works

Basis of Hope (Amos 5)

“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” (Amos 5:21-23)

If we put verses 21-23 in the modern context, how many of us go to church gatherings and meetings (feasts and assemblies)? How many of us tithe to the church or donate money or other resources (burnt offerings and grain offerings)? How many of us give or serve to simply appease God or others (peace or fellowship offerings)? How many of us take part in worshipful activities such as sing praise songs at church (noise of your songs)?

The answer is probably most, if not all, of people who call themselves Christian do all of these things. But when they are done without truly accepting Jesus, not only as Savior of our lives, but as LORD of our lives (meaning dying to ourselves and giving our life fully to Him), HE WILL NOT ACCEPT OR REGARD THEM. We have put our hope in the wrong things. (more…)

Religion Can’t Save Us (Hosea 8:11-13)

“Though Ephraim built many altars for sin offerings, these have become altars for sinning. I wrote for them the many things of my law, but they regarded them as something alien. They offer sacrifices given to me and they eat the meat, but the Lord is not pleased with them.” (Hosea 8:11-13a)

A couple of nights ago I told my kids the quote by Billy Sunday which states, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.” While going to church is good, they now understand that simply doing religious activities has no bearing on their salvation. (more…)

Just Like Judas (John 12:4-6)

“But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’ He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” (John 12:4-6)

Several years ago when my family and I still lived in the SF Bay Area, we attended a large church that puts on an annual Easter production for the community. One year I played the role of Judas Iscariot, who is known as the disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. It was challenging for me to play that role, for as a born-again Christian, I had to put myself in the complete mindset of the one who betrayed the Lord.

While it was difficult to put myself in Judas Iscariot’s shoes, the life of Judas is a clear demonstration of those who claim to believe in and follow Jesus, but whose thoughts and actions reflect anything but. And I had been there before. (more…)

Reflections of the Heart (Proverbs 27:19)

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” (Prov. 27:19)

In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus describes to us how we are to recognize a tree and its fruit, or in other words, a person and their heart. While he opens the passage pointing to false prophets, the same principle applies to all, especially to those claiming to be of God. (more…)