Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cup of Iniquity

Dear Saints -- particularly in America:

I am sure you share my feelings of loss over the state of our nation. A dark cloud seems to have descended upon the country. Pray with me that God would lower His own dome of safety over us, His people, and our households. It IS His nature to do so.

We know that these things must take place -- the cup of iniquity is not yet full. But we know it will rise to the top before God hurls it to the earth in His wrath. I thank Him that we are not appointed to wrath and that we can run to His arms for help in times of trouble.
Many of us have friends and loved ones who are celebrating the victory of sin in the hands of our judges. All I can say is, 'Forgive them LORD, for they know not what they do." They will be the same folks who will take the mark of the beast - the same folks whose skin will break out in boils -- the same folks who will be stung by demonic locusts and beg for death but death will escape them. PRAY FOR THEM!!!!

And MORE importantly -- pray for the saints (not to them as Catholics do). The living saints -- all of us -- have entered a time of persecution and we know it's only going to get worse. But through it all -- my prayer is that the LORD will make His presence known to His saints in these dark days -- regardless of what is happening in the world. That He would give us His peace -- even as war and devastations go on all around us.

Join me in that prayer:

Heavenly Father, we Your people come humbly before you on behalf of our loves ones, near and far. Forgive us our faults, known and unknown, and empower us to be Your witnesses in the coming days. Even if you have given over our country, keep us in Your care and show us Your hand of protection on our behalf, giving us the peace that passes all understanding. Raise up voices of Truth to rise above the voices of ignorance and as You promised, when we come before kings and rulers, put Your words into our mouths that they will not be able to refute. Revive Your people, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us all, and let your grace and mercy cover our transgressions as we struggle to know how to respond to our culture without compromise. As we confess You before men, take the fear of man far from us and hold our heads high above the flood of dissipation in which we dwell. Send Your Son soon to restore all things. In Your name and Your Son's name in the power of Your Spirit - Hear our prayer. Amen!

“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” - Luke 12:47-53

"Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?" - Luke 12:56

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Idols in the Hearts

This is a difficult time to walk uprightly with the LORD because of the plethora of temptations in our culture everywhere you turn. The world offers so many empty trinkets and allures many into snares for them to fall into sin. The saints need God's grace on a daily basis. 

This verse is a warning to us not to stop striving in our battle against sin:

“Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity.  Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?" - Ez. 14:3

What kinds of idols can we set up in our hearts today that can weaken our resistance causing us to stumble into iniquity? 

  • Love scenes from movies replaying in the mind's eye that send the message that adultery and fornication are normal;
  • Pondering memories of old lovers from BC days causing desire to resurface for them --many have fallen for this idol in their hearts when they attend their high school reunion;
  • The allure of material things -- like expensive cars, motorcycles, pure-bred pets -- that are purchased with money the family needs;
  • The idol of fame and fortune and success that prosperity seekers set up in their minds and passionately pursue to their own detriment.

I could go on and on. I think some of us baby-boomers struggle the most with living in the past since our youth is fading. We have a way of glamorizing the good old days -- and though there's nothing wrong with that -- for some it can become obsessive and unhealthy. 

So let's press on and just be conscious of what idols might cause us to stumble as we strive to be pleasing to the LORD in these perilous times.

Keep your eyes on the Prize.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" - 2 Cor 10:3-5

"Then He said to another, 'Follow Me.' But he said, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.' And another also said, 'Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.' But Jesus said to him, 'No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'" Luke 9:59-62

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Living Word

There is no other book like the Bible. It holds the wisdom of the ages -- kept for us over many centuries, even millennia. Nothing else ever written by the cunning of man compares to it. Any wisdom found in any other book has its origin in the revelation of God to mankind. It is a miraculous book.

In college, I took a class called "The Bible as Literature." It was taught by an aging hippie professor who professed to be an atheist. I kept hammering away at him all semester long with questions aimed at making him think about what he was reading and quoting. 

I would frequently quote parallel passages to point the truth of the passages to him. One day towards the end of the course, he started talking, giving an overview of the semester. As he spoke it's like something hit him square in the eyes, and he was struck by the uniformity of the message from Genesis to Revelation. And exclaimed, "I've never seen that before." The light went on.

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." - Heb 4:12

For those of us who have been quickened by His Holy Spirit, as we read His Word it certainly becomes the "Living Word" to us. These are not simply words written on paper. As we read It, we are often left in awe, brought to tears, inspired to praise the Author. It evokes reverence, humility, love, gratitude, and drives us to our knees. It even instills fear - godly fear - as we look upon the Greatness of our God -- the Creator of all things visible and invisible.

No book ever written can be compared to the Bible. Yet for those who do not have eyes to see and ears to hear, It is academic - just like it was to that Professor -- until the Light comes on.

If you run into a Gideon today -- give them a holy kiss. The Gideons provide the Word of Life to millions and deserve our support.

"The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow;
Let Him be your fear,
And let Him be your dread.
He will be as a sanctuary,
But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense
To both the houses of Israel,
As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And many among them shall stumble;
They shall fall and be broken,
Be snared and taken.”
- Is 8:13-15

"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him."
- Ps. 34:8-9