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Do you believe, I mean REALLY believe?

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“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;”  and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”             2nd Timothy 4:3-4

The misguided congregation of Elevation church has done exactly that. They have placed in the position of pastor a young man that is openly sowing unbelief in the midst of his own congregation, and none dares to call him out on it.

This ‘pastor’ recently preached a message to his congregation, stating that he had doubts in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Furthermore, he claimed that no one in the congregation fully believed these things.” [1]

Wow! The ‘pastor’ of the church openly declared that none of his congregation was without doubt regarding the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. There is not one single person attending that church that is convinced by scripture of the truth surrounding the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ? What kind of a place is this?

This my friends, is an abomination. It is a slap in the face of Jesus Christ that an unbeliever such as this man would be placed in the position of shepherd over God’s people.

Yes, I’m sure many of you didn’t like that. It’s awful harsh and judgmental, isn’t it?

It’s also the truth.

At the end of this debacle the ‘pastor’ stated “I have my doubts. Is that alright? Do you need to find another church now that you know the man with the mic has doubts? I have my doubts.”

The answer the congregation should have given was a resounding YES!, followed by an immediate mass exodus to the nearest exit doors, never to return.

I may have doubts about my own capabilities, motives, and yes I even have doubts about my personal value to God’s kingdom. It’s a very normal and human thing to doubt such things about ourselves. If you’re reading this, I dare say you feel the same way at times.

That being said, I can however testify with 100% certainty that I have no doubts as to the truth of the death, burial, and resurrection of my Savior. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Everything I believe about Him, indeed my very salvation is secured by the truth of His death, burial, and resurrection.

To doubt this is to acknowledge that I have yet to pass from death to life. [2]

If He did not die, I am still lost. If He did not raise from the dead, I am still lost. There is NO MIDDLE GROUND!

How can I be so certain about this? It’s because I have a relationship with Him! I know exactly who He is! Every page of scripture has His DNA embedded in it! He is the Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us!

What about you? Do you REALLY believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Or are you seeking for a ‘teacher’ who will lead you down the path of fables?

My sincere prayer is that you can answer YES to the former while rejecting the latter.

Be blessed and secure in His Truth!

Ron

 

[1] For the record, I do not endorse or agree with every article or post from the Pulpit and Pen.

[2] John 5:24

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He is not here!

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He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  Matt. 28:6

With those words, spoken by the angel who had rolled the stone away from the entrance to the tomb where Jesus had been placed, the destiny of all mankind was forever altered.

Having risen from the dead, Jesus Christ became the death conqueror. Man has been freed from all fear surrounding death. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, thus breaking the stronghold of Satan once and for all!

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.  1st Cor. 15:20-26 

I rejoice this Easter Sunday in the knowledge that the tomb is empty. My hope is no longer in anything but Christ, and I am sealed to the day of redemption in Him.

If you do not know Jesus as your risen Savior, you can! Simply call upon Him, confess your sins to Him, believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, and receive Him as your Lord.

Have a blessed Easter everyone!!

Ron

 

Looking with HOPE to the future

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New Years. new_year_sign_19648

I have to be honest and admit that this is one holiday that I just don’t get. For millions of people it’s an excuse to get crazy drunk. For millions more it’s all about a traditional meal that includes sauerkraut and pork.

And then there are the millions who think of New Years as a chance to start over by saying goodbye to the previous year. Oh well, no one said I had to “get it”!last_year_garbage_can_custom_800_clr_21288

 

Today I asked my mailman if he was looking forward to 2018, and he answered very quickly “I don’t have much hope for the new year,and I don’t expect things will get better until we get a new leader in office”. UGH!

 

Hmmm…..no holiday cheer there, and it was too late to say Bah Humbug!

Actually, his response surprised me as I’ve always thought mail carriers led a pretty good life. But hey, what do I know?

 

What really matters in the big picture is where our hope lies. If, as in the case of my mailman, our hope lies in the next presidential election,there will always be a large percentage of the population left disappointed and wondering what might have been.

This is just one of many reasons why my hope is in Jesus Christ. With Jesus, I never have to wonder what might have been. In addition, with Jesus I already know what to expect, therefore I know in advance that I will not be disappointed.

Now, how cool is that??

Hope in Jesus does that! This hope says that irregardless of situations or circumstances, Jesus will make a way somehow, even in the darkest of nights. Which reminds me of a fish story. Well, sort of.

There was once a fisherman in the Bible whose faith and hope wavered when circumstances began to spiral out of his control. Fact is, he lost all hope and eventually denied even knowing Jesus, in spite of the fact that he had been with him nearly every day for over three years.

Who would have thought that within a very short time his perspective would do a 180?

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, ‘     I Peter 1:3

This one time fisherman and denier of Christ became a giant of faith and hope once he fully understood the power of the resurrection. I love the way that Peter uses the words “lively hope” to describe his new found hope in the resurrected Jesus!

As Christians we don’t have a dead hope. Our hope is not in dead religion or rituals. Our hope is alive! Our hope is in the risen Jesus!

light at end of tunnel

Because of this lively hope we have in Jesus Christ, I am looking forward to seeing God do great things in our lives in the coming year. Who can tell what He might have in store for us? Who can tell what He has in store for YOU?

One thing is for certain and that is that while we may not have all the details and particulars, we know that with God its going to be a great adventure!

Be blessed,

Ron

 

 

 

Our Invincible Hope

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Much is being said today about the state of the union here in America. If you’re following along you know that fear,anger,resentment,and a general feeling of hopelessness prevails.Daily outpourings of outrage over this,that,and the other are the norm.protesters

Lost in the disarray of all of this is the fact that America is inching ever closer to becoming just like the rest of the world. Let that sink in for a moment.

We’ve been sheltered,for lack of a better term,from the storms of unrest that have ravaged nation after nation.What we are seeing now,however,is the dismantling of that protective shelter right before our very eyes.

For decades we have witnessed other parts of the world reeling from countless famines,wars,diseases,and drug infestations,often of biblical proportions,all resulting in untold millions of deaths and incalculable suffering.

Tragically,they have been happening for so long that they have almost become normal. Besides,those things happen to them,not us. Short of a nuclear attack,little else gives us cause to stop and listen to what’s happening across the globe.

Meanwhile,we in America have watched these events unfold from the comfort and security of our recliners,smug in our thoughts that somehow we were anointed with “favored nation status”.Secure in our self righteous ideology that America was God’s favored nation,we were above such affliction.

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Until now.

Things are about to change.

Like many others,perhaps even some of you,I have been speaking out about the impending crisis headed for America for some time now. Like them,I have tried to sound a warning about the impending breakdown of our society from a biblical viewpoint.

I have also been very critical of the Church’s reluctance to confront the spirit of the age,and have drawn the ire of many for my position. Regular readers of this blog know that I am of the firm conviction that the Church of today has abandoned the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3),hence its reluctance to speak about the spiritual and moral back sliding we are witnessing.

For the most part what’s been said in pointing this out has been in vain…no real surprise there. After all, who wants to listen to some guy telling us that we need to “right the ship” by encouraging America to return to the God of the Bible?

It’s not very popular being one of those voices imploring our religious leaders to denounce the “sin which has so easily beset us” (Heb. 12:1). Then again,God didn’t call us to enter a popularity contest,did He?

Really,is it any wonder that a feeling of hopelessness permeates every facet of our nation? Even the most positive must admit that things don’t look good. We sure could use a little hope right about now,couldn’t we?

Which brings me to the title subject of this particular blog, Our Invincible Hope. Yes,in spite of everything you’ve just read,there remains a flame of hope that cannot be snuffed out by the angry,vitriolic protesters in our streets. A hope that cannot be voted out or decreed null and void by an executive order.

No,in spite of all of this we have a hope that is without end. It is because of the Resurrection that we have this Invincible Hope. Because of Jesus Christ all men everywhere have been made alive,and in the heart of every believer beats the drum of Invincible Hope. For all of us,a better day is coming! As Paul writes:

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. I Corinthians 15:19-23

If in this life only we have hope in Christ then we are in serious trouble! So many people are fixated on this life,as if this is all there is! We expect those outside the church to behave this way,but this mindset has enveloped the church as well!

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We are so caught up in the concerns of this life that we are forgetting that this life is but a vapor (James 4:14). We aren’t here long!

We must be on guard lest the desires of our hearts shift away from the eternal to the here and now.

We can never abandon Paul’s admonition of “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable”!

The tragic events I have described in this post hang over mankind like thick darkness,much like the Egyptians must have felt just before God delivered the children of Israel. A sense of doom and foreboding has cast fear into the hearts of billions.

America,indeed the entire world is on the precipice of an implosion the likes of which this world has never seen, and we seem incapable of looking beyond this in order to see the splendor that awaits us. And truthfully,we haven’t seen anything yet.

Christians must reconnect with the truths of God’s Word that reminds us that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). That’s right,the perfect love of Christ repels fear and does not permit it to engulf us. Fear may reign in the hearts of those focused only on this life,but it has no hold on those looking for the promise of His coming.

It is the Resurrection that offers the promise of hope,of what God will do for each of us. For you see, God isn’t just offering possibilities to us,but rather the inevitability of a life far removed from the carnage all around us. I don’t know about you,but “as for me and my house” (Joshua 24:15)…

Our Invincible Hope! Grab hold of it!

 

 

There’s Hope,then there’s HOPE!

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Hope,I really love that word because it speaks of having something to look forward to.It speaks of turning the page,of a new day with new opportunities.

We all have hope of some kind don’t we? Some of us hope for things,some of us hope for relationships,and still others of us hope for a better life altogether.

My wife and I even started a ministry called H.O.P.E.!

I think hope is something we all have to one degree or another.Granted,life can be challenging to the point that we feel that all hope is lost, yet God remains faithful even in the darkest of times.I don’t remember who said it, but someone stated that hope is being able to see that there is light in spite of the darkness.Love it.

In this world today many are questioning “where is that light”,for all that seems to take center stage is darkness.The senseless murder of innocents is increasing at an alarming rate throughout the world,and the pleas of the religious to stop the violence go unheeded.

Unquestionably,the hearts of many have become hardened to the point of unfeeling or uncaring.And it will get much worse.

Jesus said it would be so in the time in which we now live.

Yet…hope remains strong in the hearts of those who have placed their trust in the Lord Jesus.Not just any kind of hope,not just a maybe someday kind of hope.But a hope that is alive!

You see,there is one reason and one reason only why we have this kind of hope and it is summed up in one word:

Resurrection

For it is through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are able to lay hold on this hope.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,   [1Pe 1:3 NKJV]

Empty-Tomb-2

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Peter and the rest of the disciples understood that though they had suffered the loss of everything dear to them and had become social outcasts because of their faith in Christ,the faith that carried them from day to day was a living hope.

They had the kind of faith that was alive because they knew that their Lord was alive.And that hope is available to all of us today because Jesus is still alive!He is still alive and He is still offering that living hope to a world lost and headed for Hell.

That living hope is still the driving force that keeps us going through unspeakable tragedy.Hope that is alive is hope that will sustain us beloved!The tempest may blow,the storms of life will rage,our world will be rocked,but that living hope will see us through it all.

But there are those…

How sad that men and women choose to live out their lives not knowing that there is something beyond this life that is far better than anything they could ever imagine.The Apostle Paul said that if all we have hope for is in this life we are miserable!

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.    1Co 15:19 KJV

If you are reading this and you can say that you are without hope,or that your only hope is in this life,I invite you to consider Jesus the Living Hope.

He is the way maker when there doesn’t seem to be any other way.He is the peace speaker in the middle of the raging storm.He is the One and only One that can be called the difference maker.

He is alive,and He offers to all a living hope through His resurrection!

Have a blessed Easter,

Ron

A Post Easter Observation

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Yet another Easter has come and gone and Christians all over the world gathered to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.A time for all of us to pause and reflect upon God’s love for mankind.A time to remember the love of the Father who so loved you and I,as impossible as it sounds, even before we were born.

That He would give us the best that He had….

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16   KJV

God gave us,you and I,his only Son.

I don’t know about you but when I read that verse it stops me in my tracks.How in the world could I be worth such a price? Doesn’t God remember how awful I was? Has he forgotten that I was unlovable?

Well,actually…..He doesn’t remember that “me”.

A week from now I won’t remember the tie that I wore this past Easter Sunday. I won’t remember the songs that were sung at church. I’ll probably remember only bits and pieces of the sermon I heard.For sure I won’t remember an Easter egg hunt.

But I WILL remember what Easter represents. I WILL remember how I who was once so lost discovered an unimaginable grace one night so long ago.I WILL remember that there is a name that is so different than any other name.A name that causes demons to tremble.A name that causes the angels of heaven to bow down and worship.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”    Acts 4:12   KJV

Only one name can lead us to eternal salvation.Jesus…what a lovely name.

Be blessed,

Ron