Life is Short. Don’t Have an Affair.

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Ashley Madison

 

“Life is Short. Have An Affair.” – Ashley Madison

Their message was clear. You don’t have time to waste in a difficult or unsatisfying marriage. You don’t have time to waste in the boredom of faithful, sacrificial service to your spouse. You deserve better. You are better, so secretly step out and be satisfied. Find someone who fits you—and nobody has to know.

Ashley Madison’s offer to arrange a secret fling was popular. The adultery promoting website boasted of some 38 million anonymous members before they were outed by a group of hackers this week.

The shockwaves from this exposure will be far reaching and the fallout will be devastating. The names on the lists are real people. They have real spouses, real children, and real parents who must now deal with the real and lasting effects. Tens of millions of lives are now different because of this unveiling of sinful escapades.

Times like this provide us a unique opportunity to consider the deadly deception of sin. Let’s reflect on Ashley Madison’s message in light of what we’ve learned.

 

  1. Life is short. Don’t believe the lie.

The Madison tag line does what all good temptations do—tell you a partial truth.

Life is short. This is true. We only have a brief amount of time to get the most out of our days before they are over. This makes the pains of a difficult marriage feel all the more imposing on our happiness.

Life is short. I deserve better.

Life is short. This isn’t who I thought I was marrying.

Life is short. I am tired of being the only one trying to make this work.

Pitting the difficulty of marriage against the brevity of life is a masterful way to allow discontentment to take a seat in the den of your heart.

It’s the same trick Satan pulled on Adam and Eve in the Garden when he told them that if they ate of the forbidden fruit they would “be like God knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-6).

Satan told the truth to them. When they ate, they would go from only knowing good, to now experiencing evil as well. All that was true. The lie was that knowing evil would be better for them than the goodness God had already supplied.

I bet that first bite of the forbidden fruit was amazing. But the aftertaste has been more bitter than they could have imagined.

The temptation of adultery plays the same trick. At first, there is pleasure. The thrill of secrecy. The power of curiosity. The excitement of newness. The satisfaction of passion.

But that’s where the truth ends and the bitterness of the lie begins. If Madison was honest, her tag line would have said:

Life is Short. Let us help you destroy it!

Life is short. Be ever anxious about covering your tracks and deleting emails and erasing texts.

Life is short. Be always imagining ways to explain your travels and bank withdrawals.

Life is short. Be racked with fear and indescribable guilt when you walk in your house and see the eyes of your spouse and children.

Life is short. Be ready to get caught, because you will get caught.

We all get caught.

 

  1. Life is short. You will be exposed.

On Tuesday, a list of adulterers was laid bare for all to see. We know no one expected this to happen. That’s why they used a site that promised anonymity for their adultery. They assumed, like we all do, that lies can be hidden.

We all do this don’t we? We think no one will know about that little lie we told. No one will see that Internet history we deleted. No one will see the way we judged that person in our heart.

We think that we can hide our sin, but the fact is that eventually “your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). And as shocking and devastating as the Ashley Madison unveiling was for those affected, it is merely a foreshadowing of what will happen for all people on one quickly approaching Day.

Jesus promised that “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). That means that every thing that has ever been done, thought, or imagined by every person who has ever lived, will one day be brought out in broad daylight.

The book of Revelation paints a picture of a day when all things will be exposed, not merely before other sinful people, but before the holy and just God of the universe.

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. From His presence earth and sky fled away…and I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened…and the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done” (Revelation 20:11-12).

On that day the list of all lists will be unveiled. Dates. Places. Actions. Motives. Lies. Cover-ups. Justifications.

Everything that has ever been done. By you. By me.

This is why the Ashley Madison exposure is such a blessing in disguise, both for those on the list, and for those on the outside looking in. It is a warning that one day all of our lists will be exposed, and God will not overlook any evil. But because He is good, He will bring just and eternal judgment on all people who have sinned (John 5:26-29).

 

  1. Life is short. Come to Jesus.

This brings us back to the truth that Ashley Madison reminded us: life is short. But the brevity of life should not lead us to pursue fleeting and deceptive escapes.

Rather, it should bring a sober realization that what we need is not deliverance from the pressures of this life, but we need a Savior. We need someone to deliver us from the judgment that awaits us all.

And here we find the scandal of the Gospel. That Jesus is the Savior of all sorts of sinners. He did not come for those who have no sin. Rather, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Jesus came and died on the cross as a substitute for adulterers and liars and religious hypocrites alike. He then rose from the dead to extend forgiveness to all who will come to Him. For those who turn from their sin and believe in Him, He “forgives all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us” Colossians 2:13-14.

If you were on the Ashley Madison list, come to Jesus. He will forgive you. No matter if you were an atheist or a Christian. Today is the day to turn from your sin and turn to the Savior.

If you were among the ones wounded by someone on the list, come to Jesus. He promises that “we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

If you are someone on the outside looking in, come to Jesus. Events like this remind us that we too can fall into grave sin (1 Corinthians 10:12) and that we must prepare to give an account for our own lives.

 

Life is short. Don’t believe sin’s lies. All things will be exposed. Come to Jesus.

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Is Planned Parenthood “Doing God’s Work?”

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ultrasoundOn Wednesday, an Advocacy Board that advises Planned Parenthood stated that the nation’s largest abortion provider is “doing God’s work.”

This isn’t the first time Planned Parenthood affiliates have attempted to cloak the group’s actions in religious robes. Last year, Planned parenthood released a “pastoral letter” claiming that the Bible says nothing about abortion.

Here’s the direct quote from that letter, “many people wrongly assume that all religious leaders disapprove of abortion. The truth is that abortion is not even mentioned in the Scriptures — Jewish or Christian — and there are clergy and people of faith from all denominations who support women making this complex decision.

Abortion is an issue that is near to my heart so I thought I’d take a moment to answer the question, is performing abortions “doing God’s work?” As you read these Scriptures and consider my questions, ask God to show you what He says is true—because in the end what He thinks is what matters most.

Abortion in the Bible

Though the Bible doesn’t mention the word “abortion,” it clearly teaches that abortion is a terrible sin. These are not all the verses we could consider, but they are a few that best capture what the Bible says about this all important issue.

Exodus 21:22–25 “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”

Does the Bible seem to clearly teach here that what comes out of a woman is a not just a fetus, but is a child? How serious does God say it is to kill an unborn child? If this is true of an accidental injury to a pregnant woman and her child, how much more serious is an intentional act of killing a child in the womb?

Ecclesiastes 11:5 “As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”

If God sends a “spirit” to come into a woman to produce a child, does that not show that what is inside her is living? If God says, I want a child in that womb, do we have the right to tell God “no, You may not do that, I will take that living thing out of me?”

Job 10:10–12 “Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? 11You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. 12You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.”

What happens when sperm and egg unite in what we call conception? Is that not life? If you can detect a heartbeat (5-8 weeks after conception) does that not mean there is something living there? Where do skin, flesh, bone and sinews form? Are they not made in the womb? If we found all of this on another planet, would we not celebrate that we have found life there?

Psalm 139:13–16 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (cf. Job 31:15; Isaiah 44:2)

What do you think the Bible is implying when David says God “formed” his “inward parts” in his “mother’s womb?” What does it imply when it says he was “wonderfully made” and “intricately woven”? Does this not imply that God is at work in the womb, creating a human being? If God knows “all the days” of that being, even while its substance is “unformed”, does that not imply that God has a plan for that being in the womb? Do we have the right to tell God to stop this marvelous work because we have other plans? 

Isaiah 49:1 “Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.”

If God calls and names someone when they are in the womb, does that not make them a living person?

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (cf. Galatians 1:15)

If God has knowledge of someone as a person before they are even formed in the womb, does that not show that what is in the womb has great value and worth? Does not God forming someone in the womb show His intent to bring a life along to His designed end?

Amos 1:13 “I will not revoke the punishment, because they have ripped open pregnant women.”

Why does God see the ripping open of a pregnant woman’s womb as such a big deal? How is this different than His anger toward someone who would kill a woman who isn’t pregnant? Could it be that they would be killing two people? 

Luke 1:39–44 “In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

What does the Bible say was in the womb of Elizabeth? Does it not call John a “baby?” And what does that baby do when it hears the voice of the pregnant Mary? Does it not say the baby leaped for joy? And what does she say about the “fruit” of Mary’s womb (see also Psalm 127:3)? Does this not imply that what is in her is of value and has great worth? From this don’t we have to conclude that what is in her womb is a baby?

After looking a just a few verses, it is overwhelmingly clear that God views what is in the womb of a woman at conception to be a life, a baby, a human being like you and me.

The Bible also teaches that taking the life of another person (murder) is a grievous sin. In Exodus 20:3 God says “you shall not murder” (cf. Genesis 9:5; Matthew 5:21; 19:18; Romans 13:9; 1 John 3:15).

To end a life is to kill it. We may want to phrase it differently, but an “abortion,” a “choice to not keep the baby,” to “terminate a pregnancy,” are all clearly ending a life. This is murder.  The Bible forbids this because it teaches that God alone has the right to give life and take it away (Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6; Job 1:21).

God also says that when his people have murdered their children, that it is a great sin in His eyes (Leviticus 20:2; Deuteronomy 12:31; 2 Kings 16:3, 21:6; Jeremiah 7:31, 32:35).

Whether or not one believes the Bible is another matter, but to suggest that the Bible allows abortion is deceptive. One of the earliest Christian documents The Didache (circa A.D. 100) says “You shall not murder a child by abortion.” Christians have always believed that God does not give us permission to take the life of our children. He gives, we may not take away.

If you choose to have an abortion, please don’t do it under the premise that God doesn’t care about what you are doing. God does care. He loves you and He loves the child in your womb. He is the One who made the life happen, look to Him for what He wants you to do with the child.

If you are considering an abortion and feel like you have no other options, please know there are people who can help you think about other options, including connecting you with loving families who would be willing to discuss adoption. If you have nowhere to turn, please reach out to a local church near you or email outreach@assistcpc.org who can connect you to someone in your area.

Please know that God meets us where we are in our journey, and He does this through His Son Jesus. If you find yourself weary, hear this word of promise from the Lord Himself, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Please turn to the Lord in this season of great decision and allow Him to give you the grace we all desperately need.

 

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What Would Jesus Say To People Buying and Selling Baby Body Parts?

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In recent days, numerous videos have been released that show conversations between undercover investigators and representatives at Planned Parenthood. These taped discussions center around how body parts from aborted babies are being harvested and preserved for sale to biotech companies.

While there certainly should be political and legal discussions about these events, the most important question we must always ask is, “what would Jesus say about it?” What follows are just a few things He would certainly say.

 

  1. Jesus would say, I made those babies, just like I made you.

For some, it is difficult to imagine that what is in the womb is more than the developing cells of a fetus. But God wants us to know, that at the moment of conception, a baby is given life. Deep down, we all know this to be true.

If what is found in the womb was found on another planet, scientists would certainly claim they had discovered life. What is in the womb is a living human being. It is a baby, growing under the direction of God.

You were once in this state of being “under divine construction.” You were given unique DNA and a beating heart. You were fed in the womb by your mother, just as God designed. One Biblical author said it this way, “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13–14).

The same is true of the babies who were killed through the abortion in which you participated. God made those hands that grasped at the forceps. He created those hearts that raced as you carefully crushed around them. Those legs that you kept intact were made by God to run and play, maybe with your own son or daughter.

When a pregnancy is terminated, it is not merely a medical procedure. What you took from the womb of that mother is not just a collection of neural tissue or cell specimens. A life that God was creating was ended—violently and unjustly, by you. All lives matter to God, even the smallest, weakest, and most vulnerable ones.

 

  1. Jesus would say, if you thought you were doing good by helping others, be terrified.

Some will claim that harvesting tissue from aborted fetuses is the means to a greater good. They will suggest that with this research more lives can be saved and steps toward ending horrible diseases can be made. This line of reasoning must be seen for what it is.

In Matthew 6:23 Jesus says, “If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” What that means in this case is that if you think that darkness (the killing of an unborn baby to sell its body parts) is actually light (the good of helping humanity), then you are deeply deceived.

Why do you really take part in this business? Is it really the pursuit of the greater human good?

How much does the desire for money and what it can get you motivate the way you justify your actions? We are all warned, “the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). It is difficult to watch those videos and read the reports and believe that the love of money is not leading to all sorts of evils—even killing and selling off baby body parts. Take a quiet moment and ask God to show you why you are doing what you are doing.

 

  1. Jesus would say, these videos don’t even begin to show the horror of what has really happened.

There is a reason those videos were shot undercover. You know why, and so does everyone else. You never would have spoken openly to the world about what you were doing, would you? And why not? Because deep down you know it isn’t just illegal, but it is wrong.

Your conscience testifies to you that something is wrong with what you are doing. You may have tried to suppress this truth, but did you not feel queasy the first time you saw a tiny person’s body parts laying before you? The videos were not able to catch the way you pushed down that feeling and pressed on with your procedure. But God saw it.

“No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). God sees all the conversations an undercover video does not catch. And He sees all your reasons and justifications for taking the life of a child that could not defend itself against your strength.

God hates all evil, especially the evil of oppressing helpless people. Hear this warning from the prophet Isaiah, “Woe to those who…withhold justice from the oppressed…What will you do on the day of reckoning…to whom will you run for help?” (Isaiah 10:1-3). No one can hide from a good God who will not allow any evil to go unaddressed.

Thankfully, He has provided a place to run—for people like you, and people like me.

 

  1. Jesus would say, that no matter how many babies you’ve killed, there is grace for you.

I’m sure you have heard hate-filled messages from people who oppose what you do. I do not bring you a message of hate, but one of warning and love. It is the message of a Savior who came to rescue murderers like you, and like me (Luke 19:10).

You see, I am a murderer too. Many years ago, I was part of an abortion that killed my first child. My friend and I were overwhelmed and confused, just like many of the people you deal with on a daily basis. Because I loved my life the way it was and I didn’t want the responsibility of a baby, I chose to murder my own child.

You and I are murderers. This is a horrible evil, but it is certainly not our only evil. We have turned away from God in many ways. But the good news that comes from God is this: “where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more” (Romans 5:20). Jesus came and died willingly to take the judgment you and I deserve for the ways we have sinned against God, and against those we have killed.

You may have horrible memories from some of the things you’ve done. The smell of rubber gloves. The forceps. The blood…so much blood.

While Jesus gives healing to people in different ways, I can assure you of this—if you come to Christ, He will help you. He gives this precious promise to sinners like us, “come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus shed His blood so that He can wash the blood from our hands. He rose to be the Savior of sinners like us.

Hear and believe these promises—

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out…” Acts 3:19

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9

If you will come to Jesus and confess what you have done and ask Him to forgive you—He will do it. You will have the hope of being with God, and with the children we murdered, in heaven forever.

 

  1. Jesus would say, stop taking babies lives and begin saving them.

There is a holocaust happening in our land. Up to this point you have been a part of it. Now it is time to work against it. You know what is happening to those children, and the Lord calls you to do something about it.

“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “but we knew nothing about this,” does not He who weighs the heart perceive it?…Will He not repay each person according to what he has done?” (Proverbs 24:11–12).

God has given you wisdom and experiences and skills that He intends you to use to save babies rather than hurt them. This is what Jesus calls repentance. He calls you to turn from using your hands to hurt children, and now do all in your power to help them.

I have a dear friend who performed countless abortions before God changed his life. I will never forget the day he took me aside and confessed what he had done and committed to follow Christ and never do it again. He once used his practice to help mothers end lives, but now he uses it to help mothers save the lives of their children.

Leaving the life you are in right now may seem daunting, but God will help you. There will be lost friendships. Many people will not understand why you would make such a change. What others will say does not matter.

What matters is what Jesus would say to you.

 

 

 

 

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What Does God Think About The LBGT Rainbow?

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If you’ve had your eyes open in recent weeks you’ve likely seen a lot of rainbows.

Dublin RainbowWhen Ireland voted to legalize same-sex marriage, rainbows broke out all over the country, even in the sky. A few weeks later, when the Supreme Court ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States, rainbows took over the internet, streets, and national landmarks, including the White House.

Whitehouse RainbowRainbows, rainbows everywhere.

Since we are all seeing the colorful symbol, I think it is fair to ask—what do you think about when you see the rainbow?

Many “conservatives” would say it is a badge of bold defiance from traditional values.

Many “progressives” would wave the rainbow as a symbol of social advancement.

Others see it as an emblem of equality.

One person even assumed divine affirmation when they tweeted “There’s a big gay rainbow over Dublin, if that’s not Jesus giving the Yes vote I don’t know what is!”

That comment stirred me to consider, what does God think about all this rainbow flag flying? I mean, God loves rainbows, doesn’t He?

Why Does God Fly a Rainbow in the Sky?

Long before the colorful stripes were trendy, God created the rainbow to be reminder of a very important message to humanity. Let me give you the quick backstory.

In the book of Genesis, we learn about a time in history past where “man’s wickedness on the earth had become so great…that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). God had created the world to be a place of peace where love abounded between people and their Maker.

But instead of loving God and loving others, people hated each other and hated God’s rule over them. Because of this, “the Lord was grieved…and His heart was filled with pain…” so He decided to bring judgment and “wipe mankind…from the face of the earth…” (Genesis 6:6-7).

Double-rainbow-over-the-Merse-ScotlandGod judged the entire world with a flood of water, but in the midst of it, He extended mercy to one man and his family. After the water subsided, the Lord made a promise to Noah that He would never flood the world with water again.

And then, God hung a rainbow in the sky. But, why a rainbow?

He told Noah, “I have set my bow in the cloud” (Genesis 9:13). The word “bow” is the same word for the instrument of war that an archer used to shoot down their enemy. When God set the rainbow in the sky He was saying to the world, “I am putting down my weapon of war against you.”

This wasn’t because humanity all of a sudden would not offend God and deserve judgment. Instead, God promised to extend mercy to people, despite the fact that we all deserve judgment for the many ways we have turned away from Him. This means that God flies the rainbow in the sky as a message to each of us: today is another day of mercy from Me, to you.

What Should the Rainbow Lead Us To Do?

While it is true that God has given today as another day of mercy, it is also true that God’s mercy is aimed at producing something very specific in us. The book of Romans 2:4 explains it like this, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”

God gives today as a day of mercy so that we will turn away from our sin and turn to Him. 1 Timothy 2:4 tells us that God does this because He “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

You see, as God once judged the entire world through a flood of water, we are promised that God will one day judge the world through a flood of fire (2 Peter 3:3-10). While the idea of judgment is offensive to the natural ear, it is actually one of the most hopeful promises God gives to us.

Why?

Can you imagine a world where God did not bring judgment on child molesters and rapists and religious con artists who steal from elderly widows? What a hopeless world this would be if God were not good enough to punish evil! But God doesn’t just deal with evil that offends us, He deals with all sin, because all sin is ultimately against Him.

But in spite of our sin against Him, God came into our world to rescue us. Jesus became human, lived a life of perfect love and then showed that love by dying on the cross in the place of people like you an me (Romans 5:8). He received the judgment that prostitutes and pastors and straights and gays all deserved. Then, three days later Jesus rose from the dead to extend forgiveness to all who will believe in Him.

The rainbow God flies in the sky is a reminder of mercy that He extends to all who will turn to Him through faith in His Son Jesus. If you are reading this, today is a day of mercy from God intended to move you to look to Him for forgiveness.

What Does God Want Us To Think When We See the LBGT Rainbow?

LGBT FlagIf you are among those who believe that God sees the LBGT lifestyle as sinful, I agree with you. But we need to be careful when we see the rainbow because we can forget that the bow in the sky is just as much about our sin as any one else’s.

Jesus died to pay the debt of self-righteous religious hypocrites who look down on others just as much as any other sort of sinner. Anger and disgust over sin is an appropriate response, but make sure you are most angry and disgusted with your own sin. When you see the rainbow, ensure that you are humbly repenting of your sin. This will give you the grace and humility you will need to speak truth to others in love (Matthew 7:1-5).

For those who believe homosexuality is a normal and good lifestyle, I encourage you to see the rainbow as a reminder of God’s mercy that is meant to lead you to repentance. As one former lesbian rightly said, “I was not converted out of homosexuality. I was converted out of unbelief.” The biggest sin all people, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is their unbelief in the true God of the Bible.

Jesus calls us, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity, to come to Him and be born again. Not to become a religious conservative, but to become a child of God whose identity is rooted in Christ (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

I would also like you to consider whether the Bible could be right when it says that homosexuality is a sin against God. I know for some, this seems utterly unthinkable. But there have been sins in my life that I did not realize until I was corrected by God’s Word.

The reason this is so important is because if homosexuality is a sin, then proudly flying the rainbow flag is actually a mockery of the mercy He is showing us all in these days before the final judgment. So those rainbows over Dublin were not actually Jesus affirming with an “Amen” but rather He was reminding us of His scandalous mercy in the face of our sin.

 

So when you see a rainbow in the sky, or a rainbow flag flying in the air, remember that it is a call to repent of your sin and receive the forgiveness God offers you in His Son. Jesus is who the rainbow points to, the One who is the fulfillment of God’s promise for mercy for sinners like us.

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Consider Where Sin Is Leading You

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Shadow RoadIn the past few weeks I have witnessed several dear friends flirting with sin in a way that has been terrifying. These friends love Jesus very much, but circumstances in their lives have exposed areas of easy entrance for the tempter.

As I’ve pondered their struggles, and my own wandering heart, I have been reminded of an exhortation I received many years ago.

When I was in seminary, the chancellor was Dr. Chuck Swindoll. “Chuck” was beloved by the seminary students and the chapel was packed for the morning service.

As he stepped to the pulpit, he carried a weight on his brow, a bible in his hand, and a written statement. He proceeded to share with us the news that another pastor from our seminary had fallen into grave sexual sin, disqualified himself from the ministry, and destroyed his family.

After sharing the news with us, Dr. Swindoll shared a message that I don’t remember verbatim, but the heart of which I hope to never forget.

He challenged us to consider the end of our sin, to consider where sin would lead us. Over the years I have followed his advice and I’d like to take a moment to help you do the same.

Consider the End of Your Sin

I want you walk with me through a scene in your future. You need to see what lies ahead on the path where sin is leading you. This is aimed at fellow pastors, but the idea is applicable to all of us.

Envision yourself calling together your elders and sitting in their midst, telling them about how you have betrayed their trust. See their sunken faces and feel their broken hearts.

Listen to them consider how they will tell the church. Imagine the confusion of the congregation and how it will affect those who have heard you speak so often of Jesus being better than anything else.

Imagine how the name of Christ will be mocked among your community and beyond.

Then I want you to picture walking out to your car and getting in it.

Drive down the road near your house, and around your neighborhood a few times. Picture that place where you walked the dog with your children in the evenings.

Now, pull into your driveway and walk up to the door of your home.

Hear the scampering feet of your children running up to you and putting their arms around your legs saying “daddy’s home!” See the way they love you and trust you.

Drink that in deeply.

Now, tell them to go on outside and play because you have to talk to their mommy about something. As you walk toward the kitchen where she is faithfully going about her day, look at those smiling pictures on the wall. Remember the happy days you shared together.

Lead her by the hand to your bedroom where you used to make love.

Ask her to have a seat.

Feel your heart scamper and the lump form in your throat.

See her eyes ask what is wrong. Then watch her weep as you tell her you have been unfaithful.

Hear her wail.

See her sob.

Feel her hit your chest and fall to her knees in despair.

Imagine the phone call to her parents, and to yours. Hear the silence on the other end of the phone as they take in what you’ve told them.

Get in your mind the day you gather your children and sit them down to explain why mommy and daddy are going to be spending some time apart and why you are going to be selling the house they love so much.

See yourself taking down those smiling pictures from the wall and taping up the moving boxes, unsure if you’ll ever open them again.

Do you see it?

Sin doesn’t tell you about those days, does it?

Sin Hides the Cost

Satan does not tell you what sin will cost you, because the price tag is too high.

He is a liar (John 8:44) and deception is his forte (2 Corinthians 11:3). He wants you to think that sin will not cost you as much as it will. He wants you to think that you can keep things hidden or that you can get out at any time. He wants you to think that your small compromises today will not lead to a great fall in the days ahead.

But that is a lie. He only speaks lies.

Sin is stronger than you or I will ever be.

Some of you are standing at a cross road in your life right now. You have been sipping on sin’s potion and are becoming intoxicated by its lies. Satan wants you to keep sipping so that you will become drunk with delusion and not consider God’s warning of the of destruction that lies ahead.

Hear and heed these words with me, please.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

If you are entangled in sin, call a trusted friend right now and tell them you need help. Do not wait another minute. Sin wants you to think that you can stop by yourself—do not believe it. Darkness is the ground in which sin grows strong.

If you think this could never happen to you, be careful, we are warned “let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Satan will be content with you hearing this warning, as long as you don’t part with your sin. But John Owen’s counsel is always true, “be killing sin or it will be killing you.” Satan’s aim is to destroy your life now and to harden your heart so that you will inherit eternal destruction.

Consider the Savior

Friends, Jesus is an all-sufficient Savior who shed His blood to save you from sin, on Judgment Day, and every day before for it. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16.

Whether you are a pastor or not, married or not, have children or not, we need grace to resist the power of sin’s deception. Thankfully, Jesus promises to supply it.

Plead with God to help you see the end of your sin, and then flee to the Savior. There is much that can be said about this, but for now, let the sobriety of sin’s end lift your eyes to where our help comes from (Psalm 121:1).

May our words not echo those of the man in Proverbs 5 who ignored the warning of wisdom.

Proverbs 5:8-14 “Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner, and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation”

Lord, we need help. Make us sober-minded and help us to see the end of our sin.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

 

You can hear more of how to resist sin’s destruction from a message I preached “Combatting the Seduction of Sexual Sin” from Proverbs 5.

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Atheists Made Alive By Grace – Two Stories of Salvation

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On Sunday I had the honor of baptizing Alvin Cao and Lucy Yin. Both these new believers grew up as atheists in China, but God has graciously made them His children through faith in Jesus Christ.

 

 

Alvin Testimony

By God’s grace, Alvin and Kelton have not only become good friends, but brothers in Christ.

Alvin Cao

“I grew up in China, where religion is a really sensitive thing. Before knowing the Gospel, my life was full of materialism, atheism and natural science.

Things began to change when I read a book non-religous book called Hyperspace. Through that book, I found our universe to be so incredibly perfect, with physical rules that cooperated together, it became hard for me to believe all of this is generated by chance. At that time, I thought there must be someone who designed all of these.

When I first came to America, I got a pick-up service for a Chinese bible class. When I went to the class and heard the Gospel, I found it to be very interesting. Then the class found me an English Partner whose name is Kelton. During this time I also attended an English conversation class at George Washington University, and I met a man named Michael Reeb there.

With their help, I realized the designer of the universe is the God of the Bible. I was also helped to understand the good news about Jesus by Garrett’s preaching and conversations with Stephen Yin. Two months later, I thought it was a time to start a new relationship with God. By God’s grace, I realized I deserve nothing because of my sin, but by faith in Christ, I could be forgiven of those sins.

Today, I stand here and I want to announce to the world that I am a Christian and I want to follow God and love him until the end of the age.”

Steven and Lucy

Steven and Lucy attended the same elementary school in China, but then moved away at different times to the United States. In God’s amazing providence, He saved them both, and then reunited them to become husband and wife.

Lucy Yin

“Hello everyone, my name is Lucy. I am Chinese and grew up in a small city near the capital. In China, the education told me there is definitely no God in the world.

However, my mother is a Buddhist and she always took me to temples when I was a kid. But I really didn’t like it because it was noisy and smoky.

Things began to change after I attended university in Tianjin, a big city near the capital. There was a catholic church near my university. It was so beautiful, that’s why I decided to walked-in and take a seat. At that time I knew nothing about God and the Bible, but I enjoyed the environment a lot. After several times visiting, an old lady there gave me my very first Bible. I began to study it myself until I met another Christian lady who brought me to their home church.

In the second term of my sophomore year, I suffered a hard time because I needed to go abroad to America and finish my studies there. I had to leave my homeland, my family, and my friends. People in the home church encouraged me a lot and taught me more about the Bible and Gospel. So I got baptized, but I didn’t really understand those things, and I just tried to find something that could calm me down and get me through the hard time. And I ignored them after arriving in America.

Then, during the winter break of my senior year in Miami I had done all my graduate school applications and everything went well, but I had difficulty with a class. Everything seemed ruined at that time. Then the dean of our school, who is also a Christian, not only helped me pass the class, but also helped me understand Gospel better.

At that time I suddenly realized I used to only treat God as someone who could help me with difficulty, but He is definitely more than that. From there I knew God was blessing me and was very patient trying to save me. At that time, I began to face my sin and understand the Gospel about our merciful and almighty God who sent His only son Jesus into the world to pay our sin and fix the relationship between us and the Lord.

After several times moving, I came to DC and met my husband Stephen (read his testimony), who is also a member of Del Ray. I’m so glad I can get a chance to know God and learn Gospel. He helps me get through so many hard times and give me a great life that I could never imagine. He prepared a great husband and marriage for me, and also brought me to this wonderful Christian church.

The marriage and many friends here have increased my faith a lot and showed me the importance to be involved in a church family. Now I stand before you as a broken, repentant sinner, saved only by the amazing grace of my perfect Father who will never leave me or forsake me. Today, I’d like to be baptized again as a truly believer and a public display of what God has done in my life!”

 

Praise God with me for the way He took Alvin and Lucy from the darkness of doubting His existence to the light of delighting in Him for eternity.  Pray for them to have grace to persevere in faith and for God to use them to proclaim the Gospel to many of their friends who are yet to believe. 

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When Grace and Evil Collide – A Reflection on Charleston

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On Wednesday, June 17, 2015 we witnessed something remarkable.

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church welcomed a young white man to sit in their pews and pray with them.

Dylann Roof certainly wasn’t the first white person to visit this historically black church, but their well-documented history reminds us why an unwelcoming spirit might have been a reasonable response when he walked through their doors.

Every Reason Not To Love

Emanuel was born out of a group of freed slaves who began worshipping together in 1791 while many of their wives and children remained the “property” of free white owners.

One hundred and forty members from this church were arrested and whipped by white authorities in 1818.

After a planned revolt by some of the slaves in 1822, white people publicly hanged 37 black slaves, including Emanuel’s founder.

The congregation’s building, which was erected with their own hands, was burned by an angry white mob in that same year.

White people had outlawed its services and the church was forced to worship in secret beginning in 1834.

In 1868, one of their former pastors, Benjamin Randolph, was shot in broad daylight by three white men.

Their church is in a state that flies a Confederate flag and has roads named after white generals who fought to keep them from freely driving to church on those roads.

Over the years they worshipped in a city where whites told them to use “colored” toilets and eat at other tables because “your kind isn’t welcomed here.”

Those memories could have clouded the air when Dylann Roof walked through their storied doors.

But instead of cold shoulders, he was offered a warm seat on a pew to pray.

History would have screamed not to let him in that night. Don’t let him close. He doesn’t deserve your love. He’s only going to hurt you.

Evil In The Face Of Grace

During the hour they sat with their would be killer, the church members shared songs and prayers and words of welcome.

But then evil showed its fangs.

Murderous, racist, grace-hating evil made fresh blood flow from old wounds.

Grace had smiled and evil struck it down.

When their killer walked out their doors, Emanuel AME was left with nine new reasons to hate the people who have hurt them.

Nine more funerals.

Nine more empty seats at the dinner table.

Nine more names forever etched into this church’s grueling history.

Suzy Jackson.

Daniel Simmons.

Myra Thompson.

Cynthia Hurd.

De’Payne Doctor.

Sharonda Singleton.

Clementa Pinckney.

TyWanda Sanders.

Left behind are widows and orphans and weeping family members with new reasons to withhold grace.

But that is not what they have done.

Instead, they have once again extended grace in the face of evil.

Grace In The Face Of Evil

At Roof’s bond hearing family members showed Dylann the same grace he saw when he sat down to kill their loved ones.

From broken hearts they spoke words that have stunned many:

“I forgive you…you took something very precious away from me…I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you…you hurt me and you hurt a lot of people, but God forgive you and I forgive you.” – the daughter of Ethel Lee Nance

“I forgive you and our family forgives you, but we would like you to take this opportunity and repent. Confess. And give your life to the One who matters most, Christ, so he can change it…He can change it.” – Anthony Thompson

“Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate…everyone’s plea for your soul…is proof that they lived in love and that their legacy will live in love…and so hate will not win…” – Alana Simmons (granddaughter of Daniel Simmons)

Those were not empty words from thoughtless lips.

The hymns they sang outside the courtroom afterwards were not the delirious songs of reeling family members.

What we witnessed is grace. The supernatural grace that flows from a spring that abides in the heart of God’s people.

The slain members of Emanuel AME welcomed Dylann Roof into their midst because Christ had first invited them (1 John 4:19-20).

They pressed past the temptation to say “your kind isn’t welcome here” and offered him a seat because Jesus had first given them a seat at His table.

And now, their family members have done the same. They have offered forgiveness because Christ has forgiven them (Ephesians 4:32). 

Grace Wins

On Sunday, June 21, 2015 the wounded but resilient Emanuel AME church assembled once again. The pews were filled with members and visitors from every color. As they walked through those doors they carried the strange mix of being heavy yet hopeful; afflicted, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:7-9).

The building that was filled with gun smoke on Wednesday was filled with joyful songs on Sunday.

The room that was stained with blood on Wednesday was saturated with praise on Sunday.

The place that was divided by hate on Wednesday was hand in hand in love on Sunday.

As they held each other up and sang hymns and proclaimed promises from God’s Word, the world witnessed the arresting reality that when evil and grace collide—grace wins. When hate strikes down love—it rises again. When Christians are separated from life through death—they are not separated from the love of God (Romans 8:28-39).

Why is this so? Because Emanuel’s strength finds its source in Jesus who was struck down by sinful hate, yet rose again to be the Savior and sustainer of God’s people (Psalm 54:4; Acts 2:22-24; Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 3:18).

What the world witnessed on Sunday was the resilience of a church who has not, will not, cannot, be killed.

Do they weep? Yes. Do they grieve? Yes. Will they ever be the same? No. But have they given up? No.

Why?

Because Emanuel AME has a Savior who lives forever to give them grace in the face of evil (Hebrews 4:14-16, 7:24-25). Jesus has promised He would do this, and Jesus always keeps His promises.

The scene from that Sunday took my mind to a scene in the book of Revelation where we see people from every tribe tongue and nation, standing together to praise the Lamb who was slain.

Revelation 7:9–17 “…I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!…they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Among those in that future heavenly scene are the members of Emanuel who have been beaten and mocked and lynched and gunned down, including the nine who fell on Wednesday. It is this heavenly picture that has sustained so many of God’s people over the years, and it is what sustains them even now.

Until Grace is All We Know

One day, grace is all we will know. There will be no more racism or evil or hate or murder or division. All those things will be cast in to the lake of fire with Satan and those who followed him. But that day is not yet.

Between now and then, we live here, in a world stained with sin. We walk through doors with stained histories of both evil and grace. Living in this tension is not easy for any of us, nor is it equal for all of us. Many in this life, including our black brothers and sisters from Emanuel and other communities like it, have unique challenges to face as they journey toward that heavenly day.

As a white man, I have so many questions for the people in Charleston. I want to know how the grace of God has sustained them for so long and through so much? I want to hear how are they helping each other avoid despair and revenge? I want to hear how they have leaned upon Jesus and how they have seen Him sustain them.

But I know I cannot just make it about what “I want” to hear. So I hope I can learn whatever it is my black brothers and sisters would want to share. I can’t do that in South Carolina, but I can strive to do that at home.

For people like me, it is easy to see events on the news, and become a spectator who says, “that man’s racist hate is so evil” and “their response is so gracious.”

But we can’t do that. Change in our church or our country or our hearts won’t happen by distant observing.

My prayer and cautious encouragement is for us to be intentional to lovingly and humbly learn from those God has placed around us. We grow when we follow the example of Christ and enter into each other’s worlds. We need to listen to each other and learn from each other.

Not all people will experience life in the same way, but Gospel-inspired conversations are the pathway to true change. Be slow to make assumptions about how others experience life, and even slower to assume no racism abides in your heart. I am still learning how to do this, and you can read about my journey here.

We can learn much about this by following the example we’ve seen from Emanuel AMC. The more we do what happened on Sunday, the more we’ll grow and avoid things like what happened on Wednesday. I don’t say that to be overly simplistic, but I do believe that racism dies when people come together at the feet of Jesus who died to “break down the dividing wall of hostility” that separates us (Ephesians 2:14).

I pray that we will follow the Christ-like path of grace. It is the way forward, because when grace and evil collide—grace wins.

 

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

 

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How Christians Can Pray for Muslim Friends During Ramadan

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MALAYSIA-ISLAM-RAMADAN

As Muslims around the world observe Ramadan, Christians should cry out to the true God of heaven on their behalf.

Many of us have Muslim friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers we hope to see trust in Jesus. We know they consider Jesus a prophet, but we long to see them believe in Him as their Lord and Savior. As Ramadan approaches, we are provided with a fresh opportunity to pray for them and hopefully engage with them in spiritual conversation.

What is Ramadan?

On the evening of Thursday, June 18, 2015, billions of Muslims around the world will begin observing Ramadan. Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is considered the holiest month of the year for Muslims.

The observance of Ramadan is one of the 5 Pillars of the Islamic faith, which requires all Muslims who are physically able to fast each day of the month, from sunrise to sunset.

This time of fasting from food, drink, and other physical needs is intended to purify the soul, practice self-restraint, and refocus one’s devotion to their god, Allah. This is also a time when many Muslims increase their alms giving to the poor, which is another of the 5 Pillars of their faith.

The evenings are spent enjoying time with family and community meals, engaging in prayer and spiritual reflection, and reading from the Quran. The observance of Ramadan concludes, according to the western calendar, on the evening of Friday, July 17th.

How Can We Pray During Ramadan?

Father, we pray that as they set their hearts to worship their god Allah, that You might make them to “know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Help them see that Jesus is Your eternal Son through whom they can have eternal life.

Father, we pray that as their bodies hunger and their tongues thirst, that You would show them Jesus who promised “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6:35). Help them see the insufficiency of their works and lead them to hunger and thirst for the righteousness that only Jesus can give.

Father, we pray that as they practice self-restraint that You would show them Jesus who, before He was crucified for sinners, denied Himself and “prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will’” (Matthew 26:39). Help them believe that He truly died on the cross and drank fully from the cup of Your wrath.

Father, we pray that as they give alms to the poor that You would show them Jesus who “though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Help them see and treasure the eternal glory of Your Son Jesus.

Father, we pray that as they gather together to feast in the evening, that You would show them Jesus who invites sinners of all sorts to abandon their false gods and by faith join “those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 16:9). Show them the resurrected and ascended King of Glory who desires them to draw near to Him in faith.

Father, we pray that you would give Your church love for Muslims across the world. Make us like Jesus who “felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34). Guard us from self-righteousness that would lead us to having hard hearts toward those who do not know You.

Father, we pray that you would give Your church opportunity and courage to proclaim the Gospel to Muslims throughout the world. Lift our eyes to Jesus who promised to empower us when He said “I am with you always even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Let us not fear any consequence of faithfully taking the Gospel to those who desperately need Your grace.

 

May this season of Ramadan be marked by the faithful intercession of God’s people who long to see many Muslims come to the saving knowledge of Jesus, the Son of God.

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How ISIS Helped Salmaa Become a Christian

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Egyptian Martyr

Due to the risk of her safety, Salmaa’s name has been changed and other identifying details have been left out. Her story, however, is true and wonderfully encouraging. Pray for many more like it.

 

Salmaa’s journey to knowing Jesus was spurred on by emptiness. She lacked peace and longed to know who God was and what purpose He might have for her life. She was raised in a Middle Eastern country where she and everyone around her believed that Allah was the one true god.

But as Salmaa read the Quran, she only found deeper emptiness as she was confronted with a god who was mean, unkind, and unpredictable. After much study, she closed the Quran. She was dissatisfied and left without answers, but the longing to be near to God remained.

By God’s grace and wonderful sovereignty, Salmaa was given a Bible and heard the good news about Jesus. She heard that He was not just a prophet, but was God in the flesh who mercifully died and rose to forgive anyone who would believe in Him.

As she read the Bible, she was drawn to the One who seemed to speak through its pages. As she read, she became convinced that the Bible was indeed the “word of Life” that pointed to the “Word of life.”

Seeking to know Him came with many obstacles and danger, but Salmaa continued to pursue Him. The longing to have peace, righteousness, and nearness to God could not be quenched. And in recent days, her longing to know Jesus has intensified by the most unlikely of circumstances.

As Salmaa watched the news and saw the murder of 21 Ethiopian Christians by the hands of ISIS, she was strangely drawn to the peace she found on the faces of the men who knelt in honor of Jesus.

How could they be at such peace with God?

How could they look so comforted in their final moments?

Salmaa knew there was a power in them that she did not understand, but knew it must have come from the God she had read of in the Bible—and she wanted to possess that same peace.

Days later, as the testimonies of the families of those martyred brothers emerged, she was once again left baffled. The families offered forgiveness for those whom murdered their sons, brothers, and fathers. One mother said she praised God that her son was in heaven now and that she would like to invite the ISIS soldiers into her home so she could tell them more about the Savior her son loved so much.

How could those family members forgive these murders of their sons and husbands and fathers?

This too, she knew, was not a response that could come from natural man, but from God.

She shared that ISIS thinks they are destroying and ending Christianity by killing Christians, but what they do not understand is that their evil acts are causing people to look not at them, but at these who are dying with the peace of Jesus. They are seeing faces of peace, comfort, and power and this is causing them to seek answers, and to come to know the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Salmaa’s eyes are being opened by the graciousness and mercy of our Lord. And she is not the only one, this is the testimony of many Muslims whom God is drawing to see that Jesus is indeed more than a prophet.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a God who is able to take the most horrendous of evils and use them for His glory and the good of those He calls to Himself (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28; Colossians 2:13-15). 

Father, strengthen your church to suffer well and know Your peace as their blood is shed for the One who shed His blood for them (John 16:33). And we pray that you would open the eyes of many more Muslims like Salmaa. Show them that Jesus, Your Son, is the true God who can give them peace which Allah cannot (John 14:27), in the Name of Jesus—Amen. 

 

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His Way Was Through The Sea

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Red Sea Crossing

Psalm 77:19 “Your way was through the sea”

Very often the Lord’s way is not our way. His perfect path is not the same path we foresaw for ourselves. His way is higher and wiser and better.

After Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, the Lord led His people toward the Promised Land. His pillar of cloud led them by day and His pillar of fire led them by night (Exodus 13:21). He was their guide and they made their steps with easy and comfort, because He was with them.

But then the Lord lovingly took His children on a detour to both test and teach them. He called them to camp on the beach in front of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:1-2). He ordained their curious campout because He knew that a hardened Pharaoh would see it as an opportunity to pounce on the people once again (Exodus 14:3). God called His people to camp there so that they would be pressed hard by uncertain circumstances.

What strange love this is, that God would put His people in a position of danger and distress—on purpose.

And as God predicted, Pharaoh rallied his army and pursued Israel as they camped in their most precarious position. As the chariot wheels bore down upon their resting place, their backs were pressed against the shore of the Red Sea.  What would God do? All they could imagine was that God had brought them out of Egypt to die on a barren beach like abandoned children (Exodus 14:10-12).

They had no way of escape; but the Lord had a way, He always does.

As Pharaoh and his blood-thristy army gained ground on Israel, “Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14:13). Their campground of certain death was about to be transformed into a stage on which God would display His faithful love.

God had a plan to deliver His people.

What was His way? Psalm 77:19 “Your way was through the sea, Your path through the great waters.”

God’s way was the unforeseen way. It was the unimaginable path. They would not, in ten thousand years devised the plan God had known for all eternity. Moses could never have included the shortcut through the sea on the itinerary of the Canaan-bound children of God.

God’s way was through the sea.

God’s ways are not our ways. His ways are higher than ours. They are wiser than ours. They are better than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Remember this child of God, our Father often acts unconventionally. He regularly chooses the unseen path for His people to walk on. He always has a way to save His people, but very often it is through the sea. He will always provide, but it is often from sources they would not have suspected (1 Kings 17-7; Matthew 6:25-34).

God is faithful, but He is rarely predictable.

God is trustworthy, but He is marvelously creative in the way He cares for us. He seems to delight in bringing us home by the way of the sea so that once we have set our feet on the dry land of our destination we can say nothing except “God did this.” In the end, God ordains His way through the sea that “I will get glory” and so that all “shall know that I am the LORD” (Exodus 14:4).

What more clear example of this truth can we have than God’s provision of salvation through Christ. Who could have ever imagined that God would save rebels by becoming like them and dying for them and rising from the dead to provide salvation for them?

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” Romans 11:33

I am not sure what provision or protection or direction you are seeking from God today, but rest in this truth: God’s way is very often through the sea.

He puts His children in precarious positions on purpose. He does not do this to destroy our faith, but to strengthen it. For once He has helped us to step across the threshold of our straining circumstances, we will see that God is the wise and trustworthy Savior of His people.

He ordains His way through the sea so that His children can forever look back on their lives and see that time and again His ways are good and His love is faithful.

Trust Him today child of God, wait upon His way—even if it is through the sea.

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