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Monday
Nov122018

Is God like Advil? 

Isaiah 59:19b 

When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”

Here is a question for you. If a person or a ministry is preaching the gospel 80-90% of the time focusing on Bible-related issues, does the other 10-20% matter if they lean right or left in this balance of their message?  

That’s a tough question, because we mainly judge a person’s trustworthiness with the gospel by what they say in the major themes of Christianity, such as salvation, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit. However, what happens when they spin just enough left or right-leaning propaganda into their Christian worldview, which can influence the faithful in that direction? 

Our enemy has come in like a flood and that is why we are seeing what is called the convergence of Biblical signs all coming together as one. There is more confusion today in the Church than ever before and it is getting harder and harder to trust what we hear from some pulpits. Some of the messages are like taking Advil for pain. You don’t seek the cause for the pain; you just want to find a means to make the pain stop. Has God become Advil to the American Church? 

I realize that not every pastor or church comes across this way, but I think we are in a revolution in the Church today that is corrupting the meaning of the gospel. 

In other words, a flood created by our enemy has hijacked the gospel. A flood takes over everything and unless there are levies laid in place, a flood will overtake everything. 

This is the pain we are feeling in the Church today; the flood is winning on every front and the advice we are given by most spiritual leaders is to “take an Advil.” 

Here is a taste of what I trying to say from the HuffPost and the author is Terry Heaton:

Gay marriage. Homosexuality. Transgenderism. They’re all about sex. We think it makes God angry, and we don’t want to get caught up in that anger, so we rail against any sexual practice outside marriage between a man and a woman. We claim God is judging the world for this, and yet the Bible points out that Sodom wasn’t destroyed for its sexual sins but rather for its failure to take care of the poor and the afflicted. One is free, therefore, to ask that if God is indeed judging today, who exactly is He judging? Perhaps the very church attendees who plead the morality message at every turn.

That’s a very dangerous practice, because morality is a much, much broader matter. It includes, among other things, obscene CEO salaries, oppression of workers through poor wages and conditions, opposition to welfare, insider trading, tax loopholes, flouting avarice, and removing government programs that protect the poor and the afflicted. How Christian people can side with such immorality is the great mystery of the Twenty-First Century, but it begins with those who have seized the brand and run with it.

This flood has come into the church, keeping people from knowing the truth.  There are three common threads to this flood:

Love:

The first part of this flood is about false love.

God is always presented as love, but many have forgotten that truth must accompany love in order to verify and define what kind of love it is. Here is discernment: if Satan can be presented as an angel of light, he can also be seen as love. We know that his love is only a smoke screen to rob, steal and destroy, but if you don’t know the truth you will be fooled in taking a dose of modern church Advil that doesn’t give you a diagnosis of what is right and what is wrong.   

 
2 John 2:6 “ And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.”

Lies:

The second part of this flood is about lies. 

Truth is always laced with a lie. As one person said rat poison is 99% okay it’s the 1% poison that will kill you. Satan has the patent on lies; he is the best at it, and his lies look and sound like God’s truth, designed to lead you astray. If you don’t study God’s Word, you could bring home a counterfeit truth that will choke out the life of God from your life. Jesus told us that we will see false Christs in the last days, and those Christs are not other religions as much as they are false teachings about the one true Christ. Remember - a lie covers over the truth. The flood of teachers who do not know God overwhelms too many Christians. These teachers are like taking an Advil for symptoms that need a greater degree of treatment. 

 

Matthew 7:15-16 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 

17Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 


Lust:

The third part of this flood is about lust.

Lust is about fulfilling an appetite. This appetite could be for things, for power, wealth, sexual encounters, but whatever the lust is about, it controls a person.

The flood is here. It has overtaken our society, and appetites are out of control. Pornography is an appetite that is clearly destroying the lives of godly men and women who have allowed that flood to consume them. God said that He would raise up a standard against this flood, but I see too few churches holding back these waters. Why? Perhaps we have treated God too much like Advil, He is a good quick fix for much deeper problems. 

The flood is here and many of us have neglected to sandbag our lives. Start filling your life with God’s Word; it will keep the floodwaters away. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

Thursday
Nov082018

Ideologies Revisited

Okay the mid-term elections are in and for some it was disappointing. For others it means that they will continue to badger the President to get him either impeached or to make a decision that he will not want to run in 2020. I have stated in other public forums that I am neither Democrat nor Republican; I hate the politics of the Democratic Party, and don’t trust the politics of the Republican Party. It is true that I can support the Republican platform in general because they seem to have a better alignment in my opinion with godly values. (No to abortion, support of Israel, support of strong borders, and they love the Constitution.)

However the Republicans don’t know who they are and it is consistent in their inability to get things done. One issue explains it all: Healthcare.  They ran in 2016 with the idea they were going to repeal Obamacare and when they got into office they revised it, but didn’t replace it with something better. They grumbled about healthcare under President Obama for years, but never developed a plan. Once again, the slogan of the Republican Party is simple: “The Party that can’t get anything done.”  

They have more fights among themselves than they do with anyone else, and when push comes to shove, they just do not follow through. Trump, on the other hand, is a man who has fulfilled many of his campaign promises. The Republican-controlled Congress should have taken advantage these past two years to pass even more legislation, especially on Healthcare. Now that they lost the House, it will become a two-year mud bath of trying to get this president out of office. 

So if the ideology of the Democratic Party is about fundamentally changing America, the Republican Party has the ideology of pragmatism. The perceptions of our parties are simple: the Democrats are about the needs of the people, and the Republicans are about the structure and maintenance of the status quo. The Democrats are about change and the Republicans are about the maintenance of values and law. 

The Democrats tell their story fairly well and it seems as if their long-term strategy is working - to use education, media, and entertainment to push their propaganda of a new America. The Republicans meanwhile are telling their story using a factual approach in an emotional world. 

Take the invading migrant caravan issue:

1. Democrat’s story:  Poor people suffering under intolerable conditions seeking asylum. 

2. Republican’s story: We are a sovereign nation and this is an invasion of thugs. We are protecting our country. They are welcome, but enter legally.

In an emotional era of human development, which do you think will resonant with voters? 

I have said it before; Republicans are inept when it comes to messaging. This past election Democrats played the “what’s in it for you” card and focused on healthcare. The Republicans focused on “immigration” which proved to be a less pressing issue for Americans. Both of these issues are important, but healthcare is an everyday event in the lives of the American people, immigration can be tolerated until it is fixed. 

Ideology is important, and conservatives have lost the battle with young people because they don’t know how to reach them with the emotional capital that has been their motivation since childhood. 

Let me say one more thing about the ideology of the American people.

This will make you mad, and that is my intent. So get ready to blow a gasket. 

We are a generous people we are innovative, and determined. We have a sense of individualistic ambition that wants desperately to succeed. 

We have been told that science and education are the gods of the modern world, and tolerance of everyone and anything is a noble quality. 

To me all of that may sound great, but in the end it is just plain stupid. 

We have become a nation of people who have traded her churches for the American dream, and we have compromised our values to maintain a lifestyle of dreams and ambition. We have become like ancient Israel whose prophet Jeremiah accused them of two great evils. These evils are now American-made evils, and our present day ideology feed them. 

"For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me--the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!”     -Jeremiah 2:13

If we keep moving in the ideologies I have mentioned in my last two blogs, we are doomed as a nation and as a culture. Without changing our ways and returning to the God of the Bible, no amount of political capital will save us. You may not want to hear this, nor feel I have the Spirit of God in saying it, but only time will tell. My goal is a sincere desire that you consider what Jesus said as my last argument for what I have written is true:

Our world is headed toward destruction and we are absolutely unaware.

Destruction:

“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22 Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”                -Matthew 24:21-22

 

Unaware:

“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”     

                                                                                                             -Matthew 24:37-39

 Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Nov062018

The Civil War of Ideologies

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

 

I do believe that we are in a civil war of ideas. Just think back on all the political ads you’ve had to endure over the past few months. 

Yesterday was Election Day and the polls were full of people voting for candidates who share their ideology on government. That is what happens you know; you are voting for ideas and your choice is for the person who has the ideas that will best serve our personal interest. This works for both sides of the political spectrum. 

Over the years the gap between the two political parties has widened and some, like myself, believe it will never come back to a civil agreement to just disagree. The ideologies are so different and entrenched that there is no room for compromise. In past generations there was always the attitude that working on a compromise best for all people in America was their goal. Today that is all gone, it is an attitude of ‘my ideology or nothing’. 

One of these ideologies wants the liberty to live life without restrictions of any moral code or government regulations that restricts human freedom. It means abortion on demand, no borders, larger more controlling government, rewriting some parts of the Constitution, and restrictions on the freedom of speech. 

This ideology is a pervasive bullying of ideas. In a recent discussion with someone from this ideology, I was shouted down by being told I wasn’t informed enough on the issues to have an opinion. In other words, “your ideas are no longer welcomed in America”.  How’s that for America being a place of free speech? Sounds a little like the ideology of Representative Maxine Waters telling her supporters to tell the opposition they are no longer welcome in public places. Now is that the America of free speech and the free exchange of ideas?

Doesn’t this bother anyone? Can we not see that the end game in this ideology is to restrict freedom by more government control in our lives? Wasn’t this the kind of control that those who fled Europe’s oppressive governments were trying to escape? Government control over all areas of our lives turns into socialism, where the state makes all the decisions, and the people just abide by it. 

As you can tell, I am not a fan of this ideology. It makes me fear for the future of America’s children who have to face a world where hard work and incentive is exchanged for programs of welfare and socialism. 

Forbes magazine featured an article about Denmark’s economic state:

Denmark has the highest total tax pressure in the world and is towering far above the European average. Add to that a generous entitlement system allowing unemployed and unemployable citizens an income well above that achieved by full time employees in the private sector in many European countries, and you will observe a need for tax revenues nearly unmatched anywhere else in the world.

This is not surprising, since more than half of the adult population is either working in the public sector or living on some form of social transfer payment. Out of a total population of 5.6 million, a little more than 2 million are pensioners, unemployed, sick or on social transfer payments for other reasons. Around 800,000 are employed in the public sector.”

The biggest detriment of the ideology in question today is this entitlement mentality. Everyone has a right to everything, no need to study, work hard, or excel at performance; all you need is a card from the government that entitles you to all the advantages of those who want to succeed in life. Placing everyone on an equal basis in an economy is not the wisest thing to do, because 80% will do nothing to get their equality, while 20% are working to support them. Now how is that fair? This equal basis works great for theology, because before God we are all equal, but it does not work for economics. It works that same way with taxes here in America. 

In 2014, the top 50 percent of all taxpayers paid 97.3 percent of all individual income taxes while the bottom 50 percent paid the remaining 2.7 percent.

Incentive and motivation is important in any economy and when that is removed you won’t have anyone to pay for everyone else. 

Apr 19, 2018 - Of the nation's 82.0 million families, 80.5 percent had at least one employed member in 2017

So in general, 41 million families pay the taxes for the other 41 million people. Now take away the incentive of capitalism for those 41 million families who are paying those taxes, and what will happen? I don’t want to find out.

So what’s my point in all of this? Ideology plays an important role in living, and your ideology will determine what you will become. As a man thinks, so is he. 

Don’t try to Christianize your political views. Scripture is clear, what is God’s is God’s and what is Caesar’s is Caesar’s. However, we have to choose our ideology not based upon a political model, but on a scriptural model based upon God’s ideas and not ours.

I have tried to point out the wrong ideology in only one of our political parties today, but their opposition has some real flaws as well. I didn’t have time to unpack the other side…perhaps tomorrow.  

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

Monday
Nov052018

The Church that goes Astray

I heard a preacher say the other day that when you speak against the Church, you are insulting the Bride of Christ. I suppose he has a point, but my question to him would be, “what if a church isn’t faithful to Jesus, can we then say something?” 

Churches who make claims of being the only true church, are only kidding themselves, because the only true Church goes beyond membership and association with their denomination. I believe that the one true Church is found in a person’s heart, whose commitment isn’t to a denomination, but to the person of Jesus Christ. 

We are to be accountable to each other in the church, but some churches add to or subtract from God's Word and that is the problem with wholesaling the church as the final authority on matters. The final authority is God's Word, not the church. 

This happened in ancient Israel when the Pharisees became so important to Judaism that they replaced the need to know God. People were taught that all they had to do is to listen to the teachers of the law, and they were good to go. It’s not much different today in some segments of Christianity. 

I was challenged recently when confronted with the idea that America has turned evil under President Trump, evidenced by his trying to keep the caravan of migrant workers from crossing our border. The comment was made, “what would Jesus do?” 

I think Jesus would answer that question the way He did the first time people asked Him about civil government and the Kingdom of heaven. I think His response would be the same. 

"Well, then," Jesus said, "give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God." His reply completely amazed them.” - Mark 12:17

The United States of America has laws that govern the asylum of refugees wanting to immigrate to this country. Those laws are designed to process people accordingly and allow those who truly are in need of asylum to come in, but it should never be done by wholesale demands by the refugees. 

This spirit of lawlessness is also strong within many churches today. Jesus never intended to compete with the Church to be heard above the roar of so many false narratives about Christianity in our modern day. 

What are the false narratives we hear today? 

 

  1. God accepts us just as we are because God is love. It is true that God is love, but Jesus told the rich young ruler that he was living in the shadow of religion and did not have a meaningful relationship with God. He told him to sell all he had and come and follow Him. God loves everyone, but His acceptance of people is based upon repentance, acceptance and surrender of the gospel message. God accepts people on His terms and not theirs. People are always suggesting that God’s love accepts sin because love does that. This is a false narrative because God never accepts sin; He gave His son to atone for it, not to accept it. 
  2. God loves the marginalized, the downtrodden, and the broken. His mercy is extended toward those who are the ‘have nots’, the poor, and the needy. Yet, this false narrative tells us that social justice is the main focus of the Church. Jesus told those in Matthew 7 that many people will do great things in His name, but at the end of the day His response was, “I never knew you.”  You don’t come to Jesus by what you do; you come to Jesus to surrender your life and to give everything to know Him. That includes your theology, your reputation, and your aspirations. People who try to make the gospel into a social program are promoting a false narrative. As important as it is to help others, that is not Christianity. Christianity is a cross, is about the person who died upon it, and it is a place where we die for Him.
  3. God’s tolerance for humankind was extended for all people on the cross. His sacrifice there was not to give people a license to sin, but a license to be free. When people today say that Jesus would be tolerant of all people and all lifestyles, that is a false narrative. Jesus was not tolerant of His Church doing whatever they desired under the banner of grace and love. Read about the churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. You will discover in a hurry that He does not tolerate things that place Him in second place through those activities and beliefs. 

 

God does not tolerate a prideful people and a selfish people who promote their own ideas about God, rather than submitting to Him as He is. 

There are many false narratives about God today - I just chose a few that I see and read about every day. The bottom line is that Christianity is focused on Jesus Christ, His death, resurrection, and His coming again. As simple as this sounds, it has profound truth. My hope, my faith, and my life are entwined with Him, and nothing - including all the false narratives about Him - will take me away from knowing Him. 

-Phil 3:10 “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to Him in His death”

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday
Nov042018

Are We Afraid of the Truth?

I love the Prophet Jeremiah because he is a no-nonsense guy. Straight shooter, no dancing around the issues, just plain facts, no spin, and no compromise. 

This is my kind of preacher!

Here is what he says in Jeremiah 1:10

See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

The world is our congregation - all nations, all kingdoms, wherever they are, whatever they believe - they are the congregation of people in need of ministry. 

The next few words define what ministry is to be about. No compromise, no fear, and very clear. 

  • Uproot: There needs to be a clear message of what is presentable behavior before the Lord and what it is not. This is not based upon opinion or denominational doctrine; it comes from the Word of the Lord, period! It means that we get rid of things in our lives that compromise God in our lives. It means that we plan for a life that makes Jesus first in mind, heart, and soul.  
  • Tear Down: Meaning whatever makes a bid for the worship in our lives, we tear it down. In our world of many idols that control the temptations in our lives, we destroy its influence. We don’t let the world set the pace for what is important to us that is set by God Himself. This means we identify the idols in our lives that control us, and then we destroy or tear them down.
  • Destroy: Destroy the thoughts and concepts that influence our minds to think or act like the masses. Why do we have to have groupthink on everything? It cheapens the creativity and the uniqueness of how He has created us. Groupthink is a way for the world to make people “one size fits all”. That is not how God designed us. 
  • Overthrow: This means that you overthrow the temptation of the kingdoms of this world that want to make you important, influential, visible, and powerful, and choose a life that strives to make others more important. Overthrow the desire to be honored by others for the success in your life or the concepts of influence you present. God is the only one worthy of any of those things.
  • Build: We are all called to build something that brings God into the picture as a prominent focus. This may be an organization that calls attention to the eternal questions of what life is all about and how those questions can be answered. It may be feeding the unfortunate, the destitute, or it may mean being a leader whose influence centers on the goodness of God experienced in everyday life.
  • Plant: Planting are seeds of thought, ideas, and examples that create a potential of reaching a new generation; a new crop of leaders who need to be directed in a way that brings an eternal perspective into play and into an everyday routine. Planting those words of wisdom, encouragement, and vision that help young minds and hearts aspire to be everything God wants them to become. These seeds may not appear to be great until they take root and you see the results in a fully devoted follower of Christ.

    Ministry is messy, and it is confrontational. It is not passive, nor is it ever afraid to speak the truth of God. It does not compromise, nor does it evade the issue. It has a clear objective to speak God’s Word to a world that is dying for the lack of it.
    Jeremiah helps us define the concept of ministry with the objectives God has set forth to becoming the first and most important part of our lives. Nothing should ever be a part of our lives that challenges Him as our God. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

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