"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58)

Behold The Man!

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, "Behold the man"! (John 19:1-5 KJV)

Krystal Meyers - The Beauty of Grace

Hot, Lukeward, Cold!

"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Revelation 3:14-22)

Okay, here we go again! Jesus Christ speaking to His church--His children! It isn't good!
How do we reach that place of self-sufficency. Especially, once we have tasted the sweetness, the goodness of God? My first inclination is to say, "How can a child of God actually believe they no longer need Christ?" That Christ is no longer necessary for their very breath, their every movement, their very being! Then, I have to stop and consider all the times I have run ahead of God, lagged behind God or just ignored God's still small voice all together and have chosen to go my own way! God have mercy upon me!

It's pretty easy to know when you're hot or cold towards the things of God. You're either like a out-of-control bush fire or you are cold, frigid, dead to the things of God and to God Himself. Pretty cut and dry. You know, you just know! Believe me, others know, too! So does God!

I think God can work with a child that is cold, even dead cold. They start shivering after a while. They begin to suffer the horrible effects of severe frostbite! They need a sure, safe covering, and quick! God can deliver such a one from their rebellion or their sin, be it anger, even anger at God, a root of bitterness, sins of the flesh and or the world, from sin habits, even from disinterest. God can spark a flame! He can fill such a one's cup to overflowing. How? Through loving rebuke and discipline.

Ah, but lukewarm. Now, that's a totally different story. You see, "lukewarm" is a gradual process. One second you're on fire, then one day you "forget" to pick up your Bible for your daily devotional time with God. Then, ever so subtlety you simply no longer remember that you "forgot". Or, one moment you're sharing your faith with everyone you come in contact with, but one day, you are suddenly embarassed by people's stares or you are shamed by their comments so you become silent. After a while, you've been silent so long--there is no longer any shame!
Lukewarm eventually graduates to self-sufficiency. A little church activity here, a little night life there--what's the harm? I'm saved, what more of God do I need? I can have God and the world, too! God spues such a one out because their testimony is shattered and they actually have brought harm to the kingdom of God by shaming the name of Jesus Christ. Who would be drawn to such a one?

Again, Jesus is not speaking of a loss of salvation, but rather a loss of effectiveness and precious fellowship with our Maker! Waste!

The truth is that unless we are constantly vigilant, the change in our "spiritual" temperation guage is hardly noticable at all.

It's kinda like what I have heard about frogs. They say (I've never tested this to see if it is true) that you can put a frog in cool to "lukewarm" water and slowly turn up the heat till it reaches its boiling point and that poor frog will never notice that he is being served up for that night's delicacy!

On the other hand, there's the lobster. I had a dear friend who was given a special birthday dinner in her honor. To her delight the night's fare was to be surf and turf. That is, until she saw the lobster being tossed into a boiling pot of water. She assured me lobsters do scream! I have never really enjoyed lobster that much, but after her story I could not bear to place a fork into one!

Anyway, I was wondering which would I prefer to be spiritually? Definitely, the lobster. I want to know when I'm hot! Do I always? No! Neither will you! That's why we must be careful that we don't turn into frogs!

Jesus Christ Revealed Through the Study of God's Word!

Your Concept of God Just Might Be the Problem!

“Then the man who had received the one talent came. `Master,' he said, `I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' "His master replied, `You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. "`Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'” Matthew 25:24-30

Whoa! I hope you are reading all there is to be read into this parable. You see, Jesus is speaking of His kingdom and His servants. This man was a chosen believer and follower of Jesus Christ! Saved, sanctified and gifted like all believers. Sadly, this man did not recognize the heart and intent of His Master. Indeed, his skewed perception of the very character and the person of his Master got him into the worst of all places--utter darkness!

Now, one simply can't use this parable to support the claim that a believer can "lose" his salvation. Salvation is a free gift of God--brought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ! God is not an liar, and He is called Faithful!

However, when we appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ any work or works done in our flesh that bring honor and glory to our Lord will be justly rewarded. Yes, some will receive greater honor and position, but all are saved and gloriously freed to enter into the glory of our Lord--even if it were as by fire! (1 Corinthians 3:9-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10)

Oh, we are witness to a bitter lesson hard-learned by the poor servant in this parable! The sad result of coming to His Lord emptied-handed was that this servant was cast or positioned to "exoteros skotos", an exterior place of obscurity in God's kingdom. Now, if you have ever been in a place where you have pondered your own "what if's" or your own "what could have been's" then you can fully understand why this servant and others like him find themselves in a place of weeping and gnashing their teeth. A place of--"if only"!

If we are not careful this is exactly where our own misconceptions toward God and His plans and purposes for our lives can lead us--stumbling around in total darkness--completely oblivious to the goodness, mercy and faithfulness of our God! Yes, even when it stares us right in the face!

This man, this servant thought his Master hard--a harsh taskmaster. Demanding, unmerciful, quick to judge and quick with retribution. He viewed his Master as One to be feared! His view was sorely tainted because he attributed to his Master the earthly characteristics of mere humanity. Yes, it may be true that this servant learned these "earthly" or "human" attributes under the most dire of circumstances, or, worse through his own sin nature! Oh, beloved, this is never, ever going to wash, or hold up under the judgment of Christ! Why? Because it was Jesus Christ, the God-Man Who came to this earth, took on flesh, suffered and died upon a hated cross to reveal the true heart of the Father to us!

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!" (John 3:16)

God loved this servant and meant him only good! Why else give him any gift? This servant failed to move past his misconceptions of God to the truth about God--God is love and God loves us! He never grew up in the Lord.

Misunderstanding God's intent can cause us to try to hide or "bury" many things; our gifts, our talents, even our sin. Sound familiar? It should because this is just what happened to Adam and Eve once satan tricked them and their eyes were opened to the "knowledge of good and evil." They, too, tried to hide their sin from God--with just about as much success!

Come on. You and I can relate. How often have we waited for that frying pan, that jackhammer, boulder or mountain to come crashing down upon our heads? How many times have we accused God of evil towards us, even if only in the deepest recesses of our hearts? Okay, maybe it's just me!

Anyway, for me, I think this "hard" concept of Almighty God developed in my early childhood years. Parents too often fail to realize that they play a major role in demonstrating the attributes of God to their children. Heavy responsibility I know, but so true. As children we learn the Godly characteristics of unconditional love, nuturing, and acceptance, We learn to develop a God-sense of value and worth. Our parents teach us the concept of right and wrong as well as the probable consequences of wrong choices. We learn the value of correction and discipline all within the family environment. In learning these early attributes of God, we develop the ability to readily respond first to the God-given authority of our parents, then to our Almighty God in reverent fear, obedience, respect, honor and love.

Apparently, this servant had not learn these vital truths about God! Thank goodness, this is only a parable--an illustrative story. A story that portrays truth--truth with a warning! Oh, dear one, a warning not to miss your blessing--your reward! A warning not to distrust your God!

Unfortunately we also have to touch on the fact that for too many of us, our early "church" experiences can help mis-shape our concept of God. For me, "church" only reinforced what I was already learning in my home environment. Sadly, the concept of God's harsh retribution was reinforced--Sunday after Sunday!

Now, I could stop right there and place the blame for any misconceptions I may have about God on the shoulders of my parents and the "church". Wrong! Again, that is just what Adam and Eve tried to do. They didn't get away with that one either! (Genesis 3)

Beloved, once the idea of God has entered our thought process and seed has been "planted" in our hearts, we have to accept the responsibility to ever move forward to discover Biblical truth for ourselves! Caution: Just because you choose to believe something doesn't necessary constitute that belief as being "truth"! "Study to show thyself approved"! Makes sure your "beliefs" line up with the Word of God!

An example of this is that this servant stated that his Master "...harvested where he had not sown and gathered where he had not scattered seed." Wrong!

God introduced the concept of reaping and sowing! We have only to go back to the book of Genesis to see this God-given concept laid out for us and for all creation.

"Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." (Genesis 1:11)

"So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." (Genesis 1:21-22)

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it." (Genesis 1:27-28)

If you know anything about reproduction, then you know that every plant and living thing reproduces either through a seed or egg. A seed is sown and reaps of its own kind! The egg is fertilized and reproduces of its own kind.

Oh, God is the great "Sower" of the universe and everything in it! Beloved, He fully intends to "reap" or bring forth a mighty harvest--reaped from the blood, sweat and tears of His own dear Son, Jesus the Christ! Count on it!

We can't miss another great truth in this parable. I was recently listening to someone explaining sowing and reaping. He stated that a farmer plants a seed (sows) and is responsible to make sure that he does everything within his ability to ensure that he reaps a crop. However, this is never a guarantee because it is always God who brings forth the harvest! A farmer cannot reap without God and we cannot increase our abilities, gifts and talents without God! Like Jesus said, sometimes tenfold, sometimes a hundred fold. This servant probably understood that concept of reaping and sowing, but he failed to believe that God would love him enough to perform that great miracle for him. Pity!

Oh, let's not make the same mistake. Fear not! Trust in your God! He is Faithful Who has called you!

Jesus Christ revealed through the study of God's Word!