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Wednesday
Mar252015

When Christians Play Offense

I have repeatedly said that Christians only play defense these days, trying to protect themselves against an enemy that continues to take away the freedom to practice our religion. Recently I heard Michele Bachman say the same thing.  When will Christians stop being victims of a society that puts us down, and forces our faith out of the public square? When will we stop being forced to lose our businesses because our Christian conviction says it won't bake wedding cakes for gay couples?  Why don't we play more offense, and tell our society we aren't going to be stepped on any more?  Muslims don't put up with our society's pressures, they get what they want in public schools with prayer rooms, and Islamic sensitivity training in corporate work places.  How about a little respect for Christianity, since Christianity has played a major part in making America great.  

  • The Church is the largest single provider of health care and education in the world, working especially in some of the poorest countries where there is no other care available. 
  • In 1948 the UN put forward the declaration of human rights.  These rights were so clearly based on Christian principles that some Muslim states objected and refused to sign on that basis because it conflicted with Sharia law.
  • The greatest scientist who ever lived - Sir Isaac Newton
  • Its almost universally accepted that Sir Isaac Newton was the greatest scientist who ever lived.  This amazing polymath who contributed so much to many areas of science was a devout Christian who expressed that his faith played a major role in his work.
  • The Church pioneered modern Social Work.  Jane Addams was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Also co-founded the first settlement house in the US.  The Settlement Movement sought to bridge the gap between rich and poor in society:  
  •  London Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. After campaigning in the Church,  UK’s first ever law to protect children from abuse and neglect came into being. 
  • Clara Barton - founder and first president of the American Red Cross
  • She was a pioneer American teacher, patent clerk, nurse, and Christian. One of her greatest accomplishments was founding the American Red Cross. This organization helps victims of war and disasters.  
  • Churches were the first orphanages. In the High Middle Ages, abandoning unwanted children finally eclipsed infanticide. Unwanted children were left at the door of church or abbey, and the clergy was assumed to take care of their upbringing. This practice also saw the birth of the first orphanages.
  • Early Church Fathers advocated against polygamy, abortion, infanticide, child abuse...
  • Church teaching heavily influenced the legal concept of marriage. During the Gregorian Reform, the Church developed and codified a view of marriage as a sacrament.
  • Campaign for the protection of children from abuse.  Passionate Christian Josephine Butler campaigned for the age of consent to be set and was a key figure in other social reforms. 
  • Care for the elderly and disabled in society.  Christians birthed Almshouse institutions as early as the 10th century.   They were the forerunner of nursing homes and hospitals.  They sought to provide care for those who were no longer able to work.  
  • Impact on civil liberties. Rev.Martin Luther King Jr. a man of great courage and faith who was at the center of the civil rights movement.  His father and grandfather were both ordained ministers.
  •  Prison reform.  The Quakers pioneered prison reform during the Victorian age.  Suggested basic human rights for prisoners and teaching prisoners a trade.
  • Today, Prison Fellowship International (amongst other Christian ministries) works around the globe in prisons to help reform and rehabilitate prisoners:
  • Habitat for Humanity, one of the largest charities in the US which internationally provides housing for the poor.  Founder Millard Fuller
  • Salvation Army,- disaster relief, homeless missions, charity shops,  caring for poor and downtrodden in many different countries. Dr. Carl Becker - Missionary Doctor and Leprosy expert
  • Sight to the blind. Dr. Victor C Rambo was a passionate Christian who could have made a lot of money as a doctor in the US.  Instead he lived in India where he “worked from dawn ‘til dusk” operating on cataracts where little or no other help was available.   
  •  World Vision, 1950 – child sponsorship, one of largest relief and development agencies in the US.  Founded by Dr. Robert Pierce
  • Samaritans Purse. A Humanitarian organisation reaching those suffering in war, poverty, famine, disease and disaster.   
  • Royal Society for the prevention of cruelty to Animals founded by Christians (William Wilberforce).  It is the oldest and largest animal welfare organisation in the world and is one of the largest charities in the UK.
  • Frank Laubach, a committed Christian and pioneer of world lliteracy.   Known as the “Apostle to the Illiterates” the programs he developed have been used to teach about 60 million people to read their own language.  He was deeply concerned about poverty, injustice and literacy, and considered them barriers to peace in the world.

There, that is what I mean by playing offense, and I could go on and on with the contributions Christians have made to society as a whole.  So, when someone begins to tell you about the separation of church and state, just remind them of what the Christians have done for the state, and begin to take the offense in defending your faith.

Jews, are the only other religious group that has made the kind of contributions that Christians have to improve our world. When you contrast Jewish and Christian accomplishments against what the barbarian Islamic terrorists have accomplished, you get a better picture of whose religion best defines God. I believe the greatest contributions to the human race have been made by the Judeo-Christian heritage, and I am tired of being told my faith isn't worth anything. I for one will no longer play defense, it's offense time. 

Proverbs 11:18-19

 18 The wicked earns deceptive wages,
but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.
 19Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,
but he who pursues evil will die.

Keeping it hones and truthful....K 

 

   

Tuesday
Mar242015

Was Franklin Graham Wrong?

I was quite amazed at the fallout from a Facebook comment by Franklin Graham that stated that all people should honor the authorities that have been established to keep the law and order in our country. His comments were addressing the lawlessness that was happening in our cities as the result of citizens challenging the authority of the officers. 

Here is what Franklin said:

Listen up--Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else. Most police shootings can be avoided. It comes down to respect for authority and obedience. If a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. If a police officer tells you to put your hands in the air, you put your hands in the air. If a police officer tells you to lay down face first with your hands behind your back, you lay down face first with your hands behind your back. It’s as simple as that. Even if you think the police officer is wrong—YOU OBEY. Parents, teach your children to respect and obey those in authority. Mr. President, this is a message our nation needs to hear, and they need to hear it from you. Some of the unnecessary shootings we have seen recently might have been avoided. The Bible says to submit to your leaders and those in authority “because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.”

He was addressing the lawlessness of our society, regardless of race, or social standing, to obey the authorities who we as a society have established to enforce our laws, and our laws apply to all people living in the United States. Now it didn't surprise me to see how people in the Christian social justice movement reacted. Here is their response. 

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/03/23/you-have-sinned-against-us-pastors-pen-open-letter-rebuking-franklin-graham-for-viral-facebook-post-addressed-to-blacks-whites-latinos-and-everybody-else/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Firewire&utm_campaign=Firewire%20-%20HORIZON%203-23-15%20final%20-MON

The headline was rather inflammatory: "You Have Sinned Against Us" Since when does an opinion mean we have sinned against anyone? Rev Graham made an assessment based upon his understanding of godly principles, and made a comment that applied to all people, not just the Black community. I would expect this type of reaction from politicians, and people who have a stake in creating race tensions, but from those who signed this letter, I guess I would have expected more. Jim Wallis, one of the signers has always been a radical defender of social justice, and it doesn't surprise me that he was one of those who signed. He also supported the "Occupy Wall Street" movement of a few years ago that protested worldwide financial inequality.  

Social movements have a place in our world, but they don't trump what Christians believe is the mandate of the gospel. These movements often have at their core a fundamental ideology of socialism, where all people have the same standing rooted in one size fits all economically, socially, and philosophically. Of course at the end of the day with this kind of thinking, you have what is known in our world as communism, just under another heading. Christians have a responsibility to Christ to preach Him, His words, His ideas, His commandments, we are to be His Kingdom here on earth. I don't hear that coming out from this letter, I see an agenda, a social agenda that puts fellow Christians down for their opinion, and calls it sin. To me it's shameful, counter productive, and makes a case for civil disobedience when there isn't one to be made. 

Are there bad cops? Yes, is the justice system broke, yes, it has its problems, but so does all of society, in every country on planet earth. We are a broken and sinful world. 

But the people of God are His Kingdom and are suppose to represent what is to come. 

 9After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

This scene is made up of people whose first love is Jesus, they die, defend, and stand together against a world who wants to divide, destroy and deceive. The heart of Jesus is seen in his prayer in John 17, and oneness comes because you love God first, and your social agenda second. 

 20“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,  21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

We are called to be salt and light, one voice, one heart, one objective, to bring people into the Kingdom through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Once the heart is changed, and the emphasis moves from this world to the cross, you then have hope to move people to change. I don't think this letter was helpful to any cause, it only divides people that much more, there was no grace.  Black lives do matter, but so do all lives, that's what the gospel preaches, God's concern and love for all people, not just Black lives. 

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

 

Thursday
Mar192015

Israel's Road To Judgment

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/03/19/white-house-eyeing-un-to-pressure-israel-on-peace-deal/

This administration is laying the ground work for the following verses to be fulfilled. I have written repeatedly about this issue because Christians as a whole do not understand the next major offensive in Bible prophecy.

The prophet Zechariah writes this in chapter 12:

 2“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah.  3On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples.All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the world on the eve of the elections in Israel that the two state solution in Israel is dead, for now.  Why he reversed his decision I am not sure, but he is right in doing so. Perhaps he realized the skullduggery of Washington to undermine a successful re-election bid, that he decided to go back to his own convictions about the two state solution. After all, creating a Palestinian State right now would be an open door for ISIS or any of the terrorists group to run operatives from that Palestinian State and into Israel. What I can't understand is how the world ignores Israel's right to exist as a priority to the Israeli people.  As an example, it would be like having a drug house in the neighborhood. Does anyone want to live next to a drug house?  Of course not, so as neighbors you work together to get rid of the risk and the threat. Then why would anyone in their right mind want to place more land into the hands of the Palestinians who only want to annihilate you?  This is bad for any neighborhood, and a Palestinian State is a bad idea for Israel. Why do I say that?  I judge Palestinians by what we see in Gaza. Gaza was turned over to the Palestinians, and what did Israel get in return? Rockets to kill their people. What makes anyone think that a Palestinian State that borders Israel would not turn into another Gaza? 

However, at the end of the day, our perspective must come into alignment with Bible prophecy.  If you notice in the verse above, it is God who is drawing the nations to the Middle East.  It is not our President, nor Europe's leaders, not ISIS, not the Palestinians, but it's God. All the others are only pawns in the hands of God who will bring the nations into judgement. 

On that day the LORD will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, going before them.  And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

Again, whose is in control of what is happening in the Middle East?  God is in control and He is bringing about the turmoil that will lead to the rejection of Israel, and a war against her. I love to see the news these days, and I have my Bible open to give me the rest of the story, as the late Paul Harvey use to say. The rest of the story is that Jews will continue to return to Israel, the nations will come against Israel, and God will bring judgement upon the nations for their treatment of His people. This is a critical time in the history of the world. We are seeing the Bible come to life everyday in our news sources, and it won't go away anytime soon.

The more evil increases, God's Spirit increases more. Coming up on Jan Markell's Understanding the Times radio program next weekend March 28, you can hear from Tom Doyle who is telling stories of how the church is growing in the Middle East.  Check out her website for the podcast www.olivetreeviews.org and click on the radio tab. God is on the move in the Middle East, and you need to be aware of how that is happening.  

However, for Israel, it looks like more pressure from the Obama administration, and the United Nations. Remember to pray for Israel, and for Prime Minister Netanyahu. 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

 

 

 

Thursday
Mar192015

Stinking Thinking

Stinking thinking is a phrase commonly used by Alcoholics Anonymous to describe how alcoholics think about their addiction. However, I think it could be used for Christians who have not quite grasped the mandates of being a Christian. Let me explain.

Changing your thinking is a mandate of scripture. From Colossians 3:1 we read:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek  the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Your mind needs to have a discipline that goes beyond this world. I often watch and listen to an abundance of political news, because I want to keep informed, but I realize at the end of the day, it has made me as crazy as the news itself. Now I am not advocating we stick our heads in the sand when it comes to keeping informed. But we have to keep in mind, no matter what we do here politically, we will not change the world. Changing the world comes as a result of changing the heart of people. The laws, and policies of a government may affect the people, but they do not change the heart. Christians who are active in politics will be able to do is prolong the inevitable for a time, but this world prior to Christ's return belongs to the emphasis of the evil one. The only way we defeat him is through the continual preaching of the gospel that changes the heart when people come to Jesus. So in the meantime, we have to be vigilant in keeping ourselves fit and on task to make a difference, that is why we need to keep our minds sharp on God's Word.

 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  On account of these the wrath of God is coming.  In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices  10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.  11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

I find that all of the evil intentions of the heart described above, the Apostle Paul places into a category of idolatry, which is based upon a self worship orientation. Most of the world today is facing the charge of idolatry before God, and that brings with it the wrath of God. This is the missing piece of the Christian message today. The Grace of God gives us salvation from His wrath, and without it you are destined to experience His wrath.  Notice the admonition to put away the fruits of human weakness of anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk and lying. These are all human weaknesses that everyone is prone to practice. 

Again, as we set our minds on Christ, He changes the way we think about our lives, and eventually our behavior begins to change. We begin to see the world through a mindset that sets the Kingdom of God first as a standard for all we do. Keeping a Kingdom of God mindset means you will not fear, you will not be moved or persuaded, you will not give in, or be deceived by the environment of ungodliness that surrounds us today.  

As Christians, we are also vulnerable to the sins of the flesh. We too often compromise the scriptural principles of God Word by adapting His Word to our causes. Notice what Paul says at the end of these verses. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.  Yet, on Facebook I noticed how Christians continually argue for their cause of race, pitting one race against another in the effort to make an equal rights argument. Our job is to argue the case for a changed heart, because as the race baiters get their priorities right, the gospel will make the necessary changes in people that will represent a kingdom perspective, not a social justice issue. 

 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

This scene happens because the mindset of Christians had the perspective of the Kingdom as a priority, rather than the emphasis of race, politics, social justice, and the like.  This scene in the Book of Revelation is the reality of the gospel taking hold in a persons heart, and changing them to become kingdom people. 

My emphasis today is not to abandon our social causes, but to temper them in the gospel. Our priority is not to feed the poor, clothe the naked, or bring peace to the world. Our first job is to being the message of the gospel to people where it will change the heart. It is a changed heart, a Kingdom heart that will help people in need. 

It begins with changing the stinking thinking, and allow God's Word to set the course in our lives, and not the emphasis of our social concerns and our personal theology.

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Mar172015

Watch The Movement Of The Jews

Ezekiel 36:

24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.  25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  26And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.  28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

In an article for The Atlantic, journalist Jeffrey Goldberg wonders whether anti-Semitic attacks mean Europe is no longer safe for Jews.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG
: What prompted me to ask the question is my discovery, over months of traveling through European-Jewish communities, that it's become increasingly difficult for people to live normative Jewish lives, wearing Jewish clothes - meaning kippot, mainly, yarmulkes - to go to a synagogue without fear of being blown up, to go to a kosher supermarket without fear of being blown up or shot. And so the question is not whether you can live in hiding, meaning masking your identity, but if you want to live a life as a Jew in some form or another, it's become, in many places, including and especially France, quite difficult. And since there are alternatives in the world now - this is not the 1930s - the question arises that perhaps there's someplace better.

It has become a popular emphasis these days, that the Jews are the people to watch, almost as a barometer of what God is doing in the world. A friend of mine at lunch the other day asked me about my comments I make ever so often about talking to your pastor about the issues here in this blog.  I told him I think it is always a good idea to ask about the last days, and how does it impact the church?  Wouldn't that be an important topic to cover?  How about Israel, will America, and the American Church support Israel in the future, given that Israel is dead set against any Palestinian State? Three things will happen once a pastor is asked about Israel.

1. He will have no idea of Israel's significance in the last days, and will downplay the role of Israel in anything God is doing in the world. 

2. He will be supportive of Israel, and be willing to engage the congregation in defending Israel against Anti-Semitism and preach about the significance of Israel in the formation of Christianity. 

3. He will be anti-Semitic, and will argue that the church is now God's chosen people, and Jews will be grafted into the church, not as Jews, but as Christians. 

Anti-Semitism is a back door hatred for God. I know people won't tell you that, but that is what it is. You can not hate the Jews, and be a Christian, which means you follow a Jew.  Jesus is not a Lutheran or a Baptist, He is Jew, and He won't be anything other than a Jew when He returns. I believe the next great sign will be a second Exodus from all over the world, Jews will return, some from persecution, others just because God is drawing them.

Nothing will remove Israel from being a nation, and all the saber rattling the Muslims are doing is all smoke and mirrors, trying to create a Jihad that will only end badly for them as they try to destroy Israel.

Amos 9:15

15 I will plant them on their land,
and they shall never again be uprooted
out of the land that I have given them,”
says the LORD your God.

Zechariah 12:2-4

2“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah.  On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.  On that day, declares the LORD, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.

So watch the Jews, and in watching you will witness the hand of God preparing the land of Israel for the ruling Messiah/Savior to return.  Bring it on!

 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

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