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Sunday
Sep242017

Taking a Knee

The feud between President Trump and the NFL over the weekend is another indication of how messed up America has become. We do have the right to protest and we do have the right to exercise the right to be heard because that is what America has been known for. The NFL has rules of conduct for anyone who is employed by the NFL including all the teams and the team owners. Here is an example:

The policy states: "It is a privilege to be part of the National Football League. Everyone who is part of the league must refrain from conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL. This includes owners, coaches, players, other team employees, game officials, and employees of the league office, NFL Films, NFL Network or any other NFL business. Conduct by anyone in the league that is illegal, violent, dangerous, or irresponsible puts innocent victims at risk, damages the reputation of others in the game, and undercuts public respect and support for the NFL. We must endeavor at all times to be people of high character; we must show respect for others inside and outside our workplace; and we must strive to conduct ourselves in ways that favorably reflect on ourselves, our teams, the communities we represent, and the NFL."

The NFL Commissioner should read his own policies. The conduct of taking a knee during our national anthem is not a right to exercise the right to freedom of speech. Notice what their policy says: “behavior that is detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL.” What quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players have started is a disrespectful way to protest ideas about the racism in America. They have a right to protest, no one is taking that away, but it is the wrong forum to disrespect all those men and women who have served this country in the Armed Forces. Grieving families who have lost sons and daughters while fighting for the right of the NFL to exist, and have television rights on Sunday to broadcast their games. This country has issues that need correcting, but you don’t try to correct them by disrespecting the very people who fought for us to have the right to protest.

The President is the Commander in Chief and it is his job to defend those who have laid down their lives for this country.  This is why America will never be great again, because her people can never rise to the level of greatness of past generations. It may be true that this generation is smarter, more educated and more globally minded than previous generations. America was always a country where ideas could be exchanged and debated. However, today people are fearful to even share ideas because if they don’t line up with what the bully pulpits of media are preaching and match the ideology of the political left, they are marginalized and threatened.

Debate is a good thing. It is how we do course correction when someone or something is terribly wrong.  Taking a knee against the national anthem is terribly wrong because it is disrespects the very country that has provided a system of freedom since 1776. The right to debate and the need to course correct are symbolized in our flag and it is who we are with all our warts. Let’s get back to the civil debate that has made our process a process that can change and correct, but let’s not disrespect what our flag represents.  

Protest all you want, vote for the people you want to help bring change in the way you think America should change, but don’t go after the symbols that have given us the freedom to do so.  When you take a knee you are serving the wrong message with the wrong motive.

Here is a concluding thought:

There is coming a day when the liberal left and the conservative right will bend a knee. All governments will bend a knee, along with all rich and poor people. All-powerful people, including all sports teams and owners, will bend a knee. All of Hollywood’s elite entertainers will bend a knee, as well as all the powerful people who pull the strings in economies around the world. They will someday all bend a knee.

You see, bending a knee for the right reasons is a good thing and everyone will do it someday. However, it won’t be in protest - it will be to acknowledge the most powerful person in the universe and our tongues will surrender the rhetoric of our speech to give praises to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Can’t wait.

Philippians 2:10-11 “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

Tuesday
Sep192017

Concepts That Have Died In The Church

My last posting had to do with words that have died within the culture and within most churches today. It got me thinking about other things that specifically have died within the Church since I became a Christian.

Holy Living: this was taught from many pulpits throughout the 70’s especially in Pentecostal denominations. It was a belief that we are to be in the world, but not of it. Some of the restrictions that were placed upon those of us in these churches were things like:

 

  • Going to the movies
  • Dancing
  • Playing cards
  • Drinking beer/wine
  • Eating in restaurants with a bar attached
  • Listening to secular music

 

The list was quite endless as to the things you couldn’t do. I realize that many of these restrictions were ‘way overboard, yet the church taught that if the physical body of any believer belonged to the Lord, then our lifestyle should never bring shame to His name.

Today, I think the concept of holiness is foreign to most believers, and our standards have changed in such a radical way that there is no difference in how we live our lives from those outside of the church.

From an article from Proven Men Ministries:

Christian men are having an alarmingly difficult time abstaining from the sexual sins of viewing pornography and committing adultery on their spouses, according to a new national survey. Tragically, married Christian men are failing miserably when it comes to these sins, as 55 percent look at pornography at least once a month and 35 percent cheated on their spouses in an extramarital affair.

The Barna Group researchers found that 77 percent of Christian men between the ages of 18 and 30 view pornography at least monthly, and 36 percent look at it at least once a day. Thirty-two percent of these men admit having an addiction to porn.

There are other areas as well that have seen a sharp rise in Christians failing. Christians are failing in their marriages much like the secular world. They also are among the numbers of people seeking addiction therapy, and even their personal conviction about the definition of sin has been modified substantially. 

This last statement about not having a strong personal conviction about sinful behavior is the most troubling to me. Christians are loose on abortion services, drinking, sex before marriage, and the lack of integrity among clients in business or ministry associates.

We have lost the moral convictions we once practiced, in exchange for a more socially accepted lifestyle.

There was a day when pastors had altar calls for people to come to repent and renew their relationship to God. There are few ministries that do this anymore, as everyone is too private today.

Biblical Prophecy: few pastors today preach about Bible prophecy and the end times. People don’t want to hear about the end times because it scares them and therefore many churches have decided not to address it. The death of discernment seems to be a direct result of ignoring Bible prophecy. Christians have a hard time understanding that there are teachers and teachings that are not suitable for healthy spiritual living. Some of these include the “no hell” gospel, where God does not punish anyone because God has eliminated the place called ‘hell.’

One Bible commentator said that there is more “apostasy” being preached from the pulpit than Bible doctrine. I remember the late David Wilkerson preach about the “Apostate Church” that will form in the last days.

Here is a link to a shorter version of David Wilkerson’s teaching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaPCxDtUZXo

David refers to Isaiah 30:10 where the people are refusing to listen to God's Word. 

10 They tell the seers,
    “Stop seeing visions!”
They tell the prophets,
    “Don’t tell us what is right.
Tell us nice things.
    Tell us lies. 

Biblical prophecy tells us about the apostate church, where people will turn away from hearing the truth.

They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.  –Titus 1:16

Many Bible commentators say that the Apostle Paul was addressing the Church when he wrote the following:

2 Timothy 3:1-5 “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!”

Bible prophecy is not to be ignored. Pastors and Christian leaders who do not study and preach on eschatology are failing to fulfill their call to teach the Church all that Jesus taught. They don't realize that they are contributing to the Biblical concepts that are dying within the Church in the West.

I presented two concepts that are dying or dead in today’s church, (there are many more) and I explained why this is a concern for all believers in who trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. The sermon by David Wilkerson is much more in depth about this theme, and worth every minute you spend listening to it.  (it will be the best sermon you have heard in a while) Here is the longer sermon version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAg1rQha1Mo

As you listen ask the Holy Spirit to show you how discernment is dying, and how the Bible is being twisted and distorted today.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Sunday
Sep172017

Words That Have Died

Every generation or so we lose words that are relegated to the archives of the dictionary, but no longer serve a purpose in everyday conversation.

Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Perversion: the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended: all great evil is the perversion of a good.

Few people talk about anything being perverted anymore and it’s because nothing is considered perverted today. The word is considered a judgment word, and of course it is not politically correct to judge, so the word gets shelved.

Abomination: a thing that causes disgust or hatred.

God uses this term quite often in the Old Testament. Often it is used in reference to sexual sin, but today there is no sexual sin. As a society we are slowly accepting everything that the Bible condemns as sexual sin, that way nothing is an abomination, it is just an alternative lifestyle.

Immorality:   means to fail to adhere to moral standards.

Amoral is more of a neutral and impartial word meaning without or not concerned with moral standards. Immoral is a term associated with judgment.

Immoral implies there is a standard that makes something that way, and only God is capable of setting the standards of moral behavior, which is the reason this word is rejected and not used today. In today’s thinking no one has the right to set standards for others, therefore, nothing is immoral.

Holiness: the state of being holy: a life of holiness and total devotion to God.

When I first became a Christian this word was used repeatedly as a reminder that one of our goals as a follower of Christ is to live in a state of holiness. Now it is harder today to define what standards of holiness could be used to determine if someone is living a life of holiness. Most churches won’t even touch the topic because it is a word that no longer has relevance for the 21st century.

Sanctification: set apart as or declare holy; consecrate.

This is another word that seems to have lost its place within most churches today. Declaring yourself fully devoted to Christ means you withdraw from activities that would pace yourself in step with society and the culture at large.

Some Christians who claim to be followers of Christ are simply living in both worlds without any conviction of something being wrong.

Judgment: the ability to make decisions or come to sensible conclusions. A misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment based upon behavior or rejection of moral law.

Judgment implies that there is a set of rules, laws, or precepts used as a standard to judge. If God’s Word was the standard to measure behavior of a society, it would mean that people would need to live up to the standards set forth.

Accountability: the fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility: their lack of accountability has corroded public respect.

This term has lost its application because it implies that there are people who we seek to help us stay focused on what we believe and how we live.  No one wants to submit to a standard of conduct that is defined by people who have standards governed by any moral base.

Restitution: the restoration of something lost or stolen to its proper owner.

This term has all but been removed from our vocabulary in the church and in our courts system.  To hold someone accountable for behavior that has taken something from someone else has all but been replaced with an attitude:  If I get caught I will do my time and that’s it.  In the church, restitution just means you have been forgiven, but there is no cost to the perpetrator to replace what was stolen.

Repentance: feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin

Our culture does not like to feel guilty - in fact we like to think that people who feel guilty are emotionally flawed. Yet, repentance is not only remorse, it is turning away forever from behavior that is sinful or harmful to others. It is also a deeply religious word that often is not talked about in Christian circles today. Repentance implies something is wrong and therefore I need to change.  Most of the time we preach a gospel that has little or no repentance - we just need to accept God’s grace.  

I am sure you can think of more words like this that have met with certain death within our culture and within the Church. Words do have meaning, and when the concepts behind these deceased words are lost we lose their significance.

In God’s culture these words will again be resurrected and be brought back to life. He will use these words as He reviews how we lived our lives.  People often forget that there is coming a day when every word that is spoken will be judged.

Jesus told us in Matthew 12:35-37 that judgment day would be a day of reckoning.

35The good man brings good things out of his good store of treasure, and the evil man brings evil things out of his evil store of treasure. 36 But I tell you that men will give an account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

You may want to familiarize yourself with these dying words before they are buried and forgotten. These words and others like them are words that God uses to remind us of His standards.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

 

Thursday
Sep142017

The Testing of God

“And so the Lord says, "These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.”                            –Isaiah 29:13

Does God test the heart?  Anyone can say they are a follower of Christ, but until they are tested, do they really understand what it takes to make a commitment to be a follower of Jesus Christ?

Deuteronomy 8:2

"You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

This testing of course is not for God but for you to know how sincere your commitment is to follow Him. So how does God test you?

1. Endurance:  James 1:3 Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

2. Refining Process: Zechariah 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested.

3. Quality of Commitment: Psalm 26:2 and Psalm 139:23 David sought God’s testing, asking Him to examine his heart and mind and see that they were true to Him.

4. Obedience: Hebrews 11:17-19 When Abram was tested by God in the matter of sacrificing Isaac, Abram obeyed.

5. To Evaluate:  How strong your faith is and upon what is it built upon: Matthew 7:24-25 Jesus said when the storms come they will test to see if you built the house on solid ground.

God tests us to see if we have the right motives and perspectives in what we say we believe. Many followers of Christ don’t know him just like Matthew 7:21:23 describes:

“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.”

It is my personal belief that many Western Christians will be tested in similar ways just as Christians who are being persecuted in countries around the world. Our testing may look different than those in other countries, but nevertheless it will be a testing of the heart to see if we know God and to see if we are faithful in keeping His Word.

No testing is easy nor is it pleasant but at the end of the day testing is the only way to evaluate how well you are following God. Cheap talk about believing in God is quickly evaluated by how you react under the pressure of being disappointed, full of grief, or being hurt.  Many people live with great pain in their lives from past events, which creates a stumbling block in receiving anything from the Lord. God’s testing is like the quality control in a manufacturing plant where they test their product to see if it was made to the standards of the company. 

I see His testing working in me everyday and I see it around me in the lives of others as they evaluate their own growth as believers. It is extremely important to become self-aware in how you follow Christ, and it is in this self-awareness that you can truly grow in Christ. Most of us do not have self-awareness because we don’t want to be honest with ourselves about how others see us. Yet, if quality control in business is about how a product is built, we as Christians should have a ‘quality control system’ to see how we are growing.

Most of us do not have people in our lives who will give us an honest self-awareness talk - the kind of honest dialogue we need to achieve a quality control check on the kind of disciple we are becoming. Growth as a disciple of Christ comes when we are aware of what is missing in our lives. It is only when we know what those missing pieces are can we then pursue ways of making changes to achieve them.  

What is missing in your life?  Well, you might be tested to find out.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Wednesday
Sep132017

Is Milk The Common Food Of The Church?

For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. –Hebrews 5:13-14

I have observed for the last decades or two that many Christians have a low-grade understanding of the gospel message. If you were to ask ten Christians about the main reason Jesus came you might get 50% to say, “He came to die for our sins.”  Now if you were to ask them, why He did that, you would get even a smaller percentage of them telling you it was to fulfill the promises God made to the Jewish people through God’s covenants with them.

Matthew 5:17 I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.

If you were to ask most Christians about the history of their faith, they would probably talk about the Church Fathers of the Reformation, and not Father Abraham.

Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

All families of the earth will be blessed because the Jews would be the conduits for the Savior/Messiah to appear and establish a New Covenant with the Jews that would affect the whole earth.

Jeremiah 31:33-34 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

This new covenant was given to the Jews, not the Gentiles, and it established the reason Jesus came, as He said, “I have not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but I came to fulfill them.” That fulfillment was two-fold:

  1. To fulfill the promise to the Jews of a New Covenant
  2. To graft in all mankind to this New Covenant

Romans 11:17-18 “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.”

So when the emphasis of the church never addresses these Biblical facts, you are being fed milk, which will hinder your ability to grow into a spiritually mature Christian.

Here are the two areas where “the Milk” is displacing the “Solid Food” of the Word of God. 

 

1. One of the common mistakes leaders make in the Church is their speculation about the scripture. Speculation is not fact; it is a personal belief or opinion that something will happen. I would consider this milk, because it will keep you alive but it won’t give you much health. Milk can soften the harsh reality of the truth (Solid Food), which often is messy and frightening. For example, when a leader teaches that some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased in operation in the church; that is purely speculation. There is no scriptural evidence to support this. The other area where speculation has a high degree of occurrence is with eschatology. This centers on the idea that God will perform His return to earth according to their understanding. All speculation has to take into account that His return is a mystery, it happens quickly in the last days, and no one knows the day and hour. The idea of a mystery has to do with knowing something will happen, we are just not sure on the details. The detail is what makes it a mystery, and many have taken the details and made them fit their doctrinal belief on His second coming. Speculation is an assumption, not a fact, and it should be spelled out as such.  The Bible does not teach us to speculate on the hour or the day, it teaches us to pray, be watchful and be ready. That means we are to know the season, know the signs, and be ready for what is next.
 
2. The other common mistake leaders make is their unwillingness to preach the whole council of God.
–Acts 20:27-28 For I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and the entire flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. 
Solid food is for the mature to digest and to bring the necessary protein to your body. If milk is all that is digested, you will eventually begin to lose body mass and strength. Babies cannot digest solid food, so milk was made for them. However no one stays a child forever, and sooner or later the child grows into solid food. So do our churches just preach the milk of the word and never solid food? Some believers have become so milk dependent that they are scared of the end times and would prefer not to hear it. Sorry, scary or not, it will take solid food of God’s Word to build a Church that will not compromise with the evil in our day. Life will not get easier until Jesus is sitting on His throne in Jerusalem and until then we should be inhaling the smorgasbord of solid food from His word.

Is milk the common food of the Church? If it is, we are in big trouble. We live in a day when solid food must be digested to prepare us for what is to come.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

 

 

 

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