Finding The Source

I love reading the true stories of history and how people coped with the knowledge they had at the time.  Recently I was reading about the London cholera epidemic of 1854.  For a long time it was believed that bad smells were the source of the disease.  However, it was reasoned that those richer with access to properly cleaning themselves were hit with the disease just as many of the poor.  The source was finally traced to a particular area of the city  where the drinking water had become contaminated.  When that was eradicated, the disease came to an end and people enjoyed good health once more.

This drew my thoughts to the diseased condition of our world; not in the physical sense, but spiritually speaking.  The Bible tells us that Jesus “…came that we might have life and that we might have it abundantly.”  To help us achieve that in our world of sinfulness, He has given us His own Holy Word as a guide.  He longs and loves for us to be overflowing in great joy, to know we are loved, to value ourselves, to be honest with each other.  His guidance leads us to achieve that level of success and joy — and we can have it for eternity.

His Word also shows us what pitfalls to avoid.  It’s our choice.  Follow His perfect ways and know indescribable joy and peace.  Turn from His perfect ways and know a destruction of love and joy and peace.

Nearly 3000 years ago, the prophet Isaiah foretold many things.  Some of those things have already come to pass; for example, the birth of Jesus.  He also foretells the second coming of Christ.  That has yet to come.  Interestingly, Isaiah tells us in what condition the world will be just before Jesus returns to claim His own and to set up His perfect Kingdom on earth.  The Bible tells us there will be a new heaven and a new earth.  When that happens, there will be no more sin at all.  Everything will be perfect in love and joy and peace — for eternity.  This life will be for all who choose the way of Jesus now.  Those who choose to turn away from God, in the here and now, will live without Him — for eternity.  What a sad and terrible thought, especially when it doesn’t have to be!

Our world is tragically in a great danger zone with so many people choosing to go against God and His ways in large numbers.  We see our world looking for meaning to life in all the wrong places.  Their judgement is impaired.  What was once known to be bad, they now call good.  What was once known to be good is now called bad.  This is why the world chooses death for babies not yet born, falling under the deception that it’s really just helping women.  This is why the world now embraces men making love to men and women making love to women; men deciding they’re really women and women deciding they’re really men.  Constant drunkenness resulting in vomit and headaches is called fun.  Unfaithfulness in relationships is accepted as the norm while waiting to have sex only after being married is called foolish.   Meanwhile, everyday the crime rate rises around the world.  Shootings, stabbings, bombings — and the world shouts “Why?”  Some blame God, if there is a God, they say.  All the while, God is loving them and longing for them to come to Him for perfect guidance so their world may be filled with meaning rather than emptiness.

Read what  the prophet wrote 3000 years ago in Isaiah 5: “What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!  They even mock God and say, ‘Hurry up and do something! We want to see what You can do.  Let the Holy One of Israel carry out His plan, for we want to know what it is.’  What sorrow for those who say that what is evil is good and what is good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.  What sorrow for those who are right in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.  What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about the alcohol they can hold.  They take bribes to let the wicked go free and they punish the innocent.”  I encourage you to read the whole chapter.  It’s a sad and terrible picture of the world we live in, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  It’s an individual choice to choose God and life —  or not.

Spiritual death is all around us.  It’s an epidemic.  People are searching for joy and meaning to living but death draws near to them.   The source to this epidemic is drinking contaminated water; the dirty water of this sinful world who hates God and His Words of guidance.  We can turn away from the contamination and be made clean instead.  We can drink of the life of Jesus.  “He is the Light of the world and in Him is no darkness at all.”  I John 1:5

The source of eternal death is darkness (those things that are against the ways of God).

The source of eternal life is Jesus.  “He is the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Him.”  John 14:6

I invite you to take a moment right now to pray for those you know who are choosing darkness.  May they search for and find the Light.  Jesus is waiting and calling.

 

 

Surely This Can’t Be The Way

Last week I had the joy of visiting the northern coast of Devon, England. How boldly beautiful are its rocky cliffs with great boulders and stretches of rock elongated along the shoreline. I felt as if I could have sat for hours just staring out at the grand and majestic beauty before me.

As part of our journey, my friend and I visited an ancient coastal town — Clovelly. Literally built down the cliff side, there are only narrow, cobblestoned footpaths to take residents and visitors to the harbor below. Having mastered our way down the path, we decided to have lunch at the little restaurant along the harbor.

We passed through what appeared to be an obvious way to the entrance. There was indeed a door just under the archway but it was old and heavy looking. Surely this can’t be the way, we agreed. Making our way around the back of the restaurant there were steps leading to the reception. Ah, this had to be it, but no, what our eyes beheld was a room that was not inviting at all. It was cold and sterile looking; it was not the warm and friendly atmosphere, with delightful smells of good food, that we were hoping to find.

We descended, and coming to the unlikely door again, we decided to give it a try. Pulling the door open, what greeted us was an ambience of warmth and coziness. A friendly lady working there welcomed us in. A fire filling the whole of one wall gave us warmth. The food was hot, tasty, and filling. How wrong we had been in our judgement of the unattractive door.

It’s no different in our spiritual world. So often we judge God’s leading in our lives by outward appearances. He whispers into our hearts, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.” (Isaiah 48:17) However, the way doesn’t seem attractive. Perhaps it even looks scary so we convince ourselves that — surely this can’t be the way.

Eve did the same thing in the Garden of Eden. God clearly gave Adam and Eve His perfect directions. Understanding what they could not, He forbid them to eat the fruit of a particular tree, knowing it would bring them harm, but Eve did not see that as an attractive prospect. The fruit appeared delicious. In Genesis 3:4, we see Satan telling his blatant lies, “You won’t die, the serpent hissed. God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil.” In listening to this lie and taking time to consider this lie; then deciding the lie was more attractive than God’s way, we read the sad words in verse six, “The woman was convinced…so she ate the fruit.” Unpleasant consequences followed. Veering from God’s path never brings lasting joy.

Sadly, we have all, at various times in our lives, heard the lies of Satan as he points out a seemingly more attractive path for us to take than the one we see God revealing to us. Never forget that Satan only ever has desires to bring us harm and shame and disaster. Satan has been a liar from the beginning and he will always be a liar.

Equally, never forget that God only ever has desires to bless us and bring us joy of heart and peace of mind. God has been the epitome of truth from the beginning and He will always be truth. As Jesus Himself said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me.”

The path God leads us to may indeed appear unlikely, unattractive, scary; even so, let us open the door of His leading. There will always be a glad welcome for us, the warmth of God’s love for the path ahead, and nourishment from His own Words to sustain us along the journey. If God is leading, then surely it is the way.