Photo by Chad Runge / Creation Swap

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Cross

I recently had an ‘aha!’ moment. A moment when something God was teaching me really grabbed hold. The irony is, however, this revelation came to me despite myself. It seems that I wasn’t really wanting to listen to Him or to learn from Him. But I’m thankful that God looked past my reluctance. Or is it resistance?

I’ve been trying to make sense of God’s invitation, if that is what it really is, to participate with Him in our sanctifying process. The Bible makes it clear that we do have a part. 2 Peter 1:3-11 is one area in Scripture where we’re told to make sure our calling and election is sure. In that, we’re to make every effort. Isn’t that God telling us we need to do something ourselves? The question is then…why?

2 Peter 1:3-11

3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Why would God want our participation? He certainly is capable of changing us as He sees fit. I remember our pastor, Pastor Todd Stiles, commenting on this before. If I’m not mistaken, he said that this is something where God uses our efforts to work together with His divine power to bring about the change in us. He often says that there are things he can describe theologically, but spiritually speaking it goes beyond him. I agree. It seems to tie in with what James said in the Bible. In James 2:18 he says, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” And Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Maybe what’s going on here is that by allowing us to participate, God is building our faith. But it’s as we step out in faith first that brings God to action.

Seems to be so many things at work here that it’s really difficult to understand. Nonetheless, I still find myself trying to make sense of it the best that I can. Lately, I’ve been in a study where even the notion that we can do anything that would make us righteous before God is a fallacy. Not just in salvation, which I totally understand, but even afterwards as believers. I don’t totally understand that especially since when Abraham believed God, it was credited to him as righteousness.  Genesis 15:5-7  But then I read that our righteousness comes from Jesus.  Romans 3:21-26  In fact, our righteousness, apart from Jesus, is nothing BUT filthy rags.  Isaiah 64:5-7  I guess I ought to be thankful that my righteousness comes from Jesus because I KNOW how sinful my heart can be.

Which really brings me to my ‘aha’ moment. It seems that I have been trying to please God (I still don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing) by what I do. The problem is is what lies within the heart. I probably have been proud that I’ve overcome something or that I’ve had victory over some sin in my life. I seem to be taking the credit. I’m probably thinking that my righteousness is something to consider. Oh sure, God is involved. He helped me of course. **Pause** SAY WHAT? Like I’m somehow able to do anything that has any spiritual significance? Talk about arrogance. I think I have failed to see that this is ALL God. He may let me be a part, but this is still ALL God.

Really, it is all about God! My ‘aha’ moment has to do with the fact that I have nothing to bring. My empty hands, my gratitude and thankful heart maybe. But I have nothing. It’s like Paul said: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…”  Galatians 6:14  If Paul, who was perhaps the greatest apostle (aside from Jesus), says that he wishes never to boast except in the cross of Jesus, then I better pay attention. I have nothing except Christ. He is all I have and He is all I need. Praise God for Jesus!

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!”- Philippians 2:5-8

Monday, April 26, 2010

Frustrated With Self

After making some comments about being frustrated with people, I felt that it's only fair to take a hard look at myself. I probably have this thing all backwards though. In the Bible, Jesus tells us to look at the log (or plank) in our own eye before looking at the speck in someone else's.

Although I think Jesus's teaching had to do with a brother in the faith, I believe there's application here because it speaks to the heart issue, the motive. You see, particularly since I have put my faith in Jesus Christ, I think I better be examining sin in my own life before looking at what's wrong with someone else's.

Then on the other hand, there seems to be so much sin in the world. And to ignore it because I need God to change me first would be a mistake. I will never be perfect until I'm in heaven in the presence of my Savior. Romans 8:29-30 So, I need to find a balance. First, I should examine myself. Secondly, I look at what's going on in the world, compare it to Scripture, and speak out against those things that I believe are contrary to the Bible and God's ways.

So for now, I'll take a look at self. Over some time now, I've been more acutely aware of some sin issues in my life. Praise God, the Lord has helped me with some previous ones. Obvious ones. But just because you have victory (actually all credit is due to Jesus Christ) over one area doesn't mean you've crossed the finish line.

2 Timothy 4:6-8

Paul crossed the finish line, but it didn't happen right away. In this passage, Paul fought the good fight, he ministered, he equipped, he labored for the gospel. It's only when God told him it was time, that he could say that he finished the race.

How is this relevant to the subject at hand? Quite simply, Paul was a man who though he was perhaps the greatest apostle ever, Jesus excluded of course, he talks at length about his struggle with sin issues. Maybe I'm taking this out of context, and you can correct me if you like, but in Romans 7, Paul talked about how he struggled with his sin nature. Romans 7:7-25 So, if Paul who walked closer to God than I ever have, had issues, you better believe we all have them then too.

I just know that as I begin to look at how I behave, how I treat people, and how badly I respond to adverse circumstances, I can see that God has a lot of work to do in me yet. My hope is that I can cooperate with Him instead of fighting Him tooth and nail. I want to be different, set apart, holy. That means I need to let God do what only He can do. Sanctify me. But oh, sometimes that can be a painful process. Who wants to face their sin? Take it head-on? Not me. But God does that. He opens our spiritual eyes and let's us see the ugliness of our sin.

So, that's what I mean when I say I frustrate myself. I hate the things that I do, and what it means about the condition of my heart. Why can't I just get it right? But I take comfort in knowing that it doesn't take my righteousness to please God. Praise God! Jesus has taken care of that for me. It's through Jesus that I am made right with God. Thank you Jesus! Romans 4:18-25

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Frustrated With People

I find myself increasingly frustrated with the world. A part of me wants to run, find some secluded island, and stay away. Sounds realistic, doesn't it?

It probably isn't much different than Jonah in the Bible. God told Jonah that He had a job for him to do. He wanted Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh to give them a message. Jonah didn't like going to a people he didn't much care for. So what was his answer? Flee. Run as fast as he can and as far as he can.

Didn't do him much good, though, did it? God brought him right back, but only after the much-told story of the fish. Okay, whale. Or whatever it was. It was big. Point is is that Jonah was still going to end up doing what God wanted him to do, but along with it some hard, learned lessons.

I kind of feel like that. No, I'm not another Jonah. And no, God isn't telling me (right now) to go to some city with people I despise and preach to them. But in my small existence, I do think that God is telling me to love people and care enough about them to share Christ with them.

I've been increasingly frustrated with people lately. It's not everyone of course, but it's everyone who's diametrically opposed to everything I believe in. Such as homosexuals, liberals, politicians, and Muslims. The thing is is that I want to run...hide...get away! I want to go to some tropical island and get away from all the insanity.

I feel like reason has taken an extended vacation. People either are clueless or just very, very...dare I say...stupid. Okay, don't get all bent out of shape. Though I feel like that, I know that's a very unrealistic and dangerous way to think. I don't have the market on common sense or reason. I'm very much aware that life does not revolve around me. Now if other people could admit the same thing, we'd really be getting somewhere.

But though I realize this, I need God's help. It's hard for me to look beyond peoples' idealogies. Though, I admit, I had my idealogies before I was saved by Jesus Christ, I have to say that I'm thankful that God didn't wait for me to change first (my way of thinking) before He saved me. The truth is is that we're all opposed to God in our hearts, like enemies, before He saves us.

Romans 5:6-10
6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

And I have to remember that God's love is so much more encompassing. His love supercedes my ability to love or care about others. The Bible even says that in 1 John 4:19 that, "We love because he first loved us."  The fact that it's God who gives me the ability to love others should tell me something about His character.  The two greatest commandments are to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30

So why do I struggle with this so much? Is it because I feel like I want to be right? Is it some superiority complex? Am I pious like the Pharisees? Sometimes I fear that I am. Is that what Jonah was struggling with? I think so. Jonah struggled with the fact that there were these people, the Ninevites, who basically God was calling him to go to and tell them about their sin. Well, actually, preach about it. Same thing. But wasn't his concern not so much that he wouldn't be right but that by telling the Ninevites about their sin they would repent and get right with God?  He didn't want his enemies to be saved!

Wow! That's food for thought. When I think about people that I strongly disagree with, do I want to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them so that they could recognize their need for a Savior and be saved? Or do I secretly wish that they would perish along with their views and idealogies? Hmmm, that really doesn't speak well of me if that is true. I'm nowhere near the person that God has called me to be if that is what is really going on. Please forgive me Lord.

Instead of having to go through what Jonah did, running away and having to learn some real tough life lessons, I hope that I can learn from his example and be extremely sensitive to what God would have for me to learn and do now. I want to care for people, but that's going to take some work. I need to learn to look beyond our differences and realize that ultimately it's not important for people to think like me. What really matters is that people come face-to-face with their greatest need. And that is Jesus. If I keep on insisting on being right and having my way, I'm not helping God at all and only getting in the way. May I learn that before it's too late. May we all learn that before it's too late.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The U.S. No More

Just this week I received an email that had been circulating on the internet for awhile.  It's somewhat disturbing and even before I started checking out the details of it myself, I believed it.

Whether we realize it or not, people, our country is being taken over.  That sounds over the top, doesn't it?  What am I talking about?  There's nothing in the news about some country or terrorist group coming in and taking us over.  You're right.  There isn't.  This isn't something that happened last night or last week.  It's something that is going on now and has been going on for some time.  And no, I'm not talking about the gay rights activists.  Although you could make an argument about them as well.

Let me first refer you to this email I received.  This is a portion of it:
Dhimmitude is the muslim system of controlling non-muslim populations conquered through jihad. Specifically, it is the TAXING of non-muslims in exchange for tolerating their presence AND as a coercive means of converting conquered remnants to islam.

So, this got my curiousity.  I had seen things before where it appeared that Muslims were taking over.  A little more on that in a minute.  This email went on to explain more about how Obamacare is actually helping promote the system of dhimmitude.  In the health care bill, there is an exemption for religious sects.  On the surface, this might sound like a good thing for religion.  It is stated like this:
(5) EXEMPTIONS FROM INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.—In the case of an individual who is seeking an exemption certificate under section 1311(d)(4)(H) from any requirement or penalty imposed by section 5000A, the following information: 24 (A) In the case of an individual seeking exemption based on the individual’s status as a member of an exempt religious sect or division, as a member of a health care sharing ministry, as an Indian, or as an individual eligible for a hardship exemption, such information as the Secretary shall prescribe.

It may sound like a good thing, but it isn't.  To Ann Barnhardt, who writes a blog from which this email came, she has an idea that this bill ushers in a Marxist kind of legislation.  She believes that as a Christian, it would be deplorable to exempt yourself from this bill on the basis of being part of a religious sect and then allow Marxism to run rampant throughout the rest of society.  Essentially you would be sitting on the sidelines making everyone else pay for this destructive bill.  She has more to say in regards to this matter and how some Christians and non-Christians would essentially have to outright lie to claim to be in an exempt status when you actually aren't and how the government would in a sense pretend to be God by the methods in which they exact taxes through this bill.  So, either way, whether you pay or don't pay taxes, you would be violating one or more of the commandments.  You can view her blog for yourself at:  The date of this particular blog is on April 1 if you decide to look for yourself.

I think it may be a stretch to argue that it would be a violation of one of the commandments for either one of Ann's arguments.  One, I believe that God is ultimately in control of our government, just as He was when Pharoah of Egypt enslaved the people of Israel, or when King Saul was trying to kill David (whom David by the way saw killing the king was a greater sin to God than it was for Saul to take his life), or even when Pontius Pilate when he had Jesus crucified.  There are more examples to be sure.  In a previous blog, Naive, I mentioned how God established certain authorities over us.  There's a proper balance to be grasped here.  Obey God's ordained authorities and pay for a health care bill that indirectly goes against God (i.e. paying for abortions).  Or disobey the authority He established and risk going against God directly.

It is so important that right now we PRAY!  We need God's guidance desparately.  My understanding, and I'm not a pastor or a theologian, is that we submit to God and to His authority.  We know that this health care bill is wrong.  So we fight against it.  We argue in court, we debate in the public square, we make our voices heard.  But we do it legally and peacefully.  However, just like our forefathers did after much deliberation and praying, there was a time when they saw a need to separate themselves from an oppressive government.  I'm just not sure we're there yet.  We still have freedoms and liberties.  We can still vote and have representation.  For now.

That is really where I am getting to in this particular point.  The other side of this, the one that provides exemptions to religious sects, is that it also provides exemptions to Muslims.  It actually ties in to the very idea of dhimmitude mentioned previously.  How will Muslims accomplish jihad here in the United States?  They will do it by the very means in which provide.  We have freedoms and representation.  By taking advantage of what is provided to all U.S. citizens, they can take advantage of our system toward their goals.  As they populate our nation, as they have been doing throughout the world, they will begin to have majority control.  Even now, they have representation in the administration. Essentially given to them by our president.  All they need to do is to continue to penetrate our society little by little and we will essentially have been taken over.  Think about the frog in the frying pan.  It didn't know it was in trouble until it was too late, did he?  Same thing here.  Already, there are red flags going up, but no one is listening or paying attention.  Watch this youtube video.  It's speaks to what I'm talking about.

I don't know what the answer is.  I truly believe we're living in the last days and that Jesus will be returning soon.  There's probably a lot of things that have yet to happen and part of that from what I read about Revelations is some kind of one world government.  Maybe some of my views have been shaped (right or wrong) by various pastors, theologians, and other people who have shared their opinions on the end times, but here's the thing:  a one world government makes sense.  There appears to be a time when the nations will rise up together as one power against Christ's kingdom.  I think the antichrist or the demon will somehow have a great influence over these nations through demonic means.  We're not there yet obviously, but the nations will come together.  What better way than through the United Nations?  And who's going to be in control of the United Nations?  Won't it be the people that greatly populate the earth?  And isn't that what the Muslims are trying to do?  Aren't they the ones who are most fiercely opposed to Jesus Christ and Christianity?

The end times are coming.  And we're going to continue to be faced with pressing issues.  There are going to be fronts against Christianity from all sides.  And while we're waging war with the issues that we can see, there's going to be one rising up from under our very noses.

Is it all doom and gloom?  No, not at all.  But as Christians we need to wake up.  We need to be aware, just as the Bible tells us to be alert to Jesus' coming.  We need to be focused on our part to the coming events.  But most of all, we need to be prepared ourselves.  Are we walking with God?  Do we have a right relationship with Jesus Christ, who gives us faith to face the trials?  If we don't have Jesus, we don't have anything.  We need to make sure, examine ourselves to see if we really are in the faith.  We need to pursue Jesus right now more than ever.  I'm talking about having a Biblical worldview through the Holy Spirit so we can discern the times and all that is going on around us.  We need to be faithful witnesses to Jesus and the cross, His life, death, and ressurection.  People all around us need to know Him and if we feel inadequate and can't share the message of the gospel, which Paul says has the power unto salvation, how will people hear or know?  How can they respond.  They need to know that they are sinners in need of a Savior.  And without Jesus, they will be completely unprepared to face the coming times.

Please, friends, though I feel very strongly about our Christian heritage here in the U.S. and respect the rights of true legal immigration, I am concerned about the Muslims and their strategy to take over.  Believe me, if this happens, it will not be good.  They do not care about non-muslims and will make life very difficult, if not impossible.  They will hurt, kill, and destroy Christianity wherever it lurks.  Is it fair to lump all Muslims into the same category?  Maybe not.  But to me, it's enough of a concern that we shouldn't take this lightly.  If you have any doubts, check out the Voice of the Martyrs.  It's very possible that within a matter of only a few years that the U.S. as we know it will be no more.  And when the U.S. is no longer a superpower, I believe that's when things are going to get very interesting.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Media’s Problem

Sometimes I feel like I’m living in the twilight zone. I mean, look at what’s going on in our nation; people are going mad. Are there any sane people left?

The media, for example, have lost their senses. Didn’t the media have a responsibility to the people way back when? I read where Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”[1] Jefferson saw something in government that could go very wrong. And the media (newspapers) were supposed to serve the voice of the people. I saw this quote before, but they tend to leave out the best parts. Here is something I think is very significant:

Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington
16 Jan. 1787Papers 11:48--49
The tumults in America I expected would have produced in Europe an unfavorable opinion of our political state. But it has not. On the contrary, the small effect of those tumults seems to have given more confidence in the firmness of our governments. The interposition of the people themselves on the side of government has had a great effect on the opinion here. I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment, but will soon correct themselves. The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro' the channel of the public papers, and to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them. I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did any where. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe. Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.

But despite the need for freedom of the press as outlined in the 1st Amendment, there appeared to be government involvement in subsidizing the press back in the early days. According to this one website[3], it was probably a benefit back then (unlike it would be today). A short explanation for this is that the government supported hundreds of newspapers despite their size, affiliation, or otherwise. This accommodated even the smallest newspaper establishments that didn’t have the resources of their own to print minority opinions. Since all of these provided such wide range of opinions among the many newspapers that this afforded, this was seen as a good thing. The government subsidies even provided for the postage to ensure that all people had access to information that was vital in regards to “laws, proclamations, and other official notices of their respective colonial governments.”

Eventually, as we all know, the newspapers would no longer need government support to survive. By the mid-1800’s there was limited government financial support for the press as they moved on toward commercial advertising and consumer revenue. Then came along other forms of communication that eclipsed the newspaper industry in the form of radio, television, cable, the internet, and now other numerous forms of mediums capable of dispensing invaluable information to keep the public apprised of the government and its involvement in business and personal and public affairs. Now this has become a concern, for some, whereas now newspapers are in a decline. Some look at it as big business coming in and taking over the newspaper industry and subsequently squeezing out the small newspaper markets solely to promote their purposes and agenda. This would, in effect, minimize opposing voices.

Due to the fear of big business having too much power and influence, some fear that there is now a lack of diversity that once existed. Now there are people who would like to see government return and once again subsidize the press to promote “the opinions of the people.”[4] There is a slight problem to this reasoning, however. Back when government was more involved, I believe there was still a moral barometer and people in leadership had a better understanding of those morals and the extent to which government was to be involved. It was their idea, remember, as with Thomas Jefferson, that the federal government would have very limited control over the affairs of the people. The states would actually supersede the actions of the federal government. George Mason and other founders of the Declaration of Independence were concerned back then that the central (or federal) government would become oppressive and violate the basic rights of Americans. That was the basic premise behind the Bill of Rights, particularly the 10th Amendment.[5]

So we cannot forget history. History has a way of repeating itself. (And I mean that we can once again return to a European form of government and/or society; one that is oppressive as the one we struggled to gain our freedom from.) As a side note, most people don’t know American history and our education system conveniently leaves out much of what is important to understand about our country’s beginnings. It is very disturbing to me that the same government who controls how our children are being educated are using the same means to rewrite our history books so that as adults we know very little about our heritage. Many people are ignorant and would be surprised that there was a great Christian influence to how our country was founded.[6] There was immense agreement among the founders as to the providence of Almighty God. They drafted many of the original documents, such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence knowing that the decisions they were making then would have profound implications. They had a healthy attitude toward their God and Creator and His involvement toward the progress and advancement of our country.

Subsequently, it is that understanding of God’s influence in our nation that gave our founders a moral barometer, and to me, protected people from the government’s influence when they first subsidized the press. But now, seeing how our culture is heading down a very dangerous moral slope, I think the very idea of the government seizing control of yet another aspect of our lives is very frightening. It goes back to that very idea that Thomas Jefferson had about our nation being divided between wolves and sheep.

Isn’t that the reason why many liberals today are trying to control the means by which we receive our information? If we the people had any idea about how we became a nation as great as we are, or at least once were, we would fight tooth and nail to protect what was important to our continued prosperity. We would see what is actually being taken from us in the form of freedoms. Freedoms that our forefathers fought hard to protect! (Think for a moment about how aggressively the liberals are attacking God through the ACLU in removing Him from all government institutions, schools, public land, etc.)

Now we have liberals that not only have a majority in our government and are passing about every law imaginable so that they can gain control (just as with the great health care plan they just passed), they are infiltrating the media as well. The truth is, it is more likely that they took over the media way before they took over the government. But we allowed that, didn’t we? With the likes of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, and others feeding us their version of the truth, we’re being misinformed about what is actually taking place in our culture. They’re telling us exactly what they want us to know and believe. And we’re paying for this by ignoring the lies, listening to them day after day, and promoting them through advertising dollars. If we were honest, we would pay attention to what the main-stream media is force-feeding us and realize that it’s a bunch of half-truths. One such organization that tries to hold them accountable is the Media Research Center.[7]

The question that is left then is…why? Why do the liberals want to take over? Well, some are trying to gain power and control. These would be the limited few that have the ability to manipulate and use people to their advantage. Then there are others who I believe that their whole purpose is to have the freedom to live as morally lose as possible. These people are feeding right into the hands of those that are manipulating them to gain power. The problem is is that our government previously had a tight a grip over what was right and wrong through harsh and unfair laws. This, unfortunately, had a backlash reaction because that system of government went too far. So now, if the liberals can gain a political advantage and pass laws that will silence the voices of opposition, then they could essentially accomplish their goal of a society free from vices and give them the sort of society they desire…even if they are the minority. The examples of this would be the gays and lesbians versus the Christians, or the pornography industry versus the Christians, or Hollywood versus the Christians. You get the idea.

But you would think that I’m making this up. I wish I was. If you’re really interested in knowing the truth, I suggest researching it for yourself. One particular website, and there are other fine resources available, that I find interesting is World View Weekend.[8] Do I agree with everything they say? No, but I do keep an open mind and look at what is going on around me. I do think that the liberals have a left-leaning bias and their goal is to control the information that people receive. They want to silence opposing voices, such outlets like FOX News, Focus on the Family, Media Research Center, or other conservative points of view that are contrary to theirs. And then what will we be left with? Sodom and Gomorrah.

What’s really disconcerting to me is that we may have already seen a takeover from a socialist perspective. With Congress and our President successfully passing this so-called health care plan, they have a major piece of the puzzle for them to work with. It’s something like an eighth of our economy! Whether people realize it or not, their goal is not to make sure people have adequate health care or for people to have the basic necessary government services at their disposal. Their goal is to get us so dependent on them to meet our needs that we have no other alternative but to look to them. This accomplishes the objective that they’re looking toward...for us to give up our freedoms and choice and for them to have complete control over what products and services are available to the masses. They then have the ability to reshape our culture and have it look and behave the way they see fit. The media plays right into this and that gives them power. And friends, we just gave it to them.









Monday, April 5, 2010


Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand!

At least that’s what Jesus says: Mark 1:15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

It’s all kind of a joke, isn’t it? At least those funny cartoons would lead us to believe that.

Repentance is so 1st Century. It doesn’t really mean anything today, does it? Isn’t today’s Christianity more of a feel-good religion? I mean, really, how can we draw people to Christ if we’re always harping on their sin? In fact, the more popular churches (and isn’t popular the way to know what is right…like we take polls on everything today and if it’s the majority, then it’s got to be right!) are reaching out to people with the message that God loves us and wants to make us happy, wealthy, and prosperous and live a life that’s centered around me and my feelings and how I fit into the world and blah, blah, blah.

Seriously though, isn’t that how our culture thinks? Yesterday, in the USA Today section of the Sunday paper, this person says, “Easter tells us love is stronger than even death because we find life in love — the love of God and the yearning for the good is always available.”[i] Okay, I know this sounds good, and truthfully love is a very powerful motivator. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6; 13 that, “4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” But throughout most of this whole article, there is no mention of Jesus and His sacrifice or the cross! Thankfully, there was one voice of reason in Christian writer Anne Graham Lotz. The article admits that, in contrast to many peoples’ perspective, the “emphasis on Christianity's joy, acceptance and social justice, with no mention of sin, atonement or church sacraments, doesn't sit well with more traditional-minded believers.”

And if that isn’t bad enough, then you have those in the church who are teaching this health and wealth gospel. According to one website, “Here’s how it is sold: God wants you to be rich (and/or healthy), but He can not bless you unless you first send money (also known as a “seed-faith offering“) to whichever televangelist or teacher tells you about this scheme.”[ii] Another puts it this way, “The health and wealth gospel is a seductive teaching because it proclaims that not only does God want to bless you in the future (Revelation 21:1ff.), he wants to bless you right now with the best health and the best things money can buy. These perversions of the gospel are illustrated by such statements as, “If you are truly a disciple of Jesus, he will give you what you want. . . . If you are sick, it is because you are outside of God’s will.” The wealth gospel worships materialism, and the health gospel’s idol is the human body.”[iii]

Repentance is really lost in today’s culture. But isn’t it interesting that one of the first things that Jesus mentions in the gospels is on the subject of repentance? Why should we feel good about ourselves? In fact, our sin should make us grieve. It’s our sin that puts us at odds with God. Colossians 1:21 says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” Can’t we see from God’s Word that repentance is important? I tell you it’s desperately needed.

I’m not saying all this because of some holier-than-thou attitude. I need to repent! Big-time! In lots of areas. My attitude, my eating habits, my anger, lots of stuff. The thing is is that I’m concerned that our culture is minimizing or even twisting the truth in regards to repentance. We need to realize that although Jesus did come to give us abundant life, He also died for our sins. Sin is serious! We needed Jesus to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. Romans 5:10 says, “For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

So if Jesus died for our sins, why do we need to repent? Because that’s where our part begins. Jesus said in Luke 13:5, “5I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 3:18-20 says, “18But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.” So you see, there is a need to repent. Until then, we can’t expect to have that abundant life He offers.

The question now is, “What is repentance? How do I repent?” Part of that is explained in the last paragraph. One definition is explained like this: The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.”[iv] A fuller explanation is followed: “Repentance and faith can be understood as “two sides of the same coin.” It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about who He is and what He has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance or disinterest, it is a change of mind. Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ.”[v]

So you see, initially, we need to repent from rejecting Christ’s authority over our lives. But even after a person receives His gift of salvation, a believer still finds himself dealing with sin over his lifetime. It’s those areas in our lives that God continues to work with us through what is called sanctification (another subject, another time). But suffice it to say, repentance is still key if we want to draw near to God and have a relationship with Him, even as a believer!

But today, if you find yourself never having taken the first step and repenting at all in regards to your sin, may I suggest the following: Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Day After

I'm curious. I'm curious about tomorrow. I'm curious to see what is on peoples' hearts and minds tomorrow. You see, for days, and even weeks, many have expressed a heartfelt gratitude to God for His Son Jesus. Many have drawn near to Jesus for what He did for us on the cross. Many made commitments of prayer, fasting, and even sacrifice to express their appreciation to Jesus and His sacrifice...His life, death, and resurrection.

But what about tomorrow? Where are all of us going to be tomorrow? Are we going to continue on with our lives like...well, as if the moment is gone and now it's life as normal. Same old drudgery, same old routines?

What will happen to all those who made commitments? Who prayed, fasted, and sacrificed? Will anything be different? Will anything have changed?

Oh God! I pray for a people whose hearts are wholly toward You. I pray that we will have Your Spirit indwelling us and spurring us to good deeds. I pray we'll reach out to our brother, our neighbor, even our enemy. That the gospel will be spoken and shared and will change lives and accomplish Your will, purposes, and plans.

Oh God! Use my hands and feet. Change my heart to care for and love people. To share with them my testimony for what You have done in me and through me for Your glory.

Oh, and God...may You receive much glory through Your Son who we love, worship, and praise! Praise You Jesus! Thank You for the cross!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Getting psyched for Easter?

I know I'm not alone, but I sure can't wait for Jesus to return! So much so, sometimes I think about what it would be like to die right now and go to Him. I'm not trying to be morbid, but I kind of like the idea of moving on. But I also know that really is out of my control. God has other plans for me right now.

Tomorrow is Easter and I want to be excited. I think I am but I don't have the same "feelings" as I do when I'm watching a football game and get all excited. It's different somehow. I've heard the question asked, "If you can't get up (excited) for Christ like you do football, then you need to reexamine yourself and your priorities." Or something like that.

Truth is, I am excited about Christ and it lasts much, much longer than any football game. If I get the chance to talk about Jesus with anybody, I can get on fire for Him! It's more of a long-term attitude about how I feel about Jesus than a short-term one-day kind of thing. So when it revolves around a "day" like Christmas or Easter, I don't find myself getting all "giddy" as other people. Don't get me wrong, I think being "giddy" or having a certain excited expectation is pretty cool! I think at times, I do get that feeling.

Living for Christ, to me, is so much more than a one-day "feel-good" feeling. I'm passionate about Him and want others to know about Him, but I struggle with the "okay, today is Easter and we need to get motivated." Maybe it's because I think everyday we should have that attitude. Everyday we should be out there telling people about Jesus because of the cross and because of His sacrifice and because He loves us. Every "day" is important!

I also think that comparing my heart and attitude for Jesus to football is not a fair comparison. With football, there's a certain game. If it goes well, I can talk about the "win" for a day or two, but then it gets old. It's an event that has happened and I move on. The euphoria kind of wears off. Suppose I start talking about that "game" over and over and over. That would get old and would get on peoples' nerves. But Jesus! Talking about Him never gets old. His life, death, and resurrection are events that transcend time. The thing is is that I think I'm waiting for the NEXT big event. That's something I'm really looking forward to. Hey, don't get me wrong. The cross is THE event that matters right now and it's important for people to know about Him so they can find hope and salvation that is in our Savior! But boy, I really am looking forward to what is coming. I just hope everyone else is too! :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The End Times

Obviously this isn't something I'm writing, but wanting to share. This is scary, but I suppose if Revelations as laid out in the Bible is to come about, certain things are going to have to happen in our world. Not so good things. Here's one example (click on the link):

Cuban leader applauds US health-care reform bill


HAVANA -- It perhaps was not the endorsement President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress were looking for.

Fidel Castro is credited with:

Castro's regime has been credited with opening 10,000 new schools and increasing literacy to 98 percent. Cubans enjoy a universal health care system, which has decreased infant mortality to 11 deaths in 1,000 (1.1 percent).

The fact that Fidel Castro is congratulating Barack Obama is scary. Does this say anything about what we’re to expect? There is something really wrong when a dictator from Cuba applauds healthcare when in other areas he is involved is much, much worse (I quote from

Castro signed the First Agrarian Reform Law, which limited the size of land holdings and forbade foreign property ownership. The intent was to develop a class of independent farmers. In reality, this program led to state land control with the farmers becoming mere government employees.

By the end of 1959, Castro's revolution had become radicalized with purges of military leaders and the suppression of any media critical of Castro's policies. (Interesting.)

On April 16, Castro formally declared Cuba a socialist state.

Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist and announced the Cuban government was adopting communist economic and political policies.

Removed opposition to his rule though executions and imprisonments, as well as through forced emigration.

So I guess universal health care is all good as long as we can take the bad along with it. Sound familiar?