Velvet Crosses

“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.'” (Luke 9:23)

I believe that every Christian should read The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It is truly a classic! In this book, Bonhoeffer writes, “When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.” In another place in the book he writes, “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

It seems to me that too many Christians today want what I call “velvet crosses.” Those are crosses that are pretty to look at and not too difficult to bear. But crosses are not made out of velvet. They are made of wood. Bonhoeffer’s comments and my personal experience remind me that true discipleship requires us to renounce the world and take up the cross. Regardless of what the world does or says, we must stand firm on the Word of God and NEVER COMPROMISE that Word.

Dr. Arthur T. Pierson, commenting on our verse for today (Luke 9:23) wrote, “The word ‘cross’ in the Scriptures never occurs in the plural! There is but one cross. It is that of self-denial. To Christ it means His sacrificial death to save others. The believer who takes up his cross and follows the Master must manifest a similar spirit of self-abnegation. Multitudes go to church and call themselves Christians; yet their lives are essentially wordily. They freely spend a thousand times more on self-indulgent activities than they grudgingly give to God.”

OUCH!

Dr. Pierson’s take on that verse is quite interesting. In our world, most folks equate cross-bearing with the suffering that we bear through some pain or hurt in life. Some people think that having to deal with a cantankerous mother-in-law is nothing more than “my cross to bear.” Nothing could be farther from the truth! Bearing the cross of Christ means that we accept the reproach of Christ and we crucify ourselves. Now we are back to costly discipleship as described by Bonhoeffer.

To be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, I must be willing to suffer reproach for His name, no matter how much social stigma that may cause. Our service to God is not about our pleasure, but His glory! It is not about ME getting what I want, it is about my being dedicated to HIM. In our efforts to evangelize the world, we must NEVER compromise the truth of the Gospel for the sake of acceptance by the world.

Because of our acceptance of the idea that all people possess some measure of truth and all people’s opinions are equally true, we are making it impossible to make law in this nation based on morality. The immoral have been allowed to define morality and when that happens, the immoral becomes moral. I can only imagine that our founding fathers are doing backflips in their graves today!

Isaiah 5:20-21 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own opinion and clever in their own sight.” That describes our world today — including many who consider themselves Christians! We are wise in our own opinions and clever in our own sight. We have substituted the old rugged cross for a velvet cross that is much more tolerable.

God have mercy upon us.

Hope you have a blessed day.

Understanding the Times

“of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command.” (I Chronicles 12:32)

The position of Issachar among the tribes of Israel was a very desirable one. Some of the richest land in Palestine fell to them, and they appear to have enjoyed great prosperity. Many believe these people were eminent for their abilities in astronomical and physical science. They were very intelligent.

But look at what the Bible says about these men — they “had understanding of the times.” That’s not only intelligence but wisdom.

We live in perilous times today. I believe one of the great needs of today’s church are people who can understand and interpret the times. My devotion from yesterday (1/28 – “A Biblical Peacemaker) caused some of you to think — OUT LOUD (LOL). I certainly wasn’t suggesting that pastors and churches who genuinely seek to reach their neighbors with the Gospel are to be compared to the groups who try and push the limits of decency in advertising. I was simply suggesting that we need people who can understand and interpret the times. We are told in the Bible that we are to be a part of the world but we are not to participate in the world’s lifestyle. 

I’m calling on pastors and church leaders to be men who have understanding of the times. I believe we need to be aware of what is happening around us. We need to understand our culture, our community and our church mission fields. But understanding it and participating in it are two different things. When we gain understanding of the things going on around us, we must become interpreters of our times in order to explain what these things mean for Christianity, Christians and the church.

As a Gospel preacher, my first responsibility is to understand GOD’S TIMES. I’m much more interested in what GOD is doing in my world, what GOD is doing in my church, and what GOD is doing in my life than I am in the latest fads, trends and gimmicks that draw an audience but don’t lead to transformed lives.

Too many of us in the Christian community live by the mantra that “ignorance is bliss.” That’s not true. Ignorance is NOT bliss — ignorance is FATAL! If we do not interpret God’s Word correctly for the world in which we live, we will fail in our efforts to win people to the Kingdom of God. We need to stop following teachers and preachers who try and make the Word fit the culture and start telling people that the culture must submit to the Word of God. 

That means that if the Bible says it is right — it is right and if the Bible says it is wrong — it is wrong. I don’t care how many people vote and express their opinions. I am an interpreter of God’s Word TO the culture. I am not ever going to compromise God’s Word in order to appease a group who lives according to man’s idea of right and wrong.

The men of Issachar not only understood the times, they knew the way Israel was to go and what they were supposed to do. Church leaders today need to discern the proper course of action. If all we do is discern our times but we never take any action, then we are nothing more than informed knowledgeable people. We must take the next step and determine the right thing to do in light of God’s Word to the time in which we live.

This requires seeking God and making good decisions. We don’t need any more life coaches and skinny-jean wearing, beer drinking Bible study leaders. We need men and women of God who are on their knees seeking the counsel of God. We need preachers who are on fire for the Gospel regardless of who it offends. We must stand in the pulpits of this nation and say to Democrats and Republicans — THUS SAYS THE LORD! We need Christians who will hold our politicians accountable for their actions. Give me a dozen praying people any time over a building full of people who are following the newest Christian fad.

I pray that we will all seek to be as the children of Issachar…

That we will understand the times and that we will know what we should do — based on our relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ and His inerrant Word. Let’s impact this world for Christ — the times are perilous and short. Let’s get busy.

Have a great Wednesday and enjoy the snow if you got any! 

A Biblical Peacemaker

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

I believe that in a very real sense we are to resemble God in our character and our lifestyle. That idea seems to run counter to everything taught by worldly philosophies today.  And yet, according to the seventh beatitude, peacemaking is a very important part of our likeness to God. Let me show you how.

God is a peacemaker. The Bible is one continuous story of the lengths to which God has gone in seeking peace with sinful humanity. Through Isaiah, the prophet, God called the coming Messiah “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:7). In Isaiah 53, God tells of Christ’s peacemaking ministry. The Bible says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

Now don’t confuse being a peacemaker with appeasement. God is NOT an appeaser. He does not compromise. He offers peace on the terms of absolute surrender. Again Isaiah wrote, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21). The Gospel which Jesus commanded us to preach to all nations is a gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins…IN THE NAME OF JESUS. God absolutely insists on salvation BEFORE peace. BUT to all who repent of their sin and confess Jesus as Lord, God does make peace with them.

I realize that as I get older, I get a little more “sot” in my ways. (You old folks — older than me — will understand that term.) But as I observe the culture in which I live, I see fewer and fewer peacemakers and more and more appeasers. This week everybody seems to be talking about the Grammy award show from last weekend — and some of the performances. First, let me say this…I DIDN’T WATCH IT. And here is why — I KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. I wasn’t expecting to see a Gospel concert or a praise and worship celebration. So I didn’t watch.

What I know about the show is what I have seen on the news and read about in rants from Christians who are offended that the world acted worldly. And while I agree with my brothers and sisters who are offended by the blatant disregard for the basic precepts of God’s Word — I wonder how many parents still allow some of these very “artists” in their homes via CDs or videos or whatever means your little Throckmorton listens to his music. 

“What’s your point, Pastor?”

Lost people act like lost people — period. Don’t be surprised at that.

Sunday morning, one of my friends brought me a postcard they had received in the mail last week. On the front of the card was a picture of a toilet paper holder in someone’s bathroom with an empty roll of toilet paper on it. Two words were on the front of this card. Those two words were OH SHEET! Get the picture?

I was immediately offended that some company would use this blatant vulgarity in order to advertise something. I was even more offended when I turned the card over and discovered that the advertiser was A CHURCH! In their attempt to be culturally relevant, this church — seeking, I’m sure, to reach a demographic that I’m not a part of — sent out what they believe is a cleverly designed postcard to attract the attention of the world and tell them — “Hey! We are just like you.”

I’ll be the first the admit that I wasn’t the best student in Greek class during my seminary days, but I did learn one word that I use often for drivel such as this — BOLOGNA!

That’s not sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is appeasing the world in order to draw a crowd.

“Well Pastor Keith — let me tell you this. I have been hurt by your ‘organized religion’ and this approach is appealing to me because it lets me know that ‘true religion’ is relevant to my everyday life.”

You can’t see me rolling my eyes — BUT I AM!

That’s selfish. You see, your relationship with God is NOT about YOU feeling good about yourself and learning 6 new ways to be nice to your spouse. The Gospel is about our separation from a holy God because of our sin and until we are convicted of that sin and we come to God for forgiveness — we will never be true peacemakers. 

The Bible is very clear — happy are the peacemakers, for they are cooperating with God in His glorious vision — to win the world to Christ. Do you have that joy? Are you at peace with God? Are you at peace with yourself, your family, and your neighbors? Are you spreading the new that true peace is only found when we come to God through His Son — Jesus Christ? We are never more like God than when we are telling others how they can know true peace in their lives.

So…stop expecting lost people to act like saved people. Start expecting saved people to act like saved people. And finally, remember that your job here in the Kingdom work is to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit so that all who repent of their sins may truly know the peace OF God which comes when you have peace WITH God. People are longing for peace in their lives but that peace will NEVER come until they repent of their sins and confess Christ as Lord. Share the Gospel!

Have a great Tuesday.

Headed to the Cemetery…BUT WAIT!

“And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, ‘Young man, I say to you arise!’ The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother.” (Luke 7:14-15)

I love all the stories in the Bible — but I especially love this one! Jesus broke up the funeral procession! How cool is that?

The city of Nain was about 25 miles from Capernaum. In Luke 7:1-9, Jesus was in Capernaum — so He traveled a good day’s journey to the town of Nain. As He came to the city gate, He encountered this funeral procession. Remember — the Jews buried their dead the same day they died — so it is likely that this boy died in the early part of the day and Jesus arrived in the late afternoon.

One of the things that jumps out to me in this story occurs in verse 12. The Bible says that the dead man being carried to the cemetery “was his mother’s only son.” If anybody knew what it was like to be the ONLY SON it was Jesus. And so, as Warren Weirsbe says, “Two only sons met, one alive but destined to die, the other dead but destined to live.”

Luke says when Jesus saw this man’s mother, “He had compassion on her.” He went up to the coffin and told the grieving mother not to cry. He turned to the dead man and said, “Young man, I say to you arise.” Verse 15 says that the dead man sat up and began to talk and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

I can’t begin to even imagine the joy in that mother’s heart when she saw her son who had been dead now alive! What a wonderful miracle.

Think with me a minute about salvation. That too is a wonderful miracle. Until you and I come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way, we are dead in our sins. We are on our way to the cemetery of the second death and eternal separation from God. Unless a person repents of his/her sin and comes to know Christ, we will be eternally separated from God in a Christless hell.

BUT…when Jesus touches us through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, we instantly receive new life! The Bible assures us that we receive eternal life — right then. From that day forward, we are no longer on our way to death — we are on our way to an eternal life with God the Father! WHAT A MIRACLE!!!

Edna and I have experienced in our lives the joy of seeing our children repent of their sins and come to know Christ. Many of you have experienced the same thing. I’ve seen wives weep when husbands get saved. I’ve seen grandmothers as the tears flowed down their face when a wayward grandchild repents of sin and accepts the free gift of God’s wonderful grace. WHAT A MIRACLE!

Let me stop here and say this…

If you are reading this and you have never experienced the miracle of the new birth in Jesus Christ, I invite you to confess your sin and repent right now and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. I know first hand that Jesus can take that which is dead and give it new life. You see — He has done it in MY LIFE.

If you would like to talk about this decision please email me. If you have recently made that decision to follow Christ — email me and share your miracle with me. You were headed to the cemetery…BUT WAIT…Jesus passed by and raised to new life that which was dead.

THAT is something to celebrate!

Have a great Thursday.

I’m NOT Just Another Face in the Crowd

“You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:3)

I’ve been thinking…a dangerous exercise I know so keep those comments to yourself.

If I was the only person God had to think about, it would be easier for me to believe that He is actually watching over me. But I’m not the only one. I am just one of more than 7 billion people who live on this earth. I don’t even know what a billion looks like. It’s difficult to think in those kinds of numbers for me. But I do know this. I’ve been in some pretty big cities — Las Vegas, San Antonio, St. Louis, Knoxville, Raleigh/Cary. Whenever I’m in these places, I have seen people — everywhere! It seems there are people…people and more people everywhere I look. The sheer numbers have overwhelmed me. Of course, I’m often overwhelmed at the number of people I see in Wal-Mart!

That makes me think. Am I just kidding myself in supposing that a God really exists who not only is able but is willing to know and love and judge everyone on this planet — as an individual? After all, think of all the demands that billions of people might make on Him at any given moment. I have a hard time keeping up with the demands of the congregation of people where I pastor!

The more I thought about this, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind Psalm 139. That’s a great Psalm. David portrays God as being unlimited in knowledge and power. He knows everything and is fully acquainted with all my thoughts and way. No matter where I am, in the crowd or away from it, He is always there. 

Do you get that? It’s very important! No matter what you are thinking right now — God is fully aware and concerned!

It is not surprising to me then that David would say, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it” (Psalm 139:6).

So…I thank God this morning that I am not just another face in the crowd. I’m not a number competing for His attention. I am very important to God — and so are you! We are known and we are loved by GOD! Praise His name!

Have a great Wednesday.

Temptation — AVOID IT!

“Do not enter the path of the wicked and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass; turn away from it and pass on.” (Proverbs 4:14-15)

Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist everything but temptation.”

In a “Frank and Ernest” cartoon, the two characters are standing before a priest and Frank asks, “How come opportunity knocks once, but temptation beats at my door every day?”

I have discovered that in my own Christian life, I am conditioned to make the easier choice toward evil than to succumb to the more gross temptations of the devil. Let me explain. I may not necessarily speak evil against a brother in Christ, BUT I might remain silent when that same Christian brother is unjustly attacked by someone else. See the difference?

Maybe you wouldn’t be enticed to commit overt acts of immorality, BUT you might be tempted to view pornography on the internet while nobody is at home.

When we choose the wrong direction, it can easily lead to even greater sin and less responsibility. We quickly can get mired in the mud that leaves a permanent stain on our testimony.

Commenting on temptation, the great Bible scholar and preacher Alexander Whyte said:

“THINK fathers, think; THINK mothers, think; THINK young men, so much is at stake — think what the temptations and the dangers and the almost sure issues of this and that choice in life must be. All our trades, professions, occupations in life have, each one, its own perils and temptations and snares to the soul; as well as its own opportunities of gain and honor, and praise and service. The ministry, teaching, law, medicine, the army, political life, newspaper life, trades of all kinds, the money-market of all kinds, and so on. 

Open your eyes. Count the cost. Are you able? Will you venture? Take that line of life which you are just about to choose. Take time over it. Look all around it. Imagine yourself done with it. Look at this man and that man who are done with it. Would you like to be like them? Study well the successes and the failures in that line of life. Read the thirteenth and the nineteenth chapters of Genesis, and then take those two chapters with you to your knees, and so make your choice.”

Be very careful when you are confronted with temptation. Remember — it is not a sin to BE tempted. It IS a sin to succumb to that temptation. Don’t take the first step toward defeat by allowing even a very small temptation to entice you.

Have a great Tuesday.

Do I REALLY Want to Serve Jesus? YES!!!!!

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Do you remember where you were on July 20, 1969? I do! This is one of those days that will live forever in my memory. I was 7 years old, but I vividly remember sitting in front of our TV and listening to Walter Cronkite as he prepared us for what we were about to see. On that day — July 20, 1969 — 240,000 miles from the earth, the first man walked on the moon. Prior to that historic accomplishment, the United States had spent $24 billion and employed 400,000 technicians and workers from 20,000 private firms to make this happen.

I actually had a neighbor who died still believing that the whole things was a hoax and it was just a huge conspiracy on the part of NASA and the government. I have no intention in getting into that debate here. Silly me…I actually believe we sent a man to the moon.

Joe Shea was the manager in charge of bringing all this together. NASA had many problems and challenges along the way. Despite the difficulties, pressure and arguments, they had one thing going for them. In the book Apollo, Shea wrote, “We would go out in the parking lot and look up at the moon and say, ‘You really want to go there?'” The answer was YES!!!

As I sit at my desk this morning, I am reminded that the mission you and I are involved in is infinitely more important than sending somebody to the moon. If we ever hope to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), we will need overwhelming commitment. It will take enormous financing, multitudes of workers and administration. Along the way, we will face problems, challenges, difficulties, pressures and even disagreements. We have multitudes of saints who have committed their lives to this goal and many who have died in service to the Gospel.

When we read the Bible and see the goal, we will be faced with and forced to answer ONE question — “Do we REALLY want to serve Jesus and live eternally with Him in Heaven?”

My answer…an unequivocal YES! What about you?

Have a great Monday.

Humility Does a Body Good

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

I heard about a pastor who was voted the most humble pastor in America. And his congregation gave him a medal that said, “To the most humble pastor in America.” They took it away from him the next Sunday because he wore it!

The dictionary defines humility this way — “the quality or state of being unassuming or unpretentious; insignificant.”

Jesus taught us that humility is to be a quality displayed in the Christian life. In today’s world, a truly humble person is hard to find and yet God rewards those who are truly humble.

One of my favorite historical figures is George Washington Carver. Carver is a true example of humility. I read once how shortly after he took charge of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he was walking in a pretty exclusive section of town. He was stopped by a wealthy white woman who lived in the area. She didn’t recognize Dr. Carver and so she asked him if he would like to earn a few dollars by chopping wood for her. Because he had no pressing business at the moment, Professor Washington smiled, took off his coat, and proceeded to do the humble work she requested. When he was finished, he carried the wood into the lady’s kitchen. A young girl who worked for the woman recognized Dr. Carver and later revealed his identity to the lady. The next morning, the embarrassed woman went to Carver’s office and apologized. She said, “I didn’t know it was you I put to work.” Dr. Carver replied, “It’s perfectly all right, Madam. Occasionally I enjoy a little manual labor. Besides, it’s always a delight to do something for friend.” The lady took his hand assured him that his humble and gracious attitude had endeared him and his work to her heart. Not long afterward, she showed her appreciation by persuading her wealthy friends to join her in giving thousands of dollars to the Tuskegee Institute.

I absolutely LOVE that story. You know why? It reminds me that NO JOB is too menial for a Christian to do if we do it in the name of the Lord. What a better world this would be if we would stop thinking about “our rights” and start thinking about others. There is nothing that better distinguishes a true Christian than an attitude of humility. 

It seems to me that all of us could use a good healthy dose of ego deflator today — so go out and do something for someone else. And don’t do it for the recognition you will receive. Do it for the example you might set!

If you are humble, please don’t write a book on how humble you are — complete with a life-sized picture of yourself in it! We just don’t need any more of that!

Have a great day.

Living for Today or Eternity?

“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ great riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” (Hebrews 11:24-26)

It’s Wednesday (January 15, 2014). Have you taken just a minute to view your life this morning? 

“Well, Pastor…what in the world does THAT mean?”

I mean as you begin this new day — are you living for TODAY or are you living for ETERNITY?

“Ummmm, I had not really thought about that. I’m just trying to get the kids ready for school and myself off to work. I can hardly think about this very minute much less the rest of the day or eternity. Pastor, you must have more time than me.”

Not really. Edna and I struggle with the same things you do — except we don’t have kids at home getting ready for school anymore. It just seems to me that the more I look at my life, the more I realize that ultimately — even at its longest, life is short in comparison to eternity. What are we doing today that will outlive us? What are we doing today that will impact others long after we have exited this world?

The more I think about that, the more I realize that many times I waste my time with things that don’t really matter. I have learned that when my primary focus is on earthly things, I tend to become more disheartened and cynical.

Think about the life of Moses. He lived in the palace as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He grew up with all the benefits that come with being royalty. Moses had to have known that if he remained loyal to Pharaoh, to Egypt and their gods, he would never want for anything. He would have had great wealth and honor throughout the world. Moses also knew that if he identified himself with the Hebrews and with Yahweh — the God of Israel, he might be killed. At the very least, he would certainly be persecuted.

Somewhere in his early upbringing, Moses had been introduced to the One True God and he made the choice to cast his lot with his people — the Hebrews. He left Egypt in all its glory to follow the Lord God. In the end, the glory of Egypt faded, but the name of Moses stands out in the pages of Scripture as one of the great servants to God.

I read about a man who was passing a cemetery one day. He paused to look at the inscription on one of the tombstones. He read these words: “I STILL LIVE.” After scratching his head in puzzlement for a minute, the man was overheard to say, “Gee whiz, if I was dead, at least I’d be honest enough to own up to it.”

When I finally experience physical death (and I will unless the Lord returns first) — I will truly be able to say, “I STILL LIVE” because I have placed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And when I say that I STILL LIVE — it won’t be a lie because I will have come to understand that life is to be lived and choices are to be made not just for TODAY but with ETERNITY in mind.

Do something TODAY that will impact your world long after you are gone!

Have a great Wednesday.

All Means All…

“Therefore just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12)

You knew eventually I would do this…right?

My favorite saying is this… “All means all and that’s all all means.” Keep that in mind.

Romans 5:12 is the key verse in understanding how our relationship with God was broken. Paul tells us that sin entered the world through one man — Adam (see Genesis 3). Death was the result of sin — again clear from the Genesis account. Adam and Eve died spiritually when they sinned against God. Eventually, they also died physically. That’s what God had told them would happen if they disobeyed. So, Paul’s point is that when Adam sinned, he lost peace with God. Somehow that sin has spread to you and me because we descended from Adam. Everyone in the human has lost his/her peace with God because of sin.

Now…before you can fully understand the Good News of the Gospel — you must understand the BAD news. And the bad news is this — “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We do not experience death because Adam sinned — although sin entered the world through him. We experience death because WE SIN. Read Romans 5:12 carefully. Notice the last three words — “because all sinned.” And here is what I know — All means all and that’s all all means. There is nobody who is not affected by sin and death. Statistics are pretty clear — 1 out of every 1 dies.

Therefore there are two important truths I want you to see today. First, Adam does act as the representative head of the human race, so when he sinned — sin was passed down to all of us. But the second truth is equally important. Even though we are descendants of Adam, we are held accountable individually for our sins. I’m not responsible for Adam’s sin or for your sin — but I am responsible for MY sin.

One of my favorite authors and preachers is Dr. Warren Wiersbe. He has drawn a beautiful set of contrasts between the first Adam and the second Adam (Jesus Christ). Read this carefully and watch what Dr. Wiersbe does — it is brilliant!

“Adam came from the earth: Jesus is the Lord from heaven.

Adam was tested in a garden, surrounded by beauty and love; Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, dying on a cruel cross surrounded by hatred and ugliness.

Adam was a thief, and was cast out of Paradise; Jesus turned to a thief and said, ‘Today, you will be with me in paradise.’

The Old Testament is the book of the generations of Adam and ends with a curse (Malachi 4:6); the New Testament is the book of the generations of Jesus Christ and ends with ‘no more curse” (Rev. 22:3).”

I couldn’t help being born in Adam — and neither could you. But I could help staying there. By virtue of my second birth — when I repented of my sin and placed my faith in Christ — I am “in Christ” FOREVER! Remember, peace with God is based on something God has DONE for us — not how I feel!

Since sin is a problem for ALL — salvation is available to ALL through faith in Christ and repentance of sin. And I’m glad today that ALL means ALL and that’s ALL ALL means!

Have a great Tuesday.