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Wednesday
Sep022015

Black Lives Matter

No one argues that racism exists, because everyone knows it does. Some sociologists believe that the minority in any culture cannot be racist because they are in the minority and therefore are the victims of the majority. However when I see videos like the one that is linked, I think racism is a human problem, and it permeates all races. This video has some graphic language, so I warn you ahead of time.  However, it makes a case that racism isn’t just a white problem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBOMjZU-aCE&list=RDxBOMjZU-aCE - t=92

The “Black Lives Matter” crowd gets angry when you mention things like, “all lives matter” not just black lives, because they want the race issue to be front and center. They want to make their statements, block roadways, and disrupt normal commerce to make their point. In a recent march to the Minnesota State fair grounds, the protesters were chanting about killing cops by the words, “pigs in a blanket, fry them up like bacon.”

Not exactly the best way to influence people to be sympathetic to your cause.

Whatever the differences we have between the races, we also have things in common. 

  1. First, we are both made in the image of God, which means that skin color is God’s idea. When someone is a racist against a specific group of people, they are really discrediting God. Racism is a sin against God, because all races are His creative idea.
  2. Secondly, we are both Americans, we share the same country, the same language, and have the same opportunities to excel at the pursuit of happiness.

Is there white privilege? Sure there is, but there are a lot of privileges in our society given to the select and the popular.  There are privileges that go with education, political office, and being wealthy. There are all kinds of privileges that are not afforded to us common folk because we are not movie stars, famous, nor are we newsmakers.  There are many privileges in our culture that most of us do not qualify for, and that’s okay. Personally, I don’t need to have those privileges to have character and find happiness in which God created me to find.  I have known Christians who were passed over for jobs they were qualified for because their resume listed jobs they had with ministry organizations.  Sometimes having a good conservative background is a negative in our left leaning world. So there is a privilege of being a liberal in the world of education, government, politics, the arts and media. So we can cite privilege in all kinds of places, and even the black community has “black privilege” where the race card is played to escape arrest or from being prosecuted. The race card can also get jobs, acceptance into higher learning institutions, and qualify for discrimination lawsuits.  That’s all privilege, much like “white privilege” it is all in your perspective.

Listening to the protests, and watching the hatred in the conversations surrounding race, I am saddened to think as Americans we can’t come to a better solution than, “black lives matter” campaigns. At the end of the day, all this does is spew more hatred and anger through our society.  As a result of these racial tensions, we are seeing more cops killed and lawlessness setting the course in our cities.  Why can’t we chant “Cops Lives Matter Too?”  So where does all of this lead us? It leads us to dig in deeper and divide us all the more. Understanding doesn’t come from the divisions; it comes from our commonality of being human, and from being created by God to serve Him and each other.  Show me one good positive thing that comes from demanding your way?  Does that work at any level of society today?

God does call us to serve each other, to honor each other, and to love each other as God loves us. There is only one enemy and predicator to the human race and His name is Satan.  He is the defender of rights, the owner of making others pay, and he is the creator of the tensions between people. Remember, Jesus said he came to rob, steal and destroy.

I believe the tensions can be eased by getting the gospel into the hearts of everyone who is protesting, and those who are critical of their cause. All sides need a good dose of humility, and a willingness to ask God for the help that is needed to bring all sides together to make a better America for all races and groups of people. Jesus said that the world will create the tribulation, but in Him there would be peace.

 John 16:33

 33I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

There is no other solution outside of God, race will continue to matter, and divide us into segments of society that will foster more hate than good. It is only when we see each other through the eyes of Jesus can we appreciate the diversity and the wonder of God’s creation.  This verse applies to all human begins, and unless we start here, we will never solve the issues of race.

Psalms 139:14

14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

Not all black people agree with the movement black lives matter, Fox News did an interview with a young former marine who has a different point of view. It might be worth your time. 

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4460311780001/black-americans-fight-back-against-black-lives-matter-/?intcmp=hpvid1#sp=show-clips

 

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

Tuesday
Sep012015

What Is Holiness?

The theme of holiness is often missed in the modern church.  Ask most people about it, and they have no clue.  I remember the day when I went to the movies I was so convicted because I was afraid Jesus would come and I would be left behind.  This of course is a foolish way to look at holiness, but at least there was a consciousness of it. Today there is little conviction about anything, and even the most immoral issues we capitulate on. I think churches are afraid of being too legalistic, so they stay away from anything that sounds like we are restricting lifestyles.

Let’s go back to 1911 and find out how they defined holiness.

“We are not destiny for happiness, nor to health, but to holiness. Today we have far too many desires and interests and our lives are being consumed and wasted by them. God’s only goal is to produce saints. Jesus came to save us because He created us to be holy.”                   -Oswald Chambers 1911

1 Peter 1:16  because it is written, ye shall be holy; for I am holy.

Holiness is not legalism, it is a state of mind that does not want to sin against God.  Joseph, whose story in Genesis 39 gives us a picture of a man who overcame temptation by focusing His mind on God.

7And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.  8But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master knows not what is with me in the house, and he hath put all that he hath into my hand 9he is not greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

Joseph’s first concern was his sinning against God, when most of us would be thinking about “can I get away with it?” Joseph was a holy man.

Let’s face it, just thinking about holiness is foreign to our Christian experience, most of us think about Grace, and what a benefit it is to us. But to think about being holy scares us, and makes us paranoid because we know we have to be good in every area of life.  However, holiness is simply doing what is right before a holy God. The first area of holiness happens when you come to faith in Jesus Christ, and you turn away from your sinful lifestyle.  It is called repentance, and through repentance and faith you are made holy in the eyes of God through Jesus Christ. The second step of holiness is to be holy, as God is holy, in other words, you live your life to please God, honoring His Name, and serving His causes in the world around you. Holiness is acting on behalf of God and representing Him in love and forgiveness. It is making Him known through your actions and engagement with others.

Holiness is not a list of do’s and don’ts as some have legislatively proclaimed, but it is the behavior that spotlights Christ in your life.

I love the way  “Got Answers.com” defines holiness.

http://gotquestions.org

When God told Israel to be holy in Leviticus 11 and 19, He was instructing them to be distinct from the other nations by giving them specific regulations to govern their lives. Israel is God's chosen nation and God has set them apart from all other people groups. They are His special people, and consequently they were given standards that God wanted them to live by so the world would know they belonged to Him. When Peter repeats the Lord's words in 1 Peter 1:16, he is talking specifically to believers. As believers, we need to be "set apart" from the world unto the Lord. We need to be living by God's standards, not the world's. God isn't calling us to be perfect, but to be distinct from the world. First Peter 2:9 describes believers as "a holy nation." It is a fact! We are separated from the world; we need to live out that reality in our day-to-day lives, which Peter tells us how to do in 1 Peter 1:13-16

This is the message about holiness that we need to hear from each other, and from those who lead our churches. May God help us to be different and set a part for the cause of Christ, first in our homes, and then in the marketplace.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

Monday
Aug312015

The Nations Are Being Deceived

“Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you saying, is this the man who made the earth tremble.  Who shook the kingdoms, who make the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities.  Who did not open the house of his prisoners.”?                                                                                         -Isaiah 14; 16-17

Satan is the architect of evil on earth and one of his tactics is to hide the real side of evil beneath the cultural nuances of religion.  Islam has a goal to establish a worldwide caliphate, and they will stop at nothing to make it happen. Most Muslims are not radicalized, but they still have the same goal, to get Islam into mainstream America.  Franklin Graham recently commented upon a new prayer room in Florida.

A new prayer room is soon opening at the Orlando International Airport. If you're thinking Mike Buckle, Misty Edwards and IHOP, think again.

It's a Muslim prayer room—and the airport is investing $350,000 to build it, according to a report in WKMG. The room is set to open on Sept. 1.

"Let's call this what it is—a mosque. The airport already had an interfaith prayer room since 1983 (with prayer rugs available in it)—but that wasn't enough," Graham says.

"How loud do you think the objections would be today if they spent $250,000 in taxpayer money to build a new prayer room exclusively for evangelical Christians? Or for Jews or Mormons or any other group? Why do Muslims get preference?"

For more information I share this link.

http://www.charismanews.com/culture/51186-franklin-graham-is-standing-against-this-prayer-room-movement

Graham has received criticism because he is not backing away from what he believes.  Too often our churches have pandered to the idea that taking a stand against issues is not Christian, it is judgmental, and the last thing we want people to know about the church is that we are not tolerant of other people. In my lifetime as a Christian, I have seen the culture move away from the narrow thinking of the past, narrow thinking meaning beliefs that define a specific aspect of faith.  No longer do we have the hell fire and brimstone preachers that were common in the first part of the last century.  We have become more civilized in our approach to presenting the gospel.  We accent only on the positive aspects of God’s love, but fail to tell our audiences about the pain that comes with the judgment of God. I sat in church on Sunday and sang songs that elevated God almost as if we were singing love songs to Him, praising Him for His goodness. Gone are the days that speak of His sacrifice of shed blood making it possible for us to know God. Our songs talk about His magnificence, His character of love, and the joy He gives to those who follow Him.  Okay, there is nothing wrong with some of this, but the focus is away from what makes us right with God. All the songs that elevate God in worship are great, but equally as important are the songs that explain the right we have in Jesus to address God as Father.  For example, the message of the cross is often thought as hymns from our parent’s church, but not appropriate for a modern audience. The power of His name that identifies evil, and subdues it by the preaching of the gospel, is at best ignored as a viable reason to worship Him.   We never hear music about His soon coming, His Word standing the test of time, and giving direction in an era of extreme hedonism.  Then we get to the sermon and let me illustrate the frustration I have when I listen to most sermons. I am not being critical of pastors who teach on discipleship, or on how to live out your Christian life, those instructive sermons are essential for spiritual grow.  However, if you knew your child was standing in the middle of a busy street with traffic flying by, would you panic and do all you could to rescue her?  Of course you would, you cannot rely on the drivers not to hit your child because they may not see her in time. The risk is to great to leave her there on her own. That is exactly what many pastors have done when they ignore the cultural issues of our day.  Pastors know the volatility of their congregations, and their own jobs depend how they grow the church, and the last thing they want to do is to divide the church, so they avoid the controversy.

I come back to my point that evil is masquerading as truth, and we don’t have the discernment to know it. Allah is not God, and many converts from Islam to Christianity have said that he is Satan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N38mjeLfNBk

This is kind of testimony is more common than most people think, but how many of us have heard it?  Few communities will acknowledge this, why?  They have little to no spiritual awareness to discern the truth.  Churches won’t touch this kind of truth, why?  We don’t want to sound judgmental.  So, let’s just get busy and build more prayer rooms in our airports.  Oh and while we are at it, let’s make sure the nativity scenes get removed from more places of public display, this only seems fair. If you are still interested in knowing further truth about Islam and the history of the crusades, here is another link for you to consider.  I hope you are getting a good picture of what we are up against with Islam.

http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/world/brilliant-meme-perfectly-explains-the-crusades-for-children-and-democrats

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

Monday
Aug312015

A Time To Weep

1 Peter 4:17

 17For it is time for judgment  to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

When hackers released the names from the website Ashley Madison a few weeks ago, who would have thought that church leaders would be involved.  Ashley Madison is a website that promotes “having an affair” simple because life is too short.  Pastor Ed Stetzer writing in Christianity Today had this quote:

Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday. This is a significant moment of embarrassment for the church—and it should be. To be honest, the number of pastors and church leaders on Ashley Madison is much lower than the number of those looking to have an affair. Yet, there is still much that we must consider in the midst of the embarrassment.  -Ed Stetzer

http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/august/my-pastor-is-on-ashley-madison-list.html

It is time for the church to stop and pray.  We have become too corporate, too concerned about political correctness, and much too concerned about our reputation in the culture.  We want to be safe, friendly, and benign places of worship, where we get encouraged, supported, and assured that God loves me.  Now, it is important for us to have all those things to be a part of our church experience, but not at the expense of truth. Christian media outlets, such as magazines, radio stations, and newsletters all take a benign approach to sinfulness.  We don’t talk about our fallen nature much from the pulpit, because it’s not a topic people want to hear on a Sunday morning.  Dr Randy White recently said, “If you take 10% of the Bible references out of many Sunday sermons, the remainder of the sermon would be perfect for Ophra TV.”

Over the past few decades, the church has ceased to have an effective presence in the culture, and even less influence.  We have grown some churches to be quite large in many communities across the land, but their messages are designed to be more of public relations talk about God, than a sermon outlining God’s issues on sin and righteousness. There is a time for the church to remember from where it has fallen, and return to God in repentance and humility of heart.

The Ephesians church in the third chapter of the Book of Revelation says:

“ 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you repent

The church at Ephesus was bold, effective, and successful, but it had fallen away from its mission and was not pleasing to God. The same is true today, you can have mega churches that are successful, prominent voices, but are failing to do the kind of work God is calling His church to do.  Our job is to prepare the people to be Disciples of Christ, dedicated to the preaching of the gospel. 

The prophets called for repentance, and a proclamation to be faithful in being obedient to God. Weeping seemed to accompany repentance because of the grief and sorrow of how egregious their sin was toward God.

Isaiah 22:12

 12In that day the Lord GOD of hosts
called for weeping and mourning,
for baldness and wearing sackcloth;

Jeremiah 13:17

 17But if you will not listen,
my soul will weep in secret for your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears,
because the LORD's flock has been taken captive.

Jeremiah 50:4

 “In those days and in that time, declares the LORD, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come, and they shall seek the LORD their God.

Weeping has always meant a brokenness of heart, a sorrow for sin. Not sure how much the church weeps today.  I think we spend more time trying to convince ourselves about the victory of Jesus by singing about it, but never experiencing it. The church is in a state of denial, making out that God is good all the time, but never mentioning that He is grieved by the lack of self-awareness of Christians.  Even though I do believe God is good all the time, I fear we never ask a more meaningful question, “Is He pleased with us?”  Does He find us in these desperate times willing to fast and pray for what we see?  Are we concerned enough about our world to spend days in prayer, seeking Him for the answers and the strength to be His people?  I am not sure we are being told the whole story anymore in our churches.  Every church I attend I find them to be encouraging but not truthful. Most churches are not even aware He could come back today, or tonight, in fact they never even talk about it as a reality point in their messages. I don’t want to keep harping on this point, but it disturbs me to think there is no trumpet blasts in His church about the reality of our day.  If we knew how close we were to His return, I would think we might live a different life than we are, and that is my point.  We seem to be okay with a spiritual life that is somewhere between, I am saved and ok, and I want more of His blessings.

I think the last days church that is pleasing to God would be like the prophets of old who were bold to proclaim, and not afraid of their culture, their gods, or their retaliation. They wept for their people because they knew God was their only hope. Do we live within that reality in the modern church?

It is a time to weep, pray for your leaders, your church, and your family. Let’s approach His throne with a determination that we need to hear from God, and we are willing to give anything to see Him proclaimed in our world.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Thursday
Aug272015

Lets OutLaw Evil

The news is filled with all kinds of stories that illustrate a fundamental breakdown in moral behavior.  Immediately following the shooting deaths of two television personnel in Virginia the other day, the reaction of lawmakers was: “we must pass stiffer gun laws in order to prevent this kind of tragedy.”  We all know that even if all guns were banned in the United States, criminals will all find the weapons they need to pull off their evil deeds. Its not the guns that are at fault, it’s the culture. The culture has become so perverse that it is ripe for judgment. Perhaps what lawmakers and the media don’t understand is that all this gun violence could be judgment on a culture that rejects God.  No laws passed against gun violence will fix it, because it's not the guns, its the heart of man that is violent.  

Deut. 28 says:

“And you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually, and there shall be no one to help you. “

 God turns people over to their own idolatry, and allows their foolishness to rule their lives.

 Romans 1 says:

 24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

I repeatedly come back to Deuteronomy 28, where God says that when you violated His laws willingly, and forge your own standards in place of His; you will end up with confusion and disorientation of mind and heart.

 28The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind, 29and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways And you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually, and there shall be no one to help you.

Thinking through the various attitudes of a culture in decline, we see how the results affect our daily lives. For example, the University of Minnesota recently revised their policy on consensual sex. However, it is not a slam-dunk in terms of how it is administered.

The updated policy says sex is OK only if the individuals involved offer “informed, freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear and unambiguous words or actions.” Without that consent, the sexual activity falls under the U’s definition of sexual assault.

Critics of affirmative consent say it places an unfair burden on the accused. The policy has been implemented at schools across the country during the past year. But this summer, courts in Tennessee, California and Virginia have criticized it in cases where student’s accused of sexual assault didn’t receive due process.

“What the court said is that you cannot require someone to prove that consent was manifested, particularly in a typical date-rape situation where there is no other evidence and where it often comes down to he-said, she-said,” said John Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University.

Perhaps those wanting consensual sex should have to sign a form to assure that no one is charged with misconduct. As a society, we condone sex without the benefits of marriage, so naturally the downside of such attitudes will lead to people getting what they want at the expense of another. Evil doesn’t care what it destroys, its DNA is to rob, steal and destroy. It is evil that is behind the gun violence, rape, abuse, robberies, murders, and a list of things much to long to mention here. You don’t legislate against evil, evil knows how to write laws, and we have seen that in recent months with the Supreme Court. Evil only submits to God, and nothing else. It would be nice to pass a law against evil, but as soon as you did, evil would shift it’s nature to looking like good.  We must begin telling the truth without compromise and do so without apology. We can no longer dance around the issues, and avoid the themes that make us uncomfortable. 

The late Dr. W. A. Criswell offers this reminder:

Whenever there is a true prophet of God, he will preach judgment.  These modern so-called ministers of God speak all things nice . . . There is not any hell and there is not any devil and there is not any judgment of God . . . In our enlightened and sophisticated day . . . we stand up and we speak of the love of Jesus, and we speak of peace, and we speak of all things pretty and beautiful.  But remember . . . the same Book that tells us about the good, tells us about the bad.  The same Revelation that speaks to us about heaven, speaks about hell.  The Bible that presents the Lord Jesus as the Savior is the same Bible that presents to us the devil as our enemy and adversary of damnation and destruction.  The two go together.  If there is not anything to be saved from, we do not need a savior.

However, I still think it is a good idea to outlaw evil.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

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