Guard Your Heart

Guard Your Heart

It is important to take care of your heart. Not just the physical heart that pumps blood, but also the emotional heart. The Bible says to “guard your heart” (Proverbs 4:23) because everything you do flows from it. This means that your thoughts, words, and actions are all influenced by the condition of your heart.

To guard your heart, you need to be mindful of what you expose it to. Surround yourself with positive influences that build you up and encourage you. Avoid negative influences that tear you down and discourage you. This could include things like negative self-talk, toxic relationships, or harmful media.

Another way to guard your heart is by practicing forgiveness. Holding onto grudges or bitterness can weigh you down and prevent you from living a full and joyful life. By choosing to forgive those who have wronged you, you release yourself from the burden of anger and resentment and open your heart to healing and restoration.

In conclusion, guarding your heart is essential for living a healthy and fulfilling Christian life. By being mindful of what you expose your heart to and practicing forgiveness, you can protect your emotional well-being and positively impact those around you.

Posted by onthesolidrock in Daily Inspiration, Faith
The Strength of my Heart

The Strength of my Heart

We frequently get perplexed in this crazy, upside down world.

The ramifications of sinful, power-hungry world leaders can be brutal, unloving, and harsh! Coupled with the unforeseen outbreaks of disease, famine, and death can quickly cause even the stoutest of individuals to lose heart.

Yet, even in the midst of these daunting circumstances, we are reminded that God is still here; we have not been abandoned. His plan of redemption is still unfolding even as we read these words today!

As the Scripture reveals, even though our heart and flesh fail; God is the strength of our heart, and He IS our Portion forever!

Take courage; lean into the arms of God; trust Him, and let His strength be yours today!

Psalm 73:26



Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Trust
Forgiving From Your Heart

Forgiving From Your Heart

Do you remember the parable of the unmerciful servant? Peter wanted to know how many times he should forgive; the answer may not have been what he expected. Let’s check it out.

Matthew 18:21-25

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

This is a familiar parable, one that you have no doubt read many times. To put this in context, just prior to this parable, Jesus talked about what to do if a brother sins against you, and after hearing this brief teaching on dealing with a brother who sins against you, Peter comes to ask Jesus a rather interesting question.

“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

I’m not sure, but I think Peter may have had a rather short fuse, and when it came to forgiving, he probably struggled a bit. When he asked the question, I think Peter was looking for a limit here. You know, “at what point can I refuse to forgive?” Jesus’ answer was not what Peter had expected!

To explain forgiveness to Peter, and to you and me, Jesus told a story. In this story, I think we can find a few truths that may help us, when it comes to forgiving from the heart.

This parable primarily has to do with forgiving a financial debt, but the application of this story applies to many different situations in which someone has trespassed, or sinned against you.

In the parable that Jesus told, the king wanted to settle accounts, and was calling in the debts owed.

When this particular man came before the king, he was unable to pay his debt. The fault was clearly with the man, and not the king. For whatever reason, the man could not clear his debt, and king, was now “stuck” with it.

Now there appears to be two problems:

The first is now the king is upset, and rightfully so. He has a debt that he should not bear. It was not his fault, and he has every right to demand it! He is frustrated, hurt, and betrayed, the trust he had toward his servant is broken.

The second is that the man, who failed in his obligation to the king, is now in danger of being, sold into slavery, even placing his whole family in jeopardy.

As the story goes, the man fell on his knees before the king, begging for patience, promising to pay it all back, just give me more time! The king looking at this display of emotion, felt compassion for the man, and forgave the whole debt! In one fell swoop, the king took care of both problems.

In forgiving the man his debt, the king released himself from the right to demand what was due, absorbing the cost of the debt, and the debtor was free from the need to repay something he was unable to.

We can learn two lessons here, which will help us not only to forgive, but also to be forgiven.

Granting Forgiveness

The first lesson has to do with granting forgiveness. The king saw the despair of the man who owed the debt. He seemed totally unable to repay what was owed.

Jesus said that the king had “compassion” on the man. Unless the king would have experienced compassion, I doubt very much that he would have been able to forgive this man his debt.

As you and I experience debts or, “SINS against us, it is very unlikely that we will ever truly forgive another for those sins, unless we have compassion.  Without compassion for those who have sinned against you, the debt remains.

Sin has affected all of humanity. Not one person is exempt from it! Sin rears its ugly head in many, many forms; lying, stealing, cheating, murder, adultery, greed, lust; the list is long!

If you have lived longer than a day, someone has probably sinned against you, and if you are blessed to live another day, it will likely happen again. We live in a sinful world, and sin happens! When it happens to you, what will you do with it?

Recall the Lord’s Prayer:

Matthew 6:9-14

 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

The greatest temptation that any of us ever will face is the temptation to, not forgive.

We have been forgiven much by the Greatest King that ever lived! Our Great King, saw the terrible plight we were in, and while we were unable to correct the wrong we had done, He forgave us all our sin!

Remember, unlike the parable Jesus used, we were not going to be, sold for the debt we owed, we were going to die for it! The wages of sin is death! God has forgiven us much!

We must forgive those who sin against us, to hold their sin against them, is to negate our own forgiveness!

Receiving Forgiveness

The second part of this lesson has to do with receiving forgiveness. This part of the lesson is tied to the first part.

To receive forgiveness is to be willing to forgive.

The man in this story was no doubt thrilled with the cancelled debt. He was truly distressed before the King, and was on his knees begging for patience and mercy; the King had compassion, and forgave the whole debt! I imagine the man was so grateful!

However, not long afterwards, that man encountered someone who owed him far less than what he had owed the king, and he demanded the whole amount, even having the man arrested and put into prison!

Of course, when the King found out about it, He was furious! The King ordered the man who refused to cancel another debt, thrown in prison.

The problem was that this man did not recognize or remember how much debt the king forgave him. He was forgiven much, much more, than the man who owed him very little.

Any sin inflicted upon you by another, will pale in comparison with the sin you have inflicted against God.

Yet God has forgiven you of all your sins! Why would you hold something against another? Why would you throw away your own good fortune at the expense of another? How foolish!

If this man would have taken the time to remember the depth of his own forgiveness, he would not have demanded the small amount someone owed him, and the outcome of this story would have been quite different.

Have you ever sat down and considered what Jesus has done for you? I mean, have you considered what this Great King has done on your behalf?

How badly do you want God to forgive you of your sins, bad enough for you to forgive others from the heart?

Perhaps you struggle with compassion. Ask God to show you what He thinks of those you cannot forgive; ask Him how much value He places on them. Look at others from His perspective, and you will begin to get a sense of what is at stake.

Remember, if you cannot forgive from your heart, you have not forgiven, and you are still in your sins.

You will know that you have forgiven from the heart when you pray this way:

“Father, I forgive this person for the sin inflicted upon me; and please Lord, I am asking that you forgive them too.”


Posted by onthesolidrock in Discipline, Faith, Holiness, Humility, Love, Prayer, Trust, 0 comments
Lost Love

Lost Love

Today is Valentine’s Day and I thought it would be appropriate for us to talk about love. We are going to take a look at the Book of Revelation in just a moment, but first, for informational sake, St Valentine was a real person.


Who was St Valentine?


He was a Roman priest during the time of the emperor Claudius. This emperor had issued an edict that young people not be married. Due to his desire to have the strongest military, he felt it was important that ALL of his young soldiers be unmarried.


He reasoned that those who were married would be less likely to die for the Roman cause, since they would be worried about their families.


St Valentine would secretly marry these young couples. Eventually he was caught and was put to death for his actions.


“One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind. Valentine was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.”


In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to death; the story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it, “from your Valentine.”


Today however, we are going to move past St Valentine to Another in Whom our love and affection needs to remain constant. To do this, we will take a look into the Book of Revelation.


Have you lost your first love?


In chapter 2, the risen Christ begins addressing the seven churches; the first of which is the church of Ephesus, and this will be our focus today.


Revelation 2:1-7


“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.


4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.


7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.


The letter to the church of Ephesus begins with several affirmations; and they are:

  • deeds done
  • hard work
  • perseverance
  • intolerant of wicked men


After these 4 affirmations, the Lord now shares something that He is holding against them.


If you were the church in Ephesus, and just received this letter from a messenger sent from God, and heard those words; “Yet I hold this against you” you would get that nagging pit in your stomach, and the words following would cut to the heart; let’s look at what Christ had to say in greater detail.


Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.


The word that is translated “forsaken” comes from the Greek word:

aphiēmi           af-ee’-ay-mee              forsake, lay aside, leave, let alone

It means to lay aside, or let alone.


The second word in this phrase is this:

prōtos                        pro’-tos                      foremost, best


The last word in the phrase is the word used for love:

agapē              ag-ah’-pay                   love, that is, affection or benevolence


When we put these altogether, we begin to get an idea of what Christ was saying. A paraphrase of this verse might read;


“You have set aside your best and foremost, affectionate love.”


You might ask the question; how does a person get to this place of laying aside their foremost and first love? Does it happen overnight? What is the driving factor?


How does one go about losing their first love?


To begin, what was it like when you first fell in love with Jesus? For most there was:


  • Passion                      
  • Hunger for His word                       
  • Fearlessness             
  • Unashamed  
  • Joy unspeakable      
  • Faithfulness              
  • Relentless pursuit   


Then, slowly, over time, the pressures of this world encroach. People change, Christians turn on each other, the ugliness begins to press hard and you become disillusioned.


You cry out to God for relief, yet sometimes He seems distant. The passion you once had begins to cool and you struggle.


Matthew 24 contains a clue to the mystery . . .


The disciples had asked Jesus what things would be like prior to His coming again.


Matthew 24:9-14


“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.


One of the things we need to be on the alert to, is the increase of wickedness that is taking place today. This increase of wickedness has a numbing effect on our senses. It is a gradual thing, a gentle slide, if you will.


We live in a wicked world; evil is rampant!


In our society, wickedness is quite rampant, and because of the increase of technologies, we are able to see it in a moments notice. We hear of atrocities happening all around the world. Even today’s popular TV shows and movies invoke great evil.


We become desensitized to the wickedness around us, the faces of the people involved begin to blur, we lose compassion for the lost, we slowly enter into tunnel vision, and we tune out the reality of living in a lost, broken, evil world.


This coupled with painful experiences; some of which may have taken place in the context of “church-ianity”, can lead to the chilling affect that Jesus spoke of!


Those closest to Jesus, experienced this phenomenon too; do you recall James and John, nicknamed “sons of commotion” or “sons of thunder.” I do not suspect that you will get this kind of reputation by being gentle and easy going, but by being boisterous, loud, and perhaps even confrontational. In the Gospel of Luke we get an insiders look, let’s take a peek!


Luke 9:51-56


As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56 and they went to another village.


By the way, John who mentioned here is the same one who wrote the Book of Revelation!


What was going on here? James and John were beginning to go into what I might call an intolerant protective mode. By that, I mean they were getting the first hand view of how the increase of wickedness was affecting the world around them.


When Jesus was insulted, they took it personally; even having a desire to destroy those who would come against Jesus!


Peter really highlighted this! You will recall Peter, was the first of the disciples to “get it.” Recall the Scriptures . . .




When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.


Peter knew who Jesus was; truth revealed to Him by God Himself. As Peter began to get an understanding of this reality, he became overly protective of Jesus. Recall Peter was the only disciple who had the nerve to rebuke Jesus.


Matthew 16:21-23


From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must

go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”


The fact Jesus mentioned that evil men would do bodily harm to Him, repulsed Peter; he (Peter) would never stand for it! Peter got angry at the mob came to arrest Jesus . . .


John 18:10-11


Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”


What was happening to Peter, to James and John? The increase of wickedness was “on.” They saw the hatred in the eyes of those coming against them; but more specifically, against Jesus, the only begotten Son of God!


These men began to lose their first love. Perhaps they had forgotten the joy of “agape love” when they provided thousands of men, women and children, a meal of fish and bread; looking into those eyes, hungering for sustenance that day.


Maybe they forgot the wonder of “agape love” as commanded by Jesus, to go out into the villages and towns, healing the sick, casting out demons; doing the work of a “sent one.”


Now, as the reality of living in an evil world begins to press in, they felt the need to protect God, as if God needs protecting! The love they once had for fallen humankind was waning, and they started to become part of the problem, instead of the cure.


Now we begin to get an idea of why Jesus places this rebuke right after He affirmed the church in Ephesus concerning their testing of false apostles.


They would have certainly put the false apostles out of the church, but perhaps they did so with a sense of pride. Maybe they began to take on the old attitudes that James, John, and Peter had.


Perhaps they forgot that behind the false prophet was man, a sinner in need of redemption. Maybe the fact that another human being could be eternally lost no longer broke their heart.


They had indeed lost their first love. The flame was dangerously low, if lit at all, and Jesus tells them; “Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”


What a rebuke! A powerful warning to everyone who have ears to hear!


Love being restored


We will conclude our talk today by looking at an encounter that Peter had with Jesus after the resurrection. Remember, Jesus rebuked Peter; after trying to kill one of the crowd who came to arrest Jesus, and he had denied Jesus three times; in Peter’s estimation, quite a failure.


Let’s pull up a seat by the fireside chat, and listen in. . . .


John 21:1-19



Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.  He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.


 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.


 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”  Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.


When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”


 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”  He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.  I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”


In this remarkable story, Jesus reaffirmed His love for Peter by His actions. He could have criticized Peter, ridiculed him, and said; “I told you so!”


Sitting by that fire, Peter experienced what I would call blazing, majestic, overwhelming love, coming from the Risen Christ! It must have been overwhelming!


The issue that Jesus was trying to bring to Peter’s attention was not that He (Jesus) loved Peter; that was now very evident. The question was; Peter, do you love Me?


Jesus simply asks you; “Do you love Me?”


Jesus calls us to repent, and do the things we did at first. I encourage you today, to renew your commitment, not only to Jesus, but also to the lost, wicked world around us. Recall the greatest commandment:


Matthew 22:37-39


‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.





Posted by onthesolidrock in Discipline, Faith, Holiness, Humility, Trust, 0 comments
A Form of Godliness

A Form of Godliness

One of the things I love to do is preach! It seems to be the one thing that is always in my heart and has been burned into my spirit! I long to see the “church” come alive and experience all it should and could be! Indeed, anytime people of faith come together to hear the Word of God proclaimed; amazing things can happen.


There is however, an element of great danger for some who to meet like that . . . so much is at stake! Every time we come together and share the Word of God; which by the way the Bible says is sharper than ANY two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), hardened as it may be; we have choices to make; some of those choices will determine the fate of our eternal soul!


I have a background in metal working and there is a process by which you can make iron very hard. First, you need to get it extremely hot; and when the conditions are right, you quickly quench the iron bar, either in water or oil, depending on the hardness desired.


There is a rather short window of time whereby the heated metal must be thrust into the cooling medium; once done, the metal becomes quite hard. Similarly, over hardened metal can be softened again by heating and allowing the metal to cool slowly; this process is called annealing.


The danger lies wherein the power of God, through His Word, is touching your heart. Often the heart is strangely warmed, heated by the Holy Spirit if you will, to the point of becoming altogether new; the composition is about to change.


Often it is at this critical point, the flesh rebels and quenches that fire; causing the heart to become excessively hard, brittle and even bitter.


1 Thessalonians 5:19-23

Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.


As with previous generations before us, the world once again is generating conditions that seem to indicate that the coming of our Lord is drawing near. No doubt when the First World War began, many within the Christian Community felt that Christ would soon come. The same was true with World War II and other worldwide conflicts; yet today it seems like the increase is feeling like; as Jesus said, “Birth Pangs.”


The Bible gives us a list of things to be alert to concerning the time right before Jesus` predicted return:


  • Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” We are fascinated with the culture of death and evil.


  • “Jesus… said many false prophets and false teachings will abound


  • “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.”


  • “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”


  • Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God


All of these things are happening right now, and will continue with ever increasing intensity; like birth pains, until the arrival of Christ.


In the midst of all of these forewarnings, there is one particular warning that continues to grow today, and it is the reason for the broken state of Christianity in our country; indeed our community. This warning is found in 2 Timothy 3 and will be the focus of this blog today.


2 Timothy 3:1-5

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.


When we first read this passage we often think that Paul is referring to the world in which we live; yet this kind of behavior is typical of fallen mankind and is not new. The warning given here is that these types of persons have infiltrated the church!


It talks about a form of godliness which lacks power; could this be the problem the church is facing today? Have we succumbed to forms of godliness, yet have none of the Power of God?


We live in a broken world that is dying and swirling in an ever increasing state of despair. Hopelessness abounds and our own nation is getting angry, frustrated and on the brink of destruction! People in our country are calling for revolution; should we not cry out to God for a revolution in the Church!


We must ask . . .  Where is the POWER of the Church!


Concerning the current state of the supposed Christian church in America, the Barna group, a statistical Christian research organization, did a study a few years ago examining the divorce rates in America. The divorce rate in America hovers at about 50%.


According to Barna, the divorce rate between alleged Christians was almost equal to that of the general population, and even more startling; the rate among fundamental Christians was slightly higher than the national average!


We must ask . . .  Where is the POWER of the Church!


A study on the financial support of the local churches in America revealed startling results as well. The average Christian in America gives 2.3% of their income to the local church.


It is estimated if those pretending to love Christ actually did the bare minimum of 10%, an additional $165,000,000,000 (billion) would be made available to Jesus to use. It is estimated that . . .


  • $25 billion could relieve global hunger, starvation, and deaths from preventable diseases in five years
  • $12 billion could eliminate illiteracy in five years.
  • $15 billion could solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, specifically at places in the world where 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day.
  • $1 billion could fully fund all overseas mission work.
  • $100 – $110 billion would still be left over for additional ministry expansion.


We must ask . . .  Where is the POWER of the Church!


In the American church, there has been a relaxation of the need to “count” conversions. While many denominations still require it, mine included, we do not place too much emphasis on those numbers anymore.


We often brush off the low conversion rates citing growth groups, relationships, church memberships, and baptisms instead. This is done, I fear, to placate the gnawing sensation that something is very, very wrong in our Americanized church!


When was the last time one of the town drunks, a drug dealer, or person of high or low esteem found Christ in your community! It would have been the talk of the town!


 A broken, impetuous, unskilled speaker; a fisherman by the name of Peter preached in the power of the Holy Spirit one day and 3000 came to faith; they counted them! The Book of acts declared that daily people were added to their number.


We must ask . . .  Where is the POWER of the Church!


It is evident that the warning Paul gave Timothy is at the heart of the problem we are facing today; a form of godliness, with no power!


The church body has become diluted with men and women who are simply not redeemed! There is no Spirit of Christ in them. They are religious impostors! How, you may ask, does this happen?


It did not happen overnight; but rather by many years of complacency and disregard for the demands of the Gospel. The church once held a position of high esteem; those who joined the ranks of the church were seen as upright and noble people, and getting your name on the rolls was important.


Church membership became the end goal, rather than a means to promote Jesus to the community. This has continued to this day!


It is easy to join a church; go down to the river and be baptized; tell everyone you love God and believe in Jesus, take communion when its offered; give 2.3% of your income and smile a lot; imagining that is well with your soul, do this and in most churches you will be viewed as a spiritual person.


You now have now successfully acquired a form of godliness; you have respect in the church and with your peers. The growing numbers of people, whom you see, are just like you. A sense of self-satisfaction grows, and you truly believe that you are quite safe and secure in Christ . . .


We must ask . . .  Where is the POWER of the Church!


Listen to what noted Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon; often referred to as the Prince of Preachers had to say about this subject:


I do not doubt that a form of godliness has come to many because it brings them ease of conscience and they are able, like the Pharisee, to thank God that they are not as other men are. Have they not been to Church? Have they not paid for their pew? They can now go about their daily business without those stings of conscience which would come of neglecting the requirements of religion.


These people profess to have been converted and they are numbered with Believers. But, alas, they are not of them.  Of all people these are the hardest to reach and the least likely to be saved. They hide behind the earthworks of a nominal religion. They are out of reach of the shot and shell of Gospel rebukes. They fly among the sinners and they have taken up their quarters among the saints. Sad is that man’s plight who wears the name of life but has never been quickened by the Holy Spirit.


What then is the power of God which is lacking?


True godliness happens on the inside and works its way to the outside. The true power of God comes when a sinful wicked heart, infected with the curse of Adam, is “re-created” and made new, restored to its intended condition; now that’s the power of God!


Remember the promises of God to Ezekiel. . .


Ezekiel 11:19  

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.


Ezekiel 36:25-27  

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.


At the conclusion of Peter’s message in Acts 2, Peter gives the key to the Spirit-filled life, the way to be baptized in the Holy Spirit; it comes by repentance and baptism, and by baptism, I mean being immersed, covered with Jesus.


The key is repentance! Without it, there will be NO SALVATION and NO SPIRIT-FILLED life. None!


We all want “Godliness with Power” we all want to live victorious Christian lives, but we cannot unless we have repented. What produces repentance?


2 Corinthians 7:10

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.


“Godly sorrow” produces repentance. I have to ask you if you have ever felt godly sorrow. Have you ever felt the need to repent, and then actually do it! Because if you have not ever repented, you are NOT redeemed, and you are still in your sins, and are as lost as ever; even more lost, because you have deceived yourself into thinking you are redeemed, when in fact you are not.


Jesus said these stunning words . . .


Matthew 7:21-23

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’


The most revealing and frightening aspect of this passage is that the people we so convinced that they know Jesus; when in fact, they did not!


What can be said of you? Are you holding to a form of godliness, are you the real deal? Deep in your heart, you know the answer.


Will you resist still? Will you quench the Holy Spirit one more time?


This is your chance; for some . . . this is your last chance!


Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones puts it this way . . .


“You do not decide for Christ, the sinner FLIES to Christ in utter helplessness and despair.”


His arms are open wide . . . run to Him!

Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Holiness, 0 comments