July 25, 2019
It seems that today everything has to be exciting and fast. Amusement parks have rides that are a far cry from the Ferris wheel or a Merry-Go-Round of yesteryear. Movies thrill our senses with cop and robber car chases. Modern movie magic of CGI transforms human actors into creatures and we’re amazed. Even our eating habits aren’t what they used to be. We can purchase a French-style frozen dinner, pop it into the microwave, and in a matter of minutes, we have a fancy dining experience without leaving our home. The days of lovingly preparing a meal from an old family recipe are gone. The fast-paced life we live and the quest for greater thrills interfere with our service to God. Modern-day people look for thrills and excitement in all the wrong places. It’s more common for someone to get excited over a baseball game than over worshipping the Lord. “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for job, all ye that ar upright in heart.” Psalm 32:11. If the thrill is gone from your love for the Lord, then maybe you should spend more time in Scripture and less time seeking secular thrills.
Scripture contains many suspenseful and thrilling accounts full of intrigue. Picture this: An army cowers in fear of the enemy. That enemy is one giant. He’s at least 9 feet tall and very strong. “And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.” 1 Samuel 17:4-7. This bad-tempered giant challenged Saul’s army to send a man to fight, but there was no man up to the challenge. Then a young shepherd boy named David happened to bring food to his brothers who served in Saul’s army. David took the challenge. He told Saul how he had fought a lion and a bear which had threatened his sheep. David’s confidence wasn’t in his own strength but in the Lord. “David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.” 1 Samuel 17:37. David chose to face Goliath with no armor or sword, but with a slingshot and five stones. Goliath mocked the young man, but David’s faith in the Lord couldn’t be shaken. With one stone and a sling, David brought down Goliath then ran and stood upon him. He drew Goliath’s own sword and cut off his head. From shepherd to king, David’s faith was proved many times. Scripture is filled with thrilling stories like this, but you need to read them yourself. Don’t just read words on paper, but feel the thrill and intrigue and Biblical truth will come to life.
The Old Testament gives many accounts of great courage and examples of how God protects those who turn to Him for strength. Too many preachers give watered-down sermons that lull the congregation into complacency. Queen Esther is another story of courage and victory. She was young when taken captive by King Ahasuerus who was looking for a woman to be his queen. Many women were taken captive, but Esther’s beauty won his heart. She kept the fact that she was Jewish a secret, but when a plot to kill all of the Jewish subjects of King Ahasuerus was discovered by her uncle, she devised a plan to expose Haman and save her people. The problem? Unless the king called her to him she could be killed. Esther did the right thing. She found the strength to face whatever the king would do through prayer. “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16. Because God guided her she confessed she was Jewish, exposed the plot, and thwarted Haman’s evil efforts. The account of Queen Esther is exciting, but most preachers pick and choose quick sermons with little to think about. Teaching line upon line from Genesis through Revelation feeds the congregation on the meat necessary for faith to grow. Most pastors serve milk and the congregation has no fire. The thrill just dies out.
There are too many spell-binding accounts in the Old Testament to describe all of them here. Each one is filled with suspense, but they teach us that whenever people depend upon God, there’s victory. The New Testament also has exciting accounts. We’re told of a brash young fisherman named Peter who walked on water until he took his eyes off of Jesus. Peter had many experiences while he followed Jesus, but after the crucifixion the intrigue grew. Peter was never shy, but once the Holy Spirit came upon him, there was no stopping him. The man who hid in fear when Jesus was crucified was able to bravely stand before a crowd of Jewish people and preach a sermon that brought 3,000 to salvation. Peter no longer hid from the truth but stood fearlessly for the Lord. He was often imprisoned for his faith, and once was on death row. “And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.” Acts 12:6. Peter had learned a lot about trusting God. Even though he was to be martyred in the morning, this night he was able to find peace. God had plans for Peter and it wasn’t his time to die. Instead of the cavalry coming to rescue him, God sent something better. “And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.” Acts 12:7. The prison the doors opened and they walked out of the prison. Peter was free. After all that intrigue, we’re given a little comedy relief. Peter went to a house where he knew his friends were praying for his release. Sadly, they didn’t really expect God to answer their prayer. Peter knocked and a girl named Rhoda answered: “And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.” Acts 12:14. The answer to their prayer was standing there, but Rhoda just ran away! When she told the others their prayers and been answered, they said she was crazy. Peter was finally allowed into the house and they were amazed to see him…even though they had been praying for that very thing. Peter had many exciting adventures, but if these accounts are ignored or read with no feeling, Scripture becomes dull and the lessons are lost.
Then there’s Saul (also known as Paul). Saul was an angry man who persecuted Christians. While on his way to Damascus to arrest Christians, he was met by Jesus. It had been quite a while since Jesus was crucified, but He met Saul on the road. That encounter left Saul blind and alone. He was feared among the Jewish converts who embraced their Messiah, but now he was one of them. Or he would be when God convinced Ananias that he needed to go and talk to Saul. Ananias was afraid but obeyed God. Saul received his sight back and was filled with the Holy Spirit. “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” Acts 9:20. We live in the days of apostasy. Pastors seldom preach to the congregation that Christ is the Son of God, nor do they preach that fact to the lost. That’s what Jesus commissioned His disciples to do. Preach the Gospel to the lost. Not feed them, clothe them, or anything else but give them what they truly need…the truth of Jesus. Can you imagine Paul’s enthusiasm? Everyone who heard him was amazed that the man who had been the worst enemy of Christians was now preaching the Gospel. “And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him” Acts 9:23. The tables had turned. Saul had been the hunter, now he was the hunted. He had been one of the Jewish persecutors of Christians, now the Christians were his protectors. “Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.” Acts 9:25. The intrigue grows. He left Damascus and returned to Jerusalem, where he tried to join the Christians there. They were afraid of him. Only one man believed that Saul’s conversion was real…Barnabas believed Saul had truly met Jesus. We know Saul better as Paul, and his adventures were just beginning. He faced persecution, beatings, imprisonment, and shipwrecks but never faltered in his faith. Now that’s an exciting story filled with plot twists that will thrill you and strengthen your own faith. Have you ever heard a 15-minute sermon that really teaches Paul’s story in-depth? No wonder the thrill is gone.
There are many more exciting stories in Scripture, but unless your pastor teaches line upon line through the Bible you probably won’t hear them. That’s no excuse for you to not know these stories. You can read. Start in Genesis and learn the truth of how the world really began. Evolution is a fantasy taught by ignorant people who don’t believe God. The reality is very intriguing. You’ll learn how sin and death entered as a result of Satan’s lies. You’ll also learn of the greatest love story ever. Although humans rebelled and sinned, God’s love has never wavered. Because He loves us He paid the ultimate price for our redemption. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:16-17. Every story recorded in Scripture is there for a purpose, and they all reveal Jesus. There’s no way to find everlasting life than through your personal faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. If you haven’t put your future in His hands, then do it now. You see, you cannot be good enough by your own merit or work hard enough to earn eternal life. You cannot buy your way to eternal salvation and no religion will get you in. Christianity is faith, not religion. We all sin, but Jesus Christ will forgive your sin, no matter how big, if you humble yourself before Him and repent. He loves you. He died for you. If you reject Him then you’ve made your own choice of spending eternity in the lake of fire.
If the thrill is gone out of your faith, then get into Scripture. Read about how people faced their fears with God’s help. There you will find the joy of your salvation and a renewed zeal in your faith.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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