Religion Still Doesn’t Work

Since nearly the beginning, sin has separated man from God and with it has brought sorrow, sickness, and emptiness in the heart of man. Throughout time, man has sought to overcome these troubles in his life and to accomplish it created religious acts or rituals, which were intended to appease God of his wrath or at the least turn away the consequences of sin that he faced.

These acts involved offering to God everything from crops to human sacrifices, the punishment of sinners or the punishment of themselves. Always, the results were unsuccessful. David described it best when he spoke to the Lord concerning his own condition.

For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. (Psalms 38:4)

The load of sin that looms over the head of every man is so great that no religious act could ever remove the effect or its debt.

Several decades ago, a teenaged girl attended a local carnival. When she failed to return home, a search was made and eventually her lifeless body was found. For more than 30 years, law-enforcement searched for the suspected killer: who was eventually found. Should he be held for trial? Of course he should! Regardless of how long ago the event occurred, he should still be held accountable.

But what if he was found living a respectable life? What if he, for the last 20 years, had been doing a great humanitarian work? Should he still be held for trial? Should he still be charged even if he has been so sorry for his crime? The answer is a resounding, Yes! He committed a crime and the penalty for that crime must be paid.

For the last 6,000 years, man has been trying to avoid paying the penalty for his sin. But regardless of what he does, the holy righteous God still requires complete payment for sins committed. The only hope for all men would be for God to determine a way for someone else to pay the debt that man owed. God did and that person was himself. He came to earth as human. Born of a virgin, he live a lonely life and yet did not sin. Throughout his entire life he did not commit one sin. For the remaining three years of his life, he taught and performed miracles to declare who it was and the purpose for his coming to earth. Then as foretold by God, he was rejected by his people, judged by the government and punished on the cross.

However God’s purpose for allowing all this to occur was so that he could place all the sin of humanity upon himself as he hung on the cross. The beatings and torture done to Jesus were extremely grave, but nothing in comparison to the punishment that God, while still yet also in heaven, punished himself as he lived as a human hanging on the cross.

Only until Jesus cried, “It is finished!” was mankind given any hope. When Jesus finished, he was finished paying the wages for our sins – yours and mine.

For those, who continue striving to pay for their own sins or are relying on religious acts to appease God’s wrath for sin will continue to fall short and carry the burden of their sin debt. Those who call upon Christ to bear there sin, will find the relief that they need. No longer is the burden of sin going over their head or too much to bear, the burden has been removed and the payment has been made. None of their sins committed have gone unpunished. Instead of them paying the debt, someone else paid the debt for them.

In America, we have discovered that countless people have been falsely charged, found guilty and sentenced for crimes that they had never committed. Society, unknowing of their wrong, was still satisfied because the penalty of the crime was being paid.  

In your case, Jesus willingly took the charge, allowed himself to be found guilty and then paid your complete payment for sin. So that your salvation could take place when you call out to Jesus and trust that he will save you.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)

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Propped Up (Psalm 37:23-24)



A number of years ago, my son came to me for help. It seemed that through a series of wrong decisions, he had found himself in a very poor state spiritually: sin seems to do that. Although I was greatly disappointed, I willfully stepped in to help. My support was not based on the severity of his situation, but instead on my love for him.   

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. Psalms 37:23-24

From this passage, we can see that good men, walking in the direction of the Lord, will fall and it is not of their own volition that they get back up and continue on for the Lord. They don’t get up: in fact it is the Lord who lifts them up and supports them to stand again.

You have seen card board cut outs of people, which contain a prop in the back to keep it standing. This item illustrates what the Lord does for us. When we can’t get up, he picks us up. When we cannot stand, he props us up. Whatever victory we get, it will not be based on our self will or determination. It will be based on the goodness of God and his support and strength in our lives.

When you fall, instead of trying harder, look to God for the support and strength you need. He will be there for you and do the work that only he can do.

As for my son, he too found strength that only God could bring to him. He stood him up, established his feet and has been guiding him to victory ever since.

He Touched Him (Matthew 8:3)


Many times, there are behaviors that people do that are overlooked by most. Some people wring their hands as they think about something that disturbs them. Others may brush their hair from their face when they are nervous. The behavior isn’t really important, but what is important is the motivation behind the behavior.

And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, … Matthew 8:3

As I consider the passage recording Jesus healing the leper, I cannot help but ask my self questions in regard to Jesus’ behavior. One question is why did Jesus touch the leper? He didn’t need to touch him in order to heal because the next few verses record Jesus healing the centurion’s servant who was some distance away.

Consider this. When do you think was the last time the leper was touched. I don’t mean being pushed as he fought for food or random interaction among lepers, but when was the last time the leper experienced a tender affectionate hand rest upon the side of his face? When did he last feel a grasp on his should like that of a loving father who rests his hand upon the shoulder of his son? It had probably been an extremely long time. I believe that after years of rejection from society and solitude living, the touch was God’s display of affection to the leper. It seems that as Jesus’s hand gently rested on the leper, a part of the leper revived and his heart filled with the experience of God’s love.

Did you know that God wants you to have that same experience of his love. Regardless of whatever is in your past, God wants to have a relationship with you. He loves you dearly and has done–through Jesus’ work on the cross–everything that is necessary for that relationship to occur. Come before and ask as the leper did and ask. The relationship is greater than you can imagine.

It’s All About Christ (Psalm 25:7)


Many years ago when I had first come to Christ, I was working in a steel mill in eastern Pennsylvania. I was working at the electric furnace and met another Christian, Butch, with whom I fellowshipped daily. One day, he asked how I was doing. I was not joyful as I had been on previous days. I had recently sinned and had lost my joy. My life was overcome with guilt and I was being pulled down by the enemy. The further my heart sank, the more I was convinced that God was mad at me and I no longer had his love. It was at that point that Butch pulled me to the side and reminded me that the Christian life was not about me, but that it was all about Christ.
Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord. (Psalms 25:7)As we talked, I began to understand that my life could never be lived to the standard of being acceptable to God and that him accepting me would always be based on his mercy and loving kindness. For me, confession was still needed, but that would never warrant acceptance. Even when I confessed, I knew that being acceptable and pleasing in his sight would be based on his mercy, loving kindness and goodness.

So many people are trapped into trying to repent, confess or surrender enough to reach a point of acceptance. What they fail to see is that because of God’s mercy and goodness, he accepts us and then gives us the ability to repent, confess and surrender.

If your Christianity focuses on you and your performance, then you have it all backwards. Take the advice from my friend, Butch who told me many years ago, “It’s all about Christ! It’s all about Christ!”

How Can I Love? (1 John 2:5)



We know Jesus said that men shall know we are disciples because we love one another.  The Apostle John writes that in us God’s love can be perfected.  The question is, How do I get to the place where I can love like Jesus loves?

Many would set out to create a list of actions that should be performed that would be considered acts of love and when these actions are completed you will be loving that individual.  The list could be something like this.

1. Pray for them

2. Reach out to them

3. Communicate your concern through notes, cards or emails.

4. If possible, meet a need that they may have.

5. If necessary, share the gospel

The list is a good list, but in itself it is not love.  A person could complete each of these acts and still not love the person.  Have you ever said that you were sorry and you really weren’t?  Did you ever state that you forgave someone, but in reality you really didn’t?  The same can be true with the actions on this list.  You can do them and not really be loving.  So, what is the answer?  How can I love others?

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:5)

If we keep or guard God’s word in our hearts, it will eventually create fruit from its seed.  It is the Word of God that perfects our love.  Love is a condition of the heart and not the completion of acts.  Keeping or guarding God’s word in your heart is parallel to abiding in Christ.  When we abide in Christ, he lives through us.  When we abide in God’s word, it lives through us.  It may live through us and lead us to perform the very acts listed above, but the difference between the two is the condition of the heart.

If you want to love, keep or guard God’s word in your heart.  In fact, if you want to accomplish anything for God or to be anything he wants you to be, keep the word.  Guard it as a precious gem or as a “keep sake”.  When you do, it will produce its fruit in your life.

He Still Wants to Use Me? (John 21:17)

Peter cannot bring himself to say that he loves (agapao) Jesus.  The best type of love that he believes he has is phileo or brotherly love.  Jesus continues to prompt him to feed his sheep and lambs.  Peter cannot get past his failure of denying Christ.  How can he feed God’s lambs and sheep with such limited love?

Jesus knows his inner turmoil and condition of love.  He then–with that understanding confirmed–gives the charge again to Peter.  God’s calling upon Peter’s life was prior to his failure and in recognition of it.  He wanted Peter to know that regardless of what had happened, he still wanted him to be an Apostle.

Like Peter, we sometimes limit ourselves from what God has planned for us.  We get so focused on our failures and cannot see God’s plan or believe his calling is upon our lives.  

Instead of trying to figure it out, we should just listen to the voice of God’s leading.  He will lead us to exactly where he wants us to be.

The Turning Point (Jonah 2:7)

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I was glad to hear recently that a friend’s father had finally trusted Christ as Savior. He shared how he and his family had prayed for this person for 20 years. Recently the individual had become very ill. It was during this stage in his life that more people began praying for his health and salvation. My friend encouraged others to continue to pray for the lost because God is still working.

God is still working on the lost and he continually works on the hearts of those who have drifted away. Many get discouraged in prayer because their prayer does not get answered in a reasonable time. What they fail to see is that God does answer their prayer in a reasonable time. However, the reasonable time is not determined by God, but instead by the lost or backslidden.

What needs to occur before a person turns to God is that they must come to the end of themselves. In other words, they get to a point where they recognize that they cannot make it on their own or they cannot face the conditions in their lives. It was at this point that Jonah finally turned to God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. (Jonah 2:7). It will be at this same point when the lost will turn to God and the backslidden will do the same. Until that occurs, you and I may not see any change in the individual’s actions or attitude, but rest assured, God is working to bring them to the point that they will turn to him.

Be patient in your prayers and trust that God will work in your loved one’s heart. Yield to him so that he may use you in this work and keep you from trying to bring about the change that only he can bring.

If you would like to read more of these thoughts in a hard copy format, my new book is now available at the link below.

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