Where Does Salvation Lie?

Where Does Salvation Lie?

Isaiah 44:9-20

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing?  Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.  The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house.  He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.  Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.  No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”  He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

The English Standard Version of the Bible titles these verses: The Folly of Idolatry”.

Isaiah speaks of how we take man-made objects and give them powers they do not possess.  We turn them into false gods that meet our human expectations.  We do this today just as it was done in the time of Isaiah.  It is done within the conventional organized religions, where symbols are professed to deliver us from evil.  And there are those who claim that some man-made objects can possess evil powers.  These are obvious examples of idolatry.  But many of us fall to the folly of idolatry in a more subtle manner. Continue reading

The Heart Can Be Deceitful

The Heart Can Be Deceitful

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?

Jeremiah is talking about how we try to rationalize away our sins.  He is speaking of man’s heart.  A heart that is filled with worldly desires.  A heart that he talks about in Jeremiah 17:5:

Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
    and makes flesh his strength,
    whose heart turns away from the Lord.

A heart that trust man, one that draws strength from flesh.  A heart that is filled with desires of the flesh cannot be filled with the Lord. Continue reading

Every Man Under His Vine

Every Man Under His Vine

1 Kings 4:25

And Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon.

When I read this it reminded me of my post “Candy Cried” which referenced the scene in “Of Mice and Men” where all the misfits were gathered in one place and talking about their collective passion.  All they wanted was a little piece of land to call their own.  A place in life to work and reap their rewards, a place to be left alone. Continue reading

Watch Out On Top

Watch Out On Top

Daniel 6: 1-5

It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss.  Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.  At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.  Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

In this day and age with so much media, mass media, social media, etc., it’s very easy for everyone to voice their opinions.

Therefore it’s an everyday occurrence to see the person who’s on top being pulled down by those who are jealous of the top person’s success, for whatever reason.

That’s something that’s been going on since the dawn of man. Continue reading

Lift The Yoke

Lift The Yoke

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

This verse follows the verses that I wrote about in a previous post, These Things Are For Children.   In that post I wrote about the Kingdom of God being in our hearts, and how the world comes along and fills our hearts with worldly things.  We then allow these things to push out the Kingdom of God.  Once this is done we burden ourselves with worldly desires and these burdens wear us down.  Sometimes the burdens don’t allow us to realize the Kingdom of God was in our hearts and it is really still there if we just make the room for it.  Tragically, sometimes they wear us down to the point of denying the existence of God. Continue reading

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

Romans 8:5

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

This verse caught my attention when I read it.  What made me stop and write it down was the paradigm shift I had when I read it.

I originally thought this verse to mean you think and act according to worldly wants and desires and you pay the price.  You think and act of God and you are saved.

I still believe that, but this time I saw an affirmation of my belief in the simplicity of life and God.  I saw the simplicity of getting your relationship with God and in doing so you are filled with the energy, the will, the Holy Spirit of God. Continue reading

These Things Are For Children

These Things Are For Children

Matthew 11:25

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;

Jesus was preaching to the crowd that gathered to hear the discussion he was having with the disciples of John the Baptist.  Christ was condemning the cities that had failed to repent even after having witnessed the works of Christ.

I would assume the cities that Christ was referring to in the earlier verses, considered themselves to be an epicenter of intellect and enlightenment.  But Christ is telling them they will pay the price for their arrogance, stiff necks and harden hearts.  This is just as the great prophets of the Old Testament had preached to metropolises of their time.

After denouncing these worldly centers, Christ then speaks the words in verse 25. Continue reading

Expectations of False Gods

Expectations of False Gods

Isaiah 51:7-8

On a high and lofty mountain
    you have set your bed,
    and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
Behind the door and the doorpost
    you have set up your memorial;
for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,
    you have gone up to it,
    you have made it wide;
and you have made a covenant for yourself with them,
    you have loved their bed,
    you have looked on nakedness.

Isaiah starts Chapter 51 of his book with this verse:

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord….

Isaiah prophesied about the pending destruction of Judah and the Jews being carried off into captivity by the king of Babylon.  Those captured and enslaved will be the lucky ones, the others are set to be destroyed by pestilence, famine and the sword. Continue reading

Iron On Iron

Iron On Iron

Proverbs 27:17

Iron sharpens iron,
    and one man sharpens another.

Today I’ll depart from the New Testament and go back to the Old Testament.

One day while on my way to a gig, as I was driving through a section of town on the same road I use at least once a week, I noticed a banner.  It was strung to a fence that was protecting an old hotel that was being refurbished.  Part of the sign had the general contractor’s name, phone number, website, logo, etc.  That was on the left side of the sign.  On the right side was the verse from Proverbs that I referenced at the beginning of this piece.

Now maybe I noticed the verse because I was stopped at a red light, but I don’t believe that was the first time the light stopped me at that intersection.  I know they hadn’t just put up the sign because I remembered the contractor’s name and logo on the sign.  Something on that day made me look at the sign and read the verse. Continue reading

The Importance Of Humility

The Importance Of Humility

Deuteronomy 8:17:18

Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

This is part of Moses’s speech to Israel as they are about to pass into the land of Jordan after wandering in the wilderness for forty years.

Moses and God are reminding the Israelites and us of the importance of humility. Continue reading