.  They are aghast at the fact that the only thing which matters is whether a person knew Christ and were known by Him (Matthew 7:22-23).  It is inconceivable to those in the world (including many professing Christians) that God will reject those who have not given themselves as living sacrifices in obedience to Christ.