Saturday, December 27, 2014

UNDERSTANDING MATTHEW 19:24 AND HOW IT APPLIES TO AMERICA

     I often think back 17 years ago, when as a frightened, concerned a teary eyed father, I stood with my wife and watched our 17 year old, youngest son, board a flight with 3 companions for a missionary trip to Africa. Here is my baby going half way around the world to preach and sing to a people hungry for God, but also living in a dangerous region, in a constant flux for what war lord has the biggest guns and cahonies at the moment and what rules are considered a death sentence, or is just breathing and being in the way is enough to kill. It was exciting to my son, his cousin and the two ministers as they headed off, but mom and dad had the icy fingers of worry and fear going up their spine. What were we thinking allowing our youngest son to fly so far away, and then face danger so large that he might get caught up in it himself? How could we do such a thing?
     It was upon his return that we understood that we understood the "Why". We heard the horror story of how the street vendors, just trying to to make enough to feed their families one more day, were driven out of the streets, some even shot dead. That my son was even there to witness the event, made me almost feint! Then he turns around and tells us about the beauty of the balloon ride over Victoria Falls. Two complete differing views of the same country. How could a country that can boast of such a beautiful natural wonder,  starve and murder its own people? Satan rules heavily in that region of the world. Why? Because there are people, young people, who are so hungry for God!
     While the two ministers, my son and nephew went to Africa with, had to take a trip to another city, it left my son and his cousin with time on their hands. My nephew is one heck of a guitar player and between he and my son, they carry a pretty good tune. So instead of sitting in the hotel room afraid to go out, they instead went out to the street corner and started singing gospel songs. My son said, "Dad, it shocked us when before long the street was full of young men and women singing with them, holding up their Bibles. I preached the Word of God and you could see the hunger and hear the Amen-ing. It shook me to see so many young people hungry for God! We would have been laughed at and ridiculed in our home town if we had done the same thing. It was humbling, yet exciting." That was the why. He needed to experience this to turn him into the minister he became. God's way of teaching him, and us, that indeed He is working in our world. How a desperate people, always in fear of hunger and death, found complete solace and peace in their love and relationship with God. Who would have seen that coming? Why? Because the they fit through the eye of the needle!
     In Matthew 19:23 thru 25, Christ is speaking and tells us: 
And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24"Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?"… So who is that rich man? Is it the millionaires, the billionaires? Possibly. But as I wondered on it today, I started to see it differently. Yes, I'm sure it would be near, if not impossible, for the wealthy to give up everything and follow Christ. But who is wealthy. Is it just a dollar amount that can be counted or is it something else?
     We, as Americans, are surrounded by wealth. Not just bank accounts, but by the wealth of opportunities to do pretty much whatever we wish with impunity from what we feel is our God given right. Really? How many of would be willing to let go of the ability to watch television, movies, books, magazines, and everything we do and enjoy daily, even though what we put in front of us and our family is in contradiction to the Word of God and what Christ brought to us? "Well, yes I watch this show, but it has a good story!" Yet the people who are portraying this so-called good story live lives contrary to the word of God. Homosexuals, Lesbians, whoremongers, adulterers etc. We not only invite this into our lives, but into our homes as well. Money that we waste on lottery tickets, couldn't they go to better use in the offering plate at church? Instead of feeding a world consumed with gambling, use those dollars for the Work of God? How many of you go out to eat and buy expensive mixed alcohol drinks? What did that expensive drink do for you or your salvation? Could you have bought tea, a soft drink, or even drank water and used those extra dollars you would have spent and put them towards the Work of God?
     How about that or those expensive vehicles that cost an arm and leg to have repaired? How about that expensive Bass Boat? How about that $25,000 Harley? What about buying expensive named brand clothes when you could easily look just as good if you purchased pretty much the same look at a Walmart or other discount store? Yes, you work hard for the money you get! It is yours to decide how it is used! What I'm asking is, "If you can afford those expensive items, what would it hurt you or me, to buy a less expensive item and put those extra dollars towards the Work of God?" See, we put sin on a pedestal by purchasing the technology or subscriptions, allowing it to be before our eyes, purchase a ticket to watch it at a theater, accepting the sins that the actors are a part of. We listen to the music of those who live terrible lives, yet we put down the dollars to buy their next albums. So in essence, we give the right hand of fellowship to the very sinners that the Bible, not me, has already judged. Satan is intelligent. He knows how to twist things to make it seem harmless, but in reality, is eating a hole in our souls and is not only damning us, but our children and grandchildren and many generations after.
     The Jews called for the blood of Christ to be on them and their children. Mathew 27:24 thru  26 states: 24When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves." 25And all the people said, "His blood shall be on us and on our children!" 26Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. The Jews are the chosen people, but how did that statement work out for them? They placed the killing of Christ upon them and their future generations. They have paid a heavy price. We as parents, children, grandparents and so on, allow the dilution of the Word of God and Christ's work and words, sin is easier to accept. Not only is it easier to accept, we become blinded to sin. "Well, I don't live my life that way!" Good for you. But yet you accept that it is okay for you to allow it to be in front of you and pay money to do so.
     I want to finish this Blog by saying this: Folks, I'm a sinner. I fail everyday. But I keep my eyes on the goal. His coming Kingdom and eternal life. Am I guilty of watching the shows, the movies and reading material. Yes. What is happening to me is as I get older, I am starting to wisen up to Satan and how he works to destroy my sight of true Christianity and fool me into believing more and more lies. I asked some people today, "If I asked people, who are professing to be Christians, to honestly answer: How many of you actually opened your Bible today?" I wonder how many hands would go up? If I am on a trip to a destination that I've never been before, and leave the map, that will show me how to arrive at my destination, wrapped in its original plastic, whose fault is it when I get lost? Isn't that what the Bible is? Our road map to take us to the destination we've never been before? So how do we keep from getting lost? Did you ever pull over and ask someone for directions and end up more lost than you were before you asked? The map is still sitting there! We allow others to give us a diluted version of the directions to serving Christ, relying on Christian "country miles" instead of reading the road map: The Bible. It kind of makes you wonder, would we fit through the eye of the needle, or watch as the camel goes through? 
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