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Tuesday, April 14, 2015
From the Pastor's Study by Rev. Jack Hulsey
It is absolutely true that you can make a word seem meaningless by just saying it over and over enough times. Say the word “important," for instance – say it about 20 times – and you'll come away with this sort of dizzy feeling that nothing in the world may really be all that important.
That is probably one reason the world has so many problems with the truth today. To most people, it is just a word that means whatever you want it to mean, this, and the fact that anti-truth (i.e., lying) has been massively promoted as an acceptable way for society to carry on its business and social relationships.
But wait a minute – don't people hate to be lied to? Of course they do, when they're hurt by it. But what about someone who persuades you that you need a brand new pickup truck when you're old pickup truck is running perfectly well? They do this by showing you amazing pictures on television of pickup trucks doing spectacular, unbelievable feats, like coming to a screeching halt right at the edge of a cliff while trailering a ton of steel beams. It can carry you up the mountain and stop you before you go over the edge; everyone needs one of these trucks.
Of course, you know that in your heart of hearts this isn't true, but you aren't there to ask questions. Desire has been kindled and that desire has become perceived as a need. It's all by the miracle of computer-generated animation, of course, and none of this stuff is really true. But you can bet that somewhere, some goober thinks it's the real deal. The First Amendment allows you to use hyperbole such as this (or to flat-out lie, for that matter). It's the American way of doing things, a little wild exaggeration here and there.
The problem is, you can't dip into lying just a teeny bit and come out clean, any more than you can dip into any other kind of sin. Lying is one of the worst habits that all of us have. Some people might call it “spin" others might call it “persuasive speech" but we find ourselves believing we can take huge liberties with the truth, if we do it for the right reason, and God won't mind so much.
But it is Satan who is the architect of the lie, plain and simple. Jesus said," you are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44 NASB)
There is one and only one antidote to the lie and that is the truth. The truth may seem very mysterious and elusive to many people, but it all focuses down to one point, which the Bible is very clear on:" I am the way, the truth and the life."(John 14:6). Christ is the essential truth of all things, and any search for the truth has to proceed from Him. With all the lies the world tries to make you believe this is why our eyes and ears should be focused on Him.
(From the Pastor by Rev. Jack Hulsey, Praise & Worship / April 12, 2015, Woodlake Baptist Church)
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Easter affirms the gift of God's grace.
by Rev. Jack Hulsey
Today is not the only day that Christians reflect upon the resurrection of Christ, but it is certainly a day that we make the center of our worship. Unlike Christmas, the Bible is quite clear about when this all took place, – during the time of the Jewish Passover, or the 15th of Nisan on the Jewish calendar, which corresponds to late March /early April – and so it truly is an anniversary of sorts. Since we know Jesus was 33 at the time he was crucified, this means it's almost precisely 1,982 years today since that special dawn when Mary Magdalene and the other women discovered the empty tomb.
Jesus said," do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matthew 5:17). Anytime you see Jesus referring to "the law or the prophets," He's talking about the Old Testament. The law is the first five books of the Bible (which the Jews called the Torah) and the prophets are the rest of it.
For the first century or so after Christ's resurrection, Christians had only the Old Testament for a Bible and a collection of letters (mostly from Paul), which it's debatable that they would have called “Scriptures.” Jesus had gone on to say, after talking about not abolishing the law, "… anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven…"(Matthew 5:19), so it's obvious he wasn't telling people to toss the Old Testament in the trash bin.
That said; Jesus did change a great deal about the law. He said, for instance, that it was possible to break the law (sin, in other words) by simply wanting to, even if you didn't actually do the deed in question.
("I tell you, anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." Matthew 5:21). You certainly won't find any "Thou shalt not be angry" in the Old Testament, but Jesus was adding this dimension to the law to show people that it was totally impossible for human being to keep every aspect of the law. Our hearts and minds our whole human nature would eventually betray us.
The resurrection demonstrated conclusively that Jesus Christ was God with us, as prophesied in the Old Testament. Who else but the Lord of all creation would be able to offer us eternal life purely as a gift? Not because of anything we would do, but simply for repenting of sin and believing in Him. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…"(Ephesians 2:8).
On this Easter Sunday, I hope that anyone reading this who doesn't know Jesus Christ will take a moment to consider placing their lives in his hands. Turn to him in faith, accepts the gift of God's grace and mercy, and began a glorious new life free of the slavery of sin. Just as all things become new during the spring time of the year, so will you become a new creation in Him. This is why Easter is so very special to Christians, as an affirmation of Christ’s Lordship over all there is including even death. Only one with such power could grant us the gift of eternal life.
From the Pastor's Study by Rev. Jack Hulsey
Printed in Praise & Worship, Woodlake Baptist Church / April 5, 2015