I never knew Stuart Scott…

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…I don’t know anybody that does know Stuart Scott, and so I can’t say anything about him with absolute certainty. I do know that he was well liked and loved by many. By all accounts I’d be pretty certain we could have hung out and become friends. I’m confident we’d engage in good conversation and enjoy a cup of coffee together. He seemed likeable. He seemed decent. He obviously had a tremendous amount of love for his family.

I’m not a huge sports fan, but the times that I saw Stuart Scott on ESPN I thought he was incredibly talented and was on some very funny commercials. So for the most part I’d say I really liked him. Today I’m still 49 years old and on Sunday Stuart Scott’s life ended at 49 years of age. I’m not sure why his life ended and mine continues, but that’s just the way it is. God is in control, and it is His decision who lives and who dies. He’s sovereign over all of it.

This article is not about Stuart Scott. It’s about you. It’s also about me. And most importantly it’s about the God that gives us life, and takes away life. If you or I don’t recognize that truth…that reality, then this article really needs to be considered long and hard. It takes hard work to really think about things like this, because…well honestly, because it’s just plain hard. I hate thinking about death. I hate watching shows where people die, especially the young or especially those that seem “good”.

I really wish it wasn’t that way, but it is. It is because man wanted to have his own way. Ultimately a man, Adam, chose his own way. Not God’s way. So we are left with that life taking cancer, if you will. It has us all infected, infected to the point of death. There was a warning that came along with the command. Don’t eat from this one tree, and if you do, you WILL die. And now we see that clearly in the death of what seemed like a really nice man.

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. – Hebrews 9:27

Every one of us will die once. That speaks of our life here on earth. Our physical bodies… they will die. There is no doubt. And we see the reality of what happens next. The judgment. This means we will face judgment after our death. It’s easy to understand isn’t it?

But do you, or do I, really understand that? Please allow that sink in for just a moment. We will stand before the Creator and be judged. He knows every thought we’ve ever had. He knows every deed we’ve ever done. He sees it all. Nothing is hidden from His sight.

That time when you were so angry with, you fill in the blank, that you just wanted to smack them… did you know that is the same as murder? Every time you looked upon another human with sexual desire, other than your spouse that is the same as adultery? Every lie you ever told has been recorded in the book and every disobedient act against your parents.

Did you know that you’ve committed treason against the One that made you? Treason is a crime punishable by death.   It really sounds grim. It sounds hopeless.

Did you know there is a way out of the bottomless pit you are now in? His name is Jesus. He died on a cross nearly 2000 years ago, and if you turn to Him, cast off your sins and repent of them, then place all your hope and trust in Him, you will be saved. You will be saved from God’s wrath and indignation toward those that are at enmity with Him.

There is still hope for you, if you are reading this. There is still hope for me as I write. I can’t save myself anymore than Stuart Scott could heal himself of cancer. That’s why we need Jesus. He came to this earth and healed to prove His divinity. He lived, He suffered, He died, and He rose again to conquer death. That is the good news. That is the best news I’ve ever heard. Will you reject His sacrifice today, or will you submit to His Lordship. You will give account.

He said these words that we could understand His grace and His mercy. He will give you rest, if you are tired of fighting against the deaths of this world. He gives life, and He gives it richly to those that place their hope in Him.

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29-30

I hope Stuart Scott knew this.

 

Kevin

Who is God?

What do you know about God?

Do you have a biblical understanding of God or some fallacy perpetuated by Hollywood or a concoction of your own mind?  You cannot be saved without a proper view of God, just as you cannot come to a proper view of God without a proper view of man.  I was saved when God’s word revealed His truth.

Psalm 18:31-36 For who is God, except the LORD?  And who is a rock, except our God?  It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.  He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places.  He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great, You enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip.

In the summer of 2009 we took a marriage course that our church was offering; I was excited hoping my marriage could be improved or maybe God would straighten out my wife as I’m sure she was hoping God would straighten out me.  I had no idea the plans God had for my life.  I had been a church going guy for quite a few years.  I grew up in a church going family.  My parents saw to it that we heard God’s word every Sunday.  Most people would say I’m a “good” guy or a nice guy.  “Surely God would not send you to hell”, but hell is where I was headed.

Why?

I had an improper view of God that told me God loved me and wanted to have a relationship with me.  He had a plan for my life….  Jeremiah 29:11.  Have you ever heard that before?  If you haven’t you’ve had your head stuck in the sand.  This is the message that is so popular today that is condemning people to hell and eternal torment.  God may have a plan for you but you may not like that plan.

Most everyone has heard “God loves you” or “Jesus loves you”.  God is “love” right?  Of course He is scripture affirms this (1 John  4:8).  But does this mean He will overlook sin and not punish the unrighteous?  This is a rhetorical question.  If you have read any of the Bible it would not take you long to find out the answer, if God doesn’t punish sin, why the cross?  Why would God pour out His wrath on His Son?  It makes no sense.  Without a proper view of God it honestly makes no sense.

Jen and I are currently in our fifth marriage course.  Yes, I agree with you, whatever you are thinking…

The incredible thing is God continues pour out His grace on our lives as we pursue to honor Him in marriage.  He saved us both in the first course and continues to refine us in every subsequent course.  Sometimes it has been very painful and sometimes very joyful but through it all He has been faithful.

Below I’m once again quoting from the Exemplary Husband by Dr. Stuart Scott. (Pages 17-28)  The companion book is the Excellent Wife by Martha Peace.  I cannot recommend these books enough.  They may shake you to the core but I promise it will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness if you will allow yourself to be trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

We must bring our view of God in line with His Word.  The following is not a complete study of the nature and character of God, but it should serve as a clear and brief biblical overview of who God is.1.       God is the sovereign, all-powerful Lord of all creation.

“Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’”.  Isaiah 46:9-10

      God is Holy.

Who is like you among the gods, O Lord?  Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonder?  Exodus 15:11

The word holy generally means “set apart.”  Wayne Grudem, in his Systematic Theology, says that “God’s holiness means that He is separated from sin and devoted to seeking His own honor.”  There is absolutely no sin or evil in Him.

       God is a just judge.

Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity.  Psalm 98:8-9

God righteously hates sin because it is an affront to who He is and His Kingdom, and because of what it does.  He must judge sin and He must judge every person.  All of God’s judgments are right and just.  He is the perfect judge.      

        God is merciful and gracious.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  Lamentations 3:22

         God is full of compassion.

He has made His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate.  Psalm 111:4

         God cares for His own as the Good Shepherd and the perfect Father.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  Psalm 23:1

          God is love.

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  1 John 4:8

God’s Judicial and Parental Aspects Reconciled

… God does indeed relate differently to two groups of people described in the Bible.  If this distinction is not made between the saved and the unsaved, confusion about one’s relationship with God can result.  Every husband needs to determine the group to which he belongs before He can have a right relationship with God.

          God is angry at the wicked.

Due to the sin nature we possess through Adam, we all begin life under the wrath and condemnation of God.

God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day.  Psalm 7:11

God will remain angry at the wicked unless they repent and will punish them in hell.  Even their good deeds are described as filthy rags by God…  (Isaiah 64:6)

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him (Christ).  For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  Romans 5:9-10

            God is faithful to His own.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Romans 8:1

We must have a correct view of God before we can exemplify Him.  A.W. Tozer wrote:

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.  The greatest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most {important} fact about any man is not what he at any given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.

By faith every man must line up his thinking with each aspect of God’s person.  If one does not see God rightly, he cannot see himself rightly either.

I have barely scratched the surface of what scripture tells us about God.  If you are struggling today with an improper view of God or wondering about your salvation I ask that you commit yourself to the task of knowing Him.  You could begin with a study of these verses.  God’s Word is what saves.  It saved me.

Romans 11:35-36, Isaiah 46:9-10, Lamentations 3:31-33, Psalm 145:8-9, Isaiah 46:11, Psalm 50:21, Psalm 7:11, Psalm 103:9-11, Psalm 10:15, 1 John 3:1-3, Romans 8:1-4, Ephesians 1:5-6, Matthew 16:24, Luke 6:46.

Kevin

Proud to be an American… Part 2

Today I would like to take a look at the statement “proud to be an American”.  In part 1 I discussed what it means to be free and I attempted to establish that true freedom can only come through faith in Christ.  I’m hopeful God’s word is the primary agent of change in the lives of believer’s and as we allow scripture to guide our lives we will experience the transformation of our minds to the glory of God (Romans 12:2).

So what is pride?

Proverbs 16:5 Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; though they join forces, none will go unpunished.

Quoting from The Exemplary Husband by Dr. Stuart Scott

When someone is proud they are focused on self.  This is a form of self-worship.  A person is prideful who believes that they, in and of themselves, are or should be the source of what is good, right and worthy of praise.  Page 178

Six different Hebrew words are used for pride.  All of them convey lifting up, highness, magnification, presumptuousness, or rebelliousness of self.  In the Greek language, the words for pride occur in two different categories.  One particular word group suggests the idea of “straining or stretching one’s neck”…  The other category in the Greek conveys a “blindness” and even suggests the idea of being “enveloped with smoke.”…  While they are “up there” on high in their own thinking, they are blind!  They are blinded to their pride, they are blinded to God’s truth and, sometimes, even blinded to simple reality.  Page 177

In short pride is destruction and you will either destroy pride or pride will destroy you.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.

This country is indeed “Proud”, you see the arrogance of a government that cannot live within a budget and has an unquenchable appetite to spend.  You see a country that has made a mockery of God’s name and his word.  But this is not about politics it’s about hearts.  Who do you desire to serve, where do your loyalties lie?  Are we entitled to God Bless America?

The question we should really be asking Has America blessed God?

God chose to place me here for His purposes and by birth I am a citizen of this country.  That is a fine thing and if I can use that to my advantage I will do so as Paul used his Roman citizenship to further and advance the gospel, but my true citizenship is in heaven.  Listen to the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians.  I think this is very relevant statement to the attitudes that are so commons today.

Philippians 3:17-20 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.  For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame- who set their mind on earthly things.  For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you dwell on earthly things?  Does your citizenship in the United States of America have you stretch out your neck?  If your citizenship is in heaven why?  God has blessed this country with incredible beauty and he has also placed His people here and in every country across the world.  If I believe that my citizenship is in heaven then the Chinese believer is my fellow countryman and so is the man in Saudi Arabia or Iraq or any country God has placed my brothers and sisters to spread the gospel.

Jeremiah 32:38-41 They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.

Today I write this from my living room and I am free.  I’m not free because sinful men died but I’m free because a righteous man died.  He bought and paid for my freedom.  I owe Him my life and I owe Him my loyalty, He’s my Lord and He’s my Savior.  I should not dwell on the problems of this world.  This world is passing away and I have responsibilities as a solider of Christ.

2 Timothy 2:3-4 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world.  If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

I hope you will contemplate the words of scripture and ask yourself what you are holding on to if you take pride in anything other than Christ.  Remember our term Cognitive Dissonance?  Is this challenging your worldview?  Are you proud to be an American?  Do you cling to a flag or do you cling to the cross?  Do you love a piece of land (creation) or do you love the Creator?   What should you do?  I expect you will either be upset with me or you will consider Gods word and have your mind renewed for His glory.

2 Chronicles 7:14 If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Kevin