Friday, July 29, 2016

What Should Christians Consider When Deciding Whom To Vote For? by Dutch Sheets

America is in a fight for her destiny. Our upcoming presidential election is about more than which personality or political party we prefer. A well-known Christian author has written a well-circulated blog suggesting Christians shouldn't vote for Donald Trump. His reasons center around the poor witness and example of Christianity he believes Trump has demonstrated, and his fears that this might continue, should he be elected. (As you may know, Trump professes to be a Christian.)

Others, even major Republican leaders, have also refused to support Trump on the basis of "principle." Many good and sincere people are struggling to decide where they stand on this important decision. Though we cannot, as a non-profit ministry, endorse a candidate, I do have some thoughts that may help as you think and pray about your choice for President.

1) Firstly, like the aforementioned Christian author, I passionately desire to have a God-honoring, Christian President; and obviously, I too would prefer one that exemplifies Christian principles.

2) I, also, have been appalled by some of Trump's rude, mean-spirited, and even vicious attacks on others; I've also been disappointed at times by the pride I've seen in him.

3) I am as suspicious as anyone when the timing of a person's "conversion" to Christ occurs when it is conveniently needed, whether it be prior to an election or when going before a judge; and I, too, am always looking for the fruit such a conversion should begin to manifest.

4) I do not agree with all of Trump’s positions.

But here's where I differ with some Christians: whether or not a person speaks kindly, would provide an appropriate Christian witness or, frankly, even professes to be a believer—though, again, this would always be my preference—are not my primary litmus tests for presidential candidates or important positions of national leadership. I’m glad General George Patton helped save the world during World War II, foul mouth and all.

Like all of us, I've known many individuals I would thoroughly trust in leadership or government who did not profess to be a Christian. And, on the other hand, I've known many professing Christians whom I would NEVER trust to govern. (The names Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama come to mind.)

I fear that sometimes we Christians insert the same religious mindset into elections that has divided the church for centuries: if one's theologies and religious standards don't agree with ours, we refuse to walk or work together. It seems as though many Christians have the mistaken belief that partnering or working with someone means we agree with and support everything they believe. How absurd...and how costly.

As an example, millions of Christians in the last presidential election refused to vote for Governor Romney because he was a Mormon. Their Christian principles, ideals and theology simply wouldn't permit it. And what did those well-meaning, "principled" decisions give us? To name just a few:
We Christians need to take another look at the principles we allow to guide us at the polls! We've "principled" ourselves into irrelevance and, ironically, a national loss of biblical principles. We must remember we are not electing a religious leader. And we will always be electing a flawed person to lead a flawed people. Unfortunately, the perfect candidate doesn’t exist.

When voting, consider not just the candidate, but also the issues we face. Which candidate is gong to make the decisions that are best for the whole nation? And whose policies more closely align with the Word of God? Here is my suggested list of the ideals we should allow to steer us when we vote (not including the obvious intangibles of intellect, wisdom, etc.):

1) God-honoring. Does this person at least profess to believe in and honor God?

2) The sanctity of life. Where does this candidate stand on abortion?

3) The Supreme Court. What type of judges will this person appoint? At least 2 (and perhaps up to 5!) Supreme Court Justices will be appointed by the next President, which will tip the balance of power FOR DECADES. Life, morality, family, religious freedom, the Constitution and our very destiny as a nation are at stake. Reining in a renegade Supreme Court is of the utmost urgency.

4) Family. Where does this individual stand on marriage and the family unit?

5) America's Judeo-Christian heritage. Does this candidate recognize, honor, and want to perpetuate this?

6) Our military. In light of the tenuous state of affairs around the world, would this individual build our military or cut it and make us weaker?

7) Limited government. Does this person believe government, higher taxes, and state-run programs are the solution to most problems; OR do they believe government should always be the last resort...and should be decreased in size?

It is absolutely critical—indeed, in my opinion it is a sacred responsibility—that all Christians vote in this election, and that we vote for the person who most fulfills these qualifications. Remember that no one is perfect and that we are NOT endorsing everything about the person for whom we vote. But never again should we lose by default, giving further control of our nation to those with whom we disagree most and who stand in opposition to God.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

God Doesn't (just) LOVE YOU.. He Likes YOU

Why do parents of little kids get down on the floor and play dolls, tea party, toy cars or Legos with their children?  Because they LIKE to do that?  NO, they do it because they love them and they like what their kids like.  They want to help them find joy.  So whatever they like, the parent likes.

That's just how it is with the Father.  He loves you, but more important He likes you.

We have a birdbath.  I'm not excited but my wife loves to watch the birds splash around.  So I make sure there is water in there for them.  That it is changed so the birds come.  Do I do this because I love birds, no, I do it because I love my wife.  What she likes I like. If it brings her joy then I like it.

We have a lot of monkey see, monkey do.  If I have something to eat, Peggy wants to have some to.  She likes what I like.

That's the way it is with Father God.  He likes what you like.  He laughs with you.  He loves to see you smile.  If you enjoy flowers as I do, He likes that too.  He likes what I like and it brings Him joy.  He likes what you like and He likes YOU.  In a way He enhances the enjoyment you are already getting.

So next time you feel a little guilty about some pleasure you enjoy... chocolate or a cold drink.  HE LIKES IT TOO.  He likes you!

This is not for the religious but he really likes you, I know He loves me, but to know God Likes me gives me great peace. Rest in that truth.  God not only loves you, He likes everything about you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Heaven Never Ignores the Cries of a Wounded Heart

You may come across people who are so wounded, so damaged, so hurt they cannot be reached, even with the best of intentions.  I have some in my life. I don't give up on them.  They are valuable in the Kingdom and despite the wounds endured, I will not abandon them.

Over the years there has been a wall built, brick by brick, offense by offense, slight by slight, frustration by frustration till a point that it almost becomes impossible to tear down the wall.  The bible speaks to this:

An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.   Proverbs 18:19

You think that the bars are keeping me out?  No the bars keep them in.  They are INSIDE the fortified city.  The wound causes them to hide from that which would allow them to heal.  The lies they have believed have put them in chains.  There is no easy way to get them free from the chains that bind.  Offense is a shackle and a strong chain.

Paul the Apostle gives some advice to the Corinthians after the man who was treated as a Gentile in 1st Corinthians.. 

Forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
2 Corinthians 2:7-11

It is most interesting according to this that a wounded heart is the fertile soil for someone to be taken advantage by satan.  That we not be ignorant of his desire to divide us.

The difficulty comes when the cause seems just.  When the argument for continued woundedness as our justification is continued into the conversation.  Once again the Word speaks to this:

The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.
Proverbs 18:17

And there is the rub.  No cross examination of an argument is allowed when a wounded heart is involved.  The cause seems just but without examination will remain in error and defeat.  Just try to reason with one that has a wounded heart.  You will find them unable to review and revise what they think or believe because the wound is too deep.

This is the case with much of what we see as divide in the Body of Christ.  It is wounded hearts versus those who wonder why.  It is embraced pain versus those who want to heal.

Last night as I was part of an exercise at Crusaders, I was accepted fully.  I am no longer an outsider.  I am one of the tribe in full.  How did that happen?  One brick at a time.  Over many years. Yes my capacity for outrage and anger had to be destroyed as the bricks came down from the wall.  Yet here I am.

Here's the prophetic truth  from the Father:

"This is a time where walls must come down, coming down without the capacity to keep just a little distance as comfort.  These walls are an offense unto me says the Lord.  I have already destroyed the dividing wall of separation.  You are precious to me.. You are my favorite.  Do not lock me out by your desire to be right or your right to continue to be wounded.  I am reaching out to you now.  You have nothing to fear except the exposure of who you really are.  When you discover the glory in that you will be amazed.  The world has opinions, I am total acceptance of you just as you are.  No plea required.  Enjoy the grace I shower on you, it covers all the sin you see in yourself and in others.  Do not expect retribution in the flesh.  That is impossible.  No one has ever been able to define it.   Eye for an Eye is part of a system crucified at the cross.  When you look for some kind of restitution for hurt.. you are calling on a system I already destroyed."

I know this is true and if you have a wounded heart.. find grace, find peace, find goodness at the blood of Jesus, His blood flows thru you and my veins as if we are one.. for we are.  One flesh, one body, one heart.  Anything other than that is not who HE is.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Spiritual and Physical Blindness is the Devil's Plan for YOU

The enemy of your soul fights hard to keep you blind.  If you really knew the truth, it would change you forever.  Religion can be a set of blinders.  The world can blind you.  Difficulty blinds.  Anger blinds.  Resentment and unforgiveness blinds.  If you allow anything to intrude on your vision, you will end up blind.  It;s a scheme of the devil.

The Apostle Paul wrote of this: 

Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4.  

We think this has to do with the Gospel of Jesus.  That is true in part.  What is not true is that is the only blindness that is out there.  There is progressive blindness.  We start out in truth, but because of outside influence and pressures we end up receiving blinders.  It is very hard to avoid.  

Why does satan try so hard to blind the people of God ( his main target).  He has already fully blinded unbelievers, he doesn't need to work on them any more.  He can not blind us to truth, but if you read the scripture, we lack the ability to see the glorious light of the good news.  There is plenty of bad news.  Good news is what we don't see.

There is plenty of truth and good news, but like in the Matrix there is reluctance to emerge.  In fact the Matrix has some good things to offer it's prisoners.  In one scene from the Matrix Cypher is eating with Agent Smith and says, "I know this is not wine, and I know this is not steak, but it's wonderful".  He was practicing intentional blindness.  Comfort is more important than truth.

Most people are blinded because of convenience.  Because they don't want the pain of facing the reality of what they are missing.  This is what blindness does.  Traps us.  Captures us.  It is satan's plan to keep us from truth that sets us free. He is the slave master of all who refuse to believe the truth.

It is hard.. but truth is out there.. if we only will receive and believe.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

True and False Reconciliation

A few days ago I caused an offense of a long time friend.  One that has since been healed.  Because of the environment in which it happened, there was a prophetic download that came with it.   Read on:

Taking and giving offense are always spiritual in nature.  We give offense because we don't care enough to be careful.  We take offense because our heart is revealed when we do.  Outside of our spiritual condition, there is no such thing as justified offense.  Let me explain, it's not that offense can't be taken because of a good reason, but that reason always comes out of our spiritual condition.  Our heart is revealed. When we give offense we are being reckless in our relational ventures.  I was. 

The Bible calls offense a Spirit.  What kind of spirit is it?  A spirit sent from God?  Or is it our flesh?   The enemy does his best to divide us.  Causing us to take or give offense.  The word of God speaks about taking and giving offense.

Proverbs 19:11Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Proverbs 18:19 A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.

James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

Acts 24:16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

1 Corinthians 10:32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,

Offense is tied to pride and control. Those three in operation together are a deadly trio.  I know that in my case it certainly applied, and my brother may be able to identify with this.  Offense is not simply intellectual, it is a power struggle that goes on in all of us.  Sometimes people are stirred up by those who want to caused offense to take place.  We see it all the time around us.  The devil is at work.  Offense becomes a Spirit.

 Romans 16:17-18  I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

James 4:11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Proverbs 17:9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

Once an offense exists, we are called upon to do our level best to seek reconciliation.

Matthew 5:23-24 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 

Here's the rub.  There is symmetrical activity in false reconciliation.  I confess my offensive action and I am forgiven.  That is how we seem to understand it.  But it's more than that.  The offense is a spirit.  That much we know.  Reconciliation is also a spirit.  It is a spiritual thing.  Note that the Matthew passage says that if your BROTHER has something against you. 

If reconciliation is to happen it has to happen at a spiritual level.  It cannot happen purely symmetrically.  It must be asymmetrical in application.   No tit for tat.  No quid pro Quo.  

I must be willing to seek to be reconciled without expectation of any forgiveness, an asymmetrical act, and the person who is being sought for reconciliation must be reconciled without any expectation of anything other than Godly unity restored. 

IF reconciliation requires some kind of retribution, punishment, reparation or confession to be established it is a symmetrical reconciliation and not real.  The only way true reconciliation happens is when both parties have a like spirit that broken apart in disunity are less than they would be together.  The only reward in reconciliation must be the satisfaction of the restoration of a relationship.  Anything more is carnal.

This is purely a spiritual activity. 

What came clear to me is so much of the talk about reconciliation of racial tensions in America is symmetrical.  If you do this we can then be reconciled.  That is the art of the deal, not a spiritual activity.  For true reconciliation in America to take place it must take place at the spiritual level. Two brothers, two sisters in Christ seeking unity for Christ's sake alone. 

When I got this after that experience last week, I was actually a bit shaken.  We can never have reconciliation until we value one another as Brothers and Sisters in Christs FIRST then the rest is easy.  There is no other way.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Satan is Always Uttering Threats, Lying and Forecasting Doom

Even the elect have a hard time sorting truth from accusation and fear.  Satan is an expert.  Here's the reality, you can spot satan's voice easily.  It sounds like gloom and doom. It is full of threats.  They  are lies.  Yet... gullible people can't seem to differentiate the voice of God from the voice of satan.

Here are some voices speaking recently that you must measure your response to:
*If ________ is elected the world as we know it will come to an end.
*Global Warming, Cooling, climate change cloud formations and all will kill us soon, (Unless you let me take away your freedom and your money)
*There are secret forces in the world that control everything and we are simply puppets.  Yes it is true there are people controlled by demonic forces, you don't have to be.
*Fear the foreigner, the white man, the black man, the Indian, the other.  They can't be trusted.  They are not like you and me.
*It's too wet, dry, windy, cold, hot and a hundred other things to keep us from doing what we want to do
*The economic conditions just are too dangerous to make a move right now
*Be afraid of _________________  you could be killed.
*Don't take a chance, it might not work out.  Nothing ventured nothing lost

Fear, anger, rumor, speculation, lies.... satan's mode

Yet Bible Believing Christians buy into these things even though the bible is clear on this.  Here is some good word of God with which to wash and renew your polluted mind, sharpen your discernment and help you get off dead center.  It is interesting that Fear is equated with Slavery.  I see a connection:

2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

John 8:44 ESV
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

2 Corinthians 11:3 ESV
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Ephesians 6:12 ESV
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

1 John 3:10 ESV
By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Ephesians 2:2 ESV
In which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—

2 Thessalonians 2:9 ESV
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,

2 Corinthians 2:11 ESV
So that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

2 Corinthians 11:15 ESV
So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Joshua 1:9 ESV
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Romans 8:15 ESV
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Proverbs 8:13 ESV
The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 NLT
Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.

Proverbs 20:4 NASB
Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.

Proverbs 22:13 NLT
The lazy person claims, "There's a lion out there! If I go outside, I might be killed!"

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Antichrist's Beast is Manifesting in the Earth Today

When a demon spirit is manifesting, those with Godly discernment are able to identify it and do battle against it.  Those with a prophetic calling will quickly be able to carve out what that spirit is doing.  This can help warn God’s people not to become deceived by the devil’s schemes.  

Yet many of the very elect become deceived, drawn into a wave of demonic activity that takes them farther than they wanted to go and has the capacity to cause them to be destroyed.  The only answer to this is a prophetic warning rooted in wisdom, love and the gift of discernment.

The apostle John tells us that there are many antichrist spirits alive in the world today.  They are everywhere.  That spirit has never left the earth.  Yet there is a system, the beast of the antichrist spirit, that grinds and tries to eliminate those who oppose it.

The way to identify the beast alive in the world is by its makeup.  It’s not a man, it’s a system.  It combines religion with politics. Unless you are part of the religious and political system you will be ostracized, expelled or killed.  This has always been true in history.  There have been several Beast systems over the years.

During the Spanish Inquisition there was a clear manifestation of the beast. 

The Roman church at one time in Europe was a Beast System serving an antichrist spirit.  Even Martin Luther recognized and called it out.  When you see religion and politics mixed you know that there is a Beast dwelling not far under the surface.

Today a manifestation of this is ISIS and Radical Islam.  It’s easy to see.  They use religion to impose a political system on those who do not share their views.

Nazi leadership started as a movement that mixed religion and politics.. a Beast System.

The KKK was a beast movement.  Using religion as a cover to try to impose a political end.

Many far right wing militant groups use religion to influence political change.  The beast.

Some of the rioting by people loosely under the umbrella of Black Lives Matter and all of the iterations use social justice religious overtones (religion) to justify attempts to achieve a political end.  It has beast overtones.  Not all are the beast, but when you see things getting out of hand, when you see violence, when you see mindlessness, you know the beast is on the prowl.  It’s a mobocracy. 

Some telltale signs the beast system is in place:

Ends justify the means.. if it means burning down your town, blocking traffic or burning Jews in ovens.

Those who don’t go along (take the mark of the beast) are ostracized, set aside or persecuted.  The cultural revolution in China in the early 1970s was a type of the beast.  Disagreeing meant you couldn’t buy or sell. 

There is a constant call for “Justice”.  Equality, communal living, retribution, restitution, taking from others because somehow the “system” took from you.  Getting even. 

Murder is just below the surface:  If it’s beheading or sniping from a parking garage.

Lies are the beasts currency.  There is always the voice of the beast and it lies constantly.  It doesn’t know how to deal with truth.  Remember the devil is part of this and he is the father of lies.  People who have taken the mark of the beast believe in the lies and fairy tales.  Most of the time the lies are crafted by the devil to incite more people to join with the beast. When someone is incited to riot, they have taken the mark.

The beast will design an imaginary enemy or force to incite people to take the mark of the beast.  Jews, Apostates, Protestants, Freed negro slaves, masons, skull and bones, white supremacy, Bildibergers and a hundred other bogeymen that are heralded as the enemy of the beast that must be persecuted.  In China it was the intellectuals.  In some beast systems it’s businessmen and women. The beast system sometimes will use an imaginary emergency like global warming, ozone holes, Malthusian scarcity or Muslim hoards to scare people into taking the mark willingly.  The Forehead and hand have to do with your mind and your actions (hands).  You can’t have a beast marked person not in action or not persuaded.  That's why the mark is the hands and forhead.

Many Christians, particularly those who at one time had an anointing for leadership will be called to account by Jesus at the judgment seat for having taken the mark.  Some will be told, depart, I never knew you.  Those who take the mark by buying the lies will end up in torment. 

This is a solemn time.  Like in the middle ages, like during the Spanish inquisition, like during the rise of Nazis, Like during the emergence of the KKK, like when right wing militants become an enemy, like the worst of the Black Lives Matter movement, there are always a few leaders in the body of Christ who stand against such things.  Others are content go along to get along.  They are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. 

When you hear lies, when you hear others blamed, when you see riot, protest and destruction you are seeing the beast system I action.  Iraq, Baltimore, Chicago and recently Dallas Texas.  It all starts so innocently with a seemingly just cause and then drifts into full blown deception.  I know.. there have been times I was almost drawn into some of this in the past. 

Be on guard for the enemy.. he wants to destroy you.

Monday, July 11, 2016

From Kris Vallotton on the Church Arise in this Hour of Violence July 11, 2016

Rioting in the Streets

As I write this blog, many of our cities are in chaos and turmoil. Rioting is filling our streets as people protest injustice and the prejudice of our society. Several police officers have been shot this week, along with many young black men. Hundreds have been arrested as riot police try to contain the crowds, fearful for their own lives.

Activists stand on street corners calling for justice, while gloom hangs over our cities like a thick, dark cloud. All the while, our president tries to calm our nation and ease the pain of violence.

To make matters worse, all of this is happening in the global backdrop of Isis: mass murderers slaughtering hundreds of innocent people, raping women, and beheading Christians, and all in the name of God!

Albert Einstein and the Church

In the throes of Nazi Germany, when Hitler was exterminating Jews in his death camps and the history of the world hung in the balance, Albert Einstein wrote, “Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks…Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.”

More than 2500 years ago, the great prophet Isaiah looked into the future and saw these dark times. He described our condition like this: “Justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, but behold, darkness; for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope along the wall like blind men, we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at midday as in the twilight, among those who are vigorous we are like dead men. All of us growl like bears, and moan sadly like doves; we hope for justice, but there is none, for salvation, but it is far from us.

Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the street, and uprightness cannot enter. Yes, truth is lacking; and he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. Now the LORD saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.” (Isaiah 59:9-11, 14-15)

Divine Solutions

The old prophet was staggered by grief as he grappled with God to hear the divine solution to his dark articulation. Out of his deep despair he heard The Creator’s answer, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms. Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you.” Isaiah 60:1-5

Our Finest Hour

Church, this is our finest hour. We are the light of the world! We don’t hide from darkness or run from trouble; we shine in the midst of it. It is encumbered upon us as the Church of Jesus to find divine solutions in the midst of social injustice and civic unrest. We are God’s answer to society’s prayers; His supernatural ambassadors of His divine wisdom.

It has never been our mandate to be politically correct, nor should we be polarized by the opinions of men. We must pray for the wisdom of another age, BUT then we must act with vigilance and with courage. We cannot retreat in fear or react in bitterness. Religious rhetoric nor kind slogans will quench the fires of hatred and violence. We need to rise up with relevant solutions that actually solve the injustices of our times and release peace over the turmoil of the brokenhearted.

It’s Time to Shine

We must stand with the oppressed and raise up not just the voice of reason, not just the voice of mercy, but we must raise the voice of declaration in which these dead bones of society’s ills become an army of resolution!

Church, man your stations, wake your souls, find your courage – it’s time to shine!
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Expressed Faith in God is NOT always real Faith

In the christian world there are catch phrases that pass for expressions of faith.  Here are some familiar ones:

  • I have faith in God almighty
  • I trust in the promises written in His word
  • I believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost
  • I have faith in the word promised me
  • I have faith that moves mountains
  • With the Faith of a Mustard Seed I can do all things
  • I'm Trusting in Jesus alone
  • I have faith in the will of God for me
  • I have faith to make it thru
  • I have faith that it's all gonna work out
  • I have faith that God is in control

Yet those who believe in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and even secular humanists have faith that fits these expressions.  They may believe in Karma, or the will of Allah as faith.   It's hard to say that their beliefs are different than many who have different but as valid expressions of faith as Christians do.

There is ONE major difference however and it is essential.  While all of the faith expressions I listed are valid they all lack one consideration.  That faith can be in a God of Vengeance, a God who sends people to Hell, some distant unseeing God.  A great deity of some kind.  The man upstairs.  Not much different than many major religions of the world.

Faith in the True and Living God can be best boiled down to this as it was by the Apostle John, The one who by his own description was the one Jesus Loved.  He wrote this later in his life as his Faith matured.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God’s love was revealed among us: God sent His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.…
 So if we extrapolate that a tiny bit it is fair to say that to say you have faith in God means you have Faith in LOVE.  That God's intentions towards you are always and ever in LOVE.  He loves you more than you can comprehend.  You are outside the capacity to grasp the complete irrational committeemen he has to you.

That is why when you see hate, when you see violence, when you see things happening around you and many time by people who at the same time recite the kinds of faith confessions I listed, you know they do not truly KNOW the true and living God.. the God of LOVE, the God who IS LOVE. 

Have faith in God might better be translated have faith in LOVE.  That helps us grasp who and what is the focus of our faith.

When I see the world gyrating and twisting in iniquity, even those who call the name of Jesus are manifesting all the fruit of the Flesh.  They are demonstrating who their father is and where their faith resides.  Even if they sing shout and dance in Church every Sunday Morning, if this is what we see.. we know they do not have faith in LOVE.

Galatians 5:19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
 Have faith in GOD, have faith in LOVE, It's perfect.. your flesh is your enemy.  Shun the manifestations of the Flesh and your Sin Nature, and Cling in Faith to LOVE.  You will find yourself in a new place.. I know..  Have Faith.. His name is LOVE!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Tasteless Christian Life.

It's an old saw in Christian Circles.  "Taste and See that the Lord is Good".  Psalm 34:8

I have heard it applied to all kinds of things the scripture never intended.  Communion (that's a stretch), worship, gifts of the Spirit and the Word of God itself using the concept of eating the scroll as a mark.

Not that any of these interpretations are grossly in error, the simply have nothing to do with the context and keep people from understanding why taste and see is such an important nessesity in the life of a believer.

Some who Call on the Name of the Lord Have Never Tasted nor Seen that HE is GOOD

Read the whole thing in the amplified version of the Bible in it's context and then you tel me what it means:  Psalm 34:6-14

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
And saved him from all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him [with awe-inspired reverence and worship Him with obedience],
And He rescues [each of] them.

O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good;
How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him.

O [reverently] fear the Lord, you His saints (believers, holy ones);
For to those who fear Him there is no want.
The young lions lack [food] and grow hungry,
But they who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.
Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you to fear the Lord [with awe-inspired reverence and worship Him with obedience].
Who is the man who desires life
And loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

That Psalm Sandwich should help you understand the Taste and See of scripture.  There is no bitterness in the stomach, it is all about finding hope, help and provision from poverty when you taste and see.  There are conditions, IF CLAUSES.  The last four lines speak of them clearly.

Here's the rub however.  Many people who love God are constantly in poverty and lack.  They don't taste the goodness of God.  Why?

They KNOW the Bible, they Believe the Bible... but they don't seem to be able to act like it's true in their life.  The actions they engage in as they live don't like up with what they say they believe.  Look at those last four lines again.   

There is a concept that Paul taught.  Galatians 5:2b If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you.

That if you are circumcised then Jesus is of no benefit to you.  He doesn't mean in the flesh, it means that on which we rely.  When we rely on anything other than Jesus we become like those who relied on circumcision.. and there is nothing gained from Christ.  They don't taste and see.. they rely on other things.

When we lose our focus, we lose our balance.  Like Peter coming to Jesus on the water.. when he saw the waves.. he sank.  Lost his taste.

Here are some signs that you have not yet tasted and seen that the Lord is Good..

Any time you begin feeling sorry for yourself, you can bet that is from the Pit of Hell.  Tasteless

Any time you are feeling mistreated you can bet that the devil is working on you.  

When Selfishness begins to manifest (What about ME?) you can count on it.. you have lost your spiritual taste buds.

When any feeling of IF sets in, If I only had this or that, if I were only like him or her, if I hadn't been born (fill in the blank) then I could make it.

Hebrews 5:6-7 Amplified

Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently say,
The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?”

In light of all this how shall we live.  How shall we taste the Goodness of God in this life. Let's learn to rest in him and truly Taste and See.   Then his mercy and grace that never leaves us will cause us to keep from the devil's schemes that keep us impoverished.  

Taste and See.. the LORD IS GOOD!!