Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Good Old Days

Modern life is highly over-rated. I know we have all the conveniences such as indoor plumbing and the Internet (in that order), but one thing we lack is a sense of belonging.

This world is not our home, but must it be so alien? When I read the historical books of the Bible, or even read biographies of various believers of ages past, I see people helping people and following God-appointed leaders such as Moses or David. It makes me envious -- even if I wouldn't want to dress the fattened calf when company calls.

Reading Ezra and Nehemiah this week, it was all for one and one for all. They had a job to do and they all rolled up their sleeves and accomplished their God-given mission. 

In the New Testament, getting the Gospel out to the four corners of the Earth to people who had never heard the name of Jesus stirred the saints into action.

Today we have pastors casting their own visions and wanting the parishioners to adopt their empty goals as their own. Church goers live their lives separate from the congregation -- only to come together for an occasional pot-luck.

Today our attempts at continuing the Great Commission of spreading the Gospel usually come up empty. The whole world has heard of Jesus and most of the world connects his name to Rome or televangelism or Harold Camping or the Tea Party -- and the walls go up before we can get a tract in their hands. 

Perhaps the night is just about upon us where no man can work the works of God -- the wicked will be wicked still.

I know what my assignment is. The faith has been established once and for all. My job, and I hope yours as well, is to defend it (Jude 3) and go after those who are doubting (Jude 22) and hold onto my crown. 

I just wish we could carry this out side-by-side instead of one on one.

“He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” - Rev 22:11-13

"And he said, 'Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand...But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” - Dan 9:9-10,13

“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown." - Rev 3:10-11

Sunday, May 18, 2014

We're Sure Gonna Be Missed

As we witness the apparent groundswell of opposition to Christianity in the progression of moral decay in the culture, be assured: they're going to miss us when we're gone.

I love the discussion that Abraham had with God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah and his nephew Lot. He asked God if He found 50 righteous souls there, would he spare it for the 50? And God said He would. And the negotiation got down to 10 righteous and still God was willing to spare the place for the 10. Abraham's logic I believe still holds true for today:

“Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Gen 18:25

It is the voice of reason and resistance to evil that we believers contribute to society that has historically held evil in check. When we're out of the way, the liberals may think their solutions will now be free to press on to success, but will find themselves living in a world of their own making and it will be a very dangerous place to be.

Our opponents talk tough about their freedom to fornicate and sodomize and pass those morals onto children, but when we're gone, they're going to miss the security of tight knit families and the comfort of peaceful neighborhoods. Every home will have a security system as part of their monthly utilities. People will fear to leave their homes -- we're already seeing that now on a smaller scale.

And with us out of the way, God will be free to pour out His judgment. They don't want "In God we trust" on our greenbacks or the ten commandments on our courthouses - God will give them what they demand. And they will reap what they have sown.

In the meantime, let's keep being salt and light to the world, keeping our hand in the hand of the Master. All we can say to those who hate us is, "We'll be back!"

"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 2 Thes 2:7-12


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Walking Close to Jesus

The battle for sound doctrine and exposing false teaching and wolves in sheep's clothing is certainly a necessity in these perilous times. But we need to be careful that we do not get so caught up in the battle that we lose sight of the One we are so zealous to defend.

We need to learn to choose our battles carefully and not waste time and energy on chasing after all the foxes that spoil the vine. What an endless tail-chasing task that would be - and it would leave the warrior jaded. Sometimes we just need to get back to the simplicity of the faith.

I think the devil sends his agents into the gathering of the saints just to stir up strife - and usually over the small things. We need to sharpen our ears to know when the devil is trying to ensnare us into arguments for the sake of argument. 

Sometimes we just need to step back and look into the face of Jesus and renew our strength and bask in His love. Meditate upon His words and recall all the wonderful things He has done in our lives. Return to our first love - on a regular basis.

After we've done that we will be more tuned to His voice and use His armor more strategically. Yes, we're in a battle. The battle is the LORD's. We take our marching orders from Him. If we are not tuned to our Commander's voice, we will drift into enemy territory.

Onward and upward!

"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." - Rev 3:5-6

"For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." - 2 Cor 11:2-3

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Love is not Enough!!

"And the world will be as one." -- "Love is all you need." -- John Lennon 

That seemed to be the theme of an ecumenical gathering of clergy I attended as an observer this week in Virginia Beach, Virginia. This small group of Catholics and Protestants grabbed onto their misunderstanding of the high priestly prayer of Jesus:

"And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." - John 17:22-23 

Back up a few verses to see how the world would recognize true believers as they speak with one voice:

“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." John 17:16-17

"Truth divides; love unites," these churchmen would retort.

The false unity these churchmen seek is a merger of institutional religion who seek power in numbers in order to participate with and change this world. Their feet are firmly established in the world and they use worldly means to accomplish their goal of establishing the kingdom without the King.

But the truth of the matter is that we born-again believers are already one. We speak with one voice the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the world hates us for doing so. We proclaim the soon return of the LORD Jesus Christ who will establish His visible Kingdom on earth after He pours out His wrath upon those who hate Him. We warn the world of the judgment to come and tell them to turn and repent before it's too late. For that - - these ecumenical churchmen scoff at us.

When the true church, made up of all born-again believers no matter what church they attend, is taken up in the rapture of the saints, the ecumenical movement will be successful and have their unification and influence in this world. But she will not be the Bride of Christ, but the Great Whore.

Even so LORD, come!

"For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you." - 1 Cor 11:19

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish... I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live." Dt. 30:15-19