Saturday, October 26, 2013

Normalcy Bias

The Bible calls it “lukewarmness.”  The song poet called it “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be).”  The psychologist calls it the “normalcy bias.”  It is the malady of most Americans.   It is the prelude to the fast advancement of the destruction of our Western society and it affluent status.  It is part of the imminent fulfillment of the prophecies of The Revelation.

“The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.” (as defined in Wikipedia.)
 Many people do not think that Jesus will return to judge the whole world because people have been saying for a long time that He will return soon; and, He has not returned.  Thus, they think the claim concerning His return is bogus. 
Many people do not believe they are going to be punished for their sins, because they have been doing them for so long and there has been nothing bad happen to them. 
Ecclesiastes 8:11, "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."
Galatians 6:7-8, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
Each of us make choices for our own lives.  Often times our choices affect the lives of other people and may influence the choices they make.  However, we will all give an account for the individual decisions we have made.  We will not give account for the decisions of another person, except in the part where our decisions and deeds have been partly responsible for their decisions. 
We must never make decisions in which we disregard the commandments of God in favor of the opinions of men.  We should never fear the response of men more than we fear the response of God. 
 

Monday, October 21, 2013

THE GIFTS OF GOD

We serve an omnipotent God who has created all things for His glory and for our good.  He has provided for all our needs and enjoyments.  God wants you to be happy with His provisions.  He has given to us many gifts.  They are available for you to receive, if you will believe, trust and obey. 

Psalms 68:18-19
18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.
19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

Our Lord has received gifts from His Heavenly Father to give to all men who will accept them.  It is not the will of God than any man perish in the awful death penalty of sin.  God has extended the offer of these gifts to the rebellious who would repent and accept God’s love and salvation.  In His mercy, He loved us before we knew Him.  He called us when we were stubborn and self-willed.  He spoke words of peace and righteousness to our souls.  Some have turned from rebellion to obedience.  These have been rewarded with the precious provisions of God’s gifts.  Some have refused and rebelled.  These have been destroyed. 

Matthew 1:21
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

The greatest gift of all is the gift of Jesus Christ who came to save us from all our sins.  By His blood and by His grace we have been give strength and power to say “No!” to each and every temptation.  This is the reality of holiness for He commanded, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.”

The word “salvation” means deliverance.  Have you been delivered from all your sins?

The apostle Paul talks to the people of Ephesus about the “riches of His grace” which we have through Christ Jesus.   The value of the riches of His grace are without measure.  The value and quantity of His gifts are unsearchable.

Ephesians 1:7
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Ephesians 1:17-18
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

The saints of God have an inheritance in Jesus Christ which produces hope, happiness and health, both spiritual and physical.  How sad it is that so many people are blind to the understanding of the inheritance which they have forfeited by following their own stubborn way instead of being led of the Holy Spirit.  The wonderful gifts of God are the answer and cure for the hopelessness in your life.  Come to Jesus and let Him be the blessing giver in your life. 

Ephesians 2:7-8
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 3:7-8
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Do you know what Paul is talking about?  Are you missing out on the unsearchable riches of Christ?  You do not have to continue in your poor state. 

Ephesians 3:16
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

After you have received Jesus Christ and His salvation, the next greatest gift of God is the gift of the Holy Spirit who will strengthen you with His might and His power.  He will enlighten and purge the inner man.  Every obstacle and hindrance which would try to prevent your full obedience and entire consecration will be removed by the indwelling Holy Spirit.  The gift of the Holy Spirit is the true essence of New Testament salvation.  It is the most significant difference between the children of God under the Old Covenant and the children of God under the New Covenant.  Thus, we can easily see why Satan has worked so persistently to deceive people so that they do not obtain this vital work of grace. 

Acts 2:38-39
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

It is repeatedly documented in the New Testament that the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to those who had repented of their sins.  Sometimes this gift of the Holy Spirit followed water baptism and sometimes it preceded water baptism.  However, we can easily recognize by the testimonies given in the book of Acts (especially Acts chapter 8) that it was a gift which was received subsequent to repentance and saving faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ which had been preached to them. 

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Have you received the gift of God?  Are you enjoying the many gifts which God has in His great storehouse?   The wages of sin [singular] is death.  One willful disobedience will separate you from your God.  God will not inhabit a temple (soul) defiled by sin.   

2 Timothy 1:6-8
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

What gift did Timothy receive by the “putting on of my hands?”  He received the gift of the Holy Spirit, as did many other, at the “laying on of hands” by the apostles. 

Acts 8:14-17
14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

The people of Samaria heard and received the gospel of Jesus Christ as Philip had preached to them.  Later, when Peter and John came down to Samaria from Jerusalem, they received the gift of the Holy Ghost at the “laying on of hands.”  This fellowship of kindred minds and hearts is the true witness of the indwelling Holy Spirit, producing a heavenly unity among the believers.  This unity of Spirit and unity of faith is the essential environment necessary to move God to empower the church with many other spiritual gifts for the edification, the building up, of the beautiful church of God.  A Spirit filled congregation will exalt Christ and not some admired, spiritual leader. 

1 Corinthians 12:4-11
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

These gifts are for the church.  By the manifestations of these gifts, the church of God will be a great light in this dark world.  Without these gifts she will be hidden in obscurity and religious confusion.  God will not give these gifts to a lukewarm or un-sanctified people.  These gifts are for a congregation wherein the members have fully consecrated themselves to walk in the Spirit of holiness.  They are for those children of God who have forsaken the pleasures of this world for the riches of the glory of Christ Jesus.  These gifts are for those who are being spiritually led by the Master and taught by the Comforter. 

It is the will of God that you have these gifts as they would be granted to you personally by the Holy Spirit.  The absence of these gifts in the congregation (or the body) is a sign of some weakness in the members of the body.

Let the children of God agree in prayer: "Lord, help your people present themselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to you.  Bring us into the Holiest of Holies, where we enjoy the sweet communion of the your Holy Spirit.  Teach us how to walk on the Highway of Holiness and be worthy of your grace, your anointing and your power.  Help us to let your great light shine in us that the world may see our good works and your good works among the people.  Amen."