Thoughts to Ponder

(2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV) But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. {2} People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, {3} without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, {4} treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- {5} having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (Emphasis added)

Who is your God?

I believe we are in the last days before Christ's return and the wrath of God the Father is poured out on this earth and it's remaining inhabitants. Therefore, I believe that Paul was describing to Timothy what we and our time would be like.

I want to explore verse 5 in the passage from Timothy 3. "Having a form of godliness but denying its power." This seems very prevalent in the church today. People who claim to have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, but who can't seem to get over the past or the pull of the world. Their God seems to have short arms which can't quite reach them to help in these matters.

There are numerous books and seminars devoted to helping these poor people whose God is incapable of assisting them. They tout such things as this: If you are a Christian and you have low self-esteem, read our book and we will show you how to boost it. You are a victim of the lies Satan has been telling you. - If you are a Christian who sins habitually, then you may be the victim of demon influence, but fear not we will show you how to cast that demon out. - Are you struggling with sin because of what others have done to you in the past? Don't worry we will show you how to go back in your memory and deal with those problems which have made you a victim. There are hundreds more but I think that gives you the idea.

Where is God in all of this? Is their God sitting on His hands worrying that His poor followers are suffering but incapable of helping them? Or maybe their God is too busy running the universe to be bothered with their problems.

Now I will be the first to tell you that you can't always tell who the Christians are. Just because a person says they are a Christian does not mean much. Many people think they are Christians because they are a member of a church, or were baptized, or their parents are Christians, or because they live in a Christian nation. Yet I know people who are like this whom I am sure are truly Christians. They just can't seem to find freedom. They are bound by the past or by the cares of this world and just can't seem to trust God to help them.

Below in blue I have quoted from some of the messages I get. These are all from people who claim they are Christians. Carefully read what they have written me. Does their God appear to be the Almighty God, Creator of the universe?

Now, I believe in god, and I've taken him as my savior and I know he loves me as I do him. How could I not? He died for me and everyone because he knew I would sin. He died for me because he loves me.

Its been a long time since I attended church, and I've never really read the bible. But to me, you don't have to do those things to be accepted into heaven. I never really pray to god that often. I have prayed, but not everyday.

This person at least knows the wording of what it means to be a Christian. Notice that he says he does not attend church, has never really read his Bible and doesn't pray often. I will agree with him that those things won't get you into heaven, nor will they make you any more acceptable to God then the blood of Jesus Christ already has, but don't complain about your problems if you don't bother to do these things. People are afraid today to tell people that they should go to church and read their Bibles and talk to God. I guess they are afraid of being labeled legalistic. Yet believers are unable to cope with life because they are trying to do it themselves. If they could they wouldn't have needed a savior in the first place!

When will the church wake up and start telling people that they need to work at holiness and at their relationship with God? God wants a personal relationship with us. Are we so dull that we think we can have a relationship with someone we never visit, we never talk to and we don't bother to get to know?

I know Jesus but I can't talk to him anymore.

Another defeated Christian. How can you not know how to talk to Jesus when His Spirit dwells in your heart? Again I don't know if this person is a true born again believer or not, but if she is then I will tell you that this condition did not happen over night.

I don't believe you can be a stagnant Christian. You are either moving towards God or away from Him. Don't let Satan tell you that you can not grow and yet remain in fellowship with your Lord and Savior.

What if God says it's all right to commit suicide. I'm a Christian, but I can't handle it. It's too much. I know that it might not make sense to you, but it's the only way.

What if God says it is okay to kill yourself? What a question! How can a Christian get to this point? This person says, "I can't handle it." Didn't this person ever think of allowing God to handle it? This person's God is not even powerful enough to end his life without his help.

I have lots of people tell me that I just don't understand. I guess I don't. I don't understand how you can serve a God who can't help you or won't help you. I don't understand how you can claim to have been set free and yet live a defeated life. I don't understand how the church can send a person to the world for help with a spiritual problem.

Don't get me wrong I do understand that Christians go through tough times. I just don't understand that when they face those tough times they never seem to think of leaning on God.

The fact is that I don't believe God will condemn me to hell for wanting out of this crazy world. I am 43 years old. I have always prayed for God to keep me sane in this insane world. It seems that right is wrong and wrong is right. I don't understand why everyone is so selfish and sick. When I look at myself, I know my heart is good, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt because I want to prove to myself that everyone is not bad. I've lost the fight however, at least in my own circle of life.

I haven't given up on God, but really, it's just too painful and I think that he'll welcome me and understand my plight.

This woman is a prime example of why a Christians needs to read their Bible. She just can't understand why people are so selfish and sick. (Genesis 8:21 NIV) The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. We are fallen beings and only Jesus Christ can change us. She has discovered that mankind is evil and because of that revelation she thinks God will welcome her into heaven when she kills herself. She has decided to be the god of her own life and decide herself when she should die, because other people are evil and sinful. What happened to being a light in a dark world? Not only that but she knows in her own heart that she is good. Not according to God, any good in her comes from Him not from her.

What kind of witness are these people putting forward for the world. Here are people who claim that they are in a personal relationship with the King of the universe, the only Living God and yet they are so defeated that they want to take their own lives.

I am recently divorced. I have had multiple partners. Then I was saved. Got engaged and married to a girl I was having sex with before I was saved. After I was saved, we still moved in together. After we got married, she treated me like a doormat.

I was so happy the day I got married, tears ran down my cheek as I thanked God for turning my life around. Then, after the honeymoon, all hell broke loose in my life and I am so angry. Why did this happen to me. For once, I was happy, and it all caved in on me when I was trying to do the right thing. Why was I punished for trying to do the right thing. I wanted the responsibility of a marriage and to be the spiritual leader. Now I am broke, depressed and in debt and don't think I will ever try to love again and I am just 27 years old. I was so close to God. Now I am just one big miserable mess.

I am a sex addict as a result of trying to fill this empty void. I have more problems than I can count. I still pray for help, but it just seems to be totally overwhelming at times. I want to go to heaven, but I can't take much more of this suffering. I hate people for the most part because of my past.

There are several points I want to make about his man. First you will notice that right after he was saved he still moved in with his girlfriend, with whom he was having premarital sex. I don't know if this was all his fault or not. Did the church he attended ever preach living a holy life? They might not have, many don't now days. I guess they are afraid that they will upset someone and heaven forbid that might mean less people show up next week for church!

He says he thanked God for turning his life around, but yet nothing he said shows that he turned from his sin. Is it any wonder that when things go wrong in his life he no longer feels close to God, and has no idea how to handle his problems?

Notice something else, he is a victim not a sinner. He is a sex addict because of what others have put him through, not because he has an evil heart. Why would a person ever ask God to cleanse their heart of victim hood? They wouldn't, and until they realize that they are sinners and not victims there is not much hope for them. How can God deal with a heart that claims all the bad things they do are caused by other people? This man hates people because of his past. What was he saved from? He wants to go to heaven but on what merit? Of course we all go to heaven on the very same merit; on Christ's merit not our own, but my point goes deeper than that. If he never came to the realization that he was a sinner and not just a victim, how could he have ever truly accepted Christ as his Savior?

I have a problem that deals with gambling addiction. I went threw a treatment center in 98 and quit for about 9 months, then started slowly gambling again. I have a family that I have put thru a living hell with the lies and financial burdens. I am a Christian

This person went on to tell me that he has a sizable insurance policy and thinks that killing himself is the only way to repay his family for what he has done. I asked him what a gambling addiction was? If he thinks it is a disease then there is no hope for him. He has already seen what secular treatment has to offer. Secular treatment is treatment for the victim and it does not work because the problem is a problem of sin. (Matthew 16:24-25 NIV) Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. {25} For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." We tend to romanticize the cross, but it was an instrument of death. Jesus was telling His disciples that anyone who wanted to follow Him must put their flesh to death daily. We live in Christ when we die to the flesh!! There is no other way.

When will we start calling sin, sin and telling people the only successful treatment is through Jesus Christ?

I'm a Christian and I don't understand why you think god is always the answer. God is not here with us is he? Can you see him. Well maybe you can but I can't. Whether people believe it or not suicide is not that bad of a thing. I guess you would say god has all ready banished me to hell.

Is this person really a Christian? Only God knows for sure, but it is sad to see this kind of thought come from anyone who claims to be a Christian. This person does not seem to have the Holy Spirit living in them, but don't let that fool you, because I get this same kind of response from many born again believers. They can't understand why I think God is the answer no matter what the problem is. They tell me that God is all well and fine but there are things that a person has to deal with in their past themselves. They tell me people have to face those hurts and pains of the past before they can go on and live a productive Christian life. That is not what God says: (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

People seem to think I am simple minded like a child. (Matthew 18:3 NIV) And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Maybe it is time we started telling people that they can trust God as a child trusts his or her parents. Maybe simple childish trust is what God wants from us.

Why do we fear everything, when we have the Lord God Almighty on our side? We are sons and daughters of the Most High, maybe we should start acting like it and start teaching it to others. (Romans 8:15-16 NIV) For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." {16} The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

Our flesh is corrupt and worthless, it needs to die, so that we can live in the Spirit. God longs to take us under His wings and shelter us but we are not willing. We are proud and want to do it ourselves, or worse yet, we have a form of godliness but deny its power!

The Devil can't do anything to the Christian who is free from the flesh and walking in the truth. We could have such victory if we would only nail the old man to the cross with Christ.

Instead, we seek revival centers where we can counsel it, heal it, feed it, and fix it. We were never meant to walk in the flesh. It's time to crucify it. It's time to totally identify with Christ. He died to the flesh on the Cross and He wants us to follow Him. He is dead to sin and alive to God. We need to have the same commitment and attitude. This is the mind of Christ. (Quoted from I Was a Flaky Preacher, by Ted Brooks)

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These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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