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Wednesday
Jun222016

Living Between The Tensions

 

I had a discussion with some Christian leaders recently about the tensions found in scripture. For example, Jeremiah the prophet tells us that God hides His face from those who practice evil and avoid the truth.

Jeremiah 44:11

“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah.”

At the same time, the Psalmist said in Psalm 67:1 “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us.”

Somewhere between these two extremes is where most of us live. Many Christians only gravitate to verses of scripture that primarily focus on the emphasis where Gods face is shining on them, but refuse to acknowledge their responsibility to live according to His will. There is a tension between knowing that God pursues us, and knowing at the same time we have a responsibility to live up to His standards.

In relation to this, I was asked recently if there were things that I did that made God hide His face from me?  I loved the question, but it was much harder to answer.  No one wants to admit we do things that may not be pleasing to God, and even a harder time trying to identify our shortcomings. Living between the tensions means we need to be quick to seek God in worship, and be quick to repent when in the wrong.  I don’t think you can do one without the other. There is a great need for people to have the assurance that God loves them and to know His mercy is quick to forgive and restore them to His fellowship. However, at the same time God requires that we acknowledge sin and make confession in accordance with His law of forgiveness.

1 John 1:9 “ I we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

How do you see yourself living between these tensions? Another way of describing this tension is to say, Jesus Christ is my Savior and my Judge.  When you stand before the cross you are asked to deny yourself pick up your cross and come and follow Jesus.  When we die and stand before God He will first judge us to see if we are His and then secondly, He will distribute the rewards due you for your service to Him. Here again we see the tension between coming to faith (no works involved) and the rewards (the doing for God) of living for Him.

2 Corinthians 5:10 ““We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

So living between the tensions is the normal routine for the Christian so don’t think there is something wrong with you if God suddenly feels absent. His absence may be His way of helping you to identify your lack of dependence upon Him.  Too often our desperation for God only comes when life goes wrong and we need Him to straighten it out. How much more honoring it is to God that your desperation for Him isn’t due to crisis, but is a desire to know Him?  

Paul described this tension best when he said in Philippians 4:11-13

“I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. 12 I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation — to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”

Living between the tensions will become more prevalent as the world moves deeper into the last days as the Bible describes them. So whether we abound, whether are persecuted, whether we feel abandoned or disappointed, our faith remains in tact because we know that ‘we can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Stay strong, take courage and be immovable for Christ.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

Sunday
Jun192016

The Wrong Emphasis

 

There is so much that we see and hear today that focus’ on the wrong emphasis.

  1. It’s the guns that kill, not what is in people’s hearts.
  2. It is not only the love that really matters, it is also the behavior, and love must have a moral base.  
  3. Salvation isn’t just about accepting Jesus it is a lifestyle that permeates who you are and what you do.
  4. Leadership isn’t about good ideas and success campaigns, it’s about honoring and caring for the people you lead.
  5. It’s not about the wealth or the size of your church or company it is about what you do through them.
  6. It is not about the clever insights you have or the popularity of your name but it is about how you influence others through the character found in your heart.
  7. It is not about tolerating bad behavior it is about hating that which is evil and standing for what is right in the eyes of a righteous moral God.
  8. It is not about a political point of view it is about what is best for the country.
  9. It is not about ignoring the issues so we offend no one, but it is about the goodness of God and being vocal about it.

The wrong emphasis comes out in so many ways today, and sets the world on a wrong course of action. The example of this is found in our two political candidates for President. America deserves what we are getting in presidential candidates. America has practiced it’s own bullying tactics around the world, and it has been charting a course to the left for the last few decades.  America has given birth to the emphasis of its two choices for this fall’s election. This was not said for you to take as an excuse not to vote because it was not. I am only saying each of these candidates have the wrong emphasis because God has given America over to what America desires. God will not be mocked, and America has mocked God by its arrogance from Washington and its incompetence to address current issues from its pulpits. Most Americans are either unaware or in denial that America is in decline. What I now see in America  I called the “New America” a nation in decline. We are broke, morally, financially, and spiritually and unless there is a revival in the churches there isn’t much of a chance for the America to survive. Our political parties no longer do what is best for America they do what is best for their political platform. The churches no longer preach about getting rid of the things that hinders God from using you for His kingdom. God is looking for a people without spot or wrinkle, and that is getting harder to find throughout the land.

Ephesians 5:27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.

Are we that kind of church?

The wrong emphasis is when we place a definition on faith that tells us we can live better lives on earth if we just believe God for it. God didn’t give us faith so that we can be wealthy He gave us faith so that we could enter into a relationship with Him. True wealth is living with the knowledge of God not claiming worldly stuff as proof that you have faith in God. Too many of the prosperity preachers live in outlandish homes and extravagant lifestyles and it all comes down to the wrong emphasis just like the prophet Jeremiah said:

Jeremiah 2:13

For my people have committed two evils:

They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters,

And hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

God’s people repeatedly throughout their history have had the wrong emphasis. In Jesus’ day it was the self-righteousness and the hypocrisy of the Pharisees that He preached against. Today it is the lack of self-identification with the truth of the scriptures that demands action and sacrifice. We have lost the heart of the gospel and have settled for the ease of simply attending church.  Statesman Edmund Burke was right when he said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

We have been losing the culture war since 1973 when prayer was taken out of the schools, and we have been losing every moral battle since. Do me a favor listen to this clip from David Wilkerson; it will help you understand how important it is to prepare for the day in which we live.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68y6Jsp19Zs

We can do more by being more, and that only will come as we focus on the right emphasis as David Wilkerson outlined.  

Keeping it honest and truthful..K

 

 

Friday
Jun172016

Living In Anticipation

 

Following the Orlando massacre it seems to me as if we have entered the world of anticipation. Here is what I mean:

Anticipation: the action of anticipating something; expectation or prediction.

We can no longer just expect to live ordinary lives without the possibility of it changing in the twinkling of an eye.  Those club attendees last weekend in Orlando thought it was just another night at the club, an evening of low stress with friends in an atmosphere of where you would never anticipate a mass shooting. Let’s take San Bernardino last year would anyone have anticipated that a Christmas party would be a place where a shooting would occur?

I don’t think most Americans are tracking with the thinking that we are in a guerilla style war where you never know when the enemy will strike. I have come to realize how “toxic” this world has become, and Americans have just begun to feel that their lives are about to change. It was 911 that changed the world forever, and Orlando last weekend is another stage of that change. We have worked so hard to keep our airplanes safe through the TSA, yet the real enemy is no longer standing in line to blow up our planes, they are standing in line in our places of recreation, and in our malls.  Terrorists don’t have to immigrate into our country they can be born here and be radicalized living next door. This isn’t a plea to hate Muslins it is the reality of the “new America” where our tolerance has allowed the very enemy that we have tried to keep out, to move right in. 

The next stage of this “new America” will be the sympathy pleas by our leaders in Washington, not to blanket all Muslims as terrorists.  President Obama has been doing this for years, yet, how can anyone predict when the next Jihadist will show up at your local mall and start shooting?  Islam is dangerous because its adherents can be radicalized at any time and anywhere.  The DNA of this ideology has historically been violent and fear is their method of influence.

According to the Bible, “watchman” are those who warn on impending danger. They anticipate what may be harmful and sound an alarm.

Isaiah 62:6

On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves;

Here is an exmple of a watchman.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FBqTgNb5MA

Does our “new America” have watchmen?  If so, what are these watchmen saying?  I am reminded quite often following a blog post that it is easy to curse the darkness, but how am I representing the light?  Light does bring clarity to the truth, but it also exposes the darkness. This is where many churches draw the line, because they do not want to be accused of being against anything and so they keep a positive spin on their perspective. This is the attitude our government has adopted when it comes to closing the borders, and finding people who have overstayed their vistas and can’t be found. In fact of the 11.5 million illegal immigrants in the United States, about 40% of them are people who entered the country with a legal vista.  The problem developed when their vista’s expired and they were nowhere to be found. That is a problem.

We also need people to give us perspective, and to warn us of the toxic viruses of unbelief.  Which brings me to my last point today.  There are only two kinds of people in the world according to the Bible, the ones who know God and those who don’t. For those who know God, there isn’t such a thing as race, alternative lifestyles, and sexual orientation.  Those who truly love God put Him first, and there is no other allegiance to the gods of this world. I know that sounds simplistic but that is what Jesus told His disciples:

Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

So what is it about denying yourself you don’t we understand?  Is there anything you are fighting to maintain that you should be denying if you are following Jesus? This is why so much of our world is in turmoil; it is fighting for things that don’t belong to them. For example:

 

  1. Race does not belong to us it belongs to God who made us.
  2. Abortion is not our right life belongs to God
  3. Our sexual orientation doesn’t belong to us it belongs to God.
  4. My rights belong to God, and He will defend my life
  5. The hatred of my faith by the world isn’t about me it is always about God
  6. My opinion means nothing but His opinion means everything
  7. My unwillingness to forgive is Gods greatest work order in my life

 

You can see how this list could go on endlessly yet few people are being warned about the dangers of taking our rights back from God. This is why a watchman is so important, they warn us of the infractions in our understanding of God that could impair our faith and ultimately destroy our lives. Do you have a watchman in your life, a person (s) who will not be afraid to question or probe you about your life?

Living in anticipation isn’t just about the surprises we have to be aware of around every corner.  Evil is not only lurking at your door wanting to do you harm, but evil can also be inside your door trying to dismiss the counsel of the watchmen in your life.

Live in anticipation of His return, and don’t be asleep as it concerns taking your rights back from God. If you belong to Jesus continue to deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Him. Our days are toxic so be awake!

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

Tuesday
Jun142016

When Americans Are Blinded

 

Most of us feel bad about those who lost their lives in Orlando, but not bad enough to do anything about it. We only do something about it when it becomes personal, and we lose a loved one in such a senseless tragedy. Other than that we just get into arguments about what the cause is, the liberals see it as a gun issue, and the conservatives see it as a border and Islam issue.  However at the end of the day, the problem still remains with us.  If there is even one American who thinks these senseless killings will stop once all guns are gone, you are delusional. Any person who wants to commit a crime with an unregistered gun can do so and those who think otherwise are as dumb as a rock. Liberals need to get street smart, they spend so much time promoting their ideas that they aren’t in reality.  You can legislate guns until you have to give up your first born to get one, and it will never stop gun violence. This random shooting of people to make a statement in defense of your religion is evil and the DNA of Islam has that potential with every adherent and convert. CAIR or (Council on American Islamic relations) came out against the Orlando shooting, and some conservatives see this as only a public relations exercise, but are not serious about stopping the violence. 

I watched President Obama in a news conference argue against using the term “Islamic Terrorism” because he said it doesn’t solve anything.  He must think everyone in America is either dumb or naïve to accept his position on this, and it is beyond intellectual honesty not to know what Islam teaches about non-believes in the Quran.

The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

Quran (8:12) - "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

Some interpreters have said that this only means a spiritual struggle, but no reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.

It has been reported that 11 Muslims countries currently have the death penalty for acts of homosexuality.

In many Muslim countries, acting upon homosexual feelings -- the behavior itself -- is condemned and subject to legal punishment. The specific punishment varies among jurists, ranging from jail time or flogging, to the death penalty. In Islam, capital punishment is only reserved for the most grievous crimes, which hurt society as a whole. Some jurists view homosexuality in that light, particularly in countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen.

The Hadith and homosexuality: The Hadith are collections of sayings attributed to Muhammad.

"Kill the one that is doing it and also kill the one that it is being done to." (In reference to the active and passive partners in gay sexual intercourse)

The Quran also teaches that lying to non-believers is okay because an infidel is not worthy of the truth. Death to the infidel is considered doing Allah a favor.

Quran (2:191-193) - "And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing...

So when the President says he doesn’t want to call terrorists “Islamist terrorism” he is lying to himself about Islam. Any American who wants to know about Islam should read the Quran or at least Google your questions about this ideology and see what it really teaches.

There are two lessons about Orlando we can learn about Islam.

  1. Islam takes territory by force, and intimidates by fear.
  2. Islam wants to make a statement every chance it can get, even in killing it wants people to know the fear of Allah.

There is one more lesson we can learn from this tragedy that evil will take the path of least resistance. Terrorists will always go where there is the least resistance to their terroristic attacks. This is why all Americans should be armed and ready to defend themselves.  Business, churches, and other public venues that ban guns are as foolish as people who walk on the freeway during rush hour. If that nightclub had permitted guns on the premises many of those people who died would be alive today. I refuse to be a sitting duck at the mercy of a madman who wants to kill people in the name of his god. What is wrong with Americans who can’t understand that we now live in a war zone and it’s no different from when our troops went out on patrol in the Middle East, you never know when the next attack will happen. The difference now is that it is happening on American soil, and we are all unarmed. Go figure!

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”— Luke 22:36

Our weapons are not of this world, but there will come a time we will need to defend our families and protect the innocent against the evil of our day.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

 

Sunday
Jun122016

Spiritual Treason

 

Treason: the crime of betraying one's country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government:

One of the greatest shocks of my life happened a few years ago while visiting Ghana in West Africa. The Christian leader we were visiting said that the United States was pressuring their government to adopt equal rights for gays and for same sex marriage. He went on to say that his culture would not accept giving the kind of rights to gays as the West has and that the United States should back away from exporting their immoral ideas to other countries. Many of the countries in Africa face a much deadlier enemy that of Muslim terrorists, but this was not a concern of the American government.  This same sex marriage isn’t just an agenda for the United States, now they are exporting and pressuring other countries around the world to grant equal right for gays. Its one thing to trash your own backyard, but when you start throwing your trash over the fence to your neighbors, now that’s just treasonous against the sovereignty of your neighbors.

In an interview recently with a pastor who just came back from Israel said that Tel Aviv is the Middle East center for homosexual activity. To me, this just seems treasonous against the laws of God who established Israel in 1948 and has protected it ever since.

The government of Israel is now pushing as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world and gay tourism is booming.

"It's a place you have to go, good parties, nice people, beautiful people and just different from all the other tourist destinations you can go to," says Jorg Grosskopf, a German tourist who, together with his partner, Peter, is on his seventh vacation in Israel.

Tel Aviv will host its annual gay pride parade June 8. The government and organizers say it's expected to be the biggest one ever.

The government of Israel is styling the country as a haven for the gay community. But it's more than just beaches, parades and clubs. Israel has laws protecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community.

The Judeo-Christian values that have influenced the laws in the land for centuries but today is on life support. In the past our policies exported Democracy to help nations with free elections, but now our concern is about the equal rights for gays in third world countries. Israel learned a hard lesson in her past when they decided to ignore God and found themselves without His help. God allowed the worldly desires of His people to judge them. He gave them over to their lusts and in the end it destroyed the fabric of their society and their nation was captured by her enemies and carted off to a foreign land.

Listen, there is a cost of ignoring God, and that cost is the loss of His protection.  In that moment He allows the nation to suffer at the hands of their sinfulness, and the nation dies. As the Apostle Paul said, “the wages of sin is death.”

So why is homosexuality so wrong?  It is because it tells God that my desire is more important than He is, and thus breaking the first commandment that tells us to put God first.

Exodus 20:3: “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

I am not hopeful to see much change in our culture because of the obstructions in seeing God as the Bible describes Him. That does not mean people won’t come to know the Savior: it just means that the environment in which we live will not change to represent His values. Our culture cannot see the darkness of what it has become, and therefore there will be no turning back to a day of honoring God.  Jesus talked about the eye being a light for the whole body, so if you see clearly there will be no darkness in the body.

Luke 11:33-36

33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”

Jesus said make sure that the light within you does not represent the darkness that surrounds you. If you let the darkness in, it will destroy the value of God within you.

There are two great threats to the truths we hold:

1. Allowing the darkness of the culture to taint the values of the scripture encouraging us to compromise God’s Word.

2. Doing nothing to push back making us complacent to our environment which makes us weak and apathetic to our surroundings. 

The first one erodes the foundation of our beliefs, and the second makes us irrelevant.

Now you have the bottom line as to why the church is so weak and inept in addressing the darkness of our day. We have compromised truth by accepting the law of the land that violates God’s laws on sexuality, and have become irrelevant in the process. It is all because we have committed spiritual treason against God. 

May God have mercy upon our land, and rise up warriors who have no fear of the culture of darkness.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

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