Sunday, October 26, 2014

'Jesus' is not a cuss word!

I was channel-surfing yesterday, looking for something entertaining to watch on TV -- maybe a good old movie. Most of the ones I came upon were fright-night types -- Jeepers Creepers parts 1 through 5 -- I guess in honor of Halloween. I finally settled on watching Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds' -- a great suspenseful film with no foul language or immoral acts. 

As I was going through the dials, I couldn't help but notice all the potty-talk going on. But what really bothered me was hearing the name of the LORD Jesus Christ thrown around as a cuss word. Does that only happen in English-speaking cultures? Do Italians use 'Gesù Cristo' as a curse word? Do Russians shout 'исус Христос' when someone cuts them off in traffic?

Whenever someone in my presence yells 'Christ' or 'Jesus' -- and not as an exclamation of worship -- I pipe up and say, 'Oh, you love Him too? Praise Jesus." I know I'm being sarcastic, but I've never had anyone try to argue with me about it. They usually just roll their eyes.

Cursing my Savior is so offensive to me. Yet, you rarely hear His name being defiled by those whose lives are in danger. I recall one time on a commercial airplane, just after take-off the plane was hit with a powerful downward gust of wind that shoved us violently toward the ground. Many screamed -- we thought we were going to crash. I prayed silently, but noticed many voices calling out "Jesus!!' -- And no one was cursing Him.

It seems to me that folks instinctively know that the name of 'Jesus' is the Name above all names - which is why they think they are being bold and brave to dare utter the Name blasphemously. Yet at the name of Jesus, will every knee bow!! 

If I didn't love Him so much, it wouldn't hurt so much. But America has taken the Ten Commandments out of the public arena and defy the one that says 'Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.' 

When He comes back and rules and reigns with a rod of iron, no mouth will dare speak evil of the Prince of Peace. 

Come quickly, LORD Jesus!!

"Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
'Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us'
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure."
Ps. 2:1-5

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's Every Man for Himself

The Bible says all that can be shaken will be shaken and only what is rooted in Christ Jesus will stand. There's a whole lotta shakin' going on. 

The past two weeks we've witnessed the shaking of the Roman Catholic Church in the Synod on the family in Rome. Catholics have lost their sense of security -- although it was misplaced. They thought that their dogmas and church authorities were stable and could never veer from age-old rules and teachings. Now they don't know what to expect.

The evangelical world is under the same sort of pressure to acquiesce to the dictates of the culture -- even receiving subpoenas for sermon notes by local politicians to ensure they don't speak out against the gay agenda. Many churches have given in to the pressure, as it has been reported this week that Hillsong's Brian Houston will not take a stand against sodomy. Big conferences are being planned that are promoting 'queer' Christians as acceptable in the church and proudly so.

It would seem as though all the institutions that many have looked to for spiritual leadership have crashed and burned. But we must not be shaken. At this time, just like it was when the last lifeboat left the Titanic, it's every man for himself. 

More than ever these words of Jesus shout loudly to my spirit:

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown." - Rev. 3:11

As the time of His return nears, there is so much more to overcome. The pressure to conform to this world's standards are drawing many once-stable saints away. These truly are perilous times.
For many of us it's just me and the LORD. Hold onto Him for your life!!

"Now this, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." - Heb. 12:27-28

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Don't Untie the Tie That Binds"

This week all eyes were on GodTV to listen to Wendy Alec tell the story of a Jezebel stealing her husband Rory away from her. One facebook friend identified the other woman as jazz singer Carola Caye who reportedly “says Rory Alec is supposed to be her husband, not Wendy's.”

Certainly men in Christian leadership are targeted by the enemy more than the average Joe sitting in the pew. Pastors particularly are appealing to women in the church as the personification of their ideal man. 

I recall several years ago, a pastoral son of a famous preacher got a divorce from his wife, the mother of his five children. I heard from a friend who attended his church that the single women in the congregation were beating a path to his bachelor pad door. If a pastor happens to outlive his wife, the potential wives in the church rush to take a number.

Many Christian leaders have fallen prey to adultery, divorce and remarriage. But woe to the seductress that successfully lures such a man away from his wife. The very traits of the pastor that she fell in love with -- his spirituality, his godliness, his understanding of the Word -- all those things he throws away when he leaves his wife for you. He is no longer that godly man that appealed to you. Rory’s new woman will soon find that out. And she is fooling herself if she thinks he will be a faithful husband to her.

Some women might admire a Christian leader from afar, even praying that God release him from his unfit wife, in the hopes that she can be waiting in the wings to snag him quickly ahead of the other desperate would-be housewives. But holding onto such a hope -- even praying such -- can become overpowering -- and women must get power over it. If you covet another woman’s husband, can God bless that? Remember, if you win -- you lose!

Another mistake single female believers make is what is known as “missionary dating.” I’m shocked to meet women in the church who yoked themselves unevenly with a non-believer thinking she could convert him - but what ends up happening is that he drags the woman down to his level and comes between her and her LORD. 

There’s a passage in Isaiah 4:1 that reminds me of the situation in the church today:

“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying,
“We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel;
Only let us be called by your name,
To take away our reproach.”

For every single man in the church today, there are probably seven women. Being single is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Marrying the wrong man is far worse. Be at peace with your singleness until the LORD shows you otherwise. Watch over your heart -- falling for a married man is a snare to your soul.

Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because the LORD has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
For the LORD God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the LORD of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”
1 Mal 14-16

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Squabbling Saints

There is a growing trend in our circles of arguing over issues like the timing of the rapture, eternal security, and other such debatable matters. Iron sharpens iron and it is good to hear one another out and look at every biblical argument. But the rhetoric is sadly heating up to where it is dividing friends and that should never be. In light of the nearness of the LORD's return, we're reminded:

"Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!" - James 5:7-9

Discussion of issues can be so helpful for many trying to sort out difficult passages to arrive at a conclusion and a hope to lay one's faith upon. Yet sometimes we can lose patience and raise our voice with someone we perceive as dense when they can't see in Scripture what we see. Let's say we're right and the other believers are naive and untrained. What should our view of them be?

"Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things." - Rom 14:1

I truly am preaching to myself here. I have my own pet peeves when it comes to opposition against passages I have set my heart upon. I hold onto some of them for dear life. And when I'm looked down upon for so doing by those who in my view haven't studied the topic as long and hard as I perceive I have done, I'm tempted to eliminate them from my inner circle of friends. I must guard my heart against taking offense.

I am sure about what I believe and we all must study to show ourselves approved, for each of us will answer to God for our willingness to love truth and receive correction. The important thing is that we love Jesus our Savior and trust Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith, to see us safely to His Celestial Kingdom.

For He alone is faithful!

"But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written:
“As I live, says the LORD,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a 
cause to fall in our brother’s way." - Romans 14:10-13

Gates of Hell

Many leaders in the apostasy love to quote the verse that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, thinking it affirms them regardless of their errors or bad direction they are taking the flock. The Catholic Church has used that for centuries to justify their crusades and inquisitions.

But I see this passage as a promise to us who believe and have committed our lives to the LORD Jesus that no matter what this world dishes out, we have a future with our King, ruling and reigning with Him during the Millennium. That is our future no matter what religious organization calling itself 'church' has to say about it. And there is nothing the gates of hell can do about it!

In the material world, the gates of hell look like they have prevailed and are prevailing against the church at every corner of the globe. The Truth of the Word of God is under attack and the devil is winning as he removes God from society and turns the masses against the Most High. We are reminded:

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." - Matt 10:28

Killing our bodies is the worst the gates of hell can do to us. The gates cannot separate us from the love of our Savior nor can they change the future of the true church, made up of all of those who have been born-again. One's membership in any organization is as worthless as the piece of paper it is written on. The only role that matters is the Lamb's Book of Life and there will be no prevailing against that.

These are things to keep in mind as the spirit of antichrist marches along and his followers persecute the true church that is now scattered upon every hill.

When the role is called up yonder, I'll be there!

“I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom." - Dan 7:21-22

"Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years." - Rev 20:6