The Chapel

Every great community has a chapel, so this is ours! If you'd like some spiritual refreshment, feel free to come settle in a pew here in the Chapel and think a bit. Newest devotional thoughts will always be added to the top of the list. Not everyone will agree with what's written here, but each person is free to make their own choices in what they choose to believe. I am a Christian, and these thoughts reflect the Christian views that I hold dear. You are free to disagree, but this is not a place of debate. Visit here only if you wish to share in this aspect of "beauty from within".

Photography by Fox: Chapel Serenity

Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones. Proverbs 3:7,8

Suffering Can Be Good

But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Philippians 1:12-14

It is a hard concept to accept that suffering has a place in our lives. Not only a place, but a good place, a productive place where spiritual growth abounds and impacts the lives around us. These verses in Philippians shows us that this is indeed true; suffering can be good.

There are many things in life that happen for the "furtherance of the gospel". There are things God allows to take place in our lives, so that we may be better prepared to be used of God. Often times it comes in the form of compassion and understanding. We have suffered so we are better able to help those suffering. We have made it through with the Lord's help so we are better able to share with others that Jesus can help them too.

Suffering also puts us in a position of platform. People are watching when you are going through hard times. They watch even more than when times are good. You are on their mind more and in their thoughts. They want to "check" on you and see how you are. It's a wonderful opportunity to shine for Jesus. How we respond in times of difficulty shows our spiritual character. It shows if we are prepared to serve and love the Lord even when it seems there is no benefit to us. Is our God worthy of love, adoration and praise when it looks like He is not blessing our lives? To the unsaved world, hard times mean lack of blessing. In the world we live in, you are nice to those who are nice to you, and when you don't get anything from them anymore, you move on. In times of suffering we are able to say that should the Lord not do one more thing for us, we still thank Him simply for being God. What a time to be a witness to the worthiness of our Lord. To clearly show that He is worthy of praise - not for what He does, but for who He is! When we do this, the lives of the unsaved are touched and changed, and for those who believe, they become even more inspired to do more for the Lord themselves. So do not be disheartened when bad times come your way... there is always a reason for everything that happens. It is up to us to live up to the calling of being a child of God, and to continue to serve the Lord with gladness, even in the midst of suffering.

What does God accomplish in Christians who are suffering? Why does He allow us to suffer?

1- God uses suffering to reveal our spiritual character.
Spiritual character doesn't truly show itself when things are going ok. It's when things begin to go wrong that the reality of our spiritual condition is laid bare. When things are at their worst is when you find out the true spiritual condition of a person. So joyfully embrace the suffering because it has such great spiritual impact. It puts God's work on display.

2- God uses suffering to humble us.
"You can be humble or humbled" -Spurgeon

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ThereTR>

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"Courage to change the things I can" There are many things in life we CAN change. We can change our habits. We can change our choices. We can change how we treat other people. We can change SO MANY aspects of our lives. It's just that so many times we don't WANT to change. It's easier not to! It's easier to take the path of least resistance. It's hard to make changes and it does require courage. It also requires faith that you can make these changes.

"And Wisdom to know the difference" What good would it do to focus all your efforts at trying to change the unchangeable? None! Nothing good will come of it, and you will become frustrated and bitter in the end. Learning the difference between the things you can change and things you can't will make all the difference in the world when it comes to making progress in your life. Since I've already pointed out some basics examples in the things we can and can't change, I'll let you sit and ponder about your own choices. See if you've used the wisdom God gives us to know the difference, and if the answer is yes, did you put your wisdom to good use?

"Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time" This is an easy one! So you say! How many of you sit and plan so far ahead that your day becomes stressed? I imagine many of us find ourselves dealing with everyday things that pile up until we actually don't enjoy the moment at all! I hear so often I "dread the holiday season!" "Can't wait until Christmas is over!" They've forgotten to live one day at a time. They've forgotten the gift of enjoying each moment in life. Life is an amazing thing! There is so much going on, so much we can take pleasure from. So we do have to remember to "take time to smell the roses." They are an awesome creation of God, both visual and "aromatic" all at the same time!

"Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace" This one is NOT easy! Who wants hardship! I was struck by a thought the other day, when I heard some people complaining about a coming storm. They did NOT want that storm to push in. At the same time, they were dealing with drought, water restrictions, and intense heat. I thought, everyone wants the rain, but no one wants the storm. Sometimes we need storms in our lives, to wash away the stench, to break off the dead branches in our lives. It may not be something we enjoy, but it's something we need to accept if we want to have an inner peace in our life.

"Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it. Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will." I couldn't break up this section of the poem, because you have to take it as a whole. If you simply accepted this sinful world as it is, we'd all be in trouble! However, if we take this sinful world, as He did, AND surrender to His will, we can help to change the world in the ways that He enables us to. Jesus didn't just accept everything going on around Him. He did meet people where they were in life, and then helped to transform them. If we surrender completely to Him, we to can trust that He will use us in the world that we live in, to make a difference to those around us.

"That I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with Him forever in the next" In John we read that Jesus came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. It can also be translated in this way: Jesus came that you might have a good, enjoyable life here, and everlasting life with Him, more abundant that we could ever imagine.

And together we say "Amen" - Translation: "let it be so!"

The Bigger Picture

Have you ever faced a situation in your life that you felt just wasn't fair? Perhaps you prayed for something to happen, but it didn't? Did you find yourself feeling like God didn't hear you, didn't answer your prayer?

I remember talking to some little girls awhile back. I guess they were about 10 years old. They knew that my Mom had terminal cancer and had been healed from it. They told me their grandpa also had cancer and that they had prayed for him, but God didn't answer them. Their grandpa died. Of course I was heartbroken for them! I know the loss of losing a grandparent from cancer. I shared with them that my grandma had also died of cancer, and that I had prayed for her too. I assured them that God did indeed hear my prayers, just as He heard theirs, but sometimes God gives us answers that we don't expect or even want. Sometimes God says, no or wait awhile; sometimes God says yes.

As we talked I shared with them how just as their parents know what is best for them, and don't always let them have the things they want, God knows what is best for all of us. He never said that we would all be cancer free, that we would never get colds and the flu like everyone else does. He just said that He has a special plan for all of us and if we live according to His teachings, obey Him, then we will be following the plans He has for us. Sometimes it's hard to see "why" something has to happen, but God sees the bigger picture. I took an 8x10 photograph and I held it right up to their eyes, flat against their little noses. I asked them what they could see. One said it was a blur, the other said something black. I then took the picture and held it back a few feet and asked them the same question. "I see a family, people," they said. I told them that while we are here on earth, we can't see God's whole plan for our lives. We only see a tiny portion and sometimes that might look blurry or just a spot of black, but God sees the whole picture! He knows exactly what we are going through and why we are facing it. He knows what is best for us, and He knew what was best for their grandpa.

I can't truly describe the look on their faces as we talked. It was as if a light was radiating out of them, peace and understanding flowed through their countenance. I assured them that their grandpa was totally healed now, that God has indeed answered their prayer. He had no more pain and no more cancer! He was alive in heaven and just waiting for them to arrive. They saw the bigger picture, at least in the sense that they knew they could never really see the "whole" picture of the plan of life as God sees it. When those who have been saved and transformed in Christ enter heaven, all the things we never understood will be clear. Just like those little girls, we will get to see the "bigger and whole" picture of God's plan. 1 Corinthians 13:11,12 explains this well:

"When I was a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known."

I Can Do All Things Through Christ

Philippians 4:13 is a popular verse of the Bible. We hear it quoted often, and it is one of my favorites as well. However, there are several verses that go before that one that are also favorites of mine; they go something like this:

"Not that I speak with regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."

It's really important to study these previous verses because it's very important to the following 13th verse. Remember that the Apostle Paul was writing from prison. He was jailed because he continued to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. This was not the first time he had been persecuted for his faith. At this point in his life he has been beaten nearly to death. He's been shipwrecked, was bitten by a poisonous snake, but did not die, has been without food and proper clothing, has an eye condition that has plagued him for many years, and here he is sitting in a dungeon, not for the first time either, shackled to a guard and facing possible death. In his writings, while there in the dungeon; he gives us the secret of finding contentment. He says these key words… "I HAVE LEARNED" in whatever state that I am to be content. This means that contentment doesn’t just happen, but is learned. Paul learned that no matter what situation he was in… on a sinking ship in the middle of a terrible storm or sitting in the dark, horrible conditions of the dungeon, that he could endure all things, "do all things" through Christ, who had always and would always give him the strength to do it! He simply trusted God.

I too, have known plenty and have been without. I've had good days, as well as days of heartache and sorrow. Through the years I have learned to be content in whatever situation I've been placed in. It's not always easy, and sometimes I struggle to be content. It's easy to get caught up wishing things were different, better, that life was not as difficult as it can sometimes be. But I am reminded of Paul as he suffered, and even more of Christ as He hung from the cross. Nothing I face could be so difficult or so hard to bear.

I take my lessons in contentment each day by filling my mind with God's words by reading my Bible and studying what I read. It's a great prescription for contentment. I have found that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, even if "all things" means going without, or being in hard places in life. It's not a catch phrase before attempting a task, but a way of life and the secret of contentment. Trust, security in Christ, knowing He will take me though everything I face in life, and that there is purpose for my being there equals contentment. With that in mind… I am content no matter where I am or what I face, with what I have and what I do not have. I not only can do all things through Christ… I WILL do them!

Rules, Rules, Rules!

You might find the rules here to be enforced more than they are on other boards. I've seen posted rules where you're supposed to be kind, respect the opinions of others, don't call names... and then I've seen everyone one of those rules broken. The worst part is seeing that nothing was ever done about it. When rules are enforced only part of the time, things can get out of control. The simple truth is, if you don't enforce the rules the same way for everyone, you will be seen for what you are, biased and unfair. It's not always easy to enforce the rules. It's like giving discipline to your children. Who wants to give out punishments, even when they are deserved? No one! But for the good of your children, or in this case, the good of our board, rules will be enforced fairly and without bias.

Why are rules important? Knowing what is allowed and what isn't puts everyone in one mind and one accord. Being "on the same page" creates unity. Unity brings about a sense of family oneness. When you work together with one mind set, great things can happen! Conflict may still pop up from time to time, but with fair enforcement of the rules, no one will feel unjustly singled out or picked on. If you care, you will correct improper behavior. TLHL rules were made with Christian principles behind them. Kindness, consideration, fairness, all are taught in the Bible. We have rules so that the boards can function to the best of their potential. God has rules for us so we can function to the best of our potential.

Proverbs is full of advice for those seeking wisdom and knowledge. I chose a couple of verses for this forum from Proverbs, but I think I'll add some additional verses here from the same passage.

My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. ....My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves he corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights. Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for *her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her. Proverbs 3:1-8; 11-18 *Wisdom and knowledge are referred to in the feminine form in Proverbs.

Rules were not made to be broken, but rather to be kept, not as a control issue, but to make us better people. I hope our rules make the Loom a better place. I feel that it does. It sets us apart from other boards. I hope that our kindness and consideration toward others will always be something the Loom is known for!

Are You Really Willing?

Over the years I’ve learned a lot about God’s will. God’s will doesn’t always match up with our own, even when we are trying our best to be as much like Jesus as we can. The reason for this is because we are not God. We do not see things as God sees them, and we do not understand in the way God does. We are simply His creation. We can only understand as much as our human brains will allow us to, and because of this, we will never truly understand all of God’s ways. God knew this. God knew we would have trouble understanding Him, so He sent His only Son down, in the form of man, so we could relate more, understand more. Humanness still keeps us from fully understanding Him, but this one thing I know; God knows best. Have you ever prayed, “Not my will, but thine be done?” Did you really mean it? I’ve faced many crisis situations in my life. My older brother had a tree fall on him. A branch went into his skull. I can still remember the blood dropping onto the garage floor, the sounds of his screams as he cried, “I don’t want to die!” My sister went into a diabetic coma when she was 8 years old, her condition was listed as grave. Another of my brothers had open-heart surgery. My Grandma was diagnosed with cancer. A few years later, my Mom was diagnosed with cancer as well, but her prognosis was not as good as my Grandma’s was. The doctor told us that they would do their best to extend Mom’s life, but the cancer could not all be removed, and it was simply a matter of time. They listed her as a terminal cancer patient. “Not my will, but thine be done. “ It’s much easier to say those words when all is going well in your life, when health and even life does not hang in the balance. Through the years God has been working on me. He works on my faith. Faith, like any other strengthening activity, must be exercised in order to make progress. God has given me plenty of exercise. I had a choice to make, do the exercise, or sit it out. I exercised. I didn’t always get the answers I wanted, but I did get the reassurance I needed. I was assured that God knows best, that He is in control. By the time the doctor told me that Mom was terminal, I was pretty fit as far as my faith exercises went. I had not been prepared for the diagnosis, but I felt the assurance that only God can give, that nothing would happen that was not in His will. I prayed for Mom’s healing, but only if it fell within the will of God for our lives. God has reasons for allowing bad things to happen. God also has reasons for providing miracles. I don’t understand why some are healed and others are not. I don’t understand why Grandma died and Mom lived, but I know it all happened according to His will for our lives. Can you really pray for God’s will in your life? Are you ready to say it and mean it? If you can, your life will never be the same again. You’ll never have to question God again, never ask, ”why me?” You’ll know the answer already, because you’re living in the very will of God. Peace that passeth all understanding will be yours the moment you find total trust, by giving your life over to the will of your Creator. Only then can you truly pray,

"Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your Kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven..."

Mathew 6:9,10

Where There is Light

"Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'" John 8:12

Have you ever thought about the power of light? Jesus called Himself the Light of the World. Light does many things, but I’ve often thought about the power that a single flame holds. Darkness can only be present with the absence of light. When a flame is struck, where that light is, the darkness cannot be. It has no choice… it is simply banished by the flame. Darkness may continue to surround the light, but it cannot overpower the light, cannot put out the light, cannot change the light. In fact, the darker it is, the brighter the single flame appears. Jesus was the ultimate Light. He came to banish the darkness of sin. He came to light the way we should walk in. Where the “Light” of the world was, the demons of darkness had to flee. The more wicked the people were around Jesus, the brighter His light shone.

There is a reason children are often afraid of the dark… it’s because we can’t see. We can’t see what is or isn’t there. Sin is the ultimate darkness; it’s the darkness of the soul. It blinds us to the truth, and when you least expect it, it traps you in its deepest depths. As Christians we need to be very aware that we should be children of the Light. We have nothing to hide, and should let our lights shine before men, so we can bring glory to our Father, the Light of the World. Where there is light, darkness has to flee. We can stand in the midst of a world darkened by sin and know that nothing can take away the Light we have in our lives. Even a single flame can bring light to the darkest place, but as one flame lights another, a blaze begins. We need to bring the Light of Jesus to a world blanketed in darkness. Don’t be afraid of the dark! Be the light that the world needs to see Jesus!

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Whenever I think about the sacrifices of the Bible, I think of the animals that were slain. They represented the fact that sin had a price that must be paid for. The animals were sacrificed, a bloody practice that clearly reminded the people the sentence sin brings… death.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God hated sin so much that not only did He condemn Adam and Eve to die, he condemned all of mankind to death. Sin is that vile to God. He sentenced us not only to spiritual death, but to a physical death, when he cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve could have lived forever in the Garden, but instead, with a single choice, threw everlasting life away. God could have simply left it at that. The sentence had been passed, death, eternally. But God, in His great love for man, made a way for us to live again with Him.

The price that had to be paid was so high. The sacrifice given must be perfection. Anything less than perfect would never do, could never cover the multitude of sins. God had a plan to be carried out in due time. Until then the most perfect of animals would be slain as a symbol of what was to come. As sickening as it was, it would never truly compare to the ultimate sacrifice.

Years went by and the sacrifices continued. I wonder if the people ever got used to all the blood of the thousands of sacrifices that were made. But the blood of lambs, goats, bulls, and doves could not pay sin’s price. Only one sacrifice would do, so God sent His Son, Jesus.

Jesus was the Lamb of God. He was perfect in every way. He came to pay our price so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. His body was beaten and bruised. The Roman custom was brutal. Often times the whipping alone could kill a man before he was ever crucified. The backs of men would be torn open, bones showing through the mutilated flesh. I think of Him walking down the road, thorns piercing deep into his brow, blood running down his back and legs, cross beam weighing down his shoulders while the people laughed, spit, and called Him names. Spikes were pounded into his hands and feet. Agony… such agony! What pain He must have endured. Can you see Him hanging there on the cross? Can you see the blood? Can you see Him? Can you hear Him gasp for breath? Look in His eyes! What do you see? I see pain in His face. I see love, unending, all encompassing love in His eyes. Can you see Him? There He is… the Ultimate Sacrifice. He did it all for you. He did it all for me. It was not for Himself or His sins for which He died. It was our death sentence He bore. It was for us. Before we ever knew Him, He loved us, He died for us. Before we ever loved Him, He died so we could be with Him forever. Whenever I think of sacrifice, I think of Jesus on the cross. Nothing I do can ever compare, but all that I do should be modeled in that vision on the cross. We need to die to self, to our wants and wishes, and give all to Him, just as He died to give all for us. We need to live, just as He died... living a life of sacrificial giving to Him and for Him.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed through the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1,2

One Last Chance

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.' But now, such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." James 4:13-17

God is patient. He waits for us to come to Him. He often gives us opportunity after opportunity, chance after chance. Many people put off committing themselves to the Lord because they always feel like there will be another time, another chance. It is a foolish risk. I remember being in a church one night that forever proved to me that “now is the time of salvation.”

The church was in the middle of an invitation when a group of teenagers got up and started to leave the service. Several of them slipped out the back door, but one boy turned around and came down to the altar instead. I never saw the other boys come back in again. I thought about the choices each one had made, some to leave and go on in their own ways, one to stay and give his life to Christ.

After church was over they had a time of food and fellowship. While we were all eating a police car drove up. The boys who had left the service had been in a car accident; all were killed. I thought of the one boy who stayed. Not only was he saved spiritually, but also physically. God gave each of them one last chance. Each boy had the opportunity to make a decision, right or wrong. Had the boys who left headed in the opposite direction, to the altar instead of the parking lot, their lives would have been so different.

In another church I visited, a woman came to the altar just at the end of the service. God did a wonderful work in her life. A week later we received word that this woman, her husband, and her child had been in an accident the day after that service, Thursday, and lost their lives. That Wednesday night church service was the last time this woman was ever in church. She had choices to make, and she made them. She allowed God to do the work He needed to in her life. She was ready to meet the Savior.

We never know when we’ll have our last chance. We never know when God will call us to stand before Him. We need to be ready. When we stand before the Father we can’t say, “Please, let me have just one more chance!” Now is the time for salvation! Now is the time to make things right between others and ourselves, to make things right with God! Don’t miss your last chance! Listen when God speaks!

"...'In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.' Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2

Childlike Faith

In the late 1990’s we went through a “dinosaur” craze. My niece and nephew were dinosaur crazy. They loved the toy dinosaurs and watched everything on television that they could find concerning dinosaurs.

One day we found some stones that looked like “dinosaur” eggs. They were just stones, but we thought the kids would like them so we carried them home. They actually believed these were real “dinosaur eggs.” You see, they believed that dinosaurs still roamed the earth, but not where we could see them. They were sure that out in the forests somewhere, hiding away from all the people, dinosaurs did indeed live. Had my niece or nephew ever seen a real dinosaur? No! Had they ever touched one? No! They simply believed.

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." We can’t see God. We can’t touch Him. We can read about Him in the Bible. We can learn about Him, but ultimately it comes down to whether or not we have the faith to believe in Him.

Children can believe without proof. God wants us to have this childlike faith in Him, to simply believe. Children trust that their parents will take care of them. They don’t worry every day that their Dad will forget to watch over them. They don’t worry themselves that he’ll make enough money to pay the bills. They don’t worry that Mom and Dad will stop loving them. They simply believe that everything is going to be ok.

We often see the life of a child as carefree, free of the worries that plague us as adults. God wants us to lose some of that worry with childlike faith. We need to not only believe that He is who He says He is, but that He will take care of us, love us, protect us. We need to learn to trust Him as a child trusts their parent.

"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word. Just to rest upon His promise, just to know thus sayeth the Lord." - From the church hymn, Tis So Sweet

God's Rules For Us

Everyone knows the 10 Commandments... or at least you've heard of them.

"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other Gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image -- any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God... You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will hot hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. ...Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house... nor anything that is your neighbor's." Exodus 20:1-17

Who has kept all the rules? Only one person ever kept all the commandments ever given, and that was Jesus Himself. The rest of us have failed miserably. The law was intended to show us just how much we need God's help and His redemption. The 10 commandments are often used by people to show how good they think they are, when all they really do is show how weak we are. When Jesus was teaching, he talked about the "10 Commandments" and how their original meaning had been missed. In Matthew 5:21-22 it records Jesus as he says,

"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment..." Verses 27-28 speaks of another commandment, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. "

The commandments were speaking to the heart of the matter. Good intentions aren't good enough. You see, the people thought, if they could keep all these commandments, they were good enough for heaven. Here, Jesus was showing them that they could never be good enough because even their fleeting thoughts were sinful and fell under the judgment of God.

Too often we see ourselves as good, when actually, in God's eyes we are not. I like the new ministry Kirk Cameron has started. He and his friend ask some questions like this to people they come into contact with: Have you ever told a lie? Ever? What does that make you? A liar! Have you ever stolen anything in your life... even something small, some money from your parents, or bubble gum or candy from the store? What does that make you? A thief! Ever looked at someone with lust in your heart? What does that make you? An adulterer. A lying, thieving, adulterous person is not "good." Our sin condemns us to eternal death in hell.

The Good News

While we can never make it on our own, or ever do enough to make up for our sins, God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for what we did. God has judged us guilty, Christ takes our punishment. He gave His life in order to spare yours. He did this willingly, because of his love for us all.

The gift is free, but will never be forced upon you. It's up to you to choose. You can choose to receive this gift by simply asking God to forgive you of your sins, to come into your life and change you. You can start fresh and new. When you do this, you turn away from your old life of doing whatever you want, and start living the way God asks you to. It's all right in the Bible, everything we need in order to live productive,Christian lives. On the other hand, you can choose to reject His gift, refuse His pardon, and suffer the penalty for your own sin. Your future is hell by your own choosing. God waits for your choice.

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