True North

COMPASS -- Efraim Stochter -- PX

In routine life on Planet Earth, there’s one rather ordinary looking piece of equipment that is used by thousands of people every day. It’s called a compass. Hikers, hunters, military personnel, navigators on ships and planes, and even  12-year-old boy scouts and girl scouts out on field trips use a compass as a normal part of their activities. Most of us have used one at some point in time, or at least played with one just to see how it works. Its job: to make geographical directions clear so that we can find our way safely and expeditiously from one point on this earth to another.

But that compass will not help us — it will, in fact, lead us the wrong way and get us into trouble — it is fails to point its arrow accurately to the North. It it’s off just a tiny bit, it can cause us to go miles in the wrong direction and totally miss our destination. That compass must point its arrow to TRUE NORTH, or it does us no good at all.

Now for individual journeys from one geographical place to another, any average compass in good working order is good enough. But what about our life-long journey — our time from birth to death — when we make our way along the road of life with all its twists and turns and possible detours? What provides our source of accurate directions for that journey?  Well, there’s only One who knows for sure how to navigate that life path successfully and wind up at the right places at the right times — as well as how to wind up in the right place at the end of the journey — and that person is our Creator — the One who made us to live this life in the first place.

We hear people today talk about how different people have different “moral compasses”  — to each his own — everyone lives by his own standards. But the truth is that all moral compasses that don’t point to Jesus Christ are extremely faulty and will lead the followers into trouble — and eventually into destruction.

Jesus Christ is the only TRUE NORTH. If our life compass focuses on Him, we will be able to stay on course — with joyful results. It if does not point to Him, we’re lost — in more ways than one.

I hear people say things like this: “Well, there are people who do good an live right in this world who aren’t Christians.” And i agree that I know some people who love their families and who try to live by rules that are, for the most part, kind. But the fact is that the only reason those people act as positively as they do is that they’ve been taught the basic rules of God’s Word.

Now they may not recognize those words as coming from the Bible. And they may not have learned them in a church. But they were influenced by others — even by the laws of the land — to understand a lot about what’s right and wrong. Every law of the land in any nation that protects people and guides them to act in ways that avoid hurting someone else came originally from the plans for living right laid out in God’s original law.

The truth is that the only foundation any society — indeed any human being from Adam and Eve down — has for determining what’s right and wrong is God’s Word. That’s why God gave the original ten commandments: so man would know what was good and what was evil. And all the civilized nations in the word have laws that follow those ten commandments. No human being came up with those ideas on his own. His Creator taught him right and wrong.

Why did the Creator need to teach man? Because the only good there is in the universe is in God Himself and what proceeds out of Him.

Let me say that again: There is no good in this world except what proceeds out of God. Man is born sinful — selfish, self-centered, and out for himself alone. Prove it you say? Look at any little baby. He wants his needs met, and when they’re not met, he cries — and cries — and cries — until Mom and Dad stop whatever else they are doing and give baby whatever it is he wants.  And as a child grows, he knows to focus on his own needs and wants without being taught. His wants come first.

Most parents — if they are responsible in their child rearing — begin teaching their children about kindness and consideration for others at an early age. But those things have to be taught. They never come naturally to any human being. Goodness, kindness, and generosity are learned behavior — coming either from instruction or environmental influence. There is no inherent good in any human being when left on his own.

The Word of God says it simply and succinctly when it says, “There is none good but God.” (Luke 18:19) and “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10 and “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).  There is no inherent good in any human being when left on his own.  He must receive his goodness from God.

Now, living on this earth in the right environment may help some people soak up understanding of some of that goodness. And they may exert some effort to make it active in their lives. Anyone who gets out in the rain gets wet. Anyone who gets out in the sun gets warm. But those conditions are superficial and temporary. So, in the same manner, anyone who is reared and nurtured in an environment of good, loving ways will, no doubt, soak up some of that attitude and that philosophy of life — and its accompanying behavior.

But as with the sun and the rain, those things are superficial and temporary. They will carry that person only so far and for only so long. He will ultimately fail in his morality and goodness. I have lived 72 years on this earth and been actively involved with thousands of people from all over the world, and I have yet to see an exception to this rule. Nor do I know any other people who have come across an exception. No human being other than Jesus Christ has ever lived without failing in morality and goodness. Until we receive Jesus Christ and put Him in control, everyone of us fails to live up to the goodness of God — the goodness required to be fit to live with Him for eternity.

The only good we know and do apart from Jesus is what we acquired by osmosis because God’s goodness managed to penetrate our soul a little. But without our spirit being born again by the entrance of Jesus Christ, that “goodness” is nothing but a garment we wear. What’s inside will eventually come to the forefront. And, yes, I realize I am repeating myself here, but with good reason. My experience with humanity has taught me that very few people can capture and hold onto a new concept the first time they hear it. And, for many people reading this article, the concept I’m sharing is new indeed. So explaining the same truth again — and in slightly different terms — is a safeguard and an insurance that more people will grasp this truth and let it help them move forward to what they need.

The exciting part of this truth is that once Jesus is allowed to come in and take control, His own righteousness is transferred into our being. At that point, we aren’t just trying to be good and do good because of some training that will eventually fail us. No. Jesus gives us His own inherent goodness and holiness. It becomes who we are because He has become the controller of who we are. We are one with Him.

And since He alone is TRUTH (John 1:17; John 14:6), He provides the infallible compass for our life from that point through all eternity. Do our souls and bodies sometimes fail to measure up? Yes, but Jesus, our unerring compass, lovingly points us back to the right direction, and the wrong steps we took gets corrected so that we don’t ever get completely off course again.

Jesus Christ is our TRUE NORTH. If you haven’t yet made Him the compass of your life, right now is the best time to do it. No matter how far off course you are at present, if you’ll turn your life over to Him, you will immediately see where “True North” is, and you’ll never have to worry about being lost again on this journey through life. Not only that, you’re guaranteed to wind up at the destination you were always intended to reach — in this life on earth and for eternity.


photo credit: Efraim Stochter (MW) @ pixabay.com



 

A Page From My Journals # 5

GO YOUR WAY_0001

Jesus’ words to the 10 lepers who came to Him for healing in Luke 17:14:
“GO and show yourselves to the priests.”

Jesus’ words to the centurion who asked for healing for his servant in Matthew 8:13:
“GO your way; let it be done for you as you have believed.”

When we believe His Word, the work is done. Then as we go on our way and go about our normal lives, continuing to believe Him,  He sees to it that the work comes into manifestation.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Depending On The Shepherd

SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE- w. credits

It’s comforting to know that sheep are not expected to take care of themselves. They are expected to be totally dependent on their shepherd. It’s my understanding that when sheep are out grazing and they hear a growl of a predator or something else that frightens them, they do not normally look toward the sound, but to their shepherd. If their shepherd is calm and at rest, they remain at rest as well.

I’m not an expert on sheep, but I know for sure that the Lord wants us to be that trusting. When the enemy approaches with his threats and his frightening sounds, symptoms, and circumstances, we need to look immediately to our Good Shepherd — and to His Word. We know that He and His Word are one, and when that Word says we have the victory over all attacks, we can settle into the rest of faith and watch our Shepherd take down the enemy.

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture! (Psalm 100:3).
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11).

 




 

Back Online – Merry Christmas

 

WHO IS THIS BABE OF BETHLEHEM?
MARY, BABY, LAMB - EDITED

At His birth,
A tiny, helpless child;

At His death,
A lamb so meek and mild;

At the grave,
A conqueror supreme;

At His coming,
Universal King!


Last summer, when I created the new “Radical About Jesus Ministries” website, I took “Hangin’ Out With God” off-line and transferred much of the material to the new website. However, most people who have been interacting with “Hangin’ Out With God” have preferred to stay with this site rather than switch to the new one. That being the case — even though I still need to keep the Radical site for the sake of continuity and connections with other aspects of the ministry — I’ve decided to put this blog back into “active public” status so that the hundreds of followers can continue to interact here the way they have for the past 8 years.

I really want to do what the Lord wants done with all my websites, and if this site can reach out and connect with hundreds of people that the other sites don’t reach, then I don’t want to close that door. So I’ll give it a few months as we begin this new year and see how things go with “Hangin’ Out With God” available to the public again.

Blessings on you, my readers and followers. Hope to hear from some of you soon.




 

Lenten Poems — week 5

JESUS IN GARDEN - NEGATIVE -KAREN'S WHIMSY

O, Lamb of God
So pure, so holy, undefiled,
You came so meekly,
Vulnerable, a tiny child.

You took our sin
And took all of its consequence.
You chose the cross,
And on it your lifeblood was spent.

But for what cause,
When tempted in the garden that night,
Did you still choose
To let yourself be crucified?

You told us, Lord;
If we’d just listen, we would know.
You said, “Because
I love the Father, I will go.”

Lord, work in us
That holy and obedient love,
That we, when tried,
Will speak and act only for God.

 

~~~
(Photo courtesy of Karen’s Whimsy)

 

 

 

 

 


 

Lenten Poems — week 3

CRUCIFIX - FOR YOU - GOSPEL GIFS

Seized and stripped and slapped and spit upon,
Scornful salutations; sorrow; shame;
Satan stalks the Son of God and Son of Man
Scarlet stripes, scalding tears, searing pain;

Search the scriptures, surely they the story tell:
Insatiable evil strikes; the Lamb is slain.

But surely, it’s my sins He bore, my sorrow and shame,
My sickness, my distress, my grief, my pain.

Submitted Sacrifice: He sealed the promise;
Sufficient, He bought me peace with God again.

 

 

 


 

Worship Is The Door

JOY PEOPLE - CREDITS - darker


Worship: it’s the door to peace, power, and pleasures for evermore. Jonah found worship to be his most powerful help in getting back into God’s grace. When he’d deliberately disobeyed the Lord and ended up in the belly of a big fish at the bottom of the sea, he came to his senses and realized how foolish he’d been. When he looked around, everything he saw told him there was no hope for rescue– or any kind of future. But he knew that there was still a God who wanted to save him. So he turned his attention away from his circumstances and away from his own disobedience. Instead, he focused on his God and began worshiping Him. Shortly thereafter, he was cast out of the fish onto dry land, and he got a second chance to live the successful life God has always wanted for him.

Habakkuk found that worship was his most power friend when he looked all around and found that the trees weren’t bearing fruit, the flock weren’t bearing offspring, and everything looked like there was no hope for the land of Israel. But, knowing that salvation from all that looked hopeless lay in His God – and that what God’s Word said was more real and more reliable than what he saw in the natural – He worshiped God and called for the rest of the nation to do the same – knowing that as they worshiped, they were releasing God’s hand to bring life and productiveness back into their situation.

And talk about power in worship: let’s not forget Paul and Silas, in the depths of a Philistine prison, who decided that nothing in their circumstances could outweigh the loveliness and the faithfulness of their God. As they chose to worship Him, rather than bemoan their current, temporary physical situation, the power of God moved with such force that it broke up the earth and the building where they were being held captive. And not only were they set free – but the jailer and his family were liberated from their hell-bound lives into a blessed relationship with God for eternity.

Eternity is what it’s really all about. God wants us to have blessed lives while we’re on this earth, but He’s even more concerned that we have the blessing of living and creating with Him for all of eternity – enjoying the priceless, indescribable pleasures that we find in His presence. Psalm 16:11 tells us, “ … in Thy presence is fullness of joy. At Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Worship heads us in the right direction for eternity. But while we’re here on the earth preparing for that eternity, as we worship Him, God says (Psalm 22:3) that He will literally inhabit our praises. And were He is, we’ll experience peace, power, and pleasures forevermore.