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Wednesday
Aug082018

Finding Time to be Positive

Romans 8:5-6  

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

I think it is harder to be positive today. There is so much negativity that feeds into our lives everyday. Here are some statistics you might find interesting. 

The National Science Foundationpublished a research article regarding human thoughts per day. The average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative.  95% are repetitive thoughts. 

If we have an average of 50,000 thoughts per day, that translates into 2100 thoughts per hour.  

95 percent of brain activity is beyond our conscious awareness. Numerous cognitive neuroscientists have conducted studies that have revealed that only 5% of our cognitive activities (decisions, emotions, actions, behavior) is conscious whereas the remaining 95% is generated in a non-conscious manner.

 

Part of the negative input in our lives goes back to what we are centered upon.  Are the promises of God at the center of how I live my life? I am not one of these people who believe that we should never deal with negativity, because dealing with the negative is cause for a course correction.

  • If I am overweight the course correction would be to eat less and exercise more. 
  • If I am not earning enough money the course correction is spend less and get another part-time job. 
  • If I am lonely all the time the course correction is to join more where you can have an opportunity to make new friends. 

Most course corrections are often the result of a negative reaction to a situation in your life. The problem most of us find is that negativity never goes away, it continually manifests itself in such a way that it creates a habit of thought that sets a foundation for how we see life. Our worldview is based upon negative results from everywhere. Some research has indicated, for example, that much of our worry (negative stress) never happens. 

85 percent of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.

 

This is all a part of the way the world rolls because of where they are centered. What would happen if NBC news would do their whole evening newscast based on positive news? What if CNN (the Hate Trump network) would go through a whole day and say nothing but positive things about our President? 

What would happen if we started our day with more prayer about keeping centered upon God’s promises to help us cultivate more hope in our lives? 

Again keeping in mind there is a use for the negative, but its use is to motivate us to change and to make course corrections in our lives. However, the hope we have in God is to be the centering piece in our daily routines. 

So in your 50,000 thoughts today let us try to capture all those thoughts and subject them to the Lordship of Jesus Christ!

-2 Corinthians 10:5 

We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ

The world has nothing positive to add to your life. Relationships are fragile, dreams can change, aging is inevitable and life is messy every day. Our only sense of keeping a positive attitude and outlook on life is through God’s Word and prayer. These keep us centered on the important elements that are timeless and transcends this world into the next. Let’s conquer our 40,000 negative thoughts today by focusing on more of what God promises us. 

Psalm 119:15 

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

Monday
Aug062018

Opinions That Lead to Confusion

Proverbs 18:2 

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Most of us know about the last days being an era of confusion. The closer we come to Christ’s return, the more confused the world becomes. Confusion is the result of our opinions, and in the end when opinions conflict with other opinions; it creates a disagreement or confusion. Many folks will not engage in any kind of controversy, or put another way, the clash of two opinions, because it is too disheartening. I understand that the clash of two differing worldviews becomes a war of words and ideology. 

Opinion is defined as: a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.”

We all have a right to our opinion - that is our first Amendment right, the freedom of speech, the freedom to express our opinion. So I am not suggesting we censor opinions, I simply suggest that we don’t preach opinion as truth. 

In the church world I have contended for years that sermons are basically the opinions of the preacher, but opinion or not, all teaching must be verified by scripture. Too much of what is heard in church is about personal experience, which is not truth; it simply is an experience that has been preached as truth. 

It is my opinion however, that the Holy Spirit won’t tell one believer one thing, and then turn around and tell another believer the exact opposite. However that happens all the time when opinions are preached in church. I heard a preacher say recently that God doesn’t condone violence and so the tribulation period will not reflect who God really is to us.  This preacher rejected most of the Book of Revelation because it was too violent and it was not a good representation of God’s love. 

Now that is an option, and it is dead wrong. Think about all the confusion this type of opinion will cause within the church. It is this kind of opinion where the denial of God’s wrath on people will take them by surprise. This type of opinion creates confusion, which leads to unbelief, and unbelief leads to the rejection of God. 

Let me suggest something to you.
Some thoughts on what to do with your opinions:

  1. Acknowledge that an opinion is simply a personal belief and not fact.
  2. Realize that your opinion is subject to seeing through a glass darkly and you may not have all the details in the proper sequence. 
  3. Let your opinion go through the smell test of pride to see if what you are standing your ground defending is really about you not wanting to be wrong. Few preachers ever admit that they have preached things that later in life they realized were wrong. Opinion and pride are like-minded, so beware.
  4. Opinions should be conversation starters where you engage with others (like iron sharpens iron) to get the best interpretation or the best practice generated to accomplish God’s will on earth. Opinions are not trophies to put on display to show others how smart you are. 
  5. Opinions need to be tested by God’s word to see if they line up with God’s ideas and plans. Too often opinions trump God’s Spirit and harden the heart so the person becomes unteachable and refuses correction. 

Our goal as Christians is to ultimately have God’s opinion in our hearts. This is not a slam on how God made us, but His opinion on everything is at a much higher caliber of wisdom and understanding than anything we could ever achieve. 

It is normal to have an opinion, but opinions that are not teachable, do not act in the best interest of growing in Christ. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Wednesday
Aug012018

Devotional Christianity

Matthew 12:43-45

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

The scriptures can have parallel meanings that can be applied to individuals or to groups of people like a nation. We see that in the parable of the goats and sheep in Matthew 25. There will be a judgment of the nations on how they treated God’s people the Jews. 

But in the case of the unclean spirit leaving a person, Jesus said that it behaves like evil behaves, it never goes away. It retreats for a season to only reappear in another form to influence and deceive. The obvious interpretation of this teaching has to do with resistance. How does a person resist the evil in culture once you are free from its influence?  Evil never retires, it never goes away permanently, and it never retreats. When evil is resisted by the Holy Spirit it chooses to regroup for a time, only to bounce back in ways that are more subtle and seductive. Evil is like the Energizer bunny that never quits, it keeps going and going and going. Perhaps it may be more appropriate to say it keeps coming and coming and coming. 

For example: 

1. Confusion is an example of how evil is able to go undetected. Confusion is not of God,the Word of God is clear and concise about how we are to live out our lives.
 
1 Corinthians 14:33

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

Confusion questions God and creates an opportunity to present an alternative understanding that places truth alongside error to make up a new belief structure. (Satan did this in the garden with Eve) This is why there is so much confusion in the Body of Christ today. There are doctrines of demons that have taken over center stage in some churches and no one is the wiser. Signs and wonders do not confirm that God is at work; these demonstrations can be manipulated by evil to appear to be righteous. That is why Jesus told the parable of the wheat and tares, to illustrate there are errors in thought and doctrine that look close enough to be the real truth. Paul the Apostle tells us that Satan masquerades around as an angel of light, meaning that He will use good things that are associated with God to deceive and confuse. 

2. Naïve Christianity is a subtle form of deception. When we are only devotion-oriented in our faith, we lose ground to evil. Evil loves to say, “keep them happy, and satisfied with a nice devotional Christianity so we can work among them without detection.”

Devotional Christianity is like belonging to a country club; we have access to wonderful amenities and it is satisfied. Devotional Christianity loves to debate issues that don’t matter and has little relevance in influencing the culture around them. Discernment Christianity on the other hand, analyzes how evil is working in our day and resists the temptation to accept what everyone else accepts. 

Devotional Christianity reads a portion of scripture or a devotional book and their daily diet of spiritual growth is done. Devotional Christianity loves to sway to worship music, and talk about how wonderful their small group is yet they are unaware of the seven more powerful spirits that have entered the culture around them. Nine out of ten Christians have no clue how delusion has been mixing into their faith lives for years without detention or without concern. 

Devotional Christianity can sweep the house clean, but it is not prepared for what evil brings back into the house. Most Christians do not talk about discernment because they have never been trained to think about it. Yet, the Holy Spirit’s ministry among us is all about discernment. 

In John 16, Jesus tells us that when the comforter comes, He will convict the world of sin, (discernment) He will convince us of righteousness, (discernment) and He will accent on Judgment (discernment).

Nowhere in scripture does the Holy Spirit become devotional with nice platitudes and pithy sayings. He is continually reminding us of what Jesus taught and what He expects from our lives. Devotional Christianity is where we live in a bubble of 'God is good', and Discerning Christianity where God is preparing His people. This difference will determine how the Church will survive the delusion of the last days.  

We live in a day where the seven spirits of Matthew 12:43-45 are everywhere and the culture is worse today than it has ever been. Remember - evil confuses, substitutes, and blends into what you believe. It is subtle and pervasive, and without an emphasis in your life that asks this question, “Is this God’s priority, God’s purpose, and God’s promise?”

The Church may have swept the house in generations past and it was clean, but now it’s a new day of learning how to resist and push back the seven spirits who have showed up to make life even worse. 

Don’t ignore this warning; it is not a day you can afford to just be a devotional Christian. 

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

Friday
Jul272018

The Angry American

Anger is everywhere in our society today and I am confident that anger is the direct result of not being satisfied with our lives. I usually encounter anger in two places in my life today:

  1. On the highway
  2. Political discussions

Both places seem to have a propensity to get people into a bad mood in a hurry. 

Anger is an emotion, that unless controlled, can embarrass you, destroy relationships, and could even get you thrown into jail if your anger is displayed to the wrong people. Yet the increase of an angry society is just another sign of the last days. Jesus even said that the last days will be when people’s love for one another will grow cold. 

Americans in general are angry because their satisfaction level is misplaced. Most Americans get their satisfaction from things, or the ability to purchase things; however, things are merely conveniences - not elements that will bring the human heart satisfaction. Anger is a reaction to when expectations are not met and something is lost or denied. As Americans we have a very high level of expectation when it comes to getting what we want. People don’t care much about the path we take as long as we get to the end goal of our desire. Objectives are king of the workplace and those dominate most of our lives. The numbers we want to achieve become more important that the process in which they get accomplished.  When our expectations are not met, the anger sets in, and there is someone to blame - the object of our anger. 

We may not avoid anger, but we certainly can evaluate how anger intersects with our lives and how to control it better. 

1. The Bible teaches that anger should be short lived, Ephesians says don’t let the sun go down on your anger. In other words settle the issue that is making you angry.  

Ephesians 4:26   
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 

2.Don’t be quick to get angry.

Proverbs 14:29 
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

James 1:19 
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

3. Discipline yourself to do away with anger that is out of control. 

Colossians 3:8 
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth

4. Anger is not the characteristic God wants from his Church.

James 1:20
Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
My point in today’s blog is to remind us that our satisfaction comes from our surrender to God and his Word. Satisfaction in life is finding a relationship with God that becomes the focal point of your thinking and your behavior. Living your life in getting your way, or getting what you want, will never produce the kind of character in you that is pleasing to God. Selfish behavior will always produce anger because it is the nature of self-seeking behavior. 

  • People are angry with our President because they didn’t get what they wanted from the election.
  • People are angry about immigration because it isn’t what they wanted.
  • People are angry and quick to take offense about every little issue because it spills out of the condition of their heart.
  • People are angry about everything they find does not fit best into their expectations for their lives.

Unfortunately life is so much bigger, richer, and satisfying than how anger wants to control your life. If you are finding yourself angry all the time, perhaps you need to look at how satisfying your life is, based upon the important things in life like God, family, and friends. 

It’s time to trade in our anger for the satisfaction and peace we can have in knowing God. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Monday
Jul232018

The Danger of Being A Conservative

43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

-Matthew 12:43-45

Just being a conservative today can get you the disdain of co-workers or worse yet, the hatred of the extended family. However, there is something more insidious and dangerous in being a conservative, and that is being one without Jesus. Conservative ideals are closely aligned with Biblical principles and the values of the Bible are often the foundation of many conservative principles. Yet, without the Bible being the source of our conservative values, we are no better off than the rich young ruler Jesus confronted in Mark 10.

“Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.”  -Mark 10:21-22

Following Jesus is not easy because it requires you to live your life differently than the people around you. It means that your good morals and good ideals are not enough to satisfy God’s requirements for being right with Him. Your conservative values may be the right perspective to have in the arena of public opinion today, but it does not make you a member of God’s Kingdom. 

God’s Kingdom is revolutionary and it is a counter-cultural movement that ends up overtaking everything on this earth.  It takes over government, wealth, politics, medicine and education. It all becomes under the control of the God’s rule. You may not be familiar with this concept because it is not a commonly understood idea. Yet the Bible teaches that there will be a day that all nations will submit to God or be crushed. All rulers, all wealth barons, all educators, and all entertainers will bow a knee to Christ and confess Him as Lord. 

Isaiah 60:12 “For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly destroyed.

Romans 14:11 For the Scriptures say, "As surely as I live,' says the LORD, every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.”

Although you may listen to talk radio and parrot what you hear other conservatives say about politics, our country, and the dangers of being a liberal, this doesn’t make you any closer to God just because the principles you believe in may be right. It is the same conclusion that comes out from the idea that good people go to heaven. It is dangerous being a conservative because we seem to have a righteous indignation going for us that places all liberals in the same vein: they are evil and want to destroy our freedoms. I hate the policies and ideologies of the left as much as any conservative, but I had to step back recently after hearing Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly talk about how our hatred for each other will turn violent and someone will be killed. We are so polarized right now in this country that we are already fighting another civil war. I had to ask myself what is the driving force in my life, my political point of view or my allegiance to the teachings of Christ? To show how far I may have drifted I asked myself how many liberal do I want in heaven?  All of them, or just a few of them? (Too many liberals anywhere would ruin even heaven!)  See, I can’t even say that with a straight face. Yet, my Biblical conviction is that all my so-called enemies should be encouraged to know Christ and come to faith. Do I spend more time pursuing a political or ideological argument with the left more than I do a Biblical, ‘come to the Kingdom’ revolution party? God’s Kingdom is radical - so radical that few people will decide to accept it’s foundational principles. Jesus told us that most people will take a road that is wide in scope and broad in values, but His Kingdom is narrow and has uncompromising values. There is room for all conservatives and all liberals in His kingdom and He doesn’t exclude people because of their point of view, He excludes people because of their unwillingness to accept Him as the Savior and Lord of this world. As a Christian I am a conservative voter, but my philosophy of life is based upon God’s Word and the principles of His Kingdom. The United States needs another lens to view the world, and it’s neither conservative nor liberal. Some would say it is too late for us to get a new corrected lens, but our job is to continue to make the case that the Kingdom of God is the next major player in the world of politics on planet earth. 

I might add that as followers of Jesus Christ, we have also been enlisted by virtue of our faith to be campaign managers for His Kingdom….just sayin’!

Keeping it honest and truthful…..K 

 

 

 

 

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