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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

 

Thursday
Jan282016

Gender Fluid

Actor Jaden Smith (Will Smith’s son) says: He refuses to be defined by traditional stereotypes.”

Actor Jaden Smith has continued not caring what his critics think as he wore a white dress to his high school prom.

This is considered to be “gender fluid.”

https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/01/27/jaden-smith-pulls-off-a-skirt-in-latest-gender-fluid-photo-shoot/

What is “Gender Fluid?

Gender Fluid is a gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of boy and girl. A person who is Gender Fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more boy some days, and more girl other days.

Being Gender Fluid has nothing to do with which set of genitalia one has, nor their sexual orientation.”

I read recently in the daily newspaper about a mother who is suing her insurance provider because they have a clause that excludes payment for drugs for persons who want to have a sex change. It was clearly stated that this kind of transition was not covered under the policy.  She felt her daughter, who wanted to be a son, was being denied the right to become a different sex. That right, is not a right covered by the insurance provider. One drug alone is $9000.00, but there are several involved, and this is just the preliminary stage of the process prior to any kind of surgery. If insurance companies begin to cover the expenses of this elective surgery, everyone will be paying for it through their premiums. Welcome to the age of sexual confusion.

I have often said that our culture hasn’t done us any favors. Bernie Sanders goes around the country trying to become the Democratic nominee based upon a socialist ideology, and the young people love him. They want the freedom to have no labels, no sexual indentify, no inequity of any sorts, and let the state the parents for everyone. It means, no one grows up; everyone is treated like their four again playing in the sandbox in the backyard.  Socialism treats everyone the same is a lie, and only people who benefit from socialism, are those in control of the government. The Billionaire oligarchies are the ponds of the government controlling everything, just look to Russia to see how this all works. Vladimir Putin, some have written could be the world’s richest man, with hundreds of Billions of dollars. How’s that for the leader of the communist world?  Socialism is an ugly system when it is fully implemented, because it disregards the individual rights for the sake of the State. I wonder how these independent young people who support a Sanders government, will like it when they known by a number, and be treated like a herd of cattle when it comes to personal care and employment?   This kind of thinking is the failure of our educational system in this country by not telling the truth about the government systems that oppress people, make them wards of the State. Instead we teach our kids to think capitalism is evil, yet it is that very system that allows them the privileges they enjoy. It seems a little ludicrous to me.

This Jaden Smith story is another example of a privilege gone badly. Here is a kid who truly was privileged from his birth and he is an example of how so many of our privileged families use their influence and wealth. The Bible tells us that the last days will be days that will turn everything upside down. Nothing will seem normal, and all bad will be seen as good. That kind of thinking is from the pit of hell, and we haven’t seen anything yet. You may not be familiar with “gender Fluid” but get use to it.  It’s only the beginning! There will come a time when you will not be able to send your children to school or even out in public without an adult escort because of the bizarre people freely pervading every aspect of life.

This is not a scare tactic; it’s what is happening. The world has rejected God, and has embraced evil thinking that hides it’s real intent. We have forgotten that there is a demonic system in play in the world and their intent is to enslave people. In fact some of the demons were so evil they were not allowed by God to be unchained and sent to earth.

2 Peter 2:4

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

Jude 1:6

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

So evil knows no limits, and those evil spirits who do roam the earth have an agenda to enslave people who have no spiritual foundation. The only thing the Devil and his angels fear, is the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only authority over evil and He is the only liberator from the captivity of demonic influence.

Remember, we overcome the evil of the Devil and this world, by the blood of the Lamb, and by their testimony.

Revelation 12:11 They have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.

As the days get darker, our resolve must become stronger, and our hearts need to be filled with everything God has given to us.

·      The Word
·      The Fellowship of Fellow Believers (church)
·      The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
·      The armor of God
·      The prayers of warrior saints

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

Wednesday
Jan272016

God Always Tells Us The Truth

 

One thing I have always hated about Christians, is their practice of dancing around the truth.  They can’t be honest because they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so they avoid the confrontational issues that will bring conflict. You may not like what I just said, but if you are honest with yourself, you know it is the truth.  God, on the other hand is honest, and will always tell you the truth, and if the truth wounds you in some way, in the end it is for your good. 

Truth should not be used as a weapon to destroy, it is to be the foundation upon which we stand, and from this foundation we minister grace to others. Truth will never compromise, nor is it fearful.  However, too often people use the truth as a hammer to pound people into obedience.  That is not the way of the Lord. He often wounds, in order to restore. I know that sounds crazy to some, but that is what the Bible teaches.  Hosea 6:1 says:  “Come, let us return to the Lord; it is he who has torn us—he will heal us. He has wounded—he will bind us up.”

God is truthful to His people Israel and He does not dance around the issues.

Hosea 7:2-4 “They cry out to Me, “My God, we of Israel know You!” Israel has rejected the good; the enemy will pursue him.They have set up kings, but not by Me; they have appointed princes, but I did not know it. With their silver and gold they have made idols for themselves, that they might be cut off.”

You can see that God did not dance around the issue of Israel’s sin. He was clear that they had rejected Him, and set up their own gods, and standards for living. The Church in America is weak because it dances around the issues of the day, and compromises with the culture. Preachers, who are afraid of the culture are preachers who should not be behind the pulpit or the microphone, or the pen.  Preachers, communicators, and authors need to tell the truth as God does, and leave the results up to God.  As I stated in yesterday's blog posting, God wants His people to know Him, that is the number one reason for being saved. God’s desire is to redeem and restore a people who know and love Him, and who will not compromise  their relationship with Him.  

God always tells the truth, and so should we, it is the basis for any true relationship. 

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

Tuesday
Jan262016

When The Understanding Goes

Hosea 4:1 Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel, For the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land.

The case God brings against the inhabitants of the land?

  1. No faithfulness to God
  2. No kindness to people
  3. No knowledge of God in the land

This case was against ancient Israel, but it could be a case against America. We have our understanding of God taken from us, no one seems to draw upon God for anything any more, even in the church. I see more faithlessness in the church today more than in my lifetime. When I ask people about their beliefs, they say they believe in God, but when pushed to explain how their belief is lived out, they are uncertain. More and more Christian’s say they are not hearing from God, and yet they believe He exists.  So what’s wrong? 

Hosea 4:11-12 says: “Harlotry, wine and new wine take away the understanding. My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner's wand informs them; For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, and they have played the harlot, departing from their God.”

What was the prophet saying? The people of God have misdirected their priorities, and have looked to stimulation, personal interests, and mystical provocation. They are interested in satisfying their appetites, and because of these appetites, they have departed from God. In talking with close personal friends, I find they too are noticing a shift in the godly interest among their Christian associations. Many tell me that they sense their friends have an obligation to attend church, or to sign up for a missions projects, but their desire is not in pursuing God, both in holiness and spiritual integrity. Holiness is not an avenue to becoming a Pharisee; it is about the dedication of purifying attitudes, and keeping a lifestyle focused upon God. Spiritual integrity is about living a life that mirrors God’s word, and not to illustrate one’s personal life.  The fourth chapter of Hosea is full of insights as God tries to bring understanding to a people whose eyes are blind and their ears are deaf.

Hosea 4:6 My people are being destroyed because they don't know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests.

I believe this verse brings understanding to the dilemma outlined in this blog posting. It boils down to not knowing God.  I have learned that many people love the concept of Christian principles and values, but these do not mean you know God. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7:22? 

On judgment day many will say to me, 'Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.'

He then says, “depart from me, I never knew you.”

This will be the most devastating sentence anyone will ever hear. I think the greatest crime against God is to ignore Him, and refuse to know Him.  Other scriptures point out that deceit, darkness, hardness of heart, a lack of love and their evil deeds will all prevent people from knowing Him.

Jeremiah 9:6 Your dwelling is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know Me," declares the LORD.

Ephesians 4:18 Being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;

1 John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Hosea 5:4 They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, and they do not know the Lord.

I have known people who thought they were believers, wake up one day and realize they never really knew God.  How can that be you ask?  Well, their family up bringing, church traditions, and a theology that didn’t require much sacrifice or discipleship. In recent years, some have even criticized the Evangelical tradition of,  “ask Jesus into your heart” theology for a confirmation of salvation. I am not going to suggest that a prayer for salvation isn’t valid, but it can’t be all you know about Jesus. Knowing God requires a heart that desires to know Him. That desire is an insatiable pursuit, and it is how a true worshiper is defined.

We need to get this understanding back again.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

 

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