Sunday, April 21, 2013

Itching Ears 2 Timothy 4:3-4

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."  (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

In the first few chapters of Daniel we can see that King Nebuchadnezzar had the habit of surrounding himself with people who would say what his itching ears wanted to hear.  He had magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, astrologers and diviners.  We can understand this because when he had his first vision in chapter two, he was not willing to tell them what the dream was.  He wanted them to tell him the dream and then interpret the dream.  The dream was troubling to him and he was in no mood for flattery.  He wanted truthful answers.  As it was they couldn't tell the king the dream or interpret the dream.   What God finally revealed to King Nebuchadnezzar through the prophet Daniel was, among other things, that his kingdom would fall.  This was not good news for the king.

Again in chapter four King Nebuchadnezzar has another troubling dream.  Perhaps because of the bad news from the previous dream, he calls his magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners to him again.  It looks as if the king was not willing to receive any bad news this time so he brought those who would say good things to him.  What his itching ears wanted to hear.  This time he told them the dream, perhaps to give them something to go on.  Not only could they not interpret the dream, apparently they couldn't even fake it.  But God again reveals the meaning through his prophet Daniel.  It was worse news this time.  This time it was going to be personal.  God was going to  judge King Nebuchadnezzar for his pride.

We see in the accounts of King Nebuchadnezzar that after the first dream he looked for the truth and found it. After the second dream he turned his ears away from the truth but the truth still found him. He could not escape it.

What thoughts that run through your mind trouble you?  What questions do you have?  And where do you go for answers?  To those who will say what you want to hear, or to those who will tell you the truth?

Who are you listening to today?  Are you listening to people that tell you everything is okay?  Your good with the man upstairs?  God will save everyone?  It will all work out in the end?  There are many ways to heaven?  There is no judgement?  There is no hell?  Are astrologers leading your life?  Tarot cards?  Those who have sidelined the Scriptures?  There are plenty of people out there who are willing to say what your itching ears want to hear.  How long will you put up with their flattery?  How long will you allow them to blind you? 

A few months ago I went into a Christian bookstore in Colorado Springs to buy a pocket NIV New Testament.  I like to have one with me.  A few days later as I was looking through it I realized wording had been changed.  I went to the same Christian bookstore in Midland, Texas to find another pocket NIV New Testament.  The wording in those had also been changed.  Asking more questions, I found that the version I was used to was being removed from the shelves and being replaced with these new ones.  I also found out that they were putting NIV gender neutral Bibles on the shelves.  Sales must be down.  Putting gender neutral Bibles on the shelves will increase sales, won't they?  If the general population doesn't want to hear the truth, then put on the shelves what their itching ears want to hear.  But changing God's Word will not change God.  Malachi 3:6a, "I the LORD do not change." 

The fact is that when you wipe away all of the deception, God is still judge and is still going to judge.  The only way to escape the coming wrath of God is to take refuge in Christ.  He is our only answer.  Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin.  He offers to forgive us and give us eternal life.  Just ask Him.  Romans 10:13, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  What is left for those who reject such a great salvation?  Judgement.  1 John 5:12, "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."

Don't run from the truth.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Harvest Field is Ripe

I was in a downtown park hoping for an opportunity to share the gospel...and I got one.  I met a young couple, who I found out later had just been talking about the need to be reading the Bible together.

They, like a lot of others, were confused because of all of the religions out there.  Each one claiming to be the way, and some saying all the ways lead to heaven.  It is confusing.  But a few days earlier I had been going over Romans chapter 4 where Paul is talking about the issue of works versus faith.  And then Paul asks the question, "What does the Scripture say?" 

So we went through Scripture and saw how Jesus was the only way, that our sin had to be dealt with and Jesus dealt with it, and would save anyone who comes to Him.  This young couple made the decision to receive Jesus as their Savior and we prayed.  They are now part of the family of God, with a sure hope and a future.  It is a blessing to see how God works, and still saves.

Please pray for this couple.  That God would open up His Word to them as they read.  That they would find some great fellowship and grow with others who are in the family of God.  That God would give them wisdom to make good decisions with their lives now that they belong to the family of God.