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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Why America is Not Being Blessed

Psalm 33:12: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.”

In September 2012, at the Democratic National Convention, the Democratic party deliberately left the mention of “God” off their platform. In response, Republicans and other conservatives heavily criticized the President and his political party. On the second day of the DNC, “God” was reintroduced to Democrats and  a heavy round of “boos” and hisses reverberated through the audience. A number of attendees were angry that “God” had been put back on the Democratic Party agenda. At the same time, Democrats openly endorsed homosexuality and abortion. As you know, the party’s candidate, Barack Obama, was re-elected as President of the United States.

What has happened since Obama’s re-election? Nothing but bad, that’s what. Our nation has been rocked by one disaster after another. Consider the following:

The ATF “Fast and Furious” deal, in which Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress and Obama refused to testify.

The attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi by terrorists,which then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton covered up and the administration continues to lie about.

The NSA investigation and revelations by Edward Snowden, which uncovered that U.S citizens and our allies are being secretly spied upon by our government.

The IRS scandal, which exposed how the Tea Party and other conservative groups were being unfairly interrogated. When confronted, The IRS chief Lois Lerner and her associates conveniently lost all of their e-mails.

The military deserter and Muslim sympathizer, Bowe Bergdahl, was illegally “brought home” by Obama in exchange for five well-known terrorists.

The horrible treatment of our veterans by our VA hospitals and the subsequent shake -up at the VA administration.

The ongoing international friction between Obama and Russia’s President Putin and with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu.

The disastrous roll-out of Obama Care and the continuous cancellations, rising premiums and utter chaos which has been created in our medical systems.

The record number of adults who are not employed, which some say is as high as 60 percent of the population. This includes those who are reporting unemployment, those who are not reporting it because they have given up looking for work, and those who are living on some sort of government assistance/sustenance. We have fewer adults working than at any given time in our nation’s history.

The increasing instability in the Middle East, punctuated with the startling rise of ISIS and the administration’s ineptitude in stopping it. The war on terror has been largely abandoned and radical Islam is spreading like an aggressive cancer.

Thirty states and the District of Columbia have now approved same sex marriage, although the majority of Americans still oppose it. Five more states have appeals pending. The will of American voters has been overturned by liberal judges and courts.

The deadly Ebola virus has made it to the U.S. and the CDC and Obama administration give contradictory statements on how it is being spread and what is being done to prevent it.

Whew. Have you read enough? Can I stop now? An argument could be made, and substantiated by historical research, that our nation is in worse shape than ever.  In fact, there are numerous things that I could have mentioned but chose not to.

How have the people of God responded? Are Christians making a difference? Tragically, the answer is a resounding “NO.”

Statistics provided by a number of agencies report that Christian denominations, including Southern Baptists, are in steady decline. Morals within the Christian community are not much different than those of non-believers. Mega-churches are outpacing normal-sized churches in terms of numerical growth, but the impact of  “Jesus followers” upon the culture appears to be minimal at best. Conversely, the influence of the culture upon the church is increasingly strong.

To answer the question, “why America is not being blessed,” one needs only to read Psalm 33:12: “Blessed is the nation whose GOD is the LORD.” The god of America is no longer Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, the God who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. The Democrats and their President hissed at God in 2012. The majority of Americans chose a leader whose allegiance is to Muhammad not Jesus. John the Baptist warned that “even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees.” (Luke 3:9) God is laying the ax to the trees of a nation which once stood as a beacon of light to the rest of the world. The only remedy for the United States is repentance and a return to God. Until that happens, our nation will not be blessed.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

The Devil’s Tricks, God’s Treats

Ephesians 6:11: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes, tricks] of the devil.”

In a couple of weeks, children across North America, and other places in the world, will go “trick or treating” as a part of Halloween. The original idea of this custom (which is largely forgotten) is that a person would perform some type of mischief (trick) upon a homeowner’s person or property unless a treat (food, money, candy) is given in return.

This practice led me to think about the “tricks”, or “mischievous schemes” that the devil performs in order to keep people out of church. Here are three that I thought of.

TRICK #1: “It is better to think about God while sitting in a fishing boat, than to think about fishing while sitting in a church.”

You can substitute hundreds of activities in place of fishing here. Going to the lake, the mountains, the beach, Grandma’s house, sleeping in (after all, Sunday is a day of rest), sports….the list is almost endless.

TRICK #2: “I would go to church if it were not for all the hypocrites in the church.”

God is good but people mostly are not. Even church people behave badly. All churches have hypocrites and phonies. People in church hurt other people’s feelings. They say and do things to offend others. And guess what? The same happens in every part of life. Hypocrites are everywhere. Strangely, I have never heard anyone say, “I would go to work if it were not for all the hypocrites at my job.”

TRICK #3: “I don’t need church in order to worship God.”

Many of us have “God moments” outside of church. Creation itself cause us to reflect upon the goodness of God (Romans 1:20). I have personally stood before the ocean, or upon a mountain, and marveled at His handiwork. To this point, I have never broken out into a worship service, nor have I seen anyone else do it. Individual praise is one thing; public, congregational worship is another.

The question is, Why does the devil “trick us” into not going to church? Three reasons:

1. The devil does not want us to worship with other believers, because God will be glorified and Satan will be reminded of his forthcoming destruction. The devil hates it when we sing praise songs to God at church. He hates it when the offering plate is passed and people give their money to God and not him. He hates it when people are praying to the Almighty. And, oh how he hates the Word of God. He hates it when a man of God opens the Word of God and feeds the people of God. Therefore, the devil will do everything in his power to trick folks from going to the house of God.

2. The devil does not want us to fellowship with other believers, because there is strength and security in numbers. When a soldier wanders off from the platoon, he is a wide open target to get killed by the enemy. “Fellowship” is not about pot-luck suppers, dinner on the grounds or ice-cream socials. Fellowship is about praying together, encouraging each other in the faith, bearing each others’ burdens. Fellowship makes us stronger and the devil knows that.

3. The devil does not want us to serve with other believers. When church members do ministry projects in their community, give time, money and efforts to reach lost souls, support preachers and missionaries, the devil is infuriated. His kingdom is threatened by the onslaught of God’s people doing God’s work, especially when they are unified in their mission. When a lost soul is rescued form the devil’s hell, there will be one less person occupying the eternal flames of damnation. Misery loves company and Satan does not want to be alone in his suffering.

Church is a good thing, Church is God’s place. Church is God’s people. Church is God’s way of being with His people in the here and now. One day, the saved on earth will gather to their home beyond the shore and we will understand it better. For now, however, we meet Him at His house, in order to receive the treats which await us from a loving Father. Don’t let the devil trick you out of God’s treats.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

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The Ongoing Conflict

On any given day, followers of Jesus face conflict. We are in a battle between good and evil, right and wrong, moral and immoral, godly and ungodly. The war is primarily a spiritual one, an inward struggle between our fallen, human nature and the new nature which we have in Christ. The Bible refers to the steady conflict between “flesh” and “spirit.”
In addition to the personal fight that believers must contend with, there is also the war between us and the unbelieving world. The Bible tells us not to love the world nor the things in the world. We must abstain from attitudes and actions which displease and dishonor God, even if that means we are to have enemies. While we are commanded to love others with the unconditional love of God, we are nonetheless called to take sides and oppose people and their sinful behaviors. As much as we dislike confrontation, avoiding it is impossible for true Christians.
One such war is the one which involves following the teachings of Christ and being an American. Many Christians happen to be patriotic citizens who support their nation and it’s military. I am that person. I am a proud American and a flag-waving patriot. My first allegiance, however, is to Jesus. When a conflict arises between pleasing God and pleasing man, I will obey The Lord first. I make no apologies for my commitment.
With regards to the issue of same-sex marriage, we are facing one of the most significant cultural changes since time began. Nothing has been more radical nor controversial. Herein is my personal conflict. As an American, I fully understand this to be a civil rights issue. I would personally support the establishment of civil unions, whereby tax-paying, law-abiding citizens are not penalized nor discriminated against simply because they have chosen to have a life partner of the same sex. In my opinion(as an American) homosexuals should have the same civil rights as heterosexuals. I personally disagree with homosexuality, but I do not dislike nor judge homosexuals. They are people just like me. We are all sinners who put our pants on one leg at a time.
As a follower of Jesus, however, I strongly oppose homosexual marriage. I cannot and will not support it, not now and not ever. Why? Because my first allegiance is to God and His written Word. You see, I am one of those old-fashioned, uncompromising Christians who believes that the Bible is my authority and guide. I am obligated (as an undeserving recipient of God’s grace and eternal salvation) to obey what the Bible says. Therefore, I will have enemies on this particular issue. There will many who will not take a stand for God’s Word on this hot topic, but will give into public pressure and personal emotions. As hard as the proponents for same sex marriage try, they are unable to make a biblical case for their argument. The book of Genesis is not contradicted by the New Testament nor the personal words of Jesus. God’s design has been, and will continue to be, marriage between one woman and one man, period. My stance is not AGAINST same sex couples. Rather my stance is FOR biblical marriage. And yes, the critics are right: the Bible also teaches against adultery, co-habitation and divorce amongst heterosexuals. And yes, no one sin is any greater than another. None of that, however, changes the design of our Heavenly Father. His plan is still perfect, while our obedience to the plan may not be.
In conclusion, we are called to love. Jesus even told us to love our enemies. In the cultural wars between right and wrong, Christians will be forced to choose sides. Conflict is both inevitable and unavoidable. As an American, I can see that same sex marriage will soon be the law of the land. As a Christian minister, however, I will not agree with the law. If I am left alone to only marry heterosexuals all would be good. If I am forced to disobey the laws of my God, I will choose to disobey the laws of man instead. I truly hope that I will never be forced to do so.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Drawing a Line in the Sand

Romans 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” (bold added for emphasis)

A pastor friend once told me that I have an “over-developed sense of right and wrong.” When he told me that, it took me awhile to process what he had said. I eventually asked him what he meant and he responded, “You only see things in black and white, and do not have the ability to see things as being in the gray area. Everything with you is either totally right or totally wrong.” My assessment of his criticism is that he was absolutely right! I firmly believe that behaviors and attitudes are either good or evil, right or wrong, Godly or ungodly.

We are living in a day of moral relativism. Simply put, right and wrong are not based upon absolute truths but rather personal choices. What may be right for you may not be right for me. This way of thinking has led to an increase of sexual changes within society; adults living together (and presumably enjoying sexual relations) without being married and individuals pursuing same-sex relationships (homosexuality). While a clear-cut argument can be made from Scripture that these choices are morally wrong, we are being told that one’s personal choice and feelings should supersede the biblical text. We are further told that Jesus would have us to accept the clear violation of HIS BOOK, in order that we not “judge” other people, but love them instead. After all, it is argued, love triumphs all.

To complicate matters, we are also being told that sexual orientation is inherent and not chosen. This would suggest that God set forth a moral standard for His children to follow and yet deliberately created some with an inability to obey it. Such reasoning makes God out to be an unrighteous and unloving tyrant, totally inconsistent with the Deity who is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. This inconsistency is troubling for those who call themselves followers of Jesus. In fact, one believer recently argued that homosexuals do not choose to be the way they are, and then contradicted himself by stating that “we are all sinners”, implying that same-sex folks need to be forgiven as much as opposite-sex folks do. Without realizing it, he had acknowledged that their behavior was sinful, though not any worse perhaps than anybody else’s.

In their book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Geisler and Turek stated that ” A common mistake of relativists is to confuse behavior with value. That is, they confuse what is with what ought to be…relativists confuse the changing behavioral situation with the unchanging moral duty.” (p.182) Unwittingly, many followers of Christ have accepted what is immoral, simply because they do not want to confront their friends and/or loved ones with the truth. Nor do they understand that real love is not dismissing moral truth for the sake of peace, but defending the truth without compromising one’s love for another person. Yes, it is quite possible to “love the sinner and hate the sin” even when the sinner is someone near and dear to us. To be certain, we are COMMANDED to love that person, but part of that love should include embracing God’s moral absolutes, even if it means that we are at odds with those whom we love.

One thing that certainly does NOT change is God’s Word. As the above text pointed out, God has shown the truth to mankind, but we have chosen to suppress it, which means to put it down, hide it and hinder it. In that same passage of Scripture, the apostle Paul revealed that part of God’s punishment (wrath) upon man’s disobedience is that God would “give them up” to do whatever they pleased, allowing their minds to become “debased” , which means reduced in quality. In other words, willful disobedience to God’s moral absolutes results in a mind which is incapable of thinking right.There are quite a few minds today which are not thinking right.

I choose to think right and to live right. I am convinced that the Bible is right and that moral relativism is wrong. I believe that God is good and sin is evil. Regardless of human choices and feelings, God has decreed what is true and what is false. You and I must draw our lines in the sand. Although we have no choice but to love and accept each other unconditionally (and to be consistent with what we believe and what we practice; which is what Jesus taught us in Matthew 7:1-5), we must adhere to those things which are absolute and true. A call to love and be tolerant is not a call to compromise the truth of God.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

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