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Sunday
Sep212014

The Customs of the Nations

2 Kings 17:7-9

Exile Because of Idolatry

7And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods  and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced.  9And the people of Israel did secretly against the LORD their God things that were not right. They built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. 
 14But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God.  15They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the LORD had commanded them that they should not do like them.

There have been some who have criticized Rabbi Jonathan Cahn and his book the Harbinger because he dared to suggest that America, like ancient Israel, will be judged for the sins against God.  They cite Cahn because many of the educated nay sayers think that the Old Testament only pertains to Israel, because they are the covenant people. However, the scriptures were written not only to the Jewish people, but to anyone who loves God and who is in the covenant of faith.

2 Timothy 3:16

 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

So, when we read these scriptures from 2 Kings 17, they can also apply to all believers, not just the Jewish people.  Now, it is true, God will fulfill all the promises He made to Israel, but that doesn't mean the Gentile believers will be left out of these promises, because we are now a part of the common wealth of Israel in Christ.
Paul tells us this in Ephesians 2.

12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

The Bible tells us that God was looking to bring Jew and Gentile together in one new man, and in Christ He accomplished His goal. This new man in Christ does not replace the promises God made to Israel, we are just a part of it. So when America violates the scriptures by ignoring God's commands, I believe He will judge this nation accordingly.  Why?  Because America is following in the footsteps of ancient Israel and practicing the pagan customs of the culture. We like Israel, have been secretly doing things that are not right according to God. Slowly, our culture began to set the pace for how we live, replacing the standards of God. The customs of the nations are ungodly practices that can and will invoked the judgment of God. There seems to be so many in the Church who are ignorant of God's judgment, because they have feasted on the benefits of grace for so long they just don't believe God will ever judge this nation. Our churches are filled with people who feel good about their faith, but their faith won't save our nation from God's judgment. God did not spare Israel because of her arrogance, so what makes anyone think America will be spared by this same arrogance? As a nation, America can not survive the customs of the nations, much like Israel did not survive them. Look at God said again:

15They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the LORD had commanded them that they should not do like them.

Following after false gods, and ignoring the warnings can only spell disaster for America.  Author Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, is only one of many voices today giving warning of a dangerous path we are traveling as a nation. That path leads to abandoning God in favor of a godless society. 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

Thursday
Sep182014

In The End, We All Face God

I love this title, because it is the best way to remind people that when all is said and done, then there is God. You will face Him for how you lived your life, and how you accepted His free gift of Grace.  You will not escape facing Him, no one does. Yet, the great deception while we live in this world is to ignore Him, treat Him as if He doesn't matter, then perhaps, He will go away. No matter what you do in your own mind about God, you will in the end face God. 

Here is what is going to happen based upon the words of Jesus. 

Matthew 10:33

 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven

This is what happens when you deny Jesus in this life. You will stand before the judge without representation, and what do you say?  How do you explain to God the cheap way you lived your life, without concern for others, without concern for Him, without concern for anything meaningful?  Our young people are living lives that aren't concerned about facing God, they are concerned about how their Facebook posts are looking.  Recently, I defended Aridan Peterson of the the Minnesota Vikings in a blog post,because he was being judged in the media, vs being tried by a court of law.  I still think that a conviction in the media is not fair, nor is it just. However, after learning that he has seven children that he has fathered, it seems to me that mister Peterson has a problem. I can not condone behavior that puts children in homes without fathers, and I can not condone the immoral behavior of a football star in the National Football League. Then there is the question of whether pregnancy was the plan by the mothers to profit by having the rich football players baby.

It seems like everything is out of wack. We have come to accept everything, even the bizarre as normal, and nothing is wrong anymore. When I was being raised, my mother instructed me from the understanding that there was a right and a wrong way to live.  Today, everything is right, there is no such thing as wrong, and anything goes. This kind of thinking has been educated into us and accepted by society, because we have dismissed God as having relevance in modern life. However, in the end, we all face God.  That will be a day of great agony and pain for some people, because the reality will set in that God has the final say in where you spend eternity.  The good news is that no one has to go through any agony or disappointment when facing God.  That is the whole reason why Jesus came to earth, not to condemn the world but to bring you the opportunity to be forgiven of all wrongs, and live with God forever.  

 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. -John 3;17

In the end, we all face God.  That is something each of us has to deal with and it's better to deal with it now through Jesus Christ, than it will be when you face God without the grace of His salvation.

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

Wednesday
Sep172014

The Judgment Starts With The House Of God

1 Peter 4:17

 17 For 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?

It has been said, and preached in recent years, that America is under judgment, and many in the Body of Christ believe it. Judgment may be a slow process that overtakes a nation, and it could take years, as I believe it has in America. Basically, as a society, we have broken all ten of God's commandments, and the blatant disrespect for God continues to grow every year. We are seeing the sports world rocked by some of its most notable figures beat their wives, and abuse their children.  We have seen our military continually deployed to fight wars they can not win, and lose heart when they have to give to the terrorists the land and the people they fought so hard to protect. We have a government that continues to make mistakes that affect every American with more taxes, and higher costs of health care. We also have a younger generation who does not care about anything except themselves and the benefit social programs will bring to them. 

I think all of this is judgment, but we haven't seen the judgment Peter speaks about in the verse above. Will God judge His church?  Some feel that God will spare the church from all wrath, but when will He do that? Will He not first test the Church prior to protecting the Church? The Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians  talks about a great falling away in the last days. 

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed.

Another version of this verse states, "unless there is a great falling away'  indicating that there will be a day when people will reject anything godly, and anything that is overtly Christian. Does the Church effectively care about those living without the hope of Christ?  Slowly, over time, the Church in the West has spent more time trying to preserve what they have, rather than trying to conquer new lands and territories.  Now, this may not be true of all Churches, but if you review the statistics, you find some alarming results. 

 http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/139575-7-startling-facts-an-up-close-look-at-church-attendance-in-america.html

Ask most pastors what percentage of their church is inactive, and it is a staggering 40-50% and when church attendance for most congregations is declining, those figures are even more alarming.  So is this spiritual apathy just a trend, or is it a judgment of God?  Good question, however, God does allow the passions in our hearts to rule us, if we turn our backs on Him. 


  Romans 1:28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.  29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,  30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,  31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

This the kind of falling away that the Apostle Paul references in 2 Thessalonians 2. It is a turning away from God, and turning inward toward ourselves.  That has been the preaching emphasis in many churches today, they want to help us be safe, be happy, and be free to be ourselves. God will judge any preaching that does not bring us to the cross, and to repentance. How can He not judge an emphasis that diminishes the very act of salvation that He came to earth to establish?  I believe that God will begin the process of purifying the church soon. As a former pastor, I have seen the abuses of leadership, and the carnality of those who call themselves followers of Christ. The only difference between the sinfulness of the world, and the sinfulness of the church, is that the church knows how to hide their sin better. I expect that before the trumpet sounds, He will begin the process of weeding out shepherds who do not have a heart to follow God.  The same will be true with those who only come to church, but their hearts are far from Him in behavior and in faith.

If judgment begins with the house of God, then before judgment falls upon the earth, God will first purify His Church. Are we prepared for that purification?  

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

 

 

Tuesday
Sep162014

The Missing Character In A Nation

There was a day when you were innocent until a court of law found you guilty, but today, you are guilty because the media says you are. Minnesota Viking Ardian Peterson is a case in point. First of all, it should be illegal to release anything to the media, without a court approval, especially if there is an on going criminal investigation. I am not supporting his over zealous spanking tirade, but with a few pictures and media attention, you are guilty. What happens next is that you lose your job before you even get to court to sort things out. We had another NFL sports figure, Ray Rice, lose his job recently because he battered his then girlfriend, now wife, and it was caught on tape. This incidents are not good for public relations, so the NFL had to react.  Again, I am not supporting spousal or child abuse, but shouldn't things be done through legal channels, rather than be tried in the media?  If either player has violated the law, then let the law and a jury decide their fate, not a football league. I realize there are league standards of conduct, but the the evidence still needs to be weighed by a jury and a judge before any punitive punishments can be metered out. Both athletes were convicted in the media, and I think that is wrong. However, in some ways, I am glad that it took both these National Football figures, gods to many Americans, to illustrate the lack of character in our society. Lets take a look at how women are abused.

 

  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. 
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
  • Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. 
  • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police 

 

It is a crime for men to beat their wives, and all wives should be armed with a plan if it ever happens to them. It is wrong for a wife to forgive her husband and stay in an abusive situation without the husband getting help for his anger issues. 

Let's take a look at child abuse in the United States.

  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds
  • More than four children die every day as a result of child abuse. 
  • It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. 
  • Approximately 70% of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4. 
  • Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.

We do have a problem with child and spousal abuse, but it is a problem with society, not just in the NFL 
So do I think the NFL was wrong in metering out their own justice? Yes I do. Why? Because both players will be reinstated shortly and with no help with their issues. Adrian Peterson by this weekend, and Ray Rice, well, it is just a matter of time before he legally gets his job back.  If the NFL really cared about their players, they would spend some of their billions of dollars to help these young players build some character in their lives.  Perhaps some off season character building seminars would be helpful to reshape the foundations in the lives of these players. For example, the Minnesota Vikings have more incidents with poor character judgements from their players, than any other NFL team. I think they could spend some time on character discussions.  

With the national dialogue going on right now about these two players and the abuse they brought upon their families, I think it s the appropriate time we ask some serious questions as Americans. "What am I living for? More money, or fame?  Or is there a higher calling to life?   One of the prophetic signs of the last days, will  be that families will disintegrate and a persons enemies will be those from within the family. This tells me that there is a loss of character within a society where this is allowed to happen. 

Matthew 10:36

 36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.
Listen friends, character begins by knowing God and the greatest sin of any nation, is when they lose  the knowledge of knowing God.  Spousal and child abuse is happening because there is no longer the foundation of godly character. To many Americans, God is dead, and His death means the loss of His character that guided a society. 
 
Keeping it honest and truthful...K
 
Thursday
Sep112014

My Wedding Anniversary

So what do you do for a woman who has been married to me for 32 years.  Give here sainthood?  You bet.

My wife and I have had a good life together, and it hasn't been easy.  I admit life with another person is never easy, because they don't think like you, don't like the things you do, or like your jokes after awhile. Worse yet, if you are a prankster like me, I  often found myself in the dog house, and have to apologize for what I thought was funny. But overall, with God's help, there is always a way to make a marriage work. Someone asked me what I thought was the recipe for a happy marriage I said the following.

1. Have respect for your mate, don't take them for granted

2. Don't lose your sense of humor, and laugh a lot together, and be quick to forgive.

3. Be honest about everything, even the stuff that might get you in trouble

4. Don't lose the conversation between you, and spend time every week talking and dreaming about everything.

5. Do things together, cultivate some common ground things you both enjoy. 

6. Talk about God together, and incorporate how God is affecting the world around us.

7. Don't let your kids define your relationship, as a couple build a life a part from responsibilities. 

I am sure if you have been married for long time, that you have your own list, but these have worked for us. One of the joys of learning from older folks who have been married for 50 years or more, they always have good things to say.  These folks would tell us, "never quit trying to make your lives better together, and never quit the marriage. There isn't a situation that can not be overcome with God's help." That was the way the generations before us worked things out, they stayed true to each other, even when it wasn't convenient. 

Now, my wife and I have had some rough times together, but we decided that the marriage was worth every effort to save and preserve it. One of those tough times was when I was a pastor, and the ministry became a mistress to me, and it control my life. One of the greatest lessons in my life was learned during that time, you can not let even the good things in life become more important than your spouse.  No job, no amount of fame or fortune, or success, is worth losing your loved one over. 

So on the eve of my wedding anniversary, I am thinking about how much I love my wife, she is the kindest, funniest person I know, and she is always looking out for my best. One of my closest friends once said, that I married over my head.  At the time I thought, now that wasn't nice to say, but in time, I realized he was right. 

So what do I do for a woman who made my life almost perfect for 32 years?  Good question, my joke about taking her to White Castle hamburgers isn't funny anymore, so I guess I better starting thinking about doing something special.  She is worth it. 

Micah 4:5

 5For all the peoples walk
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God
forever and ever.

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

 

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