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Tuesday
Jul222014

The Delusion 

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,  12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Some of what we are experiencing in our society, is the result of not believing in God, nor His plan of salvation in His Son Jesus. Most conservatives have this thinking that if we could just get a conservative base in Washington, that we could turn this country around. I use to feel that way too, but I don't anymore. My study of scripture tells me a different story, and part of it is found in these verses above. The result of not believing in God, will be a delusion that will foster falsehood and unrighteousness.  You might say, why would God be the one behind the delusion, why not Satan?  Don't get me wrong Satan is definitely in the mix of any delusion, it's his middle name. But God sends the delusion and turns them over to their own hatred of God. In Germany for instance, they are building a worship center that will bring Jews, Christians and Muslims together in one accord to worship God. 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2014/jun/25/berlin-house-of-one-unity-christian-muslim-jew

This sounds good to those who like to think that all three religions are equal, and that they all serve the same God. However, the only thing that they have in common is the delusion they are under. There is no relationship between dark and light, it does not exist in God's Kingdom. Jesus said you can not server two masters.

Matthew 6:24

 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. 

There are not many gods, only the delusion of many gods. There is but one God, and He is the God of the Bible. In the last days, the strong delusion will teach that all gods are equal, and they all teach the same things. Religion is a modern delusion, because it is thought to be a way to honor God by practicing love, serving the poor, and building a better world by mutual cooperation. This is why some Christians support the Palestinian movement and believe Israel is a hostile country that practices apartheid. The God of the Bible isn't interested in mutual cooperation, that is an invention of the Devil. He wants people to worship as many gods as they possibly can, because it violates God's requirement of worshipping only Him. From Exodus 20, we read:


 3“You shall have no other gods before me.

 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,  

but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

The delusion that God does not punish, or bring judgment on those who hate God, is one of the biggest omissions in modern theology.  Grace is God's way to appeal to us with a pardon for our wickedness, but when that pardon is rejected, it will not only affect the present generation, it will affect several generations that follow. 

Today, we are experiencing a strong delusion, but remember it was sent because we rejected the truth. Christians need to know how to penetrate this delusion with the truth, because it is our only hope to save those who are not yet overpowered by this great deception. What is needed is a radical change in the church, much like the first reformation, there are some major issues that must be addressed if we are going to overcome the delusion of our age. 

1. The new reformation begins by calling it's leaders to repentance for their lack of Biblical understanding.

2. The new reformation rediscovers the Biblical Jesus and a love for Israel

3. The new reformation engages the culture with truth, and fights for what is right in the eyes of God.

4. The new reformation is God centered, but culturally engaged. 

5. The new reformation is willing to take risks, and trust God for miracles, signs and wonders like the days of the early church.

I do believe in the work of the Holy Spirit, and it is His job to lead the church.  We need to get out of the way and let Him lead us to a new reformation in defending and declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

Monday
Jul212014

The Unexpected Will Rule In The Last Days

Luke 21:34

 34“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

There are many descriptors for the last days.

  • Confusion
  • Deception
  • Lawlessness
  • Self focused

 However, the unexpected will also rule the last days. 

I was talking with a pastor today, who is tired and facing more problems within the church than ever before, and he is totally worn out. This was totally unexpected for a guy who has been like the energizer bunny. I also learned today about the divorce of a ministry colleague, and this too was totally unexpected. In my own family I have experienced betrayal and lying to protect the truth.  Again, totally unexpected by a family member whose life up to now has been honest and trustworthy. 

The last days will be a season of unexpected events, and changes in the personal behavior of people we have known for a long time. We will also see the unexpected become the reality. For example, the sexual revolution of the 60's has translated into gay marriage in the 2000's and polygamy is just around the corner. Even though polygamy is illegal in America, experts say there are 30,000 to 50,000 people living in plural families across the country. Again, it is unexpected, but it will eventually become legal to have several partners in one marriage. I never thought our society would ever endorse marijuana has an agent of healing, but we are on the course to do just that. Totally unexpected. 

So what other unexpected changes in society can we expect in the coming years?

 

  • Entertainment will remove all filters and moral restrictions 
  • We will see the days of the gladiators return so we can watch death in real time
  • Race tensions will escalate until there will be be no civility between our differences
  • Socialism will be the ruling party in most governments around the world, including our own
  • Biblical truth will no longer be accepted as normal 
  • Children will continue to decline into thieves, murderers, and rapists. 
  • The Internet will rule business, recreation, information, and entertainment
  • Good people will stop fighting and give up or become passive and indifferent

Obviously some of these unexpected trends are prevalent today, but they will increase, always pushing the envelope to total moral decay.  That is why Jesus said that the days will become so dark, that unless He intervened, all would be destroyed. 

 

Matthew 24:22
And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

 

As a society we are being desensitized to immoral trends and slowly we are accepting outlandish behavior as normal. This attitude will rule our society in the days to come, prior to the return of Jesus Christ. It is another sign of the last days. Remember, it will take Jesus to intervene in order to stop the decay. Our only hope will be in God, His mercy, and His grace.  Stand prepared, don't accept this world's solutions for anything, because they will not work, and will only aid in the moral decay of the age. 

As Bob Dylan sang so many years ago, "the times they are a changing."

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

Sunday
Jul202014

Being Alone With Yourself

The phenomenon of this modern age, is the constant connection to an electronic audience. We can not drive, walk down the street, or have dinner with each other without the phone interrupting us.  We don't go anywhere without being in contact with our music, or email, or our friends.  It is an addiction to being in the present all the time. That's right, it is an addiction, because people can't help themselves.  They check their phone while in church, while engaged in a private conversation, or even while driving.  To me, this addiction is just plain rude, it says to the people they are with, that YOU, aren't as important as what is happening on email, twitter, Facebook, or text messaging. All of this attention we give to this media has made us addicts to being rude.

Now most young people would disagree with me on this, because they feel their phones, are an extension of themselves, and have a right to reference their phone at any time or place. However, there is even a deeper problem that goes beyond rudeness when it comes to smart phones. It is the issue of never being alone with your thoughts. There is so much bombardment of media messages today, that it is extremely hard to unplug just to think thoughts that you generate. Critical thinking does not come from the outside, as much as it does from within your own mind and heart.  For example, when we talk about developing a relationship with God it needs to be in the first person, not a second hand experience. I can't tell you how many times I have heard people parrot the concepts of a TV evangelist as if the concept originated from themselves. Knowing God is cultivating a quiet understanding of Him, and not being afraid to challenge the status quo of the culture or the church.  I have learned to find my critical thinking base from God's word, because it makes me think beyond my experience, and beyond the culture at large.  For example, my life's verse happens to be Psalm 16:2, and this verse reminds me of how I view life. 

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.
When you aren't alone with your thoughts, you become vulnerable to the persuasions of others. For example, many denominations, and churches want us to believe in their brand of Christianity, and for the most part, much of it is like advertising, they are selling us a product.   That means that I have to know more than I use to about Christianity so that I don't believe in something just because a church or a denomination teaches it. That is why it is important to be alone with yourself to critically think through the scriptures, and find the Jesus the Bible speaks about. 
It has been said that a man's life isn't made up of what he puts into it, it is made up of what comes out of it. This was another reason why God had instituted the Sabbath for ancient Israel, it was a time to reflect on Him, and on how His Word interacted with your life.  God wants us to know His principles and values, but more importantly, He wants them to change us. Today, little time is spent on reflecting on anything that has meaning and purpose.  Keeping people so busy, will keep people from taking the time to reflect on what is important, and what is not. 
One of the tools of busyness is the addiction to be continually be in the present, we can't miss a thing, so we have to stay connected. 
Perhaps, this week, take some time away from the world wide web, and use that time to read, think and pray. I wonder if some of the anxiety you are now experience, will not be as problematic. Jesus told us in Matthew 6 about the anxiety that builds in this world, but relieving that anxiety is having the right focus.  
31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Keeping it honest and truthful...K
Thursday
Jul172014

Are Christians Judgmental?

Christians are all judgmental, is what I hear from twenty year olds. They think Christians are the most judgmental people on earth.  Strangely, I agree, they are the most judgmental people on earth because they are trained to be that way. Let me explain. 

Matthew 7:13-14

 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

The Bible is a book about judgment, not just the kind of judgment where God throws fire down from heaven, but the kind of judgment that makes a difference between right and wrong. The narrow way that Jesus spoke about has to do with living according to the standards He has laid out in the Bible. Those standards determine what is right and what is wrong with human behavior as it relates to how we worship God, and how we treat each other. It identifies behavior that is an abomination to God, and tells us that people who live in rebellion to God will be condemned for such behavior. The Ten Commandments for example are rules of engagement for people who consider God to be important. It tells us not all gods are equal, therefore only worship the one true God, and defines behavior that is honoring to parents, and other people.  When those Ten Commandments tell us not to lie, steal or murder, that's all judgment, it is defining what is right and what is wrong with human behavior. When Christians are told in the Bible not to associate with people who are immoral, and who have deviant behavior, that too is a judgment call, helping to keep their behavior from being an influence to you.  That's all called judgment. 

So, when young people say Christians are judgmental, I say, yes they are, but we grateful they are because they help us to know what is right and wrong behavior according to God. The Devil has the world convinced that there are no absolutes, there is no wrong or right behavior, everything is acceptable and good in nature. For example, abortion is murder, but the terms get changed, and the rights of the mother get elevated to a place of worship, and behold, you can legislate abortion as a right, not as murder. When I say it's murder, people say that I am judgmental. No matter how you try to cover it up with new terms and introduce it as a right, it is still murder.  What I have done is to evaluate it according to what right and wrong according to God's standard for life. There is no legislation, nor public support that can change the fact that abortion is the killing a human being.  

Christians evaluate human behavior according to the standards God has written in order to maximize a healthy lifestyle. God tells us it's not a good thing to do the following:

 

  • Don't have sex with relatives
  • Don't lie to each other or lie to get ahead
  • Don't steal or covet our neighbors things
  • Don't have sex with a neighbors wife or husband
  • Don't be in a same sex relationship
  • Don't have sex with animals
  • Don't kill the unborn
  • Don't be dishonest in business
  • Don't  cheat
  • Don't murder
  • Don't hate your enemies
  • Don't retaliate
  • Don't support evil behavior 

 

These are all judgment calls, behavior that is not acceptable to God in any shape or form, and when we live by His rules, everyone benefits, but we run the risk of being called judgmental.  

My question to those who think Christians are judgmental, what part of that list is good to ignore?  If you agree with any of it, you too are judgmental because you are judging between right and wrong. 

Arguments against Christians generally are not intelligent nor are they rational, they are emotional arguments based upon the rhetoric that has been taught in our institutions by people who hate the truth.  If you have truth, then you have absolutes, and with absolutes you have standards and values. Standards and values are judgement calls, again defining how you view life, and it is by those values that you create a world view in which you live out your life. Christians live by the world view that God has laid out in the Bible, they see life through the lens of scripture, and as a result, they are criticized and labeled judgmental.  

I wish these same people who like to call Christians judgmental would start criticizing the Muslims more often and leave us poor Christians to our world view.  Muslims are all about judgment calls in their values, so why aren't they called judgmental? Yeah right, did I mention that criticizing Christians is safe, because one of our values is not to murder, not so much with the Muslims.  Please, please pick on the Muslims more, we Christians could use a rest. 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K


Wednesday
Jul162014

When We Don't Pay Attention

I couldn't pass up my story about the sideways in the neighborhood. About four years ago, the city in which I live replaced hundreds of bad slabs of sidewalks down most streets. The concrete they used, was bad, and the end result is the flaking away of the top surface, exposing the sharp rock beneath. Now remember, these faulty sidewalk slabs are all over the neighborhood, not just in a few isolated places.  When I presented my case to the neighborhood association, they were surprised and shocked at what was happening right under their noses. 

The question I asked,the Neighborhood Association was why the home owners did not notice how the sidewalks were crumbling and report it to the city public works?  The only explanation that was given was that home owners don't use their front doors.  You might be saying, so what?  Well, let me explain. 

When we don't pay attention to the details around us, we will soon become victims of deterioration. Let me illustrate.

Deuteronomy 17

16 Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’  17 And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

When we don't pay attention to the corrupting influence of military might, immorality, and wealth, we end up with presidents like Barack Obama, the financial accountability of a Bernie Madoff and the moral depravity of a Hugh Heffner. We then sanction a place called Hollywood, where they make movies that glorifies all of it.  Washington DC also has a reputation that is corrupted by power, immorality and persuasion money. These three are the power brokers in any culture, and if the leadership of a country doesn't manage these three well, they will corrupt the system they were elected to protect. However, people want a hero to lead them, bring them hope, and to change the conditions of their lives. That is why Israel wanted God to give them a king, someone who would lead them and take care of them. 

"Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations."

Before God fulfilled this request, He sent the prophet Samuel to warn the people that a king is expensive, abusive, and controlling.  

 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.  12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.  13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.  14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants.  15He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants.  16He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work.  17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.  18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

However, they paid no attention to Samuels warning and continued their request for a king. 

Americans are no different, they don't pay attention. They don't care about the deterioration of sidewalks, nor do they care about who runs the country as president. They also don't pay attention to the warnings of God. Samuel told them, a king will being deterioration into your life, and he will enslave your society. 

 Americans want a king, someone like Barack Obama, or Hilary Clintion who will create a government that will only take from the people, but will never give back. We are not paying attention to the agenda of our enemy, "keep them confused, and unaware." 

Every time I walk our dog over the sidewalks that are deteriorating, I am reminded, how our country, like these sidewalks  are crumbling. We are losing ground in this country because of the apathy of people who should care. But, I also remember that these are also the folks who won't even walk out their front doors to see how badly their new concrete sidewalks are crumbling.

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

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