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Month: May 2009

Committed or Complacent? – Part II

Committed or Complacent? – Part II

Let’s look again at Agnes that was mentioned in “Committed or Complacent? – Part I” a little more. How did a 13-year old young lady come to such a deep commitment to Jesus Christ back in 304A.D. that she would lay down her life joyfully? How was she able to come to such a deep knowledge of and love for Jesus Christ?

To be sure she did not have a treatise on systematic theology by Lewis Sperry Chafer, nor did she have the helpful and insightful books written by Chuck Swindoll, Charles Stanley, Max Lucado, Charles Colson, John Piper, Joseph Stowell, John MacArthur, Os Guinness, Billy Graham, Adrian Rogers, Tim LaHaye, or C.S. Lewis!! What she simply had to guide and direct her was the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures. Agnes, at the tender age of 13, had searched the Scriptures carefully and thoughtfully to discover just who Jesus Christ is.

And in searching the Scriptures, Agnes had to come to some very clear conclusions even at the age of 13: (1) she must have recognized her deeply sinful nature and the need she had to be redeemed from that nature; (2) she must have recognized the Scriptural principle given to Adam that sin results in death, not just physical death but spiritual death and separation from God; (3) she must have recognized that the very character of God includes the matter of justice and, therefore, the wrath of God is fully due to those who live in disobedience and sin to His will; (4) she must have recognized that on her own she was doomed and that she had no power or authority within herself to become acceptable to God; (5) she must have recognized that God alone must provide a Savior to her if the wrath of God toward her was to be set aside; (6) she must have recognized that the very character of God includes a generous portion of grace as seen in the giving of His only begotten Son; (7) she must have recognized the perfect, innocence and pure Lamb of God found in Jesus Christ; (8) she must have recognized that the grace of God found in Jesus Christ satisfied the justice requirement of God found in His character; (9) she must have recognized that she must place her faith in that Lamb of God to grasp the redemption for which her heart longed; (10) she must have recognized the peace of God and the forgiveness of God given through the Holy Spirit as she placed her faith in Jesus Christ; (11) she must have recognized her completed and eternal stance before God as a saved saint solely on the basis of all that God had done; and (12) she must have recognized the joyful commitment she desired to make in her heart to be faithful to this redeemer savior no matter what may befall her.

She learned all that……….from the Holy Scriptures. Just how much time do you and I spend searching the Scriptures to discover all the treasures of God that are revealed to us? How often do we set this precious revelation of God aside to read other most worthy Christian books? Agnes has convicted me that I do this all to often. Agnes knew that the Scriptures were fully and completely God breathed. No other book can make this claim. No other book comes close to “the” revelation of God and His precious Son Jesus Christ. Yet we set this precious holy book of godly insights and treasures aside much too often to pursue our own interests. I am not sure I can even come close to the life giving commitment of Agnes apart from spending more time in the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures.

Dearly beloved, I hope you will consider carefully, with me, the place of the Bible, the Word of God, in your life and walk with the Lord. Be committed to it…….don’t be complacent with the Word of God. As I have recommitted myself to a slow and careful reading, studying and consideration of the Word of God, I am finding anew all sorts of treasures and truth that are mine through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. I wish the same for you.

May the Lord bless you and keep you; May His face shine upon you; and give you peace………

Committed or Complacent? – Part I

Committed or Complacent? – Part I

What does this matter of “committed” look like? How would I be able to recognize such a characteristic? Let’s look at the story of Agnes from about the year 304 A.D.

By way of historical background, through a military overthrow, Diocletian became emperor of Rome in 284 and went about restoring the empire’s former glory and unity. Christianity was well established in 284 and, as a result, hindered the revival of the pagan religious practices. Caesar Galerius, Diocletian’s lieutenant, convinced him that he had to eliminate all Christians so in 303 he began the last and fiercest persecution of Christianity by the Roman emperors.

Agnes was a thirteen year old believer who had determined to remain a virgin as the bride of Christ, a vow not uncommon in the Christian community at that time. According to fourth century records, young men from prominent Roman families became angered by her refusal to wed and denounced Agnes to the head of the church of Rome as a Christian. The judge initially tried to humor and entice her to recant, but Agnes refused, repeating she would have no other spouse than Jesus Christ. The judge then threatened her by displaying instruments of torture like iron hooks, racks, and fire, but Agnes expressed no fear.

Frustrated, the judge threatened to send her to a brothel to which Agnes reportedly stated, “….you will never be able to profane my body, because it is consecrated to Christ”. So angry, the judge immediately sent her to a public brothel with the instructions that anyone was free to use and abuse her. Tradition states that many young men tried to take advantage of the offer but when seeing her, they were all afraid to approach her. One young man did attempt to take her and when he reached out was blinded by a flash and fell to the ground. Agnes stopped her singing of hymns and knelt next to this young man and prayed that his sight would be restored, which the Lord did.

When the judge heard that all men respected her, he grew more angry and sentenced her to death by beheading. According to Bishop Ambrose, who wrote in 377, Agnes was overjoyed on hearing the sentence and remained so even after seeing the executioner. Bishop Ambrose wrote she “went to the place of execution more cheerfully than others go to their wedding.” He further wrote, “At such a tender age a young girl has scarcely enough courage to bear the angry looks of her father and a tiny puncture from a needle makes her cry as if it were a wound. And still this little girl had enough courage to face the sword. She was fearless in the bloody hands of the executioner. She prayed; she bowed her head. Behold in one victim the twofold martyrdom of chastity and faith.”

That is what “committed” looks like.

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Our Father

Our Father

“Our Father who is in heaven…”

Matthew 6:9

Have you ever taken the time to read carefully this first line of “The Lord’s Prayer”? Reflect on the verb tense……”who is…”! This is the present tense!! For the Christian, how glorious and marvelous is this? My Father is involved presently in my life and cares presently about all that is touching me, whether spiritually, emotionally, mentally or physically.

But what individual, in reality, can refer to God as “our Father” or “my Father”? We can only call God “our Father” when we have allowed Him to change our innermost nature through faith in Christ. Adam’s nature, sinful in totality, is replaced by God’s nature, completely holy and righteous, again through faith in Christ. Then, and only then, does God truly become “our Father”. That step of faith in Christ results in God welcoming us into His house because, as the owner of the house, He has adopted us into His family!

But how does this truth play out in my every day life? How does “our Father who is in heaven….” impact my life moment by moment? I have much to say on this issue or topic and will be sharing more “thoughts of a business man” through the coming days in articles titled “Committed or Complacent?”

In the meantime, grasp and meditate on the truth of our Father who is…………!!