Sunday, August 30, 2015

Being Misunderstood

Human relationships can take a lot of work and sensitivity to others feelings -- but it's worth it in the long run.

Even between saints, personalities can collide, often with those we care about. Each conflict should teach us something new to help us to grow in Christ, although the lessons may be very uncomfortable. To some, it may seem easier to just walk away rather than take the time to work things out. But that would be surrender to the devil's scheme to divide and conquer.

Single people may have a hard time relating to married friends. If a married woman confides to a single girl about her struggles, the girl might think to herself, 'well, at least you have someone to help you in life.' Or in reverse, if the single girl shares her woes of finding the right man, the woman may think, 'well at least you are free to do what you want without a man to tell you what to do.' The grass is always greener comes into play.

Years ago, I shared a testimony with a friend about how the LORD chastised me when I started to go astray. Through a major health crisis, the LORD stopped me in my tracks before I could make a choice that would have potentially shipwrecked my faith. Through the trial He exposed the nature of a man I was getting too close to. My fellow single friend didn't react like I thought she would. 
Instead of rejoicing with me, she looked all sad and said, "I wish God cared enough about me to show up in my life. He is just silent when I fall into sin." She read into what I was saying that God cared about me but not for her. I in no way meant it that way.

Another friend complimented me on how my grown kids turned out, telling me I must have raised them right. I tried to give the glory to God, but in so doing I inadvertently was saying that since her kids turned out troubled, God cared for me more than her - or heard my prayers for my kids while hers went unanswered. I in no way was making any such comparison, but that's how it was taken. 

We saints are not in competition with each other. We're all in this together. We each have unique struggles and weep over different things than our Christian friends do. One might have financial success, while another can't pay their bills. The former might have a rocky marriage and the latter a loving one -- but Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith and customizes our circumstances for our benefit (Romans 8:28).

Let's put up with each other and pray over our friendships. Be at peace.

"Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load." - Gal 6:2-5

"Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." - 2 Tim 2:22-26

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Father Draws

I have wondered on occasion if the LORD had stopped, or at least slowed down, His supernatural conversion of sinners during this time of great apostasy. But I was basing that on my own observations - and certainly, I cannot be everywhere and see all that God is doing in the world.

There were many years in my 35-year walk with the LORD when I would be sharing the Gospel with people and I just knew the Spirit of God would be upon me to speak the Word the LORD would have me to speak to an individual. I know the difference between when I'm just going on my head knowledge versus when the Spirit is giving me the unction to speak the supernatural word of knowledge or word of wisdom or word of prophecy as He stirs up the gifts.

For the last ten years or so I just haven't seen as many open doors to share the Gospel. People just aren't interested in the conversation, and even speaking to people you come across in life is a challenge when their noses are looking down at their smart phones or they tune you out due to the ear-buds bringing in their music to drown you out.

When I do have the opportunity to witness to unbelievers I can tell if the LORD is drawing them or not just by how I am able to respond to their questions. If they are not open to the Truth, it just turns into an argument -- and I get no heavenly assistance. If the LORD is working in their lives, God seems to just breathe life into the conversation and brings an expression of wonder to the awestruck individual. It's really a miracle to behold.

I wonder if any of you have experienced this yourself. 

Well, on my third visit to the state prison this past week to teach and share the Word of God with the female inmates, I again saw the Spirit of God working on one of the women who came because she had once committed her life to Jesus and wants to reconnect with Him but her doubts about certain doctrines was putting up a roadblock to her fully giving herself to the LORD. She just couldn't accept the idea of the Trinity since it just didn't make sense to her. 

The Holy Spirit gave me verse after verse to help her in understanding the truth of the Triune God - even to my own amazement. There was no hesitation or straining to think on my part -- the LORD quickened His Word to me to give to her -- and once again I saw the expression on her countenance change as I was sharing. 

I know now is the time to go to the highways and byways as the invited guests seem to be more and more comfortable in their pursuit of worldly riches and success. I know that if you get out there, God will lead you to those He is drawing. He will show us how to sow and water the seed so that His table will be filled with guests.


"Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God." - 2 Cor 5:18-20

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." - John 6:44

"Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." - Col 4:2-6

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tears of Joy

A facebook friend recently noted that she has felt rather emotional recently and thought there might be a spiritual explanation for it. I have noticed something in myself of late that I haven't experienced so consistently since I first got saved 34 years ago. For the first year or two as a new believer, reading the Bible with Spirit-led understanding for the first time, I could hardly read the words in the good book through my tears. Every new revelation the Bible would reveal would create a sense of awe and wonder in me that would cause me to weep.

To a lesser extent lately I've been brought to tears coming upon certain passages in my Scripture reading. Not every day the way it was three decades ago, but with a lot more frequency than usual. The verses that really stand out and get me emotional are Jesus' promises to us, as well as verses that speak of His glory. Could it be that as we're nearing His return, the Holy Spirit is preparing our hearts for that great event?

Although I've been looking at the signs of the times and seeing how close His coming is for a long, long, time, the excitement about it is being renewed in me, and as I have observed, with many of my fb friends as well. 

Believers I know who have drifted away are coming back with zeal and others I know are losing faith and drifting away. It would seem that there is a separation of the sheep and the goats going on as the Great Apostasy becomes tangible and at the same time the birth pangs are making others take notice and get more serious about their faith. Many are choosing this day whom they will serve, one way or the other.

Could we be nearing the final call?

"The LORD is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us."
-- Ps 103:8-12

“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." - Rev 22:11-12

"Jesus wept." - John 11:35

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hall of Fame

I'm still stirred up over Charisma Magazine's honoring of the 40 church leaders who they say radically changed the world. They were a bit off -- the majority changed the church for the worse and had little or no impact on the world whatsoever.

Charisma had a similar article back in the year 2000, honoring Christian leaders whose pictures were featured on the cover of their magazine. The feature article was celebrating their 25 year anniversary. As you can see from my response to that article, some of the same movers and shakers were on both lists. Their lists should be the Hall of Shame. [ ]

I'd like to honor a list of Christian leaders who are worthy of the distinction. How I wish that the LORD would raise up more like these. For some on my list, changing the world was not their aim, but being set apart from the world and bearing the reproach of Christ was their legacy.

1. Dave Hunt -- His book The Seduction of Christianity opened the eyes of countless believers to the nature of deception coming into the church. He documented the sources of those evil influences and helped those with eyes to see avoid pitfalls of satanic traps.

2. Walter Martin -- His ministry assisted so many people in helping to get loved ones out of destructive cults. He was bold in his witness to Christ and his encouragement to others to learn how to defend the faith. He is famous for his pet verse: Jude 3 -- it was even on his personal car's license plate.

3 Chuck Smith - the founder of Calvary Chapel -- the LORD used his voice and father-like love of God's hippie children to teach the Bible verse-by-verse to baby Christian who were hungry for God's Word. He fed them and because of his ministry God raised up many teaching voices. The nearness of the LORD's return was front and center at all the CCs in its heyday as the signs of the times were so evident during that last great revival.

4. J. Vernon McGee -- the funny accented man on the radio who consistently taught the Bible in a style all his own. He spoke out against the evils of the world with boldness, but with deep insights and biblical application.

5. Hal Lindsey -- Despite personal failings, no other man since the Apostle Paul heralded the soon return of the LORD as he did. His book, The Late Great Planet Earth, had a tremendous impact on the church and even on the world as he put eschatology into modern man's lingo so all could understand the truth of the times we are in.

6. John MacArthur, like him or not, has been a powerful representative of the church on programs such as the Larry King Show, taking on the new agers and false teachers to their faces. He also has been a mainstay on the radio for decades and his mega-church and seminary are still educating many.

7. David Breese, former host of the weekly broadcast, The King is Coming, loved the LORD and it showed. His little books like The Marks of a Cult and His Infernal Majesty were so helpful in understanding the wiles of the enemy. He is missed.

8. David Wilkerson -- A Pentecostal power preacher and founder of Times Square Church, he seemed tireless in his exhortations to his listeners to serve the LORD without compromise and he never shrank from pointing out false teachings in the church and reproving and rebuking those who were bringing in deception. His sermon, Pillow Prophets, is a classic.

9. Joni Eareckson Tada, a quad­riplegic since the age of 17 after a car accident, has been encouraging suffering believers for decades. She is an inspiration to those who are going through difficult situations and her ministry touches countless needy souls.

10. Jacob Prasch, a teacher with a Hebraic lineage has helped many to understand the big picture of God's purpose for creating man, tying in the Old Testament with the New to see how all of Scripture connects together into a seamless whole. His zeal against false teaching and false prophets in the church has steered many out of dangerous groups.

I'm not saying these individuals were flawless - but their impact on the health of the church was unmatched by any in Charisma's roster.

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." - Heb 11:13-16

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I love Jesus!!

I love Jesus. And you too love Jesus if you live each day in anticipation of His soon return. If eschatology doesn't interest you, then neither does Jesus. The Spirit of Prophecy confirms to our spirits that He will soon return and rule and reign over this Earth with us by His side. Scripture testifies to that and our hearts cry out to Him from the depths of our souls -- Maranatha -- even so, come LORD!!

To disinterested professing Christians, Jesus has this to say:

"These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me."
- Matt 15:8

If the fire for Jesus has gone out in your life -- or is fading away as life takes its toll on us all, stop what you're doing and pray. "LORD, help my unbelief." It isn't something one can do on one's own. 

Walter Martin used to love to quote D. L. Moody who was once asked why he urged Christians to be filled constantly with the Holy Spirit. "'Well,' he said, 'I need a continual infilling because I leak!'" 

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” - John 7:38
So be filled with His Spirit today. 

"Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, 'How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?' (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.' She said to Him, 'Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?' Jesus answered and said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.'” - John 4:9-14