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Monday
Jul252011

The Poor Will Be With You Always

John 12:8

 8The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

Jesus knew that there would always be the poor, those in need of assistance in this life.  In fact he talked quite often about giving to the poor and not hoarding away resources to make yourself wealthy.

When we think about the poor, do we have a clear picture of who the poor are?  If you ever go to a third world country you would have a different definition of poverty based upon what you see. In the United States, poor is a term used when people don't have the kind of material resources that most American have. For example look at this study from the Heritage Foundation.

“To the average American, the word ‘poverty’ implies significant material deprivation, an inability to provide a family with adequate nutritious food, reasonable shelter, and clothing,” the study from The Heritage Foundation states.

The Census Bureau reports that there are 43 million Americans living in poverty. To help them, taxpayers spend some $900 billion a year in federal and state dollars — over $20,000 for each person deemed poor — through more than 70 means-tested programs providing cash, food, housing, medical care and more.

The household had a car — one-third had two or more cars — two color televisions, a DVD player, and a microwave.

“The home of the average poor family was in good repair and not overcrowded,” the study observes.

“In fact, the typical poor American had more living space than the average European — average, not poor.

“When asked, most poor families stated they had sufficient funds during the past year to meet all essential needs.”

Poverty in American is a comparison between the have's and the have nots. It is true that many poor families use a food shelf once a month, and they may even get clothing from a consignment store, but being poor in America is different than being poor in India, or in Africa.  Poverty in God's eyes is a different comparison too.  He requires those who have to help those who do not have.  The Old Testament gleaning is a great example of how we are to help the poor, it's not giving them things, it is giving them an opportunity to get what they need by working for it.

Instead of spending the Billions of dollars for welfare programs where we give them money and food, why not give the able body persons of a family the opportunity to fill in pot holes, pick up trash in city parks and streets, and build a sense of dignity for the help they receive. I know it takes money to administrate a work for resource program, but it would give people an opportunity to work through their issues of generational poverty, and earn what they receive. It's much healthier for the person.  

Defining poverty however goes beyond just the material, or physical need.

The poorest people aren't people without things, they are people without hope, and without faith. Poor people are those who believe in themselves, their accomplishments, their treasures, and resources. Anyone is poor without the treasure of having faith in the one who makes one rich.  Jesus Christ came into this world to make us rich, not in material goods, but in spiritual hope and promise.  The poor will always be with us, because unbelief is with us. 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

Friday
Jul222011

Abandonment?

One of the hardest human tragedies to overcome is the feeling of abandonment. More people I know have issues of abandonment in their past, and it has affected their whole lives. Once the human heart is damaged through any kind of abandonment, it is extremely hard to recover. Several people I know get addicted to relationships, and can't be without a significant other in their lives.  Too often this leads to multiple failed relationships and it can stem from early experiences of abandonment.  As a child, I felt abandoned because my mother and father divorced when I was quite young.  Now, issues like divorce aren't a child's issue, but it can affect them directly. For me, it was the absence of a father in my life growing up that created in me an insecurity that eventually lead me into a life of drugs and addiction.  Most of my life I have lived with the feeling of abandonment, and it has affected the way I have made many of my decisions in life, most of which turned out badly.

The turning point in my life came when I turned my life over to Christ.  For the first time I knew a security of knowing He would never leave me nor would He forsake me. That kind of security and knowledge can directly come against all the feelings of insecurity, and abandonment that a person feels and experiences.  

In our world of uncertainty, it is important our lives find a security upon which we can trust and build our lives upon.  Many of you have lost a spouse through divorce, or death and feel alone.  Many never felt loved from anyone, just a feeling of being used.  Others may even tried to commit suicide because life just doesn't seem fair.  I understand many of these situations because I have lived through them, and the only source that has the strength and the power to sustain an abandonment issue is to discover how God loves you, and will support that love with His presence. Does that sound too good to be true?  I suppose it does, but until you are willing to test the waters so to speak, concerning God's care for you, you will never know how wonderful it feels to know there is one who will never abandon you, or leave you. 

Jesus said the you would find trouble in this world, but He is the source to hang on to during these times of trial.

John 16:33

33I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Having this kind of foundation under your feet is the kind of security you need to overcome any abandonment issues in your life. 

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

Thursday
Jul212011

Does It Have Impact?

Facebook, You Tube, Google, Twitter, texting, and the internet all have great impact in today's world. I can't think of any greater influence than what is happening in the electronic world.  This week my family has been vacationing with our extended family in Northern Minnesota. At one point, I walked into a room where everyone was sitting and they all had their phones out checking Facebook, emails, or text messaging.  Several of the teenagers never, and I mean never put their phones down.  Already the pictures that were taken yesterday are all on Facebook today. Our world no longer lives in isolation, and we are all learning how to use this technology to inform and influence people we have befriended.

I have wondered however with so much at our disposal, are we using these powerful tools to influence for the gospel?  I think we spend a great deal of time entertaining ourselves but do we use this technology for a greater cause?  What I mean by this is, do we spend time thinking about the impact we could have on our friends using this technology for the gospel?  How often during the day does God speak to us, or interact with us in some way?  Isn't this worth a tweet or a Facebook post?  Do we have a personal relationship with God that is interactive, and proactive in how He responses to us?  I produce a radio program for a local ministry on the impact of prayer. The idea of the program is to tell how God answers prayer in our lives.  I can't tell you how many people can't give me just one time God answered a prayer in their lives.  Now, I understand if I were asking the man on the street this question, but these are people who claim to know God in a personal way.  That just doesn't make sense to me, but it might explain why we don't use the technology of the internet for godly purposes. 

We have been given a great opportunity to talk about the impact God has made upon our lives, and to share what He has done for us with others in an effortless manner through the channels of communication from our phones. We no longer have to become an author, pastor, TV evangelist to garner an audience of thousands to impact them for Christ.  I can't tell you how many times a person has tweeted or texted a verse of scripture that has made all the difference in the world in my life at that moment.  

So think about the impact you have with those you have befriended through your electronic connections.

Be an influencer, and make an impact for Christ.

Being truthful and honest...K

Wednesday
Jul202011

Dishonesty in the Church

There are stories that come out from time to time that are just disgusting concerning the church. Here is one of them.

VATICAN CITY-- Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Philadelphia archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali on Tuesday, sending him into retirement as the archdiocese faces accusations that it covered up a long-running priest sex abuse scandal.

The Cardinal has been under pressure for his handling of the sex-abuse scandal. In his eight-year tenure, a pair of grand jury reports, one in 2005 and one released in February, have rocked the archdiocese by accusing church officials of covering up abuse allegations against priests.

February's scathing report resulted in unprecedented criminal charges against a former secretary of clergy for allegedly transferring pedophile priests without warning new parishes.

The grand jury accused church officials of keeping 37 clergy in active ministry despite credible claims that they had sexually abused young people. The allegations came nine years after U.S. bishops promised at the height of the clergy abuse crisis to oust all predators from ministry.

 Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/07/19/pope-accepts-philadelphia-archbishops-resignation-61557837/#ixzz1SZFQmbmV

Now how can a church system be so inept about this issue that they overlooked the ramifications of predatory sex offenders being given new venues to practice their sickness? One of the reasons this gets a pass in the Catholic Church is because their system is scripturally flawed.  They hold to traditions equal to the inspiration of scripture, and celibacy for clergy is one of those forced traditions that is not scriptural. Not all will have the gift of celibacy, and the sexual drive, especially among the younger priests is huge.  Now as a former Catholic I understand all the support by the church to elevate the marriage between the priest and his bride the church, but it's not working. We, the church are the Lords bride, no where does it say the church is our bride.  Again, tradition that has no scriptural bearing. How can you have 37 cases in one church district all molesting young people and not think you have a problem?  How can anyone in the Catholic church support the system that is supporting these offenders?  There is no excuse for this crime....none.  God's call upon His leaders is a greater call because of the responsibility they have to represent the message of the gospel.  They are called to be the prophets, teachers, pastors, evangelists, and apostles all geared to do one thing, "elevate the Name and teachings of Jesus Christ."  The scriptures are clear, sexual sin needs to be punished and extracted from any church or religious group.  

The catholic church much like the protestant church has some serious issues with their traditions.  Many of these traditions are based upon the experiences of former leaders who wrote about these traditions as if they were handed down from Moses, or Jesus, or the Apostles.  The stuff these three handed down to us are the scriptures, and they were Jews, connecting together their story to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There was no Rome, no catholic church, no Lutheran church, no catechism, nothing but the Hebraic Roots underlining God's plan of salvation, to the Jew First, and then to the Gentile.  This is one of the main reasons the Hebraic Roots conference was developed, to set the record straight theologically, and allow God to bring us back to the roots of His story.  If you have more interest in how we can begin this process of coming back to God's original plan for the church consider coming to a free conference being held in the Twin Cities this October 13-15, 2011.  Here is a link for you to learn more about the conference and register your attendance.

http://www.hebraicrootsconference.com/

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

Tuesday
Jul192011

Shaking The Foundations of Life.

We are quick to forget that this world and all that it contains belongs to the Lord. Our adversary the Devil would like you to think you have something to say in this ownership process, but we don't. In reality, when God speaks through weather, earthquakes, floods, the kind of things we can’t control, it reminds us in a hurry of how much we really control.  People are uneasy about the conditions in our world, but I believe it is designed that way by God to help people think about the meaning of life. Crisis can be a great megaphone to get our attention, and make the changes necessary in our lives to honor God. The prophet Haggai (Haggai 2:6) says that God was going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry earth. In verse seven, He was going to shake the nations, so their treasures would flow from them to Him. In Hebrews 12:26 it refers to this same shaking, and the question is why?  God uses this language to remind us that this world is not ours, but His, and His desire is for us to return to Him as creator and savior.  His shaking the heavens and earth is a reminder that He is in charge of what He has made, not nature, and not some cosmic accident.  I believe all the crisis we have seen over the last decade, beginning with 911, was a sign that He is escalating the events to usher in His return to earth. The governments of the world are in turmoil, the terrorists have made religion an issue for war, the earth is rumbling, floods are flowing, tornados and hurricanes are devastating, all this is happening to what end? God is shaking what can be shaken, so that what can’t be shaken will remain. Simply put, God is bringing into account the way we live our lives. If we aren’t living for Him, we are living our lives against Him. The shaking is to help us sort through what is important and what is not.  Following any crisis, if the family has made it through, there is a sense of relief, because the important is safe. The same is true with God. He wants us to re-boot our lives so that the important things of life remain, and the unimportant removed.  What is most important even before our families, is what you and I do with God?  Who is He?  What does He want from me?  What must I do to know Him? God wants us to build our lives on the foundation of His Word, which describes who He is, and what He requires of us.  Jesus said it best when he describes that crisis will come to each of us, and depending on what we build our lives upon will determine our survival.   Matthew 7:24, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and acts upon them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mind and doesn’t act on them will be alike a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell the rivers rose the winds blew and pounded that house and it collapsed.”

Don’t be fooled, the shaking has begun! The big question is, what is your life built upon?  The rock of Jesus Christ, or the sand of man? It will matter when the shaking comes.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

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