At birth, we boarded the train of
life and met our parents, and we believed that they would always travel by
our side. However, at some station, our parents would step down from the train,
leaving us on life’s journey alone.
time goes by, some significant people will board the
train: siblings, other children, friends, and even the love of our
will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed
that we won’t realize that they vacated their seats! This train ride has
been a mixture of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos,
goodbyes, and farewells.
successful journey consists of having a good relationship with all passengers,
requiring that we give the best of ourselves. The mystery that
prevails is that we do not know at which station we ourselves will
step down. Thus, we must try to travel along the track of life in the best
possible way — loving, forgiving, giving, and sharing.
the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty — we should leave
behind beautiful memories for those who continue to travel on the train of life.
remember to thank our Creator for giving us life to participate in this journey.
close by thanking you for being one of the passengers on my train!
When your churches offering plate is passed, do you
enthusiastically support God’s work.
For many believers the tithe has been seen as the standard
for giving. This goes back all the way in the old testament. Tithing which was God’s
requirement for his people, it was almost like the country tax. In fact, the
nation had 3 tithes, one for support of the ministers, another for the temple
feast and one given every couple years for the poor. Today this would be
equivalent to our offerings the pay the pastors and staff. Even for the
maintenance of the church and help others in financial need. What’s significant
is the giving is voluntary, modeled after Jesus himself. This is all motivated
by a desire to give and base on what one has.
As you give yourself fully to the Lord, generosity will overflow.
I think one
of the reasons we don’t “see” evil is because we find it so difficult to
believe that evil individuals actually exist. We can’t imagine someone
deceiving us with no conscience, hurting others with no remorse, spinning
outrageous fabrications to ruin someone’s reputation, or pretending he or she
is spiritually committed yet has no fear of God before his or her eyes.
The Bible clearly tells us that among God’s people there are
wolves that wear sheep’s clothing. It’s
true that every human heart is inclined toward sin, and that includes evil. We
all miss God’s mark of moral perfection. However, most ordinary sinners do not
happily indulge evil urges, nor do we feel good about having them. We feel
ashamed and guilty, rightly so. These
things are not true of the evil heart.
Here are a few indicators that you may be dealing with an
evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart. If so, it requires a radically
different treatment approach.
Evil hearts are
experts at creating confusion and contention.
the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up
stories, and withhold information.
Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth
speech and flattering words. But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the
follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth
or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
Evil hearts crave
demand and control, and their highest authority is their own self-reverence.
feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules to live by. They use
Scripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might
require self-correction and repentance.
Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people,
often trumping the grace card. They demand mercy but give none themselves. They
demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no
empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or
working hard to rebuild broken trust. (1 Peter 2:16; Jude 1:4).
Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse.
They do not struggle against sin or evil they delight in it all
the while masquerading as someone of noble character.
Do you know someone like this?
They want you to
Their horrible actions should have no serious or painful
grace means they are immediately granted immunity from the relational fallout
of their serious sin. They believe forgiveness entitles them to full
reconciliation and will pressure you and their victim to comply. The Bible
warns us saying, when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn
righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not
regard the majesty of the Lord.
The Bible tells us that talking doesn’t wake up evil people,
but painful consequences might. Jesus didn’t wake up the Pharisee’s with his
talk nor did God’s counsel impact Cain (Genesis 4). In addition, the Bible
shows us that when someone is truly sorry for the pain they have caused, he or
she is eager to make amends to those they have harmed by their sin.
The evil person
will also try to get you to believe.
That if I talk like a
gospel-believing Christian I am one, even if my actions don’t line up with my
Remember, Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2
Corinthians 11:13–15). He knows more true doctrine than you or I will ever
know, but his heart is wicked. Why? Because although he knows the truth, he
does not believe it or live it. The Bible has some strong words for those whose
actions do not match their talk (1 John 3:17,18). John the Baptist said it best
when he admonished the religious leaders, prove by the way you live that you
have repented of your sins and turned to God (Luke 3:8). If week after week you
hear the talk but there is no change in the walk, you have every reason to
question someone’s relationship with God.
Can an evil person
Part of our
maturity as spiritual leaders is that we have been trained to discern between
good and evil. Why is that so important? It’s important because evil usually
pretends to be good, and without discernment we can be easily fooled (Hebrews
When you confront evil, chances are good that the evil heart
will stop having around with you because the darkness hates the light (John
3:20) and the foolish and evil heart reject correction (Proverbs 9:7,8). But
that outcome is far better than allowing the evil heart to believe you are on
his or her side, or that “he’s not that bad” or “that he’s really sorry” or “that
he’s changing” when, in fact, he is not.
Daniel says, the
wicked will continue to be wicked. (Daniel
Which begs the question, do you think an evil person can
Today I had the pleasure of listening to an excellent
worship service at our church.
Pastor Chet Thomas does a wonderful job all the time but
this one I know made many think outside the box just a little.
The sermon was on how to lose your blessing.
First point was: Always trying to fit in with the crowd.
How many of us do this most of the time? Afraid people will look at us different, or
even think we are the weird one. When it comes to receiving blessings from God,
our actions matter. Our salvation depends
solely on God’s grace, but if we desire to see his blessings in our lives, our
actions do make a difference. This is true on two levels. One is that if we want to find true blessing,
we need to do things God’s way and not our own. So many people struggle in
their other relationships because instead of doing things God’s way, they do
things their own or follow the crowd. Second, when we insist on a life of sin,
God will refuse to associate himself with us, and in so doing, he takes his
hand of blessing off of us God is holy, and he will not associate with or bless
people who willfully and unrepentantly holds on to sin in their lives.
So trying to fit in with the crowd just because it popular
is not the answer, make sure the crowd is heading in the right direction.
Second point was: Doing what is easy instead of what is right…
What’s lost in our culture is character. Few have it and fewer than that have it in the offices of those who run our nations. Character means you’re going to do what’s right even if it goes against what’s popular. You’ll do what’s right even if it doesn’t bring you the money you want or the fame you crave or the stuff that you think will make you happy.
Be persistent in your decisions, unflinching in their direction, always pointing them in the direction of what’s right and what’s good even if that righteousness won’t be felt in the short term. We too often opt for the easy route today. We see the ends, what we want in the future, the money, the popularity, the stuff, and we do whatever it takes to get that stuff, compromising our character all along the way until we wake up and we have no stance, we honor nothing, we are weak beyond repair and our value is worthless to those who once depended on us. Martin Luther King said, ‘On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, Is it safe? Expediency asks the question, Is it politic? And Vanity comes along and asks the question, Is it popular? But Conscience asks the question, is it right?
In today’s New Testament, Paul writes to the Thessalonians, Never tire of doing what is right (2 Thessalonians 3:13). Jesus did not go for the easy or popular solution, but he always did the right thing. This is an important principle that runs throughout the entire Bible.
Lord, give me wisdom so that I may always do the right
thing. Direct my heart by your love and Christ’s perseverance. May the Lord of
peace give me peace at all times. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be
with us all
Last point: Allowing what is good to get in the way of God.
Our pastor pointed out how commercial Christmas has gotten. This
was a great example. It’s not even Halloween and the Christmas decorations are
already out in the stores to remind us about it sooner. To take the birth of Christ
(to completely work around that, and sell it as a fun time buying gifts and
Christmas decorations more important. It’s getting to the point that many
charge their Christmas so they can buy everyone a gift (this makes them feel
good about themselves) and pay on it till next Christmas and start all over
again. What are we forgetting here? Oh,
the birth of Christ.
What we consider good for us might not fall into Gods plan
for us. We get into trouble when we think we know what’s best, but our good
intentions are no good if they get in the way of God’s plans. Instead, we must
strive to know God’s best. When we spend time with Him, seeking to know Him and
his ways, we can truly follow Him in faith, trusting He knows exactly when and
how to act.
Remember, While our intentions are often good, we may be
unknowingly hindering God’s work.
The Bible explicitly states that the suffering of the apostles was exceptional, but explicitly states that the power of the apostles was universal. Although we may also suffer for the gospel, the apostles endured a degree of suffering that was exceptional. On the other hand, the apostles enjoyed a degree of power that was universal. In fact, some Christians who were not apostles enjoyed at least equal if not greater miraculous powers and experiences than the apostles. Philip and Stephen were two examples (Acts 8:39, 7:55-56).
God is love (1 John 4:8), and He doesn’t want anyone to live without Him (1 Timothy 2:4). According to His plan, every person can turn from sin and receive the Savior, enjoying His presence both now and throughout eternity. Some, however, reject Jesus Christ and live apart from Him all their days. Unless they change that tragic decision, their separation from divine love will continue eternally.