Safe in the Arms of God

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,  by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”    2 Peter 1:2-4 NKJV

                                                       ‘Safe in the Arms of God’

Safe in GodOn April 28th I will celebrate 41 years of walking with the Lord.  Looking back I marvel at how quickly the time has passed.  So many things have happened in my life and I can see the  hand of the Lord fulfilling his promises to guide me by his Word and the Holy Spirit.  There have also been those times when I have listened to my own mind and strayed from the perfect path.  Yet through it all I can hear his voice today saying to me, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Peter wrote about the exceeding great and precious promises that have made us “partakers of the divine nature” and truly these represent the solid rock upon which our faith stands.  It is the Promises of God and His faithfulness to his Word that keeps us safe and will ultimately bring us into the future He has planned for us.  As the Apostle Paul so eloquently reminded us, :“. . . neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Rom. 8:38-39)

We are living in a dark world today and it is certainly a time to consider our walk with Christ and how we can be that ‘city on the hill’ that sheds light into the darkness.  But we should not fear these things as though they have caught us off guard.  God is in perfect control and none of what is happening today is a surprise to Him.  In reality, there is no such thing as darkness.  It is only the absence of Light.  We have the Light of God shining in us and according to God’s Word, we are the Light of the world. (Matt. 5:14)

There are many versions being presented about where we are in the Biblical timeline and when the Lord will return.  Some await the rapture while others prepare for tribulation. We hear different Scripture interpretations presented on the radio or television or preached in Churches according to the eschatology that they have come to understand and believe.  All of these things hopefully keep us searching the Scriptures.  But it is not the getting of them right that is our hope of Eternal Life.  If winning the race depends upon our ability to get it all right I think Heaven need not be any larger than an efficiency apartment as there will be so few who make it there.

Our hope is in Christ.  He got it right for us.  He satisfied all of God’s requirements and if we follow Him He will bring us safely home.  He went to the Cross to prepare a place for us that where He is we may be also. (John 14:2-3))  After he had risen from the grave Jesus told his disciples, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. (Acts 1:7)   Yet He also told them that they would be his witnesses.  This is why God left us here on the earth and why He has given us the Holy Spirit. To be witnesses to Jesus Christ.

Does that mean we should all board an airplane for Africa or India or some other place to become missionaries?  No!  Some are called to do this and they will.  Does it mean we are to start an evangelistic ministry and travel the world preaching?  Not necessarily. Some are called to do this and if they are we pray that they will.  But what we are all called to do is share our faith by our words, our resources and our life wherever God has us and with whomever He brings into our lives.

If we have money to support those who are on the front lines we should;  what time we can give to support the cause of Christ, we should give it;  if we are called to suffer for our faith like so many today in places where evil and terror are raging,, God will give us the strength  to endure and witness to Him.  We should all pray fervently for those who are suffering for their faith and those on the front lines of ministry in dangerous places.

What I have found is that if you make yourself available, God will tell you what to do and equip you to do it.  We all have gifts that He can use for his purposes.  Let Christ use you today to be one of his witnesses in this world.  And while we wait for His return. let us rejoice in knowing that He keeps his promises, and we are safe in our Father’s care.

 

 

 

 

The Infinite Blessings of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The resurrection“And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:  And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.  And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”  Matt. 28:2-7

 

The Infinite Blessings of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

For those of us who live in this tangible and often harsh reality of daily life, it is hard to imagine what it must have been like to be one of those who followed Jesus when He walked on the earth 2,000 years ago.  I often ponder the different personalities of those chosen to be his disciples.   How gracious are God’s mercies that He would allow such common people to be witnesses of the glory of his only begotten Son’s life, death and Resurrection.  “Truly he hath chosen the foolish things to confound the wise.”  Although none of them actually saw Jesus come out of the grave, Peter, James and John saw a glimpse of his glorified state when Moses and Elijah appeared to them on the Mount of Transfiguration and they heard the voice of God speak from Heaven: “This is my beloved Son; hear ye Him.”

With all the talk about Iran, North Korea and other nations getting the atomic bomb, I don’t think there is any comparison in that potential scenario to the power that was released that morning when Jesus came forth from the grave, triumphant over death, hell and the grave.  The one has the power only to destroy while the other has the Power to give new and unending Life.  Because of the Power of the Resurrection we need not fear the limited reality of that which can only hasten our journey to where we are ultimately headed.

Today we celebrate and mourn our Saviors death on the cross and I can’t help remembering something Frank Costantino used to say whenever we encountered someone who thought ex-convicts like us shouldn’t be in the pulpit preaching the Gospel.  He would always remind them that the first person in heaven was a death row inmate Jesus met in jail.  That’s a wake-up call for all who believe that their own righteousness qualifies them for a place in heaven.

I myself have no doubts about the benefit of Christ’s resurrection in my life.  God took someone who had no idea what life was all about; someone who, like the prodigal son, had wasted his life wandering in the wilderness not knowing if there was really anything worth living for.  On April 28th, 1974 God gave me the faith to believe in His Son and it has kept me going for the last 40+ years.  I don’t believe in the Resurrected Life.  I know it is true!  It happened to me that day.

As we see the aggressive attacks on Christian believers in our own country and around the world, let us focus are hearts on the Truth of God’s Word and the exceeding great and precious promises that are found there in the Scriptures.  We are pilgrims just passing through this world.  This is not our home and we have an eternal dwelling place with God.  let us be thankful for the One who made that possible by his death and resurrection.  And let pray and testify to whoever will listen that Jesus Christ has risen from the grave and He offers Eternal Life to those who believe and follow him.

As you contemplate the blessings of being one of his children, may the Lord bless you and your family and comfort you in your faith and trust in the Savior.  He is risen!  The Lord is risen indeed!  Let us rejoice in that fact as we await his soon return when we finally leave this world behind and go to the place prepared for us by the sacrifice of God’s son Jesus Christ.

Come Out From Among Them – Part 3

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”  1 Pet. 4:17

                                                                               Come Out From Among Them – Part 3
Judgment_in_the_house_of_GodIf you look at what is happening in the world today it is hard not to conclude that we are on the verge of the fulfillment of many things prophesied in the Scriptures.  Since the re-establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948, and the fulfillment of Luke 21:24 in 1967, the world has rocketed forward as if in a desperate plunge toward the final Day of Judgment.   We see what is happening in the Middle East and in the rapidly changing culture of Western Civilization and it is easy to conclude that Jesus is coming soon.

It seems as though all things are lined up for a major Biblical event and one of the most significant signs has to do with the falling away of the Church.  In fact according to several current statistical sources, the second largest block of religions in the world behind Christianity is not Islam, it is non-believers and atheists.  And it is growing rapidly in Europe and in America.

For me, an awakening point took place on October 2,  2009 with the Amish Schoolhouse shooting in Pennsylvania.  During this tragedy the world was given an heroic demonstration of true Christian faith by several young Old Order Amish girls in that one room schoolhouse that day.  The killer, Charles Roberts, was a local delivery man well known to the Amish in that area.  He went into the schoolhouse to kill the children and eventually murdered 5 girls and injured 5 others.  Thirteen year old Marian Stoltzfus Fisher told Charley Roberts to kill her first in order to protect the younger girls, hoping the police would get there before he could kill them too. I was told that a couple of the other older girls did the same after her.  He killed them and then proceeded to shoot all the others, after which he turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.

The testimony of these young girls ― especially the older ones who told him to kill them first to protect their younger ones ― was the most heroic example of true faith that I have seen so far in my lifetime.  This was followed by the Elders of the Amish community over the next few days visiting the killers family and letting them know they were there to support them as well.  When asked by the killers wife why they would do that they replied, “You and your children have lost their family too. We forgive Charley for what he has done, as Christ has forgiven us.”   One of those elders was the father of one of the children who died in the shooting.

Christianity is not rooted in all of the outward frills and bells that we have come to view as so important today in the pentecostal/charismatic presentation of our faith.  In fact Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 13 that If we have all of the gifts operating in power and glory and do not have genuine Love we are like “sounding brass or tinkling symbols”.

Today so many teachers present Hebrews chapter 11 as a method of using faith to get what we want from God.  But if you read the entire chapter you will see that those heroes of the Faith mentioned there were referred to for what they were willing to sacrifice and give rather than how much they got from their faith.  Theirs was not a name it and claim it approach to God.  It was obedience to His revealed will at all cost.

I believe that unless our faith takes us beyond personal convenience for our brothers and sisters we may not have the real thing at all.  Every day we see the enemy of our faith coming in to challenge us and even kill us like it did that day in the schoolhouse in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Those who are waiting to be delivered from such things by being raptured out before the trouble starts may want to look around them and search their heart to see if they are prepared for what may be coming soon.

God is brushing aside all of those things that we have come to depend upon that take His place in our lives.  All of the security blankets of government, economic stability, modern technology and worldly attachments may soon be gone and we must ask ourselves, in the face of the loss of these things: will our faith stand the test?  I say that for you as well as for myself.  “Judgment must first begin at the House of God. “

In the end we know that God always has a remnant just as He did in 1 Kings 19:18.   Let us press in to the Faith that was once delivered to the saints to ensure ourselves that we are among them.  Don’t put your faith in the institutions of man.  Only God is able to deliver us into that promised city where righteousness dwells.  He has provided all that is needed in the death and sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ.  But as Peter also reminds us:

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;”  (1 Peter 4:1)

May we find in ourselves, and in each other, the strength to do what is right in these trying times.  And let us dedicate ourselves to strengthening the brethren by encouraging them to look to the Lord for faith and courage  to endure what lies ahead.

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Come Out From Among Them – Part 2

“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,  Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  Matthew 22:35-40 KJV

Walking Alone

COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM – Pt. 2

So much of what we have accepted in the way of the Christian life is not endorsed by the Scriptures.  Like the Jews who came out of Egypt with Moses, we have taken the New Covenant Commandments of the Lord and added to them until they have become overly burdensome and often self serving.  The Christian life was never meant to be a path to gaining the worlds goods, but many of today’s most popular teachings are focused on doing just that.

Many believers are in pursuit of the same things the world is after, yet they they do it in the name of the Lord.  In many ways the Church in the West has adapted a business model where the pastor is more like a CEO than a conduit for the Holy Spirit.   The vulnerability that is required to lead God’s people in the New Testament model is more than many leaders are willing to commit to.

Over the last several decades we have heard much teaching about the five fold ministry and lines of authority.  This is often misused to put too much structure in place resulting in an over predictability and expectation of what God will do when His people come together.   This then creates a characteristic that identifies that Church body by it’s self-defined spiritual limitations.  When the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in a fluid relational Church family, all of God’s people can operate in at least some level of their gifting as they learn how to minister to the Lord in intimate participation (koinonia) with the brethren.

Without this spiritual intimacy being encouraged and allowed by the leadership the brethren rarely, if ever, come to the place of Kingdom satisfaction.  Instead they will tend to seek the things of this world and will use their spiritual gifting to compete with others and pursue things that perish rather than things which are eternal.  This may be the result of so much teaching that stresses what God will give you if you are faithful in the Church or to certain ministries.  Many even teach a spiritual life that makes God into nothing more than a Divine Paymaster who releases the blessings you have earned based on your faithful participation in the Church or ministry, and obedience to the Leadership.

Over the past few years we have seen many Pastors and Church leaders who have fallen into tragic circumstances where, instead of being corrected by others who probably could have influenced them, they were allowed to continue on until they came to a terrible end.  All of their blatant errors were overlooked or ignored in order to protect their ministry.  But Shepherds are not called to protect the ministry, they are called to protect the people under their watch.  Protecting the ministry can easily be an excuse for  protecting their own self-interest.

Believers who are aware that this is being done must have the courage to come out from under those structures that are operating this way.  We have two primary obligations as stated in the above passage from Matthew 22.  These are the marching orders that come from our Lord which He himself followed in obedience to his Father.

For those who are watching, it is easy to see that we are coming into a time that will test the visions and structures that have been pursued and built in the name of the Lord.  Those who are not willing to divest themselves of  teachings and methods that endorse worldliness will, I believe, ultimately join the enemy and take sides against the righteous.  This will be much like what is happening in our political arena right now.  It is normal in the halls of human power, but it is pollution when it happens in the Church.

“Come out from among them and be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing.”  Like the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25 we may soon hear the cry to ‘arise and go’ and many who are not prepared will go out and look for oil from the spiritual vendors selling their wares in the marketplace.  But it will be fake oil, much like the false teachings that have been so popular in many of today’s churches and ministries.  But it will not suffice, nor will it be acceptable to the Shepherd who keeps watch over the Gate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come Out From Among Them – Part 1

Faith & TechnologyFor some time now I have been interested in how technology is being used as a distraction from normal human behaviors.  My natural disposition in life is that of an optimist and even at times an idealist.  However, time and experience tends to balance such things, and the longer I live the more I see the truth in the idea that we are born in original sin.  There are certain tendencies that are passed down from our family genes, but in many ways we are born a blank slate that must be turned in the right direction.

When we look through history we see that whole societies can be led by strong personalities and influenced to do ghastly things to their fellow man.  We think of Nazi Germany in the 1940’s or the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 where nearly 1 million Tutsi’s and moderate Hulu’s were slaughtered by the Hutu tribe over a 100 day period.  The national guilt of such things scars survivors for life, both the victims and the perpetrators.  From a Christian historical perspective we can look to the Inquisition period when those who rejected the rule of the Roman Catholic hierarchy were considered worthy of annihilation.

Clearly, man left to himself will seek to control or destroy anything that stands in the way of self preservation and personal elevation of status.  Without God and His Word we throw of restraints and attempt to validate the Theory of Evolution in reverse.

Today our greatest threat comes from the fact that technological advancement is rapidly separating the Haves from the Have Not’s.  What once was found only in Science Fiction books is now upon us and dominates everyday reality for much of the human race.  I believe we are living in a time when those who have access to the dominant portion of the worlds resources will by nature seek to control those who don’t.  They will not do this by force as we know it, but by eventually creating a superior (sic) ruling class that will see the common people as worker bees.

Now don’t hang up on me thinking I am a Conspiracy Theorist.  I am more of an observer who over the years has come to accept the fact that what once was considered ‘theory’ is now a reality.  However, I don’t point to a ruling group of people like an Illuminati who put it all together over the Centuries.  To me it is the natural tendency of  fallen man to encircle himself with like minded others who will add their efforts to advance an agenda that puts them in control or keeps them in control.  Frankenstein always has to have an Igor on hand to do his dirty work.

We are rapidly advancing toward a bio-technological reality where willing participants will allow themselves to be implanted with nano-technology that will give them instant access to all the information available on the World Wide Web just by thinking about it.  This can eliminate the  limitations of their mental abilities and give them access to  a higher level of abilities not natural to them.  As isolated in the world of technology as people are today it will be nothing compared to the separation that will occur in the near future.

These things are already happening as hi-tech companies race to be the first in the marketplace with all the latest toys and gadgets.  But are they tired of the endless creation of video games and temporary diversions?  Why not turn the people themselves into technology?  When you have young geniuses who have gained unlimited resources before they even developed a moral basis for right and wrong, what is there to deter them from the natural tendency that comes with an unconverted fallen state of being?  Many of the new hi-tech giants became billionaires by their early to mid-twenties.  What is there that will cause them to think they need God?  They have everything they want and a generation of followers who wait like salivating puppies for the next new game, diversion, or technical breakthrough that will further free them from the constraints of individual morality and human relationships.

The question some concerned people hope these young potential oligarchs would ask themselves is “Just because we can does that mean we should?”  But history shows us that monarchs tend to love the idea of a monarchy and so it is with tyrants;  even the supposedly benevolent ones.

So what is the answer and why am I writing about this?  I believe that Christians will soon need to choose between the value that this “Brave New World” has to offer and the Biblical Revelation of God and the Covenant they have with God.  I believe we must soon heed the words “Come out from among them and be ye separate” (2 Cor. 6:17)  if we are to hold to our faith and stay on the narrow path Christ set before us.

Does this mean we become Amish and throw our phones and computers away?  Of course not!  But we must be careful how much influence technology has on our lives and how dependent we become on it.  If we don’t set the boundaries they will be set for us by our emotional appetites or by those who control the technology and the system.

(to be continued in Part 2)

 

There is No Fear of God

God's Judgment 1“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one;  There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not, so much as one: Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips:  Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:  Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.”  Rom 3:10-18

For those who read my previous blog article entitled ‘Time to Be With God’ I wanted you to know that I followed my own advice and took the last few days away from the news media.  Other than a few reports on the recent Israeli elections I watched no news and read very little of it.  This morning I decided to catch up by looking at a few brief headlines from The Drudge Report.  After perusing just a few articles I was struck with how much we today fulfill the above passage from Romans 3.

If there is one thing apparent in the world right now it is that by and large we have lost the fear of God.  We defend unrighteousness and corruption as though it were something we are not afraid of.  Things that would never have been allowed visibility in public are now available to anyone who has a television or access to the Internet.  The censorship system that was once developed to protect the public from certain levels of perversity and degenerate expressions in film and media is now being used to guarantee a certain amount of filth and lewd behavior.

Our political leaders by and large lie and cheat at every turn just to reinforce their own agendas and keep themselves connected to the reservoirs of money and power available to those who will yield up their morals and integrity to get it.   And worst of all: they do it with no apparent sense of remorse or conviction.  It is almost a contest to see who can come up with the most convincing lies and distortions of nobility and integrity to shove down the throats of the people they are supposed to represent.

This is not only visible in the secular or political world, but also in the world of church and ministry.  Take a few minutes to listen to what people today accept as a Christian message coming from the pulpits and you will see how far from the teachings of Christ we have fallen.  I can hear the words of Dr. Terminus singing the chorus of ‘Every Little Piece’ from the Disney film Pete’s Dragon: “It’s money, money, money by the pound.”

And because we are no longer afraid of God we don’t fear the things He tells us we should indeed fear.  We are no longer afraid of hell, eternal separation from God or the Judgment to come.  In fact, many of today’s most popular preachers tell us there is no such place as hell and no Judgment for unbelievers.  The growing popularity of Post Modern Universalism and the Emergent Church doctrine of people like Rob Bell, Doug Pagitt and Brian McLaren tell us that a God of Love could not possibly condemn people to hell.

This doesn’t mean we should crawl into a hole and hide ourselves from what’s going on.  I am certain that the answer lies in a return to what Paul called,” the simplicity of the Gospel”.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Heb. 13:8)  Take some time to read and meditate on Malachi 3:5-6 and you will see that the Lord does not change.  His mercy delays his Judgment for a season, but never annuls it outside of the efficacious work of Christ on the Cross.  And as Peter reminds us in 2 Peter 3-9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

However, let us also remember that another one of his promises is that He will Judge the earth in righteousness. “He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”  Acts 17:31

Don’t fall for the Oprah version of Jesus and make Christianity into just another expression of love and niceness.  Remember what Jesus said about the matter:  “If you love me you will keep my commandments;”  John 14:15  This is where our hope is to be found.  Not in creating a sloppy agape version of God that turns the narrow path into a broad highway where no one has to stay between the lines because there aren’t any.

 

 

A Time To Be With God

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.     (Rev. 4:11)

HeavenI have a challenge for you today:  Try to get through a single day without thinking about government corruption, economic woes, troubles in the world and the rampant scourge of radical Islam and its brutal attempt to destroy all goodness and love?  It is not that easy and in some ways we can even feel a bit guilty if we aren’t giving at least some time thinking about  what is going on all around us.

In truth most of aren’t in any real position to do that much about it other than the power we have through prayer (which according to 2 Cor. 10:4  is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds).  As long as I have been around there has always been government corruption, economic woes, troubles in the world and, at least since 1979, Radical Islam doing it’s thing to make life miserable somewhere for somebody.  Not to say that all of these things aren’t getting worse.  They certainly are.  But for Christians it shouldn’t be surprising.  2 Timothy 3: 12 & 13 talks about what will always happen to people who want to live godly lives and that evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse as time goes on.

As for all of the trouble we are having with radical Islam today, it’s too bad they don’t just read the Creation story in Genesis and take a look around this wonderful world that God has made for us.  They should spend more time looking at the beauty of God’s creation. Could any God who could do that be as evil as the one you see when you look into the face of Islam?  There god is a god of hate and destruction.  The God of the Bible is one of love, beauty, creativity and mercy.  Those guys look like they have taken too much caster oil or something.  Maybe they need a vacation.

John tells us that God is Love and that love comes from God. What a powerful statement that is.  Every time we experience love we experience God himself.  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  These are wonderful attributes that shine so powerfully from our Lord Jesus Christ showing us what God is really like. 

Love is what you feel when you forgive someone or are forgiven by someone.  It’s what you see in a little child’s eyes as they awaken to a new day full of hope and promise.  Love is what holds a couple together through the winds and storms that sometimes come against their marriage;  it’s what makes friendship endure through the ups and downs of life and all of its trials and errors.  Love is what causes someone to reach out and help a stranger or send a check to an organization that helps the less fortunate.

God is love.  No wonder the angels cry Holy, Holy, Holy in endless praise and worship to the Creator of all things.  Is it any wonder the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship Him who lives forever and ever?   They endlessly cast their crowns before the throne, saying,Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. “

Who is like unto our God?  And who is like his Son Jesus Christ the Lamb of God who sits on the Throne and out of whom the River of Life flows freely giving endless fulfillment and joy to all who come into the heavenly realm God created for his people to dwell in for all eternity?

Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you that where I am you may be also.”  He wasn’t talking about going to build mansions, he said they were already there in his Fathers house.  He was talking about the Cross.  He went to the Cross to prepare a place for us so we could be with him.

So take the challenge with me and leave behind the world and all of it’s sorrows for at least a little while each day and “set your heart on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Col. 3:1)  He loves us and no matter what happens in this world of sorrow and pain our ultimate destiny is to dwell with him in eternal peace and love forevermore.  Take some time to be with God.

Hath God Said?

Adam-and-Eve“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”      Genesis 3:1

This month has been quite unique for me as I turned 67 amidst a backdrop of the great distresses that are happening in America and in the world.  As we see the fabric of our world being torn apart by human discontent and genuine demonic evil, those of us who have been around for a while tend to reassess things in the light of our age and life experiences.

We have arrived at a time in America where some who spent much of their lives protesting against the moral and social beliefs that made this country great, now control much of the government and the nations resources.  It is an anarchy designed to create enough disturbance to justify a society where a small group with substantial resources and power rules over the larger group by intimidation, enabled by vast resources and technology.  It is hard to ignore these things without adapting the posture of an ostrich with his head stuck deep in the sand.

As a young man growing up in the 1960’s I saw first hand the beginnings of what has now become a full out attack on Truth.  It was being trumpeted in the streets and universities of our cities day in and day out by those who felt oppressed by the powers that were then in charge of things. Their cry for ‘ Free Love’ has now become a dogma for any perverse behavior to be tolerated and accepted.  However, many of those who fought so hard against the government back then soon left their protest signs behind. They then bought Volvo’s and became the college professors who educated many of today’s politicians.  The same politicians who eagerly sign any bill calling for Americans to cast off all moral restraints if it will gain them a new voting block to keep them in office.

For the Christian believer it is a time of great stress for sure and we can expect to see more of the same as the god of this world plants his flag deeper in the hearts of those who, like Eve in the Garden, see greater personal opportunity in the serpent’s question ‘Hath God said?‘  than in the Creators statement  ‘Thou shalt not . . .’

The devil is a ‘One Hit Wonder’ and he has been singing the “Hath God said” tune since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden.  In fact, it is his all time Best Seller which more people are buying today than ever before.   And like it or not, it is a question that begs an answer in every generation.

“Hath God said?”  What we believe about  the Bible and the God of the Bible is being tested every day in the open marketplace of the world.  And like a recent sermon I heard by Dr. Tony Evans, we might do well to revisit the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from Daniel chapter 3.  Dr. Evans said, “It’s one thing to believe that God will deliver you from the fiery furnace.  It’s another altogether  to believe that he will walk with you in the fire.”

From what I can see, Nebuchadnezzar’s descendents are again heating up the furnace preparing to throw believers into the fire again.  It might be wise for us as Christians to evaluate our beliefs and make sure we truly believe them, and that they are centered in the Scriptures and really worth believing.  We may all get a copy of the latest version of ‘Hath God said?’ sent to our inbox or music app and we want to follow in the  path of the three Jewish boys rather than the one our first mother chose in Eden that day.

It may be that we will gain a new respect for the Amish people who chose a path that has kept them from being so polluted by the world system.  Considering the faith of those brave young schoolgirls killed in that Lancaster County, PA schoolhouse years ago, the idea of “Come out from among them and be ye separate” might be something we need to pay more heed to in the coming years.

Two Tragedies United by Love

Evan Todd & Bobby SmithSometimes in the middle of the insanity that has become the modern world something happens that so reflects the love of Christ that it re-ignites my hope for mankind.  This past week I had a wonderful reminder of what makes America great and a country worthy of our prayers.  I was watching Fox News on the morning of my birthday and they introduced a young a young man named Evan Todd,  one of the students who survived the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.  With Evan was a man named Bobby Smith, a homeless Vietnam veteran who was down on his luck and living in a local shelter in California.

Evan and Bobby were there because 10 years ago Evan lost his 1999 High School Football ring while on a trip to California to speak to local high schools, churches and community organizations. While looking for rocks and arrowheads in a San Luis Obisbo river Bobby found Evan’s ring.  Bobby took the ring to a local dealer who offered him thousands of dollars. He instead decided to “do the right thing,” as he put it. The ring had Evan’s name and school name engraved on it so Bobby decided to track Evan down to return the ring!

The amazing part is what happened next.   Evan was so moved by Bobby’s unselfish act of kindness that he decided to  start a ‘Go Fund Me’ campaign to try to raise some money to help the homeless vet with such a noble heart.  Fox News apparently heard about it and asked Evan to come on their morning show, which he did, bringing Bobby Smith with him.  What happened next is quite remarkable.  Evan shared the story and mentioned how to make a donation to the ‘Go Fund Me’ account if anyone wanted to help Bobby who was homeless and down on his luck.

I got up and went to my computer to make a donation and by the time I returned to my television just a few minutes later over $6,000 had poured in.  Within another 10 minutes or so it was over $36,000.  It’s been 3 days now and I just checked to see where things are now and as of today at 4:30 it was over $103,000.

It is people like Evan Todd and Bobby Smith that remind me of what has made America the greatest nation in the world.  If only those who sit in places of power in Washington could wake up and see what they are doing to this country by shutting out the God who moves the hearts of men and women to do such noble and unselfish acts as this.

May the Lord remember America and apply to us the words that Jesus spoke:, “A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.”  (Matt. 12:20 NIV)

May God bless America and restore us to the vision which was given to the Founding Fathers so many years ago and still resides in men like Evan Todd and Bobby Smith.

If you want to make a donation to the cause here’s the link:

http://www.gofundme.com/championvet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is God’s Judgment Upon Us?

Lady-Liberty-WeepingI was reading an article from the Israeli News Service Arutz Sheva about the dilemma that our traditional allies are having trying to figure out the real direction of America and President Obama’s seeming obsession with loyalty to Islam. I highly recommend taking the time to read it as I think it addresses certain questions that many of us here in America are asking as well.  Who’s side is the current Administration on?

Today most of us are so busy with life that it tends to put all other things on the back burner if they are hard for us to handle or calling us to deal with things we don’t like to think about.   The truth is though that we must think about these things in the light of our current crisis of confidence and the realities of the danger represented by those who follow the real teachings and practices of Islam as set forth in the Qur’an and the Hadith.  One of the most frightening yet eye opening things I have seen lately comes from a media interview with an Islamic Mullah living in Norway who tells the truth about the goals of true Islam in the world today.

Psalm 33:12  reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. . .”   But with the pace that America is moving to erase the God of the Bible from our national conscience and replace Him with one who resembles a powerless and confused deity from some mythical Land of Oz,  the question comes to mind:   ‘Are we as a nation under the Judgment of God?’  Is all the confusion and double mindedness that we see operating in the Halls of Power and Government in America actaully the result of forsaking the One who guided the hearts and minds of our Founding Fathers?   Are we, like the Jews who came out of Egypt in the Exodus story – blinded by disobedience and our failure to ‘Walk in the Law of the Lord’?

One of the great realities of our Democratic style of Gevernment is that the people we put in power act as a barometer of the moral and social thinking of the voters.  This can be good if we recognize areas in need of change or correction and we act on them properly.  But it seems that todays political parties are so focused on establishing a safety net for holding onto the reigns of power that most legislation is clearly intended for that purpose by both parties.  A blind man can see what needs to be done in most cases, but self serving politicians seem unable or unwilling to do what is needed for fear of being ostracized or losing the benefits their office affords them.  We are hamstrung by bureocracy and many Americans  are swooning in the stupor that this has created and giving up their hopes in the process.

We are tired of war and our enemies are taking advantage of that.  The wars of the last 13 plus years have drained our strength and our economy.   This puts us in a position of vulnerability like we have not seen in over fifty years.  But facing the reality of radical Islam cannot be something we ignore.  This enemy sees all efforts for restraint and civility as weakness.  The more we ignore this the more endangered we become as a nation and a civilzation.

So what is the answer?  For believers it is the same as it has always been:  call upon the Name of the Lord and ask for forgiveness and mercies.  Our enemies are His enemies.  He knows what to do and He can make swift work of them if we will humble ourselves, pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways’, (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Before our allies in the world can believe in America again we must first do so ourselves.  I for one realize that I am in the last quarter, but I am still moved to speak out with what voice I have for Righteousness and Truth.  My children and grandchildren’s future depends upon it and so I must.  Hopefully our own Government will wake up soon and we can be a nation united once again around the Truths and Principles that made America the greatest nation in the history of the world.  ∞