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Wednesday
Feb102016

The Unaware Similarities Of The Past

Luke 17:27-30

27 They ate and drank and married—everything just as usual right up to the day when Noah went into the ark and the Flood came and destroyed them all.

28 “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot: people went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building— 29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and brimstone rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the hour of my return.

The days prior to the return of Jesus Christ will be consumed with everyday activities; people will be totally unaware of His return.  Dr Tim LaHaye wrote about this in an article entitled: 
“7 Reasons Why Some Pastors Don’t Preach On End Time Prophecies.”

1)   A minister does not take the Bible literally, as God intended.

2)   A minister takes the Bible literally, except the 28 percent that is prophetic.

3)   A minister receives his education from secular educators.

4)   A minister is not willing to do the hard work of studying God's Word.

5)   A minister is not willing to be an avid reader

6)   A minister is misguided by charlatans, zealots and date setters.

7)   A minister believes people are not interested in Bible prophecy.

All of these of course make a case for why people are not involved with Bible prophecy; it just isn’t an interest of those leading the church. So what does that say about our leaders who ignore 28% of the Bible?  So if we ignore 28% of the Bible isn’t that a huge percentage of indifference? One thing pastors forget is they are called to be a watchman. Google "Watchman in the Bible" sometime and see what comes up. I think you would be surprised at how direct the Bible is in making a case to warn the people.

Ezekiel 33:7

“So with you, son of dust. I have appointed you as a watchman for the people of Israel; therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me.

If the leadership of your church are not watchmen, than they are not listening to the God of the Bible. God's purpose, while there is yet time, is to warn people of their lost state of being. Included in that lost state, is the ignorance of the impending problems that will overshadow the world in the last days. The greatest threat to human beings will be their rejection of a Savior named Jesus Christ. That rejection is a process of conditioning that encompasses the following:

  1. Compromise:  The Wheaton College Professor who parted ways with the institution because she believes Allah and Jehovah are the same God. Her thinking breaks several of the Ten Commandments, but that’s what compromise does.
  2. Confusion: People are confused about God because He is only understood as love. There is no understanding about His truth condemning sinful behavior. The Bible does not teach that love condones immoral behavior; in fact the same God who is perceived to be a God of love condemns it.  
  3. Conditioning: We have been condition by our culture to ignore the negative, and celebrate the positive even if the positive isn’t true.  Most Americans like to pretend that they will have no worries about the future, because their conditioning has always told them that nothing will happen to the American ideals and dreams. The Obama Administration is a good reality check that America can change, and do so quickly.
  4. Collaborate:  Many American Christians collaborate with the wrong ideas and celebrate the inappropriate behavior.  I had a long discussion recently about how people honor Michael Jackson because he was so talented; yet fail to remember that his talent was connected to his behavior as an alleged pedophile. We should never celebrate evil, even if it has talent.
  5. Character: The missing part of the American culture is the character that defends the liberty that comes from righteousness, and the justice that only God brings to human beings. That righteousness and justice is found in knowing Jesus Christ. In the church, we spend too much time trying to be relevant and not enough time being Christ like. We need to stop looking and acting like the culture so we can impress people that we are relevant. Pastors, stick to growing the Character of Christ in your church, and stop trying to be so cool. 

These characteristics of the culture and the modern church in America are what drive us further away from knowing God. Knowing Him, and making Him known is the most relevant ministry objectives our churches can develop that would best serve our world. We are so busy about being busy that we are failing to acknowledge how late the hour of His return really is. Yes, we are beginning to look a lot like those days prior to the flood, and to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We are too preoccupied to notice what's on the horizon.  

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

Monday
Feb082016

Justice Is Coming

I hate injustice.  I dislike it so because I see it everyday, and learn more of it from others. However, the only peace I have in an unjust world is that I know that there will be a day of justice, and it’s coming.

I know most of you will not take the time to watch this video, but you should. It helps you to understand my generation. The Vietnam War generation, whose lives and families were impacted by this unpopular war. Then when they arrived home, the very country that sent them to war shamed them.  This documentary moved me, and made me realize how some suffered on the battlefield, and then came home and suffered even more. This makes me so sad. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l86pE_Hfw2I

If you were to talk to a Vietnam vet today, you find much of the same attitudes as you viewed in the video. There is always injustice in the world, and the privileged take advantage of their privileges, but most of us continue to live our quiet lives. I would be much more upset over the injustice if I didn’t know that some day all injustice would be made right. I know that all the crooked politicians who sent young men and women to war to fight a political war will stand before almighty God and give an account. I know that all lies will be exposed, and all back room deals will come into the light. All people of power will be exposed for the atrocious of their governance. Hollywood executives who made billions of dollars on filthy programming will have to give God a reason for their actions. I honestly feel sorry for them. I know that all preachers will be held up against the standard of His Word and receive a stricter judgment due to their high position of teaching the truth. There will be no excuse for anyone who was entrusted with a ministry and who was not honest in conducting their sacred duty to God. I know that someday all the unrest will be brought under the sanctuary of peace. I know that all racism will end, and all humanity will not worry about skin color, or if their lives mattered or not, they will only worry about whether their name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. It will not matter if you’re powerful, or rich, or poor, or lame, God’s justice will one day win out, and everything will be made right.  When we stand before God and you will, what will you say on your behalf? Those who do not know God, their justice will be swift and heartbreaking. Without Christ, your judgment is sealed. Then there are those who know God, they will be rewarded for the work they did for Him. Don’t be fooled, justice is coming, and so we wait.

 

The Apostle Paul writes: in Romans 12:19–21:

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Justice is coming, and so we wait.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

Sunday
Feb072016

Persistence

I like the one-word themes.  They help me focus, and apply their meaning to a wide range of applications.  Persistence for example can be applied to many aspects of our lives.  We need to be persistent in how we get things accomplished.  I have a family member who was persistent to lose weight, that he lost just under 200 pounds. Now that was persistence. I have another acquaintance that told me he wanted to retire from his profession by the age of 40, so he could go into politics fulltime.  He has a little more than a year to go, so we shall see if he makes it.  But that is persistence; it will affect every aspect of our lives.

Jesus told us a story about persistence in Luke 18.

One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must keep praying until the answer comes.

“There was a city judge,” he said, “a very godless man who had great contempt for everyone. A widow of that city came to him frequently to appeal for justice against a man who had harmed her. 4-5 The judge ignored her for a while, but eventually she got on his nerves.

“‘I fear neither God nor man,’ he said to himself, ‘but this woman bothers me. I’m going to see that she gets justice, for she is wearing me out with her constant coming!’”

Then the Lord said, “If even an evil judge can be worn down like that, don’t you think that God will surely give justice to his people who plead with him day and night? Yes! He will answer them quickly! But the question is: When I, the Messiah, return, how many will I find who have faith and are praying*?”

Prayer if it is anything, it is an exercise in persistence. It is asking God for something, and it can even have weak moments of complaining. But the objective is God. It is a two-sided coin of talking with Him, and listening to Him.  God wants us to speak with Him, and at the same time listen to Him. That’s what relationships are all about, communication. Jesus knew that prayers were not always answered when it is most convenient for them to be answered. That’s why He told the story of a godless judge who was under no obligation to answer the request of the nagging widow. It was her persistence that eventually got her the answer she was pursuing. How about you?  Are you persistent in your asking God for something?  Jesus said that God, who is a righteous judge, would answer prayers of the persistent.  The last sentence in this passage has some troubling ramifications however. Will there be less persistent prayer, taking place in the last days before His return?  It is a question Jesus was asking. I too have some questions that need some answers:

  • Do our lives permit time to pray? 
  • Do we believe prayer is important?
  • What is it about prayer that it is the last resort in many cases?
  • How often do we suggest we will pray about something, but fail to do so?
  • What is it about God, that we consult Him less and less in our society?
  • Will God find people who have faith in God on earth when He returns?

The last days will be a series of events that will work to take down your defenses, and wear you out in your persistence to serve God.  Our society has been at work for decades to bring us further along the godless trail of unbelief.

So my suggestion is that we be persistent in asking God for persistence. 

We need to shore up our defenses against a day of ungodly unbelief.  Perhaps may I suggest a prayer for you?

Lord,

You are the most important aspect of my life; let me strengthen myself in knowing You. Help me to take courage in building my life around Your Word, and strengthen my desire to resist the Devil and his plan to discourage me from following You.

Help me be a person of persistence that will not give up on seeking You for my direction and answers as I live for You.

In His name….Amen!

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

 

Thursday
Feb042016

Rekindle The Gift of Engagement

 

2 Timothy 1:6-7

This being so, I want to remind you to stir into flame the strength and boldness that is in you, that entered into you when I laid my hands upon your head and blessed you. 7 For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.

These verses speak to me about engagement.  Let me explain.

In the last days the darkness becomes commonplace, and acceptable dark practices that were condemned just a generation ago, will be accepted as normal. Even those who appear to be in right standing with society will be found to be monsters of deception. I think of Bill Cosby as an example of such a person. Accused by 55 women who said he drugged and sexually assaulted them.  Then there is former President Bill Clinton; his list of affairs would certainly qualify him for sexual addiction therapy.  The point I am making is that people are not naturally good, their base nature is evil, and they will cheat, steal, and lie if it would benefit them. I am no longer surprised at the kind of darkness that people are capable of committing. Over my lifetime as a Christian, I have seen horrendous acts of unfaithfulness, and delusion in the lives of fellow Christians who lost their values and lost their God.

O.J. Simpson has been in the news lately; he is crippled by knee pain, high blood pressure, and is a hefty 350 pounds.  When I look at that man he reminds me of a wandering soul, lost in his own world of secrets and lies. God doesn’t always wait until judgment day to meter out His justice.  Some like O.J. may be getting a taste of justice now in this world. It is always a reminder to me that there is a lesson we can learn from the rich and famous: happiness is not found in wealth or in fame. If it was, people like O.J. Simpson, Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby would be the happiest people on earth. This is why Paul tells us to fan into flame the gift of God within us, so that we would not bow in giving our lives to the false gods in this culture. I believe Paul’s words will be even more important as we continue to experience the deterioration of America. All winter long we burn wood in our fireplace in our home and it’s my job to keep the fire going. Periodically, I have to stoke the fire with new wood, so the flame does not go out.  The same is true with the gifts of God. Those gifts need to be stoked and fanned into flame, strengthening the boldness of the Holy Spirit within you. Paul said we are not to be fearful, or as the verse above states: “7 For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them."

This is important to understand, because many Christians want to withdraw from the darkness, rather than engage it. Yet, the church is left on earth to push back the darkness through the light of the gospel.  Recently I was a part of an interview with a marketing expert. He challenged the common understanding that “content is king” when it comes to delivering a message to an audience. He went on to explain that without “engagement” of the audience the content means nothing.  In other words, you may have the best product (the Content) yet if no one is buying it at the stores, (Engagement) you will go broke.

The same principle is present in those of us who follow Jesus Christ.  Our “content” of knowing the Lord, His Word, His gifts, His love, His mercy and grace can only know their fullest potential when we are engaging those around us.  One of the great sins of our day is busyness, too much to do, in too short of time. Our busyness is keeping the culture alive in our lives, while at the same time it’s snuffing out the flames that need to be stoked for God. As the darkness grows in our world, God will be calling on those who know Him to be more engaging. His gifts were not confined to the walls within the Church; they were to be used to make Him known in the darkness around us. That means we engage the darkness. If God wants none to perish, then we have no choice but to engage the darkness. Once the church learns this principle of engagement, we will begin to see the lives of people changed, both for those who will do the engagement and for those whom we engage

What’s the word of the day?  “Engagement”

What’s the formula?  “Content” plus “engagement” brings the truth to people who need it. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

Tuesday
Feb022016

The Mad Kings In Me

 

I Samuel 18:11 “Saul hurled the spear for he thought, "I will pin David to the wall." But David escaped from his presence twice."

It has been many years since I first read Gene Edwards book, “A Tale Of Three Kings.” He subtitled it, a study in brokenness, but it was one of the best books I had read up to that point in my life. Now, many years later I am re-reading it.

I thought I would take one of the ideas today and share why brokenness is a lesson plan God wants all of us to understand.

In the story of King Saul, author Gene Edwards calls him a mad king. Edwards says there are many such “mad kings” in our lives, and they are there to teach us about brokenness.  King Saul hated the young shepherd boy David, and there wasn’t a good reason for it.  Many times in life there is no good reason why we are living with mad Kings, but we are, and they are the most troubling of people. They have the authority, or the influence over you in some way, and their madness like King Saul’s is often directed your way. King Saul would be so irritated with the Shepherd Boy David that he would throw spears at him, trying to pin him to the wall.  David, learning the lesson of brokenness never picked up any of those spears and to throw it back. He dodged the spears time and time again, only to flee for his life and hide from the mad King Saul.

The story also tells us that God is looking for the mad Kings in you and in me.  He contents that the King’s madness is in all our veins, and in marrow of our bones. We like King Saul have a madness of self-importance, self indulgence, and self interest.  Our first tendency in our madness is to throw spears; sometimes even at the people we love, only because our madness is out of our control.

The author tells us that David was being groomed to become King, and King Saul was being use to give birth to humility and suffering in the young shepherd boy. For from these two virtues, great leaders will come.

So, you will have to read the book to understand more about these three Kings, of which I have only mentioned two.

I realize now why I liked this revolutionary book so much when I first read it many years ago.  It helped me to understand the Kingdom of God, and the purpose of brokenness, and how it will shape our future alongside God in ruling and reigning on earth. That may sound off base to some, but leadership built from the ashes of humility and suffering is God’s way of training His leaders. My life has had many spears tossed in my direction, and I have always failed the test by picking up a spear to toss it back from which it came. The madness of the Kings in my life had the power to influence me to retaliate in spear throwing.

Who are these mad Kings I speak about in me?  Oh, they behave like mad King Saul, but they all have sub-names.   Kingly names like, King money, King arrogance, King selfishness, King narcissism, King alcohol, King gambling, King gossip, King racism, King pornography, King greed, King blame, King lying, King dishonesty, King hatred, King etc etc etc. We all know them; they seem to take up residence in most of us.

If you follow these Kings to their logical conclusion, they will make us mad, we will be so consumed by their presence we will never see clearly again.

Their madness takes over and when attacked they all throw spears, first at the accusers, and then at anyone who might be trying to help. Brokenness is one of the best ways to defeat these Kings, and brokenness will test our resolve in never allowing them to have authority in our lives again.

I do know why I liked the book, “A Tale of Three Kings,” so much; it is for those of us who have been wounded by all the mad King Saul’s in the world.  Few people do what David did, and walk away from all the spear throwing, allowing his dignity to be based upon a foundation of humility in knowing God, and the lesson of brokenness. David knew that God’s call was upon King Saul, and even in the moments of his madness, David was being tested to learn how brokenness was training him to be the next King. In a world of mad Kings, how do you think you are doing?  Are you learning the lesson of brokenness so you too will overcome the mad Kings within us?

I wonder how many spears you have thrown today, and how many have been thrown at you?

It might be time for all of us to read, Gene Edwards, “A Tale of Three Kings.”

Keeping it honest and truthful…….K

 

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