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Sunday
Aug172014

Something We Forgot When We Talk About The Jews

I have posted many times before that God is behind the Middle East wars, and turmoil. He is bringing the Islamic nations together, against Israel, and allowing even the rhetoric about eliminating the Jews into the main stream press around the world.  What I think we also forget, is that God was behind the hatred of the Jews around the world, and He is responsible for the anti-Semitism.

Here's why: 

In 2 Kings 21 you read about the King Massasseh, and he seduced Israel to do things she was not familiar in doing, but she went along with her king. Here in verse eight of that chapter it states Massasseh's sin. 

 And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.”  9But they did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel.

But earlier in the chapter it says that Massasseh did the following. 

1. He rebuilt the high places of worship, where you worshipped the gods of the culture in the land.

2. He built altars in the House of the Lord, worshipping other gods. 

3. He sacrificed his son in the fire

4. He used mediums, and wizards 

Many of Israel's leaders lead the people away from God, but King Massasseh was the worst.  Jeremiah the prophet wrote what God said about the results of Massasseh leadership.

3I will appoint over them four kinds of destroyers, declares the LORD: the sword to kill, the dogs to tear, and the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.  And I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem.

In Jeremiah 29 we discover that God was not only behind the scattering of His people, He also was behind their reproach, among all the nations. 

17 ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten.  18 I will pursue them with sword, famine, and pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them,  19because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the LORD, that I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the LORD.’

As you can see, it was God who cursed the Jews to be hated and mistreated by all the nations on the earth.  It all was because of their disobedience and rejection of God. Now, when we talk anti-Semitism, we are talking about this verse in Jeremiah where God tells us He will allow the nations to consider the Jews a reproach. I believe we saw a decline in anti-Semitism from the end of World War II to the late nineties.  But for the past ten or more years, we are seeing a rise in the hatred of the Jews.  In the last days you will see more and more hatred for the Jews, because the Devil will try to destroy Israel, so there is no physical place for the Messiah/Savior to return, discounting all the prophecies that He would come back to Jerusalem.

God is in control of the Jews, their persecution, their being hated by all nations, and He is also their protector. God is allowing the reproach against the Jews, to set up for His return to Jerusalem as King of the Jews, and King over all the earth.  This world is being set up for God's final plan to take place, where Israel will be abandoned by all, and invaded by her enemies.  It is at that point that Jesus will return to defend His land and His people, the Jews. 

The answers to our future are found in the Bible, and all we need to do is look for them.

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

 

Thursday
Aug142014

Why Are Churches So Silent?

Glenn Beck on his Thursday radio show had it right. He was wondering why so many pulpits are silent concerning the issues in our day.  He was primarily referencing the problems in Missouri, but broadened it out to Christian persecution around the world.  Glenn sounded more like a prophet this morning than he did a talk show host. He cited the silence of the pulpits for much of our problems in this country.  He went on to say, that Congress has turned into a photo op and a fund raising job for those elected, and they do nothing to fix this country.  And the pulpits are silent about this neglect. Glenn went on to say that pastors are so afraid to lose their congregations, that they will not risk speaking about themes that may be controversial. What ever happened to the idea that the pulpit was the mouth piece of God?  When has God been afraid of telling the truth, and when has God been concerned about ratings, offerings, and popularity? Glenn Beck has it right, the silence of the pulpit has contributed to the inability of the Church to speak into this culture. 

The reason so many preachers are silent today, is because of  the people sitting in the pews who do not want their pastor meddling into politics, or issues that draw controversy.  Yet the nature of Christianity is controversial. When you call yourself a Christian, you are agreeing with John 14:6, and if that isn't controversial enough, Jesus even told His disciples that He didn't come to bring peace. 

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Matthew 10:34

 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Yet, pastors and churches alike have taken Christianity in a passive, non-combatant direction. We prefer to serve others, even if the service means nothing to those we are trying to reach. I realize that you build a relationship with those who oppose you, and then with the help of God we have a chance to approach the issues that are normally taboo in religious conversation. The silence of our pulpits are not wisdom, it is neglect. We are keeping the the world away from God's wisdom, His insights, and His direction on issues that divide people. By avoiding such issues, we tell the world, that we don't have an opinion, or that we really don't know enough on the topic, so we will be silent. My dream would be for the news media to take notice of the pastors in the land, because they suddenly awaken from a three decade slumber to take back America from the political thugs who now rule in Washington.  No one fears the church, much less care what they think.  There is no power in the church, no one is listening to our message any more. Why? Simple, we aren't saying anything worth listening to. 

I know I am hard on the pulpit, and it's because I am a preacher, and I know what I am not hearing from the 2014 pulpit.  Think about this, if every evangelical pulpit in the land preached against gay marriage and the ramifications that gay marriage creates in society, what would happen?  I would hope that there would be a movement started of believers standing up for a moral America. What are the chances of something like that happening?  Slim to none.  The pulpit no longer belongs to God, it has been high jacked by theological liberals who think they can interpret the Bible to mean whatever they think it should mean. In fact several Christian leaders I know, now call believers who have a solid faith in Christ, "the Remnant" because so much of the church has drunk the koolaid, and have no Biblical foundation. 

When you get a chance, check out Glenn Becks program from yesterday, the segment on pastors will be in the second hour.

We have to stop pacifying and coddling our congregations with sermons and mission statements that do nothing to change the culture, in fact, what we have done is hide from the culture in order to avoid the uncomfortable situations. 

We need a a second "Reformation" one that stand up for truth, and is not afraid to proclaim it in the halls of congress, or in the Board room of American corporations. 

Keeping it honest and truthful....K


Wednesday
Aug132014

Unity At Any Cost

There is a move today to bring Catholics and Protestants together as one Church, and the Pope is one of the strongest proponents for such a move. It sounds good, and the prayer of Jesus in John 17 would be fulfilled. So, is there a problem with all of this?  Of course, because we aren't on the same page concerning how we see the Bible, Israel, and the practice of Christianity. Ten years or so ago, the late Chuck Colson tried to make some moves toward unifying the denominations, but found there was too much resistance for it. So, you might be asking, "what's so bad about trying to make all the denominations come together and be one Church?  Well, the only way that will happen is if we all abandon our statements of faith, and reinvent something we all can agree upon. For example, as a former Catholic, we would have to figure out how issues such as confession, purgatory, Mary as co-redeemer and indulgences, these will all play a part into  ÷µ'othe new unification. How about baptism in the protestant traditions, or communion, these are all important doctrines to both Catholics and Protestants. So in order for a unity to take place among all denominations, we would have to throw out all the doctrine that now separates us. I think if we were able to do this, it might work.

For example we would have to agree that there are some uncompromising issues, that if not upheld, would not make the Church the voice and practice of faith in God. 

 

  • The Bible would be our ultimate authority for salvation, conduct, and the return of Jesus Christ.
  • The support and belief that the Jews are still God's people, and have a right to the land, and that there is no replacement theology concerning Israel. There is no such thing as Palestine or Palestinians. 
  • Jesus is the head of the Church, the Holy Spirit is our guide and counselor, and the Word of God supersedes all traditions and church practices. 
  • The Lord Jesus Christ is coming back to rule and reign from Jerusalem for a 1000 years. 
  • The church has a standard of holiness that is against immoral behavior such as abortion, gay marriage, and divorce. 

 

Each one of these are important for the Church to be Biblical.  Today, Christians in both the Catholic and Protestant churches disagree on all these points. It would seem impossible for Christians to put aside these distinctions, and be one church. 

The most common problem we have in the church is we don't see God as big and as awesome as He is. We want to limit Him in almost everything we believe including the desire to bring revival in the church in every community across the nation.

So here is what would have to be proposed if Christians were to become one church

1. There are many ways to God. 

2. Israel is important, but they are only as important as any other nation. No special privileges or no favor above the Church. 

3. Christian lifestyle needs to be tolerant, and accepting Gays into the congregation, and have all the privileges of the straight community.

4. The Bible is accurate to a point, but because it can be interpreted in many different ways, it will need extra Biblical  texts to help define it's meaning. 

5. Lifestyles in Christ can be varied and there will never be any condemnation for living in a a relationship that would be considered immoral. However, in an age of grace, God can handle our imperfections as His people. 

 So you can see, any unity that is called for comes with a compromise that does not resemble the Bible or the direction of the Holy Spirit. 

However, when people go in this direction to make the church of Jesus Christ one, and those who oppose the removal of Biblical standards, they will be seen as people who are against God, and His prayer come to pass in John 17 to make His body one. 

Now I am for the unity of the body of true believers, but I can not support the idea that unity is more important than truth.  The last days will be days of confusion, days that will bring people together in such a way that will seem right at first, but in the end it will only bring us to a place of destruction. Most Christians today have no clue how dangerous our times are. The Devil wants us to forego all of the distinctive doctrines of the Bible so people will keep away from the the truth that will set them free. 

Unity is a term that excites people, and rallies support, because it seems so right. However, if unity trumps truth, that unity is an evil trick of the Devil. Compare the two lists again and see how far we would have to travel in order to achieve the unity that these people are promoting.   

Unity at the expense of truth, is no unity at all, defies the God who calls us to become holy, even as He is called Holy. 

Unity may be a good word, but when it is being used to draw people together without a discerning heart, it then becomes a tool of Satan.

More will be said in the future as we continue to monitor this development.

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

Tuesday
Aug122014

When The Laughter Stops

Robin Williams was on every TV and computer screen today, with all the details of his suicide. It is always sad when someone takes their life, and in our culture, it is doubly sad when it is one of Hollywood's elite. Mister Williams was a rare talent in the acting world, and was loved for his spontaneous humor.  However, the laughter turned into sorrow today as the culture mourned his death.

Jesus asked a very penetrating question about gaining the whole world, and yet losing your own soul.  

Matthew 16:26

 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

What price is worth losing your soul?  For mister Williams he had achieved everything the world considers important. Frame, money, status, recognition, things most people just dream about, Robin Williams was living that life. Yet, in the midst of it all, Robin was depressed, worried, and I believe frightened. It was reported today that he feared his career was losing it's grip, and money was harder to earn and keep. Just the thought of falling from the high perch he had worked so hard to achieve was perhaps too much for him to bear. Now I can't be sure that was the trigger to why he decided to end his life, but it could have played a part.  Suicide is a very lonely and desperate place. You feel that life has not given you any other options, other than end the misery now. I was at that place once in my life, and I can understand the emotions, and the anger that precedes that final act. You are angry at what has happened to you, and you feel that no one understands, nor do they care. Suicide is a lonely act of a heart that is broken, and a mind that is deceived. For me, it was a simple prayer to God that made my outcome different than Robin Williams.  I knew that my help had to come from somewhere other than my own experience, because what I was feeling was not going to go away. 

God answered a simple prayer for me that day, and I have never been the same since. I asked God to let me know He was real, and that He cared what happened to me. The circumstances that followed that prayer made me realize that God was real, and that He did care.

So, what happened to Robin Williams?  Why couldn't he pray the same prayer I did, and find a way out? Now, that's a very good question, and we probably will never know the answer.  But you have to wonder how many times had God step in and saved Robins life in the past?  Yet his career wouldn't allow him the opportunity to process life in a different light. For me, I had no other choice, I was desperate, I had no friends, no money, no fame, and I had nothing that would step in, brush me off and push me into the next career move. Robin's life was filled with opportunities, each one more challenging than the last. However at the end of the day, Robin Williams knew he had to keep moving forward, trying to forget he was so miserable, and alone.

I understand this dilemma, but as I said, I decided to go beyond myself to find meaning and purpose.  When I asked God to make Himself known to me, He did, and I knew that the universe and all it contained was being driven by Him. What a comfort it was to know that God was in control, and all I had to do was allow Him access to my heart, and I would never want to take my life again. That was 1977, and God has been in control of my life ever since. 

It is a shame that Robin Williams couldn't get there, but they tell us that 1 in 4 people suffer from depression, where a hopelessness controls their lives.  Depression is a real problem, and it is not easy to overcome. However, keeping God at the center of your life can help, along with counseling and good close friendships can be the kind of hope you need to manage depression. 

Psalms 16:2

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

Monday
Aug112014

The Persecuted

A report over the weekend said that over 1500 Christians were killed in the Middle East.  This is not only a tragedy, it is incomprehensible that in the 21st century we have such barbarism. In a day when we have international treatise against such behavior, and we have surveillance that can tell us about every move a group makes, it makes me think not much has changed from the days of Hitler, or even the pogoms in Russia. The Church has always been persecuted throughout history, and Jesus said that persecution will happen to those who are faithful to Him.

Matthew 5
 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Those who torment, and kill Christians don't realize their victims go on to a great reward.  We forget this in the West, since most of us do not have life threatening experiences for just living out our faith. So many verses like this one in Matthew seem so out of context for the American Church. They do, because our threats aren't as external as they are internal.  Let me explain.  I think America is under a judgment for it's immorality, it's divorce and abortion rates, it's ungodly TV and movie industries, it's acceptance of the gay lifestyle and its greed.

That is nothing new to you, we have all been aware of how our nation is slowly declining into heathenism, and out right apostasy. A Christian young mother called me today to tell me that her husband has walked out on her. She was in tears, and had a difficult time coping with this decision. Persecution is not just putting a sword to your throat and asking you to convert.  Sometimes, persecution takes a family and destroys the foundation it was formed upon. The love of two people getting married and starting a family, seems so innocent, until one of them decides to walk away. That starts the ball rolling in a direction that is not healthy for any of them.  I do think this is persecution, because it comes against the very fabric of society, the family. Blended families now make up 40% of the married couples now in America. Every year that percentage grows, indicating that children are becoming the victims of parental failure. Now blended families have their own unique set of problems, and often children use those problems to their advantage. When a nation has over a 50% divorce rate, means marriage is under assault. When marriage is under assault will mean children will be victims of a broken relationship.  Divorce and blended families are so pervasive today, that we as a society have dismissed the ramifications of these actions. The acceptance only means we are allowing a standard that God established to be dismissed.  God says he hates divorce, and for good reason. Divorce breaks the bond of the family, and allows extenuating circumstances to set the course for the break up of the relationship. However, God has a standard that makes marriage a priority, and has some strong feelings about divorce and remarriage.

Luke 16:18

 18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

So how does this topic fit in to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East?  Marriage is under persecution by our culture and our courts. There is no longer any stigma to being divorced, or being remarried. Yet, we don't bother to consider the affect it has on our children, or their future, as they live between the two homes of a blended family.

My remarks today are not to bring condemnation to blended families or to the divorced. I am only making a observation as to how Christians today, suffer in our Western world as a result of an epidemic of broken family relationships. As the Christians in the Middle East are suffering at the hands of terrorists, divorce is our form of terrorism in the West.

Many of you who would argue that there is no connection whatsoever, between terrorism and divorce, but I would disagree. Terrorism and divorce come from the same source, and they are both used to kill the heart of the individual, one physically, and the other emotionally.  Terrorism is all around us, it just takes different forms, that's my point. 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

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