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Sunday
Apr192015

The Day Of The Watchman

Micah 7:4b

The day of your watchmen, of your punishment, has come;
now their confusion is at hand.

The watchman were to be those who warned the people of impending danger.  They were people set up by God to speak on His behalf. They were to bring the warning to God's people as they saw the enemy approaching. 

Ezekiel 3:17

 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.

Ezekiel 33:2

 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman,

Ezekiel 33:6-7

 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.

If we were to translate this into today's religious world, we would call these watchman Christian leaders. They are not only the pastors in the land, but they would be any Christian leader who has a communication gift and ministry. These leaders have been called by God to be a voice of conscience that reminds the people of what God's word teaches. The prophet Micah says that the day of the watchman will become a day of judgment because of the confusion the watchman have caused. Watchman are never to be confused, they need to know what the enemy looks like, talks like, and acts like, so they can to respond by sending a warning to the people. I write this today because I am afraid we are failing to either allow the watchman to do their job, or the watchman have neglected to do their job.  In either case, the job of watchman is in great peril today, because most watchman have been compromised. Again, Jesus reminded His audience that the last days would be days like those in Noah's day, when the people in the land were totally unaware of what was coming next.

Today the Bible has become a secondary reference book for many Christian people. Many of these Christians are conservatives who will watch the Fox News commentators before they will read their Bibles. Christians want to be informed, and they want to know how to respond to the government over reach into their lives. Take for example the story out yesterday on how another terrorist group wants to eliminate all Christians from their land. 

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/04/19/boko-haram-adopts-isis-bloody-religious-cleansing-strategy/ 

This kind of a tragedy is happening all over the Middle East and in parts of Africa today, and Christians in the West are asking questions.  Overall, we hear little from our government and almost nothing from most watchman in the the church. Are these just isolated cases, or is there a Jihad against all Christians?  The watchman are not warning, so what does that say to all Christians, not just those affected by these murders?  Will Christians have to compromise their faith and become Muslims in these areas if they want to live? What does this Jihad mean in the West? Who is watching our backs, are the watchman awake and on the job?  In the West, the statement made in Micah may have some significance. The watchman have not prepared the people, they have avoided the obvious Biblical injunction to watch and to pray, which means keep informed, and pray. Don't just watch Fox news, ask your preacher for insights, and teaching on how the Church in the West can help their brothers and sisters in these Jihad nations? If our own watchman are not engaged, will we be as guilty as they are by not reacting, and not praying?  

Lets not forget, lest we forget, we are not far from open hostility in America toward Christians who will stand their ground in defending the truth.  It may be just a matter of time before we are not allow to speak openly about issues that affect our freedom of religion. Watchman, where are you? 

 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

 

Tuesday
Apr142015

Holiness The Forgotten Art 

 Haggai 2 

11“Thus says the LORD of hosts: Ask the priests about the law:  12‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’” The priests answered and said, “No.”  13 Then Haggai said, “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?” The priests answered and said, “It does become unclean.”  14 Then Haggai answered and said, “So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, declares the LORD, and so with every work of their hands. And what they offer there is unclean.

Evil has a way to corrupt and affect a society. Holiness doesn't have a chance. In fact holiness is a thing of the past, it is no longer a topic we discuss much among ourselves as believers, yet the scriptures encourage us to be holy. 

1 Peter 1:15-16

 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,  16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Ephesians 5:27

 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

 God told Israel in Leviticus 11 and 19 to live distinct from the other nations around them. He wanted this nation to be different from all other people groups in order to display that they belonged to Him. This "setting apart" from the world was a standard they were to uphold to live out their lives favoring the Lord first in all their behavior. God is the only one who is "holy" we use that term only to associate ourselves with Him, yet none of us are "holy" in the true sense of that word.  Yet, we are told to be "holy as He is holy," but we really can't be holy on our own.  Most of the time holiness is associated with people of faith who have a rigid standard of lifestyle, sometimes called "legalism" they do all the rules perfectly in order to be holy. Orthodox Jews are good examples of trying to be holy by a lifestyle that is regimented around keeping the law, and in so doing they perceive themselves as being holy, honorable to the Lord. I think many of us could learn from their insistence in wanting to follow God in every aspect of lifestyle, yet it is not in the following of the rules that makes anyone holy, it is in knowing Him that makes us holy in God's eyes. Jesus rebuked the religious of His day because they were doing righteous things to be known by men, more than to be known by God. In Matthew 7, He made this clear:

 21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

He was speaking this to those in His day, who thought by performing some religious works that somehow that transferred holiness to them. They knew the law, they kept the rules, they acted out religious activity, but they did not know the author of any of it. Holiness does not transfer it's virtue to you by simply keeping some religious ceremony or ritual, those are only to remind you of your need for God, but it doesn't make you right with God. When Jesus called those He did not know, "workers of lawlessness" what did He mean?  What was it about their behavior that merited that designation? It meant that their acts of religious activity was being done on their behalf, and not to represent God. Their 'holiness" was meant to be seen by men, but not be known by God.  

So how does this relate to you?  Simple, does God know you by your hearts desire to know Him? Is your religious activity more of a public relations activity, than it is in following and knowing God? 

Over the years I have watched people go through the motions of knowing God through their activity at church.  They had all the right words, had the Christian culture memorized to know what to do and not to do, yet at the end of the day, God was only a means to an end. He was important to them, because they wanted to be blessed, that's lawlessness. (because it is self-serving) We don't serve God to be blessed, that may be a result of honoring God, but we serve Him because we love Him, and we love Him because we know Him, and He knows us. 

Holiness isn't an outward practice, it is an inward pursuit of knowing, loving, and honoring God by surrendering yourself to Him, without reservation, and without regret. Holiness is the pursuit of God with all your mind, heart and soul, that makes you distinctive and sets you a part for God. 

The lost art of pursuing God, has been replaced by the art of appearing religious. 

Keeping it honest and truthful.....K  

 

 

 


 

Saturday
Apr112015

God Does Discriminate

I find it fascinating that people think God doesn't discriminate, they are so wrong. Narrow is the way Jesus said, that leads to eternal life.  Just that statement alone would indicate that God has a very narrow view of what He accepts and does not.

 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.  15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

 This passage in Revelation 22 indicates God does not accept careless living, and it usually is the folks who live in immorality that always say, "God is love, and He accepts everyone."  That is just not true according to the scriptures. It is true that He loves everyone, but He does not accept immorality either by the righteous or the unrighteous. Jesus does accept anyone, no matter how wicked they are, if they repent and allow Him to be their savior. But that requires them to change their lifestyle. You can not live in a sinful relationship, heterosexual or homosexual, and expect God to accept you. Sinful lifestyles must be a thing of the past, and a change is required if a person is to be forgiven and accepted by God. Just saying this seems so wrong according to all we hear in our culture today, but that is what the Bible teaches. 

You can not live with your heterosexual lover outside of marriage and expect God to accept you. Or, you can not be living in a homosexual relationship, and expect God to accept you, it just doesn't work that way according to scripture.  Our culture has made up its own gospel, and that gospel says you can live any way you want, and God will accept you. That is the biggest lie form Satan that there is. 

Again, Jesus said:

Matthew 7:13

 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.

The narrow way means you do it God's way, it is His rules and His requirements. The broad way of culture will lead you to destruction, because it leads you away from God, and invents it's own rules of behavior. 

Jesus told his disciples that you can not love your life, or anything in your life more than you love Him. You can not love your sin, and say Jesus is okay with it, because he is not. He makes it clear in Matthews gospel chapter 9, that He needs to be in top priority in your life, and if He is not, He will have nothing to do with you. 

 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.  37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Jesus does discriminate, He tells you what is required of you in order for you to be accepted by Him as a follower. The cross is the distinguishing factor for anyone who wants to follow Jesus.  The cross is how Jesus loves us, He forgave us by the giving of Himself, and that very act of sacrifice is the symbol of what it means to follow Him. You can not get into heaven, or be accepted by God unless you accept the cross as the defining understanding of God. That is how God discriminates, He does not accept you, without you accepting what Jesus did on the cross on your behalf. 

The most discriminating verse in the Bible is John 14:6

6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

There it is, one absolute way to be known by God, and in our culture that is discrimination.  

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

 

 

Thursday
Apr092015

When Christ Gets Hijacked

My good friend Steve is an internet scanner who finds things that are great discussion pieces. He sent me this link yesterday and it's worth reading. 

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/04/08/college-prof-doubles-down-after-declaring-that-christ-was-potentially-queer-and-bigots-invented-a-white-supremacist-jesus/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Firewire_Morning_Test&utm_campaign=Firewire%20Morning%20-%20April%209%202015

As you read through this article from this professor, you begin to see an agenda that is not Biblical, yet claims to be Christian.  I realize that there are differences of option on some theological issues such as eschatology, water baptism, gifts of the Holy Spirit and some doctrine, but when you blatantly refuse to adhere to the Word of God, then your claims of knowing Christ should be questioned. 

1 John 5:2

 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.

So what do you do with people who say they are Christians, but don't follow the dictates of the Word of God? I am beginning to resent the word "conservative" because that seems to identity everyone who does not agree with a liberal point of view.  Let me say for the record, that I have a Biblical view point, not a conservative one. Now, my Biblical view point probably aligns more with a conservative world view, but conservatives aren't always in line with the Bible. This professor, like so many Evangelical Christians fail to understand that when they support homosexuality, abortion, and pluralism of all religions saying that they are the same, you can't be a follower of Jesus, according to the Bible. You can call yourself a Christian and believe in the love of God, and the social justice agenda of the scriptures such as feeding the poor, and clothing the naked, but at the end of the day, does your heart and life belong to Jesus?  

To this professor who thinks she has it all figured out, Jesus addressed directly in Matthew 7:

 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  23 And then will I declare to them, ‘Inever knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

This verse was written just for people who say they are Christians, but do not know Jesus. Let me say that again, JESUS DOESN'T KNOW YOU, and it doesn't matter how spiritual you think your opinions or actions are, the key here is, "does Jesus know you?'

When we look at the spirit of this age, Jesus will become anything to everyone.  In a recent article, there are people who insist Jesus was gay. 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/apr/20/was-jesus-gay-probably

However, just like the professor, this Anglican Priest is all wrong, Jesus was not gay, nor did he support gay rights because the Bible doesn't support it. Jesus was the Word incarnate and can not contradict the scriptures in this manner, but the spirit of this age can and does. This professor and this priest are examples of where this world is going with Jesus, we are making Him into the kind of God we want Him to be, a god personally like us, with all our sinful desires. 

God sent Jesus to earth as sinless perfection, for the purpose of a substitutionary atonement for our sins, and for a brief moment on the cross, every sin known to humans was upon Him until His death. That atonement was to remove the penalty of death for all human beings, but it does not mean Jesus remained in a sinful state. Jesus came to set men free from the burden of sin, not represent it. Jesus told us that in the last days there would be many false christs, and that doesn't mean just different religions, it meant that He would be misrepresented in a variety of false ways within the ranks of those who call themselves Christians. 

Matthew 24:24

24For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

This professor and the the priest are redefining Jesus, which is an abomination before God. 

Leviticus 18:22

 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

Ezekiel 11:21

 21 But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord GOD.”

The Bible is our only source for the revelation and truth about about God, and anyone who redefines the God of the Bible is a false and dangerous prophet. 

Beware, the priests and prophets like those described today, are only warming up their false definitons of our Lord. 

Keeping it honest and truthful....K


Tuesday
Apr072015

Taking Liberties With Scripture

One of the theological conundrums is when a practice or a teaching is not rooted within the scriptures. Sometimes the combination of tradition and extra-biblical writings get thrown into a belief, and soon we are off to the races. Beliefs such as purgatory, we are living in the millennium now, cessationism, (gifts ceased) supercessionism, (replacement theologyy) and the mystical practices of inner healing, are not rooted in scripture, but in the imaginations of teachers.  You may not think of these as deal breakers for those who believe, but they are foreign to the teachings of scripture.  I remember years ago when the inner healing movement was big in the church, many Christians would visualize themselves sitting with Jesus, and He was removing memories from them that were troubling.  This practice comes from the teachings of anti-Christian and occultist, Agnes Sanford.  Generational curses have also been associated with the need for inner healing and deliverance. The Bible references  “generational curses” in several places (Exodus 20:534:7Numbers 14:18Deuteronomy 5:9). God warns that He is “a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”  Most commentators would agree that this applies to the unbelieving, that sinful habits and attitudes can be passed on to the next generation. For example bigotry, racism, legalism, hatred, abuse and narcissism, can all be generational, and passed down through the generations of a family structure. However, the Apostle Paul instructed us not to label them curses, but we are to put these kinds of sins of the flesh away as we grow in Christ. We are all cursed with sin, it is the result of the fall of man, but the scriptures tell us to put them to death.

 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.  8But 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  10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

My point in all of this is to make sure we don't blame some kind of spiritual curse for what is within our own power to change, with God's help. Not too many years ago, a family member got involved with casting demons out of people for having hiccups, and even over eating was tagged with a spirit of gluttony. In this teaching emphasis, every human malady had a spirit attached to it and the person needed deliverance to be rid of it.  Now, I realize demons exist, and they can influence how a person behaves, but many of the conditions that are attributed to demons was simply a lack of discipline on behalf of the person being affected. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of discernment, being able to distinguish between what is a human problem and what is a demonic influence. Again, I am not diminishing demon activity, but let's not use demons as an excuse to be lazy in our discipleship and discipline. I think we start with the discipline of putting to death the sins of the flesh, and if there is more influence there that keeps us in bondage, then we should seek more help in discerning the problem. James tells us to submit to God, and resist the Devil, and evil will flee from us.  I think that is where we start, and not blame all our personal issues on curses or issues of the occult. Blaming the Devil for everything to me, is taking liberties with scripture. 

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

 

 

 
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