Category: D

The Die is Cast

The old saying ‘the die is cast’ has both a solemnity and a finality to it when I hear it. It comes from the Latin phrase “Alea Iacta Est” and means basically the ‘point of no return’ has been crossed. It can be used in multiple senses. When a mold or die has been cast for a tool etc, once it hardens that’s it – it’s a done deal. In another sense, once the dice have been thrown that’s it – your committed regardless of outcome. The phrase is often used in relation to situations where an irreversible action has been taken and from which one cannot return. For example, let’s say you decided to go skydiving (which I’d be watching you do from the safety of the ground). You step through the door and jump! Once you are clear of the plane – you might scream “Alea Iacta Est”! You have reached the point where you’re irreversibly committed; win or lose, succeed or fail, the die is cast! Whenever I hear this phrase my mind runs to the Bible where many examples abound. I think of those who have so long resisted the convicting work of God that He has given them up to their own choices. It is as if they have crossed some invisible threshold or line from which there can be no return. Where the ‘final’ decision has been made.  Many are the martyrs who, after hearing the sweet hope of Christ have taken hold of his hand and risked all, including life, because for them the choice was made, and they would not be turned from it [Acts 7:58-60]. Sometimes I think of the prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Revelation and of the terrible events that are coming soon. I think of the fourth ‘global’ Kingdom spoken of by Daniel [Daniel 7:23] with its ten Islamic Nations ruled by ten Islamic Kings who surround, oppose and threaten the destruction of Israel [Daniel 7:24]. The Bible says over and over {Daniel, Ezekiel and Zechariah} that they will come against Jerusalem one day. You can ‘mark it down’, that is going to be a terrible mistake. Daniel told us much about the Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Russia and Egypt et al. They have set themselves against God’s chosen ‘earthly’ people and God warned in Zechariah 12:3 that He would make “Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all who burden themselves with it shall be cut to pieces…”. God went on to say that He himself will destroy ALL THE NATIONS that come against Jerusalem [Zechariah 12:9]. I pity them now. I pity them for their terrible choices that have over centuries set their hearts course to oppose and exalt themselves against God and to cast their die. Their choices have been made and they are committed to the course now. There is no turning back at this point.  They have literally set themselves atop a stack of bombs and lit the fuse. “Alea Iacta Est”. Lastly take the devil as an example. From that moment he decided to set himself equal to God {which many people do every day} he too crossed “the point of no return”.  From that very moment he has been on a journey to Revelation 20:10. How about you Sir? Ma’am? Is it settled? Have you set out on your irreversible course? Has the die been cast?

The Difference Between Sawdust and Breadcrumbs

I once read that D.L. Moody said “If you go out into your garden and throw down a double handful of sawdust, the birds will take no notice of it; but if you throw down a handful of bread crumbs, they will soon sweep down and pick them up”.  The true child of God can tell the difference between sawdust and bread. Many so-called Christians are living on the world’s sawdust, instead of being nourished by the Bread that cometh down from heaven. Nothing can satisfy the longings of the soul but the words of the living God. I find this illustration more than a little accurate.  Once a person finally surrenders to the call [Isaiah 55:1-7] of God, unto whom by faith they “look and live” [Isaiah 45:2] and so exercise the gift of choice to become one of the sons or daughters of God [John 12:32] and they choose [Joshua 24:15, 2 Peter 3:9] to exercise the privileges of God’s open invitation to believe Him [1 John 5:10] and call out to Him [Mark 1:15] in repentance & faith [Ephesians 2:8-9] they are born again. In hearing and believing the word of faith [Romans 10:14] in their heart and confessing it’s truth [Romans 10:9-10]; they are by faith saved, a new creature in Christ, washed in the blood of the Lamb. These can no longer be satisfied by the world’s ‘sawdust’ but desire rather that “bread of life” [John 6:48]. This alone will satisfy the longings of the new creature in Christ they’ve become [2 Corinthians 5:17]. If then even little birds can tell the difference between sawdust and breadcrumbs do you not wonder how it can be that some ‘so-called’ Christians seem so contented with sawdust? Where is the great longing all true Christians know in their hearts? Where is the desire for fellowship with the brethren? Where is the innate desire for closeness with God above all else? I fear that A.W. Tozer was right in saying “Orthodox Christianity has fallen to its present low estate from lack of spiritual desire. Among the many who profess the Christian faith, scarcely one in a thousand reveals any passionate thirst for God”. “How can God do his work in people who seem to think that Christianity is just another way of getting things from God”. There is as much difference between sawdust and breadcrumbs as there is between real Christianity and this artificial churchianity that seems so prevalent today. One thing is true – as birds can see the difference between the two, Christians who are walking in the spirit can see the difference between a religious production and a gathering of the church.  I have found that “religion” may cause many changes in a man or woman and yet leave them not an inch closer to God on the inside; but real Christianity changes the man inside in so many ways reshaping and reforming him to the image of Christ, changing not just how he acts in public but in literally who and what he is inside. The new man cannot be satisfied with the world’s sawdust.

The Danger of the Plastic Baby Jesus in the Yard

 

All over the world and especially all over America this week there are little manger scenes on display in Cities and Towns and court squares and front yards. Some are wooden, some are plastic, some even have lights and you plug them in and they light up. Some even have live animals and actors to play the part. To be frank I like them all and I find it rewarding that so many people still have the backbone to display a manger scene no matter who whines about it. Unfortunately however after the “Christmas season” is over the lighted manger scene will be unplugged and boxed back up along with the donkey, the lamb, the wise men and plastic Joseph and Mary. They’ll all be put back in the basement or attic (many will store them right beside the plastic Santa) to be forgotten for another year. Many untold millions love Christmas, and with good reason I might add – it is after all the day we’ve dedicated to a celebration of God’s own Son stepping out of heaven and into a human body that he might redeem man from the curse & penalty of sin. I understand the premise behind the plastic manger scenes. But there is a “danger in the manger scene” and it is this: The Lord Jesus hasn’t been ‘away in a manger’ for over 2000 years! Now he has a crown on His head and He doesn’t sleep! Sadly many know only that plastic plug in Jesus. The one who makes no demands and has nothing to say. He just lays there in the fake manger being adored by his plastic parents, wise men and animals. That’s sadly just exactly the kind of Jesus many want. One whom they can stuff back in the box and stick back in the basement or attic the rest of the year. He’s not unlike the blow up Santa; just another ornament to decorate an empty life with. Plastic plug in baby Jesus and blow up Santa will sit quietly out in the shed with the plastic witch & plastic Easter bunny and make no demands year after year. You can do as you please with little plastic Jesus, but I wish I could warn all of the world! The real Jesus went on to Calvary where He paid the penalty of death for YOU! The real Jesus was buried in a tomb and after 3 days He rose from the dead FOR YOU. If you’ve been saved by the blood of the Lamb the manger is just the beginning! The real Jesus will live all year in your heart sitting upon the throne. Yes the manger is a tender reminder of the love of our God IF you’ve met the risen Saviour. But if you haven’t, that plastic baby Jesus might just as well be a plastic statue of you. I don’t really care what people do with plastic baby Jesus, but I would to God that they would put the real one in their heart before it is eternally too late. Come worship the great King with us at Calvary Baptist Church. (903)729-5924. 703 Gillespie Rd, Palestine, Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

Digging Under God’s Fence

Many years ago, though at the time I knew I’d regret it, I fell victim to the pleadings of one of my children for a puppy. No ordinary puppy mind you, but a rather frightening mix of Dalmatian, dachshund and some other as yet unidentifiable mongrel. “Max” as ‘it’ was eventually named grew from disturbing in appearance to outright disconcerting but the family loved him and had many good laughs at his expense. Max developed a problem though…digging under the fence he would wander the neighborhood causing mischief and stirring up trouble. All efforts to stop this unruly behavior failed and all efforts to thwart his escape gave way to new holes under the fence. I ordered the holes filled in and blocked but to no avail. Chastening, threatening and even trying to frighten him to stay in the yard all failed and, as expected, Max got out and was hit by a car. He was badly injured and I should have put him out of his misery, but I didn’t have the heart and the children begged me not to. So for several weeks we doctored, wrapped, bandaged, fed him soup and waited. Slowly he recovered and never dug another hole under the fence. Ecclesiastes 10:8 says “He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him”. Sadly many Christians are just like that dog…always digging under the fence and roaming around in worldliness and carnality. Always looking for a way to “get away with sin” in their lives; ungodly friends, ungodly music, ungodly talking, unequal yokes {wrong friends, wrong relationships, unequal marriage}; some “Christians” are always interested in the things God is trying to keep out of their lives rather than what He’s trying to put into their lives. There are some Christians I know who are always “digging under the fence” God has put around them and the consequences are plainly evident. Inside God’s will you find shelter, love, providence, mercy, grace, blessings, purpose, closeness, companionship and fellowship. Those of you who’ve been around a while know well the truth of this warning! Outside God’s will awaits heartbreak, pain, suffering, struggle, hardship and difficulty or worse [Proverbs 13:15]. God’s words aren’t a barrier meant to keep them you having fun, it is there to keep the world out of your life! In Job 1:10 Satan, after searching for a way to get in and wreck Job’s life, said to God “Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side…?” We must all live in this sin-sick world, but God in his mercy, set scriptural boundaries {a fence if you will} for Christians to minimize this world’s impact and influence upon our lives! The walls are for your protection. My advice to you is ‘be thankful for the shield of God’s boundaries in your life’.