We’re all caught. We’ve all sinned. And Jesus said, “whoever sins is the slave of sin.” But because of the amazing grace of God, shown through his Son, we can be freed from sin’s penalty, power, and someday, its presence. The Apostle Paul wrote about how to be set free in his letter to the Romans.
The world around us lives by values that are the product of its dominant philosophies such as materialism (“things” matter more than anything), humanism (we are all basically good without God’s help), and secularism (the majority determines right from wrong without God’s Word). Each of these, and many other false ways of thinking, results in decisions and behaviors that lead nowhere good.
The “wrath of God” is a touchy subject in our current culture, partly because we have a broken sense of fairness. We have the assumption that what we think we know ought to count in the place of what we really should know about God. In our arrogance, we assume that our postulations and philosophies are so amazing, God should somehow be impressed with the conclusions we’ve made up about Him. And if He is still upset about our lack of response and obedience to Him, then He’s just being unfair.
One of my favorite little Bible verses might seem somewhat obscure, but in its original language, it’s packed with meaning. Paul wrote to the Romans, “I am eager to come and preach the gospel to you…” (Romans 1:16) The word translated as eager comes from a compound Greek word that means “on heat,” or as we would say it today, Paul was on fire to preach!
As we’ve journeyed through some of the “one another’s” of the New Testament, I’ve become more and more convinced that these are some of the Bible’s most difficult teachings to keep. I can look in my own life each week and see examples of times I’ve not honored these principles. But to ignore them will destroy the fellowship of God’s people.
Isn’t summer supposed to be our vacation from the busyness of life? This summer, for the Cox family, is flying right by in a whirlwind of activity. We’ve traveled to see family in three different states (Missouri and Georgia for Angie, Kentucky for me). We’re getting ready to spend a week at church camp. And then, it will be time for Angie to return to work, for me to get busy with a new church year, and for Ella to begin Kindergarten.
This past Sunday, I began preaching a revival meeting for Beacon Baptist Church in Gravette, Arkansas. It’s been a real privilege and honor to do so, especially considering that the church’s Pastor has been such a great leader within our association. Bro. Dan Fagala has remained at the same church for over thirty-five years and has served in a multitude of denominational capacities. On Monday, he and I went out on Beaver Lake in his boat to fish for crappies, to no avail. We (I mean he) caught four keepers. I managed to snag one little perch which finned me fairly well before I could throw him back.On Sunday, the most spectacular thing happened. When we arrived home from the revival service Sunday afternoon and opened our garage door, our Chevy Impala had mysteriously turned sideways!
Live peaceably with all men… Easier said than done. Everything in us wants to fly off the handle when we are inconvenienced or insulted. Paul’s words were nothing new, they had been modeled by Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Nonetheless, these words are revolutionary as far as human society is concerned. To seek peace, to refuse the right to get even, is one of the greatest accomplishments any person could ever make.
The blog has been put on hold for a couple of weeks now, primarily because of all that my wife and I have been experiencing in our personal lives. Here’s a recounting of it…