Sunday, November 30, 2014

More Than These?

"Did you ever have to make up your mind? did you ever have to finally decide?" asked the Lovin' Spoonful. After His resurrection, Jesus asked Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?" These what, Jesus? These fish? These other disciples? I believe the Holy Spirit intentionally left this space blank; I believe He's asking each of us, you & me, "My child, do you love Jesus more than ____________?"
    Remember that movie Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory? Six kids each won a Golden Ticket, but one by one they forfeited their prize as they gave in to the temptation of their own peculiar obsessions. The Bible is full of stories of characters just like them: Esau, who sold his birthright for one bowl of soup; Eli, who honored his sons above God; Achan, who siezed plunder from Jericho; Gehazi, who claimed the offering meant for Elisha, to name a few.
   How about King Herod? At his birthday bash, his little step-daughter starts prancing around like some slut in an MTV music video. He gets such a kick out of it, he offers her half his kingdom! When she asks for the head of John the Baptist, what does he do? He chooses sex & entertainment over the kingdom of God. Have you heard that 78% of Pastors admit to regularly viewing internet porn? That means, if we sat five pastors down here, there's just ONE who doesn't! (I hope your pastor is that one.)
   Have you ever gone to download & install some software and just clicked that little accept box without actually reading the Terms and Conditions? Well, newsflash, Jesus has some Terms & Conditions too. Such as:

  •     Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
  •    I am He which searches the reins and hearts; and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Amos prophesied, "Take thou away from Me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols." (Amos 5:23) What if, what if, the Holy Spirit told your church, "I hate Contemporary Christian  music! I hate Christian Rock!" What would you do?
   I believe the days are coming, and are here now, when the Lord is calling for a deeper dedication and commitment from His chosen people. And I believe He is asking us, as He asked Peter, "Do you love Me more than your: parents/ children/ spouse/  friends/ career/ money/ reputation/ entertainment/ internet/ political party/ cigarettes/ alcohol/ pornography/ popularity/church affiliation/ pet doctrine/ music/ Halloween/ Disney/  country / your very life itself?"
   Thomas Paine wrote, "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, sink from the service of their country." Well these are the times that try the faithful's souls, and the summer Christians and sunshine believer will also sink from service to their Lord. The Apostasy is upon us, and "many shall depart from the faith".
   The old church chorus, based on Proverbs 8, affirms," Lord, You are more precious than silver; Lord, You are more costly than gold. Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds, and nothing I desire compares with You."  May this genuinely be the cry of our hearts.

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