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John 10:30 “I and My Father are one.”

John 17:22 “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:


One God

I believe in God:  the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  I do not believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  I know that is a technical statement, but I believe in one God who is revealed as three persons.  I do not believe in three Gods. 


Three Persons

Many of us have struggled with the idea of the Trinity being one God over the years.  Some have tried to say that we are polytheistic and that we have three Gods.  However, polytheism has gods that compete with one another.  We have one God with one mind Who is manifested to us in three persons.  Each person has different functions but each person is in total agreement with the others.  

When my wife and I were raising children, we were supposed to be of one mind when it came to guiding and raising our children.  However, there were occasions when the children did not like the answer that they got from one of us so they would go to the other one to see if we agreed.  We didn’t always agree.  Sometimes our disagreements required closed door discussions.  Sometimes we compromised and never did agree.  However, we do not get different instructions and guidance from the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit.  They are unified.  They have one mind and always agree.  John 17 has helped me with the concept of oneness.  We as Christians are also supposed to be unified just as the Lord and His Father are unified.  However, no one would argue that that all Christians are one in the sense that they are the same person. 


Three Hats

Some argue that there is one God who wears three hats.  Sometimes He wears the hat of the Father, sometimes He wears the hat of the Son and sometimes He wears the hat of the Holy Spirit.  However, when the Lord was baptized, the Father spoke from heaven, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and the Son got wet.  This was not one person wearing three hats but three persons with different functions and responsibilities who were in complete agreement.


The Matter of Prayer

The question is often asked, “Since the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, can we pray to each one.”  Logically, I would see no problem with that but scripturally we have no record anywhere of someone praying to the Holy Spirit.   We do know that that the pattern prayers in Scripture were to be prayed to the Father in the name or authority of the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit seems to guide our praying.   

We do have examples and instructions for praying to both the Father and the Son, however.  The Lord took requests on this earth and He does leave instructions for praying to Him after He ascends to heaven.  John 14:14 says, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”  Some translations say if you ask ME anything in my name, I will do it.  That seems to be implied by the context.  Paul prayed to the Lord on the Damascus road and he also prayed to the Lord to remove his thorn in the flesh (See 2 Corinthian 12:7). In the context, this seems to be the Lord Jesus Christ to whom he was praying.  Stephen prayed to the Lord in Acts 7:59-60.  John prayed to the Lord in Revelation 22:20


The Real Issue

The real issue is not to Whom are we praying?  But are we praying?  Are we praying for appropriate things?  Are we praying for things for which the Holy Spirit convicts us to pray and things that are in the name (or will or authority) of the Lord.   We can’t pray for revenge on our enemies and expect the Lord to answer in this day of grace.  However, I think we can pray for protection from our enemies and even for their salvation.  If we did that we might be surprised at what the Lord would do.   

I have One God that I worship and to whom I pray.  I really don’t think He is too technically concerned about whether I am thinking Father or Son when I pray.  He might not even be too concerned if I pray to the Holy Spirit so long as I pray and pray regularly and fervently with the expectation that He really will answer.  I suspect that it thrills God’s heart (whether that be Father, Son or Holy Spirit) when I spontaneously and enthusiastically break into praise and thanksgiving as well. 


Meditation for the week of September 7, 2014

King Ahab Didn’t Need to be Told!


1 Kings 22:15 Then he came to the king; and the king said to him, "Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall we refrain?" And he answered him, "Go and prosper, for the LORD will deliver it into the hand of the king!" So the king said to him, "How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?"


We Really Do Know Right from Wrong

God has given us a conscience. Because of that we know the difference between right and wrong. God has also given us prophets whose purpose is to be spokespersons for God. Some prophets are prophets that speak truth and some prophets tell people what they want to hear. Because God has given us consciences, we really don’t need a prophet to point out what is right and what is wrong. Micaiah was not needed by King Ahab to know what the mind of the Lord was—he knew. Usually people know whether a prophet is telling them the truth or not because they have consciences to guide them. They know without asking. But people still go to prophets to tell them what they want to hear rather than going to prophets to have what they know to be the truth confirmed.


Conscience is Powerful

Conscience is a powerful thing. It is a moral guide just as the law is a moral guide (Romans 2:15). We can have good consciences or bad consciences depending on how we are living. Paul had a good conscience (Acts 23:1). Consciences can and should convict us when we do wrong (John 8:9). However consciences can be "seared" or deadened to the point that they no longer distinguish between right and wrong. This seems to happen through a deliberate choice for some hypocritical people who knowingly lie. People can become numb to any conviction of conscience. See 1 Timothy 4:2.


I think that most people seek out preachers and churches today that tell them what they want to hear rather than seeking out those who will tell them what God says. Most people do not know their Bibles well enough for it to guide them today, but they do have consciences. Until they have turned a deaf ear to their consciences over and over again, deadening its effectiveness, they do have the ability to distinguish right from wrong. But it is tempting to listen to those who always have good news rather than listening to those who have a lot of bad news. And most prophets of God have more bad news than good news. It is discouraging to be a prophet and to know that people are not going to listen. Isaiah was told that would be his mission in Isaiah 6:9-10. Micaiah knew that would be the case with Ahab.


It is not fun to Play Policeman

It is not fun to always be the one who has to spoil the party and tell people that they are sinners in need of a Savior. It is hard to tell those who are religious that they still need to repent and believe the Gospel. It is hard to tell those who say that they are "following Christ" that they are not following Christ unless they have been "born again." It is hard to tell people that they need to be baptized when their parents christened them and had them sprinkled as babies. It is hard to always be the policeman who has to point out departure from Biblical truth. It would be a lot easier to tell people that God is a merciful God and that as long as a person is well intentioned, things will be ok.


However, when faithful preachers point out Biblical Truth, it encourages me to know that most people really know deep down in their heart of hearts that what they are hearing from the Bible is true. They may not bow to that truth, and they may ostracize the true prophet for being faithful. However, they, like Ahab, know when they are hearing the Word of the Lord and when they are hearing the message of a false prophet.


Have we Rendered our Consciences Ineffective?

We all have a conscience that God has given to us to guide us. I hope we are listening to it and not resisting it. If we continually resist listening to our God given consciences, our consciences will be seared and will quit speaking to us. We will be open to all the religious confusion that we find in the world that calls itself Christian today.


Meditation for the week of September 14, 2014

The Preacher Got this Right!


Ecclesiastes 7:2 Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart.


King Solomon as an Author

King Solomon started out as a wise spiritual King.  He did not improve with age.  He ended up setting the stage for the nation of Israel’s worship of heathen gods in his later years.  I would like to believe, however, that he got his act together before he died.  I think he finally realized that worldly wisdom, worldly pleasure and worldly worship was not the answer to the questions most of us ask about life and eternity.  In Ecclesiastes, this man who has tried it all tells us that nothing in life last or satisfies.  It is all chasing after the wind.  However, he came to the conclusion that fearing God and keeping his commandments did matter and that was all that really counted (see Ecclesiastes 12:13).


Solomon got one Thing Right

There are statements in the book of Ecclesiastes that are not general truths but instead reflect Solomon’s own personal experience.  For example, Solomon could not find one wise woman among a thousand, but we see many wise women in the Bible.  Solomon may have been disillusioned by the women he had married since 1 Kings 11:3 indicates that he had a harem of 1000 women.  He may have meant that none of his wives and concubines were wise.   I suspect that he was facing the fact that the wives he married for political purposes and, in some cases, for their beauty all had their own agendas.  But while he got his choice of women wrong, he got one thing right.   He realized that death is not to be taken lightly, and it is one thing that causes all of us to think about our relationship with God.


We Get it Wrong!

We now call funerals celebrations of life.  We try to turn them into joyful occasions instead of occasions for the serious preaching of the Gospel in a kind and compassionate way.  Yes, the person who has died should be remembered; but that person’s death is what has been appropriately called “The Preacher of the Old School.”  Death speaks in ways that many preachers will not speak today.  Often we are not faced with the fact that death is the result of sin and with the fact that the person whose body is in the casket is either in heaven or in hell.  Their destiny was determined before they died by whether or not they trusted in the Lord Jesus as their Savior.  It is a solemn thing to think about eternity.  Many ridicule and mock the idea of heaven and hell and the need for eternal salvation.  That doesn’t change the facts and a funeral is an opportune time to present these facts.  If we really believe that eternal destinies are at stake, we will present those facts whether they are popular or not because of our love for those who are in the audience.


Today, the Gospel is often preached in environments where people are wanting to have “fun” rather than in an environment where serious thinking can take place.  We encourage that by advertising our Gospel meetings and Gospel camps and our daily vacation Bible Schools with the word “fun” preeminent in our advertising.  We would be more honest, if we told people that we were going to tell them how to prepare for life after death or how to prepare for the Lord’s return.  That, however, would probably limit the number of parents and children who would be interested.


For several years, I was involved in a Gospel outreach at our local fair.  I realized that most people coming there were not coming to hear the Gospel, they were coming to “have fun.”  I tried to get literature into the hands of those who came hoping that they would take it home and would read the material in a sober moment.  I didn’t try to press people for serious discussions at the fair.  It was not the proper atmosphere for that.  Most of our serious discussions were with other believers who were also concerned about reaching out with the good news of God’s salvation. While I like children to have fun at our camps and children’s meetings, I personally try to keep my messages interesting but serious since the Gospel deals with death and with counting the cost and with eternity.  It is a serious business.


The Seriousness of the Gospel

I think Solomon was wise when he came to the conclusion that it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting.  We need to be careful not to make it appear that the Christian life is all “fun and games” when we preach the Gospel.  The Christian life is a discipline.  Being a disciple and pursuing a discipline is fulfilling and satisfying but it is costly.  It fills the believer in Christ with joy, but it is not usually characterized by fun in the Bible. 


Meditation for the week of September 21, 2014

The Beauty of the Clouds at Sunset


Revelation 1:7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.


God must be an Artist

The God who created this world must be an artist.  He has created a lot of beauty.  I have no doubt that Adam was smitten by the beauty of Eve.  Men have been smitten by the beauty of women ever since.  We have all been smitten by the beauty of nature.  The beauty of a rainbow, the  shimmering of the northern lights, the twinkling of the stars on a dark night, the brightness of a harvest moon, the beauty of those first tulips in the spring, the beauty of the trees as their leaves take on hues of red, orange and yellow in the fall have left us all breathless at times.  Lately, sunrises and sunsets have been particularly beautiful.  Some of that beauty has been photographed and posted on public social media sites.  Many evenings I have watched the sun send forth rays of sunshine that are simply majestic as it begins to set behind the western clouds.  Some would like to convince us that the beauty of this created world does not reflect the brush strokes of an intelligent mind, but any reasonable person would have to believe that such beauty doesn’t just “happen.”


The Majestic Beauty of the Evening Clouds

I have been particularly taken by the beauty of the evening clouds lately.  I would probably be taken with the beauty of the morning clouds if I were a morning person.  When I see the rays of sunshine shining through the clouds, I always think of the coming of the Lord.  When the Lord ascended into heaven, a cloud received Him in Acts 1:7.  When He comes again there will be two parts to His coming.  The first part is His coming is for the believers of this age and is often called the rapture.  When that happens, the believers will be caught up to meet the Lord in the clouds in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.  The second part will be the Lord’s revelation to this earth.  He will come to judge sin and to set up a righteous kingdom.  That coming will also be with clouds in Revelation 1:7. 


The Dread of Storm Clouds

The clouds associated with the rapture are clouds of comfort and hope.  The clouds of the Lord’s coming to set up His kingdom are associated with His power and glory.  I think they will be beautiful and majestic but these clouds will cause great mourning and wailing.  While those who are believers in the Lord can take comfort in the Lord’s coming, those who have rejected Him will find that justice is going to be carried out.  The One who was crucified is the One who is going to have the last word.  I have watched thunderheads develop in the summer and have marveled at their majestic peaks and their beauty as the sun shines on them.  But when I am driving and I get caught in the center of one of those storms, they are anything but beautiful.  They are scary and the best thing one can do is to find shelter.  When I am driving, I usually do my best to take a route that doesn’t take me through the center of one of these storms.


Yes, the Lord is coming again and His coming will be with clouds.  His beauty and majesty will be seen in the clouds.  He will not be revealed the second time as a carpenter’s son, He will be coming as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He will not be coming to die for the sins of mankind, but He will be coming to judge those who wouldn’t believe in Him and then to set up a righteous kingdom. 


Hope or Dread?

When I see the majestic beauty of the sun setting behind clouds, I find myself anticipating the soon coming of the Lord.  It gives me hope because I expect to be delivered from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  This world will never be right until the Lord is reigning.  I have trusted Him and am on the winning team.  If I was not a believer and understood God’s warnings about the wrath to come, the beauty and majesty of these clouds associated with the setting sun would fill me with dread.  I would not want to be caught in the vortex of the thunderclouds of God’s wrath


Yes the clouds have been beautiful but they have been ominous as well.


Meditation for the week of September 28, 2014