“I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one comes to the Father
except through Me”
Pastors Noreen & Henry Kevern
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Do you dare to look up to the Father and declare your righteousness? Of course not, for we are all guilty of sin. Sin puts us in a state of un-worthiness before God and we become caught up in our sin, foregoing coming before God and asking His forgiveness. Too often we have allowed the world to slowly suck us in to the nonsense that is so prevalent in the world today. We have allowed the evil one to advance through small changes, many so sly that we haven’t noticed them happening. We have become a world that allows all the immoral filth and lies of the evil one to become part of our daily lives and we don’t know what to do.
Do we as Christians see any real relevance to study and learn from the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament)? But of course we should, because from there we can learn the struggles that our faith-fathers endured, the time after time of falling away from God and when things were at the worst, calling out to God to redeem them from the situation that they found themselves in. The Jewish Scriptures are lessons for us as Christians, so that we can learn from it and to learn the way of the Lord. The whole Bible is our instruction book, just sitting there, waiting for you to pick and up and learn from the Lord. We spend much time on reading the paper, especially the horoscopes, playing games, watching TV, but we can’t spend 15 minutes a day reading God’s Word. What would happen to you if you spent 15 a day reading the Bible? What would happen to you if you took the steps to come to the Lord?
So often we are afraid of coming to the Lord. We are scared that the Lord will not accept our grief, our repentance for what we have done in our lives. We don’t want to think about the truth, the fact that we no longer have God first in our lives and that we have taken God out of our lives because we really do enjoy the things of the flesh. We really do enjoy the TV shows, the music, the movies; we claim they take us away from the realities of life and that they do no harm. Sadly, they have influence our lives into slowing fading into a people not of God. We have forgotten the price of our redemption, Christ, God, dying on the Cross. We didn’t live then and some merely think of it as an illusion, or a nice man with nice thoughts, we make excuses that other Christians don’t behave that way and so we make excuses for ourselves, instead of taking responsibility for our own lives. We want others to do for ourselves what we are suppose to be doing. We have become lazy and have forgotten what God has done for our lives.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this; He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:3-7
Many people like part of this Scripture that says: “He will give you the desires of your heart.” But they fail to see that they must commit their lives to the Lord and the only way that you can do this is to learn from the Lord. People see evil men succeeding and they want things that they have. But if you look into their lives you see that they have so many things that are not good and that their lives are a mess. The news is filled of shootings, drug overdoses, anger, strife, lies, and no one looks to see what the root cause is for all of these things. We just sit back and act like the Pharisee in today’s Gospel. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like the other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ Luke 18:11-12
We feel so good about ourselves. After all, what do we do that is so wrong? We haven’t killed anyone, stole, lied, gossiped, of course we never lust after another or something that someone else has. We go about our days feeling good about ourselves. We go to church once a week; we put our money in the collection and we are done with our God duties. We hide from the truth. We believe that we don’t have to do more than that. As long as we live a pretty good life, not really doing anything wrong, we feel pretty darn good about ourselves. Much like the Pharisee, we are wrong. We are so full of pride for ourselves, and so lacking in the things that God has required of us.
We have to become humble before God. We forget that we are not equal to God, that we are His creations. God knows what is in your heart and He knows all that you have done. Many religions forego the free-will aspect that God has given us and have taken up the mantle of ‘predestination,’ that no matter what we do, God has already laid out our lives and so it doesn’t matter what we do. So then what was the purpose of God coming to earth and telling us to repent of our sins and to change from our ways? So, what is the purpose of the parables, of the Bible, of even believing in God? God knows our beginning and our end, and He knows what are life will be if we choose to give our lives to Him and commit our way unto the Lord.
There’s the rub. We have to choose to come to the Lord and to learn from Him, following the way of the Lord in all of our lives. Not listening to what others think, but what God thinks. One can’t say “Why should I be a Christians, they don’t act any better than anyone else.” We have to remember that we are changing our lives for ourselves so that we will show the next person Who Jesus is. And until we change ourselves, we are doomed for the fires of hell.
We can overcome all things if we put our faith and trust in the Lord and follow His ways. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 God has the right to punish us for the things that we do. Why? Because we have claimed to be His children and even if we don’t believe in Him, He is still our Father. A father has the right to discipline his children. If we do not discipline our children, they will be even more selfish than this generation is. God is the Creator of all, and when He corrects us, it is because He loves us. If we fail to learn right from wrong, we will go to hell. And God does not want us to. But God lets you choose. “My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from Me, nor is their sin concealed from My eyes.” Jeremiah 16:17
Redemption comes from the Lord. The only way that we receive it into our lives is to accept it and change. We have to purge ourselves of the evil that has filled our lives. We can’t think that we are living a life that is good if we do not know what good is to God. If we are to be His children, we must become like little children and learn from God. We can’t trust in ourselves or in any other man, we must trust in the Lord. Don’t be afraid of coming to the Lord. God has already taken your punishment for your sins. You will be refreshed and will be filled with such peace, if only you can give up your life of flesh and let God’s Spirit fill you with His mercy and grace. Stop running away from the Lord and humble yourself before the Lord. We don’t know when the Lord will return, so if not now, when will you change, when will you ask the Lord for forgiveness, when will you stop listening to man and listen to God?
Heal me, O Lord and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved,
for You are the one I praise.