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Tuesday
Jul292014

Making Excuses

Probably the most over used phrase in the American culture today is, "I'm so sorry."  It is used by waitresses who don't get to your table right away, to clerks on the telephone who have to put you on hold.  Now there is a legitimate use for the the words, "I am so sorry," when a real offense takes place.  If you are late for an appointment, have bad behavior, or hurt someone's feelings, but the phrase is so overly used that it has lost its meaning. For the most part, today it is used only as an excuse. We use excuses for all kinds of things, and often it's because we don't want to take responsibility for our lazy or inattentive behavior.  Most of the time, for example, I am late for an appointment because I didn't plan right.  I was too busy doing whatever it was prior to the appointment to properly prepared for the meeting. There is no excuse for it, but I justify my behavior, by saying "I am so sorry."  It eventually becomes a habit and my sorry really doesn't mean much, because I will be saying it again, the very next time I am late. 

Some people use an excuse for everything.  My favorite is: "it's not my fault."  Some of the younger generation will use, "it's not my fault" for almost everything, because they don't want to be held accountable. Accountability is a good thing, because it is the time to search for the truth.  Life can be filled with excuses, but in the end, excuses only means one will not deal with the truth. 

God keeps the books on every person who has ever lived. He knows the deepest secrets, the motives, the lies, and the excuses, that we use in everyday life. Nothing escapes Him. We make more excuses to Him, than we do to anyone else.  Sometimes, some of the biggest excuses we make is when we pray. We want God to do something for us, but we have no intention to make any changes. We want God to act, but we make excuses for our own lack of follow through. Change comes in anyone's life when the excuses stop, and the reality of accountability takes hold.  Recently a family member did some work for a neighbor, and the work done was not specifically what the neighbor wanted.  So, as a family, we worked together to make it right. Now, it would be easy to make excuses, for what happened, or we could just say "sorry" but the right thing to do, is to make it right. The Old Testament was strong on making it right, it is called "making restitution." 

 If a man borrows an animal from his neighbor and it is injured or dies, he must make restitution” (Exodus 22:1,3-6,14).

Leviticus 6:2-5 covers other situations in which stolen property is restored, plus one fifth of the value. Also of note in this passage, the restitution was made to the owner of the property (not to the government or any other third party), and the compensation was to be accompanied by a guilt offering to the Lord. The Mosaic Law, then, protected victims of theft, extortion, fraud, and negligence by requiring the offending parties to make restitution. The amount of remuneration varied anywhere from 100 to 500 percent of the loss. The restitution was to be made on the same day that the guilty one brought his sacrifice before the Lord, which implies that making amends with one’s neighbor is just as important as making peace with God.

Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/restitution-Bible.html#ixzz38q9uk21b

Restitution is rarely preached any more in the church.  As a young believer in the 70's it was one of those themes that was visited quite often, because it was taught that our relationship with the Lord, was reflected in how we treated others. The preachers back then didn't want their congregation to think it was okay to make excuses when you are in the wrong. Another great concept that was talked about back then was, "to keep our accountants short."  In other words we don't allow excuses to build up so we would forget to make it right. 

How about you today? Still making excuses for how you treat people, or see life?  If you live in the mode of excuses, you will become a slave to them, and never break free.  Excuses are a cowardly way to live life, because an excuse will not stand and take the responsibility it requires to be honest,and truthful, which is honoring to God.

I say we condemn excuses  back to what they originate, with Satan, and his lying hordes. 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

 

Tuesday
Jul222014

The Delusion 

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,  12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Some of what we are experiencing in our society, is the result of not believing in God, nor His plan of salvation in His Son Jesus. Most conservatives have this thinking that if we could just get a conservative base in Washington, that we could turn this country around. I use to feel that way too, but I don't anymore. My study of scripture tells me a different story, and part of it is found in these verses above. The result of not believing in God, will be a delusion that will foster falsehood and unrighteousness.  You might say, why would God be the one behind the delusion, why not Satan?  Don't get me wrong Satan is definitely in the mix of any delusion, it's his middle name. But God sends the delusion and turns them over to their own hatred of God. In Germany for instance, they are building a worship center that will bring Jews, Christians and Muslims together in one accord to worship God. 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2014/jun/25/berlin-house-of-one-unity-christian-muslim-jew

This sounds good to those who like to think that all three religions are equal, and that they all serve the same God. However, the only thing that they have in common is the delusion they are under. There is no relationship between dark and light, it does not exist in God's Kingdom. Jesus said you can not server two masters.

Matthew 6:24

 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. 

There are not many gods, only the delusion of many gods. There is but one God, and He is the God of the Bible. In the last days, the strong delusion will teach that all gods are equal, and they all teach the same things. Religion is a modern delusion, because it is thought to be a way to honor God by practicing love, serving the poor, and building a better world by mutual cooperation. This is why some Christians support the Palestinian movement and believe Israel is a hostile country that practices apartheid. The God of the Bible isn't interested in mutual cooperation, that is an invention of the Devil. He wants people to worship as many gods as they possibly can, because it violates God's requirement of worshipping only Him. From Exodus 20, we read:


 3“You shall have no other gods before me.

 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,  

but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

The delusion that God does not punish, or bring judgment on those who hate God, is one of the biggest omissions in modern theology.  Grace is God's way to appeal to us with a pardon for our wickedness, but when that pardon is rejected, it will not only affect the present generation, it will affect several generations that follow. 

Today, we are experiencing a strong delusion, but remember it was sent because we rejected the truth. Christians need to know how to penetrate this delusion with the truth, because it is our only hope to save those who are not yet overpowered by this great deception. What is needed is a radical change in the church, much like the first reformation, there are some major issues that must be addressed if we are going to overcome the delusion of our age. 

1. The new reformation begins by calling it's leaders to repentance for their lack of Biblical understanding.

2. The new reformation rediscovers the Biblical Jesus and a love for Israel

3. The new reformation engages the culture with truth, and fights for what is right in the eyes of God.

4. The new reformation is God centered, but culturally engaged. 

5. The new reformation is willing to take risks, and trust God for miracles, signs and wonders like the days of the early church.

I do believe in the work of the Holy Spirit, and it is His job to lead the church.  We need to get out of the way and let Him lead us to a new reformation in defending and declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

Monday
Jul212014

The Unexpected Will Rule In The Last Days

Luke 21:34

 34“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

There are many descriptors for the last days.

  • Confusion
  • Deception
  • Lawlessness
  • Self focused

 However, the unexpected will also rule the last days. 

I was talking with a pastor today, who is tired and facing more problems within the church than ever before, and he is totally worn out. This was totally unexpected for a guy who has been like the energizer bunny. I also learned today about the divorce of a ministry colleague, and this too was totally unexpected. In my own family I have experienced betrayal and lying to protect the truth.  Again, totally unexpected by a family member whose life up to now has been honest and trustworthy. 

The last days will be a season of unexpected events, and changes in the personal behavior of people we have known for a long time. We will also see the unexpected become the reality. For example, the sexual revolution of the 60's has translated into gay marriage in the 2000's and polygamy is just around the corner. Even though polygamy is illegal in America, experts say there are 30,000 to 50,000 people living in plural families across the country. Again, it is unexpected, but it will eventually become legal to have several partners in one marriage. I never thought our society would ever endorse marijuana has an agent of healing, but we are on the course to do just that. Totally unexpected. 

So what other unexpected changes in society can we expect in the coming years?

 

  • Entertainment will remove all filters and moral restrictions 
  • We will see the days of the gladiators return so we can watch death in real time
  • Race tensions will escalate until there will be be no civility between our differences
  • Socialism will be the ruling party in most governments around the world, including our own
  • Biblical truth will no longer be accepted as normal 
  • Children will continue to decline into thieves, murderers, and rapists. 
  • The Internet will rule business, recreation, information, and entertainment
  • Good people will stop fighting and give up or become passive and indifferent

Obviously some of these unexpected trends are prevalent today, but they will increase, always pushing the envelope to total moral decay.  That is why Jesus said that the days will become so dark, that unless He intervened, all would be destroyed. 

 

Matthew 24:22
And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

 

As a society we are being desensitized to immoral trends and slowly we are accepting outlandish behavior as normal. This attitude will rule our society in the days to come, prior to the return of Jesus Christ. It is another sign of the last days. Remember, it will take Jesus to intervene in order to stop the decay. Our only hope will be in God, His mercy, and His grace.  Stand prepared, don't accept this world's solutions for anything, because they will not work, and will only aid in the moral decay of the age. 

As Bob Dylan sang so many years ago, "the times they are a changing."

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

Sunday
Jul202014

Being Alone With Yourself

The phenomenon of this modern age, is the constant connection to an electronic audience. We can not drive, walk down the street, or have dinner with each other without the phone interrupting us.  We don't go anywhere without being in contact with our music, or email, or our friends.  It is an addiction to being in the present all the time. That's right, it is an addiction, because people can't help themselves.  They check their phone while in church, while engaged in a private conversation, or even while driving.  To me, this addiction is just plain rude, it says to the people they are with, that YOU, aren't as important as what is happening on email, twitter, Facebook, or text messaging. All of this attention we give to this media has made us addicts to being rude.

Now most young people would disagree with me on this, because they feel their phones, are an extension of themselves, and have a right to reference their phone at any time or place. However, there is even a deeper problem that goes beyond rudeness when it comes to smart phones. It is the issue of never being alone with your thoughts. There is so much bombardment of media messages today, that it is extremely hard to unplug just to think thoughts that you generate. Critical thinking does not come from the outside, as much as it does from within your own mind and heart.  For example, when we talk about developing a relationship with God it needs to be in the first person, not a second hand experience. I can't tell you how many times I have heard people parrot the concepts of a TV evangelist as if the concept originated from themselves. Knowing God is cultivating a quiet understanding of Him, and not being afraid to challenge the status quo of the culture or the church.  I have learned to find my critical thinking base from God's word, because it makes me think beyond my experience, and beyond the culture at large.  For example, my life's verse happens to be Psalm 16:2, and this verse reminds me of how I view life. 

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.
When you aren't alone with your thoughts, you become vulnerable to the persuasions of others. For example, many denominations, and churches want us to believe in their brand of Christianity, and for the most part, much of it is like advertising, they are selling us a product.   That means that I have to know more than I use to about Christianity so that I don't believe in something just because a church or a denomination teaches it. That is why it is important to be alone with yourself to critically think through the scriptures, and find the Jesus the Bible speaks about. 
It has been said that a man's life isn't made up of what he puts into it, it is made up of what comes out of it. This was another reason why God had instituted the Sabbath for ancient Israel, it was a time to reflect on Him, and on how His Word interacted with your life.  God wants us to know His principles and values, but more importantly, He wants them to change us. Today, little time is spent on reflecting on anything that has meaning and purpose.  Keeping people so busy, will keep people from taking the time to reflect on what is important, and what is not. 
One of the tools of busyness is the addiction to be continually be in the present, we can't miss a thing, so we have to stay connected. 
Perhaps, this week, take some time away from the world wide web, and use that time to read, think and pray. I wonder if some of the anxiety you are now experience, will not be as problematic. Jesus told us in Matthew 6 about the anxiety that builds in this world, but relieving that anxiety is having the right focus.  
31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Keeping it honest and truthful...K
Thursday
Jul172014

Are Christians Judgmental?

Christians are all judgmental, is what I hear from twenty year olds. They think Christians are the most judgmental people on earth.  Strangely, I agree, they are the most judgmental people on earth because they are trained to be that way. Let me explain. 

Matthew 7:13-14

 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

The Bible is a book about judgment, not just the kind of judgment where God throws fire down from heaven, but the kind of judgment that makes a difference between right and wrong. The narrow way that Jesus spoke about has to do with living according to the standards He has laid out in the Bible. Those standards determine what is right and what is wrong with human behavior as it relates to how we worship God, and how we treat each other. It identifies behavior that is an abomination to God, and tells us that people who live in rebellion to God will be condemned for such behavior. The Ten Commandments for example are rules of engagement for people who consider God to be important. It tells us not all gods are equal, therefore only worship the one true God, and defines behavior that is honoring to parents, and other people.  When those Ten Commandments tell us not to lie, steal or murder, that's all judgment, it is defining what is right and what is wrong with human behavior. When Christians are told in the Bible not to associate with people who are immoral, and who have deviant behavior, that too is a judgment call, helping to keep their behavior from being an influence to you.  That's all called judgment. 

So, when young people say Christians are judgmental, I say, yes they are, but we grateful they are because they help us to know what is right and wrong behavior according to God. The Devil has the world convinced that there are no absolutes, there is no wrong or right behavior, everything is acceptable and good in nature. For example, abortion is murder, but the terms get changed, and the rights of the mother get elevated to a place of worship, and behold, you can legislate abortion as a right, not as murder. When I say it's murder, people say that I am judgmental. No matter how you try to cover it up with new terms and introduce it as a right, it is still murder.  What I have done is to evaluate it according to what right and wrong according to God's standard for life. There is no legislation, nor public support that can change the fact that abortion is the killing a human being.  

Christians evaluate human behavior according to the standards God has written in order to maximize a healthy lifestyle. God tells us it's not a good thing to do the following:

 

  • Don't have sex with relatives
  • Don't lie to each other or lie to get ahead
  • Don't steal or covet our neighbors things
  • Don't have sex with a neighbors wife or husband
  • Don't be in a same sex relationship
  • Don't have sex with animals
  • Don't kill the unborn
  • Don't be dishonest in business
  • Don't  cheat
  • Don't murder
  • Don't hate your enemies
  • Don't retaliate
  • Don't support evil behavior 

 

These are all judgment calls, behavior that is not acceptable to God in any shape or form, and when we live by His rules, everyone benefits, but we run the risk of being called judgmental.  

My question to those who think Christians are judgmental, what part of that list is good to ignore?  If you agree with any of it, you too are judgmental because you are judging between right and wrong. 

Arguments against Christians generally are not intelligent nor are they rational, they are emotional arguments based upon the rhetoric that has been taught in our institutions by people who hate the truth.  If you have truth, then you have absolutes, and with absolutes you have standards and values. Standards and values are judgement calls, again defining how you view life, and it is by those values that you create a world view in which you live out your life. Christians live by the world view that God has laid out in the Bible, they see life through the lens of scripture, and as a result, they are criticized and labeled judgmental.  

I wish these same people who like to call Christians judgmental would start criticizing the Muslims more often and leave us poor Christians to our world view.  Muslims are all about judgment calls in their values, so why aren't they called judgmental? Yeah right, did I mention that criticizing Christians is safe, because one of our values is not to murder, not so much with the Muslims.  Please, please pick on the Muslims more, we Christians could use a rest. 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K


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