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Thursday
Jul202017

Think About This

The Presbyterians have no spiritual discernment.

The Presbyterian Church, USA, is raising eyebrows after lifting up prayers to Allah at its General Assembly meeting last week.

“Allah blesses us and blesses our families and blesses our Lord. Lead us on the straight path—the path of all prophets: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.”
These were the words that rang out over the congregation at The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA meeting in Portland, Oregon. Wajidi Said, co-founder of the Muslim Education Trust, led the attendees in the prayer to the Islamic deity—a move arranged by the Ecumenical and Interfaith ministry staff at the assembly.

Some Christians see no problem in mingling prayer together as a faith community, except that Allah and Jehovah are two separate and very different entities.

1. Allah is a god, but is the god of this world.

Satan is also called the "prince of the power of the air" in Ephesians 2:2. He is the "ruler of this world" in John 12:31. These titles and many more signify Satan’s capabilities.  

2. Christians have to understand that Islam is not a safe religion, nor does it provide any freedom to those who practice it.  

  • Women have no rights
  • Girls have their genitals mutilated
  • There are few if any Muslim countries that are without war
  • There is no provision to understand love or forgiveness in Islam
  • 18,000 deadly terror attacks committed explicitly in the name of Islam in just the last ten years.  (Other religions combined for perhaps a dozen or so).  
  • Muhammad directed Muslims to wage war on other religions and bring them under submission to Islam.
  • The Quran never once speaks of Allah's love for non-Muslims, but it speaks of Allah's cruelty toward and hatred of non-Muslims more than 500 times
  • Islam is the only religion that has to retain its membership by formally threatening to kill anyone who leaves.  This is according to the example set by Muhammad.

3. There are 101 verses in the Quran that speak of doing violence to those who do not obey Allah or are non-believers in Islam.

I know it is not politically correct to have frank discussions about Islam because it makes people feel uncomfortable. However, many ex-Muslims will say that Allah has Satan-like characteristics:

  • Qur’an 1:1 states that Allah is the god (lord) of this world:
  • Qur’an 3:54 and 8:30 state that Allah is the best deceiver:
  • Qur’an 35:8 states that Allah leads people astray:
  • Qur’an 38:85 and 11:119 both state that Allah desires to fill hell with people:
  • Qur’an 5:14 states that Allah spreads hate.

I know as Christians we don’t influence people by tearing down cultures or ideas. Yet, knowing that Satan comes as an angel of light whose desire is to rob, steal and destroy any truth that has been established in our lives, is a good reminder of his strategy. This is also true for Muslim people. Islam is trapped by the great deceiver and the greatest need Muslims have is to hear and see the gospel lived out in real life. In the same way Muslims are trapped by what they believe, Western culture is also trapped by their pluralism. In Islam they have only one god, but in America, we have multiple gods, and the end result is the same - we don’t know the real God.   

There is some value in dialoguing with Muslims about faith, god, and culture, but it is another thing to bring their worship into the Church.

American Christians would do themselves a favor that before they give away the church to an ecumenical ideal they need to study the history and the current teachings of Islam. They could also use a refresher course on “discernment.”

Keeping it honest and truthful…..K

Thursday
Jul202017

How Then Should We Cope?

When we talk about the last days many people including pastors just don’t want to talk about negative forecasts about the future. Yet, it seems to me that we should tell the truth about the future and then prepare to cope with it as it comes to pass. To me this is reasonable and is a pattern we see in often in the scripture.

The Apostle Paul was warned in Acts 20 that he would be bound up and sent to Rome.

"And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the Spirit, not knowing what shall befall me there; except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me." (Acts 20:22-23 RSV)

Yet in the process of great tribulation and imprisonment, Paul wrote a great portion of what eventually turned out to be the New Testament. He coped with his imprisonment by writing letters of encouragement and instruction to the Church.

From Acts 21 we read that Paul defended his journey to Jerusalem knowing that he would face opposition there and eventually imprisonment. 

And coming to us he took Paul's girdle and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this girdle and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" When we heard this, we and the people there begged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, "What are you doing, weeping
and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, "The will of the Lord be done."

The last days will not be kind days to those of us who practice the truth taught by the scriptures. Recently I heard a preacher say the following:

One of the distinctive characteristics of the last days is: “people not knowing the difference between truth and error.” 
This is the agenda of the evil one, to disrupt all the trust we have in God and His Word. Satan knows he cannot destroy the gospel, but he can create speed bumps to slow us down and disrupt our work for God. The Apostle Paul was warned about his fate as he continued to do his ministry and go into Jerusalem for one last time. Yet he knew that God would not let him suffer without cause and his suffering of imprisonment was ultimately for the good of the Church and the work of the kingdom. Any time we are piercing the darkness with the gospel we will feel resistance. That resistance is like the imprisonment that Paul used to write and encourage the churches in his day. What part of the resistance can be used to learn about the tactics of the enemy and learn how to take the appropriate measures to counteract the pressures of our enemy? Paul used his time writing and encouraging, instructing those to follow and trust Jesus without question.  He wrote to remind the churches that God is in control, and there will come a day when His Kingdom will come and our faith in Jesus will bring us into that Kingdom.

Our task is the same, how can we encourage people to put aside their differences and focus on how to resist the evil and ignorance of our day by doing good? The gospel is not only words of hope it is also actions of hope. People who do kind things to bring a message of hope to others are influential ambassadors of His kingdom. As the days grow increasingly spiritually dark, we need to dispel the ignorance of darkness with words of hope and truth. The tendency for many of us is to assimilate into complacency and allow the ignorance of our day to go unchallenged. Paul was imprisoned, but he did not allow the ignorance of his imprisonment to go unchallenged, he appealed to Rome. In the process of his appeal he coped by using his time wisely and, precisely, to further the Kingdom of God.  The Bible tells us that the future belongs to God and all the kingdoms of this world will one day bow a knee and make confession that Jesus is Lord. Until that day our work is to be truthful and honest about the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Pastors who deny the truth by picking and choosing what to preach and what not to preach are only hurting the body by not preparing the body for the future. The criteria we need to adopt about truth is: “If the Bible teaches it, we will preach it.”

It is my belief that if you know the truth it becomes easier to cope with all the uncertainty, all the disappointment, and all the harassment this life throws at you. Don’t hide your head in the sand of denying the truth, stick your head in the truth and you will cope.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

 

Tuesday
Jul182017

Always Ask Three Questions

As I have said many times over the years in my blog writings, I have made a career out of asking one question:  “What is missing?”  This question is not asked in a negative application, it is asked in my quest to find answers to what may be missing and therefore assist in making suggestions more insightful rather than speculative.

It has served me well over the years; however the other question I have irritated people with is the simple question of “Why”?  I have had more people get mad at me for asking that question than any other question I’ve ever asked. Why?  Because the why question brings the discussion to a point of accountability.  Why someone believes something from the Bible is very important because if they are teaching from the Bible for example, it will affect many people who hear it.

There is a second part to the why question, and that is proving it. Here is why this is important.  I was asked recently how much of what is preached today is speculation. I myself can only speculate because I can’t really find any data on this, but I would say based upon my experience, about 20-25% of sermons are based on speculation. Speculation is what is taught as truth and it is based upon a personal opinion or personal belief, but scripture does not support it.

Some speculation is better than others, such as the subject of the rapture of the Church. Scripture does teach that the Lord will “snatch away” or “we will be caught up” to meet the Lord in the air, and that is a Biblical fact. However, it is speculation on exactly when it will happen. I am of the opinion that it will happen before the tribulation period, but that is my opinion and belief, but it is still speculation – not fact. 

Why is it speculation?  Jesus said no one knows the hour of His return, only the Father has that date and time picked out. The Bible is clear we don’t know the hour or the day. That is true of the rapture as well.  We can make all kinds of serious attempts to prove our theories on when it will happen, but at the end of the day, the Lord says, “just be ready.” He does not give us the timetable of when, and there is a reason for it. It’s the why question again!  Why? Because He said I will come like a thief in the night, I want you to be ready. Live your life as if I will come at any moment and stop trying to figure out when that will be. Why? Because we have a job to do and He does not want us to get preoccupied with an event that might sideline some people to sitting and just waiting for it to happen. That is not the right course of action.  So can we know the season? Yes, I think we can look at the signs of our day and see that the Bible predicts that we are closer than ever before, but at the end of the day we still don’t know the day or the hour. We all speculate from time to time because we all have personal opinions on things we read in the Bible, but for the sake of being honest, just say, this is my personal belief, and God may have a different plan. Don’t box yourself in with drawing lines in the sand when you do not know what God is going to do. It is a big ugly mistake.  

So let’s look at what I have said so far:

  • In light of doing ministry the question is: “What is missing?”  Once we discover what is missing, then go and fulfill the need.
  • Always ask the question ‘Why?’  Why? Because why is an accountability word, it forces the question into a different discussion. That new discussion then, is, does it honor God, is it what the Bible teaches, and where does the scripture support it throughout the Bible? Many strange doctrines are founded upon a one-verse interpretation, and that is never a good sign of clear understanding. 
  • Follow up the question of why with:  “Prove it!”
    People love to speculate on scripture and some modern so-called prophets see things that they teach as scripture, when it is only personal intuition and speculation. The phrase, “the Lord showed me!” Well good for you. You go and do what God has shown you, because it was for you and only you. Don’t try to incorporate the rest of us into your personal revelations and make it out to be a new direction for His Church. The bottom line question should be, "is God behind it?"
    We need to make sure we have a good understanding of God’s Word and when I say to people prove it, then the burden is on them to make the case that the scripture is clearly teaching what is in question.

I have found that this little triad of words will help to prevent the mistakes many Christians make by following speculation and personal intuition of people who are teaching things that may not be spiritually healthy. 

So how do I prove what I am saying today? 

1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”

1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.

Acts 17:11 “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.

Keeping it honest and truthful…..K

 

Sunday
Jul162017

A Nation of Regurgitation

Regurgitation means: bring (swallowed food) up again to the mouth or repeat (information) without analyzing or comprehending it.

 

Talk radio is notorious for regurgitating issues and so are the news outlets. Over and over and over again we hear the same stories that never conclude.

It reminds me of the soap opera, “As the World Turns” it was on the air for 54 years regurgitating the same old themes. This is what our media outlets have turned into, a classic case of regurgitating endless stories about nothing. Congress is just as bad; their job is no longer to govern on behalf of the American people, but rather be journalists and prosecutors. They love to waste taxpayer money on investigations into corruption that never produce any results. Does anybody think this is a good way for the representatives of Congress to spend their time? The current Russian investigation will be no different than Benghazi and will only garner a huge waste of time and money.

The cost of the Benghazi investigation is over 11 million dollars, and they have been investigating over three years. What has been the conclusion?  Good question! I don’t know and you probably don’t either. However, we have regurgitated this investigation in Congress for more than three years and nothing ever comes to a conclusion. If our representatives were concerned about America they would spend more time on issues that would help people, rather than trying to waste such time on these investigations.

Here is something Congress could send more time thinking about:

In 2013, UNICEF found that the relative child poverty rate in the United States was 20 percent. It has been reported that nearly 44 million Americans live in poverty.

Now that could use some congressional investigation.

Forget the “Wall” Mister President, let’s put up some signs at the border indicating America has a dirty secret about poverty that we are failing to address as it continues to worsen. Maybe those coming across the border will think twice about the ‘land of promise’.  

America is struggling to understand itself because we have an identity crisis, yet we spend so much time and money on non-essential issues rather than trying to do what is best for our country. I think the way we are allowing our system of government to destroy itself is a crime against our founders. Nothing ever comes out of all these investigations in Washington and we hear nothing new from our representatives - all they do is regurgitate the same old tired ideas and charges.

I am like so many Americans who have stopped listening and watching network news and even listening to the conservative talk stations. In my opinion they are no different than our ‘do nothing’ government. They regurgitate the same old problems, are irate and even passionate about them, yet no one can seemingly solve those problems and then break the mold and move on to the ideas that made America great.

America has always had new ideas to foster her economy and make life more sustainable for our citizens. We did it so well we even exported our ideas to other countries to help them rekindle their way of life. Our ideas placed America at the top of the heap when it comes to assisting other nations in disaster relief and it has been our ideas that have kept this world safe from dictators and despots. We still have good ideas in this country, but our politicians and our media just want to stay stuck in the same ol’ stories of regurgitation.

When I think of what the Bible says about God and His mercy, I can’t help but think how lucky we are to serve such a wonderful God. He is always moving us on to a new day with hope and the assurance that He is faithful to every promise He gives to us in His Word. Sure beats the regurgitation we hear every day.

 Lamentations 3:22-23

 

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Sunday
Jul092017

One of the Subtlest Sins of the Last Days

There are many words that would describe what the Bible calls the last days:

  • Deception
  • Delusion
  • Heresy
  • Bad being called good

These along with many more such words have one common foundation: they are all based upon a lie. One of the most devious words among them is the word “cmpromise.”  This is a word that God hates because it is this concept that God uses in Revelation 3 when He talks about the Laodicea church:

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”

Several times in the last few months we are seeing pastors apologizing on videos to the gay community for how they have treated them in sermons and calling their lifestyle sin. This is the second such video:

https://www.facebook.com/christianstalk/videos/485351431808403/

Here is the earlier video on the same theme:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-tDOq7JS9k

There are several other videos that take the same stand towards compromising the sin issue of homosexuality.  What I find hypocritical in all of these video apologies is that these same pastors aren’t apologizing for their attitudes toward pedophilia, bestiality, incest, and extra marital affairs. All of these sexual sins are mentioned as wrong in the Bible, yet it is only the sexual sin of homosexuality that we are sorry for being wrong about.

As you watch these pastors pour out their hearts for a compassionate plea to embrace the gay community and accept the sin homosexuals so blatantly flaunt, you have to ask the question, “who are these pastors trying to impress?”  Are they serving the God they claim to know, or are they trying to have a good public relations campaign ‘based on grace’ toward the gay community? The one thing I do know about these videos and all the Christian leaders who are in them, THEY ARE JUST PLAIN WRONG!

These videos are subtle ways to convince other Christians that any stand against homosexuality is wrong and they need to change. This is the sin of compromise - the most deadly form of deception or delusion that will play a huge role in the last days. Compromise basically says that you can know God, believe in His Word, go to church and still embrace culture with all its deadly sins.

This starts for most Christians when we compromise on the meaning of grace. We like to think that grace has an overarching forgiveness that nothing done will ever condemn us. That is true when it is appropriately applied. Yet you have to understand grace in the intended use, which is to forgive sin once it is confessed and forsaken.  That is called repentance, a turning away and never coming back to a sinful act or behavior. Grace has both truth and love in its DNA as a word. Today we use love as the one qualifier as to whether we are in right standing with God’s standards and values. Yet, truth must be a part of that equation in order to balance love out. You can love the homosexual community because God does, but truth still says the gay lifestyle is wrong and is condemned by God. When the sin of compromise is fully entrenched in a person’s mind and heart, they are extremely difficult to reach.  They buy in to the groupthink that any approach other than their own is out of touch with reality and the God they have chosen to invent.

Compromise not only changes the meaning of values, its most condemning course of action is to invent a God that can be tolerated by all people. The Biblical God is too narrow, too Jewish, and too conservative. The God of the Bible expects us to tell people about their sin and the consequences of rejecting Jesus Christ, and how these attitudes will condemn them and their fate will be an eternity without God once they face Him in judgment.

I feel sorry for the pastors who make these videos, because they will be held to a stricter standard when it comes to judgment. (James 3) We are always called to love, forgive, and restore relationships (reconcile) but we can never compromise the truth along the way.  Love, forgiveness, and restoration must be done God’s way, otherwise we fall into the sin of Satan: “we want to do it our way.”

Compromise is a sin that will entice us with emotion, reason, and compassion, but in the end it still is a sin against God and His Word.  Compromise is Satan’s middle name, if he was to have one, and at the end of the day he is a liar and a compromiser.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

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