Media Helping People, Ministries Glorifying Christ
by the Rev. Kyle Huckins, Ph.D., our senior editor, marketer & minister, Copyright, All Rts. Res.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. should have been 89 today. An activist who emphasized nonviolence, he ironically was felled by an assassin's bullet.
If ever there were a time when our nation and world needed a person like him to rise up, this would be it. So many protesters feel they have to riot, maim or kill, but King said, "It's not 'burn, baby, burn'; it's 'build, baby, build.'" Here was a preacher using Scripture in his speeches, his followers peacefully marching or otherwise protesting, simply demanding equal rights for all. The combination was uniquely Christian, and God honored it by giving victory.
King emphasized that every color – black, white, brown, yellow and all others – had to work together. He was no reverse racist, but no Uncle Tom, either. He was powerful, straightforward and right. "I want to be the white man's brother, not his brother-in-law," he said.
I celebrate King's birthday as heartily as I can. He is someone every American can admire, no matter race, age or era. Read more about him in my column this week.
If you have trouble fitting in, come to church; there's always a nook for you to wedge into firmly. "We, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another,” says Romans 12:5.
The church is made up of living stones fitting together over the foundation of Jesus. In this way, each stone touches others, meaning we in the corpus of Christ are inextricably linked. We can't be a building without other stones.
While we have our differences, the Holy Spirit is the mortar who holds us all together. As long as we keep connected, we are powerful in the Lord.
"Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth," God says in Genesis 9:11. The Lord thusly made a covenant with Noah and all humanity immediately after the waters receded from the Great Flood.
Interestingly, people reverted to their evil ways quickly, as they built the Tower of Babel to prevent God from wiping them out again by water in a major demonstration of unbelief. Today, people again are displaying their lack of faith in the Lord by worrying about the rise in the globe's seas, amounting to but a tenth of an inch or so annually when the historical average is half an inch.
With Babel, the subsequent scattering of the people through confusing their language was a curse undone on the Day of Pentecost, when the Lord caused those of different tongues to hear each other in their own for the purpose of exalting God. As for those deifying the earth and discounting the Almighty nowadays, they likely will rejoice at the Rapture taking away all Christianity but will find lasting peace only in accepting Jesus as Lord in the worst seven years this planet will ever see.
Sometimes it seems as though our prayers will never be answered; that promotion always will be out of reach, our dream home is a fantasy and victory over an addiction is simply beyond us. But Psalm 37 gives us the way to make sure our petitions get results.
"Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on his faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart," read verses 3 and 4. First, we must believe in God, knowing that he is good. Second, we do what's right, for the Lord will not reward wickedness. Third, as we live out our lives, we depend on his provision, refraining from using the world's methods to get our daily bread. Fourth, we love what the Almighty loves and hate what he hates.
All these steps increase our fellowship with God and make us grow in Christlikeness. As our heart becomes like the Lord's, we will want what he has for us, and he will have every reason to give it. And, just like any good father, he will slip in items that bless us even if they're not spiritual essentials. Yes, he is that good, and then some.
"The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment," says Jesus in John 16:8.
Christ indicates the primary sin the Spirit identifies is unbelief; the Lord then connects the need for righteousness to replacing his personal example since he is going to his Father. Finally, judgment is linked to the devil's fate.
The Holy Ghost, therefore, is the agent of Jesus, representing him on earth while our Lord takes up residence at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us until it is time for his second coming. To grieve the Spirit is to grieve Christ; to rejoice in the Holy Ghost is to celebrate with Jesus.
Do not dismiss the Third Person of the Trinity as a "force"; he is God, and we must listen to him.
The Bible is a blessing. “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!” declares Luke 11:28. This is Jesus' exclamation when a woman says his mother should be blessed.
While James teaches to be doers of the Word and not hearers only, we seem much the opposite in today's church. We hear much but do little of it.
"Easy believism" is the name that people are giving this lifestyle. "Believing" in biblical terms is not just thinking, it is acting in accordance with that belief.
If we are not so inclined to do as God would have, then we must pray for him to change us so we are. Christ makes that clear here, and we must be clear about this in our lives in him as well.
As my last post of 2017, I remind you our choices today make a great deal of difference both in our lives on earth and eternal destiny. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap," states Galatians 6:7-8. "For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."
The USA is reaping negative consequences of its actions on several fronts. In schools, we have championed teachers popularity with students over learning, so we now have only 2 of 5 bachelor's degree recipients ready for entry-level jobs in their majors, according to employers. In our faith, we love lies and hate truth, embracing doctrinally murderous Islam and striking repeatedly Christianity, which centers on love. We have paid for this with American lives and condemned eternities.
In our media, standards of ethics have been thrown out the window in favor of publishing anonymous reports of rumors and innuendo about those leaders newspeople dislike, bringing misinformation and strife. In race relations, immature students and professional media with no understanding of USA or world history have been allowed to shape the agenda, pushing the idea that everyone judges everyone else by the color of their skin when event after event, policy after policy and poll after poll in the recent past show this not to be so. A racial crisis has been manufactured where there was none.
America looks doomed, but I believe Almighty Yahweh will bring disaster on those who have sown discord, misunderstanding, corruption and hatred, and even disingenuously falsely accused others of doing such while they cover their own misdeeds. Those wrongly pilloried will be vindicated.
Humankind was created in the image of God, who will judge it by his Word. Do not follow those who sin but prosper a short while; be assured of their destruction and the ultimate triumph of the Lord and his people.
You and I are the creation, not the Creator. “We are the clay, and you, God, our potter; and all we are the work of your hands,” says Isaiah 64.8.
The Lord took dust and breathed life into it to make us. We are nothing without his handiwork. When we are tempted to think we have done great works, we must remember that the Almighty is our originator and sustainer, and all glory and honor is due him.
To walk in this humility, we must put in practice Psalm 51:12, “Grant me a willing spirit." We must overcome our old nature to serve God. We can't muster up the strength on our own; it must be granted to us from above.
If we don't have a spirit to do the Lord's will, we need to pray for it. This is a petition to which he will always give a "yes" in reply.
This day we celebrate one of the greatest events in world history. "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit," an angel told Christ's earthly father. "She will bring forth a Son, and you shall call his name 'Jesus,' for he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:20).
"Jesus," more properly "Yeshua" in Hebrew, means "Yahweh is salvation." "Yahweh," in turn, is "I am that I am," or "The Self-existent One," commonly known as "The Father."
God the Father wanted personal relationship with us from the beginning, walking with Adam & Eve in the cool of the day. Their rebellion cast them from the Lord's presence. God not long after flooded the globe for people's thoughts had become "evil continually," he said.
The Almighty later called Moses to lead out of captivity the Jews, his Chosen People, but they trembled at God's voice, so they told the onetime Egyptian prince to speak to the Lord for them. Eventually, God gave the Ten Commandments, meant to drive the people to realize they could not keep them without his help. Instead, they formulated 600+ rules to keep from even coming close to violating the letter of the original 10, making the nation into slaves to their own misguided effort (Pharisees) or secular humanists with a religious face (Sadducees).
Even after thousands of years of this, God did not give up on humanity. Having sent Abraham, Moses, Joshua, the prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and so forth) and hundreds of pages of help in the Bible, The Father released his only begotten Son into the globe.
At first, people seemed to like Jesus; he was highly intelligent, well spoken, and had something noticeably different about his personality, something at once winsome but convicting. Ultimately, however, the Jews refused the Messiah they said they wanted so, desiring the release of a murderer instead of their Lord when false accusations led a religious kangaroo court to condemn him.
The disciples' sorrow at Christ's crucifixion and death gave way to joy at his resurrection, foretold yet unexpected. Jesus' perfect sacrifice as a sinless man and victory over the grave made it possible for us to approach personally the Father with our concerns, requests, questions, hurt and ecstacy. All needed was to repent of our sins, believe Christ rose bodily, and follow him as Lord and Savior, then ask the Father in the name of his Son.
This new and living way of personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ is still available to us today, but will not be always. The age of grace is ending and the Great Tribulation awaits to reconcile the Jews to the Lord. If we do not accept Jesus before this epoch concludes, we will go through that same Tribulation, Gentile or Hebrew. Think these are difficult days? We ain't seen nothin' yet. And if we die anytime without Christ as Lord, we'll be in hell forever. Period.
Christmas is a wonderful, blessed occasion to recall how God the Father loves us in spite of our violating his edicts, despising his grace, thinking we can live now and forever without him. Among the earthly trappings of this day - presents, ham dinners, Santa Claus and reindeer - make sure you are on God's list, called the Book of Life, far more valuable than appearing on a roll of "naughty or nice." We are all naughty and must have Jesus to change. If we refuse him, we will be without him both now and for eternity.
He is not a babe in a manger anymore. He now is coming as conquering King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Take him seriously - your soul depends on it.